Refusing someone else’s identity: It’s a joint effort

(Because technology is such a bane and blessing…let’s try this post again today. I don’t want you to miss the good stuff!)

We are children of freedom.

You sort of know it.

I sort of know it.

But together we can really know it.

What place does our relationship with one another have in helping us understand our identity as well as our freedom?

In today’s audio bonus we’ll talk about how we help one another cast out what enslaves us, yokes us, ties us, and keeps us from freedom in a way that God does not desire for us.

If you haven’t sent a Dear 52 note, today is a great day to do it. Share freedom with someone. Let them know the Truth of freedom in Christ. He is living and active in their life today – tell them, point it out, write it in ink!

My favorite quote from today’s audio is from The Wiersbe Bible Commentary of the New Testament in the segment on Galatians, pg. 568,

“God began with Grace.”

Let us begin with grace today and every day…together. Looking to Jesus, pointing to Jesus, freedom in Jesus.

And the this week’s video archive can be found here:

Knowing to Be Known

We all do it: Chasing freedom from other gospels


One of my favorite things in life is when I see any of you face-to-face.

It’s mostly a rare treat. My favorite time ever was at an educators’ conference in Michigan, when I was walking down a hallway, completely lost, with no sense of where I was going, and a woman tapped my shoulder, “Are you Heidi Goehmann?”

Me: I am. (Mind scrambling – Do I owe someone money, need to move my car, or am responsible for children I forgot about somewhere?)

Kind woman: I read your blog. I just love your Bible studies. I want to say thank you. They were there for me when I was walking through darkness.

Me: (Mouth agape)

I was shocked. I really love the work I do, and I’m so thankful when it’s useful and hope-filled. But in the context of walking around, feeling like I was about to cry because I was so lost, having someone find me and know me was a level of grace I least expected in that situation. I was astonished.

Why does the Gospel always surprise me?

Why does God reaching into my life through the people of God always leave me amazed?

Why haven’t I begun to expect it?

There once were some other people who forgot about grace. Paul addresses the problem the people were facing, swiftly, in the first chapter of Galatians. Paul talks about his astonishment in Galatians 1:6-10:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

The Galatians had a group in their midst called the Judaizers. These Jewish Christians were demanding that the gentile converts (those of non-Jewish birth) be circumcised to participate in the grace of Christ.

The Galatians bought into the lies of the world, to a certain extent, but more specifically the part of the world that should have had their backs: those presenting the gospel to them. Someone had told them that grace wasn’t enough, their faith was incomplete, their church, their salvation wasn’t “enough.”

Oh man. If I had a quarter for every time the world told me I wasn’t enough.

Why do we buy it then?

What happened, to sweet, foolish Galatians?

I think it’s easy for us to believe that we aren’t enough. Satan works on our heart daily to ripen us for the moment when he can send us a “not enough.”

The Galatians are just like us. They have lives, and vocations, and jobs, and stories before this moment when we meet them. They probably desperately wanted to be enough for someone – their wife, their husband, their boss, their friend, their church, their neighbor.

Faced with the intrinsic reality that they weren’t enough, the Galatians had to think these Judiazers presenting them with an option to “just do this…” sounded pretty good. The Judiazers confused them, prevented God’s Word. It was sinful and wrong, wrong enough that Paul calls down curses on the situation, but that doesn’t mean it was necessarily obvious. Satan’s lies never are.

What Judaizers do you have in your life? Who or what makes you believe that you are not enough, God’s grace is not enough? What “other gospels” exist in this world that seem deceptively simple and more complete than the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Paul cuts to the answer swiftly as well. Read Galatians 1:10 again:

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. 

Who gets to say what is and is not enough?

Who gets to say what the complete Gospel is, what grace looks like?

God, and only God.

When we have questions about who or what is enough, we don’t look to man, but rather we look to God, and more specifically to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Many days, even on the good ones, we feel slightly lost in this world, just like me wandering around a big convention hall with thousands of other people bustling about. It’s easy to pick up a myriad of advice and suggestions, should-haves, and better-bes, but let us hold fast together to the True Gospel, the real and authentic astonishing grace of Christ, a savior who died, who rose, and who is enough.

Christ alone, grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone.

He is enough. No other Gospel necessary.


Discussion questions:

Across different commentaries and authors, I could identify four common gospels we struggle with particularly in the church today. Where do you see each of these at work? How do we gently argue against them? How do we continuously return to the True Gospel?

1-  Because we behave or act or dress accordingly, we are saved.

2 – Because we give our whole selves to Christ, we are saved.

3 – Because we believe the right doctrine, we are saved.

4 – Because we are good and loving, no matter what we believe, we are saved.

There is an ocean depth of difference between a fruitful Christian and a Christian who believes they are saved by what they do, think, act, wear, or even believe. Christ Jesus Himself tells us the simplicity of the True Gospel. Read John 3:14-17. What brings salvation? Why do you think the Simple Gospel is so hard for people to grasp?

Written in Iron Ink: Cancer, waiting, and a God who tends

Cancer is everywhere.

I’m no longer surprised by the growing list of those fighting cancer in our church bulletins, in our personal prayers, and in our neighborhoods and families.

Satan likes to destroy and if he can do something easily, he’ll take that route.

The good news is that cancer only destroys the body. It feels like it destroys the spirit, but time and again I have seen individuals I love stand up and fight it and proclaim the victory of Christ in it.

I am in awe. I am in awe of a God who works hope when life seems to be falling apart and I am in awe of the individuals who cling to Him in the dark moments, as well as the light.

In my recent podcast visit with Rev. John and Sharla Fritz we talked a lot about Waiting, because that’s the title of her latest book, but also because it is the earthly reality of life with cancer.

There are lots of gems of insights from the Fritz’s, but my favorite is their awareness of today. Cancer reminds you that each of us is only promised today, and while it is very imperfect, that day is a tremendous gift.

“Tending to the tender mercies of today.”

This day, right in front of us.

Cancer may feel like it’s winning, this day.

Life may feel overwhelming, this day.

The road may seems so long, or way too short, this day.

The waiting may be unbearable – waiting for a diagnosis, waiting for treatment options, waiting to see if the treatment options worked, waiting to see if it’s in remission, waiting to see if it comes back, waiting to hear how your loved one is doing, waiting, waiting, and more waiting…this day.

But God is tending in the waiting. He tends to us. He tends to our spouse, our children, our loved ones. He tends to today and He tends to eternity.

The body of Christ is there to tend to one another. This life is so momentary. Cancer makes us intensely aware of that, but…

this momentary life is lived in His hands, and best lived together.

God works His testimony in even this, in cancer. He works to shine the hope and light of Christ through our body’s imperfections and weaknesses. He shines so very bright.

He also gives us one another in the wait and I have rarely seen God shine brighter than in tending to one another.

I pray that however you have been touched by cancer, this resource and the other resources listed below will be used by God to tend.

Resources:

Waiting by Sharla Fritz on Amazon

Waiting by Sharla Fritz on Concordia Publishing House with free downloads

Cancer Companions

Phil’s Friends – Care packages for those with Cancer