Something to be Treasured

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

Matthew 6:19-20

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Have you ever stopped to wonder what treasure really is? What comes to mind when you hear that word? Is it a beautiful chest of gold hidden by pirates as depicted in the storybooks of our youth? It could be jewelry that a loved one has gifted you as a sign of love. Hard earned money at the end of a week of work could seem very treasure like as it is the key to buy even more treasures. Whatever it’s may be that comes to mind it is nothing in comparison to the heavenly treasures that God has given in the eternal life. Even the earthly treasures gifted to the earth by our creator are just temporary. We have things such as a Columbine flower,the sun shining for the first time after a long winter, birds singing in the morning, or that precious moment the trees began to bud. Those treasures certainly point us in a heavenly direction as we stand in awe of our great creator God. Yet they will fade in time. The Word says in Isaiah 40:8,

 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

Revelation 21:23 says,

 “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Genesis 1:30 shares that all life,every living thing was given by God.

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”

Ecclesiastes 3 shows us clearly that there is a time for everything and even those song birds and the budded trees shall die.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

If our treasures even the God given earth treasures are nothing more than to be enjoyed in the here and now what is a treasure in eternity? First and foremost the greatest treasure given was the opportunity of salvation through the blood and life of Jesus Christ our savior king. Jesus said very plainly “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?-John 11:25-26 There will always be an earthly death. Just as Jesus died for our sins we too will die yet the kicker of it all is that WE SHALL LIVE AGAIN! The treasure of the life of Jesus lives in us is to literally be alive forever bound with Him in eternity in the permanent and forever kingdom. What other radiant treasures await us in that forever kingdom with our forever life?

If it weren’t enough to simply get to live forever worshipping our king we(the church) will have the great treasure of being married to Him in the most holy of ceremonies of all time. Revelation 19:7-9

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” As a single person this especially perks my ears and causes my heart to beat a little faster! Individually some of us may never get to collect the beautiful treasure of a godly marriage. The white dress may just be a fragment of our imagination. The sting is quickly lightened by the abundant fullness of this treasured promise of the marriage feast of the Lamb! Let us marinate a while in your heart right now. The king of King’s treasures you and you treasure Him in a love incorruptible by time or sway of affections. Ah a treasure indeed!

James 1:12

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” From my brief study on the subject of crowns there are five types of crowns to be given as a treasure in heaven. The crown of life,the crown of righteousness,the crown of rejoicing,the crown of glory,and the incorruptible crown. I won’t even begin to expound on each one. I’ll leave that for your own personal study. I’ll leave you with this thought. Straighten your back and hold your head high. Imagine the hand of God placing a crown upon your battle weary head. Look around,what is it you see in your heavenly visions? It’s going to be so much more of a treasure than what you or I can conjure up in our human imaginations. I know this one thing, with a crown comes confidence. 1 John 4:17 17 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

We love him, because he first loved us.” Christian hold your head high not of your own earthly strength but because of the boldness that is in you from Christ Jesus,aka practice wearing your crown.

There are two more treasures that perhaps should’ve been placed in the beginning but they are so interwoven to my life that I hadn’t thought to place them in the category of treasure. Yet the very fact that they are such a forefront of my life and the life of all Christians shows that it’s a treasure of now and to come! The first one should go without saying and it is the written Word of God. Left for us to have here on earth as the greatest adventure,live story,self help,and life saving letters and communication from our Father. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”- Hebrews 4:12

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 1 Timothy 3:16-17

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 People through time have fought over this treasured Word of God. It’s been translated over and over and is still being translated to new languages as we speak! It has been kept alive throughout Eve generation and will for eternity!

Lastly although there definitely are more heavenly treasures, is the Holy Spirit who is God Himself left to comfort and guide us while here on earth but for all time. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13 says “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” This tells us where our joy and peace come from. If we ever find ourselves lacking of those things it might be wise to evaluate if we’ve pushed the spirit aside and given His room away to something else. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”-1 Corinthians 3:16

Often we push the Spirit aside in times of trials or temptation. If we would rather call upon Him with all authority He is here as our great defender and comforter.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”- John 14:16

I hope you have a little bit better understanding of what a heavenly and worthy treasure is after reading this. Perhaps you(and I) will remember that when our next paycheck comes or when our ever human heart begins to long for the next shiny trinket that will ultimately end up at the Goodwill later. I believe the more we meditate on the things above the closer we are at making eye contact with our Lord. You can’t easily be distracted when your eyes are locked on the God above. When the awe and wonder,beauty and might of our Father and are experienced in our lives, the earth bound things become less and less attractive. One day you’ll realize those aren’t what you hunger to collect because to take your eyes away from the Father for even a moment is more than you can bear. For a moment from His goodness is a moment in desire that can’t be filled with the world.

Lock your eyes on Him and when you must slumber pray as I heard once “that eternity be stamped on my eyelids”.

Blessings and peace,pilgrim Nicci

Questioning Questions

When someone we or someone in the Bible asks a question of God, He often asks a question in return. When a child with attachment issues asks a question we are trained to ask one in return. This establishes power and who is in control of the conversation.

When we ask questions of God like “Why are you doing this to me?” “Are you serious haven’t I done enough for you?” “When are you going to provide for my need?” “Do you even hear me oh Lord?” We are faced with a loss of Attachment at our own doing. We lose the focus on His holiness,love,and power over the spiritual and natural things of life. Instead we shift that focus off of God and on to our own self. We put our needs and wants above the desire and will of the one who created us in that never ending love.

Not willing to lose us yet,in His greatness ,must come first He begins asking us questions in return. He gently asks “Who am I?” “What does my Word say?” “Will I ever truly leave you?” “Who created you?” This points us away from our self focused tendencies and back to His truth. Then our “attachment” /being close to Him and Him to us can be re-established with His heart and ours connected as the Holy Spirit encircles and dwells in our oneness.

Our rebellion ceases to exist when we realize we are not in control so we with a spirit of submission loosen our clutch on the control we thought we had but never truly did. A closer walk with the Lord is our desire and all unrest becomes a peaceful rest.

Here are just a few examples of this shown in scripture. This is just a small scratch of what could be dug up on the subject of our Lord asking questions when faced with a control taking question. Let us all be mindful of how we approach our sovereign Lord and king!

Mark 4:38,40

Luke 2:48-49

Matthew 9:14-15

Matthew 15:1-3

Matthew 26:6-10

John 13:37-38

Genesis 3:8-12

Job 38:1-4

Jonah 4:1-4

Time Well Traveled

Here we find ourselves at the end of another year. With God’s abundant grace we have will be given a new year with multiple opportunities. I know for myself this year has been a year of change,growth,and exciting new doors that have opened and some that have closed. I’m not unique in reflecting on the year that has passed. Many blog posts and conversations will be focused on this passage of time. I’d like join in and reflect on the awesomeness of my God in His love and care for me in this past year.

Moody Clouds!

January: I found myself preparing for my newest roommate to move in. Having the privilege to live and work along side Roxy was a joy and blessing.

February: I discovered that although for many many years I valued St. Patrick’s Day as my favorite holiday it actually turns out to be Valentines Day. I wear pink,bought a heart shaped pizza,and my parents sent me beautiful flowers. What more could a woman ask for?!? Alongside my new found favorite holiday, I celebrate in my heart the day I fully came into submission and surrender to my Lord! It fills me with all sorts of large feelings I will never be able to put into words. My life removed from God is worth nothing. That is cause enough to praise His name! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/they-call-me-a-fool-he-calls-me-his-bride/

March: This month was filled with birthday type stuff. I turned 27 and started a new year of life.

April: I boarded a small six passenger airline and headed with a team to Florida to serve at a family healing camp. My heart grew like the Grinches heart grew while I spent time with children and families effected by RAD(Reactivate Attachment Disorder). I would never of called myself a “kid person” sure I love teaching and such but something changed in seeing parents literally fighting for the lives of their children. We are called to care for the widows and children and I can do that by supporting these awesome families that are growing little hearts that have been hurt.

May: The end of a challenging school year ended and honestly I was so thankful! A much needed break was in the horizon. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-not-the-amish-romance/

June: Annual meeting was a delight because I got to connect with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a vision that takes place in my mind when we are gathered around the communion table seeking to do the will of God. We are each humbly waiting for that day that we are one in the consummation of the marriage with Christ!

After annual meeting I packed my bags for a week of Training/working in Canada with a raddlet (kid with RAD). Whew no amount of time would allow me to tell all of the stories. Fear,excitement,drama,smells,and friendship blooming we’re all words I’d use. Originally I was planning on heading to Georgia for about a month but the child needed different care so I headed home with a switch of plans.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/passport-prayer/

July: This was the most boring,lonely,horrible month ever. On the tail of the disappointment of lost opportunity I was in the house completely alone for a good portion with absolutely nothing to do and no motivation to find something to fill my time. I’m not proud of July but God uses it to draw me closer to Him. I had a lot of one on one talks with Him and my Bible was opened on my lap more than it wasn’t. I found comfort in bringing my Bible to bed with me each night as if a security blanket.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/diary-post-a-few-thoughts-on-boredom/

August: I went to Kansas for a weekend that I can honestly say was one of the best weekends of my life! I felt so loved by my friends Lana and Monica as they had carefully planned a to do list of fun for us. We did so much but beyond that we grew a little closer as friends. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/12/find-me-in-the-woods-among-the-trees/

School started and instantly I could “feel” that it was going to be a good year. I have yet to be disappointed in how the cookies have crumbled.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/a-fresh-start-with-a-rainbow-of-opportunities/

Yes, I was terrified but it was worth it!

September: We (at school) really started to feel our routine set in and the normal school days began to flourish. I am very fortunate to get the opportunity to work among fellow followers of Jesus Christ as we labor for the kingdom of God! I started doing therapeutic respite in my home and I have been enjoying the process so much! It’s a unique challenge and requires me to be on my A game 100% but oh so worth giving these wonderful parents a small break from having to be the superhero for a few days. I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to support these awesome parents! https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/its-a-sloths-life-pajamaspity-partiesand-pee-peevpants/

October: My teeny tiny nephew came into the world with many prayers and much love. His arrival has been a highlight of the year for sure! Each new babe is a special miracle from God. Let’s hold our children a little closer this year as we realize some children never get to feel the love that yours does. Let’s pause to pray for the hearts of the neglected and abused children. Oh Lord you do care and hear their cries!

Sweet child

I got on an airplane for the third time this year for an adventure of a lifetime! Myself along with my brothers and sisters in Christ went to Germany to meet up with more of our family in Christ to support and have a love feast in their neck of the woods! Oh what a joy filled experience unmatched by anything I’ve ever been a part of before. This was the moment I got what I really was a part of. My fellowship is my everything here on earth to me.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/spaghetti-loving-people-in-germany/

Brother and sister in Germany

November:This month was a fun one! Myself and three other women rented a cabin in the woods in Holmes County to find some R&R. We did all the usual things that you do there with the addition of spending a day doing fun crafty things! Somewhere along the way in the summer I took up painting. It’s a skill I hope to expand to bless others as I write letters that will bring encouragement to those that get them.

https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/08/27/handwritten-letter-a-lost-art-or-not-needed-anymore/

December: December=eventful!

My friend Lana came out for the weekend so we could…well let’s just say check your mailbox in the next week. We had more laughs than I knew could happen! Friends sure make life fun!

I had the opportunity to be perused by a godly man in another fellowship. It was a fun opportunity that turned out to not bring peace even though it was fun while it lasted. Who doesn’t want to be valued by someone here on earth? It was a growing experience bringing me to face my vision for my life and how God has continued to call me to be faithful in all things.

I am traveling home now after a week in Missouri and Kansas. Things like Christmas,sickness,Cheesecake Factory,bonding,and large sloths are the words used for this trip.

Now we find ourselves back at January where I began a year ago. I can’t tell you what the next year will hold but my prayer is go a steadfast commitment to my Lord and Savior as I continue on my pilgrimage in the kingdom of God. I hope I meet many new friends and strengthen relationships with the ones I already have. This year has brought many Mountain View moments and yes, a few moments where I stood at the bottom of the mountain wondering why I had to start again. I can say without any stretching of the truth that the climb was worth it!

The sun rose and set every day of this past year and I got to enjoy most of them as I did life. Oh the gift that is a new day! Let us each wake to look for the gift God has given us then let us fall before Him in praise!

I love you all! Much love dear ones. If you haven’t found yourself at the foot of the cross casting your sins away, I urge you to cry out to our sovereign Lord to help you to do so! This life here on earth will vanish and we will each face eternity. I want you each to face it looking at the face of Jesus at the wedding of His people with Him to never be separated. If I can help you by answering questions or praying along side of you please let me know. We are not promised another day on this earth. Make your choice now. https://pilgrimnicci.wordpress.com/2018/07/13/why-i-deserve-to-go-to-hell-but-i-wont/

Pilgrim Nicci

Community CPR

Community,It’s the latest buzz word causing people in a social media age to cry out for something more. Community, it’s a heartbeat of people connected.

Community,the vision of the kingdom of God.

Some odd years ago I felt that there was something lacking in my life. It isn’t so much different than what is missing from the average millennials life. That is our buzz word, community. It isn’t really all that hard to find these mysterious things called communities. You don’t have to go hunting in the woods or pay lots of money. You can join a number of communities with a simple internet search. You can join a baseball community and put on a jersey and cap. There are music communities where you can rock out on the weekends,all you’ll need is your guitar and drums. You won’t have to look far to find a community of pet enthusiast ready to babysit your “fur baby” while you’re away. There is even communities for introverts but I don’t understand that one,it probably is just lonely people on Facebook avoiding eye contact. There is vacation communities to get away from your everyday community. The list could and does go on. Ah yes, there is absolutely no shortage of community in this life. I didn’t say it was worthwhile community but it’s community all the same. I was once a part of a community of people. It had social events,a purpose to be together, unwritten social norms,and it even had a leader that we looked up to almost in Godlike fashion. We were in every sense of the word community. Beyond that it was like family. I left that because I found a community with a heartbeat when I realized my community was dead void of life,void of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean it didn’t have value just not what I needed to thrive.

For a time the lifeless community I belonged to pacified my desire for a position in a group. It was easy you see, because we were all actors and we could invent whoever we wanted to be. Everything in that community was based on what character we played. There were moments and people that I found connection to even among this setting. These people had a heartbeat just as I did but it wasn’t enough to sustain a life for me. When I stumbled upon a community with a heartbeat I knew I needed to be part of that. I observed for a time and I thought I saw involvement in each other’s lives. I saw care and serving along one another for a common goal. There were struggles but effort was made to restore what was broken. I felt at home. This community was the German Baptist. Soon I realized that it wasn’t one heartbeat but several going thud-dum..thud-dum but at a different pace.

We are divided into multiple districts all concentrated in one area. We set up things like Bible Studies,secret sister,service projects,and church services. From the outside looking in it seems great with all of these activities going on how could one possibly miss a beat? What you cannot see is that sometimes there is no beat at all but rather a ventilator humming along,prolonging life that is hanging by a thread. There is hope and with some intervention maybe that beat can come alive and blood (Jesus’s blood) can begin to flow. Death begins to creep slow in when those Bible studies get cancelled more than they are held. Church services only happen once or twice a month. Gossip and petty feuds over take praise and prayer. The heart gets a little weaker when we choose to serve alone and don’t see the need to come along side of each other. All too soon a person can ask themselves why they are where they are if the community isn’t fully alive and is only a place of self preservation? Do you hear the beat? Will it keep going?

So I began to read,research and pray about what community really should look like. After all sometimes CPR is needed to revive that heart beat! It wasn’t too hard to find the Word full of answers in response to community. Soon enough o was on my way to learning CPR!

C-Christ &Community

P-Prayer& Participation

R-Respect & Relationship

Community-I heard a minister say once “that the kingdom of God wasn’t something you entered into alone. The kingdom wouldn’t be a kingdom without active citizens that were all in. The kingdom of God in fact is a community.” That right there is reason enough to fight for thriving community on a local level.

Christ-As I stated before, there are many types of communities. What gives the community breath and blood is Christ. Without Him as our central focus we are left to lead ourselves and no reason to go anywhere. Christ is what unites the multiple beats into one.

Prayer- prayer will be vital in keeping not only enthusiasm but also focus. It’s really difficult to forget about the importance of something that you are busy praying about. Pray for your district as a whole,individually,and in the bigger body as well. Do not neglect to praise the Lord for placing you where He has. Think of prayer as your life line.

Participation- Ewww I know this isn’t one you’d like to hear about. However your community will fall to sudden death as fast as a heart attack if no one shows up,pulls their weight,or simply doesn’t care. Be all in. You have value in your district and you are needed. From the widow and the singles to the young folks and the young families. Each person was placed where they were to fulfill a unique purpose and you certainly won’t find out what it is by not showing up.

Respect-Honestly folks this shouldn’t need to be here. It should be as natural as a healthy body taking breaths. It comes to a point though that without exercise( because of not participating)that a reminder is needed. Respect one another to not only to show up when you say you will but to do your part. Cut all gossip ,yes even the well meaning speculation,and keep your conversation approvable unto God. Learn to love each and every member of your district. If you are having a struggle of personalities remember your vows and go to them in Christian love.

Relationship-Do you honestly believe we can have life without relationship? After all God Himself desired relationship and created us! Get to know one another through Bible study,cook outs,and everyday interactions. We should be so close to one another that if a need arose little or big ,sin or financial that we would be comfortable coming to our community for help. There should be no shame in speaking up in a group together. It should be a safe place.

With our crash course in CPR we are now ready to revive or communities if need be. Life can begin and our purpose can be fulfilled. Our fellowships should be bringing forward new life not only sustaining what is already there. It can’t and won’t unless blood flows through it’s veins.

Why I Deserve to Go to Hell but I Won’t

Are people generally good? Do people do the best that they can? I believe if you were to ask random people on the street they would say yes. I say no. Here is why. Genesis 3:6-13 depicts the fall of man and his response. Those of us that label ourselves affectionately Christians know the story like the back our hand. I’m not saying humans are not generally good because Adam and Eve fell,all though that is part of it. I would argue that it’s because of their response to that fall. Let’s take a slightly deeper look. They ate of the tree off knowledge of good and evil and their eyes were opened to their nakedness. Now here was their opportunity to fall before God and beg of His mercy but that’s not the choice they made. Instead in attempt to hide themselves they sewed fig leaves together. When God confronted them yet again there was the perfect opportunity to throw their hands up and confess their sins. Did they? No, Adam turned the blame from himself to not only Eve but God who created Eve. Oh dear Adam would you have played your cards differently if you would have known the ramifications of your actions? In my heart I would like to think so but I know better.

How do I know what Adam and Eve would of done if they knew the consequences? Simply put, I’ve been Adam and Eve before. I know the tragedy of realizing my sin even though I may have not known that I was sinning. I know the reality of choosing to sin willingly. I even know the pit in the stomach feeling of trying to cover up my sin. I know all to well that humans, specifically Nicci is not good.

Let me share a little bit of the reality of my sin with you. Now if you ask my mom or maybe even people that have known me fa while they may not know my inner heart or the depth of my sinful nature. I am not sharing this to make myself look bad or to bring glory to the person that I once was. I desperately want to call sin what it is and to share that there is redemption available. So let’s pick up when I was thirteen going on fourteen and then the early months of fifteen. I’d say I was the average middle school student. I was pretty innocent and I loved my parents. I was really excited to be going to a new school and moving to a new area,one close to my then best friend! The only thing not so normal about me was that my family was essentially homeless. We lived in a motel and would off and on for a long time. In some ways it was like an adventure and others it was drove me to try to fit in or to be as “good” as my peers.

Soon enough school was in full swing and I was making more friends. One day I got a note from my best friend that was from the guy we dubbed “the curly headed kid”. I didn’t know him but my friend and I would watch him and his mass amount of curly hair get on and off of the school bus each day. In this note was an invitation of sorts to our school dance. To say I was elated would be an understatement. I remember that night as if it happened yesterday. It was so fun and was nearly movie perfect. I could almost imagine the cast of high school musical break out in song at any moment. Yes, it is a fun and thrilling memory. Needless to say as time went on our relationship grew (as much as it can at age 13/14. I mean come on.) and we didn’t remain pure. Despite the fact him and his mom attended Church every Sunday and my mom would drop me off too. I had a desire to follow Jesus but had no clue how to do that. We were fairly active at that little local Methodist church. Unfortunately because of our impure relationship we often times were lying to our parents and that made me feel worse than the after effects of the sexual relationship did. I’d walk home knowing what I was engaging in was wrong. Slowly my time spent with this guy turned from fun or at the very least what I thought was normal to heartache and despair. We’d go to the local Dollar General and he’d steal stuff and I knew it. He’d get more rough with me and I’d start finding bruises on my body that happened while he was “teasing”. All these too big of emotions coupled with my teenaged hormones being out of wack caused me to cut…well what ever you call using a sharpened stick to harm yourself. I had no real desire to hurt myself but I knew tons of other girls did it and I read in my teen books of the angsty characters did it,so why shouldn’t I try? I felt sad and my boyfriend was no longer hurting me in private but now in public too! It all came crashing down one day when he kicked me into the other seat as I was getting off the bus. I retaliated and punched him back and called him a filthy name. The cops were called and of course I was the one to get reprimanded. The bus driver didn’t see what he had done only the punch I threw. Unfortunately I had deleted all of his possessive and hate texts because I was terrified of my mom seeing them. My whole life was one big mess and not a lot of people knew about it. I was dressing the part of a over sexualized teenager during the week and going to church on Sunday. My sin was monstrous and I deserved to go to hell.

“Sexy” expressions are what is displayed on nearly all of my pictures from that time

What we wear does change our actions

I’ve never typed that nor have I shared all the details of that time in my life. I suppose my mother knows more than most and I’m glad through it all she stood by my side.

So how does a filthy beaten down sinner escape hell? How does a person even begin to wash their dirty laundry in their past baggage? How do they lay their baggage down and walk away from it forever? Simply put,YOU don’t. Magnificently though God does! So although you,me,and lots of other nasty sinners have rotting past and there is no escape there is a savior! John 3:16 says For God so love the world (you/me) that He sent His only begotten son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish ( go to hell) but have everlasting life! Isn’t that absolutely amazing news? Doesn’t that make you want to leap for joy? It does me. So Jesus in His time here in earth detailed how a person can inherit eternal life through His life,death,and resurrection. His overarching message was that the kingdom of God is at hand. He showed us very clearly that being in a relationship with Him was so much more than get out of hell free card. It had some requirements and some duties that we must fulfill. You know because after all we are not naturally good. We desperately needed Him to spell things out for us. You see once Jesus’s blood cleans a person all up and the Holy Spirit comes to make it’s abode in us the requirements of kingdom life really are not a burden. They are in fact a joy to carry out. Now I’m not going to lie and say they are easy because sometimes simple stuff like loving my neighbor is hard. That’s where His grace comes in. We won’t ever be perfect and we will have a free will and Jesus knows that. Through our repentance and patterning our lives after His, we will become His disciple. Day by day the gap between you and your past will grow so vast that it’s not possible to cross it to the person that you once were. That in my opinion is where the assurance of salvation is apparent. You no longer see yourself how Satan wanted you to be but rather how God see you! Trust me when I say that Satan will tell you that you are worthless and trash. That you will never be far away from the label of your sin. I’m here to tell you that yes sin is absolutely unacceptable in the eyes of God. It does make you wrenched and nasty. However the relationship you enter into as a baby Christian and journey through into disciple is a purifying process and NO ONE can stake their claim to your life except Jesus Christ!

This is the real me. The me that has JOY!

No,people are not good;but Jesus Christ is!

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

Passport Prayer

Most of you know by now that my summer took a slight turn and I ended up back in Ohio. After spending one week in Canada learning,growing,laughing,and praying I got a call saying that due to something out of our control I was no longer needed as a therapeutic respite nanny. Instantly I understood and had peace that this was the right decision even though it sent a sharp jab into my heart and if I’m being real honest,my pride. The next two days were filled with a little bit of a pity party ( which fit right in with what the RAD that was in the house was already doing) and trying to soak up every last moment of learning and time with Miss Karen.

When I arrived home yesterday I felt so restless. My apartment was empty because my roommate recently moved out and the bottom of the house was starkly quite due to Harold and Nancy being in Africa. I spent most of my evening trying to convince myself that I wasn’t going to rot on the couch all summer and that God did have a plan. You see, it’s so easy to say that you know but it’s hard to believe when things don’t go your way. I searched for jobs or fun classes to take. Coming up empty handed I started looking for a Mandarin teacher that I knew I wouldn’t find. I went to bed feeling like a lazy bum. Never mind the fact that I’m not lazy and I have a job but I felt like my opportunity to go to China was over,summer boredom was around the corner,and I didn’t understand why my answer to prayer was feeling like no more than an Indian gift from God. So I laid in bed praying I wouldn’t wake up too early because I didn’t have anything to fill my time.

Let’s rewind a bit and talk about Canada and Miss Karen. I believe when God stitched together this part of His story in my life, He knew Karen and I would hit it off. Sloths,rubber ducks,and Jesus are just a few of the things we have in common. Conversation was effortless and her go with the flow teaching style was perfect for my personality. She cooked,I did the dishes,and we both laughed so much that I’m sure her neighbors thought we had gone mad! Being in Canada was stretching and stressful for sure but it was perfect and enjoyable as well. It’s nothing like I imagined and everything that was needed to confirm that God has a work for me and in order to do it I HAVE to stop being so afraid of new pop ups. I must be willing to roll within he punches ( or plates being thrown). I was the recipient of impeccable hospitality not only in Karen’s home but also in her parents home as well. I pray a blessing on both homes that they would seek truth in every season of life and to allow the hospitality that they give be given in Jesus’s name.

Ok back to real time:

While I was food prepping I decided to listen to a VOM podcast because the quiet in the house was really starting to get to me. What I didn’t know was that I was avoiding talking to God. Well the first line of the podcast was something like “Without a passport you aren’t going anywhere. Once you have one go to the Lord and say “Here I am Lord send me.” Right there my heart felt the feeling you just can’t describe. I was busy cooking so I ignored it. The podcast went on to share some good information that I enjoyed listening to. Cooking was completed and I went to make my plate and my appetite was gone! If you know me then you know that doesn’t happen often. There was that heart feeling again. “Ugh I’ve got to pray.” That was my real thought as sad as it is to admit. I covered my head and I grabbed my passport and my Bible. Honestly I didn’t really know what to say. I started by praying for others because that’s easy. Then words started flowing and my heart opened up to my Father. If you haven’t experienced the comfort of going to Father God then the only real way to translate it into your understanding is it’s like when your earth dad tells you he is proud of you for something of value vs. the “oh you did a good job” compliment given vainly sometimes. The look in his eyes is one of respect and love. The hug that follows is of utter acceptance and comfort of being in your daddy’s arms. That is how this type of praying feels and this was no different. My Heavenly Father understood I was wrestling with a plethora of emotions and had no real reason to feel them. He understood the joy I felt in Canada learning about brokenness but also having a new friend. He just “got it”. I have no clue why I was surprised. It’s not like don’t communicate with Him everyday. It’s not like I’m a lost soul aimlessly going through life without a cause. Yet there I sat on my blue couch clasping my Bible and passport being hugged by my Father.

I shared with Karen the thought about praying over my passport it wasn’t something I ever considered. Which is ridiculous that I didn’t. After all I am claiming to be a pilgrim and stranger following after Jesus. Karen said something like “These kids are not ours. They are God’s children and what is to happen happens. We aren’t in control. That’s how all of life is. “It’s a God thing.” I got to thinking that’s right. Likewise me going to China is in God’s hands. I have no idea why mid plan God dropped Germany in my lap and wiped away was the financial opportunity to go to China. That was something I had to give to God. In the last two days I’ve been forcing myself to be happy over going to Germany to be with my brother and sister in Christ. I knew i was supposed feel happy yet I was grieving China. Doesn’t my brother and sister deserve better than a half hearted communion with someone that only signed up if her other plans could happen too? Yes,they do! They are the bride of Christ and I will be overjoyed to be in their company. After all maybe God doesn’t call us to be in one location. Perhaps our calling is to be where the need is.

Lord my passport is yours. I will only go where you pave my path to go. If that’s my brothers and sisters in Christ that need fellowship, then I’ll go bring companionship to them in your name . If it’s the lost then I’ll go find them for you so your name will be proclaimed. If it’s the sick then I’ll heal them in your name. If it’s the hungry I’ll provide food for them in your name. Wherever you send I will go…even you only send me to my blue couch in Ohio with my Bible and passport in my hand. I’ll pray in your name.

Much love,

Pilgrim Nicci

P.S. In this blog post I decided not to share about RAD. Please note I wasn’t taking this opportunity as a means to an end. I very much feel called to work with children and families dealing with RAD. I hope that doesn’t get lost in this post.

Lord Help Me Die Today

Lord help me die today.

Lord make me a stranger.

Are these two prayers uttered from your lips every morning when you wake up? I know I don’t pray this as often as a should. We are called to die to our old self daily. The old person that we were must be put off so you might become new. Oh of course you’re going to flounder,fail,and fall. Just ask God to die again and start living the new life. Do this until it becomes the real new you.

Now once you’re good and dead become a stranger. Become a stranger to that old life and become a stranger that must work to build new relationships with people everyday and everywhere. You are literally called to be a pilgrim and stranger. I don’t know about you but I put in a lot of effort to NOT be a stranger! God has a sense of humor. He only now shows me the “fine print” * AFTER I’m all settled in and warm and fuzzy with the people around me.

So my question for you is:

-How do you die daily?

-How do you live the pilgrim-stranger life?

* No real fine print. It’s all there you just actually have to pick up your Bible. Huh who would of thunk you’d have to actually read the thing you claim to believe. 😜