Thursday, September 27, 2012

An Empty Self

To be truly free of insecurity and pressures that draw our hearts and attention to the empty lure of this world, Christ must live in us. In order for Christ to live in us, we must be crucified with Him. Raised to new life in Him. Then, and only then, can we live a crucified life. To live – to be free – we must die. Not literally, of course. It’s the death of our old self, the one that didn’t know Jesus as Savior. It’s the death of our will and our flesh, along with old ways and thoughts, lies we’ve been told, misconceptions we’ve believed, ways we’ve always done things.

It is Philippians 2:1-8:

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

The key to it all is having the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, which begs the question: WHAT IS THE MIND OF CHRIST? We have only to look to this same passage: He made Himself of no reputation. In the Greek, it means He emptied Himself. He did only what the Father told Him to do, and He served, always putting others first.

Having the mind of Christ is to sacrifice. To set aside what we want for what others need, like Jesus did in Matthew 14:10-14. He had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist, and verse thirteen tells us Jesus departed to a deserted place by Himself. Don’t you know He just wanted a moment to Himself? And yet, the multitudes followed Him, and when Jesus saw them, He didn’t respond with exasperation, as I would have. No, verse fourteen tell us, “He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”

Do I do that? When I sneak off to the restroom or my bedroom for a moment of peace and quiet and my kids follow, how do I respond? With compassion and ready to minister to them? Or with frustration and anger, thinking only of myself?

Jesus set aside offense, as we see in Matthew 26:34-49. Jesus has just explained to Peter that he would deny Him three times when He goes with the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He says to them in verse thirty-eight, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with me.” He leaves to pray, and when He comes back, He finds His disciples sleeping. This happens THREE TIMES, and then Judas betrays Him.

Don’t you know Jesus had plenty of justifiable opportunities to be offended? Peter, then the disciples, then Judas. What do I do when people disappoint me, when they don’t do what seems like the simplest, most considerate thing to do? Do I respond like Jesus, with yet another characteristic of the crucified life: forgiveness?

In Luke 23:32-34, Jesus is led to the cross with two other criminals. He lived the perfect life. Never sinned. And as they are crucifying Him, He says: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Has anyone done anything worse to me than what Jesus endured? To live the crucified life, I must forgive as He forgave!

And become obedient to death. Thy will not mine be done.

Again in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing the road to the cross that lay before Him, in verse thirty-nine, Jesus prays: “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”


When I’m suffering or face certain suffering, am I searching for a way to get myself out of it or am I surrendered to the Father and to His will no matter what?

So we determine not to know anything except Jesus and Him crucified. We do this by living the crucified life. And we live the crucified life by having the same mind that was in Jesus Christ. We seek the Father’s will and obey unto death, death of self, and perhaps one day, literal death. As we do, the chaos in our minds and lives and the things that don’t belong begin to fall away. The slates of our minds and hearts remain clean for the Father’s will.

I challenge you to take a blank note card sometime today. On one side write out 1 Corinthians 2:2, and on the other, using just one or two words for each item, write down everything that’s cluttering your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the source of any mental and emotional chaos, and write it down. When you’re done, take a black permanent marker, and as fat and large as you can, write “JUST JESUS” across your list. Now, tape your card your mirror or keep it somewhere you’ll see it all the time. Memorize the verse, and when things start getting stirred up in your head and your emotions, ask yourself: Am I seeking only Jesus and Him crucified in this?

In 1 Corinthians 2:4-6, Paul goes on to say:

My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

As we determine to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified, what we say and do will be in demonstration of the Spirit and of power! Our faith won’t be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God! We won’t speak the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age! We won’t live by the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age WHICH IS COMING TO NOTHING!

Lord, transform us into woman who are secure, who know to whom we belong, who desire to belong in the right places for the right reasons, who see through the world’s temptations in order to remain dedicated to heavenly objectives. Let our days be lived full throttle just for You, Jesus, as we become more wholly Yours each day.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Am I Determined?

Continuing from last Thursday (, anticipation overwhelms me as I long to convey the magnitude of God’s deliverance. The immediate relief He brought to my insecure mind when I read Paul’s words in I Corinthians 2:2: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” The practical application I hope will bring relief to you in whatever area you may be struggling.

Let’s start by looking at the meaning of know in the Greek. It means “to perceive with any of the senses; to notice, discern, and discover; to turn the eyes, mind, attention to, or observe; to inspect or examine; to look at and behold; to experience; to have an interview with; to get knowledge of and understand; to have regard for one or cherish”(Strong's 1492

So to know Jesus and Him crucified means to perceive, notice, examine, experience, get knowledge of, and cherish Jesus in order that our eyes, mind, and attention are on Jesus ONLY in every circumstance and relationship. It’s making a purposeful decision to make known the cross of Christ in everything we do. It’s seeing things as Jesus sees them, examining things according to how Jesus would examine them, “interviewing” Jesus – in prayer and through His word – and responding as Jesus would respond.

In every area of my life, I am beginning to ask myself:

Am I determined to not know anything except Jesus and Him crucified in this area or relationship? Am I making known the cross of Jesus?

With my friendships, am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about whether or not we’re being included in weekend gatherings and dinners out, parties or trips or other activities and events?

With my book, am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about whether or not people will or won’t buy my book, read my blog, ask me only questions I know how to answer well?

With my body – whether it’s my skin, my size and shape, what I eat, what I wear, or whether I exercise – am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about whether or not I’m perfect on the outside?

With my family and my extended family, am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about their approval and whether or not I’m the perfect wife, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, etc.?

With my clothing and my home, am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about whether or not I wear the latest and greatest most fashionable clothes or have a magazine-worthy house?

With my activities and the things to which I commit my children, am I determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, or am I concerned about whether or not my kids are doing the right things to be accepted by the right people in order to have the right future?

When there’s chaos, insecurity, worry, over-commitment, difficult relationships, a thorn in your side – ask yourself: Am I determined to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified?

By simply asking myself this question, the slate of my heart and mind is available for God to pen His will. There’s room to receive answers and guidance from Him. It has caused me to say no, to say yes, to stay the course, to change course abruptly, to set aside what I want for another’s needs, to do the right thing even when it’s hard.

To determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified is to live the crucified life Paul talks about in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It is for Christ to live in us.

That’s great! But how does that happen? What does the crucified life look like?

We have only to look at Jesus. Join me Thursday as we do just that.

Jesus, You are our perfect model. You are all we need to know to live the crucified life that leads to joy and peace. Lead us there as we become more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Monday, September 17, 2012

Another "See You Later"

It is not my scheduled day to post, yet I am compelled by a heavy heart and heart of joy to celebrate a special life with a special blog. If you've read my posts for very long, you've met this amazing woman. She is the inspiring friend with cancer who defied the why of suffering with the goal of glorifying God in the how of walking through it with Him (see She is the mother who grieved with hope when her daughter, Katy, unexpectedly died in a car wreck, and in her mourning, her heart's desire was to see lost souls come to know Christ because of Katy's life and death (see and
She is home now. She ran her race well all the way to the finish line. Heaven. She kept the faith, eyes fixed on Jesus the entire time. To the very end. She did not receive her healing in the flesh here on Earth. No, she got something so much better!
Her family grieves, for sure, yet there is peace. Hope. They know where Sherri is. They know they will see her again. And the faith she firmly embraced now lives on in her husband and children who know God is good no matter the circumstances.
There is no end to the ways this family's joy in suffering has blessed and encouraged me. I stand in awe of God's power to comfort and sustain as I witness their love for Him through the most difficult of times. As I kissed her forehead and said "See you later" just days before she passed, the presence of the Lord and His joy filled their home. Sitting peacefully on the other side of the bed answering a continuous flow of posts on FaceBook, her husband, Van, smiled and praised His faithful God while watching his wife's body slowly shut down. It is impossible to capture in human words the supernatural wonder of what I saw that day. What I can articulate is the boost to my faith. The comfort and courage that God CAN carry us through ANYTHING. The resolve to let faith defeat fear. Gratitude that even when we do grieve – and being humans living on an earth where death is certain, we will – we do so with hope when we Jesus is our savior.
Sherri is with Katy. Van will be with her again. My grandfather is with my mother. I will be with them again. For those of us who by grace through faith have been saved, there will be a day when we see Jesus face to face, along with all those who have gone before us. What a glorious day that will one of the rest of eternity!
Faced with death, again, I am compelled to ask, again, do you have that hope? Have you faced the death of a loved one without hope? Hope can be yours today! Eternal assurance. Comfort. Peace. As God gives you grace, respond in faith. Faith in His son. Believe in your heart Jesus is Lord, and confess with your mouth.
“’The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved’” (Romans 10:8-13).
Thus says the word of the Lord.
If you haven’t called on the name of the Lord, you can do it now. And when believers in Jesus prepare to leave this life for eternity, it's no longer "Good-bye." As my Aunt Janice says, it's "See you later."
Sherri, I know you’re no longer here, but the testimony you lived remains in my memories and in my heart where I will cherish your friendship always. Your unwavering faith. Your endless joy. Your warm, infectious smile. I'll see you later!
Van, what a beautiful picture of Christ loving the church as you served and sacrificed for Sherri. As you trusted our Father in heaven with knowing Sherri’s every breath. As you determined, along with your children, to continue to praise our amazing God, no matter what. Your faith spurs me on to greater faith!
Lord, strengthen and renew Van in the days to come. Fill the void Sherri and Katy left with the fullness of Your presence. For all who are grieving the loss of a loved one, whether recent or not, comfort them and give them peace. Only You can.
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Jesus

Insecurity wrecked my peace of mind. For months, chaos stormed my thoughts. Uncertainty wrung my gut. Questioning brought me to my knees. To my face. A thorn in my flesh; a fog clouding my convictions. What others are doing, what others are thinking, if they’re including me, if they’re including my children, if we’re fitting in and getting along and belonging. If not, why? What’s wrong with us? Have we done something to offend? Are we undesirable? Are people nice to our face while excluding us behind our backs? Doubts mounted as the snowball tumbled out of control. Every relationship, every area of my life and body was fair game. Does James really love me? Will he really be patient with my imperfections for a lifetime? Every time I mishandle myself with my kids, am I scarring them for life? Am I stylish enough, thin enough? What if I get comfortable with these extra five pounds? Will it turn into ten, then twenty, then thirty, then forty? What is the right balance of eating right and exercising versus obsessing? Are we eating the right foods and taking the perfect balance of supplements to avoid and prevent cancer? Is homeschooling really right for our kids? Are we steering them right for college? Have we made a mistake? Was I crazy to write a book? Who am I, anyway, to think anyone will read what I wrote, especially as much as the Lord still needs to sanctify in me? And on and on and on!!!

If you’ve read my blog long, you’ve heard rumblings of this wrestling match. It became more than I could bear. Shoulders pinned to the mat, strength waning, I determined to do something about it. To find freedom through God’s truth about security and belonging. A “data dump” of all the scriptures with which I’m familiar was balm to the irritation, but not the cure. Truth, yes. Freedom, not yet. Not knowing where to look next, I bought a book about insecurity. Written by a well-known Christian author, I was sure it would hold my answer. Several pages into the introduction, I knew it wasn’t the book God wanted me reading. My scriptural solution, and therefore my only hope, would be found in one place: His word.

Setting aside the book, I continued to ask the Lord where to turn in His word.  I happened to be working through a Bible study on wisdom at the time and began the week on discernment and discretion. Nothing remarkable about that. I needed verses about security and belonging. Then I read author Sue Edwards’ words of introduction for the topic (Proverbs: Ancient Wisdom for a Postmodern World, Kregal Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. 2007. p. 42):

Remember when you watched a woman respond to a situation with keen insight? She was able to read the character and attitudes of the people involved. She quickly distinguished shades of meaning and saw beyond the obvious and superficial. She detected what was really going on, and understood what was true from what was false and what was right from what was wrong. Then she responded with wise choices and sound judgment.

This is a woman who is secure! She knows to whom she belongs. She desires to belong in the right places for the right reasons. She sees through the world’s lure in order to remain dedicated to heavenly objectives. I want to be her!

One of the scriptures Sue’s study referenced that week is I Corinthians 2:2. I turned to the address and stopped dead in my tracks. It was one of those moments when it was as if the Lord pinched my cheeks between His thumb and fingers, told me to look Him straight in the eyes, and gave me truth to settle my mental wresting match.

Scales fell. The fog cleared. Truth settled firm in my heart.

Insecurity. Belonging. It’s all answered in this passage.

Paul is writing to the Corinthians, explaining that he did not come to them with excellence of speech or wisdom. He contended with the same worldly and internal pressures to perform well and be impressive as we do, and like us, he had natural disadvantages that made it difficult to be and feel impressive. So, he says in verse three, he was with them in “fear, and in much trembling.”  He’s describing me! Maybe you, too.

What Paul articulates in verse two is the answer to any insecurity we face. It’s what gave Him confidence – what got him through. Fifteen simple words that convey and mind-freeing, life-changing, God-pleasing truth:

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

You see, our need to know we’re on the right track, doing the right things, saying the right things, giving the right impression, with the right people, will be affirmed AS we determine to know nothing among our circumstances or in our relationships but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is all that matters!!!

It’s when we determine to know other things – like acceptance, popularity, beauty, pleasure, accomplishment, a place on the fence between Christian and secular worlds, value by the world’s standards – that we lose our peace of mind. Our anchor. The waves come and begin to knock us off course.

So how do we apply Paul’s words to our lives? What does it look like in our everyday lives? What does it actually mean to determine to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified? How do we go about implementing this truth in the nitty gritty of our activities and relationships ?

Stay tuned Thursday to see how God’s word gives us the practical answers we need to determine for ourselves to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Lord, pin the enemy to the mats of our minds as we turn to your word for freedom in our thoughts. Bring us to a place where the only thing we seek after is Jesus and Him crucified as we become more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Work 'em!"

My husband has one answer for a child’s rebellious heart: “Work ‘em!” Bad attitude, whining, arguing, negotiating, grumbling, complaining? “Work ‘em!” When I’m at my wit’s end and call for backup assistance? “Work ‘em!” Bickering between siblings? “Work ‘em!”

Think a chore is unfair and want to keep talking about it? You’ll probably end up with all the chores. A little too vocal about what you think about doing dishes when you have all kinds of reasons why you shouldn’t? You may end up with all kitchen responsibilities for a week or longer.

Giving off an overall haughty attitude? That’s right.

“Work em!”

Remarkably, it works!

It is James’ answer for our children, and it is his answer for other kids he sees taking advantage of and disrespecting their parents out of an ungrateful heart. “They just need a little work!”

Perhaps it’s effective because it’s what God does to His children.

Monday morning, we enjoyed the rare treat of an empty, quiet house. It was a holiday, and the girls spent the night with their brother. Reclined in the living room, Bible in lap, coffee in hand, and no deadlines lurking, I enjoyed an extended time with the Lord. Reading through Psalm 107, my Bible study instructions were to note the reasons why Israel found itself distressed.

I alighted upon verse twelve and chuckled. “Well, I’ll be…” James’ approach is scriptural!

Psalm 107:12-15 says:

Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons – because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of their darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their chains in pieces.  Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men (emphasis mine)!

The Israelites, like our children inevitably will do (and let’s not kid ourselves, like we do, too), rebelled against the words of God and despised His counsel. They were contentious and disobedient and looked down on His instruction to them. Does this describe the attitude you sometimes encounter in your own children?

And look what He did: He worked ‘em! He humbled and subdued their hearts – the seat of their rebellion – with trouble and toil. They eventually cried out to Him, and He saved them out of their distress. It is a pattern repeated throughout the scriptures: God speaks, the Israelites rebel, they suffer, and then they return, humbled and ready to submit and obey. We’ve done it. Our children do it. And like the Lord, who continued to speak His word to His children even when they refused to obey, we must do as He says in Ezekiel 2:3-7:

And He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD.' As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious (emphasis mine).

When we speak the word of God to our children, especially when we’re confronting wrong behavior, we may not be met with the friendliest response. Regardless, we cannot be afraid of our children’s unhappiness with our decisions. We cannot fear their words, dirty looks, silent treatment, backhanded remarks, or other forms of punishment.

As they grow and assert their independence, we are going to have to address rebellion. For some, it’s strong and in your face. For others, it’s under the radar and a bit harder to detect. One thing is certain, though, and that is they are all born with a sinful heart, just like we are. They are all going to struggle with their flesh. Just like we do.

The first time I was on the receiving end of a cold shoulder and cutting attitude from a rebellious heart, it broke mine. For what I was feeling, but more so for the realization of what I put my own mother through. It grieved me that I couldn’t pick up the phone and call her to beg forgiveness, again, for the countless times I screamed my hatred and punished her for decisions I didn’t like.

Whether our children are compliant or make our lives miserable when we discipline, we must do as Ezekiel says: speak God’s words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse.

And work ‘em!

For the Lord says in Hosea 14:4, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him.”

For that, let us “give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.”

And let’s keep a list of extra work that needs to be done. When the need arises, we won’t be caught off guard with no chores to assign. Let’s speak God’s word to our children. Explain His desire for them and His instruction for them with regards to their relationship with us and Him. If there’s a scripture that applies specifically to the circumstances that led to their discipline, speak those words to them too. And then, like the Lord does for us and them, let’s turn our anger away from them. Love them freely. Heal their backsliding. Lead them to a place of thanksgiving for God’s goodness and wonderful works.

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness to speak Your word and heal our backsliding. Thank you for loving us freely and turning Your anger from us as we learn to be more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His