Your something is not everything, but it’s not nothing either

Ok.

You need to say it.

SOMETHING happened.

It’s that. That right there. The thing that came to your mind when you read the word “something.”

Maybe it happened this week or this month or this year. Maybe it happened last week or last month or last year. Maybe it was longer ago than that. But SOMETHING happened.

It’s a thing you wish hadn’t happened or a promise unfulfilled or an unrecoverable loss.

And now you are fighting to keep it from being everything.

That hat on the shelf. The overheard conversation in the crowd. The baby crying, “Mama.” The sunrise or the sunset. Now that SOMETHING seems like EVERYTHING.

So we suck it up.

We pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try to ignore it.

We try to pretend the conversation about her Mama doesn’t bother us at all. We act like the baby in her arms is not that big of a deal. We try to deceive ourselves into thinking her relationship with her husband or kids isn’t one we would die to have. We play like the position or platform she has doesn’t mean a thing to us.

The problem is while trying to keep our SOMETHING from becoming EVERYTHING, we attempt to make it NOTHING.

We tell ourselves, “It doesn’t matter. I should live as if it wasn’t something. I should go on like the something wasn’t something. I should keep trying to make my something, nothing.”

But the truth is SOMETHING has happened. Something left a hole.

Now making the SOMETHING, EVERYTHING allows the hole to consume us. It turns our life into the something and makes the something our Lord.

The opposite is true. SOMETHING is not NOTHING. Something changed you. Making the something, nothing can keep the something from being redeemed. It makes us believe that it is not something that can be surrendered to the foot of the cross and used for the glory of God.

This is the perspective Paul is giving when he says, “Do not grieve as those who have no hope.” (1 Thes. 4:13)

Paul is telling us not to make grief EVERYTHING because that’s not what it is. There is only One who is our EVERYTHING, and he is not a thing.

Paul is also not telling us NOT to grieve. He wants us to understand that grief is not NOTHING.

In this verse, Paul gives us the proper perspective. The thing, person, relationship, health, or position we lost is not EVERYTHING or NOTHING, and Paul helps us see that we can allow our something to be used for God’s great purpose.

It is when we place our SOMETHING in the hands of our holy God that our something can become a valuable piece work of God.

Take time my friend. Your something IS something.

Cry your tears and shake your fists and lay your something at the feet of Jesus.

One day in we will rise to see that THE Everything is using our something to accomplish so much more than nothing.

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A review and a giveaway

It has begun. The season of Christmas is upon us. The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

The season of Christmas is upon us. The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

The great reminder is that the joy of Christmas is the gospel.

As a family we have been reading portions of The Jesus Storybook Bible for our family advent. It is a stunning reminder of how the gospel is woven from “In the beginning” to “Amen.”

That is why I feel it is a perfect time to tell you all about my new Bible and how you could get one, too.

Before I get to all the details I am also praying that you might find a renewed passion for the gospel in the coming days no matter which Bible you choose as your own.

So here goes. A month or so ago I got the opportunity to review the She Reads Truth CSB Bible. I was given the Bible to review for B&H Publishing by FrontGate Media. While they gave me the Bible all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

What I know

The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

What I think

Prior to receiving this Bible, I was very curious about it. Throughout the past few weeks, I have tried to answer the questions I had asked myself.

I knew it was very pretty, but how would I categorize it? Is it a journal Bible to study and use the extra wide margins to express creative worship? Is it a study Bible to deepen my understanding of the time, space, and culture surrounding the events of the Bible? Is it a devotional Bible that has unique story perspectives to teach certain truths?

As I unwrapped its packaging, I started to discover that this was all three.

As I did a more thorough search I found that it was not trying to be all things to all people at the expense of excellence. While I am usually for keeping things simple I found that the diversity was very balanced.

I also found myself questioning the new version of the Bible. I think that we always need to be careful when handling the word of God especially when it is being translated or transliterated.

Over the past several weeks I have used this new version in church and in Bible study. I have compared it very closely with the ESV, NASB, and LEB versions of the Bible. I even did a comparative study of 1 John.

I found the translation very close in meaning to all three versions I use on a regular basis. This may not become your favorite version because it is better than the version you use, but it will not make you shudder when contrasting other versions.

I have seen versions of the Bible that almost change the meaning when translated differently. I am no scholar, but I find the new CSB version easy to read without losing the agreed-upon meaning of most theologians.

I found both the diversity of the style and the choice of the text to be refreshingly challenging.

What I get to share

The exciting part of this review is that I get to share a chance for you to win one of seven copies that B&H Publishing and FrontGate Media is giving away. Merry Christmas, right?

Go HERE for your chance to win. Seven winners will be selected on December 10th.

Or don’t risk the chance and get one for yourself HERE.

I was so excited to be able to say that I can recommend this as a great version for new and seasoned believers alike.

I pray you receive a renewed passion for the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ this season. This new Bible might be one of the sparks for you or someone you love (it would be an amazing addition under the tree).

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Keep my eyes high, Lord Jesus

I am still waiting.

This week a friend sold her house and last week another closed on hers.

It’s so hard. I want it to be over. I want it to be resolved. It feels like I have carried extra weight for a year.

I have obeyed and now I am waiting for God to come through on His end.

The length of my wait has caused my eyes to settle on the object of my waiting often. All of the sudden I am trying to connive God into ways he can fulfill His promise.

I am obsessing with this house or that one. I am thinking that maybe God has waited so that He can be the answer to someone else’s prayer, too. I keep trying to make sure one more thing is cleaned or organized, one more smell is right, or one more pillow is perfectly placed. I am trying to pray enough, be content enough, and be faithful enough.

The reality is that when God starts something he is going to finish it. He will finish it His way and in His plan.

The truth is that when God makes a promise, I cannot sabotage it. I am not that powerful.

But the real regret will be missing the relationship when I look at the object of my waiting longer than I look at the person of my faith.

Because when my house sells, I will still want Jesus more.

When He does His part and the object of my waiting is fulfilled, the Person of my faith will still be who I need.

A new house in a new community and closer to the things we visit on our weekly routine will be useless unless they are filled with Christ.

All the things that I want pale in comparison to the deep soul desire I have for Jesus. It won’t change. It won’t go away. I will always be His and always want Him.

SO I pray that I will be able to keep raising my eyes from the things to the person. I pray that Jesus will be all that I need and want.

In the end, I won’t want his stuff without his presence anyway.

Keep my eyes high, Lord Jesus.

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I could have been Joe Holcombe and I wouldn’t change it

Please understand that I will never pretend to know what the families of the Texas shooting are going through this week.

But I could have been Joe Holcombe.

He lost eight family members to senseless violence.

I don’t make that comparison lightly.

I have stood at a triple funeral of family members as the result of violence. I have heard the trite platitudes as if ANYTHING someone could say would patch the hole gaping in my heart.

But I have to say this.

My family is also the church. If circumstances were different and we lived in a tiny town together, we would have all been in church together last Sunday morning. In actuality, we were still gathered in churches across my city and our nation.

But if we all lived in a tiny Texas town, we would have all been in our spots on the pew or covered chair.

We wouldn’t be there out of obligation; we would be there out of freedom. Because JESUS radically changed us, we would have no other priority than spending a morning worshipping him.

Because in my family Jesus saves:
He saved the racist.
He saved the manipulator.
He saved the divorced.
He saved the prisoner.
He saved the druggie.
He saved the self-righteous.
He saved the bitter.
He saved the liar.
He saved the abused.
He saved the cultist.
He saved the rebel.
He saved the drinker.
He saved the burden carrier.
He saved the harsh father.
He saved the cheated.
He saved the helpless, hopeless, and heartless.

He has saved nearly every one of my family members.

And we didn’t do it to join a church, we did it to be made new.

I have sat at more than one funeral and texted some of the sinners on that list and thanked them for following Jesus.

It is their faith in Jesus that gives me hope. Our trust is in the one who has the power to lacerate death back. It is the only hope we have when we face the unimaginable.

I think this is a touch of what Paul was saying in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 when He said we would grieve differently.

NOW, hear me clearly. Paul does not say we will not grieve. He says we’ll grieve WITH HOPE.

In fact, I would argue that a life fully lived for Jesus will have accomplished its purpose and can and should leave a hole.

I would cry maybe all of the rest of my days if I was truly in the shoes of Joe Holcombe. But I can tell you from experience that I have stood beside the caskets of those who have left me with hope, and I have stood beside those that have not. I handle saying goodbye to those who leave me with hope much better.

So I can’t help but ask. Will you leave others with that hope?

I am serious when I say… MESSAGE ME or email me at christina@christinakhanagov.com. I would love to share how you can leave that hope with your friends and family. I could tell you about how Jesus makes all the sinners in my family brand new, and that he can make you new, too.

Because it could have been my family Sunday morning, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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The value of family that follows

I have often wondered what it might be like to have a mother or father who I only saw sing to the Lord during church services. I would have to wonder because that was not my experience.

One of the greatest blessings of my life has been to watch my family follow Jesus.

Simple things that most people miss or call profound, I called a Tuesday. I learned to follow Jesus from my parents and then watched them live it out before me.

I saw my Daddy and Mama praise the Lord in word or in song all week long. There was not a time, a possession, or relationship that was unavailable to the Savior.

They believed that following Jesus was about making Him Lord or boss. I didn’t see churchgoers, but Christ followers. They really thought that God was big enough to lead and worthy enough follow.

They knew that following Him would and should transform them. They taught us that taking up your cross and following Jesus would be difficult. There was no prosperity gospel at our house. They didn’t find that in their Bibles.

And the Bible. It was the word of God. They taught us the importance of reading and studying God’s word in context. (You mean your parents didn’t teach you how to use Strong’s concordance?)

I never got confused about what the church was. At a very early age, I knew that the people we met with inside the building were the church of God. We knew that going to a church building was only a sliver of what it meant to be a part of the church.

I will never forget stopping to pray for things. I will never forget hearing my parents share what they had learned from a brother or sister of Christ. I will never forget them praising the Lord through word or song.

It was bigger. God was bigger. I cannot repay those ahead of me for living truth in a way that could not be denied.

I can only pray that my children see me in the same way.

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