by Candee Rinde • July 5, 2020
At 19, a year into college, I felt empty inside. I had no reason to live. I was not suicidal, just very empty. I was invited to a college/careers water ski trip with a church, and I went. The people there had that “thing” that I was missing. I didn’t know what it was or understand it, but I recognized that I was empty and they were filled. So I started going to church with them. As I heard the Bible taught to me, I knew it was true as if it had been true all along and I just never knew it. And all these people around me at church, they had this relationship with God that I didn’t have. But I wanted it. I knew that was the answer—that “thing” that I was missing. So I kept going to church, learning, seeking—I was hungry for God, and as I searched for Him more He filled me with more of Him. I found purpose, grace, contentment, and confidence from the relationship I found with God.
We’re never going to seek God if we’re not hungry. If we’re not empty. If we’re already full—full of ourself, full of the trappings of this life—we’ll never seek God above ourself if we feel full and content.
But let me implore you, reason with you a bit, that if you are full of yourself, building your own kingdom, you are not happy, and you’re full of fears, uncertainties, and anxieties.
QUOTES from “The Unshakeable Kingdom and The Unchanging Person” by E. Stanley Jones:
“Every self-centered person is an unhappy person—no exception. Center yourself on yourself and you won’t like yourself and nobody else will like you. …… They do as they like, and then they don’t like what they do. They have their way, and then they don’t like their way. They express themselves, and then they don’t like the selves they are expressing. Why? Because we were never intended to be the center of the universe—to be God. If you try to be God, organize life around yourself as God, you run against the grain of the universe. The universe won’t back your being God. So you are frustrated. You are made to belong—to belong to the Kingdom. Seek that first and all these will be added to you; seek yourself first and everything, including yourself, will be subtracted from you.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:25- Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
“And now you can love yourself because you love something (the Kingdom) and someone (Christ) more than yourself. You in your own hands is a problem and a pain; you in the hands of Christ is a possibility and a power.”
[example of law makers breaking their own laws]
"But the God who not only obeys His own laws, but who would go the second mile and take on Himself the consequences of disobedience of those who break the laws and would bear them in His own body on a tree—that God can have my heart without reservation and without qualification. The self-giving was good for God—it is also good for us.”
“Then, here is another side effect: you will be fit for His acceptance. What produced acceptance? Not joining the order, not vows, not different dress, not renunciation of this or that, not believing in Jesus, but just one thing: self-surrender. You don’t have to be good before you are accepted—you have to be His.”
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
It takes some work on our parts to sacrifice our selves for God. To present our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls as a living sacrifice. We have to put forth the effort. Jesus said “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you search with all your heart.” We have to seek Him whole-heartedly, not half-heartedly. Not an hour on Sundays. Search for Him with all your heart. Being unwilling to make much sacrifice to God is saying “I really love myself more.” And what happens when we run out of time?
Isaiah 55:6-7- 6Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their way, and sinners their thoughts; Let them turn to the Lord to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.
Don’t wait until it’s too late! He will come like a thief in the night. You don’t know what hour your life will be demanded of you. You’re not promised tomorrow. Then what will you say to God when you’re standing before Him, and you’ve spent your life living for yourself.
Do you think anything you’re holding onto in this life will last? Do you think you can keep it? You are going to die—and it doesn’t matter how or when, that’s irrelevant, you’re going to die--and everything you have here will all be lost. Every bit of it. But spend everything He gives you for Him, and you will save it. If it’s not His, it will be wasted.
Matthew 6:19-21- 19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus said “The Kingdom of God is like a treasure in a field, and when a man found it, he went and sold everything he had and bought the field in order to get the treasure.” We must seek God like He is the ultimate treasure, because He is! We must seek after Him like our tanks are on empty and He has the only fuel in town!
No one, certainly not God, expects us to have magnificent faith over night. But we will never have any faith if we do not seek after Him like He holds the keys to life and death, and our very lives are hanging in the balance. And without faith it is impossible to please God. And He doesn’t want us to take up this little task, or give up this little thing. He wants YOU. All of you. And He says you’ll only find me when you search with all your heart. If you don’t really want me, if you’re content with your life, I’ll leave you to it. But if you want me, you won’t let anything hold you back from finding me. And He wants you to find Him!
When I was young my family went to Yosemite often—a few times a year. It’s my favorite place in the world. One night I was lying in my sleeping bag in Yosemite, and praising God for what an amazing place—with all the huge granite cliffs and rock features, waterfalls everywhere, giant sequoia’s you can drive a car through, the Merced River running through it all, and on and on—what an amazing place that God created for me to enjoy. And amidst my praising Him He broke into my thoughts with the words of a song, “And then in the silence He whispers, my child I created you too. And your my most precious creation. I even gave My Son for you.” It hit my heart like a ton of bricks! Here I am loving on God, and He loved on me right back! What kind of love is this! How great of love God has for us! And I want to point out, that He created YOU TOO! And you’re His most precious creation, He even gave His Son for YOU!
And would you hold anything back from the God who took your punishment for breaking His law so He could be with you? And He’s pleading with you, there’s nothing here that’s worth holding onto; nothing that will fill you. And it’s all going to be destroyed anyway. Let it go He says, and follow Me, and I will give you abundant life.
It upsets us when bad things happen because subconsciously we know that the God who made all the laws of the universe allows His laws to be broken. But what we fail to realize is that we are also breaking His laws—out of compliance with His laws by our very nature. And He is patient to wait, to bear with us, paying the penalty for His broken laws, so that we could be saved.
by Candee Rinde • June 28, 2020
This morning I want to talk about faith and fear.
Hebrews 11:32-40- How many gave their life to Christ and hadn’t ever heard of Jesus yet. Jesus hadn’t come yet. The Holy Spirit hadn’t come yet. They barely had the Torah. Yet they believed in God and gave their life for Him.
Hebrews 11:6- Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
There is no such thing as an armchair Christian. Jesus said, “If you want to be my disciple, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” Jesus told the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:21 to go and sell all his possessions, then he would have treasures in Heaven, and then he should follow Him. The rich man went away sad because he had so much to lose. He gave up the treasures in Heaven to keep his treasures on earth. There’s no halfway. Jesus wants it all. He wants it all because he wants us to trade our peanuts for His Palace. And if we’re holding onto our peanuts for dear life, then we simply don’t believe. We don’t believe that God is who He says He is. We don’t believe that the Bible is absolutely true. If we did, we’d stake our life on it.
If we’ve given our life to God, what else is there left to fear? If we’re earnestly seeking God, if we’ve traded our own life for His life, would we not know with conviction when it’s time to rise up and take a stand and when it’s time to be still, wait, and be quiet? Why then do we live so much in fear? Why do all the different voices from the world throw us into confusion and discouragement? Why can’t we sort them out? Perhaps we don’t really believe that God is who He says He is—we don’t really believe the Bible. Perhaps we just are not seeking Him. We accepted His plan of salvation but want to give nothing in return. Do we think that will save us? When Jesus clearly expects us to give back to the measure that He gave us? Self-preservation is unbecoming of a Christian when Jesus clearly says to follow Him to the cross.
If we have an inkling what the Bible says about end times, and we look around at the state of the world, and we have enough fortitude to be honest, we know we’re close. Very close. Now is the time to get ready. Not to be preppers, but ready in our hearts and minds. Resolved deep down that we will, like Daniel, rather be thrown into the fiery furnace or the lion’s den than to worship anything or anyone but our resurrected Savior. Because the times are upon us, and if we’re not ready in our hearts ahead of time, our faith may falter when they start threatening us with the guillotine. And if we’re truly ready for the guillotine, what else is there to fear? Everything else is comparatively trivial. The Bible says over and over Do not fear—you were not given a spirit of fear or timidity—it is a command. We’re afraid because we do not believe or we’re not seeking Him. We’re busy building our own kingdom and not the Kingdom of God. We simply must trade one for the other. We cannot have both.
Are you financially set and comfortable? Great. Enjoy it because God gave it to you. But don’t treasure it. Be ready to lose it and give it all up for Him should He demand it. It’s worth nothing more than today’s temporary comfort, and it compares not to the glorious riches of knowing Christ. Are you poor and struggling? Great! Praise God if it drives you closer to Him. For your treasure is in Him anyway, and now you have nothing to lose. You are free to give all to follow Him. John 17:3 says “Now this is eternal life, that they may know the One true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” Any life outside of this is not life. It is merely a facade, a precursor to death. Stop living for this life and start living for the next. As we seek Him more and more we’ll start to see our fear melt away more and more and in its place, faith, conviction, and resolve. We’ll start to take on more and more of the character of Jesus and more and more of our old nature will die. Then others will see us as a Christian and note that we’re different. That difference is what makes us salt and light, and attracts others to want to know Him too. And if there are those who will persecute us for those differences, let them! We will stand and be persecuted. For that is the example Jesus gave us. He didn’t fight back. To the religious establishment that deceived and cheated His people, He spoke with harsh rebuke. But to the world, He stayed under their radar, preaching the good news until the appointed time, and then He said “Come and get me. I die for you.” We must follow Christ’s example—for He calls us to do so. “If you want to be My disciple, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me.” “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.” Matthew 16:25 There’s no in-betweens—no half-ways; and no room for timidity when you’re headed for a cross. Once you’ve resolved to give everything for Christ, fear has no room to exist. You live for God, come hell or high water. And like Daniel said when he faced the fiery furnace, when we face trials in our life, however big or small, we too will say “My God can absolutely deliver me from whatever it is I’m facing. But even if He doesn’t, I will still serve only Him.” And that kind of faith drives out fear. 1 John 4:18 says “Perfect love casts out fear.” God is perfect love. And when we put our whole faith in God’s perfect love, our fear will be cast aside. We will walk through our life boldly, with strength and conviction that our life and well-being are perfectly safe in the hand of a perfect, loving Father, who created us and is working all things for our good—and our end is eternal life with Him, not whatever trial may come our way as we walk with Him along this temporary, dusty road.
If you’re sitting here today and you haven’t really given your life to Christ, if you’re living in fear, you need to ask yourself: What do I really believe? Where is my treasure, really? Who have I been living for? Do I really believe that God loves me, and died for me? Do I really believe that I’ve been saved from my sin? Do I really believe what the Bible says? If so then live like it! Prove it! Because it may not be long before what we really believe is actually put to the test. And we will stand before God one day and give an account of our life. Do you believe that? If you do—if you really do—it will change the way you live. If you believe in Jesus, it will change your life. Jesus changed my life! How has He changed yours
March 31, 2020 • by Candee Rinde
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
Think about this. God doesn't want our sacrifices so much as our loyalty and for us to know HIM. He is looking for a relationship with us! The thing He wants more than anything is just to be in relationship with YOU! The ultimate pursuit in life, according to God, is to be in a relationship with your Creator. He just wants you to know Him and love Him--because HE loves YOU. That is amazing.
March 15, 2020 • by, Candee Rinde
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”
— Acts 16:25 (I would encourage you to read the whole passage)
This is faith. For although they had been beaten and thrown into prison, they were weakened in their flesh and there seemed no way out, the disciples trusted God in their circumstances enough that they kept praying and praised Him and sang songs, knowing that despite what seemed like setbacks to human eyes, God was still at work in and around them. Their actions demonstrated an attitude that said “Never mind the circumstances. God is at work and we are thankful.”
Whether it's this pandemic we're facing, or some other trial in our lives, we can always look for God's hand, since He says He "works all things to the greater good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose" and also that He "knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (Romans 8:28 & Jeremiah 29:11)
I pray that whatever you're facing, you'll look for God amid the storm, for it's in the storm that He reveals Himself to you. He assures us that we will "seek Him and we will find Him when we search with all our heart." (Jeremiah 29:13) Will you trust that He's there with you in the storm? He is waiting for you to find Him.
January 27, 2020 • by Candee Rinde
God’s goodness is not a prize to be won or something to earn….it’s who He is. He IS good. Like water is wet. Remember that if you can’t approach God it’s because of YOU. Not because of Him. We are separated from Him because He is good and we are not. Good and evil cannot co-exist. The One will vanquish the other. What happens when the darkness meets the light? The light dispels the darkness. The same thing would happen if we met God in our sin nature. His light would destroy us, for we are full of darkness.
I was looking up at the night sky the other night and asking myself, “What is space?” It dawned on me that “space” is just that; it’s the space that God put between Himself and us so that He would not destroy us in our sin, to protect us from Himself. That’s why it’s “space,”—it’s empty; it’s a vacuum. And it’s infinite. We cannot cross it, for to do so would be to reach God, which would destroy us because we are in sin. But God is light. I mean He IS light. So when He separates Himself from us, that leaves us in total darkness. So He placed lights in the space so we can see, and can navigate the earth by them.
So when Adam and Eve sinned, why did He not just shrug His shoulders and let His light vanquish them in their sin? Because God is good!
Romans 5:8- But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!
THAT is who God is! He is so loving and gracious that He died to take the punishment for our sin so that we would not have to be separated from Him forever. To be gracious and merciful, He put a space between Him and us to protect us from being destroyed by Him, then came and joined us as a man and took our punishment so that by faith we could join Him once again in Heaven. When His plan is complete, He’ll destroy this sin-laden earth and make a new one and all His redeemed will live there in peace with Him for eternity. What a good, good GOD!! And what then, if the all-powerful God went to all this trouble on our behalf, could possibly separate us from the great and mighty God who is Love? Romans 8:38-39 We mourn that we’re sinners and rejoice and marvel that we’re saved! Oh how we would rest if we carried this understanding with us everywhere we went, all day long.
1 Chronicles 16:34- Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.
January 7, 2020 • by Candee Rinde
Why “So Long Self?” I got the inspiration from Mercy Me’s song of the same name. It’s the simple reality of a life walking with Jesus. In Matthew 16:24, “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me’.” And, well, pretty much every lesson we glean from the Bible directs us to put aside ourselves for Christ. Often it tells us to put others before ourselves, but even the promises of God, which are there to encourage us and lift us up and fill us with joy, require us to put aside all of our doubt, shame, contempt, and the temptation to focus on all that’s wrong. Even when Jesus tells us in Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness,” we have to put aside our self-loathing (there’s that ugly “self” again), and resist the temptation to focus on all our failures, weaknesses, and our undeserving nature, and put our focus on Him and His Word, which promises that He loves us with unfailing kindness and everlasting love. We have to determine to put aside our own ideas of how we think things are or ought to be, and trust in His Word instead of our own way. The temptation to focus on ourself is everywhere in life, and the command to put ourself aside is everywhere in the Bible. It’s not until we shift our focus from ourself to the Word of God that self-centeredness begins to wane. It’s an ongoing struggle and presents an ever-present conflict. So as we go through this journey of life, you might just notice that your self often rears its ugly head too. (I’m pretty sure it’s not just me! haha!)