Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Basing My Life On The Facts Not The Feelings

Sometimes, I feel tired.

Sometimes, I feel that I’m spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m failing to meet the expectations of others.

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.

Sometimes, I feel inadequate for the tasks that lay in front of me.

Sometimes, I feel discouraged.

Sometimes, I feel depressed.


I know that God’s approval matters more than the approval of others.

I know that He equips those whom He calls.

I know that I am adequate and can do all things through Him who gives me strength, even when I’m tired.

know I am redeemed.

I know I am forgiven.

I know I am strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

know that moving forward in faith is the only right choice.

I know that I must live by what I know to be true - the unchanging truth of the Scripture.

know the One in whom I trust, and I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return.  ~ 2 Timothy 1:12 NLT

I know!

Do you?

I am sure!

Are you?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

My Response to the Orlando Shooting

Several people have asked me for my opinion or response to the Orlando Nightclub shooting.

First and foremost, my response is one of horror and outrage.  This is the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.  As Christians, we shouldn’t just pretend it didn’t happen.  We shouldn’t just ignore these people.  We should not be silent.  Silence infers that we think they got what they deserved.  God forbid that anyone claiming to represent Jesus ever think that.  No one deserves this. 

Is it possible to condemn the actions of the shooter without condoning the lifestyle of the victims?  Absolutely!

Was Jesus able to eat and celebrate with “sinners and tax collectors” without condoning their actions which broke the law?  Absolutely!  (Mark 2:15)

Jesus was able to see past actions and lifestyles that were contradictory to Scripture and see the intrinsic worth of every human life.  This mass killing is not an issue of sexual orientation.  This is not an issue of radical Islam.  This is an issue of sin and brokenness.  This is a result of evil that is running rampant in the world.  This is a loss of 50 intrinsically valuable human lives.  It doesn’t matter if the victims were LBGTQ or a group of Christian pastors. Every single life on this planet is absolutely precious.  Every life lost is a tragedy.

As a Christian, I should “mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)  I should not let political, religious, or sexual issues stop me from mourning with these families.  If I can’t do that, then there is a problem in my heart.

This is an opportunity to show the world the love of Jesus.  It’s time to lay down our condemnation and judgment towards a segment of society that we typically disagree with and mourn with them.  Let’s not be angry at them.  Let’s be angry for them.

Christians have an opportunity to show love and compassion to two groups of people who desperately need to see the Savior; the LBGTQ and Islamic communities.  It’s time to reach out a hand and care for these hurting people.  It’s what Jesus would have done.

I welcome your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How are we treating each other?

Ephesians 6:10-18 describes the armor of God.  It is intended for Christians to defend themselves against the enemy.  The enemy, Satan, is described as a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour. God did not leave us defenseless.  We have the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of His righteousness, and so on.  The only offensive weapon in the list is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Why is it that some Christians wield the sword against each other?

Some of the most vicious criticisms I have received in the last year have not come from non-believers, but from other Christians.  I am reminded that Jesus suffered the worst persecution from the “religious” people of His day.  He was more accepted by those who were not even religious.  I am feeling that today.  My non-Christian friends treat me better and encourage me more than some of my “Christian” friends.  Why is that?  Aren’t we supposed to be united in purpose?  Aren’t we to be of one hope and one faith?  Don’t we have the same goal?
Let’s stop being petty.  Let’s stop finding fault with each other over things that just don’t matter.  Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  The world is watching our behavior.  We need to be salt and light.  We need to treat each other well and take care of each other.  We need to have something they would want.   
Perhaps we need to remember what Paul taught in Philippians 2:3-4.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Let’s assume the best in each other.  Let’s build one another up.  We are in a war and we are to be fighting side by side against our adversary – not fighting each other over things that really don’t matter.
Ultimately, we all answer to our Father for how we treat each other. Every believer should remember that our Father places far more importance on our showing love than He does on our being “right” on every issue.
1 John 4:20-21 "Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
We can have disagreements.  We can have discussions.  However, there is a way to do that and it’s much different than the way most Christians do it.  We can even agree to disagree – as long as what we are disagreeing on isn’t spelled out in Scripture. (Which is almost never the case.)
Ghandi is credited with saying “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
What would the world be like if all the Christians actually treated one another with love and respect?  Wouldn’t the world take notice and think – “wow, they’re different.”

Friday, May 20, 2016


Authority is a principle that’s known to most people.  Some people appreciate it because they understand that without any authority in our lives, things would be chaos.  Yet others, detest the idea of anyone having authority over them.

Authority is seen all through Scripture.  It is an attribute of God.  It is a part of His nature. He has authority over everything and everyone.

I was reading through the book of Matthew this week and thinking this week about the authority of Jesus.  Jesus continually demonstrated His authority.  Matthew 7:28-29 comes right after Jesus has preached the Sermon on the Mount.  “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."

Jesus taught with authority.  In the culture of that day, most of the teachers quoted other people.  Jesus didn’t quote anyone. He just spoke the truth and did it with authority.

In Matthew 8 we find the story about Jesus calming the storm.  You remember the story.  The storm was raging and the disciples were afraid. Jesus was asleep and they went and woke Him up.  Jesus then rebuked the winds and the waves and it immediately got calm.  The disciples were amazed that the even the winds and the waves obeyed Him.

That chapter goes on to tell the story about Jesus driving the demons out of a man and into a herd of pigs. In this story, the demons recognized Jesus and obeyed Him.
In Matthew 9 we see Jesus healing the paralytic man.  In this story, Jesus shows His power over sickness and disease.

Then He calls Matthew to follow Him.

As I thought through these passages, I came up with these ideas.  If I really believe Jesus had authority over the wind, the waves, the demons, and sickness, how could I not follow Him?

This is not a “have to” follow Him.  This is - “WOW! God chose me to follow Him!”  This is - I “get to” follow Him.  What is there to be afraid of?  Everything is under His authority.  He created it all.  He’s in control of it all.

And He calls me to follow Him, just like He called Matthew. So what are my choices?  I have the freewill to choose to get up and follow, or to refuse and go my own way.  But I must choose.

I choose to get up and get moving and follow Jesus.  There’s more to having a relationship with Jesus than just praying a prayer.  There’s more to it than just studying His Word.  Although both of those things are important, I’m saying there’s more.  There’s obedience and action.

If you continue to read through Matthew you find that Jesus calls 12 disciples. Then in Matthew 10, He tells them that He is sending them out like sheep among wolves.  He is cautioning them about the world in which He is sending them into.  This is true today as I go out as a disciple of Jesus. The world wants to tear me apart. Sometimes it is even people in my own family that come against me. But what choice do I have – I either follow, or I turn my back on Jesus.

My decision - I simply have to follow Jesus – it’s all I want to do.  I trust Him completely. I believe everything He has promised me.

In Matthew 24, Jesus tells us that many people will turn their backs on their faith, but he that endures to the end will be saved.  It’s all going to be worth it.  It might not be easy, but the rewards will be amazing.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Soul Searching

I’ve spent the last month doing some real soul searching.  I was wrestling with God about continuing on in my current job.  I want more than anything to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.  At age 55, I am still wrestling with where is He leading me?  Am I where I am supposed to be?  I am finding that this is really a lifelong pursuit of God and seeking to stay in the center of His plan for my life.

How can I know that I am doing what I am called to do?

The first thing to consider is, am I walking with God?  Am I seeking to grow in my relationship with God? Am I spending time in the Word and in prayer?  Am I seeking to know Him and not just seeking to know about Him?  Am I taking advantage of opportunities in my church for Bible study and growth? 
Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
I need to be willing to surrender my will to God’s will.  I need to be committed to doing whatever it is that He desires for me to do.  I can’t try to manipulate God.  I can’t tell God what my plans are and just expect Him to put His stamp of approval on them.  Jesus died for me, I should be willing to live for Him.  When I surrender my will to His, He will direct my steps.
Romans 12:1-2  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
I need to be willing to be obedient to what I already know to be God’s will.  God reveals a lot of what His plan for our lives is through His Word.  Do I know His Word?  Am I living obediently to all I know? If I don’t obey what I already know to be true, why would He want to reveal any more of His plan for my life?  Obedience is a key beginning step.
Another key step is to seek the input of godly advisors in my life.  I need to seek out men and women who I know have a close walk with the Lord.  People I know will give me sound Biblical and godly advice.  I am trying to surround myself with five people who are living in close obedience to the Lord.  Then when they give me advice, I need to listen! 
Proverbs 11:14  “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.”
I have been created to fulfill a specific role in this world. (And not just me - you were, too.) There is no one else who can achieve completely what God has created me to do. God has gifted me to perform some specific ministry/ good works which I alone was created to do. 
Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I need to pay attention to how God has gifted me.  His plan for me will most likely be related to the gifts He has already given me. 
1 Peter 4:10  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

I need to be quiet and listen to God’s Spirit.  I need to pray and I need to lay my heart out before the Lord, but then I simply need to shut up and listen.  I need to pay attention to what God might be saying to me.  I need to ask the Lord some key questions and then be still.

•What is my next step in my job?
•What is my next step in my ministry?
•What is my next step for my marriage?
•What is my next step for my education?
•What is my next step for my finances?
I need to spend time meditating on these kinds of questions.  I need to listen and allow God to speak to me.  Then I need to write down what He speaks to my heart - I can’t trust my memory!  What an amazing experience as His Spirit guides my thoughts and words.  I long for those times when He speaks to me like that!
John 10:27  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
I need to listen to the Spirit, but I also need to listen to my heart. 
Psalm 37:4-5 "Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
As I am walking with the Lord, He will actually allow me to do things that I love to do.  When I am close to Him, He shapes my desires so that I desire the things that He has already called me to do. 
For example, I never knew that I liked to speak to groups of people about my faith.  As I sought Him, He opened the doors for me to speak at a women’s retreat.  I never knew I could have that much fun!  Then pretty soon I got another opportunity and then another and then another.  His plan is amazing and exciting!  I have the most fun in life when I am doing His will.  All that is because He is changing me and my heart to want to do the things for which He created me.
God often shows His plan for my life by lining up circumstances in obvious ways. And, He also shows me what is not His will for me in the same way.  He’s a master of opening and closing doors.  This is not to say that every open door is definitely God’s plan for me, but it does help give me some basic direction.
Does all of this mean it is easy to discern God’s will for me?  Not always.  But it does give me somewhere to start?  These principles help guide me in my pursuit to do and to be exactly what He wants me to do and to be.  As I seek Him with my whole heart, I will find Him.
More information on my ministry at carolhorner.com

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A fresh look at the garden

Easter was different for me this year.  I know it was a couple of weeks ago, but I am still thinking through some things I was studying that week.  Really thinking through what my sin cost Jesus.

I read through the account of the events preceding the crucifixion and this year my attention was caught on the garden.  Specifically from Mark 14. 

In Mark 14:34 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Jesus is so sad, upset, etc. that he felt like He was going to die.  Yes, He knows He is going to die on the cross.  But, right here, in the garden, at that moment, He felt so much agony that He felt like He was dying. 

It goes on in verse 35 and tells us that He fell to the ground.  He collapsed under the weight of this burden and there He prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 

Jesus was a real human person. He was saying here that His soul is killing Him and then He took a couple of steps and fell on His face and asked His Father to take this away from Him.

In verse 36 He says, "Daddy, all things are possible for You, take this cup from me."  He's saying "I know You can do anything.  Can't you find another way to do this?"  Jesus was so upset that He was sweating great drops of blood (Luke 22:44)  The gospels tell us that Jesus made this request of His Father three times.

I’m imagining my own child saying, "Mom, I feel like I’m dying right now. Come on.  You can do anything. Don’t make me go through with this. Take this away from me."  I’m picturing her screaming out to me three times to help her, to not make her go through with this.  What would that have done to my heart?

But Jesus also says, not My will, but Yours be done.

So what was God’s will?  Isaiah 53:10 says, “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him.”  (Isaiah 53 is a prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.)

Jesus is begging God and says "not My will but Yours be done."  And God the Father looks down on His Son and says, "it is My will to crush You. You are going to be that guilt offering." 

God sees Jesus crying out for Him. He sees Him sweating great drops of blood. He sees Him in agony.  He hears Him begging for another way. But it is God’s will to crush Him, so that He can save me (and you).  God looked at us and loved us so much, He crushed His own Son.  He allowed Him to beaten and crucified for me. 

And Jesus willing went through with the plan. The plan that had been in place since the creation of the world. 

So, how can my response be anything other than praise?  How can I want anything or anyone else?  

Everything is about the cross.... my salvation, my joy, my rest, my peace, my security.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What’s my legacy going to be?

I just finished taking a graduate course in evangelism.  As a part of the course, I was challenged to write a "Vision Paper".  What are my plans for carrying out the Great Commission?  How am I going to be obedient to God’s command to reach others with the gospel?  How am I going to live my life?  As I thought about this, I thought about the idea of "what is my legacy going to be?"  And that led me to thinking about Abraham.
There was only one person in Scripture that God referred to as his “friend.”  And that was Abraham.  (James 2:23)  Abraham was from the Ur of the Chaldeans.  He loved God completely.  He obeyed Him with questioning Him.  I sometimes have hard time relating to Abraham because his life of complete faith in God is so amazing.
However, if we take a closer look into the life of Abraham, we find that he was not perfect. But, he persevered with God and he became a godly man.  Genesis 15:6 says that he “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
When Abraham was 75 years old, God told him to leave his family, his homeland, his livelihood, and move to a new land.  This required a lot of faith, but Abraham didn’t waiver.  (Would I be able to do the same?)

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.”  (You can read the whole story in Genesis 12)

So what did he do?  He left his family and went on his journey. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8).  He trusted God and he went.
He made some mistakes along the way. The end of Genesis 12 tells us about how Abram got into trouble because he lied and said Sarai was his sister instead of his wife.  This is an example of Abram’s fearing man instead of trusting God.
Then there was time Abraham and his nephew, Lot, split up.  Abraham told Lot to choose which piece of land he wanted and in doing that Abraham gave up his rights to the land God had promised him. Peace was more important to Abram than being right.  (Ouch – can God say that about me?) 
Next we find Abram wanting to help God fulfill His promise.  God said he would be the father of many nations, but Sarai was barren and they were old.  In their impatience to wait on God, they made a horrible mistake.  Abram slept with Hagar, Sarai’s handmaid, and she bore him a son, Ishmael.  This act of disobedience still plagues the world today.
Sometimes I make mistakes similar to Abram.  And, like Abram, I have to reap what I sow.  This doesn’t mean God is finished with me.  It only means that sin has consequences, and even though God forgives the sin, I have to live with the consequences of my actions.
God, in His own time, fulfilled His promise to Abram and Sarai.  Abram was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Sarai was 90 years old.  When it seemed impossible, God stepped in and did the supernatural.  It’s the way He often works.  God gets all the glory because there’s no doubt it was God at work. 
Then, after that long wait to get Isaac, God tells Abram to offer him up as a sacrifice.  Try to imagine that.  You’ve waited for what seems like forever for God to fulfill a promise to you and now He’s asking you to give it up. Abram obeyed God.  Hebrews 11:17-19 tells us that Abram believed God could raise him from the dead.
Just as Abram was about to plunge the knife into his son, God stopped him.  God said, “Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son” (Genesis 22:12).  It is interesting to note that God says, “Now I know”.  I was not until Abram was willing to give up his only son, that God knew that he would be completely obedient to the end. 
What about me?  What’s God asked me to give up?  Have I been obedient?  Did God call me to something?  Did I obey? Did I walk away from my calling, or stand firm for Jesus?
Abraham’s legacy – he believed God!  What’s my legacy going to be?  What’s my story going to look like when my life is over?  Did Abraham make mistakes?  Yes.  What is he known and remembered for?  His faith.