I love my grandsons and keep them close to my heart. Just as I love my husband, and children, their spouses and all my extended family and friends. As a child I dearly loved my parents in spite of their flaws, as I hope my children love me. But the kind of love Christ offers through the cross is a kind of love no one else can give. I can fill my home with lovely sayings, adorn my walls with pictures of Bible stories, much as I do pictures of what I love, and always keep him front and center of my thoughts by referencing his word. These are all things I do for my children and grandchildren. I have never been a big picture hanger. Just ask my bewildered children. But I do love albums of rememberence. I still have some of Dakota's messages to me hanging about the house. And as Ryder grows, I hang his little hand prints beside Dakotas, his watercolor scribbles on the fridge and there will be a box of things I will save, just as with Dakota. I update all the family phone numbers. All of these bring memories of days when we laughed and loved and shared wonderful times. I have what was my hope chest full of my children's childhood memories. Yet all of these things are simply a head knowlege that our love is real. I feel it in my heart and I can even empathize with their pain. I can pray fervently for them. And in our most intimate moments of sharing the scary things in life, wanting to love their pain away will never come close to the love that Jesus gave and gives.
The major reason is that Jesus didn't offer fuzzy warm feelings. He offered himself. And then he gave me his Spirit to not only make sweet memories of him, or mentally challenge me to love him in return. HE GAVE HIMSELF SO THAT HIS SPIRIT COULD INDWELL ME. His love was an action to become one with me. A union of myself and God. Dare I say so. Yes! I dare. A HOLY UNION. That cannot happen with any other kind of love. There is a type of it enacted in the marriage union. But it is a type only, because even the best marriage is unable to unite two spirits in more than a figurative sense. The strongest love between any two beings is never as strong as the one that God gives on a genuinely spiritual level. A dimension that we enter only by his power and because of the cross. It is one area that science cannot peirce on any level.
The actual union of the spirit with Mary, Christ's mother, that produced the Christ child by miracle, is a picture type of what Jesus was born to be for us. A means by which we might all be one with God.
...the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:17
I fear that many individuals who reject Christ, have never understood the level to which God elevates us, by crossing the gap between God's dimension and the human dimensions of body, soul, and mind. We sometimes don't give God enough Glory for being willing to come literally into our hearts, into our being and unite with our spiritual soul that never dies. When I asked Christ to take my sins and sinful nature and deal with it according to his own directives, I also asked him to "come into my heart." In the years since, I have discovered what that oneness provides. In so many ways he became everything I need to survive in this world and in HIS. When I say I hear his still small voice, I am not a quackazoid crazy case hearing voices. I am only recognizing his whisper of love from within.
He never sleeps, never gives up, never leaves or forsakes, never lets his anger bring us harm, never lacks the power and wisdom to resolve our issues. He is never far away, instead is as close as our heart beat and then some. He IS and always will be one with our soul if we just ask him.
I am so glad the cross is not just a cause to feel sad and mushy because someone died for me. It is a cause for rejoicing, because he overcame even death because of his resurrection. Yet God told us not to focus on the Death part of it, but on the LIFE part of it. So as Easter rolls around each year, I make an extra effort to go beyond just being thankful for my salvation, and the power of the cross over sin (which is a very big deal,) and try to remember why he did it. Partnership with God.
I have looked in the mirror several times lately, and imagined that I could look into my soul. And beyond that to the spiritual part of me that is a part of infinite time, and see my partner there. I speak to HIM and thank HIM, for being one with me on the journey. I focus on the fact that He is not OUT THERE, but in here, IN ME.
I praise you for knowing, dear Jesus, what my greatest need would be. For wanting me to be one with your Spirit, united in more than emotion, but a kind of love that endures beyond emotion, and memory. When my body fails, there will still be US. You and I can walk through the door into the vast realm of glory. But until then, I praise you for the new life on earth that your death and resurrection gives. The gifts that pass understanding and the miracle of being one with you. In your precious name, and for your Glory, AMEN
One of my greatest fears in life has always been the fear of losing one of my children. When they were tiny, even before they were born, I looked at that fear and tried to think how I would handle it. I thought that, it would be hard to handle, but I would think of them being in the presense of Jesus and that would carry me through. But when my daughter, came face to face with that reality, 9 years ago, and her full term baby daughter, was still born after having died sometime late Christmas day, I hadn't gone through that mental process in years. I was as unprepared for our Little Butterfly's death as was my daughter. It took between 3 and 4 years before the sting of it began to fade, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not see that precious little face in the arms of Jesus.
I am the person who stays at the graveside until after the sod is back in place. I have to see it through or there is a blank space in my psyche that makes me think of a person as if they hadn't died. No one would let me stay at my Grandmother's grave past the prayer, and until my husband took me back by her grave, and allowed me to stay for a while, I was always speaking of her as if she were alive. Staying at the grave is one of the ways I cope with death. One of the ways I have found to cope with my granddaughter's death has been to make the flower arrangements for her grave. At Christmas, since her birthday follows so quickly, I have always liked to include a doll of some sort, because I always gave my daughter a Christmas doll. Every year possible, the one thing she got, different from the boys, was her doll. We had planned to pass those dolls on to my granddaughter. So the first year, I couldn't let it pass without a tiny dollar store bisque doll with movable arms and legs was placed in her flowers. This progressed into making a Christmas tree which in some way portrayed something she might have enjoyed, at the age she would have been had she lived. Now before you think, that I'm clinging to the past, or not accepting her death, let me assure you the Lord gave me full healing in those areas. Our Christmas tree is strictly in her memory, with joy. It is very hard, when people ask how many grand-children I have, to not include her.
This Halloween, the little girls in our neighborhood who would have been Brynley's friends had she lived, were dressed in the cutest costumes. I recently decorated my kitchen with black accent items trimmed in deep pink, with huge white polka dots. I just love it. It's probably the only perky thing I have ever had in my life, but just walking in the room with it perks me up. It makes me smile. So when these little girls all were dressed as cute little vampires in black and pink attire, with dots, and stripes and hearts and hot pink stripes in their hair, I just fell in love. I took a picture with them all piled on my front lawn amid my pumpkins and I could see Brynley in their midst. It stirred in me a new wave of missing her, but it also gave me an idea for her Christmas tree. I knew I would not have much to spend on it, so I took a clue from their tutus and decided to dress her tree with three layers of tutu tulle, in hot pink!
I told my daughter I had an idea for her tree, and she went along, and I asked her to find the doll things. Maybe a tiny purse, or whatever to go along with the Princess Crown and Scepter I bought. I sent her texts and pics of the colors of tulle and we agreed on the pink with an occasional streak of black, which had glittered pink curls all over it. I got a package that had black and pink stretchy head bands and grouped them 3 at once to make bows. I found a set of solar powered lights. I made the tutus of the hot pink and black tulle and tied them on. I found ornaments of the same black and pink..etc. Until the tree was full of the cute things we thought she might have loved at this age. I never had so much fun decorating a tree. I sent my daughter on a hunt for two items I hadn't found. The doll or doll items and a purse. As I worked, I began to think of how much more significant this tree was becoming than just a cute new idea. It was beginning to be as meaningful as if she were alive.
As we all know, the horrible slaughter of little children at school recently has opened discussion of how much is too much to tell children about what happened, of death and life and how old one needs to be, to begin to try to understand death. I have watched parents sheilding their children from the news. Several are saying that they aren't being honest with the children about the death of their teachers, and of thier other friends..And I want to SCREAM! How do these parents think the children will feel when they learn about it later at school. They will feel betrayal by their parents. It will double their insecurities. Not by their own choice they know about death now. These kids need to conquer their fears, not hide from them.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:15
All of us sort through fear, and find ways to lessen the power it has in our lives in different ways. Some, like my daughter, love an occasional really scarey movie, or to go through a haunted mansion at Halloween. Not me. My son and I have to admit fleeing to the bathrooms where we physically responded to the fear a scarey Muppet Movie caused! I hate being scared by that stuff. I am all too aware of the doors that can be opened for Satan and his minions to walk through to play around with most scarey things. But on the other hand, when I was young, I became a real lover of Edgar Allen Poe's books and stories. And I dearly love walking through cemeteries. However we deal with our fears, it is a natural process, and at some point we have to come to grips with the reality of good vs evil. Sin and death, and how to have victory over it or succomb to it. And for children, it is often about the age Brynley would have been that the fullness of awareness of these things has developed to a level that children are choosing how they will face the scarey things in life. We don't give them enough credit.
A common theme these days for children and adults is the vampire sagas. I personally don't find it entertaining, but in the toy world, it is one means children have of gaining a little power over a scarey world and unseen things. Kids need things they can handle and manipulate, to play out the scenarios of what causes them fear in order to face those fears. And as long as the play is kept within that context, it is not only fun, it is healthy to imagine dealing with evil and winning the battle. For the children who died at school, they faced the evil and lost.. so do you become over-protective to protect the living? It's like taking them back to face the gunman. It is a step as far in the wrong direction to suddenly begin to lock them away from reality. Kids can face death if they know a loving God will recieve them on the other side. I feel so sad for people who don't have that as part of their reality.
My daughter called and said, "Mom, I don't know if you will like the doll I bought this year." I responded that I sent her looking because it was her choice. "But she's a Monster High Doll." she said, and she's dressed in black and pink. And the purse is a skull. I smiled as I thought of my grandson at the age of nine and his sudden love of anything with skulls. I thought of the little girls giggling on my lawn and telling me of the man at one house who stood in the shadows to scare them and I smiled. For a moment, it was as if Brynley giggled in my kitchen, and I said I was sure it would be perfect. All I knew was the girls were wearing tutus, they were dressed in black and hot pink and they had hearts painted on their faces and wore black and pink wigs. If Bryn had been there, she would have been in the middle of it. And that is what I wanted on her toy tree. When my daughter walked in with the doll, it was dressed in a tutu, its clothes were black and pink and polka dots, and had black hair with pink stripes. Of course, it had a heart painted on her cheek. I almost cried. I don't like thinking about Brynley coming to an age to have to deal with fear and begin to understand death, but I love knowing we would have been there to help her have fun while she learned. And even in the midst of tragedy we would love her through it. And I would have to trust God for her healing, just as I had to trust him with mine.
I know that her dying has helped me grow through a whole new dimension of understanding, of how God can help us over come the fear of death. Jesus had an attitude that death of the body is a part of life, and life with him has no death. He understood how we weep in the hours of death, but he called us to joy, because it is a release from it's bondage, to gain victory over the fear. One of my favorite TV Characters is Abbey Shutto (sp?) on NCIS. She sort of personifies a person who dresses in Goth because she is really into the reality of death. She sleeps in a coffin, dresses in black, etc, but she is the smiling, fun loving, hugger of the characters. She copes with her job by embracing elements of it that she can control and have a little fun with it. She balances the intensity of knowing so much about what causes people to die, with a great big love of people. I think she is sort of an embodiment of how Jesus wanted us to look on death. It's just a stage in the body's progression toward living in God's world, that frees the soul and spirit to more closely embrace God's realm. No amount of tightening the walls of protection will hide us from the power of death, if our bodies are damaged to that point. Even kids must be helped to understand this. But they also need to know that there is so much more to them and to life than their bodies. They need to know that the soul and spirit live on.
I genuinely had fun making this silly Christmas tree, and though almost no one who views it will see how it has anything to do with Christmas, I will know that it has everything to do with Christmas. From the moment the Baby Jesus was born, it was so he might die, and take all that scarey stuff and claim victory over it. And he said because he carried out his life's destiny, I can have joy and rejoicing, and freedom from the bondage of the fear of death.
Dearest Lord Jesus, Thank you that the time has come that I can miss Bryn and be sad, but I can love her where she is...in heaven with you. Although we don't understand how she appears in Heaven, we like to think of her as growing up if she were with us. I would never pull her back here, but I love imagining what she might have loved of life. I celebrate her life, and rejoice in her creation. I am thankful that I can count her one of my sweet grandkids. And I thank you for every assurance you give us that she is in your tender care. Help those who hurt from the tragic loss of their child find peace today to cope. Help them be able to laugh, be filled with joy in due time. Grant them courage until then, and break the intensity of their pain, with grace and blessing directly from your own hand. Give them the little symbol that links their child and your love. The reciever will understand. In Jesus Name, AMEN
I am thankful this Thanksgiving season for a God who has proved himself to me a million times. In the many years I have believed there was a God, I have stood back and watched him make himself known in ways that I could not have imagined, much less created the circumstances, even with the most elaborate ruse. I have believed, by faith only, many times, expecting his ability to save and keep me would be all I need to carry me through. And though there have been times I struggled to believe that my darkest hours would ever see a glimmer of light, I never doubted that God is real - based on the times he revealed himself in ways I cannot deny.
It is for that reason, that the phrophetic scriptures are very special to me. Prophecy is not the side show that predicting the future is sometimes delegated to. It is God giving glimpses to the ancients of what he knew would happen, and preserving in sacred books, those old verses, so that we may look back and see that the life of Christ occurred exactly as it was told. It was and is a gift to help our unbeleif. But more than that, when Prophecy concerned Christ, it was given so we might know he was the correct person sent as Christ our Savoir.
Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, a series of prophetic verses that we all might look back on and say, that is what happened to our savoir, or that describes Jesus exactly. What is more, Christ knew those verses. He knew they were predicting his future. His tears in Gethsemane Garden when he cried until he bled were real. When he asked God to let the cup pass from him, it was the human that he was, feeling real fear, for what was about to come to him. He had to overcome that alone, for when he asked the disciples to pray with him, they fell asleep. Part of the reason he didn't speak much during his trial and crucifixion, is so that it could not be said that he infuenced what was happening to cause it to match the propecies. It had to happen as it was written.
Read Psalm 22 in its entirety first chance you get, but for now, see if you can see parts of the crusifixion in these verses, and decide: In how many ways are you thankful for every opportunity you have to ""know that you know that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son Of God." (a quote from my beloved pastor, W. Jack Hudson, who has gone before us to the arms of the Lord many years ago.)
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me....vs. 7. They that see me laugh me to scorn, they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying, vs 8. He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.vs 14. I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, it is melted...vs15b. my tongue cleaveth to my jaws and thou has brought me into the dust of death. vs. 16b. They pierced my hands and my feet...vs 31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he has done this. Psalm 22.
Ever felt forsaken by God? Jesus did. Ever felt like God was far off? Jesus did. Ever felt like others were laughing at what you believed? Jesus did. And it hurt him. Ever been injured and wondered why God would allow it? Jesus was. Ever had your heart hurt so badly, that it felt like it was melted inside you? Jesus did. Know what it is to be so thirsty, ever watch your loved one die and see them unable to drink until their mouth was parched? Jesus went through that. Ever buried someone you loved? Jesus knew their trauma. Ever knew just by intuition, or the recognition of the Holy Spirit that you were facing something inevitable - and you both feared and dreaded it? So did Jesus. He was tempted and tested just as we are. His perfection didn't come from being able to avoid the human emotions such things evoked. His perfection was in his continued belief that there is a God, a Heavenly Father who was waiting for him to come through it, to bless him.
I'm thankful that I am one of the "people that shall be born" who were told that his did this...for me. For us. I am truly thankful for a Savoir, and for the ability to read about him, from the prophecies to the actual life, to the expected return.
THANK YOU LORD. amen
In Hebrews 9 and 10, Paul discusses how the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is the fulfilment of the Old Testament sacrifices which looked back from year to year at an individual's sins, and then made a yearly offering of blood sacrifice for them. Verse 16 of chapter 9 explains that, when there is a "last will and testament," as we would say, there must be the death of the testator for the promises within to become effective. Paul was explaining that the Old Testament books made a promise of a final sacrifice, and a time when one would no longer need to look back every year to remember his sins, and blood would no longer need to be shed symbolically. Jesus, he explained, was the writer of this will, and upon his death, the gifts he promised within were made effective. In 10:1 he explained that those things done by law, although a shadow of good things to come, even offered year after year, were never the real thing, nor were they able to remedy the sins of those who came every year completely, or make them "perfect" in God's eyes. I am doing a lot of explaining, not intending to add to God's word. The message, however, is simple. What I believe the Lord wants me to bring to you today is found in verse 3.
But in those sacrifices there is a rememberance again made of sins every year. Hebrews 10:3
And in verse 16 -17.
This is the covenant (New Testament) that I will make with them, after those days (his death and resurrection) saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them, And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
A lot of us spend a lot of time looking back as the Israelites were told to do year after year, living for the day that we can forgive ourselves. Hoping to find emotional relief for the things where we failed or regret doing, for the sins of our youth, or the times we failed to make wise decisions. And the times we did all we could, but could not change the outcome or consequenses of our actions. We look for a day that painful things are forever in the past. Some things will happen in our lives that we have no power over, which will stick like glue, to make us constantly look back - always thinking, "How might I have changed what I did, to make the circumstances come out better? We struggle to shake them.
One of the things, Jesus's finished work on the cross was to have done, was to finalize the years of looking back. It was meant to be a remedy for constantly remembering our flaws, and living in wishful thinking. Verse 15 tells us that the Holy Ghost is our witness (to the reading of the will), and to the promise that he (God) had said before Christ's death, he would remember our sins and iniquities no more, vs 17. We use the term "will of God" loosely, without remembering that it actually is a legal action of God. We are talking about God's laws. God acts within his own laws.
If there are things in your life which you live over and over, it is time to take action, and take them to the throne, the Heavenly Probate court, and say:
"Lord, I have been remembering over and over how I sinned or failed in (these) areas. I need to bring them once and for all time to place them in the promised trash can of Hebrews 10: 17. Help me know that, if you will not remember them year after year, you have made a way that I also should not live in the past regrets. I accept the death of my savoir and his testament to me, a promise to let my past be healed by shedding of his blood. Heal my memories and help me live remembering only, that, no matter how many times I bring all that pain back up, there is no other resolution but one...and that is Christ's death and resurrection. It is already complete, and a finished work in your eyes. May I say as Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished." AMEN"
By the way it is no accident in my mind that the verse number is 17. The number 1 is for God, and the number 7 is the number of completion, meaning - God said it is finished.
God would not have you spending year after year looking back, or waste hours wishing things could change. I am guilty of this over a lot of years of my life. I used to even dream about going back and making things right so I could let them go. Even today, I face things that could make me fall into the pattern once again, of regretful living, financial failures, and ways I failed at doing what I wanted with my life. But even in the old testament law, once a year, a sacrifice was given so the people could leave that year behind. If God on his throne does not bring our failures to remembrance, why do we carry them as weights that hamper our race? We have a binding promise, that we can be free of the debt. We can choose to live looking forward.
If you need a visual, or an act of rememberance to replace the bad, (a good thing, by the way,) label an actual trash can with the phrase: "Past regrets to remember no more ~ Promised by Hebrews 10:17" Write down the things that hinder you, and on your knees, put the paper shred by shred into it. Better yet, use a shredder. And pray, "thank you, Jesus for healing my memories according to your will." Then any time you are tempted to revisit the pain, say: My promise is..." & quote the verse: "their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." The last phrase will stick.
Choose this day to REMEMBER NO MORE the past that drags you down. Note: the old testament was carved into stone and had to be carried around and read to remember it's value. The promise in verse 16 says that the new testament is carved into our hearts and minds. Like with someone's will, the deceased gives what is promised therein to his heirs. The law which holds the promise, the years of bringing your sins over and over to the Lord is no longer out there on a will somewhere. Its gift is in your heart. The will has been read, due to the death of its writer. It was witnessed by the Spirit, and he was the Executor. It has been finalized in God's Probate Court. The promise of freedom is yours, belongs to you, can be carried about with you day in and day out, is carved into your being. IT IS YOURS TO CLAIM AND LIVE BY. The will has been read and the heirs possess the property. The papers were signed, in blood. Even a DNA test would prove the document is true. It is done!
Father, we live like we have to wait 'til heaven to face you with all our sins. Please help someone realize that the power in the blood, and the possession they own, sets them free from looking back with regret. Nor do they need to look forward to heaven to take advantage of the promise. Help us see that our constant return to years gone by, is in itself sin, because it is against the WILL OF GOD. Heal us Lord from our hurt and painful memories. In Jesus name and by his blood, AMEN
The lovely title font is from Fontspace.com, called JFJungleRock, and is by permission of the artist given to be used any way you would like, as long as you have fun with it.
Our expectations of people sometimes is that they love us with an everlasting love. There have been numerous songs down through the years that have promised this kind of love in the melodies, and this sets up young couples to be looking for that in relationships. "If you love me, you will love me to the exclusion of all else."
Oh the lovely, youthful dreamy world of hoping someone will commit to love us forever. But it's unrealistic. Only one is capapble of this kind of love. Real human commitments require some work. Everlasting love is not a given! We do however push through the times when our children for instance seem unlovely. If you feel like your child doesn't love you, maybe they don't. But by a commitment, to accept that God the Father promises the he is capable of everlasting love, we can continue to wait for human love to rebloom.
A super thing about this is - we can enter commitments with our human love relationships, putting less pressure on the covenant, from the very beginning, if we only expect that God alone can give love everlasting. Sometimes we are hurt by someone not living up to our expectations, when we really need to step back and consider that it is the impossible dream to place on another person - the burden of filling this unfailing love. We need everlasting love. But people can't give it. WE NEED IT, but only God can give it!
I know I am repeating myself. I want it to stick in my own mind as much with anyone.
I have learned to say to my husband, "if you loved me...you would make a different choice." It is actually a realistic response to hurtful things that the people we love do in a thoughtless manner. It is OK to ask our partners, children and parents to take a second look at how their choices affect our opiinion of their love. But it isn't ok to use this opportunity to manipulate someone to prove their love. God also doesn't use that love to manipulate us.. I noticed one day that a young lady on a reality show, said "if you loved me, you would do this." She was asking something unrealistic. Books have been written around the manipulative form of having expections of someone and call it love. I have seen mothers in grocery stores use this tactic. That kind of discussion is so much the opposite of God's promise. He makes the commitment to love us with everlasting love, with no attatchments, and without the tie of expecting us to love him with a love so grand.
Sometimes I think, people never really get this. Human love must go through stages of growth and release, all kinds of intensities, and can be questioned at every turn. Really loving like God loves, is to allow that the person we focus our love on, to be a person, not a God. Allow them to fall short, and then tell them what you thought would happen, and what, about their actions was different than you expected. Then, without hesitation, say, I know you can't read my mind. Explain to me why you thought your choice was meant to show me love." You might be surprised when you see what they were thinking.
"I have loved you with an everlasting Love..." Jeremiah 31:3
Lord, help me not to place unreal expectaions on those I love and want to love me. Help me mirror your love, but also realize that I too cannot love with an everlasting love. Help us all refer our children to the perfect, everlasting love of God, but make it clear to them, that we will never expect them to fill some giant hole in someone else's love deficit. IN Jesus Name, AMEN
This week as I was studying 2 Corinthians 5, I came across these verses:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”
The word, “reconciled” means “to be made right.” In other words, when we accept Christ as our Savior, Jesus paid the price for all of our sins. Our lives have been made right. What a wonderful promise to a lost world of people who want things to be made right!
After we accept the fact that Jesus bridged the gap between us and God, we then have a role in reaching the lost for Christ. Scripture calls us, “Ministers of reconciliation.” Our challenge is to gather the courage to share with others the joy and freedom we experience as Christians. Our goal is to tell them that reconciliation is there for them too.
My Prayer: Lord, thank you for the reconciliation that Jesus gave me on the cross. Thank you for reminding me of my role as a minister of reconciliation to others. Give us courage to share the message of reconciliation with others. In Jesus name!
When I think of how I relate to Jesus, I am saddened that more people don't want to know about him around the world. One of the reasons God sent his Son, is so that we might know how much he wantts to be our friend. People around the world worship the oddest things and do it with gusto, and sincerity and flare. Their holidays are full of fun, and all about the gods they worship. Ours progressively get less and less about our Savoir. The life and fun, the joy and admiration of our God sort of dwindles away. We don't do a lot as Christians to make our Savoir someone others would like to know. We burden the whole concept with what to do and not do until it snowballs into a load much to heavy to carry. It becomes a religion to serve our King. Not at all what Christ presented.
That should be what is different about serving Christ. God wanted Jesus to be a picture on earth of a God who doesn't want religion, but rather wants to be someone we look on with so much fondness and genuine love that we share him joyfully as such with everyone we know. Jesus compared himself to many personalities whom we would gladly want to have in our lives: a friend who sticks closer than a brother, a friend who would die in our stead, a Father who lovingly provides for his children, a King who loves his subjects and deals with them wisely and judicously, the friend of the groom who stands by him at his wedding, a friend of children who would not have them rejected, and oh so many more. Who doesn't need a friend like that - one who is available any time of day or night? He is worth celebrating, and worshipping, and extoling profusely in every way possible.
We really don't need to dress him up. He's a pretty wonderful person to know, if we spoke of him in truth. Down through the years, I have had occasions when someone would say something like: "You talk about God like you knew him in person or something." I am always amazed when Christians don't feel like they know God personally. So many times, when God allowed me to be used to lead someone to Christ, it was when they came to realize that Christ is a personal savoir. It is Christians who are sometimes our own worst enemy. We are the real reason the whole world does not know Christ as a wonderful savoir and friend.
Jesus is a real threat to evil in this world. Satan loves nothing better than to have us misrepresent our Lord as something he is not. Or to have us represent him in such a way that people just plain don't want to deal with him. We don't serve him because he is a mean slave driver to whom we are ever more indebted. We serve him because we love him, and because he is the greatest thing to come into our life. Where is the excitement that comes with knowing that? I once had that eeking from every ounce of my being. But the restrictions other people tend to place on serving my savoir, diluted it. I don't know about our readers, but I don't want to serve the diluted version. I want to serve the Christ who is everything he said he was. With joy and enthusiasm. And perhaps we might turn the hearts of the world to join us.
And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy; for the LORD made them joyful, and turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel. Ezra 6:21-22
Lord, help us put the fun back into being your Saints, that we may tutn the hearts of all men. AMEN
In the fifth chapter of Acts, a lawyer named Gamaliel warned the men of the temple to be careful about what they intended to do with the disciples. He told them of another teacher named Judas whom the people had followed during the time of the taxations. He too had been killed, and his followers simply dispersed, Gamaliel reasoned. So to the men who wished to threaten, jail, and perhaps even have Jesus's servants punished and killed, he said:
And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it. Lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. Acts 5:38 - 39.
He could have been a lawyer for the disciples... LOL.
I suppose he thought that they would just go away eventually. Yet he spoke with more wisdom than any lawyer I have ever known. He spoke a profound truth!
Take a good look at the things that are gaining momentum in your life. If it is something men are devising, in the great timeline, it will mean nothing at some point. But if it is of God, we have no effect on it. We pray as Jesus taught us: "Thy Will Be Done." But sometimes we pray it as if we are giving God permission. Lest we forget, it is God's will. We are merely deciding to accept it, or reject it, whether to submit to it or to "fight against God."
Sometimes we want something to happen or to not happen so badly, that we try praying harder, longer, with more faith that our will might be done..."Please please please God we pray." I can name you times when I have fallen into that trap. The question is - "what is God's will?"
Prophecy is like that. If God says it is going to come to pass, it will. Sometimes our politics fall into a routine of trying to make something God predicted would happen to NOT HAPPEN. We are missing the mark! God didn't put Christ on this earth to make the politics of the earth suit Christians. Our freedom is first a freedom from the burden of sin. I believe the forefathers of the USA understood the principles of freedom and justice as presented in God's word. But they also understood that the real constitution, which makes a difference, is when, in an environment of freedom to do so, we are about the business of winning souls to Christ. No laws or president will be able to change the circumstances of our political or social standings. Only the change of men's hearts will bring about such changes. In the days that Peter and Paul and the other disciples taught about the Lord, souls were added to the church daily....DAILY. At least once, more than 5000 men had that amazing change of heart that began to build the church among Jews and Gentiles, which spread into the whole world.
Put your energies into God's plan, and it won't be wasted. In the sixties, when I was young, I had the great joy of being present when I saw this kind of thing happening. Our pastor was a man who stood firmly on the word of God. He took his truths from the scriptures, without making an agenda from them. He made it clear at church and on the radio when he preached, that God's full intent was to save the souls of lost men and women. God accepts us just as we are. No consideration for where we've been or plan to go. He doesn't judge us by our depth of sin. He simply provided a solution for all sin, and included all to be eligible for freedom from sin.
Gamaliel didn't figure on the impact this would have on people who needed that kind of God. Or maybe he did...just maybe he knew that he would appease those who sought to do the will of Satan, long enough to let as many people as possible hear this great news...because he knew that once men heard, they would know the freedom he knew. I like to believe that Gamaliel had discovered Jesus as his own Savoir. And he knew that there was no stopping the momentum that having a savoir affect men's lives could have.
One more note. I have always said that if what you are doing is leading souls to Christ, then you can know that you are a part of God's plan. If your church isn't growing, if you never have opportunity to share your savoir as the Christ, if you are not planting seeds, if you go years without seeing souls around you being saved in some place where you are involved....Satan has you genuinely fooled into thinking your life is right with God. But no ministry will gain souls by holding the feet of the children to the firey heat of the law. Or bashing their saints til they are discouraged. This is why we at My Wings Are Made Of Faith seek to uplift the readers, to bring joy to those in pain, and share the freedom the children of God should be experiencing. But we encourage you to know you are in God's will, because as Gamaliel said: " If it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it."
Why not be a part of it?
Dear God, I long for my children and grandchildren to see what happens when people hungry for the power, that was winning souls by the thousands in the days of the disciples, is governing the hearts and actions of everyday people. If that same momentum was to occur in our generation of technical ability, the whole world could hear of and be changed by the grace and mercy of your love in a few days! Lives could be changed by the thousands today as much as then. Even now, in our age of sarcasm and disappointed Saints. Fill us Lord with a new amazement for the change you made in each of our own lives. AMEN
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.—Luke 22:42-44
i read these verses the other day and i haven't been able to stop thinking about them since. The courage, heart, emotion, and strength of Jesus to be able to say these words—wow— i can't even begin to tell you how much they encourage me. Jesus submits completely to the Father. When Jesus is tired and overcome with emotion, God sends an angel to strengthen Him. And, even though the pain seemed too much to bear, making it easy to want to give up, He didn't stop praying. Scripture tells us that he prayed more earnestly, knowing deep down that God had a beautiful plan for His life.
We can learn so much from Jesus in just these couple verses.
• When we submit to God's will the outcome is always good, even though parts of our journey are difficult.
• God knows when the load we are carrying is too heavy to carry alone. He sends Jesus and angels to lighten the burden.
• Even though life gets difficult and it's easy to throw in the towel, God wants us to persevere, He helps us move through the dark valley. It may seem like prayers are not being answered, but now is not the time to stop praying. We must pray our way all the way through the valley. And every day we might need to pray a little harder than the day before. But, rest assured, the Lord answers prayers! We have to trust Him and wait patiently for Him.
Don't give up, don't ever give up. The Lord has so many beautiful plans for your life. Pray harder and rest in His arms—it's safe there.
Jesus, thank you for allowing us to read about one of your most vulnerable life moments. We find ourselves in these situations often, but it's hard to see a way out. You show us a way out, though. We can be encouraged by your courage, strength, and your heart to serve the Father. This scripture is a reminder that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Now when they hear this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord Our God shall call.... 41. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. Acts 2: 37 - 39, and 41.
This is such a lovely set of verses, which tell in a couple of brief statements exactly what to do to receive the Lord Jesus as your Savoir. Several things delight me that they are included in this "summary."
When revealed himself unto his disciples and followers after his ressurrection and before his ascention they often didn't all see him at the same time. Thomas who was not present on many of these occasions doubted the reports of the others, and was totally skeptical. I think of my husband who is that kind of personality. But when came into the room with the doors completely shut, and He spoke directly to Thomas and said, "be not faithless, but believing." He had told Thomas to touch him and put the truth to a physical test - to do what ever it took that he might believe. Then he said to him,
"because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20: 27 - 29.
Verse 30 of the same chapter makes it clear that this occurred to make a point. Christ's signs, in the presence of his disciples were done that we "might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that believing [we] might have life through his name. " It is a blessing that we can believe, never having seen as his followers did. The lives of 11 men were drastically changed because of the events that had occured from the day called them to be disciples. The principle of multiplicity was set in motion first as he walked and taught in this world, but became exponential once he rose again. When these men were exposed to the truth of Jesus' resurrection, they knew they had the greatest news that man has ever known. They became the CNN of thier day! LOL In fact, the word Gospel means "good news." They took Christ's admonition, to go into the world and tell everyone, very seriously.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.—Colossians: 21-23
Before the cross we were separated from God because of our sin. But God loved us so much that He could not bear to see us living in slavery. He sent Jesus to pave the way for our freedom so that those who believe would have eternal life. i LOVE that this verse says we are without blemish and FREE from accusation. Sometimes i find it hard to believe that i can be completely free from all the junk in my yesterdays. But i continue in my faith, seeking the Lord, and hodling onto the hope of the God's promises. i'm holding on tightly to Jesus.
God—i'm joyful because i'm free ... because the Son has set me free. Thank you for the blood of Jesus and thank you for your grace!
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”—Matthew 28:1-8
There are two things that really jump out at me in this Resurrection story:
First, in verse 6, the angel tells them that he is not in the tomb. He has risen, just as He said. The scriptures are full of promises, all of which Jesus kept. He has and always will be true to His word.
Second, i love how the women are filled with such unexplainable joy when they find out the good news. Thinking about this verse and the joy they must have felt reminded me of the day when i first really understood my need for a Savior and had whole-heartedly accepted Him into my life. i was filled with unexplainable joy - joy that could not be contained. Still, to this day, the freedom that comes with having a personal relationship with Jesus brings me pure joy, joy that sometimes leaves me in such a state of awe that i am speechless.
There has never, ever been an event in history so gruesome and horrible, yet as beautiful as the cross.
Thank you, Lord Jesus. My heart is overflowing with gratitude.
Have you ever, for even a second, thought, "God, you could stop this from happening if you just would?" I know I have wondered why God seems to not have mercy in certain situations and just stop death and suffering and illness and hunger. If we are in the situation, we could develop resentment toward God for not doing something positive that we think needs to be done. Especially, if the results hurt us personally. Being hurt requires forgiveness as a resolution, so this issue is one of 3 that Christ dealt with on the Cross requarding personal injury. And the hurt was to himself.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying before he was taken, he prayed and asked God to let this cup pass from him, if there was any way. The full realization of his emminent death, and the severity of how it was to occur was taking a tole on his human Psyche. He had a desire that he would rather not suffer in such a way, if there was any way out. He must have thought about the time God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issaac, but provided "the Lamb of God" instead and saved Isaac from the knife. Might there be a way, would God show Him something new in these final hours? They say that He sweated great drops of blood as he pleaded with God, enduring the stress that his human body most certainly was beginning to endure. Most pastors say that it was not the death that concerned him most, but that he was taking on the sins of the world. The misjudgement of the world, the shame he did not deserve, the lies that were out there for anyone to believe, and the hurt of all our sins laid on him...were surely more compelling to stress than merely wishing he did not have to suffer. He was wounded for our transgressions, inside and out. But his parent, his loving Father, would leave him to this one act of maturity, to find his way through it, with no way out but to endure the unfathonable. Jesus could have rejected his Father based on allowing him to suffer anyway, just as most of us would. Just this week I read or knew of at least 3 specific real life cases, where teens decided thier parents didn't love them, because they allowed them to suffer in some way. Dr. Charles Stanley discusses in his book, "THE GIFT OF FORGIVENESS," how anyone hurt by someone, because they didn't come through when you expected them to, must deal with the issue of the hurt and find a way to forgive.
We aren't told that Jesus said, "I will forgive you anyway, Father," but he did say, "not my will, but thine be done..." He rose from his ordeal of pleading with his Father, accepting the Father's will, rather than his own. Accepting the circumstances can be the first step to forgiveness.
I have been accused often of being too soft on sin. And I have been told often that I am a pessimist. But to me those are people who don’t recognize sin for the power it has on life, and fail to do the one simple thing that is required to resolve the issue. An “ignorance is bliss” attitude will never give anyone the same optimism I have, that my sin has been dealt with. I confidently trust the power of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to take care of my sin. And I walk daily in that confidence.
Sin is frequently dealt with in the extremes: from the extreme of denial to the extreme of constant fear - of not having confessed sin. Christ wants us to be in neither place. Our place is also not a middle ground somewhere in between these two. Living in the middle ground is a push/pull life of trying to figure out where you stand on what constitutes sin – which things to do and which to not do, to stay in a right relationship with God. One church says this and another that. Sin is a job for God, and He freed us from that kind of life. It is not a life of choices of which sins, but what resolution, that I chose to live by. The point of scripture in its entirety is to reveal this truth. It is necessary to trust that God has done what it takes to meet his own standards for reconciliation, and come to him with complete and utter confidence that our sins are covered by the blood.
I do not wish to undermine the effects of sin on our lives. Or say that salvation takes away the consequences of sin. Not so. Recognizing our sin, and desiring to avoid those consequences by avoiding the sin acts is a matter of mapping our life to seek God’s best. That too was what the cross was about. I did a research project of the words in the Greek and Hebrew that are generally translated “sin.” I discovered that the whole gist of it fell into two major categories throughout the ages of scripture. By far the most scripture words refer to “missing the mark.” Aiming for God’s best and hitting somewhere outside the bull’s-eye. The second is a concept that sin is an element of our inner character which leads to us acting out in a sinful way. It was not the individual sin actions that the scripture themes of redemption, salvation, etc. deal with, but rather, the sin nature. That nature is the seed for the sinful acts, which grow into the sin condition. There’s a long discussion of how dealing with sin as if it were individual acts of “dos and don’ts” is out of man’s thinking. Suffice it to say, that I prefer to deal with allowing God to replace my sin nature with his divine nature, and then I don’t have to worry about how to deal with individual acts. Whether or not I am aware of individual acts, I try to focus frequently on the fact that my behavior should reflect that I am not governed by my sin nature when God is in control.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8: 3-4
Lord, I accept that my sin nature steers me outside the boundaries of your best for my life. I confess a need for the divine nature to overrule my actions sometimes. Please, Lord, don’t let sin take root in my life, but fill me with your power to live in a Christ-like way. AMEN
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.—Romans 8:1
Don't miss two very important words in that verse ... no condemnation. Those that don't believe in Jesus (and even some Christians who do) walk around carrying the heavy load of their sin, past regrets, and feelings of guilt. But these things, they are the things that make up the cross.
Yes, there are consequences to our sin as the first part of Romans 6:23 says:
For the wages of sin is death
Good news follows in the rest of the verse.
but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
All because of Jesus and the cross there is no condemnation and no death. By the cross He has replaced those things with the gift of eternal life.
All too often we carry around the baggage of sin we weren't meant to carry. Sometimes we drop it, but find ways to pick it back up later. We are forgiven. Forgiven! God reassures us that belief in Jesus is our ticket to no condemnation and complete freedom.
God could have chosen to punish us for our sin (the wages of sin is death), but the grace He showed towards us by giving us the gift of Jesus is the ultimate sign of His undying love for us. He took on death so that we could have life.
Lord, some days i forget the cross. Some days i forget what you have done for me. Some days i take advantage of the gift of grace. i thank you Lord that you have nailed my sin to the cross. i pray i live my life in a constant state of gratitude.
i really can't think of another word that makes me as uncomfortable as this one. And, writing about it is as equally uncomfortable because people don't like to talk about it, hear about it, or think about it. But, as Easter quickly approaches, it's an appropriate time to talk about sin. Not because it's a fun topic to talk about it, but because it's such important part of the story of Jesus and the cross.
Romans 3:23 says:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
We all have this is common—all of us have sinned. We are not perfect. We make mistakes—often. It's a part of being human. But, the most beautiful thing about sin is the grace of God that covers those who believe in Jesus. This grace was made available to us by the cross. As the song below says:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
Knowing about God's grace— Jesus dying on the cross—has freed me from the bondage of sin. i do not fear that word and choose to accept freedom in Christ Jesus. i recognize that i fall short of the glory of God daily and daily i bathe in His grace and forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, the cross has set me free from a life of bondage in sin. You took my the burden of my sin, long before i was even born, and you selflessly carried it to the cross because you love me. Thank you, Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 says,
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. An the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
We can very often become consumed with worry throughout our day to day lives. As a Christian, I find so many wonderful promises from the Lord in these verses.
First of all the Lord promises that He is near. No matter what circumstances we are dealing with, God is faithful and He is true to His word. Hebrews 13: 5 says,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
The second promise is that when we seek the Lord with prayer and petition, we will have peace that transcends all understanding.
The following is a footnote from my Bible about this peace. "God's peace is different from the world's peace. True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ's kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. Let God's peace guard your heart against anxiety."
As we are moving closer to Easter, let's focus on God's promises that are secured to us because of Jesus.
My prayer: Lord, I lay my anxiety at the foot of the cross. Thank you that you will never leave or forsake me. I also thank you for the peace that comes following my prayers and petitions. Holy Spirit, remind me when my heart goes astray. Jesus, thank you for being the ultimate sacrifice. In Jesus name!
My heart melted the very first time i heard this song. i remember immediately thanking Him ... for the battles we face are not our own:
He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.—2 Chronicles 20:15
All authority is the Lord's. The victory is His (it was His before we were even created).
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.—Matthew 28:18
The song says, We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb. By His blood we can overcome:
• Addiction • Fears • Scars • Pain • Depression • Disease • Loss • Loneliness • Perfectionism • Control • Lust • Anger • Anything that you battling can be overcome - not by our own strength, but by His.
Whatever you are facing, claim victory in the name of Jesus and wait patiently for the Lord to finish the battle on your behalf.
Jesus, your name is great and awesome and so worthy of all our praise. Thank you for our victories in Your mighty name!
A friend recommended this song to me yesterday and as i listened to it, i started to cry. For a moment, i couldn't figure out what emotion was driving the tears so i sat quietly and just waited on the Lord to speak to my heart.
Despite the ugly divorce, i have felt tremendously blessed in every area of my life lately. The Lord is truly showing me His glory through all of this—His faithfulness moved me to tears.
You see, i've been made to feel like i don't deserve anything good from people who have been very good at judging my life, by those who don't know me or who have never taken the time to know me or my heart. So to receive good, overwhelmingly abundant blessings has left me standing in awe before God with my hands raised high in praise.
God reminded me today, as i study Galatians, that i just need to keep focusing on Jesus and not what people think of me.
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.—Galatians 1:10
How wide, O how wide Lord
How deep, O how deep Lord
How great, O how great
Is Your love for me
If you are in a similar place of thinking you don't deserve anything good—it is a LIE from the enemy. God wants you to know that you deserve:
• His undying love
• every good gift He has to offer
• true love
• pure joy
• to know and experience Truth
And it's not that we deserve it because of anything we have or haven't done, but because of what HE has done for us—thank you, Jesus, for the cross. His love for us is deeper, wider, greater than we could ever imagine. He rises the sun for us each morning, surrounds us with flowers in the spring, and is nearer than our next breath. He is an amazing God who is worthy of all our praise.
Ever wonder exactly why the Bible seems to harp heavily on not breaking the law of God, and if you read scriptures randomly, especially in the Old Testament, that it seems to be all about working harder and harder to please God by not breaking the laws? When your pastor or teacher teaches the Word, ask yourself this question. Did he or she take me to a place of victory over SIN in this discussion? Most teachers will lead you to a place of recognizing the sin in your life but not to a full understanding of winning the sin battle. Please remember that SIN is that which is outside the boundaries of what God has planned as the best for you. If life isn’t functioning the way God designed it to, it is not a failure of the design… Now having said that, return to my question. Is the person I am allowing to be my shepherd, leading me to a place of victory over my sin, or did they leave me to be a sacrifice to the wolves?
Many preachers in churches I have attended, felt that just getting people to an altar for confession of sin, was the job they had to do, and they went to great lengths to get it done. However, I went to a church in my youth that was very different than that, and by God’s grace, I was gifted with that pastor’s great example of how to fill the altars - God’s way. At this church, every time this man preached, more and more people came to the altars to accept Christ as their savoir. His was not a message of beating people over the head with their sin. His was a message of Christ’s release from sin. And that simple truth was such a joy to people, that they went out with great excitement and invited their friends to come hear someone who tells you how to have that freedom. It was infectious. It was on target. It was so like Jesus - soooo CHRIST- LIKE. That is exactly how the early church began to grow so quickly. Because the message from God was freedom from the ritualistic grind of obedience to the law, and people were so glad to hear it.
But it is confusing. If it is something you grapple with, read Galations 3 and 4. God’s design even in the beginning, even in the sacrifices of the Temple, was to set us free from the trap - when operating outside devine design captures our life, and holds it prisoner. Paul saw the early Christians doing battle with this concept. It was not just a Christian battle. The Jews and their forefathers had done battle with this concept forever. But even Paul had not seen clearly the truth about God until he became a Christian. Now as the shepherd to young churches, he understood that they had not truly seen the Grace of God in their hearts. They had not grasped the freedom in such a way as to have it seered into their consciousness. Their minds had not been renewed to the point that they ceased to slip back into living under the law.
It’s no different for us. It is the same battle that every Christian must wage, until that is, that by the renewing of their mind, their thought processes are more apt to take them directly to the power of the knowledge of GRACE, than the power of the Law.
Paul says: vs. 2. (paraphrased) – I only ask you this. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3. Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now depending on being made perfect in the flesh? 4. "have you suffered so many things in vain?"
vs. 10. – as many as work to keep the law are under the curse. For it is written: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all the things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” 11. But, that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident. For “the just shall live by faith!” 12. The law is not of faith. Anyone who does them (the laws) "shall LIVE IN THEM". 13. “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. For it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree:" (one of the laws).
Paul then discusses the difference between God’s promises and his law, and that the covenant of the promise actually came 430 years before the law, and the law was never intended to “make the promise of none effect.” He says that "if the inheritance be of law, it is no more of promise…but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Paul then poses the question we all have wrestled with: vs 21. “ Is the law then against the promises of God?”
Have YOU suffered so many things in vain? As God gently leads you through the consequences of sin, or the trials by fire that strengthen your steel, do you enter your battles and try to fight them yourselves, or do you grow in the knowledge that God offers peace. Think about the word Peace. One of the most wonderful principles of scripture is among the “opposites of God” set of principles. It is that God asks us to set ourselves in array for the battle and come boldly to the place of battle…and then requires that we STAND and watch as He takes care of the enemy. I love the whole armor scripture. Love it, mostly because of this fact. God understands that, while we are going through the processes of life and learning (growing in Grace), we need something to do. And we need protection from the enemy and ourselves. So he tells us to prepare our minds, to rethink our life patterns, and renew by casting away the old thought patterns, then revise our determination to serve according to the plan. Get up, Get dressed, Go out to battle. But when we have done all that, He calls us to the battle to watch Him win the battle! That’s sooooo cool!!! God always leads us to Victory, We are unable to be certain of victory if we fight the battle ourselves. Only when God fights the battle do we have confidence we can truly win.
When James said, “Faith without Works is dead,” (James 1:20) he understood that God calls us to a process. We don’t come to faith without the process. A process of learning more about God, while learning that His laws work only when He is in control of them. They are His laws, and it’s all His creation. We just muck it up. God didn’t create us to become God. He created us to become Friends of God. All He wants us to do is Love Him, and let Him Love us. And share that with anyone who doesn’t understand it.
Does that make us not responsible for our sin? Absolutely not. Awareness of sin is awareness of how totally lost and helpless we are without our creator. We need God. We need to be in Awe of God. But we need to let God be God and know a lot more everyday about what that means. But our love of God is doing us no good if it puts a wedge between us and God, because we strive more and more everyday, to obey a set of laws that is impossible to keep….thereby making us Hate God for giving them to us in the first place. One of the OPPOSITES OF GOD is: He gave us laws < & > He NEVER meant for us know HOW to NOT break them?!!? He knew when He made us that we would eventually break them, even in the Garden of EDEN. He had a plan for our salvation.
Christy and I talked earlier this week about the spiritual battles, and how you must learn as you go while fighting them. It is never a sin to not understand while God is teaching us. But it is a sin to disobey what we understand. Sometimes we give into disobedience, just because we are too weary to keep doing the obedience thing. That’s OK. To all who find themselves in this push-pull struggle, including myself, I would love to ask: “Do you get it? that God only asks us to continue striving until we really get it? that He really doesn’t want us to go there? so He lets us go there, so we can see where it leads us? and see how exhausted we will get? Then HE brings us back from there - and hopes we will have learned not to keep going there?” (Parents will relate.) Yet God always provides a remedy for sin. (Note to parents: this is why hugs are necessary after discipline.)
God didn’t let the Israelites show up to Jericho and not have a list of things He wanted them to do. Then, He made them march around the city. He made Noah build a boat that no one else had ever seen the likes of. He asks big things of us, with a complicated instruction manual as our help. It all seems fruitless sometimes. But when it boils down to it, we will do all He asks us to do, to the best of our ability, and in the end, all He wants from us is to lock ourselves in the ark and ride out the storm. ~Totally, in His control. In the end, or rather NEW BEGINNING, we let go of our striving and Let God fight and WIN the battle. Your armor is your defense against the enemies secret attacks on you. But when Christ comes in offense, rejoice that you are fully prepared, and turn the battle over to the Lord.
…If there had been a law given which could have given life, righteousness should have been by the law.
The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galations 3:21 & 24
Thank you, Lord for saying, “It is Finished,” in your dying breaths. And thank you for the Resurrection - an end to the power of the law and a new beginning full of power to defeat the effects of the law. Help me, Dear Lord to not fall back to living under the curse. Help me not to have suffered in vain. Help me not grow weary while training to be a soldier.. As we are called to the battles in our lives, give us peace and help us Stand, as YOU gain MY victory. Especially when others bring sin into our lives Help me Lord to not give up while I am building the “Ark” in my life. It is hard enough dealing with when I bring sin into my life, but I feel helpless when I can’t control when other sources bring sin in. Lord, be in control, and help me feel secure when YOU are in control. AMEN
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This past weekend I heard a refreshing sermon about the importance of confession of sins not only vertically with God, but also horizontally with others. Too often these days the word, “confession,” is considered taboo among Christians because it seems old fashioned. When we dismiss this simple principle, we are attempting to bypass God’s plan for a healthy relationship with his children.
The word, “confession,” means “to admit or acknowledge.” In this case it fundamentally means admitting our sins to a Holy God. No formal ceremony needed.
I John 1:9 says,
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
In my life, I try to take care of my confessions as the Lord brings them to mind by saying something like this, “Lord, I know that ____ was not the right thing to do. Please forgive me and help me do better.” This childlike act of confession clears my slate on a vertical plane.
On the horizontal axis, Matthew 5:23-24 says,
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”
Confession of sins to others involves prayer about the right words and timing, but can be such a beautiful, Christ centered restoration when handled properly.
I love I Timothy 1:15-16 which says,
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”
Let’s face it: we all sin which is why we need our wonderful Savior. When we take care of our confessions, we can share in the fellowship and freedom that forgiven children can experience.
My Prayer: Lord, thank you for reminding me the importance of confession to you and to others. Holy Spirit, make me aware when there is something I need to confess so that I can enjoy abundant life as a believer. Jesus, thank you for covering my sins on the cross. I pray that others will embrace the freedom of confession and live joyfully in your peace. In Jesus name!
After years of hearing preachers use the Old Testament example of being on the mountain top as being in a place where we are close to God, the Spirit reminds me that those men were honoring God the only way they knew how, by adhering to the law. They knew nothing of being able to spiritually leave that mountaintop and fly, to have freedom in Christ thru salvation. I am sure they wished they could. What happens when you get to the mountaintop, and like those men, have to go back down again? Returning to the spiritual Valley of Hardship every time was a frightening way to look at being a Christian to me.
The picture was one of going up to the mountain, to find God who just gave you a lot of laws about how to live, that you couldn’t live up to. Then with that burden, you return to all the pain and suffering in the valley, to try to do what you couldn’t before. No help from God on that trip. Some of the greatest pastors I know have spoken of being on the edge with God. Yet never once did they admonish me to fly. It was only when I discovered that, when I get to the mountain, and commune with God, what He really wants is to take me to the edge and become the “wind beneath my wings.” It is often in our deepest darkest hours that the Spirit himself teaches us how he lifts us from the depths. Spread your wings, and mount up upon what you cannot see. Use the tool of FAITH . Make the decision to fly and do it.
Ever felt like God had dragged you kicking and screaming to “the edge” where you knew you couldn’t face another step? You were certain that if you didn’t back away, God would push you over the edge? Next time, say: “OK God, teach me to fly.” Fledgling birds start from up high and are drawn or pushed from the safety of the nest, sometimes off the edge of a cliff. I have seen them tumble and hit rocks or other hard surfaces if they haven’t spread their wings properly. Once I saw a falcon bounce his way down ‘til we were afraid it might have been fatally bruised and feared it would die. But three days later, he leapt from the perch where he had remained while he healed, possibly until hungry enough to try again. This time with wings spread WIDE it soared out over water, dropping all the while until with a tilt of one wing his angle changed and up he went back toward the safety of the ledge, where the father falcon dropped him food. He made fledgling flights for several days before it became difficult to find him, because he learned to fly and land anywhere he pleased. Learning to fly with the Spirit is a dangerous act. You have to face your darkest fears, and you will often have experienced the greatest spiritual falls of your life just previous to and while going off the edge. The sooner you spread your wings the better.
While the falcon was at lower heights one day, I was positioning my camera to film his activities, and became so amused that he was exchanging glances with pigeons sitting on the same perch, that I forgot to press the button to start filming. A pigeon actually looked back over his shoulder at the falcon, sitting beside him, and did a double take before putting some space between himself and the predator. The falcon appeared to be more curious than hungry, and I fully believe he was unaware that he was sitting beside the very bird species that would soon become his regular source for dinner. This one pigeon on the other hand was very aware what he was. It was only when I reached to review my footage that I realized I hadn’t caught it on tape. But it stays in my mind as a reminder, that when you can’t fly you are in a place where you find food and gain strength for the journey. And possibly learn more about what your spiritual food source actually is. If we are sitting “smack dab” in the middle of our food and don’t know to eat it, we will remain spiritually hungry. LOL
Our Loving Father pushes us off the edge to depend on the Spirit, which gives freedom from the earthly bonds, and if we wait upon the Lord, we are renewed in our faith. We better be ready to spread our wings out flat and catch that wind. Then, we are able to mount up with wings as Eagles and by learning to trust in it, to walk and not faint….
I know I recently posted about flying like the eagle, but I think it is a two-part message. We so concentrate on the soaring part that we my not realize that it is from the edge that we learn to fly. But while learning, there may be a tumble and a time for food and healing before we actually get to the heights. Or - that we must go to this place between flights.
I do so wish I had the video of that pigeon looking over his shoulder at that falcon ---looking back in my direction---- and then jerking his head back so fast to look at the falcon. He wanted to see if he really saw what he thought he saw, sitting right behind him!!!! You would soooo laugh. Why there’s a whole story of how the devourer can show up and just sit on our perch, without us knowing, until he is ready to eat us up, in that story. Well, maybe another day. LOL
Why would God push us off the edge? Why does He allow these excruciating experiences in our life that leave us feeling alone and isolated, bruised and afraid to attempt to ride on faith again? It is because when we learn to fly, we escape the bonds of earthly things, and learn that being free is to be a little closer to His world. In His world, you have no attachments to this world. One day when we are totally free from this world we will "fly" to where He is. But it is about the ease of living in spiritual freedom. Not a world of being bound to things we have to do to please God.
Lori recently reminded us that Christ said to take his yoke because it was easy and light. That verse grounds the concept. There is a yoke, but not a bondage. There’s a difference. We are linked to and dependant upon God. Yes we can fly anywhere, but it is not in our best interest to go sit among the pigeons, nor is it wise to dive into the water if you are a falcon and not an eagle, nor should we think we can stay aloft with the clouds forever without coming closer to earth for food and shelter. We must not fly in the storm. Freedom has its boundaries. Flying must be learned in tandem to God.
Eagles gather when possible at night, to find shelter close to one another. They fly from the roosts at about 7:00 am to go hunting breakfast, but they usually fly off the roost one to three at a time and go separate directions. Raptors generally don’t fly to heights until well after dawn when the atmosphere warms and the thermals rise. If we fly where the Lord does not offer the support and guidance, without food, rest, fellowship, and support, we will just be flapping our wings. We go it alone with His help every day, if we are well equipped for the journey. But, if I am acting like a vulture, smelling like a vulture, eating like a vulture, I can’t gather with the Eagles at night.
“When I said: My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.” Psalms 94:18
Read carefully the full context of this verse in three versions. Vss 11 – 22. Vs. 13 says God gives rest from adversity; vs. 22 says God is our rock of refuge. These allude to being at a place of learning…a place where God is drawing the writer to the edge where he has not yet “learned to fly.” Or a place to which he returns for the wisdom and strength the Lord has waiting. Vs. 21 is a foreshadowing of Christ in his darkest hour. Can you see the writer of this Psalm longing for something, for escape from the vulture life?
Thank you, O' Lord for your merciful freedom, that once it is learned, one never wants to go back and live only under the law. Yet thank you for the instruction and definition the law gives, to help me remember what kind of bird I am. Thank you for the rock, the perch to which I return, never again afraid of my darkest hours, knowing that when the morning comes, I can fly. Thank you for its place of refuge, food and fellowship, from which to view the big picture. And thank you for always being my tandem partner. Give this blessing to someone who needs it Lord. Teach someone to fly. AMEN
At the Vatican, there is a unit of soldiers who have for hundreds of years, protected the Popes. They are called the Suisse Guard. Their uniform still conforms to what was worn when soldiers only had swords, shields, bows and arrows, and cat of nines on chains as basic weapons. But the narrator on the History Channel who was telling about them in recent airings, said to not be fooled by the costume like appearance. These are the best of the best, trained in the Suisse Army as sharp shooters, snipers and experts in the use of all the best weaponry. You see they know that it isn’t their uniform with which they fight.
Granted the military today which fights in deserts, chooses a uniform that helps them blend into the desert. Uniforms of recent past wars, needed to camouflage the soldiers in forested circumstances, and would be shades of green. If you are a soldier, you know you will be dressed in a uniform of some kind. So it is with Christians. We have probably all heard about dressing in our spiritual armor. Most of us sang the song, “I’m In the Lord’s Army” since we were children, followed by the sermon about how to dress in the spiritual armor.
Military, Police, FBI, CIA, DEA, Border Patrol, and security agencies of all kinds are trained to use the weapons that will be most effective in the situations where their services are needed. But how effective would they be in an actual situation, which called for their active defense, if they went in with only their uniforms and intensive training? No weapons or ammo, just uniforms, armor and training. They could stand ready for months, years, and look really ready if they were not asked to prove themselves. It would be difficult to know if they were actually prepared or not at all prepared, if there were no proving grounds. What if the time came, that we needed them, and they went rushing in with only their uniforms and training, shouting, “We are ready, bring it on?”
They would be slaughtered. Cause the other side would care nothing at all about how big a show they could put on marching, or doing dress maneuvers. They could even be carrying weapons, but without the ammo and the ability to use it, showing up would be to no avail.
So it is with Christian battles. We must have our training: scriptures, a few exercises along the way, Christian teachers, and people wise in the ways of the enemy sharing the enemy’s secrets with us. We need our whole armor. We must dress in uniform, the proper attire to protect us as we enter the task, whether it is war or just security. But when we come up against Satan’s worst attacks, if we don’t actually use the tools that God gave us, Satan’s army will demonstrate the powers they yield, thinking they can scare us into shut down or flee mode. In the Psychological circles it is called, fight or flight. With Satan we tend to be all flight.
What are our tools? - Two significant ones. Aside from protecting our mind and body with the armor, we must go in with weapon and ammo at the ready.
On a couple of occasions in the Old Testament, God chose only 2 men, or whittled the great armies down to smaller and smaller groups to go to battle for the Israelites. God had pleasure in showing us David who faced his attackers alone, with total reliance on God. When the Israelites walked around and around Jericho, God fought their battle for them. They did not go in wielding uniforms or armor or weapons, because God wants to make the point that anytime we do battle with spiritual beings, it is never our battle to fight. It is never "we" who are able to bring the enemy down. However, God will use us to be the David through which He makes the Goliaths fall.
We must always stand before the scariest, monsters in our lives, (and I am talking people here, who threaten or seek to destroy us or our loved ones,) knowing our scriptures, knowing our enemy, dressed in the full armor. Those are the basics of belonging to the “army,” being a soldier, etc. But you never defeat the enemy until you use your weapons:
Go into battle, boldly saying, “Greater is He that is in me, than *he that is in the world" -*small letter, he. See who is on your side. Who goes before you in power? Whose power is greatest? By whose authority do you do battle? Who is your leader? Do you believe He is greater? Who is trying to make the biggest boom, to scare you…? Satan’s Angels will do the scariest things!!! -Sneaky, malicious things that cause fear. Ask yourself, who is the liar? Who silently stands by with the most powerful weapons? The Spirit. Cause he is carrying the deadliest weapon on earth. The Blood of Jesus, which was shed in our stead.
If God can be for us, who can be against us? Trust the Blood to hold the most authority of anything in your arsenal. There is no weapon more powerful. Claim it. Use it in prayer to subdue the enemy. Use the verse Greater is He, to remind us who is most powerful, who stands in the gap, who is keeping us. It is to keep our mind stationary on the truth, and not be fooled by a power less than the Almighty God, just because it is making he most noise. Claim the blood, quote the scripture, *bind the evil, tell it where to go. And it must obey. Then ask God to heal the memories and help you not to yield to the fear again.
USE YOUR WEAPONS. Don’t expect to dress like a soldier but never use the weapons if you find yourself in the heat of battle. Nothing but proper use of your weapons will do you any good. Put a stop to the evil one making power plays in your life.
The following is a cute song about the trickster on the prowl, by Fernando Ortega. Full of symbolism and truth. Beware, it opens loudly, and it immediately aludes to how we get so involved in enjoying life that we sometimes aren't aware of the predator. Cats who haven't come in for safety, want nothing more than to come in to safety when they find the prowler is near by. I hope you enjoy it, and take it with a grain of salt.
WHEN THE COYOTE COMES - by Fernando Ortega.
I also found the Fire Power Ministries' SCHOOL OF DELIVERANCE to be interesting. In a way the list of things she says to repeat to yourself seems over the top, but her point is to renew your mind to turn automatically to your assurance the blood is the most valuable tool of warfare we have. I especially like #25 on her list. She gives 57 ways to say to ourselves...God took care of everything on the cross, and the worst evils come under submission to Christ's best gift - His Blood. Overkill, or the best weapon when you are alone and afraid? If you ever need it, you will know for sure.
The most joyful way I know to remind myself of this truth, is the old song: Power In The Blood. (by Lewis Jones, 1899.) The chorus says - "There is power, power, wonder working power, in the blood, of the Lamb. There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lamb." Sometimes our pastor would have us sing every verse and then repeat the chorus 2 or 3 times. He also had us sing it doubling the number of times we said Power quickly: "There is pow'r, pow'r, pow'r pow'r, wonder working power...etc." Why? To get it into our heads. To make us think of it first when we come up against the darkest battles in life. To help give us confidence, and help us remember we are walking containers for the all powerful. And if Satan makes you feel like you are not... just bring up the blood. Use it like a weapon!
It is not a magic wand, a cute game, or mere symbolism. Jesus isn't a cartoon super hero. His power is real Power!!!!!
I personally believe that it is very important that we get to the place that we trust in this power to the point that we can do like Jesus did - and quietly, one time speak the Word, and insist that the evil ones obey. No scary stuff, just quiet submission to the blood's real power. When we bind them with that power, and say you can't come back to bring more worse than yourselves, because I include them in the power of the blood, then we are finally using our faith, believing that Christ died for a purpose. We are making a better, simpler, healthier, happier life full of the good gifts of God. The repititions are only for us. To bolster our faith, to combat our fears. They have no more power over evil than speaking it once in faith.
Father I claim that Blood, over this post and all who would read it. And to their family members and friends. Grant us faith to allow you to be all powerful in every aspect of our lives. Help us use the weapons you gave us wisely. AMEN
*"...Peter, upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give thee the keys to the kingdom of heaven ...whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shalt be bound in heaven...." Matthew 16:17-19.
(ck out the old testament ministry of binding things with a scarlet cord which is the fore shadowing of binding that which would harm us with the blood. Use a concordance, and follow the scriptures. )
Have you ever rested on a blanket on a beautiful day and watched the clouds roll by? Today I was discussing some issues with a very wise person in my life. I told her that I was frustrated with myself for getting anxious when life is too demanding. She introduced me to a new way of viewing stress in our lives by knowing that, like clouds pass on by, seasons of anxiety will blow by and it’s our job to remain in the peace of the Spirit until they pass.
What an amazing idea! Too often we allow ourselves to become blown around by the dark clouds instead of peacefully lying on the blankets of grace laid out by our Heavenly Father. If we rest in the God’s faithfulness when our lives become too much, the stressful season will pass according to the Lord’s will.
Jesus explains this point in Matthew 11:28-30 when He says,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Romans 5:3-5 says,
“We also rejoice in our sufferings; because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hears by the Holy Spirit, who he has given us.”
Billy Graham said, “Only the Holy Spirit can give us peace in the midst of the storms of restlessness and despair. We should not grieve our Guide by indulging in worry or paying undue attention to self.”
Certainly some storms are stronger and last longer than others, but if we focus on the grace that a relationship with God affords, we will endure these times with a peace that surpasses understanding. It’s much easier said than done. It takes perseverance in attitude and a constant renewing of the heart and mind, but this endurance in hardship secures our emotional victory.
My Prayer: God, thank you for words that inspire me to look at things a new way. I choose to rest in the comfort of your Holy Spirit today and ask you to pour your peace around me as I watch stressful seasons blow by like the clouds. Remind me to pay attention during hard times so that I may minister to others later. I praise you for providing the hope that comes from running the race with perseverance. Thank you Jesus, for being the perfect example of finishing well. In Jesus’ Name!
i am really grateful for God's blessings on the USA and for the freedoms we have every day that are so easy to take advantage of and forget. What i don't want to lose focus on and forget, are the things that this country was founded on—things that were written in songs and poems long ago:
• In God we trust •
• I pledge allegiance ... one nation under God ...•
• God bless America •
• Our fathers' God to Thee, Author of Liberty, To thee we sing, Long may our land be bright, With Freedom's holy light, Protect us by thy might, Great God, our King •
• His truth is marching on •
• God Bless the U.S.A •
• America! America! God shed His grace on thee •
• In God is our trust •
When we acknowledge God in the gift of freedom, He continues to protect this country. What has happened though, over the years, is that God continues to be taken out of the decision-making process of this country, out of schools and public places ... Those who choose not to believe are trying to take God out of everything—and when we, as Christians follow suit, i believe our homeland security is at risk. There is no peace and no love outside of God. So i encourage you to pray for this country and our leaders, and most importantly, those who don't believe in Jesus.
While we are on the subject of freedom, i just wouldn't feel right not mentioning the freedom we have in Christ. My friends, God sent His only son to the cross to die for our freedom—freedom from a life and eternity spent without Him in darkness and in pain. He loved us SO much that He would rather die for us, a painful death, than to let us die without Him.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.—Galatians 5:1
Knowing Jesus is our free ticket to freedom and an abundant life—and to an eternal life spent with Him in the gloriousness of heaven. It's important to know that America may not always be free, but once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are free forever from the bondage of sin.
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. —John 8:36
There is so much truth in the Word of God that can set us free, if freedom is what we desire.
Jesus said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." —John 8:31-32
Father, i praise you and thank you for the freedom of the USA. Thank you Lord, for protecting us and our country and for those who fight every day for our freedom and safety—Lord, may you grant them extra blessings on this day. God i pray for our leaders, especially those who are far from you, that they will turn to you for wisdom on how to keep this country free and as a land flowing with your blessings. Father, most of all, though, i pray for those who don't know the freedom you have to offer. i pray for those who are a slave to sin. Lord I pray you will stir their hearts and give them a glimpse of the cross and what true freedom looks like so that they will not spend eternity away from you. Lord, i pray for those of us who know your freedom, that we will be grateful every day for the sacrafices of Your Son, Jesus. And, God, i pray that we, as Christians, will step out on the front lines to preserve your freedom and to fight for the freedom of others and their salvation. Amen.
Recently I was chatting with two Godly women and one said, “Sometimes I feel so alone in my walk with the Lord.” Those words really struck a note with me because I can relate to feeling like an alien on earth trying to maneuver through this life and figuring out how to walk like a Christian woman should.
You see, when I accepted Christ ten years ago at the age of 28, I began the process of retraining my thoughts and actions. There was so much to alter after 28 years of destructive thought patterns. Along with that, some of my friends from the earlier part of my life quietly walked away from our friendship because of the changes they saw in my life. While I now remember that season as a growing time because I learned how to be comforted by the presence of the Lord, it was very hard to experience.
As I study the life of Jesus, I recognize that His life was that of an alien on earth. He was born the most perfect-imperfect birth to a virgin in a stable. Jesus lived a simple life but always went against the popular ideas in words and actions. He was criticized by religious leaders and hung out with sinners yet He was without sin. Even Jesus’s death was brutal, but He didn’t call out or fight back.
The author of Psalm 119 verse 19 says,
“I am a stranger here on earth....”
I Peter 2:11-12 says,
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
I read a prophetic word this morning In Small Straws in a Soft Wind by Marsha Burns that said:
Many of you, My people, are approaching a turning point in which there will be a decided departure from what has been your accepted normal. When you are faced with change, I will give you the grace and guidance to move forward in strength and the power of My Spirit if you will trust Me. At this time you must be willing to let go of what was in order to grasp what is to be, says the Lord. Press on to obtain the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus.
Christians are not supposed to necessarily fit in here on earth. When we are chasing after God, we should expect that people will see us as weird, strange, or “Jesus freaks.” We will do things differently than the world in all aspects of our lives and could very possibly be persecuted for it. The good news is that when we, aliens, are taken to our leader, we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
My Prayer: Oh Lord, today I lift up those who feel alone here on earth because of their faith. I pray for the encouragement of the Holy Spirit as we continue with our work. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for assuring us of the victory. Jesus, we thank you for your sacrifice and for bearing the burdens of our sins on the cross. Strengthen us as we press into you, Lord. We look forward to the prize of heaven one day. In Jesus name!
" Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."