Archive | February, 2014

She Walked in Faith

16 Feb

I lost my beautiful friend this week. Though I am mourning her loss, I rejoice that her time here is done. She is free from the bondage’s of this world and she is with Jesus.

I feel so blessed that for my comfort and grief, I have my faith, God’s promises, and beautiful friendships to keep my heart set straight.

There is promise in the words of our Father, Hope in our Savior and Peace in the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:18(NIV)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

John 16:22 (NIV)
22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

I want to share some inspiring thoughts on my friend: She touched lives, she loved unconditionally and she walked her talk. We are all broken, but we are all given amazing gifts, as well. Jill’s gifts were Encourager, Mercy and Giver and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit were evident in her.

Jill was so beautiful in spirit, she shone with love; His Great Love. Jill was incredibly kind, humble and she was a stinker. Jill made me laugh, and I made her laugh,what a precious laugh and wicked sense of humor she had, too. Most of all, she loved the Lord with all her heart and wanted everyone around her to feel loved. Jill was not perfect, (to me, she was) but she had flaws like the rest of us. (There is no one without fault, you will always fall short). You will never achieve wholeness until you arrive in Heaven, then you will be made whole.

My thoughts have been around who we are called to be, who we are to one another, what our responsibility to one another is and walking our faith. This world is so unkind, so unforgiving sometimes. We will be disappointed many times, by many people (there is scripture for that, as well). We are to forgive. We cannot walk this world with hate in our hearts. Hate will destroy our peace and our relationships, especially with Christ. True, we are saved from our sins by Grace, we do not pay for our sins by God’s Great Mercy, yet we are called to walk within that belief, as well. We can’t perfect it, we can never be good enough to earn our way into heaven, we can never be flawless, but we know our Savior, we know who we are called to be and we are directed to walk in that faith.

Ephesians 5:15 (AMP)
15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

This walk means you stumble,fall,and start back on your knees tomorrow. This walk means you focus on His teachings and allow Him to soften you, to take your sin from you, one by one. This walk means you allow yourself to be convicted, to learn, to grow. You let go of shame, judgement and self righteousness. You learn to walk like Jesus; obedient and with Love. You allow yourself to be transformed, little by little. You become more and more whole, more centered. You heal and then you become the light you are meant to be. You find your gifts and you share them with the world.

“As a believer, your question is no longer what do I want to do, but rather What do YOU want me to do, [God]?” (Pastor Mark Ragsdale)

Jesus loved; Jesus loved everyone. Imitation is the sincerest form of gratitude and humble appreciation for our salvation.

Jill loved; Jill loved everyone.

Forgiveness

9 Feb

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In our friendships, our close relationships, when we get hurt, our first reaction is to either lash out or withdraw and lick our wounds. How many times should we be hurt by our friends, our loved ones, before we figure out we are being fools?

In Matthew 18:21-22 we hear a parable about forgiveness. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

When our sisters and brothers sin against us, cause us pain, we are instructed to forgive with God’s kind of grace. Constant and without reserve. Agape Love. Imagine a marriage with this type of love. With this forbearance and grace? (note: This does not apply to anyone that is toxic or abusive. For those we can forgive and love from afar. We do not need to be unsafe in order to follow God’s teachings. This is about friendship and blessed relationships.)

This forgiveness and grace, goes so much against the grain of our societal teachings, “Hurt me once? Shame on you, Hurt me twice? Shame on me!”

We are not perfect, and in my humble opinion, the only reason we don’t forgive is because of our own ego’s need to not be wrong or less than. To forgive means we understand that we are acceptable and lovable and worthy, even in our imperfection. It accepts that other’s are like us, imperfect.

When we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, we are showing our need to hang on to our validation that we are the victim. We are wronged. For some it can become the costume they put on to hide their fears. But Jesus died for you, He suffered terrible abuse and beatings to save you from your weakness and brokenness. You are forgiven. When you know Jesus and understand this amazing sacrifice, that you are forgiven by the Grace of His sacrifice. That you are shown true mercy and will never pay with rejection for your sin? How can you not forgive someone for the things they do to you?

We are called to love and we are given great blessings in our friendships. Lasting friendships overlook a multitude of sins and forgive over and over. Agape Love = lasting relationships. I am so grateful for God’s forbearance with me. I must exhaust Him at times; but no matter what I do or don’t do, there He is, so near and so perfect.

For Valentine’s Day start with real love, of you and your people; Agape Love. Give to all what you want in return and know, most of us never mean to hurt one another. None of us are capable of being perfect. Know this about you and about them, then just…

…Love.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 43:25-26
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Hebrews 10:17
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

Daniel 9:9
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Colossians 1:13-14
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Psalm 103:12
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Numbers 14:19-21
In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth,

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Matthew 6:9-15
“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ”

The Word is Love

9 Feb

Dear World,

Do not judge my Father or my Savior by the sins of man, we are all broken sinners, Christ followers or not. Read my Father’s words, to know Him. Talk to Him. He will show you who you are and who He is. He will give you the people you need, He will guide you. He is there and you can feel Him near. He will never stop pursuing you, because He loves you. You don’t need me to tell you these things. You need Him.

It doesn’t matter who we are, unbeliever’s, Pastor, child, newly saved or saved our whole lives; We all sin. We are, none of us, without fault worthy of judgement. God will find you exactly where you are. There is not one of us unworthy in God’s eyes.

“Jesus Loves me this I know!” You are loved, and He will find you where you are. And we are called to walk in that same Love.To walk in Love means you walk with the same Love, Grace, Mercy and Forbearance that He shows us every day.

One of the greatest mistakes we make as Christians, is to put a human unkindness to God’s words. If we warped God’s word to hurt others, are we not actually doing Satan’s work? If we sit in judgement of someone that is different from us, we can even quote scripture to prove our point, but so can satan. Scripture is meant to guide me, to teach me, with gentle reproach, with loving encouragement and hope,to validate God, not to reject, hurt or belittle.

He has pursued me with a beautiful relationship, given me scripture for me to grow in my faith, to find wisdom I don’t possess on my own,surrounded me with friendships to support me, given me Shepherds to guide me and convict me; All to help me walk in the world in a way that honors Him and shows gratitude for all I have received. Growing in faith and His Light slowly removes that ego little by little;Less of you, more of Him.

1 Corinthians 13(VOICE)
(Gifts of the Spirit, which are intended to strengthen the church body, often divide the body because members of the church elevate those who possess the more visible gifts over those whose gifts function in the background. In fact, this is the very problem facing the Corinthians. So while talking about the importance and function of these gifts in chapters 12 and 14, Paul shifts his focus to the central role love plays in a believer’s life in chapter 13. Love is essential for the body to be unified and for members to work together. Members of the body that are very different, with little in common, are able to appreciate and even enjoy others because of the love that comes when a life is submitted to God.)

13 What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. 2 What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. 3 I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts.

(Paul boils it all down for the believers in Corinth. Religious people often spend their time practicing rituals, projecting dogma, and going through routines that might look like Christianity on the outside but that lack the essential ingredient that brings all of it together—love! It is a loving God who birthed creation and now pursues a broken people in the most spectacular way. That same love must guide believers, so faith doesn’t appear to be meaningless noise.)

4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. 8 Love will never become obsolete. Now as for the prophetic gifts, they will not last; unknown languages will become silent, and the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. 9 Gifts of knowledge and prophecy are partial at best, at least for now, 10 but when the perfection and fullness of God’s kingdom arrive, all the parts will end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. 12 For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. 13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.