Archive | March, 2018

Imagine Easter

31 Mar

“It is Finished”.

Look up at the Cross, look at Him, The One that has suffered unimaginable pain. Hold the crown of thorns in your hands and imagine them pressed into your brow, your scalp. Imagine nails being forced through your palms, through your feet! You feel the need to push yourself up so your hands, nailed outstretched don’t feel the full brunt of your upper weight, but your feet can’t move without searing pain. Your body is bruised and ripped from the beatings.The wind and the sun beating down on you as people yell up with words of hate.

He said He holds all the power to stop it , yet He finished it. He doesn’t just die quietly, but rather He cries out, begging God on behalf of His tormentors. “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they are doing”.

Imagine looking up at your son on that cross. Longing to stop this, longing for him to die to end his suffering. Your heart stops beating for a moment.

Imagine sitting in a room with all that knew him, trying to make sense of all that just ceased in such a horrific way.

So unsure of what you were waiting for, what was to come next. The questions creeping up, along with fear and mourning. What next? Did it all just end? He told us what would happen but nothing is happening yet, will it? Was it real?

The women come running to tell you that the tomb is empty? Empty? How can that be? What’s going on?

Imagine seeing this room and looking into these hearts with compassion at their weakness. Suddenly! He is there with you. Your fears gone in an instant. Gone. He has returned. Overwhelming Joy fills your heart as the tangible exists, the relief, the love, the intensity of all your fears and anxious thoughts subside, all that worry for nothing.

Easter week from The Last Supper until Christ leaves and the Holy Spirit enters their hearts, is such a powerful story of love, promise, redemption and hope.

He rose on that third day. For you. He suffered all that agony for you. He loves you with a love that is not found within a human heart. A love so pure, and sacrificial.

There is not one creation that wasn’t lovingly created by God himself.

He didn’t just watch or allow His son to die,He arranged and made it happen. Because He loves you. He loves even those that will never love Him in return.

Who can define that kind of Love? Love that doesn’t begin and love that never ends.

All the religions that respect Jesus as a teacher, forget that Jesus said He would do all this ahead of time and that He is the only way to Heaven. He either is exactly that, the son of God, our redeemer, or -He was a liar. Nothing less.

Who would do that for you? Who would you do that for?

You, are accepted, restored, pursued and bought by the blood of this Easter story, our Lord and Savior

No matter what your story has been. Amen

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Betrayed

29 Mar

“For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born. “ Mark 14:21 NLT

Wow! This jumped off the page from my devotional.
This passage is one small one from a very powerful chapter. The Last Supper. I have thought about this all day.  I discussed this with a couple of wise friends.
Easter is such a powerful, redemptive, hope-filled, thoughtful time. What better time is there to discuss the importance of salvation? I am going to do my best to share my thoughts on this during this Holy Maunday Thursday

My first thought is this: Our lives are mapped out long before we are born. God creates each of us. Judas was created, for his purpose. His purpose was to betray Our Lord.

It is so hard for me to think that some people are not called. Some people just live in this world and never go to heaven. We want to think that everyone does. It’s painful to really sit and think there was a disciple bound for the Lake of Fire for all eternity.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
In Luke 13:24, he said “ Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.

My second observation is this: Jesus loved Judas. He knew he would betray him and loved him, his enemy, as the perfect example for us.

It isn’t enough to just say it,  you must love the Lord with all your heart and also, you must love your neighbor as yourself.

This includes the Judas in your life. Yes, even your Judas.  Jesus loved Mary and he loved Judas. There is just no other word’s to say about that.

In my wish to see all things be loving and wonderful  and everyone to be blessed and know Jesus, even those that have harmed me; In my heart that is more jaded, more cautious, (I am still me under it all), this heart absolutely loves people and breaks to think of anyone going to hell.

I hope there is a time for all before that time, in that time where every knee will bow,that maybe there is an opportunity for redemption.  Judas knew who Jesus was and I pray he repented before he took his life.

If not, then his whole  purpose was to know Jesus, to betray him, but never to be with Him in heaven. This breaks my heart, even as I trust God with wisdom and knowledge and compassion I can’t begin to know.

Lord, let me never forget and always remember, You loved me before I ever repented. You loved your enemies and those that would betray you. You are the lover of our souls Lord, help us to love our Judas’ as much as we love our Mary’s.  Amen. 

 

 

My Disobedient Heart

27 Mar

Reflecting on my day yesterday. It was one of those days from the get go,some trials. What I want to share about my day mostly, is this.
I am an imperfect Christian. My faith in Him, even though I know who He is, that He is in control, I still falter in my trust in Him.

I panicked for a bit yesterday. I did not go to His word, I asked for prayers, I talked about it. I got a little lost in it.
I have learned that Satan can attack us, but he only has the power we give to him. What we allow to rock us. We all do it, but when you know that no matter what the world throws at you, God is our strength and He is all powerful, you have peace. And when you’ve known that peace, you seek it quickly.
I can start my day in the word, strong in faith, close to Him, obedient and within 10 minutes of leaving my home, we can be lost. We judge ,we are impatient ,we gossip or we take back something we already surrendered to Him, not trusting in His timing.
There is absolutely no perfect Christian. Truly the only one that was perfect died on the cross and we follow Him. We are Christ followers and we will never be perfect like him. We are sinners, we are human. We are not righteous on our own, we are not Holy without Him.
How I ended my day was in the word, which brings me back to peace. God speaks to me through His word. He reminds me of who he is and who I am not. I can know the word, I can know where to go for that peace, but if I reach out for prayer, talk about the problem and do not spend time in God’s presence and read His word, then I’m just spinning my wheel. I had forgotten the source of my peace. I had forgotten the source of power to heal and correct what is wrong; The One that calms my soul.
Today as I read Joshua 4, God had the Israelites stack stones at the Jordan river, to remind them of what God did for them. That is what the word of God, written down for us, is. That is also what the cross is for us. It is the reminder of what God has done, what Christ has done, for us. What His life meant and what His death accomplished for us.

It is our ego, our pride, our sin nature that makes us waver in and out of obedience. We are just so weak in our day to day focus. We need to be reminded that God doesn’t change, not ever. We do. We draw near, we take back the wheel, we draw near, we fall away. It is all day, every day, this cycle of disobedience, back to humility and back to obedience.
As I grow in faith, it takes less time to get back to Him that centers me and calms the waters, true, but I still do it daily. We are having to die to ourselves daily.
He knew this about us. I believe if we didn’t do this, if we were obedient all day, we would take pride in it and in the end, this would be our disobedience. I honestly think this is an important part of our faith. To know we are never going to not need Him. If you don’t pull back, you have nothing to surrender, and that act of worship, humility, awareness of your need for him, is vital. We need Him. He doesn’t need us. At all. But He pursues us and loves us.
As we walk through Easter week, know that no matter where you are at in your belief of God, that He is the same for me as He is for you. He is who He is. He doesn’t change. His love and forbearance of a girl like me, is exactly what His love and forbearance is for you. It all just depends on where you meet Him. I am as in need of Him and of repentance as you are. As we all are.

Truth is, I am weak and needy, as we all are. He died for our sin, He longs for our hearts to rest in His hands. The cross is our stack of 12 stones. The cross that Jesus died on, is our reminder of all He did for us, what He promises to us, and mostly how much He loves us.
One day, every single knee will bow, regardless of whether you ever knew this or not. One day we will all stand before God, imperfect, sin nature and all. Will you be recognized? Will he say,” I know you! “ That is the truth. He wants to know you.

What does that mean for you?

“It was there at Gilgal that Joshua piled up the twelve stones taken from the Jordan River. Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “In the future your children will ask, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘This is where the Israelites crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’”

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭4:20-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Right Turn

17 Mar

“God is leading you away from danger, Job,to a place free from distress.He is setting your table with the best food.But you are obsessed with whether the godless will be judged. Don’t worry, judgment and justice will be upheld.”
Job 36:16-17

Bam!I relate so much to this.

I have prayed many a prayer this past year for God to right the wrong, for justice to be served. I have cried out to God in judgement several times and every single time, God instead turns it back on me.

As I crossed the bridge one day, I was hurting and said to God,”there will be a reckoning, he will have to answer to this!” The response was instant and not what I thought I would hear. “Do you want to have to answer to all of your sins? Is this what redemption looks like? Cry out for his redemption instead and I will hear your prayer”.

God never lets me wallow in my sinful thinking, even when I want to wallow, but truth is truth and it can’t only apply to part and not to all. God is who God is, all the time, for all of us. He draws near to us when our hearts are broken, when we suffer. He does not, however, encourage wrong thinking.

In Job 36-Elihu is trying to breath the nature of God back into Job.
This is what James meant in 1:2-4 when he tells us to consider it joy when we go through trials. Paul also talks about this in Romans 5:3-5.

God isn’t saying we should be happy when we suffer, but we should rejoice when we suffer in that God is still God and He is still in control.Trust in Him that His way is perfect. He still has the power and always has the best plan for our lives. We may not recognize it right away, or we may not get to walk it out until heaven, but he will and does bless our obedience. Nothing done to us, is about us, how we respond to it, is.

I feel God is pressing this on us. I believe the time is now, for all of us to examine our lives for the un-forgiveness that is there.

When we hold on to resentment, we hurt ourselves. We deprive ourselves of our blessings in our wish for justice. When we hold on to any un-forgiveness, it is a twofold loss. When we focus on what someone did, no matter what that is and when we want to see it made right, or even for them pay for that, we miss out on all that God wants to bless us with. Not only do we miss out on the fullness of what God is trying to bless us with, it also gives Satan an advisory role in our spirit.

Satan will use that place of un-forgiveness to torture us, to manipulate us and to steer us in the wrong direction. It is a powerful, powerful weapon we hand to darkness to use against us, to harm us further. Un-forgiveness is a separation from God. Plain and simple. It is an act of rejection of God, of all the cross was. It is embittered, defiant and self-defeating. We put shackles on our heart, our soul, and our mind when we harbor resentment. Resentment builds and tears down all at once.

I have found in my soul, as I heal and grow in wisdom, that sometimes the spirit of un-forgiveness roots back to the beginning of our lives, where we formed our means of self-protection, our perceptions of how the world works, how people work and our place in it. We learned where our power lies.

Without God, we thought it was in ourselves. Some people have walked with the Lord their whole lives, but this seed can still be firm within them. Our own created demi-god of power in our journey. An Idol.

When we are shown these acts of idolatry and self-importance, and we are able to surrender them back to where they belong, that’s when we are set free, and we are healed.

Surrender is exactly where peace and joy come from. Wisdom, peace, joy and wholeness come from letting go of other’s; what they choose, how they sin, and most importantly, surrendering ourselves entirely to the perfect creator, that is actually in control anyways.

Praying for the one that harmed us is such an act of surrender. Yet, He instructs us clearly to trust Him in all things, and to pray for those that persecute us. To love our enemies. When we can love those that harmed us, not from our own love (or hate) but, from God’s love, then we know we are free indeed; Then we can know true joy, and the blessings with flow with great abundance.

This is my prayer for my brother’s and sister’s; that we pray to always have pure hearts, free from the seeds of fear, resentment, or requirements; I pray we know who we are, that we are loved, accepted and called for great purpose. To let go of all that does not serve our Father, our Savior, our calling. Amen!

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. James 3:17
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (Amp)

Forgiveness

11 Mar

“It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you”
Matthew West- ‘Forgiveness’

Forgiveness as a noun is defined simply as “the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.’

The ability to forgive (the verb) becomes far more challenging as the measure of what’s in need of forgiving is far and wide, forgetting a birthday is a far cry from murder.

However deep the wounding is, forgiveness remains the same. What’s perceived to have been done or has been to us, doesn’t matter in terms of what is required, it remains the exact same teaching. The challenge of course is on us and depends on the level of loss or hurt.

When someone harms us, causes deep wounding, takes things away that can never be replaced, the action of forgiving is far more complex, and there are so many layers that have to be processed.   Knowing we need to forgive and actually being able to do it are two different things. Knowing something, is separate from our hearts ability to grip it, let alone do it.

It is so difficult when we are asked to forgive someone that isn’t sorry, or forgive what can never be replaced.  From a place of suffering and processing naturally from a healthy way, there can come that place where we want to see justice served and we want to see some semblance of suffering like we have suffered.  This has to be recognized as our own slippery place, in a way, we are trying to be God or our wish for punishment, logical or not, can become our God, our idol. You have to guard your heart and “capture your thoughts” by not allowing your mind to dwell on it; refocusing instead on Him who forgave us all our trespasses. Trust God with the one that caused the hurt. It is His.

If we are lost in our thoughts of something, it becomes our idol instead of Him who never harms, never sways from truth, never breaks a promise.

I desperately want to have the faith of Abraham. The steady, knowing faith that believes in every promise of God without falter, not just in theory, but walking, talking, living it outloud faith.  Abraham knew even before he went to the alter to sacrifice his beloved son, that God would provide the lamb instead.

Genesis 22:8 (NIV)Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Nothing that comes to us, is a surprise to God. He has approved each test. He has also equipped us, given us our instructions as to how to process every single trial. He brings alongside of us, people that will speak this truth back to us when we need to hear it. His word is true, even if we don’t rely, believe or walk in them at all times. Psalm 18:30  says (KJV)”As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Buckler is a promise in one word. (“small, round shield used to ward off blows,” ) He is our buckler! I love this word! He is all we need. He protects us and shields us from blows. When we trust Him, no weapon formed against us can win.  His promise is justice, truth, love, mercy and holiness all wrapped up in one.  When we lean in to that and let go of hurts, let go of the free will of others and take nothing personal. When we do not give to Satan in unforgiveness, what is meant to give to God in glory and trust, His mercy is beyond enough. His goodness and tenderness replaces the hurt with amazing peace.

You are not going to forget things that have rocked you to your core, but to forgive this is not just good for you, it is a requirement of our faith. He expects us to forgive other’s, it is His instruction and our entire faith is centered on this. The Cross reminds us every day.

When we realize that nothing else matters, but who God is and says He is; That Satan can only mess with our heart and mind if we agree to let him, we can began walking out in freedom. We literally have to enter an agreement with the devil in order to believe the lies he tells us.

Scripture is very clear about who God is, who we are in Him, because we are called, because He loves us. Because of that fact, we must, must release our hurts, and those that hurt us back to Him. Forgiving what has been done and those that have done against.

Because God forgave us long before we ever said “Forgive me”.

Psalm 18:30(AMP)
As for God, His way is blameless.
The word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless];
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Lamentations 3:22-23(AMP)
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
Because His [tender] compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

Psalm 139:23-24 (TPT)

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me.
Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
the path that brings me back to you.

Hebrews 10:17(AMP)
“And their sins and their lawless acts
I will remember no more [no longer holding their sins against them].”

Hebrews 8:12(TPT)
For I will demonstrate my mercy to them
and will forgive their evil deeds,
and never remember again their sins.”

Footnotes:
The Aramaic can be translated “I will make atonement for their evil.”

John 10:27(AMP)
The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.

Jeremiah 33:3(AMP)‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.

Obedience

4 Mar

I have a mantra (James 4:7) – when my mind betrays me I repeat “1. submit (to God, )2. Resist! (Satan)3. Then! he will flee “submit – resist and breathe peace”

When reading the word or hearing a sermon – do you intent to be obedient to what you’ve heard?

I think we have to really ask ourselves where our obedience is at -our submission – is it to God, our flesh, the world, is it of the enemy, or fear, or is it our ego that we follow?

-we can’t always obey perfectly—but we must do it on purpose.

How can we be close to God, submitted to Him, protected by Him, hear Him if we are in the battle of who’s in charge- our will or His will for our lives.

We fight flesh, the world and Satan.

We also have too much abundance and distraction.

Like I said -It takes literally making a decision to be in submission and obedience- humbled, repentant.

So hard to realize that this is where true peace and strength come from but it is.

The second part of my mantra (James 4:8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

On purpose – a decision must be made- and he will reveal Himself to you.

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.””

John 14:21 NLT