Tag Archives: christ follower

Light In The Dark

10 Aug

In the midst of all  the harsh realities of hard times,  we will sink, we will soar, we will say and do things out of hurt or anger and we will make mistakes. The truth is, the pain is not constant and it is only a portion of the journey. Light remains.

The beauty of having a relationship with God, in trusting Him, is knowing that this is not permanent. Having faith doesn’t stop the pain from overwhelming you at times, we are still flesh and bones and our hearts truly ache at times. This journey can be so painful. Faith is knowing, even in the depths, that you are not alone. He is suffering with you and you know this, even when you can’t find Him.   In this hurt, in this lack, you absolutely know He is there, you know this is an important time of your journey with Him, you know this won’t last.

God doesn’t cause suffering, hard things don’t happen to us because he’s an unruly, unrelenting, punishing God. Hard things happen to us because freewill exists, evil exists because sin lives in all of us, disease lives. The most amazing thing can be found in God’s living Word. The bible lays out experience after experience for what we walk through today. Not to control our response but to teach, empathize and encourage us; To guide us in hope from each trial.  Ecclesiastes says, nothing is new, and also, this too is just one of many seasons in life, this hardship.

God is faithful and He loves each life that roams this earth. He longs for all of us, knowing He will only know some of us. We are His creation and He adores us. When we embrace the life He laid out for us, we must trust that He knows where he needs us to get to,what we need to go through to get there, who is going to be touched by that. He also uses this time to minister His healing in our hearts.

There will be hard moments during these time where we don’t feel Him, where we feel lost in our sorrow or trial. Hre is still there, but there is purpose in that as well. We may be pulled deeper, we may be healed more, we may be called out on the water to trust a little more. It is in the looking back, that you see every blessing that came along just when you needed it to even if you couldn’t see it at the time.

He will slowly remove the barriers and strongholds from our past, He will show us the lies Satan tells us that attempt to deter us from healing and peace. As we suffer, we often cause ourselves to suffer more. Maybe we pick up some old legalism,that  we deserve it, that we can somehow fall outside of his grace and his mercy.  These are lies of Satan. God’s beloved Son,  promises us fully that His mercy and grace has been there every step of the way simply by believing that it’s truth.  He will not leave us,  He will not forsake us, He holds us, He guides us. He is and always has been our only true hope.

From my own journey through divorce and betrayal, my faith is assured, even in the hardest moments of all this life has brought my way. What shattered me two days ago has empowered me today. He is so gracious, so amazing like that. Peace comes for a moment and rests within me.

There comes a point as you journey through a painful time that you realize that this is your life’s path and it matters; not just for you but for others as well. We cannot be lost in the moment and lose sight that in the end, this will be a page, a chapter or even a section, but it isn’t the full story.

If you are walking with Him, I will bet that even the darkest parts had light. Praise God for that hope. The light may dim and flicker sometimes, but that light is shining bright within our soul and it is meant to be shared with the whole world.

What will your story tell?

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭39:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope.”Psalms‬ ‭119:49‬ ‭NLT

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Love Fulfills The Law

12 Jul

Romans 13:8 “8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. “

As Jesus was dying for us (because He loved us, not because we were loveable or because we loved Him) in what I can only imagine to be horrific pain, He prayed on behalf of those that wished him death. Why, pray tell, would this gentle, sacrificial Lord expect anything less than that of us? The state of our world requires us to rise by kneeling; not to attack but rather to encourage and pray together for everyone. It’s time to let go of arrogant posturing, puffed up statements of indignant self-righteousness and pride. Fighting one another. These are not the ways of The Word. These are the ways of ego.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

We are taught to encourage, pray for, band together, not against one another over policy…as satan would LOVE for us to do. If we read the prophecies…It appears to me and many that we are headed for or in the midst of end times. This should inspire you! Incite a deep desire to share the GOOD NEWS! Jesus lived and died for all Because of that sacrifice, we are shown and instructed over and over…

Standing on the Word of God begins and ends with Love. Period!

As our example, he taught from love and encouragement, He was humble and He taught. Yelling about a thing, being mean about a thing, self righteous indignation are not the humble ways of Christ. Follow His teachings. Encourage one another, forgive one another everything, love one another, build one another up, not for ourselves but for those that need so badly to know the Lord that saved us from our own sin. Love is a verb. Love is action. Love is not a feeling. The arrogance of many Christians is painful for me to witness. You are not talking about my walk with Christ. My testimony is so full of missteps and sin. I cannot, will not, point to any sin and say you are not worthy. You are wrong. How about instead we say, I am a sinner and look what this HOPE has done for me, this sinner.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I personally cannot wait to see my Savior face to face, but I also know I want to look Him in the eye and say, I lived and loved your people, I reached out to those that didn’t know you, I remained open to all so all had the chance to know YOU! It’s not about laying down or not defending the Word of God. It is about living out the Word of GOD. The Word of God calls out arrogance and haughtiness over 200+ times calling it an abomination. There is a small line between Righteousness and Self Righteousness. We must reflect on the entirety, not pieces. We know, behavior follows salvation. It isn’t possible the other way around. HE is ALL KNOWING, All Powerful. The living word will never die. God doesn’t need you to war over it, He needs you to teach it, walk it, share it. But mostly, you owe it to Christ to love from it, with it, and through it! Don’t be a clanging bell! So much of Proverbs is the educational part of how to be humble and strong in the Word at the same time. The beatitudes speak of the gentle and meek. Jesus taught us the way to defend is to allow the attack and Love. (Sermon on the Mount) Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! [Isa. 61:2.] Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! [Ps. 37:11.] Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! [Isa. 55:1, 2.] Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! Blessed (happy, enviably fortunate, and spiritually prosperous–possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! [Ps. 24:3, 4.] Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God! Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before

A New Song

16 Apr

Sunshine upon my face, the raindrops have gone away
It feels so good to be free
With You I’ve found a way, to overcome all the things
That hold me down, that keep me down away from You
~Caleb Rowden

Another plane, another journey.

As I listen to my music on this flight, I reflect on the many flights I would spend with my head pressed against the window, tears streaming down my face. It was dreaded quiet time, forced time in my head, a place I spent as little time as possible in that season.

Reflecting as lyrics of praise lift me up and fill me with my now ever present peace; I realize music has always been here, season to season, from sad songs to dance. These days my genre of choice is christian music, which also reflects where my mind is at these days.

What a journey this has been. What a ride the past 6 years have been. Broken to new, lost to so sure, sorrow to joy.

My heart was broken back then. I had no love in my life. Not even for myself.
How great is the love I found in that loveless state? Crazier still is that I found the Love of all Loves when I fell in Love with Jesus.

To be sure, the journey was still mine to walk, the valleys were still there and I had to walk through them. But! He brought such amazing friendships to walk beside me. Some to challenge me, some to teach me and some to encourage me. The deeper I went in my faith, the deeper those God-inspired friendships went, teaching me about abandon, trust and faith.

Though I knew His greatness and power, though I had walked through great darkness at times only to be so incredibly blessed on the other side. Though I could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside me at time…I still forgot. I still panicked, still doubted.

What I never want to forget is that during the hardest moments, that is when I knew He was beside me; I grew so calm during the hardest moments in my walk. Music is a great reminder. A song can take me back to a place. Like now.

I find it inspiring to look back, to see what I have walked through, how God’s faithfulness never ceases and He fulfills every promise. People cannot do that. We are just not perfect enough.

I didn’t become better, or righteous, I simply surrendered it all; My hurt, my sense of failure, my lack of hope, my disappointment in people, my self-sufficiency, my self-blame and self loathing. I was empty.

It was then that I was able to let go and let God begin to change me. Not the people around me, not my circumstances, not give me everything I wanted but to change the way I saw the world, change the way I processed life and emotion, change my awareness.

I began to have moments of super natural understanding, which goes so much deeper than anything I could do myself.

My sinful nature is still with me. Certain sin fell away when love replaced the destructive lies. I believe without our sin, we would forget our need for humility and Christ. We will never be able to be sinless. Only He could do that.

Singing a new song, listening to a new genre, there are no more tears on planes. There is no fear. There is hope. I am not always happy, but I am always hopeful. Life is really hard at times, but this is temporary. A drop in the bucket of eternity and the fulfillment of the greatest promise ever!

That’s my song from here on out.

Psalm 96
1 Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

What Guilt Could Not Do

3 Apr

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face, just don’t turn away

~Tenth Avenue North – By Your Side

Easter has always been my favorite time of year. It symbolizes the transformation from winter to spring, with the promise of summer. The days are longer, the sun shines brighter and the coats get put away.

I have always felt this newness to everything.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize that the hope and newness was exactly what Easter is about. I just didn’t quite grasp the full measure…yet.

My catholic upbringing made me aware of God and Jesus. I loved and accepted Jesus my whole life. But the religion of it clouded what He taught and what his death meant for me, what Grace was and that hope of salvation for me.

I learned guilt and shame in my faith walk. I learned that I was never going to be good enough for heaven and probably would just barely make purgatory. I couldn’t stop sinning. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I could not be. When I would be judged, it went very deep within my shame.

As I became a mother, I was keenly aware of God. He kept me safe and strong in times of need. I sought Him constantly. Trying so hard to find Him in my life. What I still did not understand was His love for me, His desire for me.

I was in awe of His creation and His Holiness, I just could never seem to connect the dots, to “get it”. I was trying so hard to be good, to be perfect, to earn my way. I worked so hard at being a “good person”, to be a “good christian”.

In the blink of an eye, everything came crashing down at once. I was humbled by the sheer loss of it all; Beautifully shattered.

From that place of humility and rawness, God slowly showed me what Grace was. He taught me so methodically, it is only in the hindsight that I see His plan unveiled.

What guilt could not do, complete failure and sorrow did. Suddenly, at the end of me, from my dark and hopeless place…I gave up on me; I quit. In that moment of I can’t do this anymore, there was nothing left. I had no fight, no pride, no ego, no hope left.
Finally, I was able to look up and be saved. I was the veil that stood between me and Grace.

In my moment of despair, I surrendered.

The peace that settled on my heart that day is the joy and light in me that people comment on all the time.

The lyrics to the song (above) remind me…Heaven has been won, not by me, but by Jesus. I can’t earn it.

Grace and Mercy are ours for the asking. Being saved is the beginning of a journey. Easter is now about new life, new hope. I am in awe of the sacrifice for me and how much He Loves me to suffer so greatly for me. When you truly surrender, you allow God to guide your life, transform your thoughts and you begin to see your purpose here and to love people from His eyes. The best feeling in the world is looking at you and loving the you He created.

His Mercy, His Love and His unending Grace…are ours for the asking.

If you want to know that love and grace…If you understand that you are a sinner and long to know hope…accept Him. Pray this prayer and ask Jesus into your heart.

“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior”.

Then let Him guide your heart. (A bible based church is so helpful and important in sustaining that journey)

This is what Paul said about religion vs. faith:

Galatians 2:17-21 MSG

17-18 Have some of you noticed that we are not yet perfect? (No great surprise, right?) And are you ready to make the accusation that since people like me, who go through Christ in order to get things right with God, aren’t perfectly virtuous, Christ must therefore be an accessory to sin? The accusation is frivolous. If I was “trying to be good,” I would be rebuilding the same old barn that I tore down. I would be acting as a charlatan.

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

Amen.

The Call to Surrender

12 Jul

My beautiful, fellow Christians. I have so much to share with you. This is what God has shown me in the last few weeks, with all this avalanche of hard times, scripture and questions coming at me left and right. We are being strengthened and called to keep our eyes firmly on Him. He is showing up and He is doing a great thing in us. He is preparing us for something big. I see this.
This is the season of hardship. I do believe we are being put to the fire to get us on the same page of surrender right now. We are not under attack from Satan, we are being honed by our loving Father; pruned and honed. Our questions, if we seek Him, will be answered. If we ask for and seek the wisdom He is waiting for us to seek,it will be ours. Being put to the fire, is difficult. Dustin, my pastor, once prepared me for the painful process of this, quite some time ago. It IS painful, but he gave us The Holy Spirit, to soothe our troubled hearts and quiet our troubled minds.
He gave us The Word, the beautiful Living Word that will give us instruction during this time of hardship. Seek the truth, choose your close friends wisely, they will sharpen your knowledge and your walk, with great love.Let them. He gave us fellowship. Seek it, find it, let other’s know you need prayer and ask how you can pray for them. If we are praying for other, we tend to not feel our hardship quite so deeply. He gave us His promise. To love us even as he puts us through hard times.
I am coming through to this eye opening,understanding and calm. This, what I am feeling, is a different knowing. This is peace that surpasses understanding, but with a deep sense of purpose. I feel equipped and prepared for what comes next. I don’t know what that is, but it is coming. I feel it. Pull together, set aside ALL the things that don’t matter, and ask Him to whisper in your heart..

Father, I am yours, and you are mine. Ready my mind, ready my heart to be all you have placed me to be on this earth. Surround me with the Body of Christ followers. We are strong in numbers. Put our minds on the same page, removing the traces of fight and battle amongst your believers so we can walk together in unison, with love, with gentleness, with mighty supernatural strength. Prepare us for the breaking. So we can lift one another, carry one another. Fill our boats to overflowing with new believers. We are your Army, ready for what comes next. Amen.

John 14: (MSG)
The Road
14 1-4 “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.”

John 14: (MSG)
25-27 “I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

John 14: (NIV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 5:11 (NIV)
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
 let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
 that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
 and lean not on your own understanding;6 in all your ways submit to him,
 and he will make your paths straight

Hebrews 10:24-25 (MSG)
22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

Matthew 18:20(NIV)
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20 (MSG)
18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

Colossians 2: (NIV)
2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
James 1:12 (MSG)
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5(MSG)
3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Job 11:13-20 (MSG)
Reach Out to God
13-20
“Still, if you set your heart on God
 and reach out to him,
If you scrub your hands of sin
 and refuse to entertain evil in your home,
You’ll be able to face the world unashamed
 and keep a firm grip on life, guiltless and fearless.
You’ll forget your troubles;
 they’ll be like old, faded photographs.
Your world will be washed in sunshine,
 every shadow dispersed by dayspring.
Full of hope, you’ll relax, confident again;
 you’ll look around, sit back, and take it easy.
Expansive, without a care in the world,
 you’ll be hunted out by many for your blessing.
But the wicked will see none of this.
 They’re headed down a dead-end road
 with nothing to look forward to—nothing.”

Zechariah 13:9(NIV)
9
This third I will put into the fire;
 I will refine them like silver
 and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
 and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
 and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’”

Matthew 26:36-44(NIV)
Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.