Tag Archives: redemption

Blessed Lessons

22 Oct

As we journey through our lives, we will find ourselves either between trials or smack dab in the middle of one.  We can’t stop trials from happening, nor can we “snap out of it” when the very pain we feel is exactly what is meant to bring us to our knees, closer to Him.

Coming out from under darkness, from unraveling the lies, I can get very caught up in the why’s and the how’s and the what is the matter with me?  I wonder when I stopped listening to God, stopped hearing Him.  [The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (psalm 111:10) the fear of man is the beginning of folly]-Jen Wilken

When we think in terms of “our” decisions, “our” consequences, “our” pain, “our” journey,  we fool ourselves thinking we could actually stop the tide from rising.  How did I let this happen?

A friend quoted this to me yesterday. She said “ If we knew in advance, God’s plan for our lives, we would pray to be exactly where we are at, right now”.

Would I really? I pondered that question and even dreamed about it. I know the answer to most certainly to be yes. I just don’t want to suffer, none of us want to suffer.

The enemy will lie, cheat and steal to gain his footing.  “The Lion is most handsome when he is hunting for food”-Rumi

He is the one that goes before me, behind me and nothing, nothing comes to us that didn’t go through His hands.  When peace is not mine, when the storm is brewing, He whispers “Come” (Matthew 14:23)

I am grateful for Him. For all He is and does, even when I don’t see it at the time.

The truth is: When I feel alone, He brings me someone who is alone too, to share the journey together. When my enemies lie about me, He brings me truth and reminds me of all that He is and who I am in Him. When I get lost in fears , He reminds me  He is the creator of all things.

Today, I am grateful for friends that bear with my crazy long enough for me to shut out the lies of satan and help me to hear my beloved Father’s voice again.

Today, I am grateful for this loving heart he put inside of me.  I am grateful for the truth:  This loving heart that without seeking wisdom, without discernment, was so easily misled. Grateful that  in the end, this is truly a gift from God. This heart He placed in me, was able to share the broken journey of a friend.  “Blessed to be a blessing”, we are meant to share our journey; Meant to carry the heavy bucket of trial together.  (Proverbs 11:25-31 and 2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Today I am grateful for a God that has this difficult journey all mapped out regardless of how much I get in the way, for loving me even in my wrecked completeness. Grateful that when I bring to Him my bad decisions, my unholy thoughts, my wrong thinking, my lack of faith,my dishonesty, my yuck, He loves me anyways. Always brushing me off and putting me right back on His pathway.

He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalm 40:2 KJV

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The War

27 Aug

As we look back over our lives, there are many battles won and lost. This is true of every life that walks this earth.

Most wars end with deep human loss.  Like Hiroshima, an addiction or affair, or the shock of an unexpected divorce announcement; The devastation is  something you didn’t see coming, you didn’t plan for it. You are completely devastated by it and you must start from scratch to rebuild from.

The pain slowly dies, and healing begins. Scars form and memories slowly fade, changing the landscape of a life. From that destruction, growth and renewal begin; new things happen. When in this time, you are fortunate to find deeper faith, when you guard against bitterness by forgiving, this is where true miracle happens. God fulfills his promise to bestow beauty from ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) What was meant to break you becomes a part of your testimony of strength, and how much God loves you.

When we are at the bottom, when our spirit is crushed, when we cry out  to Him…He comes closer to us. (Psalm 34:18). How sweet is amazing grace as we begin to heal from that devastation and destruction.  His grace is enough, we slowly begin to heal, we forgive, we seek forgiveness and we grow. Hope builds and joy returns. Redemption.

Now, I ask you to pause and imagine what it must be like for the person that has caused significant damage to heart after heart. What of the one, always on the move, onto the next thing, hoping this is the one thing that will finally bring them happiness. What must that look like, when all they see behind them is lives tossed aside, hearts crushed by destruction? How it must feel to be that one that has to keep hiding, lying, running, always avoiding looking behind. What must that feel like?

This is the liars cycle, the abuser’s cycle, the addiction cycle. This is the cycle of unforgiveness and holes the size of humans inside hearts so lost and dark. This breaks my heart as it must break Gods. Not the gravity of the sin behind them but the distance they  keep from God Himself as He longingly holds his hand out, offering sweet redemption.

As a Christian, so desperate to walk this world like Christ did, with deep compassion and love for the broken and lost of this world, this should break your heart; Even if the bomb was dropped in your heart! This doesn’t mean we have to walk with this person, but we must offer the gift of Grace (forgiveness).

Humans want penance and a reckoning. God simply wants reconciliation.

There is only one healer that can miraculously set a person free from what must be complete hell. To be a slave to darkness and sin with no idea the freedom that salvation brings; that Jesus brings. To be so lost. We are all broken  but it is the lies of Satan himself that tells a person, they are too far gone. It is only in salvation that one can begin to see this metamorphosis take place. It is only in absolute, utter surrender.

We as the body, longingly to look like Christ, should bear deep compassion for those that will suffer in their shame and unforgiveness; never understanding the gift that is there for the asking. Jesus died and set us free from our past.

Paul (Saul) was a murderer of Christ followers. He was there in the stoning of Stephen! He was freed from that sin and shame . Paul said “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”(Hope and believing the promise)~ Isaiah 43:18 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Paul knew what the crucifixion set us free from.  There are epistles upon epistles about this very thing.
Stop letting your past keep you locked in darkness. Let Hope and Grace choose for you, None of us is righteous; Not even one.

Grace is grace and grace never ends. Nothing is too far or too much or too big for God. He just gives us more grace!  ( James 4:8)  That said, you can empty a soul of it’s past sin, but like a parked car –you are not going anywhere even if it has power. You MUST engage in a gear to move forward and reverse is the wrong direction.

Lean in, seek to understand the mercy that is in Christ, ask God to change you, to forgive you. It is only then that you can begin to heal. And accept the gift that is Christ… because my love, no one is too far gone. No one.

Here are a few great links.

A few great songs:

Listen and hear the lyrics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A0irzN9hOk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqjU2taeGrA

Todd White is a former addict turned preacher…. He is the real deal, full of hope and wisdom. Great sermons.
https://www.youtube.com/user/ToddWhiteChannel

The Truth Sets You Free

27 May

We battle with this world on a constant basis; we war with one another, we war with ourselves, we even war with God, at times. The very basis of truth in that is this: we only have one enemy, our war is with Satan.

We are victorious in Christ.

I am so far from perfect, God knows this! His forbearance of my stumbles has set the example for me to bear all things from those around me! It is a constant decision I have to make, and don’t always, obviously. In my short marriage, I learned to focus on grace and seeing the parts of my husband that were wonderful in order to not betray, reject or abandon him. Forgiveness and Grace are only possible by submitting and seeing the greater purpose, God.

In order for my husband to betray me and bring an end to our brief marriage, he had to to tune out the voice of God and believe the lies Satan told him. He had to hear Satan tell him to focus on the parts of me and our marriage that weren’t perfect. He had to, in order to betray, reject and abandon me. When we don’t fully understand our own own salvation, or how to even embrace Grace and Mercy, we simply are too vulnerable.  That is Satan, and he will follow it up with “life is too short to be unhappy”.  People don’t make us unhappy, we allow Satan to do that to us, for us and with us.

“From Lead like Jesus:Fear and Pride always separates us from God, from one another and even from ourselves. “ (EGO= Edge God Out) 

I read an article about the Lake of Fire. Revelations is a bit daunting to me, I become a bit frightened sometimes, reading it. As a sinner that struggles to trust in Jesus, Satan can seriously mess with me with that! I can go down the rabbit hole and question, am I truly saved?  Oh God, how I fear for those that walked away and rejected Him. What about those that don’t even know what is to come?  The second death of being thrown into the sea of fire, is so frightening. Thank you Lord for Grace! Please Lord, let me be an instrument of your message of hope to save people from that death!

“What hope have we for deliverance from the “second death” if not the suffering of its pains, in our place, by the Son of God? If I receive the “crown of life”, which I don’t deserve, in place of the “lake of fire”, which I do deserve, it can only be for one reason: Jesus Christ,” Rick Warren

We are not going to be thrown in to the fire because we do things wrong! We will be thrown in because we refused to believe we have been saved from the fire by Christ!

I completely believe that that mustard seed of faith is as important as my deep end of the pool is.  My deep end comes with far more expectations than an un-awakened believer or sadly, the Christian seeking redemption through rules and judgement’s of who is and who isn’t doing it right!  But, even in the deep end, I am vulnerable, I allow Satan to mess with my mind!

God doesn’t demand order, he puts the chaos into order, because we can’t. We are constant chaos.  We are so double-minded, we lie to ourselves constantly. We get tossed about.

Who among us, truly, is so focused on Heaven, that this world never causes us distress. Who is so strong in their faith that they never battle with Satan and his lies. Who? Not one of us. Some have heard so much untruth in our early lives, we were so hurt, we truly don’t know how to not believe the lies. It is far more difficult to believe we are so incredibly loved and forgiven by a perfect God, than to believe we are not worthy by a lying enemy.

Christ was tempted. He can understand our hardships and weakness because He experienced it here. He went through horrible trials, temptation, and battles. He was perfect, victorious, every single time as an example.  I see the written word of how Christ walked this world, not as the hopeful example of how I should walk, (which my whole journey leads me down that path, but never to perfection) but the submission to the one so strong and perfect that He was able to save me from my weakness and imperfection. From that perspective, I am stronger, more powerful, because He lives in me. Satan has no hold. I can’t, but Christ can.

If we don’t fully understand the Power of the Cross, the grace and mercy that comes with that, we are powerless to give it to others. Worse yet, if we don’t understand that we are saved from the lake of fire, how can we be? It is the basis for forgiveness. If we truly believe God has forgiven us for being sinners, we can forgive others. That is faith! That is obedience.

Faith is the root, the need and the core of every bit of our walk.  We are all sinful. It is horrible to me to see the depth of suffering that is to come for those that don’t believe. There are life long Christians that have not understood the power of surrender, that see obedience as a way of living, rather than a way of submitting and surrendering, they have only a mustard seed, or maybe they don’t even have that! Hope for it to be truth is submission in its own right. Doubt that the cross was enough for everyone, is not faith at all.

The wisdom of King Solomon pours out from the pages, but at the end of the day this is his summary of our purpose.

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. –Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Jesus said…Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[h]

They come to the light. They see that their actions are sinful and they need a savior. They turn to Jesus to rescue them, to save them from eternal judgement while they are still sinners! They aren’t perfect, they are humbled and worshipful. They fear God and seek to love others enough to help them to see their need for Christ. The light, The hope.

Paul tells us this truth!

 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1).

Those of us that put all of our hope in Christ, know that this world is short and the second death will come one day. Heaven is our hope! This world hurts! I can’t wait to be in the presence of Christ and to dwell in HIS house forever.

As long as I walk this world, I will need Christ and I will sin. I will stumble, I will fall, I will continually need to cry out to him in trials and need to praise Him for His blessings. I am just a mere mortal. I am weak, He is strong.  But God! I am made strong in Him.

I will never stop praying for those that can’t seem to find Him because they can’t seem to let go of self hatred. Stop trying to run from your sins, lie about your sins or even suffer or pay for your sins. Simply just tell him the truth! Simply surrender that you are sinful, that you are weak, that you can’t do it yourself and humbly ask Jesus to help you. Then… you believe you are saved. You then can stop listening to the lies that you are too far gone for God to simply forget your sins. When you ask Him to forgive you, believe that He does! Because He does!

There is not one single good church,good pastor or humbled christian that doesn’t welcome your honest questions, nor will they judge you for your sins. They will give you guidance and hope.

32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32

 

Blessed Arms

7 May

It happens without warning.  You are doing something, or look up for a second from your task and the vision hits you.

Them….Him with her; It is almost a physical blow. You are thrown off kilter and it‘s as if your mind is betraying your fragile, broken heart. You can’t breathe.

Why does this thought come to me out of nowhere? Every time I think of them together,   a piece of me dies inside. I grieve from the depths of rejection, sorrow and abandonment.  Literally, it breaks me.

At a certain point, you have to let go, say goodbye… Grieve fully and let go. Only… he isn’t dead. He just became someone you didn’t know. In an instant.  In a moment, he changed your world without warning and without a discussion. You had no say. You were duped.

BUT… God. Amen.  God leans in and whispers in your ear,” I suffer this with you. You are my beloved and I suffer beside you. Your sorrow is felt by me as well. “

The Holy Spirit holds you a bit closer. God shows off a bit brighter, more brilliantly. Jesus shows up in unexpected ways, right when you need it. He is in a friends text, a friends voice, the friend that holds us and cries with us.

Jesus mourned. He suffered terribly from betrayal, from sorrow. He knows what we suffer. He cares deeply about our suffering. We are not alone. We are never alone. He understands.

Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and stay awake and keep watch with Me” Matthew 26:38

We don’t hold people, we don’t control them.  What they do with their free will is not really within our grasp to predict or direct.

What we do have, is a Perfect Savior, He is in our hearts.  In this moment, even in this devastation,  I feel so held, so loved.  I have been alone in my life, but the truth I have walked for 7 years, is the truth that holds me so tightly now.

I am not alone.

He is with me in this sorrow. He grieves with me. He cries with me. He hold my tears in a jar.  He won’t change this. Not now. Not in this time. This may not be what I chose, but He holds it all in His hands. I just need to trust that.

And I do. And I cry. And I grieve. And I accept.

Thy will be done. Amen.

 “My eye grows dim with sorrow. O LORD, I have called on You every day; I have spread out my hands to You [in prayer].”

‭‭PSALM‬ ‭88:9‬ ‭AMP‬‬

A Case For Christmas

23 Dec

A case for Christ, this Christmas.

It isn’t easy to believe, especially if you haven’t really sought to believe. Maybe you sort of believe. That’s okay too..it’s a start.

Our sermon was founded on a study conducted by MIT Calculating Odds Of Jesus Fulfilling 8 Old Testament Prophecies! I loved the mathematical implications for Christ! I needed to share this.

This study took the specific prophecies and layed out the odds (Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies) but these were the prophecies that Jesus could not have manipulated.

“Many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah were totally beyond human control: Birth: Place, time, manner of Death: People’s reactions, piercing of side, burial Resurrection: Where did His body go? By using the modern science of probability in reference to just eight of these prophecies, the chance that any man might have lived to fulfill all eight prophecies is one in 100 trillion!
To illustrate this point: If we take 100 trillion silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they would be two feet deep. Now we mark one of these silver dollars and thoroughly stir the whole mass–all over the state. Now blindfold a man and let him travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick only that one silver dollar.

What chance would he have of picking the marked one? The same chance that the prophets would have of writing just eight of these prophecies and having them all come true for any one man if they had written them without God’s inspiration!
The chance of any one man’s fulfilling all of 48 prophecies is one in ten to the 157th power. The electron is about as small an object as we can imagine. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and tried to count them, it would take us (at 250 per minute) 19,000 times 19,000 times 19,000 years to count them.

Now mark one of them and thoroughly stir it into the whole mass. What chance does our blindfolded man have of finding the right electron? “

There is so much out there, so much attached to the name of God, man made thoughts, legalistic ideas, religions and extremes. Thoughts that can keep a person from seeking Jesus all together. Be curious.

I spent years trying to find the measure of good enough. Being self reliant, thinking religion was for the weak. Seeing the hypocrisy of Christians and scoffing. Now I get that. We find Christ where we are at, not from perfection and Christ like behavior but rather from our brokenness. For me, that was the only way I would be able to find him.

Christ isn’t always found in the behavior of Christians, but Christ is who He said He is, and He beckons and longs for ALL of us. But you must make the first step.

This Christmas, ask Him to show you. Ask Him into your hearts and let Him begin to change your life. Look at that baby and wonder about a God so loving he would become so humble to come as a small new life.

Merry Christmas.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Corningware

9 Sep

1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Living a stubborn life, a prideful life, a frustrated life, leads to chaos and hurting. We try so hard to hang on tightly to our world, to our wants, to our ego. We stubbornly don’t trust the journey to God’s hands. We wonder why we find no peace. There is no peace in the power struggles we engage in, whether they be with others, ourselves or God. With our ego, our wants, or sin.

I learned the hard way. By loss. Now I learn quickly and without much hardship. Trust is hard won but how can I not trust HIM, that changed me from the inside out? I am at peace. There is no fear. When I have moments of fear, I am reminded quickly that He is there, He is beside me, He has a plan. Let go.

I was broken. I was a control freak. Controlling (illusionment,of course) every aspect of life. Scared to death should any of the balancing act tip. I wanted to create a perfect life. For my family, for me, for my loved ones. I can go back to childhood and know exactly when this happened in me, because the proverbial “other shoe” did drop. I learned to depend only on myself. I lived in fear of abandonment. Funny how abandonment comes to those that fear it! There is some truth in projecting our fears onto our lives.

I was scared most of my life. I think too, I never felt loved and I never felt lovable. I was frustrated. I never felt as if I deserved to be cherished. I took a backseat in life, as if my life didn’t matter as much as anyone else’s. It was a lonely place in my heart. Wanting to be wanted and loved. Being told by those I sought love from the most, that I wasn’t good enough. I chose that. So this isn’t about them. This is about me. Being told week after week I wasn’t worthy, that I wasn’t wanted, wasn’t needed, wasn’t right in any way. The list is long of the things that were wrong with me. From that perspective comes a defensive insecurity, or maybe it fed a defensive insecurity. I was a mess. I didn’t see it that way and though I was coming to a place of acceptance of others, the real journey was to take place in my heart.

Having everything happen all at once, the end of my marriage, job loss, not being able to go back to my home, my pets, losing my step children, finding out the depth of betrayals, losing friendships,everything I thought my life was about, really ended up being the catalyst for great change in my life.

I wasn’t just broken, I was shattered. Shattered into a billion pieces. Here is where Jesus came in. When I could not face the pain, when I reached the bottom of sorrow and self hatred, when the only hope I had was death, in one moment, in one wake up, I was transformed. He didn’t piece me back together, he didn’t glue the pieces together. He made me new! I wasn’t just new, I was Corningware new,unbreakable. From one day to the next, I went from shattered to brand new.

In that moment, I wasn’t sinless, I wasn’t holy. I was found.
He found me,He pursued me. He grabbed me so tight, hugged me close and promised me He would never, ever, ever forsake me. He showed me how beautiful He made me, He showed me his great promises for my life, my future. He begged me to see how much He loved me and would provide for me and bless me,if I would only just commit to Him. He asked me to take all of those broken pieces and place them in His hands and let Him lead the way. He said trust Me, with a Love I cannot put words to.

I worried what going all in for Christ would be like. I was worried it would be boring, or I would fail at it. I thought about what my friends would think, who I would become. But still, He pursued me with loving promises.

I said yes. The most amazing transforming word ever,”Yes”. That is where this journey of faith really began.

Transformation doesn’t make us perfect. We never will be. It just makes us never lose hope. Transformation is a knowing, a peace inside at all times, no matter how sad, uncertain or difficult life can be.

Transformation allows us to see ourselves in transition instead of right or wrong. We are sinners,we can’t change that, but we are loveable. He loves me so much!
The more I trust Him, the deeper that Love goes. He courts me. He tests me. He guides me. He loves me. He loves me so very much. He gives me such abundance. My joy is unshakeable, even when I am forgetful of Him at times. He is everywhere I look.

I love the Lord with all my heart and He loves me bigger than that. I am Corningware. Unbreakable in Christ.

We are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking

And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way He loves me.
~ David Crowder

2 Peter 1:4
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 11:28-29
“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.
Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:37-39
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Proverbs 1:33
But all who listen to me will live in peace,
untroubled by fear of harm.”
John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.