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Archive for the tag “Believe”

No Matter What

While I was reading last week’s post before I posted it, I thought about something that I need to continue the thought. I mentioned that the dash matters for our eternal life. Do we actually get that fact? What counts is how we live our lives and how much it will affect our eternity. Francis Chan has a video on YouTube showing a long rope with a red tip (Google FC rope video). The red tip is actually the life we live on earth. The rest of the rope is eternity. We concern ourselves with the here and now – the red tip portion. However, we should be concerned about the longer eternity portion. We all will have an eternity somewhere. We actually get to choose where we’ll go, but the choice has to be made here. We can choose to believe Jesus is the way to eternal life or we can choose to reject Jesus; there really isn’t another option.

I have heard the comment how can a loving God send someone to eternal hell (which is the separation from His presence). Louie GIglio said maybe the question should be how could anyone reject the love of God? It’s our choice to choose our destiny. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) – only through Him will we have eternal life with Him forever. Yes, it’s a pretty narrow way. However, the way is open to everyone. Jesus died for the world – no discrimination on race, color, nation, etc. Jesus said though that few will find the way (Matthew 7:13-14). God’s love is so wide, long, high and deep (Ephesians 3:18) that He sent His only Son to give us the eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus was sacrificed for us. God doesn’t want us to choose to be separated from Him for eternity. But if we have nothing to do with Him here, why would we want to be with Him for eternity? We get to start the relationship here, not there! What a privilege to have a relationship with the Almighty God of heaven and earth right here and right now.

The red tip is so short and the rest of the rope so long. Let’s not concern ourselves with the things that do not matter. Eternity will be here before we know it. There’s too much at stake. We have the opportunity to get to know Jesus here and now. We are given His word to read and to gain understanding. Sometimes it’s difficult to understand, but that’s why we are given the Holy Spirit to help us. The Spirit is given to all who call upon Jesus as Lord; who believe He is the Son of God and died for our sins. He redeemed us to be His children. He purchased us so that we would not have to be punished in eternal hell for our sins. He paid the debt that was owed. No matter what we did, He still loved us enough to die for us – even while we were still so far from Him. Now that’s a loving God who wants no one to perish! Religion says we have to seek God; but the relationship with God starts with Him coming down to us in the form of Jesus. None of us who have the desire to know God unless God sought us first. This is the difference in religion versus relationship.

The dash really does matter; it’s here that we consider our eternity. Jesus is the way to eternal life. Choose life. Once the destiny is determined, the life lived here on earth gets infinitely better – maybe not in circumstances, but in the hope and assurance that we serve an awesome God who never leaves us or forsakes us – no matter what! Storms in life will still come, but God will walk through them with us. His peace is given. His hope is secure. Our lives are secure in Him. There is nothing better than having that peace and security in His loving embrace – no matter what!

My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.

And friends, once that’s taken care of and we’re no longer accusing or condemning ourselves, we’re bold and free before God! We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what he said, doing what pleases him. Again, this is God’s command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command. As we keep his commands, we live deeply and surely in him, and he lives in us. And this is how we experience his deep and abiding presence in us: by the Spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:18-24 (The Message)

The Waterfall

I love to travel. I love going to different places that have natural beauty. I just am so much more aware of God’s presence in those places. Over the years, I have found a real love of waterfalls. I love to hear the water falling onto the rocks below. In the majesty of thunder and the roar of the water, the power that is exhibited in the rushing waters leaves me in awe. I lived in the mountains when I was younger, and I got to see a few waterfalls while traveling around in those hills and valleys. Maybe that’s where I got the fascination of waterfalls. Such beauty is those places and gives me such a sense of peace.

Recently, I heard a statement that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. It was an imagery that resonates so acutely with the power of waterfalls. I don’t remember who made the initial statement, but it was in the context of God’s love for us. The speaker said that God’s love was like a waterfall. If we would get beneath that waterfall, we would experience such a profound change in our hearts that we could not be silent about it. Think about it. If God’s love was poured out on us like a waterfall, we would be forever changed! If we truly believed in God’s great love for us, we couldn’t be silent any longer.

Water changes the landscape. Whether it’s falling off a cliff or cutting a path through the valley, it’s changing the landscape of where it flows. All we have to do is look at the Colorado River carving the deep path of the Grand Canyon. Or look at the rocks below the waterfall to see the smooth stones in its path. The water takes off the sharp edges and smooths the rough places. If I consider things in a spiritual way, God’s living water does the same thing for us. The living water changes our landscape in our hearts. We are forever changed by the path it takes.

In John 4, we are told that Jesus gives us the Living Water. If we ask Him for this living water, we will never thirst again. “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This picture of water welling up in us gives me the idea that it has to overflow somewhere. It doesn’t just well up and evaporate or get stagnant. But it is living; it is flowing; it does not stay put. It carves a new path. It washes over to form a new life. The love of Jesus causes us to change. I think though we don’t actually understand this love. I know I have struggled to understand it myself. But I have to believe this truth. God said it, therefore I believe it. Because His words never lie. His love is powerful. His love is thundering down on us. His love roars in the deepest part of us, but we fail to listen; we fail to understand. We get sidetracked by our own interpretations instead of understanding the truth found in God’s word.

God’s love changes everything. His love sent Jesus to show us His reflection. His gaze is always on us; not of condemnation, but of love. His love is flowing like the waterfall. Stand up under it and let it transform you. There’s always room for one more under the falls. Soak it in and be refreshed by the Living Water.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

Liar, Liar

Have you ever told a lie? Has someone ever told you a lie? You might have answer yes to both of those. I know I did. But what’s worse is we believe the lies we tell ourselves. Last week, I mentioned the movie Frozen and the famous song. The icy queen tells a big fat lie in that song – well, I think it was a lie she told to her own heart. She sang that she was going to “let it go” and she sang she liked the cold anyway. Personally, I get it; we make excuses that we can believe so that we can live with the decisions we make. She was hurt, lost and alone. The decision seemed like a good one at the time. And she believed it was for the best. But was it really?

I am leading a group of women through the Daniel Plan (by Rick Warren). In session four, Dr. Daniel Amen speaks about how the thoughts we have affect our health (physical, spiritual and emotionally). His point was to capture those thoughts and ask – “Is this the truth?” If it’s not the truth, then let it go. (I know; I am carrying this song way too far.) The thoughts we have can harm us. Dr. Amen is a brain specialist. He says there are chemical reactions to our thought life. When we have positive thoughts, the chemical release is a feeling of pleasure. The negative thoughts are toxic. How true is that? Negativity kills our good moods!

How many times do we hear something over and over and start to believe it’s the truth? Scripture tells us that Satan is the father of lies. He is speaking his native tongue. Why do we let him speak to us in his own language? Why do we believe him? I think it’s because we don’t recognize the truth of God’s word to be The Truth. We are to think of the things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8). These are the things we are supposed to capture, not the things that keep us bound up in that negative place. The verse before this one, says that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds for those of us who are in Christ. I love the picture of putting on the helmet of salvation – part of the armor that God gives us to protect our thoughts.

I don’t know who coined the term, but we need to get rid of our stickin’ thinkin’! We need to dismiss those lies that we hear in our hearts. Our own hearts will lead us astray. Our hearts will deceive us. That’s just hard to believe, but it’s true. I can look back over my past and see where heart has told me something that I believed for years. I didn’t reconcile it to the word of God. God said He made us in His image. However, we can believe aren’t worthy. We can believe we are bad people because of all the things we have done and said. There maybe things in our past that is bad. But the truth is: that God sent His Son for us even when we were so far from Him. God said He loved us, even when we don’t love Him.

I remember being in a bar (in my drinking days) and a total stranger came up to me and told me how beautiful I was. I laughed and everyone around me laughed at the drunken woman. A few days later, I was in another bar in another town, and a man did the same thing. This time, I was the only one who heard it. I was taken aback. I don’t remember what else was going on at that time in my life, but I was far away from God. I think that was God using them to tell me He loved me even when I was far from Him. He saw me as beautiful even when I couldn’t have been further from the truth of it. He never moved; I did. And when I turned around, He was right there waiting on me.

He loves us; He never lies to us. We just need to believe in His love. And He will never lead us to wrong thinking. Capture any thought that does not reflect His truth and dismiss it as a lie from our enemy.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Good News

I love to listen to different preachers each week. They all bring a different message with different insights and different perspectives. One of my favorite speakers is Andy Stanley. He just talks very plainly. When I was growing up, my preacher used fancy words that went over my head, and it’s a wonder I ever came to understand the Gospel message! But I did. But what I didn’t understand was the relationship and how we are to pass the Good News of Jesus to others. It’s a wonder how the church movement ever continued throughout the generations. How a small bunch of men and women had enough fire in them to spread the Good News. Andy Stanley pointed out in his Easter message that it wasn’t about Jesus’ teachings or His claims that kept the movement going.

After the death of Jesus, the movement died. Everybody scattered. No one believed the Son of God could die. No one believed the Messiah could die. But Jesus was both of these things, and He died anyway. The disciples didn’t get it. When Mary Magdalene came back from the tomb, the disciples didn’t say “oh, Jesus has risen!” They weren’t camping out at the graveside waiting with anticipation. Even though, Jesus had told them a couple of times, He was going to die and be resurrected on the third day. They weren’t there for it. They didn’t believe the women when they returned that Jesus wasn’t there. Peter and John ran to the tomb and found it empty. Scriptures says “then John believed.”

It was the witness of His resurrection that changed things. Jesus appeared to them several times after His resurrection. They started speaking not of Jesus’ teachings – although they were good. They started speaking about Jesus’ Good News. He died and came back to life; the Son of God came to earth to save us from our sins by His death and resurrection. He is the Resurrection and the Life. The Good News is Jesus! The Bible from beginning to end is centered on Jesus. Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Yes, we want to live as He did. Yes, we want to follow His examples that He set when He lived on this earth. But that’s not the reason the movement caught fire. The reason was the people saw Jesus after His resurrection. It changed everything. Then the men wrote about their time with Jesus. The ones who were eyewitnesses recorded the events so that we might also believe.

Jesus in one of His final prayers prayed for us – here, right now, in this time and place – for us to be unified with Him as He was one with the Father. Through the message that was spoken through the centuries, we have been a part of the movement. It’s in our hands to continue the movement by speaking of the Good News so that others will be unified in this same message. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” I am the light of the world.” Jesus said “I am the gate for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.” The soldiers came looking for Jesus on that last night. He asked them, “Who is it you want?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said, “I AM” (in the original language). (See the Gospel of John.)

Jesus. The name above all names. The one who died and rose again. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father full of grace and truth. This is the Good News. This message is for all to believe. In the book Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warrens, the first line is: “It’s not about you.” This is not about me at all. If it is, then it will be of no value to anyone. The right perspective is: God’s glory through His Son by His grace and His mercy! And then He wants a relationship with us! Isn’t that Good News?

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” Then Jesus told them “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 17:25-26; 20:29

Finished!

Jesus said it from the cross – (it is) Finished! Even in the smallest details, God spoke it and it was done. From the very beginning, God spoke and what was spoken was done – the stars, the heavens, the seas, and everything in between. Nothing is outside the tip of His finest paintbrush. He painted the picture of Jesus Christ through His every Word, and He became all that was spoken. Every detail is painted by the Master, but most fail to see His hand. Most of us are too blind to see. Most of us are dead to live freely. But Jesus said – it’s finished. Nothing else needs to be done. He died so that we could see. He died so that we could have life. All it takes is for us to believe it and receive it freely.

He paid the price and became the substitute for me. It was my death and your death that He took on. Jesus bridged the gap between us and God. Nothing we could ever do would get us into the presence of God. The religious activities wouldn’t do it. Our wills as weak or as strong as they could be won’t do it. Even our good deeds will not get us to the point of holiness and righteousness that is acceptable to God. Through Jesus, it’s done. I believe therefore, I have the righteousness, and I have the holiness. But it’s not because of me; it’s because of Jesus.

I have believed this for many years and sometimes I forget that even today, He died for the sins I committed yesterday. I forget all that I have done in my past that put Jesus on my cross. Every day, I am told to surrender and take up my cross. But sometimes I forget that I must do this so that I may be His hands and feet in this community. Yes, I am forgiven even for the sins I committed yesterday and today. Yes, I am no longer condemned. Yes, I am His child. Easter is for us to remember all Jesus has done for us and will do through us when we receive that free gift. Easter is a time to be grateful and acknowledge His love for us by His sacrifice on the cross.

Easter reminds me to come bending low at the foot of the cross and receive the gift of life for today. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! What God spoke into existence is still being fulfilled. Jesus finished His work here, but we still have much work to be done. What God started will be completed until the day of Jesus’ returning. How do I know that Jesus will return? Because God spoke and said it will be done. Jesus told us He is coming back (three times in Revelation 22). And on that Day, when I bend low at His feet, He will raise me up and say well done. Not because of me, but because of His work in me. What God started in me, will be finished. I may not look like I am done yet because I am not. I am still a work in progress; I still fail miserably and God still forgives me. God has the finest paintbrush still in His hands. Even the little details, which I don’t know yet, God does. God said it, and I know it will be done! The cross bridged the gap for us! Believe it and receive the free gift – it’s paid for by Jesus!

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

Jesus is Love

Jesus is…

Patient. And I am so glad He is. I cannot imagine where I would be if He had not been patient with me. The disciples just didn’t get it either. How many times did Jesus have to explain to them the plan of God? Jesus waits on us. He knows it takes time for us to understand the Truth.

Kind. Many times in the Bible, Jesus showed His kindness to the crowds of people who were following Him. He showed them compassion when they experienced loss. When they came to Him sick and hurting, He took pity on them. When the crowds were growing hungry, He fed them. When we were still in our sins, He died for us.

Not envious or boastful. Jesus is the humble servant who came to serve. He took on the clothing of human flesh and descended to a poor status in order to serve us as Savior. He has the royalty of God running through Him, but He could not sit on His throne and watch us die apart from Him. He had to come. He couldn’t stay away from us.

Honorable. Jesus came to glorify His Father in heaven. He came so that others would know God. Everything He did and said was because of His Father. Nothing was done for His own benefit. His first thought was for His Father. Jesus honored God through His life, death and resurrection.

Not a self-seeker. Jesus sought the lost, the hopeless, the poor, the widows, the helpless. He came for them. He came to bring hope, love and peace to all who would receive and call upon His name.

Not easily angered. The only times Jesus expressed anger were the times His Father’s house was used for the wrong purposes. His Father’s house is for prayer. Reverence for the House of God was to be shown at all times. The Temple was to be a place of worship. The Temple represented God’s presence among His people. Jesus understands our frailty and is not be easily angered because of our weaknesses.

No record keeper of the wrongs. He wiped the slate clean for those who believe in Him. He is who He says He is. He is the Son of God who came to redeem the world. Believe in Him and there is no condemnation for any wrongs done.

Rejoicing with the truth. Jesus came to proclaim the Truth. He rejoices when sinners come to Him; when they seek Him with all their hearts. When one sinner repents, there is a big celebration in heaven over that one whose name now is in the Book of Life.

Protector. We can take refuge in the shadow of His wings. Like a small bird finding shelter under its mother’s wings, we too have a place to shelter. Even when the storms of life come, He will be with us. He will never leave us or forsake us – no matter what.

Trustful. His unfailing love cannot be shaken. He is our Rock of Salvation. He will deliver us from the depths. He will not abandon the works of His hands. He will show us the way to go.

Hopeful. There is no greater hope than the hope found in Jesus. He delights in the ones who fear Him and put their hope in Him.

Persistent. Jesus pursues us as a man pursues his future bride. He wants no one to miss the biggest wedding feast that will ever be held. It’s going to be amazing!

No failure. Jesus never fails us. And we can never fail Him. He knows our hearts. He knows what we are capable of and knows every step we take. He is not disappointed in us because that would mean He had the wrong expectation of us. He knows all things.

Love. There is no other name in heaven or on the earth that matches the name of Jesus. His love is infinite. There is nothing we do or say that will increase or decrease the amount of Love He has for us. His love is wide, long, high and deep. If we are His disciples, we too will show our love for others. Just as Jesus did for us, we do for others.

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:21

Inspiration for this post from 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

The Light

What our world would look like without Jesus? What would I look like if Jesus hadn’t come to save me? I have been pondering this question since Christmas Day. I can’t really tell you about my life before Jesus since I have known about Him all my life. However, I can you the difference when Jesus came fully into my heart. It’s when I started walking with Him. It wasn’t on the day of my salvation. I had that long before – whether you believe one can be saved and not actually live like it or not. I know my testimony of God calling me out of my pew that Sunday morning. I also know of His protection when I was walking on a different path than what I should have been as one of His children. I am much like the Israelites and their rebellion. They were still His people. He waited on them to repent. He waited on me too. I am so grateful for my patient God.

I love the story of the prodigal son (found in Luke 15). Demanding, selfish young man decided the grass was greener in the far country. He left and found out; life wasn’t better on the other side. The fun didn’t last. The friends weren’t the best. The community didn’t help him. And when he finally came to his senses, he turned around to go back home. That’s me! It took a few pegs to knock me down so I could finally look up. When I did, I finally saw God waiting on me to return with loving arms wrapping around me. It was His amazing grace that gave me a new start.

I am in another Beth Moore study; this one on the Songs of Ascent (Psalms 120-134). She was speaking in the DVD portion of the study about her remembrance of where she was before Jesus reached down to pull her out of her pit. She said “if we remember the bondage, then we must remember the grace; we will also have more grace to give to others.” It sounds like the story of the sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50) who wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and dried them with her hair. Jesus told the parable of two people owing money. One is forgiven a bigger debt than the other. The one with the biggest debt loves more than the other one. Grace and love are shown when we have received it for ourselves. Sometimes I forget where I was. Sometimes I need a reminder; I am the sinful woman who has been given the grace of forgiveness. My debt was high and Jesus paid it all.

Today, because Jesus has come, I am no longer living in darkness. Jesus came to bring light to the world. Without light, only darkness is present. I can see only because Jesus opened my eyes. Where would I have been if Jesus had not come? I would not be here writing these words. I would be right back in the pit of despair wondering how in the world I got there. I would not be in good health because I would still be drinking. I would be living in a very destructive lifestyle. If Jesus had not come, I would not be living with joy and hope of eternity. I would not have the friendships I have today. I would not have the relationship with my family. I would be living in sin with no hope of a future.

When Jesus came, everything changed. What condition are you in today? Do you need Jesus?

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25

I written a couple more things about this subject in my monthly newsletter coming out on the first. If you would like to receive it go here to sign up.

The Gift

On this day, remember the true gift of Christmas:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:30-33) And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:4-7)

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:1-3)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be  upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isaiah 42:6-9)

I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” (Isaiah 43:15)

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. (Isaiah 53:13-15)

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:17-22)

“For God so loved the world, 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. (John 3:16-17)

(All Scripture quoted from ESV.)

We are living in the years of God’s favor. Unwrap the true gift of love this Christmas. Jesus only Jesus. There is no other name where every knee shall bow at the mention of His name. He is worthy of all our worship and all our praise! Rejoice for this is the day the Lord has made! Happy Birthday Jesus!

Making a Difference

I have been attempting to write my story for over a year now. Last year, I started writing because I felt compelled to do so. I finished the first draft by the end of the year. However, I felt compelled to focus in another direction with my story. So I started again around the first of this year. I wrote for a few weeks then came to a dead-end. I put it aside and didn’t pick it back up until August 1. I have been in the writing mode ever since. My hope is that it will make a difference in someone’s life. But my focus is not on one person. My focus is on Jesus. I want Him to tell His story through me and my experiences.

I was reading a passage found in John 4 which really spoke to me about the love of Jesus. The Gospel of John is all about Jesus. If you have never read the Bible, this is a good place to start. In this passage, Jesus felt compelled to go through Samaria en route to His hometown. There were many roads He could have taken to get to where He was going. But on this day, He had a divine encounter to keep. Samaria was not looked on favorably by the Jewish people. Most avoided that area and the people. Jesus, however, went to the well to meet a woman. In doing so, changed one woman and changed one town. One woman who had a sinful past. One woman who everyone looked down on. One woman who felt compelled to go back to her village and tell the people about a man she just met.

Women were looked down on; they were considered property. Yet, many times Jesus spoke to women. He showed compassion and love to them like they had never experienced before. On this day, the woman went back to the village and told everyone to “come and see” this man who knew her completely. Through this woman’s testimony about Jesus, the whole village was changed. Verse 39 said many believed in Jesus because of the woman’s testimony. One woman made a difference in her community just by telling her story.

I am so encouraged by this story. I don’t know if God has any great plans for my testimony. I just know I am compelled to write it. What He does with it after it’s done, that’s for Him to decide. I am obedient to what I hear even when I was delayed in writing it. But my focus is where it should be – on Jesus. For the encounter I had with Jesus was life changing. I will never be the same (THANK YOU JESUS!) It’s also encouraging to see how one woman can make a difference. Even when I think I am less than significant, God can do greater things with those who are willing to share the love of Jesus with others. That’s what it’s really about. Sharing the love of Jesus without fear! One person at a time until the whole world knows.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

Expectation

Have you ever encountered God’s word with a “duh – I knew that” moment? I get that all the time. It happened again when I was reading the passage about the church praying while Peter was in jail. The angel of the Lord appeared in the cell with Peter. Peter was sound asleep, even though he was probably slated for execution in the next day or two. Ah, to have that kind of peace! Meanwhile, the church is in a house praying – not sure what they were praying but they were praying nonetheless. Were they praying for Peter’s release? Were they praying for protection for him? Just what were they praying? Scripture is silent about the prayer. After the angel supernaturally freed Peter, Peter shows up on the doorstep of the house where the church was praying. The one who went to the door was overjoyed to hear Peter’s voice on the other side of the closed-door. She was so excited she forgot to open the door for him. Was she seeing the answered prayer right in front of her?

How many times have I prayed specifically for things to occur, and I totally miss the answer? Or how many times have a prayed not really expecting God to answer my prayers? Why then do I even pray? If I am not expecting God to answer, why even go through the motions? Do I believe God hears me? Do I have such small faith that I just don’t think He’ll come through for me? These are the questions I have been pondering since I’ve read about Peter’s release (found in Acts 12:1-18). I was reading this passage the day after I heard a sermon on Expectations. Jesus couldn’t do any miracles in His hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith. I realized I have been praying for specific things with little faith. I don’t really expect Jesus to come through for me. I don’t know why. He has been faithful in the past, but I am not expecting much in the future.

Oh, I believe Jesus can do all things. I believe nothing is impossible for God. But obviously I don’t think the prayers I have been praying will amount to anything. I am not anticipating the great things God is capable of or else I would be excited about the future. I would be watching with anticipation, like a child anticipating Christmas. The countdown is on for the fulfillment of the promise; just like the month before Christmas and the child is counting the days. I guess it’s because the future is “out there” with no end in sight. The faith comes in when there is no sight of the end. How long will I have to wait until the promise?

Regardless, my prayers need the expectant attitude. The anticipation of what is to come. God is good all the time. He knows where we are and what we are waiting on. He is also looking in our hearts to see the smallest of seeds of hope and faith. Are they growing or are thy withering? How long will they grow or how long will it take for them to start to die? For those who endure, the promises of blessings will come. If there are no blessings, then it’s not the end. Pray unceasing and with expectation until the blessing comes. God is faithful to fulfill all He has promised! Praise God now for what He is going to do!

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23

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