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Archive for the tag “Trust Him”

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)

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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 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!

Pennies from Heaven

I was having a bad day. I had been writing all morning. I was struggling to get through writing about the worst days of my life. I was having fits of crying from emotionally draining memories. I listened to a sermon while I ate lunch. It was about worrying. I’m really not much on worrying. Sure I have concerns, but I can’t call them worries, can I? I listened to the sermon and the last point the preacher made was about uncertainties of the future – hmmm… maybe I do have a “worry” after all. He said to bring the whole truth to God, and He would give me peace which transcends all understanding. It really wasn’t about the uncertainty, but about the “fear of the unknown.”

The section of my life I was writing about was the death of my Mom. It was the hardest thing I have lived through in my “relatively” short life. I had to sit down after that sermon and discern what my real concern is about the uncertainty of my future. I am single. My whole life, my parents were my family. Yes, I have sisters but they have their own lives and families. Oh, I know I am a part of their families, but it’s not the same. When push comes to shove as the saying goes, they think of their families before they do me – as it should be. If I was married and had kids, I would be doing the same thing, but I don’t.

A year after my Mom died, my Dad got married again. Praise God, he found someone to live out the remaining years of his life. Once again, I am left in a bit of a predicament. God has shown me my real fear. I am afraid of being alone. I know I have family and friends, but I really am totally alone. This was my deepest, truest revelation I have had in quite some time. As I was in the midst of this struggle on this day, I decided to go for an afternoon walk. I was tired of thinking about these deep issues.

Once again, God opened up my heart to look down. I saw two pennies lying on the street as I walked along. If you remember from a post several months ago, God places pennies in my path to remind me “in God we trust.” I have only one who really is my source of strength and who I can rely upon. The future is uncertain and no one is guaranteed a long life. I could be alone whether I was married or single. I acknowledged God’s providence and continued on. My fear of the financial future came up as well. I don’t have money coming in, and I don’t have any prospects of the future. Again, a penny was placed before me. God will work it out. I have to trust Him with everything! Yes, I have anxious times ahead, but God is faithful in everything. He is in control!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Ouch!

Don’t you just hate when your toes are stepped on? In my self-righteous moments, praying for divine wisdom, asking God to show me what area in my life is hindering my relationship with Him – thinking, all is well in my little world. Not! Not too long after praying about what is hindering me to greater understanding, I heard a sermon that knocks me down a peg, steps on my toes and leaves me feeling about two inches tall. The Holy Spirit is not condemning me – that’s not the case at all. He is pointing out exactly what I did that is causing this blockage. I heard the sermon, and knew exactly what I had done. There was one point but two branches that smacked me on the head.

The pastor’s main point was: greed will kill the work that God wants to do in and through you! This sermon was from Perry Noble (Senior Pastor NewSpring Church). The title was actually on generosity – and I thought, “I don’t really need to hear this; I’m a pretty generous person.” That should have been my first clue. I also heard a sermon recently on insecurity. I think both are pretty relevant for this particular point through the Holy Spirit’s nudging. I don’t trust God to provide for my needs. I am insecure about my financial picture. I have said I believe God can do more than I can imagine, but I guess I don’t believe that relates to my financial well-being.

But greed can be about forgiveness as well. If I don’t forgive as Jesus forgave me, then I am being greedy. Greed is selfishness and focuses on my needs instead of others needs or what God wants. God can deal with the situation. We have to leave it in His hands. I am asked to forgive just as God has forgiven me. Jesus asked forgiveness for those that were hanging Him on a cross. Why can’t I forgive the one that hurt me? It’s time to let it go. It’s time to seek forgiveness, and ask to be cleansed of these sins that have kept me from experiencing His presence. I am ready to experience His fullness. And it only comes when my heart has been made clean.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

Open Door

A couple of years ago I had a dream. I believe it was a vision from God. I mentioned it in my newsletter in May (Think Myself Free). This dream or vision was not clear. I remember only the open door and my need to close it, but it would not close. When I woke up, I was immediately filled with fear. I thought someone was in the room with me. And I prayed immediately that if I was in danger or demons were present for God to protect me. I was immediately filled with peace and went right back to sleep. I did not know how to interpret all that had transpired.

I have mentioned it to a few people, and they gave me different possibilities. At the time of this dream, I was in a middle of a transition to another path in life. One thought was the door represented the future, and I was trying to close off the future. I didn’t like what was on the other side. I was fearful of going through the door. One thought was the door represented people who needed to come in and out of my life. Another thought was that my old path was not yet done, and I wanted it to be done – representing me closing that door.

I believe God’s visions always reflect a spiritual issue. God doesn’t focus on the physical as much as He does on the spiritual. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. I believe I finally have the interpretation. The open door means I need to tell my story, going where He wants to send me and doing the thing He has placed in me. The fear comes from sharing my story. It’s something I thought I could take to my grave, but God has a different plan. His ways are not my ways.

The scripture in Habakkuk 2 I used last week, and a message from Craig Groeshel opened my eyes to the vision, and I believe it is true. It’s time to tell, and it’s time to write it down. So in May, I started my next book. It will tell of my journey, and how I got to where I am today. It’s scary to be this open, but I know God wants to use it to reach someone else that needs to hear. May it be as He says!

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:7-8

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