Christian Living · faith

God Didn’t Move

Not too long ago I finally felt like I was on the other side of a very painful season. The year of 2014 into 2015 was an especially low time for me. I remember pulling over and parking somewhere because the tears were too intense to drive through. I wrestled with my faith and reconsidered what I believed and why. This was when the rubber hit the road as the saying goes. I was being tested. And at first, I wasn’t passing it.

 

I was bitter, angry, and wounded. One day I yelled out to God, “Do you love me?” No audible voice responded (not that I expected it). I wondered where God was. Then I read this: James 4:8 TLV “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded!” I need to draw near FIRST–with clean hands and a pure heart. God didn’t move, I did.

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Painful trials are used by God to refine us, grow us, and break our flesh so we conform more to Messiah’s image. Sometimes God is quiet for a season but He never leaves us or forsakes us (see Deuteronomy 31:6). When Abba feels distant it’s important to remember He’s right there with us and He loves us. As in Acts 17:28 in Him we live and move and have our being. All we have to do is seek God with all of who we are.

 

You may have big dreams and big goals and believe God has a great work for you. Many have the talent to get them somewhere but not the character to keep them there. Character is key. The greater sphere of influence you have the more maturity you need so you’re walking in the Spirit vs the flesh. Only what’s said from the Spirit will truly transform another’s life. It may seem like you’re moving anyplace but forward towards God’s plan. But, you ARE making progress. The trial has a purpose. Keep pressing on, knowing God is faithful.

 

Let this be your prayer: Father, may this testing of my faith produce endurance so I can be perfected and complete. May every area of my life bring you honor. Use me however you will today.

 

James 1:2-4, 12 TLV Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Happy is the one who endures testing, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him.
Christian Living · faith

The Loss is a Win

*written December 13, 2016. Made it into a blog. 

I’m reading a book called Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. A particular chapter stuck out to me. It’s called “When Our Normal Gets Snatched”. This book is about rejection (real and perceived), how it affects us depending on choices, and our identity in the Creator. In this particular chapter the author references a past boyfriend who broke off their relationship and a story of seeing a woman’s purse snatched by a thief at a busy shopping mall during the holidays. The woman ran after the man who took her handbag and, in a panic, he threw her purse on the ground before making a getaway. Her purse was recaptured with only her cell phone missing.

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In many cases, the purse isn’t found. In the case of the boyfriend breakup, the relationship was a “loss”. The author walked away feeling terribly wounded and discarded that day. Sometimes we lose good people or something else that’s good in our lives and other times the loss is a really a win in disguise. In both cases, their “normal” was taken.

Sometimes we find ourselves being robbed by the enemy. It could be a relationship, opportunity, health, money, reputation, or something else. Our comfortable-our normal-is shaken. What do we do when life doesn’t go as planned? How we handle the change means everything. Are we quick, as I’ve been admittedly before, to be self depracating? Is your first reaction, “I’m a loser. I’m an idiot. I’m unlikable…unlovable…unwanted?” Do we trust God, or see Him as someone who also rejects us?

I’m not here to write a glowing review for Lysa’s book (I like the author but we have some doctrinal differences) nor am I trying to offer platitudes. But, as I was reading this book I sensed there’s a few that need this message: sometimes we feel rejected or seem to take a loss when it isn’t actually truth. And when we are rejected and our normal is shaken, God remains unshakable and unchanged. He is I AM. Your value is in who He is and what He says about you. Period. Maybe it’s a loss, maybe it’s a win. Trust God. Say today, “I trust You Father for my ‘normal’ in life. You define who I am, who is meant to be in my life, where I’m to be, and what work I’m to do. You bring restitution where needed and open the doors you want me to walk through.”

Psalm 139:13-18 CJB For you fashioned my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you because I am awesomely made, wonderfully; your works are wonders — I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes could see me as an embryo, but in your book all my days were already written; my days had been shaped before any of them existed. God, how I prize your thoughts! How many of them there are! If I count them, there are more than grains of sand; if I finish the count, I am still with you.

Christian Living · faith

Salt and Light

Matthew 5:13-14 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (ESV)

Hanukkah started the evening of the 12th.  While some focus on the “miracle of oil”, there’s also another very important focus. Rededication of the temple. It had been profaned.

1 Corinthians 16:9 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. 

We are also a temple of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 5:13-14 came to mind.  We are to be salt and light. What does that exactly mean?

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Salt in biblical times was used as a preservative and flavor enhancer.

Preserve: protect, maintain, care for

As believers, can you think of anything the Bible says we are to preserve or protect? God’s commandments? Our minds/hearts?

Proverbs 4:13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life (ESV.)

Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (ESV.) 

Light: brighten, illuminate, shine on

Wherever we go we are to shine His light. His truth. His love. It’s as if we’re candles sent out amidst darkness. The song Go Light Your World written by Chris Rice comes to mind. We are to bring life and hope by sharing the truth of Yeshua (Jesus.)

Today, I want to challenge you to look at your temple. Rededicate it (if needed) to the Creator. Get serious about being salt and light to those around you. It is no accident you and I are physically where we are. God is writing His story and weaving out His plan in the tapestry of our lives. We may not always understand, but we can trust in the goodness of God. We can bow before our Maker and say, “empty me, fill me.” We are His temple.

Prayer I pray: Father, help me to be salt and light today. May I preserve Your commandments, enhance my world with goodness and love and shine Your light. May my thoughts, words, and actions show others Your truth and character. In Yeshua/Jesus name.

Proverbs 4:1-4 ESV Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.

Matthew 5:16 ESV In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

1 John 1:7 ESV But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

 

 

 

 

Christian Living · faith

Moldy Cake 

Luke 12:20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ (ESV)

Right after Bible college I lived in a large house with a few other women. One of them came home with a large cake. She grew up as an only child and wasn’t into “sharing.” We all knew if we needed to borrow something to not ask her. At least not as a first option. No one had ever been in her room. Her space was her space. Her boundaries were ironclad.

This particular day she had a really yummy looking cake we were all hoping she’d share. But, you guessed it-she didn’t. My roommate put it in her fridge. She hardly touched it. It finally became moldy. Interestingly that memory was just playing out in my thoughts. I asked God for a spiritual application. I thought immediately of the parable in Luke 12.

Luke 12:15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  

Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

When I think of this memory I picture a person holding onto their possessions with all of their might. They are tightly clutching a suitcase full of belongings, anxiously looking around for any threats. It is theirs and they don’t want anyone taking what belongs to them. The sad part is we put things before people when God says to put people first. Eternal souls vs temporary treasures that rust, corrode, break down, and can be stolen or lost. 

Luke 12:34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When my grandmother died, she left quite a bit of money behind. She also had some nice possessions like a great grand piano, a Kinkade painting, and many other treasures she collected from her 94 years. Her stuff was reduced to post it notes claiming ownership after her passing. I was a teenager watching my dad and other relatives arguing over who gets what. In the end what matters isn’t the temporary things we leave behind. It’s the souls we bring with us to eternity that matters. Those we showed Yeshua (Jesus) to. 

Today, I want to challenge you to put people first, not things. It’s ok to have nice things but we cannot serve both God and money. Make the decision to live for eternal rewards. Don’t show preference to those who are wealthy. The soul is what is most valuable. Money can be lost in a day. Eternity is a long time. Don’t forfeit your soul for covetousness and greed. Don’t be selfish. 

The world is full of hungry people. Share your cake. 

Proverbs 19:17 ESV Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Mark 8:35-37 ESV For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?

Luke 12:16-21 ESV And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Christian Living · faith

Fruit of Repentance

Matthew 3:8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance (ESV.)

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For those following my blogs, as I referenced a few days ago, my husband’s birthday was yesterday. I prayed he’d have the best one yet. And it came close. He got tickets to a wrestling event and ended up having a wonderful time.

This morning I was praying and thinking. Asking God what He might say to me today (and say to me to say to others.) Two thoughts: repentance and bearing fruit. Matthew 3:8 stuck out to me.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Interesting little verse, but it’s packed with power. This immediately brought to mind something I saw while scrolling Facebook yesterday. A post was on Al Franken, a senator from Minnesota accused of sexual misconduct. He responded and accepted the call to resign with reluctance and anger. In Franken’s speech he slammed President Trump. While I understand there are feelings of hypocrisy, this speech did not bear the fruit of repentance.

A good apology says: I’m sorry, it was my fault, please forgive me (thank you Amy Studer) and how do I make things right?

Al said what many of us do. “I’m sorry but.. ” Or, “But look how bad he is.” This is not true repentance. The fruit of repentance is humility. God has been leading me to study brokenness, humility, and seeking Him wholeheartedly. In order to be humble, broken, seeking God with all that we are, and walking in love we must bear the fruit of repentance. All of it. This is in regards to our relationship with Elohim our Maker and our relationship with others. When we are stuck in pride and stubbornness, it keeps us from properly glorifying God and emulating Him.

Today, my challenge is for you (and me) to bear the fruit of repentance. When we do wrong, no excuses. We just apologize, admit fault, and seek to make things right. We ask for forgiveness. We change our ways. This is teshuvah, a Hebrew word for turning away from sin to God. And, I made this bold so you’d see this too…we bear the fruit of forgiveness also. We need love and grace so we give it.

At this moment I’m so awed by God’s love and His presence. I don’t understand His ways and I admit I don’t always like them. But this truth is resounding in my spirit: He will never leave us or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5.)

God has forgiven us of so much. Let’s live honoring Him and walking in love. Appreciating the cost and bearing the fruit of repentance.

Luke 13:6-9 ESV And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

John 15:1-5 ESV “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Christian Living · faith

70×7

Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven (KJV.)

My last couple of blogs were written with a hurtful situation in mind. Forgiveness is something God has been working heavily in my heart. In fact, interesting enough, I got two amazing confirmations. First, someone sent me something on bitterness. Second, I received an extra surprise gift this month for my God’s Glory Box I receive.

Monthly I get a box with random goodies from Christian companies. I received a t-shirt they didn’t put in most boxes, and was just an extra bonus. It is white and blue and says “forgive” with Bible verses on it. I knew when I saw that shirt God was really trying to tell me to love.

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I used to be a very bitter person. I knew how to hold onto grudges like a pro. In 1 Corinthians 13:5b it says love “keeps no account of wrong” (TLV.) I used to have a great memory when it came to what others did to me. However, my memory was terrible when it involved what I did to others. How hypocritical we are sometimes!

We reflect who we spend a lot of time with.

When I was (still am) really seeking God wholeheartedly He was found (just as He promised in Jeremiah 29:13.) And I was becoming like Him in character too. I was softening. These past few years of my life have been very painful. However, these years have produced a lot of refining and maturity. At least I see it that way.

When someone hurts me, even badly, I’m not as angry anymore. I let things go quickly. I make a deliberate decision to pray for them and love them. I recognize how much of a sinner I am and that I need a lot of grace and mercy too. Because I know I need it, I give it. Not perfectly. But I do.

Love believes the best.

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Today, I want to leave you with a challenge. Forgive 70×7. Give the benefit of the doubt. Someone once pointed out that 50 is a year of jubilee. Freedom. Restoration. 70×7=490. 49. Keep forgiving until you reach restoration (ideally.) 49 times we forgive then 50 happens (restoration.) It’s an interesting thought.

Sometimes we have to set up healthy boundaries. However, the goal whenever possible is forgiveness and restoration. Some relationships will never go back to what they once were. But there can still be love, peace, and respect. That is if both parties desire it.

Learn from King David and Yeshua (Jesus) on how to forgive. And do it 70×7. Because you’ve been forgiven from so much. Because you love God and want to honor Him. And especially, because you choose to love them with God’s agape love. It is a powerful weapon of warfare. Use it often.

Psalm 35:11-14 ESV Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I do not know. They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft. But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest. I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I bowed down in mourning.

Luke 6:27-36 ESV “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

 

Christian Living · faith

The Healing Idol

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (ESV.)

My previous blog was on a birthday party I wanted to throw for my husband. The family I invited never responded. Since that happened I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer, Bible reading, and thought. I prayed for that family today. As I was praying I could feel a sting of pain. I felt like my family was kicked when we were down. We struggle so much with our son’s disability as it is. We could have used a blessing. But God said something to me about this I didn’t expect. His words took me by surprise…

There’s an idol in my heart.

Healing can even become an idol.

I have been working through trauma for a few years now. I have become so focused on healing and making things right that it has taken the place of the Healer. Yehovah.

Focus on the Healer more than the healing.

I love God. I pray, read His word, and seek Him. But my mind shifts often to healing and controlling details and people in my life so it’s comfortable for me. The interesting thing is the less I obsess on healing and seek God, the more it just happens. When I “try” to heal myself, I end up falling down, all scraped up from my wounds.

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Some of you have been very wounded. But, you also have unhealthy patterns still playing out in your lives. You want healing so badly. You cry for it. Have begged for it. It’s as if you peel off the scab every few minutes to see if the wound is healed yet. You don’t need to strive for healing as much as lay at the feet of the Healer and seek support from those who will help you do so. If you lack support and can relate to these words, let me be your cheerleader. This is your confirmation.

Just because something has been hurting for so long doesn’t mean it will always stay that way. Sometimes we get stuck because we don’t know how to get unstuck. In my case, it’s a combination of focusing more on just the Healer and getting the right support. Invalidation, like that no response, doesn’t help at all. Love and compassion heals.

Some may look from a distance and say, “I’ll be around when you’re all healed.” They don’t understand that their support IS healing. And, people who will only be in your life when you’re at your best are not true friends. That is not the love of Yeshua (Jesus.)  Yes, healthy boundaries are needed. But staying silent until you are a convenient person for them is not a good relationship. Pray for and seek good, godly relationships. I promise there are those who will love you where you’re at.

Today, I want to encourage you to focus on the Healer. Seek healthy relationships. I’ve learned first-hand that trials reveal who your real friends are. There are those that want to and do reach out. And there are those who don’t. In my case, I’m taking that family to prayer. Only God knows their hearts. I am choosing love. But, I am spending my energy on those who want to be in my life right now.

Remember, sit at the Healer’s feet (God.) His perfect love will cast out fear and heal you faster than anything else. Remove the idols in your heart.

Psalm 40:1-3 ESV I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

1 John 4:16-21 ESV So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Christian Living · faith

A Party of One

*This blog is a personal one. I’m treading gently on a sensitive subject. My heart is to help others that are hurting and transparency and brokenness is the way to do it. But, at the same time, I don’t want to be disrespectful or overshare either. After some prayer and discussion between my husband and I this blog post is the result.

My husband’s birthday is coming up. I wanted to throw him a surprise party. When you have a child who is severely autistic as we do, it’s a challenge. On top of that our home is small. Easier said than done. My son gets overwhelmed with lots of people. I had made the decision to invite a larger family that my husband really cares about. They have known each other for a long time. This would have to be the only people I could have come. I sent an invite and waited almost two weeks. No response. I briefly then sent another response, realizing that it appears they are not interested. I wanted to give benefit of the doubt. At this point now, with his birthday being just a few days away and what’s going on in our lives, that surprise party is no longer feasible.

When you have a severely disabled child as we do, it becomes isolating. We can’t connect with others as much as regular families. The list isn’t large of those we are close enough to for invites. And, with my son’s sensory issues, it isn’t easy to do. Getting a consistent PCA to help him is tough for us. So, the option I pursued was best. I was excited for him. I’m not into surprises honestly. Once many years ago my husband threw me a surprise party. I was a bit upset about it at first to be honest. Of course I got over it. I appreciated the thought. But, surprises aren’t my thing.

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Anyway, when I realized it was too late to work out and I wasn’t getting a response my heart sank. I went to God in tears about it actually. I felt so bad. Last year I wanted to do this but was newly post partum and having struggles. Too difficult then. So I really wanted it to work out. I was intending to keep it to myself. But in a conversation my husband and I were having I started fighting tears. I simply said, “I feel so bad. I wanted to give you a surprise party. It didn’t work out. Just so you know I love you.” He looked at me and knew. He’s smart. He knew who wasn’t coming.

The root of rejection stinks. 

Both my husband and I have experienced a lot of rejection in our lives. Some just perceived, but a lot genuine. This is what the enemy has hit us with. In the case of that family, I made mistakes in the past I regret. Relationships are messy sometimes. I thought we were past it. I really was hopeful now.

What I said to my husband I’ll share here. We need to pray for them. We don’t know what’s going on in their lives and hearts. Ultimately though, love is growing cold. It’s a challenge to us to make sure we don’t grow cold. We should stay sensitive and tenderhearted in a hardened world. Be patient and kind with others. Give grace.

Some of you reading this might be thinking, “That’s too bad.” Others might be relating to being a caregiver of someone disabled. You know how hard it is to plan things. But, there’s someone in particular I feel led to reach and the reason I shared this. You too have been hit with rejection a lot. The root is so deeply there that you perceive it even when it’s not reality. A wrong look. A simple oversight. A slow response. In my case, almost 2 weeks is pretty telling. Maybe they were planning (I want to hope) to try. But it’s too difficult to in time now. Sometimes there is a genuine innocent reason. Other times though, it’s plain old rejection. It stinks.

My final thought is to the soul that knows rejection all too well. We are not made by God for rejection. We were created to receive and give love. But we live in a fallen world. Rejection happens. Uninvited happens. No response happens. All we can do, and are called to do, is pray for them and love in return. We overcome evil with good (see Romans 12:21.)

I have lived long enough to know, by personal experience, that those who have trouble with their love walk towards others also have issues in their relationship to the Creator. God is love. If you know Him intimately, you can’t help but love. Perfectly? No. But in general yes. And when you don’t the humility is there to make it right.

My family is going to have that party of one. God will be there with us and we have each other. I am praying and trusting that God will send the friends He wants us to have. Healthy relationships. Mutual support and love and most of all, Yeshua (Jesus.)

We are loved infinitely by an amazing God. May we live knowing that each day and pour that ahavah love out on others. Loving in thought, word, and action.

Prayer I pray: Father, I praise Your name. You are love. Help me to know you more. Your word says those who seek You wholeheartedly will find you. And, when I draw close to You then You’ll draw close to me. Meet me here. Empty me of myself and fill me with You. May Your love shine through me. Help me especially to love those who do not love me and be kind to those who mistreat me. Help me see people as You do.

Luke 6:27-28, 31-36 ESV “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.

And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Romans 8:37-39 ESV No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Living · faith

Prisoner of Hope

Luke 8:48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace” (ESV).  

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*This is my little story of how God brought me hope and restoration. It happened 2 months ago.

I’ve been really pressing in to the Father, more than usual. My family has definitely been through a lot in recent years. Everything was starting to chip away at me. Slowly it’s as if there was less of me and more of someone I don’t know. I had a picture of myself walking through the rooms in my heart. With hesitation and pain I turned off the light, room by room. I peered into a now dark room, remembering the fond memories when the light was on. But, written in the hallway is “prisoner of hope.”

Zechariah 9:12 Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

The hallway of hope. I was still holding on. A few weeks ago I decided to attend a prayer and worship service. Being transparent, I was singing the songs with little conviction. Too many rooms went dark. At one point the pastor called for those who want healing to come forth. I stood there at the front, as an almost last ditch effort to turn this all around. When the pastor finally got to me to pray, I could tell he sensed something. I never said a word. He was praying in the Spirit for a bit, then quoting scripture. After a couple of minutes he looked at me and said, “You need spiritual healing. You have it. Your step of faith is being honored by Him. Your faith has made you well.”

I sat back down, fighting back tears. I needed to get home soon, so I didn’t let the waterfall come. But it would have. When I drove home I felt God in a way I hadn’t before. He turned the lights back on. In each room he wrote “restoration.” But not just restored. Each room looked better than before. Restored and then some. Although I don’t understand some things, I am sure of one thing. God is good and He is faithful.

Today, I want to speak to that person that has turned off the lights in their heart. Reach out to God. Take that step of faith. He wants to turn the lights back on, heal you, restore what was lost and bless you. Remember John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

We are prisoners of hope. Press in. God is there.

Luke 8:46-48 ESV But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

John 10:7-11 ESV So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Christian Living · faith

The Changing

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (ESV.)

I have been doing some organizing and cleaning for some upcoming remodeling in the house. I discovered a stack of papers full of poetry and songs I had written 10-20 years ago. Most are at least 15 years old. I had 2 folders of writings I saved. One I found last summer and the other I haven’t looked at in many years. I don’t write in this way anymore, though I still very much write. This morning I was scanning my old compositions to see if there’s anything worth sharing. 

Often we are our worst critic.

At first glance I found nothing worth sharing. My writing style and maturity level has definitely changed. But, I found a few pieces I’ll pass on here…

1/2001

Storms will come and when they do I know I will survive.

You may wonder how I’ll get through.

His grace in my life I’ll testify.

This world is unstable, shaky ground. The Lord is my rock where my faith is found.

1/2001

I don’t want to just believe, I want to know.

I don’t want to just speak, I want it to show.

I’m tired of fences and empty defenses

I’m not satisfied with just enough

I don’t want rain, I want a flood. 

I want to be full not just get by

Less than all, I’m not satisfied.

3/2001

Put on your suit or your dress and wear the righteous look. 

Walking around in your Sunday best like it’s just another book. 

I don’t care if you’ve memorized by every chapter and verse.

I want truth not just lies.

Something to heal my hurt.

2001 was during Bible college. This was a very interesting time for me spiritually. There was still a freshness and newness to God. I came from abuse and dysfunction. So, there was a lot of healing and growth going on (still is.) I had been a believer for a few years but still had so much to learn (again, still do.) We can never know all there is about God. He’s so amazing and far above our human understanding. 

Today, the takeaway I want to leave with you is that when we’re faithful we are changing. Little by little. I am not who I was a year ago and you shouldn’t be either. If you are (or worse) either you’re getting full of the world or you’re in the breaking process. Sometimes, like me, we have to be torn down to be properly built back up. 

I want more.

I found myself this morning saying, “Less than all, I’m not satisfied.” This was from 16 years ago. I’m hungry for more. I hope you are hungry for more of Him too. If not, start seeking in faith. We hunger for what we feed on. I promise you this, He wants to be found. He will be when you seek Him wholeheartedly.

Jeremiah 29:13 ESV You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

1 Peter 1:14-16 ESV As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”