Friday, September 30, 2011

Jesus Is Alive and So Is Our Hope

Well, it's been another grueling week.  How about you? 

And while I have been far less than faithful and all my frailties have been the bed of nails I've walked on this week, God has, as always, been faithful to love me, to forgive me, to be right beside me.  He takes ahold of my broken heart and cradles it like a helpless, newborn babe. 

This God, this Maker of the Universe, this Lord who reigns on high and yet is humble enough to be born into one of these frail, limited bodies and then to die, loves me.  And He loves you. 

So, to enter into the weekend, I'll leave you (and me) this verse:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His great mercy has regenerated us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and unfading,
reserved in Heaven for you by the power of God,
having been kept through faith to a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time;
in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; 
so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of
Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love;
in whom not yet seeing, but believing in Him you exult with unspeakable joy,
and having been glorified, obtaining the end of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:1-9 NKJV

Amen and amen. 

God bless you,

Monday, September 26, 2011

Whatever Happened to Holiness?

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  
1 Peter 1:13-16

Being holy sounds so lofty, so impossible, doesn’t it?  And in ourselves, it is.  But when we received Christ’s sacrifice as payment for our sins, we are at that moment, in Him, free from the law of sin and we are made holy, called out from the world to become His bride. 

The same word used for holy in the above verses is the same word for saint in Romans 8:27-- “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

We are now saints, temples of the Holy Spirit. So we are holy, but we still have a choice to behave in a holy manner.

God’s Word tells the story of Hosea who was commanded by God to take a wife, Gomer, who had either already lived as a prostitute or who God knew would leave Hosea multiple times to commit adultery.  It was a picture of Israel who had turned her back on God, gone back to the world and by that, effectively committed adultery against her Betrothed.  Hosea continued to forgive his wife and take her back, and God was saying He would do the same with His people.

Is the bride of Christ any different today than Gomer or Israel? 

We, as individual believers, wander back into the world, back to our former lovers, if you will (or never come out from them altogether), leaving the Lord behind, taking up our former ways and attitudes.  We continue to let greed, unforgiveness, sexual sins, etc. dominate our lives and we become lazy in the things of God.  We hate our enemies instead of loving them. We adopt worldly attitudes about divorce, abortion and homosexuality instead of searching God’s Word and living by His truth.  We think nothing of going out and partying with the world.  We keep the world’s view of members of the opposite sex and look on them in lustful ways. We watch too much t.v. and go to bed at night never having cultivated our relationship with our Heavenly Husband that day.  The list of choices to give our time and energies to anything other than God is endless. 

And God sits and waits for his bride to come to Him. 

Even in the church, holiness is not always a popular theme.  Some who have leadership roles in the church try to use human logic and the world’s ways to reach lost souls.  They entice people with flashy music or programs.  They try talking about Jesus in a dark bar over spirits instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit and letting His power bring salvation.  Nevermind that the Christian leader could be giving justification for drinking to a lost soul who may be an alcoholic or stumbling a fellow believer.  

I’ve even heard some so-called ministries laugh at Christians who are conscientious about being too physically close to members of the opposite sex so as not to stumble them. 

We’re all in a struggle with our flesh every day to remain completely faithful to our Bridegroom, foregoing those worldly lovers.  But God has called us to live a holy life.  He has freed us from the power of sin and His Holy Spirit indwells us to give us the power to do so.  The choice is up to us.   

Gomer was a married woman, but she didn’t behave as though she was married.  She was disrespectful, to say the least, to her husband and to her marriage vows.  And when we choose to live impure lives as if we aren’t the bride of the King of kings and Lord of lords, we disrespect Him, we cheapen His grace and we bring shame to the Name of Jesus in the eyes of a lost and dying world. 

Jesus died and rose so that we could have a relationship with Him and fulfill the high calling of being His hands and feet on this earth, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ and making disciples.  But why would unbelievers think they needed Christ if they see those who call themselves Christians acting no differently than they do?

Our Bridegroom’s return is near.  I’m convinced that the more we’re willing to call our sin for what it is, walk away from it and the death it brings and focus instead on the joy of His return and fall in love with Him the more we’ll want to deepen that relationship and keep ourselves pure for our heavenly wedding day. 

May God bless you as you seek Him!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Before It's Too Late!

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
   call on Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
   and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and He will have mercy on them,
   and to our God, for He will freely pardon.
Isaiah 55:6-7

From the time children are toddling around in their parents' shoes, their minds are just like little sponges, soaking up everything they hear, good and bad.  I don’t think we’re any different as adults.  It’s why billions of dollars are spent every year on advertising.  We see the commercials and we believe what they tell us.  We need that thing, so we buy it. 

We believe internet rumors; we believe email scams; we believe what the government tells us.  Well, sometimes.  We watch people sinning on t.v. and in movies and we laugh.  We soak up the world like a sponge and we’re left dripping with its inane gossip, its cynicism, its bitterness, and its greed and selfishness. 

And sometimes we need to sit before the Lord in repentance and let Him wring out of us the ungodliness and then we can soak up the pure holiness of the Holy Spirit. 

Time is short, my friends.  Let’s seek the Lord while we can.  Let’s stop giving ear to the world and listen to the Lord’s heart instead.  He has things for us to do, people to see and places to go.  He has a gospel to spread before it’s too late and He wants to use us to do it. 

The flesh and spirit war with each other and we are the captains of our own war.  We choose which side wins every day.  For the spirit to win we must starve the flesh and put it to death.  We must put aside the insidious sins, the secret sins, the accepted sins.  

God tells us it’s when we die to ourselves that we can really live.  Why?  Because our plans are so selfish, so temporary, so small compared to the great plans God has for us.  If we’re willing to let go of what we think may be good and listen to the Lord, then He can bless us with what is great. 

He can bless us with Himself. 

We have all we need in Christ Jesus to live a victorious life full of His power, wisdom, strength and peace and to be able to look back on a life of spiritual growth and service to the King. 

Will we? 

May God bless you as you seek His face!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Effects of An Icy Heart

Please enjoy the following devotion I was blessed to write for my friends' website, Halas & Phos, Salt & Light.

And he showed me a pure river of Water of Life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.”  Revelation. 22:1

’He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive;” John 7:38-39a

Did you know there are actually three waterfalls that comprise Niagara Falls? The water flows from the Niagara River and is separated by two islands into the three Falls. The constant flow of approximately 1,500,000 combined gallons of water per second make Niagara Falls an amazing and beautiful sight to behold.  The massive and continual flow of water also makes it a great source of power for both the Canadian and American sides.  

But there was one day--March 29, 1848—when the water stopped flowing. 

Please read the rest at Halas & Phos here.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Has Someone Put Wings on Weeks or Something?

Is it Friday again already?  The weeks seem to be flying by faster than I can keep up.  We are already smack-dab in the middle of September!  It's been a long week and I have some bruises to show for it (emotionally speaking, that is), but spiritually I think I know just a little more than I did on Monday.  And that's always a good thing, although I'd rather not cross any more rickety bridges to get there.

But I know there will be more bridges, more dry valleys, more dark caves and more spooky forests.  But God will always be with me.  And He'll always be with you, too.  And in the end we will see God.

I have an MRI in my future, Monday, to be exact, and I'd really appreciate your prayers.  Speaking of dark caves....  lol.

I pray your weekend is lovely and filled with wonderful conversations with the Lord.  And if you need prayer, I'm here.

God bless!

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Message from a Would-Be Sept. 11 Pilot

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, my then 9- and 12-year-old sons were getting ready for school.  My older son came into my room and said to come look at the t.v. in the living room, that something had happened to the World Trade Center.  I ran out there and stood transfixed, unable to speak or believe what I was seeing. 

My husband was getting ready for work and stole glances at the t.v. as he could.  As the second plane came into view of the screen, careening toward the second tower, all I could do was point.  I did the same thing as the first tower crumbled into a huge, horrifying heap. And with the rest of the country and the world I sat in the days afterward, with tears, watching in disbelief at the after effects of this national tragedy. 

Every chance I get I watch programs on t.v. that tell many of the personal stories of that day.  I feel it's the least I can do to honor the memory of those who died that day at the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and on Flight 93 that crashed into the earth in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  There are countless stories of heroism that day, stories of men and women putting others before themselves, of laying down their own lives for the life of someone else.  They are an example to all of us.

This is the story of a man who should have been on one of those planes.  He was scheduled to pilot American Airlines Flight 11 that Tuesday morning.  But he wasn't on that flight. And he has a message.

Please watch the video on YouTube here.

"And, brothers, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and in which you stand; by which you also are being kept safe, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried,
and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures;"
1 Cor. 15:1-3

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prayer Requests and Laboring Over the Grill

Hello all,
I wanted to give you all an update on my cousin who had a couple of brain aneurysms about a month ago.  She is finally home and recuperting with the help of her mom.  The doctors believe it's a miracle she's doing as well as she is and I'm praising the Lord for it. 

For those of you here in the United States, I pray your Labor Day weekend is a blessed one full of faith, family and lots of fun. (And if you're out of the States I still hope you have a great weekend!) Our Labor Day usually consists of as much grilling as we can squeeze into the 3-day weekend and maybe a movie or two.  I've been trying to wrangle my peeps for a couple of weeks to watch Soul Surfer. Maybe I can secretly slip it into the DVD player between whatever games are on this weekend. 

How are you celebrating the long weekend?

You're in my prayers and if you have anything specific you'd like me to pray about for you either leave a comment or shoot me an email. 

God bless!