A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.
As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.
I feel foolish a lot. There
are days that every dream and imagination I’ve had seems like the dumbest ideas
ever. True story. Not an exaggeration. But the one solid foundational belief
within me is that the cross made all the difference in my life, and when the
rest of my world falls apart the cross still stands.
This morning I needed
that truth. I guess I need it every day, but today more than ever. I don’t want
to give credit where it’s not due; and there are times that I’m pretty sure it’s
me attacking my mind and not Satan. My self-doubt is running haywire today. So I
turn to the one sure thing in my life. The cross.
The world may view it as
foolishness but my work in the ministry I’ve never doubted. I’ve never doubted
my purpose in that place because I always stand in amazement at what God has
done in my life and it’s all because of the cross.
The Cross brought
I love the image of the
veil being rent from top to bottom (Luke 23:45)
the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
As Jesus “gave up the ghost” and the work was
finished on the cross, the final price was paid so that we could have a
relationship with God. So that I could talk to the Creator. I have no need to
go through a priest. The High Priest is at the right hand of God saying “that
child is mine, she can approach the throne any time she needs.”
I have never been turned
The Cross brought Comfort
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
When the world says I’m foolish, the Holy Spirit say, “You’re
That comfort that comes from within cannot be explained, it can
only be experienced. It’s heartbreaking to think of the world who does not have
it because I know what it’s meant for me to have the indwelling of God. Especially
on days like today.
Please don’t think that I’m asking for sympathy or a pat on the
back for what I do. I’m just sharing with you what you too have probably
experienced. Doubt is a powerful tool. It’s the avenue of quitters and I have a
hard time not traveling down that road.
The Cross Brought Compassion
It’s what keeps me going. I know
the world needs to see more of it. It’s the reason I can kick doubt out of the
way and keep on keeping on; because I have compassion for the people of God who
need words and images of encouragement. I don’t know what the future holds for
the Jesus Chick, but as the song says “I know Who Holds” it.
With the Easter season upon us and the many worldly images of the season, it’s good to have a reminder set before us. God created the bunnies and the chicks, but He communes with this chick, and I am so grateful for the cross that made it possible.
It was a thought that seemed
almost foreign to me this morning as I read John 3:16…
For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It’s likely the most widely
known and quoted verse in the bible. We say it without thinking. It just rolls
off the tongue of most Christians regardless of how long they’ve been saved. The
point being, even if you can’t quote it, you know it. But this morning, it just
seemed brand new.
Not necessarily the verse,
but rather the concept of the depth of God’s love and the vastness of His
being, and the fact… I need to repeat… the fact that He did what He did for
someone like me. A nobody. That this morning in my living room and in the home
of my friend LuAnn, God spoke to us and said, I have a work for you to do.
I received a message from my
friend Faye yesterday, and through her God said… there is a work to do.
My friend Dewey and I speak
most every day. But lately God has given us a deeper love for the ministry and
a desire to do more. There is work for us to do.
Why does God put these
awesome people in my life?
Because His concept is beyond
what anyone of us can imagine. And the possibilities of what He can do with us
are beyond what anyone of us can even think. And I know this because today John
3:16 was a brand new verse in this ol’ girls head.
The concept of the “Father,
Son and Holy Ghost” three in one has often boggled my mind. How can three be
one? It just doesn’t make sense to the earthly mindset. I’ve heard it explained
by using the illustration of the egg which has three parts (the white, yolk and
shell) yet it is one. It’s a great illustration. But it’s an egg… not God.
But lately as God deals with
me, trying to get me to a better place spiritually to where He can use me, He
speaks to my heart about understanding who He is, so I can better grasp who I
am in Him.
He is Huge!
hand also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath
spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with
the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.
Who did that? My God! He is
in the details.
If God can measure Heaven
with His hand, that means He’s a pretty big Fella. That means that these people
who make light of our God, should really think twice. He can flip them off of
the planet. I have to be honest, that image kind of made me giggle. And kind of
made me want to watch! But then I remembered that He could flip me off the
planet too, and that God died for the “whosever.” Not only Shari.
He Has Always Been
How can God have “always
been, and how did God, “beget” Christ, His Only Son? I don’t know. But when I
think about the Creator of the universe and His Son, who were from the
beginning, which is what the Bible tells us in John 1:1, I am somewhat
awestruck like a rock and roll fan at their favorite concert. I want to get
close enough to hear One whisper to the Other, and close enough to know them as
intimately as a bestie. But in order to do that, I have to get out of my little
brain get into Heaven as the Bible tells us we are in Ephesians 2:6 that says “And hath raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
That’s present time, not
futuristic. So if I’m sitting in Heavenly places, that means I should be able
to overhear a few conversations of God and His Son. So can you.
In Jeremiah 1:5 it also says
that God knew us before we were in the womb. So… exactly how long has our
conversation been going? I don’t know. But what I do know is that as a child,
before salvation, I had a desire to know God. So Jeremiah 1:5 is not hard for
me to understand. And because of that it is getting easier to understand John
He knew me, before I was me.
He chose me before I even came out of my mother’s womb and He placed me like He
placed the stars in Heaven on this piece of dirt in Calhoun County, West Virginia.
And He connected the dots with North Carolina, New Mexico, the Philippine
Islands and so many other places, in a
way that others may not understand, but I’ve experienced. So yes… I’m a fan of
my Savior. Yes, I reverently respect and fear Him because of the enormity of
Who He is. And today I feel so loved because of John 3:16.
There’s a story of a little
orphaned boy who is found on the street and a man sends him to an address with
the instruction to knock on the door and say “John 3:16.” When he gets there he
taken in, bathed, fed and tucked into his bed where he for the first time in
his life feels safe. He later says when he becomes a preacher that he didn’t
understand John 3:16 at the time but it made a dirty boy clean, a hungry boy
full and a scared boy feel safe.
Yes… yes it does. I don’t
have to comprehend the vastness of God. I can feel it.
Although I know it was a word search that lead me to Numbers 21, I don’t remember what word I was searching for. I got so caught up in verse 14 and wondering just where is that book? And why do I not remember this scripture?
Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon.
I did a quick web search on the book and read that it was a “missing book,” a “canonical book” not included in the scriptures and a book spoken to a man by an angel just a few years ago! None of those intrigued me enough to search any further for the book, but rather I decided just to let the Holy Spirit speak to me this week of Thanksgiving on what that book meant to me. And why I was lead to the book of Numbers, chapter 21, and verse 14 this morning.
I imagined the wars that God had penned in that book for me. Penned much like I do in journaling, for the purpose of reminiscing and to look back on a time in my history that something amazing happened. Something worthy of documenting. And what will it be like when I get to Heaven and discover in that long, lost book, all the times God rescued me.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Are those wars written in that book? I don’t know.
But I know this. I know God is worthy of far more gratitude than I give, Thanksgiving or otherwise. I’ve had to fight a lot of battles within and without lately, and everyone was won with the Word of God. I had to fight them again usually because I let the flesh take over and remind me not of the win, but of the battle.
Today I’m grateful, first and foremost for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who fought every battle for me on the cross of Calvary when He died for my sins, and yours. I’m thankful that He continues to sit on the right hand of the Father, and watch over me, comfort me and strengthen me through the Holy Spirit.
I do not know what battles have been written down, but I know that the battles above my head in the spiritual realm are real. And I know they’re not mine to fight, else they’d be lost.
Every time I write, draw, speak or sing for Him, I know there’s a battle above me to squelch the praises worthy to God’s name, a battle I must fight. Today, it’s a battle I’ll win on my Lord’s behalf.
THANK YOU JESUS. Thank You for that sacrifice on the Cross and thank You for speaking to God on my behalf. I’m sorry it’s necessary. But I’m grateful You are there.
THANK YOU GOD. For listening. For allowing Your Son to make that sacrifice on the cross. I can’t, nor do I want to, imagine the pain You experienced that day. But I’m grateful that You had a plan to save my soul so that I could thank You in person someday.
THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for being with me every single day. Guiding me. Strengthening me and encouraging me. Without You I know my creativity would be naught. Without You I know I’d be so overwhelmed. Thank You.
And there shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any grieving thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them; and they shall know that I am the Lord. ~ Ezekiel 28:24
A week ago today, a hostile, violent, prejudiced person took the lives of innocent people in a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh on what would have been a celebratory day in the lives of those families. My heart breaks for the victims and for our nation; our children are having to be raised in a society of fear. I hope we’ll all take time to lift those families effected to the Lord today. All of this was a matter heavy on the heart as I continue to struggle to read through the book of Ezekiel. Although Ezekiel was just the messenger boy, his words pierce my soul knowing that America is suffering much of what it is because many believe that God is not in control and that they are. I’m thankful for those of us who know better.
Ezekiel’s words in chapter 28:24 spoke peace to my soul. That’s the advantage of knowing our God is in control! I imagined that thorny crown as the earth beneath our feet, and the day when the crown of Jesus Christ will crush and burn every jagged edge that has pierced His head and hurt His people. There will come a day when the world will know that Jesus Christ is Lord.
No Pricking Brier
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. ~ John 15:5
Satan loves the deception of holding the titles of God. While Jesus is the true vine, Satan can be no more than a pricking brier to the children of God. There is no life in him, only death. While he can cause us some misery on this ball of dirt, he will not always. His fate has been sealed. It was good reminder to me this morning as I thought of the synagogue victims. God’s chosen people. Those that were killed may, or may not have known Jesus Christ as Lord. I pray they did. But there will come a day when Jesus Christ will be Lord of the lives of Israel. The Christians will have been called home ahead of them, but Satan will be crushed as a dead brier and he will no longer have the power he yields today to incite fear and ridicule God’s people. Glory! That is good news!
No Grieving Thorn
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. ~ Hebrews 6:4-10
When Christ removed that crown of thorns placed on His head and took His rightful place in Heaven, those of us who know Him, know His power. Having been brought out of dead religion I want no part of that grieving thorn again.
The world around me may reject He who bore the thorns and briers today, but not always. As for now, God has not forgotten His children or those of us who labor on in love for the Kingdom.
I have felt like such a failure lately. I’m so grateful to have found that priceless nugget of truth in God’s word today. I pray it encouraged you too!!!
The chaos of unbelievers and naysayers changes nothing in the order of God. If the saved could get a hold of that, it really would be a skyrocketing revelation. Myself included. In this free country where freedom of speech tears at the very fabric of our faith and causes us pain, fear and confusion, it does nothing to change Who God is. This world may be full of utter chaos and it may have gone drastically downhill since the ages of old when churches were filled, but it still does not change God. The God of the 1850’s Great Awakening is the same God of the sparsely attended American revivals of today. He didn’t change, we did. Our priorities as a nation and our personal allowance of outside interference to our own relationship with God has squelched the Holy Spirit’s moving in our churches. Revivals have become nothing more than annual “events” with very little (if any) change in the lives of those who attend.
On this Fourth of July, when we’re celebrating the birthday of our nation, founded on Christ, whether or not anyone wants to confess that fact, I felt it was a good time for me to remember that the God of order is not out of order.
Only One Big “G”
6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Allah, Buddah, Venus, Aphrodite or any thing else the world calls a god, still doesn’t get a big G. They can pray to it, dance for it or swear by it and it changes nothing. But as a child of the Living God, my prayers are heard, answered and in the Lord’s will they’ll change things! Capital G makes a difference.
Only One God Who Can See
7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
Prophecy after prophecy has been fulfilled in the Bible. If God speaks it, it’s going to happen, and that bother’s people. Nobody wants to hear the worlds going to end and God has an order for it. He has appointed people into places of authority since creation and He’s still appointing people who will no doubt have their share of cause and effect in the end time events. Add to those prophesies fulfilled, God’s promises made, and we should be rejoicing like no body has ever seen. As scary as times can be, if you are a child of God this should be a time of excitement too knowing that your God is going to see you through it all.
Only One True Peace
8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
All the “delectable” things of the world that appears to satisfy the souls of men means nothing. We know it, and yet we still desire it because we are so very human. As I struggled with my computer again and again this morning I could very easily fall into that mode of vanity where I thought I was justified in my desires. But in my heart, I could hear the Lord saying, “Shari, you have the one thing that everyone in the world wants. Peace. You have been given the privilege to be my witness and share that with a lost world. When those in the world stand ashamed because they denied me, you shall receive My Glory.
That’s a Skyrocketing Revelation for me! It makes fireworks inside my mind to think I serve the God of the universe Who is the only true God. The only one who has an order and a purpose for everything in this world and I’m a part of His team. I hope you know Jesus Christ as Savior. He was the finishing touch of God’s final plan for order. There had to be a sacrifice worthy to pay the price of all our sin, and the only sacrifice that would pay that price was God’s Son, Jesus. He died to pay the price for every sin we commit, so that on our final day, when all is said and done, we will be found worthy to enter that Holy City where our God dwells. No body else’s gods promise anything close to what we will receive.
Thirteen days post op and it seems the last couple of days have been emotionally trying. Satan loves to get on the heels of bad news and ride it like a jet airplane. What a creep! I got on social media this morning and as is the case most every day, I’m not the only one suffering. Bad news abounds! I have multiple friends facing multiple issues and I wish I felt like shaking the soup out of Satan, but unfortunately, I’d just rip a stitch, so I’ll just leave Him to God.
I read an article about oats or eggs for the heart patient and decided to go with oats, good choice! I turned on a preacher preaching on revival which always stirs my heart and I was ready to have church. When he said “Magnify God, not the problem” I knew I was on the right channel. I sketched the creation for this blog and stopped the negative thinking that Satan was filling my head with and decided to share that message with you, who may need it as well.
Magnify the Lord!
When I was in the process of quick diagnosis and surgery necessity there was no time for fret. I just had to give that to God and believe. That’s what many of us do when the battle is raging at its highest, but post battle is when the body is coming down from the adrenaline and fight or flight, and we’re tired. It’s when we begin to reflect on “the what if and why” of the situation. We lost control, what if we never get it back? Well, truthfully… look what a mess I had my life in when I had control. So this morning my mind is back in battle mode, refusing to believe the lies Satan is filling my head with. Is he lying to you too? Let’s fight this battle together, that’s how David did it.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. ~ Psalm 34:3
There is power in numbers. When I found out about the surgery, I spread the word. I wanted the children of God to lift me to Jesus because I knew that’s where the power was. I had personally witnessed it again and again and I knew God was able to deliver. Does He heal everyone? Not always this side of Heaven. And it’s His choice and reasoning. But I also knew that if He chose not to heal, my family was going to need Him even more than me. But praise God He did heal, and I will glorify Him and magnify (make everything of his bigger in my mind and life) exalting Him over the lies of Satan. God is bigger. He is bigger than any problem on your list too.
Exalt the Lord!
I not only want to make the Lord the largest part of my world, I also want to share Him and testify of His goodness with everyone else. It’s like sowing seeds of hope when someone who has come through the fire can say, Jesus did it all! All I had to do was trust Him. I had multiple brothers in Christ in my own church who had come through the battle I did, they prayed and encouraged me so much. But not only the battle of heart surgery, all battles of bad news fall under the same rule of strategy to overcome. Pray, have others pray, give it to God, and watch Him win. Listen closely, He may have some rules of engagement along the way… like eat oats instead of the pop tarts. Or share your testimony with someone else. Or just rest… that’s a tough one for me. I still covet your prayers, I’m just in the beginning of healing and I need patience.
God bless you! And join me as we magnify God to the world! Share your story, share this post, always share Jesus!
I refuse to be a judger of men when it comes to how other people and churches conduct themselves in services. I will only stand before God for the manner in how I conducted myself, and how I, as a leader, lead others. A lesson King David learned when he attempted to bring the Ark home from Kirjath-jearem. Uzzah lost his life because of David’s error in leadership. Uzzah was a Levite, but not a priest, who had been ordered to carry the Ark. One stumble of the oxen, one touch to the hallowed property of God and a man was dead. God takes order serious. (1 Chronicles 13)
Now I realize we’re not in Old Testament times, we no longer live by the law, but when I looked at the original church (Israel) it reminded me very much of the mega churches of today that so many people are critical of. I have to wonder if they’d be so critical of a mega church if it were theirs? But back to my point: be it mega or a little country church up the hollow, God still expects order.
David finally caught onto that the second time he brought up the Ark when he said in 1 Chronicles 15:13, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”
So the order was fulfilled and the Ark and the presence of God was back where it belonged! Is that not what we want in our churches? The presence of Almighty God! Certainly it doesn’t require an Ark, but I still think it requires order.
The presence of God is carried within each child of God. What Uzzah couldn’t touch, because of the blood of Jesus, we are allowed to carry. My how things have changed.
Titles have changed within the church; we no longer have Priests but Pastors, Bishops, preachers, teachers, deacons, trustees and others who are put into place to hold order inside the church. The New Testament is clear about the order of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-12) with Christ always as the Head of the church. And those things will often be in line (for the most part) and yet the Spirit of God will not be felt. Then other churches will not have all things in line, and yet the Spirit of God will be felt. What’s the deal?
That was my question to God this morning?
Then like a brick off the brick yard being hurled at my mind an answer came.
“I’m no longer in the box. So stop putting Me there.”
God, through the sacrifice of His Son has made Himself personally touchable to everyone who has accepted Him as Lord. The problem is, those who carry Him into the church, don’t touch Him. They don’t stir up the Spirit within, they just let Him sit there inside of them, waiting for church to be over, all the while the Spirit cries “I want to be loosed!” And it is those who find criticism for the wild behaviors in mega churches, which I too believe may cross a line not intended by God. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll let God decide.
I do however know in my heart that God intended for no man to take the Spirit of God for granted. When David returned with the Ark, there was music, dancing, instruments and shouting and it upset Michal, David’s wife. There will likely always be someone who “doesn’t get it.” It didn’t stop David and it shouldn’t stop us.
God’s mega church of the Old Testament had order. It had leadership and small groups, and all things had honor and respect for God. God is still every bit as Holy today as He was then, the only difference is we are granted far greater access as commoners by the cross. How we treat Him matters and the world needs to see a difference in how we approach Him and how we react when we get there. Less He be considered no different than the gods of this world.
To say that open heart surgery brings on a realization of mortality is a likely an understatement. We all have somewhat of a an understanding of it, but when suddenly the single organ in your body that keeps you alive isn’t functioning correctly, you realize how very, very close we are to eternity. Literally one heartbeat away. You also realize how very important that relationship with God is. I wasn’t too awfully worried about politics, world antics or uncompleted goals and the fact that I’ve yet to master many, many chords on the guitar. I wanted to feel my Father stroke my hair and say “Shari, I’m here with you, you’re okay.” And so it was. He did not leave me nor forsake me and for the record, there were no dark hours, because where He is, is Light. I share this so you’ll know if a time comes (which I pray not) that you find yourself in one of those predicaments, He will not leave you either.
So this morning as I read the Lord’s Prayer, it was oh… so… sweet. and each word took on a deeper meaning. Six petitions, (three relating to God’s honor, three relating to our own concerns.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
FATHER: Creator, Redeemer, Adopter of me, an unworthy urchin of the Gentiles. Brought into a royal family, a blood bought nation, who though many of them have no earthy blood connection, treat me like a true sister through Christ Jesus. They prayed for me and petitioned Heaven on my behalf because they too love the Father, who we call Jesus. He hears our cry, just as an earthly father would and stays by our side. I know… I felt His presence in the hospital, ambulance, operating room and recovery. There is power in the name of Jesus! Our Father in Heaven, and also within the heart of His child.
HALLOWED: Sanctified and set apart. There is none like Him. There is no other name on earth that can calm a raging storm in your life or bring an unexplainable peace upon you through the storm. Buddha, Allah, nor any other of the countless gods this world calls upon have the power of Jesus. And those who encourage people to “call upon the god of their choice” are allowing the demons of Hell to open a door of torment to someone already in trouble. Praise God for He Who calmed my sea. HIS NAME IS JESUS!
Vs. 10 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.
THY WILL BE DONE: That’s a hard one for someone like me that needs control. So when I lay flat on my back without even the ability to go potty by myself, I suddenly understood that God was truly in control. He took every single earthly power I had away. It was just He and I. Like it always had been, but I had had forgotten. His will is for a relationship with His children that cause them to work toward all things eternal, not earthly. There is no fear in running towards Jesus, but there is a definite fear of leaving behind those who do not know Him.
Vs. 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.
DAILY BREAD: Just enough. When the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness there was no excess with the exception of what was needed to eat for the Sabbath. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 – I am that bread of life. His Word will fill the soul like a hot buttered biscuit with jam fills the belly. Matthew 6 continues on to tell us not to worry for any earthly necessity, God’s got us covered. But we should strive to collect the thoughts of God through His word and fill our soul with it in abundance so that when we’re laying there flat on our back, we don’t need to see the book. We are the book. And we are filled to the brim in want of nothing!
Vs. 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
FORGIVENESS: I can say with all honesty that I haven’t been concerned with anyone who’s hurt or upset me over the course of a life time in the past few weeks. Life in perspective is knowing that the only forgiveness that matters is my Father’s in Heaven. Scripture says that we must forgive others if we expect it in return. If Christ can hang from the cross, a sinless man, only guilty of loving us and forgive we who take His act for granted, how can we dare say we’ll not forgive anyone? It makes me nauseous to think of the times I’ve held someone’s soul in the balance of un-forgiveness because of pride and pettiness on my part.
Vs. 13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
DELIVERANCE: Temptation comes from the side of flesh, not Spirit and it is easily accessible and readily available to take us away from the peace of God. And for all that’s left in this wicked world, Satan is seeking the opportunity to devour us as a lion. Especially those who actively serve God and desire to make a difference. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were not chosen for the lion’s den and the fiery furnace by happenstance. From the Old Testament to John the Baptist and the Disciples of Christ, Satan has targeted God’s chosen vessels. He’s still targeting us. But Hallelujah we serve the Living God whose Kingdom will never fall, He Who holds ALL POWER and will receive ALL GLORY forever. Satan loses, we just have to keep on serving. We who are in Him Win! Glory!
The closer I get to Easter, the more my mind reflects on the cross. And the more I reflect on what God did that day the more I have to say that it’s got to be a crazy love that would be willing to do what Jesus did that day. When I look at the world we live in I think to myself “Why on earth would you have saved this wicked and rebellious generation?” For which I am one. I know my heart and how I can turn on a dime toward something sinful and ignore the Holy Spirit within in me that gives me more than enough support not to fall into it. And yet I do. And yet He still loves me. That’s crazy! But what’s crazier than His love is those who fail to accept it.
The Love of Jesus is Without Condemnation
While sin is not ever acceptable it is no less inevitable. 1 John 1:8 says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” There is a difference between condemnation and conviction. Jesus will not condemn the child of God for the sins they’ve committed. That crazy day on the cross He died to cover every sin ever committed by His children. Is not that a worthy payment? Of course it is. Does that mean we can sin and not understand there should have been a penalty and yet may still be repercussions? Of course not.
If a store is robbed there is an earthly expectation of the penalty that freedom should be lost. If I hurt a friend without regard for them or our friendship I may lose that friend. But when I sin, regardless of the depth of the sin the penalty is paid in the eyes of God, and the relationship is restored the very second I turn to Him. That’s crazy love, but it’s how He works.
Sin is without condemnation but it is not without conviction. The Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God when sin is in the house, we know better. We may still fail but He has given us the power within us not to. If we fall into sin it is our choice.
The Love of Jesus Cannot be without Declaration
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
Professing Christ is more than just saying that you know Him. Satan knows Him. The demons of Hell know Him, but they are not children of God. I knew Him in my head from the time I was a child until 1996. But not until I declared Him as Lord of my life and trusted in Him to save me did I know Him in my heart. It was then that I truly felt the Holy Spirit guiding me and putting that conviction upon me when I wasn’t going in the right direction. It was also when I began to declare my love for Him. Even when the world thought I was crazy.
My friend Doyle Ballengee said it best when he said “Go ahead and call me a fanatic, when you or someone you love gets a bad doctor’s report, you’ll be looking for a fanatic.”
That’s how I feel about my declaration of love for Jesus. Go ahead and say I’m crazy when all I want to do is talk about my Lord and all that He’s done in my life. Because when your life gets turned upside down but this old world, someone as crazy as me can help you set it up aright by showing you how Jesus did that for me.
I know it sounds crazy to the world when I say that Jesus died for me. Because the world wouldn’t give you the time of day if it cost them anything of any magnitude. But Jesus will give you more than you could ever imagine in return for your declaration, acknowledgement of Who He is. God.
The Love of Jesus is Not without Expectation
I can hear the naysayers now, “Oh, there it is. I knew you had to do something.” No, you can sit on your toosh and do absolutely nothing and still make it to Heaven. Jesus paid the price once and for all at the cross. All who accept, believe and declare Him as Lord, that He died on the cross, rose again the third day, and ascended to Heaven to make intercession for you will be saved. But if you want to be all you can be for Christ, and have the reward of His glory, on earth and in Heaven, there is an expectation.
I sat at a table with three friends this past Wednesday, each with their own story of coming to the knowledge of Christ in their lives; four very different people with one common bond…Christ.
One came to Christ because she grew tired of being with people, and yet alone.
One came to Christ because the religion she had grown up with let her down when she needed it most.
One came to Christ when He realized the law wouldn’t save anyone.
And this one, me, came to Christ when I realized there was no peace in this world without the Prince of Peace. And “religion” wasn’t the same as a “relationship.”
Each one of us now serve Christ and desire to serve Him greater because He did that crazy thing on the cross.
How crazy was it? He was beat until His body was unrecognizable and said to have looked like hamburger, He was spit upon, and ridiculed, at the height of His pain had a crown of thorns rammed on His head and was mocked as King of the Jews. His earthly mother sat at His feet with her friends and wept for the Son God had allowed her to give birth to. Some of His final words were “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 in part) That’s crazy because it’s true.
He did that for you. Have you experienced His love? Declare it and share it! He is worthy.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ