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The Last Prayers of Jesus

How encouraging is it when you know someone is praying for you?  Today I hope this post encourages you to know that in Jesus’ last hours on earth He spent His time not teaching another message, but in prayer for US!

How Jesus spent His time on earth is so telling of His character and His heart for us.  Even when Jesus knew He only had hours left to live, He spent His last precious moments in prayer in the presence of God our Father and the disciples.

The last three prayers Jesus spoke on this earth teach us so much about what God desired for us.

John 17:  The Overcomer Prayer:

One of the holiest of prayers in the entire Bible is a prayer Jesus prays in John 17, which was prayed sometime after The Last Supper.  Throughout this whole prayer, Jesus is praying for our security, our joy, our unity and our future.  He prays on our behalf so we know what He’s done for us, given to us and all that he will do for us when we get to heaven.

In the first part of John 17, Jesus first turns to His Father and prays for Himself.  Jesus knew after He left we would still experience trouble in this world but prayed that we would know we are overcomers in Christ and share in His victory.

In John 17:6-19, Jesus then prays for His disciples.  Here Jesus is praying for our protection against the enemy, that we would know the fullness of joy and we would be molded according to His holiness.  In John 17:13-26, Jesus prays for our unity, for us to carry out His mission of spreading God’s love and our future.  The prayer in John 17 shows us how much Jesus cares for us and how He desires the best for us.  He knew we were going to have struggles and prayed for us on our behalf before He left this earth.

A Prayer in the Garden– Mark 14:35-36:

I don’t know if you have ever sat and read the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but it is filled with lots of sorrow and suffering.  Jesus knew the time was coming before he was going to be arrested.  He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, a quiet place to pray and sit with God.  He took His disciples Peter, John, and James with Him to keep watch while He prayed.

Jesus was very troubled and distressed and told His disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death”  (Mark 14:34).  Jesus knew it was only hours before he was going to be arrested and persecuted.  His soul was heavy with the burden of what God was asking Him to do on behalf of everyone else–to bear the penalty for all our sins.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:35-36

Jesus knew His Father was capable of all things.  He turned to Him in His sorrow asking Him to please take this cup from me.  A cup’s symbolism is of deep sorrow and suffering.  Jesus felt as though God was leaving Him behind and turning away from Him when He who had no sin was made to be the sin offering for us.

A Prayer From the Cross–Luke 23:34:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

This prayer that Jesus prays on the cross is one of the most powerful prayers I believe Jesus prays.  Even in death, Jesus cared about our salvation.  He takes His last dying moments to pray for us on the cross and still had the power to make people right with God. It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified He still prayed for those who crucified Him. He even forgave one of the criminals on the cross whom He was sentenced with.  These last moments show how much Jesus cares about our hearts and what they are filled with.  He knew unforgiveness would be the death of us and spent every last moment showing us He is the way to our salvation and the path to our freedom.

The last prayers of Jesus are so telling of how much He loves us.  He spent every last moment praying for us up until His last moments of death.  The prayers Jesus prayed didn’t die that day on the cross.  His prayers continue on from heaven.

We can learn so much from the last prayers of Jesus.  He didn’t allow persecution, being arrested or suffering to keep Him from praying.  He prayed all throughout His suffering and turned to God for His every need, leaving His mark in our lives.

There may be so much suffering and evil in this world, but we can be encouraged that God is praying for us and loves us very much.

There is power in the prayers of Jesus.Click To Tweet

How have the prayers of Jesus marked your life?

How can our prayers leave a mark in others or in this world?

If Jesus was standing before you and asked, “How can I pray for you?”  What would you say?

Praying this Easter Holiday is filled with the prayers of Jesus, his abundant joy, and love in your life!  Happy Easter!

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Lamb of God

With the Easter holiday approaching, I wanted to take us back to the reason for the season of why we really celebrate Easter.  As I enter into stores my eyes are bombarded with empty plastic eggs, Easter baskets and bunnies.  Really the Easter bunny has nothing to do with why we celebrate Easter.  The world has made the most holy of holidays into propaganda.  The Easter and Christmas holidays have become a reason to spend money on gifts that have nothing to do with what is actually being celebrated.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus is called the Lamb of God?

In the Old Testament, those who sought forgiveness for their sins would choose a sheep or a goat to sacrifice on an altar.  A person would receive atonement for their sins from the blood of the animal being shed.

 “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.”  Exodus 12:5

Specific instructions would be given to choosing an animal without blemish or broken bones and how to prepare and celebrate the animal after being sacrificed.  The animal wasn’t just a sacrifice for sins, but something to be consumed by the community afterward, not to be wasted.

“It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.”  Exodus 12:46-47

Passover is a holy holiday that the Jewish community celebrates the Passover in which “the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”  Exodus 12:27.  (To read more about the Passover read Exodus 12:21-28).  Every year the Jewish community celebrates Passover by sacrificing and consuming a Passover Lamb.

The last week that Jesus was alive on earth, the Jewish community was getting ready to celebrate the Passover.  Little did they know their lives would be changed forever.

The turn of events that happened before Jesus’ death was orchestrated by God Himself.  Jesus told Peter he would be the one to deny Him and that Judas would betray Him.  Once Jesus was in the hands of Pilate and the Roman soldiers He was…

flogged and a crown of thorns was placed on his head.  John 19:1

He was struck, spit on, the crown of thorns was twisted on his head and He was given 39 lashes.  Mark 15:19

The horizontal crossbar of the cross was tied around the arms of Jesus in which He was made to carry up the hill of Golgotha (which weighed 75-125 pounds, the whole cross weighed 300 pounds) John 19:17.

Jesus’ arms and feet were nailed to the cross.  Each wrought iron nail was 7-9 inches in length.  Mark 15:24

The Nails they used were 7-9 inches long

This is merely a glimpse of what Jesus endured and went through.  There were two other men hanging on the crosses with Jesus.  The Sabbath was approaching.   The Sanhedrin went before Pilate to ask him to not allow any bodies left hanging on the crosses during sundown on the Sabbath.  This particular day was the day before Passover their most holy of holidays.  They asked Pilate to have the ‘ legs broken and the bodies taken down’ (John 19:31).

Death was lingering too long, so Pilate ordered the legs of those hanging on the cross to be broken. The weight of a person’s body usually caused their death on the cross after their legs were broken, from asphyxiation–crushing their own lungs.

The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the other men first.  When they came to Jesus they discovered He had already died and did not break His legs.  “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.” John 19: 34-35.

Why is this all so significant?

Isn’t it amazing that after all the beatings, the flogging, the crucifixion and piercing Jesus endured that not one bone was broken in his body?

These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled. Not one of his bones will be broken” John 19:36'Click To Tweet

While Jesus was on earth He was without sin and defect, He was perfect. 

“but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” 1 Peter 1:19.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5.

Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities and received a punishment we deserved.  All of His suffering was not for nothing.  It was to fulfill the greater plan of God.

Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10). Click To Tweet

Jesus is the Passover lamb. He is the Lamb of God.  In the Old Testament, when instructions were given for the Passover Lamb, it was to be prepared by roasting and cooking it by the fire. From the beginning of time, God was preparing us.  It wasn’t enough to just sacrifice the lamb but to also partake in it. The lamb wasn’t meant to just be observed, but also be consumed by the people (Exodus 12:46-47).  Jesus didn’t come to just be observed on the cross, but to be consumed in our everyday lives.

What does this mean for us in our everyday lives?

“God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” 2 Corinthians 5:21Click To Tweet

Jesus dying on the cross for our sins changed everything!  The sacrificial lamb no longer needed to be sacrificed for every sin.  That lamb can only atone one person for their sins.  Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to shed His blood making it possible to atone all for their sins.

Jesus died once to pay the price for all.

Jesus isn’t just a figure in our lives that we observe on the cross.   He desires to have an active role in our lives, a relationship with us–to give us life-giving sustenance. When we choose to partake in the beautiful message of Easter, in the good news of the gospel, we are loving God with all of our heart, all of our mind and all of our soul (Matthew 22:37).

We can nail our sins to the cross

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross”  Colossians 2:13-14

When Jesus died on the cross, it gave us a chance to nail our own sins on the cross.  Jesus’ act of taking our place, dying on the cross for our sins is something He did one time but is something that gives eternally forever more.  Jesus loves us so much, He took our place for us so we can be in heaven one day with Him.  You are loved!  I pray this Easter you will partake in the Lamb of God and celebrate the reason for the season.

'For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord' Romans 6:23Click To Tweet

His gift to all of us is eternal life.  Have you accepted God’s gift of eternal life this Easter?  When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, death has no power over us.  Have a Happy Easter!

Isn’t it amazing how Jesus became sin for us, took our place and suffered for us?

Why do you celebrate Easter?  What does Easter mean to you?

He is our Redeemer, our Savior, our Healer, our God is capable of anything.  God makes the most perfect and amazing plans.  

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him”  John 3:16-17

It’s all about meeting Jesus right where we are. In Him, we have life to the full that is complete and everlasting. Have a blessed week!

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Set Me Free

Are you getting ready for Easter?  I love this time of year, for what it represents and the rich gifts that God gives us even when we don’t deserve them.

Have you ever been a given a gift, so valuable money couldn’t buy?  Or have you ever been given a second chance at something that you should have never been given in the first place?

One man in the Bible reminds me of the valuable gift of freedom he received that should have never been given.  His name was Barabbas and he was a criminal convicted of committing murder in a rebellion (Mark 15:7).

It was during the time of Passover and every year the Roman governor would release a prisoner to the people of their choice (Matt. 27:15).  Jesus had been arrested and was in custody of Roman authorities.  Barabbas was a well-known prisoner among the people.  When Pilate asked, “Whom do you want me to release to you?  Barabbas or Jesus, the people knew exactly who each one was.

Pilate was convicted that he was persecuting an innocent man because Jesus wasn’t guilty of any crime under Roman law.  Jesus couldn’t be prosecuted under Jewish law during Passover because the Jews couldn’t crucify anyone during that time.  So Jesus was to be prosecuted under Roman Law.

When both men were in the judgment seat, Pilate’s wife tells her husband “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man (Jesus) for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”  (Matt. 27:19).

But the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed (Matt. 27:20).  When Pilate asked, which one do you want me to release?  The crowd shouted, Barabbas! Then Pilate asked, what should I do with Jesus?  The crowd shouted, “Crucify Him!”  Pilate then questions their decision and asks, why, what crime has he committed?  They shouted even louder, Crucify Him!  (Matt.21-23).

Pilate felt so guilty about the outcome he took water and washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood” (Matt 27:24).  “Then he released Barabbas to them” (Matt. 27:26).

Can you even imagine this scene?  A prisoner who committed murder being set free!  And Jesus a man who committed no crime under Roman law sent to be crucified!?!?!

I can’t imagine what Barabbas was thinking, I was just set free!  He merely received his freedom by default all because the crowd wanted to persecute Jesus.  I can’t help to think of the parallels in Barabbas’ story.  He was a man guilty of a crime and set free.  He was given a second chance at freedom something he didn’t even deserve!

Barabbas being set free and Jesus taking his place on the cross was a foreshadowing of our future story of what Jesus was going to accomplish for us.  Barabbas’ name actually means “Son of Abba” or father.  How coincidental the meaning of the criminal’s name who was released is the very thing that Jesus is to us, “Son of God,” our Father.

I wonder what Barabbas’s life was like after he was released.  I wonder if he was thankful for his second chance at freedom or if he just reverted back to his old criminal habits?  If I were Barabbas I would have been convicted of the new freedom granted to me.

Jesus someone who was innocent and didn't deserve to die took our place for us instead. Click To Tweet

I wonder if Barabbas was at Jesus’ crucifixion, standing at the cross thinking, this man saved my life and set me free (in more ways than we could ever imagine).  I wonder if Barabbas looked at Jesus on the cross and thought, he took my place, that could have been me.  

This whole scene sounds barbaric with the crowd yelling, “Crucify Him!”  In the end, we can point fingers about who was to blame for the death of Jesus.  In reality, it was all apart of God’s plan for us to be set free and forgiven. The only way for us to receive this amazing gift, was for God to sacrifice His only Son for us.

'For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.' John 3:16Click To Tweet

Barabbas’s story is a physical representation of what God does for us every day.  How he extends us His mercy and grace, even when we don’t deserve it.  We are all criminals (sinners)  just like Barabbas.

We are all given a second chance at freedom, just like Barabbas.  

Can you relate to Barabbas’s story?

How have you been set free by God’s love?

What will you do with your second chance at freedom?

Jesus didn’t have to take our place but He did because He loves us.  You have been set free.  What an amazing and wonderful gift!  Happy Easter!

Lord, Set me Free from my burdens and the things I cannot control.  Set me free from anything weighing me down not allowing me to live how you designed me to live, in freedom.  I love you and praise you, God.  I thank you, God, for sending Jesus to take my place even when I didn’t deserve it.  Thank you for giving second chances. Forgive me of my sins.  You have set me free, Lord.  Thank you, in Jesus name.  Amen

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Have you ever prayed a prayer to God pleading on your behalf to please take this sorrow and suffering away?  Have you ever questioned God and asked, “God, if you’re a loving God, then why do you allow so much suffering?”

I don’t know if you have ever sat and read the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but it is filled with lots of sorrow and suffering.  Jesus knew the time was coming before he was going to be arrested.  He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, a quiet place to pray and sit with God.  He took Peter, John, and James with Him to keep watch while He prayed.

Jesus was very troubled and distressed.  He even told His three disciples, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death”  (Mark 14:34).  Jesus knew it was only hours before he was going to be arrested and persecuted.  His soul was heavy with the burden of what God was asking Him to do on behalf of everyone else–to bear the penalty of all our sins.

Jesus found a quiet spot and fell with his face to the ground praying and pleading with His Father, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You.  Take this cup away from me, nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will”  (Mark 14:35-36).

Jesus knew His Father was capable of all things.  He even turned to Him in His sorrow asking Him to please take this cup from me.  A cup’s symbolism is of deep sorrow and suffering.  Jesus felt as though God was leaving Him behind and turning away from Him when He who had no sin was made to be the sin offering for us.

Jesus didn't want to suffer but in the end, submitted to God and said not what I will, but what You will.Click To Tweet

God allowed Jesus to be arrested even though he was innocent.  He even allowed Jesus to be flogged, beaten and crucified despite never sinning.  God allowed His own Son to suffer, not because he didn’t care, but for US.  God doesn’t need us, yet He chose us.  He didn’t allow His own Son to suffer for nothing, but all for His glory.

God doesn’t like it when we hurt.  He doesn’t like it when we suffer.  We are His children when we hurt, He hurts.  God doesn’t desire for us to suffer but has made a plan to carry us through to the other side of our suffering where His greatest blessings reside.

If anyone knows suffering it’s Jesus.  He suffered too.

If anyone knows scars it’s Jesus.  He has scars too.

If anyone knows heartache and burdens it’s Jesus, He had them too.

In our trials, God doesn’t leave us, He’s right there with us.  In the Bible, God let Peter fall in the water, but He didn’t let him drown.  God allowed Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den, but He didn’t allow the lions to eat him.  God allowed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be thrown into the fiery furnace but He didn’t allow them to get burned.

God’s plan for us isn’t to fail but to succeed in His plans for us.  The trials we go through may hurt a lot, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us.  God is always for us not against us.  We can hold onto God’s promises of who He is.  Two promises God always keeps is He is good all the time and He loves us.  If He didn’t, He would have never sent His only son to die for us.

Are you going through a trial right now that seems hopeless?

We can learn from Jesus, that in our trials when we are filled with sorrow and suffering, we can always turn towards God, Our Father, who makes all things possible.  We can give God our sorrows and sufferings just like Jesus did so He can turn them into something so much better.  Whatever you are going through know you are not alone, God is with you.  You are loved!

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Lost Faith

Have you ever lost something very valuable?  Something that no amount of money could replace because it was invaluable?  When I was younger I almost lost something that couldn’t be replaced–my faith.  I made choices I am not proud of and those choices lead me to places I didn’t want to be.  In those moments I turned away from God, He never left my side and His merciful love brought me back home.  In the end, I questioned what was so important for me to abandon my faith?

In the Bible, the disciples were some of the closest people to Jesus.  They walked, talked and followed Him,  heard him speak, saw him perform miracles and yet coward to worldly persecution almost losing their most valuable possession–their faith.

At the Last Supper Jesus warned the disciples that someone would betray Him, one who was eating among them (Mark 14:18).  After the Last Supper, He even warns Peter that he would deny Him (Mark 14:27) and tells the disciples, they will also scatter.

Jesus warned the disciples that their faith would be tested and they too would turn away from their faith.  

“This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”  Matthew 26:31

When Jesus says this, Peter proclaims all the other followers may fall, but I will not (Mark 14:29).  Jesus then tells Peter, before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times (Mark 14:30).  Peter and the others emphatically claimed, even if they had to die with Jesus, they would never disown Him (Mark 14:31).

When Judas appeared in the Garden of Gethsemane with the Roman soldiers, he kissed Jesus on the cheek to signal to the soldiers which one was Jesus.  “The men seized Jesus and arrested him” (Mark 14:44-46).  After Jesus was arrested everyone including the disciples scattered like sheep.

It scares me to think even the people that walked, talked and followed Jesus deserted and fled Him at the time He needed them most.  Everyone left Jesus because they were afraid that they too would be arrested for being associated with Him.

Peter moments before said He would never flee or deny His Lord and Savior.  The disciples proclaimed they would die before ever disowning Jesus.  And yet they fled.

When worldly persecution infringes upon our faith how easy is it to flee in the other direction? Click To Tweet

It was even easy for the disciples who were students of Jesus.  For three years they listened to His teachings, His warnings, His messages.  And yet they fled in fear of getting arrested.

What happened to their faith?

In the three years with Jesus, the disciples witnessed Jesus walk on water, calm the storms, feed 5,000 people with 2 loaves of bread and 5 fish, raise the dead, heal the sick and lame, give the blind their sight, cast our demons and turn wine to water.  They witnessed with their own eyes the very things Jesus was capable of.  They proclaimed Jesus as their Messiah and Lord.  And yet most of them weren’t even present at the cross at their own Messiah’s death, in His greatest suffering.

The disciples fear of persecution caused them to react with their flesh and not their faith.  Who knows?  Maybe their fear saved them from also being crucified on the cross?

It didn’t take long for the disciples’ faith to be restored.  After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdelene and two men walking in the country (Mark 16:9,12).  Jesus told them to go tell the disciples.  When Jesus appeared to the disciples he rebuked them for their lack of faith and stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen (Mark 16:14).  Again they didn’t believe!

The disciples were able to see firsthand the scars of Jesus, proof that he had indeed been crucified, buried and resurrected.  The eyewitnesses weren’t enough to convince their unbelieving hearts that Jesus had risen!  They had to see with their own eyes!

Just 7 days after Jesus’ death the disciples would boldly profess their faith in Jesus again without any fear at the Pentecost [1].  According to the book of Acts, their faith never wavered again and they stood firm even in the face of persecution.

Our rebellion, our fear, our ignorance, our disbelief, our pride are the very things that will make us abandon our faith and choose the other way.  We may not be able to witness Jesus firsthand like the disciples did, but we can witness Jesus firsthand by staying in The Word and through prayer.

Can you relate to the disciples?  They allowed their fears to almost lose the most valuable thing in their lives–their faith.  I’m so glad after Jesus’ resurrection they never questioned their faith again.

Have you ever allowed something to come in between you and God?

Have you ever lost your faith?

I am ashamed to admit I walked away from God for a period of time in my life.  It was one of the worst decisions I made in my life.  I never knew how valuable my faith was until I lost it.  I once was lost, but now I’m found.  God’s profound abundant love, captivated me.  His neverending mercy and grace, consumed me.  His forgiveness and sacrifice embraced my heart to never walk away from my faith again.

Maybe you’re hurting, in a place you don’t want to be.  Maybe you feel like you’re so far from God and don’t know how to get back.  I promise you, God is there waiting for you.  He wants you.  All we have to say is “God help me.” He will be there, I promise.

Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 343). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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A Love That Transcends All Borders

There are some things in this life that are hard to describe unless they are witnessed firsthand.  I have been a nurse for almost 19 years and have witnessed some of life’s most amazing and devastating moments.  I would like to share with you one of those moments today that has been ingrained forever in my heart.  

This particular day, I had already finished a couple of cases in the operating room.  People who know me, know I wear a cross necklace.  As I entered the room of the next patient, he saw the cross I was wearing around my neck.  Before I had the chance to introduce myself, he held out his hands for me to hold.  He took my hands then said, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?”  I said, “Yes.”  It was obvious this patient did not speak much English.  He smiled and said in his broken English, “Then you are my sister.” 

Here was a man (probably of Russian descent) whom I’ve never met before, embracing and proclaiming me to be his sister in Christ before he even knew my name.  

As I was still holding this man’s hand, I responded back to him, “Then you are my brother.”  

What’s so amazing about this moment, it didn’t matter this man could barely speak English. It didn’t matter he didn’t know my name—he didn’t need to.  He only needed to know that I loved and accepted Jesus as my Savior.  We didn’t need to speak the same language to understand God’s love for us.  God’s love is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NIVClick To Tweet

This man showed me it doesn’t matter if we are Catholic, Greek or Jewish.  When we accept the love of Jesus, we become the same lineage, united by the blood of Christ which makes us brothers and sisters.  In God’s love, there are no orphans left behind.  It doesn’t matter if we came from a broken home, a perfect home or don’t have a home.  The love of Jesus provides a home for everyone– his love is our home.  We are all apart of God’s one big family when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, adopted by the blood of Christ.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 NLT

Once we are adopted into God’s family, we become new citizens not of this world but of heaven.  

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”  Philippians 3:20

God’s love is what transforms our hearts and our lives.  

“who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  Philippians 3:21

My patient recognized I was a part of his family that day because I was wearing my cross.  What if I wasn’t wearing my cross?  How would others recognize we are apart of the same family?

Watching the news, there is so much division and hard to tell who is apart of God’s family because of our differences.  Even in our differences, God’s love is what unites us.  

His grace is what saves us.  When Christ lives in us, his loving kindness overflows from within us, allowing others to see the love of Jesus.  When we give the lovingkindness of God, others will know how much God loves them and in Christ, we are all apart of God’s holy family.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Phil 4:1

There is no greater love than the love of Jesus.  God could have lived anywhere in the world but he chose to live in our hearts! (author unknown).  You are loved my sister (or brother)!

Are you apart of God’s one big family?

How can we show others we are apart of God’s family?

Want to tell others how much God loves them? Click Here For Free Valentine Printable Cards with Bible Verses!

Nothing unites us and draws us closer to God than when we read scripture together!  It’s not too late!  Join the Bible reading plan. 

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Want to know more about being apart of God’s big family?  Are you my brother or sister in Christ?  Please introduce yourself, I would love to hear from you!    Please Leave Your Comments Below.  Have a Blessed Week!


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Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If God is good, then why does He allow Bad things to Happen in this world?”

This is a very loaded question and will take more than this one blog post to answer.  The truth is we live in a broken world, that dates back to Adam and Eve the very day they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.  But God is a loving God who created us and desires a relationship with us.   Yes, looking at our world we live in, it is corrupt, there is evil and devastation.  However, God allowed us to have free will and make our own choices.  God doesn’t make us do bad things, we choose to.

God’s love is a holy love. One that forgives and selflessly gives eternally forevermore. One that never leaves us.   There is never an end or amount of God’s love. But sometimes God’s love doesn’t feel very loving does it? Let me explain.

Six years ago my husband and I endured the biggest tragedy parents could ever go through—the loss of our son. He was born with an undetected kidney disease that was incompatible with life. He lived only two short weeks on this earth before he went to heaven. When he died I couldn’t believe God didn’t heal our son.

We prayed so hard for him to be healed, didn’t God hear our prayers? If God loved us then why didn’t He heal our son?

As time went by, I went before God with this very question and His response was “I did heal your son just not in the way you asked me to. He indeed is healed and living a life that is free from disease, pain or sorrow, he is no longer suffering.” Wow, God was right, He answered every single one of my prayers just not in the way I imagined.

Our life may have been filled with grief and pain, but there is not pain that God doesn’t already know.

God’s love is a sacrifice.

Our tragedy made me see more than ever, God’s love is a sacrifice, one that He sacrificed for us through his one and only son. The pain of our son’s death gave me a glimpse of the pain God went through when Jesus died. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Who am I to say I want this part of God’s love but not that part?  At the cross Jesus didn’t surrender half of His life for us, He surrendered all of it.  His love isn’t something I get to pick and choose the parts I do or don’t like. To know God’s holy love, to know the suffering of Jesus, is to know all parts of God’s love.

At the Cross, I lay it at your feet.

Every sacrifice requires 100% surrender. Our surrender is an offering to God.  The Hebrew word for offering (hiqrib) means “to present, bring near, offer.” How perfect is God’s plan, that He made an altar (the cross) for our burdens to be laid down as an offering, to bring us closer to Him?  The life we once lived before our son, died along with him.  The only chance we had to have a life filled with joy again, was to lay down our pain and grief at the feet of Jesus and allow God to crucify them at the cross.

I am crucified with thee.

At the cross, our surrendered burdens are crucified.  They were never meant to be carried beyond the cross.  Every act of obedience, every act of faith no matter how big or small, becomes a living sacrifice to God.   Our surrender allows God to become more in our lives, not our burdens (John 3:30).

God knows what it takes to produce the greatest blessings ever in Him, not anything this world could ever provide for us.   He knows what we need to rid ourselves of anything getting in the way of Him.  Through fasting, prayer, walking away from worldly riches, making sacrifices for God’s greater good, our love becomes a living sacrifice. We become an example to the world what makes us rich and loved isn’t by what we put in our wallets, closets or garages but what God puts into our hearts.

“For where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Our sacrifices allow God to produce His greater work with in us.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

This is where I die.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Every resurrection needs a surrendered offering, a sacrifice/death, and a burial.  This is how God’s holy love works to resurrect our circumstances and make us new in Him!  God’s holy love is the ultimate love.  He holds nothing back.

God’s holy love doesn’t mean we will be without tragedy or heartache.

At the cross lives a holy love, one that suffers, knows our pain and carries our burdens.

At the cross is where Jesus meets us in our pain and shows there is nothing we go through that he hasn’t already been through.   No one knows our pain and suffering better than Jesus. His love is the ultimate sacrifice.

There will always be another storm in our life but know we can always trust in God’s promises, His goodness, and love.  When our feelings get the best of us here are some great reminders.

In God’s love, we can find freedom from our burdens by resting in the truths of God’s love.

God’s love is always good and pure.
God’s love is always faithful.
God’s love is eternal and never runs out.
God’s love is perfect and always prevails.
God’s love is a relationship.
God’s love is where we can find rest.
God’s love is a sacrifice and is forgiving.
God’s love comforts us.
God’s love, loves unconditionally.
God’s love is extravagant and abundant.
God’s love paid our debt for sin.
God’s love gives selflessly.
God’s love never fails and conquers all.
God’s love heals, restores and renews.
Nothing is bigger or greater than God’s love.

Have you experienced and accepted God’s holy love?

How has God’s holy love restored and renewed you?

Jesus is my healer.  His holy love makes us complete!  I pray God’s holy love will abundantly fill our hearts and homes this week.  You are loved!

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

The definition of the Hebrew word for offering was obtained from www.biblestudytools.com

A modified version of this post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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The Victory of Your Worth

On one of our family vacations this summer we went to a fishing town in Alaska.  It was a rainy day and I was out walking our dog.  She was a brand new edition to our family of four.  She’s was a super adorable labradoodle puppy and at the time was only 4 months old.  As I was walking, I passed a gentleman who at first glance looked tattered and worn, (in fact he may have been homeless), says to me, “That’s a very nice looking dog you have there, she’s a little raggedy, but a nice looking dog.”  Don’t you love when people give you a roundabout compliment?  The comment struck me as funny because of the same raggedy appearance the man had himself!?!?!

I’ll admit, her wet fur did make her appear ‘a little raggedy,’ BUT if the man even knew how much value she added to our family and the price we paid for her, he would not have described her as raggedy!

But that’s just it.  This story describes many of us.  You may be tattered, worn and a little raggedy, but do you know how valuable you are?  Or do you know the price that was paid for you?  How much more valuable is something when you know the value of it?

It doesn’t matter how torn, tattered or ragged you are, your worth and value is not determined by external appearances.  Our value and worth are not measured by what color hair or eyes we have, not how tall we are, or even how much we weigh.  Our worth is determined by the blood of Jesus who paid the price for us.  What do you see when you look in the mirror?  Someone who has more value and worth than all the rubies and diamonds in the world or …….?  Truth is there is no amount of money that can pay the price for your life because it is priceless and beyond valuable.  This world can never pay a high enough price for the worth of your life.

Your life, your value, your worth, is priceless in the eyes of God. Click To Tweet

You don’t have to find your value in the acceptance and approval in what the world says about you (Rom. 12:2).  The world constantly changes its definition of what makes you valuable and worthy.  There will never be an end to keeping up with what they say makes you worthy.  The good news is God loves you just the way you are and would never have sent Jesus if he didn’t think you were worth it.  God sent Jesus for everyone.

There is victory when you live in who God says you are.Click To Tweet

You don’t have to try to fit into a mold of who the world says you should be.  God wants you to be who you are, how he created you to be, not try to be something your not.

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works so that no one can boast.”

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Finding Victory in Our Struggles

Have you ever struggled with something and wondered ‘God where are you?’  Or asked God, ‘Why Me?’ or ‘God do you even care?’  

Have you ever prayed so hard for God to answer a prayer and wondered, ‘God are you even listening?’  

I have been there.  I have asked God all of these questions before.  I don’t have all the answers to why things happen the way they do.  I do know God loves us and desires us to live a victorious life in Him, despite our defeating circumstances.   So how does one go from Defeat to Victory?  

The answer lies at the cross.  

Where do you stand at the cross?

Sides of the Cross:  
Do you stand behind the cross?  You can see the cross, but you can’t see the victory or the suffering of Jesus.  You can’t bring yourself to walk up to the cross because you don’t think the cross can help and can’t see it’s true meaning.  You live in continually defeat of your circumstances, because you put your faith in what you see.  

Do you stand at the side of the cross?  You can see the cross and the suffering, but you can’t bring yourself to walk up to the cross and reach out your hand because you are holding onto your sin.  You have deemed yourself not worthy of the cross.  You live with unforgiveness and can’t seem to let go.  

Do you stand in front of the cross?  You go ahead of God, get in a mess look around and then ask ‘God where are you?’  You can see the cross but it is far out of your reach.  You desire the crown but not the suffering.  You chase what the world considers valuable.  You want to pick and choose the parts of Jesus you want.  You’re surrounded by busyness and distractions.  Temptations are running you’re life drawing you further away from the cross with each choice you make.  The enemy is claiming victory over you keeping you far from God’s truth and out of reach of the cross.   The enemy doesn’t want to let you get too close to experience and see the victory of Jesus.  He doesn’t want you to see the whole Jesus and experience Him in his entirety in his suffering, his mercy, his grace, his richness, his servanthood, or his enduring love.   

Do you stand at the cross?  You partake in everything Jesus has to offer;  the suffering and the crown.  You allow the power of the cross to intercede on your behalf.  You lay your burdens and sin at the cross, you have given everything to God, there is nothing getting in the way of him.  Your life has been completely surrendered to him.  You allow the cross to empower you to live in the victory of Christ!  

OR

Do you even see the cross at all?  You are surrounded by unbelievers.  You have stopped going to church altogether and don’t even know the last time you’ve prayed.  You have fallen far away from God.  Maybe you used to have a relationship with him, but you have been burned, either by a judgmental Christian, a corrupt church, or dead-end circumstances that lead you to know where you want to be.  You have lost your hope and don’t trust God at all.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for nothing.  He didn’t stay in the grave– He was resurrected.   Our burdens were meant to be left in the grave and never carried beyond the cross.  The power of the cross is nothing without the resurrection.  Satan would like nothing more than to keep us broken inside that empty tomb.  He would like to keep us blinded and whisper lies from the world to keep us from seeing the truth.  We can have all the evidence in front of us, but if we don’t have faith we will miss it altogether. 

Do you live in the power the cross or continual defeat?  Victory lies within the cross, not far away from it, not behind it, not beside it, not ahead of it, but within it.  

There is victory in our struggles.  To experience the entire victory, we must allow Christ to live within us by inviting him in so he can work and within us. 

The victory will never be experienced on the sidelines.  It will never be experienced when the cross is out of our reach.  The victory is something to be done together as a team  (Jesus and us) to be fully engaged in, participating in, not just watching.  The victory is won by actively living out our faith even in our trials, even when we’re persecuted.  Oh, how glorious is the reward of the victory.  It’s all for us to have right now and it’s right in front of us.

Our victory is only one step away.  We are only one step away from surrender.  One step away from forgiveness.  One step away from letting go and letting God.

Where do you stand at the cross?  Are you able to confidently live out your faith to overcome your everyday battles?  You are made to be victorious.  Don’t allow circumstances to conquer and defeat you.  Satan is the defeated one, not you.

Where do you find your victory when you have struggles?

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