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Does Our Faith Save Us?

Is our faith enough to save us?

Earlier this month a beloved Pastor named Jarrid Wilson took his own life.  He was a Pastor of a Harvest Christian Fellowship and founder of Anthem of Hope Ministries, a ministry to help those who struggled with depression and suicide.  He brought many to know Jesus and was an accomplished author of a few books, “Love is Oxygen,” “Jesus Swagger,” and “Wondrous Pursuit.”

As a Pastor and Man of God we think how can this happen?  It goes to show struggles are real and even godly people aren’t exempt.  How is it a man who walked with God so closely, spread His good news, helped hundreds with depression and brought many to Christ take his own life?

Jarrid Wilson’s situation asks deeper questions.

Did Jarrid not have enough faith?

If His faith didn’t save him, then what’s the point of having faith?

So many people in the Bible can ask the same question.

Did Daniel’s faith save him from being thrown in the lion’s den? No

Did Shadrack, Meschack, and Abendago’s faith save them from being thrown in the fiery furnace? No

Did the Israelites’ faith save them from being attacked by the Egyptians? No

Did Jesus’ faith prevent him from being crucified on the cross? No

You may be thinking, then what is the point in having faith if it doesn’t keep me safe?

Samaritan’s Purse put out a movie a couple of years ago called  ‘Facing the Darkness’ which was a documentary of the Ebola crisis outbreak.  Dr. Brantly the doctor and first American to contract the Ebola virus, said something so profound. He said, “Faith is not something that makes you safe. My faith did not save me but got me through it. My Faith actually brought me to the Ebola crisis.”

These examples of faith did not PREVENT them from being put in scary, dangerous circumstances. Standing firm in their faith DID PROTECT them and allow for God’s greater plan to happen.

If Daniel didn’t have faith we would have never seen GOD’S POWER to shut the mouths of lions.

If Shadrack, Meshack and Abendago didn’t have faith we would had never seen GOD’S POWER protect them from being burned in the fiery furnace and how God was with them.

If the Israelites didn’t have faith we would have never seen GOD’S POWER to part the Red Sea providing a way out from their enemies.

If Jesus refused to put his trust in His Father’s hands, we would have missed out on the greatest plan that ever existed—OUR ETERNAL SALVATION.

Each example of faith, including Dr. Brantly’s brought them to the heart of a crisis where their lives were at stake. Through each act of faith, we were able to see how trusting in God’s plan moves mountains and makes the impossible, possible.

How big is your faith?

Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

It’s not the size of our faith that moves mountains, but the size of our God.  

IF our FAITH was enough to save us, there would have been no point in sending Jesus. Click To Tweet

Our faith allows God’s greater plan to play out. Our faith does not save us, but God’s grace does. 

Our faith will not SAVE us from our bad circumstances or GUARANTEE us a life without struggles. Our FAITH will not prevent us from being thrown into a pit of lions, a fiery furnace, being attacked by our enemies or contracting a deadly disease. Having faith does not exempt us from harsh realities of this world.

Our faith DOES allow God to be in control and puts the trust in HIS capabilities. Our faith is the very thing that will get us through to the other side and live in the abundant blessings God has to offer. It doesn’t matter what circumstances we are up against, when we have faith we become OVERCOMERS in Christ. Our faith allows us to experience PEACE in the storms and JOY in our struggles because of what God has already gone ahead of us and done.

Where will you allow your faith to take you?

Our faith may lead us into scary, dangerous places.  Be encouraged……..

God's grace will not take us where his love cannot protect us. Click To Tweet

God’s grace and love are greater and bigger than anything in this world.

1 John 4:4 “ You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

How has your faith protected you in your hard circumstances?

Friends, suicide is never the answer.  If you are having suicidal thoughts please reach out and ask for help, call a friend.  Please know your life matters, you are worthy and valuable.

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He Makes All Things NEW

He Makes All Things New

Ever wonder why we go through what we go through?  After our son died,  I was left with a lot of questions, “Why?” “How could this even happen?”  When bad things happen in our lives, we can question if God is a good God then how could he allow something like this to happen?

I’ll never forget when someone gave me a little story book called, “Water bugs and dragonflies.”  I wondered, ‘why would someone give me a children’s book after our son just died?”  As the story goes, there was a family of water bugs.  Every so often the water bugs would venture off up the stalks of grass, above the surface of water to never return or be seen again.

When it was time for the water bug, narrating the story, turn to leave, he discovered when he went to the surface, something amazing happened.  He gained wings!  In his excitement he realized, ‘wait, I have to go back to tell my family!’  Then he realized he couldn’t because of his wings, and in his transformation, no one would recognize him anyway.  He would have to wait until the rest of his family went through their transformation to see them again.

Something New will be Born

Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. Isa. 66:9 NIV

He Makes All Things New

When life hurts and we think God’s promises have failed us, one person in the Bible reminds me that God never leaves us and uses everything we go through for his greater purpose.  Job was a man of great wealth, blameless, upright, feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1).  He had a big family, a big house, lots of cattle, and servants.  Everything Job touched was blessed.

Then Satan comes along and wants to test Job, put him through trials, to see if he would still praise God and stay faithful.  God granted Satan access to Job to be allowed to test job in ways that were beyond imaginable, knowing whatever Satan did, Job would never turn away from Him (Job 1:8-12)

Satan’s first set of attacks on Jobs targeted his family (killing all his children) and cattle (all were taken and stolen from his property).  Imagine losing all your children and cattle all at once.  The depth of despair and loss must have been heavy and great.  Despite this Job still cried out to God and said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;  blessed be the name of the LORD” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:21-22).  

Satan’s second set of attacks, targeted Job’s health leaving him with sores all over his body (Job 2:7).  Job’s wife even said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die” (Job 2:9).  But he said to her, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive  evil?  In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (Job 2:10).  

In other words, life encompasses good and bad.  Are we to only embrace the good parts of life and not the bad parts?

Jobs’ his life had been good up until this point, just because bad things were happening now, does that mean God wasn’t good?

When Job’s three friends heard of his suffering and turmoil, they came to support and mourn with him.  For seven days they sat in silence, wept with him and comforted him (Job 2:11-13).  After those seven days, Job starts opening up about his heartache and hardship to his friends, questioning, ‘why was he even born?’ or ‘why must he go through all this suffering?’ 

Then his three friends chime in and given their own opinion and reason for Job’s suffering.  If Job was the target of all this suffering, he must have done something in his life to deserve all this.  Job’s circumstances must be a result of not being right before God and he needed to repent of any sin to make his suffering go away (Job 4).

“As I have seen, the who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4:8).  His friends believed somehow God was judging Job’s character and he was now reaping the consequences.  It is true there is a law of sowing and reaping in Galatians 6:7 and 2 Corinthians 9:6, whatever effort we put into things we sow what we reap.

To turn that around and apply this concept to God implying he punishes and condemns us for our past mistakes is not the truth.  God is a loving forgiving God.

'We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are' (Romans 3:22 NLT).Click To Tweet

Yes it is true God allows certain circumstances to happen in our lives, but that does not mean God is evil and wants us to suffer.  There is nothing we can do, that would make God Not LOVE us.  We can be forgiven no matter what we’ve done, how lost we are or how far away from God we are.  His love is for everyone and anyone has the choice to be saved and forgiven.

The part of Job’s story I love the most, is how he remained faithful and praised God despite is horrible circumstances.  I love what Job says,

'I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted' (Job 42:1)Click To Tweet

In the end, God restored Job’s fortunes and blessed him with twice as much as he had before.

Our past does not define our future. #quote Pastor Rick Warren

Job may have endured a lot, but he persevered because:

  1. He praised God even in his darkest moments
  2. He didn’t listen to naysayers (his friends)
  3. He held onto the goodness of God and trusted what God had for him was greater

God may allow us to endure hardships, but will use them to refine us and rid of us anything getting in the way of His greater purpose.  Job never turned his back on God and allowed his story to be all for God’s glory.  God can do all things and no amount of evil can ever stop God’s purpose and plan of what He’s already done for us.

No trial, no heartache, no struggle is ever wasted. Just as a woman goes through the pain of labor, God doesn’t allow anything to happen in our lives without something new to be born.

“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”  Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelations 21:5).

I love how God can turn the most tragic circumstances into His greatest plans ever.  Just like the water bugs, God makes all things new.  

Have you ever had a trial or hardship in your life that God used for his greater purpose?

How has God made things new in your life?

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In Him,

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Have You Ever Been a Holy Mess? Interview with Michelle Rabon’s New Book: Holy Mess

 

Have you ever just felt like your life was a mess?  Or maybe even a Hot Mess?  But a Holy Mess?  That’s a whole other level!  Just reading the title makes me relate!

What if our Holy Messes were apart of God’s Holy Purpose for us?

What if God’s Holy Purpose could not be carried out in us if we didn’t have our Messes?

Our messes are God’s platform to carry out His greatest plans.  He doesn’t need us to do this, He WANTS US to carry out His plans.  He could have chosen to live anywhere in the world but He chose to reside in our hearts.

I want to introduce you to Michelle Rabon the author of a Holy Mess.  She actually wrote “Holy Mess” as both a traditional book with a coordinating Bible study. The benefit of the book is to help women find freedom from the messes of their life through Christ and walk forward in faith. It will help women see that God meets us in the midst of every mess we will face in this life and He will walk us through it all.

So let’s get started!

Heather:  What is the story behind Holy Mess?  What drove you to write this book?

Michelle:  I never set out to write a book in all honesty. I accepted Christ at the age of 19, but it took until my late 20s to really understand what it meant to be a woman radically changed by the Gospel. I know God saved me and changed me, but I didn’t know how I was supposed to live that out. 

From the time I was 19 to my late 20s, I was married, had three children, lost my father, brother, mother in law and had two miscarriages. There was a lot of life, a lot of hurt and little understanding of how the Gospel could meet me in the midst of it all. Holy Mess really is 10 years of hard fought lessons in one book. Everything God has used to teach me about what the Gospel really means for our lives every day. 

I wrote the idea on a piece of paper three years ago. I knew that all I walked through was not without reason and it was meant to be shared. The desire of my heart and the burden God placed on my heart was to help other women see the power of the Gospel for every area of her life. 

Heather: What does it mean to be a woman who is radically changed by the gospel?  

Michelle:  Being a woman who is radically changed by the gospel is a reflection of the power of what Christ can do in a woman’s life. When we accept the gift of salvation and surrender our lives to God because of Christ,  who went to a cross on our behalf – God begins to shape us into His holy daughters. Our perfection isn’t required because He meets us in the midst of our messes. 

When we are radically changed we are moved from our old way to a new way, a new life. A life of abundance and hope. It does not mean God is offering us a perfect life, but He says I will meet you in it. He says I am with you every step, and He will be faithful to bring the holy to His radically changed daughters.

Heather:  What was your favorite and least favorite part of the process of the Holy mess?  

Michelle:  My favorite part of the process was learning so much about the women of the Bible. There is so much that God will teach us through the people in the pages of Scripture. Their stories resonate with us because they are like you and I, just a few hundred years between us. 

My least favorite, having to walk out what God was teaching me, every word I wrote I lived out first before it found its way onto a page. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. 

Heather:  If there is one take away message you can share from the Holy mess what would that be?  

Michelle:  That if God can change the women of the Bible then He can change you, and when He changes you, He will walk this life with you. 

 

Michelle is a wife and mom of three who is learning to embrace the messiness of life and walk in the grace of God. When she isn’t chasing or homeschooling her little ones, she is writing, drinking coffee, and serving women in her local church. You can find her at Displayinggrace.com, Instagram @displayinggrace and Facebook @displaygrace

All book information is at www.holymessbook.com

 


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When Unconditional Love is the Outcome

Have you ever had to swallow some hard truth?  A truth so hard to grasp you didn’t want to hold onto it?

When we truthfully sit with hard questions to examine our hearts to search for anything ruminating in the spaces that belong to God–we discover the fears, doubts, worries and anxieties holding us back from the ultimate outcome of receiving His love.

Have you ever been in a place of desperation or despair, wondering are God’s promises and miracles even for real?  When I get to these places of doubt or disappointment I have to take a step back and see what am I holding onto and where am I really placing my hope?

Honestly I’ve been afraid of the truth of what might never will be.  I’ve had to process what’s really God’s will verses my will and ask do they align with one another?

I’ve had to give A LOT of fears and doubts over to God over the years and Trust He know what’s best.  Believe what He has for me is better.  But when you’re in the daily grind and the cycles of brokenness continually perpetuate overtime, you feel like you’re just running on the treadmill and get weary and tired.

3 Ways to Allow Love to Be in the Outcome-

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?  Who may live on your holy mountain?” Psalm 15:1

1. Sit with the Truth by Asking Hard Questions–  Where are we dwelling in pretend world or reality?  Where are we putting our hope and trust?  What do God’s Promises and Miracles mean to me?  Am I really committing to God or tweaking his plan to fit my own conveniences?  Is my way to do things more important than my obedience to God?  Truthfully answering these questions helps empty our hearts of anything getting in the way of receiving God’s love.

My answer-  I think we try to fit God into a box of what we want, demand he does them and then get frustrated when what we ask for doesn’t happen.  I think we can stand on sides of God’s promises and miracles.  One side is doubt and we dwell outside of his miracles thinking they are not for us and will never happen.  The other side of God’s promises/miracles lies entitlement, we want his Promises and Miracles NOW.  And when they don’t happen when we want them to, we become disappointed.  Click here if you missed last month’s post Why we should let go of the miracle.

Are we truly living in his promises and what he's able to do or putting our own expectations on what God can do? Click To Tweet

When we put our hope and trust in God’s outcome, love is always the outcome.  Any other outcome we put our trust in will only be temporary and leads to disappointment every time.

2.  Peel back the labels.  Just because we label or call ourselves Christians or believers doesn’t mean that is the fail safe for our relationship with God.  Labels aren’t our identity or our truth– our identity in Christ is.  We like to claim things over lives and believe we safely fall within this realm of ‘I’m a Christian’ so I’m safe, when in reality we hide behind the labels of false-images, status and accomplishments all the time.

Instead of hiding behind the labels, we need to stand in front of them and say ‘I’m broken and I need Jesus.’  So many of us (me included) want to stay safely protected behind these labels clinging to them like they’re the gospel.  When in reality, we’re clinging to what is comfortable in fear of being shamed, not accepted or condemned for who we really are.

Are we more concerned with our own comforts or God’s glory?

What are we really holding on to?

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”  Jonah 2:8

3.  Love Anyway, Embrace the process.  Just because we don’t like our circumstances doesn’t mean we’re defeated or God doesn’t love us.  Any outcome where love is the choice gives power for change.  How do we do this?

When we choose to love knowing we will endure pain but God will use it for his greater good.  When we pray for our enemy, hearts and perspectives change.  When we accept the things we cannot change and surrender them to God, outcomes change.  When reside in what God has for us and accept his plans are good enough, we receive his everlasting grace.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Is God’s grace enough?  When I truly live under the umbrella of God’s truth and grace–Freedom becomes My Reality.  I can CONFIDENTLY say, ‘I’m Free, no chains or anchors here.”  In order to live under the banner of truth and live in the reality of it, we have to release any false pretenses, perceptions, images, identities, labels, disillusioned fears, anxieties, worries, doubts (that’s a lot to release), when we do WE ARE NO LONGER SLAVES TO OUR FEARS and THE ENEMY LOSES ALL POWER OVER US.

The reality is what we’re praying for may never happen the way we want it.  Or maybe what we go through is part of God’s plan to prepare us what we’ve asked for.  We have to release the OUTCOME to God and say, “I’m OK with YOUR OUTCOME God, what YOU have for ME is ENOUGH.”

When we CHOOSE God’s OUTCOME and ALLOW GOD’S OUTCOME for our LIVES, we can trust God’s Love will ALWAYS be apart of the OUTCOME.  In God’s Plans, LOVE is ALWAYS the OUTCOME.

When we choose and accept God’s outcome, we are choosing a life of pain.  No one willingly signs up for this type of life.  We will have trials and heartaches that seem out of control and unbearable.  It is a life that requires complete surrender and dependence on God BUT will be the most eternally rewarding.

Where we receive God's love

Please rest on these nuggets of truth when you’re in situations of relentless turmoil and need to make more room for God’s love in your life.

God’s will, will never take you where His grace cannot protect you.

Every one of God’s plans will have his love in the outcome.

There is freedom and peace when we live under the banner of truth, when we are truthful and honest with ourselves.

We will no longer be slaves to fear when we accept God’s plans and His grace as enough.

We will always regret playing it safe by choosing comfort.  We will Never Regret pursing and following the Will of God.

God’s love ALWAYS Prevails.  

I pray and hope this is a safe place to leave your comments and start a conversation where no one has to fear being judged or condemned.

What is your number one struggle you cling to and haven’t released to God?

Do you trust God’s Outcome is enough for you?

Have you peeled back the labels to see what’s really underneath them?

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I would love to hear from you!  Leave Your Comments Below.   ​In Him,

In case you missed it here is last month’s post Why We Should Let Go of the Miracle


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The Most Amazing Plan Ever Revealed

I’ve been doing a little Bible journaling lately and wanted to share with you one of my Bible journaling entries.

The Most Amazing Plan Ever Revealed

Read Luke 24:13-35.

I can’t imagine what everyone was thinking after the death of Jesus. Even though Jesus foretold of His death and resurrection many times His followers were thinking ‘why did Jesus have to die?’, ‘what now?’ The Jews very much wanted Israel to be redeemed and restored, now that Jesus died, where was the hope?

I love how Jesus reveals His plan in the most unlikely ways. The day Jesus’ tomb was found empty, two men were walking hanging their heads in defeat, wallowing in their despair of Jesus’ death.

As they were discussing the events of Jesus’ death, Jesus himself drew near to them but the men did not recognize him (Luke 24:15-16).  Jesus even asked them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” (Luke 24:17).

These men, prior to Jesus’ death must have spent time with Jesus. According to this verse He is someone they should have recognized, obviously because they were talking about him.

One of the men named Cleopas basically says, “Didn’t you hear?” “Don’t you know the things that have happened?” (Luke 24:18).  Jesus responds to him, “What things?”  Cleopas responds, “You know about Jesus? We were hoping he was our redeemer and would restore Israel.  And now these women said the tomb is empty where he was buried, they saw angels and he’s alive” (paraphrased Luke 24: 19-26)

Isn’t it ironic how Jesus Himself asked the men what were they were talking about even though He already knew? Jesus knew the men were doubting and discouraged and was trying to expose their hearts to the greater plan which had already unfolded.

How patient is Jesus with us? He appeared to these men, walked alongside them and listened to their every word. He could have jumped in front of them to get their attention and said ‘Hi! It’s me! Jesus! The one you’re looking for!’ But that’s not His way. He patiently waited for their response to draw out what was in their hearts and then responded.

Jesus basically said to the men, ‘I’m right here in front of you! You’re a little behind! I sent the women to check out the tomb and an angel to tell you I have risen!’ What other proof do you need?’  He then asks a most profound question.

Wasn’t it necessary that Christ should suffer to enter into his glory?

The men just like everyone were confused probably thinking, ‘huh?’  They saw Jesus suffer and die a brutal death on the cross 3 days earlier and now his body is no where to be found.  The men still did not yet believe Jesus had risen and now they had a stranger telling them wasn’t it necessary Jesus suffered.

Why do you think the men were kept from recognizing him?

Cleopas and his companion, before walking with Jesus were hanging their heads with discouragement focusing on the emptiness of the tomb. Even though they had so much evidence right in front of them they still couldn’t see the victory.  Jesus was challenging the two men, do you only see an empty tomb, that offers no hope? Or do you see the new message of hope, that I have conquered death and have risen?

How many times as believers do we do the same thing? We put our hope in ourselves and the things we see instead of putting our hope and trust in Jesus?

After Jesus had walked with these men almost the entire day, they asked Jesus to stay with them.  The next scene blows my mind.  In verse 30-31, Jesus sat at the table with them, blessed and broke the bread and then the men recognized Jesus.

This scene is very similar to the Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples. As far as we know from the Scriptures, the disciples were the only ones at the Last Supper and the Apostles were the only other men instructed about the Last Supper.  I love how Jesus chose a common meal, something we do in our everyday lives to reveal Himself!

Can you imagine not only being a witness to Jesus’ resurrection, but also partaking in the Last Supper with Him after He rose from the dead?

Once the eyes of their hearts were opened, then they recognized Jesus.

It makes me wonder in my walk of life, how many times have I walked with Jesus and didn’t even recognize He was right in front of me?

Cleopas and his friend were missing the point until Jesus came along and opened their eyes to see the tomb for what it really was. The empty tomb no longer meant Jesus was dead, but indeed “He had risen!” This changed everything! Jesus didn’t leave Cleopas and his friend until they heard the good news, the new message of the gospel, God’s bigger plan.

This new plan offered an exit plan for their defeat, no longer seeking hope in what they saw or in their circumstances, but one that offered a new hope in what Jesus did for them. This new plan offered a way to leave their brokenness at the cross, leave their unforgiveness in the grave and rise up new with Jesus and walk with Him everyday in victory!

Can you even imagine being a firsthand witness to the most amazing plan ever?  The Resurrection of Jesus!

Even though we didn’t see with our own eyes the resurrections of Jesus, we have first hand accounts of what He did for us in the Bible and why he did it–because He loves us.

Do you believe Jesus died for you?

What is the most amazing plan ever revealed to you?

God’s plans are always greater. Cleopas and his friend thought there was no hope for Israel, oh how wrong they were. You may be going through hard times right now, thinking there is no hope. It may seem God didn’t answer your prayers.  Please know God answers our prayers in bigger ways than we could ever imagine.  If God can resurrect Jesus from the grave after 3 days he can resurrect our circumstances.  You are loved!

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE E-book, “The Jericho Prayer” and a weekly Monday Message.  Like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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What Were The Most Powerful Words Ever Spoken?

Do you know where the most powerful, life-changing words were spoken?  

Do you know who spoke those words?

The most powerful words are from the last dying words from a person.  They are remembered because they will never speak those words again.  

This Easter as we reflect what Jesus did for us, we can witness in Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross his prayers for us.  His last words are so telling of his undying love for us. Here are the dying last words of Jesus.

7 Powerful Words Jesus Spoke on the Cross:

1. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). It amazes me even as Jesus was ridiculed, persecuted, beaten and crucified he still prayed for those who were killing him. He even forgave one of the men on the cross who was sentenced with him. Even in Jesus death he prayed for us and still had the power to make people right with God and cared about their salvation.

2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43 NIV). These are the words Jesus said to one of the criminals sentenced with him after the criminal said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Can you even imagine hanging on the cross suffering and Jesus says these words to you, promising you will be in paradise today and you will be with Jesus? This signifies this paradise is something that  only Jesus brings not the world.

3. “Dear Woman, here is your son” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother” (John 19:26-27 NIV). Jesus was saying this to his mother Mary, even in Jesus’ last hours of life he honored his mother by asking John, his disciple to take care of her.

Could you even imagine being in Mary’s shoes watching her child suffer, hanging on the cross, knowing he was going to die?Click To Tweet

Jesus wanted to make sure his mother would be taken care of and entrusted his beloved disciple John to do this.

4. “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). This is the fourth saying Jesus says in both Aramaic and Hebrew, from the cross. Prior to this, Jesus had fallen silent for 3 hours after the darkness came. This is the first thing he said after the darkness left. In the 3 hours of darkness is where Jesus felt the wrath and separation from God for the first time.

This statement shows his vulnerability as a human and reveals his feeling of abandonment from God. I think this saying shows how heavy bearing the sins of all of mankind was and therefore cries out to God for help. This shows us we should cry out to God also when we too bear much suffering.

5. “I am thirsty” (John 19:28 NIV). This is so interesting how Jesus asks for water considering he taught his disciples and followers many times that he was the living water, that whoever drinks of the water will never thirst again and have eternal life (John 4:14). It is striking how the one who is the water of life is dying in thirst. I think this shows Jesus craving for his physical comfort to be refreshed with a drink of water.

Jesus not only desired for his physical thirst to be satisfied but his spiritual thirst as well. In scorn, the soldiers dipped a sponge filled with vinegar on the end of a hyssop plant to give Jesus a bitter taste in his mouth. You and I today can ‘give Jesus a drink’ by sharing what we have with those in need by feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty (Matthew 25:34-40). Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 383). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

6. “It is finished” (John 19:30 NIV). This statement marks one of the last things Jesus says before he dies. It signifies he completed what he came to this earth to do, to die for our sins. He says the Greek word ‘tetelestai’ which means ‘paid in full.’ Jesus didn’t say ‘I am finished,’ he said ‘It is finished,’ meaning his redemptive work was complete. “It is finished,” is a declaration of Victory! Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He suffered the penalty we deserved. Even up to the moment of his death, Jesus remained the one who gave his life for us (John 10:11, 14,17-18). 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. 340). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

7. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46 NIV). This is the seventh and last statement Jesus says before he bowed his head and took his last breath. Jesus died for us. He offered his body and soul, not for himself, but for us. Jesus did not die as a martyr, but as a Victor, because he completed what he came to do. All of the suffering Jesus went through, his death was not for nothing.

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” is actually a bedtime prayer used by Jewish children. It tells us how our Lord died: confidently, willingly and victoriously (John 10:17-18).

It is a prayer of commitment to God before taking his last breath. Those who know Jesus as their Saviour may also die with the same confidence and assurance, that Jesus did (2 Cor. 5:1–8; Phil. 1:20–23). Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 276). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Wow! I can’t even believe all that Jesus was teaching us even in his suffering on the cross and very last hours of his life. It shows me how important prayer is in our lives. Praying is what Jesus was doing up until the last breath he took. He not only was showing us his love by enduring suffering and death in which we deserved, but praying on our behalf asking for our forgiveness.

He comforted the criminal who was suffering telling him about God’s promise of paradise. He honored his mother. He cried out to God for help. He showed his desire to have his thirst quenched both physically and spiritually. Jesus remained faithful even in his suffering. He showed us that God is always with us, he never leaves or forsakes us.

This Easter, we can partake and participate in the victory of Jesus as his gift to us.

What do Jesus’ last words mean to you?

What are the most powerful words you ever heard spoken?

We don’t have to be perfect to accept this gift, have it all together or be someone great. God’s gift of eternal life he offers to everyone, no matter who we are, who we were or who we will be. Opening and receiving God’s gift of eternal life, is the best gift anyone could ever receive this Easter.

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below. Have a blessed and Happy Easter!

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I pray the God of hope will fill you with Peace as you Trust in Him!  Have a Blessed week!  I would love to hear from you!  Leave Comments Below.  Happy Easter!


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The Second Chance That Saved My Life

The Second Chance That Saved My Life

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 second chance that saved your life?  

God has given me so many second chances I didn’t even deserve.  I’m so thankful for second chances and wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

One man in the Bible reminds me of a second chance that saved his life.   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.  I once was lost but now I’m found.  God’s second chance of mercy and grace has saved and changed my life forever.

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

Have you ever been given a second chance that saved your life?  Please Share!

The second chance God has given me has changed my life forever.

You have been set free.  What an amazing and wonderful gift!  Happy Easter!

Prayer–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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3 Ways To Pray For Your Family With Confidence

3 Ways to Pray For Your Family With Confidence

If you are apart of a family most likely you know where they are.  Nowadays there are apps to locate loved ones or smart homes to let you know when they arrive home.  I am one that is not so technologically advanced and  have to rely on my kids or youtube to help me with certain tasks on the phone.

One app our family downloaded, is the Life 360 app which can tell me the exact location of my family.  I simply click on the app and pictures of my family pop up on the map of where they are located.  The app comes in handy when I’m  at work and it’s not my day to carpool.  I know when the kids arrive at school because the app alerts me, they arrived!  The app also tells me how much battery life each family member’s phone has to let me know if their phone is about to die in case I’m not able to get ahold of them.

Isn’t it nice to know the location of your family and they are safe?

Knowing the location of our families isn’t just important in the physical sense, knowing where they are spiritually is just as important.  We need to keep track, so we where they are and if they are safe.

3 Ways to Pray for Your Family With CONFIDENCE:

1.  Know Where They Are.  Can you confidently say 100% my loved one is going to heaven?  This is one of the most important questions to ask yet we shy away from it, why?  Because we’re afraid we might hurt feelings or don’t want to offend anyone?  Not asking you’re loved one where they are spiritually is a greater loss than asking them–Do they believe?  Knowing where they are spiritually can give you a better idea of how to pray for them.  Pray for opportunities to share Jesus in a non-confrontational way, pray for doors to be opened for you or others to speak truth and grace into their lives, for them to receive the love of Jesus.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:2-4
2.  Know Where They Are Going.  More than anything I want to confidently say all MY Family is going to heaven.  More than anything I want to say I will see them there one day.  In the above verses, Jesus is speaking to Thomas and at this point he’s confused and asks Jesus, “We don’t know where you are going.  How can we know the way?” (John 14:5 ESV).  Jesus then responds………..

Do you know where your family is going?

Praying for our family’s eternal salvation is one of the most important life changing prayers we can pray.  I have been praying for family members my whole life that one day they will accept Jesus and go to heaven.  Don’t give up, keep praying you never know how God will work.
3.  Know Where They’ve Been.  I’m not talking about in a creepy stalker way, I’m saying in a loving concerned way.  Can you say with confidence I know where my kids/family have been, what they’re doing, who they’ve been hanging out with?  Can you confidently say I know what they’ve been exposed to, for how long and if they are in safe situations?  We all slip up and make mistakes.  But allowing consistent patterns of losing track of where they are can create new paths of not knowing where they will be going.
We want to train up our children to be the ones that transform the world not be transformed by the world.  Pray you will stay alert, ask the right questions, that you’re loved one will open up to you and be honest.  Pray for opportunities to have good/hard conversations.  Pray you will have the right words to say and your loved one will be open to listen.
And above all seek wisdom and obedience.  A surrendered heart accepts the will of God better than any disobedient heart.
More than anything, I want to confidently say my family is safe and I know where they are going.  If you haven’t had that conversation with your loved, ask yourself why not?  What’s holding you back from asking?
God has planned a place for us.  He has planned a way for us to get there–through Jesus.  And He plans to come back to get us.  Will you and you’re family be ready?

“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 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 1:4-5 NLT).  

When we believe in Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, we are all apart of one big family.  How amazing will it be when we are reunited again with our loved ones?  How amazing will it be to know we are all in the same place?

Just as our phones can’t operate without being charged our physical lives can’t operate without sleep and nourishment, as our spiritual lives can’t survive without a relationship with God.  Staying in prayer, staying in His word, not only gives us the spiritual strength we need but also transforms our hearts and lives.  There is a Bible app that can help refill our spiritual lives that has lots of info of the place God has prepared for us.

We don’t have to have it all together to follow Jesus, in fact Jesus loves broken people.  He loves everyone no matter who they are.  When Jesus comes back he’s not going to ask us, “Do you believe everything the Bible says?”  He’s going to ask, “Do you believe I sent my son to die for you?”

If you are a believer, you become my sister or brother in Christ.  Nothing brings me more joy than to know my brothers and sisters are going to heaven.  We become apart of the same lineage, adopted into the same family.  If you’re struggling, it’s okay to wrestle with God and question why?  I promise you He has the answer to your pain, your heartache and struggle–His love.  God loves you more than anything.

Do you believe?

Can you confidently say all my family is going to heaven?  If not start praying with confidence!

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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?

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. 

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

 

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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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The Intimacy of Grace

In your own words, what does grace mean to you?

Many of us use the term grace loosely, by putting an introductory word before it, like that’s my saving grace, we sing the song amazing grace, we even say grace around our dinner tables before eating.  Grace is such a beautiful entity by itself and doesn’t really need another presiding word next to it.

What is grace and why do we even need it?

In case you haven’t seen the news lately, our world is a pretty corrupt and evil place.  We need grace like we need oxygen to breathe.

Grace is one of those definitions we can read from a book, but isn’t really understood until we’ve received it.

Grace by definition means the ‘unmerited favor of God towards man.’

Grace is something God freely gives us.  There’s an antinomy of grace which exists where we are all given the free gift of grace, something we could never earn or deserve.  Yet how could we be freely given something without ever earning or deserving it?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–”  Ephesians 2:8

The answer is simply, because He loves us.  

How many of us have gotten close enough to grace to see what the grace of God really entails? Click To TweetThere are so many pictures of grace in which Jesus shows us He loves us despite our shortcomings, our failures and mistakes.

We see His grace in the story of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, when a father takes back his son after he left and spent all of his inheritance.  He celebrates his return with the fattest cow in the herd to show his son how much he missed and loved him.  He didn’t chastise him.  He didn’t give him a lecture, ‘I told you so.’  He embraced him with his undying love sending the message, ‘you are loved and I missed you.’

We see His grace with Peter in John 21:15-25, when Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”  He asks him the same question three times in a row, the same amount of times Peter denied Jesus after he was captured by Roman soldiers.  Asking Peter to profess his love for him the same amount of times Peter denied him, invited him into God’s sanctuary of grace allowing him to receive redemption.

We see His grace with the stoning of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11.  When a woman is brought before Jesus in front of a crowd of people to make judgement upon her for her actions, Jesus responds in a way no one had ever heard or seen before.  Jesus then says to the people, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.”  Then one by one everyone dropped their stones and walked away.  When no one was left except Jesus and the woman, Jesus asked, “Where are your accusers?  Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I.  Go and sin no more.”

These pictures of grace show me, God doesn’t condemn us but loves us despite our wrongdoing.  Grace doesn’t mean he likes our sin or even agrees with it, but means He never turns his back on us or leaves us.

The definition of Intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean something physical.  By definition intimacy means ‘close familiarity or friendship, closeness.’

There is an intimacy or closeness of grace that we would never receive if we weren’t near Him. In each of the above scenarios, each person received God’s grace when they were in His presence.  When God’s love was poured out to them instead of condemnation.

There isn’t a clause that says, grace covers everyone except the evil and wicked, God’s grace is for everyone who willingly accepts it.  God’s grace is one of those things we keep close by but rarely get close to because we’re afraid there’s something required of us.  There must be something God wants from us in order to give this to us.

God wants US.  He wants our HEARTS.  He desires Us.

Imagine if you were the woman whose life was spared from being stoned.  Imagine if you were given that much love and grace, how would you respond?  I think God’s grace was the deal breaker that changed her life to not want to sin anymore.  When God’s grace is staring at us directly in the face, it’s hard to deny the source of where it came from.

We receive the Intimacy of Grace when:

God pours joy into our pain

God’s love chases us down in the most unlikely places

It doesn’t matter how far lost or gone we are, He will find and embrace unconditionally

God covers our shame and there’s no where else to hide except in his light

Even in our poor choices we receive forgiveness and redemption

We receive his eternal gift of salvation

The most intimate, closest moments I’ve had with God were when I’ve been the most broken.  When I’ve been down on my knees before him alone in prayer and he whispers to me, ‘my child I AM here.’

He loves us so much he sent his son to die for us so we could be with Him in heaven.  The same way the cross brought pain to Jesus is the same cross that brings us freedom.  The same grave that brought death to Jesus, is the same grave that brings victory to us.

The closer we get to God’s grace the clearer we see, there’s nothing we could do to make God not love us more or leave us.  The closer we are the clearer we see his undying, unconditional, eternal love desires us more than anything.  Have you received God’s wonderful gift of grace?  You are loved my friend!

How close have you been to God’s grace?

Do you believe God’s grace is for you?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE E-book “The Jericho Prayer” and a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook pageto catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

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#ShareFourSomethings

Loved- God’s Grace Said-Song by Elevation “Come to the Altar” Learned- You don’t have to be good to be perfect Read- Everybody Always by Bob Goff


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