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The Scars of Life

 

Everyone has a scar.  Whether it be a scar from a childhood fall or an old battle wound, we all have them.  Some scars are more visible than others, whereas some scars are not.  Some scars are intentional to mark a rite of passage into manhood, to indicate which tribe a person is from, or worn as a badge of honor.  Some of the most painful scars of those that lie deep within a person’s soul that they don’t dare let out for fear of the pain it would cause.  Whatever the origin of the scar, there always lies a story.

After trekking 3,000+ miles from Alaska crossing Canada and the United States this past summer, my son had his good share of mosquito bites from all the campgrounds we visited.  Unfortunately, my son is the type of person who has allergic reactions to mosquito bites and as a result, there are welts and scars left behind.  Many times I had to remind him to stop picking at the bites because they would leave a scar.

He said, “I like my scars because they remind me of my stories.”  He was right.  We may not always like the stories behind the scars, but they make up who we are.

Do you have scars?  What story do your scars tell? 

I will never forget a woman I met on an airplane ride on the way to a friend’s wedding.  I sat next to her and her son–in which it was obvious they had both been in some type of accident that resulted in burns on their body.  At the time, I was a nurse in a trauma/burn center so I had an idea of what burn victims went through.  As the plane ride progressed I introduced myself to the woman that I was a nurse who worked with burn victims.  She immediately seemed relieved when I told her who I was.  I asked her, ‘do you mind telling me your story of what happened?’

Behind Every Scar Lies a Story.

Her story is unimaginable one that is a living nightmare.  Her family was driving home when a person under the influence of narcotics crossed the center line of the highway and hit the driver’s side to driver’s side head-on.  Her husband had been driving, she was in the passenger seat and their two sons were sitting in the back seat.  The vehicle burst into flames immediately upon impact.  Nearby witnesses rushed to the scene. Leslie and her son got themselves out of the vehicle.  No one could even go close to the vehicle because of the flames.  Leslie walked toward a Good Samaritan on the highway and asked, “please get my husband and my other son!”  The Good Samaritan saw Leslie wearing a cross necklace and said to her, “ma’am they are in a better place.”

In an instant, she lost her husband and her son.  Because of this man’s negligence, Leslie not only had to deal with multiple surgeries and heal from her burn wounds but also deal with the grief from the loss of her loved ones.  My heart broke for Leslie as she told me her story.  When we were about to exit the plane, I noticed Leslie had a little limp.  I asked her, “Do you want me to get a wheelchair for you?”  She said, “After all my hours of physical therapy, once I was able to get out of the wheelchair, I never had any intentions of getting back into it.  I don’t care how long it takes me to get somewhere, I will never return to that wheelchair again.”  Wow!  Her response amazed me.

Leslie’s story reminds me of the man who was paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus approached the man and asked ‘Do you want to get well?’  At first, the paralyzed man doesn’t answer yes or no, he responded that he had no one to help him get into the healing pool.

“Then Jesus said to him, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked”  (John 5:5-8)

Why do you think Jesus told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat first and then walk?

The mat, in this man’s story, represents a place of dysfunction which allowed him to lay paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat, so he couldn’t revisit his place of dysfunction again.  Jesus desired for the man to be fully healed not stay in a place of sickness.  It was probably hard for this man to live his new life as a healed walking man.  The only life this man knew for 38 years, was one of begging and lying paralyzed on his mat.   But then Jesus came and changed everything not only for this man but for us as well.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5

Jesus desires for us to be healed wholeheartedly in Him–He was wounded for our transgressions.  Our scars tell our story.  When we hide behind our scars we omit God’s greater story.

How do you choose to present your scars?  In shame and disgrace?  Or to tell God’s story of restoration, healing, and grace?

Jesus came to heal the sick–he was bruised for our iniquities.

“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).  

There is healing found in the wounds of Jesus--by his stripes, we are healed. Click To Tweet

Our scars remind us of God’s story of what He is able to do in our lives.

Not every scar is visible.

Do you carry around deep scars that lie within afraid to reveal your story?

Leslie told me she was glad her scars were outwardly visible.  She said these scars were a reminder to others of the deep scars she had inside.  The scars she had outside were nothing compared to the pain of the scars she carried around inside.  I love how Leslie’s story progressed because she allowed for God’s love to progressively heal her.  It wasn’t a quick and easy process, it has been a long hard journey and continues to be hard some days.  If you can imagine she even came to the place of forgiveness to the man who took her family away from her.  Her willingness to forgive and trust in God’s plan allowed for her to stand on the path to wholehearted healing and never live in that place of brokenness again.

How do you carry your scars?  Do you allow for God’s greater story to be told?

Jesus has scars too.

The scars in life can be hard and painful.  Nobody knows our scars better than Jesus because he has scars too.  His scars tell the greatest story ever told–one of redemption, forgiveness, healing, love, restoration, and grace.  There is healing in the scars of Jesus.  He died for all of us–so we could be healed.  In verse 53 of Isaiah “by his stripes we are healed,” the Greek word healed is sózó which is translated saved, healed or rescue.  The origin of the word comes from safe or well.  Jesus came so we could be saved, healed and rescued from our iniquities and pain!

You are loved, my friend! I pray you seek Jesus for your wholehearted healing.  He has the power to heal, forgive and resurrect our circumstances into something greater!

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The reference from the Greek word sózó came from the website http://www.biblehub.com/greek/4982.htm.

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The Truth About Flamingos, Church, and Jesus

 

Have you ever been to Florida?  When I think of Florida I think of warm sun, beautiful beaches, palm trees and flamingos.  Have you ever thought something was true your whole life to find out it’s not true at all?  Funny thing about Flamingos, if you asked a native Floridian if they have ever seen a Flamingo in the wild, 99% of them would probably say no.  Flamingos primarily reside in the Yucatan Peninsula in México, the Bahamas and the northern part of South America.  Only a very small percent of Flamingos reside in Florida (in the wild) at the very tip of the Everglades.  At one point at the end of the 1800’s Flamingos left Florida altogether, it wasn’t until recently a small number of them have migrated back.

Knowing what I know now about Flamingos makes me wonder have I applied this first impression truth to other areas of my life as well?  

First impressions aren’t always true.

Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” – Proverbs 25:8, The Message

I have grown up in the church my whole life and for the most part, consider the church as an extension of my home.  Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some not so loving parts of the church.  Whenever I meet people, the more I get to know them, I find out they stopped going to church because they have either been hurt or felt condemned.  The church is supposed to be an extension of God’s home, a place where people can feel loved and accepted no matter who they are.  Jumping to conclusions and holding onto first impressions can get us into trouble.  We shouldn’t rely on these methods as our guide for making decisions or adopting our truth.  We need to take a closer look to reveal the truth.

True-  The church is full of imperfect people and is not perfect.

Truth-  There will be times the church and its people make mistakes, but it is also a place where we learn to forgive one another.

True-  People in the church may try to take part in God’s role and judge people.

Truth-  Church is a place we learn how to walk the line of grace, love and accept people for who they are, grow as the body of Christ and come alongside one another.

 

“Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24, ESV

When we take a closer look, things aren't always as they seem. Click To Tweet

In the gospels, when Jesus was teaching His messages to the disciples and crowds, He was trying to help them understand He was the new message of truth, love, mercy, and grace.  They didn’t have to seek redemption or salvation from sacrificing lambs or following a bunch of laws, they just had to trust and believe in Him.  But somehow a long the way the world we live in has twisted the character of who Jesus really is.  We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving.

2 Cor. 11:13-14 NIV, “For such people, are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself, masquerades as an angel of light.”

In other versions of this verse, the word masquerading is also described as disguises and transformed.  There will be things in this world that try to masquerade, transform and claim to be Jesus. There is only one true Jesus.  Jesus isn’t someone who can fit in the box of a definition we create.  Our definition of Him will never be found in what the world says but in what God’s Word says (The Bible).

Do you have an impression of Jesus that you don’t like?  When we take a closer look, we can see the truth so much clearer, than standing from a far distance.  

True-  You may be hurting right now and are mad at God.

Truth-  God is good all the time.  His intention is to never hurt or harm us.  Psalm 21:11, “Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed.”

True-  There is evil hurting innocent people in this world.

Truth-  God is never evil.  Evil never comes from God.  1 Corinthians 13:6, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

True-  You feel defeated by your circumstances.

Truth-  You are victorious no matter what your circumstances are.  1 Corinthians, “He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full (John 10:10).  He didn’t come to take away from our lives but to give.  He came once and for all (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10).  He took our place on the cross for something we deserved.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

We need to be careful because looks can be deceiving.  Just as Flamingos aren’t really a good representation of Florida, first impressions aren’t a good representation of God or the church.  Don’t get your experience or receive your opinion from a distance, take a closer look and discover for yourself the truth about Jesus.

God’s Word isn’t meant to be hidden in the pages of the Bible, but to be alive and active in our hearts and lives.  God’s truth will always set us free.  You were made to be victorious.  The more we are in God’s Word the more we discover His heart of who He really is.

Have you ever had a first impression of something and applied it as truth?

What is your truth about church and Jesus?

Have you stopped going to church and/or given up on Jesus?

God will never give up on us.  He pursues us and desires to have a relationship with us.  You are loved beyond measure by a God who loved you first!  Would you like a deeper relationship with God and don’t know where to start?  Please message or comment below, I would love to help!  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Right now Florida needs our prayers!  Join me in praying for Florida.  Pray the people of Florida are protected from the harm of the hurricane.  Pray the hurricane loses its speed and power.  Pray people will listen to the evacuation warnings and get to safety.  #PrayforFlorida

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Vacuum lines, Bleach in the Sink and Jesus

You might be thinking what do vacuum lines on the carpet, bleach in the sink and Jesus have to do with one another? Actually they have a lot to do with one another. I have a confession to make. I am guilty of quickly vacuuming my house, making vacuum lines on the carpet and spraying bleach in the sink right before my husband gets home from work, to give my house the ‘appearance’ it has been cleaned.

Sometimes it is easier to give the house the ‘appearance’ it has been cleaned than actually cleaning it, so my husband doesn’t wonder ‘what did you do all day’ if the house wasn’t cleaned? The funny thing about only doing the minimal cleaning job, the house doesn’t stay cleaned for very long and quickly goes back into it’s unclean state. Vacuum lines and the smell of bleach eventually fade away.

It makes me think how this relates to life. There can be so much focus and emphasis on trying to maintain the appearance that everything is okay on the outside but really it is falling apart on the inside. It is only a matter of time before everything starts to fall apart because trying to keep up with ‘the appearance’ everything is okay becomes exhausting.

Have you been there? Can you relate? Have you tried to maintain a life with the appearance that everything is great in your life, but really it’s not? Or are you trying to maintain an image to others but really living a double life? External appearances and images are temporary and will never last forever.

“All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field, the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” 1 Peter 3:24-25

I am guilty of slipping into the mindset it’s just easier to do the minimal work instead of really doing what I am suppose to do. It isn’t until Jesus gently puts his hands on my face and whispers into my ear, ‘That life of keeping up the appearance everything is okay will never sustain or fulfill you the way I can eternally.’

Who am I really fooling? God knows what is in my heart. Why do I try so hard to seek the approval of the world instead of God? The only way to keep a heart pure and focused on Jesus is by spending time with him in his word and prayer everyday. His words are what keep us clean and last.

He accepts and loves us despite our shortcomings. We don’t have to earn his love or approval he accepts us just the way we are. Accepting God’s truth for us will set us free from the bondage of finding approval in worldly acceptance. We will always fall short.

We don’t have to try to be something we are not. When God’s love shines through our life, we will never have to keep up with external appearances again. The precious blood of Jesus redeems us, pays the price for us, it is what will endure forever, maintain and sustain us, transforming us from the inside out.

His love will never fail you. His love is greater. You are loved!

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

Going deeper: Psalm 119 is a devotional about the word of God. To read more about having a heart that is pure read Psalm 119:9-16.

Can you relate to this post? Have appearances ever been greater than God in your life?

Where do you seek your acceptance and approval? I would love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below.

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Yes Lord

“God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called” quote Mark Batterson.  

          Has God ever asked you do something that didn’t make sense?

About 2,000 years ago Jesus was looking to qualify the called.  He was starting his ministry on earth calling His first disciples.  He saw some fisherman fishing alongside a lake.  He then told them take the boat, out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch (Luke 5:4).  

Simon, the boat owner said to  Jesus, “We’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5).  Then something amazing happened.  Their nets began to break and their boats began to sink because they had caught so many fish (Luke 5:6-7).  

Simon and all his companions couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.  They had been fishing all night, then Jesus came along and changed everything.  Simon fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord;  I am a sinful man!”  Simon knew he had witnessed something great and felt unworthy to be in the presence of Jesus.

Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.”  Matthew 4:18-20

In just three words Jesus changed the lives of these fishermen forever.  The disciples were busy making a living catching fish, then Jesus came along and said, “Come follow me,” you are now going to catch men.  Without hesitation in the both gospels of Matthew and Luke, the men dropped their nets, pulled in their boats to shore, left everything (their families, their businesses) to go follow Jesus.  

I have thought about this scenario many times. 

Why do you think God allowed these men to experience what it was like to catch the biggest catch of fish ever in their lives, to then tell them to drop their nets and walk away from everything they once knew?

This amount of fish could have made lots of money to feed their families and then some.  The fishermen prior to this had only been loosely associated with Jesus.  Jesus allowed the disciples to have a taste worldly abundance, so they would know nothing in this life could ever bless them more abundantly than what God could provide.  Dropping their nets and walking away led to the most extraordinary life ever in Jesus. 

What would you do if Jesus came along and asked you to drop everything to come follow Him?  Would you say ‘yes’?  

What courageous faith, trust and obedience these men had to just walk away.  We may not always know what lies ahead but God does. 

I can so relate to the disciples.  Three years ago God asked my husband and I, “Will you walk away?”  He said, “I know your life is comfortable, but will you leave all of your family, friends, your jobs and your life, to come follow me?”  

I’ll be honest at first, our response was ‘wow God that’s asking a lot.’  There were a lot of unknowns, where would we go?  Where would we live?  Where would we work?   When God asked us to walk away, He already orchestrated the plan, we just had to follow.  

Once we said ‘Yes Lord,’ God started opening the doors to where He was leading us.  We didn’t need to know how every detail was going to work out, because God had it under control.  We knew where God was leading us may be uncomfortable at first learning how to live in our new life.  But, we knew whatever abundant blessings we had in our comfortable life couldn’t compare to what God had in store for us.  Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus was the best decision we ever made.

His abundant blessings are always greater.  

Saying ‘Yes Lord,’ allows for God’s biggest blessings to overflow within our lives. 

Saying ‘Yes Lord,’ to whatever He is asking us to do will always leads to the most extraordinary life in Him.

Has God ever asked you to walk away and come follow Him?  

God is calling all of us to have the most extraordinary life in Him.  We don’t have to be extraordinary to do what God is asking us to do, we just have to be ready. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:3

Coming Soon!  Some new changes to the website.  I will be doing a 4-part series of Meeting Jesus.  We will be meeting Jesus in the scriptures, our struggles, our storms and everyday lives.    

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

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

Celebrate Easter with Jesus with this Family Bible Reading Plan!