It is finished

What is on my heart today is not an easy topic. In fact, it is something that often makes people run from church or anything having to do with the judgement of God. Today, Easter, signifies the finished work of Jesus that washes away our sins. Through Him we are forgiven and will not have to endure the wrath of God. He took our place. Once we finally allow ourselves to believe that then we start to view our sin differently. We start to be disgusted by it.

James 4:9 says:
“Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” This is a point we all must get to in order to let sin go in our lives. So disgusted with the sin that, for a moment, we turn from joy and laughter in the sin and we mourn and feel heavy over it. This can often turn people away. They feel like they were happier in their sin and all this “church stuff”, “Christian stuff”, or “God stuff” is nothing but a bunch of judgement and expectations they can never live up to. I once felt that way, too. Until one day I realized just like Jesus’ suffering was temporary, so is ours.

There came a time when Jesus breathed one last suffered breath to proclaim “It is finished.” There will also come a time when you will say the same. We suffer over our sin so we will not want it anymore. It needs to be at a point of such disgust that you never want to bring it to the cross again. That is not to say that if you stumble you dont need to bring it back to Jesus. You most certainly do! His forgiveness is unending! But if you really want to let it go, turn your laughter into mourning over it. Let it take you to your knees, tears streaming down your face, praying to Jesus to forgive you and wash you clean. Cry in His lap as He comforts you and releases you from your suffering yet always remember this moment. Then, when you are ready, stand up and rejoice in your freedom from that sin and with a sigh of relief breathe out “It is finished.”

God’s children

You know that heartbreak you get when someone is mean to your child, no matter how old they are? I imagine God feels that way when we are mean to His children, too.

You know how you treat a child of someone you know and respect? Even if they are behaving badly and need a little correction you still speak to them in a way that reflects the respect you have for their parent, right? I imagine that is the same way God expects us to treat His children, too.

And we are all His children.

Find them, Lord

After reading comments of people more popular than me that have posted scripture or the good news of the gospel I am left with overwhelming heartache and gratitude all at the same time.

Overwhelming gratitude that when Jesus pointed out my sin I let Him walk me through being offended by Him calling me out. He helped me come into agreement that my sin is offensive instead of mad at Him that He called it offensive. I am SO OVERWHELMINGLY GRATEFUL that He rescued me from my sin. Plucked me right out of it and set me on solid land. Gave me freedom that I never knew before! Oh thank You sweet Jesus!!

Overwhelming heartbroken that so many may take their last breath without finding that same freedom. Believing a lie the devil has told them that they know better than God. That God is denying them because He is calling something a sin when it isnt. Or believeing the lie that the bible has it wrong or is outdated and God doesnt view certain things as sin. Or believe the lie that God is ok with sin in your life. They get offended and turn away. They would rather be a slave to sin than reign over it. They let the devil enslave them because they believe living in sin is freedom. They stopped feeling the struggle between good and evil because they gave into the evil and call it good. Yes, my heart breaks. My heart mourns for them.

Dear Lord, Our good and great Father! You know how it ends. You know who chooses You and who leaves denial as there final breath on their lips. I know You know. I pray an intercessory prayer over them Lord. You saved me. You would not let me go. I thank You Lord and I ask You to do it again and again to every lost soul! I pray as fervently as my broken, grateful heart can pray that you find those that still have just a bare mustard seed of doubt in their evil ways and make that doubt grow until they feel their emptiness again. Until they hear You call again. Unitl they look to You to fill the emptiness forever more. Tug on hearts Lord. Til their last breath I pray…Lord, find them over and over again. In Christ name, Amen

All of eternity

I was on my afternoon walk and talking some things over with God when it suddenly hit me. We usually talk about spending eternity with Him as a future event. But really…we are already spending eternity with Him. It started the moment we accepted Jesus as our savior. From that moment on we will NEVER be without God in our lives. Guaranteed. It is not that we WILL spend eternity with God, but we ARE spending eternity with Him. Every step I make, every decision, everything in my life is in relationship with my Father. He truly does walk with us through every part of our journey. Thinking of my eternity with Him in present tense makes Him seem so much more present in my life. I am never alone. I do nothing without His presence in my life. I am His child forever more. He is all I will ever need and He is not going anywhere and will never change up on me. Safe and secure for all of eternity.

Choose Him

I struggled with a event from the Old Testament. I wont say which one here because it doesnt really matter. I have struggled to understand many events from the Old Testament. Today God spoke to me. “See what Jesus did for you?” So, blessed to be living in a time such as this. Under the new convenant God provided for us through Jesus. All the people of the Old Testament lived thousands of years on the promise of a Messiah. They were saved by a promise not yet arrived. Most died without seeing the promise fulfilled but they were still loved by God and those that loved God back were given a way to salvation. They lived in some pretty rough times. I can see God’s love for them and His many ways of pointing to the Savior to come even in their harsh times. Now, we live in a time where no more sacrifices are required. No more living under the law. Our salvation is bought and paid for as soon as we place our belief in Jesus Christ. The law is no longer our salvation from above but is now the road beneath our feet that guides us on our way. It is the guide God gave us to show us which way to go. I may not always understand why or how things went down in the Old Testament but some things I know for sure: God is good. He was good then and good now. His ways are just. I can trust Him without a doubt. Jesus is our savior. What He did for us is beyond true comprehension. There are people that waited years for His arrival and here we are waiting for His return. What it must have been like to be on earth in the short amount of time that Jesus was here in the flesh! To see Him. To be smiled upon by Him. Oh what it will be like when I do see Him. How can I ever thank Him? How? By living in and respecting the freedom and grace we have been given through Him. That was the whole point. Allowing Him to give me this gift of grace and mercy and doing my best to pass it on to others. That is as close as I can get to showing Him just how grateful I am. God chose us to come to earth so we can choose Jesus and live an eternal life with Him in heaven. God WANTS to spend eternity with us amd gives us the choice to do so. All you have to do is choose it! Choose Christ! Say yes! Let Him heal you and give you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. It is the quality of your life here on earth and it is your life in eternity that depends on this choice. Choose Him!!!

You don’t have to go out like that

I have been thinking about how similar Peter and Judas were in their actions in the bible. Judas denying Jesus’ love and leading the guards straight to Him. Peter denying Jesus three times after He was taken by the guards. I mean, wow. Peter, one of the great apostles, can be compared to Judas the traitor.
But…
It is where they differ that makes all the difference.
Judas made a very bad decision. Was it predicted? Yes. Did it all fit into the plan? Yes. Peter also made a very bad decison that was predicted as well. Here is the difference: they both felt guilt for their actions, but Peter had accepted Jesus’ love and truly believed He was who He said He was while Judas did not truly believe who Jesus was. He faked it. He said he was a friend but hidden in the darkness of his heart was the truth. Jesus loved Judas. Judas never accepted that love. At anytime after his actions he could have asked for forgiveness and claimed his faith in Jesus. He didnt have to go out like that. Since Peter’s love for Jesus was true, his actions led him to forgiveness, stronger faith, and eternal life.
We all make mistakes. Do you react to them as Judas or as Peter? Do you truly believe Jesus is who He says He is? Have you accepted Him as your savior and decided to follow His ways? If not, friend, it is not too late. You dont have to go out like that.

Join with me in suffering

This chapter keeps finding its way to my eyes. It is a reminder to not focus with quarrling with the world. Quarreling doesnt lead to conviction. It doesnt lead to Christ. We are to handle the world with gentle instruction always living with hope that a seed was planted. It is up to each person to decide if they will disown Him or not. Quarreling wont change that.

This time, though, one verse popped out to me:
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”
I hate that word. Suffering. Why in the world would I want to JOIN someone in suffering? I dont want to invite suffering into my life!! Then the Spirit guided my thoughts to an understanding. We certainly dont have to invite suffering into our lives for it to make a dramatic appearance, but being a follower of Christ does present a unique set of struggles. We must deny our flesh when we really want to argue with others, turn away from sinful things that distract us, and hold on to a truth the world tries to lable as wrong or even judgmentally hateful and not inclusive. In any and all suffering we are to join together in Christ. We are to suffer with Christ as He did on the cross. He never took His eyes off of His end results. He never took His eyes off the joy that would be set before Him when it was finished. During His time of sorrow He still asked for God’s will to be done even knowing what that will was about to do to Him. He didnt turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, etc..to dull the pain. He suffered for us so we can have a savior to walk us through the pain and has endured every ounce of pain we could ever come across. Have you ever tried to talk to someone about a problem that they have never experienced? About a pain they know nothing about? They can say all the kind words they are supposed to say but how does that compare to speaking to someone that has experienced that pain and more, endured it, and lived in joy on the other side of it. It is a whole different conversation isnt it? All suffering has a purpose. I know. I know that is hard to hear. Whether you believe in Christ or not…you will have suffering. For believers, when we join Christ in that suffering…when we take Him our suffering and lean on His love, guidance, and will through it. When we keep our eyes on the joy set before us as Christ did. We grow. We endure. We find peace amongst the suffering. Joy even. I dont want to talk to you about suffering. But when I talk to you about how Christ is right there with us giving us strength. That nothing is without a purpose. That God can be so trusted that you can walk through this fire and not even smell like smoke. That, because of Christ, you dont need what the world has to offer to get you through the suffering. You can overcome it and be a victor over it instead of a victim of it. Well…that’s a whole different conversation, isn’t it?

2 Timothy 2
New International Version
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Well done good and faithful servant

What would it be like if you had an answer? A good one. The right one. When your friend you care for so much asks for advice, what would it be like to have words that are actual truth to give her? What would it be like to have an answer for someone wanting to be led to God? For someone asking the tough questions about our faith because they want to believe too? What is it like to feel the Spirit pull a verse you studied 2 weeks ago to the forefront of your mind in that moment? To speak with confidence the truth that has been revealed to you through bible study? To have the strength of Christ when someone rolls their eyes or mocks the truth? To be able to keep it together when the Spirit brought out of you words that brought someone to their spiritual knees in praise and surrender? To have the patience of Christ to watch a planted seed grow in someone?

You dont have to wonder what it is like. It is all right there for you in the bible. All the knowledge to turn to wisdom. You can be the one to spread the truth you have graciously been given. When Christ comes calling and asking “what did you do with the talents I gave you?” Did you bury them? Or did you use them to multiply the kingdom?

Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30