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.
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, 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.

A promise is born

From the very first sin a promise was born.

Genesis 3:15
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

Satan would cause trouble but in the end he is crushed. This verse also eludes to the coming of Christ. The ultimate seed of God. Thousands of years passed before He arrived. Thousand of years of prophecy with hundreds of years of silence mixed in there as well. Think of how many had faith in a Saviour they never got to see. That faith of future salvation saved them just as our faith in what happened thousands of years ago saves us.

Can you imagine being born in such a time as when Jesus came to earth? Finally hearing, “He is here! The promised One is born!” Today we celebrate that time and call it Christmas. On this day (generally speaking) thousands of years ago a virgin woman rode into a small town ready to give birth to our promised savior. This would be the last day that the world would be waiting for the promised Messiah to be born. Think about that as you lay your head down tonight in anticipation of the excitement of Christmas morning. The Promise spent His last night in His mother’s womb tonight. All of creation waited in anticipation. Mary was about to lay eyes on her Saviour. Oh to be alive for such a time as that!

Now, here we are, waiting on another promise. A promise that our Saviour will return and take us home. Many have died waiting on this promise. We have the bible and God fearing men and women appointed to spread the truth, but no more prophecies. Sometimes it feels like nothing but silence unless the rocks cry out. Other times it feels like the whole world is in anticipation. We were born for such a time as this. Someday there will be a generation that realizes they were born for such a time as His return. It blows my mind to think that it could be us. It could be any second at any time. How many generations have come and gone in anticipation of their Saviour’s return? Although the day is unknown, it will happen. Are you ready?

John 14:3

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

Luke 21:28

Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.

Matthew 24:44

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. …

The unbeliever and the faker

I am more concerend with the faker than I am the unbeliever. Why? Look at Judas and Paul.

Judas pretended to love Jesus so much that he accepted the position of apostle while actually being of the devil. In the end he died a shameful death.

Paul didn’t believe Christ was who He said He was and persecuted Christians in the worst ways possible. In the end he died a great Christian that help plant churches in the name of Christ.

God will work with honest unbelief. But until you are honest on what you believe it is all fake and useless. If you are a faker the bible does not speak well of you. This is coming from a girl that faked the bigger part of her life. Be honest while there is still time to do so. Let God work it out in you.

Matthew 7:15

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Romans 16:17-18

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Mark 9:24

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

More than an example

I am grateful that He was strong enough to do something I could not do. I would be willing to be tortured and die for all mankind’s salvation but I would not be able to go through with it. I would be far too weak to handle the lashings and the abuse and the cursings. I would be too weak to handle the nails in my hands and feet and to hang from a cross in pain. I would crumble at God turning His face from me. Even if I knew the joyful outcome I wouldnt be able to go through with it. My little heart just cant love that much. But Christ came knowing full well what would happen. He asked for another way but accepted the only way. He was strong enough. He defeated the flesh’s desire to walk away. He defeated the flesh’s desire to give into temptation. I used to think Jesus lived as an example to us. His actions are our example on how to behave. But the Spirit just revealed to me that He is more than an example. He is the strength in us to be able to follow Him. We cant do what He did. We are far too weak. But He lives in us and He can do it. He proved it. It is right there in the gospel for us to believe and rely on. We cant but He can. Where we are weak, He is strong.

Christ lives in me

I have been struggling lately. Struggling with all the “I can’ts” I can’t stop over eating. I can’t stop losing faith and being disappointed. I can’t stop being angry. I cant stop worrying about what is going to happen. I read a bible study yesterday that really focuses on seeing Jesus at the cross when battling sin. It was one little sentence that stuck out. It wasn’t the focus of the study but the Spirit sure made it a focus for me.

Christ lives in me.

Christ lives in me then temptation stops at the door. He is right here in me at all times. I am never left alone. Everything the bible directs us to do or be is impossible for our flesh, but not for Christ who lives in me. Living as the fruit of the Spirit is impossible for the flesh, but Christ bears good fruit and He lives in me. This hit me hard. Look how many times this fact is stated in the bible. I listed some of the verses below. If you have truly accepted Christ as your savior and started walking this life desiring a better relationship with Him then guess what…Christ lives within you, too! We must realize the power that provides and use it! No longer fear temptation. No longer fear anything. Christ isn’t way off somewhere watching from a distance. His Spirit resides IN you! He is right THERE!! This has been a life changing concept the Spirit has revealed to me and I pray it does the same for anyone else struggling with knowing what they should do but doing what they hate instead. Read through these verses with this truth in mind: It is the Christ who lives in me that makes all things possible.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 15:5
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing

Colossians 1:27
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Romans 8:9
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

John 14:19-20
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 14:17
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 8:10
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

1 John 4:15
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

How do you choose to suffer?

One of the bible studies I am doing speaks a lot on suffering with Christ. I have always had problems with that thought. Why would Jesus want us to suffer with Him? Didnt He become our sacrfice so we can have an abundant life?

As I grow in learning I have come to realize that to suffer with Christ is to deny self. Ugh, again, who wants to do that?? But then I realize that everything I dont like about myself comes from lack of self denial.

Overweight=lack of self denial with food.

Messy house, piled up school work=lack of self denial from procrastination.

Harsh mouth=lack of self denial to quelch anger/self centered thinking and show agape love instead.

I suffer from those actions. When I give in to lies of the flesh I suffer the consequences.

When I suffer through self denial then I only suffer a little while. Not only do I only suffer a little while, but the outcome from the suffering yields good fruit! I am a better person because of it. God’s glory shines through it! Even better, we do this through the power of God!!

So, if I am going to suffer either way….why would I NOT choose suffering for Christ? He is truly the way to an abundant life.

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Matthew 7:17
Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

2 Timothy 1:8
…Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

Prayer over fear

Lord, in Your name I speak over this virus and the fear and panic it has caused. You say resist the devil and he has no choice but to flee. Where You are he has no power. He is a conquered foe. I speak in complete faith and reliance on Your promise that You are in control of this. Ask not, have not…so I ask of You to release this fear, to renew in us a new spirit Lord, to remind us that You take care of the birds in the sky and You hold us even higher than them. What can man or virus do unto us when we have You? I am thankful that You will take every bad circumstance of this virus and use it for Your good. Im thankful that I dont have to sit back and worry constantly knowing that You have promised to provide my needs. I pray this over everyone out there that they turn their hearts towards You so they can live in the same confidence that You have given me that I have NOTHING to fear. That I am to worry over NOTHING. Thank you Lord for easing anxiety, depression, worry and fear. Thank You Lord that this virus will clear out quickly and not a speck will be left behind. I thank you Lord that all tragedies will turn to blessings and people see You and Your good work through all of this. I pray for the lost Lord that are living in such fear over this. I pray for those trying to rely on their own strength and finding ways of comforting themselves without turning to You. I thank you that You are right there waiting for them with open arms. I ask forgiveness and thank You for Your grace when I fall short of the trust and faith I know to always have in You. We love You Lord, we trust You. Thank You for not forsaking us. In Christ name I pray, Amen