Talk to Him

Jesus died on the cross to give us the power to turn away from sin, not to continue to live in it. The cross gives freedom from sin, not permission to sin.

If you are a believer that is willfully and actively living in sin with no desire to turn from it then you need to read Matthew 7:21

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Even the demons are believers but they are not followers.

When you have truly accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior then you are given a heart to follow Him. He makes that happen because you have truly submitted your heart and want to live for Him.

I went many, many years being a believer in who Christ is but not a follower. I had not truly submitted my heart to Him. The Spirit led me to bible verses and bible teachers that made this very evident to me.

Are you reading this with great conviction on your heart? Are you feeling that the “salvation prayer” you said years ago wasn’t as true as you had thought it was? Does your life and your life choices reflect that prayer? Are you starting to see that you have not been living for Him at all? That your life stayed all about you and trying to please your flesh, your kids, your friends, the world, etc…

God has been patient with you just like He was with me. Your life won’t dramatically change the moment you make the decision to truly submit your life to Him but your heart will.

Your heart will begin to desire to know more about Him. You will find yourself reading the bible, going to church, praying more, and loving Him more. No, this isn’t just something that happened for me. This is what happens to all who believe and follow Him.

His affections have not be withheld from you. It is your affection that has been withheld from Him. All of that can change this very day.

Talk to Him.

Have questions and need some guidance? Ask me. Let me point you to Christ who saved my life. He is right there at the cross holding your name in His heart. He is right there with arms wide open ready to wash you clean and give you a new life here and an eternal life with Him in heaven.

“Follow Me” He says.

Let your heart say “I will”

Why?

Testimony time:

I lived so much of my life depressed. Depressed is only the surface word. Under it you would find despair, stress, anxiety, anger, and defeat. I tried covering that depression with all kinds of lusts of the flesh. I won’t go into detail because there are some readers that may not be at the maturity level to handle hearing the roads I have taken, but for some of you that knew me then, you already know. Those lusts of the flesh appealed to me because it was instant gratification. I didn’t have to face the pain for those brief moments. Those moments in the flesh promised me peace and good times and “great memories” to replace the bad ones. But that flesh lied to me. It created choas, more pain, and more bad memories. I also drew other people in to these fleshly ways and they also share these same bad memories. I hurt myself, my kids, my marriage, and my whole family. None of this helped my depression in any way. Such lies I believed!

Jesus called me out of all of that. People talk about finding joy the moment they were saved. Can I be honest? I didn’t feel the joy of my salvation right away. I knew God was the answer but I still felt depressed and defeated. I would sit back and constantly ask “why, Lord? Why me? Why my family? Why did I do that? Why didn’t you stop me?” God didn’t condemn me for those questions, He just kept guiding me. One step in front of the other was all I could do for a long while. Just stay the course, Monica. One step at a time. I KNEW God was the answer. I had no where else to go.

Me and God have been a team for a few years now and I am here to tell you this: I have learned crying out “why?” to God doesn’t get the problem solved. When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water with Jesus he started to sink when he looked at the storm instead of focusing on the power of Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33) Peter could have cried out “why?!” as he was sinking, but what would the answer to that “why” do? How would that answer save him from drowning? Instead, he cried out; “Lord, save me!”

That has been my biggest lesson as I have learned to trust God with my life. It has been the cure to my depression and all that goes with it. Crying out “why?” does not bring the solution. I trust the One that carries that answer and I trust He will reveal it to me should it ever be something that I need to know. That question of “why” does nothing for me when I feel like I am sinking. The only thing that saves me from drowning is when I cry out; “Lord, save me!”

And He does. Every single time.

I do feel the joy of my salvation now that the depression has been defeated. I feel it so much at times it is hard to contain, and maybe I shouldn’t contain it. So, if you ever hear me yelp out in excitement or jump in the air in celebration, just know that I am remembering where I was and where I am not anymore and where I am going when it is all said and done. I am remembering just how much I can trust God in this life and I have no reason to fear or have anxiety or be in despair! I am remembering just how long and wide and high and deep God’s love for me is. (Ephesians 3:18) And not just for me but for all of us, including the ones I have hurt.

All thanks to God who sent Himself in the flesh as Jesus to live amongst us and go through this troubled life with us. Then to have every bit of evil this world contains thrown on Him on His way to the cross where He took on the wages of sin for us so that we can have an eternal relationship with Him unhindered by that sin. He gave us a way of escape! (1 Corinthians 10:13, Psalm 68:20)

I will never be defeated again! Yes! I have joy!! An everlasting joy!

Psalm 61:2
“From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 107:19
“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.”

Isaiah 51:11
“Those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Business as usual or unusual business?

Matthew 24:37-39
“As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be.”

At the time of the flood everyone was caught living their life business as usual. Everyone, except Noah and his family that is.

Noah and his family were caught being about the Father’s business. They were living life yet their business was not usual at all. Sure, they had usual business in their lives but that isn’t what they were all about. Their main focus was on God and His business. God led and guided them in their usual business as they fulfilled His.

Those who lived their life only focused on worldly business as usual ended up falling away into great evil and no righteousness of God could be found in their hearts. Their focus were in the ways of the world and the world became their ruler. This is the danger of living a life business as usual with your focus on a corrupt, fallen world that will soon pass away. Taking your life out of the usual to live a life doing God’s extraordinary, out of the usual work leads to great blessings now and in the end.

Will you be caught being about the Father’s unusual business and following Christ or caught only doing the usual business of the world?

Matthew 24:36, 40-41, 46
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.

Blessed is that servant whom the master finds doing His business when He comes.”

Maybe you are someone that has never decided to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Maybe you are someone who did, at one time, say a prayer for salvation but now realizes you never really started living your life for God and never really started following Christ making Him Lord of your life. Let me tell you some good news. That is a decision you can make right now at this very moment.

Christ willingly left His rightful seat in heaven to come die on a cross so, even while we are still sinners, we could be saved from the wages of sin. (Romans 5:8) When Christ died on that cross He opened up a fountain of living water that washes us clean and redeems us until the very end. (Zechariah 13:1) He was buried in a tomb and rose 3 days later with only the scars of His sacrifice remaining. Scars left behind not to remind us of what our sins have done but to shows us how they are healed. He ascended back to the Father so He could send the Holy Spirit to teach us and remind us of His word. (John 14:26) As we abide in His word He remains abiding in us and changing our hearts and granting God’s will in our lives. (John 15:7) Then, as we stay in His word, we become His disciples and joyfully, passionately live to tell the world about Him! (John 8:31, Mark 16:15)

This is our good news! This is what keeps us about our Father’s business! If you are willing to admit your need for a Savior from your sins, believe and have faith that Christ died for those sins, and confess Him Lord of your life with a desire to turn away from your sins and follow Him then all I can say is… “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”
Ephesians 2:8

Who is your master?

I have made a post a while back about my cat and dog having the same master but hear me out again.

What makes my cat and dog get along? According to the world they shouldn’t. Cartoons have shown us ever since we were kids that cats and dogs are enemies. In fact, my dog doesn’t like any other cat in this world except our Jackson. Why?

Because they have the same master. They are loved, cared for, and provided for by the same master. Having the same master makes them family and that makes a difference. They don’t hate each other because they are drawn to the same one that shows them love.

Now, lets take this past my home and out into the world. What is truly the answer for us to be equal? For us to see each other as family? What would draw us together in love? Yep, you guessed it! Having the same master!

“Well, I don’t want to be mastered!” you might say. Ok, but you are mastered by something already. I don’t know who or what it is for you, but you have made a choice to let something master you. Something or someone is guiding you in life. This thing or person may change through the years and maybe even day to day, but there is still something mastering you.

Now, let me tell you about my Master. He was willing to leave His righteous seat in heaven, leaving all His royalty behind, to come live among us as God in the flesh. He was birthed from a virgin girl (doing the impossible before He even took His first breath in this earth as human) and was raised a poor carpenter’s son (even though His true Father is the great I Am). He walked this earth as an everyday boy quietly growing and maturing and waiting so patiently to be about His Father’s business.

Then, when the time finally came, His ministry came alive! This was wonderful for us! He was preaching about the truth of the bible, correcting the law, and performing miracle after miracle! What this also did was start the ball rolling on His true purpose here. His whole life had been lived sinless. Not one speck of sin stained Him because, although He was fully man, He was also fully God. He came as God in the flesh, remember? That is why He was able to resist all temptation to the fullest and live a sinless life. He felt it all. In the flesh He felt every bit of our suffering and was about to feel it in the most horrific way.

You see, long ago sin entered this world through Adam and Jesus was going to remove that stain forever for all who believes. This removal takes a blood sacrifice. A perfect one. Something the whitest and healthiest of lambs couldn’t cover. It was going to take the Lamb of God. God sent Himself to do the work. Jesus is God in the flesh, remember? He was beaten to near death before He was forced to carry His cross to Calvary. The evil of this world lashing out at Him in full force. An innocent man being treated as the scum of the earth. He hung on that cross fighting for every breath just to say “forgive them Father, they know not what they do.”

Darkness fell. The whole despair of the world encompassed Him in darkeness and as He took our sin on Himself, sin He had not ever committed Himself, God the Father had to turn His face from Him. God hates sin. His goodness is so great that sin cannot be in His presence. The wages of sin have to be paid in order for God to even be in our presence. The wages of sin is death. Jesus died on that cross to fulfill those wages forever for anyone who believes and accepts Him as master of their life.

What does Him being Master of your life look like? It is full of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. It is Him interceding for us that brings us into a close relationship with God and His goodness for now and all eternity. I can now never be plucked from the Father’s hand. “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28

Because He rose again (defeating death and embracing eternal life) and acended back to heaven in His rightful seat by the Father, He was able to send the Holy Spirit to be our helper. This Helper abides in us and changes our hearts as we walk with Him. When we walk with the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Our whole life begins to change! Our whole heart changes! And since Jesus defeated death and embraced eternal life in heaven then I will, too.

This is my Master and I live to serve Him. I serve Him by loving Him with all my heart, body, and soul and I love my neighbor as myself. I love my neighbor by pointing them to Christ on the cross where all the love and healing they have been searching for can be fulfilled. Let me tell you, when the Spirit guides me to help someone in that way there is nothing more fulfilling! When I hear it in their voice or see it in their eyes it never gets old. Serving my Master fulfills me and helps others to be fulfilled. He lifts me out of sin and washes me clean daily. His grace and mercy will follow me everywhere I go for the rest of my life. He makes me content in all circumstances because He has taught me to trust Him.

Are you ready to change your master? He calls to us all. He desires us all to come to Him and be saved from this fallen world and be loved til the end! If you feel like God has never called to you but you have made it this far in my post…this is it, my friend. He is calling you right now. Let that love fill your heart and allow Him to become real to you. I pray that over you as well.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”
Revelation 3:20

What is your decision?

Even on my best day with my best effort, I have still not behaved well enough to get into Heaven. I am not better than those destined for hell. Just one sin, even the “smallest”of sins in the eyes of man will send me straight to hell if I dont allow Jesus to cover that sin with His blood that was shed for me.

The difference between Heaven and hell is not about behavior. The difference between Heaven and hell is the presence of God. What brings me home to Heaven is admitting I am a sinner, believing Jesus died for my sins, and confessing Him as Lord of my life.

Once that has happened I am sealed for eternity in the promised Holy Spirit. When the Spirit resides in me it becomes evident in my behavior. Am I suddenly perfect? No, I am still very flawed and sin daily. Even on my best day with my best effort, I am still a sinner in need of a Savior. There is a difference in me though. My heart is no longer comfortable with sin. I begin to move farther and farther from it because of the work the Spirit is doing in me. Not because of my own flawed efforts but because He is moving in me. Each step of obedience that He guides me to leads me to more freedom from sin.

He has freed us from sin. He has not freed us to sin.

If you cannot see the difference in that then you need to question if the Spirit actually abides in you.

I am not better than the person destined for hell. They have decided to live without the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit here on earth and in their eternity.

My decision makes me different. My decision sets me apart from the world. My decision leads to a presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit here on earth and in eternity.

I am not better.

I am saved.

It is not too late to change your decision. Someday it will be. When you feel Him call to you dont hesitate. Just make the decision. Choose Him. He has already chosen you.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9

Not everyone will enter the Kingdom of Heaven

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 7:21

What does that mean? It means just because you said a prayer of salvation one time but it didnt change your heart towards sin then you may not have actually made the decision to make Christ Lord of your life.

Romans 10:9 says “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,you will be saved.”

Do you see the double edged sword there? It isnt just a belief that God raised Jesus from the dead. Even the demons believe that. But it is also making Him Lord of your life.

Our works dont save us because we could never be perfect enough to get into heaven. Only Jesus held that perfection which is why He is was the only suitable sacrifice. Our works are evidence of our salvation. And I want you to actually think about what He willingly went through for us to get that salvation. Then think about what He told people during His time on earth “you are forgiven, now sin no more.”

That didnt mean He expected us to never sin again. He knew we would. It means we are to view sin differently and not be living comfortably in it. It means once we are truly saved then there is a heart change that starts happening and sin is no longer something you are comfortable living in.

Are you comfortable in your sin? Do you think ” it’s ok. I’m forgiven anyway so Im not going to worry about sinning.”?

“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Romans 6:1-4

There are so many verses on this change and how necessary it is. Another one that comes to mind:

“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
Mark 2:22

Don’t be decieved. Just because the world stands with you on your actions and opinions does not mean God does. So, which hill are you really willing to die on?

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:29

“Learn from me.” – Jesus

Stand on the hill He died on not the one that the world applauds. Learn His ways from His one Holy word (bible) not the ever changing ways of the world. Invite the Spirit in to reveal the sin He wants to remove from you instead of continuing to be deceived inside a world of sin. The world may change your mind but He will change your heart!

Shame repeats itself

I read something in my Bible study today that hit home:

What you have shame over you will repeat.

Wow. So true! I have never thought of it that way, but when I think about sins that have been overcome and ones that still hang around I can certainly see the difference.

For example, getting drunk is not a struggle for me anymore. I have little to no desire to drink anymore, much more get drunk. I dont like my past behavior from that sin but I dont hold on to any shame over it. I never held any shame over it honestly. I never hid away to drink on my own. I was always pretty public about it. But then I started feeling conviction over it, I repented, that was that. I was done with drinking.

An example for the flip side, overeatting is still the struggle. I hold tons of shame on that one. For as long as I can remember my weight and how I ate held all my value. I have always eaten in secret. I would not dare have a binge session in front of someone unless they was binging with me. Even still, I would be ashamed and throughly convinced that I binged worse than they did. I would hide food wrappers and go buy more cookies to replace the cookies I ate.

I have lost weight a few times but that shame has never left so guess what would happen? Yep, what I held shame over was bound to return. Actually, it never left. I had just caged it like a wild animal while holding the gate closed til I was too wore out to hold it anymore. The last time I lost weight I swore that was it! Never again would I gain! Then week after week i watched the scale creep back up in horror. I felt like Job when he said “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.” (Job 3:25) I drowned in my shame and did all I could to hide the weight gain. And hide my sin.

Now, I can put blame in all sorts of places on why I assigned weight and eating so much value but that does no good. All that matters is seeing the lie in it and releasing the shame so I can be healed and move on. It may seem counterintuitive to say that overeating being revealed as sin has helped release the shame. But it has. I know what to do with sin and I know sin requires a heart change that can only come from God. I know holding it in the light of God’s love and glory will keep it out of the dark. I know accepting even this as a forgiven sin will drive away the shame.

Realizing just how much shame I have been holding onto amazes me. It amazes me that I was not able to see that before today. I am so thankful for the wisdom God reveals to us when we seek it. This is what we use as our weapon. God’s truth against the lies that come to kill and destroy. His word is our rod of correction that saves us and changes us!

I have many other examples I could give but I think you see the point. Shame keeps sin in the darkness. It keeps us from going to the cross to be washed clean. It makes us say what Peter said to Jesus when He went to wash His feet. “No, Jesus, my feet are too dirty. You will never wash my feet.” That wasnt being humble that was being full of shame. Jesus replied to him that if he doesnt let Him wash his feet then He will not be part of Him. That made Peter drop that pride filled shame and exclaim “Then wash all of me!” (John 13:1-17)

You see how shame was going to keep Peter from being washed by Jesus? Do you see how shame is actually a form of pride?

Shame says “I havent done anything to deserve to be washed clean of this. I havent worked hard enough or behaved well enough. So i need to work harder and behave better then I will be worthy! I can make myself worthy and if I dont then I need to be ashamed of myself!” Well hello shame filled pride!

Jesus tells us that no one has or ever will be able to work their way to forgiveness. We will never earn our way to be called His friend. And if we dont come to the cross believing in what He did for us and humbly accept a washing we dont deserve then He will never know us as friend.

He did the work. It is finished. There is a path directly to the heart of the Father and Jesus is the only way. He is our freedom from shame. From pride. From sin. Wont you be washed today?

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

He isn’t there

The commadments of God bring so much conviction. It used to make me run from God. How could I ever be so perfect?! How could He ever require so much from me and know I can’t fulfill it?! Why even bother putting me on this earth when He knows I’ll just end up in hell because I cant do anything right?!

But what I was missing was Jesus. Now I see the actual gift of Jesus and how big and wide that it is! What I was missing also was seeing that Jesus is the heart of the Father. Jesus didnt come to satisfy a mean God’s wrath. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit had a plan before earth was even born. God knew sin would enter the world. He still made us because He loves us. He loved us before we were even born. He wants to spend eternity with us.

So, they had a plan. Jesus would willfully lower Himself from heaven into the womb of a virgin woman. Coming into this world as a poor boy and quietly raised as a carpenter’s son. Then in His due time He began His ministry of sharing a truth that had been so horribly faltered by the religious elite.

They found His deep love and understanding of God so odd that they persecuted Him for it. Setting Him up for the sacrifice that all the prophets of the old testament had predicted 100’s of years before. They could predict it because God had spoken it to them all those years ago. Proving the plan was always in place.

What the religious elite didn’t know is that every blow and strike they aimed at Jesus would not kill Him. Only sin brings death. Jesus, being fully God and fully man, was the only sinless human to ever walk this earth. Without sin He could not die. His flesh was brought to the edge of death without being able to cross the line.

Then, again, at the appointed time, our sins poured on Him as He hung on the cross. His Father turning His countenance from Him in that moment. Jesus received the wrath of God so we who believe will never have to. You see, the wrath of God is not what you may think it is.

Hell is not just a fire filled place full of torment and anguish that God made for punishment of those that didn’t choose Him. No. It is a place for those that decided they didnt want God to govern their lives so they also chose to not have Him in eternity. Hell is a place God isn’t. He isn’t there.

He doesn’t look upon it throwing bolts of lightening and encouraging torture as punishment for not choosing Him. He just simple isn’t there.

He isn’t there to hold back any of the evil. He isn’t there to provide any kind of comfort. He isn’t there to love you even when you didn’t want to acknowledge Him. He isn’t there at all. That is hell.

Hell’s fire is the least of your worries when any glimpse of hope for a better tomorrow is removed from your eternity.

And that is what Jesus saved us from. Once we accept Jesus as our savior AND Lord of our life then we are saved from an eternity without God. We are also saved while here on earth by the Spirit opening our eyes to exactly how much God loves us and how gentle He is and how much He desires to guides us away from our sin that harms us.

He doesnt make a bunch of rules just to sit back and watch us fail. He simply says, “this is the way, walk in it.” And when we stumble or get off track then the Spirit reminds us of what Jesus accomplished at the cross and all we have to do is return to Him. We are washed clean with new mercies and grace every single day. A living stream that never runs dry.

“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:2

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:9

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

What does it mean?

What does Jesus’ finished work at the cross mean for me?

It means that I have a constant fellowship with God because of the work of Christ. Because Christ experienced the wrath of God then I will never have to. God loves me so much that He saved me right in the middle of me dancing in my sins. He also loves me so much that He didnt leave me there. He brought sorrow to my sins so now I dance with Him in righteousness! I still sin but my heart is not for sin. It is for Him. And because my heart is for Him then my sin is washed away by the blood of Christ who saved me and took that wrath! So that I may have an unbroken relationship with my Father and I will NEVER be plucked from His hand!

Are you dancing in your sin today but feeling that pull for something different? Christ is calling.

Take one step in His direction. Let that current of His love sweep you away to a better life in an understanding of what He has done, who He is, and what He is still doing today.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 2:24-2
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Proverbs 29:25
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.