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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Jesus!

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Photo credit: Pinterest

The past few posts have been about what can cause us to run from Jesus. Today I wanted to write about Jesus!

Some love Him, some hate Him. Some believe in Him, some do not. Some love His name, some are offended by His name. He’s been represented and misrepresented since He came into the world. He is the beautiful, radiant, glorious, Son of God. Let’s read what the Old Testament had to say about Jesus in Isaiah 53…

Isaiah 53

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Why did Jesus come? Why did Love leave paradise to enter into humanity?

He came to save you and me. He offered His life as a perfect sacrifice so every person who chooses to believe in Him and follow Him would have everlasting life. He came to bear our burdens. He came to pay for our sins. He came so we would not be alone or defeated in this sinful world. He came to give hope! He came to set captives free, heal the broken hearted, restore sight to the blind, cleanse humanity, and provide an inheritance we could call our own. He came to give us back the authority Adam surrendered to the devil.

Jesus the Victor!

Though He’s often painted or depicted on a cross, Jesus didn’t remain on the cross! He got up with all power in His hands. He was raised up above all powers, seated at the right hand of the Father, and raises us up to sit in heavenly places with Him.

Sweet friends, no matter what life throws at you, Jesus is still victorious. You have an Advocate, a Friend, a Savior, a sure Hope, a Victorious Warrior, a Healer, and Deliverer. He’s not dead! Jesus is very much alive. He loves you. Whatever your need today, cry out to Jesus!

Praying for you and your loved ones. You are deeply loved (John 3:16)!

Erin

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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When Life Makes You Want To Run From Jesus!

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Photo Credit: the Soul Doctor

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you, Duet 31:6.

The words of Deuteronomy 31:6 are so comforting to my soul. I don’t know about you, but life has dealt me some challenging circumstances. In hard and challenging seasons one of the greatest temptations presented to us is to run from God instead of to Him.

The enemy of our souls whispers,

“If God loved you, your life wouldn’t be this way.”

“If God were so good, then why aren’t your prayers being answered?”

“If God cared about you, your circumstances would be better.”

“Look God’s blessing everyone but you!”

The problem with the whispers of the enemy is that he’s a liar. God’s goodness and love are not determined by our circumstances. Love is who He is. Goodness is an attribute of His character.

Another great truth is:

Jesus already overcame the world and our greatest enemy death!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

When God Doesn’t Remove Your Challenges:

God doesn’t remove every challenge from our lives. Why? I can’t answer for everyone. I can only give you some insight from scripture and my own life.

1. Delay isn’t always denial. Sometimes the manifestation of our prayer requests or God’s promises don’t immediately surface. Think Abraham and Sarah, Hannah, Mary and Martha for Lazarus…the answer to their prayers didn’t immediately surface. God’s timing isn’t always our timing.

2. God’s no runs deeper than what we see on the surface. We see in part and know in part. God sees every detail and though it hurts at times, we have the choice to trust Him or not trust Him.

3. God promises to never leave us in the midst of challenging circumstances. The greatest intimate moments I’ve had with God have been during seasons of great pain. Jesus was the only One I felt safe enough to talk to or confide in, and He’s safe. Also, Jesus doesn’t mind our tears! He isn’t put off by brokenness, pain, or the hurting. He’s not too busy or too important in His own eyes to reach low to raise us up high.

4. We forget we have a very busy adversary. He’s not more powerful than God; He’s still busy. He can’t steal your salvation. He can try to discourage, oppress, and harass you. I heard a respected pastor say, “If you never face any opposition, you may not be following Jesus.”

The enemy has been defeated, it’s our responsibility to recognize he’s not bigger or more powerful than God, yet he attempts to bully those God loves.

5. Some trials produce perseverance. Some, not all. I don’t like when people take every situation and say, “God is teaching you something.” Yes, God is big and strong enough to take any situation and use it. I don’t believe He authors every situation to teach us something. We live in a sinful world. Some situations are orchestrated by the enemy to destroy people things like abuse, rape, murder, slavery, incest, violence…

A friend gave me a helpful analogy once. A surgeon and a butcher both cut things open. The butcher to kill. The surgeon to heal. God is the master surgeon! The devil is the butcher.

What About Jesus, He Suffered:

For those who use the life of Jesus as a model for suffering; note, Jesus’s death was for a reason, purpose, to save the lives of many. Many people believe their horrible circumstances are from God, when they may not be.

I hope these points encourage you to run to Jesus instead of away from Him. He’s suffered in ways we could not imagine. There’s no one who knows how you feel and how to heal like Jesus!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2013 in From the Author, God's Heart

 

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When Christians Make You Want To Run From Jesus!

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Photo Credit: Sermon Quotes

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples,~John 13:35.

The title of this post is long, but I hope to help those who have been wounded by Christians. I listened to a sermon this morning about people abandoning faith in Jesus. The behavior of those claiming to represent God is the number one reason why people choose to forego church, faith, & God. I wasn’t startled by the pastors statistics. I’ve heard and lived some of the painful stories. There were quite a few other reasons why people abandon faith, but I wanted to address this one.

The problem:

Christians (followers of Jesus) are human, and humans are flawed. Also our disappointment is often directly proportional to our expectation.

Maybe you believe every person who claims Christ will act like Him.

Maybe you’ve been wounded, betrayed, rejected, hurt, or mistreated by Christians.

Maybe those in authority over you have abused that power, neglected their responsibilities to God or the flock, or you’ve been manipulated or controlled.

Here’s some freeing news:

1. Every person in church or claiming Christ is not following Jesus or Spirit filled. Going to church doesn’t save anyone or make them better. Faith in Christ and conversion opens the door for life transformation. If you don’t believe me, read Jesus’s parable of the wheat and tare (See Matthew 13:24-30). Tare is a weed that looks like wheat when it’s growing. The wheat (true believers) and tare (non believers) grow up together. The point for us isn’t to go around inspecting people’s lives. God will separate the wheat from the tare. Some people will come to church for years and not have a conversion. Our job is to focus on our walk with God, extend grace and mercy, and allow God to transform lives. We teach and live the Gospel. We leave the transformation up to God.

2. Only God is perfect! There’s trouble brewing when we expect perfection from people. People will blow it. People will fail you. Saved, delivered, and Spirit filled people may or will disappoint you. Some great examples come from the disciples. They blew it all the time. Peter denied Jesus three times. Judas betrayed Jesus for a bag of silver. The night before Jesus was betrayed, the disciples went to sleep instead of praying with Him. They often failed to believe Him. They fought over petty things. People are not perfect. Hence the beauty of grace!

3. Spiritual growth is a process. Jesus grew in favor. He was perfect, yet walked out obedience. He began His public ministry at age 30. We learn over time. We grow to become like Jesus over time, experience, and relationship. So, even though we are transformed by faith in Christ, we are being transformed into His likeness (character) by the power of the Holy Spirit. In church you will encounter spiritual adults, teens, and babies and natural age is not always an indication of spiritual maturity. Babies are selfish, & can make messes. We don’t all grow at the same rate and every person has a unique walk with God. We all have struggles, weaknesses, and things God is working on.

Lastly I will say God wants us to love one another. That doesn’t always happen. Scandals, people failing, hurt, offense, and division are all a possibility. God does not delight in our sinning against Him or others. As someone who’s had to walk it out, I won’t tell you it doesn’t hurt when you’re attacked or mistreated or betrayed by people who are supposed to love you. I will say, God heals.

Hopefully these points brought some freedom. Don’t run from God, run to Him. Jesus knows how you feel. He’s walked it out too! The Father knows how you feel. He’s been mistreated since man sinned. You have an Advocate who will stand strong for you! You have Someone who will bring about perfect justice. God loves you and only His love never fails.

We will talk about steps to healing next post. Bless you friends.

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in Devotions, From the Author, God's Heart

 

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