Posts Tagged: jesus

Sin Repellent, Not to Christ

Daniel got caught sneaking a brownie after I told him no more sweets. When I confronted him he cursed the brownie for making him eat it, then he cursed Satan, then he cursed Adam and Eve for their original sin. Finally, when he realized that none of those were responsible he put his hand up, turn and said, “Get away from me Mom, I’m sinful.”

Oh, dear reader you may standing there with your hand up to Christ declaring, “Leave me, get away from me, I am too far gone, I am beyond repair, I am unworthy of love. Christ, You are too pure and holy to eat at my table, or come into my home.”

Instead of repelling God, he draws close to us!  Example after example of a Jesus response to sinners recorded in scripture. He ate with tax collectors (IRS), allowed prostitutes and those cast outside the city gates to touch him. Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples participated in a Jesus miracle, and he realized that the only reason that there were fish now flopping around in his empty boat was Jesus. Luke 5:8 But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man,, O Lord!”

We don’t have to guess how Jesus responds to our sin filled lives, scripture spells it out. vs. 10 “And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” In this moment Jesus does not address Peter’s dirty laundry, he goes after his fear. We Christians really need to take note of this! The Pharisees approached sin with the mindset: Get clean first, which is impossible, and then we will allow you in. Too often this is our approach to the those who, like Peter, already know they are broken. Jesus offers different criteria: Follow me.

That is how God approached me. “Follow me and all of these other things will be added to you! Let me show the possibilities of your life in relationship with mine. Don’t be afraid, today I call you to follow me and I will teach you to catch men.”  None of us is beyond his redemption. So . . . come follow me reader and let me open your eyes to the FACT that nothing is impossible for Him.



What I Lack

James 1:…4And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.…

The world is filled with people who have spent much of their life trying and I am one of them. I try a little harder to be happier. I try to please others. I try to teach my children right from wrong. Even when I’m not trying, I’m trying to not try. Exhausted yet? I am.

Trying is irrevocably tied to results. Results, I am becoming convinced, already met on the cross through Jesus Christ. Even my faith, comes from the molding and shaping of my heavenly father. There is such freedom and relief in knowing that the transformation of the world is dependent upon God’s authorship, not mine. What is required of me is that I ask God for what I lack, have faith without doubting (not for God’s sake, but my own), being tossed at sea is no fun.

Lord, I praise you that nothing is too small for me to ask of you. You do not hold what I lack against me. So I ask you boldly for the discipline to glorify you as an author. Fill me with the ink of your passion and compassion for the world.

Be my muse and amusement in the written word. John says, “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomea it.” May my words become a lamp stand in the darkness. Amen and Amen!

Immature Plans:Trusting the plan of Salvation

John 2:4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.”

Matthew 8:And behold, they cried out saying, “What to us and to you Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

John 1223 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.…

Our plans to save ourselves are always immature. We look for Jesus to turn water into wine, so we can save the party, but God pours out his own blood to save the world. We look for Jesus to overthrow and punish our enemies. Jesus looks at breaking the chains of sin and offering salvation to those who murder us!

God hears our cries, but he will not answer until the appointed time. This can be confusing, and infuriating! We believe in God, but we don’t believe in his plan or his perfect timing. We look for idols and quick fixes to fill in the gap of our waiting. Matthew Henry’s commentary explains it this way, “Delays of mercy are not denials of prayer. Those that expect Christ’s favors, must observe his orders with ready obedience.”

Can I obey God when he let my son die? Can I keep turning the page of his plan, according to his will and not mine? I see the spectacular results of Jesus’ obedience! Oh Lord, I cry out to you. Open my mind to the possibilities of your perfect plan. Make my path straight. Thank you that you didn’t stop with water to wine! May my narrow plan open wide to the joy of your salvation. Amen

We are . . .

Herald DisbatchPsalm 13:3Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 4And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 5But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.…

Sometimes it is not about winning, it is about building his team, showing up for the game and giving all to our heavenly coach, witnessing to the next generation in the stands and giving them the chance for victory.

I just finished watching We Are Marshall, a movie about Marshall University in Huntington, WV and the tragic plane crash that shattered many lives on November 14, 1970. Seventy-five people lost their lives on that flight. The decision to re-build the football team was not one reached easily.

The new head coach Jack Lengyel, played by Matthew Mconaughey. was an outsider who was moved with compassion for the grieving family, school and city. However, he also knew they needed hope.

McConaughey uses the phrase, “The funerals end today,” but Lengyel said he had to make that known not only to the players but to the schools the team played. Each time the team traveled, the school would have a memorial for Marshall, but Lengyel said the team couldn’t continue and grow under those conditions. (Herald Dispatch)

To grow we have to realize that God still has plans for us. My husband, kids, and you daily remind me that the funeral ends today. Daniel saw the movie in our DVD collection and asked if he could watch it. I hesitated, knowing the intensity of the movie. He asked questions all week about the football team, about the school. He was clearly thinking deeply about the loss. “How many people are on a football team?” . . . “What are boosters?” “How do you start over?” “They must have felt like we do about losing Jonathan.”

We are knocked to the ground, barely able to breath, and the enemy is in our face telling us to stay down.

You are . . . nothing

You are . . . a failure

You are . . . a loser

Sometimes we need an outsider to see our pain, come onto the field of battle and draw up a new play book. God did this by sending his own son. He tell us:

you are . . . beautiful

you are . . . resilient

You are . . . loving

You are. . . worth the struggle

You are . . . a part of my plan

Since Jonathan’s death there are more personal losses and world tragedies the weigh heavy on my heart. Like David I remind myself of who I know God is:

You are . . . good to me

You are . . .Savior

You are . . . Mighty

You are . . . Personal

You are . . . All Knowing

You are. . . Trustworthy

“In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

We chant with our lives we are . . . And allow the next generation to answer. They know who they are and whose they are because we didn’t give up!

“You Are a Beautiful!”

Luke 7:37And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, 38and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume.…

I was in tears this morning as the counselor spoke the words. “Can’t you see that you are beautiful.” Can you accept that your God in heave calls you a beautiful person? Are you like me, so trained to believe the negative, expect disaster, call yourself ugly, useless or a failure that when someone recognizes your beauty you unravel. As a young women I cut my wrist when a man said I was beautiful. That is how ingrained the pattern of rejection was in my thinking. It simply wasn’t possible that I was beautiful!

The women bathing Jesus with her tears and perfume is a sinner and everyone knows it! She came to Jesus with all that she had and poured it out in love and all of the witnesses around the table (including the disciples) were more concerned with who she was, then about how she loved Jesus. Surely Jesus sees her the same if he really is a “prophet”!

But he doesn’t, he sees her love for him and that is enough. He acknowledges her sin and forgive her. Only God can forgive sins!  In one fell swoop this “worthless” woman unseated, unnerved the Pharisees and revealed who Jesus was in bold vivid colors.

Do we unveil who Jesus is by our love? That’s it, it is not a set of rituals that make us clean. It is loving Jesus. Taking all that we have, what we deem good and bad to the foot of the cross. It is my love for Jesus that makes me share with you. I may struggle as this woman to embrace that love and acceptance because the world has trained me to see myself as worthless. “But God “. . . two of the best words in all the scriptures sent his own son for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

You and I are beautiful because his love makes us so.

Near Death

I’m not sure what to call the consistent string of crazy things that keep happening to me while in the car. I’ve had all kinds of things thrown off work trucks and yesterday, while on the interstate, my car accelerated and the breaks stopped working during rush hour traffic. I’m in total awe that not once did traffic stop. If it had I would have hit the cars ahead of me at 50miles/hour. The route I take is always stop and go traffic! I felt the breaks finally give just a little so I pushed with all my might, threw on the emergency break, which up to this point wasn’t working at all and pulled onto the shoulder. When the tow truck came for the car he said that the throttle was stuck on open.

I am going to do a little praising if you don’t mind!

Thank you Jesus for helping me to not panic! Thank you Lord for giving Daniel the strength to talk to 911. Thank you Jesus that Natalie turned from crying to praying. Thank you Lord for protecting us and the people around us. Lord, it really feels like the enemy is seeking to destroy my family. May I become all the bolder in proclaiming your truth, whatever my circumstances. I’m near death, but so were you. The enemy tried to destroy you before the cross repeatedly. You submitted to your Father’s will even though it led to a cross! I submit to your will, you will be glorified! Amen

True Discipleship: I’m not a Minion

I’m not a minion just following Christ because he’s the biggest, badest dude. I am a follower of a God who is involved in my life, who cares, nurtures, laughs and cries with me. One who is moved with grief that we struggle so deeply  with our depressed state. He is a God who comforts. Seems to me that a God who came off his throne, took on our flesh, limited himself to eat, drink and go fishing with us, would want his disciples to do the same.

Discipleship is messy. It means that we can’t keep our distance, it means that our sin marked scars will be exposed, and it means that we can’t be counting the numbers.  Jesus went after the one who was lost, even if he had a crowd of followers. He helped the child destroyed by demonic forces. He healed the sick, he dined with tax collectors. He dined with Pharisees. God dined with me! I am that lost sheep that Jesus pursued. I am that one that he said was worth dying for. Anyone who wants to be a fisher of men has to be in the pool where the fish are biting. There is no formula, sharing the gospel is as individual as our fingerprints.

Discipleship starts with following Jesus.

“Come follow me, ” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19 (Notice that Jesus didn’t say you need to make yourself a fisher of men. HE WILL MAKE us in his image!)

Seeing the needs of those around you.

When He saw the crowds, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

Acting on those needs now, the harvest is ripe.

Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Matthew 9:37

Discipleship is not complicated, it is actually rather simple. In fact, many of our idols have “groupies” that make decisions on wardrobe, hair and behavior based upon the person they have plastered on their wall. Who are you studying? Who is it that you moves you to action? We all follow something or someone. I follow Christ and therefore my words are meant to draw you closer to the one who changed me!

There is nothing like witnessing  God’s love catching fire in the bosom of another. I get a front row seat to God’s unfolding plan in your life! I am in constant prayer as I speak to you, asking for discernment. Many of you are struggling with deep heart and soul pain, as well as physical. I don’t always say the right words and that used to bother me. But, sharing grace isn’t about perfection, it is about presence!

May I be a light, present in the darkness. True discipleship is sharing the reality of Christ’s active role in my life, I carry a cross, not a silver spoon! Life has not been easy for me; I have many sorrows.  I am learning to the depth of my being that my contentment comes from Christ alone, my hope is in him, and my joy is in that in his realm we are raised from the dead! For the past year I have been discipled, even as I disciple others. I was guided to scriptures that refresh my weary soul and speak truth over my circumstances when I find myself wanting to believe lies. I was strengthened by being in community with another, further along in her journey.

Participating in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk on Sunday I was deeply burdened and hopeful as I turned another page on suicide. So many men and women walked with me, deeply wounded by depression and suicide, just like me! I want to offer hope and discipleship gives me the opportunity to share through relationship. At times it feels like I’m attempting to hold back a tidal wave, but by God’s love, grace and discipline, I continue to stand in the darkness and cry out NO MORE!  I cannot offer you anything less than what sustains me in my grief. Disciples of Christ do not stand alone, the Spirit stands with us. He lit the candles of the first disciples, and they lit many candles after Jesus, all the way to this present moment. Discipleship is lighting a candle, then another, and another until the world isn’t so dark any more.

Hugging Photos Isn’t Enough

Daniel hugged the plaque of Jonathan that hung at Moe’s Restaurant this weekend. His heartache was so evident in his attempt to embrace his brother. When that did not satisfy, as we walked out the door he reached for Natalie.

“Here Natalie, you be Jonathan so I can hug you.”

Sigh, I want so badly to fill their little arms. Oh Lord, they need flesh and bones Jonathan, fill them with the satisfaction of your embrace. Hold them tight! Keep them safe from the darkness.

The “Window to the Soul” is Through the Eyes of Jesus Christ

Isaiah 53 3He was despised and rejectedb by men;a man of sorrows,c and acquainted withd grief;e
and as one from whom men hide their facesf he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

How did Jesus do it? How did he see past the masks to see our brokenness in the context of our soul’s deepest needs? “Man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Is that our problem? We never get past the surface of what we think we know and see in others. Certainly that seems to be the case in my son’s circumstances. To turn the page on suicide we must retrain our eyes to look deeper than the surface, but how? . . . The only what is through the eyes of Jesus.

1. Jesus was totally in tune with the will of his father.

2. He broke the bondage of the sinful desires through preparation (prayer fasting, meditating on scripture, and testing).

3. He listened for the Holy Spirit to guide him in seeing the whole context of the person.

4. He acted quickly, yet methodically, and perfectly to each and every encounter with men and women.

So while cultivation of disciples can take several years, changing someone’s life can happen in a moment encounter! You don’t have to be deeply invested and know everything about a person, or even be their friend, to truly see the depth of who they are and their need. Many of Jesus’s encounters were with strangers that are never given a name in scripture. We simply need to abide in Jesus and act on his calling. When I know and trust the character of the Trinity I see more clearly the souls around me and not my unclear and shallow prejudices of outward appearances.

It is Finished

John 19:30Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

“It is finished!” has been on my mind and lips since Friday. I hear it when I rise in the morning, I hear it when I stop abiding and start striving, and I hear it when I lay my head on the pillow. Jesus came to save us, and he stated that the salvation was complete. All you and I have to do is to believe.

There is not a single thing that you and I can do to add to that salvation. We cannot make another sacrifice, we cannot work harder, or be perfect in following the commandments in order to gain our salvation. He finished that work. How differently would we love, work, minister, and simply be present in our day to day lives if we embrace what Jesus completed on the cross?

“It is finished.” “Believe.” are repeated throughout Jesus’ ministry. (Luke 22:37, John 4:34, John 17:4, John 19:28, John 3:16, John 14:11 and many more) Those two phrases sum up God’s purpose in sending his one and only son. If you are anything like me, you may have a pattern of living, that even as a believer, does not reflect that we have embraced the cross. So we have a lot of ups and downs in our faith walk, as a result.

I was challenged to meditate on Jesus’ words from the cross, and the more that I hear them in my ears, my soul eagerly leans into, relaxes tense spiritual muscles, and is content with taking Jesus at his word. At the heart of believing Jesus is resting (abiding) in him. (John 15) Striving to save ourselves is a waste of time and limits the power of the Holy Spirit in us. My prayer is that we accept Jesus’ finished work and believe.

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