Monday, March 21, 2016

TEAR IT DOWN!

Easter is my favorite time of year, especially the Holy week leading into Easter.

The beginning of Holy week has inspired me to do some research and understand fully something that has always intrigued me about the crucifixion of Christ.

There is a part of the story recorded in 3 of the 4 gospels that speaks about the veil in the temple being torn in two, from top to bottom.

To be able to grasp the significance let’s take a look first at what exactly the veil represented in the Old Testament. The preparation of the veil, as part of the Tabernacle, was specifically given by God Himself in Exodus 26:31-34. The use of the veil was to separate the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God almighty from the sinful man. Don’t miss the significance of God actually speaking aloud to Moses telling him the exact directions for making it. It was important.

According to Exodus 30:10 and also echoed in the New Testament in Hebrews 9:7 the High Priest could only enter into the Holy of Holies, beyond the veil, once a year to offer a sacrifice to the Lord for the atonement of sins. If he went in any other time, or offered the wrong type of thing, He died, and the sins of the nation were not paid for.

It is in the chapters of Exodus and Leviticus we see how separated we were from our Holy God. Through much preparation and sacrifice and one High Priest doing it exactly as God commanded, did the people experience God’s forgiveness of sins.

Which makes Jesus Christ’s life-altering presence and ultimate one-time 
for all sacrifice for sins such an incredible trumpet blast of an epic moment!

The moment that is recorded in scripture when Christ said from the cross “It is finished!” signified His ultimate and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in His name shall not perish but have everlasting life”.

When Jesus completed the work on the cross, there were several things that scripture records as miracles and signs that happened. One of which is that in the temple, the veil separating the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom- to signify that it was God who had removed the curtain for all to be able to have intimacy with Him and receive forgiveness of sins!     
  •  No longer was man condemned by the Law
  •  No Longer did we require a priest’s ritual
  • No longer did we require an animal’s blood to take our place
  • No Longer were we unable to access God
  • No Longer were we separated from God!

Christ made the way possible for our forgiveness of sins, for communion with God on a constant basis through in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

It changed from God’s dwelling place being in a room only accessed by a high priest to now God dwelling with us, IN us!

My fascination of the veil being torn is that is symbolizes my God loving me so much and that He wanted to have an intimate relationship with me, so He sent His Son to rip down the barrier between us so He could make His dwelling with me.

It symbolizes VICTORY!
  • Victory over Sin
  • Victory over death
  • Victory over separation
  • Victory over the grave
  •  And perhaps most poignant…Victory over our sinful selves and self-centered willfulness.


God is greater than our hearts, greater than our past, present and future, greater than our emotions, desires and plans, greater than any terrible sin we commit that we feel separates us from forgiveness.


Words on a screen or paper cannot come close to expressing my gratitude for His saving me and loving me enough to send Christ and tear the veil away…. So He could be with me and I with Him. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Audacious by Beth Moore


Whenever I have the privilege of reading something Beth Moore has written I am always anticipatory of what God is going to say to me through it. I have come to expect it because through her testimonies and life experiences, God has used her mightily in the lives of women to show them God’s power available to them.

This book does not disappoint! Beth has a mission statement that she has felt called to improve on and she explains why in this book.

The mission statement is “To see all women come to know and audaciously love Jesus Christ.” The two new words are “all” and as you can guess by the title “audacious”.

As Beth loves to do, she explores the meaning of Audacious and how we can incorporate it into our Christian walk.

I think the biggest thing that made an impression on me is chapter 10 “You Would Ask Me”. It is based on John 4:6-10, the story of Jesus changing the life of a woman at a well. The key statement He says is “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” (Emphasis mine).

The idea is that we cannot love the Lord our God with the ferocious love that He has for us. We are flawed humans without that capacity. God has not only the capacity, but the drive and power to give it to us when we ask for it!

Beth talks about our ability to step off from the ordinary into the extraordinary Christian life by asking God to give us the ability to audaciously love Him as He does us. All of our drive to behave as scripture instructs us to comes from us audaciously loving God. Jesus Himself says this in John 14:23 when He says that if we love Him we will obey Him.


I recommend this book to anyone looking to change their ordinary khaki Christian life into one that is full and vibrant with color. Beth paints a picture so beautifully with words and analogies that can whet someone’s appetite for longing for more!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Release with confidence!


 
 One of the blessings we get as parents is hearing a good report about your child from someone outside the family. A teacher praising their character or one of your friends commenting on their politeness while your child visited their home. We start to feel like maybe we are doing something right, our children are displaying character that we are trying so hard to teach at home. The kind of character that points to the proof of their relationship with Christ. Scripture calls it fruit.

I am the mother of four teens, one is graduated. It warms my heart so much for someone to stop me in the hallway at church to let me know what a gem one of my kids are. It’s like a win for the God-centered parenting team!

I think all of us realize that consistency with kids is the key to breeding good character. However, consistency in doing what? How do we get our kids to choose to do what is right when we aren’t there, giving them a “look”, or actually telling them what to do?

The whole point of parenting is to one day release independent young adults. Ones that are capable of making choices without us and we hope and pray that they rely on God for their guidance to those right choices.

No step program, advice from a professional, or practiced secular behavior is the answer.

There is really only one answer. I am fully confident in this answer because I believe God, I believe what He says in His Word is true, and I believe He is faithful and true to fulfill what He promises in scripture.

The answer is your children have to love Jesus.

John 14:23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

It sounds too simple right? Well let me tell you, it is simple. The key is consistency and open honesty with your kids as you are raising them. They have to know you are human and make mistakes too. Don’t forget your mistakes and lessons you’ve personally learned are not just for you. They always have a higher purpose. Your mess being turned into His Message is meant to be shared!

What we are really saying as Christian parents when we want our kids to choose to do right when we are not there is that we want them to follow Jesus, to not just obey us but ultimately obey Him.
Here are some pointed ways to help your children love Jesus, so they in turn desire to obey Him and live as a light in the dark world.

1) 1 John 5:14-15 says “Now this is the confidence we have before Him; whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.” We don’t have the ability to love God. He places the ability to love supernaturally within us. We have to teach our children to ask Him to create the love for Him that drives the desire to obey Him.

2) James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” and James 1:22 “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We have to call it clearly what it is when obedience hasn’t happened. It is sin. Sin that needs to be confessed and repented from. Children are never too young to explain that wrongdoing, rebelling against God’s word, is sin. Keeping short accounts and a right relationship with God will ensure His Holy Spirit has free reign to sanctify them through and through, continually growing that love for Christ that enables the desire to obey.

3) James 4:7 “Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” This is a small and very serious verse for them to understand. All Christ-like living begins with submitting or surrendering your will to God’s will. If you hold on tight to your will, your “want to”, and your own plans for life you’ll never be able to experience all the God has planned for you. Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Before your children (or you for that matter) were even formed, God had their days planned out, with blessings and an amazing future that includes doing good works for the Kingdom! We need to teach our children that if they aren’t obeying God, seeking His face, reading His Word and praying, that we might not be in the right position to receive all that He has for us! I can’t imagine how many intended, ordained blessings I missed out on because I was following my desires instead of Christ’s.

4)  Colossians 3:17 “And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Our kids need to grasp that each and every little thing they do can be done to God’s glory or not. There really isn’t an in between on this one. You either are or you’re not. Doing house chores with joy and helpful attitudes, doing school work with diligence, being kind to siblings and choosing not to fight, choosing to obey parents on the first time, choosing to not mouth back. All of those things are completely within their power to do because it begins with a choice. Choosing Jesus over self.

5)  Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” And Deuteronomy 11:19 “Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” The chapter of Deut. 11 is God speaking, telling the Israelite's that they’d better teach their children about all the Lord had done for them because they were not present during their deliverance. The younger generation did not experience the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, the splitting open of the immeasurable obstacle of the Red Sea so they could walk right through it, the visible manifestation of the Sovereign God in the cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, the manna falling from the sky, the water from a rock and so many other miracles. Those children needed to know their amazing God, the Great I AM, and the only way they were going to hear about it all was from their parents. That’s us! We have to diligently, consistently teach our children who God is and who they are in Christ. They are joint-heirs with Him to the treasure of being God’s Child! All the promises and glorious riches of our gracious Father are theirs!

When you have children that are not exhibiting Christ-like behavior, remember your benchmark is not that they obey you, follow you or mimic any other person….their benchmark is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not called to follow Christians, we are called to follow Christ. The desire to follow and obey Him is hidden in having love for Him. If we love Him, we will obey Him.


3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.



 I'm participating in #RaRalinkup Tuesday!Visit Kelly Balarie at Purposeful Faith to read some wonderful authors!  



Friday, March 4, 2016

....BUT GOD!!


Feeling hopeless, depressed and that the situation is unredeemable. Nothing can fix it and you’re out of options….

  • A medical diagnosis                         
  • A personal loss
  • A Broken Family relationship
  • Job loss/Change
  • Buried deep in sinful choices
  • Even the state of the politics in our country right now


I have tremendously good news for you! It’s in two small words that app
ear in God’s word over and over. They appear when something is on the brink of all loss, the point of no return.

BUT GOD!

The entire crux of the issue of Christ’s salvation offer is based on our hopelessness, our inability to reach the mark and earn our own salvation. BUT God so loved the world that He gave His only Son!

If we believe Him for His salvation of our very souls, how can we not take Him up on the other “But God” moments He offers us in scripture?

I can testify to some horrendous moments in my life, where all hope was gone, no human possibility of redemption or restoration was showing up on the horizon. As a matter of fact, it just kept getting worse. I had made choices that had removed my options. I had placed myself on the ineligible shelf, forever to be marred and broken, never again to be of any use for the Kingdom, much less my family.

Then a glorious moment happened where my depravity met grace and mercy when a face full of God’s light came crashing in to rescue my sorry state! I had a tiny, weak prayer that shot up to heaven, asking God to get me out, acknowledging that I couldn’t do it. This was one of my “BUT GOD” moments.

God does not deal in the absolutes we place on ourselves here in this world. He operates true to His Word each and every time! There is not one situation that cannot be used by Him. There is not one thing or a compilation of things that you can do to make yourself ineligible for His “BUT GOD” rescuing.
Look at some of the ways He tells us about His “BUT GOD” moments to encourage us to believe Him!

(emphasis’ are mine)
Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Romans 5:7-8: For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Acts 13:29-30: And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead!

Genesis 50:20: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

I Corinthians 3:7: So then neither is he that plants anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase.

Psalm 49:15: But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself.

Psalm 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 66:19: but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.

From the Old Testament to the New, you can find many stories that include desperate situations and then something happens. “BUT GOD” happens. The supernatural power of God meets the ordinary struggles of this life and suddenly it’s transformed into something so beautiful it’s not recognizable as the old thing. The Light of heaven has touched the stifling dark of this earth. All the experiences of this world that mirror Satan’s involvement get abolished, wiped out and completely transformed!
You cannot have an encounter with God in your dark place without it leaving a deposit of that Light. It’s so potent and powerful, there’s nothing on earth that can compare!

The answer to your darkness is to access the Light! Your physical circumstances may not change, but your heart, mind and actions will most certainly change. The level of healing and redeeming that God provides far outweighs medication and anything the medical community has to offer!

God’s presence in a situation changes the very atmosphere.

It’s palatable.

It’s powerful enough to bring you to your knees in worship.

It’s the only answer, all others are smoke and mirror replicas that try to imitate God without bringing Him the glory.  

I have a song that I love. I heard it in the very beginning of addiction recovery and it changed how I viewed my restoration. At that moment in life, I NEEDED a God who ripped open the sky and crashed through the clouds in a big way and changed my broken-down addicted mind and changed the atmosphere around me. Boy did He deliver!

Take Him up on the promise to be your Redeemer, Restorer, Protector and Rescuer!

He’s bigger than your problem and loves you with such a fierce love that He died for your sins before you were ever born so that one day you could access His power!

The song is “Strong enough to Save” by Tenth Avenue North. The lyrics are below and a link to the song also.

You fought
but you were just too weak
so you lost
all the things you try to keep
now you're on your knees, you're on your knees
But wait,
everything can change,
in a moments time you don't have to be afraid,
cause fear is just a lie
open up your eyes

[Chorus:]
And he'll break
open the skies to save
those who cry out his name
the One the wind and waves obey
is strong enough to save you

[Verse 2:]
Look
now is not too late
lift up your head
let the rain fall on your face
you're not far from grace, you're not too far from grace

[Chorus:]

[Bridge:]
I know the weight of this world can take you down like gravity and I know the current of yourself can take you out, out to sea but hold on, hold on


[Chorus:]