Tag Archives: Christian living

Witness or Watcher

12 Sep

Just watching the news is enough to derail one’s peace of mind in exchange for a state of depression. Wars and rumors of wars, disease, famine, political mayhem and natural disasters take center stage as the prophecies of old are fulfilled (Matthew 24).

Seeing these prophecies come alive in our day is astounding. At this point in time, we can become captivated by events and forget about our part in His – story, or history, so to speak.

This is exactly what happened to the disciples. In the book of Acts we find the disciples asking, “Lord, at this time are You going to restore the kingdom to Israel”?

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (‭‭Acts‬ ‭1:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

The Lord did not plan for us to be consumed with the times. Indeed, He warned us to be aware of the times. (Revelations 3:10, II Timothy 3:1-7). However, our main focus should be our witness, our profession of faith. We are the proof, the witnesses, that testify that the Lord is real. In our homes, at work, and wherever we go, our lives should say that God is real, and that God is love.

Like the disciples, we too received power to be witnesses.  “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬.

The question is, do our lives witness/testify about the Lord? Or have we just become watchers, focused upon constantly checking the times?

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Greater Through the Storm

13 Aug

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “you’re either in a storm, approaching a storm, or coming out of a storm.”

No matter which point you’re at today, if Jesus is at the helm, great things are in store for you. When Jesus is the Lord of Your life, you are in the palm of your Creator’s hand. He is completely aware of every detail of your life and He wants to do great things through you, in trial and in triumph (I Peter 5:7, Psalm 55:2).

However, you must remember that His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than ours. His definition of greatness is not always the same as ours, and His path to greatness often includes storms, fires, and floods—troubles and obstacles that we’d prefer to skip over and land in heaven.

If, at this moment, you are saying, “How can anything great come out of this horrible experience? You have no clue of what I’m going through!,” you are absolutely correct. I don’t.

But even if I can’t truly understand what you’re going through, I do know that God does (Psalm 139).

During my stormy times as a single parent, struggling to raise two “we know more than you do!” children, I constantly found myself saying “Lord I can’t do this!”  Then, one day, the Lord moved upon my heart and changed my speech.  I began to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians  4:13)

My new confession didn’t stop the storms, but it lessened the strength of the waves. My faith and hope in the Lord strengthened and steadied my stance. I became overwhelmed by the Lord’s faithfulness instead of by the storms. (Mark 4:37–41)

What are you confessing during the storm? Your words have the power to strengthen the storm or to strengthen you (Proverbs 18:21).

The truth is, in your trial you have been given the power and the opportunity to abound in joy and peace as you hope in the Lord (Romans 15:13, Psalm 42:11, Psalm 71:14). Let the storm move you closer to Him, for He is your ever-present help in the time of trouble (Psalm 46). Trust that the Lord is using the storm to position you for the greater things He has in store for you (I Corinthians 2:9), and hold on (Luke 8:23)!

All or Nothing

18 Jun

Today we are bombarded with countless choices. This constant decision-making keeps our minds actively planning, anticipating, and, worst of all, stressed.

 

This stress impacts us beyond what we might have imagined. According to Mayo Clinic.org, “stress that is left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.”

 

Yet the remedy that combats stress is freely available to all who will receive it. The cure, which is found in God’s word, instructs us simply to be anxious or stressed about…NOTHING. Not our families, not our finances, not the future, not our health, NOTHING.

 

Instead, in everything…in everything… in EVERYTHING— our families, our finances, the future, even our health—in everything: “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” (Philippians 4:6 MSG).

 

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “doesn’t God already know my concerns?” Yes, He does. However, as you release your worries to Him, He works everything, everything…everything, out for your good.

 

“Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:7 MSG).

 

So, it’s all or nothing. We can either choose to worry about EVERYTHING, or release it, in thanks and trust to God, and worry about…NOTHING.

Do You Believe?

25 Mar

Easter, also known as Resurrection Sunday, is just around the bend. Some are planning to serve special meals, while others are purchasing special clothes and baskets for children. But how do you really feel about Easter?

It’s ok to be honest with yourself. Do you believe that Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world, was buried, and rose again on the third day?

After Jesus rose from the grave, he appeared to the disciples. He showed them His hands and His sides. The disciples were glad that they were blessed to see Jesus alive again!

However, a disciple by the name of Thomas, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus’ visitation took place. When Thomas later arrived on the scene, the disciples told him about their time time with Jesus. Thomas said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”” John‬ ‭20:25‬ ‭NKJV‬

Imagine the shock the disciples felt. Here was their very own bother, doubting that what they said was true about Jesus. Thomas was courageous. Some of us might have doubted too and not spoken up, but Thomas was honest. Thomas was in need of a personal experience.

Eight days later Jesus appeared in the place where the disciples were assembled. It was as though He came just for Thomas. “Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ‭‭John‬ ‭20:26-29‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Just as Jesus reappeared for Thomas, He can do the same for you. You may not see Him physically walk through your door. He may even use another person to speak to you. While reading the Bible, you may sense His presence. Sometimes Jesus ministers to us through songs. He knows how to meet you where you are in a personal way.

This Easter, don’t let your doubt dissuade you from having a personal resurrection experience. Yes Jesus died for you. Yes Jesus wants you to know Him and experience abundant, eternal life. Yes Jesus loves you. Confess how you feel about Him, and ask Jesus to meet you where you are.

Thomas and the disciples believed because they saw Jesus and touched his hands and his side. Blessed are you and I, and we, who have not seen the physical manifestation of Jesus, and yet have believed!

What’s Your Story?

28 Jan

There are people today who believe that they are just too bad to be good.
The truth is, they are right. We are all too bad to be good.

We all have a story that includes sin.There is none righteous, no not one.
We have all sinned by saying and doing things that were not right; things
that we know were just wrong. This includes the most loving, gentle
person you know. (Romans 3:10)

Nevertheless, there’s a place for you and your story. It doesn’t matter how
bad your story is. Even those with the worst stories are welcome. Where
can you go and be forgiven, delivered, and restored?  It’s the place of
trusting  Jesus as the one who loves you more than anyone ever could.
He loves you so much that he died to take your sin away, giving
you an opportunity to change your story. (John 3:16, Romans 4:25)

Do you know that Jesus was accused of hanging out with sinners? He didn’t
shy away from those who accused Him. “Jesus answered and said to them,
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
‭Luke‬ ‭5:31-32‬ ‭

Notice that Jesus didn’t leave people in the same condition as He found
them. As the physician, He healed the sin sick by calling them to repentance.
As you come to this new place of trusting Jesus, you are made anew.
II Corinthians 5:17

So what’s holding you back from coming to Jesus? What’s your story?
If being bad was your excuse, you just read that Jesus hung out with
sinners. Remember, He came to heal the sick. His healing replaces our sin
with His righteousness, and gives us beauty for ashes.
II Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 61:1-3

Invite Jesus to come into your heart today. You may not see tomorrow.
Trusting Jesus changes your today, as well as your eternal destination.
He longs to give you rest in His finished work on the cross for your sin.
He longs to give you freedom and rest, changing your story. “Today,
if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”  ‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Presence of the Lord is Where?

8 Jun
Have you ever sensed that you were in the
presence of the Lord?  I have sensed His presence more 
so when two or three are gathered and the focus is on the
Lord through prayer, conversation, song,etc.(Matthew 18:20). 
Sometimes when I am alone, I long for that feeling of His
awesomeness, but it escapes me.  

While recently wishing for one of those precious moments, 
this question came to mind.  Would I rather feel the 
presence of the Lord when ever I like, or is it better to be 
conscious of the fact that the Lord is with me always? 
In fact He's with me, even when I can't feel His
presence.  

I'm so glad that through the storms and the rain, the laughter
and the pain, the Lord is with me always (Hebrews 13:5, 
Matthew 28:20). Certainly the time will come again that I'll 
long to feel his presence. Nevertheless, may I, may you, 
be ever conscious of the great blessing of having
him with us always, even if we don't sense His 
presence.