Wrong Way

There was a time in my life that I was going the wrong way. It was a difficult time. I was headed in the wrong direction and I knew it. I also couldn’t stop it. I felt compelled to continue down this path. Even though I knew intellectually that it was completely irrational, completely illogical, and not at all me, I HAD to do it. There was no way to stop or to turn around. I was going down a path of self destruction that was not going to end well. I knew I was in trouble and sought help. I knew I needed God to help me, but I didn’t know Him as One who would be able to actually intervene in my life. When I sat with God, my one question was, “Do You love me?”

It was a question that had been in my heart for a lot of my life. I often felt unloved, unlovely, and unlovable. To protect myself from the hurts, I built a very large wall around my heart. I didn’t let anyone in. I kept everyone, and their love, at arms length. Although I heard people, and God, when they told me that they loved me, I didn’t let it sink into my heart. I never really felt it. Or believed it. The only one behind this wall was the devil himself who continued to tell me lies, tear me down, and beat me up.

And now here I was, acting on the lies that I had been told for so long. Being pushed into places I would never have gone or even considered. It was a full on assault and I was powerless to stop it. I remember throwing up a prayer saying, “God , You need to do something, because I can’t stop this!” Thankfully He did. God Himself intervened and pulled me from the quicksand that I was in. That rescued me from the immediate danger, but it still didn’t address the issue that drove me there. It took a very long time for the Lord to crack through the walls surrounding my heart and finally allow me to feel love. First He had to show me the lies that I was believing, and oust the devil from his place in my heart. Then God, with His gentle hand, began dismantling that wall brick by brick. It took a while because my heart had to become adjusted to the light and the warmth that accompanies love.

But now, life has new meaning. I give and receive love.

I am loved.

My heart is full.

John 10:10: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
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Lost and Found

Have you ever felt lost and all alone? Even when surrounded by others? Even when you pray? Sometimes I have found that God seems so far away. It is like I can’t see Him, and perhaps He doesn’t see me. Then all of those things that bother me pile up and become such a mountain of burden that I feel they might crush me. And no one sees. No one knows. No one cares. I am all alone.

Occasionally  I feel  a glimpse of hope. When I am in church on Sunday morning, for the briefest of seconds, while praising God in my spirit, all seems well. Then I head home and the darkness closes in again.

There is something special about worshipping God corporately. But do we need to wait until Sunday morning to do it? No. When we read in Revelation 4 about John being taken to the throne room of heaven to witness the constant praise of the Father that goes on around the throne, we can be confident that we can join that worship at any time. From the confines of my home or car or anywhere, I can begin to praise the Lord and in the Spirit I can transcend this reality and join the throngs of elders and angels in the throne room of heaven just as John did. I can lay at the feet of Christ and there get the love I need, the healing I need, the direction I need, and the perspective I need.

This place is the opposite of alone. This is a place of fulfillment and peace. Here I can find all that I need. Here I am found. All it takes is praise. Anytime, anywhere I can join the song that never ends and never have to feel alone again.

The Storm

It has always been my experience that as soon as I step out to do something for the Lord, I seem to suffer negative consequences. This week has been no exception. Not long ago I shared a part of my story and what God has done for me with a large crowd. This past week I have experienced issues with my health, my extended family have been affected and even my dog!

Sometimes I wonder if it is like those prophets and preachers of old that would go to a city to proclaim Christ and be dragged out and stoned for it. Now, my battle is not against flesh and blood though – it is definitely a spiritual assault. While I can feel the sting of the storm as it sprays in my face and the darkness can give the illusion of being alone, my feet are still firmly placed on the Rock. I couldn’t imagine walking through this without the peace and strength that comes from knowing Jesus. And I am so grateful that I don’t have to! God is bigger and more powerful than any storm that comes my way. And no matter what happens, the storm cannot move me from my Foundation. The fact that this happens at all makes me think that I must have done something right! Otherwise the enemy wouldn’t feel the need to bother me. So, I can also take refuge in that.

I am not sure that I would say I am joyful though as the following passage states:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”(James 1:2-4)
It is funny how I automatically think of “lacking nothing” as being wealthy. But worldly wealth runs out and does not automatically come with wisdom. However, having a firm and clear connection to God Almighty will grant me endless access to everything and anything I could possibly need, including power, wisdom, peace, strength and provision. It seems that in these storms I am more likely to access these things from my Heavenly Father. Perhaps if I were more proactive in the calm, I would experience less storms? Just a thought.
No matter where you are today, know that God is all you need. Reach for Him. Hold on tight. He is your anchor in the storm.

The Mustard Seed

I spent some time praying with and for some wonderful women the other night. But it wasn’t long before I was overwhelmed by the idea that my prayers weren’t good enough. I remember those thoughts from before: I am not a good enough wife; I am not a good enough mother; I am not a good enough friend. And here I am with the words ringing in my ears: I am not a good enough Christian to be helping anyone. My prayers aren’t powerful; they aren’t eloquent; they aren’t very “fervent.” All I could do was give a little love and call on the name of Jesus.

While I was berated by these thoughts the Lord broke through. He reminded me of the mustard seed. You remember it from Matt 17:20 when Jesus tells them, “if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” So then I say, “But God! What if my faith isn’t enough to move the mountain?” Then He said, it is not your faith (and the size of it) that moves the mountain. It is that little speck of faith that brings you to Me. I move the mountain!

When I am faithful to bring others to Jesus, it is Him who moves in them to heal and to deliver and to save. It is not my awesomeness that does it. It is His. I am only an extension of His hands and feet. I demonstrate His love, and He does the rest. Thank God! If peoples deliverance and salvation was dependent on me, we would all be in trouble! But it is not. I do not save. The Saviour saves. If I can do nothing other than cry out the name of Jesus,  I have still opened access to the Almighty God!

There is power in the name of Jesus. There is no more eloquent, powerful or fervent prayer than to simply call on His name.

 

 

No Room for Jesus

When we were in prayer last week, the Lord brought to mind a song that I sang many years ago in church at Christmastime. It was called, No Room. The second verse and chorus go like this:

No sweet consecration, no seeking His part, No humiliation, no place in the heart; No thought of the Saviour, no sorrow for sin, No prayer for His favor, no room in the inn.

No room, no room for Jesus, O give Him welcome free, Lest you should hear at Heaven’s gate, “There is no room for thee.”

He also reminded me of a recent conversation where someone was stating that all religions are the same, we all believe in God, etc. And my response was, “But you are forgetting about Jesus!”

Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 1-8 tells us:

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”

This is our gospel – our good news!

He also goes on in vs 14 and 17-19:

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

Christ is the crux of our faith. There is no hope without Him!

In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 he says:

“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

I find it remarkable how quickly I can lose sight of Jesus. Whether through laziness, distraction or deception, my life suddenly seems to run out of room for Jesus. I start to operate in my own human wisdom and fall back into religious tradition. As a result, my faith has no power, and when I am attacked by the evil one, I am unable to stand.

I am grateful to our pastor who, this past Sunday, delivered a passionate message reminding us that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and appealed to us to wake up and take up the fight!

I must determine to push through the haze that blinds me to my need for Jesus and God’s power every day in my life. I must fight to make room for Him and the time to cultivate my relationship with Him. Without Him I am weak, my focus becomes misdirected and my compassion for others and their salvation disappears. Satan would like nothing more than to keep me in this stupor.

Just think – if the church at large is under the same spell, what would happen if the sleeping giant awoke? What magnificent demonstrations of God’s power might begin to be seen by the world? Time is running out. The battle is on. We must take up the fight and it begins by making room for Jesus!

One Day Too Late

A couple of days ago I went to visit a lady who was dying. I didn’t know her very well and I asked her how she was feeling and if there was something I could do to make her comfortable. So, I fluffed her pillow and straightened her blankets as she asked. But there was something inside me that said I needed to do more. She looked scared, and anxious. I started to converse about our mutual friend and it seemed to lighten her spirit. But still I felt that I needed to ask her about Jesus. There were other people around and I didn’t know if she was open at all, so I didn’t go there. I said to myself, “I will come back tomorrow.”

Well, tomorrow came, and I went to visit her again. However, now she was not able to respond to my questions. She simply stared blankly. I knew she was near death and I thought, “Oh no!” I started telling her about Jesus, that He loves her, that He died to save her, that He wants to give her new life, that He is waiting for her. No response. I started to pray that God would help her to hear my words and accept Jesus before it was too late. As I watched her light start to dim, I prayed that God would give her peace. Then I held her hand as she slipped away.

Overwhelmed with the sense of regret and shame, I hung my head and cried as I asked God to forgive me for not listening to His prompting the day before. Really, what did I hold back for? Was protecting my pride more important than her eternity? How many people would get upset if someone told them that God loved them? Really.

Later that same day, I had a friend challenge me about my faith. This time though I knew that this moment was important. I prayed silently that God would give me the words that they needed to hear. I ignored the attack and presented God’s love as well as I could. This time I felt no regret. I pray that God will use that seed to change their life.

Tomorrow is not a guarantee and a second chance may never come. So, in the words of this song, “stop saving your best for last.” Make each moment count.