Devotional

We are not sharks

Sharks swim to stay alive. It has been proven that most sharks will suffocate if water is not moving through their gills and filtering in oxygen. That’s just how God made them. We act as though we are sharks. Keep moving! Keep driving! Onward and upward! Go! Go! Go!
So when God decides to make is stop, even to make us pause, we panic. We feel as though we are going to suffocate. An image flashes before our eyes of us sinking to the bottom and never moving again. Do you know what happens if you take hold of a shark’s tail so it can’t keep swimming? It panics. It thrashes around and fights to get free. Of course it does, it will die if it stops. But we won’t. Sometimes God makes us stop to protect us. Sometimes God makes us stop to get our attention. Sometimes God makes us stop just so that we take time to be quiet and be near Him. He always has a reason for making us stop, so don’t panic. In moments of ‘stop’, be still, quiet down and ask God what He has planned. He has a plan you know. You just have to listen to Him.


P.S.
Please do not go around harassing sharks to see if these facts about them are true. Scientists have done the work already, and in such a way that the sharks were not harmed. So please. Leave them be.

Devotional · encouragement · guidance · Jesus · lent · The Bible

Palms laid before him

Lent devotional 35

Enter Jerusalem, the city streets are filled with celebrating and cheering as a humble and gentle donkey colt strides down the streets.
Palms are laid at the sweet animal’s feet and a sense of pride wells in the donkey’s heart. He is carrying Jesus, as all animals know Jesus is the king of kings, God’s one and only Son; but the donkey senses sonething, a feeling of pain in the heart of his Lord. The donkey is confused and turns his head to nuzzle the King’s foot, a gentle hand strokes the animal’s neck in response. The donkey stretches hard to see Jesus’ face. The beaming smile is a shock to the donkey because it can sense the sadness within the savior’s heart. All the gentle colt can do is continue to carry his Lord.
The animal saw both joy and sorrow and could not understand, but the joy was love for the King’s people, and the sorrow was knowledge that these people were only a breath away from condemning their King to die; but one small donkey showed his love and carried the weight of the savior as the savior carried the weight of the world.

Jesus was recorded as having great anguish as He neared Jerusalem. Anguish that simple human senses could barely begin to understand. To suffer is one thing, but to know you are about to suffer is another. If we saw the suffering that would come in our lives we as people could not handle it. Jesus knew every bit of His suffering to come and that caused Him greater pain than He would have experienced if it had all been a shock or surprise. Days of waiting are too much to bear, but He bore them for us. The false love of the people must have stung and the lies of Judas must have made His heart sick, but He suffered them all because He loves us. Oh what a love that is, who else could give such love? Who else would? Only Jesus loves us so much.

Credit to owner for image

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · Jesus · lent

Let your stones fly

Lent devotional 30

Do not let your giant’s shadow block out the light from the Son- He is there and He knows you and He wants you!

Ah the giants. We see them, hear them and manifest them in our own minds. They are big, ugly and can proliferate into thousands of clones that kill all the good around them. Where do our giants come from? They come from a dark section of your mind that fills you fear and nausea until you can’t think. That section could be caused by what you see in the world around you, or by a life circumstance that has you afraid, it could be because of a lack of faith that God can take care of things, or by lies that you have been told that bang around inside your mind and make you doubt who you are or where you’re at or the goodness of God. But He is good. Your giant may look like a huge oozing mass of all your fears staring down on you ready to destroy you, but God has given you armor. You are protected by His Spirit, by His Salvation, by His Faith, by His Righteousness, by His Truth, by His Readiness. He fills you, He enters your heart and mind and fights for you. Your Goliath cannot defeat you if your eyes and mind are fixed on Jesus. He is there taking care of you. Have Faith in Him and courage because of Him. Don’t let your giant win, no matter how big he may seem, your God is bigger.

Christianity · encouragement · free · Jesus · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible

Finding Jesus

Where is Jesus?

His knees ached as he prayed, he swung back and forth in agony as his soul searched for something, anything. Around him others prayed to their gods and the pain was clear in their mumbled as they searched for the same thing. A woman was kneeling beside him, a book clasped in her hands as she prayed silently, a dim smile spread across her face. He leaned over to her. ‘What god do you pray to?’
She whispered back, ‘I pray to Jesus.’
‘Oh, what is Jesus the god of?’
The woman thought a moment, ‘well, He’s the God of everything. There isn’t anything that He isn’t God over.’
‘Really? Who is He?’
‘He’s the one who died for you. He came to earth from Heaven and was sacrificed for our sins. Then He rose again and took deminion over death. Now we who love Him can join Him in Heaven.’
‘Interesting. How did you get to know Him?’
She began to answer but a rod came down with a crack between them, ‘no talking!’ The guard bellowed, ‘just do your worship and leave.’
The woman went back to her praying, the book clutched against her heart. The man looked around him, some people beat their heads and chests in anguish, some had knives and drew blood from their palms, some merely mumbled to themselves the same things the man had heard them say every time they had come, he looked at the statue of the god he was praying to, it seemed so indiferent to him to his needs, it never died for him, it didn’t care about him. Then he glanced at the woman again, she was smiling, then she laughed softly, she cried but it seemed like a happy cry. He glanced at the guard, the person had moved on. He leaned forward, ‘how do I contact her god? Do I need a sacrifice? She seems to have just come here. He whispered again to the woman.
‘How do I get to know your God?’
She grinned, ‘just talk to Him. Call Him by His name, Jesus, God, even Father.’
‘That’s it?’
She nodded. He began to pray, ‘um…Jesus. Are you there?’ Suddenly a wave sweapt over him. Peace. Fear of the power that surrounded him seized his soul, but the peace chased it away. Then he began to cry as another wave hit him. Love. It was sufficating and beautiful.
The guard rang the bell that said free time to worship was over. The man got up and saw the guard take the book from the woman as he collected all the religious items from the worshipers. He saw her stop herself from reaching after the book. She left. He left. But the feeling of her God didn’t leave him. It followed him as he went to his house. On the road he saw the woman again, he rushed over to her and she startled back from him.
‘Don’t be afraid. But I have to know. Why does it feel like your God is following me?’
She smirked, almost laughed and then said gently, ‘because He loves you.’
‘Me?’
‘Yes. He wants you and is with you wherever you go. I don’t have to attend the worship hour in the chamber to be near my God, He is always with me, I go because they keep the Bibles and I love holding His book in my hands.’
The man didn’t know what to say, the woman suddenly whispered, ‘guards coming.’ And dissapeared.
The man returned to his home, sat on his bed and said ‘Jesus. Are you here?’ The peace and love swept over him again and he decided that day that he would aim to get a Bible too during the allotted worship hour, then he could learn more about this God who clearly loved him. Now when he prayed he knew someone was listening and cared about what he had to say, now when he cried he knew someone was there to comfort him. Now he was loved. And had purpose, if that purpose was simply to worship the god called Jesus.
He never saw the woman again, but as he learned about Jesus and gave his life to Him he knew that some day he would meet the woman again in Heaven, and then he would thank her.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus

Bringing in the lions

You may look foolish, silly, naive or even crazy at times, but your Faith in God will never leave you void. Today I was reminded of Perpetua. Beautiful woman who found Jesus through her slaves and was arrested, beaten, tortured and killed, yet she refused to deny her Jesus. Jesus sent her dreams to comfort her, He stood beside her in the Coliseum and she felt no pain as the cow gourd her until finally the Pro councel was bored and had her cut down with a sword. Moments before she stood cleaning her face, so the record says, because she refused to go to Jesus looking as though she were sad.
To have that Faith.
We have been attacked as Christians here in North America, we have been harrassed, insulted, made to look like lunitics or worse, like some sort of cult that lures people in. Why? A young Korean boy named Ching once asked the same thing. Why if our government is so powerful and we are so happy do we fear a little book about God? Why? Because evil runs from God and attacks things that represent His power. Any one not of God is controlled by the devil, so these people fear Christians and want to make us look like the enemy.
We don’t like to think that people who don’t follow Christ are following the devil, we like to imagine that there’s an in-between, a gray Zone, but there isn’t. There is no middle world where you’re not Christian but you’re not following the devil either, we like to believe there is, even some Christians like to claim that there is, but there isn’t, and I am sorry because that is so sad to think about.
When we are persecuted, do we give in? Do we fall to the fads? Do we bow to Caesar? Do we stand and tremble before man or do we tremble before God and refuse to deny Him as He is? When brought before the lions do we curse God and flee from Him or do we stand and say “I go to my Jesus with my head held high, broken in body and mind but unyielding in spirit”?
Where will you stand when the lines are drawn? But for me and my house, we stand with the living God.

Christianity · Devotional · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Are we willing?

Are we willing?

What does your dream, goal and ambition mean to you? When the government tells you that you can’t be a teacher, lawyer, politician, doctor, and so on, unless you accept certain sins as no longer sin what will you do? Is dream worth so much that you will buckle and bow to the death system. Death system was a term that came up when I was a kid. In books, in TV (mostly anime) it means a system unacknowledgably careening toward destruction, sort of like Chaos Theory. Back then even the secular world could see it coming and what it would bring. Now even Christ followers bow to the death system. Not the death of the planet, though much of the shows that winked at the death system did cover the death of nature, but instead we should focus on the death of our souls and the rape of our minds. Do we even know what’s wrong anymore? Or are we taking a pen and crossing out the parts of our Faith that offend us? I was reminded recently of what Christians face in countries that don’t support the Christ belief. People with high IQs and great talent have demeaning jobs, can’t attend certain schools or social events and live in shamble, because they refuse to deny even a tiny part of Jesus, they embrace Him even though they are left in the street by the world. Do we? Are we willing to take the humble road rather than deny even a speck of our Lord? So often we see “christians” praised for taking a job in a secular setting because they can, “promote their witness” there. But do they? How much of Jesus did they have to deny to get that job? What sins did they accept so that they would be accepted? The devil sits back and gestures to a goblet, “drink this, accept the darkness and I will give you everything.” Jesus takes our hand and says, “don’t! It’s a trap.” We pull away from Christ, “if I drink what he offers then he will give me a place in society where I can promote you better, it’s just a little sip, I’ll be fine.” Our bold statement dies as we drink the whole glass and join the devil. If Jesus says something is wrong then it is wrong no matter our good intentions. Are we willing to live as ditch diggers and serve Jesus by denying the devil? Or have we already taken of the death drink, and now we serve the devil under the badge that used to say ‘Christian’, but now says ‘deceived’?
We are so lost in this death system that we have forgotten what life is. Go back to Jesus. Reach for Him. Don’t let the devil deceive you. Don’t let your heart become poisoned. Give yourself to Jesus. Whatever you end up doing, no matter how valueless it feels, remember- if you are doing it for Jesus, if you are sacrificing it for Jesus, if you are suffering it for Jesus, then what your doing is right. The easy road of compromise leads to death. Not death in this world, but death of your soul. Don’t give in. Fight back. Dare to take God at His word no matter the cost.

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Counting on you

Counting on you

We as Christians count on God for so much. We count on Him to be good to us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, to help us. But can God count on us for…well…anything?
We don’t think about God counting on us. In fact, we don’t really think that God needs us, do we? We realize that He is God and He can make His plan work no matter what we do or don’t do. But that’s not the point. God doesn’t rely on us, He doesn’t have to, but He does count on us. He counts on us to do His will, to obey His commands, to care for our fellow Christians, to show His love to the lost and broken, He may even have appointed you a position in which you can do these things. He counts on us doing our part. If we never step out our front door, if we never take the chance, if we squelch the voice of God inside of us, aren’t we letting God down. We like to dance around the circle of ‘it’s a partnership, God and I are working together,’ because it makes us think that God is helping us in fulfilling our goals and our dreams, and that is what the outer ring of the circle sometimes looks like- but what about the inner circle, the inner Sanctum if you like, that’s where God is, the place where it’s not our will but His. The place where the fire burns so hot that it hurts sometimes, the place of surrender, are any of us willing to enter that circle? Or do we prefer the edge where it’s safe?
Can God count on us?
Can God say, “I can always count on Lauren to do the right thing?” Or I can always count on Larry, or Lynne, or Tanya, or Carole, or Mark, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, fill in the blank, can God say “him or her, I can always count on”?
I hope so. I hope that we all aim to live within the fire, near the heart of God, so He can count on us.

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Counting on you

Counting on you

We as Christians count on God for so much. We count on Him to be good to us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, to help us. But can God count on us for…well…anything?
We don’t think about God counting on us. In fact, we don’t really think that God needs us, do we? We realize that He is God and He can make His plan work no matter what we do or don’t do. But that’s not the point. God doesn’t rely on us, He doesn’t have to, but He does count on us. He counts on us to do His will, to obey His commands, to care for our fellow Christians, to show His love to the lost and broken, He may even have appointed you a position in which you can do these things. He counts on us doing our part. If we never step out our front door, if we never take the chance, if we squelch the voice of God inside of us, aren’t we letting God down. We like to dance around the circle of ‘it’s a partnership, God and I are working together,’ because it makes us think that God is helping us in fulfilling our goals and our dreams, and that is what the outer ring of the circle sometimes looks like- but what about the inner circle, the inner Sanctum if you like, that’s where God is, the place where it’s not our will but His. The place where the fire burns so hot that it hurts sometimes, the place of surrender, are any of us willing to enter that circle? Or do we prefer the edge where it’s safe?
Can God count on us?
Can God say, “I can always count on Lauren to do the right thing?” Or I can always count on Larry, or Lynne, or Tanya, or Carole, or Mark, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, fill in the blank, can God say “him or her, I can always count on”?
I hope so. I hope that we all aim to live within the fire, near the heart of God, so He can count on us.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · The Bible

All of me loves all of you.

All of me loves all of you.

Who do you love so much that you even accept the hard things from them? Love emotions can be tested by a lot. Your dog could puke in your favorite shoes, your kids could lie to you, your best friend could betray you, your spouse could yell at you, on and on and on; but if you truly love them then you forgive them and continue to love them after this right? Why? Because people mess up and mistakes happen, and you love them more than yourself. But what if it isn’t a mistake? What if nobody messed up? What if what hurts you is not only accurate and true, but something you have to accept? So many people talk about the things they won’t accept, that they love, but not unconditionally. They will take the parts that make them happy and feel good about themselves, but they choose to throw away all else. Is that love? No. At least, not real love.
Oh. I’m not talking about person to person relationships, I’m talking about person to God relationships.
The only time when unconditional love and unconditional acceptance go together is when in context with God. I don’t mean Him accepting us, I mean us accepting Him. Back to the top. What if what hurts you isn’t a mistake? There are parts of the Bible that hurt sometimes, they offend us and are hard to accept, so what do we do? We toss those parts away. We claim them irrelevant or Old Fashioned, we say that we’ve moved past that in our world and that God needs to keep up. Wow. So, is that love? Nope. We don’t love all of God. We only love the Genie in a Bottle bits. We even say rediculous things, like we’d rather be lucky than have God, because God takes effort on our part. We want everyone to accept us, faults, failures, sins, dark sides and all. We want God to do that too. Then when we find out He does we click our heels together and run after Him in joy. But wait, theres more. Our run toward Him comes to a skreeching halt when we realize that, yes God accepts us faults, sins and all, but He plans to change us from that person. We’re supposed to love Him so much that we leave that person behind and become a new creation. But that sounds so hard! And we don’t want to. So we pout and complain and say that God is unfair, and then we do the unthinkable, we try to change Him. If He wants to change us then we should change Him first so we can stay the same. That’s not love and it’s certainly not what a Christian is or does. We don’t love all of God, we only love the easy parts. We love the feelings and the Miracles, we love when someone is healed, we love the worship music, we love the handbag that says Jesus loves you, but we don’t love God. If we did we wouldn’t be trying to fit him into our box, we wouldn’t be trying to change or misrepresent or warp or disregard the word and rules God gave us. Jesus IS God, and yet He cried not my will but yours Father. Why? Because he knew that it was God’s will for him to die even though he didn’t want to. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had been like us. If Instead of saying “your will father,” he had shouted out “forget this! Your rules, your Authority was all Old Testament, people don’t need to be what you’ve planned for them in this modern world, you’re out of date and I’m not doing this!” Then got up and left the garden. Where would we be now? Hopeless. Broken. Alone. Scared. Lost. We don’t think about it, but the Jerusulem that Jesus was in was a very modern version compared to the Jerusulem of David. Yet He didn’t disregard the old texts or God’s will just because it wasn’t modern, Jesus knew that God and His word was and is still relevant and necessary. If Jesus was willing to be subject to His Father’s will, why aren’t we? Because we don’t truly love God. Sometimes it hurts and feels unfair, but if we love God we will let Him change us. He didn’t make us to be the broken, sinful mess we are, He made us to be followers of Him. Let’s get to the place where we love all of God, even the side of God that is going to change us.

Christianity · CS Lewis · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Hanukkah- Final day

Hanukkah- final day

Shamash
On each day of Hanukkah an additional branch of the nine branched Hanukkiah is lit with the candle in the middle, the shamash, the helper or servant candle.

As we end our journey through Hanukkah I want to focus on the first candle lit. The helper candle. We don’t realize how important this candle is. In Judaism certain men who work in the temple are also refered to as Shamash, one important job they have os the reading of the Torah.
We too have a helper inside our temple, the temple of our souls. Jesus left His Spirit with us to be our helper candle. We cannot be lit without the Spirit, we cannot truly find God without the Spirit and we cannot serve God to our fullest without the Spirit. We need God’s Spirit to do anything. He tells us where to go, what to do and what is wrong and right. We see a world full of people who ignore and throw the Spirit away, they don’t like that voice that says they should act a certain way and give up certain things that offend God. Because of this we see a world that is dark and broken, void of God’s light. We need the Shamash, we need the helper candle so we can be set on fire for Jesus. The thing is, we see how we work to serve God, but without Him helping us we can’t serve Him. Like C.S. Lewis said, “it’s like a child taking money from their father so he or she can buy him a gift. We take what we have from God and use it to serve Him, but it was always His to begin with.”
We need the Holy Spirit to keep us from riding in the middle complete darkness and complete light, there is no Twilight Zone with God, you either serve him or you don’t.
Look to our helper today and ask Him to guide you in your life.
Happy Hanukkah