I watched a video of an old Japanese folktale where a man feels corrupted by the world around him and void of peace so he goes to a temple to pray for cleansing. Eventually he returns home and tries to avoid people so he doesn’t become defiled by the world’s… sin? No. Evil? No. But by the world’s pain. In doing so he becomes stressed and worried each day. Eventually he is made to help a woman carry firewood to a hospital and is told to help feed the sick, eventually he becomes so fulfilled in his serving of others that he discovers the peace he was seeking to begin with.
This is not a Christian story, however, it has a point we can take as Christians. Some of us work so hard to be ‘holy’ ‘God like’ ‘sinless’ in a way that makes it so we avoid people because they might corrupt us. That is a true fear and I do not belittle it. It is easy to fall to the sins of this fallen world, however if we close our eyes to the broken, to the needy, to those in pain what are?
We can work so hard to be holier than thou that we miss being the least of these.
Jesus didn’t become the sin or the sinner but He reached to them. He reached out to the pained, the needy, the broken and helped them and loved them. We need to remember that that how we should be. We get so caught up being angry with the sin that we forget to love the sinner, ‘of whom I am the worst’ says Paul.
We are the least of these so let us not forget to show Jesus to the others who are also the least of these with us.
So, here comes Halloween, and thus here comes red popcorn, hot chocolate and the Z movies. Out of all of the different monsters I feel zombies are the most terrifying, not because they are scary – actually they are kind of dumb- but because the zombies are the ones that were originally human. Generally it’s a disease that creates them, right? But in truth they are just people who are sick.
As you walk through the world these days and look around at other people how many are sick? How many are dying? How many are already zombies? Don’t give up yet, I have a point and it’s not ridiculous. There are so many people around us, people we meet in real life, people we meet online, people we never meet at all, and most of them don’t know Jesus and that is sad. Without Christ we are dead people walking, the truly scary thing is that a lot of people who are the walking dead think they have Christ, but knowing Jesus is more than a prayer before bed and Church on Sunday, it’s a sacrificial way of living. You have to sacrifice your time of pleasure to spend time praying, which is something we should find joy in but it can feel like a task at times, but we need to do it even on those hard days. You have to sacrifice carnal desires -no, I don’t mean donuts- I mean things that are sins but seem like so much fun when you see others doing them, better to not do those things and keep your relationship with Christ. Wait. Did she just say keep your relationship with Christ? Does that mean we can lose our relationship with Christ? That’s a topic that lots of people ask about and struggle with the answer to, yes you can lose your Jesus if you are not putting effort into that relationship with Jesus. Here’s the great part about that, even if you don’t spend time with God, even if you continue sinning and just assume that God will forgive you so it doesn’t matter what you do, even if you break God’s heart and make him cry, Jesus will never leave you. You say but that doesn’t make sense because you just said that we can lose our relationship with God, yes we can lose our relationship, but we can never lose God’s love. God will always pick you up when you fall whether you just sinned against him in a drastic and vile way, or you just finished a 2-hour prayer time and I feel you couldn’t be Holier, if you fall and ask God to help you he will always be right there for you. It’s so easy to become one of the sick. This world works so hard to infect us all, and we are surrounded by zombies, but God will never give up on us and he holds the Cure to this disease. So no matter where you are on your Walk of Life, when you’re ready to say “Jesus I Need You, come into my life, forgive me of my sins, please draw me into your power and bring me back to life,” know that he is right there listening to you, answering you, and healing you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life- John 3:16
The Bible is full of things we should can be thankful for but I feel this verse is the best to highlight today, Jesus didn’t just come for Christmas, He didn’t just come for Easter, He didn’t just come for Sunday, He came for every day of your life. We can be thankful that He has surrounded us with His love everlasting and know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Today and every day He is our truth and our reason to celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving! Love the VanBeeks❤
What are two things you are Thankful for today?
Bitterness is a prison that a person builds themselves and then enters willingly, locks the door and blames others for their being in the prison.
People mess up, they hurt you and make you angry -trust me, I’ve been there too- but it’s how you respond that shows the strength of your character. Give Jesus the keys and let Him free you from this prison you’ve made, then feel relief as He pulls the bars apart and breaks your prison down forever. Don’t give people the power to lock you away, give Jesus permission to set you free.
You know how when you are hiking you generally either bring a walking stick or you pick one up on the road as you go? If you did not bring one with you, at what time in your journey do you generally pick up a stick to use? When the journey starts getting hard, right? When you feel like you need something to support you and to help you carry on, that’s usually when you bend down and pick up a sturdy stick to help you along the way. I know you all know where I’m going with this. God has become too much like our walking stick, we usually tend to leave him behind, and then when the journey starts getting hard return to him again and ask him to help us. Then when the journey becomes easy again we drop him and continue on by ourselves. Why do we do this? I suppose because God and walking sticks have one more thing in common, when the road is easy the’re a lot of work to carry. When the path is flat and you’re not really using the stick anymore and you’re more just carrying it with you it becomes tiresome doesn’t it? So we give up and we drop it, then we hit a rugged part of the road and we go back and get our stick again to help us along the rough part, then it becomes easy again and the stick becomes something we’re just carrying so we put it down again. Praying everyday reading your Bible, even going to church once a week can seem like a lot of work at times, when things are hard we run to these things because they draw us closer to God and God is helping us over the hard times, but then when times become easy and we find ourselves having to do these things we feel like they’re too much work and we don’t want to. But God isn’t a Genie in a Bottle, he’s not there to grant wishes and then to just disappear, God is our father he wants a relationship with us he wants us there with him all the time, so even on the times where you feel like you just don’t feel like going to church, or like you read the Bible so often that you’re just tired of it now, keep going, keep attending Services keep reading your Bible keep praying because these things are drawing you closer to the father. Serving God can be a lot of work at times but it will always be worth it, he will always be worth it. So don’t put him down when the road gets easy and pick him up when the road gets hard cling to him at all times instead and trust him as he Journeys with you.
Pain is a word we all know too well. Recently I hurt myself. I have hurt myself many times and this pain that didn’t want to leave is a familiar enemy. Thank God we have an intelligent chiropractor who feels my neck and shoulder and says I have hurt my 3-1 or V-4 or whatever vertebrae and then he puts it back in place and then he rubs it and then I go back again a few times because the injury wants to persist and he needs to keep reminding it where it belongs until it stays.
Let’s break pain down like this:
P- problem occurs
A- attempt to fix problem
N- now what?
We are like our pain, and we cause pain to ourselves. We fall out of place, a problem occurs and we try with all our hearts to fix the problem ourselves and we end up hurting ourselves in the process. Our hearts get broken, we cry, we get angry, nothing works so now what?
We look down and there is nothing there, then we slowly look up. Jesus is looking back at us and we lift our hands and give it all to Him. He takes the pain, the sorrow, the need and He heals it all. We cause ourselves more pain by fighting to fix things ourselves, if we give the problem to Jesus He is the one who knows how to fix it with ease.
What are you afraid of?
Recently I went on a tour of an abandoned sanatorium consisting of five buildings. The old site is one of my favorites and I was excited to get to finally go inside. My cousin and I were the only people there and the guide left us to tour the other four buildings on our own and only stayed with us through the first one, which of course everyone says is haunted. Several times the woman stopped and asked us if we were troubled by spirits, because we are about to enter areas that were known to have heavy Spirit activity. My cousin and I informed her that we were Christians so they didn’t bother us, she kind of rolled her eyes at that. She let us go up into a super condemned area of the building, and challenged us to see if we would go all the way to the end of the ‘Haunted Hall,’ my cousin and I looked at each other and grinned of course we would go to the haunted floor with the haunted hall, sounds like fun. We joked with each other a little bit about the ghosts, went to the end of the hall, we’re slightly terrified at the thought of falling through the floorboards, and then returned totally fine. The scariest part was when we got back home and I showed the photos to my father, who has worked in construction for a lot of years, he informed us that the ankle-deep fluffy stuff we were walking through was falling asbestos from the ceiling. As we toured around more there was one-room known for its activity, where people had left a bowl of garlic that had apparently been there for several years. All of this made me think, what are you really afraid of? Isn’t it vampires that garlic keeps away? As Christians we know that evil spirits do exist, and by no means should we take them lightly, but we also need to remember that God gave us Authority in these situations. I don’t know if ghosts actually bother hunting people, I know that coming from a family of pastors that my grandparents and my parents have seen evil spirits be driven out of people, and I am very sure that if there were evil spirits around us they didn’t bother us solely because we are Christians and they knew to avoid placew Jesus is present. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to rebuke any ghosts in the name of Jesus. The fact of the matter is that people give over to these beliefs and then they let these beliefs control them. People say would you stay in a haunted building for $100,000? And I’m like, absolutely, because as Christians there is no reason for us to fear ghosts or spirits. To be honest, with how run-down parts of the buildings were, and the fact that we very easily could have run into some kind of large animal, I did get a little jumpy on that thought, especially when we found a random staircase hidden under another staircase that led down into a basement that had seemingly been untouched for a very long time, because even the owner had admitted to not going into those buildings in several years. But my point was, it’s fun to let yourself be afraid in a silly way, where you’re joking about things that go bump in the night; however we shouldn’t give too much thought or power to these things, because you don’t want to let any opening where the devil could poke through. If I’m being fully truthful there are a lot of children’s ghost stories that when you read them as a Christian you can tell that these aren’t ghosts, or something silly to laugh at but that these are encounters with evil spirits that are real and you should not give that room in your life, and certainly should not let your children be giving room to such things in their minds, which are easily influenced. If you’re wondering why we decided to explore an abandoned sanatorium when we have no interest or fear of ghosts, we did it because the old buildings have an incredible history that lends to our province, and that history makes the building’s interesting. The thing I love the most is that youth for Christ had taken these buildings over at one time, and though Ghost Hunters had broken in and graffitied things on the walls to make it seem like the building was cursed, there were still banners up with scripture verses, there were still Bibles and devotionals in the rooms, pieces of the love of Christ fill those buildings, so I doubt they’re haunted, because what ghost wants to deal with all of that😉
You can’t give God more than your best
Your best needs to be your absolute best, and that will cause your best to grow and some day you will look back and see how much better you have become by always giving your absolute best. To quote an old TV show, we are always getting better when you aim to improve, better than yesterday, better than today, better than 5 minutes ago. When you aim to give your best you will improve and get better. Say you want to learn how to swim five miles, but you can only swim a single lap in the pool before getting tired, what do you do? You aim to swim two laps, until that is easy and then you swim three until that becomes easy. I once heard it said that to be great you don’t practice until you get it right, you practice until you can’t get it wrong. So many say that they are trying to serve God but they fear that they are doing it wrong, if you are trying then you are doing it right, you just have to keep trying and then one day you will look and see that you have improved. Where before you read your Bible and prayed once a week now you read your Bible and pray twice a week, or three times a week, or four or many times a day. You start small and then you increase. Wait for the day when you open your Bible because you want to and not because it’s a requirement, that will be a wonderful day and you will realize that trying even when you feel like it wasn’t good enough, helped grow you into who you are now. God is patient, don’t rush, go forward at your own pace… but keep going forward.
I have seen a lot of pain, mostly caused by people, I have seen a lot of tears, I have heard a lot of cries, I know that pain and suffering fill this earth and I know that many say, “then how can there be a loving God who could prevent all this?”
I get it, it’s hard to see how good He is when the news shows so much evil in this world, but we must remember, He gives us a free will and people have dark hearts at times, evil lives here on earth and the devil is constantly causing people to sin. We are selfish at times, we are uncaring at times, so there is pain. People want to claim that God doesn’t exist and then when bad things happen blame everything on Him because that’s the easiest solution it seems at times.
So why in a world so racked with pain do I believe in a loving God? Because there os still laughter, there is still healing that the doctors can’t explain, there is still hope in the eyes of the persecuted, those who are dying because they believe in Jesus so how dare I, how dare any of us who believe in Christ be willing to give up the fight because people want to laugh at us, or call us names, or wrongly accuse us? If people who are being killed still have hope in Jesus and do not deny or doubt Him in the midst of all they suffer then shouldn’t we?
To live is Christ Paul said. To live is to live for Jesus, nothing matters in this world but Him. If He is all that matters to you, then the opinions of this world won’t harm you.
Right now the persecuted Church needs extra prayer, and so do the people going back to school, those people who like to cause pain are out there, but God sends Warrior Angels to protect His children, just ask for them and look to see the difference that God makes. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength- Phillipians 4:13
Send your warrior angels to protect your people this moment and every moment ahead of them. This world is full of pain and hate so helps us to be love through your healing to this hurting world. Help us to be different in a good way and to be so full of you that those around us can’t hurt us. I ask this in Jesus name, amen.
Today I want to discuss fear. Why? Because today I was afraid. What I hate is that I had just listened to an amazing sermon on being happy and still my fear took me over. What happened next, I was condescending and rude to the person I was afraid for. I was not at risk of anything but they were and I care about them a lot, so I reacted to my fear for them and have felt sick about it all day. I needed to trust that Jesus had it covered, but instead I rose up and was unkind while trying to protect the person I care about. Love shows itself in many different forms, aggression and anger sometimes being those forms, which actually doesn’t make a lot of sense. When you are afraid you react, and that reaction can cause bad things to occur. What are causes of fear?
We know that God has things covered and yet fear grabs us and destroys our rational thinking. Some say of you fear you aren’t a true Christian because it means you don’t trust God. I disagree. Fear can hit us even when we are trusting God because we are still human, yes we should take our fear to God but we should also know that He isn’t angry at us for being afraid. David criticized his own soul for it’s fear and told it to have courage in God, but the fear was still there. Fear is not a sin, how we respond to that fear can be. But God understands, He isn’t angry that you are afraid, He simply wants you to give your fear to Him and to trust Him.