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.
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.
One person does not define you. Five people don’t define you. People don’t define you, God does. Jesus defines who you are, He directs who you are. Look at your life through the eyes of the man on the cross, the man walking out of the tomb, God sitting on His throne. If He was willing to die for you, the you who you are right now, then what person has earned the right to try and judge you? If God loves you enough to give up everything for you, then isn’t that enough to show you your value? Because you do have value! You right now reading this, God wants you to know that you have value and are valued by Him. People don’t define you, God does.
How often do we see this in the Bible? How often do we watch as something unbelievable happens simply because the person is God’s. Today my dad spoke on Genesis 14, he told is many great things to remember but the thing that stuck out to me the most was what he said about Abraham. If Abraham hadn’t been God’s man, if you hadn’t had had the angels of heaven, the armies of God coming with him you never would have been able to defeat the Kings and save lot. That is so true in so much that we go through. There are so many times when I feel like I should fail because I am inadequate to the task, but because I call on God and have him with me somehow I succeed. There is no way we can survive or succeed on our own, yes there are people who have made a success of themselves even though they are not Christians but it’s not the same, it’s not the kind of success that’s fulfilling. If you have Jesus you have everything, if you don’t have Jesus you have nothing. I know there will be times when Jesus doesn’t feel like he is enough to sustain you but he will always be enough and eventually you will see it. Keep pushing through and fighting forward, because somehow Jesus will do the impossible.
Today my beautiful mom was worshiping God behind a covid safe screen in our church this morning and it made me realize that God is reaching down behind many walls and cages, He’s reaching for us. There are people in prisons, in underground churches, in basements, in flood and fire areas, in churches that are restrained by the government, in their own homes- afraid to go out. In hospitals, In sick beds, in care homes. Whatever your cage is. If your cage is literal or figurative. God is reaching down behind your walls and your cages to grab your up reached hands, up reached hearts and to lift you out of your cage. Sometimes Jesus enters in and if you look around you can see Jesus in your cage with you. Your cage is not God’s cage. God is working even when you can’t see past the bars. My dad’s old school mate Billy Richards said that faith is a muscle, you need to use it to make it strong. You can either let your cage defeat you, or you can let it grow you and your faith. Believe that Jesus can save you, He has already saved you, trusting His will can hurt- but it is always the right path to take.
No matter your cage, remember that Jesus loves you, and you have the savior with you.
Jesus, we know that you can save us from our cage, no matter what it is, we use our Faith in you and know that you are with us even in our cages- amen.
Read Paul’s letters from prison and see how God can work beyond the bars of your cages❤
Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11 NLT
Everyone has a place in God who wants one and is willing to ask God to be their Heavenly Father. Jesus led the demon possessed as part of His Deciples for crying out loud, but He cast out the demons first. No matter what your sin is you can come before Jesus and He will cure you and accept you. Trust me, you aren’t going to shock or horrify Him, He’s seen it all already. Come before Jesus and let Him love and heal you.
The tones of laughter drifts up the stairs and a small bark from a white poodle shows the little girl that her mom is taking care of her dog so she doesn’t need to rush. It’s Sunday, Mothers Day, and she wants to look good for mom. Her black satin shoes click as she climbs on to the stool at the bathroom sink. She has her mommy’s makeup kit, and had watched mommy put it on so many times that she was sure she could to do makeup on her own face, she wanted to look her best for Mommy. So she leans in close to the mirror and ‘poof’ face powder sparkles over everything, ‘it’s like fairy dust’ she thinks as she poofs more powder on to her face. Next mommy would use the red stuff, she finds the blush powder brush in with the powder and dabs some on each cheek. What next? Now the stuff for the eyes. She can’t find the eye shadow brush, frustrated but determined she grabs her tooth brush and uses it for the eye makeup. She looks at herself, ‘close enough,’ she decides. ‘Now, how do you work the curling iron?’ Thankfully this is when mommy comes in, alerted to her daughter’s bad idea by the silence from the bathroom. “Oh no!” Mommy shrieks, “sweetie what have you done?” The question is rhetorical. The little girl smiles big, “look mommy, I made myself pretty for you.” Mommy is a mix of emotions, she is relieved, horrified, a little irritated, but loves her little girl so much. She picks her daughter up and kisses her -inch thick powdered- cheek, “you are always pretty sweetheart!” Mommy sits the little girl on her knee and wipes her face clean, as she removes the cloth from the pouting lips mommy does what mommies do and offers to show her sweetie how mommies put on make up. This brightens up the disappointed face and mommy and daughter laugh as they put their ‘faces’ on together. Though they walked into church a little late, the little girl in her swishing cream dress with soft pink flowers, holding to mommy’s hand and smiling loved mommy all the more for her kindness that day. The day was about mommy, but that didn’t stop mommy from taking care of her little girl that day, and they had such great memories.
Thank you Jesus for our mothers. We have ups and downs as parents, but if we cling to the happy memories than we will see that our lives really were good.
This is a world that has ended. In this world, nothing is born….anymore. That which is alive doesn’t stay that way for loong. In this world lives a solitary girl who wishes to become… something, but what is it? Alive perhaps? Or maybe human? maybe she wants to be more than what she is? Do you live in a solitary world where nothing grows, nothing begins, everything has ended? Don’t we all? Don’t we all live in a world just like that? Don’t we need somebody to reach down and bring us out of world of decay? Don’t we all need a savior? what’s your next step? Where are you going from here? Will you stay in your world that has ended? Sad, alone. A solitary figure, wanting more but more of what? Or will you branch out, find God, ask God what you should do next? and then what? Who knows!?! The possibilities are endless! Why? Because God’s possibilities ARE endless. In this solitary world where it feels like nothing good is ever born and that which is withers and dies quickly, that’s just the wrong perspective. Some people see only god as exisisting and nothing bad is ever born in their worlds, now that’s not realistic either, but a world where everything is dark is not the kind of world you should live in, you should live in a world where everything is light, because the darkness has been illuminated by Jesus and He has expelled the darkness.
I can’t imagine the last supper’s emotions for Jesus. You are sitting at a table surrounded by friends, everyone is smiling and laughing and having a good time but you know you need to prepare them again for tomorrow, so you take a deep breath and let it all go. The smiles turn to horror as each begs to know who the traitor is. You smile sadly. You can’t tell them. There are too many hot heads in the group that would take down the traitor, and tomorow needs to happen. The meal goes on, sadly, quietly, ‘will they be ready? Can I prepare them more?’ A healing hug of comfort or two would help but none come, you know the only true comfort you need is God the Father, your Father and that when you seek Him He will strengthen you. Just think, Jesus died so that you could also have the comfort from God, God will also strengthen you. Our friend and savior suffered so that when we suffer we can go to him. Before there was always a curtain, now there are open doors beckoning us in, ready to show us love.