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.
Doubt sounds like such a tiny word, it’s barely more than a syllable long, and yet…. doubt is the great destroyer. It destroys our dreams, our ambitions, our families, and our relationship with God. Doubt. It’s such an ugly word! I doubt that will happen. Stop. I doubt your words. Stop. I doubt God can do it, I even doubt He cares. Stop it! Can’t you hear God crying out amidst your doubt? Can’t you hear those who love you begging you to stop doubting and start living! Start trusting God! Stop using doubt as an excuse to run away! Stop using it as a reason to give up! Doubt doesn’t exist where there is Faith, doubt has no place at the throne of God! But it’s such a small thing, who cares if I doubt? God does! I do! It hurts those around you and causes you to want to give up when you know deep down that you should keep fighting! I don’t doubt that you can do it, I don’t doubt that God can help you! You don’t need the faith of Moses or David or Joshua, you only need faith the size of a musterdseed to move past this! God can’t work if you don’t let Him, so let God and blindly follow until He lets you see what He is doing. Doubt only leads to more doubt and soon it will drown you, but faith leads to more faith that will raise you up to fly on your battered and tired wings! God will carry you, but you have to trust Him and ditch your useless doubt!!
Christianity isn’t always clean and straight forward. There are times when we truly aren’t sure what we should do, what is right? That is why we need the presence of God. God could have simply left us with His Bible and said ‘good enough, they should be able to figure this out.’ Instead God left us with His Spirit. He left us His Spirit because He knew we would need an aid and a guide because things wouldn’t always be hot and cold, sometimes the answer to our situation wouldn’t be clear cut. God has the answers. They say listen to your heart, but most don’t really understand how true that is. That pinch in your chest from the Spirit telling you what to do and what to avoid is vital. Do I cross into the promised land when there are giants? My head says ‘not a chance!’ My heart knows that we can take that land because God says we can! Listen for the Spirit when you are uncertain. God sent Him so that we would have the answers to the unclear questions. Trust Jesus and follow His guiding, even if it doesn’t always make sense.
What do you think of when you think champion? For me I tend to imagine a horse robed in a winner’s mantel strutting down the greenway of a cross-country course. Some might imagine a boxer or martial artist standing in an arena, drenched in sweat, bleeding, a boxing judge holding up a hand as the crowd cheers….. I just pictured ‘Rocky’ didn’t I? Oh well, he’s an icon of the champion so it works, and his winning smile, (half crooked with pain, eyes swollen shut,) definitely shows the champion image of Christ on the cross better than most. He was beaten, sweaty, dirty, no smile on His face, but perhaps a look of peace as He hung His head for the last time as the Jesus the prophet. Soon to rise as Jesus the eternal King. That face is the face of champion who has suffered. The face of the champion horse and rider is usually a cleaner face…. unless his horse unseated him….. the face is still sweaty, the horse’s sides heave from the run, but a smile of victory hits their faces, the horse knows he has done well because his master pats him vigorously and the rider tilts his helmet to the judges before doing a lap around the arena, basking in his win. That is the face of the Jesus who has risen. It’s over! God is the victor! He rides through Heaven as the Angels and the Heavenly Hosts all cheer! Jesus gets to bask in His Father’s praise and love, greater a reward than any medal could be! Christ is our champion and that is the point of Easter!
I have always loved the ocean. Growing up close to it it was impossible to not love it. I would read about it and study it, I even would steal my grandfather’s National Geographic magazines, but to be honest I love all nature….except biting insects like say sand flies. As a kid I used to jump into any body of water without thinking too hard about it, it was wonderful! My parents would keep spare cloths in the car because they knew I would get wet. Then it happened. I was swimming in the Lake at our cabin and something hurt! It really hurt! My spidey sense said get back to shore so I did. My neoprene wet suit had a hole right where my pain was, this was a fresh water lake, turned out I had been bitten by a large pike, he was like the jaws of the lake and has struck others to this day. Okay, so maybe it hasn’t been the same fish, but suddenly I realized that the fish I had swam with all those years while note caring could hurt me. That never kept me out of the water but it did make me think twice before going in. This was just a small loss of wonder to be replaced by fear, but what about all the other things we suddenly fear as we grow up and understand more? Things that sent a chill of excitement now send a chill of fear. Why? Because our childish ignorance has been replaced by knowledge and that scares us. Don’t let the fear win. Do the things you used to do without thinking that now scare you. Speak up when you see an injustice, tell that friend about Jesus, give away to those in need when you feel led to, ride that roller coaster, talk to that family member that you feel distant from, swim with the fish. Don’t let the fear win the place your wonder deserves. Live. That’s what God created you to do!