There is nothing wrong with loving the Bible from the place of a broken person trying to find the heart of God. You don’t have to perfect and then come to Jesus. Come to Him first and He will perfect you. You will never get to place where you are holy as Christ, you can’t, it isn’t possible. But that’s why we chase after God, because He is the only one who is perfect and Jesus is the only way into Heaven, our greatest works, even to give until we have nothing and to die for the sake of another is nothing without Jesus, it won’t get us anywhere without Him. We are all broken people, unable to measure up to the glory and ritchousness of God, but that doesn’t mean we should run away from Him, but instead run to Him. All He wants is a repentive heart that wants to change. A heart that knows it needs Him. A broken heart knows who the Healer is and is ready to be loved and fixed and made whole. Love Jesus in your brokenness and let Him love you into a whole new person.
Today my dog and I became lost while hiking. I was sure I knew where we were…until I didn’t. Down a trail overgrown with trees and weeds we ended up in a field. I thought I knew which field…but I didn’t. We walked and walked and all I could see was rolling crops and a shed and a tractor. I reasoned that a tractor meant life, but how far away was that life. We had two hours till dark and I knew I would rather be caught in the dark in that field then back down the trails where we get bears and cougars, and ghosts and monsters if my old camp leader is to believed. We had seen tracks that could easily have been a cougar earlier that day and though I figured it probably wouldn’t bother us I also knew that my JRT would make it his mission to catch said cougar if he saw it and that could be bad.
What’s my point in this story?
There were moments when I felt nervous. Moments when I was sure we might spend the night in that guys crops. However I never felt alone. I find hiking is where I talk to Jesus outloud. No one around. The beauty of creation filling my senses. I spent the time talking with Him and knew I was safe even if we spent the night out there. He knew that beyond the second grove of trees was a road that would take me to the main road and lead me back to camp, but I didn’t know that. I simply had an uncanny sense of peace as I walked with Him.
When you are lost and don’t know where the road is, trust Jesus, talk with Him, He knows the way home.
It’s so hard to tell people when you are not okay, and then have them giving their opinions or not fully understanding you hurts so much. But when you give it to Jesus- sit down for a moment and talk with Him, telling Him that it hurts, why it hurts and how much you need Him and His help- it doesn’t hurt more, it might hurt less, and now you have someone you can talk to about it who won’t judge or condem, and He actually can help where people cannot. Isn’t it funny how when you talk to people about your pain they give you a speel about how your Faith should be bigger, or you need to read your Bible more, or you should be praying like this- but when you come to God He just listens. He knows where you are at in the journey and how tired you are and how long you’ve been stuck in this same place. He knows how hard you are trying and how much it hurts. He doesn’t say ‘read more of your Bible, pray harder, grow your Faith until it hurts no more!’ He simply says, ‘come here. Let me hold you. I’ll take care of it all.’
Talk to Jesus. He’s waiting for your call.
Um…no thanks Jesus, I’m good.
Recently I was in church with my cousin. The preacher mentioned the healing of the blind man. You recall that healing? Jesus spat in the dirt and then rubbed it on the man’s eyes. It makes me cringe a little thinking of it, seeing as I’m a bit of a germaphobe. My cousin laughed at me when I rubbed my arms in horror at the thought of having spit rubbed on me. “Ya.” She said, “It’s like. Thanks but no thanks Jesus, I’ll just stay blind.”
She was joking, but it made me think, how often do we turn away Miracles that Jesus wants us to have because we don’t like the way that Christ is going to make the miracle happen? How many times does Jesus spit in the dirt and we draw back because we don’t like it? The miracle that’s coming doesn’t outweigh what we have to go through to recieve it, in our minds it doesn’t at least, if we waited and had the miracle happen despite the spit and mud, we would realize the value and gift of that blessing. How many times has Jesus said, “let me take you through this and I will give you this blessing.”
Or, “if you give up this, I will give you this instead.”?
And so on and so on. But we don’t want to go through the pain, the illness, the fear, the move, the new job, the outreach, [fill in the blank]. What came to mind when you were given the chance to put down your own draw away reason? I know what came to my mind. But as John Wayne once said, “courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways.” The cause before the effect of the miracle may not cause suffering or pain, but there is always a little fear. It would be strange if there wasn’t, because we are dealing with the ultimate power. God. And His love, grace and blessings. And when dealing with God there is a lot of unknowing. We run headlong on Faith and that can be really scary. But perfect peace comes from knowing that you are trusting what you don’t know to the all knowing, one true, God.
Miracles aren’t always easy. Sometimes they are hard. Sometimes they take sacrifice. Sometimes you have to have spit rubbed in your eye before you can see. But know this. God always, always, always, has your best in mind as He works His plan for your life.
When things get hard it’s easy to forget, or worse, let go, of who Jesus is and what He can, will and has done for you. When the sickness comes, the depression sets in, the pain overwhelms and fear is a constant companion it is so easy for the human mind to say ‘that’s enough! If there is a God then why is this happening?’
This is going to make you sick and cause you to roll your eyes -I know it is because not only have I seen this response before but I have felt it- God has a purpose.
Don’t groan. I know that’s the easy response. But the truth is that God does have a purpose, trusting that He has a purpose is so hard some times that when people tell you that it is all within His plan it can make you angry, or sad, or simply can feel like it’s adding to your brokeness, but He does have a plan. Then you wonder how your pain could fit in His plan? Good question. I wonder that about my own pain, and I’m sure that theology egg heads could give you a great response that is filled with scripture refrences and quotes from great scholars and pastors, but for me, all I can say is that it’s not about understanding the how or why, it’s about understanding that not knowing those things is where faith comes in. He is the same Jesus who loved me on the cross and before time itself, He hasn’t changed, He isn’t suddenly trying to hurt me, He loves me, His plan has always been best and it has always been ready for this, whatever the ‘this’ is at the moment, in the end He works it all together for good, I don’t know how, I can’t know how, all I can know is that He promised to take care of me and that He is doing that right now.
I can’t promise a sudden or easy answer, all I can promise is that there is one.
We needed Thomas to doubt.
Some say that Jesus was just a good man and a prophet- if that is true then we have no hope or reason to hope, because Jesus as just a man couldn’t pay for our sins and His death would be meaningless.
These same people say Jesus coming back from the dead and appearing to the deciples was just a vision given to the deciples by God of the man coming and talking with them, but that Jesus Himself was not actually, Physically there.
But when Jesus was with the deciples He met a friend who was so broken by His death that he couldn’t believe that the Jesus he saw was more than a vision or a trick of his mind. Jesus had to encourage Thomas to touch Him. To touch His scarred hands and the wound in His side and to know through that physical touch that this was no illusion, vision, or trick of the mind, He was actaully there; smiling, laughing and chatting with His friends. If Thomas hadn’t doubted his own eyes and needed the physical connection to Jesus, then those people who claim He was just a vision or illusion of grief wouldn’t have an eye witness account that could hold water, but Thomas actually touched Him, you can’t touch a vision, and if he hadn’t doubted that Jesus coming back was true -like so many still doubt today- then maybe we wouldn’t have the record of that human to human, flesh to flesh, touch that shows once and for all that it was a physical and real risen savior standing there. Thank you Thomas for your doubt, because it was needed for those who need proof beyond Faith.
When you’re working with your horse, remember that you’re not trying to perfect every single lesson everyday; you’re just trying to improve each one a little bit. Clinton Anderson
We get so caught up in perfection don’t we? It’s good but it could be better, seems to be an ongoing thought to general life, as well as our Christian walk. Now don’t get me wrong. We are supposed to live lives that are a reflection of our perfect Jesus. However. When we get our heads focused on us being perfect we tend to forget who we are trying to be perfect for, we can also work so hard at one thing that (like our horses) we get frusterated and learn to despise what we are working on. In the same way as when teaching your gelding to not spook at a flag, when you start and find that you are doing better than yesterday then tomorrow give yourself a break and work on something else. If you get so caught up in doing prayer perfectly or worshiping in the right way that you can forget that it’s about spending time with God, it’s about having a connection to him, it’s not about doing things perfectly, it’s just about doing better than you did the day before. And many times doing better than yesterday can simply be actually doing something. And if you do that something three times a week instead of one, then you’re improving. A Christian singer once wrote a song… okay many have written songs on this, but he wrote on feeling Christ deep in your soul, it’s more than hammering through your prayer list or trying to read a full chapter of the Bible before bed, it’s about being with Him. When we stop trying to be perfect and start working on communion, time spent alone with the Father, then we love past all other realms of religon and into truly being part of the body of Christ.
If this doens’t make sense to you then please ignore it, it makes sense to me because of my years training horses, but I don’t want to confuse anyone. Praying everyday and Bible time is very important. But it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to have you openly seeking Jesus.
In Jeremiah 3:16
God tells His people that when the Messiah comes the Ark of the covenant, the symbol of God’s presence will be gone and no one will even think to make a new one.
That must have been so scary to hear as someone who knew nothing but the Ark. But once Jesus came God’s presence was able to abide within us, it no longer needed a house because we became the vessel. Later on I read about God’s great anger at His people and admittedly I skimmed ahead, looking for where Jesus interceeds on our behalf, then I remembered that this was before Jesus died for us, our sins were not yet forgiven or paid for, there was no voice saying that we should be given another chance to repent and change.
We forget sometimes just how important Jesus is. He is the presence of God, He tore the vail and made something as Holy as The Ark of the Covenant no longer necesary, He made it so that we can pray and ask forgiveness. He died so that when God is angry with our sin He can say, ‘but I died to pay for that sin, give them another chance to do better.’ He reminds us that we screwed up and need to repent and change so we don’t make the same sin again, but He gives us the chance to do better, we have the opportunity to realize we messed up and fall to our knees and try to change. We no longer need someone to take a sacrifice to God for us. Jesus is the sacrifice for us.
He is so important. We must never forget that.
We all have a testimony. Where we were, what God has done and where we are now. But sometimes God doesn’t do the miraculous healing. Sometimes He doesn’t stop you from falling. What then? If He hasn’t done what you have prayed for does your testimony still count?
I have a testimony. With all the ‘God delivered me from drugs’ and ‘God healed me from cancer’ I have heard and seen I wasn’t sure if what I had was a testimony or a survival hand book. Then today, I finally heard a woman speak her testimony and guess what? She was still a broken mess and she admitted it. But she had found that God’s powerful love was moving her to help other people with messes because she understood them.
My best friend who is also my mother (and I say that with pride) has had a disease my whole life. She has always pushed herself and given it her all no matter what, but she does struggle. She has to take medication to fill her body with cells that you and I have naturally. Doctors told her she wouldn’t see my 12th birthday. But she did. Then they said she wouldn’t see me graduate. But she did. Then they said she wouldn’t see me turn 25. I’m 26. They don’t understand how she is still as strong, though she feels weak, she isn’t in a wheelchair and that is amazing.
She works harder and cares for more people than anyone else I know. She’s my miracle. Everyday I pray for a miracle healing. But God’s sustaining power is sometimes more amazing than the sudden transformations we see. It hurts. I never know when my next day will be my last. I’m scared some days, broken other days and I know that doesn’t sound very faith filled but God never said it wasn’t going to be hard. I’m not saying that I’m amazing for never denying God because I don’t see my answers. I have fallen down and yelled and cried at Him many times. But God is more than knowledge and Faith, He’s the Holy Spirit living in you, He’s your safe harbor when it all burns down around you. I know through His strong love and strange peace that He is still good and that He still loves her and me, because even when I find myself sitting in a ball on the floor saying ‘God, why?’ I have a peace that passes past the pain. Living with joy in the moments that God has given us. It’s so hard and so vital.
Why does He heal others and not the one who I love? I don’t know. But I know Him, so I know there is a reason. One of my favorite singers said that He started writing music in a time of shifting, when the tables had turned over and he was trying to find where he stood, instead of taking the pain and running and going, ‘this hurts and makes no sense so there is no god’ he chose to reach out to God and seek Him more and in doing so, found more of Him. That’s the big choice we all have when the shifting happens and things hurt, do we say ‘forget it I’m better off on my own’, or do we reach up and say, ‘whatever you’re doing God, it feels awful, but I know that you are God and I am not and you have a purpose’?
It’s easy to give up when life gets hard, it’s hard to hold on.
Have you ever been knocked off a surfboard? You feel like of you just took the strap off your ankle you would be fine and could swim to the surface. But so many times in the delirium of the waves and the rock and the lack of air, the only thing that shows you which way is up is that strap. I have almost drown a few times boarding and everytime it was following the safety strap on my ankle that brought me back to the surface. God is your safety strap. You feel you could swim better without Him, but then you lose focus of which way is right.
Sometimes your prayers go unanswered. Sometimes the pain is confusing.
But God still loves you. And your testimony of His sustaining power and grace without the sudden life transformation is something someone needs to hear.
I’m not down playing the times that God does grant a gift in His miracle, those times are important too and need to be told, but sometimes the day to day step forward is the miracle, don’t down play that or forget how important it is.
Can we pray a moment and just say ‘thank you Jesus’?
Thank you Jesus for your power even when I don’t understand. Thank for your love even when it hurts. Thank you for who you are even when I feel like I can’t find you, you are always there and you always love me. Thank you for who I am because of you. You are so good God. I know I will fall and I know it will hurt, but also know that as your word says, I will not be thrown headlong because you hold my hand. Thank you Jesus.
Sometimes when it feels like the world is coming at you from all sides and you see fellow Christians- people you may have even respected- fall to the taunts and the lies of the devil and his world workers you might start tp doubt, you might even want to run and hide or give up, but remember: what God has said is always true. If He said it was wrong 2000 years ago it is still wrong today. If He promised something 2000 years ago, the promise still remains. If 2000 years ago He claimed to love you, then He still loves you today.
Sometimes it feels like the devil is winning and you are all alone in loving Jesus with your whole heart and following His word. It feels like the hate has never been worse, and that all beliefs are considered acceptable exept ours. But you are not alone. Even if every other Christian falls and you still remain you are not alone, because Jesus is with you. He is proud of you for not compromising your faith and your values. Don’t be afraid. No matter how hard it is. Keep fighting. Your soul is your own, what you do that effects that soul is up to you, don’t let anyone take your treasure from you. Because in the end, the things you missed out on and the people who abandoned you because they didn’t accept your beliefs won’t matter. The only one who matters is Jesus, and His opinion is the only one that counts. It will be hard. It will hurt. Somedays it will make you sick as you watch the devil take ground, but God has a reason. Even before the beggining He knew the ending and He knew that you would struggle and He knew that you find a deeper connection to Him as you struggled. Evil is not suddenly good just because everyone is doing it or accepting it, and that can be so hard to understand. But if you go back to the basics. Back to what you learned when you still had faith like a child what do remember. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.
And Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.
And the He patient not wanting anyone to perish. 2Peter 3:9
He is patient with you because He wants you to change and to find Him, the real Him, the one that takes sacrifice. He wants you in Heaven with Him, so He waits, until you come to Him.