Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · searching · The Bible

We needed Thomas to doubt

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.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · Jesus · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible · True Joy

Perfect training day?

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.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Sometimes the prayers go unanswered and that hurts

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.
Thank you.
Amen.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · searching · still fighting

Am I alone?

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.

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · True Joy

Never too dirty

You are never too dirty to come to the front door of God’s home. He tore the Veil through His son Jesus so that you could show up no matter what you had done. He doesn’t expect you to be perfect, He expects you to simply come.
I love how the pure love our dogs feel for us is such a beautiful show of God’s love. People beat and starve their dogs (which is beyone horrible) and yet those dogs still love them. We can call God names and hate Him and He still loves us. The love is unconditional. And that is so rare in people.
My first dog came from a neglectful home. When we rescued him we were told by the vets that he wouldn’t live a week. But they didn’t realize the power of prayer, and he lived till he was eight years old. Some may say that science saved him, and yes science saves a lot of people. But the science didn’t know what to do this time, he had no surgeries or Special Operations. All he had was love and prayer and lived a happy, loved life. All that to say- neglected to the point of death, yet no one was more compassionate or kind then my dog. He had a special love for seniors and those with mental illness and would go out of his way to be near them and to sit on their knees and comfort them, because of that unconditional love.
We neglect God too. We turn our backs on Him, we give Him only enough of ourselves to try to squeeze into Heaven but not enough to actually know Him. And guess what? He still loves us with His whole heart and wants us to come to Him in our filthy rags so He can cover us in beauty. Unconditional love.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · searching · True Joy

I’m in trouble

She held the note in her hand and rubbed her toe in the carpet, the note began to cut into her palm as she scrunched it, hoping it would dissapear. The knock was almost inaudible as she tapped on the door to her father’s study. “Come in” came the deep voice and she timidly pushed the door inward. He sat at his desk, his Bible open as he prepared for Sunday, he glanced over the brim of his glasses and, seeing his daughter, smiled and took the spectacles off his face. “What brings you here sweetheart?” He inquired while gesturing her to come closer. She inched her way toward the big desk, the note was a wad in her palm as she continued to crunch it; lip trembling she handed it to her father, “My teacher sent this for you,” she choked out as he took the ball from her palm and flattened it back into a recognizable shape. Her father replaced his glasses and red the letter which stated in detail his daughter’s misbehavior in class that day. She stood with her hands behind her back and stared at the floor. “So,” he stated, “do you admit to what was described here?” He shook the paper softly, “Is it true?”
She nodded as the tears took over and her face became saturated, “I’m so sorry daddy, I won’t do it again.” Her shoulders shook from the sobs, she knew she was in trouble, but worse than that she had dissapointed her father.
He nodded his head, then wadded up the paper and tossed in the bin before pulling her onto his knee, “it’s alright, it’s over now. I forgive you.”
“But I messed up,” she coughed as more tears came.
He hugged her close, “Yep, you sure did. But, you came and told me about it and appologized, that’s enough. You won’t always not be punished when you do things wrong, but this time I feel you have learned your lesson enough without a penalty. Would you like some hotchocolate?”
She nodded and whispered a please.
Then he took two cups out of his desk and poured the hot liquid drink out of a thermos he had under his desk. She sat up straight and looked at him, “you knew?”
He nodded, “of course I knew, your teacher called me. The note was simply a test to see if you would admit your wrong doing or simply throw the letter away and pretend like nothing happened.”
“But the drink! How did you know I would come to you?”
He handed her a cup and smiled, “because your my little girl and I know you better than anyone else does. I’m proud of you sweety.”

He already knows. He knew you would do it before you did it. Now He’s waiting for you to come to Him and tell Him what you did and to ask for forgiveness. You won’t always get away without being punished, but you will always have His love, because He is the best daddy there is. Don’t be afraid to go into His chambers and tell Him what you’ve done wrong, because He already knows and is waiting for you with a heart full of love.
My dad said today that things would be hard for us at the end when we reach the judgment seat because it is where all we did and did not do in our lifetime would come forward and be judged. But he also said how wonderful it would be when the judgement was over and Jesus would crumple up the lists of our wrong doings and throw into the fire, never again to be recalled, then He will take us in His arms and say, “it’s okay, it’s all over now, come on, let’s go home.”
Go to Him, ask for forgiveness, He’s waiting for you; He will wait forever if that’s how long you take, but He will never give up on you.

If you have never accepted Jesus, or have but feel you need a renewal, pray with me:
Dear Jesus, you know that I am a sinner. Please forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Send you Holy Spirit to guide me and help me to learn more about you. Thank you for dying for me. Even when you already knew all I would do wrong in my life you chose to love me. Thank you. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer for the first time and are wondering what to do next, I recomend getting a Bible, you can even download one on your phone, and read it. Maybe start in Matthew and go through the New Testament first as you search to more about Jesus. Also, find a Church that speaks to you heart, it’s easier to follow Jesus when you have a support group who also follows Him.
And know that you are very loved.

Christianity · Devotional · Jesus · Love

Little lambs chasing butterflies

“What’s that?” The little lamb thought to herself as she watch a fluttering pink creature fly past on satin wings. She streatched out her nose and was rewarded with a slight breeze off of the tiny wings. Now she was really curious. Without a second thought she took off at a prancing trot, tail bouncing back and forth like a fluffy white pendulem. The pink winged creature fluttered up and down as it continued on it’s way, suddenly the lamb felt nothing beneath her hooves, she looked down as she began to fall. The lamb had no way of knowing that a butterfly could go past the cliff edge and she could not; outside of the fact that it could fly and she couldn’t.
The wind rushed past her in whirr and she closed her eyes. But the whirr ended almost as fast as it had begun, she looked down and saw the floor of the vally as a tiny dot beneath her, she tucked her tail in horror, maybe she could fly?
She ventured a look over her shoulder as she began to float back to the cliff, sweat streaking down his face, scrapes on his hands and feet, both hands wrapped around her waist, her shepherd hauled her back to land. He had seen her trot off and had been calling for her to come back, but she had not heard him, so he went after her. He saw that she did not see the ledge and had run to save her, catching her just as her hooves left solid ground and pulling her back to him. She nuzzled into him and he carried her back to the heard. What was one lamb to the shepherd? She was his precious treasure. Didn’t he have others? Yes, but all were precious to him.

How often do we see something pretty and trot off without looking back, leaving the safety of our shepherd behind? He calls us back and we either don’t hear Him or aren’t listening. Then we don’t see the fall coming, the big, ugly crash that knocks the wind out of us. But before we are destroyed our shepherd catches us and brings is back to Him and to safety, why? Because even one easily distracted lamb is precious to Him.

Thank you Jesus for running after me and catching me when I fall. Amen

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · Father's Day · Love

Big messes and loving hands

The day began with a clang, then a bang and a screech of upset as dad cringed from his chair by the TV, “are you okay?” He called, knowing the answer. The irritated growl of a pig tailed, overall wearing, covered in diesel little girl comes around the corner, “no, I am not okay.”
Silently dad puts down his coffee and comes to see what happened. Outside the tractor is out and the hood is up and the side is covered in something wet that smells similar to the wet diesel on the girl. Dad shakes his head, “how much did we lose?”
The girl thumps down the can with one hand, showing how empty it is.
“I just wanted to fill it for you, but it was so big and heavy….” she flings her arms wide and gestures at the mess around her to finish her sentence.
Dad nods his head, “that is a really big can, too big for you to have to lift. Tell you what? I will go to town and buy three smaller cans of diesel and then you don’t have to lift the big one when you fill the tractor.”
A lip quivers as the girls nods her head, “I’ll get my money to pay for it.”
Dad laughs and puts the gas cap back on the tractor, “no need for that, I’ll take care of it.”
“But it’s my mess.”
“That doesn’t matter, I’ll still take care of it, and how about we get some ice cream?”
Small arms hug dad causing him to smell like diesel too, “thanks daddy.”
Dad nods again and the two go into the house to get the truck keys.
“At least this time I didn’t put gas in the diesel tractor huh?”
Dad grimaces, “yes, thankfully you didn’t do that.”
Then they laugh and drive to town.


Good dads are an example of our Heavenly Father. We make big messes and He cleans them up. We offer our tiny offerings to cover the cost, but He has already covered it for us. He loves us past the failed attempts and broken tries. He loves us when we are pouting and when we are laughing, His our dad.
I am so thankful for all the dads that are good men and great Fathers and show the love of God through their own actions. I am thankful for all dads like this, but I am mostly thankful for my own.
Happy Father’s day’

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible · True Joy

Pentecost

Penticost

But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.
But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
Acts 5:34-39 NIV
The Christian person has been attacked by many opressors and many enemies over the years since Jesus was here in flesh, even to the point of people on TV and in movies denouncing our God as someone made up out of weakness. Why bring this up on a day we should be celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit? Because we need to be reminded and encouraged. It is easy to begin to doubt the existance of someone we can’t see or touch, and I don’t know how anyone who doesn’t believe in the Holy Spirit can hope to retain any Faith in Jesus because He is the living Spirit of God in us, but that’s what we believe and I know some Christians don’t -and we love you still even if we can’t see eye to eye on this. But as someone who has felt the power of the Holy Spirit and seen what He can do I have full Faith that He is still active and moving amung Jesus freaks today. Wait. What did she just say? Yes, I said Jesus freaks. I like that title. It shows that we are truly seaking God because those who don’t get it and don’t know Him think we’re crazy, which you might think if you had never known the presence of Jesus that we do. That’s why the Holy Spirit is so important. He is the one who touches souls and fills them and cleanses them, it’s the Spirit of God who takes the murderer and advocate of wrongdoing and makes him a man of God, ( I mean Paul as an example when I say this,) (The Spirit does full turn around healing of the soul in women too- believe me, I should know)
We need the Spirit of God!
Many have tried to dissuade us, torture us and kill us. Governments have tried to turn the people against our Faith or make us so afraid that we abandon Jesus forever out of panic. Paul was beaten daily until his execution. The devil has worked hard to kill us off or make us look like we are the bad guys, in some countries the Governments have warned the people that Christian Missionaries are soul snatchers….ya, that one hit me as odd too… or have marked Jesus speak as pornographic content…. again…odd. What does all this mean? What does it prove? Well. Either it proves that Christas are the most stubborn and unmoveable people you will ever meet, or it means that we put our Faith in a true God who gives you no room for sliding to the left or right because it is obvious to us He is real. What makes it so obvious in a world where signs and wonders no longer simply walk down the street? The Holy Spirit. He makes it obvious that there is no life without Jesus.
As the Pharisee said, “if this is of human origin it will fail, but if this is of God then it can’t be stopped.”
We still believe. Even People who have never been witnessed to by other people discover Jesus, and they believe. how? You can answer that by this point, I’m sure of it. Even if I fell away from my Faith today and my whole family did the same, there would be more who rise up to take our places, and God would fight to bring us back because He loves us. He doesn’t need us, but He wants us because we matter to Him. God is still moving His Spirit through the world, you just have to be open to Him and He will come. If this is of God no one can stop it. God is on our side, don’t ever give up, you are special and chosen and loved, and the Holy Spirit lives in you and fights for you daily.
Thank you God for sending your Spirit to fill us with power. Amen

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · searching

Strong love and strange peace

We’re all so trapped, we need release, we need your strong love and strange peace- Larry Norman

We are all so trapped. Trapped in sin, trapped in slavery to our circumstances, trapped in fear, illness, sorrow, war… everyone has something that traps them and our only release comes from God’s strong love and strange peace. I want to break that into two parts, because though they go together they are also very different.
God’s love is strong. Strong enough to fight our battles, strong enough to hold us when we fall and strong enough to take the hits when we blame Him and yell at Him and claim He is at fault for where we are now, it hurts Him, but that’s why His love being strong is so important, because when we break His heart He still loves us. Moment by moment sustaining grace is God’s love language. Never giving up on us is God’s banner. Look at Nineveh, they were corrupt to the place of God’s destruction, but He sent Jonah to try and persuade them to change. God didn’t want to destroy them, but they fell back into deeper corruption and wouldn’t repent later on and God had to break His own heart to end the evil that was there. But He gave them every chance to change, He refused to give up on them until it was obvious that there was nothing more to do. His love is so strong that He fought for those people despite their evil. Some say that God hates people because of their corruption, but what He hates is the corruption, not the people. He gives every chance for us to change because He wants everyone of us. But something broke in this world when the devil was hurrled out of Heaven and it has never been put back together. Someday, after God has given us a lifetime to change from our evil ways and come back to Him, He will fix this world, but He is going to have to destroy it first. Better to come back when His hand is offered then to realize the truth after it’s too late.
His love is strong, it takes every broken piece of us and holds it until we stick back together, this time with Him stuck in us too.
His peace is so strange.
Why is it that when we are drowning all we have to do is call His name and we are free again? Safe again? Healed again?
We know we should be screaming and crying and dying on the inside but His peace keeps us sane. How does He do that? It’s so amazing.
He sets us free from all that traps us everytime we fall back into it. He loves us that much. And He puts us back into a place of peace that makes no sense at all, because that is just simply who He is.
God doesn’t make sense, but as my Grandfather says, ” I would rather have a God that is beyond my understanding then a god who I comprehend fully. If I can understand him then how is he greater then I am? But I don’t understand Him because He is greater and beyond my understanding.”
His love is strong enough to bear all our sin and pain, His peace is strange enough to hold us together when we should fall apart, and He is good at all times, even when our moments aren’t, but He will sustain us if we fall into Him, because God’s love language is a broken heart.