Christianity · encouragement · free · Jesus · Love · Prayer · searching · The Bible

Finding Jesus

Where is Jesus?

His knees ached as he prayed, he swung back and forth in agony as his soul searched for something, anything. Around him others prayed to their gods and the pain was clear in their mumbled as they searched for the same thing. A woman was kneeling beside him, a book clasped in her hands as she prayed silently, a dim smile spread across her face. He leaned over to her. ‘What god do you pray to?’
She whispered back, ‘I pray to Jesus.’
‘Oh, what is Jesus the god of?’
The woman thought a moment, ‘well, He’s the God of everything. There isn’t anything that He isn’t God over.’
‘Really? Who is He?’
‘He’s the one who died for you. He came to earth from Heaven and was sacrificed for our sins. Then He rose again and took deminion over death. Now we who love Him can join Him in Heaven.’
‘Interesting. How did you get to know Him?’
She began to answer but a rod came down with a crack between them, ‘no talking!’ The guard bellowed, ‘just do your worship and leave.’
The woman went back to her praying, the book clutched against her heart. The man looked around him, some people beat their heads and chests in anguish, some had knives and drew blood from their palms, some merely mumbled to themselves the same things the man had heard them say every time they had come, he looked at the statue of the god he was praying to, it seemed so indiferent to him to his needs, it never died for him, it didn’t care about him. Then he glanced at the woman again, she was smiling, then she laughed softly, she cried but it seemed like a happy cry. He glanced at the guard, the person had moved on. He leaned forward, ‘how do I contact her god? Do I need a sacrifice? She seems to have just come here. He whispered again to the woman.
‘How do I get to know your God?’
She grinned, ‘just talk to Him. Call Him by His name, Jesus, God, even Father.’
‘That’s it?’
She nodded. He began to pray, ‘um…Jesus. Are you there?’ Suddenly a wave sweapt over him. Peace. Fear of the power that surrounded him seized his soul, but the peace chased it away. Then he began to cry as another wave hit him. Love. It was sufficating and beautiful.
The guard rang the bell that said free time to worship was over. The man got up and saw the guard take the book from the woman as he collected all the religious items from the worshipers. He saw her stop herself from reaching after the book. She left. He left. But the feeling of her God didn’t leave him. It followed him as he went to his house. On the road he saw the woman again, he rushed over to her and she startled back from him.
‘Don’t be afraid. But I have to know. Why does it feel like your God is following me?’
She smirked, almost laughed and then said gently, ‘because He loves you.’
‘Me?’
‘Yes. He wants you and is with you wherever you go. I don’t have to attend the worship hour in the chamber to be near my God, He is always with me, I go because they keep the Bibles and I love holding His book in my hands.’
The man didn’t know what to say, the woman suddenly whispered, ‘guards coming.’ And dissapeared.
The man returned to his home, sat on his bed and said ‘Jesus. Are you here?’ The peace and love swept over him again and he decided that day that he would aim to get a Bible too during the allotted worship hour, then he could learn more about this God who clearly loved him. Now when he prayed he knew someone was listening and cared about what he had to say, now when he cried he knew someone was there to comfort him. Now he was loved. And had purpose, if that purpose was simply to worship the god called Jesus.
He never saw the woman again, but as he learned about Jesus and gave his life to Him he knew that some day he would meet the woman again in Heaven, and then he would thank her.

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Counting on you

Counting on you

We as Christians count on God for so much. We count on Him to be good to us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, to help us. But can God count on us for…well…anything?
We don’t think about God counting on us. In fact, we don’t really think that God needs us, do we? We realize that He is God and He can make His plan work no matter what we do or don’t do. But that’s not the point. God doesn’t rely on us, He doesn’t have to, but He does count on us. He counts on us to do His will, to obey His commands, to care for our fellow Christians, to show His love to the lost and broken, He may even have appointed you a position in which you can do these things. He counts on us doing our part. If we never step out our front door, if we never take the chance, if we squelch the voice of God inside of us, aren’t we letting God down. We like to dance around the circle of ‘it’s a partnership, God and I are working together,’ because it makes us think that God is helping us in fulfilling our goals and our dreams, and that is what the outer ring of the circle sometimes looks like- but what about the inner circle, the inner Sanctum if you like, that’s where God is, the place where it’s not our will but His. The place where the fire burns so hot that it hurts sometimes, the place of surrender, are any of us willing to enter that circle? Or do we prefer the edge where it’s safe?
Can God count on us?
Can God say, “I can always count on Lauren to do the right thing?” Or I can always count on Larry, or Lynne, or Tanya, or Carole, or Mark, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, fill in the blank, can God say “him or her, I can always count on”?
I hope so. I hope that we all aim to live within the fire, near the heart of God, so He can count on us.

Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Counting on you

Counting on you

We as Christians count on God for so much. We count on Him to be good to us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, to help us. But can God count on us for…well…anything?
We don’t think about God counting on us. In fact, we don’t really think that God needs us, do we? We realize that He is God and He can make His plan work no matter what we do or don’t do. But that’s not the point. God doesn’t rely on us, He doesn’t have to, but He does count on us. He counts on us to do His will, to obey His commands, to care for our fellow Christians, to show His love to the lost and broken, He may even have appointed you a position in which you can do these things. He counts on us doing our part. If we never step out our front door, if we never take the chance, if we squelch the voice of God inside of us, aren’t we letting God down. We like to dance around the circle of ‘it’s a partnership, God and I are working together,’ because it makes us think that God is helping us in fulfilling our goals and our dreams, and that is what the outer ring of the circle sometimes looks like- but what about the inner circle, the inner Sanctum if you like, that’s where God is, the place where it’s not our will but His. The place where the fire burns so hot that it hurts sometimes, the place of surrender, are any of us willing to enter that circle? Or do we prefer the edge where it’s safe?
Can God count on us?
Can God say, “I can always count on Lauren to do the right thing?” Or I can always count on Larry, or Lynne, or Tanya, or Carole, or Mark, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, fill in the blank, can God say “him or her, I can always count on”?
I hope so. I hope that we all aim to live within the fire, near the heart of God, so He can count on us.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · Love · power of God · Prayer · searching · The Bible

All of me loves all of you.

All of me loves all of you.

Who do you love so much that you even accept the hard things from them? Love emotions can be tested by a lot. Your dog could puke in your favorite shoes, your kids could lie to you, your best friend could betray you, your spouse could yell at you, on and on and on; but if you truly love them then you forgive them and continue to love them after this right? Why? Because people mess up and mistakes happen, and you love them more than yourself. But what if it isn’t a mistake? What if nobody messed up? What if what hurts you is not only accurate and true, but something you have to accept? So many people talk about the things they won’t accept, that they love, but not unconditionally. They will take the parts that make them happy and feel good about themselves, but they choose to throw away all else. Is that love? No. At least, not real love.
Oh. I’m not talking about person to person relationships, I’m talking about person to God relationships.
The only time when unconditional love and unconditional acceptance go together is when in context with God. I don’t mean Him accepting us, I mean us accepting Him. Back to the top. What if what hurts you isn’t a mistake? There are parts of the Bible that hurt sometimes, they offend us and are hard to accept, so what do we do? We toss those parts away. We claim them irrelevant or Old Fashioned, we say that we’ve moved past that in our world and that God needs to keep up. Wow. So, is that love? Nope. We don’t love all of God. We only love the Genie in a Bottle bits. We even say rediculous things, like we’d rather be lucky than have God, because God takes effort on our part. We want everyone to accept us, faults, failures, sins, dark sides and all. We want God to do that too. Then when we find out He does we click our heels together and run after Him in joy. But wait, theres more. Our run toward Him comes to a skreeching halt when we realize that, yes God accepts us faults, sins and all, but He plans to change us from that person. We’re supposed to love Him so much that we leave that person behind and become a new creation. But that sounds so hard! And we don’t want to. So we pout and complain and say that God is unfair, and then we do the unthinkable, we try to change Him. If He wants to change us then we should change Him first so we can stay the same. That’s not love and it’s certainly not what a Christian is or does. We don’t love all of God, we only love the easy parts. We love the feelings and the Miracles, we love when someone is healed, we love the worship music, we love the handbag that says Jesus loves you, but we don’t love God. If we did we wouldn’t be trying to fit him into our box, we wouldn’t be trying to change or misrepresent or warp or disregard the word and rules God gave us. Jesus IS God, and yet He cried not my will but yours Father. Why? Because he knew that it was God’s will for him to die even though he didn’t want to. Imagine what would have happened if Jesus had been like us. If Instead of saying “your will father,” he had shouted out “forget this! Your rules, your Authority was all Old Testament, people don’t need to be what you’ve planned for them in this modern world, you’re out of date and I’m not doing this!” Then got up and left the garden. Where would we be now? Hopeless. Broken. Alone. Scared. Lost. We don’t think about it, but the Jerusulem that Jesus was in was a very modern version compared to the Jerusulem of David. Yet He didn’t disregard the old texts or God’s will just because it wasn’t modern, Jesus knew that God and His word was and is still relevant and necessary. If Jesus was willing to be subject to His Father’s will, why aren’t we? Because we don’t truly love God. Sometimes it hurts and feels unfair, but if we love God we will let Him change us. He didn’t make us to be the broken, sinful mess we are, He made us to be followers of Him. Let’s get to the place where we love all of God, even the side of God that is going to change us.

Christianity · CS Lewis · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Hanukkah- Final day

Hanukkah- final day

Shamash
On each day of Hanukkah an additional branch of the nine branched Hanukkiah is lit with the candle in the middle, the shamash, the helper or servant candle.

As we end our journey through Hanukkah I want to focus on the first candle lit. The helper candle. We don’t realize how important this candle is. In Judaism certain men who work in the temple are also refered to as Shamash, one important job they have os the reading of the Torah.
We too have a helper inside our temple, the temple of our souls. Jesus left His Spirit with us to be our helper candle. We cannot be lit without the Spirit, we cannot truly find God without the Spirit and we cannot serve God to our fullest without the Spirit. We need God’s Spirit to do anything. He tells us where to go, what to do and what is wrong and right. We see a world full of people who ignore and throw the Spirit away, they don’t like that voice that says they should act a certain way and give up certain things that offend God. Because of this we see a world that is dark and broken, void of God’s light. We need the Shamash, we need the helper candle so we can be set on fire for Jesus. The thing is, we see how we work to serve God, but without Him helping us we can’t serve Him. Like C.S. Lewis said, “it’s like a child taking money from their father so he or she can buy him a gift. We take what we have from God and use it to serve Him, but it was always His to begin with.”
We need the Holy Spirit to keep us from riding in the middle complete darkness and complete light, there is no Twilight Zone with God, you either serve him or you don’t.
Look to our helper today and ask Him to guide you in your life.
Happy Hanukkah

guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Hanukkah-day 4

Hanukkah-Day 4

Just like in Redwall, our hero here is a warrior named Matthias. He refused to be forced to sacrifice to the idols like others before him, but he also refused to allow himself to be killed. What I have read might have been a more embellished version of what happened, but I have cross-referenced it a few times and this seems to be the way things went down:
A government official demanded Matthias to sacrifice to the Greek idols; instead Matthias took the official’s sword from him and killed him.
Then Matthias cried out in the town with a loud voice, saying: ‘ let anyone who is zealous for the law and supports the Covenant come with me!’ (Maccabees 2:27)
After that he and his son took their people and hid, then they began to do covert Warfare against their enemy. Some have criticized the revolters claiming that the killing of their own people who followed the Greek ways was wrong, however, we forget that the Jewish people who followed the Greek ways had turned against their own people, according to what I have read the Jewish people who fought against the Maccabean Revolt had sided with the Seleucids against their own people and reported to the Greek officials, telling them who in the Jewish community still followed God and didn’t sacrifice to the idols. These people had become traitors to their belief, to their loved ones, and to God. The Maccabee army isn’t a group of people mindlessly killing those who oppose them, The Maccabees were working to take back their homes, their Temple and their rights.

How often, especially these days, do we as followers of Jesus and His Word find ourselves being accused of doing wrong simply for standing up for our own rights and values? How many who claim to be Christians are really serving the enemy in secret? Some days you wonder who you can trust. But one thing is for sure, you can always trust Jesus. As God Jesus is the only one who can save us from what is unseen. The best part about that is the fact that Jesus wants to save us. He didn’t sit with sinners and tax collectors because He liked to keep company with sin, He sat with them so He could tell them the truth about salvation. He never minced His words, you must sacrifice your old self and be born again to enter the kingdom of God. That offends people because it is so hard to do, but that’s the truth of it. Jesus loves you no matter who you are, but even if it breaks His heart He will turn you away at the gate if you refuse to give yourself to Him as God, King, and Lord of your life.
It took one man to say ‘no, I won’t let you cause me to reject God or compromise my Faith, and I am going to fight you for the sake of my people,’ for the Maccabees to make a stand against against the Seleucids. It takes one true Christian to say, ‘no, I won’t let you cause me to reject God or compomise my Faith, and I am going to fight you for the sake of every soul out there.’ Of course we aren’t speaking to a person, we are speaking to the enemy, the devil, telling him that even though he has tricked some brothers and sisters in Christ to betray God we won’t die yet, we will fight him on our knees before God. Pick up your swords and stand for the lost. Stand against the lies. Stand against the tricks. Stand against the twisting of God’s word to mean something other than what God said. Stand between the pages of the Bible by reading it everyday and remembering what God has said and done. Fight back against the darkness. Pray for deliverance. Pray for God’s will to be done. Pray for the protection of the blood of Jesus on your family, friends, church and on yourself, because the enemy is looking for a place to attack. So stand with God, Sword drawn, shield raised, and eyes focused on Jesus.

Christianity · Devotional · guidance · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

I’m just too young to know better

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:9‭-‬12

People write off our falling away from God and sinning as a product of youth, but that isn’t right. The Bible tells us how to live, if we love God we will live according to His word no matter our age or lack there of. I know so many good strong Christ loving young people. I know even more who have fallen away from God. Why? Because we aren’t taught the Bible like we used to be. Our parents no longer require us to go with them to church. We don’t bother to pray. So, we fall away. So many youth don’t even believe in sin. But sin is real. The devil isn’t a scary bedtime cheracter, he’s a seeking enemy looking to kill your soul. Jesus isn’t just a happy go lucky smiling face on a bilboard. Sin eats away like a virus. The devil corrupts and kills and makes it look like what we are doing isn’t wrong. Jesus is the one true powerful king and God, and the only way to Heaven. Don’t let youth be your excuse. Stick to the narrow path and seek Jesus.

advent · Christianity · Christmas · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting

Promises, promises

And what of your promise now? -Judah
All I can say is, I don’t understand, but He must have a reason for this.-Man of God
At the foot of the cross.

It’s so hard when the promise’s outcome isn’t how we envisioned. Imagine how the deciples must have felt when they saw Jesus lifted on the cross.
There must be a mistake.
Must have been their thought. How could everything they had seen and experienced and been told, have led to this?
If they had read the prophecies they would have had the answer. But in that moment of agony of spirit the last thing on your mind is a prophecy from so long ago. Just like our promises. We read promises from God that He proclaimed some 2000+ years ago, and we are expected to believe them and hold to them. When things get hard and nothing makes sense, and the promise leads to something you don’t understand it’s hard to not feel like there must be a mistake- and what of your star and your promise now? Yet God has a reason, for all of it. What Isaiah foretold about Jesus coming, probably never crossed the minds of the weary shepherds when the star appeared. What had been fortold about Jesus’s death was no where in the minds of the deciples in the Garden, or at the tomb, maybe not even in The Upper Room. But God fulfilled His promise in every occasion. Just as He will fulfill His promise to you and me.
He’s coming back, just as He promised. Are you ready?

Christianity · Devotional · encouragement · free · guidance · holy spirit · Jesus · power of God · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Blood Fuller

Blood fuller

Before we get started I want to make it clear that yes, I do know that a blood fuller has been proved to have nothing to do with the channeling of blood through the sword’s channel to cause the removal of the blade to be easier or for the target to die quicker. Instead the Fuller is meant to strenghthen and lighten the long blade so it doesn’t wobble like a plastic child’s sword, this was arguably first used in Japan’s Katana swords.

Now that we have covered the facts, I want to use the old myths for my imagery instead. The blood channel full and ready to strike. Weilding with passion and quickly removed to continue it’s defense.
The sword of the warrior, coated in blood and ready to strike again.
The blood channel, as a grizzly image of destruction and strength. Destruction of the enemy. Strength of the defender.
The Holy Spirit is misrepresented in many places these days. He is seen as a fluttering White butterfly, harmless, gentle, powerless. This is not accurate. Yes the Holy Spirit is gentle and unassuming -but- he is still the spirit of the Living God. When God sent his sword through Egypt did you see him as weak, harmless, or powerless? Of course not. He is the spirit of God. He is powerful. He is Ageless. And he is a warrior, and we forget that. We like to think of the Spirit as someone who encourages us and helps us with our gifts and helps us not do naughty things, which is true in part, but He is also bloodstained and ready for battle. He isn’t a pixie flying around causing magic to happen, He IS the powerhouse inside of us battling our demons with us. He isn’t floating around with a harp, he is walking boldly with his sword drawn, ready for battle. The devil is constantly attacking us, even in ways we don’t see, it’s the Holy Spirit in us who is battling for us. God called the sword of the Spirit a sword for a reason.
Going into battle in the days before guns and bombs your greatest weapon was usually your sword. Swords also had a certain claim that came with them, a claim to authority and power, not just anybody had a sword, usually only people a heritage whose background and bloodline gave them a title and a power. Sure some of your average people had swords too, but not high quality swords. Some swords even had a reputation of their own, one that the wielder inherited with the weapon. Our sword. Our Spirit, comes with His own reputation, the reputation of God and all He has done in the past long before the book of Acts. God mentions His Spirit and His Sword often. He has a reputation, but we don’t read the old Testament so we forget. Our sword also comes with a claim to Authority and power; the authority and Power of the Living God. And we have earned this sword not through our own works but through our heritage as children of God. Our bloodline has nothing to do with our DNA or our ancestry, our bloodline that grants us this power and authority in this earth is the bloodline flowing Down the Cross at Calvary and washing our feet in its Crimson Tide. Our sword is a weapon of power and authority. The spirit of God lives inside of us. Whom can harm us? And of whom shall we be afraid?

Christianity · guidance · Jesus · Prayer · The Bible

All powerful, all merciful

We get so caught up in the mercy of God that we forget the holiness of God.
Listening to some of the soon to be graduates from seminary, there is a trend that is being pushed that even the future pastors believe: God does not punish.
It is claimed that God is so merciful that He no longer reprimands or diciplines. In fact if you spoke of the consequences of angering God to these people their response would be, ‘oh, but you must not forget how merciful God is.’ Or, ‘you must not judge your life on old testament values.’
That’s crazy people. Jesus said that He did not come to erase the law of Moses, the old testament still holds value.
Yes, God is merciful. He even says of Himself that He is the God of mercy. But. God sent rules to live by. He told us what were sins and displeasing and despicable to Him and He told us that we were not to do such things. He also warned us about continual sin without repentance and willingness to change. And that is not simply old testament; Jesus warns about these things too, but we somehow manage to skip over those verses to the nice ones where He talks about having power and peace through His Spirit. If you don’t love Him enough to follow His laws then do you really have His Spirit? That’s a little harsh isn’t it? Okay, let’s go back to the nice parts where Jesus gives us the B attitudes, yes, now we feel good. Have you ever kept reading past the nice blessings of the B attitudes? Jesus gives a famous sermon on how you can miss or gain the kingdom of God. We can lose our saltiness, we can dim our lights and we can hide behind believing that God is a God of only mercy and never anything else. All love and kindness and no power; fluffy clouds and cherubs, not keys of death and seraphim. We can’t fall into that. Yes, the thought that God will let us do whatever we please and we still get to go to Heaven is nice and relaxing, but it is a false belief. God is all powerful! I realize that for a long time the Church preached that God was a dictator and nothing but power and authority and skipped the mercy and love of God, that was wrong too, but at least with that we learned the fear of the Lord, what value does a God who lets you get away with everything and then blesses you abundantly just because you’re you have? Sounds like a trick to me. And that’s because it is. It’s a trick of the devil to destroy you. The devil has set up a big glowing version of Jesus, that blesses and loves and lets you be whoever you want to be without consequence of actions, so that you stop following the real Jesus and turn to this easy on the conscience, fake version instead.
Now. I am not in anyway saying that God is not all loving and all merciful, but He is also all powerful and He warns us that if we disobey He will punish us because He loves us. God wants every single soul to make it to Heaven, but Jesus didn’t die so you could go and have fun without worry of repercussions. He died so that the Vail would be torn and you could be a friend of God and not a slave. But. God is our father, and as a good father He does punish His kids. God’s mercy and Power seem to contrast each other so much that it makes sense that people struggle with only believing one or the other. How can He punish when He is merciful? How can He show mercy when He is all powerful? It’s because He is God. Think of it this way. A daddy lion has his cubs clambering all over him. They pull his tail, they chew his whiskers, they eat his food; but he is merciful to them because they are his kids. Yet. If they cross the line, especially if they have been warned already not to, he is going to punish them. Say one cub disobeys, again and again, the lion gives him another chance, and another, and then he gives him a swat. Why? Baby lion won’t survive if baby lion doesn’t learn. Now you could go many places with a lion annalogy, but this is not meant to be taken literally, lions are wild animals. God, however, is similar in the way that He loves us and forgives us, but when we go too far He punishes us; because He loves us and wants us to be saved. God is merciful to us because He does not want a single one of us to go to hell, God punishes us when we continually do wrong for the same reason. I know that I am grateful for God’s mercy everyday, because everyday I deserve to be punished, but I also know that I keed to repent and try to change from all my failings (and there are many of them) because I know that my father punishes and I don’t want that.
Do not be descouraged by this post. I am not saying that God is not a loving and merciful God because He is, but He is also a just and powerful God and we must not be deceived, He will reprimand us if we need it, and we can fall away from Him if we live a careless life. Read you Bible. Get to know God better. And aim for an NIV or NLT translation when reading your Bible, they are the ones that are the closest to the orriginal text, according to Bible translators.
God loves you. And He wants you in Heaven with Him, so don’t give up, keep striving for the cross and hoping for Heaven.