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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

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Spinning out of control

Lent devotional 26

I’m not faithless, just paranoid of being lost- Flyleaf

We become afraid, even paraniod of being left behind or lost.
But the Jesus who mourned in the garden, suffered in the flogger’s hands and died on the cross will never leave us behind. He died so we would never be lost. Jesus came for us, He found us, He goes after the one and never gives up until you are found. Feeling lost does not make you faithless, it makes you human. It’s easy to feel like you have lost your way when things are spinning and you can’t focus. They say you should work on you and that will help you help others, I’m not sure that that is true, but how do you work on you when you can’t find you? Life gets messy. The world is crazy and it get’s inside your head and causes stress. Things fall apart, people fail you, things pack on top of themselves and you feel like Atlas holding up the world. But the world is not yours to hold, that’s God’s job. The mess and crazy all around you is not your’s to deal with. The pile of things for you to do is not yours to bear alone. God arms me with strength, and He makes my path perfect Psalm 18:34
You are not lost just because you are spinning, God always knows where you are. He doesn’t need to find you again because He never lost you even if you have lost focus of Him.

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Chains be gone!

Lent devotional 23

To love them with your whole heart.
We feel these days that to love them is to accept them, all of them, as they are in that moment. That is true in a sense but not in a whole. As Christians it is always a struggle to accept the whole of the person but to also fight against their sin. We forget that if we accept the sin and not simply the sinner then we aren’t truly loving them. To accept our whole selves and to accept our own sin is not truly loving ourselves either. There is the great truth that we all have a darkness to us, but when we claim that we love our darkness as part of ourselves we are hurting ourselves. When we claim that we love someone else’s darkness as part of themselves then we are condeming them to forever be trapped by that darkness. Our sin is not who we are, it is not part of us. Like a big chain holding down a wolf, that chain is not part of that animal, that free spirit, it is simply attached to him or her. Once someone loves the wolf enough to say, ‘that doesn’t belong on you, let me help you take it off,’ and the wolf is set free from it’s bonds it can finally return to the trees and run the way it was meant to run. These chains are not part of us, our sins are not part of us, we cannot lie down and simply accept them in ourselves and in others, we must stand up against sin and scream ‘no more!’ ‘No longer will this sin hold me down!’ ‘I want to be free!’
You are not defined by your chains. You are meant to be free.
Seek a good Church with a pastor you trust and can come to with your sin, seek good Christian people who will help you. I don’t mean as someone to confess to, I mean as people to pray with you. Trust me, they have sins too that they are fighting, you are not alone.
Pray
Jesus I love you, I love that you love me and fight against my sin becasue you want me to be free. Thank you that you are not condeming me when you condem my sin, but that you are saving me. Let me trust in you and your truth. Guide me to fellow Christ followers so that I might find people who will pray with me and fight with me.
Amen

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Jesus is devine

Lent devotional 20



Jesus is devine

I can feel you all around me, thickening the air I’m breathing, holding on to what I’m feeling – savoring This heart that’s healed.-Flyleaf

The only way He can heal our Brokenness is if He is God. If He had been just a man and had died for the lives of his friends it still would have been amazing; but He died as God, for people who loved him, and for people who hated him. The only reason we are saved is because Jesus is divine. This reminds me of something Sherry Yuki said about the king who was her friend, whom she served in as a herbalist in his castle, ‘I shouldn’t even be permitted around a man of his station, the only reason I am permitted to go anywhere near him is because his authority puts him above reproach.’
The only reason we can go anywhere near God is because he chooses to permit us to be with Him, and because His authority makes it so no one can question Him. But because He lets us come to Him as God and He came to us as man we forget that He is divine, that He is God. When it came to the deity of Jesus no one ever said, ‘look! Jesus is God! Get that through your heads!’ Instead the disciples just naturally spoke of Jesus as God. In Revelation chapter 5, you hear about the Lion of Judah, then you look and see this Lamb who had been slaughtered, this signifies that Jesus- who is coming back- was just as powerful when He was dying on the cross as He is as a returning King. Jesus has the position of the first born, but God did not create Him. All things were created by Him and for Him. Jesus is one with God. Some say Jesus was simply an angel or a prophet but the Bible tells us that angels report to Jesus, nations are dust and will fade away, only Jesus matters. The Living Creatures sing ‘Holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ then the elders fall down before Jesus. The exact same worship that they gave God in chapter 4 of Revelation, they give Jesus in chapter 5. Jesus is consistently reminding us that He is God, because if He isn’t God then we are not forgiven. Oh yes, we would be forgiven by Him as a man, but unless He is God also that forgiveness can’t save us. But He IS God, so we are saved. Jesus Is God, don’t believe anyone who tells you different, and don’t forget that He loves us and welcomes us, but He is still the devine creator, the Author of life, the Alpha and Omega, the Key, the Door, the Blood, the Lion, the Lamb, the Shepherd and the returning King. He is God! Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.


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Speak Jesus

Lent devotional 18

I will speak Jesus and the devil will flee because he knows that name and what it means for him.
Darkness is inevitable, there will always be darkness in this world because it is dying. People cling desperately to things that don’t matter, trying to make it feel like they aren’t about to be consumed. But there is a name the darkness knows and flees from. Speak Jesus. The devil will lie to you. He will try to make you feel lost, left behind, confused, worthless. Speak Jesus. He will show you that you are found, accepted, loved, wanted, valued. Jesus is coming back to take us home. The darkness of this world will not haunt us in the presence of Jesus. Where Jesus is there is no fear. He is light. Brilliant light. When this world dies we won’t be with it. Imagine seeing Jesus coming and picking us up in his arms and laughing and smiling, holding us close and saying, ‘come on precious, let’s go home.’
Jesus drives away darkness, present darkness and eternal darkness.

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Held by strings

Lent devotional 9



Held by strings

Today on the TV I saw a woman who had been so broken that as she was speaking you could see that she was trying to be strong, while falling apart. These past several days we have seen a lot of people, women and men, who have been trying to hold their voices steady as they speak, trying to swallow back tears while being determined to push forward. You may not be in the middle of a war zone; you may have recentally lost a loved one, or a job, or perhaps you feel like you are losing yourself, your sanity in the swirling mess of what society has become- many are feeling that these days. Suffering, loss, even change has become so wearing and hard to handle that we feel like a dog’s teddy bear, torn apart and held together with streatching strings. We are wondering how many more times we can be sewn back together before there’s nothing left to attach. Humanity feels like the dog has our body under his paws and he is yanking on our arm, determined to pull it off. We wonder. Where is God?
He is here, sewing us back together everytime another part of us comes off. Our fallen world is imploding, just like He said it would. Does that make it easier to handle? No! Does that mean the death and suffering doesn’t matter? Of course not! But God promises that even when the world itself is falling to pieces that He is still there, He promises that even when we scream out ‘how can you let this happen God?’ That He still holds us tight and loves us. Why doesn’t He make it all end and save us? I don’t know. It’s the stuff that we can’t explain that makes us doubt the existance of a loving God, because in the pain we forget the good things we have seen God do. When the children of Israel were in the desert everytime they fell apart God had to remind them of the amazing things and wonders He had done for them, because when you are hanging together by one final thread all you can see is the pain you are in, you -we -I forget the times we have seen God help us and save us and provide for us, but He has and He still does. In the moment you are in right now, hold your hands infront of you, close your eyes and say with me, ‘God, it all so big and such a mess. You know what I am feeling and the pain I am in, and I know that you love me even in this moment that hurts so bad, hold me close please Jesus and help me know that you know what you are doing and that you will never let me go. Amen’

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Pain

Stormie Omartan once said that after a dear friend of hers had died she came to a point in her grief where no one wanted to talk about it anymore because she had gone beyond the acceptable time of mourning. That’s ridiculous. Not how she felt but the fact that people treated her that way, and you want to know something? It’s true. I recall feeling that way after one of my friends passed away, my mom felt that way after her mother died, eventually people want you to move on, not for your sake, but because they are done hearing you talk about it. Come on people! Grief has no time limit. You will move on and then a sound or a smell will send you right back into it, and you know what? That’s okay. That is totally okay! When you are ready to move on you will, don’t feel rushed by other people, this pain is yours and they can never understand it nor can they feel it for you and of they could wear that pain for you they probably couldn’t bear it. But there is someone who can bear the pain for you, who understands it and has felt it too, His name is Jesus and He never grows tired of hearing you cry and mourn over loss, He never gets irritated when you bring up your agony, He will listen forever if you want Him to, because He loves you more than anyone else, and He will lift your pain and heal you. And if the pain comes back He will lift it again.

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More

More

We all want to be more. More than we are at this moment, more than we dreamed we would be, more than enough. And it is not easy. All you can do is what is in front of you at this moment. Striving to be the best YOU you can be is not a bad thing, but the person you are right now might be the person you are meant to be. God often has to remind us to be still and to trust in Him, when things are not progressing or going the way you expected, when you are not reaching beyond your own expectations it can be hard to calm down and remind yourself that you are okay as you. God will grow you when He feels you are ready to grow. Trees don’t complain when they are a few branches short of how large the wished to be or when they have a smaller ring count than the tree next to them, they simply grow in God’s time and that is what we have to do. Wait on the Lord. Be still and know that I am God- Psalm: 46:10

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Drenched

Drenched

We as humans tend to used descriptive language often. We say things we have built or roads we have taken are drenched with our sweat or our tears. When we redid our house I often said it was coated in my blood from the two or three minor scrapes I received while working on it. Drenched, coated. What if our lives were drenched and coated, not with blood, sweat and tears, but with prayer? What difference would we see? I once heard a mission planter say that he truly saw the difference come when he began to pray. He worked on his own for awhile, but then he started to coat everything in prayer and that was when things began to happen. My grandpa is a prayer, no matter what we do, before we do it he prays. It may take time but in a bit you see that exact prayer come true and crazy things that shouldn’t be possible start to happen. I used to think it was because he is a retired pastor and God just hears pastors better, but I found out after trying his technique that it is simply because he pours himself into a thirty second prayer before doing anything. His weakness in the moment gave God room to show His strength, so grandpa eventually got to a place where instead of becoming stuck and needing God to bail him out, he just handed it all over to God in the beginning and watched God work. If we drench our days, familys, selves with prayer we will see things begin to change. It may take time, but it will happen.

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He isn’t flying away

Jesus isn’t a little bird trying to fly away from you, He’s a man who is there for you to trust and lean on- a solid rock on which to stand. He’s not fluttering by and have to try to catch Him, He’s standing there with His arms open ready to embrace you.
If you know nothing else about the Bible but the fact that God sent His son to earth as a human baby to be stripped, beaten, spit upon and killed by the people He loves so much; if you know that a man tempted by sin but pure enough not to fall into it died and took the keys out of the devil’s hand and freed the captives from hell and ascended to Heaven, and you know that He is waiting for you to come to Him so Heaven can be yours too, then you know the greatest grace, mercy and miracle in the whole book. He wants you so come to Him.