Remember in The Last Battle by CS Lewis? There was a monkey who had a donkey who hung out with him and they found a dead lion, then they skinned the lion and dressed the donkey up in the skin. Many came to give gifts and worship the donkey thinking they were worshiping the king, but in truth it was just a donkey in the skin of a lion.
The Bible warns us about people who will rise up claiming to know God, they will preach sermons and have visions and even heal people, but it will be through the devil’s power that they do these things, they will claim they are leading the way to Jesus when in reality they are leading away from Him. Don’t follow a donkey made up to look like the King. The Jesus in the Bible is the only true Jesus there is, if the Jesus being told to you doesn’t coincide with the scriptures then it isn’t the authentic Jesus, just a sorry look alike; and like the false donkey king, if you look too closely you will see the seams and strings holding this copy together. Jesus is all holy like His Father, He is so pure that if He hadn’t chosen to have us with Him, if He hadn’t decided to die for our sins, we wouldn’t be able to stand in His presence. He is so good that He loves us sin and all, but He also loves us so much that He offers to us the chance to repent of our sins and be the full person He made us to be.
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for Jesus when a person who didn’t repent dies, because He loves them so much, and at the same time sin cannot exist in God’s presence, so those people go to hell. Like when He went into Jerusulem before He was arrested and said to her gates that the people within was a people He could have loved and was heartbroken that they were going to betray and kill Him.
Imagine the first of Jesus’ accusers who died without repentance, standing there and seeing Jesus, then as the Christ cries and denys him entrance to Heaven he realizes he was wrong. Because even those people who betrayed Him Jesus loved, yet many would never see His kingdom.
Don’t be decived by a cunning monkey and a false Aslan, there is only one Jesus, and unless you know the real one you will never see the white shores of Aslan’s country.
When in doubt of anything, but certainly of something you heard someone say or preach that doesn’t reflect well with the Holy Spirit inside of you, turn to the Bible and see what it says; because the Bible is always true and always the answer, if the Bible disagrees then throw away what you heard, because false doctrines are everywhere, and they can sound true if you aren’t careful.
Watch for the coming of the true King. When you meet Him you will realize how great it is to know the real Jesus, and the peace and paradise of Heaven.
Don’t fall into the lie that you can change God to fit into your box, trust me, any box we humans create will be too small for our Great Big God to fit into.
Changing our ways to be Christ like is something the devil tries to keep us from doing, he wants us to stay in his clutches and makes it look like freedom when in truth it is a deep pit with a heavy lid. Only through Jesus can we find true freedom, only in trying to follow God’s commands and keeping our eyes on the savior do we stand a chance of being out of the devil’s reach. Don’t back away hissing when I say we need to try to follow God’s commands, I know it’s hard and that we don’t always want to, sometimes it even hurts – but it’s the only way to be a Christian. You will fail from time to time, there is no doubt of that, I fail daily too, but you keep trying to do better, that’s what God wants- not perfection, but effort, He sees that you are trying, and He helps you back up when you fail so you can try again. We don’t like being told what to do because the devil is rebellious and he wants us all to be the same, but you will be happier if you learn to do as the Bible commands, I know we all cringe at that word and hiss ‘don’t tell me how to live my life,’ okay, God won’t tell you what to do if you choose not to follow Him, that’s your choice, but if you claim the title ‘Christian’ you must also follow the God you claim to serve, there is no gray area.
And if you do decide to discard the box and see God for who He is and follow His path to see what He wants for life- be prepared to be amazed, because Jesus, who cannot fit into your idea of Him, is greater and more amazing then we could imagine, and He has a greater and more amazing plan for you then anything you could have thought up on your own.
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
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.
Life was filled with guns and war
And everyone got trampled on the floor
I wish we’d all been ready
Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready
There’s no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind
The father spoke the demons dined
The son has come and you’ve been left behind
You’ve been left behind
You’ve been left behind
Songwriters: Larry Norman
I Wish We’d All Been Ready lyrics © Ordure Blanc Music
As a kid I loved this song. It was sort of dark and moody and I liked that. As I grew older and the tune gave way to the words I still liked it for it’s powerful meaning, but now as 2022 has been in full swing for five months and we see how much worse things are getting this song breaks my heart, because I see it. I’m not saying Jesus is coming tomorrow or trying to prophesy end times, I am just saying we need to have eyes that are open. You might sound crazy if you mention the word apocalypse, until you are proven right. This might not be it. Jesus might not be returning for another two thousand years for all we know, but I wish we were all ready. I have heard the people call us Christians fanatics and Jesus freaks and other things I can’t say. I get it. We look crazy to some people, we talk about an all powerful God who takes away sin and makes us clean, a God who loves us as we are and is willing to help us be better. We talk about a paradise and a second coming and Heavenly beings. We sound a little crazy. But if you have met Him. Heart to heart, and found a true connection. If you have seen Him do amazing things, if you have been in darkness and then met His perfect light, you know that you aren’t crazy, you know that He is real and what He says is true.
Don’t get discouraged by the bribes and threats of the fallen world around us. Stay strong and continue to follow.
My Poppa who has been an evengelical minister for seventy some years said something really good the other day.
‘Those in the stands will always find criticism in those running the race, but those who have crossed the finish line will cheer you on.’
Those who aren’t aiming for Heaven will always find fault in those who are, but that doesn’t mean that those who are striving toward God are wrong, it means that the people in the stands aren’t running, they don’t understand the race and have nothing better to do then yell at the people who are down on the track sweating it out. But the people who have run the race and are watching from Heaven, they know what it’s like, they understand and are cheering you on. Don’t give up because the guy buying peanuts in row three seat A5 thinks that you should do something differently, is he running? No. So how does he know what you should do?
Look closer at that guy who is challenging you to give up, do you see the sneer and…is his toungue forked? Never doubt that the one telling you to stop being a Jesus Freak is the devil. It doesn’t matter whose voice he uses to dissuade you, it’s the deciver trying to make you give up. So keep going. And when you can’t run, walk, and when you can’t walk, kneel. Jesus is there beside you cheering you on too. I wish we’d all been ready, but just as much I pray that those who are ready don’t give up before the race is won.
Lent devotional 38
Today I was shoveling our steps to our house of the knee deep snowfall we had last night. Suddenly my shovel his something metal and I had a moment of that ‘I found treasure’ rush before fishing it out of the snow and finding it be the cross we have hanging on our door. The wind had blown it down in the storm. I put it aside, finished what I was doing and then took it around to the back of the house where I could leave it in a shelter to dry. I noticed that something was wrong with it as I inspected it for damage and soon realized that the ‘faith’ on the front of it was covered with snow, so I brushed it off and went inside.
Isn’t that so like life? We dig for something of value in this world and find a treasure of faith. Then a big storm hits and our faith gets blown around and beaten until it falls and becomes buried by the crushing weight of our problem. Then we start to clean up from our pain and problems little by litte, knowing that we need help, and there we find our faith waiting for us, just a little wet and a little buried by the snow. we pick it back up, dust it off, and place it back in our lives where it belongs. Storms are supposed to be conquered through faith, they aren’t supposed to win and knock our faith down. They aren’t supposed to, but sometimes they still do. But God is faithful to us and is ready to help us even when we lose our faith, even when we can’t take anymore, even when we fall asleep in the garden. It breaks His heart, but He gets it and doesn’t give up on us.
“Thank you Jesus for getting me even on days when my faith has taken a beating, I know you are always there and that though you may rebuke me, you will never stop loving me.”
Don’t be ashamed to face God and ask for forgiveness for falling asleep on watch, go to Him and reach for Him, He will hold you close and restore you, because even if you fail Him, He never fails you.
Lent devotional 37
Who is He?
Two people walked past the platform in the street market. Amid the shouting of the vendors and the bartering of the shoppers you could hear a single voice raising. It said As John was completing his work, he said: ‘Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking for. But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.’
Acts 13:25 NIV
“Who is he?” The one person asked the other.
“One of those followers of John I think.”
“Who is he speaking of?”
A shrug, “who knows, the man is crazy, he lives in the bush and rants about the Messiah.”
“Yes but, what if he is right?”
“And what if he is wrong?”
The two continue on and later find themselves arrested, each had stolen from the vendors as they passed through the streets. Their trial took several days and at last they were executed. While on the cross he had earned through his crime the man wondered again if his Messiah would truly return soon. He hoped ‘soon’ would be within the hour. Then he looked at the man next to him. His face, His eyes, they were not right, they did not belong next to him. His friend gloated and mocked the man in the middle. What was wrong? Why did He seem so out of place? So many mourned this man, so many seemed to hate Him, for what?
The man turned on his old companion and silenced him, deep down he knew that what he had heard was not the ravings of a man in the wilderness, it was the prophesy of one who believed he would see God. The man wanted that, even at this late hour while death stood waiting the man desired to see Heaven, to be free of guilt and shame. He turned to see sad eyes staring at him, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
The face smiled, “today we will be together in Paradise.”
We don’t know much about the two men who died with Jesus and though the scriptural parts are true the rest is an idea, an idea of how the man with Jesus whom Luke claims came to know God in his final moments might have felt, had he heard John or one lf his deciples speak of Christ? Had it simply been the presence of Jesus Himself that turned the man’s heart? Maybe he had been at the sermon on the mount? We don’t know. All we know is that Luke says he asked to come into God’s kingdom with Jesus and Jesus said ‘yes’. Was this man significant to the story? Yes. And God would have known that. We needed to see that it is never too late and you are never too far gone for God to save you. It is so important to remember that. He wants you with Him. That was the point of all this. So that you could come to know Jesus and be with Him forever.
Lent devotional 32
His head hung as the smile left his lips. This wasn’t right. Was it?
He took a deep breath and leaned in for the kiss.
This was wrong. Wasn’t it?
He looked into the eyes of the man before him. So filled with pain and sorrow. This is so very wrong. The other man just stared. Then his eyes moved past his betrayer to the soldiers behind.
What have I done?
The betrayer ran away, leaving his friend, no longer his friend. He ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore as grief and guilt tore his soul.
What have we done?
What have we done?
How many of us have betrayed our Jesus at one time or another? Yet He still loves us. That has never changed.
His heart breaks as we betray Him. His heart loves us still and that is why it breaks.
What a paradox. What a mystery. That the king would leave His royal throne, to save a wretch like me. -Petra
We are all wretches, loved by a loyal king.
Reach out to Him today. He is reaching out to you.
If you have never accepted Jesus. Or feel a need to renew your faith. Please pray with me:
I am a sinner and I know I need salvation. Forgive me for my sins.
Thank you for coming to earth to save me.
I accept you into my life now. Guide me to know you more.
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.
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.
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.