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

Are we willing?

Are we willing?

What does your dream, goal and ambition mean to you? When the government tells you that you can’t be a teacher, lawyer, politician, doctor, and so on, unless you accept certain sins as no longer sin what will you do? Is dream worth so much that you will buckle and bow to the death system. Death system was a term that came up when I was a kid. In books, in TV (mostly anime) it means a system unacknowledgably careening toward destruction, sort of like Chaos Theory. Back then even the secular world could see it coming and what it would bring. Now even Christ followers bow to the death system. Not the death of the planet, though much of the shows that winked at the death system did cover the death of nature, but instead we should focus on the death of our souls and the rape of our minds. Do we even know what’s wrong anymore? Or are we taking a pen and crossing out the parts of our Faith that offend us? I was reminded recently of what Christians face in countries that don’t support the Christ belief. People with high IQs and great talent have demeaning jobs, can’t attend certain schools or social events and live in shamble, because they refuse to deny even a tiny part of Jesus, they embrace Him even though they are left in the street by the world. Do we? Are we willing to take the humble road rather than deny even a speck of our Lord? So often we see “christians” praised for taking a job in a secular setting because they can, “promote their witness” there. But do they? How much of Jesus did they have to deny to get that job? What sins did they accept so that they would be accepted? The devil sits back and gestures to a goblet, “drink this, accept the darkness and I will give you everything.” Jesus takes our hand and says, “don’t! It’s a trap.” We pull away from Christ, “if I drink what he offers then he will give me a place in society where I can promote you better, it’s just a little sip, I’ll be fine.” Our bold statement dies as we drink the whole glass and join the devil. If Jesus says something is wrong then it is wrong no matter our good intentions. Are we willing to live as ditch diggers and serve Jesus by denying the devil? Or have we already taken of the death drink, and now we serve the devil under the badge that used to say ‘Christian’, but now says ‘deceived’?
We are so lost in this death system that we have forgotten what life is. Go back to Jesus. Reach for Him. Don’t let the devil deceive you. Don’t let your heart become poisoned. Give yourself to Jesus. Whatever you end up doing, no matter how valueless it feels, remember- if you are doing it for Jesus, if you are sacrificing it for Jesus, if you are suffering it for Jesus, then what your doing is right. The easy road of compromise leads to death. Not death in this world, but death of your soul. Don’t give in. Fight back. Dare to take God at His word no matter the cost.

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.

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 · still fighting · The Bible

We take the love, but do we return it?

We say we should love people back into Heaven. Jesus told us to love, has become the motto of our generation. But are we truly loving? When we tell people their sin is okay because Jesus covered it, that’s not love, that’s a lie. Yes Jesus covered our sin on Calvary, but that doesn’t make the sin okay, it means that as the devil stands before God accusing us of our sin Jesus can say, “but I paid that debt.” Does that mean that the devil having the right to accuse us who claim ourselves Deciples greives God any less? No. Not even a little bit. Every sin hurts God even though it’s covered (when we repent) under the cross. Jesus loved us enough to take all our sin onto Himself so we can ne saved. But we don’t love Jesus enough to stop sinning and change. We can’t spit in God’s face by saying sin is okay because of Jesus, that’s not a proper interpretation of the Bible. We are saved because we follow and love Jesus, but if we keep sinning willfully and don’t ever change or repent then we don’t love Jesus and we aren’t deciples. How many times do we nail Jesus back to the cross by telling people their sin is okay and they can keep doing it because Jesus loves them?
It is so easy to shrug off sin. But if we love Jesus we should recoil at sin and pray for God’s protection from the devil. We don’t sin on our own, we sin by letting the devil in. How do we do this? Through what we watch, feel, think, listen to, read. The devil is always waiting for an open door.
Jesus loves us enough to cover our sin. Do we love Him enough to resist our sin?

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.

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

Are we willing?

Are we willing?

What does your dream, goal and ambition mean to you? When the government tells you that you can’t be a teacher, lawyer, politician, doctor, and so on, unless you accept certain sins as no longer sin what will you do? Is dream worth so much that you will buckle and bow to the death system. Death system was a term that came up when I was a kid. In books, in TV (mostly anime) it means a system unacknowledgably careening toward destruction, sort of like Chaos Theory. Back then even the secular world could see it coming and what it would bring. Now even Christ followers bow to the death system. Not the death of the planet, though much of the shows that winked at the death system did cover the death of nature, but instead we should focus on the death of our souls and the rape of our minds. Do we even know what’s wrong anymore? Or are we taking a pen and crossing out the parts of our Faith that offend us? I was reminded recently of what Christians face in countries that don’t support the Christ belief. People with high IQs and great talent have demeaning jobs, can’t attend certain schools or social events and live in shamble, because they refuse to deny even a tiny part of Jesus, they embrace Him even though they are left in the street by the world. Do we? Are we willing to take the humble road rather than deny even a speck of our Lord? So often we see “christians” praised for taking a job in a secular setting because they can, “promote their witness” there. But do they? How much of Jesus did they have to deny to get that job? What sins did they accept so that they would be accepted? The devil sits back and gestures to a goblet, “drink this, accept the darkness and I will give you everything.” Jesus takes our hand and says, “don’t! It’s a trap.” We pull away from Christ, “if I drink what he offers then he will give me a place in society where I can promote you better, it’s just a little sip, I’ll be fine.” Our bold statement dies as we drink the whole glass and join the devil. If Jesus says something is wrong then it is wrong no matter our good intentions. Are we willing to live as ditch diggers and serve Jesus by denying the devil? Or have we already taken of the death drink, and now we serve the devil under the badge that used to say ‘Christian’, but now says ‘deceived’?
We are so lost in this death system that we have forgotten what life is. Go back to Jesus. Reach for Him. Don’t let the devil deceive you. Don’t let your heart become poisoned. Give yourself to Jesus. Whatever you end up doing, no matter how valueless it feels, remember- if you are doing it for Jesus, if you are sacrificing it for Jesus, if you are suffering it for Jesus, then what your doing is right. The easy road of compromise leads to death. Not death in this world, but death of your soul. Don’t give in. Fight back. Dare to take God at His word no matter the cost.

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 · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Final Level!

Final level

Growing in God is something we hear a lot.
“I’m just growing in God.”
“Don’t forget to grow in God.”
“Always grow in God.”
But what does grow in God mean? What visual does that statement give you? I used to picture a sapling, growing into a tree. But lately I’ve had a different visual. Video Games. Hang on, don’t run away yet. Let me explain. Recently I was reminded of my short stint as an avid gamer, and that brought to mind this simili. I had a game for a time… actually I think it’s still in my closet, anyway- this game was a progressive story arc type. You know, you have an avitar and you follow the cheracter on different quests and so on. I recall the peace of the starter village. Old fashioned cabins, cathedrals and pretty brick bridges. You could walk and never see a monster all day. But as you leveled up the game obviously grew harder. Eventually I reached a level where I had to look up the hacks to pass it. Monsters were everywhere and they didn’t die no matter how hard you attacked them. The only way to win that level was to let your character lose all his or her strength, right before your avatar was down for the count you would get a bonus strength boost, and that was the only way to win. What do I mean by all this?
When we first become Christians it’s nice to go to church, maybe bake for a potluck, perhaps you will even read your Bible once in a blue moon. It’s nice and quiet with no work. But. That’s not how we are meant to stay. We are intended by God to level up. And as we level up things will get harder, because the devil wants to keep us low and weak. Say you keep going. Level after level. Praying every day, reading your Bible with conviction, volenteering at your Church and Church events, maybe even branching into missions work. With each level you grow, but with each level the monsters seem to increase. One day you find yourself in an abandoned town with monsters that refuse to die. Why? Because you are doing things right. Thay doesn’t make sense, does it? But the devil is fighting against you. Whatever that monster is. An illness, debt, a habit, or something less personal, like how the world has gone and the darkness and sin taking over. Everywhere you see the monsters. You have fought and fought and now you are on your last life. But don’t forget. As you were leveling up and growing, God was growing with you. Not that He was ever small, but maybe He was small inside you because you hadn’t let Him grow yet. Now you have been growing in God and God has been growing in you, so when your last life comes up blinking and your avatar gets fuzzy, don’t give up! Hold down the A and Y buttons and use your power boost to kill those monsters. In other words, use your trump card. Pray. Talk to God and use His power within you to win the battle and reach the final level. You are never fighting or growing alone, God is right there, you just need to reach for Him.
So go on friends. Level up. Grow with God.