Christianity · CS Lewis · Devotional · free · guidance · Love · Prayer · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Indiference in disguise

In C.S Lewis’s book ‘mere Christianity’ (which is a must read if you have questions about the Christian walk and life- but do remember that nothing you read can replace the Bible itself) he talks about love and asks us not to turn off the radio because we don’t want to go there. If you’re wondering, the book is made up of four of his radio talks, that’s why he doesn’t want the radio turned off. But it is so true. The second someone gets onto a platform and starts in on loving one another we often tend to tune them out, hang on before you tune me out as I go into this. I have the same problem. I turn off the radio too when it’s talks about loving thy neighbor. Not because I hate my neighbor, I’m actually very close with many of my physical neighbors, but let’s not get into all that- I tune them out because I find what we are preached is a little too… floating orbs and fluffy lamas if you get what I mean. As Christians we are not trying to get to a higher plane, we are not opening our chakras, we are not engaging our inner eye, and walking softly and only saying nice things is not the way to love one another. But I have heard pastors speak such things before. Love hurts, love is hard and love is an action. Remeber the old song ‘love is a battlefield’? It’s true. All love is. That’s why what CS Lewis said not only felt like something all people could connect to, but it was very solid and truly Christian, not something we’ve adopted for some reason from a cult group. He says, ‘if it’s hard to love someone don’t feel it, do it. It’s not a feeling of particular liking for that person, in fact you may dislike them very much and for a very good reason, but if your actions are love then any hate you have toward them will start to deminish.’ I’m paraphrasing because the chapter on love was long and the whole thing won’t fit here. Why does he speak so boldly about people you could easily hate being shown love through your actions? Because when he first did his talk on loving even your enemies he was verbally attacked by people for saying such things, why? Because the war had just ended and people felt great hate that was very justified, hate toward Hitler. They wanted to know how they could be asked to feel love for this man. So after Biblical study and discussion with many of the great Christian minds Lewis answered. You can’t. There is no way to feel love for someone so evil. But. If there was a chance for him to change and try and make up for the wrongs he caused (though he never could. My grandparents suffered through the war, my nana had minor PTSD because of being a child in the bomb shelters, and in those horrible moments she didn’t make it to the shelters and was simlpy saved by the grace of God from the falling explosions around her. Trust me. I have no pity for this man so don’t think that I’m saying he should have been given another chance or that we misjudged him or anything rediculous like that.) would you want him to change and become a better person? Or do you hate them so bad that you hope they are the evil of evil no matter what and burn for it? That’s a hard question. You see, the soft, love everyone in a cuddly do no harm sort of way could never face this. That kind of love that says we should all hold hands and say we’re sorry and then it’s all better couldn’t fix this. Pain is deep. And evil cannot be loved. And ‘sorry’ doesn’t erase all wrong. You cannot love a man like that. Not in the feeling sense. But can you pray that a man like Hitler would change? Can you ask God to fix his mind and make him a new person? Do you see him doing something good for a change and go ‘thank God he isn’t completely evil’? Yes? That’s love. If instead you hope he never changes, never realizes the horrors he’s caused and when he does something else horrible you go ‘good. He’s still evil. I can still hate him.’ That’s obviously not love.
And you know what? That’s hard too. Because there are some people who are so evil that you hope they stay evil so that they receive God’s judgement. I know there are because I have heard people say as much, I have felt this way at times too. Love is a battlefield, and most of the time you are battling yourself. Love also means calling people out when they are wrong. Reminding them of what sin is and that what they are doing is wrong. Not because it makes you feel good about yourself, and it should never be said in a condescending way, but if you love someone then you want them to do right because you want them to please God and you want them to go to heaven. If you don’t care about them, if you don’t love them, then when they sin it won’t bother you because you don’t care if they go to heaven or not. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, or you don’t actually know them personally, then pray for them. And hope that they pray for you too. Because we all sin and mess up. And we all need someone who loves us enough to tell us when we have messed up. Love isn’t a fluffy, easy, cuddly thing, love is suiting up and doing what is hard.
I hope people love me enough to pray for me when they notice a sin in my life that maybe I haven’t spotted. Or just in general. None of us are Christs. We are all people striving toward the cross and hoping for Heaven.

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

Give it all to Jesus

It’s so hard to tell people when you are not okay, and then have them giving their opinions or not fully understanding you hurts so much. But when you give it to Jesus- sit down for a moment and talk with Him, telling Him that it hurts, why it hurts and how much you need Him and His help-  it doesn’t hurt more, it might hurt less, and now you have someone you can talk to about it who won’t judge or condem, and He actually can help where people cannot. Isn’t it funny how when you talk to people about your pain they give you a speel about how your Faith should be bigger, or you need to read your Bible more, or you should be praying like this- but when you come to God He just listens. He knows where you are at in the journey and how tired you are and how long you’ve been stuck in this same place. He knows how hard you are trying and how much it hurts. He doesn’t say ‘read more of your Bible, pray harder, grow your Faith until it hurts no more!’ He simply says, ‘come here. Let me hold you. I’ll take care of it all.’
Talk to Jesus. He’s waiting for your call.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · searching · still fighting · The Bible · True Joy

Um…no thanks Jesus, I’m good.

Um…no thanks Jesus, I’m good.

Recently I was in church with my cousin. The preacher mentioned the healing of the blind man. You recall that healing? Jesus spat in the dirt and then rubbed it on the man’s eyes. It makes me cringe a little thinking of it, seeing as I’m a bit of a germaphobe. My cousin laughed at me when I rubbed my arms in horror at the thought of having spit rubbed on me. “Ya.” She said, “It’s like. Thanks but no thanks Jesus, I’ll just stay blind.”
She was joking, but it made me think, how often do we turn away Miracles that Jesus wants us to have because we don’t like the way that Christ is going to make the miracle happen? How many times does Jesus spit in the dirt and we draw back because we don’t like it? The miracle that’s coming doesn’t outweigh what we have to go through to recieve it, in our minds it doesn’t at least, if we waited and had the miracle happen despite the spit and mud, we would realize the value and gift of that blessing. How many times has Jesus said, “let me take you through this and I will give you this blessing.”
Or, “if you give up this, I will give you this instead.”?
And so on and so on. But we don’t want to go through the pain, the illness, the fear, the move, the new job, the outreach, [fill in the blank]. What came to mind when you were given the chance to put down your own draw away reason? I know what came to my mind. But as John Wayne once said, “courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyways.” The cause before the effect of the miracle may not cause suffering or pain, but there is always a little fear. It would be strange if there wasn’t, because we are dealing with the ultimate power. God. And His love, grace and blessings. And when dealing with God there is a lot of unknowing. We run headlong on Faith and that can be really scary. But perfect peace comes from knowing that you are trusting what you don’t know to the all knowing, one true, God.
Miracles aren’t always easy. Sometimes they are hard. Sometimes they take sacrifice. Sometimes you have to have spit rubbed in your eye before you can see. But know this. God always, always, always, has your best in mind as He works His plan for your life.

Christianity · Devotional · Jesus · searching · still fighting · The Bible

Salvation isn’t complicated, but do we truly want it?

Even when things are complicated, God is not. Jesus loves you. He always has and always will. He hates sin. To accept sin and to delight in it is a slap in Jesus face, like Petra once said, “just like another thorn stuck in your brow”. However. Though sin separates us from God it does not separate us from His love. He is always ready for us to repent and to share in fellowship with Him. Even if you claim the label ‘Christian’ you might have accepted sin into your life that is seperating you from Jesus, but He loves you and is waiting for you to seek forgiveness and change. The thing that we forget is that Jesus loves every person who is going to hell just as much as He loves every person who is going to Heaven, and when a sinner who hasn’t given themselves to Jesus, even a sinner who claims to be a ‘Christian’ but refuses to believe and follow God’s word- all of it, not just the fun parts- dies, Jesus has to condem them, and it breaks His hearts. He isn’t happy to watch the sinner, or the false Christian go to hell, it makes His heart break, He wanted those people with Him, but God can have no part in sin.
God’s law isn’t complicated. He always loves you. He wants you with Him. He cannot accept your sin. But because of Jesus we can repent of our sins and try, truly try to change, and then we can be saved.
I know I have sins that I struggle with, but I know that I hate my sins and am working to correct them and pray against them and asking Jesus for help, I will not embrace these sins and make the enemy happy, he wants that and I won’t stand for it, he wants you to embrace your sins and to claim that Jesus will accept you the way you are, but that isn’t true. Jesus will love you the way you are, but He cannot accept you into Heaven unless you are a new person. Does that mean that because I hate my enemy or that I complain a lot or that I am a mean person sometimes, that I won’t go to Heaven even though I have accepted Jesus?
Let me ask a question that comes up often when discussing such things. Are you trying to do better? Are you sorry for the way you are being and you want to change? Yes? Then from what I know about Jesus’ teachings you will still go to Heaven. But if you claim that you were born that way, or that that is just who are, or that Jesus is just going to have to take what He gets and love you anyways, Then from what I know of Jesus’ teachings you are at risk of losing your soul, because God can have no part in sin.
This post is not going to popular and many may argue and disagree, but I have said what the Holy Spirit has placed on my heart. Everyone can be saved, but they have to be willing to change.
This is not me being lofty and judging. Trust me, I have many sins that Jesus and I are working against, but I know they are sins and I want to change. Some days my greatest hope and comfort is that Jesus sees my effort and to Him that is Christian. Because we will all be sinners until we die, but do we love Jesus enough to work against our sin and to try to change? even though we may fail He will always give us another chance to do better.

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

Things are so hard, so where is God?

When things get hard it’s easy to forget, or worse, let go, of who Jesus is and what He can, will and has done for you. When the sickness comes, the depression sets in, the pain overwhelms and fear is a constant companion it is so easy for the human mind to say ‘that’s enough! If there is a God then why is this happening?’
This is going to make you sick and cause you to roll your eyes -I know it is because not only have I seen this response before but I have felt it- God has a purpose.
Don’t groan. I know that’s the easy response. But the truth is that God does have a purpose, trusting that He has a purpose is so hard some times that when people tell you that it is all within His plan it can make you angry, or sad, or simply can feel like it’s adding to your brokeness, but He does have a plan. Then you wonder how your pain could fit in His plan? Good question. I wonder that about my own pain, and I’m sure that theology egg heads could give you a great response that is filled with scripture refrences and quotes from great scholars and pastors, but for me, all I can say is that it’s not about understanding the how or why, it’s about understanding that not knowing those things is where faith comes in. He is the same Jesus who loved me on the cross and before time itself, He hasn’t changed, He isn’t suddenly trying to hurt me, He loves me, His plan has always been best and it has always been ready for this, whatever the ‘this’ is at the moment, in the end He works it all together for good, I don’t know how, I can’t know how, all I can know is that He promised to take care of me and that He is doing that right now.
I can’t promise a sudden or easy answer, all I can promise is that there is one.

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

Sometimes the prayers go unanswered and that hurts

We all have a testimony. Where we were, what God has done and where we are now. But sometimes God doesn’t do the miraculous healing. Sometimes He doesn’t stop you from falling. What then? If He hasn’t done what you have prayed for does your testimony still count?
I have a testimony. With all the ‘God delivered me from drugs’ and ‘God healed me from cancer’ I have heard and seen I wasn’t sure if what I had was a testimony or a survival hand book. Then today, I finally heard a woman speak her testimony and guess what? She was still a broken mess and she admitted it. But she had found that God’s powerful love was moving her to help other people with messes because she understood them.
My best friend who is also my mother (and I say that with pride) has had a disease my whole life. She has always pushed herself and given it her all no matter what, but she does struggle. She has to take medication to fill her body with cells that you and I have naturally. Doctors told her she wouldn’t see my 12th birthday. But she did. Then they said she wouldn’t see me graduate. But she did. Then they said she wouldn’t see me turn 25. I’m 26. They don’t understand how she is still as strong, though she feels weak, she isn’t in a wheelchair and that is amazing.
She works harder and cares for more people than anyone else I know. She’s my miracle. Everyday I pray for a miracle healing. But God’s sustaining power is sometimes more amazing than the sudden transformations we see. It hurts. I never know when my next day will be my last. I’m scared some days, broken other days and I know that doesn’t sound very faith filled but God never said it wasn’t going to be hard. I’m not saying that I’m amazing for never denying God because I don’t see my answers. I have fallen down and yelled and cried at Him many times. But God is more than knowledge and Faith, He’s the Holy Spirit living in you, He’s your safe harbor when it all burns down around you. I know through His strong love and strange peace that He is still good and that He still loves her and me, because even when I find myself sitting in a ball on the floor saying ‘God, why?’ I have a peace that passes past the pain. Living with joy in the moments that God has given us. It’s so hard and so vital.
Why does He heal others and not the one who I love? I don’t know. But I know Him, so I know there is a reason. One of my favorite singers said that He started writing music in a time of shifting, when the tables had turned over and he was trying to find where he stood, instead of taking the pain and running and going, ‘this hurts and makes no sense so there is no god’ he chose to reach out to God and seek Him more and in doing so, found more of Him. That’s the big choice we all have when the shifting happens and things hurt, do we say ‘forget it I’m better off on my own’, or do we reach up and say, ‘whatever you’re doing God, it feels awful, but I know that you are God and I am not and you have a purpose’?
It’s easy to give up when life gets hard, it’s hard to hold on.
Have you ever been knocked off a surfboard? You feel like of you just took the strap off your ankle you would be fine and could swim to the surface. But so many times in the delirium of the waves and the rock and the lack of air, the only thing that shows you which way is up is that strap. I have almost drown a few times boarding and everytime it was following the safety strap on my ankle that brought me back to the surface. God is your safety strap. You feel you could swim better without Him, but then you lose focus of which way is right.
Sometimes your prayers go unanswered. Sometimes the pain is confusing.
But God still loves you. And your testimony of His sustaining power and grace without the sudden life transformation  is something someone needs to hear.
I’m not down playing the times that God does grant a gift in His miracle, those times are important too and need to be told, but sometimes the day to day step forward is the miracle, don’t down play that or forget how important it is.

Can we pray a moment and just say ‘thank you Jesus’?
Thank you Jesus for your power even when I don’t understand. Thank for your love even when it hurts. Thank you for who you are even when I feel like I can’t find you, you are always there and you always love me. Thank you for who I am because of you. You are so good God. I know I will fall and I know it will hurt, but also know that as your word says, I will not be thrown headlong because you hold my hand. Thank you Jesus.
Thank you.
Amen.

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

Am I alone?

Sometimes when it feels like the world is coming at you from all sides and you see fellow Christians- people you may have even respected- fall to the taunts and the lies of the devil and his world workers you might start tp doubt, you might even want to run and hide or give up, but remember: what God has said is always true. If He said it was wrong 2000 years ago it is still wrong today. If He promised something 2000 years ago, the promise still remains. If 2000 years ago He claimed to love you, then He still loves you today.
Sometimes it feels like the devil is winning and you are all alone in loving Jesus with your whole heart and following His word. It feels like the hate has never been worse, and that all beliefs are considered acceptable exept ours. But you are not alone. Even if every other Christian falls and you still remain you are not alone, because Jesus is with you. He is proud of you for not compromising your faith and your values. Don’t be afraid. No matter how hard it is. Keep fighting. Your soul is your own, what you do that effects that soul is up to you, don’t let anyone take your treasure from you. Because in the end, the things you missed out on and the people who abandoned you because they didn’t accept your beliefs won’t matter. The only one who matters is Jesus, and His opinion is the only one that counts. It will be hard. It will hurt. Somedays it will make you sick as you watch the devil take ground, but God has a reason. Even before the beggining He knew the ending and He knew that you would struggle and He knew that you find a deeper connection to Him as you struggled. Evil is not suddenly good just because everyone is doing it or accepting it, and that can be so hard to understand. But if you go back to the basics. Back to what you learned when you still had faith like a child what do remember. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.
And Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.
And the He patient not wanting anyone to perish. 2Peter 3:9
He is patient with you because He wants you to change and to find Him, the real Him, the one that takes sacrifice. He wants you in Heaven with Him, so He waits, until you come to Him.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · dreams do come true · encouragement · free · guidance · Jesus · still fighting · True Joy

Trampled down but still growing

Have you ever seen a flower trying to grow up on a pathway?
Of course you have.
Some people see it growing and skirt around it so they don’t interfere with it’s progress, but most people just walk on top of it and keep going. Why would it’s progress matter to them? Why would it’s success make a difference to them?
Broken and head bent with sap seeping out of the stem the little flower looks like it will die there, never to reach it’s final goal.
But if I kind person sees it and tries to help it by binding it’s stem and tying it to a small ground stake, the little flower might grow a little longer. But eventually the old wounds will kill it, because even the simple kindness of a stranger can’t heal the torn tendrils inside. However, if the guardener sees it, broken and dying as more and more people crush it under their feet He would have the power and knowledge to save it. He could dig up the flower and transplant it in a safer spot, then He could go to work, feeding and watering and the perfect amount of sunlight, adding nutrients and stapling back together the broken stalk until it is able to stand. With the help of the Master the little flower can grow, and grow and grow and keep growing until it’s too strong to be crushed by the world again.
As Christians we are trying to grow. Some people see that and let us keep growing but others try to stomp on us and crush us and seems like no one cares. We may find support in a small group or in our friends and even in our pastor, but until the broken vines search for Jesus we will never be truly fixed. People can help but they can’t heal. Until we reach out to Jesus we will continue to fade. But once we reach for Him He knows how to cure us and love us and help us. He is our God and He is our friend and He is good.
Turn to Him when the world is crushing you, only He can truly help you.

Jesus · still fighting

Kicked down, but getting back up

The earth creaked as though the heat of it’s core would burst out. The sun was red in the haze of the flame around her, but the woman felt no fear. She was a servant of the King and had been commissioned to go forth into the forest of the dead.  The corpse trees snapped like fireworks as the flames engulfed them and the stench overwhelmed her senses to the point of causing her vision to blur. Then she saw it. No. Him. Dusty grey from trekking through his own destruction. He stared at her and for a second he looked like he might shake the dust off and blink the wrath from his eyes, but then he saw the seal on her crest and knew she knew better then to be deceived by him. The King had trained all His warriors by hand and they knew their enemy liked to appear good. He had worn pure white as his scales, which looked like downy feathers when he walked, his eyes could become the purest of gold, seeming to draw you in with love, he could be such a charming monster. But his fangs dripped crimson and his talons oozed death; to come close to this handsome beast meant to sacrifice your life, your soul. Yet he had already lured away so many. The flames swirrled around her, rustling the chinks in her armor. She braced, Sword in hand and Shield raised, she was here to gain ground for the Kingdom. A moment of fear and doubt flashed through her mind and she shook it away, he was playing with her. Panic seized her and she fell to her knees, her stomach churned as her mind screeched-“ the King doesn’t really care you know. He’s just toying with you. You could die here and He sent you to this place. Is He really good? Does He truly exist? Have you seen Him? Was that really Him instructing you? Maybe it’s all in your head.” She couldn’t hear or think past the swirrling, she lifted her shield and hid behind it the best she could, but her mind wouldn’t stop. She sobbed bitter tears and screamed out the words in her head as they came, directing them at the King, nothing made sense, she gripped her sword harder and found pain, where was the King anyway? Why was she alone? Why wasn’t He here fighting too. Blood hit her face like rain and she knew it was over. She peered out past her shield and saw Him. Somehow, she wasn’t as surprised as she felt she should have been. His arms were outstreatched defending her, blood seeped from a gash in His side, His head bled like a wet crown of red- “get up. Get up and fight. I am right here, I was always here watching you, get up. You have my Spirit as your weapon, you have Faith to shield you, fight! Fight daughter, fight! And don’t give up! Not ever!”
She stood, legs shaking from the attack. She turned her face and could see the King no longer, but His blood still covered her, and she knew He was still there. She stared at the monster, the thoughts began to spin again, she lunged forward at the beast and screamed her battle cry- “JESUS!”

The devil attacks us at our weak points, using lies to destract us from our King, from Jesus. We feel defeated so often, but if we remember who won the war and turn our thoughts on Him, we can take back the ground that the devil is fighting for.
Let the King guide you, let the name of Jesus be your battle cry, because His name drives out evil.
JESUS!!