“Help her to know that the world is not a safe or nice place just because Jesus came, but that we still need His grace.”
Tonight I found a video of my Grandfather and Grandmother praying over right after I was born. They said a lot of great and kind things, yet this stood out to me. It’s so terribly true. So many people come to know Jesus and think that by knowing Him the world will suddenly change into a nicer, better place. Then it doesn’t and they- like the seed that fell on the side of the road- lost their faith as soon as bad times came. We preach that Jesus will make everything better, and He does, but not in the way that most people understand. Like the Jewish people expecting the Messiah to over throw the Roman tyrany, we expect something that our carnal minds see, not what God actually has planned. When Jesus comes into our lives and changes things for the better it doesn’t mean that He changes the world around us, it means He changes us. Sometimes God does something crazy and fixes every problem and cures every illness, but many times He doesn’t. Many times He changes our outlook, our plan, sometimes even our friends circle changes to help us where we are in that season. But the most important thing is that He Himself comes into our lives and His presence makes everything better. Jesus didn’t come to make the world a better place, He came to make us better people and to prepare us for His kingdom.
We still need His grace.
Lent day 22
We all know the Agape love of God that is spoken of and written on Church billboard signs; but what about the Agapao love of God?
Agape is a noun. We all know what a noun is. In fact I struggle with Agape being a noun because it doesn’t seem to fit the feeling the word offers. Yet Agapao is the verb and this word being a verb is exactly what we feel when God says He ‘Agapes’ us. Now, I’m not a scholar or a linguist so I won’t dive into these words too much because I know I will get in over my head. But here’s the “big idea” for the day: God’s love is an action. His love is never stagnant. God loves is with a love that chases is down and fights for us. There is an old poem called ‘the hound of Heaven’, it speaks of how God relentlessly pursues us even though we run from Him. That’s what His love is. It’s never giving up. Never battered down. Never beaten back. Always persuing us. God is waiting to come until the whole world hears, why? Because He doesn’t want a single soul to be lost so He bides His time until every ear has heard about Him, so that the ones left behind are there because they chose to be, not because they didn’t know any better. I bet it breaks His heart when people choose to not live for Him. He actively loves them. Actively pursues them. And actively holds all of us in His arms if we choose not to struggle away from Him.
God’s love is an action.
Lent day 20
This is funny. This was my last post three years ago before the first ever Covid lockdown in our area. We had a great church Survice, dad and I were working on the bathroom reno. Then the news it. I wonder if that’s the way it always is when something tragic happens. All is okay and normal and then it’s not. Praise God our family made it to 2023 and saw God do many wonderful things along the way. Tragedy happens in a moment, but so does joy. The world will never be what it was pre covid because the virus wasn’t the only tragedy that struck during those three years, and there’s no vaccine for the political crazyness or the way the Church has declained or the rights we lost as Christians without even knowing it was going to happen. You can’t wear a mask against the wars and disasters, or against the uprisings. But maybe during the darkness we saw Jesus shine brighter, bolder and as the sheep and the rams become seperated, maybe we are finally seeing what being a Christian is truly all about. In the end, Jesus is still King and Saviour.
Lent day 19
Every dead walking
Every can’t take another day
Every prisoner (in the mind or body)
Every never enough
Every striving too hard
Every filthy rags show off
Every. Single. Person
Is loved unconditionally by Jesus.
I know I’m a sinner. I know a fail Him every day. It’s hard to believe that He would keep reaching out and loving inspite of me. If Jesus didn’t love us we couldn’t be better than we are, we couldn’t throw away our sins and failures, we wouldn’t have a chance. It’s because He loves us that we can change. It’s because He loves us that while we were His enemies He died for us. We are all the Centurion at the Cross, holding a spear dripping with His blood in our hands as we realize, “this man must truly have been the son of God.”
We couldn’t repent of our sins and find Jesus if He hadn’t first paid everything for us. We no longer have an excuse to cling to our past, our sins, our filthy rags- Jesus died so that we would have a way out.
He gave us a way out of hell, not a free ticket to both the hell “party” on earth AND the paradise of Heaven. We get one or the other. But praise God that He is paitent and just so that no soul will be lost, because He wants all of us. God is the only one who can be greedy, and He is greedy for our souls, He does not want the devil to have a single person and will give up everything so that the devil can’t have us. If in the end every sould found Jesus except on and that one went to hell, that single soul would be on God’s mind all the time and would break His heart.
He loves us and gives us every opportunity to change and find him. We have no excuse, so let’s throw away the excuses and run into Jesus’s outstretched arms.
Lent day 17
Lupins are a beautiful flower that resides in many parts of… well…everywhere it seems. Once you know to look for them you find them rather often in scenes of nature. I even found a bunch by accident while exploring with my dog this past summer. Lupins are distinctive in the way that they look like wolves sitting back and Howling up at the Moon. They come in several varieties of color, and seem to be much loved by many gardeners. Which raises the question, why do people love the flower namesake after a wolf so much when people dislike wolves so much? Wolves get a bad reputation, flowers do not. Simple answer. Wolves get a bad reputation because they’re misrepresented a lot of the time. Wolves are actually essential to our ecosystem, they are great family members to each other, and opposed to popular belief they very rarely go after people. But ever since Little Red Riding Hood people believe that wolves are big bad Grandma eating animals. The wrong people were telling their story. The same can now be said of the Christians. In many cases we seem to have gotten a bad reputation. Movies, TV shows, even some books play a part in this. Christians are often represented as the bad guy, even to the place of documentaries about the Church that were against us and proven not to be accurate accounts have had lasting effects on the people who watched them, because you still can’t get the image out of people’s head even if the image is fake. Think about Jaws. The book came out, people read it,, the man who wrote it even said it wasn’t an accurate representation of sharks, and yet people went nuts and started fishing the oceans dry, killing as many sharks as they could out of ignorance and Terror because of one silly book. Sometimes sharks do attack. Sometimes wolves do attack. Sometimes people who claim themselves to be Christians don’t act like Christ. But when the movies come out and only show the one side of the story it gives a bad account for all who fall under the same label. I have had personal contact with Wolves. I’ve even shared my lunch with one. They aren’t out to get you. I’ve also had personal contact with other Christians. I’ve shared many lunches with them. They aren’t out to get you either. When the facts are distorted, and the story is told by people who are prejudice, the wrong image is set forth and people can be hated simply for something someone saw on TV. Doesn’t matter if it was true or not, people believe what they see and are easily fooled by a clever soundtrack and a well-paid cast of actors. So what do we do when other people tell our story and we are misrepresented? We keep going. We stand up and keep on being the True Body of Christ, showing what real Christians are like. We live a life that tells our own story, so people can see that the fake facts on TV are just that, fake. Don’t be afraid. Show what Jesus is really like through your lifestyle and ignore the haters that try and tell your story for you, making you the bad guy, cuz in the end you’re doing the right thing and it doesn’t matter how people who don’t know you paint you, because Jesus knows the true you and He sees you and loves you for who you are.
Lent day 15
What defeats you? Is it the chaos of the world? The sleepless nights because of finances? The car alarm going off at 5am? Losing your keys? If we’re honest, we realize that we can be defeated by the big sorrows and the little ones. Without God and with God we can have days and even years of feeling defeated. But there comes the difference. Without God you are defeated before you begin, with God you are never truly defeated because He is still fighting for you. I saw a thing that said, “when the world has you down on the mat, praise God from the mat.”
Praise is a crazy thing. It can shake you to tears of joy and sorrow, it can make you feel stronger when you feel weak, it can make you remember that God’s got this; because praise draws you closer to God. I sometimes wonder if praise draws us closer to God than even prayer? Because when we pray, most of the time it’s about us- but when we praise it’s always about God. Just a thought.
The devil hates praise, he knows it strengthens us and pleases God. So he destracts us, or makes us feel like it isn’t important, but we know that it is. Look for things to praise God for throughout your day and watch your feeling of defeat start to lift a little. Praise doesn’t have to be song, it can be a thought or even a feeling, maybe just a ” wow God!” Statement. He loves you. The three in one Trinity is fighting on your behalf. He will never let you down, even when you are on your back on the mat He is there keeping you going. You can and will get back up, if only you will look for His hand.
Lent day 13
For such a time
In the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, it is not until the oppressive dark of the mines of Moria that Frodo regrets having the ring. (Why ot deviated from the book here I will never understand.) In the book however, it is in his safe and happy home in the Shire where he first feels this dread. I find this important. As soon as he knew that the Ring was evil he wanted rid of it, he wanted to have no part in it, he wished it had never come to him, while safe in his home and fire blazing in the harth and a full stocked cupboard.
If only we as Christians would have the sense of Frodo. If only we would hate evil long before we ever truly saw it’s face. To find a device of it in our hearts and throw it away quickly. Instead we feel like we are part of something by keeping bits of evil around, by supporting things that are clearly sins or groups that disclaim the Bible and destort scripture to serve their own purpose. We let these things in and feel like we are smart, powerful, or even accepting by drawing close to sin. Then when the darkness is so great that we finally see it for what it is, it is too late. We need to flee from sin while we are still safe in our houses, not wait until we are face to face with the true evil, the puppetmaster if you will. Because in the end, all sin is of the devil, no matter how pretty the package. Letting even a little in and thinking well of yourself because of it will lead to greater sin until you are consumed, and all sin leads to hell, unless you bring it before Jesus and repent. Ask Him to deliver you and forgive you. He can do it even after the sin has grown and the bare face of evil stands before you, or within you, yet it’s easier on you if you turn to Him while the sin is still small and you are still safe at home, with a blazing fire and a full cupboard, long before you wander into the cold and dark.
Lent day 12
Which stream should I choose in life? With which path should I go? I say ‘why should I be stuck in a stream at all! Forced to go with the constant flow.’ If all streams lead to the ocean, then someday won’t I be free? But along the pushing path that others forge, will I forget to be me?
If God reaches down His hand from Heaven and traces a small path away from the crowd for me, then shouldn’t I follow that path with eagerness? Then shouldn’t I go willingly? The path has only room enough for one person, and I fear to travel alone. Yet if Jesus is with me, then I do not go alone. The hero often stands by herself, when the true battle begins to wage, but with the Spirit as my sword, Faith as my shield, I will not be afraid. I will follow my path to a greater ocean. Away from the pushing crowd, I will swim this special causway, I will not be drowned. If God has a path just for me, then why would I swim to the same sea, as every other fish in the stream and lose who am and sacrifice my dream? I will follow this path alone, with the cross before me and Jesus leading me home. – LVB
From the time we hit first grade we are being pushed toward a path. People say that each of our paths are unique, but if you are following along with the rest of the world then you are just another part of the crowd. Only Jesus gives us uniqe and individual paths, but they often lead us to be on our own. The path to Heaven is narrow and hard, the path to hell is wide and easy. Which path are you on? If you see the narrow path open up before you will you follow it? In my mind I see the narrow gate like a hidden entry that only reveals itself to the few who choose to look for it. If you aren’t seeking Jesus then you won’t find the path to Heaven. Which path are you walking? Would you like to switch and find the narrow gate? Then ask Jesus into your heart. You don’t need the sinner’s prayer specifically, you can come to Him with your own words and your heart open to find Him. Maybe you’ve lost the path and have been wandering in a fog. That’s not hard either, you can get back to the right path by asking for Jesus to help you. The answer is always Jesus. It doesn’t matter what the question was. If you talk to Him and look for Him you will find Him, because He wants to be found.
Lent day 5
Someone who is not willing to admit their weaknesses can only show their dark side to others.
Pride. One of the greatest and yet underrated sins. We fall and fail and struggle due to pride, and it is pride that often causes people to not follow Jesus, or to only follow Him in name- calling themselves Christians yet living as though they don’t know Him at all. Pride makes us weak but decieves us into thinking we are strong. Pride says that we have no weaknessess and are strong enough on our own. And when we believe that lie then all we can be is dark. The kind of pride that makes you think that you are always right, even when it’s obvious that how you are acting is wrong. The pride that says you are justified, even though deep down you know that you are sinning. The pride that says you don’t need God’s rules, just His best friend status. God said that there is no love in pride because He knew the evil pride would bring. When we see someone who is conceited and full of themselves, that person tends to irritate us, why? Because in truth pride is annoying to those around it. It’s harmful to those in it and around it. And it’s just sad, because pride shows the weakness of the pridefilled person. We all have moments of pride. Some are healthy moments where we feel pleased in an accomplishment, others are harmful moments where we feel better than someone else because of something good in our lives. The only way to fight pride is to acknowledge it and pray for God’s deliverance from it. We may have to do this everytime the feeling rises. But everytime God will help us, that’s who He is, and He is pleased with is for trying to do our best to serve Him.
Stop putting your chains back on.
When Jesus died and rose again He took our sins on Himself, He set us free from our chains- so why do we keep setting the locks back in place? We claim our sin as our identity, we tattoo it on our arms (or on our foreheads) we announce it with pride, yet it is what is killing us, it is holding us back, tying us down, and making us defeated. Those sins are nailed to the cross, stop tearing them off and sticking them back on yourself, you deserve more, you deserve better. You are loved so much more by Jesus who says to cast your sins aside than you will ever be by the devil who says to keep your sins and to wear them proudly, in fact mr. Do what makes you happy not what the Bible tells you to, doesn’t love you at all. The devil hates you. That’s why he encourages your sins. Jesus loves you. That’s why He tells you to leave your sins behind. Jesus set you free. So be free. Stop being a slave to the flesh. Be a redeemed, set free, undefeated, friend of God. For He called you by name.