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.
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.
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.
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.
We needed Thomas to doubt.
Some say that Jesus was just a good man and a prophet- if that is true then we have no hope or reason to hope, because Jesus as just a man couldn’t pay for our sins and His death would be meaningless.
These same people say Jesus coming back from the dead and appearing to the deciples was just a vision given to the deciples by God of the man coming and talking with them, but that Jesus Himself was not actually, Physically there.
But when Jesus was with the deciples He met a friend who was so broken by His death that he couldn’t believe that the Jesus he saw was more than a vision or a trick of his mind. Jesus had to encourage Thomas to touch Him. To touch His scarred hands and the wound in His side and to know through that physical touch that this was no illusion, vision, or trick of the mind, He was actaully there; smiling, laughing and chatting with His friends. If Thomas hadn’t doubted his own eyes and needed the physical connection to Jesus, then those people who claim He was just a vision or illusion of grief wouldn’t have an eye witness account that could hold water, but Thomas actually touched Him, you can’t touch a vision, and if he hadn’t doubted that Jesus coming back was true -like so many still doubt today- then maybe we wouldn’t have the record of that human to human, flesh to flesh, touch that shows once and for all that it was a physical and real risen savior standing there. Thank you Thomas for your doubt, because it was needed for those who need proof beyond Faith.
When you’re working with your horse, remember that you’re not trying to perfect every single lesson everyday; you’re just trying to improve each one a little bit. Clinton Anderson
We get so caught up in perfection don’t we? It’s good but it could be better, seems to be an ongoing thought to general life, as well as our Christian walk. Now don’t get me wrong. We are supposed to live lives that are a reflection of our perfect Jesus. However. When we get our heads focused on us being perfect we tend to forget who we are trying to be perfect for, we can also work so hard at one thing that (like our horses) we get frusterated and learn to despise what we are working on. In the same way as when teaching your gelding to not spook at a flag, when you start and find that you are doing better than yesterday then tomorrow give yourself a break and work on something else. If you get so caught up in doing prayer perfectly or worshiping in the right way that you can forget that it’s about spending time with God, it’s about having a connection to him, it’s not about doing things perfectly, it’s just about doing better than you did the day before. And many times doing better than yesterday can simply be actually doing something. And if you do that something three times a week instead of one, then you’re improving. A Christian singer once wrote a song… okay many have written songs on this, but he wrote on feeling Christ deep in your soul, it’s more than hammering through your prayer list or trying to read a full chapter of the Bible before bed, it’s about being with Him. When we stop trying to be perfect and start working on communion, time spent alone with the Father, then we love past all other realms of religon and into truly being part of the body of Christ.
If this doens’t make sense to you then please ignore it, it makes sense to me because of my years training horses, but I don’t want to confuse anyone. Praying everyday and Bible time is very important. But it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to have you openly seeking Jesus.
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.
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