“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 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 19
Watered down peanut butter. My dog is on a diet. I used to freeze peanut butter treats for him, however lately I’ve been having to water them down so it’s mostly water with a tiny bit of peanut butter. And he’s fine with that. There’s enough of a taste of what’s real that he’s totally satisfied with the water down treat.
We water down scripture. In our churches and our mission field. People are still totally satisfied with the water down version. There is enough of the real truth in the diluted version that people soak it up, thinking that is all there is. We’re not getting the real treat, or in this case the real gift of God’s word, because we’re so afraid to preach the truth that we watered it down. How much are we missing? The tiny bit of real we get isn’t enough to sustain our Immortal Souls, though it’s enough to satisfy our mortal Minds. When will we see the truth? When will we get tired of not getting the full amount and just having a watered down treat?
Lent day 16
Run back to the Bible
Even people who heard Paul preach the gospel of Jesus had enough wisdom to go back to the texts and see if they jived with what Paul was saying. We hear so many speakers these days that we can get caught up in religous theory and forget what the Bible says. In fact when you think of it, that was the big issue with the Pharisees. They had drifted away from God’s word and what was written, and had wound up in the pit of their own beliefs that they spoke as though it were gospel. Not all did this mind you, but many did. Jesus said Himself that He didn’t come to change the law of Moses, the rules given by God in what we call the Old Testement, He came so that we might have life instead of death. Our speakers these days can be great and sent by God, some may even be prophets, but if what they are saying doesn’t run parallel with the Bible, then what they are saying is an opinion and needs to be ignored. Also, do some research and find what Bible is the most accurate translation so you can have one to read, there are many odd versions out there that have twisted the scriptures to sound pretty but have hurt their original meaning, a good NIV study Bible is always a good friend to have. In the last days there will rise up many who will try to deceive while hiding behind a Jesus saves T-shirt, if we don’t know the scripture for ourselves we can easily be pulled away from the truth. So, if you hear something, even from a pastor, that sounds like God wouldn’t have said that, go and check your Bible, see what it says and then go from there. Because people can be deceived, but the word of God is always true.
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 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 10
Like it or not, we are part of the world around us. -Pat Terry
I like the world around us less and less. There is so much evil and sin. Today I saw that a kid’s show meant for six year olds and up has had adults, with clearly nothing else to do with their time, going on the internet and discussing how the two little boys that are the main cheracters are probably gay and if they aren’t, should be. Little kids. Forced by adults to be something they are not. Friendship has been killed by this way of thinking. When I was a kid, not very long ago, two little boys walking down the street holding hands meant nothing, now it is forced to mean something. Caring about your friends is seen as a sexual desire and pure innocence is left hanging for the vultures to pick at. On an add for another show meant for children I saw covens, people being possessed and animal sacrifices used to increase dark magic. This show was intended for eight years old and up.
It’s hearbreaking if not simply outrageous to see what is happening to our minds and the minds of those around us. Sometimes it feels like there is no hope or escape for or from thos darkness as it gains ground over the world. But God. God told us to be not conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our spirits. Our bodies may be stuck in this world, but our souls are from another world, our souls are Heaven bound and belong to Jesus who died for them. The battleground between carnal body and eternal soul is in the mind. The mind can convince you that evil is good and that there is no such thing as sin. That’s not true. The mind can be a safe haven from the darkness if we give it to Jesus and let Him have dominion. It can also be a place of desolation if we let it be beaten down by what goes on around us. Like it or not we are part of the world around us. But we don’t have to be sold out to that world. We are supposed to be strangers to this evil planet and to help show others the way out, the way to Jesus. Thank God that, as Larry Norman once said, we are only visiting this planet. Our home is in Heaven and we aren’t supposed to be comfortable here, we are supposed to long for our eternal home.
Gaurd your mind and fight for it’s sanctity, because it is the final ground to fight on and too many of us forgo that front and let it be taken by the enemy. Take heart and have hope, Jesus has a plan, He has a future, He has not forgotten or forsaken you and someday, if you hold true, you will be with Him in paradise.
Lent day 9
Let a righteous man strike me- that is a kindness; let him rebuke me- that is oil on my head- Psalm 141:8
David was a man after God’s heart. That doesn’t mean he never screwed up, it means that he repented when he did. He was human and made human mistakes, however he truly loved God and wanted to make things right with Him as fast as he could when he sinned. Few true followers of God commit sins on purpose, and when we do sin we try to repent quickly. I like the second half of that verse the best: let him rebuke me-that is oil on my head.
David was a shepherd, so he would have known that oil on the head of the sheep was there to fend off flies. We do this on the bellies of our horses on the farm too. To him being rebuked by a righteous man was the same as having insect repellent placed on his head. It warded off the attacks of evil emotions and desires. He didn’t take being rebuked by someone closer to God than himself as an offense, rather as a kindness. David didn’t shy from a corrective word from the pulpit, he knew that being close to God was greater than his feeling of self importance.
May we all have a spirit that thirsts after righteousness, because we long to know God’s face.
Lent day 8
I rejoice in your word, like one who discovers a great treasure.
I saw this today on facebook. I didn’t look at which passage it was and now can’t find it so forgive me for that.
Treasure. What a strange thing it is. We covet treasure and search for it and cling to it. Treasure is something greatly cared for and longed for. We treasure our family. We treasure our spouse. But do we treasure God? Do we treasure His word? When you think of who you could not live without, where does God fall on that list? We played a game once as a family. If you could only keep three books that you owned which three would they be? My mom immidiately said the Bible, she knew that she needed the word of God above all else. Now imagine a world where the Bible meant death if you carried it, so you hid it under your clothes and shared it with great caution, but you kept it despite it’s dangers because you cherish it. Some people in other countries are forced to do this. People who will have the biggest mansions in Heaven, because they have loved God the most. I don’t know if that’s true, God probably gives the same mansion size to everyone, but I think it would be fair if God gave them more. We are so used to freedom that we don’t cherish it, but I fear a day is coming when we will have to hide our Bibles too. Will we? Do we treasure the word of God? Do we seek after it like a precious Jewel and write it on our hearts? Is God precious to you?
Lent devotional 6
Don’t wait for the movie.
(I do have a point to this so bear with my beggining example)
In re-reading the Fellowship of the ring I have been reminded of the saying, “I’ll just wait for the movie.” Using LOTR as my example, the movies were all good, but in comparison to the books they seem like sad rip offs. No offense intended. The books have so much more to them right down to the description of the clothes. On top of that there are many, many, many scenes in the movie that are twisted and contorted out of context and sequence, so you lose much of the story line and plot.
People treat the Bible in this same way, (not that I am placing the two on the same shelf. One is fact. One is fiction. One brings amusement. One brings life.)
People act like movies about the Bible, devotionals or writings on the Bible, novels involving the Bible and so on, are fine reolacements for the actual thing. Many of these are good, but they are not intended to replace the original manuscript. As CS Lewis once said, “these things are good supplements, but they don’t replace the actual food.” In this he was speaking of his own writings, saying that they are fine additional studies for the Bible but do not and can not replace the actual thing.
There are many good movies and even TV shows done around the Bible and I, along with many others, applaud them. But again we’re getting the problem of people using the shows and movies as a replacement for the word of God. And like how the Lord of the Rings movie took sections of the book and change them and even added to them for the movie, which took away from great parts of the actual book, these movies on the Bible do the same thing. There is nothing wrong with that, as long as people remember that they are just creativly licensed copies and that there is still a need in their lives for the actual book it’s self.
Don’t wait for the movie. You’ll be missing out on the wonder and truth of the Book.
I am in no way criticizing or condemning these movies and TV shows. I believe they are good, and that we are blessed to have them. I also encourage you to rent and buy good movies and TV shows on the Bible as they will be a pleasent addition to your walk with God. My point is simply that they are not a replacement for the Bible itself.