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Speak Jesus

Lent devotional 18

I will speak Jesus and the devil will flee because he knows that name and what it means for him.
Darkness is inevitable, there will always be darkness in this world because it is dying. People cling desperately to things that don’t matter, trying to make it feel like they aren’t about to be consumed. But there is a name the darkness knows and flees from. Speak Jesus. The devil will lie to you. He will try to make you feel lost, left behind, confused, worthless. Speak Jesus. He will show you that you are found, accepted, loved, wanted, valued. Jesus is coming back to take us home. The darkness of this world will not haunt us in the presence of Jesus. Where Jesus is there is no fear. He is light. Brilliant light. When this world dies we won’t be with it. Imagine seeing Jesus coming and picking us up in his arms and laughing and smiling, holding us close and saying, ‘come on precious, let’s go home.’
Jesus drives away darkness, present darkness and eternal darkness.

Christianity · Devotional · free · guidance · Jesus · lent · The Bible

Lent devotional 2

What’s that you’re reading?

As I have been reading Brother Andrew, I have noticed a startling consistancy. Whenever he smuggles Bibles into shut door  countries, the people who receive them treat them like they are holding onto Jesus Himself. So much love and tenderness is felt toward this book that we in North America take for granted. A minister in Poland recieved a Bible for the first time and he actually wept. He had borrowed Bibles from the two parishioners who owned a coveted and precious copy of this book, and for the Church survice he would borrow one to read from and then, with a lingering caress along the cover he would return the Bible to the owner. To suddenly have his own caused his hert to burst- true story.
Bibles were selectfully printed under the constraints of the government and then put to a price that the common person could not afford, that is why this pastor sufferd for so long without one. In another case, a pastor in another country who did have a Bible, a worn out copy he had purchased off a street peddler, worked day after day to type out the missing chapters of a Bible he had managed to purchase that had pages torn out which had been sold seperately so the person would make more money. While sitting at an ancient typewritter, the man worked alongside the first Bible he had in his possesssion to restore this “new” one so that he could give it to another pastor in a different region who’s church did not have a whole Bible, but only pages that had been handwritten from various people over the years who had been able to borrow a copy long enough to write out some of it’s contents- true story.
People say, “Ya, but that was then.”
No. This is now. There are still many parts of the world where this is exactally what the Christian lives are like. Some say we should keep our Bibles to ourselves and stop pushing them on other countries, but we aren’t pushing them on other countries, other countries are pleading for them. They are longing for a Bible of their own. Some say to leave these people alone because they are better off without God. Oh really? They don’t seem to think so. They came to Jesus on their own and only God, Himself knows how because it is not an easy task, nor is it even really legal in these countries. But somehow these people found Jesus, or He found them, and now they long for, cry for, yearn after a Bible for their church. One Bible for their whole church! This book that so many disdain and look down on, that sits collecting dust on shelves in people’s homes here in our country is so desired in other countries that people are willing to sacrifice their homes, their jobs, even their freedom, just to have a copy. One man was recorded bringing four Bibles to country churches whose pastors didn’t have a Bible, when asked if he was afraid of punishment if caught he responded, “This. This is nothing. Four Bibles is a small sentace, four months in prison at best.”
That’s a month a book. How many of us would feel the same? He didn’t even register that a four month prison sentence in deplorable conditions was a huge sacrifice in the eyes of us here. Compared to what he had suffered for his faith in the past, it was nothing to him. Oh how we take for granted that book so cherished by others. May we remember our family in Christ who longs for a Bible, and touch ours more tenderly and read it more often, knowing what a blessing and privilege it is.

Blog · Christianity · Devotional · Jesus · The Bible

Are we being Deciples of Christ

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:15‭-‬17 NIV
There is so much packed into this verse that you almost have to take it piece by piece to make sure you heed it properally. Lately. And I don’t mean the past month, I mean the past few years. The word ‘Christian’ has lost it’s meaning. Christian used to mean Christ follower, like Christ. It used to mean changed and a better person, yet the word has lost it’s meaning as people have claimed it as an excuse for un-Christlike behaivior and speach. We are under a banner that used to represent the living Church and the living Word of God. Now we are being strangled by a banner that people have crawled under to hide their sins but have not repented or changed from them. To verbally assault people on the internet and then spew a Bible verse is heracy to say the least. To rebel against and speak offensively about our police and military who are trying to do their jobs and protect us is wrong. We are to live in a way that cannot be brought up before a court. We are to be humble and kind yet unrelenting, unrelenting in our belief in God not in our own opinions. We are seen as evil because of false christians who don’t even try to be like Christ. People then claim that they are right because Jesus was a rebel against injustice. That one makes me slap my forehead. Who was Jesus a rebel against again people?
If I randomly choose a raised hand in the crowd the answer will be the same as every hand out there. He was rebel against the Church leaders and the government.
Okay. You mean the leaders who were making it so that they were seen as higher than God and were opressing those who were already suffering? (Quick disclaimer: We have to realize that not all the church leaders of Jesus day were like this and when He chided them He was speaking to the ones who were being sinful and caliming it as God’s will, like what we have been seeing in our own ‘Christian’ people over the past several years)
You mean the government who was beating and slaughtering His people? I see a wave of nodding heads. Okay.
How did Jesus respond? Please don’t mention the table throwing thing, that was a one time event. How did He respond the rest of the time?
With words of rebuke some days, with shows of His might as healed people and spoke the thoughts of those who stood against Him, but mostly He responded with love. He loved them. He loved the begger by the pool of Bethsaida, He loved the guard who was raising a whip against a slave, He loved the phairasee who was praying out of habit but no substance for the million time. Thier siffering, the suffering they caused, and the indeferance broke His heart but He still loved them. All of them. All of us. Jesus wasn’t burning people in the comments section and then claiming to be praying for them, He didn’t hate one people group and love another, if He had He would have only saved the Jews and we as the gentiles would have been left in the cold, He certaininly didn’t cause violence and claim it as His right to stand against opression. He caused healing and generosity and, wait for it, LOVE.
You can be bold and powerful and meek and gentle at the same time. The Holy Spirit fights for us. The devil got into the church and made us become our own worst enemy. Take it back to the Bible. What would Jesus do?

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No string attached

No strings attached with God
We as humans tend to put contingincies on everything. I will come if…. I will do that if…. even with God we tell Him we can do a certain thing for Him if….. please feel free to place your own excuses in the if blank, I have put my excuses in there in my mind. But God comes to you with no strings attached. He loves you unconditionally, He desires your presence as a parent desires to be near their child or a friend to be with their friend, God has no strings attached. He just wants you. You might say, “but He wants me to go to Church and pay tithes and spend time in prayer, those are strings attached.” No, God does not need you to do these things for Him to love you, He needs you to do these things so you learn to love Him and trust Him more. If you sinned right this second and in the same instant fell down and cried out to God do you think He would ignore you? No. He would come to your side anyway, because He loves you.
God requires things of us so we can go to Heaven, that is true, but He requires nothing of us for His love.

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Where does the money in the bucket go?🤔

Where does the money in the bucket go?🤔

Once again I saw a person who decided to complain about the 10% tithe that is asked for in Church, they stated- as so many do- that God is only after your money. I then realized for the first time that most people probably don’t know where the money from their tithe goes and that that is why they get so upset about it. In truth I did not know myself until until my family took a temporary position as the pastoral staff of a small country church that presently boasts a whopping ten people. We used to be bigger but over the past two years several people passed away and others moved and that left us a little barren- we are praying for more people to come so our church can be a larger community again so if you wish to join us in that prayer we thank you. Let us start with the most commonly misunderstood thing about churches, churches are NOT funded by the government. I don’t know if they were at one time, but they are not these days- at least none of the churches my friends, family or I am in connection with are. All the money the church has comes from tithe and donation. Where does that money go? To the rental or ownership of the church building and land, to taxes (yes churches have to pay taxes too), to heating and cooling the building, to hydro and electricity, to the staff (if the church has a staff), to missions, to random people in need that church is asked to help, to the insurance company and if there is any money left that goes to paying the pastor- who often has a second job because he or she doesn’t make very much unless he has a crowd of several thousand in attendance, yet he or she went to college from anywhere between four to eight years like most people with a degree so they would make much more than they do if they had a different job, but they aren’t in it for the money, they are in it because they love people.
Why do you not simply go to online only church services and save money? Great question, I know pastors who have done that. Do you want to know where your tithe goes at a church like that?
To- wait for it- insurance, and licensing, to site rental or ownership, to missions and the random person in need that the church is asked to help, to taxes, to paying the filming squad and the website managers, to the renewal of your domain name which your site requires, to the cost of air time, and last but not least to your pastor.
God asks for tithes, not for Himself, but for His church- literally. Tithes keeps the building standing, the hungry family in apartment building C fed, a roof (however humble) over your pastor’s head, it pays for you to watch your favorite minister speak for free on youtube, it pays for the new well in small country’s poorer section, your tithe doesn’t go into a piggy bank that God empties for candy every weekend, it goes to the people, to the community, to the coffee and sugar you take for granted in the lobby of your church. That’s why we tithe. For the people who choose not to, that’s your right, but please stop fussing at those of us who love God and our Church and want to give to keeping our building heated, that’s our right.

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We all want to be more. More than we are at this moment, more than we dreamed we would be, more than enough. And it is not easy. All you can do is what is in front of you at this moment. Striving to be the best YOU you can be is not a bad thing, but the person you are right now might be the person you are meant to be. God often has to remind us to be still and to trust in Him, when things are not progressing or going the way you expected, when you are not reaching beyond your own expectations it can be hard to calm down and remind yourself that you are okay as you. God will grow you when He feels you are ready to grow. Trees don’t complain when they are a few branches short of how large the wished to be or when they have a smaller ring count than the tree next to them, they simply grow in God’s time and that is what we have to do. Wait on the Lord. Be still and know that I am God- Psalm: 46:10

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We as humans tend to used descriptive language often. We say things we have built or roads we have taken are drenched with our sweat or our tears. When we redid our house I often said it was coated in my blood from the two or three minor scrapes I received while working on it. Drenched, coated. What if our lives were drenched and coated, not with blood, sweat and tears, but with prayer? What difference would we see? I once heard a mission planter say that he truly saw the difference come when he began to pray. He worked on his own for awhile, but then he started to coat everything in prayer and that was when things began to happen. My grandpa is a prayer, no matter what we do, before we do it he prays. It may take time but in a bit you see that exact prayer come true and crazy things that shouldn’t be possible start to happen. I used to think it was because he is a retired pastor and God just hears pastors better, but I found out after trying his technique that it is simply because he pours himself into a thirty second prayer before doing anything. His weakness in the moment gave God room to show His strength, so grandpa eventually got to a place where instead of becoming stuck and needing God to bail him out, he just handed it all over to God in the beginning and watched God work. If we drench our days, familys, selves with prayer we will see things begin to change. It may take time, but it will happen.

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

Wandering souls

Wandering souls

Little bright lights floating in hollow shells. Searching for a true connection. Is hope in the number on your friends list? Is Faith in the stars or the sun? Is love in a box or a crate on your door step? Where does the light go to find home? How does the shell become filled? It sees another light and reaches for it but it flutters away in fear. You see, most soul lights are afraid of eachother. They fear being known, being seen, being exposed, they fear growing too bright and being criticized so they flee from eachother. They flee and stay dim. But there is a soul light that reaches relentlessly, the original light that refuses to give up. It sees the little soul light reaching for someone to love and it runs to it, wrapping the dimming light in it’s own exuberant glow the original light causes the wandering soul light to grow bigger and burn brighter. Faith, hope, love and happiness all resides in the light that empowers the soul light. Some dim lights flee from the blaze, others see it and draw near and are caught by it and begin to burn brighter themselves. The light continues to spread and to refuse to give up. It’s bold and bright and warm and takes in all the lights that draw to it, filling their shells with light until the whole being glows.

You know that soul lights are us, that the original light is Jesus, and that the bright burning soul lights are the Christians. Without Him we all remain dim, but with God we can burn brightly and fill this world with joy and light and hope through Jesus.
Burn on little soul light and don’t give up.

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He isn’t flying away

Jesus isn’t a little bird trying to fly away from you, He’s a man who is there for you to trust and lean on- a solid rock on which to stand. He’s not fluttering by and have to try to catch Him, He’s standing there with His arms open ready to embrace you.
If you know nothing else about the Bible but the fact that God sent His son to earth as a human baby to be stripped, beaten, spit upon and killed by the people He loves so much; if you know that a man tempted by sin but pure enough not to fall into it died and took the keys out of the devil’s hand and freed the captives from hell and ascended to Heaven, and you know that He is waiting for you to come to Him so Heaven can be yours too, then you know the greatest grace, mercy and miracle in the whole book. He wants you so come to Him.

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Jesus was brave. We don’t often use this word for Him, certainly not during Christmas, but He was brave. He was scared, of course He was, but that didn’t stop Him. He was sick with fear at the Garden, He was in agony at the cross, sometimes I wonder if as a crying baby in a manger He was crying for the future and what was coming to pass. Don’t say that a baby couldn’t know those things, that weight was His reason for being here on earth- He was born to die. He knew what was coming yet He spoke anyway, He knew what it would cause yet He healed and prayed for people and loved the rejected, and prepared for what was coming. From the Manger to the cross Jesus was brave. I can only hope that in this dying world that wants to kill off anything that is still alive, that I will be brave too. Just like Jesus.
Fly free souls and know that He is coming again, this world is not ours, this death is not ours, this pain is not ours, because of a baby born under a star in a barn in a small town called Bethlehem. That baby was called Emmanuel, and He is still with us today.