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Suiting up

Every hero has their costume. Without it, they simply don’t look heroic.
If John Wayne didn’t wear his hat he would still look like a hero to us, but that is simply because we have seen him in action. On the other hand if you saw All Might walking down the street in civilian clothes he would look, well, a little bit like a hippy; but full dressed in his hero outfit, he looks like the symbol of peace. Right? Right.
People can’t look at us and see that we are God’s heros. We are always in civilian wear. We can’t suit up and say, “fear not, for I am here!” Because we have nothing to suit up with. Like the Duke (John Wayne) we have to let people know what we are all about by our actions. If they see us acting like Jesus then they will know, “we are here to help✌.”
So, suit up everybody. It’s time to act like heros.

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Standing in the blaze

The flames will only make me stronger-Zeno

People often call the testing of God, “going through fire.”
Actually bad things in general are often called tests of fire too.
Right now it feels like the whole world is burning, being tested by fire.
One of my absolute favorite novel characters ends up in a burning building. You guessed it. Even though he is not the main hero he ends up having to save everyone from the collapsing, burning building. When the others argue about leaving him behind to be engulfed by fire he responds with: “don’t worry. The flames will only make me stronger.”
For those who are wondering, no, he does not die. Though badly burned, he makes it out alive.
Do we live like that? Do we see our “flames” as something that only makes us stronger?
I know that I don’t. Though the power and beauty of fire is nice at a distance, walking through that fire is not something to be called, “enjoyable”.   But just because you hate it, and just because it hurts doesn’t mean that God isn’t making you stronger through it.
During these difficult times I challenge you to read through the story of the three Hebrew boys, pick the verse that most speaks to you, and put it up someplace in your home to remind you that the flames will make you stronger.
Daniel 3

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The party that shakes the skies

Jesus ascended to the Father before returning to see His friends. Recall, He told the women not to hold to Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father.
Imagine the party, the shouts of joy, the resonating songs, the moment Jesus’ feet touched Heaven once again. There you see God running to His boy and thrusting His arms around Him. There you see Father and Son weeping outloud, and laughing as they hold each other. It had been so very long and now they are together again. Watch the angels hoist Jesus onto their shoulders and cary Him to the party as the hosts and the guests of Heaven cheer and shout. The hero had returned. What a party for the hero who had been gone so long. How will we party when Jesus returns physically to us again?

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Jesus was busy this Saturday

Our feet feel the squish of who knows what? The air is some sort of un- breathable fume and the walls are wet like tar. But we asked to come, so here we are.
Wails trick our ears from every corner and sunshine is a distant memory, but there is hope. The jingle of keys in a strong and determined hand. Several people join our ranks, faces I never thought I would see as each door is opened. Jesus smiles as He sets the last of the captives free.

Imagine being there with Jesus. Walking through hell and setting the captives free. The Bible says that Jesus took the keys from the devil. You didn’t think He kept them as a souvenir did you? He used them to free those imprisoned by death. Death before Jesus would have been terrifying. Death now is a glorious reward, Heaven.
What would it have been like to walk through the devil’s territory and let free those who had been waiting there for Jesus? Imagine the joy. Imagine the disgust and horror the devil must have felt? It would have been glorious.
Thank you Jesus that we can live unto you and no longer have to fear death because you died for us. Amen. 

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Betrayed love

Betrayed love

His head hung as the smile left his lips. This wasn’t right. Was it?
He took a deep breath and leaned in for the kiss.
This was wrong. Wasn’t it?
He looked into the eyes of the man before him. So filled with pain and sorrow. This is so very wrong. The other man just stared. Then his eyes moved past his betrayer to the soldiers behind.
What have I done?
The betrayer ran away, leaving his friend, no longer his friend. He ran and ran until he couldn’t run anymore as grief and guilt tore his soul.
What have we done?

What have we done?
How many of us have betrayed our Jesus at one time or another? Yet He still loves us. That has never changed.
His heart breaks as we betray Him. His heart loves us still and that is why it breaks.
What a paradox. What a mystery. That the king would leave His royal throne, to save a wretch like me. -Petra
We are all wretches, loved by a loyal king.
Reach out to Him today. He is reaching out to you.

If you have never accepted Jesus. Or feel a need to renew your faith. Please pray with me:

Dear Jesus.
I am a sinner and I know I need salvation. Forgive me for my sins.
Thank you for coming to earth to save me.
I accept you into my life now. Guide me to know you more.
Amen.

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Friends

I will follow you anywhere. Even past the realms of death to that which lies beyond.
So says a true friend.
I will go through death alone and move through what lies beyond alone for you. So says the truest friend. Jesus.
No matter where we go we are not alone; and for the places where we cannot go, Jesus goes alone without us to fight our battles for us.
Isn’t that an encouraging thought.

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Sever

Sever skin from bone

-Snap- the screams echo through the halls. It’s dark and dry. Thirst. Need. Fear. Pain. -Snap- another shriek. Your turn next.
Trembling. Is this an illusion? A nightmare? No. The tearing at your skin from the rats shows that’s not true. Is anyone out there? Someone to save you. -Clink- Doors open. “Leave!” Gruff voice. Daylight. Tears. Relief.
Screams.
Not yours. Out comes a man. His face is twisted and he drags his body as he walks. You run over just in time to catch Him.
“Sir. Are you alright?” Blood soaks your palms. A weak smile. Sweat. More tears.
A whisper. “For you, I did this.” Death.
3 days. Arms lift you up and spin you around. ALIVE! RISEN! FREE!

I hear the best torture professionals could sever skin from bone with a single lash. Have you ever had a cut bone deep? I have; it’s agonizing, I still have the scar.
Imagine 49 of those covering your body.
They spare some details in the movies because I am sure that Jesus wasn’t free standing, He most likely was tied to something to hold him still when they beat Him. Also. He probably threw up blood till He couldn’t anymore. The screams and cries of anguish, (anguish we should have bore) would have been sickening to the audience.  It would not have been anywhere near as gentle as we see it in our minds.
Image one hundred billion names or more tattooed on the end of the whip. Look closely. There is your name. No! Don’t look away! Watch as it drives itself into your savior’s back. That is why we serve Him.
I know most people will walk away from this and shake their heads and try to remove these images. But don’t. Lest we ever forget that Jesus SUFFERED and died. Those lashes were yours, and mine.

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A day of tears

Day of tears

‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
  I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’

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Shattered at the root

Foundation shattering

It’s 1:30 in the morning and the hospital just called. It looks like my grandmother could be dying. She is my step grandmother, but still very precious to us. The true heartbreak however is the crushing blow this is delivery to my grandfather. He had lost somebody dear to him before when my nana died and we don’t want to see him suffer like that again. It’s moments like this I feel Foundation shattered. Moments where I see people who are stronger than any of us fall on their knees and say, “God what did I do wrong?”
For something to shatter a strong Foundation it has to be a strong blow. Don’t we all have that happen? When things go so so very wrong we don’t know where to turn? The wave hits so solidly our foundation is shattered and we start to feel ourselves fall into the ocean. We have all had moments where we look up to God and we say, ” dear God where are you right now? Are You still here?”
He is still here. In the midst of us. We just don’t understand, and we can’t understand because we are not God. Is that a good enough answer? No. No we deserve a better answer. Or at least that’s how we feel, but we probably couldn’t handle the full truth and God’s reasoning because we aren’t Him. It might not feel like a good enough answer but it’s the only answer that I have. No matter what happens God is still King that is all I can put my faith in. We Still Believe.

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Your name

Your name

Walking down the street in the late afternoon sun. A bell jingles as you open the door to your favorite coffee shop. Your back is sore and your clothes are scuffed from a long morning as you walk up to the counter. Then the waitress behind the counter smiles. “Hi……..! The usual?”
You nod and smile back with a please and thank you. Feeling a little more refreshed you accept your coffee and leave with a wave.
Isn’t it great to have people call you by name?
Names signify belonging. We give names to our vehicles, our guitars, sometimes even our favorite pair of runners. Why? Because it signifies that they are important to you. You call them by name because you have a connection.
When people have a connection to you they call you by name. Sharing a name with a person makes you instant BFFS because you have a unique connection.
Jesus calls us by name; not because He has to, but because He wants to show is that we are important to Him. He wants us to know that He knows our name and that we have a connection to Him.
Jesus. God. Savior. Knows your name.