Like A Lion

I love Aslan the lion in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. With his rich imagery and expert writing, Lewis’s use of a lion to represent Jesus Christ is grounded in scripture, in Hosea and Jeremiah, Isaiah, Lamentations, Job, and Revelations:

“You must acknowledge no GOD but me, for there is no other Savior. I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, you became proud and forgot Me. So now I [the LORD] will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.” – Hosea 13:4‭-‬7 NLT

“But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the LION of the tribe of Judah, the Heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is Worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.” – Revelation 5:5 NLT

In studying the scriptures, though, I allso found many instances where the lion is used to demonstrate the anger and determination of our enemy, Satan. I don’t know why GOD woulld use the same imagery for His Son and His enemy, but I know He has a reason. When I see Him face to face, I’d like to ask Him. I do have a theory (and those who know me well would say ‘Of course you do!) ….

We know that GOD is the Creator; the Triune Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He made everything. He spoke the sun and the moon, the stars and the planets, light and dark into existence. He shaped the angels and the Cherubim and the Seraphim. He made Lucifer, shining star, son of the morning…. most beautiful among the angels. JESUS is the Bright and Morning Star. What’s different between the two? Lucifer, or Satan, is a CREATED being, and JESUS is GOD. They have been compared to Venus, the morning star – a reflector of light – for Lucifer, and the Sun, the true bright and morning star – the generator of light for the earth – for JESUS. Lucifer chose to disobey and challenge the Creator (his Creator); JESUS chose to obey His Father – not His Creator, because JESUS was and is and is to come; not created. (John 1:1-6) Isaiah tells us how Satan became the enemy over being one of GOD’S favored angels:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above GOD’S stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the MOST HIGH.’ ” – Isaiah 14:12‭-‬14 NLT

We can aspire to be like a lion in the strength we receive though our LORD JESUS CHRIST, or we can succumb to the great enemy as he prowls around like a lion, looking for any little weakness he can use to bring us down. We can whine and cry about our circumstances, or we can immerse ourselves in the WORD, surround ourselves with His angel army through prayer, and become strong through our LORD so that Satan stays defeated. The enemy only wins when we allow it!

“So humble yourselves under the Mighty Power of GOD, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to GOD, for He cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your Faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” – 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬9 NLT

Two more for the road:

“Then if My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

“And if these nations truly learn the ways of My people, and if they learn to swear by My name, saying, ‘As surely as the LORD lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among My people.” – Jeremiah 12:16 NLT

***That’s ‘swear BY ‘ GOD’S Name, not ON His Name!***

Photo credit: Victory Christian Fellowship

Perfect People

Do you know any perfect people? I don’t! I know people who think they are perfect, and I admit to having had that attitude in the past. I know a lot about certain subjects, and I know a little about a lot of subjects, and I am easily frustrated when I know the answer but no one wants to hear it. My word is my bond, but I’m not sure I always keep my promises, especially when it hurts. I try not to gossip, and I won’t speak evil of a friend…. but I do when it comes to people I don’t like. Lending money isn’t something I do. If someone needs it, and I have it, I’d rather just give it to them. Can you relate?

“Who may worship in Your Sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter Your Presence on Your Holy Hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD, and keep their promises even when it hurts. Those who lend money without charging interest, and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent. Such people will stand firm forever.” – Psalms 15:1‭-‬5 NLT

If we just read these verses, and then we look at professing Christians, we can pronounce without a doubt that no one (and we should include ourselves!!) should be worshipping in the Sanctuary of our LORD. So what are we supposed to do? If we don’t qualify to worship in His Sanctuary, where, then? Thank GOD that HE doesn’t require perfection! Looking back at the premise and initial question, we should remember that there is, in fact, ONE perfect person. One Who was everything that we should aspire to be like; never gossipy or cruel, One Who could not be bribed, One Who lived a perfect life. That One is JESUS, Son of the Most High GOD, the second part of the Triune GOD, the One Who sacrificed Himself so that we could worship in the Sanctuary of the LORD.

See? I was wrong to suggest I didn’t know a perfect person, because I know the single perfect person who has or will ever live on this earth. I have a real relationship with JESUS. I will never be like HIM, but because of His Love for me and His Sacrifice for me, I am washed and cleansed by His Blood, and I can worship in the Father’s Sanctuary. I’m still not perfect, I will never be perfect, and I will always be a hypocrite…. but through JESUS CHRIST, I am now imperfectly perfect, and hopefully the Light of my LORD shines out through the cracks.

Have a Fabulously Blessed day, my friends! Let His Light shine through your cracks!

Photo credit: Pinterest.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

It is well with my soul. Have you ever listened, really listened, to the words of that hymn? If you can, read the story behind the words Horatio Spafford penned in 1873. In tragedy, he found that “Peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). These are the original lyrics, as noted on Wikipedia:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to knowa
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! b

[a “know” (at the end of the third line) was changed to “say”.
b “A song in the night, oh my soul” (last line)
was changed to “Even so, it is well with my soul”.]

How many of us can say the same as Spafford? Can we lean on our LORD the way Spafford leaned on Him, and go on from tragedy – in peace! – and do the work GOD calls us to? I find it to be a hard task to let go of hurt and resentment, and yes, jealousy, because I compare my life and my hardships to others….. Oh, but that is just looking at the outsides of their lives! Do we really know what those we are looking at with their ‘better’ lives have gone through? Do we know their hardships and their tragedies? No! Even knowing someone well and having a closeup view of their lives doesn’t allow us to understand and to know what they have gone through. As humans, I think we tend to look at others through somewhat rosy glasses, and judge them for having what we think we want/deserve. Perhaps that’s why JESUS said in Matthew 7 not to judge others. For myself, on my own, I find it impossible to have peace and contentment. It is only when I can release the hurt and negativity to my LORD, and lean entirely on Him that I find peace, and then it is truly well with my soul.

Like everything else in life, attaining true Peace – through JESUS CHRIST – is a choice. Like Mary, listen to the words of the angel Gabriel:

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

And let my answer be as Mary’s: “I am the LORD’s slave. May it be done to me according to your word.” – Luke 1:37‭-‬38 HCSB

Amen.

From the Library of Congress.

Fear Defeated

“Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically (literally, do it from the soul), as something done for the LORD and not for men (Ephesians 6:7), knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the LORD. You serve the LORD CHRIST.” – Colossians 3:23‭-‬24 HCSB

“The Breakup Song” by Francesca Battistelli is brand new and worth listening to. So poignantly real for anyone who has been battling with fear…. Talking about the song, she says “Fear is a universal struggle. We all deal with it in different ways, but it holds us back from truly living. I came to the point where I decided I wanted it out of my life for good. This song is my anthem, and I pray it encourages others to break up with fear too.” (http://francescamusic.com/home) She is living the verses in Colossians, sharing her songs and her belief in JESUS CHRIST so beautifully. Another song by Zach Williams, “Fear Is A Liar”, is a powerful reminder that fear is straight from Satan (talk about a GOD-moment, it came on the radio literally as I wrote in the title! Gave me goosebumps! 😎 ) This is what he says about the song “…. we put a face to the name. We were calling out the devil for who he is, and reminding him that he was a liar, and that he has already been defeated. That was the idea for that song. I wanted something that people would relate to, and find hope in. For anybody who was struggling with fear or going through something, I hope this song gives them hope, to call the the devil out.” (http://zachwilliamsmusic.com/home)

There is one way to defeat fear. Call it by its name, and let the LORD take it and defeat it. I live with the fear of the future. How will I manage financially? Where will I be, physically and literally? Will I be alone* for the rest of my life on earth? (*Read my blogs “Just Kill Me Now” and “The LORD Your GOD Is With You.”) Do I live my remaining years on earth with enthusiasm and from my soul, or do I allow Fear, a.k.a. Satan, to defeat me? It’s really a choice that we all face in our lives at one time or another, and I appreciate these songs and take them as my anthems that Fear/Satan IS a liar and that I am “breaking up” with him. My prayer is for the LORD GOD, JESUS CHRIST my SAVIOUR, to defeat him today, in my life and in yours. Praise GOD, we are free at last! Amen!

From Slideshare.net, these are just a few of the fears we might face daily:

The LORD Your GOD Is With You

Wherever I go, whatever I do, I am assured that even if I am physically alone, I will never be alone. Does that confuse you?

I just spent the past month with my Mom, helping her prepare for a big move: 1000 miles, downsizing to a smaller apartment, closer to more family, and a much smaller community with help available as needed. It’s a good thing, although difficult, and a new adventure. I’m excited, because she’ll be 30 miles from me instead of 1000. I’m sad, too, because my baby sister and her family are still 1000 miles away….. (sounds like a good excuse to go back to the desert southwest for a visit!) My Mom has an abiding faith in our LORD, and she has learned to be content wherever she is. I loved being able to spend the time with her, because it helped me to see her contentment in the situation, even though it is stressful and difficult. The verse for the day encourages me to be like her:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:8‭-‬9 NRSV

The word “prosperous” jumps out at me. Growing up in the home of a small town Baptist preacher, we were anything but prosperous buy the definition of the world. There were many occassions when food and clothes were lacking, yet we were always fed, clean, and clothed. In spite of the small paychecks, my parents were faithful with their tithe and offerings of time. My Dad made sure that Mom was provided for when he passed on, too. I know it was hard on them both, being the pastor and the pastor’s wife meant they gave up major chunks of their lives in serving the LORD, but I saw – and still see – the truth of this verse in them: “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go.No matter where you are, how you feel, whatever your circumstance, hold on to this. Never alone! Amen.

Bitter, Wrath, Anger, Chaos, Slander

Sounds a bit like today’s society to me! Seems like every time I turn around, someone is spewing these at someone or something. How did the 1975 song by the group War go?

Why can’t we be friends, why can’t we be friends

The color of your skin don’t matter to me
As long as we can live in harmony
I kinda like to be the president
And I could show you how your money’s spent
Why can’t we be friends
Sometimes I don’t speak right
But did I know what I was talking about
I know you’re working for the CIA
They wouldn’t have you in the mafia
Why can’t we be friends

I thought they raised a really good question then, and it’s still a good question. Why can’t we be friends, and look past our differences to find our similarities? Skin color is probably the most divisive thing on the planet, whichmakes no sense whatsoever to me. We all bleed the same red blood, and although there are physical characteristics associated with certain societies and ethnic groups, they’ve come about to help us adapt to different climates and surroundings….. NOT because we are different races! Remember learning about the human race? How about that? And country pride….. for years we were simply American. Now, leaders are dividing us by insisting we call ourselves by country-origin, even if it was distant ancestors who came from that country. I could insist people refer to me as an Anglo-Saxon-American, or an Irish-American, or a German-American, or a Heinz 57-American. Why do we have to be hyphenated Americans? How many African-Americans or Chinese-Americans, Mexican-Americans or Vietnamese-Americans do you know who weren’t born in the U.S.? Doesn’t that make them just plain American? If I move to Bolivia, do I become an American-Bolivian? I don’t think so!!

As a nation, can’t you just imagine how much nicer, how much more peaceful it would be if we actually practiced the following verse in our lives?

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:31 ESV

Maybe you could try not reacting with any malice once today. See if it makes a difference ….. in your attitude. “Don’t worry; be happy!” How many times have you seen that on a bumper sticker, or said those words to someone? Mindless, really…. And it’s straight out of scripture!

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” – Matthew 6:26 ESV

The less we worry, the more peace we have. Since True Peace is from CHRIST, the more we worship and praise Him, the more peace we have! Getting rid of the bitterness and wrath and anger and slander and malice….. the more peace we have!

Sounds kinda like a no-brainer, right?

Artwork by my friend John Lawton, of Edmond, OK.

LET FREEDOM RING!

“For the Spirit GOD gave us does not make us timid, but gives us Power, Love and self-Discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our LORD or of me His prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the Power of GOD. He has saved us and called us to a Holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His Own Purpose and grace. This Grace was given us in CHRIST JESUS before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our SAVIOR, CHRIST JESUS, Who has destroyed death and has brought LIFE and Immortality to light through the Gospel.” – 2 Timothy 1:7‭-‬10 NIV

Okay, you are probably asking what in the world does this scripture have to do with our celebrating the freedom of our country today? Without the Freedom of our LORD, there is no other freedom. We are Blessed to live in this great country (yes, great, despite all of her problems) where we can believe and worship and give testimony to our beliefs without fear of government retaliation. It is nearly impossible to do this in many countries around the world. It is unfortunate, though, that even in the U.S.A. many followers of CHRIST are singled out and persecuted, while any and every other belief system is tolerated, and encouraged. Our soldiers and sailors, fly-boys and marines and other maritime services have given life and limb to ensure our freedoms….. yet so many citizens spit on them and ridicule and revile them for that service.

Today, I celebrate my freedom as a citizen of this great nation, and I celebrate my freedom from death through JESUS CHRIST. Both of these freedoms came with tremendous sacrifice! Not my sacrifice, but the unbelievable and incomprehensible sacrifices of our country’s men and women, and most importantly, the sacrifice of my LORD and SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST. Grace and Mercy abounds, Amen!

“If My people, who are called by MY Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I WILL Hear from heaven, and I WILL forgive their sin and WILL heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Time to hit our knees, people!!