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.

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!!

“A Wise Person Once Said …..”

How many times in your life have you heard a sentence that started with those words? Maybe the better question is how many times did you listen when you heard those words? Remember what GOD said:

“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools. The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” – Ecclesiastes 7:5‭, ‬8‭ NIV

If you were like me, you didn’t like being told someone else was smarter or knew better than you (still a problem for me sometimes!). I read these verses and heard lessons and sermons on the words from Ecclesiastes. In school I learned that Abraham Lincoln, a very wise man, said “Do we not destroy our enemies when we make them our friends?” How can that even be possible? I mean, when someone hurts me, whether intentional or not, or physically or mentally, you are telling me to make that person my friend? Even JESUS teaches us:

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …. ” – Matthew 5:44 NIV

I don’t want to pray for those people, let alone be friends with them! I want to take revenge. I want them to hurt more than they hurt me. I tell you the truth, if I had listened, had really heard my parents and my teachers, I could have bypassed so much of the hurt in my life. Being associated with and influenced by peers who are not Christians leads to a lifetime of pain. I never wanted to be rebuked for the things I did and said that went against the teachings of JESUS. I wanted to have ‘fun’, and to ensure that I did, I chose to listen to the siren song of fools. I was so busy having fun I didn’t have time to think about how miserable I was. Thankfully, for all of us sinners – and that term encompasses the entire human race – there is Grace and Mercy offered freely to us. We have the choice. Do we live with gratitude and love, or do we stumble and flail our way through life? Do we keep a sober mind (having a glass or 2 of wine or a beer can actually be good for you; it’s the excessive drinking that gets us into trouble)? Is it our choice to satiate our minds with excesses of ‘fun’ and business and even family to the point of putting the LORD in the background?

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” – 1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9 NIV

Pray for your enemies. Love those people who make you angry and who hurt you. Seek out the ones you don’t want to forgive and make them your friend. Sound impossible? That’s because it is impossible in our human capacity. It is only with GOD’S Love and GOD’S help that any of this becomes possible. Pray for me that I may walk the walk. Amen.

Could I Wash Your Feet?

Insecure, introverted, shy, lacking confidence. These are words I would use to describe myself, but there are some who would say those traits aren’t me, and that instead I am outgoing, boisterous, and assertive. Have you heard the saying, “Fake it till you make it?” Forcing myself to interact in social situations when I really just want to be invisible; taking the lead at work; standing in front of a crowd and speaking my heart….. sometimes it feels like my heart will burst out of my chest from nerves! Left to myself, I wouldn’t choose to share my story, but my GOD had other ideas! Through the Grace and Mercy of the Living, Loving, LORD, I have shared my story of redemption in large and small groups as well as individually. I have no confidence in myself, but I have every confidence in my LORD JESUS CHRIST and His Redemptive Power. LORD, let my words always be Your Words, and my actions reflect the Love and Mercy you have shown me. Be with me when I fall short of your example, as I do every day. Let Your confidence be mine. Amen.

“Let us then approach GOD’s Throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive Mercy and find Grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16 NIV

A few years ago, our pastor and his wife demonstrated what it means to humble themselves and have a servants heart. They took people from the congregation and washed their feet, I was humbled to be a part. To have a leader, a teacher, kneel to do something so base, is difficult for me to describe because it touched me so deeply. Imagine if it was such a profound moment for me, how must the Apostles have felt when the Messiah, Saviour of the world, GOD, knelt in front of them to wash their feet? What a beautiful picture! That’s the attitude we need. Humility, and confidence in our LORD JESUS. Amen!

Listen to “My Story,” sung by Big Daddy Weave

Just Kill Me Now

“You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20 NIV

Can you imagine being sold into slavery by your own brothers? It happened to Joseph, whose brothers were so jealous of him that they went to drastic measures to get rid of him. They thought they were sending him into a life of servitude and misery, but the Almighty LORD used that action to save millions of people’s lives. Joseph rose from horrible circumstances, a punishment he didn’t deserve, to become Second-in-Command to the Pharaoh of Egypt, who was essentially the ruler of the known world. I can testify to being treated badly, and treating others badly. I don’t claim any kind of uplifting like Joseph’s, but I do claim, and proclaim, that JESUS has lifted me from some pretty bad situations. He has saved me from my bad choices and poor decisions, and He has never forsaken me. Through Him, I have had the privilege to share my story of redemption to hundreds of people, and pray that I will have opportunities to share again and again. If my story can reach even one person, and help them find their way into Jesus’s arms, then I would have accomplished something! Even then, it’s not about me, but the Saving Grace and Mercy of our LORD.

There are been a number of instances in my life when GOD was justified to take me out of this world. I was living my life, totally out of turn with CHRIST, and He Loved me through it, never leaving me to face the enemy alone. There have been people in my life who intended harm, who deliberately hurt me, and I have returned that harm….. not something I’m proud of. Let JESUS into your heart today if you haven’t already. Remember Paul’s words to the church in Rome:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the LOVE of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV

You can kill my earthly body, but you cannot kill my soul.