Only JESUS Is Enough

“And they laughed at Him [JESUS], knowing that she was dead. But He took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then He directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.” – Luke 8:53‭-‬56 NRSV

“Once when JESUS was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The MESSIAH of GOD.” Those who are ashamed of Me and of My words, of them the SON of MAN will be ashamed when He comes in His Glory and the GLORY of the FATHER and of the holy angels.” – Luke 9:18‭-‬20‭, ‬26 NRSV

I see a major recurring theme around JESUS and His ministry. He never does anything for the glory or recognition of it. When He heals someone, He invariably says something to the effect of “Go, and tell no one.” Looking at the big televangelists, it’s all about showmanship and ratings and money – bigger and better. That’s not the Way of JESUS. Personally, I want to be like Billy Sunday or Billy Graham or Bill (‘Billy’) Henry. Not the crowds that gathered to hear them speak, and I’m pretty sure they would each scoff at being described as eloquent or charismatic; instead, they were humble and gave all Glory to GOD. There are countless other preachers and teachers, past and present, who display the humility CHRIST shows. The song “Only JESUS ” by Casting Crowns is one I believe all Christians could use as a theme song. In an interview with frontman Mark Hall by TheChristianBeat.org, he said: “There’s much talk these days about legacy. How do we want to be remembered? The more I think about it the more I’m reminded that anything in me that’s worth remembering are the things that Jesus has worked on, and is still working on in me. On my own I have nothing to offer the world, but Jesus does – so don’t mind me. Jesus is the only name to remember.

When I die, it doesn’t matter if people remember my name, but my prayer is that they will remember me as ‘that woman who loved JESUS.” When He returns in His Glory, I pray that I have shown that I was not ashamed of Him, so that He will not be ashamed of me. Like Mark Hall of Casting Crowns says, so do I, On my own I have nothing to offer the world, but Jesus does – so don’t mind me. Jesus is the only name to remember.

AMEN!

Are You Listening?

I follow Graham Allen on Rant Nation. Yes, he uses rough language at times, and yet I listen to him. He has lots of tatoos, and I watch him anyway. He posted a video (“The Light of the Lord,” in case you want to watch it 😁 ) about a comment a woman – who said she was a Christian – said to him about his tattoos. She didn’t like the tattoos; therefore, she “couldn’t stand to look at him.” Really??? Woman, did you hear yourself? Are you even listening? I’m working really hard not to be judgemental here…. JESUS has something to say about it, too.

But I say to you that listen, LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to those who hate you, BLESS those who curse you, PRAY for who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. GIVE to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. DO TO OTHERS as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD, and LEND, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be MERCIFUL, just as your Father is Merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. FORGIVE, and you will be forgiven; GIVE, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” – Luke 6:27‭-‬38 NRSV

If that last sentence didn’t grab your attention, perhaps you should read it again. I did. I think maybe we, meaning every single person who claims the name of Christian, should print out those verses and post them on our mirrors so that we see them Every. Single. Day. You might not need it, but I need the reminder. Me. The person who doesn’t love my enemies (I hold grudges and have a hard time letting go of hurts), who has trouble doing good to people who don’t like me, and especially doesn’t want to pray for blessings on any of those people!! Then I read that sentence again ” ….. for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.Whatever I do will – and does – directly affect me. Not ‘karma’, JESUS. Thank you, Graham Allen and Rant Nation, for reminding me what, and WHO, is really important.

‘Perfect’ Christians

Perfect Christians don’t exist, nor do perfect churches, and anyone who tries to say differently is a liar and possibly a fool.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to His [JESUS’] disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” JESUS answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Luke 5:30‭-‬32 NIV

Do you find a sense of relief in this passage? I do! Knowing that JESUS came for me, the bruised and the broken, full of faults and cracks, it’s amazing, …. and unbelievable??? Why would the King of Heaven, Who created this amazing universe, care about an insignificant being like me? I say inappropriate things, I want to be the center of attention, I keep getting involved with men who just want to use me. I’m selfish and self centered. All these faults, and JESUS Loves me??? I used to be one of those people who thought that I had to be perfect for GOD to Love me. You know, wear the ‘right’ clothes, act the ‘right’ ways, don’t smoke or drink or curse or dance. Be in church for Sunday school and training union (Sunday evening classes) and services, and Wednesday prayer meetings. I was pretty self-righteous and judgemental, and it can still creep up on me at times – I have to be on guard against it.

There’s a song from Hilary Scott (of the group Lady Antebellum) called “Thy Will” that seems so appropriate for me – and probably many others – right now. Here’s the first verse:

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

Sound like anything you’ve been through, like feelings you’ve felt, thoughts you’ve had? Then I follow it with this beautiful song by Lauren Dagle, who sings from her heart:

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory,

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe

I think that sometimes we think, we believe we are following GOD’s Will, but maybe it becomes more what we want more than what He wills for us, and maybe, sometimes, it is His Will that we go through the hard time so that we remember that He is GOD, not me or you. I don’t like being told I’m wrong, or that what I’ve done wasn’t correct, and I’ve never liked being called out or disciplined. It makes me bristle and want to argue, to show that I was right, dadgummit, even when it’s the LORD GOD Who is doing the discipling! Really, do I honestly think the CREATOR is wrong? Yeah, oops. I think it’s pretty obvious that I am far, far from perfect! But, perfection – and perfectionism – aside, the GLORIOUS Truth is that our GOD, our LORD and KING of Heaven, LOVES me, Loves us, anyway! He Loves us through our imperfections and our brokenness, He Loves us regardless of our silliness and stubbornness – HALLELUJAH! Remember what JESUS said: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

I thank my GOD every day for the gift of His Salvation, even when I’m felling down because of the situation! Can you say the same? Oh, I pray that you can! All the brokenness, all the junk and bad times probably won’t meticulously change for the better, although our LORD can do anything, especially the things that we see as impossible.

This is what God says to us, and whispers in our ear:

B.I.B.L.E.

So you like anagrams? Me, too! Here’s another one I have seen:

Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. B.I.B.L.E.

For several years, I was a leader in the recovery program at my church. We asserted (and I still do) that 1) Everyone alive has Hurts, Hangups, and Habits, and 2) There are two types of people in the world – those who need recovery, and those who are in recovery. The small groups I led were made up primarily of women who had suffered some form of abuse in the lives; some had been in horrific situations. Why didn’t they just leave, you ask? Oh, it’s not that simple, and it’s a subject I have addressd in previous blogs, so it won’t be dealt with today. In our ‘Basic Instructions’, a very important thing I’ve learned is that any situation we find ourselves in, whether by our choices or someone else’s choices, we don’t have to go through it alone. Read all of Psalm 27. These are a few of the verses I like to share with my ‘girls’ – and also with any man who is struggling. Struggles and hurt are not gender specific!

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. You have said, “Seek My Face.” My heart says to You, “Your Face, LORD, do I seek.” For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” – Psalms 27:1‭, ‬3‭-‬3‭, ‬8‭, ‬10‭-‬10‭, ‬13‭-‬14 ESV

If you are paying attention, I have used these verses in other blogs. They are very appropriate scripture verses to use every day! In verse 10, the psalmists states that his “father and … mother have forsaken” him. I was blessed beyond measure that mine did not forsake me when I was caught up in the enemy’s traps, although they were hurt beyond imagination by my lifestyle. That, unfortunately, is not always the case. For a number of my girls, the abusive lives they were trapped in was, in fact, perpetrated by their very own parents. It’s frequently on the news as well, when parents, foster parents, relatives, and other authority figures are the sources of abuse. I can’t even imagine how an adult can be that way to a child, or another adult. It is straight from the depths of hell. But read on to verses 13-14!

“I believe that I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

We read these verses with incredible Hope. I, too, like the psalmist, believe that “I shall look upon the Goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! I see it every day. The Goodness of the LORD shines through the changed lives of the women (and men) who have sought the LORD in their lives, and allows others to see how Good He is, for:

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be Praised, and His Greatness is Unsearchable.” – Psalms 145:3 ESV

Do you have the Hope, the Peace, the LIGHT of the LORD in your life? He doesn’t care how ‘bad’, how broken you are. He wants us as we are. He is the Great Physician, the Creator and Craftsman. Ony the LORD can repair us and hold us together. Don’t mistake this to say that once you receive JESUS CHRIST as LORD of your life, everything will become peaches and cream. Au contraire, my friends, when we allow Him to Love us as He longs to, the enemy, that prince of everything dark and evil, known as Satan – our enemy will hit us with anything he can come up with to turn our face away from the LORD. It often works, too. When the abuse doesn’t lessen, when our finances get worse instead of better, when illness seems to loom over us and our loved ones, even death…. we can reach for heaven and the Peace of the Holy Spirit, or we can fall into ugliness and despair. It’s always a choice; one that I confess to messing up quite frequently.

“For from HIS Fullness we have all received, Grace upon Grace. …. For GOD so Loved the world, that He gave His Only SON, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For GOD did not send His SON into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Only SON of GOD.” – John 1:16; 3:16‭-‬18 ESV

AMEN. How will you fare when standing in front of The Judge?

F.E.A.R.

I ran across the best anagram!

F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

How great is that? We know that the enemy wants us to run away from GOD and His Will, so he – Satan – is constantly throwing scary things in our paths. It might be a memory of an instance where we failed in something, or it could be an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. The enemy can’t read our minds, but he is very adept at reading us by our facial and body expressions. From watching us throughout our lives, he can make very accurate guesses as to how we might react to certain things, and he uses that knowledge to put obstacles in front of us. Our LORD knows how devious and sneaky the enemy is, and He provides a Light to show the falseness of those fears and obstacles in the form of JESUS.

“The LORD is my Light and my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the Stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” – Psalms 27:1 ESV

“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the Salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the **Egyptians** whom you see today, you shall never see again.”-
Exodus 14:13 ESV (emphasis mine)

Those Egyptians that the Israelites feared are our fears! Replace the word “Egyptians” with whatever fear you are facing at this moment, and say it out loud for the Power of JESUS CHRIST to work in your heart and your mind:

Fear not, stand firm, and see the Salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the {name your fear!} whom you see today, you shall never see again. Get behind me, Satan, in the Name of JESUS, for you hold no power over me!

Powerful words! The Name of JESUS. Listen to Chris Tomlin sing the song by that name, The Name of JESUS. What a beautiful, moving, powerful Name!

Courageous

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” – Proverbs 17:22 NIV

And just what, exactly, does courage have to do with a cheerful heart? I am asking myself that same question…. All I can do is follow the prompting in my heart and explore what it is that GOD is trying to say to me (I’m notorious for tuning HIM out so that I can hear ME better….)

The definition of courageous is “not detered by danger or pain; brave.” I am emphatically NOT courageous by definition! What I have found in my own life is that when I listen to my GOD, and follow through with what He is telling me, it requires some courage on my part. When I accomplish the objective, and even if it’s not accomplished but I know I gave my best effort, my heart is cheerful. If I don’t even try, my spirit is crushed and my attitude spirals. Danger is often subjective. Obviously I don’t mean physical dangers you can see: a chasm in the roadway, snakes …. and other wild animals lke bears – and skunks! …. someone breaking into your home. Less obvious dangers can be the person you can’t see on the other end of your computer (stalkers, people wanting to make you a victim), a gas leak, having a blowout. There are individual dangers, too, that no one else can perceive. Fears of the dark, heights, meeting new people, driving, having to ask for help, even the danger of physical pain can prevent us from stepping out courageously, to do GOD’s work.

“No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is Right, to love Mercy, and to walk Humbly with your GOD.” – Micah 6:8 NLT

There’s this thing that happens inside of us when we take that first, courageous, step past our fears and our perceived dangers. Our hearts open up and we become susceptible to GOD’s Mercy and His Blessings in our own lives. When we don’t take that step, our spirit begins to die, figuratively. It becomes crushed. A friend told me once that if I refused her help, I was stealing a blessing away from her – did I really want to do that? A crushed, dried up life doesn’t know courage or recognize blessings, and it misses out on GOD’s Mercies. Being courageous doesn’t mean bragging and boasting of our accomplishments. It means walking humbly in the shadow of the LORD, doing, to the best of our abilities, whatever He should ask of us. Remember what JESUS said:

“…. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” – Luke 12:48b NLT

Listen to Casting Crowns sing this scripture in their song “Courageous”!

Photo by Horsley Lab – Harvard

I BELIEVE In Mercy and Grace (Thank GOD!!)

I BELIEVE In Mercy and Grace (Thank GOD!!)

“As for [me], [I was] dead in [my] transgressions and sins, in which [I] used to live when [ I] followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit [Satan] who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” (Emphasis is mine – Instead of pointing to ‘you’, I admit my complicity in these charges laid out to the church in Ephesus by the apostle Paul.)

“But because of His Great LOVE for us, GOD, Who is rich in Mercy, made us alive with CHRIST even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by Grace you have been saved. And GOD raised us up with CHRIST and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in CHRIST JESUS, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His Grace, expressed in His kindness to us in CHRIST JESUS. For it is by Grace you have been saved, through Faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the Gift of GOD – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are GOD’s handiwork, created in CHRIST JESUS to do good works, which GOD prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:2‭-‬10 NIV

Have you heard “This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong Worship?” It begins like this:

Our Father everlasting
The all creating One
God Almighty

Through Your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Savior

I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in one
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the name of Jesus

Knowing that I am a sinner, and that I am only saved from an eternity of pain and suffering because of JESUS CHRIST and His Love for me – for me – (even though I deserve His wrath!), makes me incredibly thankful for GOD’s Mercy!

There are no coincidences in life – as I began writing this morning, this beautiful song by Hillsong came on the radio, and a little later Lauren Dagle’s song “Trust In You” began. I need those reminders to help me look beyond my own troubles and focus my eyes back on the LORD and His Mercies.

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the LORD JESUS has given me – the task of testifying to the Good News of GOD’s Grace.” – Acts 20:24 NIV

What is your life worth to you? Do you believe that this wondrous, incredibly complex being that is you, this creation of the Almighty GOD of the Universe, is just going to turn to dust when you die? Do you believe you will be reborn in karma, or just cease to exist altogether? I don’t understand those views. Intellectually, maybe, but in my heart? No…. we are too intricate, our bodies too intriguing, to have come from nothing without the guiding Hand of the Creator. Come to JESUS and the cross where He has already died for your sins. GOD’s Mercy and Grace awaits you!

Image credit: LCC Daily Devotions