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!

JESUS – Prophesy Revealed.

“He [JESUS] went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the LORD is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim Freedom for the prisoners and Recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed Free, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.” Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” ” – Luke 4:16‭-‬21 NIV

Can you imagine arriving at church one morning to worship, and someone you’ve known for years stands up in front of everyone and says “I am the fulfillment of the scriptures”? Can you imagine the laughter and scoffing? I think that very thing happened to JESUS. I’m sure someone said “You’re a good man, true, but the MESSIAH??? No way! You’re the son of Joseph, not GOD! Take it back!” We know that’s what happened because it is documented in the scriptures.

“All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way.” – Luke 4:28‭-‬30 NIV

Gotta love that last sentence! The people were determined to kill Him, and JESUS just walks right through the crowd and away from them. The confusion that had to have descended upon the crowd would have been a sight to behold, I’m sure. Most people known that He went on to teach and heal and minister for the next three years, until the rulers of Israel decided He was too much of a threat to them. All four Gospels tell the story of His ministry, His persecution by the authorities, His ‘trial’, torture, and crucifixion, and of His VICTORY over death and the grave! If you aren’t familiar with the whole story, read the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They are written from the perspectives of a tax collector, a teenager, a physician, and a fisherman – all first-hand observations of the life and ministry of JESUS, Whom they knew was the MESSIAH, as the fulfillment of the prophecies. Just ordinary people following an extraordinary Man, giving up their lives to follow Him.

We each have the opportunity to do what the disciples did: give up our selfish wants and follow the lead of JESUS – or deny Him. Do you know He is the fulfillment of propecy? Even the demons acknowledge that He is Who He says He is: the SON of the LIVING GOD, come to earth to sacrifice Himself so that we might each be saved from the very real eternity of hell and damnation. Are you willing to do the same as the disciples, to give up your worldly ways to follow JESUS; to open yourself to the attacks and harassment of the enemy, and the possibility of persecution or even torture? It’s more than just saying we believe! It is accepting Him as our SAVIOUR – something the demons won’t do, even knowing as they do the TRUTH of the Way of JESUS.

JESUS answered [a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council], “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. You should not be surprised at My saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the SPIRIT.” ” – John 3:5‭, ‬7‭-‬8 NIV

Are you born of the SPIRIT?

Photo credit Wallpaper4God.com

My Life’s Work

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD, knowing that in the LORD your labor is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

“I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalms 34:4 ESV

I want to be like Paul, to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the LORD … ” and like the psalmist, “delivered …. from all my fears.” There’s only one way to achieve this, and that is the Way known as JESUS CHRIST. Let Him into your life and your heart, leave the worries and cares of this life in His capable Hands, and spend time every day with Him – in His Word, and in prayer, asking for His Will to be done in your life. That’s it. Simple, short, and sweet.

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

The Way

“You have done many good things for me, LORD, just as You promised. I believe in Your Commands; now teach me good judgment and knowledge. I used to wander off until You disciplined me; but now I closely follow Your Word. You are Good and do only good; teach me Your Decrees. You Made me; You Created me. Now give me the sense to follow Your Commands.” – Psalms 119:65‭-‬68‭, ‬73 NLT

Come worship with me this morning! Listening to Pat Barrett singing “The Way.” The refrain goes like this:
I believe You are
The Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are
The Way, the Truth, the Life
I believe You are
Oh, You are
Oh, You are

“Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23 NIV

I am now officially an ordained minister. I have the lawful ability to perform marriages and baptisms, funerals and memorial services. I got the ordination in order to be His disciple and to share the Love of our LORD JESUS CHRIST whenever I can, and I am excited for the possibilities. God alone knows the mistakes and hardships I have faced to get to this point, and He alone knows what I will face in the future. That last part is probably a good thing; if I could foresee the future, I’d probably run screaming in the opposite direction!

I think that humans, as a whole, are searching for the blessings, the Joy, and the fulfillment of our lives. That search opens our hearts and souls to influence and suggestion, and unfortunately, the enemy Satan is standing close by with his legions to pull us away from GOD. The really sad thing is that no matter what we do, what dreams we have, without JESUS, we will never know true happiness and fulfillment. So many people I know believe that they are ‘Christian’ because, overall, they are a ‘good person’. That’s not how it works. They claim the name, but don’t understand the Truth, the Way, and so they aren’t able to find real contentment – the contentment that comes only through JESUS CHRIST.

Heavenly Father, CREATOR and LORD of the Universe, my prayer today is that you will open opportunities for me to minister through my ordination, and that I will recognize the opportunities, and embrace them, when confronted with them. Guide me, too, LORD, to stay on the straight and narrow road, no matter how enticing (or how scarey!) the distractions from the enemy. Amen.

Photo credit Twenty20.com

Oh, SNAP

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21 NIV

Read that again! Several times the scriptures talk about the tongue, and how it is the most powerful weapon we own. From the Psalms to the book of James, there are multiple verses that tell us how dangerous and damaging – even damning – the tongue can be if we don’t control it. I can testify to that! It can be a little comment, like “oh, you look so much cuter that way,” or “wow, you look really nice today.” Was the recipient not cute before? Does that person usually look bad? I know those are the kinds of thoughts that have gone through my mind when I get what I call ‘backhanded compliments’. Other times, we can be quite deliberate in our put-downs. “You really need to lose that extra weight. That’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen! Why do you stay with that loser? Your place looks so much better without all your pictures and clutter/junk around.” Really? My body, my ‘stuff’, my home. If our choice of partners are such losers, and we, as friends see it but don’t say anything before the relationship gets too involved, what gives us the right to be ugly about it later? Who are we to critique anyone else?

“Follow GOD’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of Love, just as CHRIST Loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to GOD. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for GOD’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” – Ephesians 5:1‭-‬4 NIV

What a Friend we have in JESUS… Forever and ever! He will never give a ‘backhanded compliment’, only Truth in His unchangeable, unfailing, incredible Love. My prayer is that GOD will open my ears so that I really hear how my comments sound, before they leave my mouth! Guard my heart and my tongue, O LORD. AMEN.

American, My Home

“If at any time I [the LORD] announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” – Jeremiah 18:7‭-‬10 NIV

From history, we know the country we now call the United States of America was founded by early settlers who crossed the ocean, fleeing religious persecution, bigotry, and poverty. Yes, I am aware that there were already native people here, and yes, I will stipulate that the new settlers brought their own forms of bigotry with them, but that I don’t want that to be the focus here. Founded as a Christian nation, with Christian values written into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have strayed far from the Founder’s vision of a united, free nation. It seems as though anything and everything is acceptable today – that is, anything except following JESUS CHRIST and proclaiming that He is LORD. I’m afraid that GOD was speaking directly to the U.S. in verses 9-10, and in these next verses, too:

“….. ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’ ” – Jeremiah 18:11‭-‬12 NIV

Why do we do that? Telling GOD, our Creator, no??? Here He is, telling us plainly what is going to happen to us, to our nation, if we don’t make some major changes, now. I can’t change the world, or the state I live in, by myself. Individually we aren’t very powerful, but together, especially when we allow GOD to work with us and within us, we can do anything. That’s what he tells us in 2 Chronicles, giving us hope of salvation for our nation, and even for our world.

“…. 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