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:

“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

Am I Living ‘Right’?

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please GOD, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the LORD JESUS to do this more and more.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NIV

Man, this devotion from Right From The Heart 1-Minute Devotions (day 213) really struck home. I’ve spent a lifetime searching for and choosing the wrong mate. Guess I’ve made a career of it, and quite a successful career, too. Over and over, making the same bad choices, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Oh, wait! That’s the definition of insanity! The devotion is titled “Finding The Right Mate.” Here it is:

Everybody wants to make the right choice in choosing a mate. What a nightmare if we don’t. [Side note: I can testify to the nightmare!] What a blessing if we do. If you are in a serious relationship, ask yourself these questions:
* Is this person my best friend? If not, you’re not ready.
* Do we share common faith and values? If not, you’ll have conflict and drift apart.
* Do family and friends affirm the relationship? Choosing a mate means choosing a family.
* Am I willing to make a lifetime commitment? Marriage is not for trying out. That’s a sure road to divorce.
* Do I want this person to be the parent of my children?
* Do I wake up to every day wanting to be with them versus convincing myself why I like them?
If you can say yes to each of these, you may have found the right one. If not, you may want to slow down or even call it off. But most of all, seek God’s will through prayer and be willing to follow His lead in one of life’s biggest decisions.

Out of all my relationships, and they have been many (believe me when I tell you that I am not proud of that fact!), there was one who fit all of those points. We had a good life together until an addiction to pain pills took over his brain and I was forced to leave for my physical safety. He was flawed, and so was I, but we had always worked things out and trusted and relied on each other. The enemy finds our weakest point and exploits it in every way possible, and in this the enemy succeeded in pulling us apart, but I am confident that I will see him again when I leave this physical body.

When we live according to GOD’S Law rather than submitting to our own desires, we will receive the Peace He offers us. That doesn’t mean we will always get what we want. My desire, and my husband’s desire before the drugs took him from me, was to spend our lives together doing a ministry we loved in the form of our Bed & Breakfast. There was a joy in our working together, and I was really angry for a long time at both him and GOD for allowing our dreams to be destroyed by something as stupis as drugs. Even so, I want that connection, that kind of love, again. I have made my peace with my LORD, and I have forgiven my husband for deserting me. As I live my life day to day, I strive to keep my focus on GOD’S desires rather than my own. Some days, it is really hard to trust that He really does have a plan for me, when all I can seem to do is worry about how I will survive this financial nightmare I am in. What I need to focus on is how I can serve my JESUS. Hear what He says:

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.” – Matthew 25:45 NIV
“For the SON of MAN is going to come in his FATHER’s Glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done.” – Matthew 16:27 NIV

What we do won’t save us, only accepting JESUS as our LORD and SAVIOUR will do that, but what we do does have a direct correlation to our heavenly rewards. I would be content to live in the poorest of hovels in heaven, as long as I am in the Light of His Eternal Glory. ( Although I’d really much prefer not to live in a hovel here on earth…. ) Get the focus off “me” and put the focus on HIM by spending time every day in His Word and in prayer, seeking His Will.