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!

‘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:

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!

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.

Taste and See

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s Greatness; let us exalt His Name together. I prayed to the LORD, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with Joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; He saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is Good. Oh, the Joys of those who take refuge in Him! Fear the LORD, you His godly people, for those who fear Him will have all they need.” – Psalms 34:1‭-‬9 NLT

JESUS CHRIST, my Living LORD! LORD of ALL; CHRIST Alone, Cornerstone.

“This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my Refuge, my Place of Safety; He is my GOD, and I trust Him.” – Psalms 91:2 NLT

I BELIEVE, LORD, help my unbelief! Just like the man in Mark 9:24, I do believe, yet I struggle to believe that the LORD GOD of the Universe has time to deal with my situation. A true oxymoron! I believe, yet I doubt. “Oh, the Joys of those who take refuge in Him!” Why do we doubt that the Almighty, the One Who created us, the Universe, from nothing (not space dust, not primeval sludge…. out of nothing but His Words as He spoke the Universe into being!) – how do we doubt that He, the LORD GOD Who knows how many hairs are on my head, can take care of my petty (in the bigger picture) issues? It’s just so hard to let go!! (No control issues here …. as the people who know me are rolling on the floor laughing!!)

It is hard to trust, especially when a life has been full of broken promises, heartaches, and fractured dreams. GOD knows this. Isn’t HIS life full of them, too? First, His most beautiful creation, the angel He called Lucifer, rebelled against Him: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” – Isaiah 14:12 KJV. Then, man, Adam, whom the LORD created to be His companion, who was created in GOD’s Own Image : “So GOD created man in His Own Image, in the Image of GOD created He him; male and female created He them.” – Genesis 1:27 KJV – this man and woman, who were given the world, literally given the world, decided they could do better than the LORD in making their decisions. Over and over, man has disappointed, rebelled against, and cursed GOD. What heartaches we have caused our Creator! We break our promises, we bargain with Him – LORD, I promise I’ll go to church every Sunday / start praying / quit drinking (you get the picture!) if You’ll just do this thing for me…. and I’m as guilty as anyone to try to bargain with Him!

We thiink that He doesn’t answer our prayers when we don’t immediately get the answer we’re looking for, but that’s not true. He always answers every prayer that is prayed, it just isn’t always the answer we want. He might say ‘yes’, He might give an audible ‘no’, or He might say ‘wait’. That’s the answer I seem to get a lot, and I know there is a purpose …. but it doesn’t make the wait any easier! What do we do when He says ‘wait’? Get frustrated, irritable, angry? Truthfully, I’ve been all those things. No, it’s much better to do as the psalmist wrote: “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” – Psalms 27:14 KJV

And so I set myself to wait, to pray and to speak His Name; to boast on the LORD, and to taste and see that He is GOOD. Amen!

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.