“__________” Lives Matter

“For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.” – 1 Peter 1:24 NIV (Isaiah 40:6-8)

Remember singing this as a child?

“Red and yellow, black and white, we are precious in His sight, Jesus Loves the little children of the world!”

We should be singing this every day, but substituting the words “all tbe people” for “little children”. He loves us, ALL the children …. He LOVES us!! He doesn’t care what color I am on the outside, because we are all the same without our skin. I find myself discriminating against people more for their appearance than their color, and that is just as bad as discrimination for color. We are called to love EVERYONE, regardless of color, or appearance, or political beliefs; EVERYONE, regardless of actions. I know firsthand how difficult is when a person has hurt you. Proverbs 10:12 says: “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” The LOVE of JESUS covers over ALL wrongs…..” This is so true. When I stay angry, or tense, or full of hatred, it REALLY affects me. Mentally, it gives me worry and stress headaches, and physically, it gives me stomach cramps that lead to ulcers. Does it hurt the person who harmed me? No, not all. They go on with their lives while I pay the price in my body with the hatred I carry. Just say “A pox on them!” and let it go. Remember this:

“For GOD Loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish….” – John 3:16 NLT

Do I believe that this gives people who intentionally hurt others a pass? Absolutely not; I know that anyone can accept Jesus and experience His salvation (Hallelujah!), but we still have consequences for our actions. I can’t imagine how that will work when we stand before the Great White Throne for judgement by the Supreme and Almighty LORD of the Universe. All I can say for sure about that time, is that I know my Advocate is Jesus, and that I get to spend eternity with Amen.

ALL lives matter to Jesus. Red, yellow, black, white, blue. All the people of the world.

Revelation!

“Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Hab. 2:2‭-‬3 NIV

Heaven and hell; Real, or imagined?

What do you say? I pray, for your sake, you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, that you pray and study the Bible, GOD’S Word, and that you believe that is true. I pray that you have said “Yes, I believe there is a heaven and a hell.” I have nothing to gain by asking that question, but you have EVERYTHING to gain by believing and knowing the Truth. Jesus said:

“I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. NO ONE comes to the FATHER except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know My FATHER as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” – John 14:6‭-‬7 NIV

How cool that must have been for the disciples, when they begin to understand that they were actually in the presence of GOD! I will eventually get to see JESUS face to Face, by imagine! The crowds of people and the disciples…. they walked with Jesus and they talked with JESUS, in the flesh, where they could look Him in the eyes and receive His Blessings in person. How AWESOME is that! It won’t be long for the rest of us, and we will get to see Him, too. Before that happens, we have to deal with our world as it is: messed up, polluted, filled with corruption and evil. The Ren Collective sings a song that says “I need a miracle.” So do I!

We have something as Christians that is uniquely ours, and that is our salvation. We know where we are going, and we know, or should know, that we can run to JESUS when the world tries to overwhelm us. Is that where you run? Do you ask Him for clarity of thought and protection? If not, …… WHY?

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near……. “Look, He is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of Him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the LORD GOD, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.” ” – Revelation 1:3,7‭-‬8 NIV

AMEN.

Endurance

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly GOD Loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His Love.” – Romans 5:3‭-‬5 (http://bible.com/116/rom.5.3-5.NLT)

I find myself exhausted from the problems and trials we face today, as I am sure many others are facing the same. So much killing and mayhem and disrespect, and for what? We certainly don’t live in a perfect world, and in the United States, we have problems… but we also have choices, more than any other place in the world. If certain actors and athletes, politicians and business people, Trust-fund babies and others have such a problem with living here, then why don’t they leave? It isn’t as though there aren’t enough people trying to get in to our nation that we couldn’t replace those who want to leave. Seriously, think of all of those outspoken people who publicly expressed their intentions of leaving the country if Trump won the Presidency…. And horror of horrors, he did win, but those same people are still here. Why? It’s not like they can’t afford to leave. The truth is that they can’t find another place on earth where they can spew their messages of hatred and evil with the freedom they have here. It’s just too easy for them to remain, plus they have their soapboxes already prepared here. The truth is, it would require to much effort on their part and they aren’t prepared to expend it.

Personally, there isn’t another country on earth where I would rather live. Oh, I would love to be able to travel and visit more places; getting back to Europe, going to Canada, traveling to the Middle East and the Far East, Australia and New Zealand, Africa… it’s all on my bucket list. Before all that, though, I would like to travel these United States and explore it from New York to California, and Alaska and Hawaii. (Dream on, sister!)

Take all of the problems we face, and they are many, and there’s no way we can deal with them on our own. They are too heavy to carry on our own, and when we try to handle all these things by ourselves we become physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. Fortunately for us, we don’t need to do it alone. We have access to the One Who can carry it all for us; however, in order for Him to take it, we have to let go of the burdens. I’m not saying it’s easy to let go, because I know firsthand how difficult it is. Remembering that the GOD of Creation is waiting for me to relinquish my burdens, and reminding myself of how much greater He is than anything or anyone in this earth…it’s often a full-time job! He is Capable; He is Mighty.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials….” (verse 3). This is the most difficult verse. Rejoice, Rejoice, REJOICING in adversity and trials. My human nature would rather destroy the thing (s) that hurts me, but our God says to Rejoice. Rather than wallow in the anger and frustration, the depression that stalks us (ALL sent by the enemy, satan), lay it all at the bottom of the cross, at the feet of Jesus. He is our sole source of Salvation. Not a priest, not Buddha or Vishna, not Mother Earth or any other gods. “Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered.” – 2 Peter 2:2 (http://bible.com/116/2pe.2.2.NLT)

The TRUTH: “Jesus told him, ‘I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the FATHER except through Me.’ ” – John 14:6 (http://bible.com/116/jhn.14.6.NLT)

AMEN.

Words of Life

What a wonderful, life and love filled world it would be if we could just follow a few simple words!

“Children, obey your parents because you belong to the LORD, for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.” Parents, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them …. ” Ephesians 6:1-4 NLT

Simple words, easy to understand; not always easy to follow when the parents don’t honor the LORD with their lives. I know so many struggling people, in church, in the recovery programs, and in life, whose parents were far beyond anything worth honoring. Parents who sold their children for sex, parents who abused and brutalized them, even parents who used their own children in satanic rituals. It’s incredible that a parent could treat their child in these ways. Difficult to believe? Absolutely. Even witnessing the physical scars and permanent injuries, and seeing how hard it is for these children, who are now adults, share their stories…. first one-on-one, and then in small, safe groups of people with similar backgrounds, I find it almost impossible to comprehend that a parent could even imagine abusing their child in such a way. Yes, it’s incomprehensible, but it is real.

How do you tell a woman who has been abused her entire life by her earthly father, and often her mother as well, that there is a heavenly Father Who loves her beyond measures? A Father Who will protect her soul for eternity? I have a couple of friends who struggle greatly with this. For one whose parents sold her as a sex slave, and another who was forced to participate in horrific satanic rituals and sacrifices, it’s almost impossible to comprehend a loving Father. So many women (and men) use sex to cover the pain. It becomes a power thing, where she (or he) controls the act, and can even offer a fleeting few moments of physical pleasure. It is a brutal addiction that Satan capitalizes on. He thrives on the pain and addiction, and pushes for more. He is the father of lies and deceit, and he promises the pain will go away if the addict does as he whispers to them. He feeds the lies that she/he is worthless for anything other than the continued abuse. To stop the voices, many sex addicts use alcohol and drugs alongside the sex. Suicide beckons as a permanent escape.

I know that the only escape from the vicious cycle is to surrender everything to Jesus. Stop fighting Him and let Him have the burden. One particular friend wrote that she was tired of fighting, and tired of the constant struggle. I can only encourage her to stop fighting. Stop the struggle. I know it is almost impossible for her to see past the hurt of the past, but I also know that until we let go of the past, we can never move forward. It’s okay to mourn babies we never got to hold or only held for a very short time (and I believe we have to mourn in order to let go) and it’s okay to mourn loved ones who have passed on. There is a season to mourn, and then we must begin to live. She has been holding on to the tragedies and losses of her past so tightly, and for some long, she doesn’t know how to let go.

Come to Jesus, girlfriend. Let Him have your burdens. Open your hands and your heart and allow Him in to clear out the cobwebs. It’s okay to grieve, but move on to the good memories and live life in the now instead of in the past. Revenge is not the answer. Prayer and praise for our deliverance, and thankfulness for our salvation… these are the answer. Come to Jesus.

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” – Romans 15:4 NLT

CREDITS:

John Lawton, for his glorious, happy paintings; and

http://bible.com for the Scriptures.

Promises, Promises

Our lives are full of broken promises. When I turned 5, I was supposed to get a pony for my birthday…. in my mind, at least! Instead, my Dad accepted the pastorate in a small town miles away and we had to move away from our little farm. How dare he! I’m very proud of my Dad for doing this, because he had to stand up to hisparent’s very strong objections. I didn’t get my pony; I got a father who had courage and conviction and a strong faith. People continued to disappoint me as I grew up. My first boyfriend went away to college and ended our relationship. At my college, my first roommates lied and snubbed me – I was naive enough to believe that they were going to welcome me and we would be friends. Not a promise, per se, but definitely an expectation. I broke, have broken, more than my share of promises. A marriage vow is a promise, and I went into my first marriage having received the promise of a faithful husband who would care for me, protect me, and stand by me.

With those promises all broken, it broke me, for many, many years.

Look at Cain and Abel, Noah, Enoch, Abraham and Sarah. (Read Hebrews 11 for the background). Issac, Jacob, Esau…. Job. The list continues, through the entire Bible.

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. ….. It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months when he was born. They saw that God had given them an unusual child, and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s command. How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.” – Hebrews 11:13‭, ‬23‭-‬23‭, ‬32
(http://bible.com/116/heb.11.13-32.NLT)

God has promised that anyone who believes on the LORD Jesus Christ will be saved from eternal damnation and the fires of hell. Why should we believe that God will honor His Promises? The next time it rains, look for the rainbow. God created the rainbow as a sign to signify His promise to Noah that the world would never again be completely flooded, and it hasn’t been. God promised the prophets of old that He would send the Messiah to bear our sins, doing away with the need for a blood sacrifice. He sent Jesus, His Son – His SON – as the Messiah to die for the sins of the world, and to conquer death forever.

When I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired, I accepted that I couldn’t fix me. I had to let Jesus and the Holy Spirit into my heart to begin the healing process. I’m not “fixed” by any measure, but I am getting better. In this world, I accept that life will continue to be a struggle, BUT I know, through faith, that whatever happens here, I will spend eternity with Jesus and many loved ones.

It’s HARD to keep our faith during struggles with broken promises. Broken marriages, lies and cheating, test our faith. Bosses and friends who lie and backstab, betrayal from all sides… these things are so difficult to see past when they are happening. All I can tell you to keep faith is to look UP, not down and certainly not around, and place your trust in God. We will be hurt in the life. We will be lied to and cheated on and betrayed by other people. We will lie and cheat and betray people at some point; it’s inevitable as humans. (Thanks, Adam and Eve!) The LORD will never let you down. He doesn’t lie or cheat or betray us – those honors go to the enemy, Satan.

Be thankful for the little things. Do you have food to eat? Toilet paper? Plenty of things to be thankful for if you just look. Pray. Pray often, praising God for our blessings (remember, LITTLE things count!) Pray, Praise, Thanksgiving.

EVERY Person

This might be the absolute best, most exciting verse in the entire Bible!

“But EVERYONE who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved.” Acts of the Apostles 2:21 (http://bible.com/116/act.2.21.NLT)

Not just the elite of the world. Not only kings or queens or politicians. Not just the most wealthy or the smartest or the most educated. EVERYONE; ANY one. You. Me. The poor, the helpless, the hapless. The worst of the worst criminals can do it. It doesn’t cost us anything, so economic status is irrelevant. It doesn’t require any physical strength or ability, making Jesus available to the weak and the ill and the impaired. Skin color, age… non of these things matter. I’m human, and wildly imperfect, and it really bothers me that vile, wicked, inhumane people can be forgiven and saved. Pedophiles, adulterers, cruel people. They should be glad that GOD is their judge, instead of me. I know we all be judged according to our lives, and frankly, it’s a scary thought. I don’t pretend to understand how it will all come down; I rely on scripture to explain the Judgement of the LORD. We will all pay for our sins. Every person and every sin, from the the smallest sins of omission to the most egregious sins of commission.

“And I saw a Great White Throne and the ONE sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from His presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before GOD’S Throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. ….And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11‭-‬12‭, ‬15 (http://bible.com/116/rev.20.11-15.NLT)

How can we get our names into that book? Call on the Name of Jesus. Accept Him as your Savior and acknowledge Him as the One True God.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.16.NLT)

“Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to Life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at GOD’S right hand, pleading for us.” Romans 8:34 (http://bible.com/116/rom.8.34.NLT)

Sinful Nature. Truth.

“So now there is NO condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the Power of the Life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1‭-‬2 (http://bible.com/116/rom.8.1-2.NLT)

So, WHY do we keep on sinning???

This is a question that really bothers me. I know the answer, and it continues to bug me. We sin because we are human. We are created in God’s image, and we were created to be companions; to worship and fellowship with Him. Our fatal flaw, AND our saving grace, is the free will God gave us. He didn’t create robots to follow Him without question or thought. He made us with the ability and the desire to know Him and to Love Him because we choose to. He gave us bodies so that we can can see the beauty, hear the music, taste the bounty, and feel the creation. He gave us hands to create, and minds to comprehend. We can build incredible buildings and carve things from solid rock that defy imagination. Hearing nature’s music and the music we make with instruments from our hands and our breath can transport us into beautiful places in our minds. And even with all of this incredible talent and ability our God imbued us with, with all of the intellectual ability He created in us, we continue to turn our backs on Him???

We are selfish. We want what we want when we want it. We are snobs to those who don’t meet our standards. We are petty and hold grudges instead of forgiving. We take advantage of the weak and we have little compassion for the hurting. We are cruel when it suits our purpose, and we despise those who threaten us. WE choose the ugly over the beauty, time after time after time. WHY does God allow this to go on? The answer, though simple, is not pretty. He allows it, because we choose it. Free will.

Yep. We CHOOSE the ugliness and the hatred and the despair. We choose the things of the world over God. There’s no one else to blame; it lands squarely on my shoulders and on yours. (Told you it wasn’t pretty.)

“He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand.” #CSLewis | #ScrewtapeLetters

It is up to us…. no, it is up to ME, to choose to walk (stumble, crawl) with God. No one else can choose for me, and no one but you can choose for yourself. We all know how, too:

“For this is how God Loved the world: He gave His One and only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.16.NLT)

Not believe that Jesus is real, but believe IN Him. Even Satan and his demons acknowledge that He is real! Believe IN Jesus Christ as your Savior. Make the RIGHT choice.

Amen.