Eyes On Jesus

It’s so easy to get distracted by the world, and take our eyes off of Jesus. Discouragement and sin creep in, especially when we think we have it all together and don’t see the need for fellowship with other Christians. Been there? I can relate! We fall back into relying on ourselves and forget how quickly we fall. Keep the words of Paul in mind:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race GOD has set before us.

We do this by keeping our eyes on JESUS, the Champion Who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. NowHhe is seated in the place of honor beside GOD’S throne.

Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the encouraging words GOD spoke to you as His children?

He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’S discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” (Hebrews 12:1‭-‬6 NLT)

As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus…..

Filth? Evil?

“So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” – James 1:21 NLT

What is filth? What is evil? Everything is so skewed in our world… From the time of Adam and Eve, we have been hell bent on proving we are as intelligent as the Creator. We listen as the Father of lies fills our hearts and our heads with the promise that we are gods, equal to the Almighty. The liar assures us that there is no greater God than ourselves, and that we are free to do and live any way we choose. Satan is correct on one point: it is our choice to live how we we. What Satan doesn’t want us to know is that our Creator built free will into our DNA, because our LORD will never force us to choose Him. He wants us; He yearns for us to have a relationship with Him, and He will always leave it up to us. Have you ever loved someone so much that you feel a physical pull towards them, an emotional, even spiritual connection, only to have them choose someone else? If you have never experienced that connection, my heart hurts for you. If you have experienced it, and lost it – as I have – then you know the agony it causes. Anyone who has lost a child knows it. God loves us even more, more than we can comprehend, yet we routinely turn our backs oh His pure Love for the glittery fake the enemy dangles in front of us.

The only way to know truth is to fall back on God’s Word. If you have never read the Bible yourself, I suggest going online to http://bible.com and choose either the NIV or NLT version, and start reading in John, chapter one, verse one. It’s so beautiful. Throughput the history of the earth, God has employed poets and writers and other artists to share His Love for us, with us. It makes me so sad when I read comments on social media or in the news, or hear people stating that a Creator God is myth, and the Bible is a collection of stories written by old men – as if it were fairy tales. I cry for those people who have chosen the ultimate lie.

Jesus Christ was not a good man. He was not a prophet. He is either Who He says He is, the Son of the Most High God, or He is an insane man. History supports the Son of God. Archeological evidence points to the Garden, and every day brings forth new physical evidence to support the Scriptures. When I say we believe it, or not, at our own peril, I do not say it to be fear monger. I say with the strength of Scriptures and science. There is a heavenly, there is a hell, and there is ONE God over all. I pray you make peace with Him, before it is too late.

The Most High

Be honest. Do you believe in a being who could create everything out of nothing, or do you believe in the Big Bang? There’s a joke I recently heard about God and some evolutionary scientists. As they were discussing which was correct, evolution or creation, they decided to have a contest to see who could create a man. The scientists took a handful of mud in order to begin, and God said “Hold on. Use your own mud!” I love this, because it showcases the difference between creation and evolution.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1 (http://bible.com/116/gen.1.1.NLT)

Simply, eloquently, stated.

“But why is there such destruction and pain and suffering on the earth? How could God allow children to be abused and neglected?” When God created man, He gave them free will. He didn’t want puppets or ‘yes men,’ He wanted us to choose to love Him and to have fellowship with Him. Just look around you. If you are hosting a party or other gathering, and there is a person who is clearly unhappy about being there, how does that make you feel? Our goal as host is to ensure that everyone is enjoying the fellowship and interaction with us. That’s why God gave us free will. He doesn’t force anyone to interact with him. Adam and Eve decided they were better suited to determining what was best for themselves; much more than God, and so they chose to be disobedient and eat the one forbidden fruit… thanks, guys! They had an entire garden (we’re talking acres and acres here!) of the most incredible, delicious fruits to eat, and they decide they just have to have the one, single fruit God said to leave alone. That says a lot about our human ability to make good choices!!

Thankfully, the Lord Creator God gave us a means of rescue from our ancestors poor choice.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my Refuge, my Place of Safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.” – Psalms 91:1‭-‬2 (http://bible.com/116/psa.91.1-2.NLT)

The MOST High; Creator, Savior, Almighty God; LORD of All…

Is It Jerusalem… Or The U.S.A.???

Is It Jerusalem… Or The U.S.A.???

“Hear us, SHEPHERD of ISRAEL, You who lead Joseph like a flock. You Who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken Your might; come and save us.

Restore us, O GOD; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.

How long, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, will Your anger smolder against the prayers of Your people? You have fed them with the bread of tears; You have made them drink tears by the bowlful. You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, GOD ALMIGHTY; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.

You transplanted a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land. The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches. Its branches reached as far as the Sea, its shoots as far as the River. Why have you broken down its walls so that all who pass by pick its grapes? Boars from the forest ravage it, and insects from the fields feed on it.

Return to us, GOD ALMIGHTY! Look down from heaven and see! Watch over this vine, the root Your Right Hand has planted, the son you have raised up for yourself. Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire; at Your rebuke Your people perish. Let Your Hand rest on the man at Your Right Hand, the son of man You have raised up for Yourself. Then we will not turn away from You; revive us, and we will call on Your Name.

Restore us, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY; make Your Face shine on us, that we may be saved.”

Psalm 80:1‭-‬19 (http://bible.com/111/psa.80.1-19.NIV)

Praise the LORD

“Give Praise to the LORD, proclaim His Name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His Holy Name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and His Strength; seek His Face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced…” Psalm 105:1‭-‬5 (http://bible.com/111/psa.105.1-5.NIV)

WHY can’t we just praise Him? Remember this hymn? “Praise Him, Praise Him….” by Frances “Fanny” J. Crosby? (From Psalms 146:2)

  • Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
  • Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
  • Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory;
  • Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
  • Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
  • In His arms He carries them all day long.
  • Refrain: Praise Him! Praise Him!
  • Tell of His excellent greatness;
  • Praise Him! Praise Him! Ever in joyful song!
  • Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
  • For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
  • He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
  • Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
  • Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
  • Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.
  • Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
  • Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
  • Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever;
  • Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
  • Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
  • Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

LOVE that last verse! Jesus reigneth forever and ever, He is coming back and will be victorious! ALL Power and Glory to Him belong! ALL Power; ALL Glory, Amen!

Rescue Me!

​​  “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.” – Psalms 34:4‭-‬6 

How many times I have called out to the LORD to rescue me! So many of the plans I have made have ended in disaster – the plans I made. Why is it so difficult to listen to Him in the first place, and heed His answer? Why do we persist in being so stubborn? God created us with a free will to choose for ourselves to love Him and worship Him, and we continually choose the bling of the enemy over the true beauty of the LORD. We let ourselves be blinded by the lurid colors and false delights of the world over the indescribable beauty of our Lord. We choose to believe the enemy’s lies and make our plans without regard to God’s desires. 
  “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the LORD wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” ” – James 4:14‭-‬15 

Over the millenium since God created the heavens and the earth, He has kept His temper remarkably well consider how terribly His creation has mocked Him and reviled Him. When I’m painting or making something, when it doesn’t go my way I want to destroy it – and often have. When training a horse or a dog and they turn on me, I have to watch myself that I don’t hurt them in my anger. That’s just one creature, and God has millions of humans essentially spitting in His face. He has had ample reasons to completely destroy mankind and start over, and He hasn’t, because He loves us with an amazing Love.

  “Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” – Psalms 139:14

God created us for one purpose; to have eternal life in His worship and companionship. Rather than wiping out humanity’s existence, He did something incomprehensible to me. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, a part of the Triune God, as a sacrifice for my sins. Jesus was sacrificed for me, and He was sacrificed for you. Had there been just a single human in the entire earth, if I had been the only living soul, He still would have died just for me or you. Incomprehensible Love. 

How do we become one again with our Creator?

  “And this is The Way to have ETERNAL Life—to know You, the only True God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth.” – John 17:3 

  “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6:34 
When we accept Jesus into our lives, and we acknowledge that He is LORD, we should not longer be worried about the future. That statement is MUCH easier said than that put into practice! Matthew isn’t saying that we should just float along in life believing that God won’t let us starve or let anything bad happen. We are responsible for doing our part. What Matthew is saying is to not worry. Ask God for His guidance in everything, listen for His answer, and follow Him. He always answers prayers, and often I don’t like the answer. Then, when I do my own thing….. 

……. and there’s that disaster I knew was coming. Remember what Paul says:

  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 


(All scriptures are from http://bible.com/116/.NLT)

Ask, Search, Receive 

In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus talks about how we are to live. He says:

    “Do not judge others. Then you will not be judged. You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others.”

And verse 12:

    “In everything, do to others what you would want them to do to you. This is what is written in the Law and in the Prophets.” (From the New International Readers Version of the Bible, or NIRV)

How well do we follow His teaching? I can’t speak for anyone except myself, and I am guilty of being judgmental. I don’t always treat others the way I want to be treated, but I often expect preferential treatment. I’m human, and that means I’m a sinful being. It DOESN’T mean I have to sit back and give control back to the enemy!

  “I have seen everything in this meaningless life, including the death of good young people and the long life of wicked people. So don’t be too good or too wise! Why destroy yourself? On the other hand, don’t be too wicked either. Don’t be a fool! Why die before your time? Pay attention to these instructions, for anyone who fears God will avoid both extremes. One wise person is stronger than ten leading citizens of a town! Not a single person on earth is always good and never sins. Don’t eavesdrop on others—you may hear your servant curse you. For you know how often you yourself have cursed others. I have always tried my best to let wisdom guide my thoughts and actions. I said to myself, “I am determined to be wise.” ** But it didn’t work. Wisdom is always distant and difficult to find. I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things. I was determined to prove to myself that wickedness is stupid and that foolishness is madness.” – Ecclesiastes 7:15‭-‬25 NLT (http://bible.com/116/ecc.7.15-25.NLT)

**As my favorite recovery pastor tells it, it was our best thinking – i.e. our “wisdom,” not God’s Wisdom  – that got us here!

My Dad used to say that you could be sincere, but you could be sincerely wrong. He was absolutely right, and it troubles me to see so many people who are preaching and teaching and discipling other gospels than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Prosperity – I admit to worshipping at that altar in the past. How about the altar of self-righteousness? Prejudice? Keeping up with the Joneses, or the Corporate ladder? Arrogance? What about the altar of football? On the opposite spectrum,  what about self-pity and self abuse? 

I have skipped over many of our altars, but I could take all day and still not list them all, because as humans we are constantly creating more. Even children and spouses can be altars that cause us to trip.

  “Let God’s curse fall on us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.”

***”Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.”***

   “If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous Grace. Then it pleased Him to reveal His Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus…..”(Galatians 1:8-10, 15-16a)

By surrendering myself daily (hourly, minute by minute – whatever it takes!) to my Savior; by letting God have control, I do a little bit better at living as He tells me to. It’s interesting, too, that the more I let go, the less stress and judgmental I find myself.

I will always sin. The enemy will throw temptation and disaster and ugliness at me as long as I live. The thought that keeps me sane {okay, those of you who know me well, STOP LAUGHING!} …. the KNOWLEDGE that keeps me going is this verse from Matthew 7:7-8:

    “Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. Everyone who asks will receive. He who searches will find. The door will be opened to the one who knocks.”

I have asked; I have searched; and I have knocked, and Jesus answered. AMEN.

Can You Hear It??

​  “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!” – Psalms 42:11 NLT

  “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.” – 1 Kings 19:11-12 NLT

Do you hear it? That stillness, and a gentle whisper from the LORD? Just as Elijah and David, we have to slow down and listen to hear what God is telling us. it’s not always what we want to hear, because we think we can plan our futures better than He is able to. We become discouraged when we don’t stay focused on God’s Will, so doesn’t it make sense that we put your hope in the LORD instead of in ourselves and other humans? If your faith is in people, you will always be disappointed. Always.God is the only thing we can believe in and not be disappointed.  

Do You Hear What I Hear 

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy 

Do you hear what I hear? 

Ringing thru the sky, shepherd boy 

Do you hear what I hear?

What do you hear this Christmas season? Do you hear the quiet whisper of God, reminding us of the WHY of this time of celebration, or are your ears so filled with all of the hustle and bustle and noise that your mind feels like mush?

I’d just like this time to be a quiet moment of reflection about why we are doing all of this. Can you hear it?