Standing in His Love

“No, I won’t be shaken, my fear doesn’t stand a chance, when I stand in Your Love…”

What a beautiful reminder to wake up to! “Stand In Your Love” is a new song by Josh Baldwin, and he sings about the power and strength of GOD’s absolute Love for us, and how His Love breaks anything that binds us to sin. JESUS spoke to His disciples after choosing them and told them this – and I believe He intended this for everyone, throughout the ages, who accepts Him as SAVIOUR.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the SON of Man. ….But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. ….If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. ….But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the MOST HIGH; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your FATHER is Merciful.” – Luke 6:22‭, ‬27‭-‬28‭, ‬32‭, ‬35‭-‬36 NRSV

“My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your Love….”

When we attempt to follow our LORD JESUS, but we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, our fears tend to take over and rule our lives. I know this, because I often struggle to love my enemies – instead of standing in GOD’s Love, I keep trying to do it on my own. I don’t have it in me to forgive my enemies. If it were up to me, they would pay for their transgressions in a long and painful way. My judging would have no mercy – and I thank GOD it isn’t left up to me! I have been given freedom from the chains and baggage of sin, and that forgiveness came completely and undeservedly from JESUS. Shouldn’t I then forgive and love on those who really don’t deserve my forgiveness?

I can’t forgive if I am standing frozen in my fear. If I forgive them, aren’t I somehow condoning* their abuse? (*Empathetic NO, it is not.) When we stand in GOD’s Love, HE forgives for us – and He will judge them according to their deeds. The only way to shed fear, to lock the enemy out, is to turn to JESUS and allow His Love to hold us up to bask in His Light. Fear is a liar; it is a jail of our own creation, and it all comes straight from the enemy.

“No, I won’t be shaken, my fear doesn’t stand a chance, when I stand in Your Love…”

Can you claim the Promise of Salvation today and let our LORD throw the fears out of your life? “Likewise the SPIRIT helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very SPIRIT intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And GOD, Who searches the heart, knows what is the Mind of the SPIRIT, because the SPIRIT intercedes for the saints according to the Will of GOD.” – Romans 8:26‭-‬27 NRSV

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Lies, Deceits, Untruths

“Rescue me, O LORD, from liars and from all deceitful people.” – Psalms 120:2 NLT

I’m angry.

Nope. Try again.

I’m ANGRY!!

Better…..

One lie I’ve heard over and over is that we are where we are by our own choices. NO. I did NOT choose for my late husband to spiral into a pain-filled opioid addiction, exacerbated by VA doctors, which led to increasingly irrational, irresponsible, erratic, and dangerous thinking, and ultimately his death. I did NOT choose to lose our business as a result of his illness. I’m angry because he left me here alone, to deal with life on my own. I’m angry because he lied to me when he said he wouldn’t leave me, that we would face the world together. Even 20 years later, the hurt sometimes tries to overwhelm me.

Nope, it’s just not right. How can we pledge “to have and to hold … for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part,” never knowing when sickness will strike? When death will take our partner? We did them all, but death? Death is too final. When we say those vows, I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority don’t even register the ‘death’ part. I didn’t, because I knew he wouldn’t leave me alone. He pledged all those things to me, but it wasn’t true. He did leave me. I guess I lied to him, too, because I put my physical safety over him and left him to face his last year on this earth, alone. I’m angry about that, too. I deserted him when he needed me most.

Most of all, I’m angry at the serpent, the belly-dragging, dirt- eating deceitful creature we know as the enemy. The father of lies, the false accuser, adversary…. I won’t even give him the satisfaction of saying his name here. This lowest of the low, this creature introduced lies and deceits, trickery and untruths, ugliness and evil, into our world. He resorts to these tactics to pull us away from GOD. I’m angry at the illnesses, the evil, the creature has introduced into our beautiful world. The Liar has perfected his methods over the millennium to the point where he knows what to do to cause us to doubt GOD; to doubt the TRUTH that JESUS is LORD, and that the HOLY SPIRIT will carry us out the muck of lies, deceitfulness, and untruths…. IF we allow Him to.

I find the strength to forgive Ron through the work of the LORD in my life. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting. Sometimes, like today, as I reflect on my life, I remember the anger and sorrow and the feeling of being deserted, even before he died, because of the illness and addiction. I miss him and the things we shared; the laughter and the adventurous spirit, the incredible talents he had. I miss his willingness (and patience!) to work with me, to answer my questions, and teach me. I miss his strength, and I miss his presence. I don’t miss the frustrations of his illness and addictions.

Jesus said, “Get away from Me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to Me….” – Matthew 16:23 NLT

Thank You, JESUS, for putting the deceiver behind me! Listen to “Point to You by” sung by We Are Messengers at https://g.co/kgs/eJqUCB

Revenge

“See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:15 NLT

Oh, I struggle with this verse sometimes! I know, I know. The LORD says that HE will be the avenger, and that we don’t get to (or need to) exact revenge because He will do it for us.

“The LORD says, ‘Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, a nd their destiny will overtake them.’ ” – Deuteronomy 32:34‭-‬35 NLT

The question for you today is this: how do you handle it when you have been wronged? The driver who cuts us off; the line-cutter at the coffeehouse or the movies; the snarky coworker …. the person who stole your identity? (This list could fill pages!) The point is, do we let it go, or do we drop to their level and get in their face? I was a ‘get-in-your-face’ person for years, aggressive and intimidating. When someone crossed me, I could get ugly, fast. Was it effective? Sometimes, but even being the ‘victor’ didn’t make me feel good about it for long. Guilt gnawed at me….. but I was in the right! Why should it bother me? Why, indeed.

We know right from wrong. When we take the task of revenge into our own hands, we are declaring that we know better than the LORD. That’s a pretty dicey declaration. Think about it, and listen to Mandisa sing “Bleed the Same.”

Gotta let go of the junk in order to enjoy the Peace of our LORD.

Fearful? Stressed Out? Traumatized?

“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. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” – Psalms 91:1‭-‬16 NLT

Set Apart From the World

“You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for Himself. The LORD will answer when I call to Him.

Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. Many people say, “Who will show us better times?”

Let Your Face smile on us, LORD. You have given me greater Joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

In Peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.” – Psalms 4:3‭-‬8 NLT

I know, and have known, many angry, bitter people. It controls them, and it eats away at them inside. I know this, because I was one of those people. Being angry and bitter put me on medications to stop my stomach from hurting, and heavy doses of pain killers for my migraines. Who did I hurt with my anger? Me! It kept me from being content, and caused upheaval in relationships and in work environments. I have a friend who is very angry and bitter. Trouble and discontent follow him. He claims to be a Christian, but he has no peace. He is unhappy, and ‘hate’ is one of his most used words. That was me, too, until I finally – FINALLY – figured out how much I was hurting myself, and that JESUS was patiently waiting for me to let Him have all that mess. It’s absolutely amazing how much better I am when I’m not carrying all that junk inside. Do I still get upset? Of course; I’m human, and I am very flawed and broken. I have found that when I let other’s attitudes flow around me i stead of into me, life is so much more pleasant. Your anger and your bitterness may hurt me or disappoint me, but I don’t have to take it on myself and react to it in a negative or hateful way. Sometimes I struggle, but I know that with the help and support of the Holy Spirit, I can move past it. The ‘crazy’ driver who cuts me off, the person who is rude to me, the one who calls me a ‘b**’ or other unflattering names…. It’s their problem, not mine. I can react, or I can take a breath and respond. It’s my choice, and as long as I let the LORD take the issue, it’s an easy choice. No one can make me angry without permission. Satan no longer has that hold over me! I give thanks daily to my Saviour for releasing me from my bondage of hate and bitterness, and all the ugly that goes with it.

As Christians, we are supposed to be set apart from the world. The greed and possession-hungry ‘ME’ attitude, the anger and hatred that seems to permeate the world…. it’s not for us. I admit that I enjoy my home, and having the kinds of food I like to eat; I am happy to have a vehicle that I picked out. I have done with much less, and I could again, although I would like to stay where I am. I acknowledge that I am blessed beyond measure. My prayer is to be thankful for having enough and not to be greedy, and that I not be like a stranger, a foreigner in my LORD’S eyes. I am His child, the daughter of the Most High. Don’t be like the lepers who were healed by JESUS. When He heals us of our brokenness, give Him ALL the GLORY. When I come face-to-face with my LORD, I surely don’t want Him to deny me because I refused to recognise His Power and Mercy in my life.

“Has no one returned to give Glory to GOD except this foreigner?” – Luke 17:18 NLT

Listen to Chris Tomlin sing Amazing Grace. My chains are gone; it’s right where I love to be, in the Amazing Grace of my LORD. I know I am Forever His! AMEN.

Are You Puzzled By My Thanksgiving?

“Give Thanks to the LORD and proclaim His Greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. Sing to Him; yes, sing His Praises. Tell everyone about His Wonderful Deeds. Exult in His Holy Name; Rejoice, you who worship the LORD. Search for the LORD and for His Strength; continually seek Him. Remember the Wonders He has performed, His Miracles, and the Rulings He has given …. ” – Psalms 105:1‭-‬5 NLT

Does it puzzle and perplex you, that people in the midst of great trials can Praise our LORD; can give Thanks to GOD for the situation? Let’s see if we can make it a little less puzzling. For followers of JESUS, we have the perfect example of thankfulness during extreme trials. After all, our trials are a poor imitation of the torture that our LORD endured, or the persecution of the early disciples and believers.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in GOD, and trust also in Me {JESUS}.” – John 14:1 NLT

“….. through Him {JESUS CHRIST} God reconciled everything to Himself. He made Peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s Blood on the cross. I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church.” – Colossians 1:20‭, ‬24 NLT

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.” – Luke 23:34 NLT

By giving thanks, and by forgiving those who hurt us, we take away their power over us; we take away the enemy’s power. On my own, it is impossible to be thankful for my situation. In my own mind, forgiving others is absolutely impossible, but here’s the thing. By NOT being thankful and by not offering forgiveness, I’m keeping the wounds in my heart and my mind open. By not letting myself heal, I am allowing in hate and disgust and anger, and these all work to infect and fester. This creates a toxic atmosphere within me, so that I become locked into the prison of my own making. It doesn’t hurt the other people at all!

My thanksgiving doesn’t come because of my goodness, and forgivess is not possible by myself. It is only when we give it all over to our LORD JESUS that we can begin the healing process. It’s a process, a journey to get there. If – no, when – we have an open wound on the outside of our body, or a disease within our physical body, most of us don’t just ignore it and hope for the best. No, we go to a medical practitioner for help in healing, and even though the remedy is often painful, we thank the medical person for getting us onto a healing track. Our inner healing can be the same. It may require painful “surgery” to get rid of the ugliness, but Jesus is known as the Great Physician for a reason! He knows we have to eliminate the bad, and to do that, we have to use the medicine of forgiveness and thanksgiving that we receive through Him and through prayer to the Father. It is absolutely amazing how completely freeing it can be to enlist His help, because when it is humanly impossible to do something (like forgive, or to be thankful), that’s exactly when Jesus can step in and do His best work! I am living proof of the possibilities ….. and I am still healing. Thank You, Jesus, for working miracles in my heart!

Thank GOD My Yesterday Is Gone

“All my Hope is in Jesus, Thank God, my yesterday’s gone, I’ve been washed by the Blood…. ”

Crowder, in his new song, talks about a man who has been released from prison and is greeted by his friends and family. This man knows what it means to be released from physical bondage. Not just the bars and shackles of a prison, but the spiritual bonds of his sins. These bonds of the spirit are every bit as real as the steel bars and chains of prison; in fact, in many ways the bonds of sins are incredibly stronger than anything man can put on you. Spirit bonds can dominate your life, and the enemy of life wants us to stay in these bonds. I know, because I have spent most of my life caught up in those chains. We commiserate with the people who are in physical slavery today, and we hurt for the way many of our ancestors were treated, but what about all of the spiritually imprisoned? We can wear a ribbon showing our support for those caught up in human trafficking, and we donate to causes to save the baby whales/seals/etc. We get angry at the inequalities and inequities around the world. We fight to save puppies and kittens, while killing our own human babies. We argue for the rights of “dreamers” while using pornography and prostitutes to satisfy the lusts of our bodies.

What a messed up world. Just writing that paragraph made me a little sick to my stomach. Satan, aka Lucifer, the god of darkness and pain and despair, is dancing with happiness at the state of humanity.

What can a single person do to fight the darkness? Call on JESUS! He is the Light, our Saviour; King of kings, LORD of Lords, Son of the LORD GOD Almighty, Creator. He will stand with us as Advocate when we stand in front of Judge and Jury of the Great White Throne on Judgement Day. He stands with us, with me, today and every day I allow Him to be there. He rescues us from the sin and darkness; all we have to do is ask, and He will remove the shackles and chains we have bound ourselves in. Come to Jesus for Redemption and Forgiveness at the foot of the cross. He is waiting patiently, with NO judgement or condemnation. So remember this, if you don’t remember anything else: “All my Hope is in Jesus, Thank God, my yesterday’s gone, I’ve been washed by the Blood…. ”

“And so, LORD, where do I put my hope? My only Hope is in You.” – Psalms 39:7 NLT