Forgiven

Listen to Crowder sing ‘Forgiven’ – Powerful!

“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 NLT

I am not perfect. I am flawed, broken, and sinful…. and I am forgiven. Forgiven for every bad thing, every sinful thought, every flawed decision I’ve made. Being human, I have followed in the footsteps of the first couple, thinking I could run my life better than the Creator GOD. I almost had it right, but I left something out. You see, when you say ‘I can run my life just fine,’ you are putting an ‘i’ in the word, making ‘run’ become ‘ruin.’ But – how can GOD find the time to deal with my issues when there are millions upon mlllions of other people who have real problems that need help? Besides all of us, there is the entire universe for Him to deal with! What can I say? The Omnipotent, omnipresent LORD, King of all kings, cares about us. He cares about me. Listen to what JESUS said:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only GOD, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” – Matthew 10:28‭-‬29‭, ‬31 NLT – In Luke 12, JESUS also says “…. the very hairs on your head are all numbered ….”

Even though I am forgiven; despite my brokenness, JESUS wants me to follow the Father’s Commandments. Does He want me to give up everything to follow Him; to be rigid in my following of the Ten Commandments given to Moses? After all, GOD gave the to us. I love how my Saviour simplified the Ten and all of the laws into Two Commandments.

“Loving GOD means keeping His Commandments, and His Commandments are not burdensome.” – 1 John 5:3 NLT

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your GOD with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the First and Greatest Commandment. A Second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37‭-‬40 NLT

Are you forgiven? Do you LOVE the LORD? Accept Him and Proclaim Him – Find your Freedom in CHRIST JESUS today! ☝️

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Betrayed

We’ve all been there. Friend, family member, spouse…. it’s a devastating thing to feel betrayed. You wonder how you can ever trust anyone, ever again. I have been betrayed many times over my life. My own body has betrayed me through a miscarriage. Consequently, I spent years subconsciously beating myself up mentally and physically. As we grow in our formative years, our bodies can betray us in disabling disease, and physical or mental limitations. We all know how badly betrayal hurts, yet we insist on doing to others – and to ourselves. Jesus tells us about betrayal:

“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.” – Matthew 10:21 NLT

Who knows how it feels to be betrayed more than Jesus? Among His 12 best friends, men with whom He has shared everything for over 3 years, one would betray JESUS to die. He knew both when and how He would be betrayed, and who would betray Him, and continued His ministry anyway.

“After they gathered again in Galilee, JESUS told them, ‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies.” ….. Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray JESUS….. Then He [JESUS]came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, My betrayer is here!” And even as JESUS said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people.” – Matthew17:22, 26:14‭-‬16‭, ‬45‭-‬47 NLT

Whatever is our betrayer, we have to acknowledge it as JESUS did, because it is only then that we can forgive…. just as JESUS did, and still does today. You see, it wasn’t just Judas who betrayed our LORD. We betray Him every day in our own lives, and we betray Him when we neglect Him. We betray Him in word and deed, and He forgives us and Loves us in spite of ourselves. Can we do any less – should we do any less for His other children?

A Synopsis Of God’s Love For Us

Start in Genesis 1:26…

“Then God said, “Let US make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Genesis 6:5-6…

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that He had made human beings on the earth, and His heart was deeply troubled.”

And Exodus 34:5-7…

“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed His Name, The LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, The LORD, the LORD, the Compassionate and Gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

And last, but very important, John 20:21-23

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” And with that He Breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

That’s a lot of scripture. The point is that GOD, the CREATOR of the Universe, Who made us in His Image and gave us free will, THAT God, Loves us enough to forgive us of our sins. This is not a white, old, man-god with flowing white robes, this GOD, looks like every man. He’s a colorful God! Look at us, and look at nature. Does all of this really make you think He fits only one picture of Himself? He knows our sins; all of them, whether it’s a “little white lie” or horrific torture and murder. Sin is Sin. In God’s eyes, it is ALL equally bad – and still, He Loves us so much that He is ready and willing to forgive us.

Then He (Jesus) said: “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

I have people I need to forgive. Thank GOD I have His help, because I couldn’t do it on my own! Praise His Mercy and Grace. One of my favorite songs is Victory In Jesus. Love to sing this!
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, “Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,”
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.

How Do You Pray?

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, Who sees everything, will reward you.

When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” – Matthew 6:5‭-‬8 NLT

Did you grow up in a house where prayer was the norm, or was cursing at God the only ‘prayer’ you heard? I was taught that the ‘correct’ way to pray was to sit with head bowed and hands clasped in front of me, or on my knees with eyes closed and hands clasped; praying out loud, beginning with ‘Dear Heavenly Father’ and always ending with ‘Amen’. This definitely helped with my focus as a child, but do you think this is the only way to pray? We want to be reverent and humble when we pray, but I submit that we can pray anywhere, anytime, and with anyone. Prayer is simply having a conversation with the LORD. Prayer can happen while we are driving or working, in the classroom, or in any social setting, and I’m not talking about the ‘OH. MY. GOD.’ we frequently hear today.

Prayer; praying out loud, has its place, whether in church or out, but my focus here is really about conversing with GOD. Just talking. As I grow in faith, I realize that talking to GOD doesn’t need to be formal. I don’t need anyone else saying prayers for me in lieu of my own prayers (but I’m always happy to know that people are praying for me!) I just need to be having conversations with my LORD. Before getting out of bed in the morning, a quick “Thank You LORD for another day, Your Will be done today” helps my day start in the right direction. I whisper inaudible prayers all day – “LORD, I believe; help my unbelief” is one that I pray when faced things that are out of my control…. which is frequently! “Keep me safe on the roads.” “Bless [insert name]” ….. I actually try to pray this whenever my mind strays to someone who has hurt me. God knows quite well that what my human side really wants is to hurt that person back, but by asking Him to bless that person, I can receive God’s forgiveness and Grace.

Prayer shouldn’t be any more difficult than talking with your best friend. It shouldn’t stress us out, but thinking that we can only approach Him in a formal way, or through a priest or pastor, keeps us from knowing GOD and His will for us/me. Just talk to Him. I’ve started many conversations with Him by admitting I don’t know what to pray, that I don’t have any words. I know that’s okay, though, because even when we don’t have words, the Holy Spirit carries our groans, our needs to the Father. To teach us how to pray, JESUS gave us this, and we call it ‘The LORD’S Prayer.”

“Pray like this: Our FATHER in heaven, may Your Name be kept Holy. May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly FATHER will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your FATHER will not forgive your sins.” – Matthew 6:9‭-‬10‭, ‬12‭-‬15 NLT

There is tremendous power in prayer, whether it is you, alone by yourself, or together with fellow Christians, and regardless of whether words are spoken out loud or silently. Remember what JESUS said to His followers: “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as My followers, I am there among them.” – Matthew 18:19‭-‬20 NLT

My prayer is that my words today can help ease us all as we struggle through this life, because old or young or in between, prayer works. Don’t let selfish pride get in your way, thinking you’ll somehow do it wrong or embarrass yourself in your praying. That’s just the enemy trying to separate you from GOD! Amen.

Continue reading “How Do You Pray?”

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!

Patience. Not My Virtue

Ever feel this way? I’ve often said I have about this much [ ] patience….. and yes, I am serious. Patience is not a virtue of mine. I am impatient; I get frustrated when things don’t happen quickly enough to suit me. Basically, LIFE / PEOPLE irritate me with their slowness, and I am tired. Tired of people taking advantage of me and others. Tired of broken promises; tired of being lied to. I’m tired of the struggle to just survive. BUT, I believe in GOD, Who is the Creator, Almighty and Omniscient, and I believe His promises.

“Then call on Me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give Me Glory….. But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me. If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the Salvation of God.” – Psalms 50:15‭, ‬23 NLT

I believe in GOD the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Spirit. I believe that just as He cares for the birds of the air and the creatures on the ground and the fishes in the sea, so He cares for me. I am so thankful for the many blessings He has poured out on me. So WHY is it so difficult to trust in His timing? I literally have no way to pay my mortgage or utilities or car right now, as I write this, and no prospects for a job, despite the dozens – hundreds, even, of applications I have sent out. Today I woke up and finally dragged myself out of bed, weighed down with hopelessness and despair, and this is the verse that greeted me:

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.” – 2 Peter 3:9a NLT

If He isn’t being slow, then what is the next step I should take? Most of my furniture is on several online ‘for sale’ boards; I continue to seek adequate employment. Do I start packing? Should I put my house on the market? On my knees in prayer, I beseech the Holy God of the universe to have pity on me; to open an opportunity, to provide enough; to show me His will and what direction He wants me to go. As I write, on the radio Crowder is singing “All my Hope is in Jesus…..” Yes, I believe, LORD. Show me how to get through this dark, dark valley! (And please don’t give me more opportunities to learn patience, LORD!) Amen.

Curses On You

Ever had anyone curse you? I don’t just mean foul language, but for someone to say (and mean) for you to go to hell? There are curses when the individual is truly cursing you, like in voodoo, and there are instances where it is done in jest…. although I don’t understand how you can jokingly refer someone to being cursed. I have been cursed at and had curses directed at me, but never have I had someone for years profess to love me, and then to do a 180 and curse me to hell. Disconcerting, at the least. Alarming, to think that someone close to me, to you, would hold that much hate. Instead of focusing on the injury, we need to focus on Jesus’ words:

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. ….Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” – Luke 6:27‭-‬31‭, ‬35‭-‬36 NLT

As many of you know, I have harbored grudges and anger and thoughts of revenge against those who have hurt me. All that negative in my life only served as a wedge between me and my God, and it also kept me away from people who genuinely cared for me. Letting the anger fester can kill us, spiritually and physically. The enemy rejoices when we hold on to all that. In my past, I became embroiled in a life of satanic influence, and I tell you the truth, I was within days of dying when I was rescued from it. The curses from that time trailed after me for years, and it is only the intervention of my Lord JESUS that I am alive today. I will forever bear the emotional and physical scars of that time, so that they can be a reminder that Jesus alone will sustain me. Even now, as I have been told to go to hell, I know that Jesus has determined that I need to bless and forgive that person. I cannot do it alone; my compassion fails me. Oh God, how I need you to guide my thoughts and words and actions! My one defense, my righteousness, depends on You, LORD. Blessings on each and everyone who despise me….