Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Beloved

Posted: August 29, 2016 in Uncategorized
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The Bible says that we are Beloved by God. While I firmly believe it’s true, I have to admit that my feelings don’t always match up. In other words, I don’t always feel as though I’m Beloved. If I followed my feelings (rather than scripture), I’d probably never believe I was good enough to Be Loved.

However, Romans 5:8 gives us the assurance that God deeply loves us. That verse says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus died on the cross while we were still in our sin, without any requirement that we clean ourselves up or get our messy lives back on track first. At the very point when we were at our worst, Christ responded in love, not anger or punishment. Many have laid down their lives for their friends; others for complete strangers; but Only One was willing to die for His enemies — Jesus. We cannot save ourselves because we need to be saved from ourselves. Jesus is the Only One who can save us, and His gift of forgiveness is available to all who call upon His name and ask for it.

God’s love heals; not hurts. It builds up; not tears down. God’s love empowers; not controls. We have to remember that we live in a sin-filled world and that people (not God) hurt us. Wounded hearts keep a record of wrongs, and our defense mechanism is to guard our hearts behind a brick wall. Each time we are hurt, we put another stone on top. This is effective in keeping people at a distance, but those same cinder blocks have a major downside: they also keep God’s love out.

If you really want to be His Beloved, you have to be willing to Be Loved. God’s love for you is strong, and if you allow Him access to your heart, He will destroy the brickwork separating you from Him. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior instantly makes you a princess of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Your King is on His throne and you are His prized, cherished, respected, and esteemed treasure. Accept His gift. Allow yourself to Be Loved so you can be His Beloved princess.

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Right after teaching the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus enters a village and a woman named Martha invites him into her house. The story, beginning in Luke 10:39, says “And she had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'”

Martha, who had invited Jesus in, busied herself with the task of serving — making sure her home was just right for HIM. But Mary, understanding the unique opportunity before her, sat down at His feet and received a lesson that was just right for HER.

Martha opened up her home, but Mary opened up her heart.

What about you? Are you like Mary — have you opened up your heart to Jesus? Or are you like Martha — afraid to let Jesus in because no matter how much you try, you just can’t get rid of the Skeletons and Dirty Laundry in your Closet? Don’t waste your time trying to clean up your life — it’s NOT your job. Let Jesus do that. He is the ultimate cleaner and He is ready to cast out the rotting bones, scrub out the stains, and breath new life into you. Jesus deeply loves you and NOTHING can separate you from His love. Let Him in. Grant Him access to your heart, and He will clean up your life.

Be still. Be renewed. Be Mary.

Only One

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Did Jesus really have to die in order to save us from our sin? If you have ever asked that question, you are not alone. Jesus asked his Father that very question. And he didn’t just ask it once — he asked it three times.

On the very night he was betrayed, Jesus lead his disciples into the garden of Gethsemane and tells them that his soul is sorrowful, even to death (Mark 14:34). He falls down on his face and prays to his Father (Matthew 26:39). Being in agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44).

During that intense time of prayer, Jesus asks his Father the same question three separate times: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  The question Jesus asks is a valid one: Do I really have to die on the cross? Or is there another way? Yet without any hesitation, Jesus surrenders his will: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

In the midst of turmoil, as the will of Jesus collides with the will of God, Jesus begins praying, laying everything down — his questions, doubts, and concerns — at the feet of the Father, knowing that the Father is the Only One who can handle them.

In times of crisis and pain, when darkness threatens to overtake you, seek out the Lord God. He is the Only One who knows the future, the Only One who can answer your questions and remove your fear, and the Only One who can give you the wisdom you need. He is the Only One who can save you from your sin, and the Only One who can bring healing and wholeness into your life. He is the Only One who is available 24/7 so call upon him — he is faithful and he will answer you.

In Matthew 25, starting in verse 31, Jesus tells his disciples that when the Son of Man (Jesus) comes back and all the angels are with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. And before him will be gathered all the nations. At that time, Jesus will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep (those that have surrendered their lives to Jesus) from the goats (those who have not). In verse 34, Jesus describes what will happen to the sheep who are on his right. To them he will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” And then in verse 41, Jesus describes what will happen to the goats who are on his left. To them he will say,  “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

In the very beginning, God prepared a Kingdom for YOU. It was designed with YOU in mind. It is an inherited gift, given to YOU by YOUR Heavenly Father. To receive the gift of The Kingdom is to spend eternity with YOUR Heavenly Father.

Although we categorize Hell as a place people go to, a more accurate description is that Hell is a place that God does NOT go to. To be in Hell is to be eternally separated from God.

Hell was NOT prepared for you. God designed and prepared it for the devil and his angels. In the end, when Jesus returns, Satan, who was once one of God’s angels, will be forced to permanently leave Heaven because he will not surrender his own will. From the very beginning, Satan has refused to submit to the authority of God. Instead, Satan longs to be like God — to have his own kingdom — one that is devoid of God’s presence. And God, in his great mercy, will, in the end, give Satan exactly what he desires. Satan’s kingdom is called Hell. And in that place Satan will be free to rule and reign as he sees fit. But that isn’t enough to satisfy him. After all, what good is a kingdom without people? So in order to fill his kingdom with loyal subjects, Satan works day and night, stamping out any belief that God exists, with the ultimate goal of getting as many people as possible to reject God. And when the pews of Hell are full, Satan will require the payment of both their allegiance and their worship.

From the very foundation of the world, two kingdoms have been prepared. Hell, which God prepared for the devil and his angels, and Heaven, which God prepared for YOU.  Both kingdoms are eternal. One is a blessing, and one is a curse. But only one was prepared for YOU.  Why would you want to be stuck, for eternity, in a kingdom that was NOT prepared or designed with you in mind? The Kingdom of God is an inherited gift. And here’s the best part: you don’t have to die to receive it — Jesus already did that for you by taking your place on the cross.  The promise of eternal life is available today. Your gift awaits — accept it. Surrender your life to Jesus, the one true Lord and Savior, and receive The Kingdom that God prepared in the very beginning just for YOU.

In Matthew 25:31-32 Jesus says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” Later on in that passage, Jesus says that those on his right (sheep) will inherit the kingdom, but those on his left (goats) will be separated from him. I was intrigued that Jesus would use the terms “sheep” and “goats” to describe people. Being a city girl with limited exposure to barnyard animals, I had to do a little research in order to put this passage into context.

Dumb and fearful, sheep simply do not make good decisions. For example, they are known to eat poisonous plants, and an entire herd can easily be wiped out in a panic-stricken stampede. Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd for food and protection. Without him, sheep would not survive. A sheep knows the shepherd’s voice, and the shepherd knows each one of his sheep. And the shared bond between the two is so strong that the shepherd won’t hesitate to search for lost sheep, even if it’s just one.

Goats, on the other hand, do not bond with their shepherd. Stubborn, curious, and independent, goats refuse to Surrender their will. They believe they know what is best for them. They are always looking to go their own way, and when they set out, goats expect to lead, not follow, their shepherd.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd and those that have accepted him are called his sheep. According to the scripture above, we are either a sheep or a goat. So what about you – which category do you fall under? Do you walk with the shepherd like a sheep, or do you go your own way like a goat? If you’ve walked way from the Good Shepherd, return to him. Surrender. Give him permission to lead you.  He deeply loves you and is ready to welcome you with unconditional forgiveness, and cover you with waves of love, mercy and grace. Let him lead you. Let him provide for you. Let him protect you. Your shepherd knows you. Do you know him?