and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Distraction in the Brokenness

       They call it tough love, but sometimes a parent has to do a difficult thing they really don’t want to.  It breaks a person’s heart and even with the Lord in your life, the pain is still there.  Wednesday was a heart rending day for me, alternating between crying, self pity and staring into space wishing it would all stop; just stop.  Wishing so very much that it could be different.  Not wanting to be without human companionship but knowing only two whose company I would be able to tolerate, neither one available.

       Only an hour later my sister arrived with hugs and comfort.  Then she told me a true life incident happening in her friend’s life, so altering and horrible that it almost completely brought me out of my own troubles.  We took off to get some of her tasks done and that same distraction continues on today.  Life is difficult, for the saved and the unsaved.  Life is full of sorrow and grief.  We aren’t spared because we are born again, we are, however, promised to never be alone without our Savior.

For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Mt. 5:45
I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation... Jh. 16:33

      Looking back on the many ‘darkest hours’ of my life that even when I felt alone, the Lord my God was always with me wanting me to draw near to Him.  How difficult it must have been for Him to watch me distance myself and blame Him, all the while suffering more deeply for it.  The pain of tough love lasts longer than one day and sometimes the end is nowhere in sight… but God will always remain by our side.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Is. 43:1,2 ESV
He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart, and my part forever. Ps. 73:26
Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit. Ps. 34:18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction… 2Cr. 1:3,4 ESV

Thank You precious Lord and Savior for always being with me in all the storms of life, for wrapping Your arms around me in the darkest night, and holding me up as I walk through tough and trying days.  I am so very grateful for Your presence!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Got Anything to Eat?

       What’s the first thing a teenager says upon walking into the house?  Is there anything to eat?  Notorious endless hunger would be the main characteristic of many a teen as their bodies store up for times of growth.  Most parents understand that need even if they resent the grocery bill.  Being hungry after a long day’s work, after fasting for a medical test, or even because we simply didn’t have time to eat are all understandable because we have all felt that hunger.

       Jesus once asked a question (after His resurrection as He met with His disciples) that made me think “What?”.  It’s not some momentous question that stirs their thinking or their faith; it’s not seeking to understand them or to have them understand Him.  At first glance it doesn’t even seem to make sense.

And when He had spoken this, He showed them His hands and feet. And while they still did not believe for joy, and wondered, He said to them, Have you any food here? And they handed to Him a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And He took it and ate before them. Lk. 24:40-43 

      Jesus asked His disciples if they had any food and proceeded to eat what they gave Him.  Simple.  Human.  While they were wondering and uncertain, He did a most basic human activity- he ate, right in front of them.  Jesus was in His new resurrected body.  Did He even need to eat?  Did He just have a sudden craving?  What was His purpose?  My thinking is that Jesus wanted to make Himself real to them.  They gave Him food, He chewed it and swallowed it, and they understood- He is real.

So when did Jesus become real to me?

       The earliest time in my memory was a vision or dream I had before the age of ten when He appeared and said, “Come to me.”  I can’t say there was a big effect on me back then but I don’t really remember either.  The next time Jesus became real for me was when I heard the real gospel, one that required me to accept that He died for my sins, that I needed His forgiveness and to repent- then I gave my heart to Him.  Jesus was so real to me then that it drastically changed me forever- and I haven’t stopped changing yet- thank You God!

       There are many other times that a facet of who He is became real to me so I’ll only write about a few.  One time in the midst of sinning against Him I heard His voice (a loud inner voice) saying, “I love you.”  Immediately I was grieved at my own sinfulness, wondered at His love but for the first time I understood how great was His love for me.  Another time Jesus became real as I stood in the kitchen weaker than I’d ever been body, soul and spirit, as I totally gave up fighting and surrendered my family, my reputation and finally, my control over my life to Him.  Then there was the time He healed me when I didn’t even know I had a problem*.  The fact that He was SO much bigger than the box I continued to put Him in became apparent and He became more real.

       Jesus wants to be real to each and every one of us: as real as our mother, our child, our spouse or our best friend- as real as the person eating right next to us.  He is real.  And He is here.  We must ask ourselves- ‘Is Jesus real to me?’

Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I AM! Jh. 8:58
I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Rv. 1:8

*You can read about it here

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Black Ice

       The thing about black ice is that we often don’t see it until we feel the wheels lose traction on the road.  By then, if we are going too fast or adjusting the steering, it is too late and an accident may occur.  It was the same when I hit that thin sheet of ice on the stairs- by the time my feet touched down, it was too late and I fell (yesterday’s post).  But we don’t have to be unaware of what we are hearing from speakers, pastors, teachers, authors, etc.

       Should we be trusting man to be accurate about the Word without looking into it for ourselves?  Certainly not!  Our beloved pastors are NOT God and therefore make mistakes.  The Bereans searched the Scriptures to make sure Paul was accurate in what he was preaching (Ac. 17:10-12).  All teachers of the Word should encourage us to check up on them.  Besides the Scriptures I gave yesterday, we also need to watch for these signs:

For if, indeed, the one coming proclaims another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed, or if you receive another spirit, which you did not receive, or another gospel, which you never accepted, you might well endure these . … For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. Did not even Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works. 2Cr. 11:4,13-15
   -another Jesus- one who was not fully God, was just a good man, good teacher or prophet
                           one who was not fully man, or was Lucifer’s brother
                           one who had a wife, or sinned, or never died for our sins
                           one who never rose again
     -another spirit- by believing in another Jesus we would be receiving another spirit that is
                            not sent by God.
     -another gospel - actual gospel- Jesus came in flesh, died for our sins, rose again
                               He taught self denial as opposed to self fulfillment (Lk. 9:23; Mt. 19:27;
                                                                                                                                 Php. 3:7)
popular counterfeits
The self improvement gospel- Self-esteem or self-help gospels are promoted today in books, pulpits, and on radio, television, and internet. Focus is on self-dignity, self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem as opposed to personal sinfulness, repentance, denying self and living for Christ. “If we follow God's plan as faithfully as we can we will feel good about ourselves.”  Feeling good doesn’t make us saved and bound for Heaven!
The prosperity gospel goes by many names: Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It. This other gospel teaches that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith. 
The judgmentless gospel- God is about restoring not judging.  Jesus died for all so all can go to Heaven.
The moralistic gospel- Redemption comes through exercising one’s willpower to be better with God’s help.
The kingdom or activist gospel- We can advance the kingdom through our own efforts to build a new, better, just society.
If anyone preaches a gospel to you beside what you have received,
let him be accursed. Gl. 1:9

But the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy (speaking but not following Scriptures themselves), being seared in their own conscience (sin so much they don’t even feel bad about it anymore), 1Tm. 4:1,2
Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1Cr. 6:9-11

       Lord, let us take seriously the many warnings You have given us to know You and Your Word so that we cannot fall by giving heed to false doctrines or Christianity.  Open our eyes to see the truth and give us the courage to stand up for that truth.