Monday, May 30, 2011

The Price of Freedom

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.  John 15:13

It is Memorial Day, a day when we celebrate and honor the brave men and women who have fought and died for our freedom in America.  We recognize the commitment, the bravery, and the sacrafice all of you in the military have given in order to protect our liberties and freedoms.  To every member of our military and their families present and past, we salute you, and we honor you.  Thank you for your sacrafice, thank you for laying down your own life in order to serve us, thank you for your love for this country, and freedom. 

I love America, I love freedom, and I love our military men and women! 

Freedom is never free. 

In every case, someone has paid a price for freedom.  In our country's case, it is the blood, sweat and tears of brave soldiers that have paid the price.  In our Faith, Jesus paid the price so we can be free.

If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  John 8:36.

So, why is it if Jesus made us free that so many Christians are still living in captivity?  Captivity has many forms.  It may take the form of a poor self-image, fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, etc.  It may be due to a past sin that one willingly took part in, unknowing that it would lead to chains of bondage.  It may be due to something another person did to you that was not your fault at all, but the enemy has twisted the truth around and now you believe a lie of shame. 

Whatever the reason for the bondage, whatever the reason for feeling like a captive that is not free to be who God created them to be, I want you to know that Jesus paid the price so you can be free.  You are NOT a second class citizen!  You are a child of the Most High God!  He does not want His children living in bondage.  He does not want His children living with a poor self-image, feeling like second class citizens tormented by shame, guilt or fear. 

If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32

The truth that you know will set you free.  The enemy has had all our lives to build lies into our consciousness.  He has used situations to fill our minds with LIES.  The only way to identify the lies is to know the truth of God's Word and see what God says about us.  Then, once we know what God says about us, it takes some time to tear down the lies and replace them with what God says. 

The only way to do this is by consistenty keeping those truths in front of us so that when the enemy tries to lie to us, we can stop the lie by speaking God's Word, the Truth.  It does take some time and diligence in God's Word.  Afterall, the enemy has had your whole life to get you to believe the lie.  Eventually the Truth will get so deep into you that the enemy cannot even use that lie anymore.  If he tries to use it, it will just bounce off you and you'll say, that is crazy, I don't believe that lie!  That is when you have victory my friends! 

I know this first hand.  For years, I believed lies that kept me in bondage feeling unworthy of God's love or anyone elses love.  God's Word, His Truth, has set me free! 

However, just like we as Americans have to maintain our freedom by keeping our military strong, we have to maintain our freedom with the Word of God and a strong relationship with Jesus. 

There are fewer and fewer lies the enemy can use with me now, but when he does try to get me to believe a lie, I say, "Sue, get out your notecards." Then I search the Word of God for Truth.  I write down that truth on my notecards and keep God's Word in front of me to get the truth penetrated into my heart.

Freedom is never free my friends, but Jesus paid the price.  Truth does not do us any good if we do not know it.  Freedom is not real unless you know you are free.  Know the truth and fight for your freedom today with the Word of God.   Freedom is already yours, Jesus already won the battle, we just have to grab onto it and believe it in order to live free.   

If you have been living in bondage and would like me to pray for you or you would like to talk to me more about this, I would love to talk with you.  Please feel free to contact me by email suelovenlife@gmail.com


Friday, May 27, 2011

Live Laugh Love


"Live, Laugh, Love" is a very popular expression these days.  I have this picture above on my living room wall. 
I put it there to help remind me everyday of how I should live.  I actually have the word "LOVE" in several places in my home to remind me that love should be the main focus in life. 

Today, I want to break these down from a Biblical perspective. 

LIVE

The Greek word for "live" is "zao" and it means "to enjoy life, to be fresh, strong, efficient, active, powerful, efficacious." 

The Greek word for "life" is "zoe" and means "the absolute fullness of life". 

Jesus said...."I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."  John 10:10

It is also worth noting that the word abundantly is "perissos" in the Greek and means"Superabundance, excessive, overflowing, surplus, over and above, more than enough, extraordinary, above the ordinary, more than sufficient." 

I don't know about you, but that just flat out EXCITES me!  God wants us to enjoy our life.  Jesus came to give us a super abundant life!  He came to give us a life overflowing with His goodness, a life of more than enough, a life that is above the ordinary!    He wants us to know the "absolute fullness of life" and then some! He wants us to have it more abundantly so we can bless others with our life, so we can use that overflow to show His love to others. 

LAUGH

 I wrote about this the other day.  It is so good to laugh.  We need to remember to laugh and play.  After all, we just saw that Jesus wants us to enjoy our life!

A merry heart does good like a medicine.  Proverbs 17:22

It says in Psalms 126:1-3 that when the Isrealites were set free and allowed to go back to Jerusalem that they were filled with laughter because of the great things the Lord had done for them.  Jesus has set us free and He has done great things for us.  This truth should fill us with joy and laughter!  


LOVE

Lastly, love.  Actually, it should be firstly love. (Although I don't think firstly is a real word)  :  )

There is so much to say about "love" and I know I cannot say everything today.  

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all you mind." 
This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it:
"You shall love our neighbor as yourself."

Love is the principal thing.  Without love, nothing else matters.  All of our deeds, all of our actions, all of our gifts mean nothing if we don't have love.  ( 1Cor 13:1) Our faith cannot even work if we are not walking in love. ( Gal 5:6) 

I have to constantly check my love walk and work on my love walk.  It is vital to life.   
Love is patient with imperfect people, love is kind and is not jealous or envious of others, love does not brag about itself, it is not prideful, it puts others first, it thinks the best of others and credits them with good intentions, love does not gossip or spread evil reports, but rejoices in truth.  This is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6.  

Oh, how we need the word in order to love properly.  I need this as much as anyone.  That is why I have the "love" in several places in my home.  I pray that the Lord would help me love like He loves. 

Father, help us to live how you want us to live.  I pray we would laugh and enjoy our lives.  I pray that we would love like you do.  In Jesus' precious name, Amen.  


 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Need a Laugh?

A merry heart does good, like medicine...Proverbs 17:22


This is Luke. Yesterday, we had a fun filled day.  It was Luke's 6th birthday and he graduated from Kindergarten all in one day!  I was a little emotional Monday night thinking this is my last night that Luke will ever be five years old.  He will never be five again and he will never be a Kindergartener again.  *sniff, sniff*  

Here he is in his cap and gown, isn't he adorable! Luke definitely does my heart good, he brings much joy to our home. 

Luke's middle name is "Laughter"......literally.  : )
It is Isaac and it literally means "Laughter".  It is very appropriate for him.  

Quick story...the way Luke got his middle name is that when I was giving birth to him, I literally pushed him out by laughing.  (Yes, I had an epidural ladies...I don't know how much laughing would have been going on if I hadn't had one!)  I thank the Lord for epidurals!  My doctor is a Christian and he said, "You should name him Isaac, he is an Isaac baby.  We already had decided "Luke", so Isaac was added to his middle name.  

So, this morning, in honor of our new Kindergarten graduate and six year old, I am going to share some things Luke has said or done to give us the gift of laughter this year.  I hope they make you laugh too, laughing does the heart good.  These are not to laugh at Luke, but to honor him.  He brings us so much joy. 

Some funnies during dinner....
"This tastes like Zebra!"

While eating, Luke started crying saying, "This is making me cry."  Through his tears he said, "This is the worst chicken I have ever tasted."  (We were actually having fish) 

Have you ever seen the movie, "The Pink Panther" with Steve Martin.  Luke says "hamburger" just like he does in the movie.....Hambugu, Haaambuuga....

A couple of funnies during school that I heard about....

Luke put his underwear on his head at school and was walking around with his underwear on his head......oh yes he did! (I wrote about this one in another post, "Underwear on Your Head".)

He had a little potty accident, so he had to change his clothes in the bathroom in their classroom.  He opened the bathroom door buck naked (except his socks) holding his clothes and said, "What am I suppose to do with these clothes?"

A couple of funnies while playing at home....

From the other room, I heard Luke say in a tattle tell voice, "Mo--om, Sarah is kissing me on purpose." 

Joe had a friend over.  The boys were talking about where they would like to go on vacation.  Joe's friend said, "I'd like to go to Australia."  Joe said, "I'd like to go to Hawaii."  Luke said......"I'd like to go to Neverland."  When I asked Luke why he wanted to go to Neverland, he said, "Because they have cheese there."


I hope those brought you some laughter this morning.  God is so good to give us the gift of laughter.  We know God has a good sense of humor.  I've heard you can just look at a giraffe to see God's sense of humor.   He is the creator of humor.  It is so neat to see different facets of God in people.  God has made us all so special and unique.  

When God made Luke, He put a special gift of laughter and humor in him.  When He made you, He put special gifts and abilities in you.  He has a unique and divine plan for your life, and it is a good plan.  He wants the best for you, just like we all do for our children.

Laughter is good and we all need it, but true joy can only come from the Lord.  

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalms 16:11 

Abide in the Lord, in His presence and He will give you fullness of joy.  If joy is missing from your life, I encourage you to check your abiding. 

These things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.  John 15:11

Praying today that you would know the joy of the Lord, and that the Lord would bring laughter into your life. 









Monday, May 23, 2011

Peace That Surpasses All Understanding

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving make you requests known to God; and the peace that surpasses all understanding, will guard you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7

What is "peace that surpasses all understanding"?

Have you ever experienced that kind of peace?

This kind of peace, ONLY comes from the Lord.

It is a peace that is present that cannot be accounted for by earthly evidence.  It is a peace that is revealed in the contrast of a world screaming out in anguish versus a serene calmness, and inexpressible joy that fills every crevice of one's soul.

This kind of peace does not make sense to the world and cannot be found in the world.

People everywhere are searching for it.

I recently watched part of the movie, "Eat, Pray, Love."  I say"part" of the movie, because it grieved me to see how the world is lost and looking for answers in the wrong places.  It grieved my Spirit to see the worshiping of false gods in search of the One True God.  (I don't recommend this movie.)


Some people may believe they can find God in false ceremonial religions, but they only find a fake substitution that cannot compare to the real relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Jesus is the ONLY way. 


Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, No man comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

Saying Jesus is the ONLY way is not very popular nowadays.  However, I didn't say it, Jesus did.


Jesus is the Only way to true peace.  

Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27


There is much in this world that might trouble your heart.  There is much in this world that might cause you to fear. 

Here is my paraphrase of what Jesus said....Do not let your heart be troubled, do not worry, do not fret, do not be afraid.  I am with you, I'VE GOT THIS.  Give it to me, trust me, and I will give you my peace that surpasses all understanding. 


The beauty of a peace that surpasses all understanding is that we don't have to figure it out!  That is the point after all.  We have peace and we stand amazed by it.

I can recall circumstances where I should not have had peace.  According to my flesh or the world, I should have been sad, scared, upset, mad, or full of turmoil.  However, the peace of the Lord protected my mind, "guarded" my heart and mind and just allowed me to stay calm and full of joy.  

I do have to say, however, that I do not do this correctly 100% of the time.  There are times I mess up and don't give it to the Lord.  There are times when I so get in my flesh and try to figure everything out.  There are times when I just straight up miss it! 

I am so thankful for His mercy!  I am so thankful that His mercies are new every morning. 

Just this last weekend,  my heart was troubled, anxious.  I cried out to Him, I asked Him to help me, to give me peace.  It wasn't a long eloquent prayer...I didn't even have the energy for that.  It was basically, just

Help me, Lord.  Give me peace. Help me.

And He did.  He is always faithful.  He gave me peace that surpasses all understanding. 

He will do the same for you.  Go to Him, ask Him to help you with whatever it is you need...nothing is too big nor too small for our God.  He wants you to have peace that surpasses all understanding.

He loves you more than you know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

God's Promises for our Children

As promised I want to share some promises in God's Word concerning our children.

We have 3 wonderful children, Joe, Luke and Sarah.  Joe is 8, Luke will be 6 next week, and Sarah is 4. (Don't you love the pink boots!)

They are a bundle of fun and energy.  Needless to say there is rarely a dull moment at our home!

Before I share any "spiritual" advice or suggestions, I have to premise this post with I am not a perfect mom and I do not have perfect kids.  Oh, quite the contrary.

If only you could have seen what happened just yesterday.  You would know the above to be so very true!  I really wish sometimes that there was a rewind button in life. That would have been nice yesterday.  : )

Thankfully, though, we do serve a perfect God.  I am trusting in Him to perfect me and them.

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.  Phil 1:6

Since He is still working on perfecting me and I've been alive a lot longer than my kids, I guess I need to remember to give them more grace.  I need to be patient with them as He is with me.

We will never be perfect or complete until we come face to face with our Lord Jesus.  Thankfully He is perfect and He lives in us, helps us, and gives us wisdom!

The One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.  Job 36:4
 
We may not know everything, but praise the Lord, we know the One who does!

God gives us wisdom when we ask for it and He has given us His Word to guide and direct us in everything, including our children.

Some promises God has given us concerning our children:


Blessings:    The righteous man walk in his integrity; His children are blessed after him  Prov 20:7  (Remember we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus) --Live it, walk in integrity and hold onto this promise.

Peace:  All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.  Isaiah 54:13 

Protection:  He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.  In their hand  they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone.  Psalms 91:11-12

Discipline:  Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul. Proverbs 29:17

Relationships: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, or sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord.  Ps 1:1-2 

Healing: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your  iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.  Psalms 103:3
Surely, He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrow. Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted.   But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  Is 53:4-5
(above, the Greek words for "grief" literally means "diseases" and "sorrows" literally means "pain",  Jesus bore our disease and pain on the cross)

Their Future:  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Salvation Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart  from  it.  Prov 22:6 

Tell the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done.  That the generation to come might know them,  the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.  Psalms 78: 4,6-7

God gives us these promises in His Word to stand on.  The Word of God is powerful.  However, we have to use it for it to be powerful in our lives.  There is an enemy out there who doesn't want our children to live for the Lord, who doesn't want us or them to live victorious lives.  We have to be on guard and fight that enemy with the Sword of the Spirit-God's Word. 

Speaking God's Word is powerful!  It is more powerful than a double edged sword! I heard Perry Stone say recently that one edge of the Sword is God's Word and it becomes double-edged when we speak the Word of God.  This makes even more sense when you look up the word double-edged in the Greek- it means having 2 mouths as like a river. One mouth is God and the other is ours!

So, I encourage you to use these promises concerning your children and pray the Word of God over them.  Nothing is more powerful than the spoken Word of God!  



Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Princess

There is nothing sweeter than when a person comes to the Lord.  The only thing that may be sweeter for a mother is when it is her child.

HUGE PRAISE!  Our little 4 year old Sarah asked Jesus to come live in her heart on Saturday night.


This is her with Cinderella.  Isn't she precious!  She loves princesses!  She has always been a princess is training, and now she officially is one--a daughter of the Most High King!

I wanted to share a little about Saturday.....

I am BIG on prayer!  Praying daily for our kids is sooo important.  Just about everyday I pray and thank the Lord that our kids are coming to know Him at an early age and live for Him all of their days.

I have a prayer list from Family Life that I pray regularly for my kids.  It is a book mark with prayers and scriptures to support the prayers.

Praying God's Word is powerful.  

Saying that to say this didn't just happen, it is something I have prayed for since before Sarah was even born.

Saturday didn't start out a great day Looking back I can see how the enemy was trying to steal this moment away from us.  I won't go into details other than there was a battle going on in my mind that day and I started to feel sick Saturday night and even laid down for a couple of hours.  Chris fixed the kids dinner and I wasn't going to get up to help the kids get ready for bed, but I began to feel better.  The Holy Spirit prompted me to get up.

God can take any day and turn it around for His Glory!  Praise the Lord!

So, I got up and decided to read a new book I just bought to the kids.  It is "What to Say When You Talk to God."  by Stormie Omartian (the same author who wrote "Power of a Praying Parent"--also have read it--great!)

Then I read a preschool devotional to Sarah.  We read it about every night.  It is super cute.  It is a "Little Blessings" book called "Devotions for Preschoolers" by Crystal Bowman.

That night, the devotional was about having the Holy Spirit inside us and how He is always with us, He lives in us and helps us. 

The prayer with it said "May Your Holy Spirit guide me.  I'm glad He'll always stay inside me."


The conversation went something like this:

Sarah, does the Holy Spirit live inside you. 

Sarah: yes

Sarah, does Jesus live inside you?

Sarah: yes


Sarah, have you ever ASKED Jesus to live inside of your heart?  I don't remember you ever asking Him.  Would you like to ask him to live in you to be your Lord and Savior, to be your helper?


Sarah: yes


Do you love Jesus?  Do you believe he died on the cross for your sins and then rose again and is alive today? 


Sarah:  Yes, He died on the cross for me and He lives forever.  

(I wanted to be sure she knew what she was doing and not just saying yes to everything.)   ; )



Ok, then pray this prayer with mommy.  


Jesus, I believe you died on the cross for my sins and rose again and are alive today.   I ask you to come live in my heart, to be my Lord and my Savior, to help me and guide me.  Please forgive me of my sins, I want to live for you.  I ask Your Holy Spirit to come fill me and be my helper.   In Jesus Name Amen.  


It was such a sweet moment.  She was so excited and wanted to tell Daddy.  Chris then came in and she told him also.

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  Romans 10: 9-10

Some people may think that they are Christians or that they are going to Heaven.  Sarah answered "yes" to if Jesus lived in her, but she had never asked Him. If you haven't prayed a prayer like the one above and confessed Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you are not truly saved. Are you 100% sure you are saved and will live eternally with Jesus in Heaven?  If not, you can be sure.  All you have to do is believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus died for you and rose again.  It is really that easy, so easy a toddler can do it!  : )

Sarah is such a blessing to our family and now she is part of a BIGGER FAMILY!  Welcome to the Family, Sarah!  We know God has a good plan for you and that you will be a blessing to His Family!

We want all of you to be a part of the Family also!  We want to spend eternity with you!

Thank you for letting me share this sweet moment with you and rejoicing with us!

Also, I want to encourage you that if your child is not living for the Lord, or someone else dear to you isn't living for the Lord to continue to pray.  Prayer changes things!  This week, I will share some of the prayers we pray over our children regularly as I mentioned above and some promises for you to hold on to from God's Word.   We want all our children to know Jesus and be a part of the Bigger Family!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spring Cleaning

It is that time of year when many people do spring cleaning.  

Last week I wrote about cleaning house, the daily cleaning we need to do to keep our "house" in order....our spiritual house.  After all Jesus lives in us, we don't want it to be dirty in there for Him.  In order to keep our house clean, every day we need to go to God with our sin, confess it, and ask Him to cleanse our hearts and renew a right spirit within us.  (Ps 51:10)

Sometimes though we need to do a "Spring Cleaning".  I spent much time this week cleaning out the clutter in my house.  I cannot stand clutter!  However, if I'm not careful, it is easy for it to pile up on me.  When this happens, I usually try to hide it somewhere no one else can see it.  : ) In this case, our guest bedroom was filled with boxes of clutter that needed to be removed. I am pleased to say, it is now clean.  : )  What a great feeling!

We can also have clutter in our lives that hinders our spiritual walk with the Lord.

Clutter : To run in disorder, to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that
               impede movement or reduce effectiveness. 

What kind of clutter can cause us to run in disorder in our relationship with the Lord?  What kind of clutter can impede how God wants to move in our lives or reduce our effectiveness in ministry?

Clutter in our spiritual lives could be anything we are filling our lives with that isn't beneficial to us, that isn't in line with God's plan.  In many cases, clutter is just plain business.  It is really anything that is hindering our ability to hear from the Lord. 

We live in a very busy world, with a multitude of activities that compete for our time.  Sometimes, we just need to take an inventory of our lives to uncover what is unnecessary clutter.

Some examples of clutter:

1) Excess entertainment such as excessive TV watching, video games, sports, social media, etc.

2) Kid activities or personal hobbies.

3) Wrong associations--a wrong association can greatly hinder your relationship with the Lord.  I have much to say about this one.  It is VERY important who your friends are in life.  As the saying goes, "You are who you associate with."  It is wise to take an evaluation of your friends and see if they are people you want to emulate.

4) Working too much (not to pay bills, sometimes you have to do what you have to do--I'm talking about working too much and not needing to do it.)

5) Church duties:  Yes, even church duties can become a hindrance to your walk with the Lord if it is out of balance.

These are just a few examples.

One can usually do 1 of 3 things with clutter...leave it, hide it, or remove it.  Some people live in clutter all the time and they don't even know it!  

One of the synonyms for "clutter" is confusion.

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...1 Cor 14:33

So many people lack peace in their lives because of all the clutter.

He will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.  Is 26:3


We need to remove the clutter and keep our minds on Jesus.  How do we identify clutter?  Follow peace....

Let us follow after things that make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another.  
Rm 14:19 

This week I encourage you to take an inventory of your life. 
 
Pray. Ask the Lord to show you if there is any clutter in your life.  I am going to do the same. 

Do a self-evaluation.

How am I doing in my relationship with the Lord?  Am I spending enough time with Him?  Am I spending time in His Word?  Is there anything that is "clutter" in my life that needs to be removed?

We need to be sure our priorities are in proper order with God at the top, family second, and then everything else.  When we keep God first, God takes care of the rest.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.  Matt 6:33 (emphasis added)

We don't want anything in our lives that will cause us to "run in disorder", "impede movement" of God, or "reduce effectiveness" in ministry.

 Then, decide that whatever you do, to do it all unto the Lord.

Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Cor 10:31

It is Spring Cleaning time, let's rid our lives of the clutter, of the confusion, and follow peace so we can be who God has called us to be and do all God has planned for us to do! 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The One

I spoke with a friend recently who shared with me something the Lord had spoken to her heart.  I asked her if I could share what she told me with you and she gracefully gave me permission to share this personal story.

Tara is pregnant with her fourth child.  A couple weeks ago, during her 13th week of pregnancy, she had a lot of bleeding.  Enough bleeding to alarm her to the point of tears and a trip to the doctor's office.  She thought she was miscarrying.  She shared with me how while in the bathroom, she cried out to God praying.  She realized at that moment just how much she loved this life growing inside her.  She didn't want to lose her child.
Thankfully, when she arrived at the doctors,they did an ultrasound, and everything was fine.  It had only been a blood clot. Praise the Lord!

She related this to how God feels about every single one of His children.  She was devastated at the thought of losing this child.  How much more is God grieved by every single one of His children He loves who is lost.

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

When I was lost, the Lord diligently, but gently pursued me.  I know some people must have been praying for me.  I am in awe when I think of how he pursued me.  He will "go after one which is lost until he finds it."
 
And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 

"He lays it on his shoulders"..... After someone comes to the Lord, the Lord doesn't stop pursuing them.  He continues to whew them with His love.  He continues to carry them, support them, nurture them.

And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' 

When one person comes to the Lord, a PARTY is going on up there in Heaven!

I say to you likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance."  Luke 15:4-7

God isn't mad at us when we go to Him with our sin  (news flash--He already knows all about it before we tell Him).  It says above that there is joy when we repent.  I know I thought that my sin was too great, that God would never accept me.  My shame was too great.  Those lies are not true, it is just the opposite. 

Rejoice in this today, it doesn't matter where you have been or where you are.  It doesn't matter what you have done, Jesus would have gone to the cross, He would have died if it was only for you.  He left everything to go after you

If you are a mother, think about your children.  Just like my friend said, isn't that one child worth everything in the world to you.  Wouldn't you give your life for that one child? How much more does our Heavenly Father love us? 

He loves and cares for us more than we could ever realize.  You can trust Him with everything, every detail of your life.  He cares about everything you care about....go to Him with it, trust Him with it and then thank Him for the answer. 

Is there anyone in your life who is a lost sheep?  I want to encourage you right now to pray for them.  

Think about that neighbor you don't like, or the man you see holding a sign that says "Will work for food" by the interstate, or the person at work who irritates you, or that family member who is hard to get along with, etc.....God loves them all, Jesus died for that one.

Someone was praying for me when I returned to the Lord and someone was praying for you when you came to the Lord.  I looked like a lost cause, trust me on that!  Sometime I will share my testimony, but I was lost and didn't want to be found.  I am thankful God went after this one.




Friday, May 6, 2011

Cleaning House

"'Cinderelly, Cinderelly', night and day its 'Cinderelly, wash the dishes, do the laundry', they always keep her hopping, til she goes around in circles, and she's very very dizzy, still they holler 'you get busy, Cinderelly.'"  This is what the mice sing in "Cinderella".

Cinderella has two sides.....

One is an optimistic girl who is enslaved in her own home.

The other is the princess we all dream we could be.

I have to be honest, most days I feel more like Cinderella the workhorse than Cinderella the princess.
(We are all princesses though...we are daughters of the Most High King, much better than any fairy tale.)

However, we live in this world and in this world we have work to do.  If you are like me, it seems like I have just cleaned the house and when I look around a couple of days later, it doesn't even look like I cleaned!  It is truly unbelievable!  How does that happen?!

Going to switch gears for a moment to explain a conversation I had with my 8 year old son, Joe, recently.  I promise I will get back to the cleaning and Cinderella story.  : )

Joe had disobeyed me and we were going through the correcting that needed to be done and the restoration process.  (Restoration between us and between him and the Lord.)

During this process, he was just crying saying "It's no use, I will just mess up again, I will sin again, It's just no use."  He was so discouraged, bless his heart. 

This moment reminded me of what Paul said. "For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do."  Romans 7:15

How encouraging for us that even Paul dealt with this contradiction. (As my son would say, "That doesn't make any sense!"--it is his favorite phrase at the moment and we hear it A LOT)  ; )

I wanted so much to comfort Joe, to encourage him, I thought, "What should I say".........and then the Lord gave me a great analogy.

I said, "Joe, you know how mommy cleans the house every week.  I do that because it gets dirty.  What would happen if I never cleaned the house because it is just going to get dirty again anyway? It would get really messy, dirty, and yucky wouldn't it?  After a while, we wouldn't even realize it was dirty because we would just get use to the dirt and yuck. It would become normal to us."

"That is how sin is in our hearts.  Yes, we are going to sin, but that is why we need to go to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us and cleanse our hearts.  We need to go to the Lord so our hearts don't stay yucky.  If we sin and keep the yuck in our hearts, after a while, we don't even realize how dirty our hearts are and we just think the sin is normal."

At the end of this conversation, Joe was smiling and he understood why he needed to go to the Lord even though he will sin again.  He left feeling encouraged instead of discouraged at his flawed humanity.  He left knowing that even though he messes up, God is always there to clean his heart and give him a new start.

Now, of course, that doesn't give him or any of us a license to sin.

"Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" Romans 6:1-2

However, it encouraged him to know the reason we continually go to the Lord.  Only the Lord can cleanse our hearts.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
And renew a right spirit within me."  Psalms 51:10


Now, back to Cinderella and housework..... the good news is that we don't have to work for this type of cleaning and we don't have to be enslaved to sin!  (Romans 6:14) We get to just be the princess God intended for us to be!  You are His daughter! Jesus did all the work required for our hearts to be clean, and He conquered sin and death on the cross!  All we have to do is accept His gift. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

 Hallelujah!!!!!  We don't have to clean this house!


If you have never asked Jesus to come cleanse your heart or live in you, I encourage you to invite him into your life and heart today.  The blood of Jesus shed on the cross covers all of our sins.  You don't have to live in a mess anymore.  He wants to come in and cleanse your heart and your life.  He makes all things new.  Or if you have let sin (dirt) become the norm in your life, I pray you would ask the Lord to cleanse your heart and renew a right spirit within you.  He has a good life for you, let him clean your house today.  I love you. 







 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So Much Fun to be a Dog

I will never forget sitting in a friend's house one night when I was in high school.  We were watching, "All Dogs Go to Heaven."  Not the best movie, but ok.  While we were watching it, I said something that would haunt me the rest of my high school days.....

I said, "It would be so much fun to be a dog."  Laugh if you will, but I have to wonder if most people were honest, they'd say they have thought this at some point or....... maybe it is only me.  :  ) I mean think about it, no responsibilities, just playing, eating and sleeping. 

Now, of course I don't want to be a dog, it was just a thought I had in high school that I probably shouldn't have verbalized. : )  I think we all have those moments of looking back and thinking, "I ought not have said that."  It became a source of teasing for the rest of my high school days.

Well, today I am going to argue, that we should be more like dogs.  : )

We have a precious 2 year old 100 lb Golden Retriever named Sammy.  We got him from the rescue last summer.   Recently, we took him in for a trim and now he looks more like a Yellow Lab then a Golden Retriever (They took off a bit more than expected.)  He is still handsome, though.  Here is a picture of him before the trim. 



Isn't he such a handsome boy?!  He is very sweet. 

Since we got him from the rescue, he does have some abandonment issues.  So, he follows me around all the time.  He is seriously like my shadow.  As I go from room to room throughout our home, he follows me. When I go outside, he wants to go with me.  He loves to be with me, he loves to just be in my presence all the time. 

If only we were like that!  We need to be like a dog when it comes to the Lord.  We should desire His presence so intensely that we are constantly seeking Him, wanting to follow Him wherever He goes. We should want to be in His presence all the time. 

"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."  Psalms 16:11


I want that! I want that all the time!  I want the path of life, fullness of joy, and the Lord's pleasures!  It only comes from being in His presence. 

"Refreshing comes from the presence of the Lord"  Acts 5:41

"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  Exodus 33:14

We all need refreshing.  Only Jesus can truly refresh our souls and give us rest. 

I said above that Sammy is like my shadow......  

 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High 
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty,
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."


Surely, He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. 
He shall cover you with His feathers, 
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler, 
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor the destruction that lays waste at noonday.


A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look, 
And see the reward of the wicked.


Because you have made the Lord, 
who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near you dwelling;


For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.


Psalms 91:1-11

Such great and comforting truths in those verses. 

I want to encourage you to be like a dog today, desire to be with the Lord, in His presence.  Dwell with Him, be in His shadow.  In His presence you will find life, refreshment, rest, fullness of joy and comfort that only He can give.  I am now going to just bask in His presence and love.   Abide in His shadow today.....


 
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