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Extra Icing

John 10:27,28 – “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

I had an amazing experience yesterday.

I was seeing a client and this client told me, out of the blue, that they thought their death was close. This client has multiple medical issues but seems to be functioning fairly well. I probed a bit and found out more information but nothing that would necessarily substantiate the fears that were expressed. 

Yet, I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon my heart that I needed to confirm and/or present the plan of salvation to this person. And I did. It was amazing. I told my client very bluntly and candidly about what it takes to KNOW that death is not the end. And my client confirmed that they had the free gift of salvation in their heart. 

I’m a nobody. I love what I do. I love being in contact with people and helping them and walking through all sorts of situations and problems with them. But when I get the opportunity to speak to someone I have grown close to about Jesus and His free gift of salvation- well, that’s just extra icing on the cupcake. I don’t push it but I don’t hide it. And when God was speaking to my heart yesterday, for once, I listened. And it was beautiful!

So I want to encourage you to live it out. We never know how long we have or how long the person across from us has. Yesterday, I heard His voice and I followed and it was truly a blessing in my life. I encourage you to do the same. Happy Wednesday. 

The writing in the dirt

John 8:3-11 – “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

It is so easy to judge. We see other people; we think we know them and what do we do? We pass judgment. 

I think it is partly human nature to judge others. We see the negative and automatically make an assumption that they obviously don’t deserve our best because of this or that. We hear things and assume the worst. We have a hard time giving people the benefit of the doubt. 

Notice I’m using “we” because I have a problem with this too. I have to consciously make an effort not to judge. And that’s hard. 

We don’t know what Jesus was writing in the dirt this day but we can guess that whatever it was did not make people want to stick around. They tucked their tunics and took off, one by one, when Jesus started writing. They were ready to stone this woman for her sin. They thought they had it all figured out and were going to involve Jesus in this woman’s death. Little did they understand and appreciate that whatever Jesus was writing in the dirt would expose their judgmental attitude. 

What if Jesus started writing in the dirt every time you began judging and accusing people? Would you want all your dirty laundry aired out for everyone to see? I’m guessing no. We want to keep our dirty little sins tucked away and not discussed. 

What I want to encourage you about is this – be careful. Be careful who you accuse. Be careful who you judge. Be careful how you handle dealing with the past of another. We are none perfect. We all have things we would rather forget. Be kind. Be gentle. Be forgiving. Be cautious. Jesus may be writing in the dirt about you. 

Control

John 10:17,18 – “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Power. We like to think that we have power over our life. We like to think that our date book is our own. We like to think that we have control over when we sleep and when we rise. We like to think that we have control over what the scales say or doesn’t say. We like to think that we have control over how our children are raised and who leads us into the future of our country. 

But do we really have control over any of those things?

I’d venture to say no. No we do not. Oh, our perception may be that we got this. But in reality….we don’t. 

In these verses today, Jesus reminds us of a very important fact – He has control. He has so much control that He has the power to freely give His life and take it back up again. This blew His audience’s mind. How could this possibly be?

We serve an amazingly powerful God. One that has the capability to give His own Son who has the power to willingly sacrifice His own life. One that has the power to raise Himself from the grave because He is all God and all man all at the same time. Did you hear that? Minds being blown all over the place!

What I want to get across today is God is in control. He knows what has been, what is and what will be. And if Jesus can raise Himself from the grave, He won’t forget you when He returns. Sometimes life feels so uncertain, so easily downtrodden, so discouraging. But take heart, God is in control. Truly, we have nothing to worry about. 

New Year, New Mantra

Proverbs 3:5,6 – “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Let Him be seen in 2017. 

So yesterday at church, we were talking about a mantra for the year – a phrase to sum up what we, as a local New Testament church, want to achieve this year. Well, a couple of us came up with this phrase – Let Him be seen in 2017. 

Why did God lay this upon our hearts?

We need to let Him be seen in our life. We need to stop hindering Him. We need to take the spotlight off our own selfish desires and allow Christ to shine in and through us. 

We also need to pray for His immenit return. It is coming soon. We need to be asking that He hasten it. That’s kind of a scary thing to pray for – it means I need to be ready. That’s a blog post for another day. 

So what do these concepts have to do with the verses above?

We won’t let Him be seen in our life if we don’t trust Him completely. We have to reject our own thoughts and ideas for our future and fully rely upon Him. That’s tough as well. That means giving up what you think is right and believing that Someone you can’t see is fully in control. We are a tactile society. We like to see and touch things in order to make them real. I can touch and feel my Bible. But I have to believe in my heart that it truly is His Word to me. And I do. That is how I touch Jesus, for now. But I trust Him. And as much as I trust Him, I want to trust Him more. I want to give over more control. I want to see Him do more in my life. But that means I have to get out of the way. 

That means that I have to acknowledge Him more. As John said in John 3:30 – “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  I need to acknowledge Him more and me less. 

Let Him be seen in 2017. 

So here is the challenge for the year – choose to show others Him instead of you. Because when they see more of you, they see more of what makes You unrighteous in His eyes. But when they see Him, they see the potential for love and grace and mercy that He extends to every man, woman, boy and girl. 

Hmm…how about that?

John 12:42,43 – “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

When I read this the other day, I though to myself “Hmm, how about that?”

Many people believed on Jesus but they were afraid to confess Him because of the fear that they had in what others would think. 

Sound familiar?

How many of us today keep Jesus tucked in our back pocket for emergencies and fail to put Him in the spotlight? It’s all well and good to express our gratitude and thanks and praise when we are in the walls of our church building, but what about when we survived a tough commute to work? What about when the weather miraculously changes in our favor? What about when we somehow have more than enough money to pay the bills this week? What about when we go into the doctor for something terrible and somehow or another it is gone?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32,33 – “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Don’t you think that Jesus meant that just as much now as He did then? 

This is serious stuff. We are neglecting to share Jesus with others because we don’t want to offend or we are afraid. And I am just as guilty as the next person. I have a tough time with this. But do I, for one minute, think that those lame excuses will fly at the Judgment Seat? Nope. They won’t. And I know that. 

So what is to be done? Be brave. Don’t be a scaredy-cat when it comes to Jesus. Don’t hide Him in your back pocket. Wear Him on the front of your shirt where everyone can see Him. Hey, I’m speaking as much to my heart as yours. 

Just look around you. Do you see the wind moving the trees? God is doing the same thing to our hearts today. He is stirring and churning and trying to poke us into service. He wants us to share. He wants us to brave. He wants us to, at the very least, try. Let’s never let it be said of us that we loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. 

Overcoming 

1 John 5:4 – “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

So this weekend, I had the opportunity to talk with a lady who has a very serious genetic condition that causes cancer. She shared with me about her struggles and more importantly, her attitude through the trials she faces. 

She was telling me about another lady that she knows that is facing the same illness that she is, BUT her doctors are not positive with her. She is not supported by the doctors or nurses. I’m not sure how someone faces a chronic and serious illness without positive people round them. She felt the same way. She said that her doctors were always straight with her but also compassionate. The nurses were understanding and thoughtful. Her husband is dedicated and loving. She has her church family that lifts her up. 

You know, we all need positive people around us even when we aren’t facing an illness. We need people who lift us up. We need people who are real with us. We need people who genuinely want to see us succeed.  

Now are these people going to be skipping and bringing us flowers? Probably not. 

Will they tell you when you need to put on your big girl pants and deal with it? Let’s hope so!

Overcoming is about compassion with a generous dose of truth. Jesus was about both. He loved all those He came in contact with, but believe you me, He told them like it is! Remember the story about the woman caught in adultery and the leaders were ready to stone her. He began writing things in the dirt. Whatever He was writing made those guys turn on their heals and quickly get away. He was writing truth in the dirt. And it hurt those guys. The woman was guilty but Jesus showed compassion and gave her the opportunity to turn away. He gave her the opportunity to become an overcomer. I hope she took advantage of that instance in her life. Every once in a while we all need a second chance. 

Let me encourage you to take on that positive attitude. Surround yourself with people who will love you enough to give it to you straight yet hold your hand when times are tough. And always remember this – “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” John 1:37. Jesus overcame it all for you and me. And it is our faith in Him that will overcome everything you and I face. 

Revisiting – A thousand years from now…

Revisit – It has been a busy week and sometimes flashbacks are good. I have no recollection as to what was going on in my life at this time, but I must have felt like I was taking on God head to head. I still want my life’s story to be a page turner. And I still want it to be a mystery, drama and, especially, a comedy. Life without comedy is just sad.

John 11:11-14 – “These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleeps, he shall do well. Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. Then Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.”

Do you ever read God’s Word and think, man, these guys were ignorant? It is so easy for us, a thousand and some odd years later, to read about these people’s thoughts, words and actions and pass judgement upon them. I mean, for land’s sake, they just finished arguing with Jesus about going somewhere dangerous! Duh, this is God you are dealing with!

But aren’t we just as guilty? We argue with Him still. We question His instructions. We ignore His urgings. We think we have it all figured out. And then in comes the monkey wrench and we look like idiots. Oh my, if I had a nickel for every time I felt like an idiot because I just didn’t listen.

As I was reading my devotional this morning about these very verses, it made me think how glad I am that someone isn’t writing down my life for others to read in a thousand years. But what if they were? What would my story look like? Would it be a drama, a mystery or a comedy? Truthfully, I want my story to be one that people read and are encouraged by it and can learn from it. I want it to be a bit of all three genres listed above with a heavy dose of learning experience.

I want others to see me walking with Jesus. I want them to see me trusting Him. I want them to see me content with my current situation but always searching that I am in the right place at the right time. My husband always says that a person works best when they are on the right seat on the bus. That’s where I want to be.

So today princess, I want to encourage you to live your life like someone is going to read your story a thousand years from now. Do you want them to read it and say, “man, she was an idiot”? Or do you want them to read it and say, “I want to be just like her”? Sprinkle your story with a bit of mystery, drama and, please don’t forget, comedy. Dance a little, cry a little and live life with gusto.