The Victory is Won

When I talk or write about the depression I’ve suffered with, I often use the analogy of a pit. The times when I am at my blackest is usually when I’m at the bottom of the pit. Jesus joins me there. His presence is always comforting, never condemning. He knows what I need to work through, and He is accepting of who I am and not who other people would like me to be. Why wouldn’t He accept me? God the Father is the one who created me.

I’ve realized something today though. When everything is said and done and Jesus comes back for His church, I will not be in the pit! I will be watching as Satan is thrown in there. Revelation 20:1-2 says, “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the abyss and a great chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent who is the Devil and Satan and bound him for 1000 years.” Further on into the chapter, it talks about how Satan’s final destination is the lake of fire which I consider to be a never-ending pit.

My point with all of this is that God has already won the victory. There will be no more suffering, no more pain. The pain I’ve suffered in the pit will be gone, and Satan will no longer laugh because he will be gone too. Until then, we need to keep this knowledge at the forefront of our minds by daily prayer and Bible study. We need to pray for and support each other. We need to love each other like God has commanded us to do. But, most of all, we need to remember, God has already won!

God’s blessings on you today!

Christmas is Over—Now what?

Now that Christmas is over, now what? What can give us the same anticipation that waiting for Christmas does? May I suggest sharing God’s love year round and not waiting for a special time. May I suggest displaying more patience, more grace, more joy, and more peace. May I suggest giving the world who doesn’t believe a reason to believe.

Is this a tough thing to do? Oh yes! And, why would that be? Because, all of us who do claim Christ are still broken people and still human. And, we still mess up. But, I want to do better. I want people to see Jesus in me.

A verse that is one of my favorites comes to mind. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.”

So, the next time I’m tempted to yell something in traffic or the next time I’m tempted to lose my temper in a restaurant, I’m going to pray for God’s peace in my heart, and I’m going to pray for words to use so people will see God’s peace on my face.

God’s blessings on you today!

Living Water

Psalm 143:6

“I lift my hands to you in prayer; I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.”

So, on Christmas Eve, I am reading about Living Water. It’s appropriate considering that Jesus is the Living Water that will never run out. The most prevalent example of this in Scripture is, of course, Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well recorded in John 4.  From verses 7 – 15:

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he could have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

 

The account continues with Jesus accurately predicting the woman has no husband and then telling her he is the Messiah. She tells everyone in the town, and many come to believe.

I find this Scripture encouraging on Christmas Eve because of what the birth of our Savior represents. He represents hope, peace, joy, grace, and love to us all. And, most of all, He is Living Water. Without Christ, we are parched and lifeless. But, His promise, from this passage, states that His Living Water can be ours. We can be drenched in it and filled to overflowing if we only believe. I wish this for all of you during this Christmas season.

God’s blessings on you today!

 

Prayers that Outlive Our Lives

That was the title of my devotion this morning. I’ve never really thought of prayer in this way, and it was interesting to contemplate. The Scripture was from Revelation, and the commentary talked about how prayer was living and vital and a part of heaven’s energy and how God remembers every prayer that has ever been spoken. I like that. To me, it shows that God considers our prayers to be treasures and how He holds them in sacred trust. Like when we tell a friend a secret and how that friend honors their word not to tell the secret. Since we, as human beings, are fallible though, secrets and promises are not always kept.

But, God is not a human being. God has kept every single promise He has made to us and will continue to keep every single promise. So, the prayers I offer for my children and their children and their children are held by God in a sacred trust and will outlive the life I live on this Earth.

God’s blessings on you today!

Blessings

This week has started off as a week full of emotions, and I don’t think it’s going to stop. Thursday is a day I never envisioned coming 18 years ago when my oldest son was born. Yes, he will be 18 on Thursday. 18 years old. You don’t think of what a short time that is when they’re born. You just think of everything that’s involved with having an infant, and you think of how much time you’ll have. In the grand scheme of things though, 18 years is not a long time. And, according to our society, 18 years of age, for the most part, is when people are considered to be adults. We are doing things this year in preparation for the leap to adulthood. Things such as deciding on a college and registering for the Selective Service.

But, my mind churns with memories of how much my son has blessed my life. From running out to greet his father when he came home from work, to working hard on his schooling, to sitting on my lap and learning about the computer, to playing baseball, to reading Jotham’s Journey during Advent, to asking the most important question he asked over two years ago, my son has blessed my life. You might ask what that most important question was. It was the question, “Mom, can we find a church to go to? I want to find a church.” (We had moved to a new town.) And in the 2 1/2 years since that question was asked, we have found a church home and a new family and my faith has been restored. My son has gone through his high school years in this church and helps to lead worship now on Wednesday nights as well as being an active member of the youth group. He has also continued to play baseball and do well in school. I am so proud of the young man he has become, and I am especially proud that he is a young man of faith. Thank you, God, for blessing me with the privilege of being my son’s mother!

The Sting of a Guilty Conscience

Have you ever thought God might be telling you something you did was wrong? Yes, He can do this, and it’s usually through a guilty conscience. It might not even be through something you did. It might be through an attitude or a thought you had towards someone else and what they did to you. Jesus wants us to love each other and to forgive each other when bad things happen.

Forgiveness is hard though. It’s hard to ask for forgiveness, and it’s hard to forgive what has been done to us. But I will say it again. God wants us to forgive, and Jesus spoke of it often. Matthew 6:14 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”  Another Scripture that speaks of this is from Romans 12:17-19. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge, I will repay,” says the Lord.”  Most notably, there is one very obvious reason why we should forgive. Jesus forgave all of us.

So, why don’t we forgive or ask for forgiveness? I believe there are two reasons. The first is pride. We don’t want people to know we have messed up. I still do this, even with all I have learned in the past two years about the imperfect person that I am. None of us are perfect–only Jesus is. As my pastor likes to say, “We are all dirtbags.” Pride then shouldn’t matter in asking for forgiveness, right? No, it still does.

The second reason we have a problem forgiving is because we are hurt over what has happened. While we are still in this world, we can experience pain as well as joy. Of course, pain hurts more than joy, and we, in our human frailty, have a harder time dealing with pain.

How does that change? How can we forgive and live in the community God wants us to as believers? We need to rely on Jesus for the strength to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. We cannot do it by ourselves no matter how much we might want to. And once we have, we will be back in fellowship with our amazing Lord and Savior!

God’s blessings on you today!

Editing

Another title for this entry could be ‘why there should be a break between the first draft and subsequent drafts of any piece you’re working on’. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I’ve not looked at the first draft of the novel I finished last year in almost a year. There were many things robbing my focus off of my writing, but that’s not the point of this piece. I looked at my novel this morning and realized something. It’s going to need a lot of work if I ever want to make it into a piece that is publish worthy.

Editing is a tough thing. It’s not the process of creating that an author goes through when they write their first draft. It’s the process of honing what an author has created. It’s the process of making it better. I need to figure out whether this novel is edit worthy or whether I should move on. But, any piece I write needs to be edited. It needs to be made better so the people who read it can see the best of what I have to offer as an author, to see the best of the words I have inside of me.

Have a great day!

God is Able

Jude 1:24

“All glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.”

God is able….when a child is not doing well in school. God is able….when we get a flat tire. God is able….when a friend has cancer. God is able….when a friend is heartbroken over a situation with her sister. God is able….when my husband is ill. God is able….when a world is hurting. Why do Christians have a hard time believing that? I have some ideas, but they will bend and prick the conscience of every person who claims Christ as they did for me yesterday.

First, we don’t believe in a big enough God. Sure, we might pray for the big things, but God hears all prayers even from hearts who ache for reconciliation and from hearts who want to do things for God, but lack courage to do so. I wish there was a simple answer for this, but I think the best answer is to stay on our knees in prayer. Praying for faith, praying for belief, praying that God today is still as able as He was all those years ago when a little baby boy was born in the tiny town of Bethlehem.

The second idea I had is one that is a common theme, sad to say, among many Christians including myself. God cannot demonstrate He is able because we don’t think we deserve it. I started this blog because of what I have learned about grace, and grace, first and foremost, means we do deserve it. Ephesians 2:8-9, my theme verses for the blog, state, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” God sent the gift of His son for all of us. He paid the price so we wouldn’t have to.

And finally, we pick our burdens back up after we think we’ve given them to God. God can’t demonstrate He is able if we’re still holding onto our burdens–the small ones and the big ones. So, my prayer for you and for myself is that our fragile humanity can get out-of-the-way and let God demonstrate He is able!

God’s blessings on you all today!

Security

Psalm 37:23-24

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Security. Reading these verses gives me such security. Even when I stumble, God has me by the hand. I used to think I had to be perfect. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I thought I would never do anything else wrong. I understand now that belief was the farthest thing from the truth. Those who become Christians will still sin. They still have a human nature that won’t be gone until Christ comes back. What does happen is that Jesus changes hearts. He changes our hearts to become more like Him, to make us not want to do the things we did before. Not because we are afraid of breaking a law or losing our salvation. But, because we’ve accepted Jesus’ love and let it permeate our hearts to the point where we want to share it with everyone around us.  To be that secure in something where we want to let it go to everyone around us is the true definition of security to me and what God truly wants for those of us who profess faith in Him.

God’s blessings on you all today!