"Count it all joy when you fall into various trials."

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

A New Touch

Walk into the light

Walk into the light

As I think about the coming New Year, I know some things for certain.  I know that my husband won’t die this coming year as he moved to heaven this year.  I also know that the grief will be less in 2016 because it is not so new.  For me, the most important question is what will change in 2016?

Since Joe left, I find myself learning to rely on Jesus, my husband and my Lord.  It is new territory.

When I had friends lose their husbands, I would say, “You know that Jesus is your husband now.”  It was cliché’ and glib.  I had no idea what I was saying.

As a widow, I have missed my husband’s presence.  He is not here to hold my hand and kiss me good night.  Being alone isn’t so bad but what I find is that I miss his human touch.

As I have spent time learning to get closer to Jesus and understand Him as my husband, I have wondered how I would be able to manage with the absence of human touch.Beloved

In a recent Sunday service, the Holy Spirit showed up in an extraordinary way.  The revelation that came to me  was astonishing.  He showed me that when I am in the Spirit, I can step into Him and He can step into me.  We are one in the Spirit.  I don’t think there are words that can clarify exactly what I mean, but it is breathtaking.

He is my Savior, my King, my Owner, my Husband and my Love.  We are one together in the Holy Spirit.  He touches me in a new way and it is truly fulfilling.

I am His bride and the New Year is filled with expectation.  I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.

 

The Bride and the Wife

For my birthday this year, I received a very special book, His Princess Bride by Sheri Rose Shepherd.  It has impacted me.

All believers, both men and women, are the Bride.  It reminded me of something I had written and I decided to share it with you today.

The Bride and the Wife

A bride’s eyes sparkle with expectation and joy.  She draws near her beloved and serves him with delight.  She listensJesus & bride to him as he speaks.  When they are separated, she anticipates his return.  Every letter that he sends is treasured, read,  re-read, and kept always.  She sees to it that she is dressed in readiness for his return.  Her home is always in order so that he will find her ready to greet him.  Every moment is exciting and filled with hope and expectation.  Being in his presence is joy-filled..  Each day with him is precious.  They share secrets and talk together for hours without thought of time.  She yearns for the day when they will be one.  Her mind is longing for her wedding day and she is consumed with the preparations.  Her expectation of fulfillment rises with each beat of her heart.  He is her very life.

A wife, if she is not wifecareful, will become weary.  She has come to know him.  There is familiarity in his presence.  She no longer anticipates his return joyfully and has settled into routine and duty.  The freshness of the first love fades.  She serves him but forgets why.  There are children and they have become the focus.  She is no longer fascinated.  His letters gather dust.  The crying of a child is now her priority.  When he is at home with her, she is content to know that he is in the house.  They live parallel lives.  Her hair is disheveled and her jeans and sweat shirt seem fitting.  She has been too busy to shower and the lunch dishes are still on the counter.  When he leaves, there are no long kisses and grief at parting.  The duty has become more than the love.

This is why Jesus refers to us, both men and women, as his bride.  This is who we are.  We are beloved of our Lord and He longs for us with jealousy. He invites us to many adventures while loving others as He loves them.  He wants our every breath to be filled with thoughts of Him and to respond to His love with preparation and anticipation of His soon return.

Revelation 19:7groom and bride

One Way – the Only Way

Patrick was suddenly aware of the beautiful woman with crystal blue eyes and chestnut-brown hair.  She was stunning.  She was gracious and approachable.  People seemed to enjoy her presence.  He wanted to win her but had no idea how to do it.  He decided to go out and win the hearts of other women.  He felt that somehow, in this manner, he would learn to win the heart of his loved one.  He became a man of some reputation leaving a trail of broken hearts across the city.  Finally, he felt he was ready.

He had studied about her and knew where she would be.  He arranged to be there and to meet her.  He used all of the methods he had used in winning the affections of the other women.  She looked at him with tears brimming in those crystal-clear blue eyes and said, “Patrick, I saw you long ago and loved you.  I have watched as you have pursued other women and it broke my heart.  Now you come to me with all your experience and it means nothing to me.  All I ever wanted was you.  The way to my heart was clear.  You had only to come to me and I would have received you and loved you.”

Patrick’s face showed his dismay.  “Do you mean that you have wanted me all this time?”  “Yes, I have longed for you.”  Patrick asked, “Is it too late?”  “Dear Patrick, since you have found that there is only one way to my heart and that is to come to me and accept my love, I freely give it and forgive you all your previous efforts. ”

Today’s Lesson:

This is the way of our great God. He has provided one way – only one way – into His Presence.  He sees us pursuing false gods and his heart breaks. He knows that the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that there is more than one way to Him.

There is only one way and it is through the shed blood of Jesus.  He is the Doorway to Father God.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to God, except through Jesus.

All we have to do is stop our self-effort and our self-focus and turn to Him.  He sent His only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for all of our sin.  He made it possible for any one of us, regardless of our past choices or beliefs, to come to Him.  The only qualification is that we accept what Jesus has done for us.  As we turn to Jesus, He provides us everything we need for life and godliness.  He loves us and wants to spend time with us.  He wants us to fall in love with Him and fulfill our destiny.

He knew that we needed Him and so He didn’t make it complicated.  He didn’t give a different way to one group of people and another way to another group.  He knew it needed to be simple and so He provided only one way.

The enemy likes to bring doubt and confusion.  He wants us to question everything.  Satan’s desire is to keep us off-balance and away from the One Way, Jesus.  He wants you to think Jesus is just an enlightened teacher or a prophet, but He doesn’t want you to know Him and the power of His blood.  But Jesus is not enlightened – He is the Light!  Jesus is not just a prophet – He is King of Kings and the Lord of lords!  Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  He is God!!!

Today, He is inviting you to come to Him.  He is waiting.  Just tell Him that you want to know Him and ask Him to make Himself real to you.  I assure you that He will.

Wounded by God’s People – Anne Graham Lotz (from Fox News)

Anne Graham Lotz new book, Wounded by God’s

We have all been wounded in church.  It is a proving ground to see if we can love with the love of God in spite of how we feel.  This post by Fox News about  Anne Graham Lotz is worth our time and consideration.  Can we love God and love His people no matter what our   emotions say?

Matthew 22:36-39 – 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  38 This is the first and great commandment.  39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

Note by Joyous Bells

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Did you used to go to ?

  Why aren’t you going to church now?

Without implying you are a statistic, research indicates that 83% of all American adults    consider themselves to be Christian, but the majority of them are unchurched.

  Why?

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider    themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

Has that been your experience? Is that why you are hanging out on the periphery of God’s people?

I understand. I, too, have been driven from church fellowship by wounds that were inflicted on me by other church members.

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

I have found myself living as a “believer in exile,” not running from God, but tired of putting up with those who call themselves by His name, yet behave in an ungodly manner.

Jesus understands, too. It never ceases to amaze me that the most vicious lies, the most violent attacks, the ultimate rejection of Jesus, came not from the Romans or the Greeks or the pagans or the secularists, but from Israelites who were considered, by themselves and others, the children of God. God’s people.

One primary reason I have not forsaken my own Christian faith is that I know Jesus “gets it.” He was literally wounded…crucified…by very religious people who considered themselves God’s representatives on earth, but were nothing of the sort. They were wicked, sinful pretenders.

So I refuse to let religious phonies destroy my heart for the One who loves me, who understands and feels my pain, and who draws close http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.5009066883744508&pid=1.7&w=129&h=186&c=7&rs=1to me when I am wounded. I refuse to be robbed of life’s greatest treasure—a personal, permanent, passionate relationship with God through faith in Jesus, and the healing of wounds that He offers.

As painful and devastating as wounds inflicted by God’s people can be, they have made me more determined to authentically live out what I believe.

I am deeply motivated to know God. I want to know Him as He truly is, not through the distorted reflection of those who call themselves by His name. And I want to make Him known to others as accurately, winsomely, clearly, and compellingly as I can.

And God is knowable. He has declared that He is light. (1 John 1:5) Since one of the primary characteristics of light is that it makes itself visible, God is saying He has made Himself visible.

He can be clearly seen in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. And He can be seen in the pages of the unique revelation of Himself, which we call the Bible.

If your focus in on the people of God, the Light can seem dim or even dark. So don’t look at them. Look at Him.

Try God…again.

Anne Graham Lotz, is author of ten books. Her latest is “Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts.” She is president and CEO of AnGel Ministries, a non-profit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through his World. Lotz is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/08/are-believer-in-exile-invite-to-try-god-again/?fb_action_ids=641477249210106&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A370866879709859%7D&action_type_map=%7B%22641477249210106%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D#ixzz2ePSOJCQY

Aside

Religion is ugly . . .

church lady What time is it?

It is Sunday – time to go to church again, time to put on the fake smile and the nice clothes and pretend that  everything is all right.

It is time to watch Miss Anna walk around like she owns the church, greeting people and being pulled into her  little clique of insiders as she moves through the congregation.  She belongs and wants you to know it.

Time to dodge Miss Anna as she comes up with the beaming smile and asks, “How are you doing with Jesus?”   I never know what to say and I wonder if she is talking about my Jesus.  I never feel like I belong.  I feel like an  outsider even though I asked Jesus into my life ten years ago.

It is time to listen to another sermon about what is wrong with me.  Pastor seldom talks about Jesus.  I ask  myself, “Is this why Jesus died in such agony?  Is this why He descended into hell?  Is this why He rose again  from the dead – so He could provide us the freedom of resurrection life?

The only time I hear about the resurrection is Easter.

I don’t see anyone at church who is free.

Today’s Joy Message:

It is time to know that religion is ugly and cuts you off from the glory of God.  It is stupid and ignorant.  So how did we become religious?

Once upon a time, long ago, Adam committed treason and we were trapped in his Fall.  The enemy took the truth of God’s Word and twisted it forming a system in us called religion.  It teaches us how to kill God and failing that – how God wants to kill us.  Religion teaches that we earn a right standing with God through legalistic rules and regulations that are man-made.

In the beginning of time, God knew that we would need to be free from this deception of religion.  He provided the Way through Jesus Christ who spoke of the Kingdom of God and our Father God’s love for us.  He told us that God is good and only does good.  His Spirit still speaks to us today and fills us with His love.

God hates religion because it thinks it speaks for Him, but it doesn’t.

The  time will come when the self-appointed ‘holy’ people will want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because they cast out demons and healed the sick, but He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”  If God can use a donkey, He can use a religious person to get a blessing to someone through the spoken Word about the God he doesn’t even know.  God always looks after His Word to perform it.

The traditional church is not the same as the true church which is the body of Christ.  They love each other and minister to one another and the world.

Time for today’s challenge.  Examine your church life – is it alive and active or is it man’s traditions void of life and love.

  • Are you a ‘church lady’ or ‘holy man’ who is really impressed with your own self?
  • Do you truly know God?
  •  Have you allowed the Lord to take over and help you really be the church yourself?
  • Are you free to listen to the voice of the Lord and then do what He says

The Resurrection of Christ – King Jesus Ministries.  An amazing teaching.

Rest? Who Has Time to Rest?

Every day is full.  It is Springtime after all.  I feed the hummingbirds and are they ever hungry!  I have gardening to do including opening the fountains and cleaning the outdoor living spaces.  The house needs to be power-washed and the deck must be painted.

I am busy with church.  Friday night, I will be making food for a special dinner.  The annual church tent sale will require some time, as well.

I have started a new business and try to spend about four hours on the phone each day getting it up and running.     This has nothing to do with the day-to-day household chores.

I love to blog and it has been totally neglected by my “busy-ness.”

I can always find something that needs to be done and I know that I am not alone in this.  “Martha, Martha” is not a quote that I want to hear from Jesus.

When I read Ransomed Heart’s blog,  I was convicted that I had things out-of-order.  Here is a quick quote from that post.

All you athletes out there know that runners need rest days to recover and repair muscles in order to get stronger. Runner’s World says, “It is important to realize rest days are when improvements are actually made as opposed to during the days when the runner is training.”  Who knew?

Intentionally resting is vital for all of us.”

She ends the post with the quote our church has on our tee shirts.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

So, the question is, “Why, when I know resting in His Presence is my necessary food, do I put it at the bottom of my ‘to-do’ list?”

Today, I am laying aside all that creates pressure in my life and going into the throne room to rest in my Daddy’s everlasting arms.  I will trust Him that all will wait until I get re-acquainted with the One who loves me.

Will you?

The Renegade Vine

Shelly was in a high rise building with thick darkness. The city was in a complete blackout.  She was on the twenty-fourth floor and knew there was no elevator service.  Walking the stairs wasn’t a good idea because she didn’t know what or who she would meet.  She was truly alone. The batteries in her flashlight were dead and she couldn’t find the matches to light her only candle.  She was completely alone and quiet for the first time in many years.

She sat on the couch and listened to the silence that was intermittently broken by a distant siren.  She put her head back and sighed.  This was just one more dark day that punctuated the depression she had been feeling.   Thomas had left her for his administrative assistant three months ago.  She had been reeling ever since from the emptiness of the apartment and of her life.  Now this darkness closed in around her.

It had been a long time since she considered that God was watching over her or that He even existed.  If He did exist, she believed that He had forgotten her.  Yet now, in her despair she cried out, “God, if you are out there, help me!” The cares of her life began to lift and inside she heard a still small voice saying, “I have always been here.  You have only to ask for My help.”   A peace that she had never known came upon her and caught her by surprise.  Over the next few hours, she sat in God’s Presence and He ministered His love and healing acceptance to her.  “There is no condemnation for you, my child,” He told her.  “You are loved and have always been loved by Me.  I never left you and I know your pain.  I have a better way.” Shelly gave her heart to Jesus during the long dark night and when the daylight began to come through her windows, she was new inside.  There was joy and it felt wonderful.

She had been trying to live her life without Jesus.  She remembered that she had loved Sunday School as a child and Mrs. Pearson had led her in a prayer when she was ten.  God let her know that all this time, she had been His and He was just waiting for her to seek Him.

Today’s Lesson:

Shelly was trying to live a fruitful life apart from God.  She had been self-sufficient or at least she had tried to be.  She had music playing or the television on when she was alone.  At work, she managed multiple tasks and had been promoted to a Regional Manager.  Her life was filled with noise and activity.  She was never quiet and seldom alone.

She had turned off her power source and was winging her way through life.  She knew it wasn’t working

When the blackout forced the quiet and the solitary hours, she slowed down long enough to hear the voice of her Lover, her Father, her Savior: her God.

In the Scripture, there is a story of the Vine and the Branches.  Shelly had become a renegade branch.  She was trying to make leaves, blossoms and fruit apart from the Vine.  It seemed to work as long as the life force was still remained in the branch, but soon, the branch had nothing to draw on and it withered.

Shelly had withered and was striving to live apart from God.  She was empty and alone.  When she finally became still on that dark night, she heard Him and she knew that apart from Him, life was empty and without purpose.

Today Shelly is a different person.  When the lights came on, she searched her storage unit and found her Bible which she devours each day.  She is looking for a place to worship. The lights are back on not only in her apartment, but in her life.

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