Monday, April 25, 2011

Everyone Struggles

Whether you have a strong personal relationship with Jesus, or you're just "testing the waters", it's important to realize that every one struggles - not so much against flesh & blood - but against strong powers. Satan likes to blow smoke in our eyes, hoping to keep us blinded &/or confused. He's even successful at times in making us think that the wrong paths are the right way. Unfortunately, these wrong paths can lead to destructive behavior...addictions, hanging out with the wrong people, thrill seeking activities, etc. All of these can have dangerous consequences, including death.

"Do not be over wicked & do not be a fool -
why die before your time?
Ecclesiastes 7:17 (NIV)

We have all been created for a deeper love than the world has to offer. This world is full of trouble. Receiving Christ as you Savior does not remove the troubles from our lives. But He does make a huge difference. God will fill our lives with His strength & His wisdom to get through the troubles.

"In this world you will have trouble. 
But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33b (NIV)

One day a year, we celebrate Easter. And this year, it was yesterday. The day we remember what Jesus went through for us. The weekend before, hubby & i had watched "The Passion of The Christ". So yesterday, the images of Jesus' battered body, hanging on the cross were very vivid in my mind. But also, was the knowledge that Jesus overcame the tomb & rose from the dead. And even though, we officially celebrate Easter one day a year, we should be celebrating it every single day, hour, minute, & second of our lives.

Think of your life without Christ & where you might be. It scares me to think of where i might be. But it scares me even more to think of where i would be spending eternity if i hadn't accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. And the stronger my relationship with Him grows, the less troubling that life's troubles are.

Remember, Jesus will be Lord whether you accept Him or not. But by accepting Him, not only your life here on earth, but especially your life for eternity, will be so much more better. The wrong way paths will be easier to turn away from. And you'll be living for that deeper love that you were created for. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeling Empty?

I heard a song the other day that sounded so familiar, yet i'd never heard this song before. The chorus was what i had prayed for years ago. There were countless times then, that i felt so empty & alone.

"Dear God, won't you please
Could you send someone who will love me

"Who will love me for me
Not for what i have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
'Cause nobody has shown me
What love really means"
(from the song "Love Me" by JJ Heller)

At those times in my life, i would fantasize about an ever after kind of love. When you are dating, you sometimes wonder if you'll ever find true love. 

I'm sure the majority of us can remember at least one date when we thought the evening would never end. In some what the same respect, before we allow the Lord in our lives, we may try different things to fill that hole of emptiness in our lives. We may even try other religions, but we still find ourselves "coming home" from those "dates" disappointed & still feeling empty. If we try to fill up the emptiness with things of this world, we will find...

"All of it is meaningless, a chasing of the wind."
Ecclesiastes 2:17b (NIV)

We feel the pain of that emptiness & after the "pursuit", we find ourselves even emptier than when we began. The damage that can be done by looking for love - for fulfillment - in all the wrong places. Oh it may seem exciting at the time. You may even listen to your sub-conscience & know that what you're doing isn't right. But at the same time, you convince yourself that the consequences won't be so bad. Don't give in to vanity & try to fool yourself. We are to enjoy God's gifts of beauty, food & sex - but none were ever meant to be abused. And none of them will ever fill our deepest need & emptiness.

We all want to be cherished for who we are.

"What a man desires is unfailing love."
Proverbs 19:22a (NIV)

Yet, the Bible also tells us that this kind of love is exceedingly rare.

"Many a man claims to have unfailing love,
but a faithful man, who can find?"
Proverbs 20:6 (NIV)

I know that the romantic heartbreaks that i've experienced in my life was just God protecting me. Because those heart breakers were not God's choice for me. And yes, those experiences did cause some self-esteem issues. But once i surrendered my heart & my life to God & accepted Jesus as my Lord & Saviour, God used His time & His truth to heal those deep wounds & make me stronger in Him. He more than filled the emptiness that i had felt & He showed me that He cherished me. He allowed me to grow as a Christian & as a woman. He helped me carry the baggage that i had until i learned that i didn't need that baggage anymore. And, in His time, He introduced me to a wonderful God fearing man who loves me for me.

My prayer for all who may be feeling empty & alone, is that you will find your fulfillment through Jesus Christ. That you will ask Him into your heart & allow Him to show that you are cherished.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Best Relationship....Ever!

What is the very best love in life? It's a deep love relationship with Jesus. He gave us the ultimate gift when he gave His life for forgiveness of our sins. What can stand in the way of this love? Guilt. Guilt of the past. Guilt can be like an infected wound that we don't want lanced. Instead of running to God, asking for healing - whatever it might take - we keep changing the bandages. We hide & keep on hiding. But, as with Adam & Eve, we can't hide anything from God. He sees all & wants us to come forward  with the things we have hidden.

As humans, we struggle with our love-ability at times. "How can God love me after what i have done? How can He forgive me? I'm so ashamed." 

" 'Woe to me!...I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips & my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.'
Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
With it he touched my mouth & said, 'See this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away & your sin is atoned for."
Isaiah 6:5-7 (NIV)

I remember when i gave my heart to Jesus & when i realized how He suffered & died on the cross for me. Little ol' sinful me. I felt that i had more sins & flaws than  could ever be forgiven. So i prayed every for forgiveness of those same sins. My life was changing. My outlook was changing. I was becoming more & more God strong every day. But i still felt guilty. Then one day, God sent one of my friends to my house. As we were talking about my change, etc., she asked me if i had forgiven myself. I was hiding that part. But God knew it was there & He taught me to forgive & accept myself as He had. 

Jesus sees us through His eyes. He sees us free of our sins in Him. He sees our potential. Remember Cinderella? She also had trouble believing in her beauty. She fled the ball at midnight when the spell of her beautiful attire had been broken. But her prince came looking for her & when he found her, she wasn't dressed in a beautiful gown. Instead, she was in her old dress & dirty from the cinders. The prince saw her inward beauty & fell in love. Jesus loves each & every one of us....flaws & all.

Through our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins, we can all be forgiven.

" 'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord,
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow."
Isaiah 1:18 (NIV)

Nothing - absolutely nothing - is worth sacrificing the peace of God & a deep love relationship with Jesus. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trust in the Lord....

At Christmas time, we frequently hear the wonderful song, "Mary did you know?", written by Mark Lowry. But throughout the rest of the year, we don't often think about Mary's story & just how much she trusted God. The angel, Gabriel visited Mary to deliver the new that she was the one chosen to give birth to Jesus. Mary, of course, was confused, but she trusted.

" 'I am the Lord's servant,' Mary answered. 'May it be to me as you have said.' "
Luke 1:38(a) (NIV)

Gabriel also told Mary that her relative Elizabeth was also pregnant, even though she was up in years & was said to be barren.

"For nothing is impossible with God."
Luke 1:37 (NIV)

So Mary goes to visit Elizabeth & as the Bible tells us, when Elizabeth heard Mary's voice, her baby leaped in her womb. And she praised Mary for trusting God.

"Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"
Luke 1:45 (NIV)

And Mary replies:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
& my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me--
holy is His name.
His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation."
Luke 1:46(b)-50 (NIV)

Mary is singing the praises of her Savior God & so can we. The elation that Mary & Elizabeth felt is the elation of women who have fallen deeply in love with the Lord. They know that their love is going to last. His love is going to last. They have reached the land of invincible love--not a land that is free of trouble, but a land full of confidence & joy through trust.

None of us knows what the future holds. But if we put our hand....our trust in God, He will be there with us no matter where the journey takes us.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not in your own understanding."
Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)