Grace is sufficient

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And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s grace alone that has the power to transform lives. Grace alone has the power to bring freedom to the captives. By grace alone we are saved.

The amazing thing about God’s grace is his willingness to extend it to us, broken as we are. Have you ever felt as if you had no value? You are so precious to God that he gave his Son to redeem you. Who would do that? Only God; because washed in Christ’s blood, we are redeemed and justified and are heirs with him to the kingdom of heaven. God’s grace is sufficient enough to cover all sinners.

Today, as you consider God’s Word, as you believe in Christ Jesus, your Savior, your risen Lord, rejoice that you are at peace with God, that you are indeed, a redeemed child of God, and that God’s grace is sufficient for you.

Almighty God and Father, precious Lord and Savior, despite all of the challenges, all of the worries of this world, your grace is sufficient. Because of your love and grace you sent your one and only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Clothed in His righteousness, we dare to approach your throne of grace; forgiven and redeemed children of the Most High. Heavenly Father, we cling to that promise of grace and forgiveness and praise your Holy Name. Amen and Amen.

Do You Feel Lonely?

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Do you ever feel lonely?

Women love friendships. We love making connections, and these days, many of those connections have moved online as people have moved away or grown older. It’s easier to stay connected through social media. Recently, I was commenting on a facebook post. Everyone was debating and someone had commented something to me that hurt my feelings and knocked me off-kilter. That night I crawled into bed and I asked Jesus, “Why am I letting some thoughtless comment made by someone affect me like this? ”There was no deep explanation. No Bible verse popped into my head. Only the gentle reminder that Jesus loves me – insecurities and all. Friends can’t make us feel accepted all the time. And having lots of people around us does not mean we won’t ever feel lonely. So, I turn to Jesus. I draw close to Him so He can help me separate solid truth from shifting emotion. Will you turn to Jesus today?

Most Loving, Gracious Father, we come before you to humbly ask that you comfort us in our moments of loneliness, that you be our shelter in the midst of the storm, that you walk beside us every step of the way.
Lord, at times we feel so alone, crying out for attention, in desperation, looking for some sort of acknowledgement from a single soul. Remind us that you are always there, right at our side, whenever we call.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Kisses His Faith Goodbye

Josh Harris Kisses His Faith Goodbye

by Julieroys.com

In a stunning Instagram post today, Joshua Harris, the author who became famous for his 1997 book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced that he is no longer a Christian. “I have undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus,” Harris wrote. “The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction,’ the biblical phrase is ‘falling away.’ By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian.” Harris added that he is open to “a different way to practice faith,” but is “not there now.”

Harris also apologized in his post for “self-righteousness, my fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the Church, and my approach to parenting.” These he has apologized for before, but today, he announced he had another regret.

“I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LBGTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality. I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry.”

Just last week, Harris announced that he and his wife of 21 years are separating. (Today he said he’s getting divorced.) “In recent years, some significant changes have taken place in both of us,” Harris wrote in an Instagram post last Friday. “It is with sincere love for one another and understanding of our unique story as a couple that we are moving forward with this decision. We hope to create a generous and supportive future for each other and for our three amazing children in the years ahead.”

In today’s post, Harris said that his “heart is full of gratitude” for the many messages people sent him after announcing his divorce. “This week I’ve received grace from Christians, atheists, evangelicals, exvangelicals, straight people, LGBTQ people, and everyone in-between,” he said. But he added that there “have also been strong words of rebuke from religious people. While not always pleasant, I know they are seeking to love me.”

In addition to writing a best-selling book, Harris also served as senior pastor at Covenant Life Church, a megachurch in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that was rocked by an alleged conspiracy to cover-up child sex abuse.

My heart breaks over this—for Harris, for his wife and kids, for his former church, and the many Christians who looked up to him. It’s just so very sad.

Below is Harris’ Instagram post:

 

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As I posted at the top of the article, this was written by Julieroys.com.

I am personally so saddened by this new development. It is an incredibly sad thing to witness. I grieve for how casually he has thrown away the preciousness of the gospel. I homeschooled my children and met the Harris family and heard them speak at homeschool conventions several times. I read all their books. My heart breaks for his family, his marriage and most of all his falling away. I mourn for all the young people who looked up to him after reading his books and hearing him speak. I am going to pray for him, his wife, children, church and family.  My heart breaks for him and his family!

Cheryl Cooper TJCM

 

Lead Me To The Rock

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When you feel overwhelmed, when you begin to feel hopeless, when you lose heart, cry out to the Lord. He is your Rock, your Strong Tower, your Safe Refuge from the storm.   The God you serve is a mighty God. He will protect you and He will keep you safe and deliver you!

Always remember God’s great love for you. Remind yourself of His loving faithfulness and of all the times He has come through for you. Count your blessings and refuse to waver in your faith and trust in Him.

Psalm 34:19 says, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

It helps to be so grounded in God’s Word that when you face these tests, trials, afflictions, storms, and outright assaults from the enemy, you will not waver, be swayed or shaken.

  • Psalm 91:2 (KJV) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.
  • Isaiah 54:17 (NKJ) No weapon formed against you shall prosper…
  • Luke 10:19-20 (NKJ) Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
  • 1 John 4:4 (KJV) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57-58 (NIV) But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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I witnessed the worst and the best of humanity last night.  I was on a call as an advocate on a child abuse case.  A 14 year old girl had called the police to report her step father for sexually abusing her. This had been going on for 7 years.  Her mother had threatened her continually, if she ever told anyone she would be thrown out of the house. During the interview the young girl was asked why she decided to call the police now she said “because my little sister just turned 7 the same age when he started molesting me, I wanted to protect my sister.”

This young girl had endured horrible abuse at the hands of her step father for years, Threats from her mother, no emotional support.  Yet, the love she had for her sister caused her to risk everything to save her.  When the stepfather found out what she had done and why, he responded..”I would never touch my biological child, I have morals” really you have morals?  He was arrested and the mother decided her abused daughter could no longer live under her roof.  she would be going to her grandmothers house to live.  At the end of the night about 3am, I was sitting in the sheriffs suv crying my eye’s out and looked over and the big strapping deputy was doing the same thing.

While thinking about what a loving sacrifice this young women made for her sister. I thought about the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  Jesus paid the highest price for you and me because He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He was put to death by being crucified on a cross, and his body was laid in a tomb behind a stone. He lived and then died rejected and alone. Like a rose He was trampled on the ground. Jesus took the fall and thought of you ABOVE ALL!

Jesus saw sacrifice as something beautiful because it would bring us life.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16.

Jesus’ calls us to voluntarily lay down our lives as He did–to sacrificially love people even when it’s uncomfortable or painful. What if you saw sacrifice as a beautiful word?

Just as this young girl sacrificed all for her sister, sacrificed her home, her security. This is real love.  I pray for this young women, I pray when we follow up that she comes to know Jesus as her savior.  That his transforming power will heal her heart.  I know this young women changed my life with her sacrificial heart and bravery.

 

 

 

 

Our Disposable Society VS Enduring Faith

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We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name –we call it recycling.”

If something breaks, instead of trying to fix it, we just throw it away.  If a relationship with a friend becomes broken or too hard, we throw the friendship away.  If the marriage is broken, we get divorced.
Fifty years ago, people used their sewing kits and darned their socks when they got holes in them.  When appliances broke, they took them apart and fixed them.  As a child I remember when the t.v. repair man came to our house and took the back off exposing all the glass tubes inside.   When marriages were falling apart, they stuck it out until the hard times passed, in 1950’s the divorce rate was around 25%.  When God failed to answer their prayers, they clung to Him anyways knowing He was in control.
Our lack of commitment and willingness to work hard on repairing things and relationships is destroying our society.  Our children are not learning the hard lessons of endurance, instead they want instant gratification. Our landfills are becoming filled with junk.  Our children are motherless and fatherless from broken homes.  More and more people are walking away from God’s ways and doing things their own way, thinking that life will some how be better.
We live in a world of drive-through dining, instant-messaging, digital cameras with instant review, and now the cell phones are such that you can carry on a conversation with someone while surfing the internet on the phone at the same time, replacing personal face to face conversations. Let’s face it, we are the microwave generation; however, God is more like a crock pot. He doesn’t rush into anything. He knows time is sometimes the greatest teacher of all.
We desperately need to become people of hard work and commitment.  Not afraid of confrontation or hard conversations.   We need to learn to not throw things out the moment they break.  We need to learn to repair them, whether it is material things or relationships.  We need to learn to stick it out through the rough times and do things God’s ways instead of our own way, for our own instant gratification.  We need to do things the opposite way the world does and become faithful, hard-working, commitment keeping children of God.

Paul prayed that Christians might be “strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father” (Col. 1:11–12).

We are called to a life of endurance empowered by Jesus Christ, and accompanied by joyful thanksgiving. Endurance requires patience, because reward for today’s right choices will come, but it may be months or years from now, or not until we leave this world. Those who tap their fingers waiting for the microwave to finish demonstrate that patient endurance doesn’t come naturally.

We should not shrink from hardship. We should endure it with patience. We are to follow Jesus Christ from start to finish, repenting quickly of our sins and moving forward in deeper devotion. Of course, there will be dry hard times, but overall, our path of spiritual growth will steadily rise higher and higher, not trail off so our lives end in a wasted lonely whimper, filled with regrets.

I read an article today about divorce, it said a study revealed that 50 per cent of divorcees have regrets about their break-up. Researchers found that after the dust settled, 54 per cent experienced second thoughts about whether they had made the right decision, with many realizing they miss or still love their ex-partner.

Who you become will be the daily choices you make.“The path of the righteous is like the first light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until day” (Prov. 4:18). This is why Scripture continually warns us against wrong choices: “Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on your way” (Prov. 4:14–15).

After all, our choices flow out of our hearts, and therefore we must take care to guard them from becoming impure: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23). What’s the most effective way to contaminate a water supply? Poison it at its source. If you don’t guard your heart from the world’s values, you will be conformed to the world (Rom. 12:1–2). It takes no more effort to be conformed to the world than it does to float downstream. To be transformed by the renewing of our minds is to swim upstream against the current. Renewing our minds requires conscious, deliberate effort.

Endurance is Christ’s call to follow him, to finish strong for God’s glory. There is no higher calling, no bigger privilege, no greater joy.

A popular chapter in my house is Psalm 1 a powerful formula for endurance: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Psalm 1 says the one who continually meditates on God’s Word “is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.” Trees don’t choose where to place themselves, but we do. We determine what our sources of nourishment will be, which in turn determine whether we bear fruit or wither.

We need to learn that Christians will face trials, difficulty, and suffering. I realize this is not a popular message.   I once had a “friend” that measured everything in his life by blessings, thinking if it was of God all would go well and if it didn’t it was not of God.  He felt that if things went wrong, someone was doing something wrong. He ended many relationships and a marriage because of this. He felt God would always provide even when he was being an unwise steward.  I always felt sorry for him, because he was missing out on learning and growing from adversity.  Enduring hardship is when the Lord is strengthening and refining us.  He never promised us an easy life.

When we read Second Timothy, we get a completely different picture, than the easy life the world desires.  Look at the many verses just in this short letter where Paul talks about either suffering or endurance.

1:8 – “be ready to suffer…” 1:12 – “I am suffering…” 1:13 – “hold on…” 2:3 – “Endure suffering…” 2:9 – “I am suffering…” 2:10 – “I am willing to endure…” 2:12 – “If we endure hardship…” 3:1 – “there will be very difficult times…” 3:10 – “You know…my endurance…” 3:11 – “I have endured…” 4:5 – “Don’t be afraid of suffering…”

Life will not always go our way. There will be suffering. Now, I do not believe that we in America are suffering anything close to what Paul or the early Christians suffered. I do not believe that we in America are suffering anywhere close to what Christians oversees are suffering, like in Muslim countries where they are being beheaded because of their faith, or in China where they are being imprisoned.  We do not experience suffering anywhere near that level. Even though there are those who want to take Christians out of the conversation, to marginalize us, we still have incredible freedoms to speak and to share Christ.

How we respond to hardships shows our character. Our children pay attention when a parent loses a job, or gets a traffic ticket, or when both parents don’t get along and get a divorce. Your neighbors and coworkers are paying attention to you. Will you be just another defeated christian, throwing your hands up in the air when life doesn’t go your way? Or will you like Paul, look at the hardship before you, determine to get through it and keep your eyes completely on Christ? It may not be easy, in fact it probably won’t be. We may not do everything perfectly or even right, but when all is said and done, I want others to be able to look at me and say, “I can’t see how anyone could go through that and still be committed to God. That is a real faith.” Others are paying attention. Will we, like Paul, endure so that others might come to know Jesus?

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith.
I Corinthians 16:13
Conclusion
Why would Paul spend so much time in this letter to his young friend talking about endurance? Why does he tell Timothy over and over, endure, endure, endure? Because hardship is a reality, it WILL happen. And all of us run the risk at some point of abandoning our faith. Our disposable society has made even faith dispensable. There is a great temptation for us to stop, to retreat, to run away, to stop believing, to give up on faith, and give up on Jesus.
Many of us like my friend, have the mindset that if we experience hardship, we must have done something wrong. Sometimes, we are the recipients of the consequences of our sin. Sometimes, as the Bible says, our loving Father disciplines us when we get off track, so that we turn back to him. But sometimes we suffer because evil exists in this world and through it we can see just what is inside us; we can see the strength of our faith. We assume that difficulty has to weaken us, to defeat us. But do you realize that the persecution of the first century church didn’t defeat them? It didn’t weaken the church. It strengthened it.
Don’t buy into the lie of the disposable society
Don’t dispose of your faith and of Jesus thinking there is a better solution. An enduring faith is one that remembers Jesus. It is through hardship and persecution that true faith is forged. You are not being judged on your accomplishments, but on your faithfulness.

 

Ministering To The Hurting

This was sent to me from a friend this morning!  Little did my friend know how timely her video and kind words were.  The Lord is so good and uses people to minister to His children when we are hurting, sending comfort through our friends.

Today, my heart hurts, I was reminded yesterday of a happy memory probably the happiest in my marriage to my ex-husband.  A friend innocently mentioned they were having dinner at an italian restaurant. It was the Italian restaurant where he presented me with a beautiful diamond ring and asked me to marry him all over again, we did not have the money for an engagement ring when he proposed the first time. It was made even more special to hear his words of love and devotion, watching him getting down on one knee while presenting me with this beautiful gift.

My heart hurts because years later he chose his fleshly desires instead of humbling himself and restoring our marriage.  He took the easy way out and divorced me instead of facing his sin.  It was an abrupt and easy way for him, but the hardest thing for me, no closure, no communication.  So, today, my heart hurts, but I know my pain is temporary and fleeting.  I have a God who loves me and will be faithful to comfort me in my pain.

You see, I have learned that There is no such thing as pointless pain in the life of the child of God. This has encouraged and strengthened me when I walk in the valleys of suffering, brokenness, and pain!

One of the reasons that suffering has value is experienced by those who can say with conviction, “I know how you feel. I’ve been in your shoes.” Suffering prepares us to minister comfort to others who are suffering.

Feeling isolated is one of the hardest parts of suffering. It can feel like you’re all alone in your pain, and that makes it so much worse. The comfort of those who have known that same pain is inexpressible. It feels like a warm blanket being draped around your soul. But in order for someone to say those powerful words—”I know just how you feel because I’ve been there”—that person had to walk through the same difficult valley first.

Suffering often develops compassion and mercy in us. I have found in my life, through this experience, those who suffer tend to have tender hearts toward others who are in pain. We can comfort others with the comfort that we have received from God (2 Cor. 1:4) because we have experienced the reality of the Holy Spirit being there for us, walking alongside us in our pain. Then we can turn around and walk alongside others in their pain, showing them the compassion that our own suffering has produced in us.

Ministering saints are very precious to God!  We have all been given the power to minister and refresh a hurting believer, as my friend did unbeknownest to her with this video and words of encouragement. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s urgings, when you suddenly think of someone, reach out to them.  Pray that the Lord will give you discernment to know when people are hurting.  Pray for divine appointments, where God can use you to minister to His people.  There is nothing better than realizing the Lord used you to comfort one of His own.

Romans 15:2 says,“We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord”