We Need The Word Of God

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But the word of the Lord endures for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. 1 Peter 1:25

From Genesis to Revelations, we are presented with God’s gracious, redemptive program for fallen man, as told to us in the Bible – Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture.. that He was buried and rose again according to the Word of Truth.. so that whosoever believes on Him would not perish and pass away, but would receive the forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting. The Word of Life also contains all we need to live a life that glorifies His name – for we have been given all we need for life and godliness.

I have been changed and I’ve seen others changed after studying His Word. The Word of the Lord is pure, perfect and cannot be broken. God’s Word stands fast forever and ever. God’s Word is life giving and life changing. It has the power to impart faith, increase courage and develop character. When we face Goliath with reliance on the Word of God, we are no longer trusting in our own resources but we are trusting in the supernatural resources of God.

Heavenly Father, thank You that I have been called and chosen, and that I have been born again into Your family. Thank You that I have an inheritance in Christ that cannot fade away. Open the eyes of those that are blinded to the truth of Your Word, so that many may come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Use me, I pray, as a witness to Your Word of truth and bring many more sons to glory, in the days that lie ahead – this I pray in Jesus name, AMEN.

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The Eyes of the Lord are On Us

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Ps 34:15-22

15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; 16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. 21 Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Our Father knows what we need (and want) even before we ask him. We are promised when we ask according to his will, he will answer us and give us what is best.

As our heavenly Father, He loves us and has our best interest at heart. This does not mean we will not have problems, but it does mean he will deliver us as we go through them. In fact, He allows many of them because they mold us, strengthen us, give us wisdom and build our faith.

There is nothing too large and nothing too small for us to bring to him. He longs to hear our joy and thanksgiving, but he also wants to hear our requests. He knows our weaknesses, but he wants us to talk to him about them. In this way we are given strength to overcome. There is no better time to mediate on the word of God than when we are talking with him. This opens the door of our hearts to a better understanding and wisdom of how to apply his word in our lives.

Thank you, Father, for seeing my needs, hearing my cries, answering my prayers, and coming down to save, comfort, and bless. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

The Lord Will Sing Over You

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My favorite verse!     It has always reminded me of when my babies were small and I would cradle them and sing to them when they were fussy.  I always picture the Lord doing the same to His children.

This beautiful verse is from the Old Testament book of Zephaniah that talks about God singing over his people.

The last few years have been extremely difficult for me, I experienced deep hurt, loneliness and at times despair.  This verse ministered to me in a powerful way.  This is the only place in the Bible where this thought is expressed in such unique and wondrous way.  God had the prophet Zephaniah deliver a message about God’s judgment on his people because of their idolatry.  But then, the prophet looks ahead to the restoration of the remnant of Israel; and he comforts God’s people by telling them how much God loves them. Before the Lord tells them, through Zephaniah, that he will rejoice over them and with singing, he says, “I am your God; I am with you and I will quiet you with my love”!

Sometimes voices attack us in our minds: voices of fear, loneliness, insecurity, condemnation, hurtful things people say to us. But the Lord is saying, “No, don’t listen to those voices! I’m going to put my arms around you as a father would, and I will quiet you. I will calm your fears.” In these moments we need to open up to his presence and let his love quiet our hearts. You can’t have peace in your heart if it is troubled; if your mind is going a hundred miles per hour.

My hope is, if you are going through a season of loneliness and despair this verse will comfort you as it did for me.

When the enemy whispers, “you are not good enough, you are not lovable.” answer him and say “Satan, you are defeated, because Jesus loves me!”  Then just worship the Lord…meditate on His word, and let His love pour over you and embrace you and give you peace.

Gracious Lord, Thank you, Lord, that your love can quiet our hearts and minds and silence all those confusing voices and sounds of the world and carnality and anxiety and fear. Cloth us in your peace today! As long as we know that you love us, we’ll be safe and secure; because you’re the King

I Am The Women Sitting beside You In Church

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Church leaders say they abhor abuse of any kind. But advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.

I hope and pray that all readers will pray about what they can do to help bring change to domestic violence happening in your church.. Whether you are in church leadership or part of the church. We can all do our part. No one should have to endure what many women have endured.  Psalm 91.4, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” 

I pray that with the light shining on this issue, that there is a great opportunity for the church to better reflect what Jesus Christ calls us to be. May we listen to the Holy Spirit and may we listen and believe the women who seek help. 

I’m a normal friendly person, who loves the Lord with all my heart. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know I’m a survivor of abuse. Until this year, I probably won’t have told you because I was too embarrassed and ashamed. But I was sitting next to you in church. Watching your happy family with tears in my eye’s. Feeling like I failed. Like my husband was right – that I used his imperfections (i.e.abuse) as an excuse to run away. Don’t I know that God hates divorce? Don’t I believe in forgiveness, grace, second chances? In love that doesn’t keep a record of wrongs? In faithfulness, perseverance, and sacrificial servant love? I do, I really do!  I never threw my vows away, I just wanted to be safe and my husband to repent and change.  I desired reconciliation with all my heart and he knew that.

But, All I knew when I left was I could not do marriage on his terms anymore. I could not live with the fear pervading my body when he walked through our front door. Holding my breath, placating, saying whatever he needed me to, to make the anger go away.  And now I wore the double sided guilt. That somehow the abuse was my fault, and that I should’ve seen, should’ve known, should’ve protected my children. Oh the guilt, of the damage I have let come to them.

The reaction and blame shifting of some Christians after I chose to separate has added insult to injury. I was desperate for help, any help.  I sought refuse at a church in my new area that I loved, until my ex-husband wrote a letter to the pastor that in his words was “vile and hateful” and they asked me to leave.  Me leave??  I thought the letter would have shown them how abusive he was, but instead he said “we cannot get in the middle of this.”  Here I was, alone and now leaving the second church that I loved.

Some Christian leaders responded with compassion and a desire to do better at caring for survivors of domestic violence, some have cried foul and wanted to point the finger elsewhere: “What about that group? It doesn’t happen at my church! They have an agenda! Abuse has no place in the church! The stats weren’t reported improperly! Regular church goers are least likely to abuse!” etc etc etc.

Frankly, they’ve missed the point. Stories of violence in the church, like mine, actually happen. In my opinion, One story is one too many.

Here’s the response I wish I’d heard from all Christians:

These stories are heartbreaking.

What can we as a church do?

Do we believe the women who come forward, even if their violent husbands claim to be Christians and are regular churchgoers or are on staff, or do we disbelieve/dismiss/blame them/tell them to go home and learn to submit?

Just as my husband would lock me in rooms to teach me submission.  “Your problem is you won’t obey me. The Bible says you must obey me and you refuse,” he yelled. “You are a failure as a wife, as a Christian, as a mother.  For years, I believed that God wanted me to submit to my husband, and I did my best, bending to his will, despite the pain I was in.

The church needs to hear the wake up call, and proactively investigate claims and check the attitudes, beliefs, practices and structures of each church to discover if there is any inadvertent complicity or unhelpful misunderstandings that contribute here. One woman or child facing violence in the church is one too many.

Here are some questions for the Church:

Why have there been so few sermons on domestic violence? Why do so many women report that their ministers tell them to stay in violent marriages?

Is the stigma surrounding divorce still too great, and unforgiving? Is this also a problem for the men who are abused by their wives — a minority but nonetheless an important group?

And if the church is meant to be a place of refuge for the vulnerable, why is it that the victims are the ones who leave churches while the perpetrators remain?

“Often people say it is the guilt of going against the church teaching that leads them to stay in relationships well beyond a time they should leave because they are trying to please the church as well as please their partners … they often feel they will have to choose between the church or violence.

We have to see that some evil men are using their wives’ Christian guilt and the teaching about the sanctity of marriage as a weapon to keep harming them. I can’t help feeling that if more women started saying, “This is over” and were backed up by a church that enabled them to escape instead of enabling the abuse to continue, other men in the church, tempted toward the same behavior, might finally wake up and change their ways.

I hope that my story can shed more light on the issue of domestic violence so that effective strategies can be developed to address it. I also hope my story is of some consolation to others who are or have been affected by domestic violence. To those who care about this issue, I propose that it is not enough to address domestic violence as a problem in itself for often it is only the first layer of abuse. The second and subsequent layers of abuse are the unconscionable responses of people who are mandated to help and don’t. There is a phenomenon in which victims of domestic violence are often ignored and/or blamed and the actions of the perpetrators are denied and/or covered up. It is tragic enough that these layers of abuse occur in the wider community but when they occur as pervasively as they do in Christian contexts we need to ask some serious questions of our culture and leadership.

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”

Run To Jesus

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I once had a friend that was afraid he had fallen too far away from God.  He came to me one day and asked “What if I am so bad that I’ve crossed the line and God will no longer forgive me? I’m afraid I’ve crossed that line. I used to not even think about it, but now I’m really scared.”  I always told him the same thing “The fact that you’re afraid you’ve gone too far and God won’t forgive you is actually a very good sign, because it means there is hope for you! If you were unconcerned, then you’d never turn to God, and you’d never have any hope of forgiveness. After all, the person who’s in the most danger spiritually is the one who feels no need for God’s forgiveness.

You are never too far gone. You are never too broken to be fixed. You are never too lost to be found. Today, I hope you understand that God can restore parts of your life that you may have thought were lost forever. The most important thing I can say to you is this: It’s never too late to turn to Christ. Even when you wanted nothing to do with Him, God still loved you — and He loves you still. By faith ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your life — and He will. You can trust God’s promise: “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Listen to what David wrote in Psalm 139, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me….How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You.” (Psalm 139:1-10 & 17-18)

It’s so important for us to take God at His word and believe that He is with us at all times. But this doesn’t always come naturally; we need to ask God to help us realize this and take delight in His presence.

Will you do that today?

 

 

Bread Of Life

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Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35

Jesus is speaking of himself. He’s speaking of the benefits of believing and abiding in him. Of consuming him, and making him a part of us, and us a part of him. Believing on Jesus is coming to him to eat and drink for our soul’s deepest satisfaction, a satisfaction that ONLY He can fill. He is the bread of life. He is the living water. Our souls were made for Jesus. The ache in our hearts is an ache and desire for Jesus in our life. This is how the soul lives on God. It lives on Jesus.

John 6:47, “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

Pour yourself into His word and share your faith in Him to any that will listen. Just as he tells the people who he fed with the loaves of bread and fish, do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life. Jesus is the Bread of Life that we should seek to lift up and exemplify in our lives. Regardless of what the disbelieving world may tell you or how it makes you feel, know that you are enough for Him “Praise the Lord” Amen