Martyrs

As we approach Easter weekend…Good Friday, remembering our Savior being beaten and killed for our sins, Resurrection Sunday…knowing He still lives and He has overcome, I thought reviewing this strong courage and faith seemed appropriate.

The strength, courage and faith of these 21 men could only be given by Christ.  They encompass what we all hope we would do in that situation.  They faced the fear, the pain, the anguish not with timidity, but with singing and praising the Lord.  And moments after, they joined their Savior in eternal perfection of Heaven.

Maybe the most amazing part of this story is that there was one man taken with the group of Christians who was not a Christian.  He, however, chose their same fate after seeing their faith.  He saw their faith and knew their God (our God, the only God) is real.  He gave his life to Christ moments before joining Christ in His Kingdom.

When we go into this weekend, we praise the Lord for giving us earthly examples of incredible faith.  We also praise Him for being the only One through Whom we can be saved.  He paid the ultimate price…pain, suffering, death on the cross, taking every sin of all of ours onto Himself.  There has never been greater pain, and He took it for us to offer us a way to Heaven.  He is the ONLY way.  Not anything good we do, but knowing we are not good enough and giving our lives, ourselves, to Him.

Remember His sacrifice this weekend, remember His love, remember His daily grace and mercy.  And talk to Him…thank Him…give yourself up to Him.

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Forgiveness

I am not an expert on things of the Bible.  I don’t think I pretend to be.  I am not afraid to admit that there are some things that are tough to swallow when following the ways of Christ.  However, despite all of that, I am eager to learn more about Him and I trust Him to know better than me.  His ways are higher than mine.  My lack of understanding is because of my imperfections, not because of His.

One of the things many Christians struggle with is forgiveness.  It is pretty easy to forgive someone for an accident, but I am talking true ‘lay down the sword’ forgiveness.  My biggest struggle isn’t forgiving people who hurt me, but rather people who hurt those I love, or people who hurt children.  But we must forgive.  And we must pray that they change.  We are called to minister to them just as much as we are called to minister to the little old lady next door who always bakes us apple pies.

Whenever I think about murderers, abusers, etc, I think of a few things.  First of all, it is not my place to judge where they will spend eternity.  While we are not called to condone, accept, or agree with their choices…in fact we are called to speak truth against their choices and hold them accountable…we are not the judges of their forever fate.  Second of all, I am far from perfect, and the deepest sins that Jesus knows about me are no better than the ones that we all know about public sinners.  Third, while some people are completely aware of the evil they do, others are not completely…some were raised from birth to think it okay to hurt those who don’t agree with them.  Some have not found Jesus yet and do not realize how wrong they are.  This doesn’t make them innocent.  No…none of us our innocent, but prayers and forgiveness are for everyone.  I also thank God that by His grace alone, I am not under the mindset that murder and abuse is the right path to take.  Finally I think about the length of eternity.  We cannot even comprehend the length of time eternity is.  And for someone to suffer for that long helps me pray for everyone.

Again, please know I am not condoning these people or their actions.  I have not been in the position to have to forgive someone who hurt my family in a severe way.  I have had to forgive people who have hurt my family in a less severe way though.  I don’t know how I would respond in the situation, but I pray that I would be able to forgive and love as Jesus would call me to do.  I am not at all claiming it would be easy.

When I think about people around the world hurting others, especially children, the only way I can make it make sense is if I relate it to “Divergent.”  Yes, my favorite movie!  There is a part of the movie where people are put under a trance and in this trance are programmed to do things that they normally would be against.  When they come out of the trance they are appalled at what they have done.  I think of the unsaved as being in the trance and if we can reach them, maybe they can come out of the trance, stop hurting people, and help save others.

In a world of Sauls, let’s pray for some conversions to Pauls.

10.15.14

I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.

Isaiah 43:11-12

I have been reading “Prodigal God” and it is very good at drilling home that we all need a Savior.  The man on death row is no more a sinner than the man who has hate in his heart.  The woman who “works at night” is no more a sinner than the woman who lied.  Many of us know this, but how often do we truly believe it?  Do you know that you are as much a sinner as the people you judge?  Do you know, really know, that nothing you do will get you into Heaven?  Do you know that the person on this earth that you despise is a child of God?  We need to put our judgments away, we need to repent of our own sins, we need to pray for EVERY soul on this earth to change for Him.  And more than anything else, we need to trust Him, our Savior, our Lord, the Creator.  Our lives will be filled with joys and trials, but our life is the tiniest blip compared to eternity.  And He is waiting for us, all we have to do is knock.  

1.25.14

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Galatians 6:7-8

I need to pray each day for the Spirit to lead me and not my flesh…it is a bigger battle some days than others, but God is always victorious!  

Now is the Time

The moment is now.  Don’t let it pass you.  Everywhere around me I see family, friends, loved ones and strangers…all people getting hit hard by “life.”  These may just be the birthing pains that are the mere beginning of the end of the world to come.  Or they could be more.  Why take the chance?  No matter what, we know this life is not forever.  Now is the time to have that conversation you have been putting off, ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness, pass on memories, pass on legacies and most importantly have a one on one conversation with your Lord and Savior.  Ask Him to guide you, lead you, forgive you.  Ask Him to live in your heart.  Give yourself to Him for eternity.

Wasn’t I just saying…

Yesterday night I couldn’t sleep…it is funny how our bodies react to things.  I think about Joshua every single day, but whether I want to or not, the emotions come flowing out this time of year.  My mind spins, my memories overwhelm me.  I don’t think this is a bad thing…I want to remember, even if it is painful.  Anyway, since I was awake with a racing mind, I finally got out of bed and I blogged at 4:30 yesterday morning about Satan attacking people around Christmas.  Wouldn’t you know, about 12 hours later, he struck again.

My heart and prayers are with my aunt, my cousins and my whole family as we mourn the loss of my uncle who passed away yesterday with a great suddenness.  My aunt has a confident peace and hope that her husband is now with his Lord and Savior.  That is the only comfort for someone who suffers a great loss.  It doesn’t make the pain go away, it doesn’t mean there are no hard times, but there is a huge relief knowing that the one you lost is eternally at rest and made new.

My sweet cousin after just hearing the news late last night was the first one this morning who remembered Joshua with us.  It is an honor that people still take the time to remember him.

There are lots of trials and struggles in our world each day…here and across the world.  God is still and always BIGGER and he will overcome!

11.23.13

Matthew 7:21-23 ESV

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Romans 8:1 ESV

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

John 3:16-17 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

 

The other day I was with a group of people.   The group was a mix of Christians and non – Christians.  One of the Christians in the group is quite outspoken and opinionated.  This person likes to have attention and  isn’t too concerned if anyone is offended.  Another  person in the group quietly takes it all in, as in many other areas of life, but then is quick to make little snide comments about certain situations or people.  They are unheard by most and I am sure there are a number of thoughts for every comment that comes out.  Neither is better than the other.  They are both sinning, one quietly and one outspokenly.  And guess what?  So am I by judging them instead of looking at myself instead of them.

Christians sin.  We are no better than anyone else in the world.  But we love and believe in a Lord and Savior who forgives us; who died for us knowing every horrible thing we would do in our lives.

There are some Christians who come across as judgmental and hopefully their intentions are good.  If you are a Christian and believe in heaven and hell, the last thing you want is for anyone to live in hell for eternity.  So sometimes we try to “help” others come to Christ in a misguided way.  We aren’t perfect.  We love all people, whether or not they sin, because we know we are sinners.  We know we are lost without Christ.  We know we are saved and going to Heaven and just want as many people to come with us as possible.

7.30.13

1 Corinthians 9:24-25

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

7.22.13

Proverbs 20:6-7

Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?  The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.
 
 
 
Marriage:  
 
Marriage used to be sacred, used to be taken seriously, used to be forever.  It should be.  It is called to be.  It isn’t anymore.
 
I (sadly) often wonder how many brides and grooms go to the altar these days pledging to love and adore their spouse until death do they part, or someone better comes along.  I wonder if brides and grooms these days expect forever.  It is heartbreaking.  I expect forever, my friends expect forever, but forever isn’t always what occurs.  
 
So many of our friends now are experiencing the pain of affairs and divorce.  It is horrendous to watch and be up close and personal with.  There are so many pains in this world, but I cannot fathom facing one where you lose your best friend, the one who is supposed to carry you through the bad times or at least bear them with you.  God of course is ever present.  It is still so hard.
 
I blame the selfishness we as a people have acquired over the years.  So many horrible decisions are made in the here and the now.  “This feels good now, I should do it.  My kids, wife, family, friend, etc all come in second to how I am feeling.  It is all about me.  I should be able to do anything I want and not deal with the consequences.”  This way of thinking causes issues in marriages, in unplanned pregnancies, in drinking and driving, in drugs, in every sinful area of life.  I despise this way of thinking.  And I say that knowing I am not perfect and my thoughts are not perfect.
 
Whether or not you are a Bible believer (of course you know I am), the rules and laws of the Bible do prevent a lot of pain if they are followed.  And they don’t prevent a lot of fun as many tend to believe.  
 
I am thankful for my faithful husband.  I am more thankful for my faithful God!  And I pray all the time that my children may grow up caring for others over themselves and that they may spend eternity with their Holy God.