A DREAM COME TRUE

“And He died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

Imagine yourself encountering the wealthiest man in the world. He sees what you are lacking, and he decides to give you everything that he has. That would change your life, wouldn’t it? Now, imagine yourself coming across the wisest man in the world. Again, for what appears to be no reason at all, he teaches you everything he knows, giving his wisdom to you. And finally, you meet the most powerful man in the world. What does he do? You guessed it. He gives you power beyond your wildest dreams.

So, after your encounter with these men, your life would never be the same, would it? Wealth, wisdom and power, right at your fingertips. It would be a dream come true for so many. And that’s exactly what this is, a dream, right? It’s just an imaginary situation, and we all know that none of this could ever happen to any of us, right?

Wrong! It already happened. It happened to you, and it happened to me. From the moment our Messiah entered His physical body here on earth, He began to give us everything He had. Even as a child, He shared His wisdom. As he grew older, He taught everyone who would listen. He gave us a way to harness power that we didn’t even know that we had. And when He died, He gave us wealth beyond value; He gave us eternal life.

What’s lacking in your life? I might not even know you, but I can answer the question anyway. If you already know Him, you have everything. And if you don’t, He’s all that you’re lacking. It’s quite simple.

So, lets go back to the imaginary encounters we just had. These men just gave you everything. If that really happened, what would you give them in return? Would a simple “Thank you” be enough? How long would your gratitude last? Would you ever forget them? Most people, after getting over the initial shock would probably say, “How could I ever repay you?”

Well, we can’t repay Him. But we can honor Him. We can show the world that His sacrifice wasn’t in vain. We can live our lives in a way that pleases Him, and we can do the few simple things that He asks us to. We can share what He gave us with others, spreading His word all over His creation, until everyone knows about Him. We can love Him, and we can love each other.

He died for us. Not a slow, painless death, but rather by the most gruesome torture possible. And He did so willingly. By His stripes we were healed, and He was pierced for our transgressions. He was loved by some, but despised by others. Yet, through all His suffering, He loved them all. And He loves us all.

We are called to live for Him. It’s the least we can do, after all He’s done for us.

Have a great day everyone!

SAY IT!

“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!'” (Luke 10:5)

When the Messiah sent out the seventy-two to spread His word, His instructions were simple.  He didn’t require them to attend rigorous Bible studies or to earn a degree.  He didn’t tell them to memorize verses of scripture that they didn’t already know.  It didn’t take years to determine who was qualified to do His work.  He told them to go with nothing, to pray, to live on what others provide, to heal the sick and to allow those who they encounter to make their own decisions.

But before they were to enter any house, they were to speak the words, “Peace be to this house.” He didn’t tell them which houses to choose.  They weren’t required to only go to the homes of the wealthy, or to strictly focus on the poor.  The “harvest” was plentiful, from all walks of life, and everyone had the same opportunity and the same need.

We tend to be drawn to magnificent looking homes, impressed by the financial success of the owner.  But the peace that these seventy-two missionaries were told to pray for was something that money can’t buy.  Anyone can have it, if they want it, and if they choose the path to attaining it.  Peace is available to everyone.  It starts with asking.

What a great way to enter a home!  Wouldn’t it be fantastic if everyone came in the same way?  And we can take it even further.  We can enter our workplace every day, with the same words on our hearts and our lips.  “Peace be to this house!”  When we go to the grocery store, the gas station, a restaurant or a doctor’s office, we can still do it.  I’ve never done this before, but I’m starting today.  That will be my prayer wherever I go.

It’s powerful and it works.  Some will push us aside, but that’s their problem, and not ours.  We can plant seeds, but we can’t force them to grow.  Peace comes from prayer, but some choose to reject it.  All we can do is show them who we are, without letting their negativity rub off on us.  We do not want to lose our peace.  It can happen, but if we remain focused, it won’t.  And if we spread it, it will grow, not just with others, but within ourselves.

Please join me in doing this.  Whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace be to this house!”

Have a great day everyone!

PREACH IT SISTER!

“The Lord makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He exalts.  He raises up the poor from the dust; He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.  For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them He has set the world.” (1 Samuel 2:7-8)

Even in this day and age, there is still disagreement among Bible “experts” regarding whether women should be allowed to preach.  I wonder if the ones who are against it have ever read Hannah’s prayer.  We could all learn a lot more from her words than from anything they have to say.

There comes a great peace knowing that our current positions in life are exactly where God planned for us to be.  That isn’t to say that He doesn’t expect us to work on improving our relationship with Him through understanding His word.  But even before He created this earth and set it on His pillars, He knew us.  There is nothing we can do to surprise Him, and there is nothing we can do to alter His plans.

So, does that mean that we should do nothing?  No, because He not only knows us today, but He also knows us tomorrow.  And we will do as he expects us to do.  We must all seek to grow and to live holy lives.  I believe that He wants prosperity in our lives, but He knows that most won’t know what to do with it.  For some who don’t have much, it is a blessing in disguise.  And those with more are at greater risk for failure.  While money is not the root of all evil, the love of it is (1 Timothy 6:10).  Having just enough of it might help prevent us from falling into that evil love.

The needy will inherit a seat of honor.  The pillars of the earth are the ones who love Him above themselves.  They know that He will provide for their needs, and that their lives are His.  With greed comes contempt, resulting in a downward spiral, further distancing oneself from Him.  Out of sight, out of mind?  No.  Maybe for mankind, but He’s still watching.    We’re never out of His sight.

Hannah’s prayer continues, in verse 9, with, “He will guard the feet of His faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail.”  We can go to the gym and work out all we want to, building muscle and strength.  We can grow our bank accounts into large fortunes, with the power to buy anything.  But our might will not help us prevail.  It is our weakness that we must recognize.  If we’re faithful, He will guard our feet.  We won’t walk in the wrong direction as long as we want Him to control our steps.

“There is none holy like the Lord.  There is none beside you.  There is no rock like our God.”  Again, Hannah’s words.  So for those of you who think that only men can preach, you have a lot to learn.  While your words come and go, hers live eternally in God’s holy book.  Her voice can still be heard if we pay close attention.  She had an understanding that only a few will ever have.  I could listen to her preach all day.

Have a great day everyone!

YOU WON’T ALWAYS HAVE FAITH

 

“But now these three remain – faith, hope, and love.  And the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

At first glance, chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians is basically a description of the attributes of love.  Actually it’s much more than that, as seen in today’s verse.

Many things will pass away in our lifetimes.  People, dreams, prophesies, knowledge, structures, and even nations come and go.  Once fulfilled, a prophesy is no longer something that is waited for.  Even our own emotions and attitudes change, sometimes like the wind.  A loud noise is soon forgotten.  Old homes are torn down and replaced with new ones.  Life, as we know it, ends.  We have never seen anything that is permanent.

What would you say if I told you that a day will come when you will no longer have faith?  If you’re a believer, you’d probably tell me to go jump in a lake, because you’re convinced that nothing can make your faith go away.  But actually, I can absolutely guarantee that it will happen.  You faith will disappear permanently.  And if it doesn’t, then you never really had it to begin with.

Did I really just say that?  Yes I did.  Before you dismiss my thoughts, hear me out.  What is faith?  The perfect definition of faith is in the first verse of Hebrews, chapter 11.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Well, if you have faith now, then you know what you will see one day.  Right now, we’re hoping for His return.  We’re expecting it to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.  We still haven’t seen Him, so our faith is carrying us from day to day.  But on the day that we’re all waiting for, our faith will no longer exist, because we will have seen what we have been hoping for all along.  There will be no need for faith, because the evidence will be visible.  Our faith will be replaced by love.

So how can we be prepared for that day?  We can love now.  1 Corinthians chapter 13 is about love, but it is also about endurance.  There is no more powerful emotion than love, when it’s real.  It continues to grow, day after day.  It wins vicious battles, conquering everything in its path.  It is more tangible than faith, because it can already be seen.  Love exists in many forms, between individuals, but the love of God is something that is described in His word, where He tells us exactly how to love Him.

Faith and hope remain, but only for now.  When they are no longer necessary, love will be all that’s left.  We will love each other, and we will love Him even more.  And we’ll all do it the same way.  Manmade rules also change and eventually disappear.  But not God.  He was here even before the beginning.  He’ll be here always.  He’s never changed, and He never will.  God is love.

Have a great day everyone!

DIRTY FEET

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” (Psalm 40:3)

That’s where He finds most of us, isn’t it?  Some are so deep in the pit that He has to really reach down deep.  And He does just that, happily.

I began writing this, intending to make a point about how far some of us have come since the day of our salvation.  But that thought was quickly replaced by something completely different.  Here it is.

The story of the Messiah washing the feet of the disciples is one that we’re all familiar with.  It’s told in every church, and it can be read in the Book of Yochannan (John), chapter 13.  I’ve heard it many times, always with the same message.  The speaker makes reference to His servanthood and humility, as if that’s the whole story.  But it isn’t.  Not even close.  So many miss the real point, because they’ve dismissed the “Old” Testament as being irrelevant.  But the fact is, everything can be found there.  Everything.

Let’s go back to today’s verse.  Where did He find us?  He found us in the exact same place that He found the disciples, in the muddy pit of destruction.  So, He pulled us out and put our feet upon a rock.  What rock?  Peter described the rock in detail when He told the Messiah that He is the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).  That answer became the rock, the foundation for our security and salvation.  And as long as we remain on that rock, we’ll never have to worry about walking on the path to the gates of Hades.

On the feast of Passover, the celebration of the freedom of the Jews from slavery, He began to wash the feet of the disciples.  Why?  Because when you are pulled up out from the mud, your feet are still dirty.  You can wash and you can bathe, but your feet require extra attention, because you continue to walk with them.  Yes, it’s that simple.  As a matter of fact, when Peter resisted, Yeshua (Jesus) told him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.”

You see, our feet the farthest parts of our bodies from our brains and our hearts.  We have to keep them clean to stay on the right path.  They get dirty easily.  Even after He set our feet on a rock, they still need to be cleansed.  He washed their feet, and then He told them to wash each other’s feet.  The moral of the story is this:  We need to do for each other what He has done for us.  Is the story mostly symbolic?  I think so.  And it tells us that we need each other’s influence, love, compassion and correction to remain stable on the rock of righteousness.

How clean are your feet?

Have a great day everyone!

PEEKABOO!

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Do you know where He is?  Is it possible that you’ve already found Him and didn’t know it?  Exile is a lonely neighborhood, no matter who we’re with.  There’s an emptiness that goes along with it, seeking fulfillment in places that it doesn’t exist.  But we’ve been promised to be brought back home.  All we have to do is look for someone we can’t see with our eyes.

Understanding God’s word is the only way to have an intellectual conversation about it.  The message is quite black and white, though so many have painted it gray.  Those who are looking for signs that will satisfy them are exercising in futility.  If you can’t see Him all around you, you’re simply not paying attention.

He will be found when we seek Him with all our heart.  That’s not a play on words.  It’s reality.  I found Him that way.  I wasn’t intending to accept Him, but rather I was seeking understanding.  I went about it by reading His word without regard for the commentaries by others.  In doing so, I discovered Him for myself.  My mission began one way and ended a completely different way than I expected, because my heart was in the right place.  As I continue to study, I discover something new daily.  Sometimes I agree with the general consensus, and sometimes I find that His word has been twisted into something unrecognizable, out of nothing more than selfishness, personal gain and convenience.  As I look to learn more, my faith grows stronger, and my desire to have more understanding increases.

It’s suppertime, and we must go home.  God, the Father, is calling His children to come feast with Him.  Some are ready, but gathering everybody isn’t easy, because like children, some scatter and hide.  He knows where everybody is, but He’s patiently waiting for them to seek Him.

Do you know where He is?

Have a great day everyone!

 

IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME

DSC_0198_2 with verse

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Time.  We all get equal amounts of it.  But we don’t all use it the same way.  It’s given to us, and then it’s taken away, gone just like that.  Then we use up more of it to reminisce about things that already happened.  It’s one of the most misunderstood of all God’s creations.  It feels like a gift to some and a curse to others.  We can’t see it, but we see its effects.  We can’t touch it, but it touches us.

There are twenty four hours every day.  But some people seem to never have enough time in a day, while others have all the time in the world.  Why is there such a drastic difference in each individual’s perspective of the time they’re allotted?

Much has to do with patience.  Not everyone knows how to control their level of patience.  Yes, being patient is a choice that we make, and not one that is already made for us.  The lack of patience is usually a result of not knowing what lies ahead.  Anxiety comes from fear, and fear comes from a lack of faith.  Accepting that God is good, and that whatever He does is good, is the perfect antidote for anxiety and impatience.  And there are no pills required.

How can we structure our day to make the best use of the time we’re given?  God expects us to work to earn a living.  That amount of time is either pre-determined for us by our employers, or for those who are employers, the amount of time spent working is a choice, and needs to be made wisely.  But regardless of how much time we devote to our jobs, we still have our own time, and we need to make the best use of it.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.”  The first commandment tells us that God brought us out of bondage and that we shall have no other gods before him.  Time well spent is time honoring Him.  Certainly, there are many ways to do that, but if it doesn’t include reading and understanding His word, it could easily be misdirected.  It’s impossible to honor God unless we know who He is and how He expects to be honored.

“The days are evil.”  Really, are they?  Sure.  Temptation is everywhere, and the more time that we allow the bait to lure us, the more likely we are to succumb to it.  Wasted time attracts evil.  So what’s the remedy?  I’m glad you asked.  Verse 17 gives it to us.  “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Do you understand what His will is?  If you haven’t read His word, cover to cover, you can’t possibly understand.  Attending church regularly might give us snippets, but He is much more worthy of our time than just giving Him an hour or so a week.  And the snippets we’re hearing are often interpretations that may or may not be accurate.  Read the book.  That is time well spent.

We’re living on borrowed time, literally.  All time is His.  So when He lets us use His time, we must make the best use of it.  What are you doing right now?  You’re reading this.  Is that a good use of your time?  That depends on where your mind is.  If you’re reading it just to pass the time, it’s time wasted.  On the other hand, if you’re formulating a plan to find a way to devote more of your time to reading and understanding God’s word, then you’ve made good use of your time.  And so have I.

Have a great day everyone!