Groaning Grief

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How do you react when you find out someone is going through a major trial like cancer?

There was a time when I would flippantly share Scripture like Romans 8:28. Though God’s Word is true, there’s also timing of our words as we are told in Ephesians 4:29:

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

Today I tend to react like Job’s friends first did:

“So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13

My husband’s step-sister Gina has cancer.

I have no words to speak to her, but I just weep and pray. Being sad and weeping is not a lack of faith, it’s just deep sorrow.

Jesus understands. When her brother died Mary said to Jesus,

“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.” (John 11:32-33)

When Jesus saw where they laid Lazarus, He wept.

The other reaction I have to guard against is not doing anything at all for fear of offending. Do you ever struggle with that?

Right now we live in California and she lives in North Carolina, so the most practical things we can do is pray, donate what we can, and share this with you…

As you read her story you will see she is loved and knows it. You will see her faith in God is firm. But you will also see a mama’s aching heart for her sons and for her family.

Will you take a moment to read her story and prayerfully consider making a donation for this beautiful young mother of three children?

‘Help Gina Battle Colon Cancer’ https://dm2.gofund.me/pm398s8k


{in}perfection

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His shoulders slump and his head is down in defeat as he shares with me a repeated sin he committed. He looks frustrated, weary and condemned. I too am frustrated ready to pile on condemning words, until I felt a tinge of compassion fill my heart. I was reminded of the confessing cleansing conversation I had with a friend about my sins just minutes before.

By God’s grace, I knew it was most important to share with my son the spiritual heart of the matter, to tell him the truth about the Truth-Jesus Christ.

To be transparent and share my genuine compassion for his sin struggle because I struggle too. It was a holy opportunity to share the Gospel. To share the gift of forgiveness and mercy that comes through repentance towards God and faith in the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. To share the freedom that comes by power of the resurrected Christ. To walk him to God’s throne of grace.
It was a chance to remind us we’re not perfect and we need a Savior. Any righteousness we have comes from Jesus Christ in us. We are to practice righteousness, press on to maturity, but only God will perfect us until the day of Christ Jesus.
I write this stone of memorial to remind myself, we must practice patience–with ourselves…and one another.

***

When I was a new Christian I was naive to think I would no longer make a mistake. I read  that I was a “new creation” and given a “new heart,”and though I “knew” I was not perfect, I made an expectation for myself that I should be perfect or I was a hypocrite.

This led me to great frustration and even condemnation because I couldn’t understand the continual struggle against sin I was dealing with, let alone the number of times I failed. What I see now is any holiness I have is CHRIST IN me. I have seen my flesh and it’s ugliness to the point I’ve doubted my own salvation! The redeeming part is that my flesh and sin remind me of my need for a Savior. This gives me compassion for those that struggle, beginning in my own family.

A fruitful life comes by a daily walk of abiding in the one who is perfection: Christ.

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Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethen.


Burdened Beyond…

God knows every bird
Have you ever experienced a tribulation, distress or affliction that was so overwhelming it was beyond what you could handle?

Thlipsis is the Greek word for Affliction, which is defined as “a pressing, pressing together, pressure, oppression, tribulation, distress.

What a great word picture because it feels like “a pressing” weight when I’m afflicted.

Some of the things I’ve been learning are:

  • Affliction can lead to burdens beyond our strength
  • Affliction can lead us to die to self–humble ourself and admit our inability to change the situation and place our trust in God
  • Affliction can remind us:
    • God is above all things
    • God raises the dead
    • God will deliver us from the afflictions of this world
    • We need to set our hope in God (not man)
    • Affliction keeps us close to God
    • Affliction reminds us to pray for one another for deliverance of these afflictions
    • God delivered us from so great a peril of death through Jesus Christ
    • Affliction reminds us there’s more than this life…there’s eternal life

Eternal life can begin now with KNOWING God and Jesus Christ who He has sent. Unite yourself to the One that can carry you–Jesus Christ.

In whatever affliction you may be enduring, may you be encouraged BeLoved.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:28-29

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many.”

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:10-11


Eternal Mission

One of the main reasons I joined the military was to be part of imagesomething bigger than myself. In June 1996 I saw the news report of the Khobar Tower bombing in Saudi Arabia where 19 servicemen were killed, and it evoked a restlessness in me to make a positive impact on this evil world. As an ambitious 20 year old I was afraid I would miss my calling in life and was mobilized to join the fight of defending our freedom.

Five months later I stepped off a bus the dawn before Thanksgiving enduring humiliation and lots of yelling, and I began to understand just a small amount of what it means to sacrifice. God used the military in so many ways to reveal how He had uniquely designed and equipped me. I LOVED being in the military…the structure, the camaraderie, the sense of purpose of being part of a mission that mattered.

I see now WHY I felt that restlessness of wanting to make an impact on this world…

I was made to be a soldier–a soldier of Christ. There is a real spiritual war going on and many casualties are dying without knowing they have access to God through Jesus Christ!

All those years in the military I knew about God but I didn’t have a saving relationship with Him as I do now. Today I KNOW God and I KNOW my purpose: to Know Him and Make Him Known by bringing glory to His name.

I am so thankful for all of the Christians I met in the military that were lights shining, ambassadors for Christ, serving alongside me, asking me to be reconciled to God through Christ. You know who you are. You not only served our Country, but were on a spiritual mission which made an eternal impact.

I am still a soldier. My allegiance is to the only One who holds all things together, the only One who sustains freedom—His name is Jesus Christ.

The last orders He gave His disciples were:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

And so I go forth and obey Him knowing it is God who is at work in imageme, “to will and act in order to fulfill HIS GOOD PURPOSE.”

By His strength and Word I begin in my own home, neighborhood, and City remembering how a soldier is supposed to behave:

“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Will you join me in this ETERNAL MISSION?

*Thank you my fellow Veterans of the U.S. Military you are LOVED.

God HAS blessed America–He has forgiven the world of our sins because of the sacrifice of JESUS CHRIST.


The CROSSroad

 

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Romans 8:1-2

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2

Conviction is a pathway leading to the CROSSroad of condemnation or freedom.

The narrow road to freedom comes through Jesus Christ as we confess and repent of our sins.

Daily we get to choose whether we will walk in condemnation or freedom. The choice is ours but so are the consequences.

May we walk and live in faith by the Spirit.

Stay focused: Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren

*Galatians 5:16-26 *Romans 7:14-8:1-17


EmPOWERed

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“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

As children of God we have been given POWER!

Power to overcome temptation and sin (1 Cor 10:13-14;Romans 8:9-14)
Power to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:16)
Power to forgive (John 20:23; Matthew 6:15)
Power to overcome fear (2 Timothy 1:7)
Power to LOVE (Romans 8:2-4; 1 John 4:19)

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He gave us access to God the Father by one Spirit. This allows us to ask the Father ‘lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…’ We have the privilege to go to God’s throne of grace daily to confess our sins and receive His faithful forgiveness and cleansing. This allows us to be vessels of mercy and grace to others.

When Jesus was resurrected, He demonstrated His power over sin and death.

Today Jesus is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for the saints. Jesus can sympathize with our weaknesses because He has “been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

As children of God we are not perfect but have been given God’s perfect POWER by His Holy Spirit. May we not harden our hearts nor deny the POWER we’ve been given by quenching or grieving the Holy Spirit!

Stay focused: Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the brethren.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58


Unreceived Grace

Her effort to be perfect is destroyed by her sin
Paralyzing guilt sets in
She weeps, sadden by the loss of ‘perfection’
She hardens her heart and tries to justify her sin

Enter in grace…

The one she sinned against forgives her, but her hands are clenched
He pleads for her to return to him
She wants to return, but doesn’t forgive herself
She knows she does not deserve forgiveness
She runs away into the dark to hide
She doesn’t think she deserves to live, and wants death
She begins to numb herself

Messengers come, reminding her of grace…
One day the one sinned against speaks to her again
He invites her to reconcile
She dares to believe reconciliation is possible
She dares to believe she could be forgiven
She steps out of the darkness and towards the Light
She takes his hand and walks on the road of reconciliation

Through this journey her hands open and her heart softens
She weeps a different type of sorrow
She weeps in humility and gratitude
She experiences a spiritual death and is rewarded a new life

She lives because her hands opened to receive grace
She lives a new life because she walks in the Light
She lives a new life because she believes she is forgiven

Today she is hidden with Christ in God!

Hallelujah!

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