The Glory of God

I was reflecting last night as I was conversing with God. I was thinking about Gideon who told the angel of the Lord, My clan is the weakest of the whole tribe of Manasseh. But he did not stop there for than he said I am the least of my family. Right there in that moment you have a clear picture of how Gideon sees himself and his clan. Weak and powerless!

Many times as we go through life we may feel that we are the least of our family or the group that we are in. But the truth is that God always uses the least to reveal his Glory. Gideon thought of himself as the lowest person around. He does not sound like he has much confidence in himself.

But when Gideon questions the angel he is told “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” See God can always use the least to reveal his Glory. For if God sent the mightiest they would think it was there own power that helped them to succeed. That would end up glorifying themselves instead of glorifying God.

I really like how even though he had doubts, Gideon stepped out in faith. What does he do but fix an offering for the Lord. Then he returns with the offering and presents it to the angel. The angel told him how to place it on the rock and then fire consumed the offering.

Is God calling you to be a warrior for those around you? Maybe people are being bullied at school, or an elderly person is being mistreated. It could be any number of things. Don’t miss the moment when God will show up and ask you to step out in faith.

Just as Gideon was used to glorify God, as the people of Israel we’re being rescued. God can use you. God will make the weak strong so that the goodness and glory of God can be revealed. Stop focusing on your weaknesses and instead focus on God and what he is asking you to do.

Trust that when God is with you there will be success for we have a God that makes the impossible possible.

Jesus Paid the Price

Our beloved Jesus paid the ultimate price for our salvation. It is hard for our human minds to truly grasp the magnitude of the love Jesus had for us that he would be sacrificed so that you and I could gain freedom. That freedom was freely given by our beloved Jesus. At any moment Jesus could have called upon the angels and they would have rescued him, but no he kept his eyes focused on the freedom that his sacrifice would bring.

Jesus was a ransom that God paid to save us from the empty life that we inherit here on earth. The price that was paid for us was more valuable than anything of value here on earth. Things such as gold and silver can lose their value over time, but the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God never loses its value. God loves us so much that he chose Jesus to be the ransom long before the world began. Stop for a moment and think of what that really means.

Before creation had even happened God thought of you and I. God knew that we would fall away, but God had a plan to bring his beloved children back to him. The love that God has for us is so vast and immense that you could never fill a vessel with it. That love is greater than the universe.

Think of what Jesus went through so that we could have everlasting life. Jesus suffered mockery, ridicule and torture beyond imagine. Jesus lived that perfect, sinless life listening to Father God to guide him in all things. Jesus was the perfect, first-born, lamb that was led to the slaughter for all our sins. In those days you had to have a lamb that had no imperfections sacrificed during the Passover.

Our wonderful Lord Jesus had a crown of thorns crushed upon his head, drawing blood as the thorns dug into his head and brow. I can see the droplets of blood running into his eyes, but he endured on. He did not lash out in anger, as he was mocked by the guards. He did not take his eyes off the prize even after he was offered up as a sacrifice. It would have been so easy for him to say Father crush my enemies. But no, instead he remained quiet and endured for us.

Even after the mockery from the guards Jesus had to endure being lashed with a leather whip embedded with metal. Historians have recorded that many that were beaten this way never survived. But Jesus our Lord was not a common man and he endured keeping his eyes on us the beloved prize. If only you can imagine being whipped with something that would cut all the way to the bone. It was known to tear through the flesh, ripping a body, revealing internal organs. Yeah, that is what they used on our beloved Jesus. His body was cut and ripped apart by this terrible leather whip. Jesus did not have welts, no he literally was ripped open with every lash of the whip, having flesh tore from his body, cutting deep into his flesh and bone.

As if that was not enough, than Jesus was forced to carry the cross that he would die upon. Picture our Lord Jesus, beaten, bleeding and then struggling to carry that big heavy cross so that we would not have to. All the while he kept his eyes focused on the love he had for us. The love to bring us into salvation and freedom in our faith of knowing Jesus.

Did you know that Jesus was sacrificed on the same day that the Passover lambs were sacrificed? Back in those days the Priests extended the time for killing the lambs that were brought, so that it was from noon until twilight. These hours coincide with when Jesus was on the cross.

I hope that you can see just how much love Jesus and the Father have for us the beloved children. Even in his body that was destroyed he trusted the Father and knew that he had to finish the task at hand to bring freedom and life. The life that we receive when we believe and have faith in Jesus is greater than any life here on earth. The life of salvation is a gift that is freely given to us through grace and mercy that the Father poured down upon us.

What a love that Jesus had for every one of us. That is such a reckless and wild love that endured to win us back. We no longer have to live in the power of sin, for when we walk with Jesus sin loses its power over us. We are no longer enslaved under the power and authority of sin. The blood of Christ has washed us clean, making us righteous in the eyes of the Father.

Father God gave Moses the law but that could not save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. Yes, as humans we have a sinful nature. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Romans 8 reveals so much about Gods love for us.

As we are heading toward Palm Sunday and Easter just think about how strong Gods love is for us. Think about how much Jesus loves us that he suffered so that we could be free, that we could be healed. Take time to thank Jesus for the suffering he endured to bring you into the glorious gift of salvation, that was freely given. There is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation and we surely don’t deserve salvation, but Jesus has given us salvation through GRACE and MERCY.

Thank you Jesus for the love you have for us that you freely gave your life for us. The love you have for us is greater than anything we can ever imagine. It is an endless love that is never-ending. Jesus you are our hero.

Fear is a Liar

There is a song out that I heard for the first time about a week ago.  Ever since I heard it I keep thinking just how true the words are to the song.  The song is titled “Fear is a Liar” and I have to agree.  Fear tries to come at us like a big bully, it tries to frighten us, it can immobilize you, make you inactive.  But the things that fear tells us are all lies.  Fear is really just a big smoke screen of deception.  That is right deception!

Fear can tell you that you are not good enough.  But God says that you are good enough, you have been chosen.  You have been made special and unique for you are Gods creation.  God has adopted you as his own children (Romans 8:15).  When you became a Christ follower God’s spirit joined with your spirit, and now you are children of God.  When you know that you are good enough, you walk with your head high and you have confidence.

But fear wants to beat you down into nothingness so that you want to just give up.  There are so many different lies that are driven by FEAR, and every one of them is not true.  Girls all the time think they are not pretty enough, because they are comparing themselves to others.  God made you beautiful, and special.  You were given those eyes, that nose, hair that is straight or super curly.  You get the idea each of us was created to be special.  But fear knows that if we walk in that confidence than God wins and fear is defeated.

I think that fear is always looking for a new way to try to immobilize us.  When we realize that what we have been hearing and agreeing with is a lie, then fear uses a new tactic.  Sometimes fear will even try to lure you back into submission by reminding you that, you are used to feeling defeated so why not just come back and partner with it.  Well God did give us a spirit of fear, NO!  God gave us his spirit when we became Christ followers.  Now you have authority over the spirit of fear.  Fear only has power in your life when you allow it.  Take back control over your life.

Fear wants you to be a slave that cowers under its rule.  Fear wants to make you think that it is mightier and stronger than God.  I say no for God is bigger and mightier than fear.  God is the creator of all things.  God knows you so well that he actually knows how many hairs are on your head.  God wants you to walk in the authority that you were given.  You were created to shine.  To walk in confidence that you were chosen.

God chose you, it is never you that chooses God.  “For this is how God loved the world:  He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”  (John 3:16-17)  Is fear trying to tell you that no ones loves you, or that you don’t belong?  Can’t you see, that is all just a lie.  For you are always loved by God, and you do belong to God.  Even the unbelievers and the broken are loved by God, for Jesus is always with you ready to meet you where ever you are.

For some fear takes control of their lives through anxiety, depression, shyness, or panic attacks.  All of these things can cause you to avoid people.  It causes you to isolate yourself from others.  Some people have such a tremendous fear that they will not even leave their homes.  My heart hurts for everyone that is struggling with fear in any of the many ways that it manifests itself.

But today I am partnering with God.  I want to help others to be empowered to overcome the lies that fear has placed in their lives.  For the majority of my life I was so shy that I would avoid people, I would avoid going to places that were crowded, and I really just isolated myself from having friends or much contact with others.  I did not have any friends for they could not be trusted, or they would judge you.  This affected me in relationships of all kinds.

But what I discovered a few years ago was completely different.  God empowered me to step through the fear and all of a sudden I found freedom.  You to can have that freedom.  It is time to stop allowing fear to be the Warden of your prison.  There is a new sheriff in town and his name is Jesus.  Jesus has the keys to your prison cell and he wants to bring you into freedom that only comes through him.

When you allow Jesus to release you from the strangle hold of fear, you find that you have more confidence in yourself.  You open up and discover that you have friends, that truly want to be around you and that love you.  That is when you realize the smoke screen that fear was using to keep you a prisoner.  Stand tall today and say no more.  Call fear out for what it really is.  Surrender your prison sentence to anxiety, depression, etc. to Jesus.  Then stand and walk in the boldness of Christ Jesus.  Allow Jesus to give you strength to overcome.

 

 

Promises or Lies

I was reading my bible last night in the book of Joshua and a couple of verses just stuck out to me, they kept me engaged in conversation with God and I am still pondering them this morning.  When the promised land was being divided and the tribe of Manasseh was receiving their allotment it says that they were unable to occupy some towns because the Canaanites were determined to stay in that region.   It also says that they asked Joshua to give them a couple of other cities because the Canaanites were to powerful and they had iron chariots.  Joshua gave them two other cities as well but also told them that they were strong enough to crush the Canaanites.

I remember the promise that God made to the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan river.  God promised them that no one would be able to stand against them for God was with them.  God said I will not fail you or abandon you.  Then again Joshua reminds them that they are strong enough to battle the Canaanites.  Yet they failed to ever remove them from the land.  I wonder what caused them to have a lack of courage and to doubt that they could take the land that they were given.  So different from the way Caleb responded at 80 years old as he took the hill country where the descendants of Anak lived.

God gave them a promise of rich and abundant lands.  Then they went to battle and destroyed 37 kings and conquered the land.  They saw first hand that God was with them as long as they worshiped only the true God.  Yet even after that promise from their provider and Father above, they failed to follow through.  After everything that they witnessed in the wilderness, the crossing of the Jordan and then the battles that entailed. It made me wonder what caused them to lack faith and confidence or the courage to do what God had promised them.  As I thought about this and talked to God about this I began to think about the promises that God has given all of us.  That we are children of God, that he is our provider and protector.  Yet many of us fall short in grasping and reaching for those promises.  I even began to think about the promises that God has given me.

I began to realize that  it really always comes down to who are you going to believe.  The promises that God has made to you or the lies that cause fear and doubt.   Are you going to cower in fear because you think that there is no way things can work out.  It is alright to admit that we let fear control us at times it happens to the best of us.  I have spent a good part of my life believing things that were not what God was saying.  But I was weak and I was not weighing it against what God says.  Even now as I am stronger in my walk and relationship with God fear can try to come in.  But now I recognize it and stop it in its tracks.  It is easier to stop the fear when it is small.  For fear can morph and make it look like something is bigger than God, and we can begin to believe God is powerless.  That is when anxiety and panic can set in.

GOD IS NOT POWERLESS AND NEVER WILL BE POWERLESS

When you are facing that giant in your life, stand tall and strong like David did against Goliath.  Cast your stone at the giant and watch the giant fall when you declare who God is and how powerful God Almighty is.  This is easier when you are in relationship with the Lord.  Just like David even in his darkest moments he would tell the Lord how he felt and how overwhelmed he was but then he always finished declaring the goodness of God and what God would do.  This is what happens when you are in relationship versus just having religion.  You automatically go to the Father to see what he says about what you are facing.  You look at the pit of despair and you say no my God is greater than that, God did not give me a spirit of fear.

When you are in relationship with Father God, then you listen to what he has to say.  You ponder and apply his promises to your heart where he resides in you.  The word is where you weigh the things that are on your heart to see if they align with God or with the enemy.  But if you just listen to the lies of the enemy then you start to react like the Israelites and you think I can’t.  We have a God that says you can in the face of the biggest or darkest struggles of your life.

I encourage you to take some time and get to know Father God and Lord Jesus.  Ask them what the truth and promise is for today and for tomorrow.  Remember when God is for you, who can be against you.  There is no problem in this world that is too great for God.  The things that each of us face in life are nothing to Father God.  God is the great creator and he cares about every one of you.  God cares about the things you are struggling with.  We have a big, big God and he is more powerful than anything that we face.  Call on the name above all names Jesus.  Spend time in the word so you know who God really is and you know the truth of what God says about you.

 

God’s Masterpiece

This really spoke to my heart and I wanted to share it with everyone.

Jonathan Camac

masterpiece1

When you look at the canvas of your life, what do you see?

Maybe you see it riddled with mistakes. The lines might not be straight. Parts of the drawing have gone outside of the lines. The paper is torn, dirty. Stains splattered across the painting serve as a constant reminder of past mistakes [1]. People in the painting are blurry, once good friends have become un-recognisable.

No form of eraser or glue can fix the mess which you’ve created.

What would you give to start again? How much money would you pay to have your messy, torn up canvas turned into a masterpiece?

For we are God’s masterpiece.’ – Ephesians 2:9

We don’t become God’s masterpiece after we have fixed up the canvas of our life. Not God’s masterpiece once we’ve sorted out those messy lines and torn edges.  We are God’s masterpiece. Not in a few weeks, months or…

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Freedom and Redemption from a Victim Spirit

For those that know me they may be surprised that I ever lived with a Victim Spirit.  Actually I was even surprised when I realized where I came from to where I am now in my walk with God.  For me it just shows how great the name of Jesus really is for redemption and freedom come and transformation happens.  Sometimes when we take a glimpse back we realize that we have been freed from more than we can imagine.  I was actually shocked as I made this realization tonight.  I was thinking I have never felt like a victim in my life, I have always faced things head on and never felt defeated.  Then there were these little flashes of things from my past and how I had responded to those things. It was like Holy Spirit giving me little snippets of things I said at various times in my life.

What those snippets revealed to me is that I have walked on a greater journey with Jesus then I could have ever imagined.  I realized that I had lived a huge part of my life with a Victim spirit without even realizing it.  What I realized is that the victim spirit can be very subtle at times and at other times it is a big loud mouth.  Sometimes it even likes to bring along friend such as a spirit of fear and worry.  Why it is no fun to have a party if you don’t have friends around, RIGHT!!!  It was rather shocking to realize how easily we can partner with a victim spirit.  It starts convincing us that we are just not getting any breaks in life, whether it is relationships, jobs, a place to live.  We begin to focus on everything that is going wrong, I am sick all the time, we don’t have enough money, these are just some of the ways it sneaks in.  Then fear and worry can come in to make it even worse.  You have trouble sleeping because you are worried about how you are going to pay the rent or buy food.  Or maybe it is, am I going to survive what this disease or illness that I was just diagnosed with.

You may be reading this and saying but that is not me.  I don’t have a victim spirit, well I hope that is true.  Like I said I was surprised when it was revealed to me tonight.  But  Holy Spirit revealed was that when we start to believe lies then we start to partner with those lies.  It starts out small and then it can morph into something even bigger.  For instance I grew up in a home with a mom that was not very close to me or my sister.  Her life was more important than spending time with her kids as they were growing up and I had to grow up at 13.  That was when my parents got divorced and my mom was out every night until all hours of the morning.  What I have come to realize is that in that moment when I had to step in and help raise my sister, I started to partner with a Victim spirit.  I believed that is just life and oh well you have to deal with it.  For years I would complain to others about how terrible my childhood was.  I would focus on all the wrongs that my mother did.  Fast forward to now and I have found forgiveness in my heart, and now I remember the times that were clouded when she was a good mother.  I get enjoyment telling her of those moments as she struggles with Alzheimer’s.

Then at 18 I got kicked out of the house and sided with the victim spirit again.  I did not deserve that, my Dad was just being mean and cruel.  I was being picked on for no reason, why do these things happen to me.  I am just unwanted and unloved, but oh I have this man in my life that makes me feel better.  But then the abuse starts and you again partner with the victim spirit.  You pity yourself because of the situation that you are in rather than looking at the good things going on all around you.  Oh you are homeless and living out of a car or a tent, well that was part of my life when I was 18 and 19.  Again I wanted everyone to have pity on me for what had happened to me.  But the real truth was that I was not a victim during those times.  Everything that happened to me was because of an action that I took.  In reality I was living out what my actions had resulted in.  Yes I made some terrible choices but when I was living in the moment and for years after that I did not associate it with terrible choices.  No I made comments like well I just can’t pick good men in my life.  Life is just to hard as an adult, why does everyone pick on me.  Why can’t I get a break.  I have the worse Mother in the world.

I think you can begin to see the picture, I wallowed in self-pity.  I would even cry out to God and ask why are these things happening to me.  What did I do to deserve this, nothing ever seems to work out.  Why won’t you allow me to have a child when people who are drug addicts and child abusers can?  Some of you may be having one of those moments where the realization is hitting, oh I have believed the same types of lies about myself.  But I can tell you there is hope and it is Jesus.  The name of Jesus is greater than any other name and there is no equal to the name of Jesus.  I started to partner with that victim spirit back in 2008 when I was told I had Hepatitis C.  Oh I wallowed in self pity, and then I convinced myself that I deserved it because of the sinful life I lived when I was 18 and 19.  I was ready to give up on life and to just stop fighting feeling like there was no use.  But now I can look back and see that at that moment I chose not to partner any longer with that victim spirit.  After a couple of days I stood strong and I started to all on the Lord.  The Lord walked with me on that journey and it brought freedom and self discovery in the process.  It brought happiness and hope in the middle of some tough times.  But I came to really know that Jesus is always with me and he never leaves me.  Really he is always there just waiting for us to call on him or to reach for him.  Jesus will always be there to meet us in the darkest most broken places of our lives.

I stopped feeling like there was no hope.  I stopped telling everyone how terrible my life had been.  I stopped focusing on everything that had gone wrong in my life and I started to focus on the things that had gone well.  Yes in my past I had many years of hard struggles that seemed unfair, but the truth was that in the middle of the hardest struggles good things were happening.  Now they are just faint memories and I don’t remember names or faces of some.  But I will never forget the loving Christian woman who took me shopping for clothes and some things for a home after I lost everything in a fire.  Some complete stranger spent a day showing me the love of Jesus.  Or the families that provided me work when I was living out of a car in Arkansas.  They gave me some work to make a few dollars and then fed me a meal and gave me a place to sleep for a couple of nights.  Again they were Christians that God placed in my path.  As I look back I see similar things all through my life.  I started to see that those memories were all clouded before by the lies I was believing from the Victim Spirit.

But when I stopped believing the lies all of a sudden I can remember all the good people who were in my life during some really difficult times.   I can look back and see how blessed I was even when I was far away from God.  The greatest things is that no matter how broken we are we are never to far away from God.  All we have to do is call out to Jesus.  Just that one name can bring redemption, and healing in your life.  It took me over 30 years to figure this one thing out.  For so long in my life I did not think God really cared about me.  Why did God allow these things to happen.  But I have been blessed with wisdom as I walk with Jesus now.  My eyes have been opened to the blindness that I walked in for so long.

You may be struggling with a victim spirit in your life, and you may not even realize it.  My prayer for you is that you find freedom in knowing that when you walk with Jesus you are not given a spirit of fear or of being a victim.  Rather we are given a spirit of a sound mind.  Yes a sound mind!!!!  As we discover the freedoms that come from Jesus peace and comfort begin to wash over us.  I did no special thing to find freedom.  In fact I had been walking around for the last couple of days thinking that I had no idea how to relate to someone who was living with a victim spirit.  But alas I was surprised to have it revealed to me tonight.  That just lets you know that true freedom comes from Jesus and when you walk in that freedom your old ways fall away to reveal the new you.  If you still are not sure just look for the friends of a victim, fear, worry, self-pity, sorrow.  But Jesus brings us hope, joy, love, peace.  What I have learned is that our actions can bring on circumstances that we have to deal with and live with, but we can get strength from Jesus to bring us through those things and to be stronger on the other side.

Lord I ask you to bless every reader with your peace, love, joy and hope in the midst of whatever they are going through. Jesus just bless them with someone who will walk into their lives and show them your love in some way.  I pray for the blinders to be removed so that they can have a clearer picture and shift their focus to the good things that are happening around them.  Jesus cover them in peace and comfort in knowing that you are with them no matter what they are going through.  Amen.

The Word of God is a Healing Salve

When you read God’s word and you start to apply it to your heart, your life, whatever you are facing it becomes a healing salve. God’s word is not just a temporary bandage that you apply to a wound. It is a healing salve that you apply over and over as needed.

The way I see it with a bandage you put it over the wound and you leave it alone until the wound heals. But a salve is something that you keep applying over and over as you watch that wound heal. When the salve is applied there are no scars for it has healed you from the inside out. God’s word is just that, you apply it to every situation in your life.

The application of God’s word to your life brings peace in a difficult situation, it is like a soothing melody of the goodness of God.  Things such as The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  This is something that brings peace and calmness into my life in times of trouble.  I see a picture in my mind of the Shepherd that is constantly protecting the sheep to keep them safe from all harm.  That is so comforting to me as it reminds me that God is watching over me, that I have a protector and comforter that sings to me to bring peace and calmness to my life.

You do not find the healing salve of God’s word; however; when you just read your bible and you don’t apply the truths to your life.  Or maybe you don’t even think of going to your bible in the middle of your struggle.  The world has no healing that is going to take away the pain, hurt, sadness, heart ache, etc.  What the world offers you only compounds what is ailing you.  But there is a remedy that can heal your heart, it offers hope for the hopeless.  It is a pain reliever for a broken soul, that can bring you joy in the middle of sorrow.

Take some time and write down those special versus that can bring you peace in times of trouble.  Then you can quickly apply the healing salve of God’s word to your heart and allow the healing to begin.