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All I Need

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The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not be in want
He satisfies me with waters of life
He lifts me up and restores my countenance
He reminds me of His Grace on me
And forgives all my sin

The Lord is my Shepherd
He loves me and leads me and tends to my needs
He knows what I want and He showers me
With riches from His heart
That I might never be in need

The Lord knows everything about me
So is intimate and caring beyond measure
He Who put the stars in the sky
And created the vast expanses of the Universe
He Who created with beauty and complexity
Things my own eyes cannot see

This Lord of all Lords loves me beyond all
For He made me in His image
And His likeness that He might love me
As I need to be loved
And He might fill me
As I need to be filled

The Lord of All, the Lord on High
He is my Shepherd, My Radiant King
The One Who gave His life for me
Gives me all I need to live
In Him I live and move and have my being
In Him I glorify God on High
Through His Spirit I accomplish all things
He set forth for me from the beginning of time

His Plan for my life is Perfect
His timing for my beginning and end
He shall direct my steps every moment
And He forever will be my Friend
For Christ is my Lord and Savior
His Grace is sufficient for me
His Love brought me into this world
And shall forever be with me

 

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, RE-BLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

 

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The Comfortable Neglect Of ISIS

imageWhen I think about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant- the group known as ISIS/ISIL- my blood boils thinking of these cowardly men and their horrifically evil deeds. This offshoot of Al-Qaeda makes continual headlines for their abhorrent crimes against humanity. They publicize themselves in such acts as slow-cutting people’s heads off, stoning women to death and setting men on fire. They gratuitously torture and amputate people in public, enslave, rape and kill women and children, even decapitate babies. They crucify children, bury them alive, make them sex slaves and suicide bombers. The children indoctrinated as future jihadists are herded into groups, forced to watch mass executions and desensitized to unspeakable violence. The goal? To serve the Muslim “god, Allah,” follow the Qur’an which instructs torture and execution of Christians, Jews and the Muslim infidel, and to establish an authoritative Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, for starters. Further, to infiltrate, terrorize and subdue as many imagenon-Islamic regions as possible, erect the flag of Islam in the White House, and finally to successfully claim worldwide domination. Contrary to our own President Barack Obama’s deceptively cavalier reference to ISIS as a “junior varsity” team, the Islamic State is extremely well-financed and highly organized, drawing fighters from many nations, including the United States, effectively using modern communications and media to raise funds and recruit for their malevolent global mission. They make Al-Qaeda look like a pack of misfits.image

I do believe we should be doing all we can militarily as the most powerful nation on earth to stop ISIS from furthering their evil agenda. The Obama Administration is not doing nearly what it could be, sending lip service and ineffective drones without the ground troops required for defeat. Obama’s public response to ISIS’ recent taped burning alive of 26-year-old Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh was to warn US- U.S. Citizens- not to “get on our high horses” and think we haven’t committed horrific crimes as well in the Name of Jesus Christ, citing The Crusades as an example. Anyone who knows U.S. history is immediately shocked by this statement, knowing how inappropriate and erroneous is such a comparison, especially in light of the horrific human atrocity that had just occurred. Our President has also made the U.S. more vulnerable by imageopening our borders to the terrorists, giving them footing among our people. You notice increasing numbers of mosques, Arabic businesses and Muslims populating our communities. No, not all Muslims are terrorists, but effectively all organized terrorist groups are Muslim, and ashamedly 10% of Muslims are said to SUPPORT terrorism. That seemingly small percentage equates to roughly 57 MILLION Muslims- a hearty resource pool for ISIS.

imageAll of this said, and admittedly with anger in my heart, I ask my Lord Jesus how I should really be looking at this. Help me to see with Your eyes, Lord! What is the condition of my own heart? I know the deeds of ISIS are evil and deplorable: When I see and read what they have done, I’d honestly like the very same done to them. I’d like them annihilated! Then I realize, I would have to be perfect to execute such judgement- only God can do that, and He can use governments to do so. As for me personally, I am reminded by God that I am just as much in need of a SAVIOR as the murderous men of ISIS. Was there a glimmer of unwitting truth about the condition of the human heart in Obama’s offensive public reply? Without the Grace of Christ, my destiny is the very same as ISIS’: Eternal Hell where “their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.” [Mark 9:44]  Indeed, they may set Christians on fire, but those Christians are entering the Joy-filled arms of Jesus for ETERNITY!, whereas they without Christ will enter torturous Hellfire ETERNALLY! So what do I do about this issue? Well, barring strapping on a uniform and joining the U.S. Forces, I believe I- as a Christian- am called to do what some may find unthinkable- TO PRAY FOR THE MEN OF ISIS.

imageMaybe some of you have already been doing this- Wow. Wonderful. Others may feel like me- resisting my Father’s tug to follow Him where I don’t feel like going. Most of us have probably had no problem praying for ISIS victims and families, for Christians in Islamic regions, and for coalition soldiers fighting this evil. But how many of us have intentionally prayed for those actively carrying out evil amongst the most innocent of lives? imageHow many have lifted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who now has a $10 million bounty on his head, in prayer? What might happen if we followed Jesus’ example and pled to the Father on their behalf? Have you ever prayed for a lost soul to come to know the True Jesus? Ever SEEN a lost soul come to know Him? Do you doubt that the Holy Spirit can open eyes to the true condition of their hearts and minds- to the lies of Islam? Or that some might turn from their evil ways by God’s Power and submit their lives to Christ Who makes all things new? [Rev. 21:5]. “Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” [Matt 19:26] Perhaps the minds and behaviors of ISIS cannot be changed by mere men, or nations of men, or even by weapons of warfare. But there IS SOMEONE Who can change the heart where evil and madness reside [Eccl 9:3]. Are you aware that many former Muslim Christians give the same testimony: that they left Islam at the risk of their own lives when Jesus appeared to them in their dreams? And let us not forget that the apostle Paul was Saul the Pharisee who captured, tortured and killed Christians until Jesus appeared to him one day and his life was forever changed.

imageSo, help us Lord to PRAY! Help us to remember Your Words as You gasped for Your last breaths upon the cross- “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34] And Your clear instruction to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” [Matt 5:44] Help us to remember our own spiritual state without YOU! (“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” -Isa 64:6). Help us Lord to make ISIS part of our daily supplications and a priority in our prayer circles and TO NOT NEGLECT THEM as we trust in YOU to accomplish what is not possible with men. No man has Hope without You!

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“For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” [Matt 15:19]

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” [2 Cor 10:4]

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [Eph 6:11-13]

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I [Paul, formerly Saul] am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [1 Tim 1:15-17]

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” [2 Pet 3:9]
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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

Glimpse of the Holy One

imageWe are to demonstrate kindness and compassion to others, according to Jesus’ example and Words. Tall order. Especially when you want to do just the opposite. Like when someone cuts you off when you’re talking, or walking, or driving. Or is rude to you for no reason. Or points out a fault or a sin of the past you can do nothing about. Or maybe is making your life miserable from hurt or pain of their own.

There are many justifications we can make for treating others unkindly right back. Jesus saw beyond the offense right into the heart. And He took much more undeservedly than we ever will. To those jeering men pounding nails into his bloody feet, He looked to His Father and said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” We cannot see the heart as Jesus does, but can we see beyond an offense? Justice may be the goal, but can we accept something we don’t deserve? God may have forgiven us every one of our sins, but have we forgiven the one who mocked or hurt us yesterday, last week, last year?

This is not about condoning wrongful behavior or remaining complacent in a harmful situation. Wisdom comes from God and will always guide your soul to wellness. This IS about not resembling the fallen world in our responses to others, but reflecting the Holy Spirit and His unconscionable Love toward us. How do we do this? -ABIDE IN HIM. REMAIN IN CONSTANT PRAYER. STAY HUMBLE BEFORE GOD. Remember what Christ did for you and extend His Loving Kindness to others. Lives are transformed by a glimpse of the Holy One. Be a Light in the darkness of others’ lives even if you want to do the opposite. Trust in God to make all things right and to bless you as you submit in trust and obedience to Him.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” -Romans 12:2a

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” – Romans 12:14

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

 

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

Spooky Kind of Love

imageMany Christians are spooked by the thought of celebrating Halloween. Others fear not as the ghostly date arrives and embrace the dark thrill of the night. I’ve personally been on both sides of the creaking fence and have heard Christian arguments both for and against participating in this the creepiest of holidays.

As a child, my parents took us out every Halloween- it was so much fun figuring out costumes, getting all dressed up, crunching through leaves with friends, checking out the cool decorations and clawing in as much candy as possible! Of course Halloween had a different complexion back in the 60s, but even then some Christians preferred to remain still in the darkness of their domains to lighting up a porch full of goblins chanting trick or treat on All Saints Eve.

I guess my own fun childhood memories crept into my adult years, and even after becoming a born-again Christian at 29, I found myself at the front door of my own house all dressed up blissfully passing out treats every Halloween. As the years went by, however, celebrating became more and more “uncomfortable” for me, like putting on a costume that didn’t fit. Perhaps it was because I was growing in Christ, studying the Bible and developing increasing relationships with fellow Christians. The issue was all the more daunting when my own two little goblins were unearthed! 😉 Now haunted by the impending event, I recall recoiling inside while my husband, unhaunted and not wanting our young sons to miss out, continued to escort them into the unholy night. But things changed.

I do believe it was the Holy Spirit Who shined His Light into my zombie-like participation in Halloween, and later into my husband’s. God redirected our steps as we began whisking away with the boys on Fright Night, and for years clenched a replacement of fearless fun like the movies, bowling or the arcade. Then a few years ago, it happened again. Something began to feel uncomfortable to me- the idea of fleeing from this night wasn’t fitting well anymore. As a Christian, I knew we are not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We are to fear the Lord and to shun evil. I knew the chain of reasons not to mindlessly participate in Halloween. But I had been Enlightened, and my heart was being nudged to the possibility of being a Light in the Darkness. Instead of thinking about all the evil PARTS of the holiday, its pagan origins, etc. as reasons for me to VANISH, I was now unable to stop thinking about all the PEOPLE crunching through the leaves and all the reasons I should be very much PRESENT. Unwittingly, I was embracing the mindset of my enchanting late Mom who repeatedly used to pronounce: “People are more important than things.” Indeed, every single soul is important to God.

Today, I find myself boldly perched atop the creaking fence, my Light on its Rightful Lampstand. My boys are older now, but I DELIGHT  in the arrival of Halloween! Not because I embrace its pagan origins or am enchanted by its wicked themes, and not because I’m going to dress them up and crunch through the night for candy. I DELIGHT IN THE HOLY OPPORTUNITY TO TELL OTHERS THE GREATEST NEWS OF ALL- THE LIFESAVING GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD THROUGH CHRIST JESUS- HALLOWED BE THY MOST HOLY NAME!

You may or may not be spooked by Halloween, but if you dare come to my house, you can be sure I and my family will be cheerfully present flesh and blood, and you and your family will find pleasant decorations and pots of the most heavenly treats set out for your personal picking! But the BEST THING you will find is GOD’S SAVING LOVE IN CHRIST- Compact Bibles and Christian Devotionals ready to scoop up and a family unafraid to share God’s Love in the darkest of nights where Light, after all, shines brightest!

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” -John 1:5

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

My Filthy Rags

Some of you already know what I’m about to dive into.  Others of you may be wondering what dirt I’m going to dig up from my past to share with you, and why. Others of you may be thinking of your own “filthy rags” right now… perhaps things you’ve done in the past that you’re not very proud of.

imageYou may be surprised to learn that God uses this term- “filthy rags”- in the Bible not to describe our sinful acts, but our “righteous” ones! Read Isaiah 64:6:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

When held up to God’s Perfect Holy Standard, even our most “righteous” human works look dirty.  NONE OF US is clean and holy before Perfect God.  You may feel you’re cleaner than the next guy, but you’re still filthy by God’s Standard because you still have sin- you may not stumble at the point that guy does, but you stumble.  We ALL do.  And by sinning just ONCE, we are considered lawbreakers!  Consider these verses-

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.” – James 2:10-11

We “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23

“There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.” – Ecclesiastes 7:20

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.” – Romans 3:10-12

imageNo one does good- not even one!   No one is righteous and never sins!  If we can swallow our pride and get our head around this truth, we may come to understand why submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is not only the Key to Salvation, but why we were created in the first place.

Contrary to one of the popular notions that it is our own human goodness that gains us entrance to Heaven, God makes it clear that NO ONE IS GOOD in His Perfect eyes- Our BEST works cannot erase our sin nature!- they are like filthy rags to God!  Only God’s Son Jesus Christ is perfect, and since perfection is required for admittance to Heaven, it is Belief in His Son Jesus Christ alone that opens the door to eternal Life with Him!   For Perfect Christ was the Only Sacrifice acceptable to God to pay the price for our sin.  We could not pay our own debt, but HE DID for us!  He is our Perfect High Priest Forever! —

“but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.” – Hebrews 7:24-28

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Yes- Heaven is a GIFT from God Almighty!  We ALL deserve Hell because every one of us has sin!  God knows that even the best we can do is like filthy rags to Him- nothing even close to His Glory- so He provided us with the Perfect, Stainless Covering to atone for our sins…. His Son Jesus Christ- the Perfect Lamb- the Only Acceptable Sacrifice! The ONLY WAY to Heaven!  Consider the following verses.–

image“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:14-16

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” – John 3:36

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” – John 10:27-28

“…God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” – 1 John 5:11-12

Whoever does not have the Son of God does NOT HAVE LIFE!  God leaves no room for question on the issue of what happens once we die.  There are only two possibilities for each of us- Heaven (Joyous Eternal Life through Christ) or Hell (eternal punishment/death with Satan).  God gives us the Key to Eternal Life through His Son Jesus Christ!  The alternative is unimaginable, but God gives us a glimpse of what the place of eternal punishment is like.–

“The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” – Matt 13:41-43

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“He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matt 24:51 [context: v.45-51]

“And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ ” – Matt 25:30 [context: v.13-30]

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” – John 15:5-6

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” – Rev 21:8

With these descriptions, should anyone NOT be concerned about where they will spend eternity?

We also see in these verses some clear descriptions for THOSE BEING SENT TO HELL– They are those who “reject the Son,” “do evil,” are “hypocrites,” a “worthless servant,” “cowardly,” “unbelieving,” “vile,” “murderers,” “sexually immoral,” “practicers of magic arts,” “idolaters,” and “liars. — Now you may spot yourself in just this handful of descriptions by God!… I can tell you that I see my “old self” clearly in almost every category!!  Here is the beautiful amazing thing that happens when you accept Christ into your heart and surrender your life to Him– HE MAKES YOU A NEW CREATION!!!  2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

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No longer a slave to sin, Christ is our Master!!–

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” – Romans 6:6-7

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” – Romans 6:14

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:22-23

NOW we have a righteousness that is FULLY ACCEPTABLE to God- based on our FAITH in His Son Jesus Christ!!–

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” -Romans 1:17

[Abraham’s faith] “..was credited to him as righteousness.” The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” – Romans 4:22-25

imageWe no longer have filthy rags to offer God!- for NOW our good works are the result of God’s Own Grace, Preparation and Empowerment!– Perfectly spotless, beautiful and acceptable to Him!! —

“being confident of this, that he [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 [context: v.1-6]

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

Beautiful Bottom Line- Our Marvelous God does NOT LEAVE US in our futile state of sin!!!!  He does NOT DESIRE TO CAST US INTO HELL, but to wrap His loving arms around us and rescue us from our tragic condition!!!

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And when we make that most important decision of our lives >>> accepting God’s Incredible Gift of Salvation through His Son Jesus Christ>>>, our sins are washed away by His Blood of Forgiveness!…EVERY LAST ONE of them!!!  Contemplate–

“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” – Romans 4:7-8

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2 [context: Rom 7:21-8:4]

“…he [the Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9b [context: v.9]

Yes, THE CHOICE IS OURS!  God gives us THE FREE WILL CHOICE to be rescued by His Mighty Hand through Christ Jesus and be made new by His Spirit- which is a deposit GUARANTEEING US HEAVEN (2 Cor 5:5)- or to continue walking in the sin-stained ways of our flesh- offering up our filthy rags to God- which GUARANTEES US HELL .

There are TWO CHOICES.  Which one will YOU choose???

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions!  If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible!  Thank you and God bless you!!

Becoming Less

imageMay I propose to you that it is only in understanding and employing this concept- becoming less– that we ever truly meet with God and His Will for our lives? In fact, it is only through the humbling of one’s self that a true surrender to God is possible in the first place. I and God cannot both be seated on the Single Throne of my life. I must surrender my will to His- only then will He take up residence in my heart and mind, and begin directing me in the Way I should go.

Make no mistake- we are glorious creatures, fearfully and wonderfully made by the hand of God (Psalm 139:14). Made in His Magnificent Image (Gen 1:27), we are fully equipped to do the good works He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10), and we do marvelous things as we strive for excellence (Col 3:23)! – And herein lies the danger. – In beholding our amazing selves, abilities, potential, progress, accomplishments, we are continually presented with the most titillating temptation- to acknowledge Self instead of God. This is especially challenging for those of us trying to “make a name for ourselves,” perhaps most challenging for those who have already succeeded in doing so.  Though I have not personally been conspicuous about this desire, I must confess there have been many times in my life that I was on some level working hard to make a name for myself- desiring that people see me a certain way and think well of me. I still struggle with this. You may say, well what’s wrong with that?…God says to win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man, just as Jesus did–

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.” – Prov 3:3-4

But if you read these verses carefully, you will see that favor and a good name have nothing to do with Self-glorification; rather, they are the direct result of a heart of love and faithfulness to the Living God- they are designed for GOD-glorification. Lest we think our good works are meant to glorify anyone but God Himself, Peter makes it clear in his words to the Christians in Asia Minor —

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Pet 2:12

Glorify GOD on the day he visits us.  As we mature in our walk with God, in fact our lives will reflect less Self and more Christ, our glorification turning from inward outward.  Imprint this perfect illustration in your mind.–

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Certainly this is the antithesis of what today’s society teaches us with its daily injections of “Becoming More,” and weaning off all dosages of Christ.  Most people find it convenient to fill society’s popular prescription of Me, Myself and I-There is no other.  Yet, God says this–

“I am The Lord [YHWH], and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” – Isa 45:5 

imageYes, we do set ourselves up as gods when we focus on our Selves alone- and as the light begins to turn on to us in all our glory, we glance downward to find that we have managed to position ourselves on the Throne where God Alone belongs. And we may wonder, how on earth did that happen?? Answer: The titillating temptation to glorify Self instead of the God Who made us.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a perfect example of this. God had given him dominion, power and glory and placed mankind and all beasts and birds under his rule. King Nebuchadnezzar was “king of kings” on earth- he had everything a man could possibly want and more. But even when the he began having troubling dreams and Daniel’s interpretation revealed God’s grave prophetic warning about consequences of his pride, the King continued to glorify him Self, seeking more, even erecting an image of gold that all should bow down to or be thrown into a blazing furnace.  Yet even after witnessing God’s Hand rescue Daniel’s friends from the blazing fire the King threw them into, and then actually praising God as the “only One who could save,” the King continued to refer to Daniel as Belteshazzar (the name of Nebuchadnezzar’s “god”) and spoke of Daniel as having the “spirit of the holy gods” (yes, plural!). Finally, God gave the King a dream about a tree, which Daniel interpreted for him, warning the King that he would be driven from his people and assume the mind and habits of a wild animal unless he acknowledged that God Alone was the Most High Sovereign over all. imageDaniel advised the King to humble himself, yet even 12 months later the King instead stood on the roof of his Royal Palace in the city of incomparable indulgence and uttered these words-

“Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30)

I built! MY power! MY majesty! Wow!! The power and deception of pride! While these words were still on the King’s lips, God humbled him exactly as He described. Yet even after all of this, in His Great Mercy, God restored the King- receiving the praise and glory from him that belonged to God all along. Here are the final words documented from the lips of King Nebuchadnezzar:

“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” (Dan 4:37)

The King had learned that firsthand!

Yes, everything we are and have is from God’s Hand, as apostle James asserted.—

“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – Jam 1:16-17

Jesus put it this way–

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:4-5 image

Apart from me you can do nothing. Apart from me there is no God. I AM and there is no other! Jesus’s beloved apostle John understood this. He knew that though he, John, came before Jesus to baptize many with water- the Lamb of God would come after, in all of God’s glory, to baptize with the Holy Spirit. John likened himself to friend of the Bridegroom, not desiring to take the light off the Groom and on to himself, but full of joy at the Bridegroom’s arrival!–

“After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. (This was before John was put in prison.) An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.

To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:22-30 image

How this story would have been different if John had  allowed the hoards of people flocking him for baptism to move his eyes off God and on to him Self.  If he began thinking about his own name instead of God’s, accepting praise and honor on to him Self for what he was doing.  What if John had allowed the argument about Jesus being seen baptizing with people flocking to Him to inspire envy or jealousy in himself?  Would Jesus’s baptism even have taken place by John’s hands if- while in the water- John discovered that he had positioned him Self on the Throne of God Almighty?

Thankfully, the beloved apostle John knew- and announced for the generations to come- that Jesus must become greater and we must become less!  If he hadn’t, then just as Satan took full advantage of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride, you can be sure he would have had a field day with John- as he has done every person created from the beginning of time who has allowed Pride to substitute Praise.  Even in the Garden, Satan joyously turned the light from God onto Eve with the titillating temptation of Self-glorification. Moving from a posture of thankful trust and dependence on God Alone, Eve found herself desiring to “become more”- questioning God and His motives, wanting to know as much as God- inching her way onto His Throne. And we today carry on the prideful tradition. Dare I say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But there is Hope for our prideful sin nature! There is an Antidote for the disease of Self-absorption! There is a Way Out to the temptation to believe “I am, and there is no other” — and that Hope is Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!, we have a Merciful Father with a Redemptive Remedy!  Read carefully Paul’s words to Christians at Rome:

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Rom 7:21-25

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Rom 8:1-4

And Paul’s affirmation to maintain a posture of sober judgement about ones Self–

“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” – Rom 12:3

Peter echoes Paul’s summons to Sobriety of Self, with a graphic visual of Satan’s desire-

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Pet 5:8

Yes, Satan desires to make a meal of us- a headstone of our pride, and with it he will take us to the grave if we do not have Jesus Christ- our Sole Hope! Though many of us are unaware, Satan knows there is an ironic twist to this “becoming less” business of God’s. He knows that once we understand the Divine nature of this concept and trust God completely to employ it in our lives- that is when we by God’s Hand truly become more- our will submits to His and we get to experience God’s unfathomable Glory!  For when we are humbled, face down before the Living God, prostrate before Him- the very “least” we could be- that is the moment God lifts us to our feet and exalts us with a Crown we could never gain on our own!—

image “You save the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.” – 2 Sam 22:28

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” – Matt 5:5

“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. 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.” – 1 Cor 9:24-25

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Cor 12:7b-10

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” – 2 Tim 4:7-8

“’God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ [Prov 3:34] Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” – 1 Pet 5:5b-6

“I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” – Rev 2:9-10 image

Dear Friends, If you find yourself flirting with thoughts of Self, impressed by what “you’ve” done or have, desiring MORE attention and things- STOP and Pray! You are on dangerous ground.  The same ground that breeds quarrels, judging, even pity parties- this is the acreage of Pride owned and operated by Satan, designed to help you inch your way on to God’s Throne.  The Throne is God’s and His Alone! He has made a Name for Himself, and there is NO OTHER NAME on earth or in heaven to which men must bow!–

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Phil 2:9-11

Jesus Christ Alone is worthy of all praise and adoration! Humble yourself before Almighty God, and He will lift you up in due time! Fight the temptation of Pride and Self- Glorification- God has given you a Way out! Trust in Him- Flee from idolatry of Self!-

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” – 1 Cor 10:12-14

Pursue the Wisdom of BECOMING LESS, that Christ would BECOME MORE in you!!! For the Praise of His Glory, Nancy

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Drawing the Blind

imageFor the past few days, God has been peeking through my mind with thoughts about blindness and sight.  Helen Keller has been a part of those thoughts- in fact, one day I was led to research some of her famous quotes, and the very next day my 5th- grade son brought home instructions for a report he had to do- it was on Helen Keller.  I found myself watching video clips about the infamous deaf-blind woman who defied her prognosis and accomplished the unimaginable– clips of her in adult years demonstrating how she learned to speak by putting fingers on teacher Anne Sullivan’s lips and larynx, “The Miracle Worker” fight scene where young Helen runs and rages, spitting food out, throwing silverware, rebelling against her teacher’s attempts to get her to eat properly, and the famous revelation scene where all the years of Helen’s frustrated uncontrollable fury comes to a dead halt at the well.  Take a few minutes to watch this first scene:

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http://youtu.be/Dvq5aQr1eh0

“If you don’t correct your children, you don’t love them. If you love them, you will be quick to discipline them.” – Prov 13:24 (ERV)
Can you see the relentless love of the teacher in this harrowing scene?  Can you see how desperately she desires to help her young student?  Watching Helen run aimlessly, raging against instruction, fighting to break free from her dark prison, immediately reminded me of my own 29-year self-imposed prison- the difference being I could see.  At least I thought I could- I did have physical sight.  As it turns out,  for almost three decades I walked in darkness.  Aimlessly, I was throwing myself in every direction, following feelings instead of Wisdom, listening to voices I did not recognize, hoping for a light in the darkness, but stumbling over my very own feet.  At that point, according to Helen Keller, I was worse off than her:
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.” – H.Keller 
Watching Ms. Sullivan fighting right along with Helen, insisting that she follow directions and obey, never giving up on her or allowing her to give up on herself, reminded me of God and His Relentless Love for us.  In the Old Testament, the Israelites continually rebelled against God despite His provision for them.  They ran aimlessly after idols, though God was leading them.  They complained, grumbled and fought back while God instructed them.  God, however, never gave up on them- He continued to pursue them in His Infinite Love.
“the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” – Prov 3:12b (NIV) 
Though for years I personally disregarded God and His instruction, running aimlessly after my own worldly desires, God continued to pursue me- He never gave up on me!  Then came my moment at the Well.  Please watch the following scene:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – H.Keller

Is it possible that the things we can see with our eyes are actually distractions to the most important things for us to visualize… things like love, hope, peace, joy, even wisdom and truth?  Helen Keller’s enlightenment at the Well could not have been more dramatic if her physical sight had been restored.  In those moments, her eyes were opened to knowledge, understanding, and so much more.  She saw things even people with sight are blind to.  Seeing eyes can deceive, as things rarely are as they appear- there is always much more going on that we cannot see than what we can see.  In those moments, Helen gained sight for the most important things in life- things that perhaps can only be clearly seen with our eyes closed.
As I watched the scene, I was reminded of my own “Well moment” when Christ gave me Living Water from the Well of Life, and my blind eyes were opened to Truth for the very first time.*
[Jesus said to the woman at the well,] “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   – John 4:13-14
“The Lord gives sight to the blind…” – Psalm 146:8a
Helen Keller said, “Once I knew only darkness… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”……..
I- Nancy- say, “Once I knew only darkness, but one Word from The Lord fell upon my heart that clutched at emptiness, and I leaped to the rapture of life with Christ!”
In the time it takes to speak a word, God’s Light broke through my darkness.  “I was blind, but now I see!” (John 9:25b).  I think this is why when I meet with my Lord each day, I find myself  “darkening” my surroundings- turning out the lights, drawing the blind, closing my eyes.  He came to me in my personal darkness and I yearn to see His Light again and again!
image“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  – Psalm 119:105
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” – Col 1:15
 
“…know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  – Col 2:2b-3
 
THINGS TO COME FOR THE BELIEVER——
image“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – 1 Cor 13:12

It is said that when a person loses one of their senses, the others are heightened…. the person with no physical sight then hears more clearly, smells are more vivid, tastes are heightened, textures come alive.  It would almost seem they become a “super” human of sorts.  They would surely seem to have the “advantage” spiritually, since the spiritual realm is unseen by the naked eye.  What I see with my mortal eyes in this short life on earth is but a shadow of things to come.  Everything in Heaven shall be clearer, more vivid, indescribably more wonderful to behold!**  Our senses will be heightened- like the blind person- only infinitely moreso!  Our wisdom and knowledge will soar as we step into God’s Glorious Presence in Heaven- our eyes will see as they have never seen before- and our Joy shall last forever!!!

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“But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”  – Isa 35:9b-10
“…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, ‘Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.’”  – Jer 33:10b-11a

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*See “The Question That Changed My Life Forever”

**For those desiring to read a heaven experience, I would like to recommend the book, “Within Heaven’s Gates,” by Rebecca Springer.  In it, Ms. Springer describes how her deathly illness led her to the Place where she experienced the unimaginable.

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!