The Spirit has made this hymn ever so true in my heart…I find myself singing it often…
My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I stumbled down the long path, weary and thirsty. I was promised that somewhere down this path there stood a well that would quench my thirst. I’d been trekking for days, it seemed, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have moments where I glanced back over my shoulder to see if anyone was paying any attention to me or the path I was walking. Perhaps I was crazy to walk this road — but you should have HEARD the way they were talking about this well! It was if the water it held was magical or something. So, I kept down this road, in spite of my thirst and weariness. If this well was all they said it was, then it’ll definitely be worth the travel.
There it was. The stones standing above the ground looked old and some of them were broken. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach, “Oh no. It doesn’t look very promising.” I quickly shook of the feeling of dread – it was just old and well-used, I was sure. My steps brought me closer. Really – the others were speaking so highly of what this cistern held…I looked over the edge of the 4-foot stone wall. I collapsed in disbelief. Empty. There were cracks all along the wall and it was void of anything that was promised me days before when I started on this journey for sustenance. I couldn’t believe it. I was fooled into believing this well would hold something better than what I already knew was enough.
What a predicament I was in. There was no way I could survive the journey back – I was far too dehydrated. I would die if I began back down the dry, dusty road back to the place I knew I should be without some kind of nourishment. Not knowing what to do, I sank lower into the ground – tears leaving streaks as they made their way down my dirty face. How could I have had such a lapse in judgement? There is only One that can satisfy — and His name is the I Am. How in the world did I allow someone to convince me to look for satisfaction and fulfillment elsewhere? Now look – there I was, about to lose my life because I had walked far from the One who GAVE me life.
Jesus. His Name was on my lips. “Jesus.” I need Him. I had to find my way back. If I stayed at the broken cistern, I would not be made well. I had to try to make it back! Frantically, I grabbed the cistern to pull myself up and turned, ready to walk as quickly as I could back the way I came — and I hit something that seemed like a Rock. Solid, yet warm. Then I felt His arms. Jesus had come for me. He met me right where I was, in my point of need. Tears streaming, I knelt and begged forgiveness. “Forgiveness is yours, My child. Come, drink of the Living Water. You shall never thirst again.” The cup that He handed me…it was overflowing. The water – sweeter than any I’d ever tasted. My need – met. My desires – fulfilled. My satisfaction – complete. He was and is all I’ve ever or will need.
I’ve been learning how to live in spite of the trial. I am realizing this is an important lesson to learn, because truly, as one presses deeper into the chest of Christ, the more the enemy and flesh will fight against him/her. This makes sense. Satan knows that the closer we draw to the Lord, the more strength we will find, the more peace we will obtain, the more faith will increase within us, and the more we will discover of who we are as warriors of Christ AGAINST him (Satan) because of what God accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And flesh? That pesky fleshly-sin-nature…it will be something that must be put into submission and to death every day (sometimes every moment) until our Father calls us home to Glory. That said, of course the enemy will fight harder and harder as we seek to draw closer to God…so we mustn’t be surprised when wave after wave rise up against us — we shouldn’t be caught off guard when the storms rage for long periods of time — and we must prepare ourselves to be strong (in the power and might of our God!) in the face of the trials — no matter how long they may last.
I have walked through some very difficult weeks recently. It just seems like from every angle there are arrows being shot at me from the evil one — and from my own flesh. There have been many tears cried and nights of desperation with the Lord, crying out to Him for help.
It is so easy to allow other people around you to know of the trial you are in. This is easy because we want compassion from people around us — we want someone to empathize with us and to love on us for a little while. When no one automatically gives us the comforting words, it’s so easy to allow ourselves to look crestfallen, or to appear disheveled. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t seek comfort — or that we should always appear strong/perfect. No, that is one of the greatest problems I’ve found in the society we live in now — “happy plastic people.” No. We DO need to be real with people…and that includes being honest about things that are going on in our lives with people we trust and are close to. What I’m referring to is when a person completely allows a circumstance to steal their joy, overcome everything else in their lives, refocus their sights on all things negative instead of seeing good in spite of the trial. You know — those people that you can tell by their appearance – their countenance – that something is wrong.
If I am a child of God, and that is my countenance when things are hard in my life, how does my life look any different than that of those who are not children of God in the hard times? It is easy to call myself a child of God when things are good — but it is truly in the trial that people can see whether or not I have a close relationship with the God that I call the Almighty.
I have a small card at my work desk on which I have written, “Live life in such a way that you are a living testimony of a Living God.” What a challenge. God, forgive me for the days that my life has blended in with the lives of those around me who are not carriers of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive me when I squander the Power You have given me, put inside of me, to live by!
My sweet sister, Susanna, posted this quote about George Muller on her facebook a couple of weeks ago and it has stuck with me and challenged me greatly. “He always wore clothing that was clean and not tattered. He was always careful to be joyful. He was always careful not to present a burden on his face. And someone asked him one time why was this so? And he said, ‘I would not want anyone to think my Master was unkind. I want them to be able to see my face and realize that my Master is kind. He’s the kind of Master than any reasonable person would want to have.”
He was careful to be joyful. He was careful not to present a burden on his face.
The cry of my heart is that God would make this a reality in me. I want my life to be a living testimony of a Living God – regardless what is happening around me or inside of me. I want to be a life who reflects that of one who has a KIND Master. For Jesus certainly has been kind unto me!
This has grown long, but I wanted to record these things so that I might be able to look back on them and remember in the future. May God be glorified more and more in and around me — He is worthy!
Have you ever wondered, “Why am I not getting the blessings I read about in the Bible?” or even holding back your sarcastic thoughts when the preacher mentioned that almost-cliche promise again from the pulpit. “Yea, yea. I’ve heard it a thousand times, but I have yet to really get that. I think those promises are for the select-few…like pastors, music leaders, missionaries..etc.”
I have wondered myself, why is it that it seems some people get “all” the blessings and others seem to receive nothing? Is it wrong for me to assume that every person has had their selfish moment of, “But God! Where are MY blessings? If Your Word is truth, then why isn’t MY life abundant?”
Well, the answer (surprise, surprise!) is tucked in the pages of the Bible. One passage is in the simple-to-read but hard-to-swallow-sometimes book of James. Chapter 1. Verses 21-25. Here, I’ll even type it out for you.
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man ovserving his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and CONTINUES in it (empasis mine) and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be BLESSED in what he does.” (emphasis mine)
In other words, If you only hear/read the word, and then you go on about other parts of your life as normal — you aren’t LIVING the word…you are not a “doer”. You are simply a “hearer” and hearers are not the ones who receive the blessings from the hands of God. For anyone can hear/understand something but live their lives in any way they please, even if contrary to what they have heard. Doers are set apart from the hearers because not only do they hear, but they LISTEN and they walk in the ways of the truths they have heard and understood. It is a lifestyle. Doers put forth effort to put action to the thing they have heard and have chosen to believe.
The passage is clear. Blessings from the hand of God come to those who do not just hear. Blessings come to those who put forth constant action to the things who have heard and chosen to believe what God has made so clear to us in His Word. So. If you are wondering why you aren’t being blessed of if your life doesn’t seem to be abundant the way it is depicted in the Scriptures…perhaps you should sit with the Lord and ask Him if you are simply a hearer or if you are a doer.
Grace, love, and peace.
As we topped the hill, I could see it. It was the stable the Angel told us held the Holy Child. There was a bright star that illuminated the place where He was. Suddenly, my steps slowed. Don’t get me wrong — they didn’t slow from fear. No, my fear had gone when the Angel calmed us with his words, “Fear not.” No, my steps slowed because I could already tell there was something almost…sacred…about this place. I wanted so badly to look at the faces of the other shepherds to see if they could sense the same but I just couldn’t take my eyes off the scene that lay before us.
We had gotten close enough to see the mother and father. They looked SO tired but the peace on their faces…it was unmistakable. It looked as if something they had been waiting on for a long time had finally come to pass.
Oh! How my breath caught in my throat when I saw Him! The Baby – the Holy Child – there was something captivating about His eyes. When He looked at me, I felt as if He could see much more deeply than any other eye could see.
I had never seen a child like this one – not any day before nor any day since! His countenance – it radiated peace and love. In His eyes I saw compassion. Do not ask me how one could find compassion in the eyes of an infant, for I do not know how to explain it to you, but never will you convince me that I did not see it there. It was as if, while I beheld Him, that His compassion and unconditional love permeated deep into me.
His little fists were clenched as if He were holding something. Little did I know that night, He truly was holding something. This Baby was born to bring gifts into the world that would change all of eternity! Had I reached down and unfolded His tiny fingers, perhaps I would have found a conglomeration of freedom, victory, peace, joy, and countless prophecies fulfilled.
Unbeknownst to us, the Miracle that came into the view of mankind that special night would unfold over the next span of time and it would change EVERYTHING. The prayers of the generations since the beginning of time were answered in the birth of this Child.
This Baby’s life would change darkness to light! The shadow of death would be changed to the dawn, joy would be increased, yokes would be shattered & the power of sin, conquered!! Victory won, captives set free, the sick would be healed, every broken heart bound back together and all tears wiped away in the name of this tiny Holy Child.
How could the salvation of all mankind would be delivered through one tiny babe? He would have to be perfect, spotless, as a lamb without blemish. He would have to be the Son of God. He was and is and always will be. Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us.
“I have always considered that the sum and substance of the gospel lies in that word Substitution,—Christ standing in the stead of man. If I understand the gospel, it is this: I deserve to be lost for ever; the only reason why I should not be damned is, that Christ was punished in my stead, and there is no need to execute a sentence twice for sin. On the other hand, I know I cannot enter Heaven unless I have a perfect righteousness; I am absolutely certain I shall never have one of my own, for I find I sin every day; but then Christ had a perfect righteousness, and He said, “There, poor sinner, take My garment, and put it on; you shall stand before God as if you were Christ, and I will stand before God as if I had been the sinner; I will suffer in the sinner’s stead, and you shall be rewarded for works which you did not do, but which I did for you.” I find it very convenient every day to come to Christ as a sinner, as I came at the first. “You are no saint,” says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope I have none. By looking to Him, I received all the faith which inspired me with confidence in His grace; and the word that first drew my soul—”Look unto Me,”—still rings its clarion note in my ears. There I once found conversion, and there I shall ever find refreshing and renewal.” – Charles Spurgeon
I’ve been praying about why I see Christians seem to lose their footing as they climb upon the Rock (that’s Jesus. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so we know that if people stand upon Him and they fall, it is NOT because Christ changed or moved in the slightest!) I have a picture in my mind that I want to share with you. Keep in mind, I just said we are soldiers. We are in a battle. (Read Ephesians chapter 6 for more insight.)
One by one, people were being defeated. Each in a unique way — but all ending up as if they were dead men walking. Overcome. Those arrows look different in every life. Depression, addiction, broken hearts, broken families, hatred, bitterness, laziness, anger, sexual immorality, lust, pride…and the list goes on. BUT GOD DID NOT CREATE US TO WALK DEFEATED. There should be something that differentiates us from unbelievers — and one of the greatest signs that we are truly children of God is that in the face of every trial and hardship and life-storm — we can live VICTORIOUS. We are not dead men walking! We are ALIVE in Christ — empowered by His very Spirit to live as OVERCOMERS.
I’m not saying that life can be perfect for any person, no matter how good they are. Jesus promised us that following Him would be hard. But Jesus also promised us that He would give us the POWER to live this life in a way that we aren’t demolished by every trial and temptation — and that is the Power of His Holy Spirit. If you are like me and you have been in places where people are afraid to talk about the Holy Ghost (shhh!!) or the Holy Spirit (same Spirit — just two different names for Him!) then you have seen with your eyes one of the greatest deceptions of the evil one. If Satan can have us so deceived that we are afraid of the very power God has sent for us to be empowered to live VICTORIOUSLY over his ploys to defeat followers of Jesus Christ, then he has it made, and we are of very little value to the Kingdom of Heaven.
If you want to know more about the Spirit-filled life, message me. I would love to tell you my story of healing and freedom. I also can connect you with some resources that will help you find freedom and healing too. I don’t want you to be a dead-man walking any longer. I want you to be VICTORIOUS in Christ Jesus! No more defeat! The blood of Jesus bought our freedom and it’s time for us to walk in that freedom!
We are not just called to plant seeds into the lives of those we touch.
She invested in the life of the young woman and the young woman accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior. Soon thereafter, the young woman was unsure of what to do next in her walk — and neglected by other believers (unintentionally, I’m sure) she fell back into the old ways of living, soon forgetting about the desire to follow the Lord that one flickered in her heart like an unsteady flame. The embers no longer burning, the seed had been snatched and took no root.
We must be consistent in life-ministry (aka love-ministry) to protect the seeds.
The young man showed interest in the whole church-scene but had been hurt so much in the past that it was hard to trust anyone…especially God. In light of the struggle to trust, there were older men in the church who seemed to be a constant source of encouragement for this young man. Something about them was just so genuine that he slowly found himself able to trust again — something he thought he would never do again. Finally, after months and months of the steadiness and authenticity of these older men of God, this young man became a believer and he continued trusting a little more each passing week for the rest of his years on this earth. The seed in him protected by authentic people who were steadfast in the Lord…ones who loved because God first loved them. They LIVED love.
Sometimes investing in lives isn’t seen with physical eyes. We invest on our knees.
The couple were both unbelievers when they married. They were so excited with the announcement of the bundle of joy that would be an addition to their small family. What a shattering, heart-wrenching reality hit when their sweet little one miscarried. No words can comfort a mother who feels as if she wasn’t good enough or a father who has lost his dreams of having daddy’s little girl. Nothing can take away or ease the ache of empty arms or a broken heart except God Himself. Another couple who knew them from work held them and cried with them and urged them to come to their worship gathering with them. The unbelieving couple refused for weeks. The friends spent hours that no one could see on their knees, crying out to God for comfort, for peace, and that God would minister to them and draw them unto Himself. The couple, over time, began to have the tiniest desire to seek God for the peace they so desperately needed…and because of the battle their friends fought in a quiet place on their knees — they came to find the One who not only brought healing to them…but they found that He made it possible for them to have another little one — one they got to hold, to love, and to teach to love their God.
The Scriptures say we do not wrestle against flesh and blood — we are fighting a spiritual battle as we pray for and love the people around us unconditionally!
The young boy came from a troubled home. Broken and damaged in every way one could imagine was this young boy’s heart and spirit. The ones who prayed for this battered life were truly fighting for his salvation. In the spiritual realm, these believers were standing, firmly, all around the cowering little boy. Each time a prayer was spoken with the Living Word of God, a sword was swung at the powers of darkness. Each passionate cry for mercy in the Name of Jesus would make the powers of darkness to cower and to falter in their attack of the young life. Confident prayers would hold back the powers of darkness and glory would fall onto the young boy. Mercy and grace abounded where hatred and brokenness was once the normality. However, these prayer warriors found that when the fervent prayers were neglected or when they wavered, the powers of darkness again began to press in, hurling fiery darts of wickedness towards the young boy. The intercession was exhausting at times — but the salvation of this young boy was dependent, even if just for a season, on the intercessory prayers of the saints.
We must press in. We must love the way Christ loved. We must be steadfast. We must be persistent. We must pray with others and in the secret place. Someone else’s eternity is dependent upon it! God gives every measure of strength, faith, and endurance that we need for the work — through His Holy Spirit. What a mission! What an honor and privilege! How exciting to be called to advance in the Kingdom of Almighty God — In the Name of Jesus we win!!
The post I’m sharing here was originally given to me from the Holy Spirit for a specific and dear friend who has been in a trial. However, the past few days I have felt I needed to share it for my friends online to be encouraged not to allow the uncertainty of today or of tomorrow to blind us to the faithfulness and goodness of God.
Do not forget the works of God’s hands in days past! Joshua and the nation of Israel crossed over the massive Jordan River on DRY GROUND. (Joshua, chapter 3)
Don’t miss the miracle of this moment. Don’t just let the words roll by because you have heard this story so many times. The ENTIRE NATION OF ISRAEL came up before a huge river and they needed to cross. Before them was a situation that was impossible to overcome in their own strength.
These people had been following God’s leading. The priests carried the Ark of the Covenant and when God said, “Move,” they picked up the Ark and moved…all the nation following. When God said, “Stay,” they stood still. The entire nation followed God’s direction diligently.
If they were following God’s guidance, then surely that means that they weren’t facing this impossible situation by chance! God had led them to this place so that they might see God’s glory on display in a POWERFUL and LIFE-CHANGING way!!!
Speaking as the Lord commanded him, Joshua said to the Israelites, “As soon as the priests who carry the Ark of the Lord – the Lord of all the earth – set foot in the Jordan, it’s waters flowing downstream will be cut off and stand up in a heap.”
The people obeyed God even though they could not begin to fathom the outcome of their obedience. As they acted in FAITH, the unthinkable, the unfathomable took place and they walked across on DRY GROUND!!
After God revealed Himself in such a supernatural way, the nation built an altar – that all may know the wonders of the Living God!
Faith is built up and stirred up when we look back and recount the miraculous works of His hands! Don’t forget and do not allow the inability to see good in a current situation to steal your peace or diminish your faith!