Automatically we were signed up for war.

We were born into a battle. It’s not like we had a choice to sign up for war or anything but the moment we were conceived we were in this broken world and automatically we were signed up for war. It doesn’t matter if we consent to it or not. There is a war going on all around us every day between good and evil.

But before we were even conceived in our mothers’ wombs, God ALREADY had a plan for EACH of us. It’s like… impossible to even wrap my head around this but that doesn’t make it any less true.

When someone signs up for military in this world, we EXPECT he or she will go through tests, training, pain, and we KNOW to expect all of this. When military people complain and cry or whine, it’s kinda like people lose respect for them.

But the training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry. It’s not weak to cry. It’s healing.

In life, we sometimes have forgotten that we are automatically entered into a battle and God wants to train us, He will test our faith, and use the pain we go through for something bigger than ourselves. And OH how we do go through pain!

The training is really hard and it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to grieve and there is no rhyme or reason to it. It’s chaos. Know why?

There is an enemy. And this enemy is satan. Sin is real and satan designs custom-made traps for each of us. It’s not like we mean to fall into them but it’s seductive and we are human.

Traps look different for everyone. It’s nothing to laugh about and we all need help breaking the chains that hold us in prison. It could be that we fell into a sin like pornography or drugs or chasing money or even we could have faced the death of a child or a divorce and these can knock you down like for what feels like an eternity.

You matter. Your story matters. All of it. How you feel about it matters and the most important thing is what you do with it. You can hide it or let the enemy keep you down – and he’s GOOD at it because that’s what satan does – or you can stand back up and ask God to cover you and send the Holy Spirit with you everywhere you go and keep giving you His strength and leading you to know what He wants to do with your story.

We each have a choice to follow Him or not. Nobody can make this choice for you EXCEPT FOR YOU. Nobody.

And we will each stand before God on Judgment Day – by ourselves – and we are accountable for how we lived.

God did not expect perfection from us.

If He did there would have been no reason for Jesus to die taking our sins on the cross. But Jesus did die and Jesus did get down off that cross and that tomb could not hold him!  God sent Jesus to redeem us which if you think about it, if He expected us to be perfect, there would be no need for this.  We’re not perfect and that’s okay.  This is why Jesus is perfect.

I know stuff happened. I know someone has hurt you. I know people betrayed you. I know you have faced unbearable pain that nobody can fully understand because every situation is different. Get up anyway. Don’t let the enemy win. Please, please get up. God has such plans for your life and when you keep asking Him what He wants you to do every day, He will keep leading you and ALL the experiences you’ve been through in life will make more sense and all your talents and gifts will make sense and life becomes better (not necessarily easier but better.)

God loves you SO very much.  Talk with Him.  He’s listening.

You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood. But it’s not. It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.
The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become. – the movie King’s Faith

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. Ephesians 6:12

He’s not mad at you.

People know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God led people before the Bible was written to write the Bible (which is actually proof that He led people before the Bible was written because how can we believe that the Bible is God-led unless God led them to write it?)

He led people during Bible times which is clear in the Bible.

And since His Word is a Living Word and He is a Living God, He still leads people today.

The same people who profess that God is the same yesterday, today and forever are some of the same people who will adamantly tell you that God does not really lead us today in 2015.

How can that be?  If He is the same always and He led yesterday, then it is obvious that He still leads today.

The Bible is not just a history book. It is a book showing us God’s Love, Redemption, and Grace for mankind. And just because we can read how God saved (or wiped out) people in the Bible does not mean He could only do that work ONE time. He can and DOES STILL save (and wipe out people.)

People will argue.  And the sad thing is that so much of the church seems to be so busy arguing like Pharisees that people who don’t know Jesus yet may wonder if He’s a good thing or not.

He is.  He is good.  Jesus is The ONLY Way to Heaven.  And I apologize for how we Christians sometimes mess things up by making stuff sound too complicated.  Because it’s really not.

~~>  Jesus loves you.  <~~

You are here on purpose and for a purpose.

But God is a jealous God and we’ve made idols that come before Him, we’ve turned the beautiful sex that He made into pornography under the disguise of “entertainment,” put sports games before worshipping Him, plastered our walls with posters of movie stars and musicians, and pretend that WE are to be praised for how well our career is going instead of praising Him for the job AND for the talents to do the jobs.

Praise Him – in good AND bad times.  Amazing things happen when we do this.  It’s not about me or you.  Life is about God.  We are made by Him and to bring Him glory.  He created us with the very talents needed to do the jobs He’s planned for us since before we were born.

Have you heard the Good News?

Jesus is not still on the cross. He is RISEN!

Let’s celebrate that He is risen when we share communion.

Many times the atmosphere during communion (at least in most church buildings where I’ve attended) feels much more like a funeral than a celebration.

~~~>  REJOICE! HE IS RISEN!  <~~~

Ask God what He wants you to do today and follow the tugs on your heart.  Then ask Him again tomorrow what He wants you to do tomorrow.  He wants to hear from you every day.  He will lead you.  This, I know.

Don’t know if God can use you or your story?  He can.  He will.  And many times I’ve witnessed the very things that threaten to hold us down are the very things God uses to lift us up to help and save others through and from the same experiences.

God knows we mess up.  He knew our best and our not so wise choices BEFORE we were made.

We hide sin from other people and from Him because deep down we know it’s sin;  just like Adam and Eve knew and hid in the Garden of Eden.  There is nothing new and nothing you do or think will surprise Him.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take YOUR sins with Him SO THAT you can receive the gift of Heaven for all eternity after this life.  You can’t be “good” enough for Heaven or “bad” enough for Hell.  You are forgiven enough when you receive Him and are baptized under water.

Heaven is a GIFT.  You are redeemed!  Heaven will be filled with forgiven sinners.  Hell will be filled with people who denied Christ as their Savior and who walked away from God.  God doesn’t leave you.  You have to leave Him if you don’t want Him.

~~>  And in case nobody has ever told you,

THIS is THE most important decision of your whole life.  <~~

He sent the Holy Spirit here to live INSIDE you and guide you.  This stuff is real and Heaven and Hell are real.

The greatest words ever will be to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

He’s not mad at you.

He’s madly IN LOVE WITH YOU and He has a great plan for your life.

How will you know what that looks like unless you keep asking Him to keep leading you?

 

God, teach Your people to stop the fighting and start uniting.  P.S. And please could You teach us what that looks like because as soon as we try, we start arguing (like the children we are.)  Just please keep leading us.  Please forgive us when we mess up and always remind us how much You love us.  Thank You for never giving up on us.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Comparing Sins

A woman committed adultery. Her marriage may be over. She’s broken-hearted. She cries, “How did I get here?” She needs someone to talk with.

She calls her friend to talk.  Then her friend calls more people and spreads the word, “Can you believe SHE did THAT?!”  Or she brags, “At least I didn’t do THAT!”

Are you aware?

That’s called gossiping.

Gossiping is a sin, too.

To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone for whatever sin, I’ll say this again.  I believe God put these words on my heart after praying and spending time with Him:

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

This is what we’re doing:

“YOUR sin swung the hammer REALLY hard! But MY sin was only a tiny tap on the nail!  MINE didn’t hurt Jesus as much as YOURS did.”

Really??

Do you hear yourself thinking that?

Do you realize we DO that – every day – with each other?

Please stop.

They are ALL sins. And a sin is a sin.

Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Just because someone sins ~~> differently <~~ than you do does not make them any less worthy of Jesus’ gift of salvation.

I picture Jesus hanging on the cross, looking at us all, shaking his head, saying, “Father, please forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”

He’s talking about US.

You and me.

He’s not just talking about the people back then who were watching and literally nailing Him to the cross.

Romans 3:23-24 – for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and ALL are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Please pick someone up. Please be careful what you say to – and about – people.

I have a challenge for you this year. Every day please purposefully look for one person (or more) to lift with your words. Be genuine.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.

Somebody needs YOU to speak life into her.  I believe you are the very right person for this important job.

A Different Kind Of Prison (Abortion)

When I was a kid we didn’t talk about abortion or what that really was. People didn’t talk about smoking or drugs or drinking or sex before marriage or lots of other things very much either.

I know I’m a little naïve and I know that many would call me a “late bloomer” because I matured slower than some other people. But I know that if I didn’t understand what abortion meant and the full weight of the sin that it is, then others probably didn’t either.

I praise God that I was never faced with this decision and I think it’s probably a true Hell on Earth.

I’m very sorry if you’re living in this Hell and I want you to know I love you and that you’re not alone even though you have probably felt alone for a while.

This Hell is not just for girls. (Other than Mary, Jesus’ Mother, there are not girls who experienced immaculate conception.) There is always a guy involved. I know there are guys who have helped decide abortion was an “answer” and who carry this guilt and live in this Hell also.

I believe this kind of “solution” left you trapped and not quite as free as it seemed like you’d be.

There are things people may not want to think about (even if you’re the only one who knows your secret sin.) Just as you wouldn’t want someone who sexually used a child to hold your child, there are people who wouldn’t want someone who killed a child to hold theirs. I know this is understandable and I believe it should be honored. That being said, please read to the end. There is healing and hope.

Well-meaning Christians may tell you that you’re going to Hell – BUT the Bible says a sin is a sin. There are not big and small sins.

{He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:7-8}

And as far as I understand, there’s only ONE sin the Bible says is not forgivable; Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

{“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. [The Unpardonable Sin] Matthew 12:31-32}

~~~~~~> To those who would point fingers or throw stones at someone who has had an abortion, (or for whatever sin)

Do you really think that sins we THINK are “smaller” drove the nails into Jesus’ Hands any more gently?

They did not. <~~~~~~

~
Dear mom and dad who have been grieving over your child and this sin that maybe nobody else knows about,

I know you’ve been thinking about it probably every day since “that” day.

Your child has a NEW body now. Your child is in Heaven. I believe this 100%.

Write a letter to your child. Writing can bring healing sometimes even when you cannot deliver the letter.

God’s got work for you to do. Ask Him how to honor your baby here and now in ways that may help others.

DO something to honor your child. This could be a scholarship in his or her name or if you never named your baby, choose a name for the scholarship in his or her honor.

What satan wants you to do is to keep your secret buried forever and he wants to keep you down SO THAT you cannot do good in this life for others. It’s what he does.

The truth is that you’ve been carrying this heavy weight around with you all this time. No wonder you’re grouchy. If I was keeping a secret sin like this I’d probably feel the same way.

God says to cast your burdens on Him because He cares for you. The Bible does NOT say cast your burdens on Him – unless your sins include abortion – for He cares for you.

I was led to write this because I recently watched a movie about abortion and I realize that people need to talk about this secret and know they have a safe place to pour out their hearts and that there is this MOST WONDERFUL and AMAZING GOD Who loves and forgives them when they repent. Repenting is not something everyone else can judge about you. Only God and you know if you’ve truly repented. If you haven’t, here’s a way to start. “Dear God, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I don’t even know what to say…”

{In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26}

God forgives you.  Now, YOU forgive you.
~
I have met some who chose abortion and seem like they are not sorry for it. That’s unfortunate because you have to answer to God for the sin and for the nonchalant attitude about it. I believe deep inside your soul, though, there is a place you’re grieving even if you never tell anyone else. God knows about that place. Talk to Him. Not sure He’s real? Talk to Him about that, too. He’s big enough to hear your worries and He loves you.

~
[NOTE: Do not send me hate mail. I do NOT believe abortion is okay in any circumstance. Abortion is NOT about a mom’s body. It is a child’s body inside the mom’s body that we’re talking about. I am PRO life and also PRO forgiveness.

If someone DOES have encouraging words to share, I know for a fact that there are many people who would heal a little bit from them.]

Live Like It.

Stuff every single day will try to make you lose faith and stop believing that God is real, that He is at work in our lives, and that there is a reason for everything.

Don’t let anything or anyone steal your faith and make you doubt.

God is very real.

Your life has important purpose and everyone who crosses your path is for a reason.

Everything you go through has a purpose.

And the way you respond to it matters.

People are looking for you to be influential and to give them hope. My prayers tonight are for you. God is very much alive. Live like it.

 

You are VERY something.

How much is it? What does that cost? How valuable is this?

These questions have different answers depending on what you’re talking about, which person you ask, and what someone is most in need of at the time. If you’re hungry, then food is pretty valuable and you’d maybe pay more than if you’ve been able to eat today. If your child is in the hospital, you’d be willing to pay the finest doctors for an answer and cure. If you don’t have shoes and you have a long way to walk, shoes may be the most valuable thing on your mind.

I was nothing. I mean I was “something” but I FELT like nothing because my whole life that’s how many people treated me. I was invisible mostly and when I wasn’t, people used me.

And I let them.

I guess I let them because I didn’t see any value in me either. Mostly nobody else saw value in me so I wasn’t able to see it in myself. I’ve been told I’m ugly. It only takes once to plant that idea in a person’s head and I’ve been told I’m ugly more than a few times. So, sadly, it may take hundreds of times to ever hear otherwise before I’d believe anything different. If I was as pretty on the outside as I am on the inside you’d have to look away because my beauty would overwhelm you. And I’m not being conceited or funny. I’m telling you that I KNOW I’m valuable now and my heart is pure and because of this, I can tell you these things.

Satan wasted my time for 40 years. I believed his lies and I hid. He laughed as I wasted my time being afraid and feeling like nothing. I didn’t do the job I was supposed to be doing, which is encouraging YOU, because I didn’t see my value so I wasted hundreds of times I could have been telling you how valuable you are. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for being a coward. I was afraid and believed the enemy’s lies. But not anymore. God lifted me out of my “nothing” because I could not do this for myself.

I’m here now and I’m telling you YOU are NOT nothing. You are something. You are VERY something.

When those “nothing moments” hit you and you hear the enemy whispering, “You are nothing,” you need to remember Jesus didn’t die for nothing. He died for YOU.

What are you worth? Jesus.

YOU ARE VERY SOMETHING.