People today live-in fear of death. There are organizations all over the words spending millions on research that will extend life and even prevent death. People are choosing to be frozen in hope that their body can be restored at some point in the future.
Isaiah talks about his body being a tent which is folded up as it dies. In 1 Corinthians 5:1NASB, Paul says “For we know that if our earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens.” I share this scripture with you, because our flesh was not created to last and in this fallen world it is even more vulnerable to the wear and tear of life. That is why God uses the word “tent” or in some translations “tabernacle” which was also made of canvas to describe where our spirit lives here on earth. It weathers, grows rigid, and is torn as time goes by…yet God wants us to have confidence because our everlasting existence is found in our spirit.
We find ourselves distracted by this fear, making bucket lists, living indulgent lives trying to get it all in. Paul writes to the church in Philippi these wonderful words while in prison…Philippians 1:23-26TPT, “So here’s my dilemma: Each day I live means bearing more fruit in my ministry; yet I fervently long to be liberated from this body and joined fully to Christ. That would suit me fine, but the greatest advantage to you would be that I remain alive. So, you can see why I’m torn between the two—I don’t know which I prefer. Yet deep in my heart I’m confident that I will be spared so I can add to your joy and further strengthen and mature your faith. When I am freed to come to you, my deliverance will give you a reason to boast even more in Jesus Christ.”
Notice the words in italics…Paul knows that his task of equipping, discipling and loving believers is not yet done. He even says his desire is to be spared so he can add to their joy and strength as well as grow their faith. He knows the wonder and pure joy of going home to be with Jesus, yet his spirit knows that his time on earth still is full of purpose.
The thief on the cross heard these words from Jesus…”And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”” Luke 23:42-43NASB
Death is better than to remain in the body, however, to stay in our temporary tent and serve God is to live in the joy of sharing Jesus with those we encounter.
Paul has found how to live in confidence, he keeps on living because he is compelled to continue teaching, serving and loving those God has placed around him. We must pattern ourselves after Paul…
Paul knew with confidence that Jesus breaks the power of death in two ways;
We live in confidence because Jesus destroyed the fear of death by breaking sin and death’s power over us through His death and resurrection.
He gives eternal life to you and me when we make Him our Savior, in that, we now live with confidence to see Him face to face in Heaven.
Now with confidence embrace this truth… “In Jesus, my sisters, after listening to and reading in God’s Word the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 NASB personalized.
In closing my sisters in Jesus Christ, I urge you to live for Christ, make the most out of every day. For not only is your time short but those around you time is short as well. Embrace them in the love of Christ.
My prayer for you is that when you feel anxious or fearful, ask God to give you the confidence to live for Him and be set free from the fear of death. Speak with the authority of heaven and cast out any spirit of anxiety in you! Ask God to increase His power within you to say as Paul did…”For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Confidence by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
Friendship is a precious part of life. Real joy comes from friendships established with Jesus Christ at the center. Much like marriage God has a plan for true friendship. God put it on Pau’s heart to l write to us in Philippians about the significance of God centered relationships. Our friendships should be a reflection of our relationship with Christ.
Today, social media has changed the face of relationships, instead of personal interaction…sharing a coffee or meal, watching a movie, taking a walk or just quietly sitting together enjoying someone company our relationships have been reduced to how many likes our post, tweet, photo receive. Social media is a platform to create a fantasy, a false you. How many of you have observed someone creating an untrue image, an exaggerated condition, even a totally made-up situation to gain attention. People are using social media to hide what’s really happening, they filter their photos so that people can’t see their true self. Suicide has risen because people have become isolated using social media to express some of what they are feeling yet those responding somehow are unable to decipher their true desperation, their feelings of hopelessness. We answer with an “I Care” emoji, or even “I’m praying for you” these empty responses are so swallow without any true cost. Texting is causing indifference and further isolation. There is a price in godly relationships…time, comfort, even financial at times. What if when that distressing tweet, post, text came to your attention you got in your car and showed up? It is in our nature to gather, have physical contact, true affection, pray together, share our sorrow…this is friendship.
Before we take a look at Paul’s opening words in his letter to the Philippians let me share a little background about this intimate letter of love and friendship. Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while he was in prison, he had visited and established a church in Philippi among the gentiles which within itself is one of God’s miracles, Paul was a Pharisee before coming to Christ and the people in Philippi were gentiles so a relationship between these two was very unlikely in fact gentiles where seen as unclean. Yet God’s love and truth broke the social barrier creating a deep love for these people in Paul. True friendship and love between believers cannot been attached to a worldly perspective.
1-2 Paul and Timothy, both of us committed servants of Christ Jesus, write this letter to all the followers of Jesus in Philippi, pastors and ministers included. We greet you with the grace and peace that comes from God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
7-8 It’s not at all fanciful for me to think this way about you. My prayers and hopes have deep roots in reality. You have, after all, stuck with me all the way from the time I was thrown in jail, put on trial, and came out of it in one piece. All along you have experienced with me the most generous help from God. He knows how much I love and miss you these days. Sometimes I think I feel as strongly about you as Christ does! Philippians 1:1-8MSG
Paul understands the value of friendship, he recognizes how the relationship he has with God and the tangible friendships…better said love and affection he shares for those dear friends in Philippi have sustained him during his imprisonment and trial. Our love for Jesus should be reflected in our friendships. This is why, it is so important to gather and fellowship with other believers only they can fill the need for friendship as God designed. When we have a friendship with someone which is like minded in their belief in Jesus, it deepens our relationship with God and allows our true beauty and purpose to emerge.
It saddens me greatly when I see bitterness and misunderstanding between believers, how can we possible say we love God and yet hold grudges, offense and jealousy in our hearts. The answer is we cannot. I urge you my sister to seek out broken friendships and mend them. Start praying that God might lead you and if a softening is needed that the Holy Spirit would work in both of you.
Sometimes guilt or shame is holding you back from forgiveness. These are two very different feelings; guilt is focused on something we have done, while shame focuses on the person…self. Shame says something is wrong with me. As women shame is fed by a misconception or confusion tied to our identity. It is a constant feeling that we are not good enough. This is bound to a worldly perspective, a lie of the enemy, an experience. Shame is an epidemic effecting everyone…it is everywhere, every nation, every culture it is related to addiction, depression, violence, homosexuality, bullying, aggression, eating disorders, suicide and more.
The righteousness we find through Jesus Christ is the antidote for shame. Shame is the opposite of righteousness. Look at what shame did for Adam and Eve, filled with shame they, hide from God, covered their bodies, they felt they had to protect themselves from God. This is Satan’s trap, a weapon shrewdly used. Shame has destroyed the beauty God intended for friendship, fellowship, intimacy with God and people. BUT God has given us the fruit of righteousness that is to be “right with God”. Isaiah 32:17-18 says “And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever. Then my people will live in a peaceful surrounding, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places.” This kind of life and friendship is available to us right now.
Now think of your relationship with God…If your relationship with Him is fractured how can you fully embrace and receive what He did for you on the cross? How can He help you mend and restore broken relationships? How can you love and sustain godly friendships? Right now, go before your Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive you and reveal hidden shame that is affect your ability to love as He loves you. Speak with confidence and proclaim who you are in Jesus, immerse yourself in godly music, fellowship, study, and prayer. Give the enemy no room to corrupt who God says you are.
Dear Sisters…Paul prayed this prayer for his friends, his brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and now I pray it for you my dear sisters in Christ Jesus…”So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:9-11MSG
Blessings, Sister Laurie
This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Friendship by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India. It is available on RightNow Media.com
A couple weeks ago I shared with you my sweet sisters in Jesus Christ, how the crippled man at the pool in John 5 spent years waiting for his healing. For this man much of the waiting and frustration he experienced was of his own doing…his attitude kept him from the miraculous healing God had for him.
Waiting is a part of life, and the Bible teaches us how we wait has a lot to do with our relationship with Jesus. Here in this writing, I would like to share with you some insight on how in the process of waiting our faith is exposed. In other words, waiting causes us to encounter many different emotions, we get to know ourselves better. So, you might even say waiting can be a test of our faith and the importance you and I put on our relationship with God.
There is a direct link to waiting, our faith and our obedience. In Isaiah 40 the final verses tell us “He gives strength to the weary, and to the one who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord. Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
Now I am not speaking ONLY about waiting for your prayers to be answered, I am speaking about the everyday waiting we do. Traffic lights, test results, airplane flights, vacation, Amazon orders, checkout lines, and doctor’s appointments; the list goes on and on. How handle the wait speaks volumes about our relationship with God.
As believers we are called to respond as Jesus would in ALL things including waiting. To help us the Bible teaches us 6 principles for living with a Kingdom perspective daily.
Remember God is sovereign, no matter what we see and hear in this world…He is the ultimate authority. “All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account, but He does according to His will among the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can fend off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” Daniel 4:35 To more clearly understand this read https://newcreeations.org/sovereignty-of-god/
We must trust and depend on God. Psalm 9:10 tells us “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.”
Spend time with God daily, make God part of your day. The more we know God the clearer we will hear His voice and see Him working in our life. Prayer is a huge part of this relationship, talking with God, simple words wholehearted spoken to Him about your life and those around you…Pastor Rick Warren uses “breathe prayers” throughout the day to privately connect with God. Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus leaving the crowd to be alone with God, uninterrupted. “But as for you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
Be expectant, know with all your heart that God is listening and that He sees what you are going through, the joy and the tears…there is a well-known saying “garbage in…garbage out” what you allow in your body, mind and spirit will directly affect your relationship with God. ”And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.” Mark 11:24
Obedience even when it seems impossible. When you do not understand remain obedient until understanding comes. This is faith lived out. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22
God has given each of us gifts and talents to do the work of the Kingdom. This work expresses our love for God. We keep moving forward, keep pursuing Jesus NO MATTER WHAT. Romans 12:4-8 “In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we are talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we would not amount to much, would we? So, since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.”
Now you might be thinking what does this have to do with waiting? Whenever you or I find ourselves waiting in any given situation it becomes an opportunity to show our love for Jesus and one another. The emotions that are stirred up during the wait express how we feel about God…is He a priority or a weekend duty? Or even forgotten during these times? I pray for you it is the first. Our reaction in any given situation reveals our faith. Jesus tells us that we will have a variety of emotions and feelings given to us by God. It is when those same reactions, feelings or emotions do not reflex our position in God’s Kingdom we leave ourselves wide open to the devil’s plan to destroy us and our relationship with God.
Some of you are facing much larger waits…the same applies to these seasons as well. God gives us a very clear example of how when we wait on Him…He is faithful to send the help we need. Daniel fasted as an offering of obedience for 21 days while waiting for God’s help. An Angel of the Lord answered Daniel in this way…
Daniel 10:12-13 “Then he(an angel of the Lord) said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I (the same angel) have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia (the devil) was standing in my way for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael (the guardian angel of the Lord), one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia(the devil). ” Try inserting your name instead of Daniel and make it personal…God is fighting your battle and He is sending the help you need today…it is on the way so hold on! In the meantime, God is asking for obedience before understanding. Why not start today…
There are 3 scriptures I frequently use to remind myself of who I am in Jesus and how I need to react in any given situation.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
I pray these words minister to your heart and that you use your waiting time to reflect the truth and love of Jesus Christ!
Blessings, Sister Laurie
Thank you to Pastor Jesse Jamerson for his thoughts on waiting last Sunday, much of which I have used in this amazing truth about waiting and the opportunity it brings.
Last writing dear sisters I spoke of having a healthy heart. Today I wanted to share with you how living with a heart that has been damaged keeps you from the freedom God is offering all His children. You were created to live a full life with purpose, confidence, love, with the strength…not let the littlest offense send your mind and spirit reeling. Once again I want to remind you of the connect between the mind and spirit or what the Bible refers to as your heart. Your heart is where your true self is revealed, where daily decisions and actions are born. This means each of us must let our spirit be in charge, it is our spirit that is in communication with the Holy Spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, you are the daughters of God. For you, my sister have not received a spirit of oppression leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as His daughter by which you cry out, Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God.” Romans 8: 14-16 NASB personalized Remember, your spirit must become bigger than your mind because out of your spirit flows the passion and power of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. A healthy heart grows and flows forth for the purposes of God’s Kingdom and benefits all those God puts in your circle of influence.
There are three types of damaged heart each has its own characteristics however they can work with each other building strongholds in your life that does not allow God’s Truth to reach your spirit. These strongholds reside in you mind and block the work God wants to do within your heart. That is why living with one of these wounds or a combination of them will bring broken relationships and strife into your life. An unhealthy heart will not only devastate the work of God in your life, but it will have an effect on those you love. This is a battleground, the devil works to hold you captive in unforgiveness, bitterness and self-focus, let us look closely at these three hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to identity areas in your heart that need housekeeping and healing.
The Wounded Heart
You will face hurt and disappointment, mistreatment and criticism in life, there is no getting around it. Your past and your ability to forgive plays a huge part in your heart condition. As a woman you were wired to nurture and love, be the strong one emotionally. But many times you find yourself coping in your own strength, suppressing feelings, or denying disappointments even abuse. Emotions that are neglected will resurface, in the form of a wounded heart. If these emotions are left untreated wrong thinking becomes a way for bitterness to form. Bitterness or hidden anger toward someone who has hurt you is compromising your heart health, that hurt will slowly move into hate and will change how you react to situations based on past experiences. “Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.” Hebrews 12:15 TLB Neglecting the wound gives the devil entrance remember sin is crouching at the door.
Right now, your saying…I am not wounded, I have forgiven them…yet you live guarded, with your own armor, suspicious of people or the motives behind their actions. Is that you? Do you trust? The wounded heart battles paranoia unable to experience kind efforts from others. Another evidence of a wounded heart is fear or deep anxiety. Unresolved hurt or anger will lead you to expect more of the same. The smallest failure of another individual opens old wounds they hold you captive and unable to move forward. Unresolved pain does not diminish with time, rather strongholds become larger within your heart making a healthy relationship with God and others impossible.
How then can I be free of the hurt I feel, the bitterness and anger I have been holding on to? Carefully choose a woman of God, find a safe place, and let your story be told, let your emotions vent. God cannot heal what we fail to give Him! Yes, God was there, and He saw however we need to share it with Him. Here is where forgiveness comes in, the only true way to move past even the most horrible hurt is through forgiveness. “For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14 NASB Only through forgiveness can you stop bitterness and hate from withholding what Jesus did for you on the cross. Jesus gives you the ability to forgive because He forgave those who crucified Him and you as well. This is not up for negotiation…forgiveness of sins and forgiveness of what other have done to you goes hand in hand. The choice is yours and so it takes willingness on your part. Some people like holding on the hurt, it becomes a platform for attention, an excuse to hate. Sadly, the damage caused by holding on keeps you in broken limbo. Your ability to forgive is essential in the healing processing, no matter how difficult you must lay those hurts at Jesus’ feet and forgive those who have hurt you. Ask God to heal your heart and then declare that healing over yourself. When you have a healthy heart, you are not careless or naïve in your view of people, but you are open and able to believe the best about others’ actions and motives. Dwelling on the hurt, reliving the circumstances or experience allows the devil to continue to fuel your wounds. If you find yourself in this situation I strongly suggest reading “Battlefields of the Minds”, by Joyce Meyers.
The Hypocritical Heart
A hypocritical heart is one that fails to achieve honesty in view of itself. It focuses on the faults of others while at the same time ignores their own situation or sin. Luke 6:42 is well known for its description of hypocrisy “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” This heart condition is more concerned with how things appear then what is going on inside. It hides behind a mask, there is a disconnect between what is seen and what is true this leads to a destructive heart condition. Many times, this heart condition attaches itself to a wounded heart, ignoring what is brewing inside, pointing the finger elsewhere. A focus on the failings of others reveals your hypocrisy. The hypocritical heart engages in gossip…spreading less than kind words about others. Jesus suggests that the right response when we witness another’s sin is mourning, not private satisfaction. Heart check right here! Is that you? Something like, “It’s about time Sally got caught with her hand in the cookie jar” said with a smirk. Love does not desire the sin to be magnified or the punishment to be without mercy. The Bible commands us to guard and evaluate our own heart. If you fail to do so or focus greater energy on evaluating others, hypocrisy is in full bloom. One easy way to identify hypocrisy in your own heart is by taking inventory of your life. On Sundays at church, in public, or at home…are you the same person? React the same? Is there a hidden part of you? Ouch! For those of you who are Moms your consistency speaks volumes, if you “put on” an act at church your children will see church, see Jesus as their Savior as nothing more than shallow or unreal. It is your responsibility to represent Jesus to your children with consistency and love in every area of your life.
The first step in healing this heart condition is humility. We must take an honest look at our life; we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our wrongdoings before any process of healing can begin. Repentance is key. Many times, this repentance must be made to those you have hurt or gossiped about. You cannot hold back…those negative words spoken about another must be forgiven. A healthy heart does not allow embarrassment or shame keep it from offering a heartfelt apology. You must adopt a habit of self-evaluation based in God’s Word and let the Holy Spirit work within you to expose wrong thinking.
The Greedy Heart
A greedy heart has the desire for one’s own benefit. Luke 12:15 NASB warns “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed.” As a sister in Jesus Christ, your heart must be void of greed. Another way to describe a greedy heart is to say it is self-focused or selfish. The Bible defines greed as a form of idolatry, revealing a love for things of this world, setting your priorities on self-satisfaction and recognition. The greedy heart focuses on things that cannot truly appease; wealth, popularity and power are illusions as they cannot fill your need to be satisfied. Your temptation to have what others enjoy can be surprising powerful. The greed or your pursuit of self-gratification can quickly become bondage, blocking your ability to be sensitive to God’s purpose for your life. Idolatry is a clear violation of God’s first and most significant commandment. You, my sister must not let anything interfere or hinder your devotion to the One True God, your Heavenly Father. He made this commandment first because it touches every aspect of your life. When your focus becomes inward or upon worldly aspirations God’s position in your life becomes out of focus.
Healing such a heart begins with confession; acknowledging the greed which opens the way for God to remove it. What is important to God must become your guide. When you take the “me” out of a situation and look to honor God it changes your position, there is a shift, a newfound sense of worth. Your true worth in found in God and not in the mirror or acquired goods of this world. God has the right to supreme leadership in the your life and to the unhindered devotion of the your heart. When your devotion is centered on God, He provides safety and protection. God is asking you to make Him first in your life, when your focus, thinking, and desires belong to Him you will be satisfied. Nothing else in the world has the lasting, supernatural power that your devotion to God brings. You were born with a hunger that only is satisfied through your relationship with God.
Expose right now, what is hiding in your heart dear sister. Become sensitive to those things that can bring sickness or destroy your heart. The symptoms of these three heart conditions hide in the dark places of your life, you must expose the negative experiences of your life and allow God to heal them. You have come so far in your relationship with God. He is calling you to go deeper…the Holy Spirit within you is working with your spirit to bring healing. Through God’s Word the Truth is revealed…With God you can face the past, heal the wounds, say no to wrong thinking, close the door on feelings that do not line up with who God says you are…His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King! Today! Proclaim your position…you belong to the One True God, loved, valued, worthy to do the work and live a life full of purpose.
“Create, begin the process in me clean and purify my heart, make it healthy according to Your standard, focused on You God, I ask You My Loving Father to renew and remove, to do the work necessary so that my spirit would be steadfast and positioned to receive all that You have for me so that I am able to serve You and fulfill the purpose You have given me.” Psalm 51:10 personalized
God carefully constructed you, with His creative finger He mixed your DNA perfectly. He placed your spirit within you, you are the daughter of the Most High King. Psalm 139:13-18
In “The Message Translation” of Roman 8:18-27 a beautiful picture of creation and our position is revealed, “That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
The birth pangs (groans) are the result of two factors; First, we are subject through our five senses to experience a fallen world. Second, these senses also provide an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.
There are many scriptures about guarding the gateways of our five senses, yes, we must become well versed in this protecting and taking care to not let the devil and the temptations of the world sidetrack us. We were created to experience God’s goodness through our five senses. On your own meditate on the following scriptures and the amazing power within us to perceive God through our five senses.
Eyes: Matthew 6:22 says “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 13:16, Luke 11:34 ESV
Ears: Luke 11:28 says “But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!.” Proverbs 20:12, Romans 10:17, Psalm 94:9, Luke 11:28, Matthew 11:15 ESV
Touch: 1 John 1:1 says ““That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” John 20:27, Genesis 3:3 ESV
Taste: Psalm 34:8 says ” Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 119:103, Matthew 5:13, Hebrews 5:14 ESV
Smell: 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 says “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” Psalm 115:3-8, Ephesians 5:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:17, Genesis 27:27 ESV
You and I must be sure our five sense serve as instruments of righteousness and not instruments of wickedness. Let us look at how God intended for us to use the power behind our physical body to encounter God’s glory.
Guide our eyes. May our vision witness the glory of the Lord and all His creation.
Monitor our hearing. Let our ears be fine-tuned to hear His voice.
Control our tastes. Feast on the manna that being His Word which He has provided.
Watch our touch. Lay hold and embrace the treasure found in God’s grace.
Train our smell. Crave only what is true and that will enrich our souls.
Yes, these are gateways to our spirit. Through these gates pass the tangible and ideas of the world. They are ties to our environment. Place a sentry, God’s Word, at every gate. Watch, listen, consume, touch and be drawn by only that which will edify your spirit. Be sure your five senses serve as tools with kingdom purpose and not captive to the devil and a fallen world.
1 John 1:1-4 ESV says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Remember: God’s power will keep you. His Spirit will fill you. His wisdom will guide you. His authority will enable you. His love will protect you. His peace will lift you. His provision will sustain you.
Romans 8: 39 in The Passion Translation says, “There is no power above us or beneath us—no power that could ever be found in the universe that can distance us from God’s passionate love, which is lavished upon us through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One!”
Greetings, in the Name of Jesus! I wanted to quickly get this out to you before the new year. There have been many prophetic words spoken about the coming year. Simply stated in 2021 there will be a reckoning for the church and believers, and there will be those who fall away. So, we must be ready, vigilant and we must not be distracted by the world, our families or others that would tear us from God’s mission.
See Luke 12:51-53, Scripture says that families will be broken apart by God’s truth. People we love will fall and stray even fight against one another. Let God’s truth spoken in His Word be your guide and do not be dismayed. The armies of Gideon were reduced by God several times because God needed the strongest for the battle. He knew that the weaker would drag His chosen away. Deuteronomy 20:8 says “Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, so that he does not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart!’” See a thinning of God’s people is coming.
The more time we spend with God, the easier it becomes to hear His voice. As we spend time, worshipping, study and talk with God, we begin to recognize His voice immediately and we can differentiate between God and the enemy. As we seek Him we are empowered by His truth.
In the movies, books, and animated features “Star Wars” there is a “Force” that the Jedi use to defend the innocent and destroy evil. It is defined in “Wookiepedia” as “The Force is an energy field created by all life that connected everything in the universe and was known by a variety of names throughout galactic history. The Force was created by life, and therefore, resided in all lifeforms. The Force is the basis of various religious organizations such as the Jedi Order and Sith Order, among others.” This fictional story speaks of how all the universe is connected, which is true because it was created by one creator God. We hunger for the unseen and hold on to a truth that is in all of us and for some to be yet revealed. Like the “force” in Star Wars we all are born, connected to something spiritual in nature. The light sabre for me represents the Sword of Truth, it battles to work in us and through us revealing God’s truth and destroying the lies, sinful desire and God’s enemies around us. Hebrew 4:12 tells us “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
I know you are thinking why is she talking about Star Wars. We all were born to hunger and thirst for God because we are spiritual beings created by Him. Therefore, we are captivated by stories of supernatural beings, supernatural heros and enemies. Star Wars like many other science-fiction, fantasy movies and books address forces bigger even supernatural compared to our human flesh or what we see with our eyes, there is a part of us that is born knowing that our bodies are a tent or vessel carrying our spirit. Writers have been forever trying to put this unseen truth into words when God has already supplied us with all the “stories” and the real truth found in His Holy Word, the Bible.
All the hunger, thirst and longing we are born with should tell us that we do not belong here, therefore we must not be fooled by the distractions of this world.
Genesis 32:24-30 tells us about Jacob spending time alone with God. Jacob got away from everything and everyone to seek the Lord. During that time God visited him. By separating himself He was able to experience God intimately. He wrestled, pondered, meditated, dreamed, and asked for God’s will and blessing. Through those alone times with God Jacob was changed forever physically and spiritually.
“For on the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; He will hide me in the secret place of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock.” Psalm 27:5 NASB God offers His protection and strength to rest and resist the world.
Ephesians 4:23-24 tells us, “Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please Him and be truly holy.”
Many times, as I am ministering I challenge those in attendance with these words, “I guarantee that you will be changed if you study God’s Word in fact, I challenge you to experience God by reading His Word and praying His Word over yourself. If your mind is filling with negative thoughts or memories, dwell or romanticizing your sin, selfish desires, past experiences, or trauma; I further challenge you to carrying your Bible with you everywhere and when you are under attack open your Bible and read His Truth, declare it over yourself until you feel the Holy Spirit cover you with truth, peace, and God’s love. Go further by speaking the Bible out loud and telling the devil his will not destroy what God has for you.” I have witnessed deliverance and miracles over addiction, nightmares, anxiety, and physical ailments by simply carrying His Word with you wherever you go and speaking God’s truth over yourself. There is POWER is God’s Word…
In the World there are many distractions to keep us from experiencing God’s “force” in our life. God has enemies and they want to drag you down, destroy God’s creation made in His own image, that’s you however, God gave us all we need to resist and even war against His enemies.
Ok, now here is where we must confront ourselves, I personally am not very disciplined, in fact, I struggle with authority and it is only through God that surrender is possible, by His Holy Spirit working within me. It’s not easy, discipline is not easy when you have always chosen the path of least resistance or allowed the wrong people or things to have authority over you. Many of you may be so lost to this world that right now you are struggling to even grasp these words. Ask God for help, take responsibility for your life and reach out to women of God for help. Men of God if you are a man.
James 4:7 says, “Submit therefore to God. But resist (oppose) the devil, and he will flee from you.” NASB
Oppose means “disapprove of and attempt to prevent, actively resist or refuse to comply with (a person or a system).”
Examine yourself, it’s time to grow up…”Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:14-15 NLT
Jeremiah 31:21 tells us “Set up signposts to mark your trip home, Get a good map (God’s Holy Word). Study the road conditions. The road out is the road back, come back dear daughter, child of God, come back to the Lord your God.” Personalized NASB Remember, a transformed woman will embrace the transforming God!
Our identity was always meant to be found in Him, not the world, for the world is dying and eternity is calling each of us. 2 Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if the earthly tent (human bodies) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
“And so, dear sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let yourself be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 personalized NLT
Live ready, be prepared, do not be carried away by this world’s delusions, they belong to Satan…they are dead things, hunger for God’s Living Truth.
Pray with me right now, “Father, I want to do Your will. What do You want for my Life? I have dreams, ideas and I lay them at Your altar, show me God those that line up with Your will. All these dreams and ideas I want to do are for You and Your Kingdom. I thank You for Your perfect timing, I am trusting You God for guidance and I know You are right beside me. Thank you for the sacrifice You made by sending Your Son, Jesus, so that I might encounter You with confidence, knowing my sins are forgiven. I declare my position as Your daughter, the daughter of the Most High King. AMEN”
If there was no God, we would be “accidents”, the result of astronomical random chance in the universe. There would be no purpose or meaning or significance. There would be no right or wrong, and no hope beyond you brief years here on earth. Some might say so live it up! However, we know deep down there is more and our life here on earth has eternal meaning.
Right now, this place is the book cover, the title page created by God for our earthly life. I am going to personalize the words C.S. Lewis writes at end of the Chronicles of Narina, “For this is the end of my story…But for me it is only the beginning of the real story. All my life in this world…has only been the cover and title page: now at last I am to the beginning of Chapter One of the Greatest Story, God’s Story of who I am, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before.” Yes, Jesus I embrace this glimpse of my forever story.
God made you for a reason, and your life has profound meaning! You discover that meaning and purpose only when you make God the reference point, the center of your life. The Message Bible Translation paraphrases Romans 12:3 “The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us.”
This poem by Russell Kelfer sums it up:
You are who you are for a reason.
You are part of an intricate plan.
You are a precious and perfect unique design.
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You are JUST what He wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s Seal.
No, that trauma you faced was no easy.
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">And God wept that it hurt you so;And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you would grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You have been formed by the Master’s hand and rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because this is a God!!
Remember, you are His Child, His Son or Daughter of the Most High King! Let your voice sing Praises to your King!
Blessing, Sister Laurie
These thoughts were inspired by God’s Holy Word and the book “Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren.
“We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized
Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs, it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.
I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us. I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…
Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.
Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were 13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.
Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.
My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org. Note: A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.
A further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups. These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers. We are the ones who have suffered in silence. But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members. Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame. All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…
The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame. This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives.
The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision. Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design.
Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.
The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.
Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”
There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.
Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”
Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”
No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.
The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”
The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”
I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP! As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.
Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before! God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another. The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible. God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.
Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires. God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.
I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.
The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.
I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”
There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin. She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading. Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.
I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction.
Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.
Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.
This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed. Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.
The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time. However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth. She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame. She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child. Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control. Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few. She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state. Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.
The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ. She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her. She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek. You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available. She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to. This is the hard truth in today’s church.
For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained. The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD. So many years lost to self-loathing…
Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin. I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness. It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy. Scripture was so key. My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.
Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness. I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting. In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.
In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help. The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below. Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…
Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.
Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…
Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.
We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.
But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.
Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.
“He Leadeth Me Beside the Still Waters” Psalm 23:2 We get so caught up in the world, our circumstances that we become distracted from the one place we can find the refreshment we are all desperately looking for. David understood that only by the Good Shepherds leading can our emptiness, yearning and spiritual appetite be nourished. The Passion Translation puts it like this…”The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.” Verses 1-2 That “quiet brook of bliss” is found only in God, no amount of money, career recognition, accolades of physical or mental achievement, will satisfy the void, the empty place in our soul. Instead of going to the source we try drinking from the manmade watering holes of the world only to leave us unsatisfied. You see, the world is full of seemingly delicious delights however they are only a fleeting empty attempt to fill our supernatural spiritual soul.
As look back on my life…I have traveled, shopped, tasted the finest food and drink. These were all wonderful experiences, walking along the Seine in Paris, along many other adventures. Countless hours in the gym, dieting, spending money on my physical appearance believing that would help me surround myself and be regarded by the beautiful people, maybe even accepted and loved. Yet, I still found myself facing the same hollow, empty and unfilled thirst within. Even being a mother…left me aching for something more, oh please believe me I love all my children and my grandchildren however you see when your child reaches an age of spiritual thirst and you are lost to it as well, your ability to guide, love, meet their needs become lost, those once special moments of joy turn to frustration, disappointment, many times dissolution. But I digress from where this blog is leading…
Jeremiah wrote of the result “For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, the Fountain of Living Waters, to carve out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns…that do not hold water.” Verse 2:13 In my mind a picture is forming of broken lives, shattered hopes, lost dreams…withered souls…full of empty despair. And so, this hunger becomes broken families, relationships, sordid excesses. Our need to quench this spiritual thirst becomes an entrance for Satan to destroy what only the Good Shepherd can satisfy.
The Good Shepherd is where that thirst can be quenched, where contentment is found. Throughout the Bible God and Jesus are called the Shepherd and for good reason. We are so much like sheep. Let me explain, did you know that if sheep are thirsty and clean, refreshing water is not available they will drink of dirty, parasite infested puddles. You see, a thirst like ours needs the constant guidance of the loving shepherd who goes to great lengths to protect and provide the life giving water for his sheep. Our Good Shepard…leads us through His Word to the living water. This is the ultimate provision…Jesus made it clear that our thirsty souls can only be satisfied, content by drawing on Himself.
Matthew 5:6 AMP says “Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.” Jesus spoke boldly to those in attendance that last night with His disciples “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” John 7:37 KJV Jesus knew what we would face, the wanting to satisfy our spiritual soul…He tells us “drink”, “take in”, “to accept” and yes there it is “to believe”. This belief moves from an idea of truth, to confidence in truth to a growing “knowing faith” in who Jesus is and who we are in Him. This restless thirst is sated only in Christ and a personal growing relationship with Him. Our earthly bodies, possessions and relationships are a fleeting part of who we really are, we are spiritual beings, God’s children, chosen, loved and cherish by the One True God, who cared so much for His creation…He sent Jesus, His Son, to lead us to the living water.
Drink Today! Let the Good Shepherd lead you to the “Brook of Bliss”, Worship and be Refreshed…
Further study of Psalm 23
This most powerful Psalm is used so many times at the end of one’s earthly existence, yet I find that it is life giving in so many ways. I have written it out for you here to explore on your own. Please explore for yourself the goodness of God found in these six verses recorded by King David a man by God’s own words who had “God’s Heart”.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need.
Meaning: My identity is found with Him, I belong to Him, I declare that my Shepherd, God Himself supplies me with all I need.
2 He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.
Meaning: He is the place of rest for my body and spirit, He refreshes and renews my spirit. I have drank of His Living Water so I live without fear.
3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name.
Meaning: He brings the spiritual healing needed daily to my inner person. Through His guidance I am made righteous in His sight to live for His purpose and pleasure alone.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Meaning: This life on earth is not easy but my Father, my Shepherd is with me always, His continual protection I receive, and I listen for His instruction making my flesh and mind obedient to His Truth. I am quick to repent and seek forgiveness.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.
Meaning: He is my Hope in every situation, my Provision for my hunger, He fills all emptiness and fights for me, I am His Creation, In His image, and I am sanctified that is set apart, loved, and marked by You God as Your Child. Because of this my joy overflows and my heart is full of Your Love and Mercy.
6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.
Meaning: All this pouring out completes my life, gives me purpose, directs my life, I know Your Love Father, my Good Shepherd and I surrender to live in Your Will FOREVER! AMEN!
There are many ways to explore and soak in these beautiful words, one way might be to find confirming scripture to each verse. Pray these scriptures over yourself and add your name wherever possible. Our God and His Son Jesus our are Good Shepherds together with the Holy Spirit we can live out our lives with wonder and expectation…
The book of Hebrews is dear to my heart. Many of the scriptures found there are ones I frequently find God leading me to. The writer or I should say the person who moved by the Holy Spirit to record all that God spoke in Hebrews is unknown. Yet in here we find such clarity of who Jesus is and how He is truly the way if we are to enter God’s Rest. What I am saying is our relationship and pursuit of Jesus will lead us to a place of rest. Jesus is the caregiver of this amazing place of rest. This place of rest is for NOW to be experienced HERE while we live out our earthly lives.
The first 3 chapters of Hebrews give us a complete revelation of Jesus Christ and why He is “better than”. I love God’s description of His son in The Passion Translation verse 1:3 “The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken Word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One.” The “better than” speaks of His supernatural abilities, the power of Jesus, the undeniable Son of God, over the prophets and God’s men of old. Jesus is the language of God. The Bible says that through history we received only small glimpses, as God “builds one Truth upon another.”
Now we have a fuller picture, almost complete or maybe I should say one we can grasp at this time. I notice that as we move closer to God’s destiny, the revelation grows, our ability to understand our position and God’s Kingdom becomes clearer. Within this richer understanding our responsibility grows in being the Truth to the world through our testimony. “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Revelation 12:11 It is the faithful testimony of Jesus that has the power to destroy the works of the devil as demonstrated in your and my transformed life.
Let us now move back to the place of God’s Rest, this inheritance was unavailable to Israelites when they left Egypt because their unbelief held them captive to sin, sadly until they died in the desert. Now God is calling each one of us to His perfect place of rest. It is through our faith that we enter TODAY! “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden (doubt, fear, have unbelief) in your heart.” verse 4:7
God says “Let us make every effort” in verse 4:11 then He gives us the opportunity to remove any hindrance in verse 12 “For we have the living Word of God, which is full of energy, and it pierces more sharply than a two-edged sword. It will even penetrate to the very core of our being where soul and spirit, bone, and marrow meet! It interprets and reveals the true thoughts and secret motives of our hearts.”
What is key is that first God already sees it all and then second you MUST allow God to do His work. I know I have spoken this before that God is a gentleman and will not force you to have faith. God is the great physician, a skilled surgeon, He will expose what need to be removed and will help you remove what must go. It is my prayer that you continually allow God to remove and expose so that you may enter and receive the nourishment you seek, there is nothing more satisfying than Jesus and His Truth, it brings the rest and comfort to journey forward. His love covers us fully verse 16 says “So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” This weakness is all around us, God’s children suffer under the weight of devil’s destructive way.
This rest you seek comes from not being milk fed but having maturity in Christ to be nourished by all the Truth (cuisine) found in God’s Word verse 6:1. This is where we receive the promised rest.
Hebrews is a book of “Let Us” you see my dear sisters in Jesus Christ, we are the “us” united in this great love. In my spirit I feel that you today need to embrace one or more of the “Let us” found in Hebrews, this is how you will enter God’s Rest.
“Let us come closer to God and approach Him with an open heart, fully convinced by faith that nothing will keep us at a distance from Him.” Verse 10:22
“Let us cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps His promises!” Verse 10:23
“Let us discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.” 10:24
“Let us not pull away and neglect meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward.” 10:25
“Let us rid ourselves of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.” 12:1
“Let us fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because His heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!.” 12:2
“Let us be thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.” 12:28
“Let us, then arise and join Him outside the religious “walls” and bear His disgrace.” 13:13 “Let us know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:10
“Let us continually offer up to God a steady stream of praise sacrifices—these are “the lambs” we offer from our lips that celebrate His name!.” 13:15
Blessing, Sister Laurie
Please find these scriptures have been personalized and taken from both the NASB and TPT translation. Other thoughts have been provided in part through my current studies, “New Testament Survey”, Global University, Springfield, Ohio.