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.
Galatians 3:3 says “Are you so foolish? Having embraced God’s truth and received the gift of the Spirit, are you now allowing the flesh to direct your journey? Have you forgotten some or all that God has done and promised?” personalized
Today these are the burning questions on my heart…not just for you my sisters in Christ Jesus but for myself as well. We must take a deeper look at what you and I believe…I am going to let God speak to us through His Living Word…
”But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in us sweet sisters. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.” Micah 6:8 MSG personalized
There is a daily struggle…Paul says it best, “I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18-19 TLB
How are we living out our Salvation? Our faith in God? When our faith is built on God’s Truth it can withstand any storm. “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts on them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock (God’s ways). And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand (man’s ways). And the rain fell and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and its collapse was great.” Matthew 7:24-27 NASB
The Rock is God’s Truth…His Living Word…His Son, Jesus who came, suffered, died as your sin offering and then beat the sin death causes through His resurrection but that’s not all…God promises a supernatural helper for each of us the Holy Spirit. Eternal Life, Heaven, a New World…where we are no longer held captive to disease, pain, loss, emotional strive. All of this is the ROCK!
Ok cannot help it…a small aside here…Peter was not the rock, think about it and then read over the scripture…Matthew 16:13-28. Would God entrust His Church to just one man? NO! Jesus is saying “I just revealed to you who I am, the Messiah, Savior to the world and this is the Rock, the Truth I will build my church upon! Verse 23 confirms this when Jesus rebukes Peter for his limited understanding “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” We must read all the scriptures surrounding any given scripture in order to fully understand what God is saying to us.
What you believe put your faith in defines who you are…God tells us we are His creation, His personal workmanship…therefore we must have confidence that He would not just leave to our own devices. Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” You see because we have faith and a growing relationship with Jesus we are then compelled to live and do the work of the Kingdom.
Here is the truth, God is working in you and me… this causes a shift in us, a desire grows to do His work because it pleases Him. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to [a]desire and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13 NASB
Now we come to not an end but a beginning…God tells us to be ready, “I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 MSG
You my faithful sisters, there is an urgency in the air…we know the last days are upon us so heed these final words found in Titus 2:11-14 MSG “God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.”
Go back to the beginning…Answer the questions, ask God to reveal the areas of your life still clinging to the old you! Be quick to repent and embrace God’s Truth in a fresh and deeper way!
There are three positions in God’s Kingdom, each and every person falls into one, here and now! Paul pens in Romans 7:24 NASB, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Whether you find yourself still doubting the existence of God, a new believer, or a matured believer there is an ongoing struggle against sin.
The unbeliever battles to understand right from wrong because God has given all people knowledge, an understanding of God and His ways from the very beginning. Romans 1:19 says “Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” Humanity has no excuse, just as God knew us in our mother’s womb and placed our spirit there, we also knew Him. In this position there is continuous struggle and chaos. A distorted sense of truth exists, selfish ambition and desire guide the decision-making process. Psalms 138 fully describes how intimately God knows us and that we belong to Him. The second half of Psalm 139:14 clearly tells us “Wonderful are Your works, and my soul (spirit) knows it very well.” See right there, as infants growing within our mother’s womb we have the truth, God’s truth! This truth is there for one purpose to be completely discovered and revealed with the help of the Holy Spirit. The word “know” here is an intimate understanding, relational, experiential, and personal. We are God’s creation, made in His image, His children. So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The new believer struggles because they are now acknowledging the “knowing”. Their eyesight improves which gives them hunger and thirst to experience the love of God. It has always been there, just as the ability to know right from wrong, but now there is a shift, an understanding that God see them, sin becomes clearer. We know from God’s Word that we are no longer held captive to the bondage of sin, the old man has been crucified, sin shall not have dominion over you, the mind of the spirit is life and peace. Romans 6:6, Galatians 5:24 and Romans 8:1, 5-6. There is an acknowledgement that God is the great I AM…an embracing of Jesus’ sacrifice for them personally. That without God they are lost to sin and a fallen world. They find themselves asking questions “What do I do now?”, “How do I”, “What now is God’s asking?”, “How is this personal relationship suppose to work?”. They have these habits or behaviors that do not give God honor, acknowledge their love for Him, in some cases they go against the law…all of this has new meaning. The big question now becomes “How then shall I live?” So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The mature believer now has worked this God thing out, a little farther down the road and yet…in Romans 7:15-20 Paul openly shares his frustration. “For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate. However, if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, that the Law is good. But now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I do the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin that dwells in me.” So yes, Wretched man that I am!
The struggles against sin is real for everyone. This is exactly why God had Paul include this truth about himself. Paul suffered under spiritual attacks, he wrestled with his past and he grappled with unworthiness. Yet, God chosen this man, His grace put Paul in a unique position to share God’s Truth, to testify concerning Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection. In all of this God gave Paul the inspired Word in which he authored thirteen letters in the New Testament. Like Paul the mature believer has stepped into greater responsibility therefore subject to greater scrutiny of self. Yet, Paul suffered under his old self just as we do, in Paul’s case I believe that the thorn in Paul’s side speaks of him wrestling with past behavior and the spiritual battle in the form of shame the devil continually heaped on him. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 confirms this thought, “Because of the extraordinary greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” Thank you God, for encouraging Paul to be transparent with us. This is true for all believers serving Jesus, stepping out and living daily for God.
I find myself, the wretched man, forgiven, justified and righteous through God, still battling spiritual attacks and dealing with consequences of sin. You see sweet sisters we are all like Paul “The Wretched Man.” There is no place I would rather be then to be found, proven, and refined by my Forever Father, my King, loved and not forsaken, positioned as His daughter, the daughter of the Most High King.
No one is immune to doubt. It can and does happen to us all. You’ve just got to know how to handle it when it comes. Let’s look at the life of John the Baptist for answers.
Jesus said this about John the Baptist,
“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matthew 11:11
John was greater in the sight of Jesus than Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or any Old Testament character you can name. Yet John doubted the most important thing of all by questioning whether Jesus was really the Christ.
While John the Baptist was in prison he became so discouraged that he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He really was the Christ. This amazing man of faith was lost in doubt and unbelief.
Think about who John was. He was separated unto God and filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb. Luke 1:15
It is believed he lived in the desert near the Dead Sea with the Essens, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a people who were super-legalistic who practiced many rituals of self denial. He certainly had not lived what we would call an easy life. He was described in the Bible as wear animal skins and eating locust. John was separated and focused on his purpose.
His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ. John is the one who saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29. John shared the truth of God with thousands of people from many nations declaring, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:2
John would see the Spirit of God descending upon the Messiah in bodily shape as a dove. That came to pass when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
There are many scriptures that tell us John had zero doubt.
“I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” in John 1:34. In Luke 3:16 he said, “but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” And in John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Jesus responded to John’s disbelief and doubt….”look at all that has happened….see the truth of who I am and believe!”
This is the same thing Jesus is saying to you…look at all I have done and what is written in the scriptures and have faith.
Don’t let the devil lie to you and blind you from truth…dig in, for “It is written” those powerful words that Jesus spoke to Satan. Those are our words now….
Don’t be fooled by the world…our need for something tangible, something emotional we can feel. Overcoming doubt is not about feeling better; it’s about getting back into faith that only comes from the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 says “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
You must stand strong, immerse yourself in God’s Word and know that this battle is won on a spiritual level.
In 2 Peter 1:12-15 Peter writes Jesus will always bring you back to remembering who He is through His Word. He left us this Word because He knew we would face doubt in our flesh.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 spells it out clearly…”For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
The Scriptures are more sure and faith building and doubt destroying than if you and I were witness to seeing the risen Christ or hearing an audible voice from heaven! Why? Because the Truth of God Word is always with us, to study, meditate and pray through.
The only sure way to overcome doubt is to place your faith in the Word of God and depend on that more sure word of prophecy. Don’t allow your five senses to dominate your thinking. You must come to a place to where God’s Word is more real to you than anything you can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. When you’re in doubt, refer back to the Word of God just the way Jesus told John the Baptist to do. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Facts say you are here, sitting in this chair, struggling because of your decisions, wrong thinking, SIN….truth is God is right beside you waiting for you to activate your faith by standing on His Word which activates His ability to bring you the deliverance you so desperately desire.
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.
I read this uplifting little article somewhere about how our relationship with God is different than that of men. It inspired me to write about our position as women in God’s Kingdom. Sweet Sisters in Jesus Christ we hold such an important position as daughter of the Most High King. We are nurturers who encourage and bring cozy, heartfelt love full of God’s truth to a broken and hurting world. Have you ever noticed how in the scriptures men are always going up into the mountains to commune with the Lord? Yet in the scriptures we hardly ever hear of women going to the mountains.
Why, because these women were too busy keeping life going; they could not abandon… babies, meals, homes, fires, gardens, and a thousand other responsibilities to make the climb into the mountains! We have confidence that God knows exactly what your days are like because He beautifully describes them in Proverbs 31. We daily touch on or see to most of this amazing woman’s life responsibilities in our own homes and workplaces.
Many days I find myself feeling like I am never “free” enough from my responsibilities, there is never in a quiet enough space for me to spend time with my Lord, my King; I find myself just repeating “Yes God” as the moments, days and years go by.
The woman who wrote the original little article put it like this…“That is why God comes to women. Men have to climb the mountain to meet God, but God comes to women wherever they are.”
God is there as we stare into our refrigerator or cupboards scavenging for one more meal to cook for our family before payday. 1 Kings 17:12-16 “But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have no food, only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little oil in the jar; and behold, I am gathering a few sticks so that I may go in and prepare it for me and my son, so that we may eat it and die.” However, Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go, do as you have said. Just make me a little bread loaf from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘The bowl of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil become empty, until the day that the Lord provides rain on the face of the earth.’”So, she went and did everything in accordance with the word of Elijah, and she and he and her household ate for many days.The bowl of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil become empty, in accordance with the word of the Lord which He spoke through Elijah.” I remember as a young mom, asking God to supply food for my children, money for the electric bill, even in my immature understanding of God…He provided.
God is there with us at our love one’s sick or deathbed. Luke 7: 12-15 “Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her and said to her, “Do not go on weeping.” And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.” As women we find ourselves crying out to the Lord, we travail for those we love whether they are ill, lost to the truth of Christ or have passed. Jesus sees every hardship; this woman is already a widow and the loss of her son would bring even a greater difficulty. So as scripture says, “Jesus gave him back to his mother.” Each of you can recount a time when we are lost to our emotions, worry and fear have set in however, as we reach for God’s Word; He is faithful to bring the comfort we need, perfect and just for us. I will never forget when I received the news my son had died; all I could do was go for my Bible and hold it close. Only God could bring the comfort needed to see me through those difficult days.
He hears our cries to have our own children, Hannah asked the Lord for a child in 1 Samuel 1:14-20. “It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked for him of the Lord.” She wanted nothing more than to be a mom. She suffered for years with infertility, and her desire to have a child of her own was affecting every part of her life. An earlier verse says she was suffering under a despairing spirit. In your circle of influence, you know at least one sister in Christ that as experienced infertility. However, in that same circle you can speak of the goodness of God who heard the cries and spoke “Go in peace and may the God of Israel grant your request that you have asked of .”
Even at the empty tomb, Mary was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection, she was there because she was doing the womanly chore of properly preparing Christ’s body for burial. Matthew 28 recounts the amazing details of that day. There was no mountain climbing, only her desire to serve her King and there He was risen, revealing truth and encouraging her.
God does indeed come to women where they are, when they are doing their ordinary, everyday work. He meets them at the wells as we find in John 4:4-30, where they draw much needed water for their families, homes, for their kitchens and gardens. The Samaritan woman was so important to Jesus, He had a divine appointment to meet her that day. In that encounter her life was forever changed, and her circle of influence was increased as she spread the “Good News” God’s Truth, the salvation message to everyone in her village. She wanted everyone to experience the forgiveness, grace, mercy, and love Jesus was bringing to her that day.
Every woman in the Bible has a journey, unique and challenging; along the way these women of the scriptures found themselves face to face with Jesus. We are like them, we must draw upon their stories and allow God to teach us, refine us.
So, look closely do you see Jesus in the little things, the big things…yes He is there. We need to thank God that He meets us, and we must stop complaining! Who wants to climb a mountain anyway? The fact is you do not have time to spend in the mountains with God. Guess what, He is there in the mountain of dishes or the stained sport uniform that you need to ready for your child’s game tomorrow…sing out, pray, and worship your King right there! Or maybe you need to listen…quietly reflect.
Remember, God comes to women. He knows where we are and the burdens we carry. He sees us, and if we open our eyes and our hearts we will see Him, even in the most ordinary places and things. He lives. And Jesus is using a time such as this to speak to women around the world.
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.