Wealthy in Love

Today my sweet sisters in Christ Jesus I want to explore with you Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi found in Philippians 2:1-11.  The church was experiencing many of the same challenges you and I face as believers.  Conflict, unforgiveness, pride, selfish ambition, vain conceit, dislike, and false teaching had found it way into the church. 

Paul opens his letter in this way… “Therefore, if there is any encouragement and comfort in Christ as there certainly is in abundance, if there is any consolation, comfort, support of love, if there is any fellowship that we share in the Spirit, if there is any great depth of tenderness, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love toward one another, knit together in spirit, intent on one purpose and living a life that reflects your faith and spreads the gospel—the good news regarding salvation through faith in Christ.” Verses 1-2 personalized  Paul is pleading with them to resolve the tension and seek to heal any brokenness found.  He says if that can be accomplished it will make his joy complete (verse 2).

Paul further describes the condition of the church with these words “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit through factional motives, or strife, but with an attitude of humility being neither arrogant nor self-righteous, regard others as more important than yourselves.  Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”( verses 3-4) 

Put simply you cannot claim to love God and dislike, hold bitterness for others.  The question arises “Why do people do the things they do?”  I believe that we have not fully comprehended the suffering and sacrifice Christ made for us…that day on the cross in which supernatural love was poured out for us…Loving others is so costly only Jesus’s costly love for us can move us to bear the cost.  Jesus has a radical love for us! This love is so profound, so expense…it is a mystery so deep we can only know it in our spirit!  If we can grab hold of this love, we will be so rich in love we will be forever changed, unable to dislike or hold bitterness.  In our humanness…our mind and body cannot ever understand!  This love is spiritual and supernatural! When we step into this love it is spiritually supercharged.

I want to try and bridge our lack of understanding by helping you and I to understand exactly what Jesus did that day.  Most of us can easily say these words “Jesus suffered and died on the cross for me” however that is so limited.  The depth of Jesus’s love for us is revealed on the cross not so much in the physical suffering but in how society looked at this form of death.  What does it cost for God to love us? We know He sent His only Son to earth for the purpose of leading us in knowing God and restoring his relationship with us, revealing who we really are and redeeming us through Jesus’s death.  Philippians 2:6-8TPT says “He existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize.   Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant to be exploited. He became human!  He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient.  He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!”

The cross was consider to be the most degrading form of death, the people of Jesus time saw crucifixion differently; the Jews saw it as being cursed by God, ultimate insult, shunned;  the Romans used it much like the Mexican cartels today who hang their victims in a public place as if to say “don’t mess with us”;  the Greeks saw it as humiliating, scandalous, disgraceful, further evidence that God could care less about humanity; to all it was an abomination, degradation, torture fit only for a slave. There is no other death in which the individual’s life could be destroyed that has the same impact and yet Jesus took the weight of the world, the sin and suffered this for you and me.  I don’t know about you but just writing these words is making me nauseas and tearful.

What great love…I will never fully comprehend while I walk this earth.  This is where love is revealed…we must let this revelation lead us into understanding how much we are loved and redeemed by a risen Lord.  And for this reason alone…verse 9-11TPT says “Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!  The authority of the name of Jesus causes every knee to bow in reverence! Everything and everyone will one day submit to this name—in the heavenly realm, in the earthly realm, and in the demonic realm. And every tongue will proclaim in every language: “Jesus Christ is Lord Yahweh,” bringing glory and honor to God, his Father!”

You see, the Father, the Creator of us all acknowledges what Jesus has done for love!  We are rich in love!  And so now I leave you with this question can you love as He did?  Philippians 2:5 leaves us with these words…”And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.”

Blessings, Sister Laurie

This writing came to me after watching a teaching on Real Love by Pastor Akshay Rajkumar the lead Pastor of Redeemer Church in New Delphi, India.  It is available on RightNow Media.com

Confidence

GERARD DOU PAINTING OLD WOMAN READING A LECTIONARY BIBLE – REMBRANDT’S MOTHER

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;

  1. 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.
  2. 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.”

Sister Laurie

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

Examine Your Foundation

First a little background for those who may not know me personally…I was not raised in a Christian home, in fact, my adopted parents were atheists who lived in the world and embraced a belief system which was extremely self-gratifying. I am a Born-Again Believer; I make this point because I will be talking about how our foundation in life dictates how we think and live.  I don’t remember ever discussing the existence of God or the meaning of this life other than how important it was to have money, live high, have power and reputation within your community.  This reputation was tainted with a worldview of wealth and position.

The long journey of casting off, surrendering my belief system or foundation built from my childhood and adult life experience has been long.  God has never given up on me and so today I celebrate the new foundation God is helping me build based in truth.  I wanted to share this with you because I make this point…IT IS NEVER TO LATE…God is waiting for you sweet sister!  He wants to establish a foundation of truth under you that will redefine you and give you an identity in Him.  Complete deliverance is what I am speaking of…Freedom from your old life!

Daniel had a foundation built on Godly principles, it is here we find how his foundation in God stood the test and kept Daniel from harm.  Daniel was a young man with Godly character and integrity.  Read Daniel 1-2 for details.

Daniel’s foundation is available to us if we allow God to work within us.  Sisters it is not too late to break the destructive patterns in your life and embrace Godly truth.  We know that the patterns we establish early in life, whether good or bad, will impact our future decisions.  Our choices direct the lives we lead.  These patterns form our foundation.

You and I must begin this journey of freedom by taking the scalpel of the Word of God in hand…”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.” Hebrews 4:12.

Begin by asking yourself these simple questions; Are you keeping your word? Do you hold grudges, speak negatively about those around you? Do you finish what you start? Are you easily distracted? Is your gaze on what is instructive and positive or destructive? Only you and God can answer these questions truthfully. Now is the time to let God reveal His truth about the condition of your foundation, ideas, attitudes, and behaviors that do not line up with God’s Word.

Remember, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all people. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.   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.  As for the things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

Most of the time wrong thinking, believing a lie keeps us from the peace spoken of here.  God has given you a gentle spirit, one that is not anxious, that has ability to live God’s truth as you journey through life.  Let these words encourage you.  Here are some practical steps to growing, redesigning your foundation according to God’s way.

  1. Discipline yourself to do two necessary things you do not like to do every week.
  2. Fix your eyes on a clear, specific goal.
  3. Study the “whys” behind God’s commands.
  4. Write out the promises you have made and take responsibility for all your actions and emotions.
  5. Monitor and adjust the motives behind your actions.
  6. Tell the truth no matter what the cost.
  7. Live the truth even when it is not popular…are your words gratifying God or man?
  8. Align yourself with a woman of God who you can be accountable to in every situation.

In today’s world we must be woman of God who are deeply rooted in God’s Truth and trust in God, not vulnerable to polluting ourselves with pride and lies.  Like Daniel we must be a people faithful and trustworthy, a servant of God. Who’s love for God pours out from every cell within our bodies. Remember you are who God’s says you are and not the world…loved, valued, unique, beautiful, with purpose, designed by the creator, the daughter of the Most High King.

Here is a prayer to help you in your journey…

Lord, give me insight into what makes a healthy, effective woman of God.  Make me sensitive to Your Spirit and show me the areas in which I need to grow and develop.  Show me those in my life which speak Your Truth and help me to distance myself from those who do not.  Help me represent You in every situation.  Rebuild my foundation God, I give you permission to use the scalpel of Truth to do surgery on my mind and spirit.  As you reveal attitudes and beliefs that do not reflect you God help me to let go and invite Godly thinking in.  I desire to have my mind, body and spirit transformed by your truth God so that I would reflect you with every breath I breathe.  AMEN

Sister Laurie

The Armor of Light Our Only Defense

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!  We as believers have a tremendous responsibility in how we speak and interact with others. Before I begin my next writing God has given from Romans 13; I want to address a situation I was witness to yesterday, in fact two situations.  Unfortunately, each of these situations happen with the same believer who I know well and regard as a sister in Christ.  I know she had best intentions however we must be ever so careful with our words.  Our tongue can do the devil’s work!  Let me explain…

First Situation:  During a Sunday morning greeting around a cup of coffee at church a young woman who is a growing believer approached a sweet sister in Christ with a typical greeting.  The usual “How are you?” was exchanged.  This young woman had recently stopped dating a man, who had followed her to church a couple of times.  The concerned sister started a deeper conversation, fishing for details…well-meaning but the result left the young woman in anguish.  You see this young woman’s marriage ended several years ago.  The relationship was a violent one, abuse and drugs were a huge part of the marriage.  This young woman spent years broken and held captive in this relationship.  Over the last 5 years she has been delivered from her traumatic past.  She is now walking in the light of Jesus full of hope.  Somehow the conversation got around to the fact that she was divorced, the sister began down a path that divorce was breaking a covenant with Moses, negatively speaking she pointed out how this young woman needed to seek reconciliation.  Without knowing the details or what this young woman has been through this sister now becomes God’s judge and convicts this young woman with her words.  I might add mixing biblical truth with condemnation.  Do you see what I am getting at…WE MUST BE CAREFUL WITH OUR WORDS?! I believe the sister was speaking out of her flesh and not out of her spirit. We must always speak out of love and ask God to give us words of encouragement no matter what the circumstance.  Fortunately, I caught the tail end of the conversation and the young woman now crushed, privately asked me to clarify and pray with her.

Second Situation:  I attended a prayer meeting and one of the prayer requests was for us to pray for a woman who son had served in Afghanistan and was killed in action several years ago. The woman bringing the request was a family member.   Based on what is happening over there currently, all the grief of this loss has come back along with the sense that this young man sacrificed his life in vain.  I want to say that this scenario of someone suffering loss and how we as believers in our effort to bring comfort fail.  I have heard this question asked so many times…”Was he a believer?” “Was he or she saved?”  What difference does this make? Can you see how these questions can send the one asking for prayer down a dark road, dwelling on where the loved one is now?  Does that change the way we pray for those loved ones hurting in their loss?  Definitely Not!  Even if the family members are not believers God still is working and will still bring comfort. Can you see how distressing this can be for the person asking for prayer?  Once again be careful what questions we ask and how we respond when loss is involved.  This is a time when little words can be spoken and listening ears are needed.  Offer prayers of comfort.

Ok, thank you for listening I pray you carefully consider my words. I will get off my soap box…

Romans 13:12-13TPT says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes. And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon. We must live honorably, surrounded by the light of this new day, not in the darkness of drunkenness and debauchery, not in promiscuity and sensuality, not being argumentative or jealous of others.”

Today I want to talk about the darkness spoken of in these verses.  Last week I offered words of encouragement and with intent spoke of the urgency of  this hour. Verse 12 continues this thinking because for we are closer now, this moment to meeting Jesus face to face closer then we were this morning. Right? Think about that…does that inspire you?  The darkness of living in this fallen world will soon end for believers! Hallelujah!

Let us move forward and see what God is now teaching us…Verse 13 is a warning to put aside certain behavior, put your seat belt on the Truth is about to challenge you;

Depending on your translation you might find…

Rioting KJV, gluttony GNV, carousing NASB or orgies NIV in the Greek “komos”  letting loose, carousal, binder, binge, spree.  This might mean overspending, loss of self-control in behavior or speech. Excessiveness or greedy, unreasonable.

Drunkenness KJV, GNV, NASB and NIV in the Greek “methe” use of an intoxicant, intoxication, that being any kind of substance, a condition of disgrace.

Chambering KJV, GNV, sexual promiscuity NASB, sexual immorality NIV in the Greek “koite” cohabitation outside of marriage, aggressive infliction, perversion of God’s design for intimacy.

Wantonness KJV, GNV, debauchery NASB, sensuality NIV in the Greek “aselgeia” licentiousness, recklessness, lasciviousness, carnality, shameless behavior, pursuit of physical sexual pleasure, lust.

Strife KJV, GNV, NASB, quarreling NIV in the Greek “eris” to quarrel, wrangling, bickering, contention, rivalry, an unsavory, immoral desire for power or control.

Envying KJV, GNV, jealousy NASB, NIV, in the Greek “zelos” unfavorable zeal, malevolence, resentfulness, indignation, mistrustfulness, a strong and relentless desire for what belongs to another

Why am I defining these undesirable behaviors? They are common in this day, even we as believers must examine ourselves and motives regularly.  Let me paint a picture of how this warning must be taken seriously and how we as believers must teach our love ones the dangerous traps hidden here.  During the spring in America, there is a common practice among young people primarily college age to travel during spring break and gather with other young people.  Often this is a time of reckless abandonment to all that is decent.  Romans 13:13 captures much of the conduct during this week…it has been hailed as a time for “the rite of passage”. Passage of what? Innocence and purity? It is a time of relentless evil and awful indulgence.  What a price is paid by the participants…the shame and regret they carry long after.

The Spirit pleads “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23ESV

Again, the Holy Spirit cries out to us…”So, beloved, since you are looking forward to these things, be diligent and make every effort to be found by Him at His return spotless and blameless, in peace that is, inwardly calm with a sense of spiritual well-being and confidence, having lived a life of obedience to Him.”  2 Peter 3:14AMP

This obedience is for you and I, to protect us and prepare us for the future.  Paul says in Ephesians 5:27TPT Jesus in coming and here we find a picture of how He desires to find us…”Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be His sacred, living sacrifices. And live-in holiness, experiencing all that delights His heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.   Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes.” 

Let us stay as far away from sin as possible…”But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for nor even think about gratifying the flesh in regard to its improper desires.” Romans 13:14AMP

Right now, examine yourself…how can you be ready, are you properly dressed, completely immersed in our Lord Jesus Christ…How can you clothe yourself in the radiance of Jesus Christ?

There is a fork in the road one way leads to the world and instant gratification that only satisfies for a moment…do not delay take no detour choose the other route… put on the Armor of Light, Jesus Christ!

  Sister Laurie

Live Each Day in the Light

“To live like this is all the more urgent, for time is running out and you know it is a strategic hour in human history. It is time for us to wake up! For our full salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.  Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns. So, we must once and for all strip away what is done in the shadows of darkness, removing it like filthy clothes.  And once and for all we clothe ourselves with the radiance of light as our weapon.”  Romans 13:11-12 TPT

Today, I am continuing in Romans 13…there is so much to embrace!  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to find my self saying “Oh Crap!” as our King comes to carry me home. How about you?  There is no doubt that I will be take home either through my flesh dying or in the twinkling of as eye with others.  “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead who believed in Christ will be raised imperishable, and we will be completely changed wondrously transformed.” 1 Corinthian 15:52 AMP  Will there be a moment when we say “But I…” “Just one more…” That’s where the “Oh Crap” comes in.  I don’t know but if there is a possibility of that feeling or emotional I do not want it!  I want to be able to say…”I AM READY!”

In Romans 13 it says “Night’s darkness is dissolving away as a new day of destiny dawns.”  What is this darkness? The darkness is unbelief…the darkness is lukewarmness…the darkness is  persecution. The darkness is every kind of conflict, natural catastrophe, calamity, and war.  Jesus speaks of these in Matthew 24, it is the darkness of the present hour.  How do you receive these words?  Does it put a sense of urgency in your spirit?  This is truth…one way or another a new day for you and I is coming, it is about to burst forth…the long night of this earthly existence is almost over.  When you think about eternity which you and I are currently living; let me explain…eternity started the moment God placed your spirit within your flesh growing in your mother.  Psalm 139:13-14  That spirit…the true you was created by God and it continues now.  When you except Christ as your Savior it like an electrical shock to that spirit, a rebirth, like heart surgery repairing your true self so that you might live as God intended. The main truth I want you to grasp here is the earthly life is so incredibly short, it is but a twinkle in the twinkling spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:52.  Eternity has no earthly language to define, we try with words;  infinite or unending time, endless life, sometimes defined as what exists outside time.  We can put a beginning to eternity as spoke in Psalm 139…but we cannot fathom it’s unending.

So, I now get back to my original thought, my devotion to Jesus has been fueled by this truth…I do not want to be ashamed at His appearing if that is possible, no regret, nothing left undone…Today I just can not bear that thought!  Heavenly Father…reveal those things that MUST GO in me, let me be fully ready, let me not miss an opportunity to speak life and truth…let me love where love is needed, give me compassion, let me see with your eyes and live with Kingdom values.

God gave us the sunrise to remember that Jesus, the Son has Risen.  There is just something life giving and wonderful about a sunrise…clean crisp air…the pure light as it makes it way through the trees, over the mountains.  It touches our emotions and now let it touch your spirit with hope and truth…igniting a fire within you that cannot be contained! Jeremiah 20:9 says, “If I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak His name anymore,” Then my heart becomes a burning fire Shut up in my bones. And I am weary of enduring and holding it in; I cannot endure it nor contain it any longer.”

Look up a New Day is coming…

Sister Laurie

Holy Communion an Expression of Love

selective focus of bread and grape beverage and stand wood cross for background and inspiration

The scripture says…And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new (khawdata) covenant, which is shed for many for the remission(forgiveness) of sins.”  Matthew 26:26-28 NKJV, also found in Mark 14 and Luke 22

Bible Gateway footnotes make the significance of these precious words from Jesus’ lips even more intimate…translated from the Aramaic we now see the depth of these words…The word “khawdata” can be translated as “new,” but is even better defined as “renewed” covenant or “repaired” covenant.   After each disciple took the cup and drank from it, they passed it to the next one. This was a love covenant between Jesus and each of his disciples, and it sealed the affection they had for one another. This remains today, when you and I take communion with our family, other believers it becomes an expression of our love and affection for them and for our loving Savior Jesus.

I recently read an article about each of the elements and how they not only fulfill prophecy but bring to life the events of the Old and New Testament.  We know from scripture that the last supper was celebrated in remembrance of Passover.  Passover found in Exodus 12 speaks about a time in history when the Israelites were slaves living in Egypt.  God sent Moses to free the Israelites…Pharaoh didn’t listen or pay attention as God’s emissary Moses  brought God’s wrath down upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, nine plagues later Pharaoh still would not relent and let God’s people go!  The tenth plague would be one which would bring death to the first-born male of every household.  God’s people were instructed to cover their doorways with the blood of a sacrificial lamb thus keeping death away from their household. 

The shedding of sacrificial blood marked freedom for the Israelites and from that time forward Passover has been celebrated in remembrance of all God had done for His people.

Let us move forward in time…Passover had come, Jesus was in Jerusalem with His disciples, moments before they were sat down to share the Passover meal, Jesus spoke to His betrayer (let me leave that right there for another time) after which Jesus began by taking a piece of bread, blessing it carefully tearing a piece for each disciple He said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 AMP

Jesus was speaking to them about the coming events when He, the prefect Lamb of God, would be tortured, beaten, tormented, crucified, and buried.  Jesus told us that His body would be broken for us.  A prophecy fulfilled in Isaiah 53:5 that says, “…He was whipped so we could be healed.”   This healing power achieved in the act of the One True God, Savior, God’s Only Son…holds the power to heal our physical and mental ailments no matter how severe or life threating. Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:24 “…by whose stripes you were healed.”

As you think and visualize what Christ endured for you…every lash of the whip, flesh torn, blood shed…all done willingly to heal you and me. This is the pure and simple truth of Christ and its power is available to all who believe.

Jesus then took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission(forgiveness) of sins.” Jesus drank along with the disciples; this established the FINAL and NEW COVENANT for all God’s children (believers) once and for all. 

The word covenant in English traces its roots back to a Latin word that means “coming together”.  The Old Testament Covenants clearly demonstrate that God’s plan of redemption was in motion soon after the fall (Adam and Eve’s sin). In fact, Hosea speaks of a covenant between God and Adam in verse 6:7 saying, “Like Adam, they (the Israelites) have broken the covenant…they were unfaithful to me.”   In these covenants there are conditions to be met by the human parties involved.  At other times, God declared what He was going to do no matter how the parties responded.  Once God made a covenant, it was not to be altered or renegotiated.

I want to briefly establish each of the Old Testament Covenants so that as we look to God’s New and Final covenant marked by Holy Communion we can see how they each relate to God’s promise for His children both you and I as well. 

Abrahamic Covenant – Genesis 12 God established a covenant with Abram (who later name was changed the Abraham by God) when He said “I will make you into a great nation and  will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you,…and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  Later God spoke more about this covenant saying, “your offspring will be like stars in the sky to numerous to count”.  This covenant can be summed up as (1) a promised people, (2) a promised blessing, (3) a promised land.

Mosaic Covenant – Exodus 19-20  God has always had great plans for His people.  After freeing the Israelites from Egypt.  God shared his plan with Moses and from that encounter we God’s people were given the Ten Commandments.  This covenant is conditional “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.” Exodus 19:5 NKJV The Mosaic Covenant was based on faithfulness of both God and Israel.  Of course, Israel failed, but God is faithful, even when we are not.  The Laws (covenant conditions)  found in the Ten Commandments were given as an opportunity to show our love for God through obedience, even as they stumbled… God still had blessings for all the peoples of the world.  Israel was chosen as a servant to help bring that future “blessing” the gospel and Jesus Christ.

Davidic Covenant

Is the prefect link between the Old Testament Covenants and the New Testament Covenant.  Just as God gave Moses a message to deliver to Israel, God gave Nathan a message, a divine covenant, to deliver to King David found in

(2 Samuel 7:5-16) so important to God’s plan it is repeated twice…”Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me;  I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” Nathan was speaking Of Jesus who’s coming kingdom would be established forever through David’s lineage.  There was no condition to this covenant, God would and has fulfilled this covenant through Jesus.  Peter tied the two together in his Day of Pentecost Sermon found in

Acts 2:29-31TPT personalized, “Everyone, I can tell you there is no doubt that David has both died and been buried in his tomb, which remains to this day. So, you can see that he was not referring to himself with those words.  But as a prophet, he knew God’s faithful promise, made with God’s unbreakable oath, that one of his descendants would take his throne.  So, when peering into the future, David prophesied of the Messiah’s resurrection. And God revealed to him that the Messiah would not be abandoned to the realm of death, nor would his body experience decay.”

And so now here we are the New Covenant sealed with the blood of Christ at that first “Holy Communion” shared by Christ, Himself and His disciples. The new covenant is a spiritual relationship with out Creator.  But we sisters in Christ need help in maintaining that divine fellowship.  The Old Testament is a continuing story of failures of God’s chosen people.  Yet God’s plan from the beginning included a solution for this need…Jesus is the mediator in our relationship with the Father see Hebrews 12:24.  Jesus overcame the differences and restored a loving relationship between a sinless deity and sinful humans.  To overcome required a painful sacrifice.  Look again at the words Jesus as He instituted the Lord’s Supper. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Luke 22:20  The Old Mosaic Covenant required the blood of a slaughtered animal as a sin offering. These regular offerings did not bring permanent obedience and relationship.  The sin offering was a repeated bloody event that took the life of an animal.  The animal could never be a mediator.  But of Son of God could, and He willingly came to earth to be that needed permanent sacrifice.  1 Timothy 2:5 says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men.”

 I have come a long way so that you might fully understand why the taking and sharing of Holy Communion is an intimate experience between Jesus our Personal Mediator and God our Forever Father.  Listen closely to the voice of our Mediator the next time you partake in Holy Communion: “and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

One more scripture found in John 6:53-58 ESV,  “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. …”

In closing, the words communion, community, communication and common all have similar origin.  The church of Jesus Christ is a community of believers that are not divided by denomination by are united by Christ.  It also is an opportunity to have communion with God.  It is an expression of God’s Glory poured out and into us through Christ’s Body and Blood. 

Blessings, Sister Laurie

Not Today Satan!

Have you ever caught yourself going over a situation again and again? Be it positive or negative you just cannot let it go…It even is affecting your decisions, possibly a relationship. Your emotions are tied to these thoughts and often result in an action you later regret. Satan has many tools in his arsenal and here are a couple of them.
Reasoning – repeated discussion, wondering, daydreaming without Godly wisdom.
Rationalizing – justifying your behavior or another’s behavior or thoughts in order to avoid truth; this is the devil’s substitute for confession and repentance.
Manipulation – to control or influence a situation or person unfairly or unscrupulously, using a mixture of truth and lies to achieve a self-driven result.
The Bible is truly clear that we must be careful how we spend time in thought…do not dwell, in the end nothing positive comes from lingering thoughts.
James 1:5-8 says “But if any of you lacks wisdom(Godly clarity and understanding using it wisely), let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach(disapproval, criticism), and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting(unable to fully accept God’s truth), for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded (lukewarm with one foot in and one foot out) man, unstable (mentally and spiritually unbalanced) in all his ways.” Personalized NASB
Have you noticed that every time you replay a situation it becomes foggier not clearer? The devil is a master of twisting truth, corrupting our memory, justifying the wrong motives, persuading us to make a worldly, flesh driven decision instead of a Godly decision. That worldly decision may feel good for a moment or even longer, but it soon leads us farther away from God and more into the world. God has given us examples in His Word how Satan used reason, rationalizing and manipulation in order to cause two women to make decisions contrary to God’s Plan, the good news is God already knew and He had an eternal plan that could not be corrupted by the devil.


Let’s look at Genesis 3:1-6
Verses 1-3 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’? “The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
We as believers must be aware that Satan can disguise himself and that he knows God’s Word and he will weave his purpose into God’s truth to confuse and corrupt us. The devil starts a conversation with a question to start Eve’s mind reasoning.
Verse 4 “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Satan again engages Eve knowing well how much God’s loves her and Adam tempting her by saying “You surely will not die!” Here comes reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation in one statement, “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Satan knew Eve as well as he knows all of God’s children. We do not have all the answers, yet our mind desires those answers. God warns us that we are incapable of that knowledge, our minds can’t fathom. Romans 11:33 says “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” I believe that knowledge we so desperately seek will be given when we are reunited with our Forever Father in Heaven.
Verses 5-6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
The Bible does not say how long it was before Eve tasted of the fruit however my gut tells me she spent some time reasoning the why not and what ifs. Rationalizing how good it would be…how her relationship with God would change because she could see and understand everything He does. Now the manipulation kicks in Eve wants Adam to taste as well, they may have even reasoned together, notice that it says “her husband with her”, so he was at the tree watching her taste and then he tasted for himself.
We all know the outcome from this event, Satan cleverly used reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation to bring sin into the world.


Now let us look at Abram and Sarai, but first a little background on the two of them. Abram and Sarai were in their 80’s at the time God shared his promise of descendants with Abram. He and Sarai had been married for many years and I believe that they were faithful to one another and Abram did not desire to take another wife or take his wife’s maid servant as was a custom in order to provide an heir.
In Genesis 15:5-6 God gives Abram a promise. “And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”
Time passes, Abram and Sarai are still without children let’s look how Sarai takes matters into her own hands through reasoning, rationalizing and manipulation…Genesis 16:1-6 ”Now Sarai, Abram’s wife had borne him no children, and she had an Egyptian maid whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “Now behold, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Please go in to my maid; perhaps I will obtain children through her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. After Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Abram’s wife Sarai took Hagar the Egyptian, her maid, and gave her to her husband Abram as his wife. He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her sight. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done me be upon you. I gave my maid into your arms, but when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her sight. May the Lord judge between you and me.” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your maid is in your power; do to her what is good in your sight.” So Sarai treated her harshly, and she fled from her presence.”
Reasoning – Sarai thought I am to old and God has made this promise. Surely God means for Abram to take my servant?
Rationalizing – After all it is a custom to provide their husband as many heirs as possible, some men even take more wives. At least I do not have to share Abram he has not chosen to have other wives. Hagar is my servant this won’t be so bad. Remember, up until now Abram and Sarah as far as we know had been faithful to one another…so in that moment the devil had deceived Sarai by putting thoughts of reasoning and rationalizing in her mind. Verse 3 tells us it was ten years before Sarai sent Hagar into Abrams bed. How difficult those years must have been as she reasoned and rationalized her plan?
Manipulation – Verse 2 says “Abram listen to the voice of Sarai.” This is an important statement because we see here that Abram had not spent time reasoning and rationalizing how these heirs, his descendants as many as stars would come. Sarai manipulated Abram into taking Hagar to bring about an heir.
There is a price to be paid when we step out of the will of God…to reason or rationalize our way to get what God has promised or what we believe God wants for us, sadly to get what we want. In verses 4-6 we have a glimpse of the price Sarai paid. The relationship with her maid servant was damaged, Abram’s response also hints upon the tension between all three of them.


The devil frequently steals the will of God from us due to reasoning. He injects wrong thinking and emotions into your mind so that you cannot focus on what the Holy Spirit is speaking to your spirit. God tells us to be on guard continually watching and discerning our thoughts, “make every thought obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, James 1:22 says “be doers of the Word not just a hearer.”


Dear Sisters in Jesus Christ, there is only one way to keep our mind full of Godly wisdom, Romans 12:1-2 says “Therefore (make it so) I urge you, sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy (devoted) sacrifice , acceptable (pleasing) to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (praise and glory for all God is doing). And do not be conformed (copy what others do) in this world (your flesh, emotions), but be transformed (be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is(with our mouth and lived out in action), that which is good and pleasing to God in every way.” personalized NASB


If our relationship with Jesus is a growing and an intimate one, our goal must be to let our spirit (which is stronger, supernatural) be in control of our mind. This can only be achieved if our spirit is in tune with the Holy Spirit and listening to the voice of God daily. Victory and freedom come when we recognize the devil’s tools and fight back using everything we have in Jesus Christ.


Proverbs 3:5 tells us “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Blessing, Laurie

Murdered Innocence

 

 

 

 

 

“The devil…he was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
James 8:44 NASB

Today we live in a sex fueled world…in culture that does not value sexual integrity and purity. Instead, it values instant gratification and pleasure at all costs. Throughout history and today women are exploited for sex. Men have used women to satisfy their sexual desires without regard for the women they prey upon. Teenage men today are caught up in the age-old game of how many notches (sexual experiences) they have on their belt is as prevalent today as it was yesterday. The young women who become their victims are spoken about and many times unknowing shared by a group of young men. Each time they have sex with her they take a part of her soul. This begins a cycle of shame for most young women.

The dating world gives way to sex before marriage making it as common going out to a movie or having dinner. While you believe this is part of dating the reality is its sex out of marriage. Sex outside of marriage breaks down your ability to express the highest form of physical love created by God to build intimacy between one man and one woman. You will carry those pre-marital experiences into your marriage. Innocence dies through these experiences.

The Big Lie:  Women today believe the only way to receive and feel love is by giving their bodies over to men through sex.  Sex is fun and not meant exclusively for marriage between one man and one woman.

Fact:  A healthy woman usually only gives her body to someone she thinks of night and day and with whom her heart and spirit have already connected (unless there is dysfunctional or addictive behavior involved). And when she gives her mind, heart and soul, her body usually follows right behind. The four are intricately connected.

Fact:  Men use the words “I love you” to get sex. A male can enjoy the act of sex without committing his heart or bonding spiritually with the object of his physical desire. While a man needs mental, emotional and spiritual connection as well…his need to gratify his physical desires leads the way while the other needs follow behind.

 

Truth: Intimacy can best be defined by breaking the word into its syllables: “in-to-me-see”. This connection with your husband or wife is a longing to be seen and accepted for who you really are deep down inside, as well as to see the other person deep down inside so that you truly know each other. God created the act of sexual intimacy as a gift to give a husband and wife a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bond with pleasure beyond description.

“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become on flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Genesis 2:24-25 NASB

Ok, so where does this truth leave you? Let’s look at where you are now in your life.

1. You are unmarried and still holding on to your sexual integrity. If this is you…fantastic! Hold on to that! Find other like-minded Christians to help you stay accountable and pure. In the book, “Every Young Woman’s Battle”, the following is a glimpse of what an amazing gift is waiting for you in marriage.

Imagine what it is like when two sexually pure people get married. He has guarded his heart and she is the only naked woman he has ever seen. And she has never been held so intimately that she knows the smell of any man’s skin but his. She has no one to compare his gentle touch and caress to. No comparison. No disappointment. No guilt or shame. Their sexual intimacy is shared  between two bodies, two minds, two hearts, and two spirits that unite to become one-flesh union. When this level of intimacy is experienced within the commitment and safety of a loving marriage, it can be one of the most earthshaking experiences this side of heaven.

2. You are the parents. Pray for God to give you the strength and courage to set boundaries, speak freely and honestly about your mistakes. Get together as the mother and father and discuss how you will approach your children about dating and intimacy. Don’t just go with what you did…today we must take steps to keep our young people safe from the pressure put on them. Make sure your home leads by example in every area by setting a godly standard in your personal life, as well as music, movies and social media. Ask the difficult questions or if necessary seek out a trusted Christian mentor for them. Make sure they have accountability with others of the same-sex i.e. woman to woman or man to man.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NASB

3. You have blown it. You find yourself sexually compromised and like a broken record you just keep going around and letting the scratch or crack hang you up. There is hope! Jesus paid the price at the whipping post and cross for you! You can bring all those past experiences before the Lord ask Him to forgive you. You also need to take that extra step and lay down your pride and confess with your mouth to another Christian. Those experiences can either anchor you to the past or thrust you into the future. Start today by renewing your mind daily in the truth found in the Bible. The closer you draw to God, the more you know Him, He will reveal and heal your mind and body. Take steps to become accountable for your life.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 NASB

Do not lose hope it may take time. There may be residual physical damage, however, it is God’s desire that you live a life of joy and peace walking in His love and grace.

I hope these words are of encouragement to you. If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can ! Simply ask Jesus to come and dwell within you bringing His Holy Spirit to guide you and ask forgiveness from the sin in your life. Acknowledge the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for you and that He is the son of the one true God.

Be Blessed,
Laurie

The Crying Corner

When does sadness, loneliness, stress, and for some anxiety step over the line and become depression?  I have suffered with varying degrees of depression for most of my life and have dealt with it in many different  ways from doctor prescribed medication, counseling, suicidal thoughts, self-help book reading, excessive drinking, shopping, sleeping, and binge eating.  None of the before mentioned methods had lasting results let alone were they healthy.  I’m excited to share what I’ve learn and how my life has changed.

I know and believe with all my heart that Satan is at the core of depression.  Satan has the ability to twist true feelings and situations into dark places.  I’m no stranger to abuse, loss, physical illness and financial worry.  Satan’s twist makes you feel failure, guilt, anger, worthless and hopeless…your feelings out of control cause you to begin spiraling down.

If you believe in God and with that I mean Jesus Christ our Savior who has given us His Word “The Bible” you must also believe in Satan.  Understanding and believing this TRUTH is key in fighting depression.  If your reading this post and do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior I strongly suggest you seek out the truth found in Christ and make a commitment to Him.  You can find answers and help at a local church.  A small aside…make sure the church you chose teaches from the Bible in its whole and believes in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, some churches have fallen away from these core beliefs and have become lost serving man instead of Jesus Christ.

For more than 40 years I struggled with depression without lasting help.  Only through my personal relationship with Jesus is Satan losing the battle of holding me in darkness.  So what happened simply put I started turning every thought I had over to Jesus and measuring those thoughts by His Word to determine whether  they are true.  Though scripture I’m able to look at my feelings, thoughts and circumstances.  Jesus helps me find truth and I’m able to separate the lies Satan would have me believe about myself and any circumstance.  I wish I could tell you this is an easy process but your past has a toll on your beliefs.  Destructive past experiences and possibly your life at this moment can contribute to holding you in darkness and giving Satan the fuel to keep you depressed.  Jesus gives strength, clarity and most importantly freedom from Satan’s grip.

The best way for me to explain what I mean is by example.   During those long years of fighting depression without Jesus I have found myself in what I call “THE CRYING CORNER”.  This feeling is crippling, I found myself very emotional many times in my bedroom down in the corner weeping uncontrollably.  Most of the time it was life circumstances that brought me there.  In my mind NO WAY OUT was  consuming me.  Trapped in a marriage with a man who mentally and physically was abusing my sons and me.  My self-esteemed destroyed by Satan though this man and my childhood.  I thought I deserved where I was in the “crying corner”.

Day to day life became a struggle.  I performed my duties as a mother and wife with a deep depression just below the surface.  I missed many opportunities for joy and I let those I cared about down.   One such day I had been asked by a dear friend I had know for years to be maid of honor in her wedding I was so lost the day of her wedding I just didn’t show up.  She never spoke to me again.  How could I have done that?  My life on that day and the days leading up to it were dark.  I was being manipulated by Satan through my husband which made me unable to leave my home.  Days like this were common.

Then I was introduced to Jesus and His Word in a new way.  You see the Bible is not an historical account of God’s people nor is it bedtime stories.  Every Word is for you today and everyday.  Salvation is not just for “getting into heaven”.  Salvation by definition is “Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil.”  What Jesus did for me by dying on the cross was deliverance.  

The Bible became my go to place in battling Satan and depression.  Through scripture, prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit my life began to change.  I got involved at my church and began praying for the Lord to show me what changes I needed to make, those changes began with surrendering my life to Christ.

I began with these scriptures:

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12 NIV

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8 NIV

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

Jesus wants to set you free.  He died for you so that you would no longer be trapped by the world but would have the power through him to set yourself apart from Satan’s destructive ways.

My prayers are for you!  Discover your own scriptures, build a army of God’s Word to fight against evil.

Laurie

Seek Peace

Scripture: Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14 NIV

Observation: This is a good follow-up to yesterday’s SOAP. If we will seek peace we will stop doing evil. We will not delay justice and we will no longer call good bad and bad good.

Application: As I desire to allow God to reign I will automatically seek peacefulness with others and justice will result.

Prayer: Father, help me to desire your will for my life so that evil will not prevail. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen

Doug