shani4jc

“We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18

Tbis is an excerpt from my devotional today:

”To the naked eye, distant stars are just a speck of light, but with the help of a telescope, we realize those stars are actually huge. In the same way, during our hard times, God can seem distant. When that happens, do whatever it takes to remember how big God actually is –  let faith adjust your lens.”

As soon as I read this, I thought of one particular friend who is going through a period of time when God seems so distant. We have all been there. We are facing what seems to us as insurmountable devastation, and God is nowhere to be found. Or at least that’s how we perceive the situation. We pray and pray and pray, but our words seem to go no higher than the ceiling. We read the Bible, but none of it makes any sense or doesn’t apply to our situation. We try to praise God, but the words just won’t come because the hurt and heartache is just too intense. When those times come (and they will), we have to get out our spiritual telescope and focus on how big God truly is. He may seem far away, but He’s actually right there where He has always been. We have just focused our telescope on our circumstances instead of our Savior. We have to keep praying, keeping reading Scripture, and keep praising by faith. We have to trust what we cannot see or feel instead of trusting what we do see and feel. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary if we are to grow our faith. Keep that telescope zoomed into God and sooner than you may think, everything you need to see will come clearly into view.

Advertisements

Satan knows your name, but he calls you by your sin

God knows your sin, but He calls you by your name

 

I saw this on a friend’s social media a few days ago.  Take a few minutes and let these words soak into your soul.  I hope you find great comfort, as I do, to know that our heavenly Father calls us by name.  He knows our sin…every sordid detail of it, but never ever does He call us by that sin.  He loves us and sees us as His treasured children, robed in the righteousness of Jesus.  Satan, however, is just the opposite.  He, too, knows our name, but he calls us only by our weaknesses, our failures, and our worst moments.  He lives to tear us down.  He knows if he can make us focus on our sin, we can never focus on our Savior.   The key to us living the abundant life Jesus died to give us is who we listen to.  If the voice whispering in your ear is tearing you down and constantly reminding you of how much you’ve messed up, you’re tuned in to the wrong station.  God will never speak to you that way.  He will not ignore your sin, don’t get me wrong, but He will always correct you in love, reminding you not of your sin, but reminding you of your Savior.  If the voice whispering in your ear tells you how disappointed God must be in you, ignore it.  God is NOT disappointed in you…He adores you beyond measure.  If the voice whispering in your ear is telling you that you will never be used by God because of your past, put your ear plugs in and stop listening to his lies.  God can and will redeem anyone and everyone who is willing to be redeemed.  He can take the worst sinner and turn them in to the greatest witness for His grace (if you don’t believe that, you may want to do some reading on what the apostle Paul has to say about that).  Don’t listen to anything that is shaming you, humiliating you, or causing you to feel horrible about yourself…that is just a bunch of lies straight from the father of lies.  Listen to the One whose voice brings encouragement, hope, peace, and is free of condemnation…He is the One who truly loves you and cares for you.  He is the One who speaks truth and truth only. He is the voice you want to follow for He is the One who leads you to the life He died to give you.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”  Romans 8:1

 

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Mahatma Gandhi

Our pastor shared this quote this morning in church and it has been on my mind all day long. I wonder how many other people feel the same way. Are we, as Christians, doing such a poor job being the hands, feet, eyes, and heart of Christ that we are keeping people from pursuing a relationship with Christ? Are the lost drawn to what they hear about Christ, but then driven away because of the way His children behave? Do we even look any different from the lost world? If we don’t, then shame on us because we are supposed to! God called us to be set apart from this world. We were not called to blend in, but to stand out! Our words, actions, reactions, attitudes, and example should be a reflection of Him, not a reflection of the world. The lost world is looking for genuine, authentic Christianity. They won’t come to know Christ if we are just more of the same of what they already have. We have to be constantly aware that we may be the only Jesus someone ever sees and, if we don’t really look like Him, they will judge Him to be way less than who He really is. We don’t have to be perfect, just real! That’s what the lost world is seeking! And that’s what Jesus has called us to be!

”Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1

 

“For the waves of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Romans 6:23

i am not a fan of cold weather for the most part. It’s typically hot where I live, so cold temperatures are not a normal event for us. Tbis particular winter, however, we are getting a lot more cold temperatures than normal. I’m talking about the kind of cold where I would love to be curled up next to a fire reading a good book and sipping hot chocolate and definitely not sticking my nose outside. My grandsons, however, are not really big  fans of staying inside if they can help it. The weather doesn’t seem to phase them in the least. They want to play outside whether it is 110 degrees or 25 degrees, rain, sleet, snow, or shine. And when I say play outside, I mean play outside for hours upon hours. This afternoon, they begged to go outside so I bundled us all up and out we went. It was about 34 degrees and the wind was whipping. Within one minute, I was ready to come inside, but they were not bothered in the least by the cold. They paid not one ounce of attention to the cold in fact. I asked the four year old if he was cold and he told me it wasn’t even a tiny bit cold. As I stood swinging them, teeth chattering and feeling like my hands and feet were frozen, I watched two little boys have the time of their lives and pretty much desensitized to the weather around them. They didn’t care about the cold…they wanted to play! The thought occurred to me that my sin can leave me much the same way. I can become desensitized to it because I’m doing what I want to do.  I don’t care about the consequences of what I’m doing at the time. I just want to do what I want to do. My sin, however, is much more serious than the cold temperatures. My sin can harm my life or the lives around me. Its consequences are very severe and may be much more than I bargained for. My sin is so serious in fact that the Bible says the payment for it is death. That’s very serious! Thank goodness we have a Savior who has paid the penalty for our sin with His death and has in turn given us eternal life in Him.

“Belief preceded behavior.” Max Lucado in Anxious for Nothing

If you want to know what you truly believe, take a long look at how you behave. Your actions, reactions, attitudes, words, deeds, and thoughts stem from what you truly believe in your heart. If your behavior is out of line, it’s very likely that our beliefs are behind it. For example, many of us say we believe in the power of prayer, but never pray. If we never pray, do we really believe in the power of prayer? We may say we have faith in God, but live our life in a constant state of worry and panic. Worry and faith are opposites and we can’t do both at the same time. Whatever we truly believe cannot help but pour out into our behavior and actions. It can’t help but be evident in who we are and what others see in us. If we truly believe in God, He will be made known to others through us. And for those who truly believe in Him, there is no limit to what He will do for them.

“As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3

God loves you more than your mind can even comprehend, and He wants you to love Him with everything in you. He wants desperately to be your first love, your highest priority, and your number one in ever way. He doesn’t want ANYTHING to get in front of Him in your life. God doesn’t want you to love Him above all things because He is insecure or jealous, but because He knows that your greatest possible life can be loved only if you put Him above all. He knows that anything you put above Him will eventually hurt you, disappoint you, or lead you down the wrong path. He knows that He is what is best for you, and He should…He created  you after all! And not only does He want you to love Him above all, He wants you to love Him no matter what! He wants you to love Him so much that you trust Him with absolute certainty. He wants to love Him even if:

– your loved one doesn’t make it

– the test results from the doctor aren’t good

– the job doesn’t last

– the marriage falls apart

– the child you long for never comes

-the bank account is running low

– the friend betrays you

The list could go on and on! God doesn’t want us to love Him only when He does what we want Him to or when everything is going our way. He lavishes is with unconditional love, and He wants us to love Him unconditionally as well. What is holding you back from loving Him with everything in you? Ask Him to help you overcome whatever it is so you can love Him as He wants you to! You can be guaranteed He will do exactly that!

“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14

Many of us can get so caught up in our past that we can’t move forward with our future. The chains of regret, guilt, and failure are so tightly wrapped around us that we are helpless to break free on our own. Try as we might to take a step forward, we can’t. Every time we take that one step, those chains tighten and yank us back into the pit of despair. How can we move forward with the weight of our past rendering us paralyzed? The truth is simply this: we can’t! No matter what we do or how hard we try, we can’t escape our should’ve, would’ve, and could’ves. Our guilt and regret will smother us until we can’t even bear to look ourselves in the mirror. We are doomed to the chains of our past except for one thing…Jesus Christ is a master chain breaker! He, and He alone, can snap those chains in the blink of an eye. There is no chain too big or too strong or too powerful for Him to break. Jesus died in order for you to live…not in order for you to be chained to the past that He has already paid for. He wants you to be free from the guilt, the regrets, the failures, and the despair. He doesn’t want your past to rob you of your future! He has an abundant life planned for you and it doesn’t include looking being chained to what already has been. Confess your sins, accept His grace and forgiveness, feel the chains fall in defeat, and move forward to the future He intends for you!

“There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror. Your future matters more than your past.” Max Lucado

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 989 other followers

Archives

May

January 2018
F S S M T W T
« Dec    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031