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Higher Calling

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This morning I was challenged through a devotional by Oswald Chambers. The title of this day’s devotion was: Is He Really My Lord? How is that for a point blank question? It is definitely a call for introspection, isn’t it?

Oswald goes on to say; “Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it- to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” … He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call- the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him.”

Did you read what I read? Do you hear what I heard?

This is a challenge to quit with the excuses, whatever that excuse may be; and sometimes the excuses can seem so innocent and legit… but they are just excuses.

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In these final hours, the devil knows his time is short. He is an expert at what he does, he has been doing it for thousands of years. 1 Peter says it like this, that ENEMY of yours, the devil, prowls around LIKE a roaring lion, fiercely hungry, seeking someone to devour. How do we defeat him?

Be sober minded,well balanced,self disciplined,be alert and cautious at ALL times

But, how do we do this? I mean really? We can’t do it on our own. This is how: we STAY close to Him! We cast all our cares, our worries, our anxieties, once and for all on Him, because He cares about us with deepest affection and watches over us very carefully.

It is easy to get side tracked, distracted, remember… the devil is a master con-artist.

We look at the world and it is easy to see how the devil is moving. Just 2 minutes going through your facebook newsfeed will show you the devil’s handi-work. But, in your personal lives, do you see it? Do you recognize the attacks? The subtle roadblocks he sets up?

You may think you are just one person and what does it really matter in the whole scheme of things. But, let me tell you, you matter! God has called you for a purpose. You heard the saying a chain is only as strong as the weakest link? My friend, you are not weak! God has given you an arsenal to defeat the enemy and to make an impact for His Kingdom. You may have got off the path, you lost sight of the vision, the enemy has filled you with doubt, fear, and unbelief; he has hit you in your finances, your relationships, your health, and your mind. He has you believing that you are a failure and unworthy and you look in the mirror and you see a hypocrite. STOP IT! This is not how God sees you! Humble yourself, because it is not about you, it is what Jesus has already done.

What has God called you to do? What dream has He given you?

Does it seem too big? Then good! Because He is big and He has called you for a greater purpose and He promised to never leave you and that He will finish what He has started in you. He said to not be afraid, so to be afraid is to align yourself with the enemy. Partner with God. Be of courage. Be of faith. Believe!

To know what you should be doing and not do it, is sin. Repent! Turn to Him and believe. Trust Him! One step at a time, in faith, will move a mountain. To sit still in fear is to be dinner for the “lion wannabe.”

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Finish your race with joy, and the ministry which you received from the Lord Jesus.. Acts 20:24

Choose Life

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At the risk of being vulnerable and judged, I am going to share something personal and trust God will use this part of my testimony to help someone; even if it is only one person. I have always tried to be true and honest with my writing. My heart is to reach and minister to the lost and hurting; but to be completely honest we must share our testimony and not be afraid or ashamed. When we can be open, transparent, and fearless, then we know we have been healed.

I am in a group of wonderful ladies from all walks of life. Everyday I read their posts, some make me laugh, some I cry, and some I learn from.  The other day a woman posted requesting prayer for her daughter as she was having a rainbow baby.

A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss.In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better. … A rainbow baby brings light but by no means replaces the angel baby. (kickscount.org)

Suddenly, without warning, I felt a knot in my stomach and a grief. This caught me off guard. The realization hit me; I have four (grown) children and three of them were rainbow babies. Every other pregnancy I had ended in miscarriage.

With the exception of one (I had a friend come alongside me), I grieved alone and silently for each. I was pregnant and then suddenly I wasn’t. I was carrying a baby and then suddenly I wasn’t. It was surreal. I mean, what do you do with a miscarriage? You never held the baby in your arms, you don’t even know if it was a boy or girl, so the baby has no name. For everyone else the child never existed, but for a mother carrying the baby in her womb, no matter how short, there can be no denial a life was lost.

This is where I am going to be real with you. In addition to the sadness of losing a baby, I also had guilt. I suppose in a way I didn’t feel I had a right to grieve and I probably deserved what happened. Maybe this is why I grieved alone, because I didn’t want anyone else to know why I felt so guilty and condemned.

I married my first husband very young and was a young mother. After my first baby was born, we found out I was pregnant again. My husband didn’t want another baby, things were not going well between us, I was young, he and his family were in the medical profession, so I believed them when they told me “it” was not a baby and I should have an abortion.  I was young, I didn’t know Jesus at the time, and even though it did not sit right with me…

“Pro-choice” (and I use that term loosely) people will tell you the life inside you is not a baby; in fact “it’s” not even life. They will paint the picture of just a “blood clot” to help you make the decision to have an abortion. After all, we are a modern day society and women have “choices/options” now.

I remember sitting in Planned Parenthood waiting for them to call my name. I was alone. Apparently the pregnancy was so insignificant that (my then) husband would not even go with me. There were other young girls in the waiting room, some alone, some with a boyfriend, and it almost seemed as though we were waiting at a dentist office to get a tooth pulled. Still, inside, my stomach was turning, it didn’t seem right.  I wanted to run out of there, but my husband…

So I allowed myself to believe “it” wasn’t a baby. I pushed it out of my mind. I blocked any feelings. But, privately, I felt… sad.

After this I had three more babies; beautiful and healthy daughters. In between each baby after my first, I had a miscarriage. I never really felt I had a right to grieve because of what I had done. I felt it was a rightful and deserving punishment for me. How could I possibly have a right to grieve when I participated in the death of the baby I was suppose to protect?

You see, I have shoved this so far down and denied it for too long. I never allowed myself to feel any kind of grief or loss, because I was afraid. I was scared of my feelings, regret, and truth. I was ashamed.

Why after all this time was I hit with this? It does debunk the myth that women who choose abortion will heal and will not have any residual emotions, doesn’t it?

Perhaps this is Gods way of saying to me, now is the time to share my testimony and receive complete healing. Healing is not only for the physical, it is emotional and spiritual. When we allow God to come in, He wants to heal us completely.

What I did not know then (30 years ago), I do know now; and that is Jesus came to set us free!

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 

 This I can say confidently, it is well with my soul. I know when I get to heaven I will see my babies who have grown up before the Lord. 

If I could do it all over again, of course I would choose differently, but God knows.

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My dear friend, does this speak to you? Perhaps right now you are facing some tough choices. Can I tell you, a pregnancy may not have been wanted or planned, but there is no baby that is a mistake. We may sin, but a baby is not the sin, a baby is a blessing. You have other options besides abortion. Choose life! If you are not in a position, or want to be a mother right now, please know there are people out there who can and want to provide a loving home for your baby and support for you.

Every life is precious. Jesus has this to say about you and about your baby…

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own];
I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 

If you have already traveled the dark path of abortion, there is still hope. There is forgiveness and healing in Jesus. You do not have to hide from Him. Come to Him and let Him cleanse you and make you new. You have not committed the unpardonable sin. Healing comes with repentance, my friend.

If you are struggling and you feel alone please reach out. There are Pregnancy Support Centers across our nation with wonderful loving people who want to help you.  They will come along side you and walk the journey of life with you.

A baby is a blessing. Choose life.

Be Free & Stay Free 

Do Even Harder Things (a reblog)

I am sharing this post from another blogger, Brandon J Adams. I believe he hits the nail on the head with this. Its an excellent post with exhortation to share your faith, even when the simple is hard. If you like this post I encourage you to check out his blog for more of his writings, I know I get blessed everytime I read his blog.

Be Free & Stay Free 

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

via Do Even Harder Things — Brandon J. Adams

The Violent Take it by Force; an open letter to the church

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Matthew 11:12

Most of us would not hesitate to defend a helpless person. If we see an elderly person fall down we would help them up. Or if we see a small child alone and lost in a city street, we would stop and call the authorities; it would be impossible for us to turn a blind eye to a helpless child. In times of natural and/or unnatural disasters, the supernatural steps in and empowers ordinary people to rise up and help. Even wars have been fought to free enslaved people and many have sacrificed their own lives for the life of another.

You see, the world is the person(s) who needs help. Many have fallen and are lost. They are defenseless in a world darkened with deception.

Throughout history, just and unjust, wars have been waged. We are living in a time where there are no longer just rumors of war, but actual wars; in other countries and our own. Conflict is on the rise and people are divided. Division has breached government, friendships, and families. It has given birth to fear, mistrust, selfishness, and paranoia.

Across the globe there are hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and fires. People are suffering from illness and disease. There is a pill for everything; depression, insomnia, weight loss, high blood pressure, heart, constipation, ADD, ADHD, RLS, ED, thyroid, headache… and the list goes on. Those who can’t afford prescribed medication self medicate, opening the door to bondage of addictions. Recently I read an article about a plague taking lives in Madagascar. The plague?

Peoples hearts are failing them. The fear of the future is causing many to check out emotionally or physically through suicide. Families are juggling the bills, choosing between eating, electricity, or rent. The pressures have destroyed families, children are growing up unsupervised and without a parent. The rate of marriage is low as people hop from one relationship to another, our elderly are forgotten in nursing homes, and the transient state of our country has left many without the help and support of family.

Men don’t know if they are women, women want to be men, it is mass confusion! Equal rights now equal domination. To go against the grain is considered hate. Carnality is celebrated and to stand on Gods truth is to be labeled bigot, ignorant, and homophobic.

People are leaving churches, the Gospel message has been watered down across the pulpit, and many are choosing their best life now over God’s truth. Itchy ears are placated with political correctness and pats on the back; because His word doesn’t fit the worlds narrative and it is offensive.

The signs He told us to look for are here. His return is sooner than we think. He IS coming back.  It is time to WAKE UP, Church!

This is not the time for entertainment and to lose ourselves in front of a television or computer screen. We are not called to sit back, scratch our heads and live defeated lives; we are not to roll over dead! We are called to an abundant life! And I am not referring to prosperity preaching. I am talking about the abundant life of expectation. Expect God to move… through us!

But a move can’t happen if we are closed up into our own lives, too afraid to go into the world, and worried about what “others” may think of us.

“Adam and Eve were placed in the garden with a mission. God said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.” It was God’s intention that as they bore more children, who also lived under God’s rule, they would be extending the boundaries of His garden (His government) through the simplicity of their devotion to Him. The greater the number of people in right relationship to God, the greater the impact of their leadership. This process was to continue until the entire earth was covered with the glorious rule of God through man.”

“But in Genesis chapter 1 we discover it’s not the perfect universe. Satan had rebelled and had been cast out of heaven, and with him a portion of the fallen angels took dominion of the earth. It’s obvious why the rest of the planet needed to be subdued – it was under the influence of darkness. God could have destroyed the devil and his host with a word, but instead He chose to defeat darkness through His delegated authority – those made in His image who were lovers of God by choice.”

“The backbone of Kingdom authority and power is found in the commission.”

– Bill Johnson, When Heaven Invades Earth (I recommend this book!)

Now I will remind you what we, His Church, have been commissioned to do with power and authority:

Jesus came up and said to them “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words],baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually, regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of age.”  –Matthew 28:8-20

These signs will accompany those who have believed; in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink anything deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.” -Mark 16:17-18

 If you have read this far then I know this is for you. You are in agreement and His Holy Spirit is prompting you and you know there is more to life than this! You know you have been chosen and called. You feel the sting of conviction to be purposeful and be about His business.

Maybe you don’t know where to begin. You begin right where you are, but you do not stop there.

You begin in your home, with your spouse, children, or parents. If your family does not share your faith in God, then thank God you are there! They are your first mission field. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [that is, he receives the blessings granted] through his [Christian] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be [ceremonially] unclean, but as it is they are holy.” -1 Corinthians 7:14

Then go into the world! Take His light into the schools, workplace, market place, for wherever you go you are carrying His light. “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven”. -Matthew 5:14-16

Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have!

The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force! Now Go!

Come, let us be His Church together.

Oh, God, help us! Move our hearts with what moves Yours. We believe, help us overcome our unbelief. Create in us a new heart, a strong heart, a heart of flesh, that we may be moved with compassion and action to a lost and dying world. For Your name sake! In Jesus Name, Amen.

Be Free & Stay Free

Mercy Over Judgment

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Straightening up, Jesus said to her,“Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”She answered, “No one, Lord!” And Jesus said,“I do not condemn you either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]  John 8:10-11

A woman was caught in the act of adultery and the religious people of the day thought they would just march her right on down to Jesus. They were certain they had the law on their side and if Jesus was who He said He was then He would agree. They were testing Jesus.

Imagine the woman was trembling inside. She knew what the law required; she was to be stoned to death. They stood her in front of the crowd, in  public humiliation, announcing her sin. Can you imagine the whispers and shaking of heads that must have been going around the crowd? I imagine the pious religious men, chest puffed up and standing tall in their own self righteousness, believing they finally caught Jesus.

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You see, the scribes and Pharisees knew the law, but they did not know Him. If they knew Him they would have known God desires mercy over judgment. Religion wanted to condemn this woman and the law wanted to stone her; but Jesus stepped in.

For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; but [to the one who has shown mercy] mercy triumphs [victoriously] over judgment. -James 2:13

When we use your hand to point at someone, our finger is pointing forward, but the other fingers are pointing toward us. Try it, use your hand, point at something. What do you see? What are the position of your other fingers? That’s right, they are pointing back at you. How easy it is to see another persons sin out and ignore our own, huh? We have all been guilty.

The woman had no defense. She could not deny her guilt. All she could do was hope for mercy. I have been there. Have you?

Our sin not only affects us, it affects our relationship with God, and with others. The world says if it feels good so do it, it’s not hurting anyone; this is a lie.

Let’s read the rest of the story.

Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger. It is not recorded what He wrote, although some speculate it was the sins of her  accusers. While He was writing in the dust her accusers kept  on ranting and demanding an answer from Him. When they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, “Let him who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her.” Then He bent back down and continued writing in the dirt.

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Can you hear the silence as each one of her accusers were dismantled of their own self righteousness? Do you hear the stones dropping  as they turn and walk away? Their conscience was pricked, one by one, from the oldest to the youngest, until there was no one left standing in the center of the court but Jesus and the woman.

Jesus raises Himself up and say’s to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?”

No one, Lord.” She answers.

“I do not condemn you either. Go your way and from now on sin no more.” And with these words, she is free, made new, and forgiven.

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Did you hear that? Jesus said to her and He says to you, “I do not condemn you. Go your way and from now on sin no more.”

Yes, God desires mercy over judgment. His heart is for us. For this reason He came down as a Man. He was fully man and fully God. His great love for us encompasses us and covers our sins and the affects of sin in us. Do you understand this? The guilt and shame you are tempted to carry because of sin, He has freed you from it!

Beloved, perhaps it wasn’t adultery you were entangled in. Sin is sin, and the accuser stands at your door waiting to devour you with condemnation, guilt, and shame.

Let this Psalm be your prayer. Then receive His forgiveness, His mercy, His love, and go and sin no more.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Be Free & Stay Free

Beauty for Ashes

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Shame does something to a person. It produces a judgement of guilt and unrelenting condemnation.

Shame distorts a person. It suffocates the future and feeds on regret. The showering of fear hinders growth and stifles a person from becoming who they were created to be.

When I think of people in the Bible who overcame shame, I see a common thread.

Think of the woman at the well, for example. Shame ostracized her right into isolation. Or how about Rahab the prostitute? You better believe she could clear a sidewalk when she walked down the street. Even Gideon hid because he was the least of the least; he didn’t see himself as a man of valor; but God did. The list could go on and on, because God chooses such people.

Do you know what they have in common? They encountered the living God!

Are you there, my friend? Are you carrying shame like a dirty little secret and trying to cover it with  lie upon lie; afraid of being exposed? Have you isolated yourself in your closet of regret and you no longer do the things you used to enjoy, you hide from people, your prayer life is non-existent, you don’t even read your Bible anymore, and your head is too heavy to hold up?

If this is you, then there is something you need to know. There is no sin so great that He can’t forgive. There is no wrong that He can’t make right and no reason your past has to rob you of your future.

Jesus came to set you free! Do you believe this?

When He gave His life for yours, He took the shame to the grave and left it there, and then He rose victorious! His victory is your victory.

He gives beauty for ashes. Do you believe?

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1-3

Call on Him. Repent and receive His forgiveness. Let it go. You have been created for so much more. When He formed you, He held you in His hands and He said, “It is good.”

We make mistakes. We don’t always make the right choice. Sometimes we do it willingly and sometimes not. But, He has made a way for us. Come to Him just as you are, because this is one thing you can’t do on your own; you need Him.  We all need Him.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Re Blog of Paper Umbrella

This is an excellent post I am sharing form A Fractured Faith blog. If you enjoy this, check out their blog for some more good reads.

I love books. I have hundreds of them and Fionnuala is constantly encouraging me to have ‘book culls’ in order to free up some space in our already packed to the gills abode. A few years ago she bought me a Kindle which rarely leaves my side. I probably have another hundred or so books […]

via The Paper Umbrella  — A Fractured Faith