Fear is a Liar! : A Short Story

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“Do it!” He whispered in her ear, as his unseen hand cupped hers, guiding the razor to her forearm. “This is your only way out.”

Her hand trembled and her vision blurred from the tears as she held the razor between her fingers. Cutting herself use to bring momentary relief from the pain inside of her, the warm, crimson red, flow of her own blood was a drain to the sickness inside of her. The pain of each cut was just enough to dull the despair. But this time she would cut deep enough to kill the pain forever.

Daily living drained her of strength. She no longer had energy to maintain the facade of normalcy. To get out of bed in the mornings brought increasing anxiety. She was constantly exhausted and the effort to keep breathing was an uphill battle. She had no where to turn; every bridge burnt in disappointment, rejection, and failure. Though she sought solace through relationships, alcohol, and every other substitute, it was no where to be found.

He felt her waiver and he knew if he allowed her to stall then she would change her mind. He mustn’t let that happen again. The other demons did an outstanding job separating her from help, it was his job to finish her, and there would be hell to be pay if he failed.

“Push her or get out of the way!” The other demons jeered.

“Silence!” He stood to his full height. “This takes cunning and precision.”

“Here, let me help you. She just needs a little reminding.” Another demon pushed his way through the others to join the rollicking. Shame enjoyed tagging along with the others. Though he was never the first demon to attack, he was an excellent grubber, and he didn’t mind feeding on the entails. It was Shames job to keep her in place, and to stay her from moving forward, by reminding her how worthless and hopeless she is.

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“There is no help for you, if ever there was, because people would find out who you really are and what you have really done.” Shame echoed in her mind. “You stink, you’re worthless, and a total screw-up! Who would want you if they knew you? No one, that’s who!”

Memories of every relationship she gave herself to made her feel sick to her stomach. She closed her eyes tight to fight off the memories of the shameful and degrading acts. Shame reminded her of every piece of herself she gave away in each promiscuous act, until the purity of love was buried beyond recognition.

“Excellent work, Libertine!” Shame patted the lustful demon on the back. “I appreciate that you make my job easy.”

“You wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for me, you little imp!” Lust bellowed.

“Your own father didn’t even want you.” Rejection taunted her with memories of the abuse she endured at the hand of her father. “You were a terrible daughter! Everyone knew it was your fault!”

“You call yourself a Christian? Why look at you!” Religion pointed his finger at her, poking her with each word for emphasis. “You cry and God doesn’t hear you, because you are weak!”

“No one wants you!” Another demon chimed in. “Go ahead and off yourself, you won’t even be missed.”

Confusion stepped in and led the others in an orchestra of accusations, while Murdertiedup gripped her hand on the razor. “Kill yourself! Do it! You are worthless! No one loves you! No one wants you! No one cares! God will never forgive you! If there was a God why does your life suck? You are a whore! You are stupid! You are ugly! There is no hope for you! Everything you touch is cursed! Die! Die! Die!…” Accusations and taunts circled around her head, confusing her, making her dizzy.

Her hand trembled, her tears fell, and though she wanted it all to end, there was a small voice…

Come to Me.” The small voice softly beckoned. “I am your Healer and Deliverer.”

“Jesus?” Her voice was barely audible.

“What did she say?!” The demons stepped back just enough to loosen the grip on her. Although they could barely hear her words, they sensed a power coming forth, though it was faint they knew even a sliver of faith in what she spoke would send them flying.

“Call on Me.” The soft clear voice broke through the confusion and spoke directly to her heart. “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. Come.”

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“God, help me.” She cried.

The lesser demons began to flee, they knew they were no match for this war. They could feel the change in the atmosphere and their shadow began to fade.

“Stop her!” Murder screamed. But it was too late…

Jesus save me.” The sound of the Name she spoke came through as thunder, throwing the demons off her.

The demons stood in the background, eyes narrowed, poison salivating from their lips with each exhale, waiting and watching. They trembled and covered their eyes when He entered the room, unable to look upon His glory. To the girl He was Love unconditional, to the demons He was a consuming fire. Not even the largest demon was fool enough to think of staying in His presence.

Immediately confusion was replaced with peace. She laid the razor down and wept.

Oh, God, forgive me.” She wept. “I have sinned and turned so far away from You.”

In her brokenness, she laid down and confessed her sins and asked God to forgive her. “Jesus, if You are willing, You can heal me.” She cried.

“I am willing, be healed. You are forgiven.”

jesusHer tears of sorrow soon turned into tears of joy as Gods Holy Spirit ministered love to her. Where rejection once resided, she now found acceptance. Where hatred once fanned the flames of unforgiveness, she found release and forgiveness. Where there was no hope, she found hope. And her weakness was now made strong, through the Name she called upon, Jesus, her Redeemer.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the demons never tried to come back. But I can tell you that when they did, they found no place in her, the door to them was forever closed, as she continued to cling to Jesus and trust Him. This is her story, this is her testimony, though she was lost, she was found. What the devil meant to use to destroy her, God used for her good and for His glory. As we read the words of her story, we can be reminded, we are never so low or too far gone, that God can’t reach us. We have an Advocate, through Jesus, to God the Father. We are sealed with His Spirit and He is forever with us.

What is your story? Let it become your testimony of Gods redeeming love.

Fear is a liar!

Call on Jesus.

Be Free & Stay Free

The Tomb is Empty! Death is defeated!

 

 

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Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw the stone [already] removed from the [groove across the entrance of the] tomb.  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple (John), whom Jesus loved (esteemed), and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him!” 

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So Peter and the other disciple left, and they were going to the tomb.  And the two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and arrived at the tomb first.  Stooping down and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings [neatly] lying there; but he did not go in. 

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Then Simon Peter came up, following him, and went into the tomb and saw the linen wrappings [neatly] lying there and the [burial] face-cloth which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the [other] linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, went in too; and he saw [the wrappings and the face-cloth] and believed [without any doubt that Jesus had risen from the dead]. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead.  Then the disciples went back again to their own homes.

Mary at tomb

 But Mary [who had returned] was standing outside the tomb sobbing; and so, as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the tomb;  and she saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  

And they said to her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She told them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 

After saying this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? For whom are you looking?” 

Supposing that He was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you are the one who has carried Him away from here, tell me where you have put Him, and I will take Him away.”  

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” 

She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means, Teacher).

 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” 

Mary Magdalene came, reporting to the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that He had said these things to her.

Jesus among His Disciples

 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].”

 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

But Thomas, one of the twelve [disciples], who was called Didymus (the twin), was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later His disciples were again inside the house, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, though the doors had been barred, and stood among them and said, “Peace to you.”  Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but [stop doubting and] believe.”  Thomas answered Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, do you now believe? Blessed[happy, spiritually secure, and favored by God] are they who did not see[Me] and yet believed [in Me].”

He is Risen
O death, where is your victoryO death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.

John 20

Secure in Father’s House

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I do not live in Mayberry or Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but I still like my neighborhood. I have only lived here for a short while, but I have gotten to know some of the neighbors and people and businesses close by.  As an extrovert I tend to say hello, good morning, or good evening to nearly everyone I come in contact with.

stick girl and dogBecause I have a little dog who loves to be walked I get the opportunity to be out and about the neighborhood several times a day. My little buddy is a people person and he loves to meet new people, too. Actually, I think he just enjoys all the extra attention, In fact, because of him I have made new friends with other women who walk their dogs.  Dog people are friendly people… just sayin’

Everyone knows JJ (that’s my lil’ buddy’s name). Most of the people I meet are friendly and harmless. Some are lonely and just need to talk to someone. For some reason a little dog helps to break barriers and people are more inclined to open up and tell you all about themselves. I like people, so I will smile and listen and try to leave them with an encouraging word.

But then there are people who are not good people. I am sure I do not have to draw a word picture for you to understand what I am saying. We have to use wisdom and practice boundaries for our own safety. Sometimes it is best to just cross the street and walk in the opposite direction.

I grew up in a big city, but I now live in a smaller city. Being a city dweller I am well aware of precautions and safety measures we have to take. For example, while it may be fine to say “good morning” to a neighbor, it is not wise to bring a stranger into your home.  While I do not live in fear and paranoia, I do lock my doors. If someone knocks on my door I will not just open the door without first knowing who it is. There are some people that I do know and I still would not just open my door or invite them in.

I may share the same zip code as my neighbors, but I do not share the same address.

When my children were small I was even more careful. I took great care to be sure they were safe. I allowed no one into my home who could harm them, be a bad influence on them, or steal from us. As a parent it was my responsibility to be sure my children were safe. And I am just a mere woman. No matter how good of a parent I am, God is a greater Father.  Which brings me to the point of this post…

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If you try to enter a home uninvited… you are a trespasser.

If you do not know the owner of the home… you are a stranger.

If you mean harm against the family in the home… you are a criminal.

If the Judge finds you guilty and throws you in prison… He is just.

There is a half truth circulating that is meant to deceive and to kill you. We all know what a half truth is… it is a lie.  This is how the deceiver tricks you. He tells you a half truth and because you do not know the full truth you will believe it, because it sounds familiar.

Does this sound familiar to you?

“God is love, we are all His children and He would never send anyone to hell. If you believe in God you will go to heaven. It doesn’t matter how you live, He understands.”

This is a very dangerous deception!

Here is the truth…

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Yes! God loves you. He loves all of us, saint and sinner.  If you believe in God then good, even Satan believes in God, but Satan isn’t going to heaven. Satan was thrown down from heaven and a place called hell was created just for him and his followers.

And it does matter how you live! If it didn’t matter then He would not have told us to repent. Of course He understands, that is why He died on the cross for us. Just as He gave His life for us so we may live, we must give our life so we can be born again and live for Him. It is through rebirth we become heirs with Jesus and we are adopted into His family as sons and daughters. His death and resurrection has reconciled us back to the Father and now all that He has is ours. We share in the inheritance of eternal life.

It is only through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved. It is not by being a really good person. There are many “good” people and old grandmothers going to hell. Not because God doesn’t love them or because He is unfair. But because they have chosen to deny Jesus and refuse the free gift of salvation. They are guilty and the penalty for their guilt (sin) is death (hell) and this is a just judgement.

There are many people in prison right now, maybe even on death row, and ex-cons, drop-outs, wash-ups, thieves, unwed mothers, you know… people who would clear a sidewalk; who will be accepted into heaven.  Don’t believe me? Remember the thief on the cross?

No matter how much you think you know… you better know Jesus.

I don’t write this to condemn anyone. Rather, I hope this challenges you to pause and ask yourself, do I know Him? Does He know me?

We all have our struggles. Trust me… no, don’t take my word for it, take His word for it.

 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me[following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls.  For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

No matter where you are, you do not have to stay there. You want peace of mind? Then know you can’t save yourself, no one else can save you either, only He can. No matter how far you have fallen, you can still come home to Jesus.

He is a place of refuge for those who call on Him. He is a good Father and He is preparing a place for you and He will come back and collect His children.

Home with Him is a safe place to be. You have no need to fear. Just as a good father here on earth will not let anything in the home to cause his children harm, you better believe God is even greater!

The next time you hear someone preach salvation without repentance… run from them!

Your best life is not now, your choices do matter, you matter,

If you are truly His then your character will become like His, the fruit of His Spirit in you will be evident. The things you used to do will no longer be appealing to you, because quite simply…. you are dead to the old you and alive in Christ.  With God this is possible.

Listen! We are all HIs creation, but we are not all His children. Many are called, but few are chosen.

If you want to know peace, then you better know Jesus.

Call on Him now while He may still be found.

If you have any questions, or if you want to follow Jesus and just don’t know what the next step is, then contact me or leave a comment and I will be happy to introduce you to Him.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

The Most Unusual Place: a short story

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Her reflection in the mirror showed a tired woman. Her skin was blotchy, pale and discolored with dark circles under her eyes; dull brown hair replaced a once thick and glowing crown. She looked at herself as if looking at a stranger. There was barely any resemblance to the woman she was in her youth. She pulled the wiry strings of hair into a single braid, splashed water onto her face and paused for a moment to savor the coolness of her hands on her brow.

“What are you doing, woman?” She cringed at the gruff sound of Ben’s voice. “Quit looking at yourself and come back to bed.”

“I have to go to the well and get some water.” She couldn’t look at him when she answered.

“It is too early for that!” He reached over and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back into bed. “Satisfy me first, woman.”

“Ben, I need to go before the other women get there, or I will have to wait until this afternoon when the heat will be unbearable.”

“You talk too much!” He gruffed. “Always talking when you should be listening.”

Ignoring her protest, he forced her legs apart to lay on her. She closed her eyes against his stale breath as he used her body. She hated this act because she despised him. She let her body go limp and her mind go numb. He was not deterred by her lack of participation. She remained still until he finished and rolled off her.

“Laying with you is like laying with a dead fish!” He pushed her out of bed. “Make me something to eat and then go get me some water.”

Her eyes stung with the tears she refused to let fall. The wretch in her stomach made her want to vomit. The feel of her own skin was more than she could bare. She felt used up like garbage wrapped in dying flesh.

Her life was not suppose to be like this. She was the oldest of three daughters. Even though sons were the pride, her parents loved her and her sisters. Her childhood was filled listening to stories by her father. Sitting on his lap and tugging at his beard, singing, “Tell me another story, Poppa.” He would laugh and say, “OK,Galilah, one more before you sleep.”

Her childhood came to an end when her father fell ill and was buried beside his brothers. Her mother, doing what she thought best, married her off to Lameck. “He will be able to provide for you,” her mother cried on her wedding day. “I cannot feed four bellies.”

At fourteen, she was the sacrificial bride to a man old enough to be her father. True, Lameck was able to provide for her, but what the marriage was supposed to provide for him was a son, yet she could not conceive. He lost his patience with her after a year and took another wife. When the second wife conceived Galilah was forced out of the house and given to another man.

After five marriages, tossed aside by four and widowed by one, she did what she had to do to provide for herself. Shamefully she shared her bed with men passing through. Prostituting herself kept just enough bread in her belly and a shelter over her head. This is how she met Ben; he came and didn’t leave. With Ben, she released one shame to pick up another.

She held the memories of her first fourteen years close to her heart. She would not be robbed of her identity. She may not be who she could have been for the years have taken their toll, but she always believed there was a greater purpose for her.

It was too late to go to the well now, the other women would be there. She hated their idle chatter and their judgmental attitude. Sometimes she envied them, sometimes she pitied them, but mostly she despised them. Given a choice she would have never chosen the life that was handed to her, but she did learn something with each abuse; she learned to listen. The men would talk and disregard her as an ignorant woman, but she listened and she learned.

When the sun was high in the sky, Galilah picked up the water jar and began her walk to the well. The heat was almost unbearable as sweat trickled down her brow. Although her face was shaded by her veil and her robe shielded her from the sun it did not offer much reprieve from the heat.

She could see a solitary figure sitting by the well. As she approached, she pulled the veil closer to her face, squinting into the sun to identify who it may be. It was a man, sitting peacefully, he was alone. Perhaps he was a foreigner passing through?

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There was nothing particularly handsome about the man as he sat and patiently waited for her to approach. She made brief eye contact with him; his eyes were warm and reflected the sun. There was something about his eyes which made her feel as though He was looking into the depth of her, not in a judgmental or seductive way, but as if He knew her. She quickly looked down.

She did not feel threatened by his presence, but her experience had taught her hostility and disdain for men. Yet, in the few brief moments of assessing him she could sense he was not like other men.

“Give Me a drink.” He broke the silence. His request was not a demand, but matter-of-factly spoken.

“How is it that you ask me for water?” She said, pausing at the well. “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

“If you knew the gift of God, and who says to you, ‘give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” He answered.

She looked around Him with some exaggeration and saw that He had no jar with Him. “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep.” She motioned to the well. “Where then do You get that living water?”

He remained seated, He did not flinch at her words. She felt the need to keep talking, divert His attention. She sensed there was greater meaning behind what He said, but she did not want to appear ignorant. She straightened her back with feigned dignity.

“Are you greater than our father, Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

“Whoever drinks of this well will thirst again,” He gave a gesture to the well. “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst. The water I give will become a fountain of water, springing up into everlasting life.”

“Well then, Sir, give me this water that I may not thirst or come here to draw.” She wanted the water He spoke of, especially if it meant she would never have to come to this well in her shame again. Her thirst went deeper than this well and even if she were able to drink this well dry it would not be enough.

“Go, call your husband and come here.” He answered.

She felt a sting from His request and in the answer she would have to give. She didn’t have a husband. No man wanted her. No one that cared for her, covered her, or protected her.

“I have no husband.” She felt no need to lie. She allowed the truth to fall from her lips. What would He say to this? Would He mock her, too? Would the conversation cease here? Would He regard her unworthy for the water He spoke of? She braced herself for His response, expecting it to be the same as everyone else.

He smiled at her. He knew her confession and He felt her shame, but He looked past it and He saw her. She was His appointment. She was worthy. His heart broke for her and He saw what had been done against her. He saw her strength and her weakness, her hurt and her healing; He was moved with compassion for her.

“You have spoke the truth,” He said. “You have no husband. You have had five husbands and the man you are with now is not your husband.”

She looked at Him. How could He know this unless God revealed it? He must be a prophet. She fought the apprehension stirring in her. A respectful man would walk away from her and not want to be seen talking to her. She did not want Him to leave. She sensed there was more to Him than met the eye. Perhaps if she changed the subject?

“Our fathers worshipped on this mountain.” She said. Perhaps her intellect would shift the attention from her sin and the shame she felt. “You Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

“Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.” He spoke with confident authority. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him.” Pausing, the man stood, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

She felt her heart quicken within her and her spirit lept. She was captivated. She listened to his words, watched his mouth speak and although He spoke as a man of authority she did not feel condemnation.

“I know the Messiah is coming.” She said. “When He comes, He will teach us all things.”

He looked her in the eye. “I who speak to you am He.”

Could this be? Yes, she could feel that He spoke the truth. She could feel the washing of His words come over her, like a welcomed shower. Just being in His presence lifted burdens from her shoulders. She began to realize she felt lighter, the sky was bluer, the air was clearer. She felt a calm she had not felt before. She also felt something rise in her she had not sensed since she was a child; hope.

Is this the Messiah that she heard about? Is this the man who they have waited for? Has he come? He didn’t look like she expected, but she had never experienced such compassion and kindness. She had never witnessed authority wrapped in gentleness. She believed Him. In just a few moments of conversation, in just a few moments in His presence she was changed. The hopelessness she felt, the shame; was gone.

Other men appeared at the well. They stood a few feet back and watched. She could see their curiosity of why He, the Messiah, would be talking to her. But, it did not seem to bother the man. He did not try to hide His talking with her. He just looked at her with a warmth of understanding and smiling eyes.

“Rabbi,” one of the men interrupted. “We have brought food to eat.”

She could not contain herself. She left the water jar, turned and hurried back to the city; she had to tell others. For the first time she felt clean; forgiven.

The men were gathered at the city. “Come!” She urged. “Come see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?!”

The men noticed there was something different about her, her countenance had changed and it gave cause for them to listen. “Is this the same woman?” They questioned. “She looks different.”

The men followed her back to the well. The man was sitting with His disciples.

“That’s Him!” Galilah said, picking up her pace to sit with Him.

“Come, join us.” The man welcomed them.

Time no longer existed as they listened to Him speak and teach as no one they have ever heard. Thirsty for more, they urged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days and many more believed because of His own word. He spoke and taught with great authority and compassion.

Through it all, Galilah sat at His feet, listening, bathing in His words, and her soul was dry no more. The shame and fear she carried for so many years fell to the ground. Her regrets were replaced with thankfulness, for she knew her redemption had come.
When it was time for Him to leave the city, Galilah wept.

“Do not weep, beloved.” He said comforting her. “I am not leaving you, you will see Me again. I am always with you. Do you believe?”

“Yes, I believe.” She looked into His eyes. “I believe.”

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After He and His disciples left the city and were no longer in sight, the people turned to the woman and for the first time they saw her differently. Could it be that she has changed? Or perhaps they have changed? Or maybe it was both? One thing is certain, Salvation came to the most unusual place.

“Now we believe.” They said to her. “Not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

 

 

Spiritual Litmus Test

 

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If you want to know where someone is spiritually with their walk with God, you do not have to look at the church pews, you only need to listen and watch.

There is a saying, “an apple does not fall far from the tree.”

Jesus said it this way, “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.  For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit. For figs are not picked from thorn bushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a briar bush.  The [intrinsically] good man produces what is good and honorable and moral out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart; and the [intrinsically] evil man produces what is wicked and depraved out of the evil [in his heart]; for his mouth speaks from the overflow of his heart.”

Have you ever noticed married couples begin to look alike, talk alike, and even begin to think alike? Especially those who have been married for a length of time and have cultivated the intimacy through sharing each others hearts and lives. They can be in a crowded room and look into each others eyes and speak a language that needs no words and no one else can hear or understand, because they have an intimate bond that only comes through relationship.  This kind of relationship only comes through investment of time spent together, communicating, talking AND listening, sharing joys and burdens, and trust. It is a well guarded communion that no one or nothing from the outside can penetrate.

You can tell a marriage is in trouble when they begin to seek fulfillment, validation, companionship, etc… outside of the marriage relationship. They begin to esteem other people or things over their spouse. It may start off “innocently,” but I assure you there is nothing innocent about it. Where you direct and invest your time, finances, thoughts, is where your heart is and where your feet will eventually lead you.

This post is not about marriage in the sense of man and wife, it is about the marriage between our Savior and HIs Bride.

We are what we eat. We become what we digest, what we feed our minds eventually makes it’s way into our hearts and our spirits.

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I will use social media as an example, let us imagine it as a spiritual thermometer, OK. Browse through your newsfeed, and if you are brave enough, look through your own posts.

Imagine there are two trees.

dead treeOne tree is dying. It is rotten. Beneath the tree, lying on the ground, are rotten fruits that fell from the tree and the smell from the fruit is not appetizing and the only thing the fruit is good for is for the flies and the maggots.  It no longer produces buds in the spring, the inside is hollow and limbs are falling off. Infact, one of these days a good strong wind is going to come and blow that tree over and possibly cause injury to anyone who is under it.

The other tree is alive with life. Its branches are full of green leaves, the fruit it produces good treeis sweet, the trunk is solid and the roots are deep, no wind or storm will blow this tree over. Birds perch on the branches singing beautiful songs, and small animals play along the branches. Underneath is shelter from the scorching heat of the sun, because the tree is so big and healthy, it’s cool shade offers a place to rest; lovers have picnics under this tree, poets write in their journals, artist paint canvasses of beauty, children play safely, and daydreamers lay back and gaze into the full branches. This tree provides refuge, a place to rest, and inspires.

Now, look at your posts as fruit that fell from one of the two trees. Which tree did it fall from? Because I assure you, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

What is good fruit? Good fruit is: love for others, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. This kind of fruit is produced in us only as a result of His presence within us.

Soon, my friends, Jesus is coming back for His Bride. His Bride is faithful, pure, looks, sounds, thinks, and smells like Him. His Bride looks into His eyes unashamed and without fear, because He is her lover and her friend,  and she has not strayed. While His Bride waited for His return no one could entice her away from Him. She kept her heart and mind focused on Him. She lives a life of submission to Him,  through honor and respect, loyalty and love. All that He gave to her she guarded and nurtured. Her spiritual children have grown and they look just like Him.

What a glorious day it will be when He returns and we gather for the wedding feast He has prepared for us.

Please, my friends, be the good tree, producing good fruit. Because we all know what happens to the bad tree.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Are You Saved? Really?

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The pastor at a church I visited yesterday gave a really good message. I will paraphrase because this is a truth we must not ignore.

There are so many who think they are saved, or “Christian,” merely because they said a prayer, or because they attend church. This is a great deception.

I fear because there has been a loss of fear and reverence for the Truth of Gods Word. I cringe because it as though we trample on His blood when we lessen the price He paid for our salvation.

To some, the message of the cross is nothing more than a cheap trinket to be worn on a necklace or a dirty bumper sticker on the back of a car.

First, to the church, I will say… Stop it! Quit raising false converts for the glory of the numbers you receive at alter calls! Preach TRUTH! Quit fearing man and fear God!

To those who think they can say a quick flippant prayer and think “all is well” and you can continue living the life you want without consequence, I say to you…you have no idea what you claim to be saved from!

True repentance leads to a change of heart. You are no longer comfortable living in sin. You will respond to the conviction you feel in your spirit when the Holy Spirit tells you to turn back, stop, don’t do that!

There is a false gospel being preached and it says God loves everyone and He will send no one to hell. This is a half truth. Yes, He loves everyone, if He didn’t He wouldn’t have came down in the flesh and die on our behalf. And yes, He does not send people to hell. But, people are going to hell if they do not repent and receive Jesus as the ONLY way to the Father! Why? Because they choose to.

Jesus said, if you love Me you will keep My commandments.

If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments. John 15:15

I wrote a post not too long ago asking, “Does He know you”?

Look, even Satan knows God. He believes in Jesus.

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’ Matthew 7:21-23

Sanctification is a process. But it is a process you must participate in. His grace is sufficient when you struggle, when you are weak, when you fall. His grace helps you back up and puts you back on the path that leads to Him.

This is not a game. Your soul is not worth gambling.

Repent! Get out of the mud and come home! He is calling you!

Quit playing games! If you are not living right, be honest, you know! He created you with a conscience.

There is no greater joy than knowing your name is written in the Book of Life. There is no greater peace than what Jesus gives you. There is NO substitute. No addiction, no relationship, no drink or drug, can compare to what He has for you.

Please, please, please, if this is you, get right while there is still time. Hell is real and Heaven is Glorious!

You were created for so much more than where you are now.

He loves you!

Be Free & Stay Free 

Why pray?

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“Hey, how is your prayer life?” This is a question my friends and I would ask each other. It was the best question we could ask each other, there is accountability and encouragement in this question.

Do you have a friend you call when you are having a bad day, got a bad report, your kids are in trouble, your finances are coming in short, your heart is breaking, or even if you just got some great news and want to share it with someone? Unless your friends response is, “Let’ pray,” I am afraid, although you may receive momentary comfort, the conversation will not result in change.

God, the Father, sent His Son, Jesus, to give Himself up for us so that we may be reconciled back to Him. He is a relational God, His heart is for us. He never leaves us, He is always present, but are we?

Prayer does not have to be viewed as a “chore.” My goodness, what a horrible feeling if someone we love only comes to us because they feel they have to and not because they want to. It is an intimate relationship to be able to come before His throne of grace and pour our hearts out to Him. To share all we have need of and to thank Him for all He has and will provide.

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The more time we spend in His presence through prayer, the more we are changed and become like Him. You will know this is happening when your prayers become less “self” centered, and more for others. You will know you are falling more in love with Him when your prayers include more listening to what His Spirit says; when you are no longer talking “at” Him, but with Him.

This is a short teaching by one of my favorites, Jentezen Franklin, about prayer. I pray it encourages you and challenges you to focus more on building and strengthening your relationship with Christ through prayer.

Jentezen Franklin, Clean Your Mind to Pray, CLICK HERE