Go and Do Likewise

I am sad to admit how many times I have heard or seen brokenness that did not phase me like it should have. It has taken a personal experience to remind me, people are suffering and it is always a big deal to love them through it.

I wonder how many times I have ignored hurting people and scooted right on by?

Matthew 22:36-39 says,

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

As I watch my friends go through terror in Nicaragua, I have thought what if that was me? Ladies, what if that was us?

Luke 10:25-37 gives a parable about a man who had people snub his need, after being beaten by robbers. The Good Samaritan eventually came, but how awful it feels to be passed over.

Jesus said,

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

I pray this is etched in my heart now, to love my neighbor as myself, to have mercy andGo and do likewise”, just as the Good Samaritan did.

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Pride

PrideSometimes we have to deal with difficult relationships. Whether it’s a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or a church member, we all at some point in our lives will face challenging relationships. It’s a reality of living in an imperfect world full of imperfect people.

I found myself feeling the harsh and yet necessary sting of conviction this week. I was literally blindsided by my own sin! I had no idea that pride and bitterness had taken root in my heart. That is how sneaky pride can be. Pride is selfish and self seeking. It blinds us and renders us complacent. It leaves us running low in grace and mercy. Pride is valuing yourself above others and ultimately it is putting ourselves on the throne instead of God.

For my own particular flavor of pride, I have been using it to avoid drama and conflict. I always have been very good at running away from conflict especially when it comes to people that are very close to me. It sometimes seems easier to just ignore the problem and hope it works itself out.

StockSnap_B43NEODUORI came across James 5:19-20 this week. It says, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

This verse shook me. It made me realize that when I avoid telling the hard but loving truth out of fear, I am being selfish. We are the vessels by which God ministers His love and mercy to this world. God wants to use you and me to help open the eyes of those who are a part of our lives. Read the second part of the verse again. Soul saving and covering a multitude of sins is some pretty serious accomplishments. Accomplishments we can all play a part in if only we choose to humble ourselves and speak the truth in love.

I realize now that avoiding the headache of conflict is the most unloving thing that I could possibly do. It is our job as Christians to speak love, truth, and life into those around us.

“For pride is spiritual cancer_ it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.” C.S. Lewis

God shut the mouths of the Lions

This week the Lord emphasised to me that God shut the mouths of the Lions. I was reading Daniel 6, Daniel was preferred over the other presidents and princes and the other presidents and princes were jealous of him, so they wanted to find fault with him.

Daniel 6:5

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

Daniel was guilty of nothing and yet he offended these men, the only fault they found was that he was faithful to the one living God. They wanted to trap him and so they used his faithfulness to God to persecute him. They wanted Daniel to be thrown into the lions den.

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Clearly, they did not know who they were messing with.

Daniel 6:22

My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”

This is our God, he has the power to shut the lions’ mouths. And, it was not because they were not hungry, later when the accusers are thrown into the lions den, they are devoured by the lions. But, Daniel was saved and his faithfulness was rewarded.

We do not hear of something so miraculous happening today, but spiritually speaking this happens all the time. Our God fights for us. When the powers of this dark world are at work, he shuts the lion’s mouth. He looks after his children, He takes care of those who are found blameless in Him and are faithful to Him.

Every day faith, believing in Him and trusting Him, sometimes feels like nothing is happening, but if our eyes were open to the work going on in the spiritual world, I think we would be awe struck! And, thankful that we are His.

We are all in a spiritual battle. I have a few friends who have had trials recently, it has felt like it is one bad thing after another. I cannot help but think this is an attack from the enemy, the devil. But, God is greater! He can shut the mouths of the lions.

So, when things in this world feel overwhelming, remember the amazing God we serve.

We Can Not See the Battles!

Last week my mom reminded me to be faithful in prayer. “Even if you feel like you have been praying the same prayer for so long, Ash, keep at it. God is working!” She encouraged me. I took her advice and before I knew it huge things were happening in my life. God was showing His power! He reminded me that I’m battling for those I love. Wow, what a big job!

We do not know what is going on in the spiritual realm, that we can not see. In Daniel 10, an angel appeared before Daniel and told him that a battle in the spiritual realms had taken place making it hard for the angel to get to Daniel to help him.

“Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” Daniel 10:12-13.

Since the first day I set my mind to gain understanding and to humble myself before God, my words were heard.

I’ve had this song on my heart this week, “Difference Maker,” by Need to Breath. I am a difference maker. We can’t see what’s happening in the spiritual realms, but when we pray, we are battling for our loved ones. We truly are difference makers when we are faithful in prayer.

So ALL May Know

Last week I went to one of my favorite stores to browse around. Of course I found a treasure I couldn’t pass up. A little sign with a few words on it grabbed my attention.

As I reflect on these words I am reminded of the undeniable goodness of God in my own life. God has always been great in His faithfulness towards me. He wants me to remember and for others to hear of the great things He has already done for me.

In the book of Joshua the Lord said, Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”

(Joshua 4:1-3)

And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.

(Joshua 4:20-24)

Like the Israelites we also have struggled through some tough places. Most of us have a history of trials that we have prayed over with much persistence and lots of tears. Hard things that because of God’s great faithfulness and mighty hand are now behind us.

I encourage you to every once in a while go back and reflect. Remember the days that you prayed for what you have now. Pass by some of your memorial stones. Tell people of the mighty hand of God in your own life. Proclaim His greatness and then trust Him with the things you are praying for today.

Will We Cannonball?

I will never forget this memory as a little girl. Every summer I witnessed the best cannonball one could ever imagine, as warm rays sun-kissed my skin in a backyard pool. The entire event of this cannonball amazed me. Everything about it was so BIG compared to my little frame and young mind. It was awe-inspiring!

My grandfather was not a small man. Excitement filled all of us kids when he came home after a hard day’s work. We giggled and anticipated riding the waves from his fearless cannonball. Grandpa never tested the waters first.

No matter what, he jumped. All in. Every time.

This is who I want to be as a Christ follower. But so often, I find I need to stick a toe in first. What is the temperature of the water with this decision? What if I do not like it?

Fear can trip us up from the joy Jesus has for us. If we unabashedly followed Jesus, I wonder who around us would ride the waves with us? If we dared to take the plunge, then we can anticipate the joy in it for others!

Deuteronomy 31:6 says,

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Ladies, it is time to cannonball. Every day the world is getting closer to Jesus’ return just as God has told us in His Word. Be brave, stop testing the waters and jump! Just like Grandpa.

Dare To Be Different

Dare to beI spent much of my young adult life trying to find myself in the world around me. I thought if I was pretty enough, had the right clothes and the right friends, that I would find happiness and maybe even purpose. My only real motivation was to find a boy who would love me forever. Sounds like a pretty typical teenager if you ask me. I didn’t know who I was but only who I wanted people to see me as. I wanted to be just like everyone else. I didn’t want to stand out or make a big difference in the world. I just wanted to live my life the way I wanted to live it and be loved. Sound familiar?

I think where I was is a place many of us walk through in our journey’s towards finding God. It doesn’t take much imagination to find the flaws of my thinking in those earlier years nor would it come as much of a surprise that God did not allow me to continue in my foolishness forever. I came to realize as friends, looks, and loves changed, only one thing remained the same. That thing being the One who had been calling me from the beginning. Jesus. And be it from folly or utter arrogance it took me a very long time to completely surrender my whole self and cast off my ideas of what I thought I was suppose to be. Old habits of thought die hard but die they did as I slowly learned who I was in Christ and grew to know that my worth was not wrapped up in people but in Jesus and what He did for me.

StockSnap_II229LFBVTScripture teaches us that we are not suppose to blend in with everyone around us. But, rather we are to be the light in darkness and the salt in the bland. Our lives are meant to be so full of Christ’s love that the world can’t help but look to us. We are meant to be attractive but not because of our complexions or instragram followers. It’s God’s love that draws all of the attention. In a world full of people who want to blend in, we are meant to stick out.

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 we are told that through us coming to know Christ intimately, we reflect Him like a mirror and are being transformed daily into the likeness of Jesus. And it goes on to say in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that not only do we reflect Christ’s likeness, but we are in fact ambassadors of Him. We represent who Jesus is through our lives. So today I want to encourage you to be different. Embrace who you are in Jesus. Love others like He loves you. It is only by being different that we can truly make a difference. The world doesn’t need us to sink into the background. It needs us to shine Christ and share the hope of His gospel wherever our lights touch.

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