If Christ is Risen From the Dead……. Risk it All!!!!!

imagesAs I sat and watched the Easter program at church tonight, my heart broke inside my chest.

Seeing and hearing the crowds praise Jesus one moment and shout crucify in the next.

Watching as the soldiers beat and mocked Christ.

Then seeing him carry his cross, beaten and broken to Calvary.

It was intense.

Tears welled in my eyes, as the choir began to sing.

But then, as the choir sang and the stone was rolled away, there He stood… JESUS

Risen from the dead, risen indeed!

As the drama ended, Jesus is pictured sitting on His throne in Heaven as the angels bow at His feet. Awesome.

Paul said, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (I Corinthians 15:16-18)”

To the lost world, our faith, our worship is foolish, it makes no sense. To them, we are to be pitied.

But to the believer, we know that not only did Jesus pay the price for our sins and die in our place. We know that He rose on the third day and will return someday.

Therefore, if Christ is risen from the dead and He is….. then shouldn’t our lives be fully surrendered to Him.

If Christ was beaten and took our sin upon Himself, and He did…. then shouldn’t we do all we can to tell others this amazing news.

If Christ is seated in Heaven today, and will one day return, and He will.… then shouldn’t we be willing to risk it all for Him.

Yes, if Christ has not been raised from the dead, our worship and service are a foolish waste of time.

But praise God, He has been raised from the dead…. let us then live our lives sold out for Him.

For He alone is worthy of our praise, our lives, and our complete surrender.

 

Come and See….

thP0KBDOXP“Come look, come look,” my children cried. They wanted me to see the trophies they had won at Bible Drills. We were all proud of their accomplishment and hard work.

As I thought on this the Lord reminded me that this too is our mission as His disciples.

As I was reading in John 1 the other day, I ran across this same phrase.  When Andrew met Jesus, he went and got his brother Peter. When Phillip met Jesus, he told Nathaniel to ,“come and see,” Jesus, the messiah.

In both instances, these guys are excited. They have found the long-awaited Messiah and they want those closest to them to “come and see.”

As I sat in church Sunday and heard the message about the crucifixion, I had to check myself. See, it is easy when you have heard the story of Jesus time and time again, to take it for granted or feel apathetic.

When in fact we should be like Andrew and Phillip going excitedly to others, telling them to come and see Jesus, the Savior of the World.

Living in the Bible belt, it is easy to be “religious.” But, being religious doesn’t make you saved. It is easy to pretend, but on that day, we won’t be able to pretend to Jesus.

What matters not is who you say Jesus is, what matter is who He says you are.

Easter is a wonderful time of year to remember the cross and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. But, may we not just go through the motions, while stifling yawns. May we truly remember the cost of Calvary and how Jesus took our sins and how they were nailed to the cross. May we recognize the resurrection power that is at work in us daily as believers. Let’s not forget that because of Calvary, we who know Jesus, are holy, blameless, righteous and adopted children of God.

Let us be like Andrew and Philip, excited about the work of Christ, going and telling everyone we know to Come and See this Jesus, the Savior of the World.

Beautiful Robes

beautiful robesWho doesn’t like something beautiful?

I bought a blue, silk robe while I was in China once and my little girl loves it. She wishes it would fit her. One day soon, I’m sure.

In the Bible, Jacob made a beautiful robe/coat of many colors for his beloved son, Joseph.

This was made out of love for his golden boy and the others did not like it.

I’m sure I wouldn’t have either.

One of my favorite verses comes from Isaiah 61:10, it says

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

The great thing about this robe is it’s not meant for just one.

It is available to any and all who believe and trust in Christ.

This robe is a free gift and there is nothing we can do to earn it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.… Ephesians 2:8-9

God clothes us with salvation, that is found only in Christ.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

And this robe is so much better than the robe of many colors.

For it is a robe of righteousness.

Clothed in it, no longer does the Father see our sin.

He see’s the righteousness of Jesus.

And claims us as His own.

What a beautiful gift.

How beautiful we are in His eyes.

Our hearts should indeed rejoice in God as we take great delight in Him.

Trusting God in the Hard Places

th (6)I’ve noticed something in my blog stats.

I’ve noticed that one of my most popular blogs that has been found and read by the most people is the one entitled “Trusting God No Matter What.”

People in the Middle East, Asia, India, Africa, North and South America all want to know how to trust God no matter what.

I’m realizing that it doesn’t matter where you live. It doesn’t matter your job or life situation.

Trusting God is something we all struggle to do at times.

Oh, we want so bad to trust God, but in ourselves, it is just not easy.

Trusting God means letting go.

Trusting God means giving up control.

All of which goes against our nature.

Because we like to be in control.

We like to plan out our futures.

We want to dictate what happens and when.

But God wants us to just trust Him.

Trusting Him means not always having all the answers.

Trusting God means walking by faith.

And faith is more than believing God can, it is believing He will.

God’s Word makes it clear His will for us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. ( Proverbs 3:5-6).”

Trust Him with everything, all that you have!!!

Don’t try to figure things out, it will just give you a headache!!

In everything, acknowledge the fact that He is God, not you!

Allow Him to lead, guide and direct the plans and purposes He has for you.

Oh, I’m not saying it is easy. It’s not.

But God’s Word also says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Is. 26:3)

Again Paul tells us, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7)”

I know that often I bring about much grief in my own life.

When I fail to trust God, fail to believe God and try to be in control.

It just doesn’t work.

God’s way is best, not easy, but best.

For when we trust in Him with all we have and rely on Him, we have peace and joy. That can not be found anywhere else.

 

A Faith That Believes God Will…..

th01U27TZGI’m learning that faith is more than believing God can do something.

Most believe God can.

No, it is more. It is not only believing He can, but it is believing He will.

When I get discouraged as I look at life’s problems and impossibilities.

I remember Abraham.

In Romans 4, it says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…… Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead, since he was about a hundred years old and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. YET HE DID NOT WAVER THROUGH UNBELIEF regarding the promise of God, but was STRENTHENED IN HIS FAITH  and gave glory to God, BEING FULLY PERSUADED THAT GOD HAD THE POWER TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED.”

See, Abraham was old, really old and for years he had waited for the promised child through whom God would bring about His descendants. Descendants who would outnumber the stars of the sky. Abraham has waited and waited, but all that has happened is that he has gotten older. As he looks at his wife, he see’s the impossibilities of this situation.

But, against all hope, he believed.

Instead of doubting God, he grew in his faith.

Because Abraham didn’t just believe God could answer his prayers and bring about the promised child.

He believed God would.

In my own life, there are many impossibilities that seem to loom overhead.

And if I let my gaze rest upon these things or on the situation, I’m doomed to a heart of unbelief.

But, if I let my gaze rest upon the Lord and choose by grace through faith to believe God can and will bring me through.

Then I pray and wait in expectation of what He is going to do.

Then I get excited as I anticipate how He can and will bring about the details.

You may be in a hopeless situation. You may feel abandoned and alone. You may think your situation is impossible.

I challenge you as the Lord has challenged me, to believe God can and will deliver you.

He is able.

Let us then pray in faith, believing God.

Pounding out Frustration

th9TFDKZUQIt had been a rough day and I needed to let go of some frustration.

I made my way outside and put my feet to work pounding the ground as I walked the circle in front of my parents house.

My heart was in anguish wondering what in the world the Lord was doing in our lives.

Would the waiting and suffering ever end?

Reminded of my daughters prayers, I began to pray and thank the Lord for what He is doing and the plans He does have for us.

I began to thank Him for His grace and strength that has carried us through. I thanked Him for the place He has prepared for us and the ways He is and will use us.

How quick my attitude changed as I gave thanks.

Taking a break from walking, I sat on the bridge overlooking my parents pond.

As I sat there, the wind blew across my face and the sun shone down and the Lord whispered, just as you can’t see the wind, you can’t see me. Yet, I am with you. You are not alone.

As I looked into the dark, murky waters of the pond, not at all able to see the bottom. The Lord said, just as you can’t see the bottom, but you know it is there. In the same way, you can’t see the end of this situation, but I see it and know it well. There is an end in sight, just hold on.

I listened as the birds echoed their voices together in song. I heard a loud chirp and began looking for the bird. Amazed I saw a tiny bird singing in the trees. And the Lord reminded me that just as He cares for the birds of the air, He has and will continue to care for me.

Looking around I saw the blue skies, the green trees and the beauty of creation. Then God spoke clearly and said, it was Me who made all of this out of nothing. I am still God and still in control. I hold the world in my hands and all have their being because of me.  Nothing is too hard for me.

As I sat listening, feeling, hearing and looking I was reminded of the greatness of my God.

Taking a deep breath, I realized that I have way more to be thankful for than to complain about.

Life can be hard, and some days are worse than others.

But if we’d just stop, we’d see the fingerprints of God all around us.

 

Lauren’s Prayers

IMG_0432I love to hear Lauren pray.

Not just because she is my daughter, but because I could learn a thing or two from her.

When Lauren prays she prays things like, “Thank you, God,  for the dog and the room with a door.”

Not that she has either of these presently.

But when she prays, she goes ahead and thanks God in advance for what she’s asking for.

I believe this is the type of prayer that pleases God.

One of momentous childlike faith.

Lauren knows God can answer and expects Him to do so.

It is never a matter of if with her, but only a matter of when.

I’m learning that to pray in faith is to pray in expectation.

The psalmist said, “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly (5:3).”

Prayer also takes diligence and persistence.

When Daniel needed wisdom to know how to interpret the King, he asked for time to pray and gathered his friends to pray with him.

When Jesus spoke the parable about the widow who came to the judge. He said, “that they should always pray and not give up (18:1).”

Prayer is an area I can definitely grow in.

The Lord is teaching me that it takes, faith, diligence and persistence to truly grow in my prayer life.

Let us then be like little children coming before God in faith and waiting in expectation for what He can and will do. Not giving up when the answer doesn’t come quickly and sharing our needs and request with others who too will pray.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).”