So many people are gathered, this hill can’t possibly contain them all. And, there He is, gasping for air and struggling to breath. I can barely bring myself to look at him. Women are weeping somewhere behind me, but I couldn’t stay in the shadows, I had to be up close to see for myself. Dogs are barking and above the murmur of so many voices I am acutely aware of others yelling at him. Mocking him and insulting him. It is hot and sticky and the smell of people surround me on all sides. It is suffocating. The taste of dust and dirt linger in my mouth, as if the sandals of a hundred legion of soldiers have just marched past. I am in deep despair that this man, who is kind, gentle, strong, compassionate and loving would allow this to happen. Why? Why did he bring his best friend back from the dead yet allow this to be done to him?
I want to scream, “Come down from there!” But then, there are all those soldiers and an angry mob, would they crucify me too? I’m panicking now, I don’t know what to do. The man who knows all about me, everything I’ve ever done and yet, he stills loves me, is dying. How will I sit at his feet ever again? How will I feel his presence?
Tears are flowing freely down my face now and to myself I cry, “Come down from there, please, come down from there.”
And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. “HE TRUSTS INGOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.
Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
He couldn’t and he wouldn’t come down form there. He allowed this because his love for you is unfathomable. He died so you could live. His death paid your penalty for your sins now and forevermore.
Precious One, the good news is – He still lives! You can always be in his presence and at his feet. Simply choose to believe.
When I was a little girl I grew up in a time where we practiced duck and cover under our school desks to the sound of an air raid siren. This was a post WWII mechanism that was still in effect after the Viet Nam War, the world that was my reality then; free love, hippies and the peace sign, but I digress. I really despised that siren, even though it was designed to give us a chance to be safe, in the event our country were attacked by airplanes dropping bombs.
My childhood home was in the flight path of NAS Moffett Field, where the mighty P3 Orion could be seen and heard on descent into the air field. Sometimes, as I recall, there would be more than one flying in formation and multiple times throughout the day. For some reason, in my five-year old mind, I thought these mighty aircrafts were the reason the air raid sirens would sound. I remember every time I would see or hear the P3’s I would run and hide in our house. I did a lot of hiding back then! You see, I believed something as truth about my reality that was a big fat lie!
This morning as I was traipsing through Galatians 3 and absorbing all the goodness and truth there and I was stopped along the way by some verses that jumped out at me.
Consider Abraham: “He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. Galatians 3:6
God counted Abraham as righteous simply because he believed God. He believed the truth that God would bless all nations through him, that God had called him to be the physical and spiritual father of the Jews and eventually all believers including Gentiles.
The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham. Galatians 3:8a
Even then, Scripture, which is Jesus Himself, was moving toward his creation with the gift of salvation for EVERYONE!
Precious One, the gospel has been here since before time, as we know it, began. Waiting for you to believe and receive and nurture the truth in your heart through your relationship with Christ.
And as I reflect back, I see that air raid sirens can be very beneficial especially when one goes off in your heart when Satan is tempting you to question the integrity and truth of God’s word. But, instead of running and hiding, you can stand firmly on the truth of Scripture which invades your heart every time you spend time with Him.
By the way, I eventually married a P3 Flight Engineer.
This morning I found myself journaling my way through Galatians 2.
This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. Galatians 2:4.
What struck me about this verse is the word spy. The word spy in this verse means to closely inspect or to look down on someone with a hostile perspective. I think about those who are hostile to the gospel just as the Jews Paul was preaching too. I think fear breeds hostility. Perhaps, in the case of spreading the gospel, fear of the unknown or fear of living life differently than one does now, causes some to look down on believers from a hostile perspective. How gracious is God to reveal this to us so we can pray for the wisdom, the right words, a soft heart for those we will share with and for ourselves; to understand it is about building a relationship with others as we share? Many times we are so on fire for God and want to bring others along that we go in head first without asking God how to proceed. Prayer is left out when prayer ought to be the foundation of everything we do. It is God who gives his creation the faith to believe. It is our responsibility to ask God to give faith to those we minister to, so they can choose to believe!
Two other verses stood out at me.
“We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Galatians 2:15,16.
Did you catch in v. 15 that Paul called those not born into Jewish heritage Gentile sinners? Beloved, please don’t allow the enemy to pervert this in your mind. During this period of time that is what the Jews thought of and called Gentiles. Paul is speaking to a Jewish audience and speaking to them in terms they understood to make a point. The truth is we are only justified, Jew or Gentile, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and profess with our lips that he is the Christ.
The law won’t get anyone into heaven, the law and doing good things won’t get anyone into heaven. It is only faith in Christ as Lord and Savior that will bring salvation and the hope of eternity spent with our precious Jesus.
Precious One, when others spy the gospel in you may it turn from hostility to curiosity and desire to have what you have because you have committed yourself to praying for God’s wisdom and understanding to reach others with the love of Christ.
When you see your friends, how do you greet them? With a handshake? A hug? “Hello, its good to see you”? What about people you pass by in the store or when you are out and about? Do you offer a smile to complete strangers or do you simply pass on by looking straight ahead?
I love Paul’s greeting to the Galatians in Chapter 1.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen. Ephesians 1:3-5.
What would this world look like if we greeted people with grace and peace? If we greeted one another with God’s favor, his extension of Himself that he freely gives away because he is always moving toward his creation? And his peace? If we greeted others with the concern of their welfare and God’s gift of wholeness?
As you ponder true grace and peace let’s step over to Vv. 6,7.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Some believe that this letter of Paul’s to the Galatians was due to his first visit there, others believe it was written after his second missionary trip to Galatia. Regardless, I am struck by his astonishment that these new believers had quickly turned from God and began following a false gospel and I wonder was there no one in Galatia to disciple these beloved children of God? This is why it is so vitally important to be in God’s word consistently, so that we will hear God’s discernment about false teachings. Also, old habits are sometimes hard to break even as a new creation in Christ. An excellent reason to seek out mature believers to mentor and disciple you and study God’s word together. Truly, it doesn’t matter how long we have been in relationship with Jesus, we ought to make it a daily practice of mentoring and discipleship of each other and then pouring into the lives of even more people. Effectively spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world!
Verse 7 also tells us that the gospel of Christ was perverted. This is one of the enemy’s main tactics, to tempt believers to think God’s word is not truth, that is wasn’t divinely given; just like in the garden. I think some of Satan’s favorite words are, “Did God really say?” when he knows exactly what God says because he knows the truth and hates the truth. That is why I believe the sword of the Spirit is the most powerful weapon of spiritual warfare because it IS the word of God and Holy Spirit freely shares his sword with us. Think about that for a minute; the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead not only lives in each believer in Christ, but freely shares HIS sword!
Oh, Precious One, do you see? Everything about your relationship with Christ comes back to the truth of His word and reading and studying for yourself. Won’t you start today?
Walk tall, carry His sword and greet others in the grace and peace of Christ!
Today finds me deep in a study on the armor of God, which is so apropos considering life’s challenges at the moment and especially because prayer has been and continues to be a very large part of my relationship with God. For me prayer and reading and studying God’s word are the foundation upon which I nurture my relationship with Jesus.
For the past three weeks I have been looking at the different pieces of God’s armor. This week I am looking at the breastplate of righteousness. The author states that there are three types of righteousness; perfect righteousness, which is unattainable by us because only God is perfect; comparative righteousness where we compare our righteousness with others in attempt to feel puffed up or discouraging ourselves because we see others as more righteous than ourselves and imputed righteousness the righteousness we receive the moment we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The author also states a fourth type of righteousness – practical righteous, which is the consistent and conscious effort of putting off the works of darkness and putting on the armor of light. According to the author the actions of putting off and putting on are the breastplate of righteousness.
With the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14b.
Perhaps it is mincing of words or simply semantics but the word righteousness in Ephesians 6:14b means the divine approval of God! Maybe we struggle with putting on and taking off our breastplates but God doesn’t. He placed the breastplate of righteousness on us the moment we first believed and it is there to stay. It protects our hearts from the fiery arrows of the enemy and serves as a brilliant reminder in the heavenly realms that we belong to God and in God’s eyes we are righteous. We are righteous because of our faith in Jesus Christ, his death was the price for which our righteousness was bought.
Precious One, God divinely approves of you because of your faith in Christ. Please, live in that freedom.
Currently I am on the road and today I had the opportunity to worship at a church in the area I am staying. The Pastor gave a message that I not only know but that I needed to hear again simply because I had done exactly what the Pastor’s message was about.
This particular faith family is in a sermon series titled, “The Red Words,” and today’s message was out of John 15.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
I won’t retell the sermon but will share what really resonated with me. He asked us if we truly know what staying connected to Jesus looks like. Are we truly dependent on Jesus or do we bring what we think we can do in our own power and ask God to combine it with his power and then expect God to move?
He went on to tell the story of Darlene Deibler Rose, who was a missionary in Indonesia, and was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II. Darlene was tortured repeatedly while in prison, she was hungry and exhausted. One day she began to crave bananas and as she looked out the window of her prison cell she saw a guard smuggle bananas to another woman prisoner. She cried out asking God for just one banana. The next day she received ninety-two!
Darlene came to realize this truth; “What I needed to do was link my impotence to God’s omnipotence.” Darlene understood that in her weakness she could only depend on the unlimited power of God. She didn’t bring to God what she felt she could do in her own strength, she came to God completely powerless and trusted God’s power to work in her situation.
Later in the day I realized why this resonated with me, because I have been coming to God in the midst of struggles and bringing what I think I can do on my own and asking God to combine it with his mighty power. When I ought to come to him confessing that I am powerless to do anything apart from Him and that I am dependent on Him and his power to work in any situation in life.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
When we choose to stay connected to the Vine weakness is not a negative thing. Our weakness, our inability to do anything in our own power is when the supernatural power of God flows through us and spills into our life and our life situations.
Precious One, you are powerless but God is powerful. And that is something you already know.
I.LOVE.THIS.PICTURE! I love this picture because a gazillion times a day I can be tempted to forget who I am and Who I belong to. Who I am is Terese and I am a daughter of the one true King, ransomed by the blood of Christ whose Spirit lives in me.
But the enemy of this world, Satan, whose most obvious ploy is deception, would like for me and for you to think differently. Here on earth he is very subtle and cunning just as he was in the garden. He is antagonistic to the plans and purposes God has for your life. He tempts you to question God’s integrity possible causing you to doubt God rather than trust him more. He wraps his packages in charm and allure to gain your attention and confidence. He is the father of lies.
The truth of the matter is this.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
Which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 1:20
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6.
Every believer in Christ has been blessed in the heavenly realms with all spiritual blessings; the impact of heaven’s influence on a person or situation, and because of our faith in Christ we have been raised up with Him and are seated with Him at the right hand of the Father right now!
Precious One every time Satan attempts to knock your crown off, remind him, lest he forgets, Who you belong to and where you sit.
Not long ago I read something to the effect of God speaking only through his written word and implying that God does not talk to people on behalf of others or for the masses but that when He speaks to someone it is for that person only. This left me feeling very unsettled and because I am an internal processor it has taken me awhile to reconcile why I was feeling this way.
I believe, without any doubt, God speaks to us mainly through his word. That is why reading and studying his word is so vital to our spiritual health. But, I also believe God speaks to us in different ways; through dreams, visions, pictures and prayer. I also believe God gives us messages of encouragement and prophetic messages to be given away to others. He has done this through me many times and I always suggest to the one who is receiving a word from God through me that they take this spoken word to God and ask God what part of it is from him and what part of it can be tossed out, because many times my human-ness and my impressions can be mixed in with the message from God.
It is the hearer’s responsibility to be alone with God and pray about what was given. Oughtn’t we be doing this on a regular basis to begin with? Most of us attend church on Sunday or Bible study during the week, simply because one has been anointed by God to preach or teach does not mean we will ever get it right one hundred percent of the time, again, it is the hearer’s responsibility to go God and ask God for his discernment on what was preached or taught.
Paul gave these words of wisdom about worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 1 Corinthians 14:26b.
When we always imply that what God speaks to one person should be only for that person we negate the truth of God’s word. All of these things including prophecy, further in the passage Paul addresses prophecy, are meant to strengthen the Bride of Christ! Have they and are they currently misused? Yes, BUT it is each believers responsibility to go to God and ask for his wisdom, his discernment on what was spoken or taught. Let’s give each other the freedom in Christ and encouragement to seek the spiritual gifts Holy Spirit wants to lavish on us; gifts that are meant for the greater good of the entire Church.
Precious One, “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.
Food is a staple of life. We need food to give us energy, we ought to eat to live not live to eat. Well, in my case, sometimes I do live to eat! I’m full blooded Italian and I love food! However, I know what my body requires and I try to stick to six smaller meals a day while at the same time attempting healthier food choices. Sometimes I fail at this and that’s okay, I give myself grace to choose healthier at the next meal.
Our spiritual health needs food as well. Our soul longs for and craves the truth of God’s word to fill it to overflowing. To satisfy that deep hunger to know Jesus deeply and intimately. To be consumed by his overwhelming love, to be lost in all of Who he Is.
God’s Word isn’t simply words written on pages. It is alive and if we choose and allow it, it will wrap itself around us like an old familiar coat and take up residence inside our heart. Knowing the truth of God’s word helps increase our faith and gives us the strength to stand and fight in prayer.
That is why Paul prayed over the Ephesians these words.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19.
He wanted the Ephesians and us to understand our supernatural knowledge, which is part of every believer in Christ’s inheritance. To know and rejoice in the love of the Lover of our soul.
Likewise, it is for the same reason that Elisha prayed for his servant, who when he awoke early and saw the army of the king of Aram surrounding the nation of Israel with horses and chariots asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:15c). Elisha replied, “Don’t be afraid.” (2Kings 6:16a).
Then Elisha prayed these words.
“O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. 2 Kings 6:17.
Elisha wanted his servant to see his inheritance in Christ; God’s mighty power and protection. I don’t know about you but I want to see God’s horses and chariots of fire, especially during a spiritual battle, instead of the physical reality of a situation. I want to be able to say, “Oh, I see what is coming and it is Greater and Mighty than what stands in front of me.” That, my Beloved, belongs to me and to you as believers in Christ.
Precious One open your eyes your chariot awaits.