Thursday Thoughts

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The Cost of Yes

my heart was racing with every turn of the page and I couldn’t—NO, I wouldn’t put the book down until I had read the very last word.

My husband was working the midnight shift and the kids had been in bed for hours. I was not sleepy, and as is my habit, I love to read before bed. This night I was reading a page turner that a new friend had given to me. We had moved into our new community a few months before (the same as my new friend) and our girls had become friends in their kindergarten class. My friend loves to share Jesus with whomever God causes her path to cross (she has the gift of evangelism) and when we first met she began to talk with me about Jesus. She encouraged me to read the book she handed me. It was a novel about end times and is the first book in a series that seems to never end! As I think about this now I giggle a bit because it seems a strange choice to encourage one to read but Holy Spirit had prepared my heart and knew exactly what I needed to read. I have read many of the books in the series but this night my heart was racing with every turn of the page and I couldn’t—NO, I wouldn’t put the book down until I had read the very last word. That was 17 years ago.

When I had come to the last word it was late into the night, but I somehow had more energy than when I began reading. However, since it was quite late and the next day was a school day for my children I turned out the light and began my nightly prayers. Only this time I told God I didn’t want to be left behind, I wanted to spend eternity with Him and I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples

Luke 14:33

I look at these words of Jesus and wonder why we stop short in sharing the gospel message. It has been my experience over the years the message preached is of His love, grace and forgiveness. Please don’t misunderstand me this part of the gospel is an amazing gift! But Luke 14:33 and verses like it seem to be left out of teaching what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus. In Luke 14:33 Jesus says we must give up everything—surrender all to Him.

As Pastors, Elders and leaders; as the Bride of Christ are we afraid to include this part of the gospel because we think it would cause many to not want to follow Jesus? If this is the case then we have forgotten Holy Spirit’s job, Who, as a dear friend reminds me, is very good at His job! He prepares hearts to receive Jesus—to receive all of Jesus, all His words and all His teachings.

I am reminded of the parable of the sower and the farmer who drops seed on rocky places which spring up quickly but wither in the sun because the soil was shallow. This person receives the message but soon falls away. Could it be some of those who receive the message fall away quickly because they are not hearing a complete message? And could this also be a ploy of the enemy, who wanted to be God, whispering in the ear of the Bride, “Did God really say?”

Yes, God really said. We are to disciple and be discipled and as disciples we have to be willing to surrender all to Him.

Will you pay the cost of your yes?

Have You Put On Your Helmet Today?

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Every time I come into the presence of the Lord, Holy Spirit reminds me to pray the armor of God over my family and not just pray this over them but to personalize with our names. When I get to verse 17 I am always struck by the helmet of salvation. The above translation is from NASB and as you can see this translation ‘shouts’ at us to take the helmet of salvation.

At verse 17 I am always led to stop and thank God not only for the protection of his helmet but for the healing it provides for those who believe in Jesus Christ and therefore have the mind of Christ.

I decided to do a little digging into the luxuriously rich soil in the garden of God’s word and found some interesting insights. In it’s original context the word salvation means salvation by God through Jesus Christ. The word salvation is derived from a word that means Jesus saves believers from their sins and delivers them into his safety and this word is derived from the word sozo, which means to make well, heal, restore to health.

The helmet of salvation protects the continuing work of Holy Spirit in us drawing us closer and closer to Christ and his characteristics and thoughts; protecting our minds from the temptations of the enemy AND the helmet of salvation offers restoration to our health, whether that be spiritual, mental, physical or emotional health.

While the helmet of salvation and its properties are the inheritance of each believer in Christ, we do have a responsibility of staying connected to God through reading and studying his word so our minds will be continuously saturated in His truth.

Precious One, remember your helmet today and everyday, you will need it.

Shalom!

 

A Life For A Life?

Family Word As Symbol Of Parenthood And Togetherness

It was New Year’s Eve. My husband and I had gone to bed amidst, what seemed to be the unending sound of M-80’s going off around the neighborhood. Did I just hear gunshots? Six, in rapid succession. Lest you think we live in an undesirable area, we don’t. Actually, our city has gone from rural farming to one of the fastest growing bedroom communities in the area.

Shortly after midnight my son walked in and asked if he could go pick up a friend who had asked him for a ride because he was not in any condition to drive himself.

1166-peopleApparently, my son had sent out a message to some of his friends that he was available to give rides home to those who needed them. Love his huge heart of caring! However, I did not want him going out; it was after all after midnight and many inebriated people, I’m sure, would be on the road. We had a brief discussion on how something can be good but not necessarily the right thing to do.  My son, not wanting to listen to what I had to say and deciding to take the consequences of disobedience, chose to go anyway.

Beside acting like a complete basket case of a mom and following him, the only thing left for me to do was pray. As I laid there seeking my God and his wisdom, I said to Him, “I’m not willing to sacrifice the life of my son for another.” Wow, oh my and ouch. Did I really just say that to God!?!!

In that moment I was reminded ever so gently by the Holy Spirit that my life was bought with a ransom; with a life, the life of the Son of God.Christ carrying the cross

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17.

Abba, Father. I confess and repent of my attitude from that night. Knowing that the life I live and that of my family is for You. Thank you for working out your perfect will in our lives. Amen.

A New Romans Road?

If you believe in Jesus you’ve most likely heard the phrase Romans Road; a series of Scripture put together to share the Good News about the gift of salvation. Maybe some of you accepted Jesus because someone cared to share the gospel with you through Romans Road. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the believers in Rome, where the Scripture for Romans Road is found. Paul was articulate and intelligent. His schooling was of the finest available. He presented the gospel like a skilled lawyer.

I like things simple and I like to share the Good News in simple ways. Nothing against articulate, intelligent and skilled lawyers! Recently, I came across some Scripture and had a light bulb moment. It happens.

Here is what I found:

Romans 2:4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (emphasis added).

Titus 3:4, 5a But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us. (emphasis added).

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness, Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (emphasis added).            Image

2 Peter 3:15a Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation. (emphasis added)

Here’s my light bulb moment; It is God’s kindness, patience and love that leads to repentance; God the Son, our Savior IS love and kindness and He saves us; God does not want anyone to live eternity apart from Him. His desire is for everyone to acknowledge they are sinners and repent. His patience means SALVATION!

This has grace written all over it because it allows us to minister as ambassadors of God’s love. His love, His kindness, His patience, which leads to salvation! We can share the Good News and step aside allowing the Holy Spirit to do his job; or can you? GRACE; God’s unmerited favor toward us, ALL of us.

I love all of God’s word, so too, I love the Scripture that is coined Romans Road. But, I can’t stop thinking that these verses were written to believers who already accepted the gift of salvation. Thank you Holy Spirit for giving me a new advantage to sharing the Good News. Simple, just the way you created me!

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25.