Category Archives:Hope

Where Will You Spend Eternity?

I read recently that 50 percent of all born-again Christians don’t have the assurance of salvation. Maybe some just need to memorize some pertinent passages on the assurance of salvation, like (1 John 5:13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

and realize that God’s Word does indeed promise that salvation is the present possession of every true follower of Christ.

On the other hand, perhaps a lot of so-called Christians do not have the assurance of salvation because they are not really saved. Just because you attend church or engage in certain religious activities does not necessarily mean you are a Christian. The Apostle Paul instructed those in the early church to examine themselves to see if their faith was genuine (2 Corinthians 13:5) Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. 

So, how do I know if you are a Christian? How do you know if I’m one? There must be evidence. Jesus said, “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matthew 7:20) Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

If someone examined your life, would they find any spiritual fruit—hard evidence to prove that you are a true follower of Jesus Christ?

Or, let me put it another way: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? By “evidence,” I don’t mean how many Bibles you own, or how many bumper stickers you might have on your car with Christian sayings on them. I mean hard evidence. If your family members, neighbors, and coworkers were interviewed and asked the question, “Is (your name here), in your opinion, a real Christian?” we might not be happy with the response.

The only way others can tell whether you are a Christian is by your works. While all the good works in the world won’t save a person (Titus 3:5) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. 

In a nutshell, all the great religions of the world, apart from Christianity, say, “Do.” “Do this and you might go to heaven,” “Do that and you might find nirvana,” and so on. Christianity, in contrast, says, “Done.”

God has taken care of your salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He cried out, “It is finished!” He purchased your ticket to heaven at the cross. But having received that ticket, your life should reflect your commitment to Christ. Works won’t save you, but if you really are saved, then works will follow

(2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Has that happened to you? Has there been a change in your life?

In Acts 26, the Bible outlines three steps you must take to be sure you are a Christian. This is important to understand, because you may be living under false hope, and ultimately, have a false assurance of salvation. When Paul spoke to King Agrippa and described how God had called him to preach the gospel message, he essentially broke that message down and in so many words, defined it.

Paul said that God told him to preach the gospel, which was comprised of a person hearing it, realizing it was ‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’  (Acts 26:18)

So first, you must have your eyes opened. A spiritual blindness afflicts those who have not yet turned their lives over to Jesus Christ, because “Satan . . . has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe . . .” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT).

Second, you must turn from darkness to light. Satan loves darkness. Hell is referred to as outer darkness. If you want to really believe, then you need to come out of the darkness and into the light (Acts 26:18).

Third, you must turn from the power of Satan to God. A lot of people today want to live in two worlds. If you want to be a Christian on Sunday, but want to live the other way the rest of the week, it won’t work

(2 Corinthians 6:14) Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 

You must turn from Satan to God.

Have your spiritual eyes been opened? Have you turned from darkness to light? Have you turned from the power of Satan to God? If you’ve taken these steps, then God has forgiven your sins and has a place for you among God’s people in heaven. This is the hope of those who truly belong to Christ.

 

God Promises His Spirit and A New Heart

Not one race has maintained their identity without a homeland after five generations except for the Jews, who have done so for over 2000 years. Yet as knowledgeable as the Jews are relating to the Scriptures, they fail to see that Jesus is the promised Messiah as prophesied in Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, and Zechariah 11-12.

Paul assures us in the New Testament, “not to be uninformed of this mystery …that a partial blindness (hardening of their hearts) has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25).

Surely anyone looking at the evidence of prophecy and the life of Jesus Christ must conclude that if Jesus wasn’t the Messiah, there will never be a Messiah! No one since Jesus has or can trace his genealogy back to David.

What a glorious day it will be when God gives them a unity of heart, putting His Spirit among them and remove their hardened hearts! (Jeremiah 24:7, 31:33, Ezekiel 11:17-21, 36:24-32, 39:28-29).

CS Lewis put it so profoundly:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

 

 

Just B E L I E V E

23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”   Mark 9:23-24

If you were to die today and stand before God and He asked, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ what would you say?  The question gets to the heart of, “What are you trusting in for eternal life?”

As such, there is no more important question in the world to be crystal clear on! If you place your hope of eternal life in something, only to find when you stand before God that it will not get you into heaven, you’re doomed! There are no makeup exams at the judgment seat! You’d better get it right before you die!

But, you claim, “I’ve lived a good life and done the best that I could do.” Or, “I am a basically good person and I’ve never tried to hurt anyone.” Those are wrong answers when it comes to getting into heaven! The Bible declares that there is NONE righteous or good…

Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who always does good and who never sins.   Ecclesiastes 7:20

They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt;
There is no one who does good, not even one. 
Psalm 14:3

And Paul reiterated this:

9 Well then, are we [Jews] better off than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are under the control of sin and subject to its power. 10 As it is written and forever remains written,

“There is none righteous [none that meets God’s standard], not even one.

Don’t get mad at those of us who preach salvation by faith not works. Your beef is not with us, but with Almighty God.   Romans 3:9-10

  So will My word be which goes out of My mouth;
It will not return to Me void (useless, without result),
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Isaiah 55:11

Of course, getting into heaven is not just a matter of answering a question correctly. It requires a spiritual resurrection from the dead, as we have seen. It requires having God forgive your sins, so that you are truly reconciled to Him. But for that to happen, you must be clear on the biblical truth of how that happens. And Satan has worked overtime to sow confusion among the world’s religions, including the major branches of Christianity, on the question of how a person gets eternal life.

Paul answers this crucial question in Ephesians 2:8-9. He wrote these truths to those who were already saved, to clarify and solidify their understanding of these vital matters. When you share the gospel with others, their misunderstanding of God’s grace and the relationship between faith and works will be the major issues you will need to clarify.

8 For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or something.). And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].

Throughout God’s Word (the Bible) we see this same claim that by GRACE you are saves, through FAITH…

 “Look at the proud one,
His soul is not right within him,
But the righteous will live by his faith [complete trust or confidence in the true and living God, Creator of heaven, earth, land, sea and all living creatures].

Habakkuk 2:4
For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, both springing from faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or something) and leading to faith [disclosed in a way that awakens more faith]. As it is written and forever remains written, “The just and upright shall live by faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or something).” Romans 1:17

 Now it is clear that no one is justified [that is, declared free of the guilt of sin and its penalty, and placed in right standing] before God by the Law, for “The righteous (the just, the upright) shall live by faith (complete trust or confidence in someone or something).”  Galatians 3:11


But My righteous one [the one justified by faith-complete trust or confidence in the true and living God] shall live by faith [respecting man’s relationship to God and trusting Him]; And if he draws back [shrinking in fear], My soul has no delight in him.   

Hebrews 10:38

 

I choose to believe the true and living God in whom I believe in!

 

 

The Story of St. Valentine

I love a good story, which is why I love history, because its full of good stories. And the story of St. Valentine is an intriguing one. There were a lot of Valentines in the early church, and at least 12 were mentioned in early church history. There was even one pope named Valentine.

 

SO, WHO WAS THE SAINT?

According to one tradition, which came about in the Middle Ages, Valentine of Rome was killed for performing marriages outlawed by the Emperor Claudius II. This is where most of the modern histories of the holiday will take you. And the idea of dying for love is romantic. But, the evidence that Claudius actually outlawed marriages is sketchy. It is possible, but there is a more ancient tradition.

In the 5th century a group of scholars comprised a history of the martyrs of the church, the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum”. Some of the names on the list have brief descriptions of their stories, but many of the oldest martyrs are listed only by name and date.

Three Valentines are listed as dying on February 14th. Two of them were from Italy, and one from North Africa. All were probably killed under the reign of in AD 269 or 270.

All three made the list because they refused to deny Christ and worship the Roman gods. Valentine of Rome may have even been interrogated Claudius himself. The story is that he was martyred after sharing the gospel with the emperor. All three men were tortured, beaten and then beheaded because they refused to deny their love of Christ. Then in the year of our Lord 496 February 14 was declared a day of celebration for the Christian world in their honor. St. Valentine’s Day was a day to celebrate three men who died for the Christ who died for them.

 

THEY DIED FOR LOVE

The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to associate St. Valentine’s Day with romantic love, but that is not what these men died for. They died for love, but not for romantic eros love.

No, they died for agape love. They died because they loved God without putting any conditions on Him. They did not require God to make them happy or rich. They did not demand fair treatment from their Creator. They died to all of their desires and dreams. They put themselves on the line for the honor and the love of another. They died for the One they loved. They died for the One who had died for them. Now that is real love.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  1 John 4:10-11

 

 

H O P E:   75 Biblical References to Encourage You

 

In Whom, In What or Where Do You Place Your Hope?

“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. At present we are on the outside… the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Someday, God willing, we shall get “in”… We will put on glory… that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. We do not want to merely “see” beauty–though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.”  C.S. Lewis

When Jesus healed those who came to Him, He lifted their eyes beyond their need for urgent physical and material care. With His Sermon on the Mount He proposed more than a medical miracle. Seven times Jesus described attitudes of heart and mind that reflect a well-being that commences with a new vision and promise of spiritual well-being. He illustrated that those blessed were the ones who experience relentless persecution and find their hope in Him alone.

As we yearn for a miracle, do we embrace as enviable the poor, broken, hungry, merciful, peacemaking heart that Jesus calls “blessed?” Sometimes it is so difficult to see beyond our pain. My prayer is that you will sense God’s mercy at this moment and lift your eyes beyond yourselves. May God help you find a new vision and source in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Genesis 8:1

And God remembered and thought kindly of Noah and every living thing and all the animals that were with him in the ark; and God made a wind blow over the land, and the waters receded.

Leviticus 26:40-45

40 ‘If they confess their wickedness and the wickedness of their forefathers, in their unfaithfulness which they have committed against Me—and also in their acting with hostility toward Me— 41 I also was acting with hostility toward them and brought them into the land of their enemies—then if their uncircumcised (sin-filled) hearts are humbled and they accept the punishment for their wickedness, 42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham, and remember the land. 43 But the land will be abandoned by them and will enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; and they will accept the punishment for their wickedness and make amends because they rejected My ordinances and their soul rejected My statutes. 44 Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so despise them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God. 45 But I will, for their sake, [earnestly] remember the covenant with their forefathers, whom I have brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God. I am the Lord.’”

Numbers 23:19

God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken and will He not make it good and fulfill it?

Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.

Joshua 10:25

Joshua said to them, “Do not fear or be dismayed (intimidated)! Be strong and courageous, for this is what the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you [are about to] fight.”

1 Chronicles 16:11

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually [longing to be in His presence].

1 Chronicles 29:15

 For we are sojourners (temporary residents, resident aliens) before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope [of remaining].

Job 5:16

So the helpless have hope,
And injustice shuts its mouth.

Job 6:8

Oh that my request would come to pass,
And that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

Job 11:18-19

Then you would trust [with confidence], because there is hope;
You would look around you and rest securely.
19 You would lie down with no one to frighten you,
And many would entreat and seek your favor.

Job 13:15

Even though He kills me;
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless, I will argue my ways to His face.

Job 17:15

Where now is my hope?
And who regards or considers or is even concerned about my hope?

Psalm 3:2-6

Many are saying of me,
“There is no help [no salvation] for him in God.” Selah.

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory [and my honor], and the One who lifts my head.
With my voice I was crying to the Lord,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
I lay down and slept [safely];
I awakened, for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be intimidated or afraid of the ten thousands
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Psalm 25:5

Guide me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You [and only You] I wait [expectantly] all the day long.

Psalm 27:4-5

One thing I have asked of the Lord, and that I will seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life,
To gaze upon the beauty [the delightful loveliness and majestic grandeur] of the Lord
And to meditate in His temple.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.

Psalm 31:24

Be strong and let your hearts take courage,
All you who wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

Psalm 33:22

Let Your [steadfast] lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
In proportion as we have hoped (placed our confidence) in You.

Psalm 39:7

And now, Lord, for what do I expectantly wait?
My hope [my confident expectation] is in You.

Psalm 42:11

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
Why have you become restless and disquieted within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help (saving acts of) of my countenance and my God.

Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 118:24

This [day in which God has saved me] is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 119:114

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.

Psalm 121:7-8

The Lord will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in [everything that you do].From this time forth and forever.

Psalm 130:5

I wait [patiently] for the Lord, my soul [expectantly] waits,
And in His word do I hope.

Psalm 147:11

The Lord favors those who fear and worship Him [with awe-inspired reverence and obedience],
Those who wait for His mercy and lovingkindness.

The Lord favors those who fear and worship Him [with awe-inspired reverence and obedience],
Those who wait for His mercy and lovingkindness.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.

Proverbs 23:18

Surely there is a future [and a reward],
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.

Proverbs 24:14

Know that [skillful and godly] wisdom is [so very good] for your life and soul;
If you find wisdom, then there will be a future and a reward,
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.

Provers 24:20

For there will be no future for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination (The Hebrew word for inclination became a technical term in Jewish tradition, and the rabbis frequently referred to the “evil inclination” much in the same sense as the sin nature. They also recognized a “good inclination,” which the righteous choose to follow, and urged people to make their good inclination king over the evil inclination) and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

Isaiah 40:31

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.

Isaiah 41:10

‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’

Isaiah 43:2-5a

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I have given Egypt [to the Babylonians] as your ransom,
Cush (ancient Ethiopia) and Seba [its province] in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in My sight,
You are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in return for you and other peoples in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you.

Jeremiah 17:7

Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord
And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Micah 7:7

But as for me, I will look expectantly for the Lord and with confidence in Him I will keep watch;
I will wait [with confident expectation] for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me

Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God is in your midst,
A Warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with joy;
He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins],
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples (A disciple was a “learner” who may have been curious or convinced or committed) came to Him. Then He began to teach them, saying,

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

“Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted].

“Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secure, worthy of respect] are the gentle (humble, meek) [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed [joyful, nourished by God’s goodness] are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness [those who actively seek right standing with God], for they will be [completely] satisfied.

“Blessed [content, sheltered by God’s promises] are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed [anticipating God’s presence, spiritually mature] are the pure in heart [those with integrity, moral courage, and godly character], for they will see God.

“Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.

10 “Blessed [comforted by inner peace and God’s love] are those who are persecuted for doing that which is morally right (Literally, the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].

11 “Blessed [morally courageous and spiritually alive with life-joy in God’s goodness] are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil things against you because of [your association with] Me. 12 Be glad and exceedingly joyful, for your reward in heaven is great [absolutely inexhaustible]; for in this same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 11:28-29

28 “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]. 29 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.

Matthew 19:26

 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 4:30-34

30 And He said, “How shall we picture (compare) the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use to illustrate and explain it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when it is sown on the ground, even though it is smaller ( In ancient Israel the mustard seed was the smallest known seed, and in rabbinic teaching the mustard seed was used as an example of something very small )  than all the [other] seeds that are [sown] on the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden herbs; and it puts out large branches, so that the birds of the sky are able to make nests and live under its shade.”

33 With many such parables, Jesus spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear and understand it; 34 and He did not say anything to them without [using] a parable; He did, however, explain everything privately to His own disciples.

Mark 5:35-36

While He was still speaking, some people came from the synagogue official’s house, saying [to Jairus], “Your daughter has died; why bother the Teacher any longer?” 36 Overhearing what was being said, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; only keep on believing [in Me and my power].”

Mark 9:23

Jesus said to him, “[You say to Me,] ‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes and trusts [in Me]!”

Mark 10:52

Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith [and confident trust in My power] has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road.

Luke 18:35-43

35 As He was approaching Jericho [on His way to Jerusalem], it happened that a blind man [Bartimaeus] was sitting beside the road begging.36 Now when he heard a crowd going by, he began to ask what this was [about]. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 So he shouted out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David (Messiah- A common Messianic title recognizing the Messiah as a descendant of David.), have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were leading the way were sternly telling him to keep quiet; but he screamed all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the blind man be led to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me regain my sight!” 42 Jesus said to him, “Regain your sight; your [personal trust and confident] faith [in Me] has made you well.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus, glorifying and praising and honoring God. And all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

John 4:13-14

Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.”

John 5:6-8

When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to get well?” The invalid answered, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am coming [to get into it myself], someone else steps down ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up; pick up your pallet and walk.”

Romans 5:2-7

Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our hope (In the NT the word “hope” expresses a cherished desire along with the confident assurance of obtaining that which is longed for) and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power]. And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation]. Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

While we were still helpless [powerless to provide for our salvation], at the right time Christ died [as a substitute] for the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good man [one who is noble and selfless and worthy] someone might even dare to die.

Romans 5:3-4

And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].

Romans 5:5

 Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us, because God’s love has been abundantly poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:24-25

 24 For in this hope we were saved [by faith]. But hope [the object of] which is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure.

Romans 12:10-13

10 Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; 11 never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; 12 constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], 13 contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].

1 Corinthians 13:13

And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 15:19

 If we who are [abiding] in Christ have hoped only in this life [and this is all there is], then we are of all people most miserable and to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:54-58

54 And when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the Scripture will be fulfilled that says, “Death is swallowed up in victory (vanquished forever). 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on guard; stand firm in your faith [in God, respecting His precepts and keeping your doctrine sound]. Act like [mature] men and be courageous; be strong.

2 Corinthians 4:13-14

13 Yet we have the same spirit of faith as he had, who wrote in Scripture, “I believed, therefore I spoke.” We also believe, therefore we also speak, 14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and will present us [along] with you in His presence.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged [spiritless, disappointed, or afraid]. Though our outer self is [progressively] wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]! 18 So we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen; for the things which are visible are temporal [just brief and fleeting], but the things which are invisible are everlasting and imperishable.

2 Corinthians 5:1-8

For we know that if the earthly tent [our physical body] which is our house is torn down [through death], we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our [immortal, eternal] celestial dwelling, so that by putting it on we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened [often weighed down, oppressed], not that we want to be unclothed [separated by death from the body], but to be clothed, so that what is mortal [the body] will be swallowed up by life [after the resurrection]. Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise].

So then, being always filled with good courage and confident hope, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]— we are [as I was saying] of good courage and confident hope, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Galatians 6:9

 Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.

Ephesians 4:4

There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation]

Colossians 1:27

God [in His eternal plan] chose to make known to them how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in and among you, the hope and guarantee of [realizing the] glory.

Titus 1:1-3

Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle (special messenger, personally chosen representative) of Jesus Christ, for the faith of God’s chosen ones and [to lead and encourage them to recognize and pursue] the knowledge of the truth which leads to godliness, based on the hope and divine guarantee of eternal life, [the life] which God, who is ever truthful and without deceit, promised before the ages of time began, and at the appointed time has made known His word and revealed it as His message, through preaching, which was entrusted to me according to the command of God our Savior

Titus 3:5-7

He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, but because of His own compassion and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth (spiritual transformation, regeneration) and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that we would be justified [made free of the guilt of sin] by His [compassionate, undeserved] grace, and that we would be [acknowledged as acceptable to Him and] made heirs of eternal life [actually experiencing it] according to our hope (His guarantee).

Hebrews 10:23

 Let us seize and hold tightly the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is reliable and trustworthy and faithful [to His word]

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].

Hebrews 11:6

 But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.

1 Peter 1:3-7

Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant and boundless mercy has caused us to be born again [that is, to be reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose] to an ever-living hope and confident assurance through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [born anew] into an inheritance which is imperishable [beyond the reach of change] and undefiled and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who are being protected and shielded by the power of God through your faith for salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time. In this you rejoice greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, which is much more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested and purified by fire, may be found to result in [your] praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 21:3-4

and then I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “See! The tabernacle of God is among men, and He will live among them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them  [as their God,] and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be death; there will no longer be sorrow and anguish, or crying, or pain; for the former (first things) order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 22:18-21

18 I testify and warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book [its predictions, consolations, and admonitions]: if anyone adds [anything] to them, God will add to him the plagues (afflictions, calamities) which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from or distorts the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away [from that one] his share from the tree of life and from the holy city (new Jerusalem), which are written in this book.

20 He who testifies and affirms these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus (the Christ, the Messiah) be with all [the saints—all believers, those set apart for God]. Amen.

 

God Can Do ALL Things: Give It To Him, Part 3

I cannot imagine that anyone reading this series so far, has not experienced at least one moment when you’ve seen something that seemed impossible happen.  For some of you one thing might have been when the United States put man on the moon. Years ago, there was an article saying that it seemed impossible when Bill Gates’ had a vision for Microsoft of having “a computer on every desk, in every home.” Or Jeff Bezos, from Amazon, setting that company on a path to have “every book, ever published, in any language available for Kindle customers to purchase and begin reading in less than 60 seconds.”  Someday people will say, I remember when it seemed impossible that we would ever have a cure for cancer.  It seemed impossible that cars would drive themselves.  It seemed impossible that Jesus was ever going to come back!

In the scripture from Matthew, the disciples have heard Jesus say some things that seemed impossible.  At the end of chapter 18, Jesus says you must forgive your brother’s sin against you how many times?  Seven?  No, seventy times seven.  I picture Peter thinking, impossible.  Then in chapter 19, the Pharisees are asking Jesus about divorce, Moses said a man could divorce a woman for any reason.  Jesus says, no.  No divorce.  Unless she’s been unfaithful.  And while I don’t want to get sidetracked here, I believe in our understanding of how husbands and wives are to treat each other, we would agree that in cases of abuse, divorce is appropriate.  So, Jesus said people should stay married and I picture the disciples thinking, impossible.  (And husbands and wives, this is not a good place of an amen – I repeat not a good place.)  As a matter of fact in chapter 19, verse 10, the disciples say, it would be better not to get married.  If you have to keep each other forever, forget it.  That’s impossible.

Then someone whom we call the rich, young ruler, (and for you who don’t know the story, think cocky young dude with a lot of money) comes to ask Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus tells him part of the Ten Commandments, specifically that part about how you treat others; the rich, perhaps spoiled, young guy says, all this I’ve done from my youth.  And Jesus, apparently picking up on his attitude and sensing that the guy places a lot of stock in his possessions, hits the guy where it hurts.  Sell all you have and give it to the poor, then your treasure will be in heaven, then come follow me.

Don’t get lost here thinking everyone is called to sell everything and give it to the poor.  Luke 19 tells of another rich man, Zacchaeus, and Zacchaeus said he said he was going to give part of his wealth away and Jesus approved.

So back to the rich young guy, he walks away sad, not willing to do what Jesus required.

I said Jesus hits the guy where it hurts.  Jesus has this habit of requiring of people what’s most precious to them.

Whatever it is that you want to hold onto more than anything else – If you were the person who went to Jesus is this scripture, His answer would have been that thing.  Perhaps, it is money. Perhaps, it is control. Perhaps, it is anger. Whatever it is that you want to hold on to, He says, let go of that, and hold onto Me.  It’s never the easy stuff, it’s the hard stuff. You might say the “impossible for me” thing.

And just to make sure that His disciples get it, because they have proven time and again they’re not necessarily the brightest, He says, it is harder for a camel, the largest animal they had back then, to get through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.

Now when you go over to Israel today, when you get to the Church of the Nativity, the guides show you a little sub-gate under the gate into the church. And they tell you that that little sub-gate was called the eye of the needle, and that in the gates of the cities they always had this little sub-gate, which was called the eye of the needle. In order to get the camel through it, they had to take all of the burden of the camel’s back, and it had to get down on the ground. And a couple guys behind him pushing, and one guy in front of it pulling, to get it to squeeze through this eye of the needle in the gate. And they say that’s what Jesus was talking about.

I find that interesting. They make it a possibility if you struggle hard enough, and if you grunt and groan enough, you can actually save yourself. A lot of people would like to have you think that. But Jesus points out that that is entirely false. He is talking not about some little gate that you can, by a lot of effort, and grunts and groans squeeze and get through. He is talking about an eye of a needle, that a woman is sewing with, and you trying to get a camel through that? And that’s why the disciples said, “Lord, who then can be saved?” and note, Jesus said what, “With man it is impossible.” Remember that.

He didn’t say, “You got to strain. You got to struggle. You got to grunt and groan, give it your best.” He is saying, “It’s impossible.” Man cannot save himself. The moralist cannot save himself. No man by good works can save himself. No man by a good work can inherit age-abiding, eternal life. It is a gift of God, and it is only wrought by a miracle of God in our hearts and lives. For though it is impossible with men, with God all things are possible.

Some people have impossibilities they’re facing.  Some of you have impossibilities you’re facing.  From our human perspective and abilities, we say IMPOSSIBLE.  And God says to you and to me, you’re wrong.  Nothing is impossible with Jesus.  With Jesus, ALL Things are possible.

Maybe you have a bill due, maybe you have a marriage on the rocks, maybe you have a family situation that is without a solution, maybe you have an unhealthy addiction, maybe you have an anger issue, maybe you suffer from abuse, maybe you are afraid to step out in faith. We know from experience that on our own, at times forgiveness is impossible.  On our own, these things are impossible.

Jesus said to the disciples, and says to you and to me, on your own, you are right… there are some things that are impossible.

And Lord knows, you’ve tried…

over and over and over

Do you have an impossibility in your life?

Do you know our God is the God of the possible.  He is the God of Hope and the only place in the Bible that He’s called that is in Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of Hope fill you will all peace in believing as you trust in Him.”

Jesus says, you are not alone.  I am with you.  Don’t be afraid.  And don’t worry.  Don’t worry about tomorrow, don’t worry about what you’re going to eat, don’t worry about where you’re going to sleep, don’t worry about what others do to you.  You just give it all to God and he will provide the way.  Don’t worry if people take advantage of you, don’t hold a grudge.

How is that possible?  It is impossible from the world’s perspective.

Impossible that God came to earth in the form Of Jesus; Impossible that Jesus would die on the cross for our sin. Impossible that “…by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you can been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. 10 For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].” Ephesians 2:8-10

I pray you see the hope and comfort in this message. True. God Can Do ALL Things!

 

God Can Do ALL Things: My Diminishing Shadows, Part 2

In my last post on this series I gave you a brief breakdown of how I KNOW that God can do ALL things.

I will share my testimony with you once again. Obviously, it will not be completed until I return to my heavenly home. Ponder my Diminishing Shadows

I was born in Orange California in 1958. When I was 1 ½ years old my biological mother took my grandfather’s car and abandoned my dad, 2 half-brothers and I. She had an affair with a friend of my dad’s and moved to Illinois. After six weeks or so my dad and grandpa went to bring the car back. Dad took my brothers to their grandma’s house and proceeded to get sole custody of me; very rare for the courts to award custody to the father in 1960. For approximately four years dad raised me on his own with the help of my grandma and aunt. In 1964 he married the woman I call mom, and I gained a mother and brother.

For many years I knew something was different but couldn’t put my hand on what it was. When I was twelve I was caught shoplifting at our city mall. I was not arrested, but my dad was furious. My mom was much more gracious.

On my thirteenth birthday my childhood best friend and I spent the night with my paternal (biological) grandparents. I asked my grandma if mom was in fact my biological mother. Grandma told me to talk to my dad. I told her I was asking her because I knew she wouldn’t lie to me. So I found out the truth. When my mom found out that my grandma told me the truth she banned me from seeing my grandma until I was eighteen. Our next door neighbors arranged for my grandma and I to meet at a shopping mall in Costa Mesa. I was elated. Dad knew that I was meeting her and never said a word to my mom. She did find out later, when I was seventeen and they almost divorced over it.

On February 20, 1973, when I was fourteen, a friend in Jr High invited me to go to church with her. We watched a movie entitled “A Thief in the Night.” To this day I love the song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready.” Afterwards, Billy Graham gave the invitation to accept Jesus in my heart and I responded. The following evening my brother joined us and also gave his life to Jesus.

I counseled teenage new believers whenever Billy was in town. He was an amazing man, so loving and gentle spirited. I also became active in our church choir. Our choir, Presbyterian Youth Chorale traveled every summer to sing for various churches across the United States. My new best friend and I had Bible studies in the hay loft above her family’s garage. We named are secret meeting place “Bethel,” which means “House of God.”

That same year I ended up in the ER for severe stomach pain. The doctors told my dad that I had gonorrhea. He told them he would bet his life I didn’t. After evaluating me and taking x-rays, the doctor told him that I had endometriosis and needed to go to a gynecologist. So I did, and was told I could never have babies. I was devastated, as I had baby sat since I was nine, and loved children. After graduating from High School and attending one year of junior college, I became pregnant. I was engaged to the father of the baby and my dad told him that he would marry me. Against my beliefs, I got an abortion. A couple weeks afterwards when I used the bathroom a little limb came out of me. Instead of getting help I turned to drugs.

I started working for a floor covering company and ended up having an affair with my boss. He was married with three beautiful daughters and one on the way at the time. Even worse, we discussed having an affair. He eventually divorced his wife and we were married after living together for over two years. By now I had an addiction to cocaine and overdosed on my birthday in 1984. We both quit drugs and became involved in ministry at Calvary. My dad never accepted him. Then, two years later I had another affair, and after marriage counselling we my husband and I decided to separate. I am thankful that he has forgiven me, to this day we are friends.

I met a man in 1987, and began dating him. I became pregnant again, not knowing who the father was, my husband or boyfriend. After talking to them both about the situation, I chose to keep the baby and be a single mom. The baby belonged to my boyfriend.

In 1991, my half-sister was murdered in Nevada and when I came home after her funeral, I again became pregnant with a girl. Her father wanted me to abort, but this time I refused and chose to keep her. My son’s dad said he would adopt her, that way she and our son would both have a dad who loved them, and the same last name. Eight and one half months later my son and I were in a car accident only one block from our home.  The police offered to take me to the hospital, but I chose not to go as I felt her moving and had a doctor’s appointment the next morning. When my doctor examined me, there was no heart beat from my baby. Labor was induced and five hours later Alexandra was still born. The placenta was lodged in my left rib cage and I had emergency surgery, and given a couple units of blood. By this time, I was attending Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa again and Pastor Carl led the funeral service. I have never gotten over this completely. The loss of a child is difficult to accept. I take comfort, however, in knowing that she is in heaven and has never had to encounter the horrific things this world avails.

Angry at God, I again backslid, this time I did even stronger drugs and led a very promiscuous lifestyle. This led to me getting date raped three months after the loss of my daughter and again had an abortion, even though it was against my beliefs. I tried to justify it with the fact that I was raped.

Later that year I began dating a man and it lasted four years. In 1996, I again became pregnant and made the decision to abort. After the fact, I found out that my boyfriend would have married me and wanted the baby.

In 1997, I rededicated my life to the Lord and my son was saved the following weekend. God is so good. We were baptized together by Pastor Chuck Smith at Pirates Cove, San Clemente. Papa Chuck told me that this time I was going to serve my Lord. This is a day I will never forget as my son and I were baptized together at the same time. It was awesome! We went on a retreat shortly thereafter and were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!  I now began counseling new believers every Sunday and Monday evening at Calvary and annually at the Harvest Crusades in Anaheim. My precious son hung out with the Christian artists that led worship on these occasions and became really close to most of them…Phil Keaggy, Crystal Lewis, The Kry, OC Supertones, Dennis Agajanian, Two or More, and DC Talk. I met my second husband while counseling. Unbeknownst to me he and my son had been hanging out for six months while I was counseling. We were married exactly one year to the day from my son’s and my baptisms. After only a year we were having problems; My husband at the time was very controlling and I was a strong-willed woman. February 2000, I had a nervous breakdown at work and was placed in a state mental facility for 2 weeks, from my recollection. When I came home I began cutting myself by slashing my wrists. My husband would not let me see any of my family or talk to them, and would tie me to my son’s bed with neckties while waiting for the police to arrive.  In July the same year we moved to Indiana and things just got worse. My husband would not hold a job and was verbally and mentally abusing me to the point of my continued self-mutilating, and several attempts at suicide. I was placed in the mental unit at our hospital several times because of this. My doctor did not trust my husband, and honored my wishes to keep him away from me while I was hospitalized. At this time, I was on 17 different medications and was hardly able to function. At night, my husband would whisper in my ear that if I ever left him he would find and kill me. But God was still in control, and I met my best friend who is still my spiritual sister. She has had cancer in several parts of her body for 16 years and has a Soon after moving to North Salem, IN in 2001, I began a youth ministry, “Solid Rock.” The board gave us a generous budget for our teens. In 2003, I finally quit cutting myself and attempting suicide.

In 2004, my dad became sick with lung cancer while my mom was living in Memphis with her sister for close to eleven years. That summer when my son went to visit his dad in California, they stopped by to check on my dad and called to inform me of my dad’s illness. I called my mom who told me he was fine. Prior to this, I had two pulmonary embolisms, blood clots in my lungs, had carpal tunnel surgery and also had my ankle rebuilt after several sprains. That November, one week after my ankle surgery, my mom called and informed me that my dad was dying, and my son and I had a plane ticket waiting for us at Indianapolis International Airport that was to leave the very next morning. A couple days later dad was sent home with a diagnosis of six months to live. Five days later he died, while my son was headed back home to Indiana. After attending my dad’s funeral, I also flew home to Indiana.

I started attending Lakeview Christian Church in Indianapolis, an AG affiliate, I was teaching second grade Sunday school and counseling teens. My husband began having an affair with my coworker, and I took the opportunity to file for divorce. My amazing son and his best friend came and moved me back to California in 2009. I rented a house from a lady over the phone, little did I know how important she would become to my life. We are still very close, and she now lives in Kentucky.

I found out in 2011 that I was the victim of identity theft and the culprit was my ex-husband. My cousin passed in 2011 with complications from colon cancer. Praise God that my spiritual sister led him to the Lord.

In 2013 I was living with my mom when Irvine PD informed me that my now ex-husband was in town. His name showed up because he received a traffic citation. My brother chose to believe rumors about me imposed by another family member, and on Christmas Eve my brother and sister-in-law evicted me from my mother’s home while she was in the hospital. I moved in with my son and daughter-in-law for a couple of months. They had just married that August. God gave me Psalm 42:8 for comfort:

The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,

And in the night His song shall be with me —

A prayer to the God of my life.

In February 2014, I moved to Missouri to start over. My son and daughter-in law, along with my spiritual sister were the only ones who knew where I was. In October 2014, I married my soul mate and best friend.  The following Spring, 2015, I received a phone call from my mom and she and my brother and sister in law apologized with tears for what they did to me. God always has a way of making things right. It has taken me all this time to truly forgive my ex-husband. Only because God made it possible for me to do so.  I can honestly say that if I were to see him again, I would thank him as I have never been happier or closer to God. My son and daughter-in-law visited us Christmas, 2015, for the duration of four days. Upon returning to California, my son expressed, “Mom you left everything behind and God has blessed you tenfold.” No words have ever been truer from his precious mouth.

Despite my efforts to be rebellious, God has always been there, placing amazing people in my path. He has given my husband and I this ministry to reach out to others who need Him.

So, it is true, with God ALL things are possible! I am living proof.

If you have a testimony you would like to share, please contact us. We would love to use on this site with your permission. We can be reached through our email address: outofseasonministries@outlook.com

God bless you.

 

 

 

 

God Can Do ALL Things, True of False? Part 1

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Either you believe the Bible is completely true from Genesis to Revelation, or you do not. If in fact, you do believe this, why do you doubt God’s ability to help you in your time of need? If you do not believe this truth, then you should!

I will be doing a series on many things that cannot be explained except for this truth.

Today’s segment will be focused on my personal healing from anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, self mutilating, and suicidal tendencies.

In 1991 , after the loss of my baby girl, due to an auto accident while I was eight months pregnant, I fell into a deep depression. I was a Christian, so why did God allow this to happen? Now, I look at this from a different perspective. My daughter went immediately to Heaven and has never had to encounter the horrific things of this world we live in.

In 2000, I suffered from a nervous breakdown, at work, nonetheless. A very devastating time for myself and my family. After several years of self mutilating, severe depression, anxiety disorder, and suicidal tendencies, I cried out to God with my whole heart and he healed me. God assures me, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.’ Jeremiah 33:3 and  again in Jeremiah 29:12-13, “Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. 13 Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Be blessed in knowing that as a child of God if you, “Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. Be miserable and grieve and weep [over your sin]. Let your [foolish] laughter be turned to mourning and your [reckless] joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].” James 4:8-10

Still not convinced? How about putting God to the test? You heard me correctly. Read His Word. Talk to Him. I guarantee you will be changed forever.

“For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13

I would love to hear from you. If you need prayer, I am here for you. I have provided a Prayer Request Journal on this site for you to utilize, and/or you may email me at outofseasonministries@outlook.com

I pray God’s favor upon you.

Significance of Jesus Washing His Disciples’ Feet

Then He poured water into the basin and began washing the disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel which was tied around His waist. 6 When He came to Simon Peter, he said to Him, “Lord, are You going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied to him, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but you will [fully] understand it later.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me [we can have nothing to do with each other].” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, [in that case, wash] not only my feet, but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus said to him, “Anyone who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, and is completely clean. And you [My disciples] are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who was going to betray Him; for that reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:5-11

 

The washing of the feet was a common practice in the Roman baths. After they had left the bath and returned to the dressing room, they would pick up dirt on their feet walking through. And so, they would always wash their feet when they got back to the dressing room before they got dressed and left. They were totally clean, they had just been in the bath for maybe an hour or two, but they did pick up some dirt or defilement walking from the bath to the dressing room.

Here Jesus in essence is saying that as we walk this path through the world, we may pick up some defilement just from the contact walking through the world. But that defilement is only surface; it isn’t in the head, it isn’t in the mind, it isn’t in my life, it’s just washing the feet. As long as your feet are washed, that’s all you need. Your heart is already clean. Your mind is already set. Just get rid of that defilement. And coming to church is that kind of an experience. We’ve been mixing with the world all week long; we’ve heard the filthy language, and so forth.

There is that surface defilement, and it’s just good to come and just to sit back in the presence of the Lord. Jesus said, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” And just let the Word of God just sort of wash us, you know, and feel that cleansing of God’s Word, as we just gather together in the sanctuary.

The whole lesson is that of serving one another, which in those days, serving another person was demonstrated by washing their feet. Now, we don’t live in the days of slavery anymore, and we don’t live in the days of open sandals and dirt footpaths. So, washing a person’s feet isn’t a general kind of a practice at all in our culture. You might better fulfill this by going over and mowing your neighbor’s lawn, or washing out his garbage pail. I should be willing to take the place of a servant to serve my brothers for the Lord’s sake. I’m not too big to serve you.

Jesus is telling us, “Look, no task is beneath you. Serve one another. Take the attitude of a servant towards each other. Be willing to give yourself to serve another person’s need. Don’t put yourself on pedestals. Don’t exalt yourself. Don’t get so high and mighty that you begin to demand people to serve you. Look, I’ve set for you an example here. The example that I have set is for you to take the place of a servant.”

He is talking to His disciples who were to be the first ministers in the church. And as a minister, you’re not to get a glorified, exalted opinion of yourself in thinking that people ought to start waiting on you, because, after all, you’re the minister. They ought to bring you a cup of coffee when you come in, they ought to come over and ask if they can do something for you, you know, and make you comfortable. And after all, “I’m the minister.” And unfortunately, many ministers get that kind of a mindset, that, “Because I’m the minister, I should be waited upon and taken care of.” Not so. That isn’t what the word minister implies at all. The word minister is the word servant. And what it means is that I am the one that should be bringing you a cup of coffee, and bringing you a chair and taking care of you, making sure that you’re comfortable. And whenever I think that I’m so high and mighty that you’ve got to wait on me, then I need to get into some other business. When I’m not willing to serve, and to take care of someone else’s needs, then I’ve become bigger than my Lord and then I’m in big trouble. I don’t have the same attitude as my Lord, and thus, I’m not His true representative. And so, this attitude of a servant. Jesus said, “Do you see what I’ve done? Now, if I, being your Lord and Master, and you call Me Lord and Master, and that’s right, but if I being your Lord am willing to serve you, then you ought to be serving one another. Don’t set yourself up on a pinnacle, don’t set yourself up where you’re waiting for men to serve you. You get out and you serve the needs of the world.” God help us; we need more ministers who are servants. That’s the true minister of Jesus Christ.

And for the record, throughout my depression, anxiety, self mutilating, suicidal tendencies, I have found that when I take my eyes off of myself and place them on others and serving them, my own malfunctions seem to disappear. How glorious! Oh Lord, give me Your eyes and servant’s heart. Halleluyah!