“In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NET)
In my travels near & far over many years, I have often found things in nature shaped like a heart. Each time I am reminded of how much God loves me & you and is always making Himself known to us.
I am also reminded that He does not give up on us. He is faithful to help us when we call out to Him.
Even when I am off in a dozen different directions, scarcely giving Him a thought. He is thinking about me. So I take a minute to focus on His heart. Our amazing God & Creator loves His creation, you and I, made in His Image…and I pause, take a deep breath…the very breath He gives me…and I praise Him! He is worthy to be praised!
Jesus tells us to abide in Him. Not just a suggestion, but a command.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
Abide. What does that mean.
The dictionary definitions are—1: to remain in, to stay stable or fixed 2: to continue in something, to persist, to pursue 3: to tarry, to linger
We need to be connected to the vine. As a branch, it cannot get nutrients without being attached. I remember growing cucumbers. We put up a fence for the vine to grow and as it branched out the tiny cucumbers began to grow. Some grew this way and some went that way. I went out a few days later hoping to get some for my salad.
On one side of the fence I found several yummy cucumbers, but on the other side, I saw shriveled up cucumbers, smaller than a few days earlier. There was no fruit, or vegetables in this case. What happened??
Looking closer, I discovered that one of the branches, as it went over the fence, it got caught and broke off from the vine. Without the nutrients and support from the vine, the cucumbers shriveled up and died.
When we are not attached to Jesus, the vine…we too will not bear fruit. We need to stay attached, to tarry in His Presence.
Abide can also mean to tarry. It reminds me of the song, “In the Garden”“I come to the garden alone While the dew is still on the roses And the voice I hear, falling on my ear The Son of God discloses And He walks with me And He talks with me And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there None other has ever known”
Oh to tarry in the Presence of Jesus, what a sweet picture.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Are you in a dark place? Feeling overwhelmed? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to do things the way God has called you to do them…and yet no results? You see no difference?
Hold on. Just as the Monarch caterpillar waits patiently within its’ chrysalis to be transformed…so are you being transformed. Being a child of God makes you a new creation. The old ways of the flesh have passed and the ways of the Spirit are emerging.
Don’t get me wrong, it takes time to change. God has a much different time table than we do. Be patient.
Just like in the picture. The beautiful Monarch butterfly seemingly hidden, cannot see the beauty of it’s wings. It is dark in there. She has to be still & wait. No wriggling & fussing like I sometimes do.
We too, must wait and TRUST our CREATOR & FATHER GOD. We must have FAITH that He knows what He is doing.
Take a closer look, the black outline of the wings are showing! Just a few more days. Breaking forth from the darkness is so close! If the Monarch would quit now, it would miss the new creation it will become. You can be so close to emerging from your dark place too!
You & I are beautiful, new creations in CHRIST. Maybe in your darkness, you cannot see your changes. I can see the beauty of your wings. Just wait. God has so much more for you!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I love the song by Zack Williams called, “Fear is a Liar.” It is about all the lies that the enemy tells us to try and break our spirit, to make us get off track in our walk with the LORD and to eventually cause us to give up. If you have never heard it, look it up on YouTube. It is a really good song. Some of the lyrics are as follows in quotes Lyrics from Fear Is a Liar by Zack Williams
“When he told you you’re not good enough When he told you you’re not right When he told you you’re not strong enough To put up a good fight When he told you you’re not worthy When he told you you’re not loved When he told you you’re not beautiful That you’ll never be enough”
Fear tells us we can’t do it. It stops us in our steps. Fear tells us we have messed up too many times. LIES! LIAR! LIES! Fear is a liar!
God says He did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is the absence of peace. Fear wears us down. Fear makes us believe things that are not true about ourselves. Fear tries to belittle & hide the TRUTH of GOD. Where does fear & doubt come from? It comes from the enemy of God’s children, from the evil one, the devil, Satan.
In John 8:44, Jesus said this about Satan, “…He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Why do we so easily fall for the same old tricks, the same old lies? The lies the powers of darkness puts in our minds discourages us, and if we continue to listen, it can ruin our soul. How can we stop the voices that tell us awful things?
As a child of GOD, you can choose to listen to your Heavenly Father. Listen to GOD. Look into the love letter He gave us..His Word, the Bible.
How about if we answer each line with what GOD says!
“When he told you you’re not good enough” What a LIE! We are created in GOD’S Image. (Genesis 1:21 & 1:31) “When he told you you’re not right” Don’t you believe it! Our wrongs are forgiven! We are made righteous in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) “When he told you you’re not strong enough To put up a good fight” It is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12) Our strength comes from the LORD (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 22:19, Psalm 28:7-8, Isaiah 12:2 & many more!) and the battle is His (1 Samuel 14:47) “When he told you you’re not worthy” Jesus died for you & me while we were against GOD (Romans 5:8) When he told you you’re not loved GOD loves us so much He sent Jesus to die in our place (John 3:16) “When he told you you’re not beautiful” GOD says we are beautiful (Song of Solomon 4:7) “That you’ll never be enough” We are GOD’S Masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
When one of the biggest emotional storms hit my life, I fell to my knees. When my whole life was shattered like a pile of broken glass on the floor, I needed hope.
When my heart was so broken and I slid to the floor, I cried out to God. In the quietness of my heart I heard His reply, this is how the conversation went,
Me: “God, I can’t take this. There is no way that I can get through this.”
God: “Yes, my child, you will. I will help you.”
Me: “No Lord, it is too much. I can’t bear it. I don’t have the strength.”
God: “You are right. You do not have the strength, but I DO.”
Me: “I don’t understand Lord. What must I do?”
God: “Lean on Me. I AM your strength, don’t let this shake you.”
“He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)
Me: “I’m scared Lord.”
God: Shhhh, little one, I am here. I will never leave you. Trust Me”.
He is right. All my struggles did not go away but leaning on God and trusting that He is working on my behalf gives me peace…I will get through this in His Strength.
You may be going through difficult times. Maybe you have felt lost and without hope. When we are dealing with missing loved ones who have passed, broken families, wounded relationships, and the stresses & storms of life…Lean on Him. Trust Him.
“I wait eagerly for the LORD’s help, and in His word I trust.” Psalm 130:5
God is trustworthy, steadfast and sure. He is the strength of my heart. May He be the strength of your heart too.
When I go through struggles, disappointments & heartache and I want it to be OVER NOW, I am faced with choices on how to handle things. Here are some I’ve tried:
I can try to resolve things by forcing an outcome, by fixing it myself, doing whatever I can do in my own strength to “fix” it.
I can crawl into a pit of despair and wait & see if it “magically” gets resolved.
I can have a temper tantrum, blame others and feel sorry for myself. Holding many pity parties for myself as the “why” scenario plays in endless loops in my head.
OR I CAN GO to our HEAVENLY FATHER, confess any wrong I have done, tell Him what is on my heart and ask Him to help me. (This has been my best choice!)
“Truly my soul silently waits for the God, from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock, my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalm 62:1-2 NKJV
Some versions say, “I will not be greatly shaken”I love that! Don’t let the things that are going on to shake you up too much. Remember Who you belong to. He is our place of refuge, where we can safely run and confide in Him.
He is our defense. The BEST defense attorney in history…sorry Matlock…lol
If I can trust Him and wait. He is working things out to benefit His Kingdom, so many will be saved. How I want things to work out usually benefit me the most and they are not forever. God fixes things the BEST and for ETERNAL VALUE!
I don’t think of is as giving in or giving up…instead it is all about GIVING IT OVER. Giving it over to my Dad and trusting Him and allowing Him to resolve things in His way & in His time.
Oh, my naughty chickens. Not all of them. Most of them listen to me. Not Black Beauty (BB) a Black Jersey Giant & Pibs (Pain in bum sometimes) a beautiful Ameraucana mix. Strikingly beautiful. They have wandered before. They know me but they don’t listen to my voice.
I am the happy owner of 12 chickens, 11 hens and 1 rooster. I have had most of these girls and boy for five years. I feed them, water them, clean there coop, shovel their yard in winter, protect them and talk to them. They know my voice, they will follow me or at least I thought they would.
Three days ago, I let them out of their enclosed yard and let them free range. I try to do that so that they can eat the ticks and other insects that are around. Not everyday, but some days. Around 10 am, I heard the chickens squawking and carrying on…a different sound. I knew something was up. I looked out my front door and a red-tailed hawk with a big wing span glided over head. He or she was looking for a fat, tasty breakfast. “Not today”, I said!
I went back in and grabbed a loaf of bread, hurrying back to their fenced in yard. I called my girls and they came out from under our back deck and followed me…most of them.
Nine hens and my Bantam rooster with Little Red leading the way. She is my favorite hen and has been with me 6 years. I tossed bread crumbs inside the enclosure and they followed Red’s lead and dashed in…all except BB & Pib.
They came out from hiding but meandered across the lawn, oblivious to the danger and started pecking the grass. I called and called and they barely looked up. Now I had another dilemma. I had to close the door to keep the ten in but then these two could not get back in. Sure hawk breakfast.
I closed the door, saved some bread and went to shoo my rebels in. I went around behind them and started moving them towards safety. They got close to the fence, so I opened the door hoping they would join the others. Nope. They ran to the other end of the yard and paid no attention to me. Every time I got close they would scoot around into the bushes.
This went on for some time. No luck. Finally I said, “You are on your own girls. The hawk is looking to eat you and I am trying to protect you. You need to listen to my voice. Follow me. You are my chickens and I need to keep you safe. Why won’t you listen?!”
Just as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I thought of Jesus and His words to us, to me. Listen to My voice. Follow Me. I will save you. You are Mine.
Why didn’t I listen all those times? Maybe it was because I didn’t think I was in danger. I don’t see the big picture. He does.
Just like my girls, disobedient & (seemingly) blissfully unaware of danger; I have tried to forge my own path, my own way. Trouble in the making.
I watched my girls from the window & I did go out a bit later and BB & Pib went into the coop door that I left open. Away from where the ten were. I crept in, closed the door behind me and picked them up. I put them in with their friends, again telling them they need to listen to my voice. To follow me next time. We shall see.
For me, I remember that Jesus is the True Shepherd and we are His sheep. I am His. IAMHIZ
“And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” John 10:4 NKJV
I want to wish you a blessed Easter. I hope you had a great day praising our Risen Savior and spending the day with those you love.
I know I am a few days past Easter but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what just happened from Good Friday until Easter morning.
The sadness, the gut-wrenching guilt and hopelessness that His disciples & family felt was very evident on Friday. Even into Sunday as two of them were walking to a village called Emmaus. Resurrected Jesus is walking with them. They are unable to recognize who He is at this point. (Luke 24:13-16)
Let’s pick up the conversation as Luke recorded it:
“He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast.18 One of them, named Cleopas,asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place”. Luke 24:17-21 (NIV)
Their faces were downcast and they we hoping that it was He (Jesus) who was going to redeem Israel. It is also the third day. Perhaps they remember Jesus’s words in John 2:19, about raising up the temple in 3 days.
Where was He? Where is our Redeemer? We had hoped You were the One, Jesus. He said He would rise from the dead. Oh Jesus, where are you??
JESUS IS THERE among them on His way to be seen by His disciples, especially Peter who must be in a very deep place of pain & anguish knowing he betrayed Jesus and Peter believes at that point that he has no way to say he is sorry. For Jesus is dead. “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” Mark 16:7 (NKJV)
JESUS IS HERE! Among us today, right now. HE IS RISEN! Just like He said!
” He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:6
He did what He said He would do. He is trustworthy. If we can believe that He rose from the dead, surely we can believe He is with us now, loving us, helping us, leading us…Remember in John 14:6 He told us,
He is the WAY. He opened the way to Heaven so we could have fellowship with the Father. No more sin between us. He shows us the way to live on earth as well.
He is the TRUTH. He told the truth that He would rise from the dead. He said He is coming back for those who believe in Him. It is the Truth.
He is the LIFE. Through His death & resurrection, we have ETERNAL LIFE. A Home in Heaven one day! Thank You Jesus!
I had often wondered why the day my Lord Jesus died is called “Good” Friday. It seems odd to call a day good when such terrible things were done to Him and He died.
From the betrayal the night before, to most of His closest friends abandoning him, to the scourging, ridiculing and outright lies told about Him, It seems there was not much good leading up to Friday. It goes from bad to worse, Jesus is so weak from the beatings and loss of blood, yet He must carry His own cross to the crucifixion site. Being fully man, He is tired and in excruciating pain, yet He says not a word.
He feels all that we would feel if we had gone through this day instead of Him. His human body is near death. He does not call legions of angels to help Him. He could have. I know He could have. He is fully God… in human flesh.
It should have been me on that cross. I’m the guilty one, not Him. He is perfect. He could have said, “Forget it, she’s not worth it, Take Me home Father.” But He did not say anything like that. He has to finish. He is the only Way to be reconciled to the Father. My sin is great but His love is greater.
He has one more thing to say but His lips are so parched. He is thirsty. He has been on the cross nearly 6 hours and probably without water since supper the night before.
“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said,…I thirst! Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth” John 19:28
He is also fulfilling Psalm 69:21.
“They gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” Psalm 69:21
Maybe, do you think…He needs to wet His lips, to speak so the people can hear. As He struggles to take a breath, He knows it is time.
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
“It is finished!” What Jesus came to do, He finished. Our sin debt was PAID IN FULL! Woo Hoo!
I understand now why it is called “Good Friday” GOOD NEWS for you and me! He had to die to defeat sin & death. To finish the hold it had on us. In three days, on Easter, He rises from the dead so we can live! When we choose to make Jesus our Lord & Savior…we are FREE!