As I have just gone through the Easter/Passover season my husband and I have
Been watching several movies on the books of the bible. I have found myself
Looking at the cross and the empty tomb with a different perspective. While watching and listening this season I began to see and I’m sure you have all seen that
There is a difference between the cross and the empty tomb. You see as I watched
Jesus being nailed to the cross I began to realize several things. First that Jesus pleaded with the Father that this cup could pass from him. But he chose obedience and
Torture to bear what no one else could, our sin, and as he bore our sin on the cross the
Agonizing thing to him was the emptiness of not having the presence of the Father.
For in that moment there was no peace and Jesus cried out in excruciating emptiness
And pain desperate for the presence of his Father. Jesus willfully gave his all for
You and for me, emptying himself to fulfill his Fathers will in obedience and selfless
Denial. So what does that say to us? We can sing and dance our words at anytime, declaring to the Father that we give him our all and His will not ours.
But what I saw at the cross was total death. I saw blood, sweat and tears. That desperate place in our total being that seeks what we need. Help, forgiveness, peace, healing, a savior and the presence of an all loving God. Ecclesiastes 3: 11 He has set eternity in their heart. Only Jesus can be that to us and for us. Only he can help us. Forgive us, heal us save us, and bring us back into the Fathers presence. It’s in that place of death that we are desperate for all that Jesus has done for us and wants to give us. It’s at the foot of the cross where we die. The cross is covered in blood, it’s covered in all our sin and Jesus went to the cross to show us how to die.
It’s a dark place where there is no peace in any part of us. It’s a dark place where there
Is no presence of the Father. It’s a hard place where we are broken and torn and desperate. That desperate hope that we don’t have, so we must go to the cross to die. But before Jesus gave his last breath he declared, “It Is finished!”
So what is it that is finished? He died and was buried. Sin has been covered, death defeated. A new life and a new hope has begun through a savor But then I began to see that when he rose again and left an empty tomb, it was no longer dark. In death Jesus gives us life. When Mary went to the Tomb on the first day of the week, the angel asked her why she was looking for Jesus because he is risen. True life has begun. The miracle of being born- again. One of the first things Jesus gives the disciples after his resurrection is Peace. John 19:19,21,26. He also reassures them that their sins are forgiven. Life in its greatest form. Salvation, love, peace, forgiveness, healing, the presence of the Father, the reassurance of Jesus himself and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Life in its fullness, given by death on the cross and a resurrected life. Love in its most perfect form. Peace that no man can have in himself or give. A peace that passeth all understanding. An eternal life that is only found in Jesus. A complete healing body, soul and spirit that can only come from Jesus. The promise of help in time of trouble and His strength to help in all things. A Hope that is not only eternal but a hope in Jesus as we walk out this life. A renewed hope. At that empty tomb we discover He’s Alive and we also discover we are alive in Him. Spirit, soul and body, alive in Christ. Aware for the first time in our lives of the very presence of an all knowing all loving heavenly Father. By the death of Jesus on the cross and our death at the cross you might say that the empty tomb has merged heaven and earth in us. And that’s MyLivingLife
Today finds me almost knee deep in snow with a hint of sunshine and very cold. I’m thankful for a day off from my job to be able to spend some time with my Lord and reflect and the past couple of months. Life is a journey whether you’re in the Lord or not. But when you walk with someone on her journey that isn’t in the Lord and this journey renders life or death it can be another dynamic. Evangelism is a very real part of my walk in Christ and I take my salvation as well as someone else’s very serious. In December I took a friend to the hospital for a pretty common surgery. A hysterectomy and bladder sling. As a woman I know many women who have had this done. As the anesthesiologist was putting the tube down her throat he discovered a tumor on her vocal cords. They called in an oncologist came up to the waiting room for direction and was given the ok to proceed with the surgery. We would deal with the results of the tumor after. Before the surgery was over we knew it was cancer. The next three to four weeks were filled with Dr. appointments and tests. During one test they discovered a spot on her colon. The next surgery was a little more complicated as they did a colonoscopy, a port and a feeding tube. Again as they began surgery the surgeon stopped and came to us in the waiting room to tell us that the mass in her throat had grown so big that to prevent suffocation he needed to put in an emergency tracheonomy. We had minutes before found out that the spot in her colon was indeed cancer. With permission the surgeon hurried back to surgery. As of now my friend is in a nursing home that takes her to her radiation treatments. A dr. has given a time frame of a month left for her to live. No one will tell her that her time is short. She doesn’t want to hear about salvation right now and my heart is breaking for her. My prayers continue for her and even though I’m not welcome in her room I know there is no distance in prayer and the Lord can go into her room and speak his love over her. I know we are given freedom of choice and that is an awesome grace from our God, but for her not to be told her time is short is taking that freedom from her. The scripture that I keep coming too is in 2 Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty for the pulling down of strongholds. Oh how thankful I am for the weapons of warfare that I have been given through my mighty Lord and Savor Jesus Christ. I’m fighting to end.
Just what does allegiance mean? It means “loyalty or commitment to a superior or to a group or cause.” When I say I pledge my allegiance I am making even more than a statement I am making a proclamation of declaring my total support to someone, something or a cause. As a born again Christian and believer in Jesus Christ and a believer in the one true God my first allegiance is to the one true God of this universe, my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. With that, he has birthed me in a great nation that proclaims its allegiance to be a nation under God. I have stood many times for the pledge of allegiance. many times as my sons have stood before playing in a game or at a college or pro game. I stand proudly and with god bumps up and down my body. I am proud to pledge my loyalty to first my God and second my nation flying the flag of freedom. Just as my savior shed his blood for my salvation and freedom, the blood of great men and women who have shed their blood for my freedom flies the flag. Declaring by not standing for our freedom both spiritually and in this nation sets a precedence of display for a totally different cause. Racial injustice is a cause that begins with each one of us individually. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and examine our hearts personally to see if we are part of this social racial injustice. Just as we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and search our hearts for sin that we may repent and receive our savior. When this happens with each one of us individually we then take measures to stop the injustice we are causing. Oh people wake up and look at yourselves in the mirror and take out the log in your own eyes before you so visibly make a declaration against an innocent flag, people and nation. None of us are without sin, but to declare one cause against our flag and nation that negates the meaning and purpose of respect for the freedom it represents brings a division that destroys not helps or heals. Oh the visual message that this is giving our young people is so opposite of what Christ did for us as well as for what the men and women who fought for us did. By taking a knee is rebellion to every one of us who loves this nation. But rest assured every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. So whether those who bow their knee here on earth for whatever cause or before the one who sits on the throne I encourage everyone to search their soul as to why you are bowing your knee and for what and to whom.
I’d like to share with you today about a test I just had done. One would think that at retirement age you would be done with allergies getting worse but that doesn’t seem to be the case with me. I have always had an allergy to fragrance and sulfa and for the last 35 years I have been plagued with eczema. Now to me these were quite enough to deal with and I had them pretty much under control. But then about three year ago the eczema decided to show up on my hands. Being a seamstress and working in a fabric store I discovered that fabric and eczema collided. On top of that for the past many months the itching and my skin being on fire started creeping in. With my regular doctor being clueless and my dermatologist just giving me cream to apply I decided I would see an allergist. I had no clue what that allergy test would uncover but I was totally not prepared for what I learned. I had the full panel, which is foods and outside. With outside they told me I might want to think about a bubble in the spring, summer and fall and with foods out of sixty- nine I tested positive for sixty- two. I find this to be quite a surprise to say the least. So how does one go forward with such a report? Now I must go into my deep gratification that this is not fatal or even life threatening or me. I have friends who are celiac and have know them to have to be hospitalized at times. I have a son with Asthma and that is life threatening and I have another son with an allergy to Tylenol that is also life threatening. So I’m not complaining a bit. I am thankful that I now know what I’m dealing with and to be honest I know it will take me quite awhile to figure this food thing out. So once again Gods word in has come alive in me. Romans 8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. I know that I love God and he has a purpose for me. As I work through all that I can’t have and rely fully on God with what I can have, it will all work together for my good. I truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Out of the seven things that I can have, I can have chocolate, pineapple, bacon and tea. What’s not good about that? And that’s living life
Today I’d like to talk about trusting the Lord. This is what you always hear when your struggling with something, like finances, addiction, marital problems, children, your job. All the areas of life. So how does something so cliché and simple work? Is it really as simple as trusting God? The things I mentioned above are only a few areas of the things we can trust God in. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding”. The meaning of trust is the assured reliance on the strength, ability and truth of God and nothing else. I’ve been a believer for a long time and I thought I trusted my Lord in all the areas I needed to. But I just found out different. Oh how I love how the Holy Spirit continually reveals to me things that are keeping me from that fullness or complete relationship with my God. Let me explain with a visual that has helped me over the years. At salvation we ask Jesus into our lives and he comes to live in our hearts. So I’ve actually pictured the Lord in my heart. This is my literal sense of being. One day many years ago I was standing in my living room and It was as if I saw Jesus stand up on the inside of me and stretch his arms and legs out and say to me, “get the garbage out.” Wow that was interesting since Jesus forgives our sins and it’s removed, but at the same time I knew there were things in my life I was struggling with even with Jesus on the inside and he was telling me they were in his way. Or in his space, so to speak. Well obviously, it’s been years later and I’m still “getting the garbage out”. Oh how I am so thankful for grace and mercy. So periodically I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that is in the way of my relationship with my Lord, so I can deal with it and “get it out”. So here’s another visual that has helped me. I picture my heart as having many chambers. The chambers represent each area of my life. The scripture says to trust God with ALL your heart. As the Holy Spirit reveals an area in my heart that I’m not trusting God, He also reveals with such love my sin of not trusting God in that area and how I’ve been holding on to that area and in what ways. So the other day this happened. I was so shocked because I thought I was trusting God in this particular place. So after repentance and awe I gave that place or chamber up and let my Lord into that place in my heart. It’s an awesome feeling of Gods love, grace, mercy and peace when this happens. So I know now that Jesus my Lord is getting all my heart. It may be in pieces as it’s revealed to me but it’s my will for him to get it all. So you can ask the Holy Spirit also if there is an area in your life that is hindering your relationship with your Lord, so you also can let him into that place in your heart. And that’s living life.
While at work last night, two young men came into the store. Unlikely place for two young men, you see it’s a fabric store. As I was putting things back on the shelf they approached me. A little bashful and apologizing for interrupting my work, the one young man proceeded to ask me if I had pain in my body. Then quickly went on to say that they were Christians and walking through the mall wanting to pray for people. I quickly let my guard down knowing they weren’t trying to sell me anything or a cult, and began to talk. I told them, “for my age I thought I was doing pretty well but would always welcome prayer” and proceeded to ask for prayer for my husband. I began to share with them what a blessing they are to people and how they are honoring God. I went on too share with them that I have been a believer for over 40 years and how it’s a process to be Christ like. Speaking as the Holy Spirit led I was able to minister to them and encourage them in their journey with Jesus. I then got called away to take care of a customer. I was blessed for that God encounter with young believers, the one was a brand new Christian. That was surely a God moment that I embrace with thankfulness and blessing. So keep on in your journey with Jesus, he is the way the truth and the very life you breathe and live. For each step you encounter whether triumph or trial will be one more step bearing the image of Christ in your body soul and spirit. And that’s living life!
Oh my wonderful Jesus, he knows exactly what to say to make a point and to clarify and solidify what he’s saying to us. While reading the gospel of John the other day the very end of the book Jesus is talking to Peter. In John 21:15 Jesus begins to speak specifically to Peter and he asks him if he loves him, Peter would answer Jesus and then Jesus would ask the same question again. I can almost hear the frustration in Peters voice as he answers the question three times. Jesus was testing Peter’s heart before giving him the calling God had placed on his life. Jesus even went so far as to tell Peter what the end of his life would be like. I’m thinking that was part of the test also. To see if Peter would turn away, but Peter didn’t seem the least bit phased by what Jesus was telling him. There’s a song that comes to mind as I read the last part of what Jesus was telling Peter. The song is titled “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” one of the phrases goes ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his glorious face.” In verse 19 Jesus said to Peter “follow me”. Then in verse 21 Peter was watching another disciple and said to Jesus “ Lord what about this man?” Jesus, full of grace and mercy and at this point I’m thinking much patience said to Peter, If I want him to remain until I come, “ What is that to you?” “ You follow me!” Oh what a wealth of descriptive knowledge we get in these scriptures. How many times do we hear “ keep your eyes on Jesus?” Peter was looking right into the eyes of our Savior and still he pointed to the guy next to him, basically saying to Jesus, “ well what about him, what’s he gonna do?” now that’s my own paraphrase but it fits. I’m sure Jesus gently but firmly made Peter look at him when he said, “ You! follow me!” Jesus points out that what he tells another to do has nothing to do with you, that person is my business not yours. These scriptures reveal how our sin nature is and how easy it is for us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at someone else or even ourselves. We must turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in his glorious face to follow him, with all our heart and strength. Jesus had that conversation with Peter and I’m sure he’s had that same conversation with each of us, I know he has me, as we fulfill our calling on our lives to “Follow Him.”