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Posts Tagged ‘deliverance’

In the Gospel of John 1:1 it states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

For a long time I did not make the connection that the “Word” was Jesus Christ even though verse 14 tells me so. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

It was only after a particular Bible study did I put it all together. It’s also when I noticed that the ‘w’ in word is capitalized. This indicates to me that the writer is not speaking of a word in the literal sense, but of Jesus Christ – God’s Word made into flesh.

A second significant aspect is found in John 1:5: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Jesus Christ is the light this verse speaks of, but those who were in darkness (meaning they were lost because they did not know Christ) could not or would not accept Him. This verse is significant because the same thing is still going on today.

There are many lost souls who have no true knowledge or understanding of Jesus Christ. Sadly, they want to keep it that way. But Jesus said if you are not with Him then you are against Him. “He that is not with me is against me;…” (Matthew 12:30)

So, if a person is not abiding by the commandments of Jesus Christ, they are against Him. They are living in sin. And living in sin is the same as being lost – both of which the word “darkness” in John 1:5 refers to.

A third significant aspect is in John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This is a most significant statement because it is telling us what must happen in order for us to abide with God forever.

To be born again means that we must surrender our selves to Jesus Christ. We must repent of our sins, and be willing to change for the better. We must accept Jesus as our Savior, and be willing to put to death our old selves, hence the term “born again”.

If we put all our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, He can begin the renewing process within us. This involves a daily cleansing of our soul, and it is something we cannot achieve on our own.

While we will never be perfectly cleansed from all sin in this world, we will have a different mind-set, a change of heart that will allow us to turn away from the sinful habits that once held us captive.

Jesus Christ promises, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

I can’t think of anything more significant than that.

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Job suffered through many trials and tribulations ranging from the deaths of his children to the boils that covered his entire body. His friends believed he had committed some sin in order for such evil to fall upon him. This caused Job even more anguish because he was a righteous man, and he knew he had done nothing wrong.

He couldn’t understand why he had to endure such tragedies, and he questioned God. When God answered him, it was in the form of Him reminding Job of who it was that had created all things in the universe.

God asked Job what role he had played in the creation process in order to help him realize the omnipotence of God. His questioning of Job was effective because Job began to realize how insignificant he was. Job’s statement in Chapter 42:6, “…I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”, is evidence of him humbling himself before God.

Job came out of his trials and tribulations understanding the nature of suffering to be that sometimes both the good and the bad must be dealt with, and that even though his suffering was through no fault of his own, he still had to know (and believe) that God was in control. Even though his trust and faith were put to the test, he continued to turn to God for answers. The Bible tells us that Job “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” during this time. (Job 1:22) And in the end, he was rewarded twice as much for his obedience and faithfulness.

It’s a good lesson in suffering. At some point, all of us will go through – or have already gone through – a period of trials and tribulations. If we are servants of Jesus Christ, we would do well to emulate Job because as long as we hold steadfast to God in the midst of trouble, He will see us through. Even when it feels like God is nowhere around. He Is…

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Are you spiritually dead?  Who are you serving?  The world?  Yourself?  (well, that’s the same as serving the world).

God says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”  (James 4:4)

So, if the world says it’s okay to have sex before marriage, is that what you do?  If the world says you, a minor, can have an abortion without your parent’s knowledge, is that what you do if your situation calls for it?  If the world says it’s okay to smoke, drink, get high, cuss, fuss, fight and, well…pretty much anything you want to do, do you do those things even though they cause unnecessary drama in your life?

The world says no more prayer in public schools, so it becomes against the law to pray out loud in a public school.  Then, a 14 year old with a grudge comes to school, and starts shooting everybody that moves.

The world tells us to remove the Ten Commandments from the courtrooms, yet the money we spend still reads, “in God we trust”.

The Bible says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”  (1 Corinthians 3:19)  So, what the world says means nothing unless it is in line with what God says.

It’s ok to have peace rallies.  And it’s good to have neighborhood block watches, and meetings between police officers and concerned neighbors.  But if every word you speak does not include the power of Jesus Christ as the solution, then you are speaking in vain.

The reason the world is in the state it’s in right now is because there are so many lost, misguided, broken, and hurting souls out there.  We need Jesus Christ to fix that problem.  He is The Healer.

Think about it.  What else would make a 14-year-old come to school and start shooting just because he got suspended?  What makes a young man shoot and kill another human being simply because he wants that person’s vehicle?  What makes a mother give her 2-year-old crack cocaine, and think it’s funny?

When I was lost, I stumbled around in the darkness of my heart trying to find a way to fix my own broken soul.  And while I did not do any of the things I’ve just mentioned, I lived a life of reaction nonetheless.

I had been abandoned so I put my guard up.  I had been mistreated so I misused.  I had been neglected so I rejected.  I had been talked about so I talked about others.  I had been lied on so I lied to.  I had been cussed out so I cussed out.  I had been abused so I ran.  I had been poor so I stole.  I had been depressed so I wished for death.  And I continued my pretense of being happy.

But guess what?  All that pretending kept me SPIRITUALLY DEAD.   And then I found the way (Jesus).

Since I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I no longer live a life of reaction.  I’m no longer a victim to the downfalls of this world.  I’m a survivor.  I have – and claim – the victory!  I don’t live by the world’s standards anymore.

Jesus said, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” (Revelations 2:26)

I serve Christ daily, and yes, sometimes I do stumble because I am only human.  But all I have to do is remember what Jesus has done and is still doing for me.  All I have to do is believe His promise that He will never leave or forsake me.  And having faith in His words, I call on Him for strength, and He strengthens me.

If you will receive Jesus Christ into your heart, repent and ask for His forgiveness, then make Him the One you follow, obey, and trust in, He will do the same thing for you.

Stop following the world.  Don’t be an enemy to God, the One who created you.  That’s like cutting off your nose to spite your own face.  If you’re broken let God’s Son, Jesus Christ, fix you.  Follow Him and be healed, for He IS the great healer.

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I imagine a hawk is somewhat comfortable believing it is the conqueror as it captures its intended prey.  And creatures of the ground are not pacing the cement, back and forth, worrying about when and where their next meal is coming from.  No, they just do, by God-given instinct, what they are created to do.  Hunt, catch, eat, and repeat.

We were created to do something too.  We are not here by accident.  But for a lot of people it feels that way.  There are many people who don’t know why they’re here, and so it creates a kind of aloofness.  A what-does-it-matter kind of mentality.

We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

So, this is why we are here – to honor and obey the One who created us.  First and foremost.  Is that all you say?  No.  But this must be the number one priority.  And it is possible to love, honor and obey God and have a fulfilling life despite those who do not think the two can go hand in hand.

We can have and pursue other desires, interest, dreams and goals as long as they do not go against the Word of God, as long as they are not causing us to behave in a way that would be displeasing to Him.

This world can be a dark, disappointing place.  And if you are trying to get through it on your own, without the power of God, without the saving grace of Jesus Christ, then your journey can become even more difficult to travel.

You DO have a purpose.  You were created to serve God.  “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”  Revelation 4:11

(“…thou hast created all things…” that includes us)

Accept your role – God’s gracious gift.  I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift when you’re struggling.  When it’s an everyday problem just to survive.  When your refrigerator is empty and so are your pockets.  I know.  I’ve been there.

But if God created you for His glory, then He most certainly will not forsake you if you don’t forsake Him.  Be thankful, and start walking in the light you were meant to walk in.

Everything always looks clearer when the Son is shining on them.

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I just finished reading a blog by someone who spent a few days in a psych ward.  It was  interesting to note the point she made that no one there had to pretend to be anything  other than what they were.  Everyone could finally remove their everything-is-okay mask, and let the real person out.

I’m sure a lot of you know what that mask is.  It’s the one that hides the real person, and covers the everyday flaws that we all possess.  I’m also sure a lot of you know that wearing that mask day in and day out is hazardous to your health, and is in itself, enough to drive you over the edge.

I know I do.  I used to wear that mask.  But then I accepted Jesus Christ into my life, and as He changed and continues to change me, I learned that you can only be what you don’t want to be for so long.  I learned that you can only not be that which you long to be for just as limited a time.

After that…a slow, subtle death begins, and rather than put your dissatisfaction on display for all to see, you don your own personalized mask.

But you’re still dying inside.

Whatever area of your life is causing you to wear a mask – or maybe you have to wear more than one mask – is an area that you need to turn over to Jesus Christ.  This is just one of the reasons why, if you don’t have a relationship with Him, you need one.  And it is not the most important reason…the salvation of your soul is.

Trying to be what other’s expect you to be; trying to act in a way that fits in with everyone else’s’ expectations of you takes its toll.  But for the Christian, we are not living for the praise of mankind.

So, what does God say?  How are we to live according to His requirements?

We are to be DISCIPLINED to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”  Luke 6:46

 We are to be OBEDIENT to the commandments of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

 We are to be FOLLOWERS of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”  (Luke 9:23)

 We are to put Jesus FIRST before everything and everyone.  He becomes the center of our life.

Jesus said, “…for no man can serve two masters:…”  (Matthew 6:24)

  The apostle Paul said in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This can be your wonderful legacy also!  And you won’t have to pretend anymore.

If you will accept Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Master, acknowledge your sinful ways (as we all have) and confess a desire to change from those ways (repent), you can just go to the Father with all your cares, needs, and concerns.  You can approach Him with humble confidence, thanking Him all the way, and praising Him.

Some people may think that I still wear a mask because I don’t get bent out of shape about most things.  But that’s the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in my soul, and I pray to God regularly for strengthening and renewal (when needed) of my faith.  I ask for wisdom and guidance so there’s no need for me to contradict myself by getting all bent out of shape, is there?

I’m not pretending.  I’m not wearing a mask.  And you don’t have to either.  Jesus Christ will set you free from all pretenses if you let Him.  And remember…being freed by Jesus Christ is being free indeed!

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“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”  Proverbs 21:13

 

Today’s quote addresses the plight of the poor.  Being poor can take on a different definition depending on who you are talking to.  Some can be poor in spirit, in money, in food, or in all three.  Let me share with you my story about the drifter…

It was a warm spring day several years ago.  The day before I was to attend the funeral of a very close friend.  I was in the parking lot of a supermarket, numbly loading the trunk of my car with a few bags of groceries because, yes, I still had to eat.  Suddenly, I heard a male’s voice close behind me…too close.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” the voice said softly.

I turned to find a young man perhaps around the age of twenty standing with his hands jammed into his dingy, over-sized blue jean pockets.  His blond hair was tussled; his face was pale and dirty.  His blue eyes were clear and filled with pain.

“Yes?”  I answered cautiously, wishing he would remove himself from my immediate personal space.

“I’m new in this town and I was wondering if you could spare a few dollars?”

I looked at him as I asked, “Are you hungry?”

“Well, yeah,” he said looking down at the ground.  “The people in this city aren’t so friendly.”

“Well, that depends,” I said, “on who you ask.”

He smiled slightly, and my heart went out to him.

“Where are you from?”  I asked.

“Minnesota.  I got into a little trouble with my parents, and they kicked me out.”

“What kind of trouble?”  I knew it was drug-related.  I’ve worked with and been around drug users long enough to know the signs that always show up on an addict’s face and in their eyes, but I wanted him to tell me.

“Well,” his eyes shifted.  He kicked at some imaginary piece of debris on the ground.

“Was it drugs?”  I asked, finally rescuing him from a difficult confession.

He nodded.

I let him know that his life did not have to be the way it was.  I told him that God did not intend for him to live the way he had been living – hooked on drugs, and drifting from one city to another.  I told him that the death of my friend whose funeral I would be attending the next day was indirectly related to drug use.

His eyes met mine, and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry.”

I believed him.

“There is a better way,” I said looking directly at him.  “If you surrender yourself to Jesus, He can deliver you.”

He stood nodding his head and listening.

A few minutes later, I asked him what he would like to eat.  There was a McDonald’s, Burger King, and a KFC restaurant all within a six-block radius.

He was trying to be polite.  “I guess a burger will be fine.”

“The only thing you want is a burger?”  I asked.  “You don’t want two?”

He raised his eyebrows.  “Well, sure, I guess if you don’t mind.”

“Would you like some fries with that, too?”

Again, he raised his eyebrows.  “Sure,” he said.

We agreed that he would wait for me by a certain bench in front of a women’s clothing store while I went to get the food.

“I’ll be back as quick as I can,” I said.  “Don’t leave.”

“Okay,” he answered.

The restaurant was crowded.  Fifteen minutes later I turned off the street towards our specified meeting place.  I could see his smile before I reached the bench.  I smiled too because many times I had done this – offered to go get food – and come back to find the person gone.  He stood up as my car approached.

“I bought you a soda, too,” I said.

“Thank-you,” he said with true sincerity.

I asked him what his name was.  It was  * “Adam” – the same name as my friend whom I would see the next day for the very last time, laying still and quiet and cold.

I told him what my name was, and that I would be praying for him.

“Don’t end up like Adam,” I told him.

Earlier, I’d placed a tract that explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His love into the bag of food.  I gave him the bag, and then I directed him to a men’s shelter.  He thanked me, and I drove off wishing I could have done more.  I could have.  I could have given him bus fare to the shelter, and to this day I do not know why that thought escaped me.  Maybe it was because of my own grief that semi-clouded my thinking, and prevented me from seeing this stranger all the way to safety.  I don’t know, but I often think of that young man, and wonder what has become of him.  I pray that the seed I planted took root, and has since grown.

Now, I know in this day and age it’s not safe (for a female in particular) to go around assisting strangers by herself whether they be male or female.  But, we cannot turn a blind eye nor a deaf ear on those who are in need.

Romans 8:31 tells us that “…If God be for us, who can be against us?”  So then, if we have Christ in our lives, we can use caution and common sense.  And then, we must hear the cry of the afflicted, near or far, and we must offer help.  We all have the capabilities to do so.

 

* Name changed to protect the privacy of others.

 

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To those of you who think suicide is the answer…THINK AGAIN.

Satan tries to make you believe that that’s the only way out.  He tries to get you to accept that it would be best for everybody involved – especially you – if you just made yourself disappear, just ended it all.

Well, it isn’t best, and DON’T YOU BELIEVE IT!

In fact, what satan DOESN’T whisper in your ear is that suicide will only be the BEGINNING of real and everlasting torment in hell for all eternity.

Think about it.

Do you really want to spend eternity in hell where your torment and suffering WON’T STOP, but will now continue for ever and ever?

I know the pain you’re in.

I know the pain of feeling like no one loves you, and I know about the emptiness that feels like it’s slowly killing you, and (under the influence of satan) you think about just giving up because you just can’t take it anymore…

But let me tell you – there IS a way out!

God, through Jesus Christ, has made a way for you to surrender your heavy load, ALL your heavy burdens to Him…and LIVE!

Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

What that means is this:  If you will believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that He died on the cross for your sins, then rose again on the 3rd day, “He [will be] a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  That means He will “…give you rest…”

If you will accept Him as your Lord and Saviour, admit you are a sinner and ask Him to forgive you for your sins, He will do it.

Ask Him to come into your heart and take over.  Obey Him. And you will find “rest unto your souls…”

This is God’s promise to you, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  (Titus 1:2)

God CAN NOT LIE! But satan can…and does.

Whatever you are struggling with.   Let God help you.  It’s time to let go.

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