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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

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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God Can

Sometimes we find ourselves in a bind or a rut.  It may be financial, emotional, or physical.  It’s an uncomfortable place, and our backs are against the wall.  We don’t or can’t see a way out.

But God can.

God will always make a way for us if we believe.  And He doesn’t need any help.  Still, sometimes we will unconsciously attempt to help God out by searching high and low for a way out.

Now, I’m not saying if we’re in a difficult situation to do nothing.  Yes, we can and should do our part.  If we need a job we should look for a job, and trust that God will make one available to us.  If we become depressed, the last thing we should do is stop talking to Jesus Christ about how we feel.  Don’t stop praying to God because the reality is that all we need to do is pray about it, thank Him in Jesus name, and then keep our faith unwavering.  It’s okay to do our part…but then we need to get out of the way and let the Master do His.

God’s plan will NEVER fail.  But ours often does, doesn’t it?  Just remember, God created the universe out of nothing.  The earth hangs suspended in the air by…nothing.

The Bible tells us in Job 26:7 that God “…stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.”

Look at the moon, the stars, and the sun.  They too are suspended in space by…nothing.

Again, the first book of the Bible (Genesis 1:16-18) tells us “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.  He also made the stars.  God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.  And God saw that it was good.”

So, when we don’t see an answer, when it looks like there’s just no possible way out.  Remember: God CAN make a way out of nothing.  He already has, and He proves it to us every day and every night.  Amen!

Make yourself obedient to Jesus Christ.  Then trust God to work everything out for you.  Believe me – He will.

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Trust

Today’s topic should be about trusting in God, I think.

Some of us put all our trust in another.  We invest everything we have – emotionally, physically, financially – into another that we trust.  And don’t get me wrong. That’s good.  Very good because that’s what unconditional trust is all about.

But what about the One who created us and holds the eternal destiny of our souls in His hands?  If we can trust another, shouldn’t we also trust Him?  And shouldn’t He be at the top of the list?

Some of us say we trust in God, but it’s hard to tell sometimes.  We fluctuate.  One day we’re praising Him for what He’s going to do.  A few days later (when the thing we need Him to do hasn’t happened yet) we’re about to worry ourselves to death over it.

I know it’s hard sometimes not to doubt.  I’m guilty of that too.  It’s human nature to not trust that which we can not see.  But here’s the thing…we actually can see God when we look at the magnificent design of creation.  He made it so that we would know by instinct that there is a Creator.  There is a God.

How many people saw the ‘Super Moon’ last night?  It was beautiful.  And far too awesome to be some unexplainable accident.

When I am weak, and feel doubt trying to creep in that’s when I know to pray harder, to ask God to increase my faith and remove all doubt.  I know that’s the time to hold on even tighter because if there’s one thing I know it’s this…

Through all the hard times God has NEVER left me or forsaken me, and I know He never will.  How do I know this?  Because He said He wouldn’t.

“…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  Hebrews 13:5

And I trust Him.   You should too.

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“…for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” 2 Peter 2:19 (NIV)

What might you be a slave to, today?

Money?

Working five, six days a week, overtime, weekends, back-to-back shifts?

Food?

Double, triple portions at meal time with snacks in between?

Sex?

Pornography, one-night stands, multiple partners, fornication, adultery, etc. (this could be a long list).

Materialism? Drugs? Alcohol? Vulgar speech?

Think carefully about it.  What are you a slave to?  And would you like to be set free?  You can be, you know….

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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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Kindness

Whatever happened to common courtesy?

The other day, I said, “Hi”, to the cashier at the counter, and he looked at me as if I’d just offended him.  It happens frequently.  Sometimes it’s a female, and she’ll mumble a ‘Hi’ back.  Sometimes my friendly gesture is simply not returned.  And I wonder – what’s so difficult about saying one word?

We’re living in an angry world.  And that anger has caused things like road rage, riots, spur of the moment killings, and a great misuse of the tongue…you know…running off at the mouth.  People die because of that last one alone.

There’s a thin line between being mad, and being angry.  Webster defines anger as “a strong feeling of displeasure…”  It defines mad as “a fit or mood of bad temper.”  It also defines mad as being “carried away by intense anger, marked by intense and often chaotic activity.

Anger not only leads to injury, death, and prison.  But like a cancer, it slowly, quietly destroys your physical health.  The next thing you know you’re complaining about an ache here, an ache there.  Think about it…there may be a connection.

So, why this level of anger?

I know what it was for me.  I was missing the love, peace, security, and comfort of Jesus Christ.  But ever since I accepted Him into my heart, He has cleansed me of the foul language I used to use to express my anger.  The rage I used to sometimes feel inside over some insignificant thing is now gone.  I stay close to Him because if I don’t the old me will most definitely return.  My enemy, satan, will see to that!

There’s another hidden consequence of anger; one that causes the most damage of all, and that is the damage it causes to your soul.

Paul said in Ephesians 4:26, “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  He said, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Are you struggling with an angry spirit?  Would you like to be tenderhearted?  Let Jesus Christ help you.  Surrender your anger – and everything else – to Him.  Confess whatever sins your anger may have caused you to commit.

The Bible says, “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20)  That means if you are full of anger, you cannot be pleasing to God.

We are to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” (James 1:19).  That means we should be quick to listen, slow to run our mouths, and even slower to get angry.

Confess your sins to Jesus Christ, and ask Him to come into your heart and take control.  He died on the cross so that you could live forever with Him.  It is an amazing gift of love just waiting for you to receive.

Accept Jesus Christ as your PERSONAL Lord and Savior, be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive God’s precious gift of eternal life in Heaven and He will help you with your issue of anger.

“But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.”  (Colossians 3:8)  Jesus Christ will help you do this.  He did it for me.

Now, there are some things we should get angry about – injustices done to the innocent, the young, the old, and the helpless.  But in expressing that anger we should remember to “sin not”.  Then there are some battles not worth fighting – and certainly not worth dying over.

We must choose our battles carefully.  It is better to be kind and live, than to be angry and die too soon.

Let us surrender and give God the Glory.

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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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