Thursday, December 23, 2021

He Came to Shatter the Silent Night

Hey Friend,

I randomly dipped and draped the small twinkle lights on the mantle. When I reached the three hurricanes depicting the birth of Christ, I haphazardly pressed the glowing orbs down into each frosted tube. Then, I stood back, and with amazement, I excitedly noted where one particular tiny lamp landed -- right above the head of the baby Jesus!





Chance? Irony? Miraculous? 

To me there are many ironies regarding the birth of our Savior. 

John 1:1-3 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God."

Does it not confound you the Word came into the world with no words. The tiny infant couldn't speak a word. The only audible sound was His cry which came to shatter the silent night. The world had heard nothing, literally, from God for 400 years and here a shrill cry was our Savior's triumphant trumpet blast as He entered into our dark world.

How many times do I come to Jesus with no words? The only thing which bubbles up from within my broken soul are cries...no groans to which the Holy Spirit gives audible sound. Perhaps this is why Jesus hears and understands the cries of my heart so completely? He draws near when I cry.





This tiny babe probably kicked his infant feet, yet he could take no steps. Little did we know, one day, we would hear The Word behind us whispering,"This is the way. Walk in it." (Isaiah 30:21). How could the world have known, when it looked upon this tiny, helpless babe, He would walk on water to reach out His righteous right hand to keep us from sinking and drowning in our doubt and despair?

The angel came to Mary, and along with telling her not to be afraid, she was instructed to name the immaculate-conception-become-human, Jesus. How could we know one day all our knees would bow and He would be called the words Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before His birth -- "And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)

Infant Babe

Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God

Everlasting Father

Prince of Peace

When the light of the world was born, Mary made a bed for Him in a manger -- a feeding trough for the lowest of the animals. How ironic the One who came that none would die, made his first bed in such a lowly state. 





Mary wrapped Him in swaddling cloths. Before a Jewish feast, the firstborn male lamb -- the one without blemish would be chosen to be the atoning sacrifice. In order to keep him still before his time of sacrifice, the shepherds would wrap the wriggling lamb in swaddling cloths to keep him calm until his blood would be spilled for the cleansing of mans' sins. 

Jesus was the helpless lamb -- swaddled in cloths until the time would come He'd lay down His life, on the rugged timbers, to clear our pathway to heaven once and for all. 

God could have left us to our own sinful devices, but He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him woud not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus is Immanuel -- God with us. He came to shatter the silent night. He came so we would never again have to live in darkness. 

Do you know Him? Have you reached the end of yourself? Thank Jesus for the gift of grace He came to give you, personally. Ask Him to forgive your sins -- He will. Invite Him in to be Lord of your life. Lay down your life and pick up your cross and follow Him. Pray this now and then walk in freedom. If Jesus is already Lord of your life, invite Him in, anew, and embrace the beautiful ironies He brings to the world.

Be blessed this Christmas...we know how the story ends...take hope and be filled with joy and expectation...we're almost home...




ps. If you've enjoyed what you've read here today, might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog posts (and nothing else)? If so, just go to the SUBSCRIBE box above and enter your contact information. Be sure to look for the confirmation email which will come in your email inbox (check your filters). Again, thanks for reading...




Saturday, December 4, 2021

Fear Shouts; Love Whispers

Hey Friend,

I'm not quite sure what has stymied my writing? Perhaps it's the world we're living in and I feel helpless to halt the direction in which it's spinning?

I hear the enemy's lies and I have to lean in hard to hear God's still small voice. You too?

I haven't written poetry in quite some time, but these words fell upon my heart in the pre-dawn hours.

I dedicate this to all who suffer from anxiety and depression which is made worse by the confusion of the days in which we live...





Fear Shouts; Love Whispers

Fear focuses on the shadows
Faith follows the light,
I strongly cling to self
When it's Jesus who wins each fight.

Desperation defines me
Fear robs me of my rest,
The shackles of anxiety bind me
Crippling my joy and happiness.

Terrifying tendrils of doubt
Put a stranglehold on my soul,
Lies tear gaps wide open
Mercy pours in and makes me whole.

Days of endless doubt
Make my anxious heart race,
Only trust allows me
To be caught up in your saving grace.





Confusion's caucophony rattles my brain
With anticipated catastrophe,
Lord, draw near I need you
I crave your love which frees.

What if waves toss and turn me
Til I'm sinking like a stone
His love so gently whispers,
"I'll never let you go!"

Yet Love's raging wildfire
Blazes paths of peace,
He leads me by still waters
Only His staff comforts me.

Finally, I realize
I am but the tiny lamb
Oh so gently held
In the arms of the great "I am."

Fear shouts; love whispers...




Let these words from Luke 21:25-31 be your comfort:

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

29He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.


Take heart; we know how this story ends...be blessed...



ps. If you've enjoyed what you've read here today, might you want to subscribe to my regular posts (and nothing else)? Just go to the SUBSCRIBE box above to enter your contact info. Be sure to look for a confirmation email in your inbox. Thanks for reading...

Thursday, September 30, 2021

What is the Best Way to Share Your Faith?

Hey Friend,

I had my steamy cup of coffee in hand and was ready to settle in for Sunday online church. No sooner had I plopped onto the sofa, turned up the worship music, and called up the stairs for Dave to come down, the doorbell rang.

Who could be ringing the doorbell at 9:30 am. on a Sunday morning? Pushing pause, I scurried toward the front door. It was our neighbor, John. We'd been journeying with him and his wife, Tracy, as she battled pancreatic cancer for the past year and a half. The cancer, sadly, was winning. 

John obviously needed to talk and, I believe, there was a reason he rang our doorbell. John's much needed verbal-purge wound it's way around anger, past frustration, through anguish, alongside despair, until it wound up on faith's front porch. A door had opened...

Genesis 12 is known as the "blessing chapter" in the Bible. A good summation would be: "You are blessed to be a blessing."




So how, exactly, are we to be a blessing?

Until recently, I thought there were basically two ways to be a blessing and to share your faith with others. The first method I call "In your face." This is the more aggressive path of quoting scripture continuously and turning every conversation into a sermon.

The second method I call "Live like Jesus." This method is more passive -- I'll just go about my life, living and trying to look like Jesus, and my actions may pique someone's curiosity about my faith. This method isn't bad, per se, but it relies on someone "catching" our faith much like they'd catch a cold.

The third method I've learned is perhaps the most effective way to share our faith -- it's called "Be a blessing." "Blessers" are much more likely to bring others to faith than "Converters" who are out to save souls. I do, however, admire those favored with the gift of evangelism.
 
When desiring to be a "blesser," perhaps the first question to ask yourself is this:

"What would I value in someone that would make me want to discuss personal spiritual matters with them?"




Would I value:

~ Someone who listens without judgment?

~ Someone who lets me draw my own conclusions?

~ Someone with enough confidence to hear my perspective before sharing "Jesus is the Way."

Jesus was a master at blessing others. This carpenter knew how to build relationships. Here are 5 key practices I've adopted from His playbook...

5 Practices Jesus Uses to BLESS:

1. B = BEGIN with prayer. How many times did Jesus go off to pray during His ministry? I like to go on prayer walks around my neighborhood in which I pray for each house I pass and ask God who I can bless, and who needs to hear the words,"God loves you."

2. L = LISTEN. I think of the time when Jesus asked the blind man what He could do for him. Listen to your neighbors -- they will tell you how they need to be blessed or healed.

3. E = EATING. Jesus shared lots of meals with strangers and unlikely guests. We eat three meals, seven days a week. That's twenty-one opportunities to love on others. I've found sharing a meal with people we don't know well is one of the best ways to begin building a relationship.

4. S = SERVE. If you ask, people will tell you how to serve them ie: include their child in carpool, provide a meal, or pick up a prescription. One question I've gotten much better at asking is this: "How can I pray for you?" 




I never used to pray before walking into a grocery store. But, one day, I prayed in my car for Jesus to guide my steps and conversation in the store I was about to enter. It didn't take Him long to answer my prayer. In the produce section, an elderly woman told me she liked my shirt which had all sorts of adorable dogs on the back.

We discovered we'd both had Westies among other dog breeds. Other shoppers raised a few eyebrows as we doubled over laughing about dog tales and puppy escapades. I kept my lips closed and listened as she lamented over her husband's recent passing. Against COVID protocol, I asked her, "May I give you a hug?" -- she graciously accepted...and then I asked, "How can I pray for you?"

My grocery store run had become more an act of giving than an act of getting. 

5. S = SHARE your story...but only when asked. Most folks don't want to know about your achievements, they want to know they're not alone in carrying their burdens and shame. Hubris gets you nowhere, but humility is a welcome mat. By sharing "me too" stories, we can lighten the load others bear.

As Christians, we need to be inclusive in our prayers -- in learning to listen, while sharing a table, when serving, and when sharing. Will you pray with me?

Dear Heavenly Father, I am truly blessed by you. Please enable me to go out and be a blessing to others. Let me be to someone else, what I would like them to be to me. Give me strength and courage to use the practices Jesus used to bless others. I'm asking you to bring to mind people I need to bless this week. What first step, Lord, do I need to take? Tell me. Show me. Here I am, Lord, use me. Enable me, ultimately, to share the hope that is within me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you? Is your style more "In your face," or "Live like Jesus?" Do you feel God calling you to a more active way of sharing your faith by being a blessing? What step(s) can you take this week? Who can you bless? Will you share?

May you be blessed in your endeavors...


ps. If you've enjoyed what you've read here today, perhaps you'd like to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly posts (and nothing else). Just fill in your contact information in the SUBSCRIBE box. Be sure to look for the confirmation email in your inbox (check your spam filter). Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Child, I Don't Want You to be Left Behind

Hey Friend,

It's 3:30 am and I can't sleep...

Time transports me back a few decades to that silent night in a hospital bed. The nurse brought you in and gently laid you in my arms. Your tiny head smelled of gentle goodness and perfection. The baby I'd prayed years to hold was finally nestled in my arms. 




As you slept I made a promise. I promised God I would do my very best to raise you in His love and teach you His precepts. I solemnly dedicated you to my Savior. I asked Jesus for His arms always to be open to you until you fell into them. I laid you down at the foot of the cross -- you were my crown whom I cast at His holy feet.

Now, the enemy of our souls has his fist tightly clenched around the hourglass of time. He's squeezing out the sacred sand and I'm powerless to stop it. I pour out my heart -- earnestly begging Jesus to woo you back to Himself before it's too late. You know His hand is right there, but will you reach out to grab it and save yourself? I can't do it for you, this is a decision only you can make.

But know this:

For all your hurts, Jesus is your Healer

For your failures He is forever your Father who picks you up

For your addictions, your Adonai can break the chains

For your sorrows, He sends His Holy Spirit to comfort you

For the mistakes, He is your Maker and He makes beauty from the ashes

For your unattained yearnings, He is Yahweh

For your lowest points, He is El Elyon - your God Most High

For your agony, He is Abba-Daddy who holds you

For when you want to hide, He is El Roi - the God Who Sees You and loves you

For your shame, He breaks the shackles

For every sin that haunts you, He is Elohim - He is God who is bigger than everything and anything






For God so loved the world that He gave us

His One and Only Son to save us.

Whoever believes in Him will live forever. (John 3:16)


Come bring your weary heart. Come to the table and find only His love will satisfy. Come bring your thirst and pant no more. Come lay your flaws and failures at the foot of the cross. Come walk in freedom because He has died for your sin and defeated death. 

I praise God for the wonders of His love. I praise Him for the wonder that is you.

Jesus gave His life so you could walk in freedom. With His blood you are made whiter than snow. Your new name is Beloved. Pick up His yoke -- it's light and it won't burden you. Give Him your past and He will lavish His grace upon you and give you eternity with Him.

Fall on your knees and find it's the way to His Heart of love for you.

I love you my child. Run into His arms. I don't want you to be left behind because there is glory upon glory that awaits you. Don't delay. Get out of the boat called Self. Walk on the water toward Him. He will not let you fall. Take hold of His righteous right hand and live. 

I love you always my child...

Be blessed...if you have a child you'd like me to pray for, by name, email me with their first name and I will pray over them.

ps. If you liked what you've read here today - might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly posts (and nothing else)? Just go to the SUBSCRIBE block above and follow the prompts. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Apathy -- the Christian Pandemic

Hey Friend,

First a little business -- in case you haven't noticed, my blog is no longer getting to your inbox courtesy of Feedburner. Google, which owns the Blogger platform on which I write, announced they were dropping Feedburner as a subscription service.

I had one month to come up with, and implement a "Plan B" which gave this non-tech-savvy writer a mild panic attack. After reading the pros and cons of all the services out there, I decided to go with follow.it. Please let me know, by way of a comment or email, if you are receiving my blog posts. No mail service is good if it doesn't get the mail where it needs to go...

It occurred to me, I can't remember the last time I heard a pastor preach about the second coming of Christ. In fact, I don't think I recall an expository message based on prophetic scripture since my youth.

The late A.W. Tozer wrote about what he called "the decline of apocalyptic expectation" in the contemporary church. Mind you he lived from 1897 - 1963. I wonder what his commentary would be on our modern-day church?





Christ is coming again! I believe the church has forgotten this truth. Christians, rather than being distinct from the world around them and living in expectation of their Lord's return, have become so much like the world that sometimes you can scarcely tell the difference between the two. Many churches reflect an apathetic, rather than serious, attitude toward the coming of the Lord.

Some church-goers view talking about the end-times and Christ's coming again as a downer -- a negative subject. Who wants to hear about Armageddon and ruin a perfectly good Sunday morning?

The events surrounding the second coming of Christ do come with a stern biblical warning and judgment is a prominent theme. BUT...I believe the coming of Christ is the brightest, most radiant star on our bleak horizon.

Others plead -- please don't spend an hour teaching "end time" matters on Sunday morning to people with family struggles, business and marriage failures, and a host of other emotional and physical problems. That is SO irrelevant!

Irrelevant?

In his book, The Book of Signs, Dr. David Jeremiah says this, "I can promise you with a strong degree of assurance: One minute after the Rapture, the subject won't be "irrelevant" at all. It will be the very definition of relevant."

If it's been awhile since you've read about Christ coming to catch away the saints to the marriage supper of the Lamb, while the earth is plunged into the Great Tribulation, take a gander at Matthew 24:36-44 and see if goosebumps don't rise up on your arms.





Q: What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?

A: I don't know and I don't care.

I believe that's kind of the way many feel about the Rapture. They don't know and they don't really care.

Jesus warned about three different attitudes about His coming again. Let's call them the Three "C's":

Cavalier Attitude:  Just as the days of Noah were, so also will be the days before the coming of the Son of Man. Before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. 

Genesis 6:5 tells us that when the Lord looked down upon His creation He "saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." 

When you read all the horrible stuff reported in the news, do you wonder how could anyone ever think up something so evil? That's the way it was just before the Flood. 





Noah preached and warned about the coming flood for one hundred twenty years. That's a long time to preach one message, but no one wanted to hear about "judgment." Quite possibly they told Noah he was irrelevant and politically incorrect. 

In 2 Peter 3:3-6, Peter is saying the time immediately before Christ's return will be just as it was during Noah's day. I wonder if they wished they'd heeded Noah's warning?

Careless Attitude:  1 Thessalonians 5:2 reminds us, "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night." Just because the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly, and just because we don't see this taking place right under our noses, doesn't mean we can become careless in our attitude. 

Other people get robbed, develop fatal illnesses, have their marriages fail, or lose their savings. Jesus warns against a careless, reckless, self-deceptive attitude that keeps insisting, "It can't happen to me." It can and it will. One day God will say, "That's enough."

Callous Attitude:  I believe many put off making a decision for the Lord because it's "not convenient." Perhaps they've got some wild oats to sow or some crazy, self-indulgent things they want to do. They think they've got it all figured out -- at the first whiff of Jesus coming again -- then they'll pull their life together. It's kind of a callous procrastination. 

This same attitude goes for believers. One of the greatest lies Satan deludes us with is this: There is plenty of time. I know I've thought to myself, I'll have that conversation with my neighbor tomorrow. I'll write my son about the hope that lies within me -- tomorrow. 

Stubbornly, we always think there will be a tomorrow, but just as the door on the ark closed, so is the Son of Man coming at an hour we do not expect. Let's not wait until the time is convenient. Even if the world mocks you like they did Noah, let's have an attitude of radiant expectation vs. lackluster apathy.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for having an "I'll get to it tomorrow" attitude when it comes to sharing with others the greatest truth of all time. Let me not be cavalier, careless, or callous when it comes to getting right with you or sharing hope with those who need to know even if they don't want to know. I thank you for your persistence in your long-suffering so that the whole world may know your abundant and saving grace. Let me be your messenger. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

What about you? What's your attitude? Are you willing to be like Noah even if the world mocks you? What holds you up? What urges you on? Will you share? Be blessed...















ps. If you've appreciated what you've read here today...might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly posts (and nothing else)? Just head to the SUBSCRIBE block at the top of this post to complete your subscription. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Why We Can't Afford Not to be Bold

Hey Friend,

And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26-27)

As I look back over the past year and a half as well as the days, months, and years leading up to today, I don't think you have to be a theologian or Biblical scholar to recognize God's hand of favor is no longer resting on the once loyal shoulder of the US because He will only be our God if we will be His people. 

I believe we are in the "yet once more" season of God shaking the earth "so that those things which cannot be shaken remain." It's almost as if we are consciously trying to provoke God's judgment. 

Some of the signs of a nation heading to judgment include societal division, civil disrest, disorder, lawlessness, raising of idols, sexual immorality and perversion, violence, overturning our moral and constitutional foundation, abolishing God's Name and His holy Word, and killing of the innocent and unborn. All these things are taking place right before our eyes and some days I am flummoxed at how so many keep right on going and doing as if nothing is amiss. 

"Some of the racial conflicts that we are having today are happening because race has become an idol." -- Tony Evans (Senior Pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative, and African American citizen)





I have read and studied prophecy in the Bible (which accounts for over 30% of scripture). I think we are remiss, as the body of Christ, in not talking about it because I believe we are witnessing something beyond just judgment -- the very times of prophecy being fulfilled. 

Before you write me off as a conspiracy theorist or a prophecy lunatic, Jesus spoke, at length, regarding end-times prophecy. Today, very well respected pastors, preachers, and theologians are sounding this same alarm. Franklin Graham, in the latest issue of Decision magazine says, "The Bible says, 'For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work' (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Behind the ever-rising tide of violence, rage and anarchy is the evil one, the devil himself, spreading his wickedness in increasing intensity. The sheer brutality that has infected our culture is shocking, but not to our adversary who delights in it."

Franklin Graham goes on to say, "One day -- and I believe soon -- the lawless one will be revealed, and that is none other than the rise of the antichrist in the Great Tribulation." 

In Matthew 24, Jesus lays out, for His disciples, a sobering description of the woes which would take place before the end of the age: In addition to wars, there would be famines and pestilence (we've witnessed plagues, viruses, and a pandemic) (Matthew 24:7). Knowledge would increase -- how about by leaps and bounds (Daniel 12:4), but so would immorality. 





The love of many would grow cold (Matthew 24:9). Children would turn against their parents and parents against their children. Men would become despisers of faith, and believers would be persecuted (Matthew 24:9). I used to feel like I could freely express my faith, but now the circle of comfort has greatly diminished. 

The Apostle Paul wrote that men would be "lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers,...lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God." (2 Timothy 3:2-4). And, he describes in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 a great "falling away." Only 6% of Americans now hold a Biblical worldview and it's been quickly shrinking. God is gathering the Jewish population from all ends of the earth back to Israel and armies are rising up and raging against Israel. All these prophecies are coming to pass. 

I used to think it would have been so unbelievably cool to have lived in Biblical times. Well, I'll be darned if I'm not already there. I believe I am part of the generation which will have the greatest privilege and highest honor to have been chosen to witness these things and to live in such a time as this.





Many are turning to fear, but I believe all of these occurences are cause for encouragement and power if you are a believer. The fact that God told us all these things (in scripture) before they occurred, tells us God is still very much in control and very much on the throne. Though darkness surrounds us, we know Jesus -- the Light of the world is coming again and we are assured of our salvation and eternity with Him. 

We are not to fear, but we need to live all the more assured, more bold and more strengthened. Why? We need to stand up for what we believe, share the Good News of the Gospel with those who don't know. We need to -- as our military says -- "Leave no man behind!" Time is of the essence.

"If the dark is getting darker, it's time for the lights to go light up the world. If the world is going from bad to worse, now is the time for God's children to go from good to great." - Jonathan Cahn 

What say you? Can you afford not to be bold? 



ps. If you've enjoyed what you've read here today -- might you want to SUBSCRIBE to my weekly blog posts (and nothing else)? Head to the SUBSCRIBE tab above and be sure to check for the link which will come in the confirmation email. Thanks for reading...be blessed.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday Confessions of a "Good Girl"

Hey Friend,

The scripture from Matthew, detailing Jesus's crucifixion on Good Friday, echoed off the battleship-grey cinderblock walls. I secretly watched the women seated around me squirm in their metal folding chairs as our Bible study leader read the searing words aloud.

These were convicting words being read to convicts. Their crimes ranged from drug offenses, to extortion and fraud, all the way to aggravated assault and homicide. But, the extreme beauty of these women is they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they needed a Savior. Meeting in a Bible study, made possible through Prison Fellowship, was their lifeline to confronting, and moving beyond, their past.




I'd heard the Easter story every since I was young enough to attend Sunday School class. Visions of felt board characters showing Jesus in the garden, Jesus on the cross, and Jesus risen from the empty grave meandered into the forefront of my conscience.

As I listened to the inmates share stories of abuse, abortion, and missing their babies outside the prison walls, I realized what a stark contrast lay between my conscience and theirs.

You see, I pretty much played the role of the "good girl" in my early life. I was the consummate people-pleaser. I colored inside the lines; stayed out of the principal's office; didn't curse, drink, smoke, or do drugs. So when the subject of Jesus dying for my sins came up, I secretly had this notion He died more for other people's sins -- the really big sins like adultery, robbery, and murder, than for mine.

Maybe that's why Good Friday didn't really undo me and then leave me awestruck until I was quite a bit older. I was forty-three when I saw Mel Gibson's very graphic depiction of Jesus's crucifixion in The Passion of the Christ.





Watching spikes (not nails) being driven into the sinewy flesh of Christ's hands and feet, and blood-laced sweat pour from His brow; witnessing the raw skin and bone torn open on His back -- that's when I saw my sin for what it truly was for the very first time, and only then did I feel the tremendous weight of my transgressions which ushered in the utter sweetness of my salvation. 

Crouched and hidden in a dark theatre, tears welled up and then burned down my cheeks as this self-described "good girl" took inventory of the sin she had glossed over for so many years. Conviction grabbed hold of my heart and made it impossible for me to believe Christ died only for those with sins more grave than mine. My sins had broken His body -- not just someone else's.

Daring to look more closely, self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, as well as endless earning, striving, performing, and people-pleasing jumped out like a glowing neon sign -- PRIDE! I think pride is perhaps the ugliest sin of all -- when we think we can be like Jesus without Jesus.

And what about the times I had heaped guilt upon myself when I said or did something I regretted. Me, beating myself up, was not God-honoring -- just the opposite. It was like I was saying Jesus paying the price for my sin was not sufficient, and therefore God needed me to do something above and beyond what Christ had already done for me. Pride, once again, reared its ugly head.

And then there was the perfectionist/controlling part of me. I thought I was in God's good graces because I tried extra hard to be perfect and I sought to have control over my life. I had missed, or perhaps skimmed over, the verses that said:

For ALL (emphasis mine) have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)  

And this:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do NOTHING (emphasis mine)." (John 15:5)

And finally:

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. (Isaiah 64:6)





I was not unlike the women I met with, and set myself above, in prison. In fact, they were far ahead of me because they realized how desperately they needed a Savior. I was still being made a prisoner by my own pride.

Until His sacrifice met me where I lived, until I recognized I was a rebel and a far cry from felt-board Jesus, I was unable to understand and claim the grace and power which defied death and overcame the grave.

Jesus didn't go to the cross for good girls and boys. He went for sinners -- sinners like me. Grasping the depth of His love which paid a debt I could never ever pay humbles me and brings me to my knees. 

Oh, what a Savior, oh what grace that saved a wretch like me...





Dear Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for my arrogance and pride that kept me from knowing the utter sweetness of my salvation. You laid down your life for me -- for my sins. Thank you loving me so much you couldn't bear to live without me. Let that sink into my stubborn spirit. Thank you for declaring I belong to You. What a friend I have in you, Jesus! I praise you nothing can change the way you love me -- nothing can separate me from your love. You broke the chains that held me. Your forgiveness is like honey on my lips. Let them declare your love, power, and glory all of my days. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you? Have you ever taken Jesus death on the cross for granted? Why is that? How can you go forward and live a life that points others to Jesus? How does Good Friday and the power of the risen Christ change your life? Your outlook? Will you share?

Be blessed....




Open House Giveaway Still Going On: If you've enjoyed what you read here today and would like to receive my weekly blog posts (and nothing else) AND you'd like to be entered to win a copy of Take Heart: 100 devotions to seeing God when life's not okay, all you have to do is SUBSCRIBE to my blog at the tab above or click HERE Thanks for reading.