Categories
Devotions

God See’s You

Do you know the Bible recording of The Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10? If you do, keep reading to know my thoughts on the story. If you don’t know the story, here it is. Read it all for a deeper understanding:

Loving God, Loving Others

25 Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?”

27 The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’”

28 Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.”

29 Wanting to justify himself, he questioned Jesus further, saying, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor’?”

30 Jesus replied, “Listen and I will tell you. There was once a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when bandits robbed him along the way. They beat him severely, stripped him naked, and left him half dead.

31 “Soon, a Jewish priest walking down the same road came upon the wounded man. Seeing him from a distance, the priest crossed to the other side of the road and walked right past him, not turning to help him one bit.

32 “Later, a religious man, a Levite, came walking down the same road and likewise crossed to the other side to pass by the wounded man without stopping to help him.

33 “Finally, another man, a Samaritan, came upon the bleeding man and was moved with tender compassion for him. 34 He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. 35 The next morning he took his own money from his wallet and gave it to the innkeeper with these words: ‘Take care of him until I come back from my journey. If it costs more than this, I will repay you when I return.’ 36 So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?”

37 The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”

Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”

What I hear:

You’re hurt. You’ve been hurting for years. Someone robbed you along your journey through this life. They beat up your mind and emotions. They stripped you of your dignity and purity. You can’t see yourself anymore in the image I created you in, that is My image. All you see are your wounds. But I see you. Fearfully and wonderfully made. And I see them. I am a just God who loves justice and righteousness. Though many who call me their Lord have looked with blind eyes at you, I see you clearly. With compassion, I sacrificed my own Son and raised Him again so you could live without punishment and shame for the things done to you and the things you’ve done. My grace is sufficient for you. I will pour out my oil and wine on your inner most being. Cleansing your mind and purifying your heart. I will anoint your wounds and use your tender scars to remain tender toward others on their journey. Trust Me with your pain. I can do more with it than you can or this world can. I love you!

Maybe that Jewish man shouldn’t have been traveling where he was and knew it wasn’t a safe area. Or maybe not. I don’t think it really matters to God. He isn’t looking at who needs compassion and healing based on if they were doing the right thing or not. It’s His nature to nurture and give life again.

What Good Samaritan moments have we walked by in people’s lives? People we love, but are too afraid to look at them in their pain.

We see it, but pretend like we don’t. It’s too much. We don’t want to hinder our comfort, even for someone we love. We cross the road and pass by them without a glance.

Maybe we feel like we don’t have enough to offer so we don’t bother trying to help. Our shame holds us back from feeling good enough to help someone when we don’t feel like we can help ourself.

But what if we stopped? We could use what we have in the moment just like the olive oil and wine. I’m thinking that the Samaritan didn’t pack those two items knowing he was going to use it on a half dead stranger later in his travels. He simply stopped, used what he had and offered to bring whatever else was needed to cover the charge.

Take-away’s from the story are:

1) Look at people who others ignore. 2) Be willing wherever you’re at. 3) In Christ, you have exactly what need. 4) Trust Jesus with your pain.

Categories
Devotions

Jesus in Me

There are parts of me that remain unseen because being seen is more crippling than being me.

Vulnerability is the burden of being seen.

So I remain unseen by planting artificial flowers in the dirt of what you can’t see.

Covering me with pretty sights that are slowly withering.

I don’t like to get dirty pulling the weeds that choke me.

It’s killing me.

What you see isn’t the real me.

Everything is just a mirage of what I wish to be:

Whole, but I’m empty

Faithful, but I’m wavering

Beautiful, but I’m wearing insecurity

Hopeful, but I’m doubting

Strong, but I’ve given up

Peaceful, but I’m raging

Friendly, but I keep to myself

Lovely, but I won’t love myself

But there’s One who sees more than a glimpse of me. He sees what I was meant to be.

He sees the parts of me I’ve labeled unclean, and speaks,

“Holy”.

I won’t look at those parts of me.

How can this be?

Jesus in me is always rising, even when I try to cover the light He is shining.

One day I hope to be all He sees in me.

Until then, I’ll keep hiding, hoping you can only see who I pretend to be.

“So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Categories
Devotions

Why Won’t It Work?

You know that anticipation when you’re trying to connect to WiFi and it just won’t work? Or when it does connect but the connection is so weak you can’t even refresh your Facebook page? You’d rather just not even go on your phone because the lagging isn’t worth your frustration.

Still, we try to refresh but nothing fresh comes up.

Just the same old drama from so & so’s mama. Failed Pinterest DIY’s from your Facebook friend but you still heart react it as you think how ugly it is. The girl who has it all but unknowingly she thinks the same about you when your staged picture hides the pile of unfolded laundry scattered on the floor just outside your cameras frame.

I believe our lives get like that at times because we have weak connections. To people. To habits. To stalking your ex’s page because you’re trying to see if they’re happy without you, but you know they’re not because they’re not with you (LOL). Seriously though, you know you’ve done it or at least thought about it.

What network are you connected to?

Is it labeled, “Self-Righteous5G”? Maybe it’s, “HappyOutside-HurtingInside24/7”. “I’mLyingToMySpouse911”. You get the point I’m trying to make. Your weak, unsecured and harmful connections are lagging and infecting your life.

Unsecured WiFi is usually weak and potentially dangerous. You shouldn’t access personal bank accounts or sensitive personal data on unsecured networks. Unless you want a virus/person invading your life.

Would you connect with a person who is like a virus? Invading and exposing your personal life, leaving you infected, in need of repair. Maybe the virus is self-rejection. Maybe even abuse. Heartache and destruction. The password that connected you is, “SearchingForAcceptanceAndLove.”

Isn’t that what we all want? To be accepted and loved.

If that’s you, it’s time to disconnect and be repaired. Although disconnecting only takes a little deleting and a few blocks, those painful memories don’t erase so clean. Kind of like the internet, once it’s out there, it’s ALWAYS out there.

You will drive by a car and hope it’s not who you think it is. Your boredom will tempt you with going on those sites again. Loneliness will push you to unblock them again. But once you disconnect and stay disconnected, you can cure those viruses that have infected every area of your life, your mind and your heart.

Healing comes once you find the secure connection. The one that has full bars and a strong password. I’ll share my password with you, “Capital J lower case e capital S lower case u capital S.” (Doesn’t everyone mix up their password letters like that? Lol)

The best thing about God’s WiFi is that it’s free, hacker-proof, strong and available to anyone who wants to join without weakening your connection. Once you’re connected to the source of life, self-rejection becomes self-love. The abuse you endured becomes the compassion to help others out of their abuse. What was wounded and destructed becomes whole and rebuilt.

But you have to stay connected.

“I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-4‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Categories
Devotions

Blessed Don’t Mean LAZY

Love slap to the face! Great read and reflection.

joshuamedwards

We  have been grossly misinformed.

Somewhere… somehow… we picked up this idea that following Jesus in life was going to be easy. The very idea that we could sign on to follow a Man who was rejected and brutally murdered by the very people He was sent to save and expect a cake walk for ourselves is entirely asinine.

In a world completely contrary to all that Jesus came to show how can we expect to live a life free of pain? Free of struggle? Free of sweat and perseverance? What need is there for patience if every thing will start to go our way once we speak the magic words?

Just have faith… don’t actually put any effort into what you want to see, just recite some words from a 15-minute devotional and you’re good. That, my friends, is inaccurate.

It was Jesus who said in John 16:33…

View original post 1,007 more words

Categories
Devotions

What It’s Really Like

Have you ever put someone else’s needs/wants before your own? I have! Mostly in parenthood. Playing Blippi on YouTube instead of your favorite songs while driving so your child will be happy on the way to the grocery store (or keep them calm before having an emotional break down because they can’t eat a Tim Bit every time they see Tim Horton’s). Maybe you go above and beyond at work or invest more than buying lunch from time to time in friendships, you invest prayer and the unconditional love of Jesus. If you have, congratulations! You have represented the very nature of Jesus and His mission– loving God and loving people.

Easter 2018 was celebrated at Grace Church with family and at my in-law’s with food. I made fresh green beans with bacon, so good. If holiday dinners were at my house every year, I’d order pre-cooked dinner packages online from Kroger Click List, being they provided that. No shame in my store-bought game.

Empty Reese’s wrappers and Bible crafts filled my house this Easter. Grace Team taught children about the most horrifying yet glorifying story in the Bible, provided easter eggs filled with candy for kids to collect in the gymnasium (indoor egg hunts in April because Michigan), all in honor of how Jesus served humanity by His death and resurrection.

Here are a few photo’s of my priceless fam on Easter ❤

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I read the story of Jesus from Luke 22-24 to remind myself the truth about Easter and what it took for Jesus to lay His life down so I could freely live, the Garden of Gethsemane found in chapter 22 resonated within me. Read with me as I elaborate:

“Jesus left the upper room with his disciples and, as was his habit,
went to the Mount of Olives, his place of secret prayer. There he told
the apostles, ‘Keep praying for strength to be spared from the severe
test of your faith that is about to come.’ Then he withdrew from them a
short distance to be alone. Kneeling down, he prayed, ‘Father, if you
are willing, take this cup of agony away from me. But no matter what,
your will must be mine.” Luke 22:39-42 TPT

Jesus actually asked the Father for an alternate route? Like, He literally came to the realization after living on earth as fully human for 33 years how painful and agonizing His death was going to be. Talk about humbling!

But He submitted to God anyway.

He trusted God to fulfill His Word. He chose truth over feelings. He knew the pain but He believed in the promise. He surrendered and He saved. The same will happen in our lives if we would 1) Trust in God 2) Choose truth over feelings 3) Believe in His sovereignty 4) Surrender to His Will.  That’s when darkness is overcome and when people around us are set free. Jesus didn’t have to be beaten and die, He chose to out of His deep love for the Father and for us.

Imagine what miracles and fruit our lives would produce if we would just follow those 4 steps; trust, choose, believe, surrender. I know it’s not easy to, as the cliché goes, “let go and let God.” Life seems hopeless at times, especially when our feelings and emotions appear more real than the truth. But they’re not. Truth is truth, no matter the feeling. Stop feeding your feelings with polluted thoughts and start renewing your mind with the truth of God’s Word.

Your heart will be healed. Your soul will be made whole. Your mind will be renewed. Your strength will have new stamina. Your marriage will thrive. Your family will be saved. Your purpose will come alive. The more truth you believe the less lies you belong to. That’s what living is really like, not for feelings, but for Him. Simple surrender.

 

Categories
Devotions

You’re Thirsty

When I first met with Jesus in a real way at 17 years old, I only knew what people and TV taught about Him. I spent little to no time investing into prayer, Bible reading or going to church before then. He was no one and church was never an interest. Some of my family believed but never really invested the truth of God through teaching the Bible in my life. Where I am at in life today is completely a miracle.

Like most teenagers with little or irresponsible guidance, I experimented with drugs, alcohol and lust. Looking back now, I am amazed by how much a young person can endure and be exposed to yet end up where I am today. But that doesn’t happen to everyone. I have such compassion and love for young men and women who struggle with drugs, alcohol and lust. Who’s families are broken and need someone to simply just be there for them.

As I’ve grown in the grace and knowledge of Jesus through spending time with Him by reading my Bible, praying and choosing Godly friends over wild and fun friends, I have learned much about life. Truth is truth no matter opinions. Here’s what I find relatable to meeting Jesus in my life in John chapter 5 verses 5-14.


“Jesus arrived at the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob had given to his son, Joseph, long ago. Wearied by his long journey, he sat on the edge of Jacob’s well. He sent his disciples into the village to buy food, for it was already afternoon. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” Surprised, she said, “Why would a Jewish man ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew who I am and the gift that God wants to give you–you’d ask me for a drink, and I would give to you living water.” The woman said, “But sir, you don’t even have a bucket and this well is very deep. So where do you find this ‘living water’? Do you really think that you are greater than our ancestor Jacob who dug this well and drank from it himself, along with his children and livestock?” Jesus answered, “If you drink from Jacob’s well you’ll be thirsty again and again, but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never be thirsty again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!”


The woman at the well reminds me of myself. I wasn’t doing anything out of my ordinary life just like she wasn’t. I’m assuming drawing water at the well was an every day walk for her. She wasn’t planning on meeting with the Son of God that day and neither was I. Her doubt in His ability to provide what she needed sounds like me all too well. The way Jesus walks into our path of life regardless of convenience or being socially accepted is exemplary.

The story goes on to tell how Jesus knew everything she ever did, yet He showed her love and grace anyway. She was so amazed by His intimate insight she dropped her water jug and ran back to her village to tell everyone who she just met. For a Jewish man to be speaking to a Samaritan woman in the first place was considered unlawful or ‘dirty’ in their culture. But He isn’t concerned with everyone’s opinion, He’s concerned with you.

We are all the “woman at the well”, drawing from empty wells. Thirsty for more “likes” and “followers”. Acceptance and approval, lust, drugs and alcohol. Or maybe your well is different from mine. Whatever it is that you draw your next temporary relief from will remain temporary until you draw from Jesus. He is the Well of Life that won’t run dry. He is the gushing water that will quench the thirst your soul is dying for. Life’s not easy walking alone and thirsty. Meet with Jesus and taste what He offers. He promises you’ll be forever satisfied!

Categories
Devotions

What Were You Thinking?

God is not deaf nor is He blind. He hears us and He sees us. He not only hears us but He listens to us. He not only sees us but He seeks us. We are His workmanship, His masterpiece. He designed the world and breathed life into our corpses. How could He not know everything that’s going on in the world… in our world? We are His reward and His reason. He didn’t do all of this just to ignore us.

What do you think God thinks? More specifically, what do you think God thinks about you?

Think about that for a moment.

You may think God is ignoring you because your prayers haven’t been answered. Maybe you’ve disobeyed something the Holy Spirit urged you to do and now you think God is mad at you. Whether these thoughts seem true, God’s Word is supreme truth. Instead of allowing your feelings and thoughts about God shape the way you believe about yourself and others, let God’s Word give you insight to what He really thinks.

“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord! You even formed every bone in my body when you created me in the secret place, carefully, skillfully shaping me from nothing to something. You saw who you created me to be before I became me! Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you were already recorded in your book. Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.” Psalm 139: 13-18

Wait.

God, You created and crafted me? My emotions, my talents, my weird sense of humor– in my mother’s womb?

You actually know me? The good I like to show and the bad I try to hide?

Who I am is found in You? Not what I’ve tried becoming or wished I was?

God, You cherish me? I thought You were ashamed of me.

You desire me? I thought You were ignoring me.

Are you reading what I’m reading, friend? God knows us better than we know ourselves! He knew you were going to fall before you fell. And He picked you anyways. He knew you would deny Him at some point in your life. And He still chose you. He knows what you’re thinking. And He still thinks about you, constantly. He knows when your heart is hurting. And He heals it, every time. How can we not run to Him with our burdens and our blessings? He’s the only one who truly knows us and can give us what we need.

My prayer is that every person living without hope, peace, joy, and all that is found only in Jesus would become aware that they will never find it until they meet with God. And when they do meet with Him, they would cherish Him as much as He cherishes them. That they would think about Him as much as He thinks about them. That they would desire Him as much as He desires them. And that they would trust Him, knowing He is the one who carefully and skillfully wove them together in their mother’s womb.

Believe the truth more than you’ve believed the lie. Seek God with all your heart and you will find Him. Trust God more than clarity. He’s worth it!

 

 

Categories
Devotions

Let’s Face It

Life.

Living. Doing. Being. Helping. Working. Learning. Forgiving. Understanding. Praying.

Pretty much everything there is to do other than dying can become difficult over time– Christian or not. It’s called being human. Having emotions we can’t seem to overcome or thoughts that eat away at our minds. Doing life with people who don’t really know the real you– the hidden parts of your heart, mind and soul has become too easy to masquerade.

Imagine Snap Chat filters swiping over our lives, marriages and families. Swipe right for a flawless filter. Tap and hold for an imaginary you to pop up in your life. The you that’s hiding behind over working to avoid family time because you’re afraid to face the fact that your marriage is hurting and your kids are damaged. Or the you that depends on drugs/alcohol to numb the deep sorrow in your heart because of the choices you’ve made that put you where you’re at in life today.

Send to Your Story for 10 seconds or less and that’s all anyone will see.

I get it. I know the misery, unsatisfying pleasure and how painful living can be. At first, you’re keeping everyone happily deceived. After a while, you’re the one who becomes unhappy doing what’s wrong when you know what’s right. Rebellion feels like you’re in control of your life. Not your spouse. Not your kids. Not your pastor. Not your parents. Just you and that secret you’re hiding.

Why do we hide?

We hide because if people don’t know then we don’t have to face it. “As long as I can fake that my mind, heart and soul are healthy, no one will ask questions of what I’m really going through”. “As long as no one finds out I’m having an affair I can keep my marriage and lust”. “As long as my boss doesn’t find out I’ve been untrustworthy with the companies money I’ll be able to keep my big house and new cars”. If only it were that easy.

So if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.” James 4:17 TPT

The problem with that logic is the first three words. “As long as“. If you’re hiding something, it will eventually come out. However big or small, dirty or embarrassing, you’ll be better off to confess and allow prayer and healing to cover you rather than be exposed and have shame condemn you. You can face it. Jesus literally faced Satan and defeated him. If He can defeat Satan, Hades and Death itself, He can defeat that secret that is ready to destroy you.

 

Be free.