Food For Thought Friday

It’s More ‘Good’ Than We Acknowledge

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I often wondered why such a seemingly unimaginably awful Friday as this is called “Good Friday.” Translation certainly has something to do with this naming, as the word ‘good’ in Old English is better translated to our modern day ‘holy’. And it is certainly a HOLY Friday. Today is the day we commemorate God sacrificing His one and only Son, Jesus, on the cross. Killing Him in a horribly painful way to save us all.

All of us.

So if you are thinking you are too ‘bad’, too old, too tainted, too far gone, not good enough…that this sacrifice was not for you because you don’t need the Blood of Jesus Christ to save you… Well, however, crazily un-PC this may be…

YOU’RE WRONG.

There is one single way to Heaven: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:16

You cannot be good enough. You cannot give enough or go to church enough or meditate enough. The only thing that is enough is Jesus.

On today, Good Friday, God is asking you to do one thing: Acknowledge He gave His only Son a death sentence to save you. Believe that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that He loves you – beyond ANY type of love you have ever experienced, beyond any type of love you could imagine. Nothing on this earth gets remotely close.

Once you acknowledge this fact, you simply have to believe, thank God for the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE and allow Him to be your Savior, by asking Him to forgive you and turning away from your past.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”               John 3:16-18

This is a reason today is a ‘good day’… without the death of Christ on the cross, there could be no resurrection, no Easter Sunday. He died for YOU and for ME, and in doing so overcame death completely. His resurrection on the third day means that the day I die, I can say with confidence that I will be with Jesus in Heaven.

 “One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!” Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.” Luke 23:39-43

With death being the great uncertainty in life, knowing my destination is an amazing comfort that allows me to live for Jesus, able to follow Him no matter what the consequences are – not that any of us are ever 100% successful in this. We all sin, no matter how much we try not to. As much as I strive to listen to God, satan tempts me too.

I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate. Since what I do is what I don’t want to do, this shows that I agree that the Law is right. So I am not really the one who does this thing; rather it is the sin that lives in me. I know that good does not live in me—that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do.If I do what I don’t want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me.” Romans 7:15-20

Craig and I are about to embark on a new adventure for Christ – the details will be ‘spilled’ soon – and so many people have asked, “How can you just follow like that – no questions asked?”

And I have 2 answers:

  1. Plenty of questions were asked – whether they should have been or not. We are not experts, by any stretch of the imagination, in trusting God, but we are trying. He asked us; we pleaded with Him; we questioned Him; we questioned each other; we relented; we followed.
  2. Faith in the outcome. God the Father sent His Son to die for our salvation. Jesus, flesh on earth, asked for there to be ‘another way’…He was frightened. He was both totally human and totally God. But He followed His Father’s Will – and while it was painful for Him…more painful that I could ever fathom, His Father knew the outcome…and aren’t we all glad He obeyed?

Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

You may have seen on Facebook or Instagram that someone recently made some pretty rude comments toward Craig and me regarding our infertility. I am trying to believe that they misinterpreted our faith for complacency. Just as I ask the Lord to ‘help my unbelief’ for my Christian faith, I ask Him the same mercy for our lack of children.

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‘Though [the Lord] brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.’ Lamentations 3:32

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1

“Through the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I hope in Him!’” Lamentations 3:21-24

He loved us so much He sent His only Son to die for us even though we did nothing to deserve this. If He loves me this much, He will provide for our every single need. How could I possibly doubt that? How can I worry about food, bills, a mortgage, children…when He provided even His only Son for me.

Can you fathom that?

Think of the person on this Earth you love most – your child, your spouse, your parent. Now imagine the entire world is sick. A disease is killing every person on earth and it is spreading like wildfire. The only cure is the blood of your loved one. That’s it. To save the world, you have to hand over your husband, your son, your daughter, your mother, your father, to be killed. And not in some pretty way. And not to a group of people who are grateful. No, you are handing over the one you love most to pain and torture so unbearable you don’t dare imagine it. And to a group of people who hate and despise the one you love most.

Could you do that? Could you sentence the love of your life to death to save people who don’t deserve it, even remotely???

I couldn’t. I don’t possess that much love.

So how in the world can I turn away from the only One who could, and did – Just for you and me?

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

How Much Faith Do We Have?

Thursday

FAITH

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As Christians (as humans, really), we have a decision to make: our way or His.

Are we going to make decisions based solely on our desires or will we wait on our Lord to direct our steps? True surrender to God takes TRUE FAITH that God is The Supreme, Our All In All, The Lord of Our Lives. Is that the kind of faith we live with on a daily basis? Do we make our decisions and take our steps based on His Word or our whim?

Hebrews 11 is known as a text of the Bible that truly describes how to live a life of faith. (I urge you to read and study the whole chapter on your own. It’s powerful, friends.)

Hebrews 11:1-3

 Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see. It was their faith that made our ancestors pleasing to God.  Because of our faith, we know that the world was made at God’s command. We also know that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.

FAITH makes us sure. Faith is confidence in God and in our total surrender to Him. And here, is also explained the difference between HOPE and FAITH. We don’t HOPE in God. We have FAITH in Him. “Faith makes us sure of what we hope for…” Hebrews 11:1a

The difference is this – Faith supersedes hope. Noah didn’t build his ark at God’s command because he HOPED it would rain. I seriously doubt he would have spent longer than the average person’s LIFE SPAN to build a huge boat on dry land based on something he only hinged HOPE on. Noah must have been 150%+ sure The Flood would come.

And THAT is the kind of faith we need to have.

Matthew 17:20 

Jesus replied: It is because you don’t have enough faith! But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you.
A mustard seed. Do you realize how teeny-tiny that is??
With THAT little faith, we can command a mountain to move. I am not one who believes Jesus spoke in riddles all the time. I have faith that the Bible is literal. Unless Jesus says He is telling a parable, I have faith (not hope) that the Bible is completely true, accurate and literally written. So, when God says it only takes mustard seed-sized faith to command mountains, I begin to wonder how teeny-tiny our faith is??
If mountains are not moving in your life, you need to increase your faith! Here are three simple steps to do just that:
  1. HEAR, don’t just read silently, the Word of God.

Romans 10:17

 No one can have faith without hearing the message about Christ.

2.  OBEY/LIVE OUT God’s Word, i.e. “Don’t just talk the talk; rather, walk the walk.”

James 1:22

Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it.

3.  PROVE God’s power in your life. The Lord tells us to test Him in one way – by tithing, with the first ten percent of your income.

Malachi 3:10-11

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.

James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).

Faith. It changes everything.

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