Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I'm Ticked!

I am. I'm ticked tonight.

I'm ticked about several things.

1. I'm ticked about a person in my life who claims to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, who is actively engaged in an adulterous affair, and shows no sign of repentance.

2. I'm ticked than sin affects relationships that are precious to me, and that because of it, fellowship with people that I love has been broken.

3. I'm ticked that every time I turn around, my beloved Pastor and his wife, a friend whom I dearly cherish, are being assaulted by health issues.

4. I'm ticked that churches in America have chosen not to go deep in God's Word, in the hope of reaching the many with milk, instead of feeding the sheep with meat.

5. I'm ticked that a tv preacher has convinced my friends that they can have their best lives now, when Jesus says that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

6. I'm ticked that Stellan is in the hospital, and that his family is having to go through the heartache of not knowing what will happen, one day from the next.

7. I'm ticked that my President is making such poor, unGodly decisions.

8. I'm ticked that my husband has been putting in such long hours at work.

9. I'm ticked that I'd be ticked about that, when so many don't have a job.

10. I'm ticked that everytime I turn around, this stinking sinus infection returns!

11. I'm ticked that even though I'm on the "Do Not Call" list, and even though I've called the company and asked them to stop with the phone calls, I still get at least 4 offers a week from the SAME COMPANY to clean my carpets!

12. I'm ticked that my dog finds this the perfect opportunity to come into my office and pass gas!

13. I'm ticked that my house never looks completely put together. It's the nature of homeschooling, I'm afraid, but I'm still ticked about it.

14. I'm REALLY ticked about all the dust in AZ, and am SICK of breathing it in.

15. I'm ticked that my 10 year anniversary is coming up, and it doesn't look like we'll be having any sort of time away together. I'm saddened about that, more than anything.

16. I'm ticked, and more than anything, I want to go bang a tennis ball against the backboard to work out some aggression...but I can't because my husband is still at work.

17. I'm ticked that on nights like tonight, when escaping into a good movie would be a great sedative, it's almost impossible to find a good one that's not in black and white!

18. I'm ticked that someone is trying to manipulate their way into my childrens' lives, all the while completely disregarding the decisions that Shane and I have made for them.

So, what did I learn from the Word today?

I didn't spend any time in it today...can you tell?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Would you Die for Christ?

I am reposting this from January 2008. I read it tonight, and was amazed by how the Lord ministered to my heart, through something He led me to write over a year ago.

I pray it will minister to yours, too.

In His Great Love,

Would you agree to die for Christ?

What I learned from the Word tonight impacted me so much that I couldn't fall asleep, and just had to get out of bed and write about it.

The book of John opens, in verse 1:35-42 with the calling of Peter. It's at this point that Peter realizes that Jesus is the promised Messiah of Israel, and chooses to do as Jesus says, "Follow Me".
Jhn 1:35 
Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
Jhn 1:36 
and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"
Jhn 1:37 
The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
Jhn 1:38 
And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?"
Jhn 1:39 
He *said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
Jhn 1:40 
One of the two who heard John {speak} and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
Jhn 1:41 
He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ).
Jhn 1:42 
He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter). 

What Jesus was doing by changing Peter's name from Cephas, was making a covenant with him. In a covenant, one party agrees to live and die for the other party. So, Peter was making this agreement to live for Jesus, and die for him if necessary. Jesus was doing the same.

Yet, as we know, Peter wasn't perfect. His humanity failed him over and over again, even though I believe his heart wanted to follow Christ faithfully. It's just my opinion based upon Scripture, but I believe Peter was not yet clear on how his flesh could never sustain him in a walk with Christ...that it would always fall short.

Praise God that we aren't called to follow Him by the power of our flesh, and that God has so graciously demonstrated that to us through Peter's life.

(However, I learned Peter's lesson in my own life this past summer. I learned it at a deep heart level, that my love for Christ will never be enough to carry me through the dungeon times. I MUST rely on the power of His Holy Spirit...and you know what? When a believer does that, GOD is the one who gets the glory. No one who saw me through this summer could praise me...they saw me and knew that ONLY GOD could have pulled me through it.)

For,after having failed repeatedly when trying to be holy of his own power, and then being clearly told by Jesus in John 21:14-17 what his new job description was, Peter's whole walk with Christ was about to change dramatically.
Jhn 21:14 
This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
Jhn 21:15 
So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs."
Jhn 21:16 
He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."
Jhn 21:17 
He *said to him the third time, "Simon, {son} of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep. 

This is the part, though, that really stood out to me tonight. This is what propelled me out of my warm bed at 2:30 in the morning because I just HAD to share it with you...

Jhn 21:18 
"Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to {go.}"
Jhn 21:19 
Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"

Do you see that? It's powerful, and it speaks VOLUMES about Peter's commitment to following Christ now I mean now that he's on the other side of his failed humanity. By now, Peter has been humbled and broken. He has seen how his own power is so weak, and that it would never be enough to make him a faithful follower of Christ.

He MUST have the indwelling Holy Spirit in order to truly Follow Jesus. He MUST, for his flesh is weak, as is ours.

Peter had just seen his Savior crucified on a cross, and now Jesus is prophesying for Peter that the same will happen to him.

The next line is so powerful: "Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would GLORIFY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Do you ever think about that? Tradition and History teach that Peter was crucified under Nero's reign. History says that Peter refused to be crucified upright,saying he wasn't worthy to hang as his Savior did, and rather was hung upside down.

The thing that was so huge to me in this statement of Jesus' was that He was clearly telling Peter that his DEATH would glorify God. We forget that sometimes, don't we?

We spend our time crying out in anger, "WHY HIM, GOD?! WHY HER, GOD?!"

Instead of asking God, "HOW are you going to be glorified through her death God? Show me LORD, how his dying will bring you glory!"

It's hard to remember that God can and is glorified even through the death of the believer, especially hard when those who don't understand the full counsel of God tell us that God wants us alive. That He wants us healthy. That He never wants us to die.

That's just not Biblical teaching.

If Jesus prophesied to Peter, his cherished friend and disciple, His apostle, that he would die on a cross....and then the very next words that He said to Peter were, "FOLLOW ME", it seems to me that Jesus was calling Peter to a standard that didn't weigh Peter's personal comfort into the equation.

It's as if Jesus was telling him, "Look...there are lives to be saved. There are mass millions who need the good news of the Gospel. You're going to have to die to self and be real willing to Tend My Lambs, Shepherd My Sheep, and Tend My Sheep. Then, after you do that, you'll die a horrid death so that God can be glorified through it. So, FOLLOW ME. You'll be doing the things I did here on earth."


That's a high calling, don't you think?

No promise of fame or fortune.
No guarantees of winning the Roman popularity contest.
No hope that all his Jewish brothers would love him.

And no living to a ripe old age and dying in his sleep to comfort him.

So now, how about you and I?

What kind of followers of Christ are we?

Are we willing to stand on the truth of God's Word, even when it means that others will call us zealots?

Are we willing to put all in God's hands, full knowing He can take it as His leisure?

Do we ask God, "Lord, be glorified in my life..whatever it takes....just be glorified in my life, today!"

What might our walks with Christ look like if our prayer life changed and we aligned it with God's will and God's designs for our lives?

Just think...even at that point, Peter could have walked away. Instead, he chose to follow Christ, and at Pentecost, not much later, about 3,000 souls were added as new followers of Christ.

You can read about it in Acts 2.

But, Acts 1 makes it clear that Jesus told the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them. It was at THAT TIME that they'd have all they needed to be His witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

But they had to WAIT for the Holy Spirit.

Good lessons here tonight.
1. Will power will fail us in our walk with God.
2. God can be glorified in anything He chooses to be...even the death of one of his saints.
3. To be in the center of God's will, we must wait upon the leading of the Holy Spirit, and then we must follow....period!
4. Following Christ may mean giving up things that are dear to us...either in the here and now, or in the future. Will we love him enough, trust him enough, and wait on the Holy Spirit enough to follow Him through even the painful times?

Will we be like Cassie Bernall when faced with our future, or lack of it? Will we stand firmly and say, "Yes. I believe in God", no matter the possible outcome?

Will we live our lives in such a way that we are cities on a hill, as Jesus told us to be in Matthew? Will we let our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify (NOT US!) our Father Who is in Heaven?

I encourage you, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, to talk to Him. Talk to the Father. Be honest about where you need help, about where you're failing, about what your fears are.

Tell Him you want to be faithful, trusting, and trustworthy.

Ask Him to put you up on the potters mold you into the you He designed you to be.

It may take refining fire. It may take molding and shaping.

I promise you, though, as one who has been through a LOT of God's maturing work, and continues to go through will come out on the other side with a deeper love for your Lord, and an excitement to be used of Him, as He desires, for His glory.

There is no better life than that, if you ask me.

In Him,

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Comforting the Saints

Precious Friends,

Our new assistant pastor taught at our church on Sunday morning, stepping in at the last hour to relieve our pastor who was ill.

His sermon so impacted me, as it is all about comfort in the midst of pain.

I was so encouraged by it, and found myself thinking, "This so speaks to my all that I've just gone through with my health."

The message is so good, and I encourage you to take 1/2 hour and listen to it.

If you, or anyone you know is going through a time of testing or pain, I pray this sermon will minister hope to your hearts....

Thank you, Pastor Mark. This hit home!

Click our church name below, and then scroll down to 
"Other Guests Teaching or Ministering" and then click the little 
"HQ" button next to Mark, 3/15/ can even save it to your iPod.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ever Wonder What Jesus Looked Like?

I want to share a precious story with you today....I hope it brings joy to your heart, as it has to mine.

But first...a little background....

Several years ago, our next door neighbors put their house up for sale. They were great neighbors, and we were sorry to see them go. But, from the minute that they put the sign in the yard, we started praying that God would send a family with a young boy, close to Caedmon's age, who could be a true friend for him. 

We prayed for a family who knew and loved the Lord. You see, for many years, our neighborhood had been a mission field. I suppose it's that way for all of us, really. It's not that we were hoping to abandon God's purpose for us here, it's just that we longed to have other believers on our street, whom we could have fellowship with...and we really wanted a friend for Caedmon who would be a heart friend, as David and Jonathan were. 

Well, it took months for the house to sell, but it finally did. I'll never forget the night that Shane came home and boasted like a peacock, "Our new neighbors have arrived...and I saw their has a Christian fish symbol on it!"

I kid you not when I tell you that at that very moment, I looked like a bag lady who hadn't bathed in 3 weeks. I had my favorite baseball cap on, and I think you could have oiled your car with my hair! I was in my "best" sweats, and probably smelled like I'd been deep sea fishing for 3 days, but I didn't let any of that stop me...I RUSHED past Shane and out the front door, and ran next door to "welcome" my new neighbors. 

(They were likely wishing I hadn't!)  :)

It was so great to meet them, and to find out that GOD HAD ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS!
They have a son who is just a little older than Caedmon, and in no time the two of them became the best of friends!

:) His name is Jonathan, and he is the most wonderful friend to Caedmon! The two of them spend hours together, and love each other like brothers.

Oh, I forgot to tell you what I prayed for, for me! I asked the Lord for an "iced tea drinking, drop in friend"...and Jonathan's mother is just that to me. She is a friend who has seen me at my very worst, and yet loves me like I'm always at my best. I can share anything in the world with her, and know that she will keep it to herself. She is truly one of the dearest friends I've ever had. 

I love her dearly, and thank God for her often. Her name is Peggy, but I call her Peggy Sue. :) here's where all of this background is leading...

Jonathan is here today. He came to see if Caedmon could play and I said, "Oh, honey. He's cleaning his room most of the day today."

Jonathan quickly responded, "Well, I can help him!" 

So in he came. :)

A few minutes ago, I heard Jonathan calling me...."Miss Jesica. Miss Jesica....Miss Jesica..." 

He was quite insistent. I could tell he had something of utmost importance to talk with me about.

I told him I was in my office, and in he came. I could never have expected what he would say to me!

"Um, when Jesus was a baby, was He ever cross-eyed?"

I couldn't help myself...I just burst out laughing!

When I finally got myself together, I asked, "Why do you ask that?"

So he ran out of the office and went into Caedmon's room, and came back with the baby Jesus from Caedmon's nativity set. 

Please, no comments. Now you know why they are cleaning their rooms's March, for goodness sakes, and their creches are still in their rooms!

"See Miss Jesica. He's cross-eyed. Both of them..Caedmon's and Brennan's...they're both cross-eyed."

I didn't take the time to tell him that this baby Jesus was likely manufactured in China, in some assembly room, and that they probably didn't take much time to measure the distance between his eyeballs. 

Instead, I said, "You know, Jonathan. I really don't know if He was cross-eyed. I do know that the Scripture tells us that He wasn't very handsome, but I don't know if he was cross-eyed." 

"Why wasn't he handsome?", he asked.

"Well, I think maybe it was because He didn't come to Earth for people to be drawn to His looks. He came to save people from their sins. Maybe if He'd been really handsome, they would have been attracted to Him for the wrong reasons."

And, since the door of conversation was open, I added, "And he wasn't white, like this baby Jesus is. Did you know that?"


"He was likely more brown. He came from the middle east, and people there have darker skin than you and I do. So, it's doubtful that Jesus was white like we are."

He was so cute...he just pondered all that I'd told him for a few minutes, and then said, "Um, OK..." and out he ran, content as a he could be. All was now well with his soul, or so it seemed. :)

When we all sit down for a snack in a bit, I'm going to read this passage of Scripture to the kids. 

After all, I don't want him to believe all of this because I said it.....I want him to hear it for himself, from God's Word. 

This is such an amazing passage of Scripture...I pray it teaches you something new today, about the Savior of the World.

Isa 53:1  Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
Isa 53:2  For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no {stately} form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
Isa 53:3  He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Isa 53:4  Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5  But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being {fell} upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Isa 53:6  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.
Isa 53:7  He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Isa 53:8  By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke {was due?}
Isa 53:9  His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
Isa 53:10  But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting {Him} to grief; If He would render Himself {as} a guilt offering, He will see {His} offspring, He will prolong {His} days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
Isa 53:11  As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see {it and} be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.
Isa 53:12  Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Blue Letter Bible. "Isaiah 53 - New American Standard Bible." Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 16 Mar 2009. 
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