Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Princess Warrior

I will not waste your pain, My beloved.  I will use every tear you have cried to put a passion in your heart to do something great for My Kingdom.  You can find comfort in your darkest hour by praising Me through the painful place you're in.  You will not remain in this painful place for long, My love.  Soon you will see that, through it all, I carved something in your character that will draw you and others closer to Me.  You are My precious Princess, and I will shake the earth if that is what it takes to see your chains fall to the ground.

Your Lord who feels your pain

from Praise Through The Pain
by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Repeating the Past - How to Break the Cycle!

"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.  They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck."  Proverbs 1:8-9

I'm sure as we read the verse above, we can all think of at least one young person we have tried to give advice to who has gone their own way instead.

Well, I'm not writing to talk to them today.  I'm talking to us.  I'm talking to those of us that have lived long enough to have made a few mistakes and lived to tell about it.

It has been my experience that we often want to give our younger generation advice in the form of instruction.  But don't you remember how well you responded at their age when told not to do something?  That made me all the more eager to try it for myself.  

I don't believe our teens and young people need any more instructors.  BUT they DO need mentors!  They need someone to come along side them and build them up and to speak God's truths into their hearts.  They need someone who is not afraid to tell them where they have been.

How can we blame them for making our mistakes again and repeating history when we don't share with them the consequences of our own shortcomings?  The enemy would have us believe that everything will be alright if we just remain silent.  That speaking out will only bring us guilt and shame; that no one will listen to a messed up person like us.  Can I just tell you what a LIE that is?

Christ came to set the captives free and in Isaiah 61 He tells us all the things He came to give us!  He says we can have beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning, He says that we can be rebuilt and rebuild!!  I don't know about you, but that excites me down to the depths of my soul!

Those verses tell me that God wants to heal me, He wants to set me free from my guilt and my shame and THEN He wants to use me! He does not intend for me to tuck my past away and keep it swept under the rug.  How then, will He receive the full glory of what He has done in our lives if we never tell anyone?  Everything we have ever gone through can be used by Him.  It doesn't matter if we brought that circumstance on our self or if it was brought on us by the actions of another.  God. can. USE. it!

I have made my share of mistakes.  I have been an alcoholic, I have been sexually promiscuous, I have had an abortion...and the list goes on.  I am not proud of where I have been but I am determined that God will be given the glory through those things.  I will speak truth into the hearts of our youth to try and let them see that "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death," (Proverbs 14:12).

Our kids do not need another sermon, they need a living example.  They need us to show interest in them.  They need us to share our story.  They need to see God's love walked out in real life.  Let us pray for God to show us a young person that we can pour ourselves into - they are waiting!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Have you ever looked in the mirror and examined your reflection?  No, I mean really stared at yourself.  For me, the longer I look, the more faults I find.  The overgrown eyebrows I normally don't notice (or like to say I don't notice) because I am not looking carefully, all of sudden, become a glaring wrong that must be fixed immediately.

Do you think if we examined our spiritual life with the same attention, we would come to the same conclusion?  Do you think we would find areas of our life we need to pay more attention to?

My parents used to tell me that whether I behaved well or behaved badly, it reflected directly on them.  If God is our Father, then doesn't our behavior reflect on Him as well?  Think about it:  What kind of reflection do our words and deeds cast of Jesus?  Is it accurate?  I am not trying to cast blame or point the finger, I just want us to examine all that we do in light of the fact that the things we do, the things we say, the places we go all affect our witness and either give credit to or damage the name of our Lord.  

A few years ago I had a mouth like a drunken sailor and had even managed to make quite a numbers of sailors blush with my language. And I claimed to belong to Christ!  I would try and clean it up but never for long.  Try as I might, I struggled with this stronghold in my life.  And while, over time, I made great improvements in my language it was still rather, um, colorful.  I would tell myself, I just can't help it, it's the way I am, it's the way I express myself!

When my first child was born, God taught me a very important lesson.  I can help it!  I just needed the right motivation.  I needed to stop believing the lie that I was helpless.  To tell the truth, it was easier to say I couldn't help it than to try and change.  But I wanted better for my child.  I wanted him to be able to express himself intelligently and effectively without resorting to profanity.

When I am tempted to believe that I cannot help my behavior I am reminded of that time in my life.  One of the main battles I face today is with my emotions.  I tend to lose my temper and act however I 'feel'.  I am learning that Jesus wants to be the Lord or my speech; Lord of my actions...Lord of my life!  I want to surrender fully and completely to Him so that I can show others who He is.  I cannot do that when I act like ME!

1 Corinthians 13:11 says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

It is time for me to grow up in Christ.  I am ready and willing to stop hiding behind my excuses for bad behavior and start confessing that behavior to Him.  I will never be perfect, but, with His help, I can be a better reflection.  How about you, will you join me? 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Once For All

For some of us, the notion of complete and total forgiveness seems an unattainable goal.  We like the idea of forgiveness but somewhere inside us we think that we have sinned too much or we are not good enough for God to forgive us and welcome us into His presence.  We read about His mercy, His love and His grace and immediately the enemy is there telling us that promise is not for us.  What we did was too dirty, too shameful and God cannot be expected to forgive such guilt.

In the Old Testament there was a system put in place by God so that His people could remain pure enough to be in communion with Him (for His dwelt in the tabernacle in their midst).  By this system many things could cause one to become unclean and unfit to be in God's presence.  One thing that would make one unclean was bodily discharge.  Ladies, that meant that while you were having your monthly visitor, you were unclean and could not come into the presence of the Holy One.  Also, anyone who touched you would be unclean for the rest of that day and had to bathe themselves before they would be made clean again (see Leviticus 15:19-30).  

What does any of this have to do with the forgiveness of sin?  Glad you asked!  Sin separates us from God just as uncleanness separated His people from Him.  Of course, their sin separated them as well and within the sacrificial system God provided ways to be cleansed from that as well.  But I want us to look at what happens when uncleanness meets Jesus.

So go with me to Mark chapter 5 starting in verse 24b:
      A large crowd followed and pressed around Him.  And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.  She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.  When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind Him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed."  Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
     At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him.  He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?"
     "You see the people crowding against You," his disciples answered, "and yet You can ask, 'Who touched me?'"
     But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.  Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at His feet and, trembling with fear, told Him the whole truth.  He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you.  Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."   Mark 5:24-34

We see here that the woman with the issue of blood plainly falls in the category of unclean.  She had been living separated from God, unclean for twelve yearsThen comes Jesus!

Remember, according to the Law, if a man touched a woman while she was bleeding he was made unclean. 

When the woman touches Jesus, what happens?  Does He become unclean?  NO!  But why not?

It is because Jesus has power over the Law.  The Law pronounced her to be unclean, separated from God.  Jesus made her complete, healed her and made her whole again!

Our sin separates us from God just as this woman's issue made her unclean and unable to come into His presence.  Jesus' authority overruled the Law so that He could make her clean.

God says plainly that we all have sinned and that the penalty for sin is death.  However, the blood of Jesus has delivered us from that sentence!

Hebrews 9:13-14 puts it this way, "The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"

If Jesus has power of the Law, He has power over sin, He has power over death (proved by His resurrection), who are we to say that He does not have power over our sin?  He has power of ALL sin!  Forever.  Always.  His blood covers that sin, blots it out, makes us white as snow.

Let this encourage you today if you think that your sin is too great for God to forgive.  I will leave you with one final verse that should silence the enemy that loves to speak in lies:

But God demonstrated His own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

God doesn't love us for what He can make us, He doesn't love us for the way we will be after He cleans us up...He loves us just the way we were.  Sin and all.  Trust Him with your sin, with your past, with your guilt and shame and let Him set you free from condemnation today.  Let us live in the light of His glory and grace and let us "...serve the living God!"

Monday, February 20, 2012


You gave your life so I might live
You gave so much more than I could ever give
I've ignored you, turned away from You, lived my life in vain
All because I couldn't see You loved me through the pain.

I'm unworthy of You, Master
My days, my nights, and ever after
I will praise You for Your grace and all You've done
I'm unworthy of You, Master
You dry my tears and give me laughter
Even though I walked in darkness, You sent Your Son.

You paid my debt on Calvary that day
For I owed so much more than I could ever pay
Your blood washed and cleansed me, set me free from sin
Thank You, Lord, for loving me and let me say again...


You heal the brokenhearted
Dry the weeping eyes
You were bruised and mocked and broken
So I may have abundant life


Even though we walk in darkness, You sent Your Son.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Ride Home

I came across this in an old notebook.  I don't remember writing it and even had part of it marked out.  Anyway, having re-read it, it really hit home about whether or not my actions show Jesus to those around me.  Do others see Jesus when they see me in my everyday life or do they see just another person, just like everyone else - just like the world.  I gotta kinda hurt!

Driving home one Sunday after the preacher said, "Amen,"
A million thoughts now in mind, setting my head to spin.
What to make for lunch, the work week about to start, 
How to pay the plumber, need to stop at Walmart.
So many things to get done and where to find the time
When my little boys' voice breaks through and chimes,
"Momma, what does it mean to follow Jesus when we never go anywhere?"
I looked at his innocent face and decided then and there:

I will serve You, Lord, this I pledge today
Because no one can see how often I say, "I love You,"
When I bow my head to pray.
How will the world see You in me
If they don't see that it's Your will I obey?
So how can I tell You, "I love You" every night and every day
If I never follow where You lead?
Tell me, what does the world see:  You or just me?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Watch For the Robins...

As I stomp through my kitchen with my emotions reeling and tumbling leaving a deep frown on my face and anger in my heart I wonder; who am I angry with? Am I angry with God for taking my Dad at the early age of 51? Am I angry at the unfinished business he and I had? Am I angry that I never got to tell him how much I love him and how I wanted him to go fishing with me next summer or teach the boys to hunt when they get older? Why am I angry? Why do I feel all alone? Why is it that no matter how many times my husband hugs me and tells me it will get better I still feel a million miles away? Why is it when someone asks me how I am doing I smile and tell them how good God is when sometimes all I really feel is confused? All of these thoughts crash through my mind as the crease in my forehead deepens and I feel tears rising to the surface once more...then I see them.

From my kitchen window on December 26th I see hundreds of robins alight on my lawn. Each of them hopping back and forth making a virtual sea of black heads and orange-red breasts. All I can do is stare and wonder what they are doing here. It's a little early for them. Waiting for the robins is my favorite part of spring. They remind me that spring is coming...warm sunshine is are is coming. And then the gentle breath of the Holy Spirit fills me and says, "Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows," Luke 12:6-7.

God sent me a message that day. I am not alone. In my darkest anger, in my deepest depression God sees me, hears me, loves me, cares for me. I - am - not - alone. And neither are you.

Whatever you are going through, no matter your reaction to your circumstances God is there in your midst. The Bible calls David "a man after God's own heart". My personal feeling is that it was because David talked to God; told Him how he felt and just laid his heart at the feet of Jehovah. David did not feel the need to hide his feelings from God, even when he felt like God had abandoned him. So why do we do that? God already knows what we are feeling...why not let Him carry the burden?

Those robins brought back my hope. They were God's messengers reminding me that "weeping last for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Is it morning yet? Not quite. But I have an expectant anticipation for the morning. I know it is coming. And in the meantime I have a Savior that loves me enough to send me the ultimate, "Thinking of You" card.

So whatever it is that is darkening your sky, just know that God is already there. He is there with His promise of spring, the promise of morning...the promise of joy. We can all get wrapped up in our circumstances and Satan would love for us to stay that way. But don't! Isaiah 40:31 reminds us, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." I read somewhere the word "wait" in that verse means to "watch for expectantly". So watch expectantly for the little ways God is trying to talk to you. Watch for the robins...