Christian Celebrities, is that biblical?

 “In our celebrity-producing church culture, we often forget that when Jesus did his most important work, he had been unfriended by almost everyone.” By: Joyce Harback

 Here in North America, it seems that the above quote has a lot of truth to it. As a fellow church attendee I often feel that if you don’t have someone important backing you and your message, or if you yourself are not famous in some way, then the people are not willing to hear what you have to say.

 This saddens me a great deal, because when you read the bible, the people that God chose to use were ordinary, uneducated men and women, whose hearts were devoted to him.

  I would like to share with you the story of the Apostles Peter and John, they were ordinary men, who had been fisherman by trade, when Jesus called them to walk with him and learn from him.

They were uneducated by the world’s standards, they were rough and tough, and were used to out door living and most probably didn’t have great table manners, (My supposition of course)

 God chose these men, to reveal his great power to the world. They had no extraordinary gifts or talents; they were the “bottom of the social class” of the day. Yet God used them mightily, why?

 He used them because they were men whose hearts were fully devoted to him, they believed him and his message of love and peace to the world. They were willing to lay everything that they were, (their jobs as fishermen), their families, their homes and aside to follow Jesus Christ.

They knew him to be the Messiah, the promised one and they knew that there was nowhere else that their hearts would be “at home” like they were with Jesus.

 In the following verses you will see what God considers to be useful for his kingdom; Where do you fit in?

 1Corinthians 1:26 – 31

 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 

He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 

Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

 As you read the account of Peter and John, please keep in mind that these were ordinary men, used by God to do extra ordinary things for the kingdom of heaven.

 Acts 3:1 – 10

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer–at three in the afternoon. 

Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 

When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 

 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 

So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 

 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 

Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 

 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 

When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 If you are of the faulty belief system that you cannot step out and do what God has called you to do, because you are not “in the in crowd at church”, or “you are not famous” or “you don’t have great financial backing” or you are not a Christian celebrity” or whatever lie the devil has trapped you with, please know that to serve God faithfully, all you need is Him.

 I am not saying that the men and women, who have become famous throughout North America for their ministries, don’t have a heart for God, that is not my intention. What I am trying to point out however, is that if you believe that God has called you to be his child, and you have accepted him as your lord and savior then He has given you a purpose on this earth.

 That purpose is to sow into his kingdom, by being a light to the entire world around you. Whether it is in the grocery store or the dentist office or even at work, we are called to be God’s hands and feet here on this earth, to a lost and dying world.

 Don’t let the Christian celebrities, intimidate you, step up today and be whom God has called you to be, embrace the plans that he has for your life and live it to the fullest. Love your neighbors deeply from the heart, be there for them, offer them kindness and mercy whenever it is within your power to do so. Pray for them and direct them to our precious heavenly father.

 You might not always be received with welcoming and open arms by those whom God has sent you to love and show his love to, but neither was He.

The Apostle Peter was flogged shortly after the healing of this man, and he eventually endured a Martyrs death. The Apostle John, was sent to live out the rest of his days on the Island of Patmos, I imagine it was not a very hospitable place to be.

 The point is, that these men, willingly surrendered their lives to God and He filled them with his Holy Spirit, and through the power of his Holy Spirit they turned their world upside down.

 Be bold, children of God, step out in faith and surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit within you today, I promise that you too will set your world upside down as you reveal your precious Savior to the world around you.

 

 To read part 5 – lessons from the Past, click here

In your anger do not speak rashly

 V:33  He(Moses) spoke rashly with his lips. 

 As you can imagine, Moses is now angry with the Israelites because of their ungrateful attitude and their whining. Moses and Aaron go before the lord and the lord tells Moses to speak to the rock, and it will produce the needed water.

 In his anger at them hits the rock twice and rebukes the Israelites for their attitude. Unfortunately that is not what God had told Moses to do, so not only did he become a false prophet in that moment, but he was disobedient to the specific instructions that God had given him.

 O, how I wish I could say that I have never done that!!!!

 There is a children’s game called Telephone, and basically the kids sit in a circle passing a message along. When it gets back to the one who started it, that person has to say what was really said in the beginning. This game is fun, as you often end up with a completely different message than what you started off with.

 We as children of God, need to be careful of this happening in our own lives. God has given us his word, and he often even speaks to our hearts, but when we are telling others what he has shown us, or given to us, or even taught us, then we have to be very careful to share or teach, only what God has said.

 Basically, we must not put words into God’s mouth.

If we find ourselves doing that, we run the risk of becoming false teachers and prophets, we will find to that what we are saying is not blessed of God, as we are speaking lies and not the truth.

 Becoming a Chameleon Christian

     Psalm 106:34 – 40

They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, 

 And served their idols, which became a snare to them. 

 They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, 

 And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. 

 Thus they became unclean in their practices, And played the harlot in their deeds. 

 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against His people And He abhorred His inheritance. 

 When God gave the Israelites clear instructions on what was acceptable to Him as their God and what was not, he very clearly told them to destroy the people that inhabited the Promised Land. He also told them that they were not to take on their detestable practices.

God has given us similar instructions in the New Testament as well.

 1John 2:15 – 17

 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. 

 You as a Christian might not be bowing down to worship dead and lifeless idols or sacrificing your children on alters. But how much of the culture around you, have your adopted as your own? How much do you look like those around you who are not believers?

 Do you stand out because of your faith in Christ? Or do you, blend and no one is any the wiser? Do you watch what is coming out of your mouth? Are you choosing words of life instead of words of death? Are you loving your neighbor as yourself? Is your worship of God reserved on for Sunday mornings? Or are you taking the time everyday to worship Him?

 Do you have mountains of debt like those who are in the world? Or do you have control of your finances like the bible teaches us to? Do you watch anything on Television, regardless of the content? Do you rob your employer of valuable working time, by making personal phone calls, checking personal emails or even checking your facebook?

 How is your attitude and behavior towards those who are closest to you? Do you yell and scream if you cannot get your own way?  How is your marriage? Are you and your wife/husband in a loving and caring relationship or are you on the brink of divorce?

 These are some ways in which our lives can and do resemble those who are in the world. Those people who have not yet given their hearts to God. Please take a moment and think about what your life looks like, does it resemble God and his precepts and his will for you or do you look like the world?

 If you find yourself in a place where the world around you is having a profound impact on your views, attitudes and actions, and you look more like the world than like Jesus Christ, there is hope.

 Stop, repent, find out what God desires of you, how he requires you to live. Believe him and his promises for your life and start to live your life in a way that is pleasing to him.

If we choose not to repent, our sins will slowly take over our lives, and we will find that our relationship with God will grow cold.

This is not a place of blessing and peace and you as a Christian are not meant to live separated from God’s best for you.

 Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray that you will have been encouraged and that your faith has been strengthened as you have read this 6 part series on Lessons from the Past. History is a great teacher, and we would be wise to learn from it. I pray that as you examine your own heart through reading this series and find that there are things that do not line up with the word of God, that you will make changes in your choices and your belief system.

I pray that the lord will continue to draw you to him, that he will fill you will his wisdom and knowledge and that you will know his imcomparably great power that is living within you.

Blessings to you all.

   To read Part 5 – lessons from the Past, click here

To read Part 4 of Lessons from the Past, click here

Standing in the gap

 Psalm 106:23

Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, To turn away His wrath from destroying them.

 This is a very important lesson for us to learn, Moses, God’s chosen leader, loved his people enough to stand in the gap for them before God.

What does that mean you may wonder?

 Well, God had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, he lived with these people, he ate with them, his tent was beside theirs. God had given him a heart for these people, a concern for them, that went beyond a general acquaintance level.

 So, when they rebelled against God and what he had set out for them, Moses was obviously moved in his heart for these people and begged God not to destroy them. God relented and he did not destroy them, instead he chose to discipline.

 I want you to notice something, and that is, because Moses pleaded on behalf of the people for mercy, God listened to him and changed his plans to destroy them.

You can do the same for those you love and the world around you.

Yes it is true. Remember that as a Christian you have the Holy Spirit living within you, you have the mind of Christ and have direct access to the throne room of Grace. Moses taught us that if we are willing to put ourselves out there in front of God on behalf of those around us, that God would change his mind for the fate of the people.

The bible is full of examples of people standing in the gap for the people of Israel.

If you don’t feel that deep sense of love and connection for the people around you, ask God to turn your heart towards them. Pray that God will give them mercy and that they too will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord. That is called interceding for another person.

  I cannot think of anything that we could give them that is a greater gift, than to pray for them, that God will bring blessing into their lives instead of destruction. Pray today!

They entertained unbelief

Psalm 106:24-25

 Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, 

 But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the LORD. 

 Unbelief is a faith killer, that might sound obvious to you but it really is.  

What are you giving up due to unbelief in your life?  Are you grumbling against the lord and not believing his promises to you?

Stop today; don’t let it go any further. Chose faith, and listen to God you will not regret it at all.

 God had brought the Israelites to the edge of the Promised Land by this point and instead of remembering how the lord had delivered them, fed them, gave them water from a rock, they chose instead not to take that final step of faith.

 He had told Moses that the land of Canaan before them was good, and that they would surely be able to defeat all of the nations in the land.  Instead, they listened to the counsel of ten of the spies sent over, who said that there were giants in the land and that there was no way that they could be defeated.

 God had told them that they would be fine, they chose unbelief and they grumbled against God. They chose not to listen to him and ended up living in the desert for 40 more years before they were able to enter into the land of Promise.

What will you choose today?

 Hebrews 11: 6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. 

 God takes our faith in him very seriously, you should too.

Rebellion against God

Psalm 106:24-25

 Then they despised the pleasant land; They did not believe in His word, 

 But grumbled in their tents; They did not listen to the voice of the LORD

God had brought the Israelites to the desert and there was no water to be found. They were angry with Moses and Aaron and of course God.

They spoke rashly to Moses about their needs and their wants, and they angered God at their unbelief in His ability to provide for their needs once again.

God likens rebellion within us to witchcraft, and he hates it.

If you find yourself in a place of grumbling against God for his provision, or what you perceive to be his lack of provision, take the lessons from the Israelite nation.

 Please understand dear one, that God has good in store for you, just like he did for the Israelites in the desert, he would have shown them where the water was, but they instead started to complain about all the hardships that they had, that they wished that they were dead, and on and on.

 Take a moment right now and examine your heart, are you in rebellion against God because of your unbelief in his intentions towards you?

IF the answer is yes, take a moment and ask the lord to forgive you for grumbling about what you have and don’t have and ask him to give you a heart that is grateful to him.

To read part 6 – Lessons from the Past, click here

To read part 3 of Lessons from the Past, click here

Envy will ruin us

 Psa 106:16 – 18

When they became envious of Moses in the camp, And of Aaron, the holy one of the LORD, 

 The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan, And engulfed the company of Abiram. 

And a fire blazed up in their company; The flame consumed the wicked. 

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you are jealous of someone and what they have achieved or what you perceive they have been given by God?

I have and to be honest it is not a nice place to be, as you turn into a whiny child who stomps it’s feet and screams on the top of their lungs that “It is not fair”

 But in all honesty we don’t know the journey that has led that person to have what they have, to be who they are and often times if we took a moment to really look, their journey to that place that you now envy is marked with many trials, tribulations, heartaches and the like.

Jealousy of another’s gifts will only bring destruction to you. Praise God for that brother and sister instead.

 Exchanging God’s glory for Idols

 Psalm 106:19 – 23

 They made a calf in Horeb And worshiped a molten image. 

 Thus they exchanged their glory For the image of an ox that eats grass. 

 They forgot God their Savior, Who had done great things in Egypt, 

Wonders in the land of Ham And awesome things by theRed Sea. 

Therefore He said that He would destroy them, Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, To turn away His wrath from destroying them

God called Moses up to the mountain to give him the 10 commandments, while he was there, the people grew restless and wanted something to worship. (they had worshipped idols in Egypt and now found themselves wanting to worship God with something that they could see). They made the idol, a calf.

 It was lifeless, could do nothing for them, it could not show them the way; it could not bring rain in due season nor the sun. It could not provide food for them to eat and it could not show them the righteous way to live. It was something that they fashioned with their own hands.

 How often do we do the same?

We might not want to worship a physical idol that we can see with our eyes, but it could take the form of what we pursue, our careers, friendships, relationships with spouses and children, money, toys, power, vacations, houses, cars. Anything that we put more effort into than God can and does become an idol in our lives.

 God wants to be first in our lives. He will not share that place with what we manufacture. He created us and knows that those things will only leave us feeling empty and craving more. It is always a good idea to abide by the rule of, “love the lord your God with all of you heart, your soul and your mind”

 God wants our whole hearts to be devoted to him, and when we are pursuing other things in our lives we find that our love for God grows cold. Before we know it, our moral standards have slipped, what once was an absolute now becomes a maybe.

 God always shows us the best way of living, but when we turn to other things to fill our hearts and desires, we no longer feel it necessary to be so firm on our convictions about sin, and right and wrong. This leads to a place of deception and bondage for our souls.

God doesn’t want that for us, therefore we should make every effort to always keep him first in our lives.

 To read part 5 of, lessons from the past, click here

Lessons from the Past

 If we are wise we will learn from the mistakes of others and not repeat them in our own lives. The bible is full of great examples for us to learn from. We never need to fear that we alone have faced this or that, trust me humanity at some point in history has faced the same struggles and defeats, that we sometimes do.

 We would be foolish to think that they have nothing to teach us. Over the next few articles I will go through Psalm 106 and bring out the valuable lessons that we can learn today. I pray that as you read this Psalm that you will realize that though the people of Israel messed up and angered God, he was quick to restore them when they turned from their wicked ways.

I pray that you to, would be quick to cry out to God, for your deliverance.

 Psalm 106      
1Praise the LORD.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.     
2Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare his praise?     
3Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.     
4Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them,     
5that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise.     
6We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.     
7When our fathers were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.   
8Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known.     
9He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert.     
10He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. 11The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived.     
12Then they believed his promises and sang his praise.     
13But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel.     
14In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test.     
15So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them.     
16In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the LORD.     
17The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram.     
18Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked.     
19At Horeb they made a calf  and worshiped an idol cast from metal.     
20They exchanged their Glory for an image of a bull, which eats grass.     
21They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt,     
22miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.     
23So he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.     
24Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise.     
25They grumbled in their tents  and did not obey the LORD.     
26So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the desert,     
27make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands.     
28They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor  and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; 29they provoked the LORD to anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them.     
30But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked.     
31This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come.     
32By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them;     
33for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips.£     
34They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them,     
35but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs.     
36They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them.     
37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons.     
38They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood.     
39They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. 40Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance.     
41He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them.     
42Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power.     
43Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.     
44But he took note of their distress when he heard their cry;     
45for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented.     
46He caused them to be pitied by all who held them captive.     
47Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.     
48Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.

    Let all the people say, “Amen!”  Praise the LORD.

 

To read part two of, Lessons from the Past click here

To read Part 2 of: Lessons from the Past, click here

 Don’t forget God

Psalm 106:13 – 15

 They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel, 

But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. 

So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them.

How quickly we forget what God has done for us. We forget how he delivered us from our enemies; we forget how he comforted us when we needed comfort. We forget that he loves us and has made promises to us that will be fulfilled.

I am ashamed to admit, that this is often true of me.

 I wander why I feel depressed or alone or unable to handle a situation, and it is because I have forgotten God, I have not remembered all the times that he has delivered me and showed me his great love and kindness, comfort and mercy.

 I find myself thinking, “Well this is small he cannot be bothered with this situation”, that is a lie from the enemy, the truth is God shows us all of the time that he is trust worthy and it is beneficial for us to remember what he has done.

 I have a journal which I try to write in daily; so that I can record what God has done that day, what he has shown me, and any other thing that may come to mind.

 God often reminds me what he has done in the past so that I will remember to rely on him in my present.

 V 13 – They did not wait for His counsel

Let’s be honest, how many of you reading this today, always, take the time to wait for God to tell you what the next step is?

We might do it 50% of the time, or occasionally, but 100% of the time is often rare of most of us.

 What are the consequences for not waiting for his counsel?

 Well, if you as a bible believing Christian and are desiring to walk in the spirit and submit your life to his will, then it is imperative that you train yourself to ask him for his counsel and then wait to receive it. If you do not, you could find yourself operating in your own thinking and ways, and not in the ways of the lord.

 You have to understand, that He can see the future, he knows what is best for every situation, therefore it stands to reason that he would be able to give you the best direction for the next step.

Often times you will be thinking, but if I wait on God for every choice and decision I have to make about life, ministry, children etc, I will never get anything done.

 The truth of the matter is that God is never late in giving you his answers, it may seem that way sometimes, but if you are listening and observing all that he is showing you, you will know what he is saying to you and what he wants you to do next.

 Crave God

 V:14 But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. 

So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them.

What are you craving?

 What are you wanting in your life that is not necessarily God’s best for you?

The Israelites craved meat instead of the manna that God had been providing. They were not satisfied with the provision that God had laid before them.

 It is so easy for us to crave things that are not good for us as well. Our flesh may scream louder than the wisdom that God has given to us and we find ourselves in a place of “Wanting what we want, when we want it!” and then justifying our cravings for the old things. The things that brought destruction upon us before we even walked with God.

God had to discipline them, and he will discipline us today if what we crave will bring a separation between us and him. Therefore it is better to crave God instead of the things of the flesh.

 

To read part 4 of lessons from the Past, click here

To read Part 1 of, lessons from the Past, click here

Lessons from the past

 Some say that history is a great teacher and we would be wise to pay attention to what it says. I have to agree with this statement as I have found that some of the greatest lessons that I have learnt over the years have been because history told me not to repeat that same mistake.

 During my quiet time this morning I believe that God led me to Psalm 106. It is filled with the triumphs and great defeats of the people of God, the Israelites. It is also a story of God’s great love and mercy and how he shows his love for the people in spite of their rejection.

 It all starts out innocently enough; King David is praising God for his goodness and his enduring love. He asks God to remember him when he shows favor to his people the Israelites. He even calls the people, God’s inheritance.

 It is then that he brings out the lessons that, if we pay attention we will be wise to learn from.

 Psalm 106:6 – 12

We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly. 

Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. 

Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known. 

Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up, And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness. 

So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 

The waters covered their adversaries; Not one of them was left. 

Then they believed His words; They sang His praise. 

Lessons:

 Ignorance breeds contempt

We as believers are often no different from our fore fathers as we find ourselves in a place of rebellion and sin against God and we don’t understand what went wrong, and wonder how did we got there?  Just as the Israelites did not understand God and his intentions towards them, we often do not understand him either.

  We have a faulty belief system about God. It could be that we don’t spend enough time reading the bible and learning about God.

 Ignorance breeds contempt.

When we don’t know, we cannot trust and it creates a vicious cycle of unbelief, sin, and defeat in our lives.  We often do not believe that what he says pertains to us, we believe it for others as we pray for them, but we tend to walk in unbelief in our own lives.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we have to actively participate in our faith with God, taking the time to get to know him, allow him to bring about the changes in our lives that will result in us walking in the freedom of belief instead of the bondage of unbelief.

 I cannot stress how important this particular point is in your walk with Christ. Believing God and obeying him, is more important than all of the things that you could ever “do” for him.

  The minute the Israelites found themselves in a place of unbelief towards God and his love for them, was the minute they panicked, found themselves walking in disobedience and worshipping the idols of the people of the land.

 You have to understand that belief in God and his will for your life is a choice.

 You get to choose to walk in belief or unbelief.

  If you find yourself on the side of unbelief more than on the side of belief, take a moment, repent for your unbelief, and set your heart and mind into action to believe God, to learn more about him, and to live your life in a way that demonstrates that belief.

 It takes effort on your part but it is so worth it, Trust me.

 To read part 3 of this article, click here

Easter’s Unveiling

 Father, my sin is ever before me

My heart as hard as a rock

So deep in the muck

That all I see is darkness.

 

Then with your mighty outstretched hand

You started to remove the veil that covered my heart.

 

You wooed me, drew me, loved me, and called me.

 

You told me of your Son

And his death upon the cross

You shared the most wonderful news of all,

 

You said, “My child, I drew you with everlasting love and kindness,

Now, if you will believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that

My son Jesus Christ is Lord; I will give you eternal life.”

 

“I promise to forgive you of all of your sin and heal all of your wounds”

 

I rejoiced over this news

But old habits die hard and I don’t believe that I am good enough for you,

My sin is too great against you.

 

But you, O Lord, in your great mercy said to me, “What sin?

I have removed it from me as far as the east is from the west

I have thrown it into the sea of forgetfulness.

I no longer hold it against you

 

I sent my son, the one closest to my heart, my first born,

The one I am so proud of

I sent him to atone for your sins,

I sent him that he would be the ultimate sacrifice.”

 

He died a cruel and brutal death

But willingly he went,

 

Why? O Lord, Why?

 

“He went so that your sins would be paid for

He went so that no other sacrifice would be needed

He went so that my word, spoken from the beginning

Would be proved true!

 

“Do not cry little one!

The story is not over,

He died yes!

But on the third day He rose again

 

In that moment, He conquered death and Hades

They have no hold on him

He has set you free!

 

Then I sent my Holy Spirit

To dwell on this earth, the comforter.

 

When you ask him, he comes in to your life

And like any good friend starts to clean up.

 

A little here, a little there

He comforts, teaches, guides

All with one goal in mind

 

To unveil your face, take the scales off your eyes

So that you will truly behold once and for all,

 

The Risen Lord!”

 

Written by:

Brenda Thomas

My Knight in Shining Armor

 From the start you called me by name

I heard it occasionally

Saw it in the beauty all around me.

 

 The waves crashing on the rocks

The mountains so majestic

The beautiful sea shells on the beach.

 I always wanted someone to love me

Totally and completely

I thought that was an elusive dream.

 

Those I thought would love me

Turned out to just use me.

For a while I thought this was it!

I had found my night in Shining Armor.

 

But, all that I got was

Shame, guilt and disgust.

 

But you, my Lord,

You wanted to show me what it means to be totally loved.

 

To feel complete

To feel the exhilaration of walking on clouds,

Like one in love.

 

So you started revealing to me,

Your great passion and love for me

O lord, you told me how you couldn’t wait for me to

Come and walk and talk with you every day.

 

How you longed to hear my voice,

And looked forward to those times when we

Would commune together.

 

You promised to always speak your truth into my

Truth starved heart.

 

You knew me before I was born, you know my every step

You know when I will sit, and when I will rise,

you know my every thought, nothing is hidden from you

and yet you still choose to love me.

 

You know what makes me smile

What makes my heart cry

What hardens my heart and what softens it.

 

There is nothing that surprises you about me

 

O lord, you love me with a deep passion 

You rejoice over me with singing

You call me your beloved child, dearly loved.

You tell me that I am your princess

 

O lord, your love is everlasting

All consuming

You promise to never leave nor forsake me

You put your favor around me like a shield

 

I am safely in your loving care, loved to the depths of my soul.

 

It is here that I found my deepest satisfaction and love

You are indeed my Knight in Shining Armor.

 

Written by:

Brenda Thomas

 

What traces are you leaving behind?

 “A cloud without rain leaves no such traces; it only floats across the heavens and obscures the sun, and then disappears, leaving the earth as dry as before.

 What a tragedy to be a Christian, who exists on the earth unable to pour spiritual blessings on others.

What a tragedy to go through life, yet leave no traces of ever having led a Christian life.

 Perhaps no one near you abuses you for being a Christian, but neither do they thank God for you.

Perhaps you have never stolen money or honor from anyone, but is there a single person who has become spiritually richer for having met you?

 Maybe you have never destroyed a single soul’s Faith in God –

But

Is there anyone who has become seized with an irresistible longing for purity, holiness, truth and love because he came to know you?

 What traces are you leaving behind?

There will come a day when our earthly life will end. Heart beats cease.

The soul will return home, the body will be buried.

 Only traces of our passage through life will remain –

 What will these traces be?

 

Written by: A. Levitan

Russian Orthodox Church.