Thursday, April 21, 2016

Matthew 6: Let It Go




Matthew 6:14-15
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [a]reckless and willful sins, [b]leaving them, letting them go, and [c]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their [d]reckless and willful sins, [e]leaving them, letting them go, and [f]giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.
 
It hurts when someone betrays and mistreats us.  To the core, pain wracks in the deepest place of the heart.  Yet, what does our Father say about it?  He says, to let them go, forgive them.
 
Easy to type, not so easy to accomplish.  In my opinion, a damaged soul is so much worse than a damaged physical body.  But there is healing, and it comes by "letting them go."
 
The popular animated Disney movie, Frozen, contains the song, "Let It Go."  And, although I don't agree with all of the lyrics in it, there is an encouragement in them. 
 
 
 
"It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through"
 
"I'm never going back, the past is in the past"
 
Elsa, the Disney Snow Queen, had been hiding her gifting for years, because she feared the negative reactions of others.  In the movie, she decided to use her gifting, to let it go.   
 
Let me suggest that there are people who are reading this post right now whose gifting was squelched by the wrong reactions of others.  You must forgive those who mistreated and betrayed you, and let it go!
 
Let it (unforgiveness) go!
 
Let it (suppressed gifting) go!
 
Let it (the past) go!
 
Healed souls result when forgiveness is chosen!
 
Let it go, friends.!  Let it go!!!  In the great and awesome Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!
 
 
 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Matthew 5: (be) Attitudes- Counter Culture Christians







Matthew 5:1-12
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

5 Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.

2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 Blessed (happy, [a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous—[c]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

4 Blessed and enviably happy [with a [d]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!

5 Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, [e]spiritually prosperous—[f]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!

6 Blessed and fortunate and happy and [g]spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God [h]enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be [i]completely satisfied!

7 Blessed (happy, [j]to be envied, and [k]spiritually prosperous—[l]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!

8 Blessed (happy, [m]enviably fortunate, and [n]spiritually prosperous—possessing the [o]happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!

9 Blessed (enjoying [p]enviable happiness, [q]spiritually prosperous—[r]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and [s] maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

10 Blessed and happy and [t]enviably fortunate and [u]spiritually prosperous [v](in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

11 Blessed (happy, [w]to be envied, and [x]spiritually prosperous—[y]with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. 12 Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.



As Christians, we have heard Jesus' beatitude teaching, but do we pause long enough to consider how to apply them to our lives?  

These attitudes are counter culture in today's American society, and may be seen as a sign of weakness rather than strength.  Society at large shouts, 

"You must promote yourself or you'll never advance."

"Don't feel bad about that sin.  Everybody is doing it.  That is an outdated notion, we have evolved past its restriction."

"Hunger and devote your time towards making your mark.  Righteousness gets in the way of advancement."

"Revenge is sweet."

"Did you know what was said about you?  I'd tell her a thing or two if I'd be you."

"She's a Christian.  She thinks she's too good for us.  She's a "holy roller" an extremist!"

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!  That's all he talks about." 


Friends, if we modify our (be) attitudes to fit into today's society, we forfeit the blessings, which Jesus intended for us.

 
  • The Kingdom of heaven!
  • Comfort!
  • Our inheritance!
  • Righteousness!
  • Mercy! 
  • Seeing God!
  • Sonship!
  • The Kingdom of heaven (again)!
  • Reward! 

Holy Spirit, empower me to be counter culture with an attitude pleasing to Jesus!  AMEN!!! 
 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Luke 6: When the Torrent Burst

 Luke 6:47-49

Amplified Bible 
Classic Edition (AMPC)

47 For everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words [in order to heed their teaching] and does them, I will show you what he is like:

48 He is like a man building a house, who dug and went down deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood arose, the torrent broke against that house and could not shake or move it, because it had been securely built or founded on a rock.

49 But he who merely hears and does not practice doing My words is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation, against which the torrent burst, and immediately it collapsed and fell, and the breaking and ruin of that house was great.




In order to fully appreciate this verse, the image it evokes, we must study the definitions of two words...torrent and burst.


Torrent

: a large amount of water that moves very quickly in one direction
: a large amount of something that is released suddenly 


1 : a tumultuous outpouring : rush
2 : a violent stream of a liquid (as water or lava)
3 : a channel of a mountain stream

 

Burst

1.
a. To come open or fly apart suddenly or violently, especially from internal pressure.
b. To explode.
2. To be or seem to be full to the point of breaking open: The sacks were bursting with grain.
3. To emerge, come forth, or arrive suddenly: burst out of the door.
4. To come apart or seem to come apart because of overwhelming emotion: thought his heart would burst with happiness.
5. To give sudden utterance or expression: burst out laughing; burst into tears.
v.tr.
1. To cause to burst: burst the balloon. See Synonyms at break.
2. To exert strong pressure in order to force (something) open.
3. To separate (a continuous form or printout) into individual sheets.
n.
1. A sudden outbreak or outburst; an explosion.
2. The result of bursting, especially the explosion of a projectile or bomb on impact or in the air.
3.
a. The number of bullets fired from an automatic weapon by one pull of the trigger.
b. A volley of bullets fired from an automatic weapon: The machine gunner fired a quick burst.
4. An abrupt, intense increase; a rush: a burst of speed; fitful bursts of wind.
5. A period of intense activity: "I write in very short bursts—10 or 15 minutes" (Zoe Heller).



Life happens.

There are instances when circumstances "exert strong pressure" against us.  Sometimes stressors feel like "bullets fired from an automatic weapon" violently piercing our heart.  

The tsunami of a serious medical diagnosis precedes "an abrupt, intense increase of "overwhelming emotion: [as though]  his heart would burst."

Unpredictable relationships, unstable employment, an unfaithful spouse, overwhelming debts, uprising unrighteousness.

All these are the "Torrent Burst."

Just how do we stand on a strong foundation during these stormy times?


Friends, being a Christian means that are are Christ followers.  That means we listen to His words and do them.  Then when life happens, we will stand on a strong foundation.

Holy Spirit, fill us to overflowing.  Cause us to hear Your voice clearly and obey You fully!  In the great Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Sudden Spring Miracles" by Jo Ellen Stevens



 I received this word today from the Elijah List.  It spoke to my heart.  My hope is that you are blessed too.

With Love,
Beautiful Grace

Sudden Spring Miracles, and Lost Things Recovered

The Lord has spoken to me that March is a month of miracles to those who have been waiting. I am believing for mine, and I am expecting it. Many in March will receive what they have been believing for, and this March will be the beginning of an outpouring for hard cases that cannot be healed any other way but by God!

Suddenly, Things that were Gone Forever, Coming Home!

Some will also step out of hard issues that have seemed like a mountain to you, but there are suddenlies coming to many in March. 

I just saw lightning, and the Lord says that, "As the lightning strikes, so shall it be with the healing and recovery of lost things!" 

I believe that the Lord is also saying, "Some of the things that you had lost in the past and you thought that you never would recover will begin to show up!" I heard Him say, "Diamonds that some lost will SUDDENLY show up, and some will say...'Where has that been and how did it get there?'" but I feel the Lord is saying that He is going to return these things to you suddenly!

Lost Loved Ones Coming Home

Lost children will suddenly show up! Lost loved ones are coming back to the Lord! Yes, things lost in seasons past are coming back to you, and by this you will know that there have been angels sent to help you recover all that the enemy has stolen! 

You are going into spring entering a season of the recovery of the years that the locust has eaten! 

There are people in your lives that have literally disappeared, and God says, "There will be those that will return and be discovered alive, for I will bring them home.”

Ministries that Have Been Put on Hold Will Begin to Get the Red Flag to Go Again

"There are people who have had to put their ministry on hold because of family situations and sickness that came to destroy you, but you stood and became the one who was the caretaker in many cases, and now," God said, "you will begin to get new vision for the next season, and you will see why the delay had to take place!" 

He said, "I have been saving you for such a time as this, to go into the harvest with the knowledge you have gained in this pain, and what seemed like delay will only be a display of My glory as you are catapulted into the new thing that I am about to do!

"Don't try and reenact what you did in seasons past, for I will do something brand new, and your capacity to go into this new season has been enlarged through what you have been through in this season! Break into it with no false expectations, but let me give you new ones!

"Yes, get ready, for this is the season of lost things regained, loved ones returned, miracles suddenly coming, and ministries restored! Glory to God!

Joel 2:25-26 (NIV) "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – My great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you..."
Arise, shine!

Jo Ellen Stevens
TCIC Ministries

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Mark 3: Who Are My Mother and My Brothers?

Mark 3:31-35 

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)


   31 Then His mother and His brothers came and, standing outside, they sent word to Him, calling [for] Him.

   32 And a crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, Your mother and Your brothers and Your sisters are outside asking for You.

   33 And He replied, Who are My mother and My brothers?

   34 And looking around on those who sat in a circle about Him, He said, See! Here are My mother and My brothers;

   35 For whoever does the things God wills is My brother and sister and mother!

Jesus' ministry was out of the religious box.  His compassion for those who were hurting emotionally, physically, and spiritually trumped the law of men.  

Imagine living in a system when God's prescribed day of rest (the Sabbath) was enclosed in a box, which constricted the peoples' heart of compassion in such a way that the "rest" (doing nothing) was more important then healing hurting people.


How dare He?  

Cast out demons. verse 11

Restore a withered hand. verse 5

Heal all who had distressing bodily diseases. verse 10

Jesus was so counter culture, that he was accused of being "possessed by Beelzebub." verse 22

Even Jesus' kinsmen (His family) tried to stop Him from doing good by ministering to others.  They even labeled Him as "deranged." verse 21

It was in this setting that Jesus asked, "Who are My mother and My brothers?" I used to think Jesus was disrespecting His family with that question, but He was trying to teach everyone a better way.  

Listen to what God says to do and then do it no matter what others who are caught in the religious system of do' s and don't s says.  

Jesus says that those who do the things that God wills are His mother and His brothers!

Holy Spirit of the Living God, empower us to hear and to obey by doing.  Whether physically resting or physically acting to touch others, guide and empower us.  In the great and awesome name of Jesus, AMEN! 
 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Matthew 12:1-21: "I Desire Mercy"


Matthew 12:6-7

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

6 But I tell you, Something greater and more exalted and more majestic than the temple is here! 7 And if you had only known what this saying means, I desire mercy [readiness to help, to spare, to forgive] rather than sacrifice and sacrificial victims, you would not have condemned the guiltless.


If you have been in Christian services, mercy is a word that is prevalent.  As Christians, we understand that being saved means Jesus releases His mercy upon all of our mistakes (sins)...past, present and future.  

In faith, we trust that God in His mercy has forgiven us, and my friends, if we have been sincere in giving our lives to Him, He definitely has forgiven and forgotten those missteps!

But...do we offer that same mercy to each other?


Matthew 10:8
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

8 Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Freely (without pay) you have received, freely (without charge) give.
 
Matthew 12:7 amplifies what mercy looks that, to help, to spare, to forgive.  Freely His mercy has been given to us, and freely we should give it to each other.  The preceding verse talks about the mercy which spurs us to perform miraculous feats, and that is wonderful.  
 
But... I want to focus on freely giving mercy to the person who talks behind your back, spreading lies and disunity.  What about those who have misused their power to make your life difficult?  
Jesus doesn't say give mercy to your best buddy, and forget about those who have injured you in some way.  As a matter of fact, I believe mercy is only applicable when a wrong has been committed.  
 
So...The next time someone who has hurt you is struggling be ready to help, to spare and to forgive, because you have freely received mercy.  Now, freely give it!!!
 
Jesus, empower us to give mercy freely.  For Your glory, and in Your name, AMEN!!! 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

John 5: The Vice of Vainglory

John 5:44 

Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

44 How is it possible for you to believe [how can you learn to believe], you who [are content to seek and] receive praise and honor and glory from one another, and yet do not seek the praise and honor and glory which come from Him Who alone is God?


Vainglory, it's not a word we think about much nowadays. Yet, we should think about the implications of becoming entangled in it, because it is a sin that entices even the most sincere Christian.

The definition of vainglory listed in my copy of the Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary of the English Language states that it is "Glory, pride, or boastfulness that is vain; vanity excited by one's own performances; empty pride; undue elation of mind" (original copyright 1904 and printed in 1965).

None of us can boast about our accomplishments, because any good we have done is because of Him!  He bestows gifts and talents.  He empowers us to be successful.

It's up to us to utilize those gifts and talents for His glory and not our own.  

Have you ever been in situations where everyone is attempting to one-up the others?  When we act like that, it's like we are saying to God, "I don't need You.  I can do it all by myself."  That thought process is not only childish, but arrogant.

Personally, I have asked the Holy Spirit to convict me of any vainglorious attitude.  I am well aware I need God's power to be successful in all that I am and do.  Yet the temptation remains for me, for all of us.

The verse above asks an important and eternal question.  How can we believe when we focus on seeking and receiving praise and glory for ourselves, when God is the One Who is responsible for the blessing of success?  

The moment a person thinks they are free from pride (vainglory), is the moment this insidious vice has rooted in their soul.

It's a sobering and humbling thought, isn't it?

Holy Spirit, please reveal any vainglory in our lives.  Open our eyes to see Your power flow through us which yields success.  All honor and power and GLORY be to the One called Jesus.  AMEN!!!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Mark 2: Constantly Questioning

What strikes me in today's reading is that no matter what Jesus and His disciples did or did not do, he was constantly questioned about it.

The scribes questioned in their hearts about the authority Jesus had to forgive sins (Mark 2:6).

The Pharisees questioned Jesus about His choice of dinner companions, citing them as sinners (Mark 2:16).

John's disciples fast, but not Yours.  Why? (Mark 2:18)

But Your disciples are picking grain on the Sabbath! That's against the law!!! (Mark 2:24

Have you ever been in a situation where every move and decision you make is questioned?  I imagine it would have the potential to be extremely frustrating.  Yet, Jesus doesn't appear to be frustrated or irritated.  He answers the unbelieving questions with wisdom and power.

It's difficult to believe that they would continue to question Jesus when they witnessed with their own eyes His power.  But they continued to question Jesus because they did not trust in Him.

Asking the Lord a question opens a personal dialogue between you and He.  He desires heart to heart communication.

Questioning the Lord out of a lack of trust reveals just that, a lack of trust.  OUCH!

How many times have we questioned the Lord because we didn't trust Him.  When I catch myself questioning the Lord due to a lack of trust, I ask Him to help me to trust Him.  He really likes that kind of request.

Lord, when the things around seem to be going the opposite of our prayers,  we ask You to help us to trust You.  Show Your hand hidden among the situations and circumstances, in the Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!