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Posts Tagged ‘Discovering Jesus’

I have been studying the book of Matthew recently. What caught my attention was how many times Jesus had compassion on people:

Matthew 15:32

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.”

Matthew 20:34

Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.

Matthew 14:14

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus was a compassionate person. He didn’t just have compassion on the people though, His compassion always led to action. Jesus felt compassion and because of that compassion He fed thousands, He healed the sick and raised the dead.

When was the last time my compassion led to action?

When was the last time your compassion led to action?

While I am on the subject of compassion, let’s talk about LOVE.

1 John 4:16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

Matthew 22:37-39

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

God IS love. Love is an action word. It is easy to say the words “I love you” but until you put action to the words, you miss the point. Love means feeling compassion for another person’s situation and putting compassion into action. Love means leaving judgement at the door and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. We all have our struggles that no one else knows about. We don’t know what a person’s past has been like or what challenges they have overcome or are overcoming.

GOD IS LOVE

JESUS HAD COMPASSION

Choose to be like Jesus. Put compassion into action.

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It’s been three weeks since my last post. I usually try to do these Discovering Jesus posts every week or two, but life happens and here it is three weeks later.

Week one: I came down with a cold that completely drained me. I didn’t want to post, work on my single mom ministry or anything else. I just felt like I couldn’t do anything. These times can be really difficult. I didn’t want to pray or do my Bible study. I didn’t have the energy for it. I forgot that I can do nothing in my own strength.

Week two: My cold was better, but I still felt drained. I still did not want to do much as far as my blog or single mom ministry. I began to think that it was God’s way of slowing me down to give me “HIS” vision for this ministry. It was in NOT blogging and in NOT working on the ministry that God could tell me what HIS vision was.

Week three: I feel my energy coming back! I am working on a life coaching model to work on the physical areas of life in order for the single mom to create a peace filled, joyful and safe life for herself and her children. I want this to go hand in hand with my discipleship program. I have changed one aspect of the ministry and am ready to launch! It is coming together and I am excited about it! YAY! Thank you Jesus!!!

Matthew 12:25

25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

This is where we are as a nation. We are divided in so many ways. Satan has divided us and he laughs at our foolishness. Even Christians are being revealed to be foolish. We are turning on each other and this nation is suffering for it.

PRAY AND REPENT!!!!!

There are so many people afraid of this President and his administration. There are so many that are afraid of President Trump and his administration. We have become distracted. These men and their cabinets are not the ones to fear. They can not harm us. We are not fighting against them, but against the devil. Equally, these men are NOT our saviors. We have ONE savior and HIS name is JESUS! He is the only one who can save this nation.

Do not worry about tomorrow. God is in control. Whatever happens, God still sits on the throne and HE is in control. He has already won the battle. Satan was defeated along time ago. We already have the victory through Jesus!

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This is my first post of 2021 and I am not wanting to write it. I was debating on what God has taught me this last 2 weeks that I wanted to share. And then Wednesday happened and our nation once again showed a side of ourselves that absolutely breaks my heart.

This goes way beyond politics or race or inequality in this country. This is about the condition of our hearts and our deep seated hate for anything that goes against what we believe. Our intolerance for anything different and our anger of any opinion that isn’t ours is of Satan. We have a heart issue here in America. That heart issue took root the moment we turned our backs on God. As soon as we allowed our compassion to turn to anger, as soon as we allowed our love to turn hate the devil won.

So what is the answer?

GOD IS THE ANSWER!!!

How do I know that? How do I know that God is the answer?

1 John 4:8 tells us that GOD IS LOVE!

Without God there is no love. Without love there is no compassion. Without compassion we will become a nation of selfish, hateful, angry, unhappy people who live thinking that we are the only ones that are entitled to everything. Sound familiar? Yes, we are heading down that path! Even among Christians this attitude has taken root and we are in trouble.

WITHOUT GOD THERE IS NO LOVE!!!

WITHOUT LOVE THERE IS NO COMPASSION!!!

WITHOUT COMPASSION THERE IS NO PEACE, OR JOY, OR RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER!

The only problem we have in America is a lack of God. Wake up AMERICA!!! Don’t be deceived by the devil! He is lurking at our doors and he is ready to devour those who are not prepared.

GOD IS THE ONLY ANSWER!!!

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In the days leading up to Christmas I came across the question, “What will you give God for Christmas?”

It was a question that caught me off guard. I always ask God for things when I pray, but I never considered asking God WHAT HE WANTS FROM ME. What can I give God for Christmas? The question humbled me. The question convicted me. God loved me so much that He watched His Son be crucified on the cross for my sins. He gave up His Son so that I may have eternal life. What can I possibly give God when He gave everything for me?

I don’t know. What can I give God?

An open heart that seeks only Him.

Obedience when He leads.

A dedication to prayer and Bible study.

A heart of love and compassion.

A generous spirit.

A discerning spirit that will turn away from the sinful ways of the world.

A heart totally and completely devoted to Him.

A willingness to be an example of Jesus to a hurting world.

These are all things that I can try to give. I can’t promise to give these things, because I am imperfect and I will fail. I can give a willing heart that will TRY to live as Jesus. I think He only wants us to have a willing heart. He knows that we are human with human imperfections. He is not looking for perfection. He is looking for open hearts that are honestly seeking Him and honestly trying to be obedient to His will in this world.

I now challenge you with the same question:

WHAT WILL YOU GIVE GOD?

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I have been reading through The Women Of Christmas, written by Liz Curtis Higgs as an Advent study. The two points that jumped out at me were the faith and obedience of Mary and Joseph. According to the customs of the day, Mary would have been between 12 and 14 when she married Joseph. I can’t imagine what Mary felt when she was visited by the angel. Was she afraid? Did she fully understand what God was asking of her? Did she ever doubt? Did she consider saying NO! Not me? From the little written about the angels visit, if Mary felt any fear or doubt, she didn’t entertain those thoughts for long. It seems that Mary, even at her young age understood that God was blessing HER with this unbelievable gift and she had faith to obey.

And what about Joseph? Was he worried about what the townsfolk might say? Was he worried about his reputation? Did he care about the gossip? We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we do know that he had the faith to obey what the angel told him to do.

Mary and Joseph were facing risks obeying God’s will. Mary could have been stoned as a woman of ill repute. Joseph could have been pressured into handing Mary over to the townsfolk. They could have said NO! God always gives us a choice. God does not force his will upon any of us. They did not have to obey and do God’s will. They could have said no. Mary could have said that she did not want to be the mother of our Messiah. Joseph could have refused to marry Mary. They had a choice. Think of how different the story would be if either of them had refused to obey.

What if Joseph had refused to move to Egypt and had stayed in Bethlehem or Nazareth? Jesus may have been killed when he was a child. It doesn’t say if Joseph or Mary ever wavered in their faith. Being human, I’m sure they moments of hesitation. It seems as if they immediately surrendered those thoughts to God and moved on with the plan of our Father. They trusted God with their lives and with the life of this miracle child.

Do I have that faith? Will I obey even when facing risks? Will I trust God to provide? Will I trust God with my life? Will I walk in faith without hesitation or looking back?

I hope so. I don’t think we really know until we are faced with those situations. I pray that I would have the faith to obey God in any situation. I am constantly growing in my faith. I am on a journey of always seeking to grow closer to the Almighty. Obedience is not easy when you face risks, but there are always risks when you step out to do what God tells you to do.

Will you do it anyways? Will you obey God despite the risks? Will you trust God to provide? Will you trust God with your life? Will you walk in faith without hesitation or looking back?

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Church was cancelled for the foreseeable future. We are facing restrictions again due the spike in Covid 19 cases in Indiana. It seems like it will never end. We live in fear for ourselves and our families. It has been a tough year, but God has NOT left us!

Thanksgiving is next week! We usually do a community Thanksgiving meal for the family, neighbors, homeless, those alone and we deliver to those who can’t get out, but this year we can’t do our dinner. We will be doing a smaller version for our kids and their families. Last year we served 101 people. As much as we are disappointed to be giving this up, we are also weary and ready for a smaller, simpler holiday.

This has been a year of changes and transitions. We are finding ourselves having to do things differently and re-think the way some things have always been done. We have had to find a new normal. There is goodness. In the midst of the negativity and sadness, we have to choose to find the goodness. God is good. God is love. We have to choose to find the positive in life or we will die. Maybe not physically, but our hearts and our spirits will gradually die from the negativity and harshness of the world. We have to choose to unplug from the negativity and plug into what is good.

GOOD NEWS! I found a local non-profit that is willing to work with me on creating my single mom ministry (L.I.F.E Discipleship program and Blessing Boxes) in the new year. I am really excited about this! I am also very nervous! God is pushing me out of my comfort zone and it scares me. Will I have the knowledge and skills to develop a full fledged ministry? Taking it one step at a time I can do this. With God by my side, I can do this.

Remember always, choose faith over fear. Choose God over the hate in this world. Be blessed my friends!

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This week has been a tense one as we waited impatiently to see who our next President would be. We are a nation divided over which man will save us from ourselves. We are asking a lot from one person. We expect one man to become our savior that will make this nation a utopia. It would take a lot to make it what it never was. From this nations birth, we have struggled with racial tensions. We pride ourselves for being a nation of immigrants, but we stole land from the Native Americans and forced them onto reservations where they have lived in poverty and deal with generational issues like alcoholism. We forced them to assimilate to the white culture that began to surround them. We brought Africans over to become slaves on plantations. They were treated horribly and forced to segregate because of color. The Japanese were forced into internment camps in the West. Those with Middle Eastern roots are ostracized because of our fear of radical Islam. Those from Mexico and South America work 7 days a week in the fields struggling to feed their families and forced to live in squalor. This is our history as a nation.

We have a history of division. North against South, Christians against non-Christians, Christians against Christians, whites against every one else. Throw in a pandemic on top of all of it and we become a nation of exhausted and weary citizens. We are tired of fighting oppression, fighting a pandemic, fighting racism, and fighting each other, but we refuse to embrace the only answer to our problems.

1967 Detroit, 5 days of violence, burning, and looting ended in 43 people dead, 342 injured, nearly 1,400 buildings burned and some 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Army troops called into service. Racial tensions were high, along with tensions with the police. Same scenario, different decade. We repeat history, fighting the same issues, the same way and we expect different results.

There is an answer.

His name is JESUS.

We keep fighting hate with hate and it doesn’t work. Why don’t we try something different? Why don’t we try love? Why don’t we try compassion? Why don’t we try to find unity instead of finding reasons to hate each other? Why don’t we give Jesus a chance?

If we want change in this nation it is time to start fighting differently.

We need to start fighting the hate with love…

JESUS!

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The last 2 weeks have been about the 10 Commandments and community. I have officially become a member of the First Baptist Church of Terre Haute. I am excited about this and I can’t wait until the Covid restrictions are lifted and church life and fellowship can resume.

Commandment #3: Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.

Pastor John gave me something to think about on this one. He said that it is not just “using the Lord’s name in a blasphemous way” that is a sin, it is also living in such a way that brings disrespect or dishonor to the Lord. Anything that we as Christians do that would give God a bad reputation can be included under this commandment. I had never thought of it that way.

Commandment #4: Keep the Sabbath Holy.

This is a tough one and one in which I have heard Christians say isn’t valid anymore. I believe it is. God rested on the seventh day. He knows that in order to be healthy and perform at our peak levels that we need to rest. I think we have flexibility in that, but I think we need one day a week of rest and moments every day where we can rest our bodies and our minds. If God rested and I’m sure that Jesus rested than why would He expect anything different for us?

The Fall is upon us and the wind is blowing and their is a chill in the air. A wonderful time for family and community. God is around us always and I see Him in everything I do.

 

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Matthew 6:24

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

This past Sunday, we started a sermon series on the Ten Commandments. Commandment #1 is: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. It gave me something to reflect on this week. Do I have other gods before the ONE true God? Do I serve 2 masters?

Honestly, I have to ask myself if my worry, anxiety and fear is a god? Do I have more fear than I have faith? Does my worry outweigh my faith? I have to answer yes to both. I can not serve fear and step out of my comfort zone to do God’s will. I can not worry about tomorrow and have the faith that God will provide. I can not seek the approval of man (or woman) and also seek the approval of God. It is one or the other. It can not be both.

In other news, I became a member of the First Baptist Church of Terre Haute, Indiana this past Sunday. It is the church that Cherokee, Chris and their 5 kids attend. It has been exactly 10 years since we made the difficult decision to leave our family home church of 7 years. I attended other churches on my own, but none of them felt right. Churches are NOT one size fits all. I like a church that is in a traditional church building. I like a traditional sanctuary where light pours in through windows and there is no darkness to be found. I felt uncomfortable in the churches where the sanctuaries were dark and painted black. I felt like it was sacrilegious to have spot lights, smoke and treat a worship service like a rock concert. Sanctuaries are supposed to be filled with light, not darkness. It bothered me. I like the traditional church experience and sense of family/community. That’s just me. The most important thing is that I have to feel Jesus. It was not easy to make a commitment, but when I moved back from Georgia I knew that in order to move ahead, I needed to make that commitment. I needed to find that church home. I feel at peace with my decision. I am putting God first in all things and I am trusting Him with my life.

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Psalm 139:23-24

23 Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Isaiah 7:9

…If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

 

God continues to refine my character. I’m sure that will always be the case, since I am human and will continue to make mistakes and sin. These last 2 weeks, God has given me these 2 verses in my Bible study time to reflect on.

Search me God, and know my heart – I can not hide anything from God. He already knows my secrets, my sin, my hidden skeletons that I try to keep from everyone else. God knows it all! I don’t want to keep anything from God and I don’t want to live in a way that would make me want to hide things from God. I want to live with a pure heart. I want to live in such a way that God is glorified in everything I do.

Dear Lord,

Search me and know my heart. If there is any sin lurking in the dark recesses of my heart, reveal it and give me the strength and courage to confront the sin that separates me from you. I don’t want to live a lie. I want everything laid bare before your throne. Forgive me for those things that do not please you and purify my heart.

Test me and know my anxious thoughts – The Word of God says that we are not to be anxious for anything. When we become anxious about a situation, the devil wins. When we allow anxiety to creep in, we are disconnecting ourselves from God, because we are believing that God can not work in the situation that we are facing. I have written before about my anxiety. God knows every anxious thought that I have. He knows what causes me to worry. I want to live a life free of the anxiety and worry. I want God to test me and find the faith that I write about. I want God to find me faithful in living my Christian life.

Dear Father in heaven,

Test me, Lord, and find me faithful and not fearful. Help me to face my circumstances from a faith-filled perspective and not a fear-filled perspective. I know that you are all powerful and are more than capable of performing life changing miracles on my behalf. Help me to live that out in my Christian walk. Faith over fear. 

See if there is any offensive way in me – Sin keeps me disconnected from God. He will not answer my prayers when there is sin in my life.

Dear Father, 

Convict me of any sin that is living in me. Despite the discomfort, prune me to bring about the fruit of the Spirit that will glorify you. I don’t want to live a life disconnected from you. I don’t want sin in my life. I am willing to do the hard work. Transform me. Purify my heart. 

Lead me in the way everlasting – I want to always be on the narrow path. I don’t want anything to lead me astray. It isn’t easy. I get distracted by the shiny things in life and need the Holy Spirit to redirect me and bring me back to the path of life.

Dear Abba Father,

Guide me down the narrow path. Please don’t allow me to be distracted by the things of this world. Those things keep me from obeying your commands and doing your will. You are my #1 priority and my focus needs to be on you always. 

If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all – I want to stand firm. I don’t want my fear of man to keep me from standing firm in my belief in God. I do not want to be the person who spouts her Christianity, but then falls to the world when push comes to shove. That possibility bothers me and it is something that I wrestle with.

Dear Holy of holies,

I want to stand firm in my faith. Give me that courage to stand firm in my relationship with you. I know that you have covered me with your wings and that you are my refuge in the day of trouble. Help me not to give in or run, but to stand against those who challenge your name. YOU are the ALMIGHTY, the ALL POWERFUL, ONE AND ONLY GOD and no one will ever change that. 

Amen

Sometimes, I like to break a verse down and pray it back to God or apply it to my life. The Word of God is ALIVE and can transform our lives if we allow it too. I love my Bible study time and my prayer time. Whatever brings me closer to God is a good thing!

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