There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Whats all the fuss about?

“Out of the corner of my eye, as the soldiers led me away, I saw Pilate washing his hands. The last thing I heard as I was taken off to be beaten was, “Crucify Him.”

The cries of the crowd were charged, but the roman soldiers were just cold, calculated and cruel. They led me to a whipping post where I was stripped naked. Over and over they pounded instruments of torture against my flesh-cutting, tearing and ripping literal strips of skin off my back. Inner muscles and sinews were torn. That’s what happened when they scourged me by whips embedded with glass, nails and bone. 

Careful not to kill me, for I still had a cross to bear, they put aside their whips-but only to make an absolute mockery of me. The soldiers, out of sport and boredom, covered my raw, burning flesh with a scarlet robe and placed a crown made of prickly thorns into my scalp. I was in physical agony, but they had the time to kneel before my shaking body and spit upon me like I was some village idiot. “Hail, King of the Jews,” they sneered as my insides bled to the ground around me. If only they knew.

The physical break was short-lived. It was a time for me to carry my cross. I knew the burden was mine. I struggled with the weight of it for some time, but ultimately I fell to my knees. Another man had to help me finish the journey up to Golgotha.

When we got to the top of the hill, they offered me wine mixed with myrrh to dull my pain and my senses. There was still so much suffering ahead; they needed to make sure I was able to tolerate all of it. I refused. I needed to bear this pain. I needed to feel every excruciating moment.

 What they did next was the most horrible torture mankind had yet devised. Crucifixion was designed to kill by way of slow suffocation. As the arms and legs of most victims were bound, the upper body would lose its strength, eventually collapsing the weight of the body onto the lungs. But instead of letting my body collapse onto itself, they drove spikes through the bones of my wrists-adding extra support and extra time to my suffering. They nailed my feet into the cross so that I could stand longer.
As I hung there from my own limbs, I suffered the effects of any human body exposed to such trauma. The insufferable thirst of being hung in the sun fueled the fever brought on by the swelling of my wounds. Tetanus began to set in from the rusty nails, and the wounds from which I was hanging tore further as my body shook harder and harder.

Yet I never lost sight of my purpose on that cross. Even as the soldiers gambled my garments away while I hung there convulsing, even as they hung a mocking sign above me reading, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” I still kept my character. On either side of me were true criminals-thieves being crucified for their crimes. One of them was defiant, mocking me, daring me to come down off my cross. How much I wanted to. The other criminal understood who I was. He asked if I would remember him when I came into my kingdom. Of course I would. He reminded me in my weakest hour, what I was there for. 

Then more hours passed as I, hung in agony, the sins of the world gnawing on every nerve in my flesh. It was not that I realized that even God the Father couldn’t look upon me. I cried, “My God, My God, why hast through forsaken m?” The people still there thought I was confused and filled a sponge with sour wine, pushing it up to my lips. 

As soon as the wine touched my lips, I knew the cup had passed. “IT IS FINISHED.” By David Nasser (Why Jesus?)

As Easter approaches it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, the fuss of speckled eggs, jelly beans and the Easter Bunny. But as I think about the cracking of a leather whip being forcefully laid across Jesus back the significance of all that other “stuff” seems to not matter much. As a mother I can’t even wrap my mind around the thought of watching my own flesh and blood hanging on a cross for the sins, messiness and mistakes of complete strangers. We look at the soldiers who carried out the torturous plan that day in awe but forget that it’s really each and every one of us that holds the whip which tore across Jesus raw back because of our sins. The unconditional love that Jesus displayed is a reminder for us as He took each second of pain and only thought of us in His mind. As Easter approaches there is hope ignited within us as we remember the cost that a man paid willingly so that we could be free. The wages of sin are death but through the blood of Jesus we have been ransomed and will have eternal life!!! 

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, [yet when] He was afflicted, He was submissive and opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who among them considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living [stricken to His death] for the transgression of my [Isaiah’s] people, to whom the stroke was due?

And they assigned Him a grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in His death, although He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. When You and He make His life an offering for sin [and He has risen from the dead, in time to come], He shall see His [spiritual] offspring, He shall prolong His days, and the will and pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; by His knowledge of Himself [which He possesses and imparts to others] shall My [uncompromisingly] righteous One, My Servant, justify many and make many righteous (upright and in right standing with God), for He shall bear their iniquities and their guilt [with the consequences, says the Lord]. Isaiah 53:5-11

As we celebrate Easter this year it is not about all the fuss that pierces our hearts but the hope that we have through Jesus. Even as Jesus hung on the cross in pain as the result of our own sins He still loved us more than we could ever imagine. Regardless of what you have done or where you have been you can rest assured that through His stripes…….“IT IS FINISHED!!!!”

Monday, March 18, 2013

Never thirst again.....

As I roll out of bed in the morning and notice two 32 ounce Gatorade bottles sitting on my bedside table I am reminded of the restless night’s sleep I got the night before. It’s a vicious cycle every other night but necessary for survival. Before crawling in bed I connect the IV line in my arm to a bag of electrolytes and let it infuse for 6 hours while I sleep, or try to sleep. The electrolyte solution most recently the Doctors have prescribed contain extra Sodium (salt). If you know anything about chemistry or food you know that consuming extra salts cause fluid to be retained in the cells of your body and so in order to cycle that through you become extremely thirsty.  It’s really about balancing out the fluids in your body so that your cells aren’t dehydrated which is why the salt is added so that my body holds on to the fluid more and helps with hydration. It never fails though like clockwork a few hours after I start infusing I wake up feeling like my throat is closing up, I am chewing a piece of cotton instead of bubblegum and my tongue feels like sandpaper. Even though I’m half out of it and exhausted I can’t go back to sleep, I can’t relax or do anything, it consumes my mind until I sleepily walk down to the kitchen and grab a Gatorade out of the fridge to quench that extreme thirst I’m feeling. As I was trying to understand this whole process the Lord placed a particular passage of scripture on my heart and a light bulb went off where it all seemed to make sense.

Matthew 5:13-16 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

See because the IV fluids I infuse every other night have salt in them it makes me extremely thirsty. When we read Matthew 5:13-16 the Lord is asking us to be the salt in the world that starts a chain reaction, a reaction that causes an extreme thirst in the hearts and lives of those around us that will only be quenched by the living water of Jesus Christ. The other part of this verse is about being the light of the world. As followers of Jesus it’s our duty to share the good news of Jesus and to help light the way before those who are lost and help guide them to Jesus. By sharing our testimonies and the ways in which God has transformed our lives we can show others His grace and love and shine a light of hope into their lives. I encourage you this week to be the salt and light of the world so that others will thirst after Him. “But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life” John 4:14

Friday, March 8, 2013

Enjoy the ride........

"Turn right, don't turn the defrost on, you can probably turn off the windshield wipers, there is a parking space over there, geez watch those potholes" are just a few off the list of comments I hear echoed from my husband riding in the passenger seat. It's no secret to Scott but I will make a public declaration that it absolutely drives me bonkers to be driving and constantly hear comments made about my driving and what I should and shouldn't be doing the entire trip." Whenever we travel as a family we usually take the SUV which is my car because it is much easier to get in and out with Macie our daughter opposed to Scotts vehicle which is a truck. See I am a little shorter than Scott, ok a whole lot shorter, so for him to drive its more of a hassle to have to move the seat all the way up, raise the steering wheel and adjust the rear-view mirror so that its comfortable to him so instead I just drive. However by me driving and Scott riding in the passenger seat is where the issue comes in. I wont embarrass either of us by mentioning our age but we have both been driving equally as long if anything only a few months difference. We have similar driving records and are both experienced and knowledgeable in driving but for some reason he constantly feels the need to make sure I know what to do or add input where he feels it should be added. As the driver I am in control, I am the one guiding us and leading us along our journey and because of that there needs to be a level of trust that my passengers invest in my ability and experience.

Although it may not be from riding in a car we all struggle with trying to drive from the passenger seat don't we? See we choose a relationship with God and when that happens we agree to give up control and allow Him to take the wheel but all too often we find ourselves whispering from the passenger seat which way He should guide us. Now we can't always foresee the roadblocks or trials ahead but we have to trust that the one holding the wheel tightly in His hands is capable and experienced to handle anything we may face. Even when our hearts and minds know that God is powerful, omnipotent and a faithful leader and can handle the highs and lows still we struggle with the idea of giving him complete control all the time and just sitting back, shutting up and enjoying the ride. God loves us more than we can ever imagine and wants nothing more than to bless us and lead us down a life of favor but if we are constantly reaching from the passenger seat for the wheel and trying to get in the way we miss out on all that God has in store for us.

Isaiah 30:21 "This is the way walk in it."

Father, today I give You the liberty to do all that is needed so I can walk in Your anointing. You have the full right to mold me for handling the power of Your Spirit. Let me see things the way You see them and I ask that You will help me to walk perfectly in Your timing. Show me what I should do and not do today. Holy Spirit, be my teacher and helper. I release to You today all control and I say that my flesh submits to the will of God for me. I believe that You open and close doors and show me what tasks are ordained of You. Lord, I rest in You as You make me Your anointed vessel of honor and light! In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.