Friday, March 18, 2016

Man of Sorrows, Lamb of God

Easter will soon be here, once again!
For so many reasons, this is my favorite holiday. But it's also one of the most emotionally draining times of the whole year for me.
Let me explain:
Every year, the Easter story is(or should be) re-read and re-lived for all believers. It is not only a reminder of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us, but also the great promise of one day being re-united in eternity with Him. 
When I think of the pain, ridicule, and suffering he endured, my heart aches. What human being wouldn't feel empathy for any person who would have to endure such persecution!?!
Then, I'm reminded that He did it in place of what should have been my suffering and punishment! I deserve it, but He took it for me! Talk about feeling some guilt!!
Then, I realize how much He really loves me, to do that! And my mind cannot even fathom that kind of love! (the closest I could compare it to is the love I have for my own child). And I am overwhelmed by it!!
As I contemplate this love and sacrifice, I am full of full of thankfulness that mere words cannot express it! I can only weep over all I know about my Savior - who is also my Friend!

Then, finally, I end the experience of this holiday season full of joy and anticipation, for I know that He is risen and He lives!! And when it is time for the end of this life, I will live with Him forever in heaven!! Could we ever wish for anything more wonderful and joyous!!?!! (It has always perplexed me how anyone who truly hears and understands the story of Easter could reject such love and promise!)

I recently watched this video and song by Hillsong. What a magnificent overview of the Easter story and what it is all about! 

·         "Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isa 53:4-5

·         Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe in this?" John 11:25-26 

·         "Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:8-11 

·         "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, " 1 Peter 1:3-4

Over the next week and a half, may we think upon this horrific, yet wonderful event in history with much sadness, gratitude, joy, and anticipation!!

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Put on the Armor of God: The Battle is Real

I haven't posted for awhile, as I have spent a lot of time in contemplation, reading, and daily prayer. Believe it or not, my paths into these activities have not been easy. In fact, on some days they have seemed like pure hell. I guess I felt that posting these experiences each week would be more of a downer for you all to read, so I have put off writing.

Tonight, though, I have felt a tug to write about SOME of my experiences and how God has been faithful, in spite of the struggle that I have definitely felt.

What feels like an eternity, the past few months have been anything but joyful for me. In spite of this, I have really, really tried to stay upbeat and positive – reading Scipture and praying the promises of God. But, just when I think I have pulled out of the doldrums, something happens that pulls me back down again. At first, it would only be for a few hours or maybe as long as a day. Then I would pull out of it. Lately, the struggle is occurring more often, though. 

I recently have been learning a lot about the spiritual battle(angels and demons) that rages daily, often without our even realizing it. I started taking more of an interest in this, as I have had some conversations over the past 6 months or so with my son on the subject of “spiritualism”, of which he has taken quite an interest in. More so lately, as his girlfriend that he has been dating around the same amount of time, is into “new age” activities – ie. transcendental meditation, yoga, use of crystals, use of magic stones, and burning incense, etc. He has questioned the reality of demons and hell and we have had long discussions over these subjects with him, but he still does not seem convinced. Now, this has been quite disconcerting for my hubby and I, as he has been raised in a Christian home all of his life and had dedicated his life to Christ at a young age. We have always been very close to our son through the years, even though he took some very different paths in his education/career choices than what we would have wanted for him. Lately, he has begun to pull away from us – not returning emails, texts, or even phone calls. This has been especially difficult on me, as I often don’t know how to respond to this behavior.(Actually, neither does my hubby, but he just hides it better than me.) When I do finally talk to him, he is very upbeat and says he is doing great, but he also seems very, very distant and vague to share his thoughts or feelings(something he has always done with us in the past). When I question his non-sharing behavior, he becomes angry and defensive, even attacking me with his words.

So here I am, trying to figure this all out. And in the process, I’m realizing that a real spiritual battle is going on right before our eyes and ears. My hubby and I have agreed to take turns and pray together daily for the Lord to intervene and win this battle in our family. Now, I know Satan hates that and so it seems that he has been working overtime, attacking our family even more. My hubby and I have been arguing more and then because we cannot come to a compromise, end up not being as close as we should be. Yes, we still pray, but our prayers are very cerebral. I have felt a struggle within myself, as well. I want to fight this battle as a warrior of God, with the Lord as my Commander. Some days my faith is stronger, while on some I feel so very weak from the battle - leaving me feeling bloodied and scarred! But, I am also reminded and do believe that He carries me on those days! I know He hears our prayers and is in control. I try to stay positive and trust that He will overcome evil with good and open our son’s heart. Sometimes those demonic forces do get in and put doubts in my mind, though. Then, my emotions often become affected by my thoughts. It is a constant battle, causing me to be in constant prayer, as well as trying to stay as positive as I possibly can!!

Putting on the full armor of God is vital, so I read these verses EVERY day:
"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”(Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV)
I want you to know that if you also feel like there is a battle going on in your family or in you personally, believe me, it really is real!!! This spiritual battle can seem overwhelming at times! That is why it is so important that we be ready and “in our battle uniform” at all times!! We need to never let up and never give up, as that is what Satan is waiting for!! Yes, we will grow weary at times. But, the Lord will take over when we feel we can’t fight and He will strengthen us once again for the days ahead!!! Stand firm, for the battle is His to win!!
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Just Not Up To Par

Don't know what the deal is lately, friends, but I just haven't had anything new to share here on my blog. So, I'm sharing a verse and will continue to add to my gratitude list for now.
Often wisdom invites us to ponder great questions. The question, “Can anyone make straight what God has made crooked?” echoes the words of 1:15—“Something crooked cannot be made straight.” Only God can determine what is and what is not. God makes our paths crooked or straight. And we often do not understand why one person’s way is straight and another’s is crooked. The message of the teacher is simple: reverence God regardless of 
the path you have been given to walk.(source)

"When times are good,
  enjoy them and be happy.
 When times are bad,
   think about this:
    God makes both good and bad times,
        so that no one really knows what is coming next."(Ecclesiastes 7:14, The Voice)

#1799 - Baking lots of yummy sweets while snowed in at home for 2 days... 

#1800 - Getting to see the movie "Risen" with the hubby and my mom. (Very emotionally moving and unique movie...)

#1801 - A flock of Canadian geese that stopped in front of our cottage for a short visit. 

#1802 - The wonderful variety of God's creation(enjoying the colorful and unique design of the birds He made.)

#1803 - Between the blizzard-filled, snowy days, a day(or even a few hours) of sunshine.

#1804 - My sweet doggie friends...Cheyenne

#1805 - and Jet

#1806 - For shelter and warmth on a cold blizzardy day.  

#1807 - That the Lord protected and kept me safe while I was travelling on the road in this weather.

May you all have a warm and blessed week!!
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