Jesus’ Guide to Love

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you. John 13:34 

fullsizeoutput_133After Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave and was seen by His disciples we find him chatting with Peter who had denied Christ three times after Jesus’ arrest. They had just finished eating a miraculous seafood breakfast by the seashore when Jesus asked, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” Peter’s Restoration Story

Many focus on the types of love shown here, Agape (divine)|Philia (brotherly/friendship). I would like to draw your attention to Jesus response to His own question because in it we discover how to love Jesus and one another as He loved us.

Jesus’ response to His first question: “Feed my lambs.”Again Jesus asked Peter: “Do you truly love me?”

 Jesus’ response: “Take care of my sheep.”

He asked again for the third time, “Do you love me?” Jesus’ response: “Feed my sheep.”

How Did Christ Love?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal lifeEverywhere Jesus went He spoke about the Kingdom, healed the sick and gave hope to the broken. Jesus unveiled the Love of the Father in His Walk, on the Cross and through His Resurrection.

Through Peter’s restoration Jesus shows us how to Love. To feed and take care of His lambs and sheep is to intercede and share Christ to whomever God draws to you. This is how we love and are known as His disciples. Knowing the Father’s will to see that none perish stirs up the Love of Christ inside of you to share the good news about Jesus so that families, neighborhoods, cities and nations of people can live and be saved!

You are God’s hands and mouth piece; Co-heirs with Christ. When you share with someone how God so Loved them that He gave Heaven’s best for them and their loved ones, you are loving as Christ loved.

Whatever means God gives you to share, Just share Christ as if someone’s life is depending on it because it is. This is how we’re called to love.

Advertisements

The Answer

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4

The answer to all of life’s questions and concerns can be found in one person and place and no other. That person is Jesus and that place is His Word.

“The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are Life.” -John 6:63

 Your hope, healing, purpose and future can’t be found in self-help books, seminars, 12 step programs or spas. Alcohol and drugs (prescription or otherwise) only numbs the pain, giving you a temporary reprieve. None of these things can give you the lasting results you need. They don’t provide you with the key to unraveling the thoughts that you wrestle with daily. They don’t release you from the lies, hurts and fears that you constantly struggle with. None are truly capable of freeing you completely from your addictions.  Jesus Can! HE is the answer and the freedom you so desperately seek.  The One who can take your brokenness and make you whole. Jesus is the lover, author and perfecter of your life.

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” -John 14:6

When you feel like your trapped in a maze, Jesus says: I’m going to make a way for you. When the world and the ones you love reject you and your heart and mind is bombarded with lies, Jesus says: I’m your truth and I know the truth concerning you. When all hope is lost and you struggle to believe that your life has worth or purpose, Jesus says: I am a restorer of life. Your life is in my hands. Your life is linked to Mine and it is an abundant life filled with beauty, great plans, hope and a future.

Friend, it may seem like you’re in an impossible situation but for God nothing is impossible. His best overrides the enemy’s worst and know that it is the one whom So Loved You, fighting for you.

“He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. ” -Psalms 91:15

A Prayer For You


“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you… May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose.” -Psalm 20: 1-4

In Jesus name Amen.

God’s Spirit In You

fullsizeoutput_132The Spirit that was there in the beginning, the Spirit of God that hovered above the waters and carried out the command of the Father that said, “Let there be light… Let us make Man in Our image and likeness… Male and Female He created them.”

That Creative, Life-giving Spirit dwells inside of you!

That Power of God that came down from Heaven like a dove and descended upon God’s Beloved Son Jesus. A Power that healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf and speech to the mute, that power is in You. That great power that commanded the winds and the waves and provided for the multitudes; that authority is in you. The Power of God that restored lepers and casted out demons out of bound men, women and children by a word.  That great gift belongs to you child of God.

Inside of you lies that Spirit that defeated Death, Hell and the Grave. That same Spirit that raised our crucified Savior Jesus Christ back to life. That Love and Mercy that brings salvation, hope and eternal life to whosoever believes in the One who laid down His life. The only One qualified to shed His blood, take our place and our sinfulness and give us His Righteousness. That Life-Changing, Mountain Moving, Resurrection Love is in you.

That Word that was in the beginning, that shaped the cosmos and walked this earth with healing in His wings. That force that fought died and rose because of love. That Unfailing Love that made its home in the hearts of those who belong to Him, transforming them into New Creations. That Power, Force and Transforming Spirit, His Wisdom and Grace Lives and Breathes in You.

Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. Greatness is in you Child of God. The Father’s Love, Favor and goodness is in you “For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to save you’.” (Jeremiah 30:11) God your Father is with you and for you, so who or what can be against you. Be encouraged, you are more than a conqueror.

God Is With You

IMG_0489It’s been over a year since my Dad passed away to be with Christ. When your parent gets up there in age, you begin to prepare yourself for that day. In spite of your best efforts, you’re never really prepared for that moment when you realize that they’re gone. No more laughter, or advice you really didn’t want. Just silence.

In the beginning everyone is so understanding with words of comfort. When days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and years your encouragers begin to wonder sometimes out loud, Will you get over it already! They don’t mean to be cruel but I guess people’s tolerance for grief is limited. So in an effort to not be a buzz-kill, you lie when they ask you how you’re doing. You put on your best smile and fake it for as long as you can and when you can’t fake it anymore you isolate yourself. In the back of your mind you hope that someone would notice that you haven’t texted or called; that they barely see you anymore. My guess and I could be wrong is that your distance is a bit of a relief to them. You’re clearly depressed in their eyes and who wants to be around someone like that.

I believe sadness is often misinterpreted as depression. What I feel is a great amount of sadness but because of my Dad’s salvation I have hope. For some, losing a parent is like losing a part of you. It’s like your childhood just disappeared. You’re no longer someone’s little girl/boy anymore. If you’re close to that parent you miss just being able to pick up the phone and talk to them. You miss the relationship.

I share this to share what God did for me in the midst of my trouble. The word says that God draws near to the broken-hearted.  Not only did He draw near, He kept showing up as a Father. The first time was while visiting my sister in-law’s church. The church joined hands in a prayer circle; everyone got a chance to speak. I lifted up my Dad’s salvation to the Lord, (my Dad was unconscious in the ICU at the time,)  it’s been my prayer for him for years. My mouth repeated my petition but my heart was screaming, “God I wish you could just come down and give me a hug!” I didn’t say that out loud, this was an intercessory moment. It wasn’t about me.

The Pastor dropped her hands and looked me straight in my eyes. She said, “God told me to give His Daughter a hug.” She walked over to me and gave me the biggest, warmest hug I’ve ever received. She began to pray over me in a heavenly tongue while she held me. I don’t know what she said but I felt the arms of God wrapped around me and I was so touched and humbled that He called me His Daughter before a group of people.

Whenever I write in my prayer journal to God I would close with, “Love, your daughter” I was never certain if I had the right to call myself daughter. That day He permanently evicted the doubts in my heart and mind when I heard Him say, “I AM Your Father and I AM With You and For You, Wherever You Go.”

It didn’t matter to God that I was still feeling the loss even after a year. It didn’t matter that I struggled to smile. I don’t have to pretend or hide my emotions from Him. He promised that He would be with me wherever I go. If I’m in despair, He’s right there collecting every tear. If I’m angry, He’s there without judgment. No matter where I am or what stage of grief that I’m in. Good, Bad or Worst Day of my life, God, my Father is with me. 

He shows up like a Father does every time. He makes me laugh in a way only a Dad can. He imparts wisdom to me when I need Fatherly advice. He listens to me when I just need someone to talk to. He repeats Himself, like any good parent, and reminds me of who I am and the plans He has for me. The Father is with me.

I share this all while fighting a losing battle with my tears just to tell you that your Heavenly Father is with you. He knows what you are going through, He understands more than you’ll ever know. He’s not just there during the Happy, everything is perfect days. He’s also there in the dirty, smelly trenches with you. Jesus has paved the way for you to have an amazing relationship with the Father. He truly cares for you and loves you sons and daughters with an unwavering and unfailing Love. God’s words aren’t just mere words; it’s the Truth. His promises are real and alive and you can hold on to them and Him!

-Be Encouraged God’s Beloved because that is who you are in Jesus Christ. God is with you! #JesusIs

A Prayer Imagined

Imagine if every Believer were to pray and intercede for their families, friends and loved ones salvation…

Multiple generations would be saved.

Imagine if we were obedient to Jesus’ call for us to pray for our enemies…

The whole world would probably be saved! 🙂


Know the Father’s Will: Pray for Salvation

7D55B32C-9A68-4AF9-A7D6-655BB86CEA18God is so faithful. I’ve witnessed my family, one by one, come to know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Jesus cracked even the “tough nuts” in my life. As much as you love them, God loves them more. He desires their salvation even more than you do.

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” –1Timothy 2:3-4

Sometimes you may wonder, why me Lord? I’m not a pastor or a church elder. Perhaps God chose you to be a shepherd amongst your family members, friends and co-workers because He trusts you to carry His message. Perhaps He can count on you to faithfully intercede on their behalf. You may just have the right ingredients within you that would draw those God placed before you to Christ. To borrow an illustration from my husband, see yourself as the hand of God extended to that loved one and yes, your bitter enemies.

Jesus encourages us to pray for our enemies, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven.” –Matthew 5:44-45

Choose to be God’s firefighter. You know what’s coming; we have this one short life to choose Christ and our eternal destination. Save lives by snatching people out of the fire (Jude 2:3). It is God’s desire to see that none perish; as children of God we share in that desire. And when you pray know that, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24

No matter how bad it looks, it may seem like your prayers are having no effect…don’t give up, don’t stop praying! Do not be dismayed by what you see or hear. Be like the persistent widow in Luke 18 and know that our God is a Righteous Judge. Hold on to the fact that HE Who Promised Is Faithful!

A Priestly Blessing

panoramic-3227810_960_720The Bible is filled with so many precious gems. Promises, deep revelations and endless gifts and blessings from our Heavenly Father. I stumbled across this gem during a time in my life when I was feeling really discouraged. As Israel’s high priest, Aaron, the brother of Moses, was commanded by God to speak this priestly blessing over the children of Israel.

The Priestly Blessing

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites, (that’s you in Christ) {Insert your name here}. Say to them:

“‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. ”’ “So they will put My name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27 NIV

To be face to face with God the Father and have His light, grace, peace and blessings to fall upon you. Better yet to share His name… what a gift! According to God’s word this blessing is yours, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promiseGalatians 3:26-29 

Today Jesus stands as our High Priest and unlike His predecessors He knows your walk, He gets our struggle. The word says, “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15

Our High Priest who lives and reigns forever is for us and not against us. He is for our freedom, for our victory, for our health, wellness joy and peace. This Priestly blessing is but a fraction of the blessings of God that Jesus Christ speaks over you today.

In all things, Be encouraged Beloved Child of God, the best yet to come.

 


 

Jesus: The Original Transformer

IMG_0161…Along Came Jesus

In John chapter 4 we come across one of the most beautiful conversations between Jesus and a Samaritan woman. This encounter was not a coincidental encounter it was very much intentional. You see Jesus went out of His way for this encounter. We meet Him alone and waiting by Jacob’s well. He was tired and hungry from the long journey so His disciples ventured into town for something to eat. Soon after a Samaritan woman approaches the well and Jesus says to her, “Will you give me a drink?”

He took her by surprise because in those days the Jews didn’t associate with Samaritans. Nevertheless Jesus continued to engage her in conversation. This wasn’t small talk; this was deep revelation He shared with her about the living water that He possessed, water that would end all thirst.

Then their talks shifted into her personal life. He brought up her five ex-husbands and the man she currently lives with who wasn’t her husband. Yet there was no judgment or condemnation. She wasn’t made to feel ashamed about her past or current situation. Their talks switched again this time the topic was worship and how the true worshippers will worship God in Spirit and in Truth. Again Jesus unveils a deep truth to a woman whom we can assume was not a minister in training or a religious leader. She wasn’t even a Jew. Nothing about her seemed to qualify her for such a rich encounter like this at least through the world’s eyes. Yet Jesus felt otherwise.

The woman closed by saying, when the Messiah comes, He will explain everything to us. Without riddles or mystery Jesus did something that was rare for Him, I’ve only seen this twice in the scripture. With plain speech, Jesus revealed that He was the Messiah. From my studies the only other person He did this with was the man who was born blind (John 9)

This woman, who chose to fetch her water in the heat of the day probably to avoid the stares and whisper of the townspeople. She left her water jugs and ran through the town and yelled,  “Come see a Man that told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”

Many of the Samaritans in that town believed in Jesus because of her testimony.  One encounter with Jesus, a Truth that doesn’t condemn but sets free, transformed this troubled woman into a bold preacher of the gospel.

Transformational Ministry

When Jesus is revealed chains are broken, demons flee, shame is lifted, broken hearts are repaired, and minds are renewed. The weak can now say I am strong and the poor can proclaim they are rich. People are reborn when Jesus is lifted up. The man who hung on the cross beside Jesus was a thief but after one conversation with Jesus, he went from thief to paradise bound. That’s the power of lifting up Jesus!

As children of God the Father, let’s make sure that we are unveiling Jesus when we minister and share the hope and love we have in Christ. Follow His blueprint. That’s how souls are saved and lives are transformed. Let’s lift up the Original Transformer!


 

Salvation: Mission Possible

The ministry of salvation is simple,

I think “we” (people in ministry) tend to make it complicated. I believe it’s because we forgot what it was like when we first fell in love with Jesus. We forget that God’s greatest desire is to see us repent and live. So much so that He gave us His Beloved Son while we were rotting in our sin so that we may live.

When I got saved there were no rituals or 10-step process involved. I didn’t have to “get right” before I dare to stand before God. Matter of fact when I got saved I was on a date with my now husband who invited me to church. I didn’t have any “church clothes” so I wore a party dress with a blazer. I got saved during the praise and worship service. Jesus was simply lifted up in my presence and I fell in love with Him. I felt Jesus’ love for me and saw His desire to save me. In that moment I believed in His love and I got saved.

I didn’t even make it to the altar call. No hands were laid on me, the only hand I felt was the Hand of God reaching out to me and saving me right were I stood. One touch from Jesus and I was forever changed.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not against altar calls or the laying on of hands, I’ve been there. I lay hands on my children all of the time and it’s powerful. I’m simply testifying to how simple salvation was for me.

Jesus said when He is lifted up He will draw all people to Himself. (John 12:32) Jesus did the tough part. Our part in this joint venture is simply to share Him to the lost, broken and wounded. We don’t need to fix people, get them right and then present them to God. It’s Jesus who saves us, makes us righteous and presentable before the Father. Jesus is the one who renews and restores us.

If I had been told that I had to change into a church appropriate outfit, get my life together and then make my way to Jesus, I probably wouldn’t have come back through those church doors. Some don’t. That approach would have made Salvation Impossible for me. God doesn’t look at the exterior of a person. So why do we? God accepted me party dress and all, during a time in my life where I was drowning. God so loved me…He cared that much that He saw past what the world saw and reached out to the part of me that was lost and bound and Saved me. When Jesus is lifted up (revealed, shared) lives are transformed!

Your Mission, If You Choose To Accept It Is This:

Our job is to scatter seeds (Jesus, His Love, His Word, His Hope), water it (pray, love, share Christ and His word again) and God will make it grow!


 

Accepted in Christ

The Father said to me the other day, “The validation that you seek can not be found in a worship-2721716_960_720man, woman or child. Your parents can’t give it you; your children can’t fill that need. Your worth can’t be found in the things you do, the success you’ve had or the places you’ve been. These things can’t validate you. The validation you seek can only be found in Me, only I can do that for you.” Said the LORD.

We tend to look outside of ourselves for our self-worth but our worth could never be found in anything this world has to offer. Our worth dwells on the inside, where God’s Spirit dwells. For the Kingdom of God is with you and in you. What you seek is in your heart, the place where Jesus chose to make His home. “He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22.

Our worth is wrapped up like the perfect gift it is in the body of Jesus Christ. It’s seated in Heavenly places, seated at the right hand of the Father. Simply put you’re Christ workmanship created in Him to do good works Eph. 2:10 better yet as Christ is, so are you on this Earth. His love makes you complete. 1John 4:17

I’ve come to realize that I can’t measure myself by the world’s ever-changing standards nor can I compare my achievements or lack there of with another. All I have, all I am and all I am to become can be found in no other but Jesus. I am the one He laid down His life for; conquered death and the grave for. My name is engraved in the palms of His hands Isaiah 49:16. I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

I am the object of His mercy and love. That is my net worth!

You may be struggling today with the feeling of not being loved, accepted and appreciated by your friends, colleagues and loved ones. Honestly you may never receive that validation that you desire from them. Nevertheless, you don’t have to live life feeling rejected. According to your Vindicator and Redeemer. There is a great light in you, a love unfailing and unwavering dwelling on the inside of you. There is resurrection power inside of you. Your worth can’t be measured by degrees and scales; your worth can only be measured through the eyes and heart of an Infinite God. For God so loved the world <insert your name> that He gave His only Begotten Son. This is what an infinite God thinks about you, everything else that you heard is a lie.

You are accepted into the Beloved Eph 1:6. Forget the haters/naysayers your Heavenly Father speaks a better word that overrides every negative word or act done to you. You’re accepted in Christ. God’s Beloved pray to the Father and let Him make known to you His heart and thoughts towards you.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”-Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

-Amen


 

A Dark World

holiday candle
Whoever follows Me (Jesus) will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. -John 8:12

Once again it’s Hallows Eve. Soon our fall leaf-covered streets will be filled with costumed ghosts, goblins, pint-sized monsters and superheroes. It will be a night where fear will dwell in the atmosphere.

 

Our Hallelujah-Ween tradition is to bake Holy Ghost cookies. Gospel music is often blasting in the background; mixing spoons serve as our microphones. We go to the museum and watch the mad scientists perform creepy, slime-filled experiments. Then we go home and watch The Great pumpkin Charlie Brown and other cartoons and end the night with prayer.

While everyone’s asleep I usually watch a movie that would give me a good fright. These days though the images captured by the news and social media rivals if not exceed the terror of even the worst movie villain. A friend in Christ said to me awhile back, “The world is getting darker and darker.”  I responded with what the Holy Spirit placed on my heart, “The believer does not have to fear the dark. When sin abounds, Grace super abounds.”

I see the darkness as a call to Believers and we should respond as a Fireman who hears the firehouse alarm. According to the word of God we are the light of the world, ministers of God, a royal Priesthood. As the body of Christ we are commissioned to snatch others out of the fire. My husband likes to say, that the doors of the Ark are still open, we can compel others into the Ark of Christ. I strongly believe that the darkness is our wake up call; a call to be a light in this dark world. Now is the time for ministry.

As Christ says the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. Ministry is not limited to four church walls, this whole world is our pulpit and the Spirit of God dwelling in us is our license to practice.

The world is crying out for a Superhero and we have one, His name is Jesus Christ. The world needs that gift that is stirring up inside of you. It needs the Believer to Be the light in this Dark World.


Have a safe, Light-filled Halloween. Happy Hallelujah-Ween!