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Posts Tagged ‘The Truth’

 

Ellis Farm

A year ago, last April our lives took an abrupt “U” turn, slowing us to a crawl, forcing my husband and me to tread rocky terrain we’d never traveled during our forty plus years of marriage. And we were forced to adjust and reconsider the challenges we were going to face.

After weeks of uncertainty, tension, and prayer I heard the Spirit of God whisper during one of those worry-in-the-night pre-dawn hours—

 

  • IS JESUS ENOUGH?

 

Eighteen years ago, after the death of our daughter, and in the middle of my Why God rants, His Spirit asked—Do you trust Me? Again, this night, I sensed Him waiting for an answer. And again, in the middle of my chaotic emotions my scratchy reply came out more like a question than a confession. “Yes Father, I do trust You. And Jesus is enough for whatever You allow in our lives.”

But day by day that question still plays in my heart as I watch this Christian nation change by deception. Anger has now become an acceptable response. And hatred a normal reaction to anything about God’s truth or righteous. How did American tumble into this deep, dark chasm of evil?

Are we living in the End Times spoken of in Revelation, Daniel, and the prophets? Maybe. But for weeks I’ve felt the urge to ask you…

“Is Jesus enough for you?”

Yes, it’s easy to trust Jesus when your job is great, your kids are well, and your bank account is in the positive column—when you’re lookin’ good and feelin’ good.

Perhaps you glance at other brothers and sisters in the middle of their trials and troubles and muse… I wonder what those folks did wrong to cause God’s judgment? I need to know, Lord, so I won’t make their mistakes.

But then we offer anemic prayers and go about our lukewarm lives—’til we’re blind-sided by the jaw-dropping reality of tragedy—A life threatening diagnosis from the doctor. A deadly car accident. A home destroying catastrophe. A job loss. A miscarriage, affair, or divorce. A murder, rape, or an abortion—and Satan’s sly insinuation punches you in the gut as he whispers to you like he did to Eve…Is Jesus is really enough?

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  • SATAN’S TRASH TALK

 

Do you realize you talk with yourself more than you converse with anyone else? And Satan’s right there, lobbing fiery arrows into your mind with his first person singular point of view, laced with southern accent jabs at God…

God has turned His back on me because…….

God doesn’t love me; His promises never apply to me.

I knew He wouldn’t answer my prayers.

My sins are too ugly. God will never forgive me.

If you’re not on the alert to recognize the difference between the voice of the Spirit of God or the Father of Lies your soul will be tormented with a constant barrage of artillery fire from this roaring lion. And unless the armor God gave you is in place and your mind filled with the sword of the Spirit—the Word of God—you’ll be fighting this battle in your undershorts.

 

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18 NAS).

 

 

  • CAN YOU TRUST GOD EVEN WHEN YOUR LIFE IS SHATTERED?

 

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When you don’t know what to do or where to turn, will you allow Jesus to be enough in that moment? He told us trials would come. He said they would be hard and we would grieve. But the choice is ours, rest in the peace of His presence or writhe in the lies of the enemy. Scripture tells us waiting in His rest during chaos and fear is a learned process:

 

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NAS).

 

  • THANKFULNESS IS THE KEY TO ENOUGH

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Thank God during your current crisis.  It is doable. However, it’s hard and tests the fiber of who you are in Him. Faith and trust will be enough during this step by step journey with Jesus through bleak, dark times. So why are we caught off-guard when grief and pain barge in—Jesus told us they would. He was tested—we don’t get a pass.

Iron rods are tested to be sure the tempered ore is strong enough to bear its assigned load. That’s what must transpire in the lives of God’s children. Not for God’s information—He already knows…but for our understanding. Testing identifies our weak areas. Areas that need the Spirit of God to change and strengthen for His use now and in the coming Kingdom.

His continual strengthening during difficult times proves He is enough.

 

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:28-31 NAS).

 

  • BUT GOD OWES US, RIGHT?

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We struggle to find time at the gym to build our physical bodies, and likewise, we bog ourselves down with busy excuses about the daily diet for our souls. We might even rehearse: We’ve paid tithes, gone to worship every Sunday, memorized a few verses, prayed when there was trouble—Right? So, God owes us—Name it and claim it.

But that’s not what the Word says:

 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer…Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:15-19 NKJV).

 

Our forefathers knew God. Yet they faced enormous trials—even death. They knew right from wrong. Truth from lies. And righteousness from unrighteousness. Were they perfect? No, but they walked according to the truths of the Word of God. And they suffered and died for their faith. I wonder today if you and I will choose to educate ourselves in God’s Word; because it’s impossible to live and teach the next generation what we don’t know.

 

  • THE FIRST SCHOOL PRIMER

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The Bible was the first primer in our early schools. This treasured book was hauled across the plains. Coast to coast. And until 1962 the Bible was read and the Lord’s Prayer prayed every day in America’s public-schools. Scripture verses were engraved in stone at the courthouse, school house, and in the home—and Jesus, ever patient, carried this nation through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and two World Wars because His people, who were called by His name, humbled themselves and prayed. But the ideology of a large group of Americans has changed, and the war we are fighting is an internal, person to person, house to house, family to family, nation-dividing-combat.

 

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands” (Hebrews 1:10 NKJ).

 

  • WHO ARE YOU WILLING TO LIVE AND DIE FOR?

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Jesus died for you and for all who proclaim He is the Christ, the Son of God who died to save us from our sins. And as forgiven sinners we are called to surrender our will and our lives to Him. Choosing to walk in obedience to the Father’s Word—trusting Him in all things.

After the death of our twenty-eight-year-old daughter, I moved to Ft. Leavenworth to help our son-in-law put his family back together. One evening while drowning in a king-sized pity party, I slipped a DVD into the receiver and punched play. Bible teacher, Kay Author, pointed her finger right at me and quoted a verse that still pierces my heart.

Here I sat in the security of an Army post, the day or two after 9/11, grumbling and complaining. My grandchildren were safe. My son-in-law would not be deployed because of the death of his wife. And all I had done for months was groan, cry, and murmur over our daughter’s death.

I believe Jesus asks you the same thing He asked of me that night—

 

“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5 NIV).

 

If Jesus isn’t enough for you in the daily trials of your life, how will you be able to stand firm for Him in the trials yet to come?

 

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23 NKJ).

 

Only Jesus is able to give you the strength to keep on keeping on. Only Jesus can transform the way you act and react as you seek Him. Only Jesus will be enough for you in the midst of your storm—if you allow Him. And isn’t that what this gigantic multitude of lost, angry, deceived people need to see? Isn’t that the purpose of studying the Word, going to worship, praying? Allowing God to chisel the rough patches out of our lives, and chunk blemishes that look like our before picture—before Jesus transformed our hearts. Shouldn’t those hopeless folks be able to look at you and me and expect to see what a believer in Jesus looks like?

“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NAS).

 

  • ONE LAST QUESTION

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Are you willing to rest in His promises? God loves you so much He allows you to choose—Jesus or Satan, but there’s no middle ground. Fence sitting is in itself a choice. So, while we may labor through pain and heartache, acting like colicky babies to the point we think we may break in two, please remember the words of the great Scottish minister, Samuel Rutherford— “Whatever happens the worst will only be a weary traveler receiving a joyful and heavenly welcome home.”

And in that day, we will know for all eternity only Jesus has been and always will be enough!

 

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. And let patience have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4 NKJ).

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The reflection shining in the night sky above the tree tops was nothing short of a thousand-watts of brilliance. I crossed the little bridge and rounded the curve where acres of pastureland opened to a blazing, blinking, gaudy extravaganza of everything from American flags, to Christmas trees, to castles and camels, unicorns and merry-go-rounds—all wrapped in multi-colored lights—and I wondered in all this would-be celebration of Christmas—Where was the Lamb?

A trip through my neighborhood offered a plethora of inflated figures from snowmen to Santa’s, lights wrapping and flashing over housetops, peppermint-cane lights lining walkways and I wondered if these decorations from planet earth magnified the deception of our generation before the Throne of God, or were they lost in the splendor of the Universe? Or do they scream in defiance at God like the sins of ancient Israel—we refuse to believe in You!

Having just come from the Mall where a jillion short tempered shoppers and clerks celebrated the season buying gifts they could ill-afford, the question again whispered in my heart Where is the Lamb? ‘Cause I sure didn’t find Him there either.

I recalled Abraham’s words to Isaac as they traveled up the mountain where God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son—his only son. The same mountain range where centuries later the God of all creation would willingly be crucified for our sins.

Isaac knew they were going to the mountain to sacrifice, he carried the wood. But there was no lamb. “My father,” Isaac asked, “…behold the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?”

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Abraham’s answer to his son rings prophetic through the corridors of time. “God will see for Himself the lamb for the sacrifice” (Genesis 22:1-18 NAS).

And in Isaiah 52 and 53 God speaks again through His prophet to tell us about this Lamb who would come:

“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before it shearers, so He did not open His mouth…But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand…By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many as He will bear their iniquities.”

In the 9th Chapter of Daniel the angel Gabriel delivers these words to Daniel:

“So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in time of distress. Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined” (Daniel 9:25-26 NAS)

Again in Micah God promises:

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“But as for you Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago from the days of eternity…And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God…Because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace” (Micah 5:2-5 NAS).

God left His words, time after time, even gave them the exact timetable when The Lamb would come. In the Book of Exodus God had given His people an illustration of what the Lamb would do and instructed them to forever celebrate the passing over of the death angel. But throughout the ages God’s people deliberately chose the deceptive rituals of bling and pleasure over believing and trusting in His name. And when Messiah actually came, as prophesied, they still asked—Where is the Lamb? Because they refused to believe Jesus was that Lamb of God.

John was baptizing and saw Jesus coming to him and he cried out, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” And he baptized Jesus and saw the Spirit of God, descending as a dove out of heaven and the Spirit remained on Jesus. Again a few days later John saw Jesus as He walked and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

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But the Jews refused to look then and certainly aren’t looking now, but are still asking, Where is the Lamb?

What about you? Do you know where the Lamb is? Do you know what the Lamb has done? Do you understand the Lamb is the only way to God?

Buddha didn’t hang on a cross to give you access to the Lord God Almighty. Mohamed didn’t die so you could live—his message is to kill everyone before they kill you. And there are many man-made idols preventing those who are deceived from knowing and coming to Jesus.

There are not many ways to heaven and no, we are not all traveling many different paths to ascent to the throne of God. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The message there is more than one way is a lie from the pit of hell, first told in the Garden of Eden. A lie crafted by Satan to confuse and bewilder all who listen. And he continues to spew the same nonsense today—because it still works.

Time is short. That baby in the manger in Bethlehem is the Messiah, our Savior and soon coming King—The Lord Jesus Christ. Does the message of your life, your actions, and your words point those who are searching to the lights and lies of what we’ve allowed Christmas to become?

Or do you and your family bow in worship and awe over the true miracle of Christmas—the holiness of the conception of the Son of God who chose to be confined in the form of a tiny human baby—every bit God, but every bit man—born to die—your Passover Lamb sent to pay the price for your sins and mine, so we like Abraham, can teach our children, God indeed provided the Lamb!

 

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