…and yet have BELIEVED!


Empty tombWhile Rose and I watched the crucifixion of Jesus during the final episode of the Bible, I felt ashamed for the times I have not been faithful to God’s call. I regretted the times I avoided the “discomfort” of bearing witness to the work of God in my life.

Watching as our Lord was beaten mercilessly—as an innocent man—was almost too much to bear. There were times when I wanted to look away. But I was reminded that since he was willing to be beaten to death as the payment for my sin, how could I look away! How can I ever be a faithful witness to his grace if I cannot even bear to watch as he took my place?

After the beating, and the gruesome death, in three days the morning came. And the resurrection! I thought my heart would burst as I shared in the elation of Mary and the others when they discovered that the tomb was empty. All of my shame melted away as I witnessed Jesus’ kindness toward his disciples, even Peter. Their past failures and disbelief no longer mattered. Jesus died to release them, and us, from the penalty of sin. And he died to release us from the guilt and shame of our past foolishness.

I imagined what it would have been like to have been visited by Jesus after his resurrection from the dead. The look in his eyes supercharged my desire to “risk” being faithful to him, especially when things get a little uncomfortable. One day we will look into his eyes—and he will look into ours—as we give an account of the opportunities, and the gifts, he gave us to serve him.

Jesus commended his disciples for believing in him. And then he said something that reignited my faith: “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” ~John 20.29

Rose and I looked at each other with a renewed awareness: That’s us! We, and all those who believe because of the witness of the disciples who were there to see with their eyes our risen Lord, are those who have not seen. Nevertheless, he has given us eyes of the heart to believe. Jesus tells us we are blessed for believing.

May we each experience a surge of confidence as we go about our day-to-day activities. Our Lord suffered the death that was meant for us, so that we can have everlasting life. How can we do less than bear witness to his amazing grace in our lives!

A Call for Your Heart ~ (Part 2)


imagesCAV88UL8The voice we once heard…His voice…is now a distant cry. And yet it’s there…that voice calling out…longing for our return! “Come out…come out and resist.”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7

So how in the world do we begin to resist when everything around us tells us to ignore the call? Our flesh is weak; the cravings for instant gratification are strong.
The Word of God is clear. It is a bold statement, a present imperative – a calling for decisive, effective, definite obedience. An imperative leaves no room for options. It’s a God-given command.

If you have breath in your body, and have the ability to read what I’ve written, then please pay attention for a moment!

Jesus endured an unimaginable death! With a cat of nine tails embedded with chards of glass and metal, the Roman soldiers ripped the flesh from His body with 40 lashes, until His body was spent and disfigured. In mockery, a crown of thorns was driven into the flesh on His head. He then picked up His cross and drug and carried it through the streets of Jerusalem, up the hill to the place called Golgotha. There His body was thrown on the cross, and nine inch nails were driven through His feet and hands…he was lifted up…His disfigured and bloody body put on display. The crowds cheered and mocked Him as His mother and disciples anguished for the Son of God….Mary’s precious son, the disciples’ Master and friend…God’s gift to mankind.

There on Calvary’s cross our Savior in this final hour looked up to the heavens and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Mercy and grace on display for all the world to see! He didn’t have to endure this death! He could have wiped mankind from the face of this planet and rescued Himself (and the few who believed). Instead He endured the Cross so that you and I could experience His redemptive power of mercy and grace! Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price! He CHOSE to pay the price for US!

I love the Message version of Romans 5:6-11: “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!”

Jesus’ words, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”…they resonate so loudly! Do you hear His voice? Do you hear Him calling your name? He died for you; He longs to have relationship with you! He chose you…He chose me!

He tells us in John 15:16, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other”.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” ~ Hebrews 10:19-24

“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and will not faint!” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31

“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” ~ Hebrews 10:35-36

“Papa God, I pray for those that hear Your voice today. Ignite a fiery passion in our hearts! Place Your favor in our lives as You have promised. Give us courage and strength to surrender our baggage and carry on in our journey with You! Purify our thoughts, purify our hearts and help us day by day to persevere and grow stronger in our relationship with You! Help us understand that our source of power is in Your Holy Word! Help us to treasure it and take it in every single day! In JESUS’ name I ask these things, amen.”

His voice…His calling. Your heart…His heart…choose to obey and persevere! ~ In His Strong Love ~ rose

Surrender in the Storm…


The storm rages, the winds blow, a blanket of darkness seems to envelope us. We enter into the valley and find ourselves desperate and alone. We thirst and hunger…our tanks are empty. Our anxious thoughts unnerve us. We make an attempt to run…to hide. We seek shelter from the storm, but to no avail. Our efforts eventually prove to be futile. The rain continues to pound…and we become weary.

We carry our  baggage around with us while we waste time seeking answers from man, rather than from our Creator. We’re burdened by our “what ifs and what could have beens.” We wallow in our own self-pity, wasting yet more time.

But then…something miraculous happens. Something breaks through the clouds. Are those prayers we hear? Is someone interceding on our behalf? Could it be?  The Light breaks through…the SON illuminates the sky and the rain clouds part!  We fall on our knees….humbled…broken. Finally…a moment of sweet surrender! We take our burdens to the cross and fall into the arms of the One who came to rescue us! We lift our eyes heavenward and cry out…”Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.

And he gently and tenderly reminds us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing”  Zephaniah 3:17.  He takes us by the hand…dusts us off as we rise from the ashes–and illuminates our path once again. The sweet break through! We praise God for answered prayers! Hallelujah indeed! ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

For Sale: 1994 Dodge Viper R/T 10


For Sale: 1994 Dodge Viper R/T 10. Original Owner. Red with grey leather interior; A/C; 2nd generation wheels; also includes original wheels and tires; 7,300 miles. Kept in carpeted garage with no natural light. Ready to break out into the light with a new owner!

This is an ad I never imagined writing. My first car was a 1962 Impala SS with a 327 c.i. 4 barrel – red with a white convertible top. I sold it for $300 in 1969. Today it’s probably worth something in the range of $25,000 to $30,000. When I hit my mid-life crisis (make that my mid-life “Chrysler”) shortly after I turned 40, I decided the Viper would be a great car to buy and keep…a good car to have in the garage. It’s been fun to drive and own, but it’s time to let ‘er go. (She really is for sale.)

We all have experienced necessary transitions in our lives as we move through life’s stages. Something that made perfect sense one day makes little sense the next. The concessions we once so desperately needed sometimes seem silly as we enter into a new era of our journey.

I’m at another crisis point in my life where – once again – I’m reevaluating my priorities. And I’m compelled from somewhere deep within my spirit to live a nimble life. It’s a part of stripping down to the things that are most essential.

Possibly I will regret selling the Viper. Time will tell. But there’s a certain kind of pain in every choice we make – letting go of one thing to take hold of something else. Or holding on for dear life to something because of our fear of the unknown.

From my vantage point today, selling the Viper is the right choice. And I will hold on lightly to everything else that is currently under my care – knowing that my possessions are not really mine. All that is truly “mine” is my love for my Lord, and my willingness to allow him to guide me along the path he has chosen for me to follow—today.

Possibly you relate to letting go of something that at one time seemed as though it would always be a part of your life. I would love to hear your story. (Now, please excuse me as I go find a tissue…)

Francis Chan on the Balance Beam of LIFE!!


What does our life routine look like…

Video

Hit the reset button ~


All that is wrong, I can set right! How this resonates with me today! Jeremiah 39:17 “But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be given into the hands of those you fear; I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.”  ~ So much of the time, it is difficult to see what God is doing in the lives of those we love, when we limit our vision to the physical. It is in the TRUSTING that our faith is truly tested. It is God Himself who sets our course, and it is God himself who will direct our paths.

How we realize our destiny is a matter of obedience. Choosing today to be still and to listen to my Master’s calling. To trust that in all circumstances He is working out His perfect plan to develop Kingdom people. So it has been with me and with those that He has placed in my life. It is not for me to stand in judgement or to be critical of the way I see things unfolding in the lives of those that I love. For my sight is limited and my perception is marred by my inability to see God’s grand design. Like the high priest, I can only take my prayer offering to the temple courts and it is behind that curtain that God does His most amazing work of purification! God help me today to pray without ceasing; to trust in you with all the fervor that you have placed in my soul!  Help me to walk straight and to leave my offering at your feet.

Thank you for the nugget of hope that you gifted me with last night! I see your mighty hand at work and I rejoice with YOU! Thank you for loving me the way that you do! I take pleasure in dancing in your courts!  I hear your whisper in my heart saying….”How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with  your delights” ~ Song of Solomon 7:6 ~ Blessings…IN HIS STRONG LOVE ~ rose

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