Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

The Unleavening

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What is the leaven in our lives?  What holds us back from seeing the glory of the Lord and the blessings we have?  What keeps us from moving forward?  What is it that makes us stop and be fearful?  Can we do better?  Can we change our perspective from fear, anger, hatred and bitterness to security, love and thankfulness?

Thinking of these questions and doing some soul searching is not a negative, it’s a positive.  Many times over I ponder these questions in my own life.  I like to think of it as an accountability test.  By evaluating that in my life that causes me to stumble, I am able to move forward with hard work, one step at a time.  Searching the true notions of the mind and the desires of the heart I can reach a different perspective than that which tries to rule over me.   I am flawed through sin.  I know it, I recognize it, I act upon it to try and change it.  I am not perfect, yet I am conscious of the failure within self,  driven by the power of this earth.

Acknowledging that there is yeast in my life and that it  is thick enough to hold me back,  allows me to seek out the truth behind what drives me.   Sometimes, I find that anger and bitterness are the ingredients in which the yeast grows and has progressed to a point that needs clean up.  I equate it to making bread.  If ever you have worked with yeast you know what I’m talking about.  If not, let me explain.  When you take a mixing bowl of warm water, add a little bit of honey and then add in a tablespoon of yeast you get the pleasure of watching it foam.  The yeast begins to grow in the water, yet when you add it to flour and baking powder it takes off and is what makes baked goods rise.  If you use too much, a loaf of bread can ooze right out of the pan before it is baked.  The warmth of baking allows the yeast to rise even more before it stops.  My great grandmother used to say that the yeast in bread is still active for a full day after baking.  (I thank my mom for remembering that and sharing that story all these years.)  Yeast is not in one small part of the loaf, it grows throughout, making the entire loaf rise.  They call it the  leavening of the bread.

I imagine Satan kneading that sin throughout.  Just like kneading the bread to make sure that the yeast is spread throughout the impending loaf, Satan does the same thing.   He tries to make sure that every aspect of life is covered in sin, allowing it grow within so that one is unable to see through the over growth.  So now what?  How does one remove the yeast?

1Corinthians 5:7-13
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

First off, recognition.   Secondly,  repentance.  Thirdly, change.  Only through the Lord Jesus Christ can this happen. There is no one else that can do this.  Unfortunately, being the humans that we are, we are led by either the ruler of this world or by the creator of all things.  If we are chosen by God, we are led by Him, if not we are led by the ruler of this world, Satan.  More recently, I have been given privilege to see just how awful the yeast of deceit is.  Through hatred, bitterness and anger two occasions have had me realizing that I myself am also experiencing the beginning stages of that which holds me back from the blessing of knowing the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ.  First step, recognition.

Second, repentance.  I have been praying that the Lord show me my sinfulness, the nature of my own self, and the lies that Satan is trying to make me believe.  I have been asking for forgiveness and for restoration of my soul and for the Lord to take away that which Satan is trying to grow within my being.

Third, change.  This is by far the hardest part.  To flatten the leavening process, to clean it out of my life and to make sure that I remember my life is unleavened through the death of Jesus Christ.  To change means to do things of which make the human psyche nervous, uncomfortable, and seemingly  fearful.  However, with the power of prayer and the strength of the Lord, peace, calmness and perseverance are active within the search for a life unleavened.

1 Corinthians 5:6-7                                                                                            6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

Sin has no stronghold on my life.  Yes I am still a sinner.  Yes I still have a sinful nature, however, it is not a stronghold that can overcome the good in which the Lord has within me.  I am renewed, I am restored and I am strong with him as the one who kneads me.  There is not room for the yeast that Satan tries to throw into the mix.

There is no room for hatred, bitterness and anger.  There is however, more room for truth.  Truth in who I am to be with the Lord leading.  If I trust in the desires of the heart and notions of mind more than that which He  instills in me, than I am wasted away with rot from the yeast that continues to grow.  So, although difficult, perseverance to change is the key to the restoration of my soul.  That of which I do not take lightly.

Reader, I hope that you will benefit from my own learning experience and that you will evaluate the yeast in your life.  Cleansing out that which holds you back from a thankful heart, a steadiness ready to take on the sin within, and a mind that tries to remind of that which is of no use moving forward.  Guard yourself from the sprinkling of the yeast.  Do not let the ingredients blend together and through prayer keep yourself unleavened.

 

Eternal Life

John 3 (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you  do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.  14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Eternal life.  Can it be imagined? With the difficulties on this earth it seems at times unhealthy to consider eternal life.   Who wants to continue living with such sorrows and desperate situations.  Who would want to live an eternity?

Well, with the Lord Jesus Christ we have in Him the desire to want more.  More than this life on earth.  There is a desire to live a life serving a most holy God.  The eternity Christ is talking about is not like that which we observe today, it’s quite the opposite.

Revelation 21 (ESV)

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place  of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,  and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”…….

Revelation 22 (ESV)

The River of Life

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever……

We get a glimpse of what is yet to come in Revelation.  Just a tad bit of info to wet the soul of his saints, to cling to his Word, wanting more, wanting that eternal life with Him.  Very different than that which we have today.  Something more.  Something not yet seen.

Dear friends, it pains me to know that so many do not yet call upon His name.   Please know that there is so much more.  So much more to this world.  Knowing God and seeing his providential care over your life gathers strength to get through the sorrows and the difficulties.  Without Him beside us, we wither away into a depressive state of wandering.  Wandering through the thicket of a forest which encapsulates it’s visitor, not allowing for an exit.  Only through He that gives life does one find a way out.  Only through time studying His word does one find hope.

It is with great prayer that this finds you well with your soul. If not, I pray that you may be inspired to learn more about the almighty who gave you life and who offers so much more.

Who Are You?

I can remember in my younger years so desiring to be someone else.  I remember trying on several occasions to change my look, whether it was a new hair cut, new makeup, new clothes style, making friends with those I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to be friends  with or doing things and acting in ways that went beyond my personality.  I longed to have more friends and to be “popular”.  I was not very comfortable in my own skin so to speak.  In middle school I was taller than most of the other girls, and I did not spend the majority of my time in the bathroom doing my hair as the other girls did.  That being said, I remember the day I suddenly drew the attention of my classmates.  At the time I thought it was fabulous and I felt like I finally fit in.  Only in adulthood have I acknowledged that  I was becoming someone that I was not intended to be.  It was a long journey of trying to figure out who I truly was, yet thirty five years after that day,  I can say that I know who I am and I embrace it all.

Yes, even through illness, loss, grief, and often times loneliness, I embrace knowing that I can just be myself.  It’s rather freeing to not have to try to live by todays standards.  I don’t need a lot of friends to define who I am, and at times, I even leave the house without any makeup not caring about impressing anyone.  I find that the most important things in life are not found in the joys of earthly pleasures and in the view of those who subject themselves to secular viewpoints. I take joy in the fact that I am a wife, mother, sister in Christ to a great many who are like minded, and I am most of all a child of God.   I have hope in something greater than this world and a confidence in knowing that grace is promised to those whom have been called out of this life of sin.

As my daughter and I stayed home today due to her upcoming surgery and not wanting to subject her body to germs that she wouldn’t be exposed to if she stayed at home, we listened to the sermon from last week that we missed.  I was struck at God’s providential care in our walk with him and his encouragement in arranging this quiet time with Him, the message spoken and the tie in with my book study that I did  with a friend yesterday.

The message was based on 1Peter 1:13-16 and entitled Just Be Yourself.   (crbc.us sermons 9/18/2016)

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In obedience, we are to be who we are called to be, leaving behind the passions of our old selves (“Ephesians 4:21-24  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.)  so that we will have the hope (confidence) in grace (salvation)”.  What a wonderful, freeing, feeling it is to know that God has chosen for me who I am supposed to be.  I do not need to try to be someone else.  I do not need to fit into this world because I am not of this world.  (John 15:16   “You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:19   …because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world….”)  I accept that I am a child of God’s, destined to live a holy life before him, with contentment and thanksgiving.

Our study yesterday discussed the motivation of how to stay obedient in holiness, tying in nicely with the sermon.  Every child needs instruction and direction.  I am no different and neither are those who are predestined to serve in holiness.  (Ephesians 1:11   “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will”)

Our book (The Hole In Our Holiness) gave us a few ways the Bible motivates us to continue in our pursuit of holiness.  One of the questions asked us to identify which of them was meaningful to our individual needs living in a world of sin.  Mine were the following:

God knows all and sees all.  (Eccles. 12:14  “For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil”)

If every child knew that their parent was watching, would they try to do the opposite of what they were instructed to do?  My guess is that they would not and if they did, they would know that there would be a punishment waiting them.  Maybe they would think that the sin of disobedience would be worth the punishment.  Knowing that God’s punishment is death should make all christians reconsider that which they think they do in secret is actually in secret.

Assurance.  (2Peter 1:10  “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm you calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall”)

Knowing with surety that God has called me out of a life of sin keeps me humbled in obedience to his word.  For not everyone has been blessed with the knowledge of their own salvation as we know that there is no double predestination. Due to the fall of man through the sin of Adam, we are all at birth destined for death, yet through the calling of the Lord Jesus Christ there are those who are predestined  to be a part of life everlasting with him.

The world is not our home.  (1Peter 2:11  “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”)

Pilgrims in a world  that does not understand.  Our time here is temporary.  Our permanent home is with the Lord.  An eternity serving a God who took mercy on his people to give them life.   Abstaining from the passions of the flesh is not easy as temptation today is far greater with technology, yet preparing our minds and hearts through the studying of the Word is our short leash to staying on the right path.

For the sake of our prayers. (1Peter 3:7  “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered”)

Living a hopeful life, following the words of a gracious God so that He may be glorified and we may be made righteous in his sight.  Marriage is not easy and life in this world is not easy.  However, by staying the course with love and understanding we are reminded of the joyful blessings that are shared.  Just as a couple becomes one in marriage, they become one with Christ.

The futility of sin.  (Matthew 6:27  “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”)

Do we really need to worry about that which we cannot control.  Our time should be spent in grateful prayers of thanksgiving for that which we have been blessed, leaving all of the “stuff” behind.

The folly of sin.  (Matthew 7:26-27  “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”)

The fall is not temporal.  The fall is eternal and is spent in the flames of hell rather than an eternal life of glory with the Lord.

The promise of future judgment.  (Romans 12:19  “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'”)

God’s wrath is much greater than that which we could ever dream.  He gives the ultimate judgment over the sin abiding in this world.

The fear of future judgment.  (Hebrews 10:26-27  “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”)

This does not need any explanation!

The fear of the Lord.  (2Corinthians 5:11a  “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”)

We witness to those whom we love in hopes that they too will be called unto the Lord.  We know that the loving God so many talk about today is also a god of judgment and wrath.  Believers should not tempt the will of the Lord with gross misconduct in backslidden behavior just to appease the world we live in.  We should be the witness to the light that shines from following Him.

The love of the Lord.  (1John 4:11  “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”)

Loving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is not just a suggestion but a command.

For the glory of God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify god in your body.”)

Taking care to not sin and to praise the Lord of whom gave much to give us life.

Fullness of joy.  (John 15:10-11  “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full”)

JOY….to have joy in the Lord, in prayer and in ALL circumstances.  No matter what!  Finding the peace within ourselves to be joyful in the blessings that are not our own.  Through pain, illness, despair, loss, and storms that rage around us.

Our union with Christ.  (Romans 6:5-6  “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.”) 

Oh to not be enslaved to sin.  To not be bound by the chains that cause strife and death.  Could any blessings be better?

I pray reader that you have read through all that I have shared in my journey and that you have been blessed this day with the words of the Lord.  I pray that you will joyfully praise  the loving God who has given you life and blessed you with the following of this blog.  Thank you for joining me down this path toward salvation.

 

Clinging to the only Peace that can Sustain

During times of disbelief over things of this world, I cling to the word more than any other time.  My prayer life seems to consume more minutes of my days than anything else.  I lay awake at night in prayerful thought, consideration and more desperation for the Lord Jesus Christ to hear my prayer.  At times I feel as though I am pleading for His will to line up with my hopes.  In the end, I trust He knows what’s best and He will take care to bring me closer to Him in my thoughts, and also in my prayers.

Psalm 119: 49-56

Remember you word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.  This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise give me life.  The insolent utterly deride me, but I do not turn away from your law.  When I think of you rules from of old, I take comfort, O Lord.  Hot indignation seizes me because of the wicked, who forsake your law.  Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.  I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law.  This blessing has fallen to me that I have kept your precepts.

As a great deal has plagued my thoughts and rocked my world this past two weeks, I find peace in Him and in the promises yet to come.  I find grace in the promises already given and I find hope in a creator who is perfect in every possible way.

Where do you find peace?  Do you look for worldly wonders and human nature to give you peace?  Or do you seek Jesus and the Word to sustain and keep you?  Again I ask, Where do You find peace?

 

The Value Of A Christmas Gift

The day has arrived.  The gifts are strategically placed under the tree.  The children arise with excitement while breakfast warms in the oven.

Quickly, the morning passes by.  The mimosa’s were sipped and the table was cleared while all who enjoyed sat with full stomachs relaxing to sounds of Christmas music and small talk.  It seems as though the day has brought joy and cheer.   Yet, there is a longing in the heart for more.  Something that cannot be purchased in a store.  Something that cannot be planned.  Something greater than anyone can explain or put a monetary amount to.  The salvation of a lost soul.

Given this day, the awaited Messiah was presented to  a fallen  humanity.  The birth of a child that will save sinners from death.  The knowledge of Him and His saving grace is by itself is the greatest gift given on this Christmas day.  That we recognize the importance of God’s gracious gift and His unconditional love makes all the fuss of the celebration seem insignificant.  The true blessing and true gift of immeasurable splendor…Our Lord Jesus Christ!

From our family to yours, we wish all a Merry Christmas.

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Hoping that everyone will take a moment to read this blog post.  It’s a wonderful thought provoking post.

https://chantrynotes.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/what-if-jesus-never-came/

Merry Christmas

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This year the family has, for the first time in years, felt like the season has come so quickly we just don’t feel as “merry” as we usually do.  We have stumbled through the last few months considering the changes that once again are at foot in our lives.  With the restructuring of my husbands job and the opportunities for change, we’ve just been too busy.

Well, last week I finally bought a new tree and put it up.  We all laughed as it’s a skinny tree that snugs up nicely next to the fireplace.  It currently has one ornament on it, and that is all this skinny tree will see other than lights this year.  I also put some lighted garland up the banister and a nice scene of snowmen in the front hall.  And lastly, there is one large standing ornamental pot with sticks and lights on the counter.  We all agree that we need to spend more time in the front hall as it’s the only room in the house (if I can call it a room) that has the feel of merriment.

All that being said, last night we decided we needed to spend family time together and get with the program and enjoy the lights and lawn decor that so many take so much time to put up.  We’ve lived in our current home nearly 8 years and we have heard about a neighborhood about 5 miles away that calls itself Candy Cane Lane.  People drive from all over to go through it and see all of the houses and their charming Christmas decorations.  We had not yet driven through Candy Cane Lane and decided last night we needed to.  So, I made some air popped (organic) popcorn  (I had to dig out the air popper out of the basement because we no longer eat popcorn) and filled two bags, one for the kids, one for my husband and myself and we drove over to this neighborhood.  We were amazed to see the line of cars sitting on the main road waiting to turn onto Candy Cane Lane, which wound around about 8 long streets.  It was a beautiful sight and quite entertaining as we saw everything from blow up dinosaurs to flying pigs to the reminders of the birth of Christ.  Some of our favorites were the snoopy and Disney themed lawns as well as the simply elegant lighted displays that didn’t offer anything other than white lights lining driveways, bushes, trees and the houses.

The best display of all was one that should be a reminder to all of the true meaning of Christmas.  It had spot lights on a simple sign that showed a tree, and a  hand holding a stake with a written reminder of the grace of the Lord who sent His son to die for the sins of sinners.  I wish I had taken a picture of it as it was quite nicely done.  We laughed out loud and thought the funniest display was the house next door to this one that had one sign made out of plywood with lights that spelled out “ditto” and an arrow pointing at the sign next door.

We came home and drove around our own neighborhood enjoying the lights, until we pulled up into our own driveway… We all at the same time said, “Oh look at this house, they must be Jewish.”  (you guessed it… for the first time in 8 years… no outside decor dresses this house.  Actually… I think it’s the first time in 21 years our home hasn’t seen christmas decor outside.  Not even a wreath!  Quite different than the days when my husband was just like Clark Griswold and placed lights on the roof.  From 1/2 mile away at the top of the street you could see a halo of lights it was so bright.)

We enjoyed our family evening driving around, eating popcorn and looking at the lights. Are we in the Christmas merriment spirit?  That’s yet to be seen…

Either way, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you will be reminded that this season isn’t about us, lights, gifts or food.  It’s about the birth of the Messiah who came in the flesh for the sole purpose of teaching and bleeding for His sheep that are called to follow Him.  A sacrifice, for the sins of those who will one day be with Him in an eternal Kingdom.