Sifted? Remember Jesus is PRE-SIFTED… Praising Rumble Strip Sifting, 01NOV – #757

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Sifted? Remember Jesus is PRE-SIFTED… Praising Rumble Strip Sifting, 01NOV

Classic timing,  I was about to trash the empty bag of flour when the Word spoke to me thru the words… PRE-SIFTED. This flour was pre-sifted. So was Jesus.

Lately the term “SIFTED” has crossed my mind, as in Luke 22 scriptures about the devil’s temptations. I know that each of us have been sifted in the past – and clearly I was obviously sifted last night as my arrogance of having everything under control was severely jolted awake by God’s GRACE, God’s FORGIVENESS, God’s SAVE (More on that later)…

Jesus told Peter that he (and we collectively as disciples) are being sifted by the devil. That the devil actually asks God for permission to sift us like wheat,  see where the chunks of our faith are strong,  how the good seeds are mixed amongst the chaff…. Peter, like Job (like us, like me), was tested – and BOTH God and the devil watched as things played out. After Peter was sifted, denying Jesus three times, he received reconciliation by none other than Jesus Himself. In a warning ahead of time, on that Last Supper night, Jesus commanded Peter to strengthen his brothers and sisters when eventually he did reconcile…  Jesus saw the sifting coming for Peter – He knows that we also will be tested – Jesus prays for us.

The empty flour bag today reminded me that we are to become empty of our own will and instead be filled with God’s will for us.  So within me, and within you, is Jesus’s Word PRE-SIFTED and encapsulated like seeds until all gets sifted out… PRE-sifting means that Jesus Himself went thru hardships on our behalf, those retreats where He went to pray were also for His sifting – He survived His temptations and trials – Jesus was tested, sorted, sifted, then certified holy and effective.  Jesus surely defeated death and the devil.

Jesus kept working for the Kingdom despite all trials. We can too. We must keep working despite our failings.

We are being sifted, tested, tried, yet we have the advantage of seeing this sifting as purposeful, so that we persevere.  We will overcome it all with our faith and looking for Jesus as the Way.

Jesus saves and will help us return to Him after any temptation.

Jesus reminds the devil in Luke 4: “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”…

The scriptures also say, “You must not test your God.”

We have to be bold to say those same things to ourselves and to each other.

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I found this thought provoking piece while looking up scriptures. The last part reminds us that we are to encourage others in their faith, THE FAITH, as we are all in this together. John Piper wrote:

There is a great lesson here for us. Sometimes God will deal with you directly, strengthening your faith alone…  But most of the time (we might say ten-elevenths of the time), God strengthens our faith through another person. God sends us some Simon Peter who brings just the word of grace we need to keep on in the faith: some testimony about how “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Eternal security is a community project. Whenever God encourages your heart with the promise that in Satan’s sifting your faith will not fail, then take that encouragement and double your joy by using it to strengthen your brothers and sisters.”

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-sifting-of-simon-peter (I recommend reading this whole piece by John Piper)

So I urge you, my brothers and sisters, to encourage each other. 

So, here is more on my arrogance and temptation where I was sifted by the devil to think that I handle everything well… Personally, I am very sorry now that I tested the Lord…

I was saved last night when I almost fell asleep driving. It wasn’t late, 5pm, I was just exhausted… I knew I was drifting asleep, but I thought I could make it, didn’t want to miss Halloween trick or treaters… and I really did nod off and those rumble strips surely saved my life… I heard them and I woke up fast – I could have lost my life or ruined my family’s future just because I was rushing home… Now I am encouraged by the PRE-THOUGHT of somebody else who went before me and invented these rumble strips and the workers who installed them on my bit of highway.

Therefore I believe the Lord went before them and knew those rumble strips could make noise to save lives…

Really I am not embarrassed enough, I should be to have tested the Lord with my thoughts that I could handle it all. I pray to know better next time, I feel my humanness and see (in hindsight and foresight) my devil-sifting temptations to say that I can handle everything… I am and will continue to be sifted by the devil. I will remind the devil that the Lord goes before us – I will remind him and myself to rely on the Lord. In my stupid arrogance of “having it all under control”, He reminds me that HE is the one who has it all under control. I am simply blessed to be on His Highway.

Jesus being pre-sifted allows us to now be SIFTED and live within God’s grace, still come out saved. Jesus is pure seed, no chaff left. The path to Heaven is narrow – but God has left these seeds of Jesus on the paths for us to follow – and the LIGHT of JESUS will nourish the seeds planted in us to bloom, and bear fruit.

I thank you Lord for your system. We must become the rumble strips for the world, to make noise, to warn, AND to praise. The rumble strips sound to you must mean: “one more save”. The rumble strips for me shook me awake and that does shake up my seeds and the chaff – let me pray that some of my chaff flew out the window that day. I don’t desire these temptations, but I do desire to always be brought back onto YOUR HIGHWAY LORD.

I thank You, Lord, for the save.

Jesus Wept, 27OCT – #756

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Jesus Wept, 27OCT

To me, the scriptures about Mary and Martha are crucial in understanding Jesus’s pain.  And His need to teach.

Jesus Wept.

Mary and Martha’s story, with brother Lazarus dead, prompts the crucial emotional Jesus to cry because His spirit was troubled… “Jesus wept”… I remembered a bible study which explained it was not just for love and loss of His friend Lazarus, Jesus wept for Mary, and all the others who previously sat at His feet in reverence and even though they had been taught about everlasting life – they then FORGOT that death is not an ending… They forgot – we forget.

Jesus Wept.

Jesus wept from His troubled spirit with Mary that day, and also later He wept entering Jerusalem, wept for the people who heard but did not believe, wept for those who heard but could not process it all, and of course wept for the multitudes who never ever get a chance to hear…

Jesus Wept. Jesus Weeps.

Jesus weeps for our human forgetfulness and flaws. Jesus wept a release of stress, then He picked Himself up and continued teaching His message…

Mary may have forgotten Jesus’s teachings when Lazarus died. Understandably,  she had great grief…… She stayed in the house and didn’t even leave her mourning until Martha came to get her, to tell her Jesus was there. Mary (and we) FORGET to rely on Jesus when times get tough… This “troubled” Jesus – His spirit was moved and was troubled… He knew (John 11) that Lazarus had fallen asleep and He knew that He was to use this moment to teach of God’s power thru Him: “for God’s glory, so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” (John 11:4)

Jesus re-taught Martha (verses 21-27) when she came out from the house first (not Mary, but Martha came to talk it out with Jesus first). Doesn’t Jesus want us to come to Him too? Without hesitation? Yes.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”   –   “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Then Mary came:

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Jesus wept.

Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.  “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.  I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.  Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

So…..

Lazarus was dead, but Mary seemed to be sleeping standing up… Jesus knew what was going on with Lazarus on His death bed, but He had to wait until the right time to show up and teach. Jesus Himself became our lesson. Jesus came to teach…

We lose hope, over and over…  Jesus still returns His attention to us, He lives to teach…

Jesus Himself had to recover from His grief – then He Himself got back up to teach…

We hurt like Mary and Martha,  often we do… We must also remember the saving love of Jesus for eternity…

Amen

Surprise, the Lord Sends Signs, 16OCT – #755

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Surprise, the Lord Sends Signs, 16OCT

Maybe folks see me read into things too much, and it’s true that we can accidentally attribute things of the world too much as a sign from heaven… We are human and can convince ourselves of anything that aligns with our plans.

But I had a physical sign last night that I really appreciated!  So to get to band practice, instead of leaving from close-by work, I was driving directly from home this evening, rush hour traffic, yikes, it’s an hour and 10 minutes and I’m sitting in the car on my way at a red light, thinking “is this worth it?” How could it not be worth it? Is it me being silly for being so excited about getting to practice, is it me being silly to doubt myself? So I reminded myself that indeed I had the time, the good car, the good ways to pass the time in the car by talking on the phone,  and of course practice my singing… even a woman the day before said to me: “eh, when you love something, it’s not hard to do it at all.”…. YUP!  and I do feel it is worth the travel, because I love to sing and I love the Lord (and I really did need practice for 3 songs brand new to me)… Sunday powerful praise doesn’t come without praising on a Tuesday… (isn’t it amazing what can run thru your head so quickly?)

….and just then I looked at the license plate right in front of me,  and I burst out laughing and grabbed my phone for the photo and then was nearly in tears sending the photo to my bandmates…  the license plate said: “S-NG4HIM” – SING FOR HIM!!!… Perfect…  I did not ask for a sign this time (Jesus says do not put God to a test) – I was just reasoning it out in my head with the Lord (which I should always do) – and the Lord sent a sign ANYWAY – and HIS-WAY – on the HIGH-WAY – that’s because Jesus is THE WAY…

SING FOR HIM.

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Our Lord sends messages – or at least His angels do His legwork – He knows every hair on our heads, He knows the right timing to catch our attention – He knows how to motivate us and reward us, to make us think….  He is sovereign… we are human,  there is NO WAY to comprehend all that, just go with it…

I always say that the devil of distraction is nothing compared to the Lord – the Lord makes any twisted schemes and things of the world even more useful to His cause… to be used strongly when the Lord needs to send us a sign… That license plate said nothing about my driving, it simply was saying everything about the end destination: PRAISING, doing it for Him, Singing for Him…

Do whatever you humanly can do to submit to Him. It is up to us to figure out how to get from point A to point B.  The 1st step is to follow Him.

Amen

The Lord Motivates, LIKE NORMAL, 15OCT2019 – #754

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The Lord Motivates, LIKE NORMAL, 15OCT2019

Today I remembered a crucial time of motivation from the Lord – and He used a song – LIKE NORMAL…

I hauled buckets and buckets of heavy materials into the car yesterday, out of the car today – LIKE NORMAL…

No sign of shoulder issues, NONE!  “Strong like a bull” my orthopedist calls me – thanks to his/His rotator cuff repair thru 2 surguries and my 76 physical therapy visits – all caused by one piece of paper I left on the floor – I slipped while rushing thru my house Feb 2017 to wake my kids up for school…  LIKE NORMAL!

So in all that struggling recovery, I had in serious serious pain, worry and strain – (see devotion below) – my external rotation was FROZEN – lots of hard work but I was stuck – I wondered if I had any hope to get back to normal and the Lord provided motivation…. LIKE NORMAL!

YES – the LORD PROVIDED MOTIVATION – the Lord and I and you, we are all Survivors – and we all have to share our hope… LIKE NORMAL!

I threw a pizza party for my PT folks when I was done – they became family – three times a week from May to December – and the  Lord knew I needed that time to process – I was BLESSED…  LIKE NORMAL!

I love the first line of the Survivor song, especially since these semi-heavy buckets were for my Walk to Emmaus organization: “Rising up, back on the street” –  That’s EXACTLY what Jesus did that Easter morning – rising up, back on the streets, walking the walk talking the talk… SO THAT EYES MAY BE OPENED TO SEE HIM (Luke 24)

JESUS OPENS EYES… LIKE NORMAL!!!

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here’s my previous devotion:

https://debbieupper.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/pt-divine-intervention-song-survivor-eye-of-the-tiger-23jun-483/

PT divine intervention – song – “Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger”, 23JUN2017

https://youtu.be/btPJPFnesV4

Survivor – PT-style… I’ve had major progress after surgery,  but this major frozenness in my repaired shoulder after the inactivity requires serious stretches and I’m grateful my therapists are stretching me hard… But quite often my doubtful thoughts flood in – that my doctor might not be happy with my progress even though I’ve been working my butt off… but that’s just because I’ve laid down a lot of scar tissue that I can’t help, my body just did it – no choice.

So the therapist, as well as a fellow shoulder stretcher Tom, were so wonderfully encouraging today, and just then my classic 80’s motivation song came on the radio – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor from the Rocky movie. It came on as soon as I was in a moment of doubt – so I knew it was surely a divine reminder to keep fighting… A motivation to keep rising, to get “back on the street… hanging tough…  staying hungry”‘…

Oh yeah, could not have been more awesome timing, my fight song, oh the tears flowed big time while I laid on the table as I thanked God for the motivation, I thanked the Lord for knowing what I needed before I knew I needed it… He gave me the release of tears to appreciate His love and He gave me the fight to move forward…. The scripture “He knows every hair on your head…” – Yup, that was exactly the song I needed exactly at the minute I needed it… Blessed… Couldn’t hide my tears even in public, so I got to share (I had to share) with three people what that very song meant at that very moment… awesome to have the right people placed perfectly because as much as God knows I needed that moment, He ALSO knew that I would have to share that moment… much more that sharing His spirit to me – He wanted to share it THRU me… my tears for His glory!

His love I feel so much

His love is amazing…

I’m hanging tough – I’m staying hungry –

I’m Staying hungry for His level of LOVE…

Blessed…

Thank you for letting me share…

Wind and Waves – Sharp Words from Jesus, 13Oct – #753

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Wind and Waves – Sharp Words from Jesus, 13Oct

In my practicing of great praise songs, including “Oceans” and “My Lighthouse”, I remember that: “The wind and waves still know His name”… Jesus can still handle all our storms. That we will get “safe to shore”…


Why do we doubt that the Lord can handle ALL of our storms?

Let us take a step back: Jesus is always with us, so why do we doubt that we will survive these current and future storms? Jesus was sleeping in the middle of what was probably a common storm for the Sea of Galilee – and yet it crept up on the disciples. When Jesus was awakened,  as the disciples were afraid, either He scolded the disciples, or He simply asked surprisingly: “Why are you afraid?” They were, and so are we…  Yet in the middle of that and our sudden storms, Jesus asks: ‘Do you trust Me? Don’t you realize you will be OK?’

Well, we do but not always and sometimes we plain don’t. We want to believe that we will be OK, yet we want to see the lighthouse. We want the waves and winds to settle down. We worry and we are not any different than everyone else, we are all in the same boat.

Oh! We are ALL in the same boat. EVEN JESUS. ESPECIALLY JESUS.

What did Jesus do? Jesus TALKED sharply to the wind and waves. Jesus talked calmly to the disciples but JESUS TALKED SHARPLY to the storm. Jesus “Used His Words“… Jesus would also tell us to: “Use our Words”, to tell the wind and waves to calm themselves down, to storm another day. Jesus would urge us, while we rest in Him, let the wind and waves work themselves out for a while. Because we can start to use OUR Words to tell the storms that we are UNWAVERING in our calmness – tell the storms Jesus is already IN the boat with us. “The winds and waves still know His name” (the lyric from Oceans).

Our words can be HIS WORD. Our power can come from HIS POWER. All we need to do is invoke His name.

Surely, the Lord has seen us each thru many storms. I pray we get more and more understanding that we will be OK, but we have to remind ourselves of that DAILY. That’s what old storm memories and new storms brewing can both do, make us look to Jesus.

If Jesus is sleeping in our boat, then maybe it is because He trusts us to work things out on His behalf. Yes, perhaps we can speak into the storms ourselves. Yes, we can. Perhaps we can even first steer clear of the next storm…

Sometimes all we need to EMPHATICALLY say to the storm is the name of “JESUS!!!!”

YELL IT!   JESUS!

whisper it!   JESUS

The winds and waves still know His name.

If we are looking for the lighthouse to show up in our sight-line, look close… Jesus is already holding our hand. Look not out, but look within for HIS LIGHT.

Look for Jesus then you won’t see anything but His Light. My Lighthouse.

Look for Jesus and know His majesty prevails.

The Light of Jesus will never go out.

Amen


Matthew 8:23-27  (NLV)

The Wind and Waves Obey Jesus

Jesus got into a boat. His followers followed Him. At once a bad storm came over the lake. The waves were covering the boat. Jesus was sleeping. His followers went to Him and called, “Help us, Lord, or we will die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then He stood up. He spoke sharp words to the wind and the waves. Then the wind stopped blowing. Then men were surprised and wondered about it. They said, “What kind of a man is He? Even the winds and the waves obey Him.”


 

Oceans – “The wind and waves still know His Name ”

https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

My Lighthouse

https://youtu.be/reAlJKv7ptU

Your Temple is for the Glory of God, 10OCT – #752

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Your Temple is for the Glory of God, 10OCT

There’s nothing like the realization that the Lord has led you somewhere (AGAIN!)…. Led you to a place in your life NOT by your own meandering but mostly by His Hand… Where you realize the Lord has spoken into your future, and He has you cornered EXACTLY where He wants you – and you realize He has given you renewed purpose, given you a job that you never applied for – all to benefit Him and His people – especially forcing you to give Him praise. 

I am the handmaiden of the Lord (Luke 1:38).

I owe EVERYTHING good in my life to Him. I accept every challenge to my life with a hope that I will succeed BECAUSE OF HIM.

I’m talking about EVERYTHING in life, but today I am talking about one of American’s biggest battlesOURSELVES.  We ignore the Lord, we ignore the TRUTH that He will power us thru challenges. It’s not that we don’t believe in the Holy Spirit’s power, but we forget (I forget) about calling upon His Power and Direction! We forget to call on Him first. We don’t realize how completely influential He can be in ALL aspects of our personal battles. Well HE IS. He wants to be the mover of our mountains. GOD IS THE GREAT I AM.

Today I am in a phase of talking again about healthy eating. (*phase 1, hoping to start exercising again too* – hoping)… Not weight-loss but self-loss and God-gain. Changing anything that you can change for the Lord’s benefit to use you to speak into the lives of others. Your gains for God. I am recommitting (AGAIN) to speaking about HIM as the source of ALL good things in my life,  because He is.

I’m SO blessed with the people that the Lord has gifted into my life. I hear the challenge to regain my “loss of self”, to wake back up…. Jesus knows I was starting to fall back asleep and He wants me to eliminate some sleep from my eyes, gradually lose the weight that I gradually regained both in order to live better but also so that I credit Him – He calls me back to recommit myself back to HIM.

When I get lost in myself,  He says (AGAIN): Take care of your temple which was created for praising ME, your Lord.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own...” 1 Corinthians

We get lost in ourselves. We really do, we are human… We need to find Him in the gentle whisper that breaks thru our internal static and quiets the external stimuli.

Case in point, I point to myself, my passport has expired, I should have been paying more attention and be ready to travel, I am not. But now I can look at that 10-year old photo and remember that face, but only barely…  I am a new child in God compared to then. The smile on the old passport photo reminds me that my struggles weren’t so bad, I was a normal on-the-go American in a carb-rich world, classic emotional eating…  But, I couldn’t fit into the amusement park seats, I had induced and accelerated bad knees, I was less of a “Little Debbie” but became a candidate for “Little Diabetes”. I was old before my prime. I am human. Then Jesus woke me up. The smile on my face started to glow from seeing the Lord (I have a star-framed photo of me for how I found Jesus by walking towards His Christmas Star for guidance of His birth in me). The Lord gave me motivation, tools and friends at the right times to remove the layers of self-inflicted damage.  He has now called me to “do it again” thru HIM and renew a re-correction of myself into His Temple. I am HIS TOOL, His experiment,  His handmaiden.  I serve Him NOT for a boast in me, or from my will power, but His Power which is willed into me.

I boast only in the Lord…. The Lord melted me. The Lord can melt the mountains of our own selves. He can handle challenges inhibiting anyone from abundant life realization and He will bless everyone who looks to HIM.

My job is to be a witness to His power.  God is the biggest influence and inspiration anyone would ever need. Worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

I fear the Lord enough to know that He wants me to give Him all the Glory. And tell my story as His-story.

Our friends, whom are also driven by the Holy Spirit within them, can be instrumental in our lives. Mine are Godsends. Holy Spirit-powered. We can be that too for others.

Share JOY. Share Jesus.

Shed self, gain Spirit.

Jesus Himself is the driving force of our re-renewal of taking care of our Temples of God within.

Number one lesson: put the Lord in charge of your life – ALL ASPECTS!!!

Then Watch for God!

From Proverbs 16:

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans…..  

In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps….. 

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord….

Amen

 

Jesus as a Bull in a China Shop – Again, 07OCT – #751

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Jesus as a Bull in a China Shop – Again, 07OCT

I thought of Jesus during some strife yesterday, I thought: “here I am again, being a bull in a china shop – not knowing my place. Then again maybe me being me was not the issue – I know myself and I know that yes, the Lord looks at the heart. If we have the best motives, then we are best to just be ourselves… I am best to just be me… We are even better when we try to be more like Jesus.

A favorite image of Jesus crossed my mind, thanks to writer Rick Lawrence, Jesus was sometimes like a bull in a china shop… CRASH… and Jesus was no one but Himself.

Later I was attending a nursing home church service. The first scripture I read was confirmatory to my comfort from the Lord, a letter from Paul to Timothy reminding him to be true to His calling – to not be ashamed – and guard the good deposit of sound teaching… “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.”

Yup – the Lord encourages us – thru scripture… the Word is the Way for our way. The protection of our good deposit…  worshiping in spirit and truth… if we suffer, we can be like the disciples in the Book of Acts and rejoice that we are suffering for the sake of Christ…

Sometimes a bull in the china shop, but regardless, always fan into the flame that is the gift of God to you. Work with your skills to be Jesus-like. Ask the Holy Spirit to guard – and He does…

We ask the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts, because everything we do flows from it…

Amen

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Bull, 29MAY2015 – #167  https://debbieupper.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/bull-29may-167/

Just the other day I called myself “A bull in a China shop”…. The rapid awareness of full Christianity, 0-60 in seconds flat…

So I laughed (outloud) when I saw this quote this morning:

“Jesus is the original “bull in a china shop.” Is Jesus nice? Yes, of course, but when He is, He’s scandalously nice. He’s nice to all the wrong people, and He’s offensive to all the wrong people.” — Rick Lawrence

So yesterday someone asked me what they should do for a not so popular person… She thought to herself “I will get advice from Debbie”… I said just be nice… This person was relieved to have confirmation of what she thought she should do…. She felt the guilt because the rest of her friends were just being resentful towards that person… I said: “Why not just be nice? Just be nice”… I reminded her that one should always “take high road”, and if anything she would feel better about being nice to this person… Sometimes the relief is simply in not inducing more strife.

“Is Jesus nice? Yes, of course…. ”

Is Jesus a bull in a china shop?

Yes.  I can hear His crashes still, 2000 years later…. Loud and clear!

Scandalously nice. Nice to the wrong people. Offensive to the wrong people. Real.

Jesus is Real.

We Don’t Need Life All Figured Out… 04OCT – #750

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We Don’t Need Life All Figured Out… 04OCT

When we drop our identity in self, we are to be filled with the spirit. The beatitudes share this gem of knowledge: Blessed are the poor, those poor in their own self, those emptied out and instead filled with the Lord’s Spirit…

To come to the Lord is to drop the facade of having life all figured out… to be willing to be still and be real and be with Jesus as the only Way… We carry our own cross, to take up the realization that we have to lift our burdens to hand them over… and we can surely give them to Jesus – Jesus wants them – Jesus wants us…

We all need to know Jesus already pre-advocates for us… we need to ask forgiveness… We need to hear Jesus say: “You are forgiven” – because we are.

The coins gained by Judas to give up the whereabouts of Jesus weren’t taken back because they were “blood money”… We are to remember Jesus’s blood was spilled in order to become the ransom for our sins – and His blood can never and will never be taken back – we are forever forgiven and saved…. all that was broken when blood was spilled: Jesus, the veil, the rocks, the tombs – all were broken to be OPENED to eternal life…

Jesus said “Remember me” – “Love me” – “Love our Father” – “Love each other”…. Jesus will ALWAYS remind us that we are LOVED. John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world thru Him.”

Amen

Gypsies for Jesus, 30SEP – #749

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Gypsies for Jesus, 30SEP

Gypsies for Jesus, are you one too?

I should forever be a Gypsy for Jesus.  The Lord Himself does not change, so He needs us to be adaptable, flexible and lift-able. Perhaps we are free moving people… actually in Jesus we are already free, but if we are called to be Gypsies for Jesus, then we must NOT move of our own free will but ONLY move by the Holy Spirit calling us, moving us, pulling us, settling us.

Sure, we are free to move, but we ALWAYS need our roots to be fed by the Lord…  the Lord often sinks old roots really quick into a new feeding, where the people actually look thru root collections to learn how and where to connect with you and each other…  We often are placed where we can be useful. Simply put, we are planted to bear fruit, planted NOT in the world, but in His Word. Psalm 1.

I am fed so that I can feed.

Today in the middle of the 2 church services, I sat IN JOY on the back pew nestled between 2 wonderful gentlemen of my father’s age. The first gentleman, Lee, introduced me to Bob – I will call him Mr Whipple because he received a life-saving technique – after pain and medical issues, the doctor found he had pancreatic cancer – a 96% fatal disease – Bob is in the 4% – he survived – he said the Holy Spirit apparently needs him around. Not knowing why, he said that 4 times he was saved from near death. The Holy Spirit saves us because the Holy Spirit needs us.  Bob remined us that even thru pain, God has a plan.  I immediately said back to the first gentleman, Lee, “wow, wasn’t our earlier chat exactly about that?” I said: “Look how the Holy Spirit connects our conversations: Even thru pain, God has a plan”.

Look for the Lord and wait out the storm… Psalm 121

Oh, how blessed I felt when I sat between Lee and Bob, learning just as much as I was talking, listening just as much as I was laughing, being at peace just as much as processing rough edges of life… I lingered… and I loved it…

The Lord often is stirring up His mixing bowl of life. I’m one of those unprocessed clumps of cookie dough stuck to the spoon and I happened to have gotten scraped off into another section of the bowl to meet these new people, to pick up their new chocolate chip bits of praise, to hear new faith stories, AND to put my own issues in perspective. I often ponder on how UNBELIEVABLE it is that I landed where I landed. It is no doubt because I was placed.

We are planted NOT in the world, but in His Word. Psalm 1.

I will always TRY to be a Gypsy for Jesus, rather than requesting a place to go, I will try to go where I am called, thru the Holy Spirit’s power, not mine, and both still be still  AND  be free to linger as long as the Lord needs…

I WILL LINGER FOR THE LORD.

Amen

Love Will Find a Way – Look at the Helpers, 25SEP – #748

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Love Will Find a Way – Look at the Helpers, 25SEP

Mr. Rogers always said: “look for the helpers” in a tragedy or any tough spot, which was advice from his mom. I will witness that is sound advice from Jesus as well… Love will find a Way!

Regardless of the severity of the change – whether a tragic school shooting, an upheaval at work, a simple little blindside on a TV show like Survivor – or any change in your day-to-day life… Look for the helpers to that situation – to your situation – they have been called by the Lord to help – yes even some assigned to you – all by the LOVE of the Lord. You are also assigned to be the helper to others.

Compassion is a number one attribution of Jesus – think about Him going thru a crowd – think of Him on his death cross when He verbally commanded John to be His mother Mary’s son and His mother Mary to be John’s mother. Jesus just knew to take care of His own – to take care of us – that we are both to be helpers and we are also required to be helpable, meaning to accept help from others.

We are called to realize that “Love will find a way” (cue the YES song).

Look at the helpers for people going through cancer, look at the helpers for caregivers, look at the helpers through social media for hurricanes and look at the helpers in your life – for the big and small.  Look at the college kids who study together, look at the neighbors helping each other with yard work after a storm, look at your best friends ready to lend an ear.

LOOK TO THE LORD – He is our Rock – our comfort – and sometimes/always our correction…  We are broken people moving from one healing to another – we have to be willing to be healed and willing to be helped… We are the ones who must accept repair.

Jesus knew that there were going to be intense changes for His disciples in their immediate future after His death. He tried telling His disciples about that future, but they were blinded by their closed ears as to what would happen. Think of those women on the hill watching his crucifixion, being so upset. Jesus could not comfort thru talking to them – only comfort thru them to each other. All Jesus wants is for us to understand that God had a plan. Jesus even wept at Mary and Martha not knowing that God has a place for us when we die. Jesus knew AND WAS AUTHOR of this long view that we are all to take…

Feel: Mercy, forgiveness, comfort, compassion, healing. Know: Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus.

We are reminded time and time again that suffering does bring us closer to the Lord. I always marvel at people who escape a fire and begin praising the Lord – they just lost everything in the fire – but they take such a long view – they know that they were blessed to get out of the fire.

The Lord goes before us, let us take the long view… let us be a comforting soul to others and to ourselves thru knowing the Lord…

Amen


John 19    Behold Your Mother

When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

Cough Drop Hesed and Michael Card, 21Sep – #747

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Cough Drop Hesed and Michael Card, 21Sep

A light-hearted story but a real witness to the Lord’s timing and comfort and compassion thru others!

Massive massive coughing fit, I couldn’t get out my chair, my path was blocked from my seat, I sat back down, I was stuck… so embarrassing, so I prayed to stifle the cough, it got worse. I prayed harder, got tears in my eyes and the Lord answered in His own way… I stared intently at my “WATCH FOR GOD” Vacation Bible School bracelet in hope for help, deep prayer – and IMMEDIATELY a woman passed a yellow cough drop to me, RIGHT OVER THE BRACELET WORDS…

Less than 5 seconds from my fierce prayer of mercy, was an answer and act of Hesed – mercy – an action verb of loving kindness. Cough drop Hesed, no gesture is too small when it comes in God’s timing… the miracle was NOT the cough drop, as much as it was the TIMING….  10 seconds later, Michael Card himself stops his presentation and gives me a cough drop – more loving kindness… My experiencing the truth of the “Watch for God” bracelet is yet another witness that YES, God is real, God uses His people, God is a God of mercy, and where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord!

I did get outside, Michael Card handing me a cough drop caused me to stand and at that moment I saw the gap in the chairs where I had an exit path, I became unstuck due to that mercy, and as soon as I got outside – in the grounds of the stone church with a warm heart, I started crying intensely – not JUST from my cough embarrassment, but my realization AGAIN of the mercy of God… God is a God of loving kindness and forgiveness. We are to fear the Lord, but we are to feel the Lord’s LOVE.

God is a God of the big and small. MORE overwhelming than tears of embarrassment were my tears for His reminder that He is in charge.

When we ask for help, the Lord does not always give an answer in our time, but ALWAYS HE GIVES HIMSELF… Hesed is a verb, an action, a gift, exchanging Jesus’s life for ours… We live because God wants us forever.

So now, as my words flow like those tears, I am blessed to tell all of you of this littlest mercy miracle in the timing, the moving of the cloud of the Lord’s presence into my view… The miracle of comfort so that we can give comfort others (2nd Corinthians 1:3-4)… This woman comforted me, Michael Card comforted me… I could imagine how others may have been annoyed, but these two put an act of mercy into action.

I chatted later with the woman, her name is Charlotte, she said she’s a mom, could see me struggling and she could see me not able to get out from the blockade of chairs, and it was her last coughdrop. As she watched my angst, she was waiting for the right timing to share it with me…. yup… the Lord’s timing… my eyes filled with watching the action then filled with tears to wash that feeling into my heart, forever… Jesus is the forgiveness that washes us clean by washing us thru our tears as He collects them in His Hands.

I believe in the Lord. 

I know that He cannot help but give us mercy, comfort, and love.

I believe that the Lord is a God of Mercy.

I believe in Mercy.

I know HESED is the only way He can show us how much He loves us.

Michael Card says when we show Hesed, it often hurts us, just like God’s Hesed was tough on Him too. Either way, we show this loving kindness out of His spirit moving thru us.

We were made in His image so that He can love us.

Michael Card says that we resonate with His Heart.

Hesed is the Lord’s Way in every Way.

Especially in The Way – They gift of us Jesus to save us.

Amen, Amen and Amen

Michael Card conference HESED part 1 – Sep – #746

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Michael Card conference HESED part 1

“Michael Card is your guy” – that’s an apt description that a friend said of me…. and it’s true… how very blessed I am to meet Michael Card. singer and writer, for the 4th time.  Michael Card’s song Come to the Cradle is “my awakening song”… I love his books in the “Biblical Imagination” series… I appreciate and benefit from his nerdiness. I gave him my blog address on a business card with a mention that 50 of the 700 were inspired by what he wrote…

He showed me nerdy bloody photos of the removal of a squamous cell carcinoma on top of his head, like my Dad’s cured cancer on his neck, but not as developed. They caught and removed it early. Nerd, I loved his openness… I told him God put a hole in His head to fit more words in.

Michael is such a people person and loves to teach, a Jesus junkie like me, he started at age 14. This conference is about “Hesed”, God’s mercy, lovingkindness… so far we are learning about the 250 mentions of hesed, how the context of words are so important, how Greek vs Hebrew language differs in many words vs fewer deep words, and how Moses transformed in his understanding of a fierce God to be feared on the mountain to actually meeting God face to face and then understanding the hesed mercy of God… the slow to anger God… we are seeing how the whole bible is about the life journeys from obedience thru life’s wanderings in the desert into an intimacy with the Lord… that’s us and that’s the journey thru the bible.  God does His work on us in our wilderness, Jesus retreats and takes time in the wilderness retreats, we like Moses shine with glowing faces after wilderness experiences and meeting face to face with the Lord.  Beautiful message…

Michael said the name Michael is actually a question “who is like God?”

He spoke of language, we Americans think like the Greek language, in nouns, wanting to explain things in nouns… the Hebrew language is verb based, actions, deep words – 500 words conveying deep understanding vs 5000 Greek descriptive words – the apostles learned to understand God in a deeper way – the kingdom of God is both a noun and a verb. Likewise, “hesed” is not one meaning, but used 250 times in the Hebrew bible… hesed, mercy, loving kindness…

Michael Card taught that Jesus LIVES the bible, the reason Jesus wrote in the sand for the woman about to be stoned was that He was fulfilling Deuteronomy or Jeremiah scripture, He kept writing until the older then younger men understood the connection to scripture and walked away… gave time for them to understand forgiveness…

Hesed – God’s loving kindness – mercy… He walks with us in our wilderness until we have an intimate relationship with Him… He spoke about Moses seeing the face of God, and about how the Lord does His work on us when we are in our wilderness… (Moses people, Jesus retreats, Jesus develops His Sonship in the wilderness,  we are in our wilderness when God has most impact on us)… Michael spoke about God is still a corrective old testament God but now with loving kindness of forgiveness – our sins are still real,  God still is strict and corrective and yet our sins are paid for by Jesus who takes the brutal punishment… God is a gentle slow to anger God, the Bible and our lives are for learning and engaging…

The guilty don’t go unpunished, but Jesus intervenes for us… Suffering is a form of engagement – our questions are engagement… Jesus asks 317 questions, only answers 3. Sometimes the most loving thing is to not answer.

He witnessed about a few tragedies in his family’s life and the witness of that person who survives is uniquely qualified to speak into the lives of others who have suffered…

That’s also why Jesus understands all our sufferings, nothing we experience has not been experienced by Jesus. The 10 commandments times were conditional laws, too easily broken.  The life with Jesus is unconditional Hesed, mercy, loving kindness…

Jesus, it all points to Jesus.

Amen!

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Prayer Rail or Bed Rail, Get on Track with the Lord, 17SEP – #745

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Prayer Rail or Bed Rail, Get on Track with the Lord, 17SEP

I have to admit that kneeling at my bed rail has become most effective quiet time these days… I never did it before our “Acts 29” book reading and Pastor’s call to fasting and prayer. Most of my quiet time with the Lord has been in my Subaru…  it’s all good….

Time alone with the Lord is beneficial when one can listen alone without world distractions.

Time alone with the Lord is beneficial when I listen and not just spew my day thru my head, as I am my own distraction…

Anytime we give up our burdens to the Lord is beneficial – then we are free – and we simply can praise and listen…

I have to admit that the Lord has spoken to me most intensely lately in these kneeling moments.

My new church is encouraging people to come up to the prayer rail, even in the middle of the sermon or a song, yet I found myself most STILL and pensive these last 2 Sundays standing ALONE in the kitchen listening to the Pastor’s sermon on the speaker. He spoke of bearing fruit EXACTLY when I was noticing the kitchen theme of lemons all over the place. I mentioned this to the woman who came in a little later. I said my favorite phrase: “when life hands you lemons make lemonade, even if you bring your own sugar”. She replied: “keep going in life, even if you don’t have sugar”… Hmmmm, that was an apt reply to me… That resonated with me…  That is so true…

At the prayer rail that particular day I was distracted, but in the kitchen? I was quiet and pensive – that’s when the Holy Spirit moved in on me.

Kitchen or not, we are all blessed with the opportunities for ACTIVE worship… any chance to discuss the Lord and His Word is an opportunity for active worship… I waited for the pastor, but he has so many sheep to tend, so I moved back towards the kitchen. That’s when the Holy Spirit used me to share with the leader of children’s ministry a science experiment that caused a partial awakening moment for me teaching a Sunday school – Jesus as a catalyst. She was so amazed as she said she needed a Holy Spirit bump right then for her lesson – had one part and I told her the rest – well, wow, I am humbled to be used by the Holy Spirit by being bumped out of pastor’s line and into the flock.

The best listening conversation I had last Sunday was with a smiling survivor of breast cancer who said: “I don’t know how anyone gets thru life without knowing the comfort of the Lord.”  I noticed that she had smiled thru the whole praise music set with the glow of the Holy Spirit, she usually does.  During and after her breast cancer, she has been living the abundant life, so should we. Our conversations with another faith friend became a deep sigh of collective prayers for the lost souls – if only they would have open ears and hearts for the Lord, they would be comforted. The Lord comforts us then amplifies our joy. We wish all could hear Him.

In quiet time, like at the bed rail or prayer rail, the Lord can mute us as the speaker. He wishes for us to listen… My brain still races at times (lots of times) but at least I am practicing to slow it… You have to stop being caught up in your racing in order to be caught up in His plan.

Worship is so very personal, no wonder the Lord wants our full attention…

At the bed rail, I asked the Lord to help me decide how I am going to use my praise microphones for the rest of the day… and He helped me pick apart all the mishmash of audio clips that filled my head at the end of the day. I need Him to help me sort my loose ends…

We are His sheep and we know His voice. The Lord wants to direct us so that when we re-enter the world, we are ready to demonstrate the ABUNDANT LIFE that we have been gifted. Just like when we are fasting, we are to put a smile on our face to show His spirit thru us. Just like lemons without sugar – we are to be living lessons of perseverance – we still have fruit to be shared with the world – this time we don’t add sugar, we just add Spirit.

Prayers and praise – we are to make God known.  Prayers and praise – we are to apply our instructions from Him and not abandon them at the rail…

Prayers and praise – worship at the rails keep us on track…. We lay down our lives so the Lord can keep us on track. Then, we are to pick up ourselves and live for His purpose.

On track… All aboard for the abundant life! Get on track, stay on track – full steam ahead!

Amen

 


Matthew 6

Prayer

“…when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Fasting

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


John 10

Jesus said:  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.

EXPRESS – “Stay on the Path”, 12SEP – #744

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EXPRESS – “Stay on the Path”, 12SEP

EXPRESS – I was zipping under the Turnpike EZpass monitors while I had been stressing – I had been praying – I had been singing – I had not been “being still”…

Keith Green was singing “Stay on the path” thru my supernatural YouTube radio…

often wonder why I feel so compelled to write and share my blogs – including this piece – is it brokenness? – is it to keep talking when no one is around? – is it holy thoughts that I am wanting to help simply to repair my own brokenness? – is it just jibber jabber out of my head? And am I inflicting people with sharing my experiences? I will never think that I am wrong to think – or that I am wrong to write – but how about the sharing?

EXPRESS – I zipped under the EZpass sign and started LAUGHING OUT LOUD at the sign… for the first time ever I re-interpreted this sign’s text to an alternate meaning – a message that I needed right then – God says “EXPRESS” !!! Wow He sent that message FAST!!!!!  EXPRESS! You have to EXPRESS the amazements and love of the Lord when you are an expressive personality…  not many understand my personality, but God does…

EXPRESS is not always an easy lane – it is a fast lane but it comes with a cost – and yet it is a directive – God says: “EXPRESS”…  I am an extrovert expressive sanguine personality just trying to comply with the Lord taking over my head… is it easy? it risks alienating the exact people I am trying to reach – is that tough as an extrovert? You betcha!!! Is there a purpose? there has to be – there has to be…

I questioned, and God sent me a one-line message today: “EXPRESS“…

Yes, I am probably so compelled to write and share my blogs out of the brokenness in me – our brokenness is what God wants to utilize for His purposes – and ALSO that I (and God) wish others to know the joy and comfort and direction that the Lord brings – yes all that… a dear friend speaks of an ‘Audience of One’ – meaning just focus on pleasing God not man..,

Do you know singer Keith Green? Keith Green would understand me – and he would keep singing his song to me, to all of us: “Stay on the Path”  https://youtu.be/eGlLS24kYaI … Keith Green was an expressive’s EXPRESSIVE… (and you got to love that hair)

Keith sings: “Yes ,I am gonna Thank You, Thank You Lord!”

Yup… I am an EXPRESSive… I am going to “Stay on the Path”…

Thanks for the peptalk, Lord…

Thanks for the sign…

Thanks for letting me share…

Thank you for letting me be me – for YOU!

Covering your tracks is LESS important than your feet making new ones, 08SEP – #743

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Covering your tracks is LESS important than your feet making new ones, 08SEP

Wow, another tidbit from scripture that I did not know about, found in Matthew, where our scribe to the life of Jesus tells us that the guards who had been stunned with fear at the angel (assuming they also saw the disappearance of Jesus from the tomb) were BRIBED to tell the world that Jesus’s disciples stole his dead body instead of them being allowed to be witness to the truth…

Yeah…

We don’t know if the guards believed in the Resurrection or not from this passage, but we do know that the authorities tried to cover up the tracks, used money as an incentive to try to rewrite HISstory, to spin what happened into their own reality. It’s hard to put money over angels, but they tried anyway…

I once heard, in a friend’s sermon, a speculation that the stone being rolled back was probably for show because Jesus seriously wouldn’t have needed to physically walk out… but since the women and the world needed to see that stone rolled away, and needed to imagine and see the divine truth, that the stone was rolled…

I truthfully love that angels exist!

Jesus was back on His feet! I look at the contrast between the women who went scurrying away on their fast feet, compared to the fainting of the guards who fell off their feet… The disciples, also on their feet, had to scurry to Galilee to meet the Risen Christ. Scholars say that journey would have taken them a week!

The last scripture written in Matthew as instructions to the disciples (and us) is the GREAT COMMISSION – we are to use our feet (and everything we have) to spread the GOOD NEWS… Jesus came to save us all from our sins, give us eternal life! Now, that’s a feat!

Scurrying women’s and disciples’ feet…

The crucifixion’s defeat – Jesus on His feet…

Oh Easter’s gift of Salvation, a marvelous feat…

Don’t worry about covering your tracks, just make NEW tracks, walk to the future, your future, and help increase the Kingdom, Hand over Foot!

Amen and Amen!


Matthew 28

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

The Guards’ Report

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

The Great Commission

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”