Tag Archives: Jesus

No Stranger to Stress and Strain

Mind blown tonight as I listened to Jim Richards speak at Gateway Singles ministry on pain, heartache, and looking up to recover the gaze.

WoW! This message was super intense – and then this thought …

Christ is no stranger to stress and insurmountable odds.

He didn’t fake it till he could make it.  His emotions were real and raw.  He acknowledged the depths of his heart-wrecking to His Father.  Look at Gethsemane (Christ praying before his crucifixion)  – the Man, the Son of God broke a blood-sweat!  That’s how intense the tension in His heart was, the stress and strain so overwhelming that His body physically expressed the severe inner turmoil – blood vessels bursting from the pressure of what was about to happen.  Maybe you’ve been there too.  You may not have sweated blood, but maybe you know that kind of crushing, immobilizing stress – the kind that stops you nearly dead in your track rendering you incapable of moving forward.  Hold faith beloved.  Be encouraged.

Continue reading No Stranger to Stress and Strain

Owning It – Just be real

Guess I really am writing a book now.  I just admitted and acknowledged it before another human being who was neither a friend nor a family member.  It was the barista at a local coffee shop.  She actually asked me what I was studying.  Score one for looking younger than I really am!  But, I digress.  I told her I wasn’t studying.

“I used to be a teacher. And now I’m not teaching.  I’m working on a book.”  Yup.  There they were hanging in the air.  Words strung together inciting ownership and angst.  I had just admitted to another soul why I was there at the coffee shop.  There was no denying I said it.  It was too late.  I couldn’t believe I spilled the beans and almost without hesitation.  Her response? “Oh really, that’s cool.  What’s it going to be about?” I was nearly dumbfounded.

Getting Ready to Write by Marvia Davidson
Getting Ready to Write by Marvia Davidson

Read what happened Next

I am reminded of my “Babylon”

God is fully aware of our condition.  God sends us out as gift-bearers-of-light to a lost and broken world.  Think of Jeremiah 29: 4-7

4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

God gives us peace in the storm and we begin to overcome.  God can use the mess of our lives to bring hope lost sheep.  Reach out.  Be a hand, a shoulder, and an embrace to the community you are in right now.  Even if your circumstances don’t change, your life can still speak of Him who came to restore us.  Even if you think God cannot use you, you can.  He loves the broken.  He loves the contrite.  He loves the messed-up.  He, God, loves perfectly and without condition.  And I believe He wants to bless your right where you are in a way you could not imagine.

I am reminded of my “Babylon.” It was several years of toil, troubles, ups-and-downs, breaking, and recovery in a place I just did not want to be.  However, there was not provided any kind of escape route.  Instead, God lead me through the valley.  It was not wasted.  I was stretched.  I grew.  My heart and mind changed.  I become less of the yuck and more of Christ’s love.  There was some dying too, but those things had to die so that God could birth new life.  Still, I am His work in progress, and still can be used by Him.  God isn’t holding our mistakes against us.  He gives us beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  He makes beautiful things out of our lives – though we often think it is impossible.  With God, nothing is impossible.  So where are you at today?  What ashes would you like to leave at Christ’s feet?  Are you ready and willing to prosper where you are and let God move through you?  Are you ready to stop casting stones?  Are you ready to put down your judgments?  Are you ready for grace like you’ve never known?  Are you ready to befriend the tired, the weary, the worn, the unlovely, the unbecoming, the broken, the misfit, and the outcast?  These are those to whom Christ came (Luke 19:10; Mark 2:17).  You can be the beautiful message of hope right now, where you are, and to all who are around you.  Extend the hand of fellowship and friendship.

Let today be that day.  God can move in you.  He can restore your life even in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23).  He can lead you beside still waters while the storm is raging all around.  God is more than able to care for His children.  God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” as told to us in Ephesians 3.  How can God use your right-now life to draw others near to Him?  Ask Him.  Ask for His Shalom to move in and through you, and see what He will do.  With God, our lives are an adventure. Cling to faith in God.  Trust God to move in your life.  He is faithful, and He is always ever present with us on the journey.  Let God build and strengthen your faith as you live out your life in the hard places.  Shalom is with you.  It means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, and harmony” (Roth, nd).  You may not escape the storm, but you can have Peace in the storm.

Today may your faith grow deeper roots.  Today may your heart be set on the King.  Today may soul say, “yes.”  Today, may today be the day you decide to stand in the gap, seek the peace and prosperity of your community, and be the hands and feet of Jesus – our Shalom and Beautiful Message of Hope.  May today be the day your choose to press in and lean in to what God has for you no matter where you are.  Wherever you are whether working or living, let that be the place where it and you prosper.

Now we are invited to be a part of His kingdom here on the earth.  We are invited to point the way through hurt and pain.  We are invited to be a part of His work as He is the Repairer of Broken Walls and Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (Isaiah 58:12).  To think that God wants us to be a part of His work is amazing!  As Paul told the Ephesians, “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  We speak of Him and not just in our words but in our actions too.  Consider what Paul told the Corinthians, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Cor. 2:12-17).  May today be the day you change your thinking about your circumstances.  May today be the day you see them from God’s perspective.  May today be the day the fragrant goodness of the King pours out on you, in you, and through you.

Think of Christ who left the comfort of heaven and entered our messy, filthy world.  He brought a peace we never had.  He bridged a gap we could not repair.  He reconciled us when it was beyond our power to do so.  He made peace for us in His body on the cross.  This is our Advent.  Christ is our Advent.  God is a Shalom-maker.  Will you be His Shalom in the earth, in your work, in your family, in your community?  There is a vibe, a human pulse longing to be connected in community to its Creator.  You can be God’s heartbeat now.

My reflections from today’s message. @Irving Bible Church.  It was really good!  I encourage you to watch or listen online.

Grace and Peace to you Beloved!

References:

From  NIV at http://www.biblegateway.com

Isaiah 61:3

Luke 19:10

Mark 2:17

Jeremiah 29: 4-7

Isaiah 58:12

2 Corinthians 2:12-17

Ephesians 3:20-21

Roth, Andrew. “Meaning of the word shalom.”  The Refiner’s Fire.  Internet. Nd.  http://www.therefinersfire.org/meaning_of_shalom.htm  Accessed December 9, 2012.

His Voice Is Our Assurance

19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

~Isaiah 30

It is amazing that God desires relationship with every single one of us. Because of Jesus, we have unfettered access to God. Because of the blood of Jesus, we have restoration. Because of the cross of Christ, we can be sons and daughters of the King. Yes, God is gracious. He wants to restore each of us to wholeness. Come; see what God is all about. He’s been waiting for you. His love runs deep. His love runs wide. Nothing you can do will make Him love you less. God can handle your past, your present, and your future. You don’t have to carry that weight anymore. Choose life in Christ – lovingly eternal. Continue reading His Voice Is Our Assurance

A New, Old Freedom

Colossians 2, NLT

“9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.”

Meditating on these things stirs up hope in my soul.  I’ve read these verses lots of times, but today the words became real, alive, and active – cutting away lies and strongholds I didn’t know I really had.  But isn’t that just like Jesus?  He is gentle in the revelation of truth and other times it slaps us in the face.  Not today.  Today it was a whisper that grew louder at Kairos.  The eternal that was set in my heart when I was born was redeemed to new life today.  These verses from Colossians have been ringing true for a few hours now.  Resounding the anthem “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom.”  It’s not something I did myself.  There is no way I could have.  It was all Him – God, as it should be when it comes to soul revelation that pushes us toward deeper intimacy with the Father.  That’s what He’s after – our hearts.  He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of relationship and communion in Him.  He really does actively keep His word when Paul wrote in Romans 8, “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Love and relationship are serious business to God.  So much so that He sent His Son Jesus to reconcile man to Himself.  What amazing love is this!

So today, a simple truth was spoken with which I agree, and that is this… The sacrifice of Christ is more than enough.  The blood of Jesus is enough.  The blood of Christ removes the guilt, the shame, the separation, and restores relationship.  Who are you to continue you judging yourself in the light of the Cross?  How long will you sit in judgment of yourself?  Not even the weapons we form against ourselves will God allow to stand between Him and us. God does not want self-condemnation or self-judgment out of our own mouths to get in the way of relationship with Him.  Enough!  The Cross of Christ was and is enough.  The penalty has been paid, and now we can walk in freedom.  If we let him, God will tear down and utterly destroy the lies we believed that told us we could judge ourselves in light our wrong.  Remember what the writer of Hebrews said in chapter 9,

“ 24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice. 27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people.” NLT

It’s over.  It’s done with.  Christ finished the work of atonement.  It is finished.  It is enough.  Now we can choose to come into agreement with the finished work of Jesus on the cross.  That is the moment you find real freedom.  That is the moment when worldly words no longer have permission to hold you down.  That is the moment strongholds are broken.

Here’s a little something to consider for today.  I am not the judge of me anymore.  I have chosen to agree with God that the sacrifice of Jesus was and is enough!  In what ways have you been pronouncing judgment when God already said you’ve been pardoned?  Choose today to seek His face.  He longs to speak with you.  Ask Him where or how you have not agreed with His word and his sacrifice.  God is faithful, and he wants to have relationship with you.  There is hope for your soul and healing for your heart.  Get ready to receive Life.