Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Luke 24:3-6

Good morning!

Luke 24:3-6: They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men stood by them in dazzling clothes. So the women were terrified and bowed down to the ground. "Why are you looking for the living among the dead?" asked the men. "He is not here, but He has been resurrected!"

I know this seems like a strange Scripture for Winning Souls Wednesday but that question the angels asked just jumped right out at me. That used to be the epitome of my life: looking for living things among dead things, thinking they would bring me joy. More than anything, I felt dead inside and desperately wanted to feel alive. I believe that is what everyone wants when they really think about it.

My mom got involved with a group when I was a teenager called the Landmark Forum. I have vague memories of it but after Googling it, I see a lot of people felt the same way I did back then. It is a cult! Self-help seminar, derived from Scientology, give me your money to obtain a revelation kind of cult. I remember them telling me I wasn't opening my brain up to them and then the other memory was the leader saying he could heal anyone's headache just by visualizing the pain and in layers, believing it to go away. They even tested it on a girl and of course, her headache went away as everyone was staring at her. What else was she going to say?! Thankfully, we did not stay long but looking back, all those people were just in search mode. Trying anything and testing whatever they could to feel alive and loved.

As we are about to celebrate Easter this weekend, I am reminded of my journey. Before Jesus, I always looked to dead, cold, inanimate, and lifeless things to fill me. After Jesus, the truth that He died on that cross for me isn't the end of the story. He doesn't rot in that tomb, dead and cold and inanimate and lifeless. He was raised from the dead and is alive! He is not a ghost that can never be approached. He is not a story trapped inside a book. He is not a deity that was with men thousands of years ago but we are left on our own. No! He is real, flesh and bone and sitting at the right hand of His Father, praying for you right now. Stop looking for the living among the dead!

Later that day, Jesus came back to His disciples and showed himself them since they still didn't believe He was alive. He said in verse 46: “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Jesus fulfilled this promise just for you! I promise when you realize and come to the truth that He is alive and He is what you've been looking for, your old life dies away and a new creation is born! It's an amazing feeling to feel alive and be able to envision a bright future. I was existing before Jesus but not truly living. As I look back, I always wonder...why did it take me so long?! 

Happy Easter everyone!! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Exodus 3:13-15

Good morning!

Exodus 3:13-15: Then Moses asked God, "If I go to the Israelites and say to them: The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what should I tell them?" God replied to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you." God also said to Moses, "Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.

God responds to Moses not with a name that would put limits on Him in any way. Instead, He replies with the statement that He is the permanent substance and foundation that always will be and act as He wills. He is all and everything we need, for every need and want. He was and is and is to come. He has been here before the stars and planets, He is here in this world that continually decides to deny Him, and He will be here when this world is nothing but a memory. This song is an awesome example of "I AM WHO I AM". Praise Him this morning, not because of what He can do for you but just because of who He is.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Matthew 7:13-14

Good morning!

Matthew 7:13-14: Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.

The Lord woke me up at 5:00AM with this Scripture in my head and I've been thinking about it ever since. Jesus is speaking about the Kingdom of Heaven in this chapter and the road it takes to get there. In John 14:6-7, Jesus declares HE is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. If we know Jesus, then we will know His Father too.

So the road that we walk that leads to the gate of Heaven is a picture of our salvation through Jesus Christ.

I very well could have been one of the many that did not find the narrow gate. I looked up narrow in the dictionary to get a better picture of the word. It means a slender width, minutely precise.

I started thinking back to when I was an unbeliever and all the reasons I used to come up with in my mind not to accept Jesus as my Savior. I heard it all but I just couldn't make the decision. It sounded like too much to give up. So I kept walking the broad path of destruction, with all of my junk and issues dragging along with me.

The gate is narrow because the path is only big enough for you to walk it. You can't bring your family along with you if you truly put Jesus first and take up your cross and follow after Him (Matthew 16:24). You won't have room for all the junk and issues because there is freedom and liberty in His salvation (Galatians 5:1).You can't try to be like anyone else because God has a special plan just for  you; this is your journey (Jeremiah 29:11).

God knew it would be difficult to walk the narrow road because of all the road blocks the world throws at us. The Devil desperately wants us to miss the path that leads to that precious narrow gate and instead go along with the masses down the broad path of destruction that is so deceptively decorated with "fun" and "good times". That road is full of the mind set of it's all about me, and how can I make myself feel better and how much more stuff can I get to complete me. That road leads to death.
But once you turn down the narrow path that leads to that gate, your mind set changes to it's all about Him, and how can I bring Him glory, and what can I give to help others in need. That road leads to life.

Think about easy is it to live for yourself, giving in to your fleshly desires, satisfying yourself before anyone else? How difficult is it to set your mind on unearthly ways, think of others before yourself, give first and then save, love your enemies, believe and trust in a hope that others can't see? Living for ourselves brings death and living for Jesus brings life. It may seem like the other way around when you are trying to make the decision on which road to take. I know it did to me 12 years ago. But since I chose the narrow path, I have never looked back. Nothing compares to His love! I found everything I was looking for and needed on that path and I will continue to walk it until it's my time to enter through that gate. To my eternal home.

Stay the course. Don't falter just because the road is narrow. Don't get tripped up by bringing more than you should with you on your journey or trying to be someone you are not. He is all you will ever need and He provides all you need to keep going. The narrow gate that is the entrance to Heaven is calling us all. Be one of the few who finds it!