The Lent That Sticks

This is a repost from last year that I wanted to share again.

Ever since I got saved in August 2010, I have done something to acknowledge the Lent season. I was raised Catholic but that doesn’t have anything to do with it. When I got saved for real, you know when this happens, I had a strong desire to follow Jesus and His teachings. Practicing Lent is not a teaching, it’s something that certain denominational churches have come up with. It’s about observing the 40 days before Easter, representing the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert.

I feel that most people are turned off to observing Lent because they think it’s for the church. I have to say that I am turned off to denominational churches, they are the Pharisees of our day. I am learning more and more about Jesus and how the church of His day hated Him. I know most people don’t know this but it was the church who crucified Jesus. Now I know it was the plan of God but Jesus confronted them on many occasions about how they followed rules but they didn’t know God.

This is what is happening today. People are in church doing church things and they think they have to observe Lent. I choose to observe Lent because of my obedient heart towards God. If you are just going through the motions with an empty heart you are wasting your time and energy. God knows. He sees your heart. That is all He sees for that matter. The things you do or don’t do, doesn’t matter to Him, it’s the state of your heart that counts.

My husband teases me about my Lent devotion. He will say there is Lent all over the table or something funny like that. Today he made another comment like that and something was said to me in my spirit. Whatever it is your doing for Lent season keep doing it. Lent sticks to stuff right? Well, how about letting this Lent stick to your heart and soul? The only Lent that sticks is one done out of love. We love because He first loved us. Out of love we want to please God. Don’t do anything out of obligation, God doesn’t see it or feel it. He wants our love, fellowship, relationship.

I have been reading lately about soaking in His presence and intimacy with God. I found out that I do these things without realizing it just by following the Holy Spirit. I learned from Kim Walker Smith that stopping and talking to God, asking Him questions, this is intimacy with Him. Waiting for His answer, soaking in His presence. The problem we have is we are so rushed all the time and we forget. I have written about this before that forgetting God is the real sin. We have to fight to keep an awareness of His presence. This is what I am aiming for now, to stop and ask the Holy Spirit for direction, what choice to choose, what to say. I want Him in my every moment. This is the Lent that sticks. The Holy Spirit is stuck to you, inside of you, if your a believer, welcome Him, talk to Him, commune with Him. This is what He is waiting for. I read the other day that God is waiting for you to wait on Him! I loved that!

Jesus just wants us. Our belief, faith, love, trust. Following church rules doesn’t bring you closer to Him. Loving Him does.

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Hearts Of Gold

I have something to share that is very real and embarrassing but I am led by the Holy Spirit to share it. It is a confession and redemption story that I think is important for people to hear. It lets you know that it’s okay that your not perfect even followers of Jesus make mistakes and sin but the beauty of following Him is we are forgiven and if we choose to repent and reconcile the loss we are redeemed and set back right with God.

Here goes, yesterday my daughter and I went to Target and bought new purses. When we came home she put this really cute pom pom key chain on hers and I liked it. So, we went to Target again to get me one but they didn’t have one I liked except one that was attached to a book bag type purse. I wanted it really bad and the temptation of worldly things took over and the devil found a way to get me. I took the pom pom off the book bag and took it to the counter and told a lie. I thought if I paid for it, it wouldn’t be stealing and I I thought a little white lie wouldn’t hurt. Only this was done in front of my daughter. Last night I woke up all of a sudden with this incident on my mind. The Holy Spirit convicted me of this pom pom. It sounds very trivial and stupid but God doesn’t see it that way. I had the Holy Spirit point some things out to me that I want to share and it might help you the next time your tempted by something.

The Holy Spirit let me know it was wrong even though I didn’t “steal” the pom pom, I lied. I had just given a girl in a group I’m in some scriptures about lying because she said she had a problem with it. One of those scriptures came to my mind immediately. Proverbs 12:22, Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight. I said, I don’t want to be an abomination to the Lord! I said I was sorry and asked for forgiveness but then I was at the point of where Judas and Peter were. I felt like I wanted to die but I knew to chose Peter’s solution and repent. So, I did and I asked God what can I do to make it right? He revealed to me that I had already fixed the pom pom so just go back to Target and put it back on the book bag, even though you paid for it, and it will be restored. The book bag and my heart. Then He went on to remind me that earlier that day I watched some of Billy Graham’s funeral and I so admired what they said about him living his life as an example and God told me, what kind of example are you being to your daughter! Then He told me how are you going to feel going to church tomorrow with it on your purse and what if the pastor speaks of stealing and your daughter will nudge you and you will feel so guilty. I immediately vowed to God that the pom pom was stupid and nothing compared to my relationship with Him. I said I will take it back after church and all of a sudden I couldn’t wait to get rid of it! When I closed my eyes God gave me a vision to let me know He was pleased, it was images of gold hearts! I knew He was happy with my choice.

I woke my husband up and told him everything. When my daughter got up I told her everything. The most amazing thing about this is, when we were at church the pastor was speaking about God’s grace and salvation. He used an example and guess what it was. He said,” It’s not like you wake up and think your going to steal! There are people who can’t get stealing off their minds!” My daughter leaned over and said,” You were right.” My mom told me God let me see into the future a little bit and gave me the chance to right my wrong. I made it right today and couldn’t wait to do it. I have felt God’s presence with me and I’m so filled with joy!

I want to tell you it’s so easy to let Satan in and mess you up. You think it can’t happen to you but it can. The devil got me but I win! I won! My pastor’s sermon was so awesome in light of what happened, so amazing what happened to me today. I am ashamed of the sin but look how God used it for His glory and took what was meant for evil against me and turned into good! I am so amazed! I am so thankful I have been redeemed and I’m washed with the blood of Jesus, thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus that you make my heart a heart of gold!

The Spirit Filled Life

My focus today is about “filling up” instead of “giving up”. To be thankful for everything. Today I read a story of a girl at Lent “giving up” sweets and what she learned from it. Something I have also been learning the past few days. That Jesus really can “fill” the hollow spots in our hearts. I have had a great joy in focusing on Lent. I so loved Advent that I couldn’t wait for Lent. It gives me a sense of purpose, meaning, something to look forward to. It changes something inside of me. I see things different and life feels different. It’s like a fog is lifting. I decided to not “give up” something but to “add” something. Although I guess I am giving up time to do it but what I am learning is faithfulness. Not self control as in giving up something. This time I am spending with God and Jesus is being used to “fill me” with the Holy Spirit, therefore, leaving no hollow spots in my heart.

Trail to the Tree to day is talking about the cure for discontentment. She cites the scripture about Moses making a copper snake so when the people got bitten all they had to do was look at the one he had made and they would live. God sent snakes because they were complaining and were discontent with what God was doing. But they repented and He made a way to save them. Just like He sent Jesus. If we choose to repent and look to Jesus we are saved also. ” Whoever is bitten and looks at it will live.” Numbers 21:8. Whoever is bitten by sin ( everyone has ) and looks to Jesus, will live.

The best cure for discontent is the filling of the Holy Spirit, looking to Jesus, letting Him fill your hollow heart. Pray for Jesus to come fill you. Instead of being discontent or worried, pray. Be grateful for what God has given already. Remember God’s goodness from times before and know God is good ALL THE TIME!

 

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Can You Remember?

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I just watched a movie called Little Prince on Netflix. I was drawn to it because it said this little girl learned from the Little Prince how to see with her heart. This subject of seeing with your heart has been showing up a lot lately in my life. I keep reading it and even my daughter brought it up one day. She said we can’t see Jesus physically because we are blind. She went on to say that the only way we can “see” Him is with our heart. I read in a e mail devotion that our journey isn’t to find God, it’s to remove the blinders. I then read in Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts devotional where she prayed for God to open the eyes of her heart. She said this is a journey that must be Spirit-led every day. This is a prayer that must be said every day, all through the day because we will forget moment to moment. That’s what the movie Little Prince was about, not forgetting how to see with your heart.  Ann also mentioned the blind man in the Bible, when Jesus asked what He wanted the blind man said,”I want to see.” Ann said this same thing to God and I have too. I want to see God in my every day life. The way to do that is with my heart. In the movie this little girl’s mother wants her to be prepared for adulthood but in doing this the girl doesn’t get to be a child. The old man next door, he hasn’t forgotten and he teaches the girl how to remember. I had a dream a few years ago and all I could remember when I woke up was grace remembered. I couldn’t figure out the meaning and I have thought I figured it out but really I didn’t until recently. When I was doing my One Thousand Gifts devotional it clicked! Ann was talking about doxology. I didn’t know the meaning so I looked it up. It is a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God. A lack of doxology leads to evil acts. Ann said forgetting to thank God dismembers us but counting blessings literally re-members us to God. My dream means to remember God’s graces toward me. The old man taught the girl how to see with her heart through a story he wrote about the Little Prince. Ann is saying to see God with your heart you have to be thankful for His grace. The movie showed me that if I can see God and Jesus with my heart then I won’t ever feel alone. The world is an illusion. We have to break through it to see the real life hidden in Jesus. The biggest thing I remember about being a child would be the feeling of security in my parents. I never worried about shelter, food, clothes, my needs were met. I never thought of the future or cared about it. This is what God says He will do if we just trust in Him. He says He will take care of our needs and desires. He says not to worry about the future because only He knows the future. Even though we are “grown”up we need God. We have to remember Him to have peace. The childlike faith I had in my parents should be what I have for God. When we forget who God is and fail to praise Him this leads to worldly ways and the Bible warns us to not be conformed to this world. When we conform to the world we are like robots. God gave us the ability to “see” Him but we have to remember how.

Who Or What Is Your Idol?

This subject about having idols has been on my mind recently. Mostly because I don’t want to have any myself, but the Holy Spirit has pointed out some things to me. I was reading somewhere and I think it’s in Lisa Bevere’s new book coming out Without Rival, that an idol is anything you draw strength from other than God. Usually I heard idols described as whatever is in your heart before God. That definition isn’t as understandable as the first. When I read that definition it clicked for me because I actually had the thought recently that playing a game on face book gave me strength to then go and do my work. It serves as an “escape” for a little bit and you think your getting strength from that. So I realized that playing games is an idol.

I was drawn to a ride at Disney World recently called The Carousel of Progress. I rode it when I was small and always remembered it. I watched it on youtube and in doing that I was drawn to read about Walt Disney. I have heard that Disney is evil. The channel, the movies, the park. Walt Disney was abused as a child by his father and as an ‘”escape” he drew pictures. Then as he grew up his pictures came to life and then he made the theme parks. Snow White was the first motion picture. His “escapism” took over his life!

God never intended for us to “escape”life. The evil one, satan, is the one in control of this. For a long time I guess I have wanted an escape. First it was soap operas, magazines, T.V. shows, and now in this age GAMES! I feel church overlooks this addiction. Out of all the addictions this one is left out for some reason. I believe satan has us so deceived that the church doesn’t even see this as a problem. Games can be very addicting. I know because I have had the problem. They let you escape reality a little bit, they “work” your brain, they make you feel like you accomplished something when really you haven’t, they make you feel like somebody because you beat something or gained a level. All this is what the devil uses to distract us from God’s work that we should be doing in our life. Not only that but when you finally have to come back to reality, your out of sorts and you can’t remember what you really have to do.

Our strength comes from the Lord! Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Our “escape” should be in Christ! Our need is for Him anyway. When we start to feel overwhelmed Jesus said come to Me all who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest. Anxiety included! When anxious feelings come, begin thanking Jesus for all His graces and sing praises to God! We have to remember God’s grace past to receive God’s grace future! He wants us to boast in Him! Glorify Him! Tell people what He has done! I know from experience that talking about what God is doing in my life to my mom gives me strength. When you talk about the Lord, He is there. I read in my Bible about this. Malachi 3:16, Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

I believe we are so blinded that we forget God is present everywhere, every moment. He knows everything! This fight to remember God is with me, has been my focus lately. I was taking the trash out the other day and it came to me that I have to have confidence that He is walking beside me. Then I realized confidence is really faith. So I thought of the scripture about faith. Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Our faith should be in God. Idols are misplaced faith. 

I have also learned that “seeing” God is with my heart. I think we resort to “things” to fill us up because they are tangible. Something we can experience with our five senses, but we do have a spiritual side that connects us with God if we can just access it. It says in the Bible we can only worship God with spirit and truth. With our spirit and His truth. We have to learn to replace these “things” with God’s presence. Being in His presence will give you more energy and strength than you know what to do with! How I do this is through singing my favorite songs to Him, reading the Bible, studying scripture, writing, loving my family, doing what I know God has for me to do. Not only will you get your work done but you will have peace! Nothing compares to having peace! Then your able to have a sound mind and make right decisions. This is God’s will for you.

True Beauty Comes From The Heart

It’s so easy to get caught up in the worlds way and forget God’s way. This is the fight we wrestle with every day. Choosing God’s way. As Paul said we do what we don’t want to do. Romans 7:15-20, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. We know God only looks at the heart of a person. 1 Samuel 16:7,But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lordsees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So what I need to be concerned with in myself is determining whether my heart is clean, not if I look good physically. True beauty comes from within. If my heart is troubled or hard it shows on my face. If I have been spending time in the Word and in the presence of God it shows on my face. Just like when Moses glowed after receiving the 10 Commandments. Exodus 34:29-32,  When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. This is true beauty, when people see Jesus inside of us. 

 

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Salvation Day

I was reading my daily scripture I get in my email and it read: John 14:20,  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

For the first time I thought what day is Jesus talking about? You would think He’s talking about His Second Coming. I went to my Bible and read from the beginning of Chapter 14 and I have had a revelation of this scripture. Jesus is talking about your salvation day. In the verse before,19, it says,  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. The world doesn’t see Jesus. Satan has blinded the world from seeing Jesus. Only when we are made alive in spirit through God’s Holy Spirit do we recognize Jesus. When this happens we then see Jesus as He really is, ALIVE and GLORIOUS! When we are “born again”, what has happened is, is the Truth has been revealed and realized in our hearts.

We then know Jesus is God and they are one and now Jesus lives in me through the Holy Spirit. This is being “born again”. When you realize and “see” Jesus is alive and He is your Savior, you too will live just as He says in the scripture.