What does it mean to you, to take up your cross daily?

What does it mean to you, to take up your cross daily?

Luke 9:21-27   And He strictly warned and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” 23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.”

In this scripture we see that Jesus was about to take up His own cross, and that He was going to suffer. He was telling His disciples of this personally. They did not have to read it in a book, but they heard it with their own ears coming straight out of the mouth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. We know they heard what He spoke, but did they understand what He was saying? He did not just tell them that He was going to suffer but that those that choose to follow Him would also have to take up their own cross.

Today you can go into a church or home and see some beautifully decorated cross. The cross Christ would be crucified on was far from beautiful. It was used not to just kill the one hung on it but to cause great suffering. You will read in James how we are to count it all joy when we face various trials and tribulations. Jesus told us that we would be hated and suffer not because of ourselves but because the world hated Him and he is in us. So we have been given authority but at the same time this authority does not promise that we would not suffer.

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

John 15:17-19 This is My command to you: Love one another. 18If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. 19If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.…

Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”

Acts 14:22  strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in the faith. “We must endure many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

We endure any trial or suffering and take up our cross not for our own sake but for the sake of the lives we can bring Jesus to. I know my personal life has had it’s fill of suffering and pain, but I have not suffered alone. Jesus has been with me through it all. How can I know this? I would not have made it this far without Him. What is more important is that those who have been able to see Him working in my life through the times of trials. This is my witness, it is not what I have done but what He does for me every day, and that He can be seen in my life. His love never fails me. I may hurt and have difficulties to put it in a nutshell, which in comparison to all that God has done for me really is the size of that nutshell. The life in this world is temporary, but our life with Him is eternal. So no matter what storms may rage I choose to take up my cross and trust in the One whom I choose to follow and know that He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The pains a woman endures during labor lasts for a moment, but the joy and love she has when her child is placed in her arms is forever. The pain of taking up your cross is temporary but the love of the One who you have chosen to follow is forever.

Call To Prayer / Let us pray together for Victims of Human Trafficking

Call To Prayer / Let us pray together for Victims of Human Trafficking

With so much going on in the world these victims are often forgotten. So many fighting for their rights but forgetting there millions sold through out the world today. No country or state is free from this abomination. Lives sold as you buy or sale anything you could purchase in the store or online. Slaves to whom ever pays for them to be used and abused until their usefulness is no longer desired. It is not just the physical abuse they suffer, but how they are degraded and how their spirits are broken. These are the ones who are always in my prayers. I pray that you join me in prayer for these victims and for the organizations who fight to free them and give them new lives.

Here a few links to such organizations

Tim Tebow Foundation – https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/get-involved

Save the Children – https://www.savethechildren.org/us/charity-stories/child-trafficking-awareness

Destiny Rescue – https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/

There are many more who are doing all they can to set these modern day slaves.

Fictional letters based on People in the Bible/ Dinah

Dear Dinah

My Dear Dinah,

     You are My beautiful and loving girl. You have been the victim twice. First Hamor raped you and stole your innocence. They tried to make things right and submitted themselves to your father’s decision. Thankfully he chose to forgive, and the man became your husband. His father the King and all the people of the land gave up their old ways and rid themselves of all their idols and other gods. They were circumcised to show their commitment to Me. I was now their God as I am yours.

     It was not My plan for you to be hurt, yet I was able to use what was meant to destroy you and use what was done to you to bring a nation to Me, so that something good had come out of what terrible thing that had been done to you. It was a chance for you to heal from what had been done to you. To remove the shame you felt. Yes there are those who would have blamed you, and I am sorry for the way they think about such a terrible crime. More than your body had been harmed, because he took from you what you did not give. You refused and he did what he wanted to satisfy his own desire not caring about what he was doing to you. He took your free will. I want to heal your heart and mind as well as your body from the damage he has done to you.

     Now your brothers have gone against your father’s decision and slaughtered not only your husband but many of the other men after they had been circumcised and were healing in their beds. This hurt you more because you feel that you were only an excuse for them to behave in this violent way. You did not feel the comfort of a brother’s love. They did not console you. Instead they stole from you from your husband by taking his life. Your pain did not end here. You have also lost your brother Joseph. Your other brothers told you that a wild animal had killed him. So he was dead because they said so. You have suffered such loss, your innocence, your husband, and your brother.

     I am sorry for the pain that you feel. I know that you may want to blame Me, for I am your God. I want to keep you from all harm and suffering. Yet I have given to all men free will. I could not control their actions without taking their free will away from them. As you chose to serve and love Me from your heart, is how I want them to choose for themselves. I love you and care deeply for you. I will heal you, and love you for all eternity. You will live with me one day and never suffer again. I promise you this.

Love,

Your Heavenly Father

Read

Genesis 34 & 37

Testimony / I gave up on life and survived

This is one of the most difficult thing I have to share with the world. I am not seeking your pity nor do I need your judgment. I am sharing this only because I pray to reach if just one person who is at the end of their rope and is ready to jump of of that ledge.

I cannot say that I understand your pain or what has lead you to this point but I pray that you will stop long enough to read these words that  I am writing.

It will be five years this Thanksgiving when my world had grown so dark and the pain was more than I could bear that I did give up on life. Falsely accused and arrested in the middle of the night just a couple of months prior my world was turned upside down. After a lifetime of abuse and a multitude of wrong decisions I was alone and all the pain I had suffered over my life came down upon me like a crushing wave. I am not a coward but had nothing that I felt that was living for. Alone on  a holiday meant for family and giving thanks all I could see was darkness and feel the loneliness of being cut out of my own life.  I lost my will to live. So with what I thought was going to be my last breath I kicked the stool out from underneath me. The belt I used to hang myself did not do the job I thought it would because it stretched that even though I lifted my legs it stretched until I was literally sitting on the floor. Yelling at God and pounding my fist on my floor like a child throwing a temper tantrum that I couldn’t even do this right. I continued to yell and cry until I heard a voice. It was not harsh or condemning but loving. I heard it say, ‘Are you done yet?’  I know you probably think I was crazy and just hearing things. Obviously my mental state was impaired. (This was not the first or only time I have heard God speaking to me by the way, but the other times they are different stories.) I did just try to hang myself. Yet as I heard that voice I know I was not imagining anything. It was real, I had heard His Voice before so I know it when I hear it. Though no one was physically in my empty home but myself there was someone who was watching over me. I even knew what they meant when they asked if I was done yet. You see this was not the first suicide attempt I had attempted, but my third. So I responded, ‘Yes Lord I am done. Obviously You aren’t done with me yet.’ Then I heard Him say, ‘Get up. It is not over yet.’

So I stood up and took the belt from around my own neck. I was amazed because how long it had stretched and that not mark was left on my neck. (A little note a couple of years later I tried to stretch that same belt and it did not give an inch, so no one can tell me God is not real.) I still had a long road ahead of me and the trials did not go the way I had believed but even on the final day of court when the rest of my world as I knew it came to a crashing end and though I was innocent of the charges I was still found guilty. I lost everything but my life and my home. You won’t believe this but as crushed as I felt, I heard God speak to me again. He said to me, ‘Can you forgive them now?’ I responded with, ‘Not because I want to but because of You I will.’ Even though not one thing went well for me, I knew God was with me. That even though I was found guilty in the court of man I was not guilty in His eyes and that He did not abandon me even when I wanted to end it all. My mother died suddenly at the end of my trials, and I lost my daughter, but God was with me through it all. I won’t say thoughts of giving up have not crossed my mind since but a small still voice says don’t give up. So as hard as it is at times because the battles I still must fight wear me down that I want to toss in the towel and quit, I know that I can’t. I must finish the race. I have not yet reached the finish line.

I will never know why my life did not end that day or why my previous attempts failed, when others who have attempted the same act are gone. I know that I am no better a person than another. My life is no more valuable than anyone else’s life so why am I still here? To be honest only God knows the real reason. My only conclusion I can come to on my own is to share my story and hopefully reach at least one person who is where I was at, or inspire someone else to reach out to someone who is suffering just to let them know they are not alone and that someone does care. Call them or even better visit with them. Don’t push too hard to get them to talk but be there and continue to be there. I did not immediately share my story but a year later I was part of a church who arranged an event inspired by a number of suicides in the area that happened in a very short time period. I saw lives touched and was inspired to start sharing my story. With the holidays upon us I personally know how difficult it is for anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety or is suffering any form of abuse. You may feel unloved, rejected and alone. The pain may be suffocating and the world may be completely dark without light of hope. I was there and I survived but you may not so please don’t give up. If there is no one in your immediate life that you feel safe to turn to there are others that even though they may be strangers who will listen to you who will give you the compassion that you need and even help. Your life is valuable and you are important. So important that God sent His Son to die for you.

Call someone. Get help. Please do not give up. I may not know you but you are in my prayers and I pray you find the love of Jesus and the strength and comfort He has for you.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We’re committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.  1-800-273-8255  website  http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/#

HELPGUIDE.ORG

If you’re thinking about suicide, please read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S.! To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit IASP or Suicide.org.

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-helping-someone-who-is-suicidal.htm

1-800-SUICIDE

Always remember that there are phone numbers that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,  from any location in the United States:

 

Testimony / I gave up on life and survived

1-800-273-TALK / (1-800-784-2433)   (1-800-273-8255)

This is only a short list of where you can find help whether you are the one who is struggling or you think you may know someone who needs help please get the help that you need and please do it before it is too late. I know my life choices have been far from right too many times and that I survived but I know that if I try again I won’t survive again. Life is precious please don’t give up because you are precious and nothing can replace you in this world.

 

14.Letters from God (fictional letters based on people in the Bible) Dear Joseph (falsely accused)

Dear Joseph,

(Falsely accused)

     You were falsely accused of attempting to rape Potiphar’s wife, when you denied her, she screamed her false accusations. She was angry because she had been rejected, something that no one had ever done. She was used to getting her way and had never been told no. So to keep you silent she lied. So now you sit in jail. Once again you are being treated terribly by those who are close to you. Even though Potiphar knew that you did not touch his wife or try to harm her. Yet he was more concerned about how this would look to others and how what she had done could affect the position he holds. For these reasons he hid the truth of what his wife had done. He knew in his heart the truth, yet he still punished you for a crime that you did not commit.

     You are paying the price for her lies. Once again you are alone in a dark place, imprisoned by another’s actions. The pain of the humiliation caused by her accusations has cut deep. This pain you are feeling is more than understandable. You suffer much, but I will see you through this. You are not alone. I Am here with you. Do not be afraid. I have plans for you, and through you I will save many. Soon two men will be in prison with you. I will give these men dreams, and to you I will give the interpretations of their dreams. Just a little while and I will take you out of your prison and place you on high and you will be given a position of power and authority.

      When this time shall come, how will you treat those who have wronged you? I know your heart, but do you? Do not let go of your faith in Me. Believe and much good will come from your suffering. I will take what has been done to you and use it to be glorified in you. What you have suffered will not be in vain. I will prosper you and you will see the power of my love and the grace of forgiveness.

I Am yours Faithfully,

Love your God

 

 Read 

Genesis chapter 38 & 39

 

November 14, 2015 Saturday

No lesson or advice today. Just  me rambling. With all that has happened in this last week, I know that many are in shock over the attacks and lives lost. What is saddening me the most is that this violence does not come as a shock to me. People keep saying things will get better, but I do not see it. I see prophecy being fulfilled. Which is a not bad because that only means that the return of Jesus is coming. I may not know the date or the hour but the signs are becoming for more frequent.

People will ask, ‘Where was God?’ like they do every time a tragedy strikes. Which my answer is, “He was with the victims sharing in their pain and suffering’. Another question will be, ‘If there is a God, how could He let something like this happen?’ God did not plan or make these people do what they did and yes He did not stop them. To stop them would mean He would have to take away their free will and their ability to make choices for themselves. He gave each and every one of us the ability to make decisions for ourselves when He gave us free will. He is not one who gives a gift and takes it back. Which I am thankful for because I would not like for Him to take back the gift of salvation. People make their own choices to do what they will, whether it is right or wrong, to do good or to cause harm. When judgement day comes we will all be accountable for our own actions. Until that day though God grieves for us. He hurts for us. His love for us did not stop because of tragedy but is without limit or measure in spite of the terrible things that happen in this world. The tears He has shed for us could flood this earth I believe. My rambling is come to its end so this is all I have left to say.

I pray for the families and loved ones who lost people this week not only in France but all around the world. I pray for the children who are being abused, used and discarded like trash. I pray for all the victims of violence. I pray for the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect another, who serve in the military, are policemen, and firefighters. To the stranger who sees a wrong being done and gets involved to help. For families whose lives have been torn apart for any reason. For those who are battling cancer or any other disease. For those who have no job, home, or food. I pray for those who battle depression, suicidal thoughts, anger, and other mental issues. I pray for those who battle addictions. I pray for those who are grieving. I pray for those who are lost and hurting who do not know Jesus to be found. Lord I pray for your people my brothers and sisters in Christ. We need You. You are the Only Way! Forgive us of our sins and deliver us from the evil one. Give us the ability to love our enemies and bless those who curse us. All this I pray in Jesus name. amen.