My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

Yesterday evening I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs and I came across this picture

overflow3fromtruthinpalmyrablog

This picture is courtesy of https://truthinpalmyra.wordpress.com

and this question

Just a Thought:  Jesus laid down His life; no one took it. For you, for me, for all of us. Are we willing to lay ours down for our brethren?

The picture and the thought came from Wally Fry’s blog ‘Truth in Palmyra’

I started writing a comment for Wally but then I realized about 3 paragraphs into my comment, that my comment was becoming way too long to be a comment. so I then decided instead of hijacking Wally’s blog by writing a comment longer than his blog post, I would just turn my comment into a post and post it on my own blog.

Here is a link to Wally’s post –>  Just a Thought

And now here is My Comment Turned into a Blog Post

When I saw the line written out… Jesus laid down His life with the words ‘no one took it’ attached, I saw it in a way I never saw it before.  Though I know full well that Jesus went willingly to the cross, I still guess in my head I more envision the picture of Jesus’ life being taken from Him.  He was beaten and He was killed, but no matter how many times I’ve heard that he willingly laid down his life for a bunch of sinners (me include), I still find it really… really hard to take in. To think that He went through such severe pain and suffering to save a bunch of liars, thieves, adulterers and murderers and He even did it for the people who were right there beating him and nailing him on the cross that day. How could He selflessly give up His life for people who were so unkind and undeserving?

There was once time in my life that I did not believe God existed yet Jesus still went to the cross and He took the punishment that I deserved…He laid down his life and He died… for me … Would I do the same?

Would I lay down my life for my brother or sister? What about someone I did not know or someone who I thought didn’t deserve it?

Also does laying down my life mean I have to die like Jesus did as in death?  Or could this possibly mean laying down my life as in dying to my own self?  1 John 3:16-24 says – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Jesus went to the cross willingly for us and I take that scripture to say I should be willing to give up my life also as in my time, or money, or energy or pretty much anything Jesus would want me to give away, even if that means it will take away my own comfort or may be even painful to help a brother or sister.

As I was writing my comment turned blog post I was reminded of something that happened to me a several years ago. That day had been a crazy busy day from the moment I got out of bed and I had skipped breakfast and missed lunch. I was stressed out, tired cranky and hungry.  I decided to go through a drive through restaurant very late in the day to get a quick bite to eat.  Once I got in line I discovered upon checking my wallet that I barely had any money. After scrounging around in the bottom of my purse and in my car’s console for change, I finally had just enough money to buy a bottle of water and a sandwich, which I did.

Once I finished paying for my food I pulled out of the drive through into the intersection just as the street light turned red.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change, I noticed standing right beside my car was a man with a cardboard sign that had “will work for food” written on it.  As I sat there waiting for the light to change I began to feel very uncomfortable and I was trying very hard to not make eye contact with the man holding the sign.

I didn’t have any money to give him because I had just spent the last of what I had on the food.  I didn’t have a job to offer him and… here is a side of me that I am a bit ashamed to share… I had already decided that the man was probably just a scam artist who really did not need the money anyway.

I sat there at the light for what seemed like forever, feeling very uncomfortable and wishing the light would hurry up and change, but it didn’t happen.  While I sat there keeping my eyes averted away from the man they landed on the bag with my newly purchased sandwich & bottle of water inside. At the same time my eyes landed on the bag, the words “give it to him” went through my head.  I tried hard to not hear them because the truth was I did not really want to hear them.  This was my breakfast, lunch and dinner and I was hungry!

I had plenty of excuses running through my head as to why I should keep my sandwich for myself, but no matter what excuse I gave myself the words “give it to him” kept going through my head.

The next thing I knew I found myself rolling down my window and holding the bag of food and water out to the man. “Would you like to have this sandwich?” I said.  For a second he looked a bit confused but then suddenly His whole face turned into a big giant smile as he took the bag of food from my hand and said “God bless you.”

Just as the words left his mouth the light finally changed to green and I returned his “God bless you” and I drove off.  It was then that I felt he realization that by giving away my lunch somehow I felt joy inside. And the odd thing was, I also realized that I had received way more joy in giving that sandwich away than I think I would have, had I decided to keep it for myself.

God gave me the affirmation that day that giving away to someone I knew nothing about was exactly what He wanted me to do.  It really wasn’t much that I gave and I am not telling this story to toot my own horn, believe me when I say… I still sometimes struggle with this at times. The main reason I am telling this story is because I almost missed a blessing that day because I almost gave myself the authority to decide whether that man deserved a sandwich or not. I also realized that day that we never know someone else’s story and really it is not my place to get to decide whether someone deserves something or not. Only God knows the story and only He gets to be the judge.  We should just love others and give that love freely away like Jesus gave and still does give it to us.

Jesus laid his life down for us never expecting anything in return and He did it just because He loves us and we really ought to do the same.

Here is a video of a song by Trevor Morgan called “Jesus Rides the Subway” that I want to share with you that goes well with this post.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,

Terri

Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair Sometimes

Today I woke up wondering, why I woke up in my nice warm house when a father across the ocean wakes in a pile of rubble and mud. Why am I allowed to go on about my day, living and experiencing joy while the man weeps in grief at the thought of everything that he has lost. His home, his wife and his children swept out to sea by the storm. I can’t help but wonder…did they go peacefully?  Did they have time to know what was happening and be frightened or did they just swim right into the open arms of Jesus?

If God is for us why does something like this happen? Why did a friend of mine just get a cancer diagnosis and while another friend suffers from depression? People are hungry, homeless, abused and disasters happen. The list goes on for miles, people are suffering every single day.  Sometimes I just want to scream, “It’s not fair!” But who am I to decide what is fair and what is not?  We all die, it’s inevitable. Wouldn’t it be nice if when we died we just went to sleep in our bed at night and opened our eyes in heaven? No suffering or pain.  What if life was always rosy? How would we behave? Would we turn to God as much?  Would we still pray? Would we still help one another?

I visited a boy in Haiti last March.  He had nothing of monetary value but he had himself and a whole lot of love; and he was ready and willing to give all of himself away.  I also visited a Mother who had aids and a family of 7, she had a one room shack for a home but opened it up to us as if it were a mansion inviting us in offering us a seat.  She gave more in love to us in that short time than I have given in my whole life.  To me their lives seem unfair yet they were thankful and joyful and ready to unselfishly share it all with me.

When things like the typhoon that hit the Philippines happen we don’t understand, but its also the times like this that God shows the most.  People are coming together from all over the world to give help to their fellow man.  As the broken pick up the broken pieces of their lives, life keeps going on and God keeps going on. Forever His love and strength will show in those who are trying to put the pieces back together again and also in those who come to their aid. Many of us can’t physically go there to help, so we pray. We pray so loud that our voices blend together as one. We pray that God will give strength and healing to those who were hurt.  We pray that nations will come together and in the mighty name of Jesus and that God will show many blessings and miracles in the midst of suffering left from the storm. Most of all we pray that in the center of it all people will come to know Jesus Christ because after all is said and done he is everything that anyone truly needs.

If you would like to help the people of the Philippines Compassion International has set up a donation page to help get emergency relief to children in the effected areas.  This fund will go toward things such as food, clothing, water, and temporary shelter and for providing counseling and spiritual support. Just click the banner below to help.

donate-typhoon-haiyan

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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I Won’t Be Shaken

Satan came creeping in today.  Like a whirl wind he caught me off guard with his lies, taking me back to a place I thought I had left behind.  Old feelings of panic and despair began to penetrate my safe place, stealing my peace crippling me with fear.  In a flash I bolted from the room and ran to the restroom where I crumpled hiding in a stall feeling like a heap of worthless mush.

Four years ago I was suffering from panic disorder and social anxiety.  Four years ago I was avoiding meetings, funerals, weddings, parties, and pretty much anything social that involved groups of people unless I had a glass or two of wine to take the edge off before I went.  Once I would get into a social situation I had to keep drinking to be comfortable.  No one who knew me would have guessed I was struggling with this problem because I kept it pretty much to myself.

In January 2010 I met Jesus and since He came into my life I am a new person.  He helped me over come my fear  I also had the help of a really good Christian counselor who helped to show me that with Jesus I could live my life again.  Because of Jesus I now attend parties and classes.  I am a member of a church and I no longer hide in fear of people and also I no longer need to drink socialize.

I’m sure you can see why today caught me by surprise.  I went to Bible study and as I arrived in the parking lot, I felt that old panicky feeling creeping up on me.  I brushed it aside and I went in the building anyway.  There were people in the lobby and as I sat in the lobby talking the panic subsided and I went on to class.  About 10 minutes into class the panic overcame me again this time gripping me so tight I had to leave the room.  I hid in the bathroom for what seemed like an hour but was really only about 20 minutes. the fear had me so gripped so tight all I wanted to do was go home but I had left all my stuff including my car keys in the classroom so I had to go back. Plus I really wanted to go back,  I love that class!   I prayed until I felt a little better and then I forced myself to go back to class.   Once back in class though I was surrounded by people who I am comfortable with I was still unable to shake the fear that was going on inside of me.

Social anxiety is absolutely ridiculous and makes not a bit of sense.  Why am I so afraid? Why do I have fear of being in a room with people?  When it makes no sense to me I am sure others wouldn’t get it either.  What I do know is… is that its satan’s way of getting me where he knows it hurts me the most. He takes the one thing he thinks could possible keep me away from church and uses it against me.

If I could have had a do over I would have told everyone in the class what was going on and and stayed in the class room.  I didn’t get a do over but what I did get was the chance to make a choice.  I could have chosen to believe satan’s lies and stay crippled by fear or choose to get back up and go back to class.  Thankfully I chose getting up and going back to class.  The fear was still there but the good thing is that satan did not win because I went back.

When my son was younger he used to play baseball and he was an excellent hitter.  I remember a few times when he struck out and the next time he came up to bat if he did not hit the ball right away he would continue to not hit it. He would let the fact that he had struck out get wound up so tight in his head that he would keep striking out and striking out until eventually he would be in a huge batting slump that lasted for days.  All because he had it in his head he could not hit the ball.

I know that baseball and social anxiety are not the same but I do know if I let it get in my head I may panic in class it will continue to happen again and again until I am in a huge slump, crippled by the fear of what I think might happen. In turn causing it to actually happen.

I heard this song a little bit ago on the radio and I thought wow isn’t this timely?…

This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know You go before me and I am not alone
This mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear
I will trust in You – We Won’t be Shaken by Building 429

I refuse to let myself go back there. God helped me through this before and know he will help again.

Thank you for reading and God Bless you.

T

 

 

 

 

All to Well

Today was one of those days that from the minute I woke in the morning I felt down, I felt sad and I felt discouraged.   I really do not have a reason for feeling that way other than sometimes I just wake up in that kind of mood and today was that kind of day.

I know that there is a cure for those kind of feelings but today I ignored the cure and instead of turning to God like I know I should have, I jumped out of bed and dove right into my busy life.  Though I was busy and rushing I was soon to find out that God had other plans today.  Right in the middle of my crazy rush of getting ready for my day God decided it was time for the two of us to have a meeting.

As I turned on my phone to check my email I noticed right there in between the email, facebook and twitter apps, (thank you God for knowing me all to well and catching me where you knew I would be) was my handy dandy YouVersion Bible app. I know it should not have surprised me at all that staring me right in the face was the Bible verse of the day and that today it seemed to be written just for me.

1 Peter 1:18-19  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 

It still never fails to amaze me that he knows me so very well.

What happened next is typical me as usual I distracted easily and now this scripture had distracted me from my busy day and I began to read the rest of the chapter (another God you know me all to well moment).

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

God is not the only one who knows were to meet me, sadly satan knows where the best places are to meet me at also. He seems to know what buttons to push and when things are going really great in my life it seems like that is the time satan seems to pull my past out of his magic trick bag and throw it out in front of me, trying his best to remind me of who I used to be.  Telling me his lies, trying to make the past somehow look good, hoping I may stumble or better yet take a fall.  Today easily could have been one of those kind of days but God showed me this…

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober,  set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Mind fully alert, sober, obedient, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance… ears open now, be holy, because I am holy….Yes God you have my full attention now.

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,  19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

My faith and hope are not in anything or anyone, they can only be found in Jesus.

22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

24 For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. (Im pretty sure I needed a good preach’n to today).

Today as I read this scripture I was reminded of who I am now.  I am not the person I used to be.  I am redeemed, and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.   The past is over and done and  I belong to Him now.  Not anybody or anything can ever take security I have in Jesus away from me.

I know for you that are still reading this post probably made no sense at all but to me it makes perfect sense.   That is how it is with God he speaks to each of us individually, he meets us each right were we are at.

For those of you who are still here reading this thank you for reading and God bless you.  🙂