Tag Archives: Jesu

Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 2)

English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houst...
English: Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings beloved readers! As promised, I am continuing the series on false teachers. Specifically, this post is a continuation of my post on Joel Osteen. In my first post on him, {Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)}, I focused on Larry King’s interview with him. In this post, I want to focus on other statements and teachings by Joel Osteen, so you can see that his interview with Larry King wasn’t just a fluke or a one time thing.

In an interview with Michelle A. Vu, Christian Post in April 2012, Osteen was asked if he considered himself a preacher of the prosperity message, and if it was heresy. His response, along with my thoughts on his response follows:

Osteen: You know, I don’t consider myself a … I don’t really know what the prosperity gospel is. The way I define it is that I believe God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career. So I do … if that is the prosperity gospel, then I do believe that.

Image Credit:
Image Credit:
oprah.com

This sounds so good and positive, and yes, the Lord cares about our health, our relationships and our families. I’m also certain He cares about our business and careers, though not necessarily in the way that Mr. Osteen implies. What concerns the Lord first and foremost is whether we bring glory to Him. Have we repented and been born again? Do we love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?

Bring all who claim Me as their God,
for I have made them for My glory.
It was I who created them.

~ Isaiah 43:7 ~

As you can see from this scripture, we were created for God’s glory. As I think about that, my heart and my mind goes immediately to the man who was born blind, and later healed by Jesus…

As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. 2 “Rabbi,” His disciples asked Him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”

~ John 9:1-3 ~

Image Credit: bible-daily.org
Image Credit:
bible-daily.org

Why was this man born blind? According to Jesus, he was born blind so that the power of God could be seen in him. Just think about it. This man was born blind, and throughout his childhood and into his adulthood, he remained blind. Imagine how difficult and trying his childhood must have been. Imagine how difficult his adulthood must have been. How would a blind man find work in that day and age? What kind of career could he hope for? And yet, it was God’s will that he remain blind for all of those years, until he met Jesus. It was God’s will for Jesus to restore his sight, so that God’s power working through Jesus would be revealed in him. It seems to me that God was more interested in showing His power in this man than in any career or business venture the man could have been involved in…

I don’t believe we are supposed to go through life defeated and not having enough money to pay our bills or send our kids to college. So you know, when I hear some of that, I think that is not who I am, he doesn’t know me or what I teach. Because he is saying God doesn’t believe that… there is no demand, I don’t think I’d put it like that but I always talk about God rewards obedience. When you follow His way, the Bible says that His blessings will chase you down and overtake you.

Image Credit: flickr.com
Image Credit:
flickr.com

This sounds really nice, especially to someone who is struggling financially, with no job, no income, and mounting bills. But is it true? If God wanted everyone to have enough money to pay their bills and send their kids to college, then why are there so many poor people? And why did Jesus say this?

“You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.”

~ Matthew 26:11 ~

No one was more obedient than Jesus, and yet He was homeless…

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:58 ~

Image Credit: ImageShack.us
Image Credit:
ImageShack.us

Jesus never sinned, and yet He was never rewarded with money or a career. Instead, His obedience led Him to Golgotha, where He was beaten, mocked, spit on and nailed to the cross, where He died. All of His disciples, except for John were martyred. And all of them, though they were obedient to the Lord, were tortured an suffered much. None of the apostles were blessed with lots of money and a good career, and certainly none of them, except for possibly Paul, went to college, nor did their children. So why should we expect the Lord to bless us financially, when we certainly haven’t suffered for the sake of the gospel?

Image Credit: examiner.com
Image Credit:
examiner.com

Just this year, Osteen joined forces with Oprah Winfrey, (who denies the truth of the Gospel), in a televised class entitled, “I Am: Life is How You See It”. I have a problem with this on several different levels.

First of all, if Osteen truly is a man of God — if he truly is a servant of Christ, then why would he team up with Winfrey, who spouts New Age rhetoric?

14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?

2 Corinthians 6:14-15~ ~

The other problem I have with Osteen and Winfrey’s class is the title of it… I Am is the name of God..

13 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The Lord 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, and this is My memorial to all generations.’

~ Exodus 3:13-15 ~

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

For a pastor, who claims to be a Christian to join forces with a New Age leader, to minister to the spiritual needs of people is outrageous. Further, to entitle their class, “I Am” is blasphemous. Anytime a Christian ministers to the spiritual needs of people, he/she should point the way to salvation through Christ, but how can he do this when his co-leader is teaching New Age principles? Furthermore, the I Am that Oprah and Joel are pointing people to is themselves, not the Lord. Just look at this exchange between Joel, Oprah and a man named Saul, who has problems trusting people since his father committed suicide.

Oprah Winfrey, “I would say to you, can you trust yourself? Would you say that?”

Saul, “I am unable to trust because I feel that.”

Oprah Winfrey, “Okay I would say to you and I have, I am no pastor at all. But I would say to you can you trust yourself? Would you say that too pastor?”

Joel Osteen, “Absolutely!”

Oprah Winfrey, “Can you trust yourself? I mean you may be afraid of what somebody else is going to do. But can you trust yourself? Do you trust yourself enough to know that if somebody harms you, if somebody is not going to be advantageous to you, then you can make a decision to move out of that relationship, can you trust yourself enough to do that?”

Saul, “I think so.”

Oprah Winfrey, “You think so, alright I love that.”

Joel Osteen, “That is good. I think that is perfect. Right, well I think…..”

Oprah Winfrey, “What I am’s can he start today? What I am’s can he start?”

Joel Osteen, “I am not fearful. I am confident. I am excited about my future. I think Saul you have to realize that you know God will bring the right people across your path, part of that healing is being open to say, “Okay God I was hurt before and I couldn’t trust, but God I am going to be open enough, vulnerable enough to trust that you are bringing the right people across my path and like Oprah said you will feel that His Spirit in here the still small voice when something is not right. But you have got to know God has right people in your future and… You know don’t let one bad break ruin the rest of your life. It doesn’t have to you, you can move forward.”

Image Credit: oprah.com
Image Credit:
oprah.com

Did you notice that throughout this whole exchange, Jesus Christ was not mentioned once — not even one time! I wouldn’t expect Oprah or “Saul” to acknowledge Him, but Joel Osteen claims to be a Christian pastor. Therefore, it is shocking for him not to mention Jesus even once. Further, for a pastor to agree with a New Age teacher, and encourage someone to trust himself, rather than to trust Jesus, totally goes against scripture…

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

~ Jeremiah 17:9 ~

Why would a pastor, knowing that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, encourage someone to trust in himself, especially, when scripture commands us to:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

Also, how can Joel Osteen promise that “God will bring the right people across your path”, when he has no knowledge of whether Saul has asked Jesus Christ to be his Lord and Savior? How can he presume that Saul “will feel that His Spirit is here the still small voice when something is not right”, without knowing if Saul is a born-again Christian or not?

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

~ Colossians 2:8 ~

17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

~ Romans 16:17-18 ~

In my last post and this one, I’ve shared several valid reasons that explain why Joel Osteen is a false teacher. I realize that he has many fans, and that these words may not be popular with everyone, however, I stand firmly on every word I’ve written and shared with you. Beloved readers, the choice is yours. Will you follow a false teacher, who refuses to honor Christ? Or will you choose to follow Christ? I leave you with one final scripture, which sums things up perfectly, and describes those who choose to follow Joel Osteen, after being informed of his false teachings…

1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires,because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

~ 2 Timothy 4:1-5 ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Joel Osteen – True or False Gospel? (Part 1)

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: sodahead.com
Image Credit:
sodahead.com

He has a sweet, gentle demeanor as he speaks, always careful to avoid causing offense to anyone, which can be quite refreshing in this day and age, where most people seem to go out of their way to offend people. His message is always positive, gentle and filled with hope, Who wouldn’t love hearing the positive words he speaks?

“Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

“Why don’t you start believing that no matter what you have or haven’t done, that your best days are still out in front of you.”

~ Joel Osteen ~

Image Credit: news.softpedia.com
Image Credit:
news.softpedia.com

From all that I’ve read or seen, Joel Osteen seems like a nice, likable man, with a nice, positive message. He has the love and admiration of many, many Christians. Indeed, I would venture to say that Joel Osteen is loved and admired by many who don’t claim to be Christians, and frankly, that is one of the problems I have with him.

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

~ James 4:4 — NKJV ~

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that in order to be a good Christian, you must hate non-Christians, because Jesus demonstrated His love for non-Christians by suffering, bleeding and dying for their sins, and He calls for His followers to be willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel as well. However, just as the world hated Jesus and the gospel message He preached, so they will hate His followers for preaching that same gospel message.

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Joel_Osteen
Joel_Osteen (Photo credit: My American Odyssey)

As I stated in my last post (ה He (Behold!) Show Me Your Ways), the Hebrew word for “keep” in this scripture is natsarwhich means to watch over, guard, keep and preserve from dangers. Because I love the word of God, and because the Lord has called me to preach and teach His word, He has also given me a charge to preserve the integrity of His word. Therefore, whenever I hear someone preach a gospel different from the Gospel of Christ, the spirit within me arises, and I must share the truth and speak out against false teachers, for the lives of men, women and children are at stake.

It is vitally important that false teachers and false doctrines be revealed, because no one can be set free by believing a lie. As  a matter of fact, the only thing that can set a person free is the truth…

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

~  John 8:32 ~

Therefore, let’s take a close look at Joel Osteen and determine whether the gospel he preaches is the Gospel of Christ, or a false gospel. Let’s start things off by looking at his infamous interview with Larry King…

Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel and Victoria Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: Is — have you always believed?

OSTEEN: I have always believed. I grew up, you know, my parents were a good Christian people. They showed us love in the home. My parents were the same in the pulpit as they were at home. I think that’s where a lot of preachers’ kids get off base sometimes. Because they don’t see the same things at both places. But I’ve always believed. I saw it through my parents. And I just grew up believing.

The problem I have with this statement, is that a person can’t be saved or born again based on his/her parents’ faith. Osteen states that he’s always believed, and I guess I could say the same thing. From the time I was a little girl, I believed that Jesus is God’s Son. However, there is so much more to it than that. You see, there came a point in my life, as a preteen, when I realized that I was a sinner, and no matter how hard I tried to be good, I just couldn’t do it on my own. While my grandmother’s faith saved her, it didn’t have the power to save me. 

You see, there came a point where I realized that apart from Christ, I was utterly lost. I realized that I needed a Savior, just as every man, woman and child does, and I cried out to Him, repenting and asking Him to forgive me for my sins, and to save me. Joel Osteen had the opportunity to share the testimony of his salvation with Larry King and the millions of viewers who watched him that night, and Osteen had no testimony of his own to share. 

Joel Osteen on Larry King Live
Joel Osteen on Larry King Live

KING: But you’re not fire and brimstone, right? You’re not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That’s not me. It’s never been me. I’ve always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just — I don’t believe in that. I don’t believe — maybe it was for a time. But I don’t have it in my heart to condemn people. I’m there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

Osteen’s statements here cause a righteous anger to rise up in me. This man is supposed to be preaching the Gospel of Christ, and he doesn’t believe in fire and brimstone or hell and damnation? There is no one more loving or compassionate than Jesus, and He spoke of eternal condemnation on several occasions. Therefore, by stating that he does not believe in hell fire and damnation, he is saying that he doesn’t believe in what Jesus spoke. 

44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

~ Matthew 25:44-46 ~

KING: But don’t you think if people don’t believe as you believe, they’re somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I’m for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it’s not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that’s God’s for you. You can live a good life no matter what’s happened to you. And so I don’t know. I know there is condemnation but I don’t feel that’s my place.

How can one presume to be a preacher or a teacher of the Gospel, if they refuse to preach or teach the Gospel in its entirety? Further, by stating that he is for everybody, Osteen implies that God isn’t, or at the very least, that he is more compassionate than God. However, it is important to remember that the Good News is a positive message of hope for sinners, those who are lost… If there is no hell, why would people need a Savior? Further, if Joel Osteen was as compassionate as he claims to be, he would realize that it is his place, just as it is the place of every born again Christian, to warn the lost that they are in danger of condemnation if they do not repent and cry out to Jesus!

KING: You’ve been criticized for that, haven’t you?

OSTEEN: I have. I have. Because I don’t know.

KING: Good news guy, right?

OSTEEN: Yeah. But you know what? It’s just in me. I search my heart and I think, God, is this what I’m supposed to do? I made a decision when my father died, you know what? I’m going to be who I feel like I’m supposed to be. And if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Not the end of the world if I’m not the pastor …

~ Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Joel Osteen  "Your Best Life Now"
Joel Osteen
“Your Best Life Now”

This exchange really disturbs me. Mr. Osteen stated that he made a decision to be who he feels like he’s supposed to be when his father died. To become a pastor, one must be called by God to become one. It is not merely a decision man makes according to his own will.

Furthermore, when a man or woman answers the call of God to preach the Gospel, we are called to preach the whole Gospel message, not just those parts which are appealing to us. As a matter of fact, by omitting the part of the Gospel about judgment and condemnation and refusing to preach it, Joel Osteen condemns himself. For if someone is truly called by God to preach the Gospel and to be a pastor, he/she would not consider it a job to straighten out the wrong beliefs of others. Rather, the need to rescue others from the fiery pits of hell, would burn within that person!

You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

~ Deuteronomy 4:2~

18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

~ Revelation 22:18-19 ~

"Hell Picture" http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415
“Hell Picture”
http://digital-art-gallery.com/picture/13415

Clearly, Joel Osteen omits all references to hell from his gospel, speaking only about those things that he deems encouraging and “good news”. Therefore, by omitting part of the Gospel, he opens himself to condemnation. By preaching another message, other than the message Jesus taught, Osteen not only condemns those who believe his false teaching, he also condemns himself…

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

~ Matthew 7:21-23 ~

Let’s look at some other things Larry King questioned Joel Osteen about, and look at his response to those questions…

KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?

OSTEEN: I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.

Again, I take issue with Mr. Osteen’s reply to Larry King’s question about whether it’s hard to lead a Christian life. Scripture does not tell us that being a Christian is fun and easy…

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.”

~ Luke 9:23-26 ~

Does Jesus’ description above look fun or easy? Of course not! Beware of the leaven of false teachers.

KING: But you have rules, don’t you?

OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.

I find it ironic that Pastor Osteen says the main rule is to honor God with his life and to live a life of integrity, not being selfish. He also stated that the essence of the Christian faith is to help others. What I find ironic about this statement is that Pastor Osteen is unwilling to help people by sharing the full Gospel with them, in an effort to save them from eternal torment. Instead, he merely shares those things that make them feel good for now, but offers no saving grace…

KING: That we live in deeds?

OSTEEN: I don’t know. What do you mean by that?

KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …

KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Joel Osteen and Larry King on Larry King Live,         June 20, 2005 ~

Image Credit: thegospelcoalition.org
Image Credit:
thegospelcoalition.org

Joel Osteen doesn’t know if those who have not been born again are wrong? Does he or does he not believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God? He claims to preach a message of hope, and yet, the hope he offers is a false hope. He claims to live a life of integrity, and yet he preaches a false gospel, and has no qualms about leading countless numbers to hell with his gospel of lies! If he truly cared about people as he claims to do, he would speak the truth to them, so that they would have the opportunity to choose life, rather than preaching a false gospel of tolerance.

Beloved readers, I’ve shown you several reasons why I believe that Joel Osteen is a false teacher. Please join me later this week, when I follow up with further proof of why Joel Osteen is a false teacher.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Go Away And Leave Us Alone!

28When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake, in the region of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met Him. They lived in a cemetery and were so violent that no one could go through that area. 

29They began screaming at Him, “Why are You interfering with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” 30There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered t he pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

33The herdsmen fled to the nearby town, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men. 34Then the entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged Him to go away and leave them alone.

~ Matthew 8:28-33 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html
Image Credit:
http://www.multipleworlds.net/Gadarene_Deliverance.html

This is one of the  most mind-blowing, confusing portions of scripture there is for me. Just think about this… Two violent, demon-possessed men were the first ones to move forward and greet Jesus. These two men lived in a cemetery, where the townspeople avoided them, because they were so violent and dangerous.

Now imagine how terrible life must have been for these two men… Although they were demon-possessed, surely, they experienced moments of sanity, where they longed to be delivered and set free from the demons that tormented and tortured them. Was it during one of these brief moments of sanity that  the two men learned of Jesus’ arrival and sought Him out? Only the Lord knows. When they approached Him, did they plan to ask Him to set them free? After reading this story in the book of Mark, I think it’s very possible that at least one of the men wanted to be set free…

1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among  the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in places; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting  himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”

~ Mark 5:1-7 — NKJV ~

Do you see what the man did? Look at Mark 5:6…

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

~ Mark 5:6 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: pastormarkwood.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
pastormarkwood.blogspot.com

The demon-possessed man ran up to Jesus and worshiped Him! Now think about this — Jesus healed many demon-possessed men and women, but none of the others ran towards Him to worship Him, except for this man. Therefore, it is entirely possible that at least one of the two demon-possessed men, who lived in that cemetery, tried to escape the demons that tormented  him and his friend day and night, so that he might be set free. And hallelujah, Jesus not only set him free, but the other man as well!

30 There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding in the distance. 31 So the demons begged, “If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs.”

32 “All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

~ Matthew 8:30-32 — NLT ~

Image Credit: biblegraphics.com
Image Credit:
biblegraphics.com

Matthew wrote about two demon-possessed men, while both Mark and Luke only mentioned one, in their versions of the story. Although Mark and Luke only refer to one of the demon-possessed men, it does not mean that there weren’t two men. It only means that Mark and Luke only referred to one of the men for some reason not known to us.

Nonetheless, at Jesus’ command, the demons left the men and entered a herd of pigs, and sent them plunging down the steep hillside, where they drowned in the water.

Image Credit: James Tissot
Image Credit:
James Tissot

Now, there were some herdsmen nearby, who witnessed the whole thing. I wonder what they were thinking when they saw Jesus cast the demons out of the two men. Did they rejoice at the marvelous miracle that had just taken place before them, as the lives of two men were restored? Or were they frightened and angry over the death of the pigs?

When the townspeople came and saw the two men, who had formerly been so vile and dangerous, now clothed and in their right minds, talking with Jesus, did they delight in the fact that these former pariahs were now model citizens? Were they overjoyed that their people would no longer live in fear of the two demon-possessed men escaping their chains and possibly harming someone? Their response blows my mind. 

Sadly, the citizens of the town seemed more upset about the death of the pigs than the deliverance of the demonized men. Friends, think of this — what if the King of Glory came to your town and set the homeless, schizophrenic free, sending the demons that tormented him into the town’s stray cats, who end up plunging themselves to their death? Would you delight in the homeless schizophrenic’s new found freedom? Or would you be outraged that the Lord sent the demons into the town’s stray cats, who then plunged to their death? Would you welcome this King of Glory into your town, inviting Him to stay, or would you respond as the townspeople responded when the two demonized men were set free, and beg Jesus to please leave and go away?

I have to be honest with you — I find it shocking that the people asked Jesus to leave their town, after He delivered the two dangerous men, changing them from violent criminals to gentle men. Were the people really more concerned for the swine than for the two men, not to mention their citizens and tourists? Now, examine your hearts, my friends, how would you respond? Would you ask Jesus to stay forever? Or would you ask Him to go away and leave you alone???

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Christ is the Head

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

~ Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/
Image Credit:
http://raptureintheairnow.com/forums/topic/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god/

Don’t you just love the Word of God? There is power in God’s word. There is healing in His word. There is life in the Word of God and there is deliverance. As you read and study the Word of God, you will also find that there is freedom in it. Therefore, I want to share some things the Lord has revealed to me about freedom, and it all begins with the scripture above…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body… I know that those of you who have been Christians for awhile have heard this repeated over and over, but I wonder… does everyone truly understand what this means to us? Do those people who go from church to church, following different leaders, because they need to “be fed”, truly understand what it means to have Christ as the head of the church? Do those ministers who bottle or spoon feed their congregations on various doctrines, understand what it means for Christ to be the head of the church? Do their congregations understand? Does anyone understand that Christ is the head of the church, and what this means to them in this day and time, when ministers, evangelists and televangelists grow filthy rich from tithes, offerings and gifts from their followers, who grow poorer as they give money that they don’t even have, because their leaders encourage them to pledge, borrow and give money to their ministries “by faith”?

Image Credit: http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/
Image Credit:
http://pattycakesgreetingsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them“The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

~ Matthew 21:12-13 — NLT ~

Maybe this will offend some of you, but as I look around at the billion dollar business that Christianity is in America today, I wonder, what would Jesus think of it? Would He approve of men and women selling their products in His name? Would He approve the constant begging that takes place in “Share-a-thons”? Would He give His stamp of approval to those ministers who will not minister at smaller venues unless they are guaranteed to receive a certain amount of money? Would He approve of those who will not minister for free? Would Jesus be pleased with those ministers who have become wealthy by telling people that if they will just “sew a seed into their ministry”, God will answer their prayers? Or would He respond to those ministers the same way He responded to the moneychangers? “… My Temple will be called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

Sculpture-of-Homeless-Jesus-Sleeping-on-Bench-is-Rejected-by-Churches
“Jesus the Homeless” sculpture
by: Timothy Schmalz

57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay His head.”

~ Luke 9:57-58 — NLT ~

How would Jesus respond to the ministers and televangelists in America today, as He watches them grow richer and richer, while their followers grow poorer and poorer? How do you think Almighty God feels as today’s most popular ministers buy enormous mansions, and church buildings that are each more opulent than the other, while countless men and women remain poor and unsaved, with no one to minister to them? How do you think Jesus feels, as He watches men and women who are supposed to be ministering the gospel and seeking and saving the lost, instead, seeking fancy expensive cars and private jets for their own personal comfort? How does it feel to the Son of Man, knowing that while He, the KING of kings and LORD of lords, had no place to lay His head, many of America’s “ministers” have not just one home, but as many as two or more luxurious homes, paid for with money donated to their ministries?

One of Paul Crouch's 13 mansions...
One of Paul Crouch’s 13 mansions…

“If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed to (the) station, you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven.” ~ Paul Crouch

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything. Christ is the head of the church, not Paul and Jan Crouch, not John Hagee, not Kenneth Copeland, not Joyce Meyers or Paula White, or Fred Price, or Creflo Dollar or Jesse DuPlantis or T.D. Jakes or any other televangelist. Not even your pastor is the head of the church, for there can only be one head, and scrpiture clearly states that Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, when we hear or read a statement made by one of these leaders in the church, we must measure it against God’s standard — His Word… Let’s examine Paul Crouch’s statement above, and see how it measures up to God’s word…

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from abovecoming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

~ James 1:16-17 NIV  ~

Beloved readers, the statement above, made by Paul Crouch is wrong for many reasons. First of all, it is wrong, because he implies that your healing, salvation or blessing came through TBN, but scripture clearly states that every good and perfect gift is from above. If you were saved, healed or blessed while watching TBN, praise the Lord, for it is God the Father, through Christ, the head of the church, who chose to save, heal or bless you at that time. I have been privileged to lead several people to Christ, but it was He who saved them, not me, and they owe me and my ministry nothing more than to love me. Even in the Old Testament, when the prophet, Elisha, healed Naaman from leprosy (2 Kings 5), he refused to accept any gifts or payment for healing Naaman, and I’ve never read a single scripture where Jesus or the apostles accepted gifts or payment for healing, blessing or saving anyone, and they certainly never demanded payment, so why would any other follower of Christ expect this?

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love. 10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me. 16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name. 17 This is My command: Love each other.”

~ John 15:9-17 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, what is God’s will for His church? To understand His will for us, look at the scripture passage above, particularly the parts that are underlined. Does God say His will for us is to give to TBN? Of course not! Jesus’ command for His followers over 2,000 years ago, is the same as His command for us today. He commands His followers to love one another, as He loves us. If I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, just as He loves me, will He remove my reward because I choose not to give to TBN? That just doesn’t add up to His word…

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NLT ~

My beloved friends, our good works can’t earn us anything. As a matter of fact, scripture says that our good works are like filthy rags. Therefore, do you honestly believe that giving some money to TBN or any other ministry will earn you any points or rewards? Of course not. The only two commands the Lord gives us is to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.. If we will just obey these two commandments, everything else will  fall into place, and He will give us wisdom and discernment so that we will know how He wants us to spend our money, and which ministries and/or people to give to, as well as how much to give.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 — NLT ~

Finally, take careful note of the scripture above… God’s word tells us not to give reluctantly, because He wants us to give cheerfully, to whomever He sends our way. Now, take note of the 2nd sentence in the verse above… don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressureAll too  often, “Share-a-Thons” or “Praise-a-Thons” are nothing more than intense pressure tactics designed to coerce viewers into giving as much money as possible to give as much money as possible to a ministry. We are not to give in response to pressure. Therefore, before giving to any ministry, listen to Holy Spirit. He will direct you in your giving, and He will provide for each ministry that He supports…

Remember, my beloved readers, Christ is the head of the church, and we are His body. As I said before, Jesus is the only head. There is no other head besides Jesus, not your pastor, and not any other religious leader, because anything with two heads or more is a monster, and not worthy of worship…

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.

Colossians 1:18 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Inside Israel – Of things old and new – AND FAMILY NEWS – 7 July 2013

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers,

I know that I usually try to post letters from our sister in Israel on Saturdays, however, I didn’t get this one until today, therefore, I am posting it a day later than usual. As always, I encourage you to pray for Israel and our sister who resides there while you read this letter, remembering that Jesus loved Jerusalem so much that He wept over her. And now, without further ado, here is the letter from our sister in Jerusalem…
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Shalom, dear Brothers and Sisters,

 
May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed.  Although I write that in almost every letter, I never write it lightly…I pray it!
 
Summer activity seems to overtake many of us suddenly and I know that some of you will not find time to read this.  There is some personal news at the end of the letter though, particularly for those of you who know us.  I am so glad that The Lord is the same, yesterday, today and forever and that HE isn’t suddenly ‘caught up’ in summer activity…OR in problems or illness for that matter.  That’s so comforting! 
 
As I went from the shuk to prayer meeting yesterday morning before going to work, my eyes suddenly ‘flashed back’ to earlier ‘first impressions’ and I was able to observe with ‘new eyes’ again and some of the wonders of life here that I saw at the beginning of this part of my path. Perhaps it is because we are about to celebrate our 19th year since making aliyah (immigrating).  We became Israeli citizens on the 18th of July, but we left Alaska on 4th of July (the tickets were cheaper then as people tend not to fly on that day) which was sort of symbolic I guess.  We were totally clueless as to the new life that lay ahead.  I had never been here before, and my husband had come once on a short ‘tourist trip’. We didn’t know aleph from bet, (the Hebrew alpha bet) had no idea where we would live or what we would do.  The map that I had looked at was the map in the back of my Bible (yes…before computers!) We literally sold and gave away everything that we owned, burned all of our bridges, and at the not-so-young age of 48+ left all that we knew for what we didn’t know because we believed (correctly thank God!) that it was HIM Who was telling us to do this.  We were slightly acquainted with ONE person here and she found us temporary board in a room of someone’s apartment.  That is how our walk here began.  Shell shock!
 
So, 19 years later, my routines have become somewhat set, and it was a blessing to suddenly see again as if it were my first time.  Friday morning, it is my ‘habit’ to go to Intercessors for Israel 6:30am prayer meetings for a half hour before going on to work. This week, memories flooded me. I remembered my ‘wonder’ at the buses, where the radio blared and the people talked and sang and ate. Since I take the 6am bus on Fridays I had been deeply moved by the fact that the state run radio stations began  (they go off at midnight and on at 6am) with the words of ‘the smah’…the prayer most important in Judaism…the words from Deut 6:4-9
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
These words are to Judaism what The Lord’s prayer or sometimes the 23rd Psalm are to Christianity, so it would be as if your radio stations would begin each day with those Words in the morning reminding the country Who we look to first above all.  It blessed me to listen and to pray as the sunrise was casting its first rays above the mountains round about Jerusalem.  Sadly, about the time that the train started service, the broadcasting system put an end to this practice that had been in place since we first got radio here.  None the less, the assortment on the 6am bus is almost always the same, so we greet one another as one reads the newspaper and another the book of Psalms and a third eats perhaps a yogurt or cucumber, tomato and pita…typical Israeli breakfasts on the run.  On Friday I get off at the shuk to buy a challa (shabat bread) and some fruit and vegetables as everything in the city will close before sundown until after the shabat following sundown on Saturday.  At 6am very few stands are open, but there are enough for me to get what I need and then run down Jaffa Road to prayer meeting.  As I leave the shuk I watch the Friday morning ritual of the street sweepers.  Do all cities still have street sweepers?  Ours take their job very seriously and really do it well.  I am always impressed by them as it is not what you would call the most desirable job and yet I never sense these people feeling sorry for themselves or angry or see them slacking at work.  I pass the area from which they are ‘sent out’ with broom and equipment and enjoy listening to the ‘pep talk’ that they receive from their ‘commander’ who reminds them that they are cleaning the streets of Jerusalem and that they should do it proudly. They run off slapping each other on the back and ready to begin.  Why does this catch my eye? As one who is ‘always cleaning house again and again and again’…I sometimes loose both my joy and energy in the midst of the task.  My task is so small compared with what faces these sweepers who work in the shuk; it is non stop mess and garbage and they keep at it with an energy, encouraging one another, that really speaks to me.  If they can do this monotonous job day after day, it challenges me to do mine for Yeshua with joy and for His glory. It is their level of obvious contentment that teaches me in this day ahead of me…it challenges me to plumb the depths of the command that The Lord gives me to ‘be content in ALL things’ as I read in so many verses (here are two but then there is Heb 13:5,  and so very many others.  You know them I’m sure:
Phil 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
1 Tim 6:6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certainwe can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
So…as I walk past the ‘challenge of the street sweepers’ I come again to the ifi morning prayer meeting as I have since this particular Fri. morning group began so many years back, to pray in small groups for particular situations in our country and surrounding ones.  All too soon it was off to work for me, but my ‘fresh look’ at the street sweepers kept my eyes awake.  I remembered my amusement at the lack of Western ‘political correctness’ and how everyone talks to strangers all of the time.  That brought to my memory the reminder of the becoming aware that in this land of the Book and the Law…the laws are NOT ‘rigid’ as they are in the West…they are not black and white…they…hum…’float’ (for want of a better word.  It took me awhile to understand this. Here is an example:  In America if I took a letter to the post office, they would weigh it and tell me EXACTLY how much postage it needed.  If they were wrong, I would get the letter back marked ‘insufficient postage’.  Here, oh yes, there are charts, charges and regulations…but I might well walk up to the post office lady and she might say ‘9 shekels’ and I might say ‘Oh no!  I only have 7.5’ and…depending upon who she is, she might say ‘zeh lo mishonay!’ (It doesn’t matter) and either put 7.5 postage on it or take the shekel and a half our of her change purse. We don’t HAVE ‘insufficient postage’ stamps here.  Period.  Then there is ‘making a scene’. Again, a man approaches a window at the post office (we do LOTS of transactions at our post offices: they are banks, we pay bills there, we submit forms there and various other tasks) and the teller says ‘You are missing a signature’.  You can expect excitement!  ‘WHAT?!? They TOLD me that THIS is what I need!!  I CAN’T POSSIBLY come back!  My kid needs this for school TODAY!’  Sometimes fights ensue…but SOMETIMES we hear things like ‘You can’t? He really needs it today?  Ok.’ Stamp stamp stamp – and the customer walks away smiling. You can REASON with the clerks.  You can also cry.  I found that out the hard way.  As a new immigrant I cried A LOT! Suddenly I became ‘they made somebody’s mother cry!’ and others in line would rush up with water or a chair – it must have been quite humorous to watch from afar (although it never felt funny at the time).  So what is this: manipulation?  Mercy? Sloppiness? Protexia?  Probably a combination of all three to a different degree, but it was culturally different to me.  It was no longer black and white, but there were many ‘grey’ areas and this was helpful to learn as I realize that I will never fully understand the ‘ways of the system’. (although I have been told that NO ONE really understands it)

 
It is fun to remember some of these early impressions and lessons, particularly as planes fly over.  You all know that the situation here increases in intensity daily.  The sudden eruption of Egypt again – our neighbor to the south- has led to great instability in the vast Sinai region and once again de-stabilized our border.  To the North of us the Syrians continue to kill one another and our hospitals receive wounded for their border area nearly daily as word of mouth travels and families in the south bring their loved ones to the border asking for mercy.  Again our ‘peace’ process is gaining momentum so there are (again) bomb scares daily as that seems to be the ‘natural fruit’ of the ‘peace process’ (and the foreign governments do not seem to see the irony of this).  In other words, life continues as usual.
 
PERSONAL NEWS
 
I was deeply blessed by a dear sister last weekend.  She works for a volunteer organization and they are blessed with an apartment right on the beach in Netanya that they allow their workers to use periodically for a time of retreat and refreshing.  She had reserved it for last weekend and INVITED ME AND ANOTHER SISTER TO JOIN HER!  Oh what joy to have a change of scenery and intensity and to share the sweetest of fellowship in Him!  I have rarely received such a cup of cold water and I am happy to report that I have been so graciously refreshed and doused in Love!  I had to come home early as I have had an infection and am allergic to just about all antibiotics, so needed to receive 5 days of slowly administered antibiotic by infusion, spending 2 hours daily in a nurses station after work.  I was well prepared with His GRACE to go through this, for which I am so thankful. 
 
Some have been asking how things are going with our Granddaughter.  She is scheduled to arrive on 29th July and we are SOOOO excited!  She is a tender 6 years old and has had her suitcase packed for 6 weeks already!  I guess she takes after her ‘Savtalai’ (Grandmother) as I have been getting stuff for her ‘room’ for atleast that long! Thank you so much for your prayers!
 
But for those of you who know us…our situation…have followed our family, some of you for more then 35 years(!) we do have news;  Our youngest daughter, who was married just a year ago, is expecting their first child!  She was told (as I was) that she could never have children and they are THRILLED!  Ofcourse, she has had MANY physical and emotional problems and they are still NOT (yet) walking with The Lord… they are poorer then church mice BUT happier then larks…and, yes, I ask for prayer for them!  They live in Minnesota USA and the Baby is due in early Jan.  No…they have no car…no insurance…she is high risk pregnancy and is NOT feeling well…BUT…She IS a child of promise and HE IS ON THE THRONE! So I will BLESS them and pray and I wanted to share our joy with you! 
 
There are some of you whom I SHOULD have told personally and I do beg your forgiveness as my computer is acting up and trying to write has been a challenge. 
 
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU AND MAKE HIS FACE TO SHINE UPON YOU FOR HIS GLORY!  May we be discerning and sensitive to His direction for this most narrow of seasons in which we life. 
Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Seek Ye First The Kingdom Of God

kingdom of God

Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are
His people and the sheep  of His pasture. (Psalm 100:3 NKJV)
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
(John 11:25 NKJV)
Not by might not by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6 NKJV)
Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the
Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19 NLT)
Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is
taught in the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NLT)
Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
(Psalm 119:133 KJV)
May the words of my moth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing  to You, O Lord, my
Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NLT)

Share the Love – July 2013

PrintHallelujah! I really look forward to Sharing the Love with one of my fellow bloggers each month, but I have to tell you, July 1 came really fast. I’ve known who the Lord wants me to showcase for a while, but life has a way of slipping in and throwing us off course. I’m really struggling with pain today, and your prayers are deeply appreciated. 🙂

In the meantime, I’m really excited to introduce July’s featured blog and author to some, and to present her to others, so without further ado, (drumroll please), I present CHRISTian ~ poetry by deborah annDeborah is truly a woman with a heart for Jesus, and her love for Him is evident in every poem that she writes, not for her own glory, but for His. I know this blesses the Lord, and I’m certain that’s why He wanted me to Share the Love with her. Continue reading Share the Love – July 2013

Inside Israel – Doves of Jerusalem …and trains!

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers!

Praise the Lord, I am now up to date with the letters from our sister in Jerusalem. As always, I want to encourage you to pray for Israel. It is so important for us to understand that even though the Lord has saved many of us and delivered us from sin, and adopting us as sons and daughters, His love for Israel is not diminished. Israel still remains His chosen people. Therefore, we must cry out for His people in these last days.

This week, as you read the letter from our sister in Israel, let the following scripture passage be your prayer for God’s chosen people…

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to Him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

And now, without further ado, I introduce to some of you, and present to those of you who follow our letters from our sister in Israel…

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Blessings and love to you dear sisters and brothers.  May The Lord of glory be blessed and glorified! 

 
Image Credit: Remi Kahane http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html
Image Credit:
Remi Kahane
http://photolight.co.il/show_photo/346116.html

Although most of us picture doves as white, the doves of Jerusalem are that beautiful ‘doe’ color…like a deer.  Perhaps you wonder why I write so much concerning nature.  Today I believe I understood the reason (besides the fact that I have always loved nature). 

 
When we first made arrived, we found that our new reality demanded that we find work as soon as possible.  Not being able to handle my new language yet at all, (and NOT having many qualifying skills…AND being 49 years old at the time) I was happy to be offered a job with a rather well known international ministry here.  Being in this intense area, there are probably more large, international ministries functioning here then anywhere else on earth, and not just ‘English speaking ones’ either.  It is the same with news media outlets; there are more world news media groups stationed here then anywhere else on the earth (that is a fact).  That should say something.  Those of you who know Jerusalem know what a tiny city this is.  When I was offered work with this ministry I asked them to pray with me as there were some doctrinal issues that they held that I could not stand in agreement with (not foundational ones of course).  They prayed and assured me that I was the one for the job and it would be fine.  I was so thankful for the work as the main part of my job was answering many of the letters that they received and I loved that.  We began each day with Bible reading and prayer and I loved the fellowship, in spite of our differences.   But the area that I was not in agreement with allowed them to embrace a false prophecy, which led them to the verge of bankruptcy and most of the staff had to be immediately dismissed, including me.  It was then that I found out that they had not been paying into our form of ‘social security’ for me (as a citizen it was required for the boss to do that) and that left me, after a year and a half, without the ability to receive unemployment. 
 
The Lord certainly works everything to the good and for His glory, for it was the beginning of an intensive course in learning to REALLY trust Him and walk by faith in a new dimension.  I was without work for two years after that (my husband was not in the country at the time…another story that glorifies Him in the end) and I felt firmly that He was directing me to work in secular work immersed in my new ‘culture’ rather then to work again with a ministry and He surely has directed my path.  But what in the world does this all have to do with ‘nature’ and ‘doves’?!? 
 
Image Credit: Kazwell http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/
Image Credit:
Kazwell
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaz/2275391632/

Just this:  Because we are such a small body here and so dispersed, I now have very little opportunity for fellowship outside of our weekly meeting, but today I realized just how much He speaks to me through His creation!  I understood that I daily ‘fellowship’ with Him in this manner (as well, of course, in His Word and in prayer) and am edified!  No, it does NOT take the place of ‘fellowship’ with the body (HIS perfect design) but He always provides when we want His will, and this is part of my current provision. 

 
And now, back to our doe colored doves!
 
holytrinitypm0Jerusalem is literally covered with doves.  I have learned that if they are near to me as I walk and I don’t look directly at them or speak to them (yes…I do that! :-[ I admit it) they will stay where they are, but if I look at them or speak they will fly away.  Now we all know that The Holy Spirit came as a dove so as I learned this I have thought about how The Holy Spirit did not come to speak of Himself, but to point to Yeshua…to bring to remembrance everything that He said and to magnify Him…not to draw attention to Himself.
 
But yesterday my attention was drawn directly to a dove sitting on the ground next to a wooden fence along my path.  He looked at me and I sensed that he was injured.  I went toward him and he did not move, but kept watching me.  I saw that his gentle breast had been harmed, most likely by a cat.  I reached down to pick him up, but stopped: Where would I bring him?  There was no place around that would make him to be less prey for another cat attack, nor could I bring him to work…he would be petrified.  I know enough that if I were to touch him, he would carry my ‘scent’ and that might be worse…so…I stood and prayed simply that The Lord, Who cares for all creatures, would care for him mercifully, and went to walk on.  A bit further I felt just bothered to leave him like that so I turned to go back and then I saw a most unusual sight.  Another dove flew down and began to peck at him and flap his wings angrily.  I felt so bad, thinking that he was being attacked…UNTIL…I saw him reluctantly move and then, after some more pecking and harassment move again, and suddenly, hesitantly, he took off in unsteady flight, but up into a tree.  The second bird had come to rescue him and had likely been watching when I stooped down!  Immediately I thought of so many of the painful and harsh things that seem to come into our lives when we feel most vulnerable and I wondered at the goodness of God to ‘afflict us in His faithfulness’ (as is repeated over and over in Psalm 119, that marvelous teaching Psalm!)  for example 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.  And verse  71 It is good for me that I was afflicted,That I may learn Your statutes.     
 
Do my ‘parables’ drive you crazy?  I hope not!  I gather strength as mana to go through my days as He blesses me with these encouragements!  I actually thought about it as I was faced with my daily train ride.  Two days in a row I arrived halfway to my destination when the loud speaker announced a ‘hefetz ha’shood’ or an ‘unidentified object’ that the bomb squad was being called out to investigate.  We are usually advised to ‘walk’ or ‘possibly wait up to half an hour’, but this week, the first time, we were told that we would all have to get off of the train as the driver was being told to turn around and go in the other direction.  The lady-older-then-myself with some 20 kilos of cherries that she had just bought at the shuk began to grumble loudly, as did the very old man with a walker. Soon there was quite a rebellion taking place as it was noon and the sun was hot and the train was crowded with elderly people with packages or young mothers with babies.  I decided to walk rather then listen to the rage.  Thankfully today we were allowed to sit and wait.  As we did I looked around and it hit me for the first time that our trains carry perhaps an pretty odd assortment.  They are full of baby carriages and strollers, often twin strollers.  There are lots of shopping carts (mine included) and then there are walkers, canes, crutches, wheel chairs, Seeing Eye dogs, shopping bags, suitcases and myriads of backpacks, not to mention weapons.  More then occasionally there are also the ‘tools of the trade’; a mop and bucket, large tool box, computers or assorted furniture being brought home.  Sitting next to me today was a woman with a portable oxygen tank attached to her nose.  In front of us stood a young girl with BOTH a rocking horse and a plastic push ‘bike’.  And then there are all of those pregnant women!  No wonder the train is always so crowed! 
 
As many of you realize (although it IS summer where you are as well as here, and I know that many of you are up to your ears in activities…God BLESS your summer with joy and blessing in Him!)(along with work and children home, more difficult for some then for others.  MUCH GRACE to those of you who have difficulty!)  things here are more volatile and tense then ever, if that is possible! I think back to the beginnings of the ‘revolution’ in Egypt that began very shortly after the US President visited there, and how ‘revolt’ has been sparked in almost the entire region.  The nations on all of our borders are shaking and smoldering and the world is so foolishly trying to ‘solve the problems’ with embarrassing rhetoric and shallow human reasoning that knows almost nothing of the ancient roots of the problems…nor The Maker Who is watching over His Word.  The latest moves to ‘arm the rebels’ in Syria while screaming and crying about all of the people dying is so pathetic but can not be seen as funny.  More weapons will NOT stop the bloodshed.  I look at my Bible and see so many circumstances for which there was NO HUMAN SOLUTION.  Take, for example: the Sea in front and the Egyptians behind as the Israelites came out of Egypt.  Perhaps it was thousands in the wilderness without food in both the ancient days during the 40 years in the wilderness and the nearer days when Yeshua said ‘How many loaves have you?…Bring it to Me!’  What about Legion howling in the tombs or the lame man waiting for the stirring of the waters?  AND…how about Yeshua…dead in the tomb?  Oh my, there is no end to examples….in fact the Bible is FULL of situations that there was NO human solution for.  But we live in an age of ‘humanism’ and seem to actually have a foot in the door of the one world system that will carry the mark for buying and selling.  I can see much more clearly how that could be possible now.  When our value added tax went up 1% I somehow thought that my bills would also go up 1%, but (as I have admitted before) I have NO understanding of economics and basically bills (especially grocery bills) have shot up a whopping 25%!  Since wages don’t increase, I think of how young families who are not prepared by The Word mixed with faith and the fear of God will withstand taking such a mark.  From my vantage point the world appears to be spinning faster and faster out of the control of the nations and their leaders. 
 
And there are those of you who pray for our nation (I am aware that there are many also who might read some of these letters who don’t find the time to pray.  PLEASE don’t take ANY condemnation from me when I mention those who do!  It is ALL unto The Lord and we ALL do what we can and believe we are called to do.  Please be released from any condemnation over this.) I would like to ask for specific prayer for a 60 year old problem that I believe our nation is poised to impose a solution into that is perhaps unjust and I am very concerned. As you know we have a Bedouin population.  The Bedouins are a fascinating people.  They are nomads (I suspect that they are the people described in Jeremiah 35:1-12) and live mostly in the Negev where they move their goats and camels from place to place living in tent like structures with large extended families.  (google Bedouin if you are unfamiliar with them) Over the years efforts have been made to settle them in villages and extend all the benefits to them of education, health care, sanitation etc.  They are currently listed as the most rapidly growing population in the world.  Their land claims are not written down.  Israel is a small nation and wants to establish its borders.  Legislation has just passed to establish the Bedouin in villages against their will and this strikes me a lot like ‘American Indian Reservations’.  I have a long and personal history with Indian Reservations and my heart breaks at the thought that the same awful injury might be done here.  Please pray that this legislation is somehow overturned and that some just solution is found. The Druze population in the North was also nomadic and they were peacefully settled into villages, but I have a very bad feeling about this Bedouin decision. Thank you for praying if The Holy Spirit brings it to mind. 
 
But in the midst of all of the ‘distressing news’, you likely haven’t heard of the more then 30 wounded Syrians from both sides of the conflict that have been treated in Israeli hospitals as friends or family bring them to our borders.  Also, a lovely ‘peace prize’ was just awarded to our fast response health motorcycle paramedic service which was founded by an ultra religious man and an Israeli Arab working together.  They have no political agenda; they simply share a passion for saving lives and have formed a nationwide service that rushes to all emergencies.  In this context, a Jewish man with a kippa (skull cap) has delivered a Moslem baby and a bearded Moslem man has delivered an orthodox Jewish baby.  Lives are saved, and the result is trusting friendships…the same as I have found in my daily walk…’peace’ is made through kindness, one on one in the small ways that we can.  He is our Peace…He HAS broken down every wall. 
 
It is I who enjoy sharing, so I thank you for making time to read.  Come and visit???  God bless and encourage you ever nearer to His Heart beat. 
Thank you for continued prayer for our younger daughter at this time. 
Lovingly, your sis

Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Dearest brothers and sisters in Yeshua,

He is precious and to be glorified and blessed, and as His Blood bought body, how very precious are each of you!  

… for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people…” (2 Corin 6:16) 

Continue reading Inside Israel – Taking a moment to share – 19 June 2013‏

Share the Love Reminder

PrintGreetings Beloved Readers,

This is just a friendly reminder that July’s Share the Love will be posted on Monday, July 1, 2013, Lord willing. I know I tell you how excited I am to Share the Love with the blog the Lord places on my heart every month, but it’s the truth. I am so blessed and honored that the Lord asked me to read and follow someone’s blog at the beginning of each month. 

Each month, He places someone new on my heart, and I then go and read about the author of the blog, as well as his/her posts. After reading many posts, I then select the ones that are my personal favorites, to encourage you to stop by and read them. It’s truly a joy to read the posts of those that God has placed on my heart. Another  part of the process is to notify the recipient ahead of time, so that he/she can tell me a little bit about him/herself, and share their favorite post(s) with me, and I can then pass them on to you as well.

Anyway, July is right around the corner – next week… so get ready to Share the Love with another wonderful blogger! Who knows? Maybe the Lord will lead me to choose you the next time.

With much love and many blessings, I remain,
Your Sister Cheryl

Inside Israel

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

Greetings Beloved Readers,

I apologize for not posting the Inside Israel letter sooner, however, I was having computer issues, and since all of you have computers, I know you understand. Nonetheless, all is well now, and the letter from our sister in Jerusalem follows. As always, I ask that you keep our sister in your prayers, and that you also pray for the peace of Jerusalem according to scripture…

Pray for peace in Jerusalem.
May all who love this city prosper.

~ Psalm 122:6 — NLT ~

Before sharing our sister’s letter, I want to let you know that I will be posting another letter from our sister on Wednesday, to help us get back on track from when I got behind. And now, without further ado, I present to you the letter from our sister in Jerusalem…
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Inside Israel – just to say shalom – 4 June 2013‏

Image Credit: Jerusalem Shots
Image Credit:
Jerusalem Shots

My Beloved Readers,

Greetings to you all in the matchless name of Jesus Christ, who forever remains, KING of kings and LORD of lords. May each one of you find peace in His presence, and may each one of you understand the boundless extent of God’s love for you. I pray that you will know, as all of God’s children should know, how long and how wide, how high and how deep His love for you really is, and may the roots of His love reach to the very depths of your soul and spirit! Continue reading Inside Israel – just to say shalom – 4 June 2013‏

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

HelpI’ve Fallen And Can’t Get Up!

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

(Galatians 6:2 ESV)

This week has been such a struggle for me, but I praise God for His unending love, and for the men and women who are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I thank the Lord for His Holy Spirit, who prayed for me when I was too weak to pray for myself. 

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the HolySpirit prays for uswith groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

(Romans 8:26 NLT) Continue reading Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Share the Love – June 2013

PrintGreetings, my beloved readers! It’s time once again to Share the Love with another great blog. I was really excited when the Lord placed it on my heart to feature this month’s blog, Prayers and Promises, authored by Diana Rasmussen. I was excited when the Lord placed Diana’s blog on my heart because Diana is a woman who has been through hell and back, and just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, her clothes aren’t even scorched, nor does she smell of the smoke from the fire. Continue reading Share the Love – June 2013

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Image Credit: http://gracepieces.com/
Image Credit:
http://gracepieces.com/

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

THE WORLD HATES OUTCASTS
JESUS LOVES OUTCASTS!

I am so grateful that Jesus loves the outcast, the broken, the ugly, the unwanted, the unlovable, of whom I am chief among them. He looks at those the world despises and He says, “Come, My beloved! For I have loved you with an everlasting love. With cords of love, I have drawn you to Me. For I know the plans I have for you — plans to prosper you and not to harm you. I have plans to give you hope and a future. Fear not, for I am with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you. Though your mother and father forsake you, I will lift you up! Come to Me, all of you who are weary, tired, worn out and exhausted, and I will give you rest. Stop trying to fight your own battles, My beloved, for the battle is the Lord’s! Be still, and know that I am God. Humble yourself under My hand, and in due season, I will lift you up! Continue reading Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

True Worshipers

Today, while I was thinking about the joy that I experienced this weekend, as my husband and I cared for five of our grandchildren, while their Mommy and Daddy were in the hospital giving birth to their baby brother, Holy Spirit began to show me examples of what He desires when we approach Him and worship Him, and I want to share those examples with you…

23 “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

~ John 4:23-24 — NLT ~

Saturday, as soon as I received a picture of my newly born grandson, Ian, I called his five siblings to come and look at his image on my cell phone. You should have seen them as they came running to me, squealing in delight, loud, raucous, unfettered and unrestrained joy emanating from each child, as they laid eyes on their baby brother for the first time. “Aw, he’s so cute!” one shouted, “I wub him,” another shouted, wanting her voice to be heard. “I can’t wait to touch him,” my oldest grandson said so sweetly, “’cause him’s skin is so soft.” Continue reading True Worshipers

Mystical Allure Award

Mystical Allure Award

My good friend, Brother Wendell Brown, gifted poet and author of the blog, Forever Poetic, blessed me with the Mystical Allure Award several days ago (Isn’t it pretty?) however, sadly, at that time, I was in a lot of pain, and I was weighed down with the heavy burden of depression, and so I thought to myself, “I’ll just respond to this when I feel better.” 

It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the award, because I did. The sad fact was that I was too consumed with myself to respond. Have you ever been there? I didn’t feel like doing anything… no writing… no cooking… no cleaning… no talking to anyone, not even my beloved family and friends. The worst part about all of this is that I didn’t even feel like talking to my Lord and Savior (I didn’t even realize this until I wrote the words!). Continue reading Mystical Allure Award

Words of Jesus – Great Faith

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

~ Matthew 8:5-13 — NLT ~

There was something different about this Roman centurion. He was humble and reverent, and on top of that, he had the kind of faith we all long for and need. He had storm-stopping, mountain-moving, sea-parting, water-walking, blind-seeing, deaf-hearing, mute-talking, sickness-healing faith. This gentile heathen had a deep abiding faith that even the Jews, God’s chosen people couldn’t match. Continue reading Words of Jesus – Great Faith

Words of Jesus – Before We Ask…

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

~ Matthew 8:5-7 — NLT ~

I really do love this scripture, and all that the Lord reveals to us in it. When I first began to write about this encounter of the centurion and Jesus, I thought I would just write a simple post about the great faith of the centurion, and as great as that is, the Lord has revealed so much more to me in this passage. Let’s examine these verses…

Image Credit: http://searchingforthelightonthepath.blogspot.com/ 2011/01/roman-centurion-had-faith.html
Image Credit:
http://searchingforthelightonthepath.blogspot.com/
2011/01/roman-centurion-had-faith.html

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, (the place where His ministry was located, and the place where He performed many miracles, signs and wonders) He was approached by a Roman officer, who said to Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Look closely at this conversation between Jesus and the Roman centurion.

Do you see a question mark at the end of the centurion’s statement? Certainly, it is obvious that the centurion was concerned about his servant, by the way he humbly and reverently approached Jesus. And yes, it seems evident that the centurion wanted Jesus to heal his servant. But here is what made my heart pound… Immediately after the centurion told Him about his servant’s terrible pain and paralysis, Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”  Continue reading Words of Jesus – Before We Ask…

Words of Jesus – Humble Yourself Under the Mighty Hand of God…

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

~ Matthew 8:5-6 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://jenwilton.com/general/ does-god-still-speak-today-part-two/
Image Credit:
http://jenwilton.com/general/
does-god-still-speak-today-part-two/

I love when the Lord speaks directly to my heart through His word. It gets me all excited and wound up as I begin to ponder what He is telling me. Then, as I begin to wrap my mind around things that I’ve read many, many times before, suddenly, He opens the eyes of my heart so that I can see what I didn’t see before, and my ears begin to hear what I didn’t hear before. I’ve read this story many times in the past, and have heard many teachings on it, but now, the Lord is speaking directly to my heart again, and I am taking note of things that I didn’t see before.  Continue reading Words of Jesus – Humble Yourself Under the Mighty Hand of God…

Words of Jesus – Undiminished Authority

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with Him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”

Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come into my home. Just say the word from where You are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”

10 When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. Turning to those who were following Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

~ Matthew 8:5-13 — NLT ~

This passage of scripture is rich with wisdom, and I pray the Lord gives me the words to share the message He wants us to learn from it. In order to glean as much as possible from this passage, we’ll camp here for however many posts it takes to share all the Lord gives me on this particular passage… Meanwhile, today, I want to talk about Jesus’ authority. Continue reading Words of Jesus – Undiminished Authority

To Be A Man Or Woman After God’s Heart…

We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.

~ 2 Corinthians 6:3-10 — NLT ~

Image Credit: http://worshippinggodwithallmyart.blogspot.com/ 2011/02/search-my-heart-oh-god.html
Image Credit:
http://worshippinggodwithallmyart.blogspot.com/
2011/02/search-my-heart-oh-god.html

As I was studying about the armor of God today, one of the cross references led me to 2 Corinthians 6:7. Now I’m not one to just read the verse that the cross references lead me to, because I like to read the scriptures in their entire context, so that I get a clear understanding of what is being said. Therefore, I quickly discovered that in order to understand what Paul (the author of 2 Corinthians) was talking about, I needed to read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10. Then, as I read this passage of scripture, it just pierced my heart, causing me to examine my heart and my commitment to the Lord, and I knew that before I could go any farther in my study of the armor of God, I needed to ponder on this passage, and share it with you, my beloved readers. Therefore, I’m just going to delve into this bit by bit, until we reach the end… Continue reading To Be A Man Or Woman After God’s Heart…

Share the Love – May 2013

PrintGreetings Everyone! It is time for me to Share the Love once again, and I can’t tell you how much this blesses me! I’m really eager to share this month’s recipient with you, because I’m fairly certain that many of you are unfamiliar with her writing, and you are in for a treat. Therefore, without further ado, I joyfully present the blog site, His Love is Better Than Wine, authored by Nicole MContinue reading Share the Love – May 2013

In Union

I haven’t written a post for the last few days, because I’ve been in a lot of pain, and I’m operating on very little sleep. Still, in the midst of my pain, the Lord ministers to me and speaks to me through His word.

Sunday, after church, I felt the Lord leading me to begin a study of spiritual warfare. Over the years, I’ve done many studies on spiritual war, but the Lord never ceases to amaze me, as He takes a scripture passage or verse that I’ve read and studied, and come to understand, and opens it up in a whole new dimension. His word hasn’t changed, nor has its meaning changed. For that matter, God hasn’t changed either. It seems that the only one who has changed is me. Continue reading In Union

Truth or Lie? Once Saved, Always Saved

Image Credit: http://truth459.blogspot.com/2011/04/ once-saved-always-saved-101blog.html
Image Credit:
http://truth459.blogspot.com/2011/04/
once-saved-always-saved-101blog.html

Have you ever heard the expression, “Once Saved, Always Saved”? The first time I heard this expression, a pastor’s wife was confiding her sinful lifestyle to me. I was appalled by her confession, and I remember saying, “I thought you were a Christian.” I didn’t say this accusingly — I was just very confused.

The woman just laughed at my statement and replied, “Of course, I’m a Christian. God knows my heart, and He knows why I do these things. Don’t you know that once you accept Jesus as your Savior, you’re always saved? There is nothing you could ever do to lose your salvation.” At the dumb expression on my face, she in turn, looked at me, equally shocked, “Don’t you believe that? Don’t you know about the doctrine of ‘Once Saved, Always Saved’?” Continue reading Truth or Lie? Once Saved, Always Saved

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

by michelle w. on April 14, 2013

Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.
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TOP 10 REASONS TO LOVE JESUS CHRIST AND ACCEPT HIM AS LORD AND SAVIOR

10.     Salvation only comes through Christ

There is salvation in no one else! There is no other name in all of heaven for people to call on to save them.

~ Acts 4:12 NLT ~

9.      In Him is life

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

~ John 10:10 NLT ~

Continue reading Daily Prompt: The Satisfaction of a List

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

I almost forgot Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Worthy – of commendable excellence or great merit, character or value; deserving

Is

The

Lamb – Christ – our Passover Lamb who was sacrificed for our scrollsins

That

Was

Slain – to slay, slaughter, butcher; to put to death by violence; mortally wounded

Edge…

Five Sentence Fiction – Edge

Apr 10, 2013 ~ 3 Comments ~ Written by lillie

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Wonderland_Walker_2.jpg

Fear and regret welled up inside him, as searing hot pain burned him from within and without, consuming him in a blaze of hopeless torment. “Oh God,” he cried out in agony, as the bitterness of his current state engulfed him with sorrow and remorse, while the unrelenting holocaust drove home the knowledge that it was now too late to go back and change anything. 

He had always lived his life on the edge,  like a tightrope walker, while never fully committing to the Lord, he enjoyed many of the forbidden fruits of life, being careful not to do anything too terribly bad, and always making sure that he never missed going to church on Christmas and Easter. How sharply focused everything suddenly was, as revelation came in a flash of lightning, burning through all of the lies he had told himself through the seventy-eight brief years of his self-indulgent life, when he had vowed to  himself that he would make Jesus his Lord and Savior when he was older, only to continue putting it off until now, when his life was used up, and it was too late. The truth is that even if he had lived another seventy-eight years, he’d never really had any intentions of making peace with God, and now there was hell to pay, as the flames unceasingly tormented him. 

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words…

Five Sentence Fiction – Words

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Her words were like a razor, sharp and hard, slicing their recipient to shreds, with each lashing from her tongue.

Image Credit: http://laboringinthelord.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/04/The-Power-Of-The-Tongue.jpg

Just moments earlier, that same tongue had spoken words that were soft and soothing, a healing balm applied to the one she loved with gentleness, as she sought to heal some of the wounds caused by a lifetime of pain and abuse. There was great power in her words, and she was amazed at the transformation in her friend, who seemed to change from a lowly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, as she spoke those words of love and truth to her.

Yet now, as she peered at her reflection in the mirror with self-loathing, heaping those hateful curses on her image that looked back at her with tears in her eyes, she heard different words, coming from the Word Himself. “Be still, My love,” the Word tenderly whispered to her, “for you are My beloved, whom I have created fearfully and wonderfully in My image, for My glory and I command you to love yourself as I have loved you.”

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Truth or Lie: Reality Check – I’m Heartsick

Image Credit: http://www.mzaeen.net

Do you ever feel heartsick for the church? I’m not talking about the various places that we visit on Sundays and sometimes through the week. I’m talking about the body of Christ, those people who claim to be children of God. Do you ever feel like picking her up and shaking her? Do you ever get angry and outraged at some of the foolish things she does, because you know that she’s playing with fire, and endangering her own life, as well as the lives of others? Do you ever feel like weeping and wailing and grieving and mourning for her?

I do. My heart weighs heavily on me, and I’m so deeply troubled and grieved for the people who comprise the church. You see, somewhere along the way, many of the men, women and children were taught a lie, and because that lie felt more comfortable than the truth, they bought it — hook, line and sinker. You see, in ministering about the goodness of God’s grace, many in the church have gotten the impression that it’s okay to sin, because God will forgive you if you confess your sins, and after all, He knows your heart. So what caused me to feel this heaviness today? 

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I was on Facebook last night, and someone that I go to church with had posted a poster with a saying that was crude and it included the F-bomb. Now, I’m friends with a lot of people who do not know the Lord, and while I don’t like that type of language coming from anyone, it is not as offensive to me as when it comes from a Christian. But even this posting didn’t upset me as much as the fact that another Christian actually “Liked” this post. And the fact that another Christian “Liked” this post wasn’t nearly as upsetting to me as the fact that the other Christian who “Liked” this post is a pastor that I know and love. 

Brothers and sisters, I feel it necessary to remind you that when you are born again, you are no longer the same. You must understand that you are no longer enslaved by the sins that once  held you captive. You have been set free from those sins, by God’s grace and mercy, and therefore, you must stop catering to those sins. It’s time for a reality check.

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT ~

Let me break this down for you, because it is vital that you understand, lest you be led astray and die in your sins. Before I became a Christian, I had a foul mouth. There used to be a saying, for those who cussed alot…

“You cuss like a sailor.”

Image Credit: http://techcrunch.com/2010/10/31/are-you-a-pirate/

Before I became a Christian, I heard that statement frequently. In fact, I was quite proud of that, and the fact that I knew more dirty jokes than anyone else I knew. I loved smut. I read trashy novels, watched dirty movies, cussed when I was angry, cussed when I was happy, cussed for no reason at all. Really, when you do something all the time, you get to a point that you don’t even notice when you’re doing it.

But that changed when I repented and asked Christ to save me. You see, I was reborn, not of flesh this time, but of the spirit. 

3 Jesus replied, “I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” 5 Jesus replied, “The truth is, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven.”

~ John 3:3-6 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/Jesus-198299071

When I was born of the Spirit, my life changed. I was no longer the woman I was before. I didn’t stop cussing and telling dirty jokes immediately. I didn’t stop smoking immediately, and I didn’t stop reading and watching smut right away. Nonetheless, I had changed. You see, before, I enjoyed those things, and was quite proud of my vices. Now, the first change I noticed was the shame that enveloped me when I cussed. Those things that I used to take pride in now grieved me. The things that I used to gleefully participate in, now disgusted me.

I tried to change my behavior, not so Christ would save me, because He already had. I wanted to change, because I loved Him and I was so grateful for what He had done for me, but the harder I tried, the more I failed, until, in utter despair, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to change me, and He heard my cries and answered me. I can’t tell you the date I stopped cussing, but I can tell you that I did, because Jesus took the curses from my mouth and replaced them with blessings. 

Image Credit: http://emahgoday.deviantart.com/art/ Strongest-Man-Alive-310738200

One night, when I was praying to Him, He spoke to me. I can’t remember what I was praying to Him for, but I remember His words to me, “Cheryl, you keep asking Me for things, but what are you willing to give to Me?” He asked.

My response was immediate, “Anything!”

“Are you willing to give Me your cigarettes?” He asked.

“I’ll give you anything but that,” I bartered. “Lord, I’ve tried to stop smoking before. You know I can’t.”

“I know you’ve tried before,” He responded, “but this time, if you’ll give it to Me, I will take the desire away from you.”

I agreed, and He took all desire to smoke away from me. I had smoked for twenty-four years, starting when I was twelve years old, but now, the smell of cigarette smoke sickened me — literally. To this day, I can smell when someone has been smoking, and the odor is nauseating to me.

Image Credit: http://browse.deviantart.com/art/ this-is-heaven-43721431

You see, I was a new person. The Cheryl that once loved sin, now hated it, because she was a new creation. The new Cheryl loved Jesus, and she wanted to please Him. Once, I belonged to the world, and I lived as the world does, but when I was born again, I no longer belonged to the world. 

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. 2 Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. 3 For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. 5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 6 God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. 7 You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

~ Colossians 3:1-10 NLT ~

I shared all of this with you, because if you have been born again, you should not be living the same life that you lived before your salvation. You should be different. Your life should be different. Your desires should be different.

Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires.

~ Psalm 37:4 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.pics22.com

I used to think that verse meant that God would give me a nice bank account, a new car, or a better job, and I used to pray for those things. But then, as I began to delight in the Lord, He changed my heart. No longer did I pray for the things I once prayed for… Do you remember why?

I’m a new person, and as I delighted in Him, He gave me new desires… As I delighted in Him, He gave me my heart’s desires… I now desired my husband and my children to know Him… I now longed to serve Him… I wanted to share His love with others… I wanted to love others as He loved me…

I had become someone new. What about you? When you were born again, did your life change? Or do you still laugh at the things you always laughed at? Does it grieve you when you sin? Or are you able to justify your sins?

My friends, if you are born again, and yet you haven’t changed, then it’s time for a reality check. If you’re still dropping the F-bomb, laughing at dirty jokes, posting things that should not be posted on Facebook, Twitter or your blog, or “Liking” any of those things, then perhaps you really weren’t born again, or perhaps you don’t really understand about grace…

14 Sin is no longer your master, for you are no longer subject to the law, which enslaves you to sin. Instead, you are free by God’s grace. 15 So since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does this mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! 16 Don’t you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval.

~ Romans 6:14-16 NLT ~

My beloved friends, please, examine yourselves and do a reality check. It is a lie to believe that you are born again if you haven’t changed. I don’t care if you carry the title of pastor, evangelist, prophet, elder, apostle, bishop or anything else, if you “Like” someone else’s sin, if you continue in sin, then sin is your master, not God. 

1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice — the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Brothers and sisters, I’m heartsick at how some have twisted God’s grace into an excuse to continue to live in sin. God is full of mercy and grace, but Jesus died for us, so that we might die to sin. That is God’s grace. Jesus did not die so that we could continue to dwell in sin. He died to set us free from sin.

So now, I ask each one of you to examine your own hearts. If after giving your life to Christ, you find that you are still living for yourself, it’s time for a reality check. 

26 Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received a full knowledge of the truth, there is no other sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27 There will be nothing to look forward to but the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume His enemies. 28 Anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Think how much more terrible the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God and have treated the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy. Such people have insulted and enraged the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to His people. 30 For we know the one who said, “I will take vengeance. I will repay those who deserve it.” He also said, “The Lord will judge His own people.” 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

~ Hebrews 10:26-31 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://jennbowers.deviantart.com/art/ It-is-Finished-159107918

Beloved, it grieves me to write such harsh words, but I must. I urge you to seek the Lord with all your heart. Examine your hearts, and if you are guilty of trampling on the Son of God and treating the blood of the covenant as if it were common and unholy, repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Cry out to Jesus, and walk in obedience to His will. He is full of mercy and grace, and He will save those who are truly repentant. He knows that we are not capable of changing ourselves, and if you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you new desires… desires to please Him. He will set you free from the law of sin and death, if you will simply love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

From a Humble Perspective

This post is in response to the Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift at her blog, Swift Expression. If any of my readers derives inspiration from this post and would like to do something similar on their own blog, please provide full credit to Weekly Lite Prompts by Tilda Swift (as stated above) to abide by copyright laws.

Praise the Lord! Sis Caddo Veil wrote several nonets, which were so moving, that I just had to try also. For those who don’t know, a nonet is 9 syllables on the first line, going down to 8 the next, 7 next, and so on, all the way down to 1 syllable on the last line. I tried doing one of these earlier today, and it was such fun, that I decided to have a go at it again, with this second writing prompt… 

Tilda, I know you said to choose one of the following prompts, but I couldn’t make up my mind because I liked them all, so I decided to use them all! Many blessings!
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I Am A Moth

English: moth on a surface
English: moth on a surface (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am a lowly moth seemingly
Fragile and frail with gossamer
Wings, but look again, and see
My frailty’s but a ruse
A disguise to hide
Destruction I
Bring to
You

 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal.” ~ Matthew 6:19 NLT ~

English: A crown of thorns in the stores of Be...
English: A crown of thorns in the stores of Bedford Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I Am A Thorn

I am a thorn, sharp, pointed, painful
Be careful or I will pierce you
My wounds can be quite deadly
I pierced the Savior’s brow
Blood ran down His face
Beware – I have
No mercy
I’ll trap
You

“But I will fence her in with thornbushes. I will block the road to make her lose her way.” ~ Hosea 2:6 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://www.angelfire.com/jazz/karen_trust /PrayerLog/Nov2007.html

I Am A Small Gray Feather

I am a small gray feather, soft, light
Though gentle and warm, there is strength
Come, My beloved and hide
In My shadow and wings
I will cradle you
Defend, protect
Rest safely
In Me
Come

He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. ~ Psalm 91:4 NKJV ~

Dandelion

I Am A Little Weed

I am a little weed, a nuisance
Try to get rid of me, kill me
But I will return, stronger
Meaner, more determined
I will destroy you
Suffocate you
Temptations
Better
Run!

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as everyone slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. The farmer’s servants came and told him, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds!’

“‘An enemy has done it!’ the farmer exclaimed.”

‘Shall we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.

“He replied, ‘No, you’ll hurt the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds and burn them and to put the wheat in the barn.'” ~ Matthew 13:24-30 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

You’ve Got Mail…

Creative Writing Challenge: 2AM Photo

by Michael Pick on March 18, 2013
It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.
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Image Credit: http://theperiledsea.ning.com/profiles/blogs/horse-rider-made-of-fire-what-i-saw

“You’ve got mail!” The sound loudly clamored repeatedly, jarring me awake from a dead sleep, as I reached over to grab my cell phone, wondering why it kept repeating over and over again. Usually, when I received a text or notification, it only sounded once, and I never had the volume as loud as it was now. 

“It must be some kind of a stupid glitch,” I thought to myself, as I sat up in the bed, squinting to see who could be texting me at 2:00 in the morning, and what kind of malfunction was causing my phone to vibrate and continue repeating, “You’ve got mail!” at full volume. Finally, unable to silence it, I decided to open the stupid message, hoping that would shut it up.

As I opened the message, my heart began to beat violently in my chest. There was no “Sender”, nor was there any message, just the grim picture of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. My heart felt like wax, as it melted within me, and a sudden weakness washed over my body. “Oh God,” I whimpered, as the image on the cell phone shook in my hands.

Suddenly, it seemed that time had run out. As I stared dumbly at the image on my cell phone, I saw the future begin to unfold, as other images raced across the screen, showing the impending doom of mankind and the earth as we now knew it. It was both great and terrible, as wars, famine and pestilence flashed across the screen, with each of the four horsemen leaving a horrible wake of destruction as they passed…

We were about to face the war that ends all wars, as families and friends would be pitted against one another. Children would turn against their parents, and mothers would betray their very own flesh. The love of many would wax cold, and it would soon be nearly impossible to tell friend from foe.

Indeed, this photo of the four horsemen was a call to war, and I knew immediately what I needed to do, as I dropped to my knees and began to pray fervently, crying out for God’s mercy and grace. I couldn’t deny that I’d already seen the signs — oh, who was I kidding? I knew that the first of the four horsemen had already arrived, and that it was only a matter of time before the second rider followed, as Antichrist set his evil plan into motion, winning the trust and adoration of many as they turned further and further away from Christ, calling His gospel of peace a gospel of war.

I had already witnessed the terrible toll that was taking place on believers throughout the world, and yet, like a foolish ostrich, I had buried my head in the sand, hoping that this terrible evil would just vanish if I didn’t look at it. “Oh Lord, forgive me for not taking a stand,” I now prayed, as I began to put my war clothes on.

Image Credit: http://taniarubimenglish.blogspot.com/2012_02_01_archive.html

Then, grabbing the breastplate of righteousness, I fastened it tightly, carefully guarding my heart. “Lord God,” I now prayed with purpose and fervency, “guard my heart and keep me righteous. In these last and evil times, Father, I ask You to protect my heart, so that I won’t stray from You, nor lead anyone else away from Your saving grace.”

Next, with purpose, I lifted the belt of truth, carefully examining it for any breaks or flaws that may have occurred during my time of cowardice, as I refused to face the truth before me. Thankfully, the Lord had guarded it, and I carefully fastened the belt of truth tightly around my waist, as I vowed, “Lord, from this day forth, with Your help, I will walk in truth, looking neither to the left nor the right. And though it may lead to my death, I will speak the truth in love, boldly to the men, women and children You place in my path, no matter who stands against me, because I know that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, and that every lying tongue that rises up against me shall be brought to justice.”

Image Credit: http://www.123rf.com/photo_15082883_old-and-dirty-military-boots-isolated-on-white-background.html

Even though it was now well past 2:00 a.m., I stooped down to slip my feet into the shoes in readiness of sharing the gospel of peace. “Lord, Jesus, send me to the streets, the prisons, the bars, the crack houses and the whore houses, so that I may share Your gospel of peace with those who are desperate for a Savior. Let me speak to them in Your love, so that they will be ready to face the trials and the tribulation that all must face. And Lord, I ask that You snatch them from the fiery grip of the enemy, saving many in these last and terrible days.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-shield-of-faith-booker-poole.html

I knew that my faith would need to be strong for me to endure until the end, and so, as I lifted my shield of faith, I entreated the Lord to take the faith He’d already given me, and to increase it, so that I would be able to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy. The helmet of salvation came next, and I carefully tied my hair up and out of the way, before resting the helmet on top of my head. It fit snugly and perfectly, and I breathed a deep sigh as I continued to pray, “Lord, let the mind of Christ be in me. Let my thoughts be Your thoughts, and Your thoughts be mine. Lord let me have the same attitude that Christ had, because even though He was God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing, becoming a humble slave and suffering for the sake of many. Lord, help me be willing to humble myself for the sake of others, let me care more for their lives than my own. Oh God,” I cried, “Let me be a woman after Your own heart.”

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/products/sword-of-the-spirit-jeff-haynie-poster.html

Finally, I was fully armed, save for one last weapon. I carefully picked up the sword of the Spirit, transferring it from my left hand to my right, placing it in its sheath, and then quickly removing it and assuming the warrior’s pose. The sword of the Spirit — the word of God… “Oh Lord,” I softly breathed. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. As I prepare to leave the warmth of my apartment to go into battle with my brothers and sisters that You have also armed and called for such a time as this, order my steps, for Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”

“It is time now,” I sensed the Spirit commanding me, as I stood at attention. Then, without so much as a final look at what I was leaving behind, I walked out of my apartment, locking the door behind me. I would not be returning, for I had received my orders, and I was off to wage war against the enemy of the souls of men and women. “Remember this final thing,” I heard a voice speaking from beside me, as I continued to walk toward the city’s red light district, “This battle belongs to the Lord!”

“Hallelujah!” I shouted loudly, as I set my face like flint and sprinted to my destination.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Paradise

Five Sentence Fiction – Paradise

Mar 13, 2013 ~ Written by lillie ~ 

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.

This week: PARADISE

Image Credit: http://oriofpanda.deviantart.com/art/the-way-to-heaven-311650104

Kept alive by wires and tubes, respirators and defibrillators, no longer able to speak or communicate with anyone save Jesus, she poured out her heart to Him, crying, “Lord, I’ve fought the good fight and I’ve finished the race. Surely there is a crown stored up for me in heaven — a crown that I will gladly cast down at Your feet as soon as You take me home.” She grimaced as pain wracked her body, followed immediately by yet another dose of morphine, which relieved the pain, but made communicating with her Savior so much more difficult, for with each dose, her mind could not function as the drug clouded her thoughts and caused wave after wave of nausea to engulf her.

She had been tormented like this for weeks, when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it all changed, as now, for the first time in her life, everything suddenly came together with perfect clarity, and she saw Her beloved Jesus, engulfed in an indescribable light beckoning her to come. With great joy, she leapt forward, out of the bed, clasping His hand into hers, and as she stepped into Paradise, the I.V. was ripped from her arm, and the heart monitor flatlined…

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen

Daily Prompt: Silver Screen

by michelle w. on March 13, 2013

Take a quote from your favorite movie — there’s the title of your post. Now, write!
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“Do not cite the Deep Magic to me Witch. I was there when it was written.”
Aslan – Chronicles of Narnia
“The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”

Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: Th...
Music Inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If ever there was a show stopper, this was it. In case anyone wondered what this story, this allegory was about, it suddenly snapped into focus, as everyone suddenly realized that the character, Aslan, Lion of Narnia, was truly an allegorical character for none other than Jesus Christ, Lion of the tribe of Judah, and that the witch was merely an allegorical characterization of Satan himself. My heart rejoiced at this famous line in the movie, as the white witch tried to explain the meaning of the words, written by Aslan, much in the same way Satan tried to twist God’s Word to Jesus as he tempted Him in the wilderness, until Jesus, also known as the Word of God, had finally had enough!

10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only Him.'”

~ Matthew 4:10 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://hbiblecommentary.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/john-11/

If only everyone could see that as beautiful as this allegorical movie is, there is even more beauty in the true story of Jesus Christ, who was both the Lion and the Lamb. My heart’s desire is that all who enjoyed this movie would know the true joy of knowing the truth about Jesus Christ, who was the very Word of God.

1 In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 He created everything there is. Nothing exists that He didn’t make. 4 Life itself was in Him, and this life gives light to everyone. 5 The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

~ John 1:1-5 NLT ~

He was in the beginning with God, and He created everything there is. In fact, nothing exists that He didn’t make. 

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. 16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through Him and for Him. 17 He existed before everything else began, and He holds all creation together.

~ Colossians 1:15-17 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/god-and-math-prove-that-nothing-is-greater-than-the-love-of-god/

My friends, you can go ahead and call it gravity if you want, but the truth is that everything was created through Christ and for Him, and it is He that holds all of creation together. It was He, who knew before He even laid the foundations of the earth, that man would sin, yet He chose to create us anyway. He knew that we would be tempted by the devil, and that we would choose to lie, cheat, steal and kill, rather than follow in His ways, but He chose to create us anyway. 

He knew that the only way to pay for sin would be death, but He had a plan.

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

~ Romans 6:23 NLT ~

He knew the only way to save us from death and eternal damnation would be for Him to leave His throne in heaven and come to live here on earth as a man, and He made up His mind to do just that. He knew that no one else could do it, because there was no one who was just and holy. Everybody had sinned, so it would have to be Him.

10 As the Scriptures say, “No one is good — not even one.”

~ Romans 3:10 NLT ~

23 For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

~ Romans 3:23 NLT ~

Image Credit: http://petehise.com/2010/02/jesus-carried-the-weight/

He knew that Him living a perfect and holy life would not be enough to save  us from the penalty of our sin. He knew that He would also have to suffer for our sins. He knew that He would have to carry the weight of every person’s sins on His shoulders. He would have to suffer the pain of every man, woman and child who had ever lived before, and who ever would live. He would have to carry the sins of people who would never repent, and He would have to pay for them. Can you imagine how difficult that must have been? 

21 God made this sinless Man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with Him we might fully share in God’s righteousness.”

~ 2 Corinthians 5:21 CJB ~

Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/inspirationalimages/4484580976/

Have you ever been punished for something that someone else did? Have you ever felt the righteous anger that rises up as you are falsely accused? Do you know what it’s like to experience rejection because of something you were wrongfully accused of? It’s hard, but you can tolerate the rejection of strangers, but what about those that you love? Do you know what it feels like to have those that you love turn their backs on you, knowing that you have truly done nothing wrong? Have you ever felt the pain of someone you love looking at you with disappointment and shame, knowing that nothing you say will convince them that you didn’t do what you were accused of? That’s what Jesus endured, and yet, He didn’t even try to defend Himself against the false accusations. Instead, He chose to lay down His life, so that you and I could live.

As I watched Aslan die on the stone slab, I thought of all of this, but inside, my heart was rejoicing, because you see, I know the ending of the true story… Jesus did suffer dreadfully. And unlike Aslan, people didn’t see the Lion of the tribe of Judah when they saw Him. They just saw a plain, unimportant man…

1 Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal His saving power? 2 My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. 3 He was despised and rejected — a Man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God for His own sins! 5 But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! 6 All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all.7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins — that He was suffering their punishment? 9 He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s plan will prosper in His hands. 11 When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. 12 I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.

~ Isaiah 53 NLT ~

Oh my friends, the people of His day totally missed who He was! They didn’t put two and two together — and sadly, many people throughout many generations since have not been able to put two and two together. They too, have missed who He is!

Beloved, do you recognize who this Jesus is? Do you know this Lion of the tribe of Judah? He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end! He is the Savior of the universe! He is our hope… our peace… our joy… He is Jesus Christ and He is Lord.

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There is also one more thing that I must share with you, beloved, so that you will know the whole truth. Yes, Jesus suffered, bled and died on the cross for your sins and for mine. And yes, He was buried in a borrowed tomb. BUT, on the third day, He arose from the dead, and He is now seated at the right hand of God, the Father, Almighty, and He is coming back again one day, to reign and to rule forevermore. Therefore, whether you acknowledge Him as Lord now, or whether you reject Him now, know this… There is coming a day, when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

6 Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. 7 He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

~ Philippians 2:6-11 NLT ~

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

The Inheritance

My beloved friends, ever since I first saw the following video on YouTube, it has ministered to me, and I’ve posted it several times on Facebook, whenever the Lord leads. Tonight, I was visiting a friend’s blog, and his message again put this video on my heart – so much so that when I responded to his blog, I was led to include the video in my comments… Then, after watching and listening to the video once again, I was compelled to post it on my own site…

The Inheritance
Graham Cooke

Music by: Jonathan David Hesler

See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children! For that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it has not known Him.

~ 1 John 3:1 CJB ~

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time, the Messiah died on behalf of ungodly people. 7 Now it is a rare event when someone gives up his life even for the sake of somebody righteous, although possibly for a truly good person one might have the courage to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners.

~ Romans 5:6-8 CJB ~

31 What, then, are we to say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up on behalf of us all – is it possible that, having given us His Son, He would not give us everything else too? 33 So who will bring a charge against God’s chosen people? Certainly not God – He is the one who causes them to be considered righteous! 34 Who punishes them? Certainly not the Messiah Yeshua, who died and – more than that – has been raised, is at the right hand of God and is actually pleading on our behalf! 35 Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? 36 As the Tanakh puts it, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the One who has loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, 39 neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.

~ Romans 8:31-39 CJB ~

Beloved, do you question your worth? Do you doubt God’s love for you? Have you ever, like me, thought, “I know God loves the world, but how can He love me?” If so, hear me today… God loves you. Jesus loves you. Holy Spirit loves you. He loves you just as you are, and He is calling out to you this day…

28 “Come to Me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

~ Matthew 11:28-30 CJB ~

The Lord urges you to throw all your cares on Him, because He cares for you! He knows all that you have done. He knows all that has been done to you. And He still loves you. This is what the Lord says to you, my beloved, and when He speaks to Israel, understand that He is speaking to you as well. Where you see Israel in this scripture, place your name…

1 But now, O Israel, the LORD who created you says: “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are Mine. 2 When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

~ Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT ~

Beloved, please know, as you finish reading and listening to this post, that the Lord God loves you… Hear Him as He tells you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, and with unfailing love, I have drawn you to Myself…”

Oh yes, please visit this blog, which inspired this post… Chief of the Least – This Drug Won’t Give You Amnesia (Or Any Other Bad Side Effect)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

caddo-7-word

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

His Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness

9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)

As I sit here, battling nausea, I am thankful – for His unending love and faithfulness… for His mercies that are new every morning… for His grace… that this too shall pass… Meanwhile, I will trust in the Lord and lean on His strength…

His Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness

Thank You, Father, for Your perfect strength, which holds me and carries me in my weakness… Thank You for Your great love, Lord, for Your perfect strength and Your perfect love…

His Strength is Made Perfect in Weakness

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

When Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair! ~ Part 2

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Here I am again, talking about the unfairness of life. Sometimes it really stinks, doesn’t it? I get so angry sometimes when I see the opulent living some people enjoy because they have swindled those less fortunate to support their lifestyles. Where is the justice in that? And what about the leaders of various countries, who live lives of decadence, while the citizens of those countries live meager lives, struggling just to find food and water for themselves and their families, never mind shelter!

For that matter, am I the only one who is outraged by our very own congress, who has the authority to vote for their own pay raises each year? How is it that they are allotted this privilege, when the rest of society must earn their raises based on merit, and even then, much of society still does not receive the raises necessary to make ends meet, regardless of how hard they work, and how dedicated they are to their various employers? Is that fair? I think not!

And what about those who get away with falsely accusing others, in order to cover their own shortcomings? I’ve been both a victim of this, as well as a witness to others who have suffered wrongly because of the lies of others. Is this fair? Of course not. That’s why I want to continue encouraging you, my brothers and sisters, to read the Word of God, and see that you’re not alone in this, as we learn how to deal with life’s unfair reality.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. ~ Psalm 37:5 NLT

Beloved, as I did yesterday, I want to continue today, breaking Psalm 37 down, because it is so rich and full of wisdom and hope, and today, we’re going to camp right here at verse 5…

Image Credit:
http://wallpaperscristaos.com.br/christianwallpapers
/commit-your-way

Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. This is huge. Stop and think about this for a while, then ask yourself, “Do I commit everything to the Lord?” Think about it… have you given Him all of your hopes, all of your joy, all of your plans and all of your dreams? Have you given Him your parents, your siblings, your spouse and your children? Have you given Him your friends, your acquaintances, your co-workers and your boss? Have you given Him your entire life, to do as He pleases?

When you commit everything you do to the Lord, you do as Christ did…

5 Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. 7 He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. 8 And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. ~ Philippians 2:5-8 NLT

Image Credit: http://souljournaler.blogspot.com/2010/07/self-selfless-two.html

Jesus committed everything He did to the Lord. His whole life – indeed, His whole purpose was to please God in everything He did. When He was treated unfairly, He never said, “You don’t know who you’re messing with. I’m a child of God, and you have no right to treat me like that. I know my rights,” like so many of us do. He knew who He was, and yet, He willingly laid His rights and privileges as the Son of God aside, so that God’s will might be accomplished, and not His own…

“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.” ~ Luke 22:42 NLT

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When I dare to complain about the unfairness of life, I find it very difficult to get past Jesus’ life. I’ve served God faithfully for more than twenty-five years now, and my husband and I haven’t had any income since November 2012… I’ve been hurt, abandoned and rejected by people that I love many times throughout the years… I just lost my mother, and she was only seventy-four years old… Less than a month after losing my mother, I found myself in the hospital, which I can’t afford, with a possibly deadly illness, and yet, when I think about Jesus and all that He endured for my sake, I just can’t bring myself to complain about the unfairness of it.

You see, even though I’ve had no income since November 2012, the Lord has been so very kind to me by making a way for my husband and me to keep our house. I have a roof over my head…

But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of My own, not even a place to lay My head.” ~ Luke 9:58 NLT

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Wow – how unfair is that? I, a sinner saved by His grace and His suffering have a home and a place to lay my head, while the Son of Man did not…

And though I’ve been hurt, abandoned and rejected throughout the years, the Lord has graciously and mercifully brought reconciliation in many circumstances, while other times, He has placed new people in my life, who love me and accept me as I am, so how can I complain about the  unfairness of it?

3 He was despised and rejected — a Man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care. ~ Isaiah 53:3 NLT

Image Credit: http://tazi-san.deviantart.com/art/Silent-Lamb-62444292

How can I complain about the unfairness of suffering pain, abandonment and rejection, when Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world, left His home in glory to seek and save the lost ~ people like me, and His very own people ~ the ones He came to seek and save, hated Him and rejected Him? How can I whine about life’s unfairness, when He was hated and rejected to the point of death, and those people that He loved so much and came to rescue (people like you and me) turned our backs on Him? But even so, He didn’t whine or complain about it. He endured the shame and rejection and chose to rescue us anyway, even though we treated Him so unfairly…

I lost my mother, and then less than a month later, I wound up in the hospital with a potentially deadly illness, but dare I complain about that? No, my beloved, I can’t even complain about that, when I think about Jesus, who died at only thirty-three years of age. He died such a horrible, agonizing death, at such a young age, and He didn’t have to do it. He was beaten, spit upon, lied about and rejected, and He didn’t even argue about it. He didn’t tell His Father it was unfair, and He didn’t tell the scribes and pharisees it was unfair… 

“No one can take My life from Me. I lay down My life voluntarily. For I have the right to lay it down when I want to and also the power to take it again. For My Father has given Me this command.” ~ John 10:18 NLT

Brothers and sisters, in those times when life seem so unfair, don’t lose heart, and don’t be discouraged. Instead, let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who willingly endured all of the shame and the pain for the joy that was set before Him…

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven. 3 Think about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that you don’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. ~ Hebrews 12:2-4 NLT

My beloved brothers and sisters, life is indeed very unfair, because we live in a fallen and sinful world, but don’t despair. No matter how bad our suffering, praise God, none of us have given our lives in our struggle against sin. And as Psalm 37:5 tells us, if we commit everything to the Lord and trust Him, He will help us…

This is my prayer for those of you who are currently suffering from the unfairness of life…

Heavenly Father, I pray that You would arise and show Yourself strong on behalf of my brothers and sisters, who are suffering from the unfair and unjust attacks from the enemy of our souls. I pray, Lord, that You would give them wisdom to know that if You are for them, no one can stand against them, and that You cause all things to work together for good to those who love You and are called according to Your purpose for them.

Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that my brothers and sisters would commit everything they do to You, and that they would walk in Your ways, no matter how difficult the road may be. I pray that You would enable them to say, like the apostle Paul: 

“17 For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT

In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, amen and amen…

May the Lord bless each one of you, my beloved readers, and I look forward to sharing with you again, as we continue this in depth study on the unfairness of life and Psalm 37.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

When Life Just Doesn’t Seem Fair! ~ Part 1

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Sometimes it’s so hard living in a world that is so unfair. There are some days when it seems nearly impossible to make it through, because of those who lie about you… reject you… use you… abuse you… blame you and shame you… There are so many days when it seems like the wicked prosper, while those of us who try to live godly lives are trampled on and squashed like bugs, as we struggle, not to get rich for ourselves, but to survive and to help others.

Have you ever asked yourself why life is so unfair? Have you ever questioned God about why life is so unfair? Have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel and give up, because of the unfairness of it all? Have you ever envied the wicked one who seems to have it all, while you, the man or woman who tries to live uprightly before the Lord, have nothing?

My beloved friend, you’re not alone in your struggle. Many times, I’ve cried out to God and told Him, “Lord, that just isn’t right!” And He knows that. Let’s look to the Word of God, and see what the Lord says about these things through David in Psalm 37:1-4, and bear with me while I break it down, bit by bit, because this Psalm is so rich, that I don’t want to miss a thing…

1 A psalm of David. Don’t worry about the wicked. Don’t envy those who do wrong. 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like springtime flowers, they soon wither. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:1-4

Image Credit: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/garden/lawns-italian-gardens.asp

Think about this, my friend. Don’t worry about the wicked and don’t envy those who do wrong, because they won’t always get away with it.

Have you ever looked at someone’s beautifully manicured lawn? I love looking at rich people’s lawns. They’re so lush and green and perfect, and then, I look at my patchy lawn that is full of dandelions and weeds, and while it looks good when it’s mowed, it certainly isn’t beautiful like the lawns I’m talking about, with their diamond patterns mowed into them. Still, at the end of the summer, or certainly after the first frost, the same thing happens to those richly manicured lawns that happens to mine. The grass dies.

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And don’t you just love daffodils and tulips and hyacinths, and all of those lovely springtime flowers? They are so beautiful and fresh smelling, aren’t they? But do you know that a daffodil usually only stays in bloom for 8-10 days? Tulips only last for 1-4 weeks, and hyacinths mostly only stay in bloom for 3-7 days, and then they begin to wither. King David compared the wicked to grass and springtime flowers. Don’t envy them, my friend, and try not to fret about them, because they won’t last long.

Instead, beloved, trust in the Lord and do good, so that you will live safely in the land and prosper. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Now, I’ve heard many preachers preach that if you do good and delight yourself in the Lord, you’ll get that mansion and those cars you’ve dreamed about. I’ve heard them say you’ll become a great entrepreneur and that you’ll become independently wealthy… (all for the sake of the Kingdom of course)… 
heart on fire_v2But I want to share the truth with you. My dear reader, I used to have all those desires, just like anyone else, but something funny happened when I began to delight myself in the Lord. You see, as I began to take joy in being in His presence, I wanted to get to know Him better, and so I began to read and study His word. Then, as I studied His word and learned more about Him, my prayers started changing. You see, the more I prayed to Him, the less time I spent asking Him for things that I needed, because I found that my desires were changing. Now, I desired to know Him more… to see His face… to hear His voice… I couldn’t stop thinking about Him, because I was falling in love with Him, and the more I loved Him, the more I wanted to please Him. Now, I didn’t worry so much about me. Instead, I began to love the things He loves and hate the things He hates. Instead of looking at the weaknesses and vices of others with condemnation, I began to have compassion on the people.
Image Credit: https://marc5solas.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/its-not-supposed-to-be-like-this/

Now, instead of hating those who hurt me, I felt mercy for them, as the Lord began to reveal their pain to me. I began to feel empathy for others who were trapped in sin, and my desire was to set them free from its death grip on them. Beloved, as I delighted myself in the Lord, He truly did give me the desires of my heart, by changing my desires. Now, I pray for those people who God loves and longs to set free from the bondage of sin… death… fear… rejection… abandonment… hopelessness… envy… strife… bitterness…

 
Beloved, when life just doesn’t seem fair, believe me when I say that there is One who is fair and just, and He sees it all and remembers it all. When you’re discouraged because of the unfairness of life, read Psalm 37, where you’ll find hope. Meditate on what I’ve shared with you today, and return tomorrow, when I’ll share some more of Psalm 37 with you. Meanwhile, this is my prayer for you today:
Heavenly Father, watch over my beloved brothers and sisters today, and comfort them. Comfort them with the knowledge that You see their pain, and You see when they are misused and abused, and that their perpetrators will soon fade away like grass and wither like the flowers in spring. Lord, I pray that You will help them to trust in You with all their hearts, leaning not on their own understanding, as they acknowledge You in all their ways, and You direct their paths. I pray Father that they would take great delight in You, finding joy in Your presence and in Your word, as You reveal the truth to them and set them free, thus giving them the desires of their hearts, in Jesus’ name, amen.
© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

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Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Sis Caddo, whoever would have thought that this little exercise of coming up with seven little words would minister to anyone? And yet, this morning, this song rose up in my spirit, and as I highlighted seven words in each line of the song, the Lord ministered to my wounded spirit, and for that, I am so grateful! Thank you for listening to and obeying Holy Spirit when He placed this idea for Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays into your heart, because if you hadn’t, I might not have received the healing balm that the words to this song have provided me. Great is His Faithfulness!

Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord, Unto Me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

[Refrain]
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

[Refrain]

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Where Life and Death Collide

Image Credit: http://kellieelmore.com/2013/02/01/fwf-free-write-friday-image-prompt-4/

I was filthy. Though I scrubbed and scrubbed… and scrubbed and scrubbed, I couldn’t rid myself of the stains without and within. Closing my eyes, I grimaced in pain. With just one glance, He had captured my heart.

I sighed mournfully, saddened because I knew that He was pure and holy, while I was unclean and vile. He was faithful and true, while I was unfaithful and corrupt. He was merciful and righteous, and I was unforgiving and immoral. He was everything that I wasn’t… He was everything that I longed to be.

“O Jesus,” I cried out in my pain and misery. “How I long to see You, to touch You, to be with You,  but I can’t, for I am vile and murky. Though I’ve tried and tried to cleanse myself, it’s no use, for the sin and guilt run deep within me,” I whispered as I felt the darkness closing in on me…

But then I heard a still small voice calling my name, “Cheryl,” He whispered, “My beloved, I have heard your cries, so come now,” He gently said, “Let us reason together. No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.”

“You would do this for me?” It seemed too good to be true…

“I would do this and more,” He replied. “Come to Me, My weary one, and I will give you rest. Cast all of your burdens and cares upon Me, for I care for you,” He spoke with a smile.

“But, I am not worthy,” I said sadly, as I hung my head in shame.

“Cheryl, My love covers a multitude of sin. If you will confess your sins to me, I will be faithful and just to you, and I will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. My beloved one, I will make you worthy, and I will clothe you in My righteousness. Come now,” He said with authority.

“It is time for you to cross over from the Sea of Death, and step into My Living Waters,” and as He held His nail scarred hand out to me, I made my decision, placing my hand in His. In that place where life and death collide, I left the murk and mire behind me as I stepped into His pure and holy life giving waters.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Truth or Lie? Give and it Will Be Given to You…

Last night, when I wrote the introduction to the Truth or Lie? category, in which I will address the importance of knowing God’s Word, and some of the lies that we have been taught, I already knew what my first topic would be.

“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
(Luke 6:38 NKJV)

 

Image Credit: http://jesusownkidsdaily.blogspot.com/2011/05/todays-jok-daily-your-best-time-with_13.html

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been in a church service and heard this scripture quoted before tithes and offerings are collected. Nor can I tell you the number of times I’ve heard this same scripture verse quoted by televangelists as they urge their viewers to give to their ministry, if you want to receive a blessing. To be very honest with you, I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve felt pressured to give money that I don’t even have, in order to receive God’s blessing according to this scripture verse… that is, until I actually read the scripture in it’s entire context.

Let’s read this verse in the proper context, and see what Jesus was talking about when He told us to give and it will be given to you…

37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 

39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
(Luke 6:37-42 NKJV)

To help put this in context, you need to understand that this was part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Look at this scripture passage again. Did you see any mention or reference to money in this scripture passage? Did you see any mention or reference to tithes and offerings here?

As you can see, in this scripture passage, Jesus was telling us not to judge or condemn anyone. Instead, He instructed, “… Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 

My friends, this is important. Read that passage again. Do you see what Jesus was telling us to give? Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give (forgiveness, mercy) and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. Do you see it? As you give forgiveness, forgiveness will be given to you, my brothers and sisters, so much forgiveness will flow into your bosom that that it will run over… 

Image Credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/overflowing-lyn-deutsch.html

Have you ever seen what happens when your sink or bathtub overflows? The water soaks everything it comes in contact with. The same happens when we forgive. As I forgive those who have harmed me, God pours His mercy and forgiveness into my bosom – a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, so that it begins to spill over onto others that I come into contact with… You see, when I am merciful and forgiving, the same measure of mercy and forgiveness is measured back to me…

Brothers and sisters, do you see why it is so important to examine the scriptures for yourselves? There are so many men and women preaching and teaching false doctrine, and living lives contrary to the will of God, that many people are deceived, and I don’t want you to be deceived. Study the word of God. When you hear a sermon, take the time to prayerfully look up the scriptures and read them in context, so that you will not be deceived.

And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things that are contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.
(Romans 16:17-18 NLT)

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Religion vs. Spirituality vs. Christianity

Religion and spirituality are man’s attempt to reach God…

Image Credit: http://betteroffread.com/2012/04/03/the-rescue/

Christianity is God looking down on mankind, and seeing that we were desperately lost in sin. Knowing that the wages of sin is death, He reached down to mankind. God knew that there was not one man who ever had lived, nor would ever live who was without sin – no, not even one. So God, who loved the world so much that He gave His One and Only Son, so that whosoever believed in Him (Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God), should not perish, but have everlasting life. Christianity is knowing and recognizing that apart from Christ, we are dead in our transgressions.

Christianity is confessing with our mouth, right out loud, for the world to hear, and for us to hear, that Jesus is Lord. It is believing in our heart that God raised Him from the dead. It is having the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. He made Himself nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of heaven and gave Him a name that is above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Image Credit: http://khollandsblog.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/remember-the-thorns/

To be a Christian is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. It is knowing that every man, woman and child who was, is and is to become a part of His eternal Kingdom, that is every Christian (who is a true worshiper), is the joy that was set before Him.

It knowing that Jesus is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven, and thinking about all He endured when sinful people did such terrible things to Him, so that we who love Him, don’t become weary and give up. Christianity is believing that Jesus Christ, the One who paid the debt that every man, woman and child owed (the debt that I owed), so that we who believe would become His beloved bride, His church (not the four walls of a building, but we, His beloved people), could spend eternity with Him.

Image Credit: http://pastorrussell.blogspot.com/2008/11/return-of-christ.html

Christianity is knowing and believing that the same Jesus who was crucified on the cross, died, and was buried, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven on a cloud. It is believing that Christ is preparing a place for His people… His beloved… His bride… and knowing that if He is preparing a place for us, then He will return for us, so that we may be where He is, reigning and ruling with Him for eternity.

Christianity is sharing this Good News… this Gospel with others. It is loving God, first and foremost. It is loving our neighbor as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us… It is loving our enemies… If we love Him and obey His commands (to love the Lord, our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves), then we will abide in Him, and He will abide in us…

Words of Jesus – “Not Everyone Who Says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ Shall Enter The Kingdom of Heaven…” Part 2

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 

(Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV)

How well do you know God? I’m not talking about how much you know about Him. There are many people who know a whole lot of Scriptures, but they don’t know God.

Image Credit: http://www.thebiblechristian.com/?p=7874

Just because you read a book about someone doesn’t mean that you know him/her. Because you read something written by an author does not mean that you actually know him/her. Many of you who read my posts do not know me, even though what I’ve written has come straight from my heart and reveals much about me; while others who read my posts have come to know me very well. How is it that you all read the same words that I have written, and perhaps even follow my blog, and yet, only a few know me?

Image Credit: http://thepastorssnack.blogspot.com/2010/09/intimacy-with-god-part-4.html

The answer has to do with relationship and intimacy. Some, who have read my words, respond to me, the author of those words. They talk to me, via their comments, and I respond to them. As we begin responding to one another, we come to know and love one another. We become intimate. As we become intimate with one another, both listening and hearing what the other is saying, we begin to see one another’s heart, and as we open up to one another, we come to love one another.

We also learn to see the flaws that each of us have, because we are still human after all, but those flaws do not change our love for one another. If anything, when we see the sin in our brothers and sisters, we hurt and we ache for our brothers and sisters, crying out for their release from the sin, which like a cancer, can destroy them. The knowledge of the sin in our brothers’ or sisters’ lives does not cause us to love them any less; rather it causes us to love them all the more, while we hate that sin which is destroying them, and wage war against it…

In this same way, many who read and study the Word of God do not know Him, because they fail to respond to Him, the Author of those words. Now some may admire and respect His Word, and may know more about His words than others, but they have missed the most important thing. You see, although they admire those words, they have failed to respond to the Author of those words. Rather than taking the time to respond to Him, and listen to His response to them, they just admire Him from afar.

Some people believe the words that He has written, and they apply them to their lives, just as some have admired Socrates and live by his words…

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

Socrates

Others admire Ghandi and live by his words…

A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.

Ghandi

Still others admire Plato and live by his words…

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Plato

While people may admire these philosophers and live by what they say, the people do not actually know them. In the same way, while many people know Jesus and admire Him, many even try to live according to the Ten Commandments, this does not mean that they actually know Him personally, and intimacy is the very foundation of Christianity. This is why Jesus said:

“Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to Me as ‘Lord,’ but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey My Father in heaven. On judgment day many will tell Me, ‘Lord, Lord, we prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.’

(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)

Image Credit: http://myjesuslovesme.wordpress.com/page/4/

So, what does Jesus mean when He says we must obey His Father in heaven? How do we know if we really do know Jesus? He makes it plain for us in His word:

 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

(John 15:10-14 NKJV)

Do you see that? If we obey Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in His love… By this we will know that we are saved… So what does He command us to do?

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(John 15:12 NKJV)

What is the greatest command that God gave us… the one that all of the Law and the prophets is based on?

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)

Do you know the Lord Jesus Christ, my friends? Do you love Him with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I didn’t ask you if you love church, or the bible, or TBN or the God Channel. I asked if you love Jesus… Do you love Him first and best? Remember, the greatest command is to Love God.

Image Credit: http://friarphillip.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-19-hinge.html

How about your neighbor? You know who I mean… Do you love your lazy co-worker who leaves you to pick up after him? Do you love your nosy neighbor who all the time sticks her nose into your business? Do you love your neighbor who says he loves you to your face, then stabs you in the back when you’re not looking? Do you love your neighbor, who is also your enemy? Remember… Jesus tells us to love one another as He loved us…

Do you know how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you really is? Let me remind you… While you and I were still sinners, doing the things that pleased ourselves, without a thought of Christ, He loved us. When you and I turned our backs on Him and rejected Him, Jesus still loved us. When you and I stumble and fall, Jesus still loves us. When we denied Him, He loved us still… In all of the sins we committed against Him, He not only kept on loving us, He forgave us! Not only did He forgive us… He picked us up and cleaned up our mess…

Now, I’ll ask you again, do you love God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost? Do you love your neighbor the same way Jesus loves us?

If your answer to either of those questions is no, then you, my friend truly don’t know Christ, and if you don’t know Him, you don’t know the Father… And if you don’t know them, then when Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you’ve done, He will say to you, I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.” (Matthew 7:23b NLT)

It’s up to you, my beloved readers and followers… Do you want to know the Author of these 66 books we call the bible? Respond to Him. Develop a relationship with Him by talking to Him and listening to Him, as He speaks to you through His Word. My prayer for each one who reads these words of mine is that when Jesus returns, He will look at you and say, “Come here, My beloved. I’m so glad we’ve come to know one another, and that you did everything I authorized you to do!”

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

caddo-7-word

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Call To Him And He Will Answer

Call – cry, shout and sound the alarm

To – in the direction of, direct toward

Him – Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God, God my Father, Holy Spirit

And – in addition to, also, plus, as a consequence, as well as, furthermore

He – Alpha and Omega, King of kings, King of Glory, Elohim, Almighty God

Will – authorize, bring about, command, decree, demand, ordain

Answer – solve, pass, satisfy, fulfill

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
(Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV)

Share the Love

The Lord has been speaking to my heart, and He is leading me to start a new blog page and post entitled “Share the Love.” In this post, each month, I will feature one of the blogs that I follow, and encourage you, my readers to visit this blog, and follow it. The Scripture that He gave me for this project is:

Image Credit: http://christianbiblestudyblog.blogspot.com/2012/12/love-quotes-from-bible.html

11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and warn you against all that is wrong. 13 Think highly of them and give them your wholehearted love because of their work. And remember to live peaceably with each other. 14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. 15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:11-15 NLT)

My reasons for “Sharing the Love” with my blogging community is to encourage and build my brothers and sisters up, and to obey the Lord. There are so many wonderful blogging sites that we often miss, because we don’t know about them… Therefore, the Lord placed it on my heart to feature one of those sites that bring me joy and/or wisdom each month. 

I’m not totally sure what the format will be as I feature one blog each month, however, since I will begin doing this in February, I’m sure the Lord will show me pretty quickly. I intend to be prayerful in this endeavor, so that I can feature the blog that the Lord wants to be featured, beginning February 1, 2013. 

God bless each one of you, my beloved readers! I pray this new feature will be a blessing to each one of you.

In Christ’s love,
Cheryl

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

I Am Blessed

Ok, I know I’ve already posted twice today, and this makes three, but my heart is filled with joy, and I just feel the need to share my blessings with all of you.

I praise God, because He has such a deep love for His children, that He moves upon the hearts of others on our behalf. I praise Him, because He has placed each one of you, my readers, into my life. It isn’t by accident that you read and follow my blog. It’s all a part of His design, so that we can pray for and encourage one another, just as it is no accident that I follow people’s blogs.

Photo Credit: http://i1033.photobucket.com/albums/a420/mydrjavier/jesus-animated-gif-image-0112.gif

I just wanted to take a brief moment to thank each and every one of you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read the words that the Lord gives me. I want to thank you for taking the time to comment or like when you’re led to do so. Most importantly, for those who are led to pray for me, thank you. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit when He leads you to pray for me. Thank you for loving me enough to pray for me. 

And now, as I get ready to close, I want to leave you with a blessing… May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He cause His face to shine on you and be gracious and lift the light of His countenance and give you peace in Jesus’ name, amen.

Much love to you all,
Cheryl

God’s Miraculous Provision for Me

Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://binibiningwanderlust.blogspot.com/2012_07_01_archive.html

I limped clumsily into the brightly lit local pharmacy, feeling great pain, and more than a little frustration as I went to get my prescription for pain medication filled. On this cold and blustery night, my husband and I had ridden out of town, to several pharmacies, looking for one that had my prescription in stock, at the lowest price, since I no longer have health insurance. I turned the seat warmer on to try and take some of the chill off as we drove around. Finally, after driving all over, I called one last pharmacy, located in my home town, not really expecting them to have my medication either, but wouldn’t you know it? They had my pain medication, for the same price as the out of town pharmacy I had gone to. I could have saved money and time if I had just called this pharmacy in the first place, but I just assumed because of past experience, that this pharmacy would be too expensive. On the way back to our hometown pharmacy, I dozed off, as the seat warmer did its magic and soothed my aching back.

As my husband and I walked into the pharmacy, I hobbled past the rows of grocery items, and the candy shelves, trying to keep my eyes from wandering to the chocolates, which I dearly love, but don’t need. We walked down the book and magazine aisle, on my right, and I briefly glanced at the books, thinking to myself, one day, one of my books would rest on these shelves, in the midst of the flashy magazines and novels.

Photo Credit: http://media-tubes.blogspot.com/2011/09/jesus-christ-pictures.html

As we approached the pharmacy counter, a woman who appeared to be in her mid-sixties, with what appeared to be Miss Clairol Nice ‘N Easy ash blonde hair, reddish brown glasses and a warm smile, asked if she could help us. When I presented my prescription to her, she grinned saying, “Oh, you’re the lady I just talked to on the phone.” I smiled back at her and gave her my birth date and my address, and then walked to the brown seats on the left side of the counter, where I gratefully sat and rested my aching back and legs, while waiting for my prescription to be filled. 

A couple of minutes later, the same woman called to me, stating that she had a pharmacy discount card for me and she just needed my phone number so that she could hopefully save me some money. I thankfully shared my phone number with her, as I no longer have health insurance, and just this prescription alone was going to cost me nearly $100. As soon as she ran the discount card through, she popped back over to the counter and spoke to me again, saying, “Mrs. Showers, I just wanted to let you know that with this discount card, your prescription has been reduced to $45.”

“Oh hallelujah!” I responded, and my response must have pleased her as she walked away smiling joyfully.

A couple of minutes later, the pharmacist, a slightly balding dark-haired man with black plastic rimmed glasses called to me, as he worked on filling my prescription, asking what kind of insurance I carried. I explained to him that I was no longer employed, and therefore I was no longer insured. He then asked me if I still had my old insurance card. I wasn’t sure, but after looking in my wallet, I found it and gave it to him. He then ran it through his computer system, and couple of minutes later, he returned it to me with a big grin on his face, as he informed me that my expired insurance card had indeed gone through, and my prescription would now only cost me $17.50. 

Photo Credit: http://www.handofgod.com.au/page105.php

If I wasn’t in so much pain, I would do a happy dance! I can’t even begin to describe to  you the joy I’ve found in these months since I’m no longer working. It’s been a hard road… I haven’t received a paycheck since November, and my husband’s business has been extremely slow, and yet, the Lord has continued to meet our needs every step of the way, and I am so thankful. This is just another example of God’s supernatural favor on me, not because of my goodness, but because HE is so good and kind. He takes wonderful care of His children. 

My friends, I just had to share this wonderful testimony of what God did for me tonight, and I want to let each one of you know that God loves all of His children equally. He doesn’t love me any more than He loves you… And for those of you who do not know and love God, He loves you too, and He longs for you to turn away from your sins and turn to Him in Jesus’ name, so that He can care for you as well. This is the prayer that I pray for each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ, for those who already are, and for those who will one day become children of the Most High God:

When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT)

May the Lord bless each of you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

caddo-7-word

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

This post is for Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays! My seven words are in two parts this Sunday, because that’s what the Lord placed on my heart. 🙂

He Made Known His Ways To Moses

(Psalm 103:7a NKJV)

I love this  portion of scripture, because it speaks volumes. He made known His ways to Moses… When you’re intimate with someone, you know their ways… You know what each glance means… You know what each smile means… You know the things that please the one you’re intimate with, and you know the things that displease him/her… You know what buttons to push, when you’re intimate with someone… 

I’ve been married to my husband for more than 31 years. Because we’re intimate, I know how to put a smile on that man’s face, and I know how to irritate him. I know how to make him laugh, and I know the things that hurt him. Because we’re intimate, we know how to communicate with each other without even speaking. Because we are intimate, we even think alike on many issues…

This is the kind of relationship that God had with Moses. It’s the kind of relationship He wants with us… It’s the kind of relationship I want with Him…

His Acts to The Children of Israel
(Psalm 103:7b NKJV)

The children of Israel weren’t intimate with God like Moses was. They knew the mighty acts He did… how He sent the plagues to Egypt… How He parted the Red Sea… How He led them through the wilderness with a pillar of fire and a cloud… How He sent manna from heaven… They knew all about those mighty acts of God, but they didn’t know Him intimately, nor did they want to. It was enough for them to just receive His gifts… It was all they wanted from Him…

So… what do you want? Do you want to know His ways, or is it enough to only know His acts?

Cleanse Me

This story is for the Picture it and Write! blogging challenge… 

What follows is a story very loosely based on the women that I’ve ministered to. The woman in this story is not based on any particular one, but rather on many.  Also, the “church woman” in this story is not me. She is only a reflection of the woman I would like to be. God doesn’t call Christians to stay within the four walls of a building they call “church.” Rather, He calls Christians to be the church, and to go and minister to people where they are… in the malls… on the streets… in the bars… in the crack houses… not in condemnation, but in love, sharing His love for the lost.

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Photo Courtesy of: Picture it & Write!

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10

I felt so dirty as I soaked in the tub. I laid there so long, the bubbles were all but gone. I had scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed… and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get rid of the stench of having sex with all those men. “Oh God!” I whimpered as I slid down in the tub, placing my feet on the wall, in an attempt to hide my private parts that I no longer wanted to see… those parts that I had sold to four men last night for $80.

For some reason, my “career” left me feeling… filthy today. I was almost okay with it until that church woman had shown up. What was a church woman doing out on the streets, anyway? Didn’t she know how unsafe that was? But this lady was different from any church woman I’d ever met before.

When she drove up next to me, rolling her window down, asking how much I charged, I figured she was just into women. The woman agreed to pay the price, so I got into the car with her. It was a nice car, white with black leather seats. “Are you cold?” she asked, as I nodded. I was freezing because I wasn’t wearing much, in order to attract business. She turned the heat in the car up, and then she turned a seat warmer on. Oh man! This was luxury. “Are you hungry?” the woman asked.

I looked at her suspiciously. “I’m out here to earn a living, not spend my money on food,” I replied.

She laughed joyfully, and said, “If you’re hungry, it’s my treat, and don’t worry. I’ll pay for your time as well.” I looked at her closely, trying to figure her out. “Well?” she asked again. “Are you hungry?” I was about to answer her, when my stomach growled and answered for me.

“Great, we’ll have to go to Denny’s, because they’re the only restaurant open at this time of night,” she said cheerfully. I studied her as she drove us to Denny’s. She was different from most of my clients — I mean besides the fact that she’s a woman. Most of my clients are sort of dark and creepy, you know? But she seemed like she was full of light and really happy. She seemed like she should be in a home with a family, not on the streets late at night picking up hookers.

When we got to Denny’s, she requested a booth in the back. I walked behind her, observing her blue jeans, and a sparkly purple top that seemed to flow as she walked. She was really very small. She looked like a tiny angel with her top flowing as she walked.

After we placed our order, she leaned forward with her hand out and said, “My name’s Joy.” I shook her hand, shaking my head. Tricks normally like anonymity. “And you are?” her bluish gray eyes seemed to peer into my soul as she waited for my answer.

“I’m Julie,” I found myself answering. Now what’s up with that? I never shared my real name with my johns, but it just slipped out without me meaning to let it slip.

She smiled warmly at me and said, “Julie, I didn’t pick you up to have sex with you. I want to talk with you, then I’ll pay you when we’re done talking, okay?” I looked closely at her, not quite sure what was going down.

“Oookay,” I replied, looking at this little woman as though she was crazy.

My look didn’t seem to faze her in the least, as she continued, “The Lord says that He’s heard the cries of your heart, and He knows how desperate you are to get enough money to pay your rent and show that you can support your son, so you can get him back from the foster home he’s in.”

My jaw dropped and my heart started pounding. “Who told you that? And who are you really?” I blurted out fearfully.

“I told you, I’m Joy, and the Lord told me that He’s heard your cries, and He loves you and wants to help you, but you’ve been running from Him for years, Julie, when all He wants to do is help you.” She took a sip of her soda, as I sat there trying to digest what she was saying.

“What do you want?” My heart felt like it could jump right out of my chest it was beating so hard.

“Nothing,” she replied, “but God wants your heart. He said that if you will delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart.” I stared at her dumbly.

“How old is your son?” she asked, and I found myself opening up and sharing that Troy was almost four, and that he was a special child. He has Downes Syndrome. She listened with tears in her eyes as I shared all of the trips we had made to the hospital when he was first born, because his little heart was so weak. I told her that I had been married to a lying, cheating loser.

She put her hand on top of mine, telling me how sorry she was for my pain, and I couldn’t help it… tears began to run down my face, and the next thing I knew, I was sobbing like my heart was breaking all over again, and you know what? I think it really was, only this time, I wasn’t by myself, and this woman seemed to care more about my pain than my own mother did.

I told her how my ex had gone into a rage the last night I saw him, when we argued about his other woman, and how Troy kept crying. I told her how Billy kept yelling and screaming so loud that the neighbors called the police. And then he slapped Troy’s mouth, causing him to cry even harder.

Then the police showed up, and when they saw that someone had hit Troy, it was Billy’s word against mine, and we were both arrested for child abuse. They took my baby away from me. I had no money, and no one who cared enough about me to bail me out, so I stayed in jail until the trial. Billy and I both were found guilty of child abuse, and I spent the next year in jail.

When I got out of jail, I had nothing. I had no home to go to, and no job, because no one wants to hire an ex-felon, especially one who’s been found guilty of child abuse… “So I became a working girl,” I finished, looking at her, stunned to see tears rolling down her cheeks. This woman who didn’t know me seemed to care more about me than my own family ever did.

“Julie,” she spoke softly through her tears. “I’d like to help you, if you’ll let me. My church has a home for women who have been through hard times. While they live there, we mentor them, teaching them how to care for themselves and their children. We help those who are interested get their GED, and if they’ve already completed high school, we help them get into the local community college so they can get a good job when they graduate. We also work hand in hand with social services, and many women who have lost their children to the foster care system, are able to reclaim them once they’ve been in our program for six months. Would you be interested?”

I broke down. I couldn’t believe her kindness. I couldn’t believe that God would love me enough to send this woman into my life. I accepted her offer, and I’m gonna drain this water and scrub myself once more. Then I’m gonna go downstairs to meet the rest of the women and children who live in this home. And in six months, I will bring my little Troy here.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

caddo-7-word

Caddo’s Seven Word Sundays!

Who Is This King Of Glory?
Jesus!

Who is this King of Glory that pursues me with His love
And haunts me with each hearing of His softly spoken words
My conscience, a reminder of forgiveness that I need
Who is this King of Glory who offers it to me

Who is this King of angels, O blessed Prince of Peace
Revealing things of Heaven and all its mysteries
My spirit’s ever longing for His grace in which to stand
Who’s this King of glory, Son of God and Son of Man

His name is Jesus, precious Jesus
The Lord Almighty, the King of my heart
The King of glory

Who is this King of Glory with strength and majesty
And wisdom beyond measure, the gracious King of kings
the Lord of Earth and Heaven, the Creator of all things
Who is this King of Glory, He’s everything to me
The Lord of Earth and Heaven, the Creator of all things
He is the King of glory, He’s everything to me