Tag Archives: lord jesus christ

God Dreams and Spiritual Warfare

Last night, I had two different dreams, yet both had the same theme.  The dreams were what I call “God Dreams,” because both dreams were scripture filled, and they dealt with spiritual warfare.  I wasn’t sure if the first dream really was from the Lord or not, because it dealt with a friend, and usually, when I have a “God Dream,” I KNOW it is from the Lord.  Yet even though I didn’t know for sure if it was a “God Dream,” I felt a strong compulsion to share it with my friend in writing right away, before I forgot it.  I felt very strongly in my spirit that my friend was in danger and needed to be warned of this danger.

Image Credit: tituslive.com
Image Credit:
tituslive.com

In the second dream, Abraham, Isaac and Israel were there, as were many others, including me, and we were all joined in an angelic battle against evil.  I felt the darkness all around me, as many, who I thought were friends, who were saved, turned out to be evil.  I remember battling against the evil, and many good people were killed.  Even some of the angelic beings, who loved and served the Lord were killed.  Yet, even so, it was during these battles that I witnessed many miracles, as the dead were raised, and some who were wounded, were instantly healed.

One thing I remember during this dream, which, like all dreams, seemed so real at the time, even though there was evil and darkness all around, I had no fear.  Now, you should know that I do not consider myself to be a brave or courageous person.  I DON’T like pain, and though I love the Lord with all of my heart, I am in no hurry to die.  Yet, I waged war against evil in that dream, and I was fearless.  Were there times when I was afraid?  Yes, the war that was taking place was very real, and there were times when my heart would pound a little harder, but the Spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew, and heard it said in my dream, over and over, “The battle is the Lord’s.”

I won’t share my other dream with you, because that wasn’t meant to be shared with anyone but her.  However, suffice it to say that she, too, was in the midst of a spiritual battle.

Image Credit: Tales From A Mother
Image Credit:
Tales From A Mother

I’ve thought of these dreams off and on all day, today, and I feel such an urgency within.  Friends, I truly believe those dreams were meant to remind me, and now you, as I share this with you, that we are living in very dark times.  We are living in a time and place that calls good evil, and evil good.  We are living with those who call right wrong, and wrong right.  We live among those who call the darkness light, and the light darkness, and there are too many, who call themselves children of the Lord, who don’t know the difference.

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.  (Isaiah 5:20  NLT)

Beloved reader, heed my warning.  The time is upon us, when there are false teachers, false prophets and even apostates teaching false doctrine, and many are falling for it, because they do not KNOW the Lord.  Oh, many know of Him, but they do not truly KNOW Him, because they don’t want to know Him.

He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.  (Psalm 103:7  NASB)

What about you?  Do you know God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?  Or do you simply know of Him?  Do you know His ways?  Or do you just know about the things that He’s done?

God calls Himself our husband.  Jesus is the bridegroom, and we are the bride.  I’ve been married for thirty-four years to the same man, and you know what?  I KNOW him.  I KNOW his ways.  My husband doesn’t have to say a word to me, and with just one glance, I KNOW what he is thinking.  We KNOW each other so well, that we finish one another’s sentences.  I know what makes my husband smile, and I know what makes him angry.  I know what makes my husband happy, and I know what hurts him.  When my husband hurts, something within me hurts too, because I KNOW him so well, and I love him.

That’s the kind of relationship that God wants with each one of us.  He wants to reveal His character, His intimate ways to us, not just His mighty acts.  He wants us to feel His joy when a soul is saved, and He wants us to feel His pain, when someone is lost.  He wants us to love what He loves, and to hate what He hates.  Yet, sadly, most people will never know Him that well.

Instead, most will settle for a “prophetic word” from someone who may be nothing more than a glorified fortune-teller, wrongly called a prophet in the church.  People like those prophets who prophesy “entrepreneurship” or “money in your future.”  They like when people tickle their ears, and they believe what they want to believe.  What about you?  Do my words offend you?  Beloved, I don’t want any false prophets tickling my ears.  I want to know God so well, that when someone lies, I know it deep within my being.  I want the truth, not a lie that gives me false hope.

I want to hope for what is real, and I don’t need someone to prophesy over me, because I KNOW the Lord, and HE talks to me.  Does He talk to you?  Or are you so busy listening to what your pastor says, that you can’t hear God?  Pastors are meant to help us draw closer to God, NOT to take His place.

Do you know what His word says?  Or do you only know what you’ve been taught that the word says?  Beloved, I urge you to talk with God, listen to God, and read His word, so that you can begin to know Him and His ways.  Don’t simply read what I write, or what some other author writes, or what some evangelist or worse yet, some televangelist says.  We are ALL human.  We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God.  We ALL get it wrong sometimes.  SOME get it wrong ALL of the time, and if you don’t know God, you won’t know the difference.  Someone could be “ministering” to you now, and because you don’t really know God, he/she could be leading you straight to hell.  And understand this, my friend, YOU will be held accountable if you don’t know God, because God has given every one of us ample opportunity to know Him.

For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.  (2 Corinthians 5:10  NLT)

Beloved reader, the dreams I had last night are a warning.  Let he who has an ear hear that warning.  The days are getting darker and darker, and there is a war taking place in the spiritual realm that most don’t even know of.  That war is being waged for your soul and your spirit, and if you don’t know God, you don’t stand a chance.  Do I sound melodramatic?  Yes!  I know I do, because it is THAT serious.  Therefore, I will close with the words Moses spoke to the children of Israel before he died.  And I pray with all my heart, that you would heed these words and choose life!

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  (Deuteronomy 30:15-20  NLT)

© 2015
Cheryl A. Showers

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United With Christ

Image Credit: One Family Under God
Image Credit:
One Family Under God

Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians is a letter rich with power and meaning, for those who truly want to live the life that God has called us to. Therefore, we must make our way through it, slowly, pondering every golden nugget, so that we, like Paul, and so many other men and women, chosen by God before us, will come to say and mean, “For Christ I live, and for Christ I die.” Thus, we will continue our study from where we left off the last time, when we learned that we are Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing in the Heavenly Realms...

The same scripture that tells us we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, also gives us the reason why we are so blessed, hence, we must examine this scripture more closely:


All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
~ Ephesians 1:3  NLT ~


Did you see the reason for our blessings? We only receive those blessings when we are united with Christ. Therefore, in order for us to understand this and be united with Christ, let us first look in the dictionary to see what “UNITED” means…

This definition for “UNITED” comes from dictionary.com:


1.     made into or caused to act as a single entity:
a united front.

2.    formed or produced by the uniting of things
or persons:  a united effort.

3.    agreed; in harmony.


Looking at these definitions of united, we can see that to be united with Christ is to act as a single entity. In order to act as a single entity, with Christ (or with anyone), we must know Him intimately, just as a husband and wife know each other. If we are strangers, or if we don’t know Him well, how can we act as a single entity with Christ? As we go about living our lives, remember, we are a representation of Jesus, acting in His name. Therefore, we must know Him well enough to know how He would act within the context of any situation you find yourself in, and the only way you can know that is to know Him intimately.

To be united with Christ is to be agreed and in harmony with each other, and to make a united effort. I can’t think of another that I would want to be in agreement or in harmony with, can you? To be agreed with Christ, we must know what we are agreeing with, and one of the best ways to know Him is through prayer and bible study. Remember, the bible is the Word of God, which is living and active. Unlike any other book that we may read, as you read and study God’s Word, you will come to know Him, and the more you know Him, the more you will love Him, which will make it easy to be agreed with Christ and in harmony with Him.

Beloved reader, please join me in a walk through some of the many scriptures on being united with Christ, so that you and I will be able to both understand, and walk in union with our Lord. Many times in scripture, followers of Christ are called the “Bride of Christ.” This implies that a wedding has taken place, and that Christ is our husband (or groom). According to scripture, this is a sacred union…


And He said, This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” ~ Matthew 19:5-6  NLT ~


Marriage between a man and a woman is part of a sacred covenant (a binding agreement between husband, wife and God. It is to last as long as both husband and wife are alive. If one or the other dies, the other spouse is free from the covenant and may marry again if he/she so desires.) 

As it is when a man and woman marry, so it is, when we are joined in union with Christ Jesus, our Savior, except that this is an eternal covenant, which must never be broken. Therefore, just as it happens in a marriage between a man and a woman, there are many forces that will attempt to separate us from Christ, though God, our Father has expressly forbidden it. 

It is equally important for us to understand that when we are united with Jesus, we are also united with God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and with all other believers. Therefore, we must do as the scriptures command…


I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
~ 1 Corinthians 1:10  NLT ~


Beloved readers, it is when we (Christ’s church), separate ourselves from one another, with our different denominations and beliefs, or between the different cultures, ethnicities and races, that we become divided.  Look at the scripture below, and see what Jesus said about this:


25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” ~ Matthew 12:25  NKJV ~


As I wrote in my last post, The Race Card and the Times We Live In:


“As long as there are “black” churches, “white” churches, “hispanic” churches, “Baptist” churches, “Methodist” churches, “Pentecostal” churches, “Holiness” churches, etc., racism, bigotry, and prejudice will never end.”


Image Credit: Biblical Proof
Image Credit:
Biblical Proof

Indeed, the fact is that as long as the church remains divided, SIN will always enter in through the divisions. There is a reason why there is so much sin within the church. (When I say the church, I am speaking of every man, woman and child who has been born again.) Therefore, as Jesus said, “A house divided against itself will not stand.” Beloved readers, I urge you to examine your hearts. How do you respond when people of a different culture or race come to your church? Do you welcome them, or do you ignore them? Be honest with yourselves. 

When you meet someone from a different denomination, do you think you are superior to them? Do you sometimes feel that only your place of worship has all of the right answers, and that everyone else is all wrong? I remember attending a church, many years ago that didn’t believe in expressing their feelings, while singing or praying. Because I loved worshiping the Lord, I would lift my hands to honor Him. Many people who attended that church were irritated by my expression of love for the Lord, and one even commented with a sour expression on her face, “I think you need to go to a Pentecostal church!”  I can smile at that memory now, but at the time, I didn’t even know what a Pentecostal church was, and the way she spoke those words, it sounded like she was cursing me.

I shared this because I want you all to be very careful of how you treat God’s children. Jesus told us that the two most important commandments are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second one is to love your neighbor as yourself. I didn’t feel a whole lot of love coming from that person, when she made that comment to me. However, I did eventually go to a Pentecostal church, and I did feel much more at home there. Therefore, God took the comment she made to hurt me, and used it for my good.

It really doesn’t matter whether another believer is from another denomination. We really mustn’t allow that to separate us. For God didn’t intend for the Methodists to be united against the Baptists, or the Pentecostals to be united against the Roman Catholics. When the command to be united was written, it was written to all who believe in Christ. The author of Psalm 119 prayed a prayer  for unity that would be good for all of us to pray…


Let me be united with all who fear You, with those who know Your laws. ~ Psalm 119:79  NLT ~


A church united with Christ, and thus, united together was so important to Jesus, that in His last prayer, on the very night He was imprisoned, before  being crucified the next day, He prayed about it…


Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to You. Holy Father, You have given Me Your name; now protect them by the power of Your name so that they will be united just as We are. ~ John 17:11  NLT ~


The early church knew the importance of unity, as they gathered together, in the upper room, praying and waiting for the baptism of the Holy Spirit…


They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. ~ Acts 1:14  NLT ~

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. ~ Acts 2:1-4  NKJV ~


I often wonder what the early church would think about the church today. Imagine one hundred twenty men and women all gathered together, with one accord. Just think about it. Below is the Greek word and definition for one accord, found in Strong’s Lexicon on Blue Letter Bible


One Accord – homothymadon (Blue Letter Bible/ Strong’s Greek Lexicon)

1.     with one mind, with one accord, with one passion

“A unique Greek word, used 10 of its 12 New Testament occurrences in the Book of Acts, helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community. Homothumadon is a compound of two words meaning to “rush along” and “in unison”. The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.”


When we read through the book of Acts, and see all of the miracles, signs and wonders that took place, it is important to note that believers in Jesus, both male and female were united. Their one focus was to share the Gospel of Christ, first in Jerusalem, then in Judea, next in Samaria, and finally, to the ends of the earth. They were all united in their purpose, in their faith, in their hopes and dreams. They were there to give glory to God in all that they did.

As we continue to ponder Strong’s definition of “one accord,’ we come to understand that these men and women were of one mindThis means that each one of them were focused on one thought; the thought of Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who had promised that He would never leave them alone. They were waiting for the promised appearance of the Holy Spirit.

As it says in the excerpt from Strong’s Lexicon, everyone of these men and women were different, yet they shared one common goal. Their goal was to wait, as Jesus had commanded them to do, ..


Once when He was eating with them, He commanded them, Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift He promised, as I told you before.John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. ~ Acts 1:4-5  NLT ~

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” ~ Acts 1:7-8  NLT ~


Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if plain, ordinary people, like you and me, got together, in obedience to Jesus’ command, and began to pray together. Would we see miracles, signs and wonders?


14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV ~


Why is it that Christians in third  world countries see miracles, signs and wonders? After all, we hold conferences, revivals and crusades, so why don’t we witness and participate in the miracles, signs and wonders like they do and like they did in the gospels and the book of Acts? Could it be that in biblical times, and still in third world countries, the people were of one mind and one accord, as they humbled themselves and prayed, and sought God’s face?

Is it possible that we tend to walk in our own ways, rather than living united in Christ? Would it be truthful to say that instead of conforming and transforming into the men and women God created us to be, we’ve tried to mold and conform God into who we want Him to be? Have we placed Him in the box of our men’s and women’s conferences, praise-a-thons, crusades and revivals? Instead of praying and prophesying according to God’s will, are we praying and prophesying according to our own will, or the will of those we minister to? Perhaps this is why we aren’t performing even greater miracles, signs and wonders than what Jesus did, even though He promised that we would…


“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” ~ John 14:12  NLT ~


Beloved reader, if each one of us will live united in Christ, and seek to do His will and not our own, we will be of one mind and one accord. Then, we can ask anything of the Father in Jesus’ name, and it will be done, but apart from Him, we can do nothing…


“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in Me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in Me and My words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” ~ John 15:5-7  NLT ~


Beloved reader, my prayer for each one of us is that we would humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, and ask Jesus to not only be our Savior and Lord, but to show us how to live united in Him. Whenever the disciples were unsure about how to do something, they asked the Lord. They even asked Him how to pray! So, why shouldn’t w e ask Him to show us how to be and live united with Him? 

Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You open the eyes of our hearts, and that you would teach us what it is to live in union with You. Show us how to submit ourselves to You, and to love You with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Show us how to pick up our cross and follow You, and show us how to count the cost, and then with full knowledge of what it will cost us to live in union with You, give us the will to say, “Yes!” to Your will and Your ways. And Lord, in the days ahead, help us to remain focused on You and the message You have given us from Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, and in the coming days, as we continue this study, give us a hunger and a thirst for more of Your word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3  NLT ~

shofar-rosh-hashanah
Image Credit: Torah Treasure Trove

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your holy word, which is better than life. Lord, please open the eyes of our heart, so that we may see You in the fullness of Your glory. Father, please create in each one of us a willing spirit. Lord, let us be willing to not only learn Your word, but make us willing to apply Your word to our lives, for Your word is better than life itself. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

I’ve always said that Romans is my favorite book in the bible, but as I study Ephesians, I’m finding a lot to love in it, starting right from the beginning, when Paul first introduces himself, to when he shares God’s blessings with his readers…

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3  NLT ~

Do you see it? God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed us (Us, meaning we, His followers), with EVERY (EVERY means ALLspiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, because we are united with Christ. Does that excite you? It excites me! Just think about it, those of us who are born again believers, have ALREADY been blessed with these blessings, but sadly, many believers don’t even know this.

As I pondered that sad thought, another thought came to me… How many spiritual blessings do we have, then? Certainly, more than we can imagine…

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love Him.”

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9  NLT ~

That’s when the Lord placed it on my heart to examine the book of Ephesians, searching for every spiritual blessing that is listed therein, numbering them and including a link to the scripture references for each blessing. Paul’s epistle is not very long. It consists of only six short chapters, so imagine my surprise, when I discovered forty-two spiritual blessings in just this one short book (Alas, I am only human, and there may be more in there that I missed!). If I discovered that many spiritual blessings in this one shore book, how many more of these spiritual blessings are listed in the other sixty-five books?  It’s mind  boggling. As I searched out the blessings, I felt joy and peace settle on me. How great the love of God is for His people! Please take the time to click the links below, to discover where to find these spiritual blessings in Ephesians…

  1. We Are LOVED
  2. We Are CALLED And CHOSEN By God
  3. We Are ADOPTED Into God’s Family
  4. Holy And WITHOUT FAULT
  5. We Are MADE FULL And COMPLETE By Christ
  6. God Showers Us With His KINDNESS
  7. God Purchased Our FREEDOM
  8. God FORGAVE Our Sins
  9. God Has Showered Us With ALL WISDOM And UNDERSTANDING
  10. God Has Revealed His Mysterious Plan Regarding Christ To Us
  11. We Have Received An INHERITANCE From God
  12. We Gentiles Know the TRUTH
  13. We Know the Good News That God Saves Us
  14. Christ Identified Us As His Own
  15. God Gave Us The Holy Spirit
  16. We Have God’s  GLORIOUS GRACE Poured Out On Us
  17. God Has Given Us HOPE
  18. God Has Made US His Rich and Glorious Inheritance
  19. The Same Mighty Power That Raised Christ From the Dead And Seated Him At God’s Right Hand is for US
  20. We Are the Body of Christ
  21. God Has Given Us His Mercy
  22. God Raised Us From the Dead
  23. God Has Seated Us With Himself in the Heavenly Realms
  24. We Are God’s Masterpiece
  25. We Have Been United With Christ Jesus
  26. We Have Been Brought Near to God
  27. Christ Himself Brought Peace to Us
  28. Christ United Jews and Gentiles Into One People
  29. Now All of Us Can Come to the Father Through the Same Holy Spirit…
  30. We Are Citizens Along With All of God’s Holy People
  31. We Are God’s Holy Temple
  32. Both Jews and Gentiles Enjoy the Promise of Blessings Because They Belong to Christ Jesus
  33. Because of Christ We Can Come Boldly and Confidently Into God’s Presence
  34. God Empowers Us With Inner Strength Through His Spirit
  35. God Has Given Each One of Us a Gift
  36. These Are the Gifts Christ Gave the Church…
  37. The Holy Spirit Has Given Us a New Nature
  38. Christ Offered Himself as a Sacrifice for Us
  39. We Have Light From the Lord
  40. We Are ONE With Christ
  41. We Belong to God
  42. We Have Been Given the Full Armor of God

Isn’t it amazing to see how blessed we, the children of God are? As I read through the book of Ephesians, seeking the spiritual blessings that God, our Father has heaped on us, I couldn’t help but feel safe and loved…

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. ~ Ephesians 1:3  NLT ~

Now, as you click each blessing that I’ve listed, you can read the scriptures from Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, and allow the Lord to minister to your  spirit. I’ve been battling with depression for a few years now, yet, when I began this study of Ephesians, I could feel God’s peace that passes understanding settling within me.

Then, when I read that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms, my spirit stirred within me. Yes, I’ve read that scripture before, but now, God’s Word, which is living and acting, prodded me to search this scripture out, and see what those spiritual blessings are, and how many of them were listed in this Epistle to the Ephesians that I was studying.

It’s taken me a couple of weeks (which is why I haven’t posted anything) to read through Ephesians, highlight the blessings, list the blessings, and create links to the scriptures that proclaim the blessings listed. I urge each one of you to read the green list of 42 blessings, taking the time to click on each blessing, which will link you to the scripture(s). As you  read them, you can’t help but be blessed, knowing that God loves you so much that He gave you these blessings, plus many more.” In fact, though He alone knows how much He has blessed us, by reading these scriptures, you will at least begin to comprehend the magnitude of His love and His blessings.

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
for those who love Him.”

~ 1 Corinthians 2:9  NLT ~

Beloved reader, are there times when you feel discouraged and alone? Are there times when that spirit of heaviness presses on you like an incredibly burdensome load that crushes your hopes and dreams? Do you ever feel like a failure, with nothing to show for your suffering?

If so, beloved reader, have I got some good news for you, if you are a child of God! Indeed, even if you aren’t yet a child of God, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Son of God, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, and you, too, will be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. 

Therefore, each one who has experienced hatred and rejection, can rejoice, because the first spiritual blessing in Ephesians, assures each one of us that We are LOVED. 

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Blessings Beloved Readers – Ephesians 1:1-8

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

This bible study was written by Cheryl Showers, a minister of God, bible study teacher, church leader, and prison minister for many years. Most importantly, I am a bondservant to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings to every person who reads this bible study. I pray that as you read and study God’s word, your love for Him will grow, as you see how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you is. I pray that the more you learn and read and study His word, the more you will hunger and thirst for still more.

I pray that the Lord will protect each one of you, and that as we continue to embark on this study of Ephesians together, He will give us His divine wisdom, so that we will not only understand Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, but we will also understand how it applies to our lives today. My prayer for each one of us is that we will not only gain head knowledge, but that we will also live out the rest of our lives according to God’s holy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I love reading Paul’s many epistles, for many reasons. One of the reasons I love to read them is because of how Paul always begins his letters. In fact, as I read the opening in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I was inspired to write a similar opening in this study to each of you who are reading and participating in this study.

In the opening of his letters, Paul almost always began by introducing himself, and his position in the church. He almost always stated his qualifications, possibly in an offensive move against false teachers, false prophets and imposters. Let’s look at a few of his letters to see…

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His Good News. ~ Romans 1:1  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of His holy people throughout Greece. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

I especially love Paul’s introduction in Galatians. Before there could be any argument about whether he was fit to lead the church, or if it should be someone else, Paul set the record straight. He wasn’t writing to overstep his bounds. Yet Paul immediately establishes his right to send this epistle to the Galatians when he says…

This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. ~ Galatians 1:1  NLT ~

Paul’s greetings were always warm and filled with love for the people he was writing to, and he almost always gave a blessing to the recipients. Let’s read Paul’s greeting and blessing in Ephesians…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Ephesians 1-2

Look at how Paul addresses the Ephesians. He calls them “God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.” To address the Ephesians like that would have told them immediately that Paul held them in high esteem. Then, after letting them know how much he valued them, Paul asks that God the Father and Jesus would give the Ephesians grace and peace. Let’s look at Paul’s blessings in the greetings of some of his other epistles…

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. ~ Philippians 1:1-3  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

May God our Father give you grace and peace. ~ Colossians 1:1-2  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God give you grace and peace. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:1  NLT ~

Do you see the pattern here? In Paul’s day, there were no computers, so writing and mailing letters took much longer than it does today. The churches that Paul established loved and respected him. Therefore, they looked forward to hearing from him, either through a mutual friend, such as Timothy or someone else, and also in his letters.

The church was greatly persecuted in those days, as those who were a part of it, were well aware. Indeed, Paul had left Ephesus in quite a hurry, after ministering there for three years, due to a riotous crowd that wanted to capture him. After the mayor of the city defused the situation, Paul  called the believers together and encouraged them, before bidding them farewell.

After leaving the church in Ephesus, Paul went on to Macedonia to preach and teach. After his time in Macedonia, Paul planned to sail past Ephesus without stopping, so he could hopefully get to Jerusalem in time for the festival of Pentecost (Acts 20:16  NLT). Therefore, when he reached Miletus, which was near Ephesus, Paul sent for the elders, of the Ephesian church, to meet him before he continued on his way to Jerusalem.

Paul knew that the road ahead of him was a hard one, and that this would be the last time that he saw his friends, the Ephesians…

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. ~ Acts 20:22-24  NLT ~


36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. ~ Acts 20:36-38  NLT ~

The Ephesian believers never did see Paul again, because Paul was indeed arrested, for his faith and service to Jesus, just as the Holy Spirit had said he would be. As a matter of fact, the next time the Ephesians heard from Paul,  after they departed, leaving Paul on the ship that night, was in this very Epistle to the Ephesians that we are studying now.

Just imagine how touching it was to get a letter from this apostle and spiritual father, who was no imprisoned for Christ, and instead of bemoaning his own situation, Paul chose to greet them and bless them, instead…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Praise God for this letter from the Apostle Paul, for it not only helped the Ephesians’ spiritual growth, it also helped countless others to draw closer to the Lord. Please join me next time, as we discover what the Lord wants us to know about spiritual blessings.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

What’s in a Name? (Part 2)

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

In the last post, we talked about the name of God, the one He gave to Moses… YHWH or Yud He Vav He, also spoken as Yud He Waw He. In this name, the Lord reveals so much about Himself to us… He reveals that He is the All-Sufficient God. He is everything we need and more… Now, I want to go a little deeper and share something else with you…

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 3:15 ~

The Lord did not actually say that His name was LORD, or Adonai, as the Jews have recorded. In fact, no one knows any longer what His name is, because the Lord’s name, the one that He said would be His name forever, and would be a memorial to all generations, has allegedly been stripped of its vowels, leaving only the consonants, YHWH (in English), or Yud He Vav He (in Hebrew). Therefore, whenever you read the word LORD in your bible with the letter “L” capitalized, and the remaining letters written in small caps, that means the Yud He Vav He’s name was actually spoken or written there originally.

Now, why would anyone try to hide the Lord’s name, when He specifically said that it was His name forever, and that it would be a memorial to all generations?

Dictionary.com defines memorial as:

something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday.

Image Credit: richardharrison.net
Image Credit:
richardharrison.net

Many people suppose that the Jews do not write the Lord’s name, but instead, replace it with “Adonai” because they don’t want to break the third commandment…

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

~ Exodus 20:7 ~

However, this is not true. As a matter of fact, in this very commandment, YHWH’s name was used not only once, but twice. So, where does this tradition of hiding the name of God come from?

Apparently, this tradition of not writing YHWH’s name came about over time, as various rabbis after reading Deuteronomy 12, determined that another commandment was implied in this scripture passage…

1 Here are the laws and rulings you are to observe and obey in the land Adonai, the God of your ancestors, has given you to possess as long as you live on earth. 2 You must destroy all the places where the nations you are dispossessing served their gods, whether on high mountains, on hills, or under some leafy tree. 3 Break down their altars, smash their standing-stones to pieces, burn up their sacred poles completely and cut down the carved images of their gods. Exterminate their name from that place.

4 “But you are not to treat Adonai your God this way. 5 Rather, you are to come to the place where Adonai your God will put His name. He will choose it from all your tribes; and you will seek out that place, which is where He will live, and go there.

~ Deuteronomy 12:1-5 ~

No one really knows when, but somewhere along the way, rabbis, scribes and priests decided to stop writing the name of God and to write Adonai instead of His name. This way, they figured, no one would run the risk of accidentally erasing His name from the scriptures.

Image Credit: propheticverses.com
Image Credit:
propheticverses.com

How sad. Think of it — Moses, the one God spoke His name to, was the first to write the Lord’s name. As a matter of fact, knowing that people would see His name and read His name, and hear His name, Moses still chose to write the Lord’s name so that all might see it.

Let’s take it a step further… God wrote His name on the stone tablets, when He wrote the 10 Commandments, for all to see, after Moses broke the original stone tablets, (when the Israelites sinned and worshiped the golden calf).

Moshe was there with ADONAI forty days and forty nights, during which time he neither ate food nor drank water. [ADONAI] wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

~ Exodus 34:28 ~

If the Lord had not wanted His name written or spoken aloud, He never would have revealed it and told Moses to speak His name, not only to the Jews, but to Pharaoh as well. Indeed, nothing in the Torah prohibited speaking the name of the Lord, and the Jews in ancient times used greet one another in the name of the Lord regularly and call upon His name. As a matter of fact, people called on the name of the Lord long before Moses learned the Lord’s name…

And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD. ~ Genesis 4:26 ~

He left that place, went to the hill east of Beit-El and pitched his tent. With Beit-El to the west and ‘Ai to the east, he built an altar there and called on the name of ADONAI. ~ Genesis 12:8 ~

For what great nation is there that has God as close to them as ADONAI our God is, whenever we call on him? ~ Deuteronomy 4:7 ~

Shimshon called to ADONAI, “Adonai ELOHIM, just this once, please, think of me, and please, give me strength, so that I can take revenge on the P’lishtim for at least one of my two eyes.” ~ Judges 16:28 ~

“Then, you, call on the name of your god; and I will call on the name of ADONAI; and the God who answers with fire, let him be God!” All the people answered, “Good idea! Agreed!” ~ 1 Kings 18:24

As you can see, people called on the Lord by name from the most ancient times, and the Lord heard their cries and answered them. In fact, the Lord Himself encouraged people to call upon His name…

2 “Thus says ADONAI the maker,
ADONAI who formed [the universe]
so as to keep directing it —
ADONAI is his name:
3 ‘Call out to me,
and I will answer you —
I will tell you great things,
hidden things of which you are unaware.’”

~ Jeremiah 33:2-3 ~

Knowing that the Lord Himself wants His people to call upon His name, makes what happened all the more difficult to understand. However, by the time of the Talmud, some rabbis proclaimed that it was sinful to write or even speak His name aloud, or else the person who did so would have no place in the World to Come. Is it any  wonder the Lord Jesus spoke so harshly to the Pharisees?

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. ~ Matthew 23:15 ~

Sadly, through the years, because the Jews stopped writing the name of the Lord, and because they were afraid to speak His name anymore, the Lord’s name was forgotten. Indeed, Jesus even had to teach His disciples the name of the Lord…

“I made Your name known to the people You gave Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. ~ John 17:6 ~

I made Your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I Myself may be united with them. ~ John 17:26 ~

Hallelujah! Our heavenly Father wants His children to know His name and to call upon His name. Jesus knew that, and so He made Yud He Vav He’s name known to His disciples.

Although the pronunciation of our heavenly Father’s name has been lost, we can still pronounce the letters of His name that are left to us… YHWH (Yud He Vav He)… 

YAHWEH_blue_sm1The image above are the Hebrew letters, YHWH. It is read from right to left, and it is the name of the Lord. It is pronounced Yud Hey Vav (or Waw) Hey. Brothers and sisters, I encourage you to pray to Yud He Vav He and to call upon His holy name and see His response to your prayers. There is power in praying, crying and calling upon Yud He Vav He.

Would you like to know a little more about Yud He Vav He and the power of His name? The image above is the Lord’s name, using letters from the modern Hebrew alphabet. The image below shows the ancient Hebrew writing of the Lord’s name — the one used by Moses and the Old Testament writers, and it is here, in these ancient letters, that we truly get a glimpse of the power of God’s holy name…

images

Remember, that Hebrew is read from right to left, and so was ancient Hebrew. Therefore, if you look at the first letter, “Yud”, you see an image that looks like a hand attached to an arm. The next letter in the pictogram is the letter He (pronounced Hey), and this figure looks like someone is saying, “Hey!” or “Behold!” So what you see so far is “Hand — behold!” The next letter resembles a tent peg or a nail, followed by “Behold” again.

Therefore, when you put the letters all together, you see Hand — Behold! Nail — Behold! We see here in the Lord’s name, the name that we are to call upon, a picture of Christ’s hands with a nail in them. Is that not powerful? Just seeing this is evidence that Yud He Vav He, by His very name, had planned the crucifixion of Christ, from eternity. Such wisdom and love is far beyond our scope of knowledge.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, I urge you and encourage you to call upon the name of Yud He Vav He in Yeshua’s name, Then watch and see how He will move on your behalf…

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

Yud He Vav He, thank You for the power and the revelation of Your Holy name. Thank You for entrusting Your name to Your children who love You. Thank You for the hope and the promise that is in Your name, Yud He Vav He, and we ask You to speak to the hearts of the men, women and children in our lives, in Yeshua’s name. Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

What’s in a Name? (Part 1)

Image Credit: Luke 1:7 by Debbie Jackson
Image Credit:
Luke 1:7
by Debbie Jackson

What’s in a name? Why and how do people choose names for their children, and what does it say about the one who names and the one who is named?

In New Testament times, the Jews gave their children family names, unless the Lord gave them a different name…

59 When the baby was eight days old, they all came for the circumcision ceremony. They wanted to name him Zechariah, after his father.60 But Elizabeth said, “No! His name is John!”

61 “What?” they exclaimed. “There is no one in all your family by that name.” 62 So they used gestures to ask the baby’s father what he wanted to name him. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.

~ Luke 1:59-64 ~

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Image Credit:
http://digital-art-gallery.com/

In many cultures, the name given to the baby reflected their environment and the circumstances involved in the child’s birth. In still other cultures, the names reflect the parents’ hopes for their children, or something descriptive of the child.

Names are important. A good name can bless a person for life, while a bad name can ruin a person’s life. As important as a good name is to a man, long before man existed, there was One whose name embodies all that is good and all that ever will be good. In fact, Jesus, the One who was without sin, said this about Him…

“Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him.“Only God is truly good.”

~ Luke 18:19 ~

The Lord God has many names, and each one describes His character. Today, I want to focus on one of God’s names — the name He gave to Moses (Moshe), when he asked who he should tell the people of Israel whom should he say sent him…

14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’” 15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after.

~ Exodus 3:14-15 — CJB ~

Image Credit: The Divine Utterance From Within The Burning Bush http://hashemartworks.net/
Image Credit:
The Divine Utterance From Within The Burning Bush
http://hashemartworks.net/

I chose to use the scripture above from the Complete Jewish Bible, because it is the closest translation to what the Lord actually spoke to Moshe (Moses). “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be].” There’s such power in this statement. In that short sentence, God is telling Moses…

“I am what I am… Yeshua said to them, “Yes, indeed! Before Avraham came into being, I AM!”  ~ John 8:58 ~

I will be what I will be…  “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord God. “I am the One Who Is, Who Always Was, and Who Is Still to Come—the Almighty One.”  ~ Revelation 1:8 ~

I am the All-Sufficient One…  And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~

I am Enough for you…  But now this is what Adonai says, He who created you, Ya‘akov, He who formed you, Isra’el: “Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I am calling you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through water, I will be with you; when you pass through rivers, they will not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire, you will not be scorched — the flame will not burn you. ~ Isaiah 43:1-2 ~

I am All you will ever need…  Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~ Psalm 73:25-26 ~

I am your Everything…  Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. ~ Colossians 1:15-17 ~

I am Life to you…  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. ~ John 11:25 ~

I am your Protector…  In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe. ~ Psalm 4:8 ~

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Image Credit:
http://mydestinysharinghope.com/

I am your Deliverer… And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ~

I am your Healer…  And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. ~ Acts 10:38 ~

I am your Reason for living…  The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ~ Psalm 27:1 ~

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Image Credit:
http://reneeswope.com/

I am your Hope… Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… ~ 1 Peter 1:3 ~

I am the Source of all you need…  Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know. ~ Jeremiah 33:3 ~

I am your Keeper…  The Lord is your Keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. ~ Psalm 121:5 ~

Image Credit: Unknown
Image Credit:
Unknown

I am AlmightyGod raised up the Lord, and He will raise us up too by His power. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:14 ~

I am All-Knowing… 1 O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. ~ Psalm 139:1-4 ~

I am All-Seeing… Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. ~ Hebrews 4:13 ~

I am With you… Don’t you know that you people are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? ~ 1 Corinthians 3:16 ~

I am your Peace Now may the Lord of shalom Himself give you shalom always in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. ~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ~

I am a Mighty Warrior… The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17 ~

I am your Joy… Adonai is my strength and shield; in Him my heart trusted, and I have been helped. Therefore my heart is filled with joy, and I will sing praises to Him. ~ Psalm 28:7 ~

Image Credit; Artist Unknown
Image Credit;
Artist Unknown

I am the Way… Yeshua said, “I AM the Way — and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. ~ John 14:6 ~

I am your Rock… Adonai is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I find shelter, my shield, the power that saves me, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2 ~

I am Holy… The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:

“Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty,
Who was and  is and is to come!” ~ Revelation 4:8 ~

I am Righteous… For the goal at which theTorah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts. ~ Romans 10:4 ~

I am Merciful… Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. ~ Lamentations 3:22 ~

I am your Comfort… 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ~

I am Just… He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8 ~

I am Patient… The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. ~ 2 Peter 3:9 ~

I am Slow to Anger… ‘The Lord is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations.’ ~ Numbers 14:18 ~

I am Forgiving… 37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” ~ Luke 6:37-38 ~

I am your Salvation…” 11 “This Yeshua is the stone rejected by you builders whichhas become the cornerstone.12 There is salvation in no one else! For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by whom we must be saved!” ~ Acts 4:11-12 ~

Amen.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Share the Love – Reminder June 2013

PrintGreetings My Beloved Readers,

This is a friendly reminder that I will be introducing the Share the Love recipient on Saturday, June 1. I’m really eager to share the blog that the Lord placed on my heart for June. I have to tell you that when He moved me to begin to Share the Love every month, I’ve benefited far more than the recipients, because the Lord has blessed our friendships and caused them to grow. What’s more, I so love reading the different blog sites and the various posts from the bloggers. No two sites are exactly alike, and though each site honors the Lord, the messages are all different. Continue reading Share the Love – Reminder June 2013

Heal Me, Lord Jesus

I was thinking about the post I did a couple of days ago on forgiving, and the Lord reminded me of a poem that I wrote back in 1997 when I began my journey of forgiveness. I pray that it ministers to those of you who may be finding it hard to forgive…

Just when I thought my life was over,
When I thought the pain would never end,
Just when I thought, I just can’t bear it!”
You came and whispered to me,
“Come, you who are weary and heavy burdened…
I will give you rest.”

I knew that I wasn’t worthy.
I knew I’d never deserve it.
I’d seen too much, done too much and suffered too much
To ever receive such an offer
Of healing and love and hope from above,
But all that I needed was faith…
“For we walk by faith, not by sight…”
I live by faith in my Lord, Jesus Christ.

“I’m unclean, no good, different!” I cried,
As my shame and my fear held me hopelessly bound.
“Don’t be afraid,” You spoke,
“You won’t suffer shame.
Don’t fear disgrace, humiliation is not for you.
I’ll make you forget the shame of your youth,”
You promised, and I knew it was true.

I’ve struggled for years with the rage in my heart,
Till You spoke, “Cease from anger…
Don’t fret.”
“Lord, I don’t think that I can.”
“Trust Me, do good…
I will establish your steps…
When you fall, I’m the One who is holding your hand.”

“Lord, the pain if I face it
Could drive me insane,
And the tears, once they’ve started
May never stop.”
“Be still, your tears in My bottle I’ve kept.
A diary I’ve written keeps track of those tears.”

“And if my father and mother forsake me?”
“I’ll take you up.”
“Heal Me, Lord Jesus”
“Forgive them,” You said.
“But they nearly destroyed me!
They used me, abused me!
They blamed me and shamed me!
I can’t forgive them, Lord don’t even ask it!
You know I’m not able, Lord, I just can’t!”

“I’ll help you, My child, and you will be blessed,
For the mercy you give will be paid back in full.”
“Lord, please give me peace,
Let me know that You’re near!”
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything pray,
Give thanks, make your requests known to God.
And His peace which surpasses all comprehension,
Shall guard your heart and your mind through Me,
Christ Jesus, your Lord.”

© 1997
Cheryl A. Showers

Living it Out

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1-4 NASB).

the word of God
the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

I love the Word of God, and I love preaching and teaching the Word of God… But the truth is, if I only preach and teach the Word, but do not live out what I am saying, then my words are pointless and meaningless. You see, my actions show what I really believe. I want to break this down so everyone can understand the importance of a life spent living out the Word of God.

I’m going to take the scripture above, and break it down, so that we can begin to come to an understanding of the life the Lord is calling us to live in this passage… In the first verse, James, the author of this letter, introduces himself and tells us to whom he is writing.

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. (James 1:1 NASB)

Most scholars believe that the James who wrote this letter was actually Jesus’ half-brother. Now, wouldn’t you think that James would want to let everybody know that he was Jesus’ brother? I have a half-sister, but when I introduce her to people, I introduce her as my sister. While we both have different fathers, I’ve never thought of her as anything less than 100% my sister. And knowing Jesus, I feel certain that He never treated James as anything less than His brother.

http://adryan.deviantart.com/art/Jesus-61098899

So, if James was the brother of Jesus, why didn’t he introduce himself that way? Here’s another interesting fact… Jude, author of another New Testament letter, introduced himself in this way also:

 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:1 NASB)

Now according to this, Jude was James’ brother, which would also make him Jesus’ brother as well, yet neither of these men made this claim. So the question that comes to mind is why didn’t James and Jude shout from the mountain tops that they were Jesus’ brothers?

Before I share my beliefs about this, I want to be up front with you. When I’m teaching, I want to be accurate and true to the Word of God. I don’t want to lead anyone astray, so when I share my opinion, I want you to know that this is just that – my opinion – and while I believe what I’m about to share, Scripture doesn’t specifically give us the reason why both brothers of Jesus saw fit to introduce themselves as His bond-servants, rather than His brothers.

http://www.turnbacktogod.com/jesus-christ-wallpaper-sized-images-pic-set-02/#jp-carousel-52

Having said that, I would like to share my theory with you. When I introduce my sister, I am introducing her as my equal. She is no greater or less than I am.

James and Jude, on the other hand, introduce themselves as bond-servants of Jesus Christ, and in doing this, they make it plain that they are not equals with Jesus. The Greek word for bond-servant is doulos, which means, a slave, bondman, man of servile condition, devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests, a servant, attendant, one who gives himself up to another’s will… Wow. James and Jude were saying that they were slaves for Jesus, devoted to Him, that they had given themselves up to His will. Both called Him Jesus Christ, which means the anointed one, Messiah.

James even called Him the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here for Lord is Kurios, which means, he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord, the possessor and disposer of a thing, the owner; one who has control of the person, the master, is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master… 

You see, in his introduction, James was stating that he was not his own – he belonged to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he honored and revered. Brothers and sisters, we can learn a lot in just that short greeting. James was humbling himself. He was making it clear that he was writing this letter, and living his life in obedience to his Master.

I told you at the beginning of this study that our lives should reflect what we say we believe, so the question that each one of us should be asking at this point is who am I? The way I live reflects who I really am. Am I a servant of Christ? Or do I serve myself? Who is it that I spend most of my time trying to please? Brothers and sisters, our answer to this question will reveal who our Lord really is. Is Jesus my Lord? Or is someone else my Lord? Am I my own Lord?

Brothers and sisters, if the answer to the questions above is anything other than Jesus Christ, we need to repent. For the Lord says, You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3 NKJV) 

Bible study is worthless if we don’t apply it to our own lives. I know a lot of people who know scripture backward and forward, but their lives don’t reflect what they know in their head. You see, knowing the facts about something is not the same as knowing the Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV) It’s not enough to know the facts about Him. If we want to be free, we must know Him! “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32 NKJV)

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – I Did Not Come to Abolish the Law of Moses

“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s Laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!” (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)

Moses with the Tables of the Law
Moses with the Tables of the Law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is for everyone who quotes the Apostle Paul when he said,  “All things are lawful unto me…” 

Let’s get this straight… First of all, it really irritates me when people quote scripture out of context… Many Christians quote the Apostle Paul and use this to justify their sin. I like to look at the whole scripture in its context, so that we have an accurate understanding of what Paul was saying… I also like the New Living Translation, because this translation clearly expresses what Paul was saying in his letter to the Corinthians…

Don’t you know that those who do wrong will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers — none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. You may say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But I reply, “Not everything is good for you.” And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything (1 Corinthians 6:9-12 NLT).

faithfultotruth.blogspot.com/2011/04/humanitys-gain-from-unbelief-charles.html
faithfultotruth.blogspot.com/2011/04/humanitys-gain-from-unbelief-charles.html

Do you see? Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean that we should. Paul makes it very clear that those who live in sin will have no part in the Kingdom of God. It’s the same when people try to excuse their sin by saying, “I don’t live under the Law – that was for the Old Covenant. I live under the New Covenant.”

To be sure, we don’t live under the Old Covenant. As a matter of fact, for those of us who are Gentiles who have been grafted in, we are not bound by many of the Old Testament laws… But, it’s important for us to understand that this doesn’t mean that we’re lawless. Jesus didn’t come to break the Law. He didn’t come to end the Law. “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to fulfill them. I assure you, until heaven and earth disappear, even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved. So if you break the smallest commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s Laws and teaches them will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you — unless you obey God better than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees do, you can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!” (Matthew 5:17-20 NLT)

Look what Jesus is saying. He said He didn’t come to do away with the Law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. Jesus said He came to fulfill them, and that even the smallest detail of God’s Law will remain until its purpose is achieved… Further, He gives us a warning that unless we obey God better than the teachers of the law and the Pharisees did, we won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven at all!

http://energybibleinoneyear.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/love-the-lord-your-god-with-all-your-heart-soul-mind-and-strength/

That makes it pretty clear, doesn’t it? So, like the teacher of religious law, our next question should be, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the One and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these” (Mark 12:28b-31 NLT).

The most important command is to love the Lord my God with all of my heart. That means with every beat of my heart, I am to love Him. I am to love Him with all of my soul – every one of my emotions must adore Him. I must love Him with all of my mind – as I meditate on His attributes, I can’t help but love Him. And I am to love Him with all of my strength. That means that my body is not my own any longer to do with as I please. Rather, I give my body in love to Him, so that every move I make, every breath I take, is an expression of love to my Savior!

Jesus said that the second greatest command was equally important. I must love my neighbor – anyone I come in contact with – as myself. I must treat my neighbor with love and respect, regardless of how they treat me. If I want to be forgiven, and I do, then I must forgive my neighbor… my father, my mother, my enemies…

By obeying these two commands, I am obeying the 10 Commandmentsthe Law of Moses. 

Lord, help me to obey Your commands. Let me love as You love, forgive as You forgive. Lord, increase my love for You and let me be a woman after Your own heart. In Jesus’ mighty, holy name I pray. Amen

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers