Friday, May 26, 2017

Free Indeed

                        Free Indeed
                                      John 8:32, 36 
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Harriet Tubman was a black slave during the 1800’s. As a young girl, she was beaten and whipped by her various masters. She suffered a traumatic head wound when a slave owner threw a heavy metal weight intended for another slave. The damage to her head caused dizziness and pain throughout her life time.

After the Master of the plantation died, she heard a rumor that she was going to be sold the next day. Late that night Harriet slipped out into the darkness and began to run. Her father had told her, “If there’s no moon shining, feel for the moss on the trees, moss always grows on the north side.” Harriet made her way to the state of Pennsylvania where she was, “free.” Harriet was helped by the “Underground Railroad” which was not a railroad at all but a chain of people wanting to help those in slavery to be set free.

Harriet made 19 trips back into dangerous situations to help free over 300 people from slavery. During this very difficult time in her life and in the lives of her family, a $40,000 reward was posted for her capture. She knew God was in charge and she continued to help all those she could until she died at the age of 93. In these many years of turmoil in her life, she was called, “Lady Moses” because of all the people she lead out of slavery.

Being enslaved to another human is unthinkable but being a slave to your own sin is damning. Life without Christ is meaningless and ends in eternal death. Jesus has come to set the captives free and in Him you are free indeed. If you don’t know Christ as your personal Savior, I pray  you will put your faith in Him, the One who makes you free.

Lord, thank You for the truth that makes me free.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Living by Faith or In Fear?

            Living by Faith or In Fear?

                                     I Corinthians 2:5
"That your faith might not rest (stand) in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."

Does fear take hold of your emotions in your day-to-day life? Do you understand that faith is not something you can produce in and of yourself?  Can you develop a faith that conquers all your fears?

Psalm 56:3, David reveals his faith with these words: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee."  Psalm 119 is filled with verses expressing the way in which David treasured God's Word: "With my whole heart I have sought thee" (v. 10); "I will meditate on your precepts" (v. 15); "I will hide your words in my heart" (v. 11). What wisdom those words speak to us today. It’s not in David we put our trust but in the power of the gospel, the finished work of Christ.

God is gracious and understanding towards our weaknesses. But, the Bible is clear that our faith does not mature and strengthen us without trials. When we face unbearable illnesses, remember that Romans 5:3 says, "Tribulation works patience." If someone turns against us, we can be comforted by the words in Romans 8:31, "If God is for us who can be against us!" Throughout life we will continue to face various trials that would cause us fear. According to His Word, God assures us that we can know a calm peace through every situation, "the peace of God, which surpasses (excels) all understanding"  which He has promised will "guard your hearts and your minds in (and through) Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).

Though in Christ we are more than conquerors, (Romans 8:37), on occasion, we allow intimidating circumstances to distract us from the truth of the Word of God. When we focus on our fears, overwhelming feelings of helplessness rob us of the joy there is in Christ alone.  "The LORD is on my side; I will not fear . . ." (Psalm 118:6).

Lord, when I’m afraid, I will trust in You.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What an Outstanding Mother!

        What an Outstanding Mother!
                                         Acts 12:1-12

Mary, the mother of John Mark, was known for being a distinguished Christian woman from the city of Jerusalem. There is no record of his father, but Mark is reported to be a cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10). Mary’s house was known for being a popular place for Christians to gather and pray (Acts 12:12). After an angel freed the apostle Peter from Herod's prison, he went first to Mary’s house (Acts 12:6-12).

This is the only time the Bible mentions Mary, the mother of John Mark, but we can glean some inspiring insights from her life. She was a supporter of the early church and showed tremendous bravery in encouraging the work of God. Great persecution was sweeping through the church at this time and James, the brother of John, had already been martyred. Through all of this, Mary still welcomed the church into her home at great personal risk. Mary was a praying woman (mom) and raised a believing son who loved God’s work. Mark’s life reflects the faith-filled influence of his godly mother.

What does an “Outstanding women” look like in the church today? She supports the pastor and the leadership of the church, lifting them up in prayer. The outstanding woman encourages other women to stand strong for Christ and to share their faith even when others disagree. The outstanding woman is faithful in teaching and instructing her children in the things of God openly and at home. The outstanding women fights against the world’s philosophy that bombards the minds of her children. She strives to protect them from the uncertain days they live in. Children are being influenced to doubt the validity of God’s Word and to question the power Jesus has promised them in living out the abundant life. The outstanding woman is a mom that is mindful of her children’s needs and has a heart filled with unconditional love for each of them.

Lord, my continual prayer is to strive to be an exceptional mother while reflecting the gospel of Christ.

Friday, May 5, 2017

What Does Unforgiveness Look Like?

What Does Unforgiveness Look Like?

                                   Matthew 18:21-35
                     The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Are there limits or boundaries in forgiveness? What does unforgiveness look like in the life of the believer? Can a Christian continue in their unforgiving attitude and it not be sin?

Forgiveness is commanded by God and true remission must be imparted without conditions or restrictions. Christ has forgiven all transgressions against us (Psalm 103:12) and will cast every sin into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). Hebrews 8:12 says, “I will remember their sins no more” and Isaiah 43:25 declares,  “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” God’s forgiveness towards us is abundant in love and overlaid with His grace.

What does unforgivenss in the life of a believer look like? The lack of forgiveness does more damage to us than to the offender. And ”Yes,” God does know how difficult forgiving is for us to do. But, when we don't forgive, we can grow sour, bitter and even vengeful. To be sure, our actions demonstrate our faith and the degree to which we understand God’s wonderful grace. Hebrews 12:14-15 warns us to make every effort to live in peace with all men and to let no root of bitterness spring up causing trouble and contaminating many. Unforgiveness in the life of a Christian is against the directive of God and therefore, it is sin.

For reconciliation to take place, it may require some time. Trust is a very precious commodity and the moment you violate that trust, it is extremely difficult to earn it back. For instance, a woman being physically abused by her husband must separate herself from that situation and not return immediately. Yes, she should forgive her husband but not go back home to be reunited until the mistreatment/abuse is resolved. It takes time for trust to be re-established and for help to be administered to those involved.

Lord, thank You for Your undeserved forgiveness given to us.