BeHold, Believe, Look to Jesus

 
 
Sermon Notes, Real Life Church: John 3:1-21

Jesus Is  Greater Than Our Systems!

Jesus is not defined by our earthly human traditions, systems, programs etc. Jesus does not fit nicely in a box to be pulled out when ever we want a nice reminiscing moment of good times. As we turn our hearts towards him and begin to let ourselves believe, not just that he exists or even the fact that he died for us. We can believe in him as we believe in our spouse to bring home the bacon, or pay  the bills, or believe in our children to have the ability inside them to do the right thing, or accomplish great things. This is the kind of belief in God I am talking about. It begins with a humble heart to approach Jesus in a way that says I need more; I am not enough on my own. Humility comes when we relinquish control and make Jesus greater than our routines we are so comfortable in. Jesus said in John chapter 3 “we can not enter into the kingdom of heaven unless we are born again.” We must be born into the Spiritual Kingdom of God and it is only possible by allowing the Spirit of God into our life, trusting him enough, believing in Him enough to let him change us, help us, teach us, and bring new life inside us to shine His light through us.

Jesus is the fulfillment of our Faith.

The goal in our life is not to get better at our routines or our systems. It is to draw deeper into a relationship with Jesus. As we draw closer to the one who created us we come to know who we are, who we are meant to be and this is when we begin to shine. Our dreams God planted deep with in us will come true and our faith in God is fulfilled by our best friend, counselor, prince of peace, Jesus leading our every step.
Behold! Believe! Look To Jesus the author and finisher of your Faith!

Jesus Brings Light  to our Hearts.

As we draw closer to Jesus his light shines on our flaws and we have the tendency to cringe back in fear or lack of comfort. Sin is uncomfortable and not easy to face. Jesus wants us to face it and deal with it so that we can be free of it. He does not want us to deal with it alone. When we walk with him and draw close to him and sin in our life is revealed, he is not condemning us or telling us to fix it or else. He desires to help us, together hand in hand with Jesus we face it, confess it, turn from it. We need the people Jesus gives us to keep us accountable to stay away from the sin that is causing bondage. Jesus came to set us free! Free from every thing that is holding us back from being at peace, full of joy, and pursuing all we are meant to be.

1 John chapter 1 verse 7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light and not run from exposure Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

James chapter 5 verse 16 ” Therefore,  Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

We Conclude with these thoughts

Approach Jesus in Humility, and begin to Believe in him, Place your trust in Him.
Make Jesus the Goal of your Life!
Make a choice to walk into the light.
Choose to stay in the Light walking with Jesus!

Posted first in http://bloggingwithjesus.blogspot.com/ also written by Nora Williams

Half Baked

Christians who love God and only other Christians are half baked Christians.

 

Really Christians who love God and only love Christians are self-centered and love themselves far more than is humanly healthy.  “Hey! that’s not true” You might be yelling at me right now. “I don’t love myself I hate myself, I love God and other christians way more than I love myself”

Here is the problem with what you claim. Whether love or hate yourself you still spend way too much time thinking about yourself. You want what is good for you and what is comfortable and feels good is God and other people who love God who are also good to you, so it is easy to be friends with them and love them.

 

Ouch! I’m speaking to the choir, as it is said. I myself, have been here, done that, been that way.

 

Problem is this: the greatest commandment states to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Matthew 22:36-40, Mark 12:28-31

Who is our neighbor? A man asked Jesus this question. Jesus responded, as Jesus often did, by telling a story.  A story of a man  who was beat, robbed, striped of his clothes, and thrown in a ditch along the road to die.  Along walks a priest and does not want to dirty himself with blood on his hands, so he walks on the opposite side of the road so as to not hear the man groaning, and crying for help. Others do the same. One man, a rejected by the Godly society man, stops and cleans the wounds of the injured left for dead. He gives him food and water and carries him on his donkey to an inn to rest. He pays for the man to be cared for and promises the inn keeper that he will come back and pay more, what ever is needed to see this stranger, this left for dead, to be well again, back on his feet.  Jesus then turns to the man who asked “who is our neighbor?” and says  “Which of these men was a neighbor to the man in need of help?”  The crowd responded the ” Samaritan that helped him.”  story found in Luke 10:25-37

So Who are we suppose to love as ourselves? Is it those who love us, who have life figured out, who are happy and a joy to be around?  Who did the Samaritan treat as his neighbor?  It was the broken, the hurting, the robbed, the hungry, the hopeless left for dead that he treated as his neighbor.  Shouldn’t we also?

Mother Teresa’s paraphrased version of Matthew 25: 31-41.

On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me.” Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, “Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me.” These will ask Him, “When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?” And Jesus will answer them, “Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!”

In Genisis God breathed life into us. When we believe in Jesus he gifts us with his spirit in us to guide us though out our life.  James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

When we love only the Good in us and only the good people around us we are accomplishing only part of the greatest commandment, which is Loving God.  Everything good comes from God.  Jesus did not die for a bunch of good people. He died while we were still sinners sinning, spitting in his face, mocking him.  He pleaded ” Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”

This is what Jesus asks of us found in John 13:34  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

What was that? We are to judge others and tell them they are going to hell and how horrible they are and how they should repent of their wickedness and be like us or be doomed thrown into the fire for eternity.

John 13:35  “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  Loving others comes first and for most. When people trust you and respect you, and the holy spirit guides you, then teach them how their life would be better if their actions were different. Show people what love really looks like, feels like as Christ did for you, accepting you just as you were as a sinner. Then with the spirit in you guiding you, introduce them to your hope, your savoir Jesus.

 

People want real relationships that last. People are tired of being manipulated into making decisions. People want to be loved, accepted and to feel like they belong. What impression are we sending the lost by asking them to first be good to earn our love and then we can let them into our christian love group of Jesus followers?

 

 

 

Sanctuary

Where is your sanctuary? Is it a special moment sitting at the kitchen table, bible open, and the aroma of God hugging you sweetly with peace unsurpassed? Is your sanctuary a coffee shop, a park bench? We all need sanctuary. A sacred place; a consecrated spot; a holy and inviolable, secure, safe place. We need moments when time seems to stand still losing its weight on us. We sit, we lay, we kneel , in the presence of God and let everything that matters go.  We trust in that moment we are safe, forgiven, loved, able, and free.

Matthew 10:38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

  Matthew 16:19 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Taking up your cross may seem like a heavy ordeal. It might even seem an unthinkable task to take on every day.  Taking up our cross is not the painful intimidating ordeal we think it is. It is our moment of Sanctuary; our moment of not my will, but yours, not my way, but yours,  not my fear but your victory! 


We sit in his presence, pour out our heart, laying it all down, then we find our selves still and listening…waiting. Then we hear or feel Him. He whispers ” You are forgiven, set free, you are mine, I am yours, I am with you, trust me and my will for your life, then my peace and Joy will be yours.” 

In the darkest times God is our light to our path. Often we measure our troubles against other peoples troubles. Often we measure our troubles against our own strength. We need to measure our troubles up to the Utmost High God and remember he is our God! With God all things are possible! With God you are free. Believe it! Take up your cross, acknowledge what he did for you on the cross. Acknowledge what he is doing for you as you hand over to him your worry, fear, and sin. Acknowledge how mighty he is and how absolute his love is for you, his child. Claim your moment of sanctuary today. Pick up your cross and follow him. 


1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Matthew 11:29-30 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for 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.”

Walk in His freedom. Find your sanctuary today! Go there daily. Take up your cross and follow him!

  

Amen! 

By Nora Williams December 2012

 

Know Who you Are

Knowing who you are in Christ is an adventure you must choose to go on. It is the star in your heart that wants to find its way out to the sky to shine for all to see. It is who you are meant to be.  The journey to releasing it and accepting it as who you are is worth every step.

 

My whole life there has been a spark inside of me jumping around trying to find its way out. It knew things others did not know. It felt things others did not feel.  It saw things others ignored or were blind to. It heard what others could not hear. There was something in me that said “You are meant to be a great benefit, a hero of sorts.” But that spark got ignored much, put down much, kept inside always.

 

Today I know who I am in Christ is a pastor. Pastor at its origin means: shepherd, or feeder, servant of others. I have always wanted to help people more than I felt I was able. When I grew older I was told what and how I was able to help others in the church and it felt so very inadiquite to what God was calling me to be. I believed, reluctantly, for the longest time, what people told me my potential was instead of embracing who I was inside. The who God had created me to be. 

 

“Don’t let anyone but God put you in your place. And don’t stop forging ahead when you encounter opposition.” Steven Furtick

 

     This is something I learned along my journey of self discovery. When I was young I would listen and cry inside thinking “I wish I knew the bible, I wish the Lord and I were one and  I could know exactly what to say to help everyone who shares with me their struggles.” But I did not have words of wisdom such as memorized verses or divine proverbial sayings. I just had my ears and heart willing to listen. I felt like a failure at being all God would have me be. Now as an adult who has taken many bible classes and read the bible many times, and still can’t quote much of it, I realize something. I see what people really need is not what I thought I was lacking, words of wisdom, no what people need is my time, love, patience, and for me to shut up and listen, just like I did when I was young. Knowing scripture has helped me to hear God’s voice on how to guide people with words of wisdom. But much of what I say is not heard or put into practice. Words of wisdom, much of the time have to  form in the persons heart as they discover for themselves what words are true. It is the time you spend with people loving them, caring about who they are and are meant to be that people remember. It is your belief in them that will spur them on to greatness. 

 

     Don’t think that I am saying when your heart pounds and you know the Lord wants you to speak up its okay if you don’t. Nope, you had better say what ever God asks you to say when ever he asks you to say it or you will regret it forever when the moment passes. What I am saying is if you don’t have anything great to say its okay and you are probably not suppose to have anything. So, no need to bumble and jumble words as you try and make something up and ruin the moment of just being there for someone in their time of need. 

 

     God and I, we have gone on some great treasure hunts and I have come out all the richer afterward. We dig in his word together and the discoveries I make are limitless. I used to think it was okay to just write down my adventures I took with God and when I died one day, perhaps, the treasure would be found and put to good use. Now I know better. The jewels God gives me through his word and time with him are meant to be shared. My testimonies are important to others. I have been given opportunities to speak in front of  groupS of people and share a few of these treasures with others. It is in these moments when I have felt most alive. It is in these moments when the star inside, the who I am bursts out and gets to be all I am meant to be in Christ. But those moments, though are amazing for me, are not my most amazing moments of benefiting others. My most amazing moments have been when I am with someone one on one and they realize they are special, loved, beautiful even. That God does have a plan for them and loves them enough to help them be all they are meant to be. In these moments, my silence is all that is needed or a few words God has me say. Peoples stories shared bring these moments, a gift from above lost if time is never given. These moments I want thousands of, Millions of. I want every person that crosses my path to know they are loved and important. So I smile and I pray silently and I say hello and give people a piece of my time to help them see they are worth the time of day to be recognized and have the potential to be who they are meant to be. 

 

     I am a pastor, someone who desires to serve others, feed others, care for others. Some very amazing people have spoken some words of encouragement in my life. It is those who believed in me that spurred me on to finding and pursuing who I am meant to be. One such person is Lee Hitchcock who one day said to me, when I was looking to find a pastor to pray for someone, looking me in the eyes, he said “Nora You are A Pastor.” 

 

     You can be anything and do anything God has set your heart to be and do. Have you begun your journey? Who are you meant to be? What is the star bouncing around in you saying you want to do and be? 

 Listen, pray and listen some more then step out on your adventure and pursue who you are in Christ everyday!

By Nora Williams January 30, 2013



Walking on Water

      Peter was sitting in a boat rocked by waves. The water was like ice as it slashed at his body. The wind whipped his hair violently against his face.  He was with others, yet at the same time he was completely alone in his thoughts and mind.  He looked up and saw Jesus… Jesus walking on water.  Heart pounding, knowing Jesus believed in him and was calling him out in his heart, he hesitated. Then he dared to believe as he called out into the night, “Jesus if that is you, ask me to come to you?” Jesus Said “Come!” Peter stood in the wind rocked boat and stepped out on to the waves of a stormy sea and he did not sink. He took a step and walked on water. It was only when he looked down, doubting himself that he began to sink. But even then Jesus reached out his hand and saved him from sinking into the violent sea.  ( this story found in Matthew 14:22-33) 

 

      When was the last time you walked on water? You probably think I am crazy right now asking that question. But I believe we are all being called out to walk on water. It may not be the water of a real stormy sea. In your life it may be speaking up, standing up, stepping out of the boat or sin. It may be all three. Is there some one in your life who you know needs Jesus and you have not shared your story, your hope you’ve found in God’s unconditional Love with them? Is there an abuser hurting someone you love that you just don’t think you have the power to do anything about? Is there a sin that you need to confess in order to be done with it once and for all, having someone to  keep you accountable to let it go for good? Jesus stands there before you with out stretched arms holding the power for you to get out of the boat and walk on water. To do the things that you can not do on your own. Will you dare to hope? Will you stand up in belief that nothing is impossible with God? Will you be courageous enough to step out of the boat and walk on water. Yes, the ground is unsteady. Yes, you are going to be completely out of your control to keep yourself from sinking. But that is what trusting in God’s power in your life is all about. Sink or swim we are all in when we are trusting and living our lives with Him. 

       Here in Spokane we have a well. It is a place we who rely on Jesus go to find Him and drink from living water when we are thirsty. Right now it meets once every 5 weeks at a church on garland called City Church. I was at the well last night worshiping God and I was called out of my boat.  At first I just stood as everyone else was standing. I knew He had a word that was not just for me to hear. He wanted a mike in my hand and He meant for me to open my mouth and let Him use it. I was shaking inside with uncertainty, my ability in who I am lacks speaking skills. But who He is and His ability lacks nothing.  Praying to God I dared to believe I could do as He asked, that I could walk on water. I told God I would do as he said but only if he made a way. Two seconds later the starter of the Well was standing beside me in the isle. He was about to walk up and grab the mike. I tapped him on the shoulder and beckoned him to talk to me. He asked me what was up and I told him. ” I think I am suppose to speak up in front of everyone and tell them what God wants me to say.”  He asked “What does He want you to say” When I told him he said “lets do it!” then he looked me in the eyes and asked me “Do you want me to say this to everyone or will you do it?” I could have right then sat back down in my boat of stability and passed on a gift God was trying to give me to someone else. But I didn’t. I said “I will do it!”  When the mike was offered into my hand God took over and the words he wanted to say poured out and helped set free those who were listening. 

       You see being used by God is the peak moments in our life that we live for and even though they are scary and involve stepping out of our boats, our comfort zones, they are exhilarating moments to grasp hold of and not pass up.  I compare them to times in my life when I have experienced freedom in short bursts, such as when flying down a mountain on a snowboard not knowing whether you have the ability to stop or not but you don’t care for the flying out of your own control moment has astounded you.  For a mom it could be giving birth to a child and seeing him for the first time, so fragile and perfect and wonderful. With your entire being you know you would die first to let anything happen to this precious gift from God. 


God wants us to live our lives stepping out of the boat. He doesn’t want us to have just one moment we can share when we finally did something courageous. He wants our whole lives to be lived unconfined by our own limitations. 

      Dare to pray the prayer:

Lord empower me to do your will. Not for my sake Lord that others may look to me and call me great. Lord I am nothing but the vessel you are willing to use. Use my life to make a difference. Empower me not for the sake of myself to feel empowered, but rather for the sake that Your will be done, and for your name above all names to be Glorified.  Lord I am ready to be called out of my boat. I am Yours, use me! Amen in Jesus Name 

       Peter walked on water. Yes, he did begin to sink when he took his eyes off Jesus and realized by himself alone he could not possibly be doing what he was doing. But when he began to sink Jesus immediately reached down and pulled him out of the sea and they got back in the boat together. Then the storms died down and the sea calmed. What happened then is something to be remembered. The other boat sitters praised Jesus and worshiped him Believing as they stated “Truly you are the Son of God.” 

Your faith in God…the life you live for him is a light for others to see and begin to believe in the one true God, their Savior.  Dare to be willing, to every day, live powerfully on purpose, with God in you, working through you, and by your side leading every step of your way.  

When was the last time you walked on water? Have you ever dared to trust enough to step out of the boat? Look to Jesus. Trust in him. It is time.

 

 By Nora Williams March 2013

 

Permanent verses Washable

As a mom I have learned to read the labels on art supplies before I purchase them. I love letting my kids be imaginative and create things on their own. We all know well enough when it is time for fun the mess has just begun. It is so much easier when the mess cleans up with a bit of soap and water. But there are those times when the going outside the lines have become a permanent reminders of the fun once had. Some brands of markers aren’t washable on clothing others stick to wood like a new coat of bright strange polka dot stain.

I was thinking on this for a bit and soaked myself in the memory of how Jesus has washed, by his blood, my sins as white as snow. Whether my sins seemed to me permanent or Washable, Nothing is impossible with God.

Our life is like one big art project He watches us try and perfect. When we want help He gives it. God guides us and washes us clean, sending us on our way with a new white sheet of paper. He longs for us to trust in him and let his hand guide our brush strokes and does when we allow him to.

He forgives us of our sins and he chooses to forget, yet sometimes that sin just does not seem to want to wash off of us. We seem to have a permanent stain on our brain of what we have done. We go through the process of believing in God’s mercy and love and eventually forgive ourselves. But still there is a little mile marker on our lives that pops it’s self up to be remembered. I think of these as the permanent marker sins. The ones that though we are forgiven still leave a bit of tarnish on our silver, a smudge on our glass half full called life. Sometimes sins are washed away, no harm done, forgiven and forgotten. Just like those good old water washable markers or paint messes, they clean up fast and all is well back to normal clean as a whistle.

What I have to remember is God does not see as I see things. His ways are not my ways. He does not see sin as little and big, hard to clean verses rinse with water, the forgivable verses the unforgivable. He sees them all the same. And in him we are washed clean. Though we may remember the past we can be thankful it is in the past and can not touch us, or hold us away from God’s love, peace, joy… his presence!

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Psalms 103:11-13

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,

so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him

Isaiah 1:18

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Rest in his forgiveness!

Bask in his loving presence!

 

By Nora Williams 2008

God bless! Have a tereiffic day!

Zombies Are Real!

By Nora Williams 2013

 

There are walking dead all around us! The lies they spit are devouring brains one bite at a time, stripping us of our dignity, love, hope, and our very souls. 

Don’t panic! There is a way to survive. It is His way. He is the way the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the father accept through Him. He came so that we could have life lived in abundance. His Truth will set you free. He came that we might be free indeed! There is Freedom!

Escape the walking death. Accept Jesus as your Savior. Hold tight to your Lord, your God. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. In the shadow of God’s wings take refuge until destruction passes by. Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! Christ has overcome the world, and in him we may also.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Beware there is a time when death arrives for every man, woman, and child. Stand firm in your faith. Let Him grant the desires of your heart in this lifetime. He rose to prepare a place for you. Live your life with Him and never truly die but rather live with him forever. Believe in your all powerful God who has fought and won the battle for your soul. His victory is Yours. 

May you see the Zombies all around you. May you hold your ground and let your helmet of salvation, in Jesus, protect you from believing the lies spit upon you. You are beautiful, not ugly. You were made for a reason and have a purpose. You are not worthless. Life is worth living. God is for you not against you. May you discern what is truth; cutting through lies with your sword of the spirit, which is the word of God living in you, as you choose to believe in him and invite Jesus into every part of your life. Let Jesus fight your battles for you. Pray unceasing. 100% of every prayer unprayed is unanswered. So pray and don’t stop praying. 

What lies have you already believed? It is not too late to replace them with the Truth. Be Victorious! Over come all Zombies in your life. Take back those that the walking dead have tried to devour. Don‘t Judge those walking with out life inside of them. Love the death out of them with unconditional love. Feed them with truth spoken in love and witness His Life, Jesus,  as he overcomes every dead walking all around us. 

Where the spirit of the Lord is there is Freedom….Fix your Eyes on Jesus…there is Freedom!

He came that we may be free. Be free!

Taken from Bible Verses: Psalm 8:1, John 10:10, John 3:16, John 16:33, Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Corinthians 3:17, John 8:36,

John 14:6, John 8:32, proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 57:1, Romans 10:9-10, Isaiah 40:31, psalm 37:4

Second Hand Jesus

By Nora Williams 2007

You ever tried living off of someone else’s Jesus?

We wake up each morning and go about our day. On Sunday we go to church, learn what God is saying to the pastor that week. We experience a little high as we worship God and actually talk to him for once telling Him of our love and appreciation. We go home feeling like once again everything is going to turn out alright.

Then bam like a bomb Monday hits. Stress fills our bucket of life like a hose that won’t shut off. Even if you try it still drips, drips, drips down into us. Our minds clutter with the gazillion things we gotta do. Then there is the what ifs and what did she mean by that yesterday? Thoughts come pouring in, strangling the Joy we are meant to have in Jesus each day.

When ever I think of the term “Secondhand Jesus” it leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Kinda like second hand smoke, only maybe a bit worse.

We are meant to experience God for ourselves everyday! He is suppose to be our everything. Yet we tell ourselves to be satisfied with someone else’s joy flowing over on us in the form of an encouraging word. Praise God for his faithful. But is it not time we were one of them? Isn’t it time we stopped living off other peoples Jesus?

We need Him for ourselves. He died so He could be our best friend forever, Never to leave us, Never to forsake us! That is good news. No that is Great news! When we are stressed he says come to me, my burden is light, my yoke is easy. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” the word proclaims.
Why then do we rely on others to tell us what we should or should not do or think. God wants to have a personal relationship with each of us. It is not hard. We just gotta be willing to open up his word and listen .We have to be willing to open our hearts and our minds and talk to the one whose heart knows our own so much better than we do ourselves.

I pray this nation would truly learn to have a friend in Jesus again. I pray that there would be pastors who are born every church Service, as people decide not only to be filled up by what God is doing and teaching others, but start desiring God to use them to do good, and desire God to  teach them things that will rock their world and build their own faith in their God.  I pray that this nation would again choose to experience God in their everyday life and not just be satisfied with a feel good fix of peace from a once a week church service. Amen

Lamentations 3:22-23
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Psalm 40:3
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Psalm 112:7
They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

I pray that we all embrace Jesus fresh and new. May we start out each day cleansed by His blood shed for us. May His voice be heard in our hearts, whispering comfort to our souls as we go about each and everyday! Praise you God for you are our everything! Amen

Worship

Rant: I over heard once some one complaining that they stood next to someone at church who sings too loud. Why do people look down on those who sing loud? Is not to worship God to do it with all your heart? Should we really be concentrating on whether our voice is blending perfectly with the person next to us? I thought that was called choir.

 

Worshiping:

It is not about the words on the screen. It is about the words in our heart! Its not about getting it right. It is about giving it your all! It is not about being in tune, every note sang on beat. It is about being in tune with love, both yours for God and God’s love he has for you! It is not about sounding good to those around you standing by your side. It is about singing truth to your God! Truth that is spoken/sang from your heart, mind and soul. It is about not caring who might hear. It is in fact going as far as not even noticing who might hear!

 

Worshiping

It is not about telling God you exist. It is about recognizing you know he does! It is not about singing your loudest to be heard. It is about singing out not paying attention whether you are loud or quiet but rather concentrating on God and nothing/no one else!

 

Worshiping with our hands raised

Raising our hands is not a prompting by the words flashed on the screen above or because some one says to. It is an act of worship telling God I am willing, here I am, I am all yours, cleanse me and make me all you desire. It is to say here are my hands make use of them. To raise them higher is not to have a who is the most holy competition. It is an act of complete surrender a desire to have more of Him and less of self. A desire to touch the breath of God. It is when God calls down “reach up and grab my hand and I will rescue you!” It represents Him as our Savior.

 

It is Worship to direct our full attention on God’s word/love and know that He is our GOD and we simply tell Him we know, and we choose HIM! We Love HIM! We are thankful for HIM! We are simply HIS!

 

In saying all that I have to say about worship I am reminded of a time my son was sitting beside me at church. Now my son sings at home and I have seen him and heard him worship God with all his heart when he is with other kids his age rocking out to his own beat. But this is not what happens during Sunday morning worship. He sits sometimes stands hugging me. He draws robots. He does everything but worship. I have tried so many times lecturing him saying” This is the time to tell God you love Him. Don’t you love God? You say you do but God wants you to show Him. It would be like you saying you love me but when I most need a hug you say noway.” Nothing the guilt trip does not work. I don’t know why I expected it to since it only ever made me mad when I was little. I still dislike guilt trip lectures… don’t we all? This one time I started praying “God I am doing everything I can…” God stopped me in my tracks “Are you? Are you sure? Does he know what worship is really? Why do you raise your hands up to me? Does he know why? How much have you really taught him about worship?” I wanted to sit down and cry and laugh at the same time. There was hope. He was not acting out rebelliously. He simply did not understand all the ins and outs of worshiping. I am sure I too am still learning as well. Sure when he was comfortable and music he liked was blasting he would sing and even dance. If I were with his age group of kids I might have a hard time worshiping too come to think of it. I sat down with my son then and decided to start being the parent God desired me to be. I had a conversation with my son it went like this:

” Sammy Do you know why we sing to God? ”

“Yeah mom to tell God we love him. ”

” Do you know why I raise my hands up sometimes?”

“NOO!”

“Do you want to know?”

“Yes!”

And so we chatted right there. In the midst I felt God all around us, his presence was so sweet while voices in song helped me teach my son what worship is all about. He stood with me before the songs were through. And I asked him if he would like his hands to be Gods tools to use to help others? He said “yes” I said “Then slip them up in the air and tell HIM so. He did! God is good! Worshiping HIM is oh so good!

 

John 4:23

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

 

By Nora Williams 2007

Picture This

 

Just when you think you are doing so well. Just when you think you’ve got it all put together. Just when the black clouds part, the sun comes out and the day seems to be saying to you I am all yours do as you please, but please do something!

This is the moment Listen…… that’s right listen. God has words he wants for you to hear. He has a lesson you need to learn. “No” you say “today is your day and everything in heaven and earth is smiling. Guess again.

Today is a day made not by our skilled hands or words. Today like everyday is brought to us by none other than our God in heaven whose very words spoke it into existence.

The Lord repeats himself many times to us saying “He who has ears let him hear!”

I say to you today he is asking you to open your eyes and see as well. See him and what he has done for you.

On the cross he bore all sin. Not just the sin of murder, theft, but also the sin of lies, selfishness, chosen ignorance, pride, hate, gossip, etc, you know I could fill the page.

I was laying in bed one night contemplating whether I should get up and feed the dog. I had forgotten to give her fresh water that day. There lying in the warmth of blankets, my full stomach too comfortable to be moved, I sank down farther into selfishness. That is when I pictured this.

Jesus’s face staring back at me. Those dark brown puppy dog eyes. Literally! I saw how things really are. What ever we do upon one another we have done upon Jesus. You may think it is strange for me to see the face of my Jesus on a dog sitting by the fence of her kennel waiting hoping for some fresh water. waiting, hoping for a kind word and a pat on the head. I laid in bed and before I got up I saw my Jesus’s face go from one person to another. I saw his face on my child when the day before I had belittled him telling him he was acting like a baby. I saw Jesus staring back at me from the teller at the grocery store that I had not been particularly polite to. I saw him on the face of the homeless man I did not give my coffee money to as I walked passed him into Star Bucks for my must have caffeine fix. I pictured the face of Jesus on the woman I had sneered at inwardly who was wearing such outlandish attire in public.

Jesus said “what ever we do for the least of these you have done unto me. “I always thought of this verse in a sweet “help the poor” kind of way. Which is the scriptural take of the rest of the passage. But like all of God’s word this passage has a deeper meaning.

How would you treat Jesus as a guest in your house? How would you treat him if you passed him on the street after a hard day of work? What if Jesus was wearing grunge clothes and smelled like he’d shoveled his share of manure and he stood for a moment by your side waiting for the bus and in one breath you turned away and ran for the nearest hand sanitizing out post?

It is a hard thing to do. Picturing Jesus paying the price for our every sin, is not an easy task.  It is something we have to do. It is fact that he bore it all. Perhaps if we stop and picture this: Jesus on the face of the one we are about to disgrace, belittle, sneer, lie too, steel from, Mach or make fun of. If we could do this, I believe we would start treating each others as the verse intended us to. We would start loving others as God intended!

If we can stop and Picture Jesus, we can stop putting our selves before others. We can start to full fill the two most important commandments Jesus spoke of.

Love the Lord your God with all you heart and love your neighbor as your self!

Praise God for his loving, all knowing eyes. Praise Him for his life he gave to us on the cross! Praise him for forgiveness and the ability to be transformed for the better by learning from our mistakes.

by Nora Williams 2007