Religion is not equal to faith. With religion comes a system, creeds, traditions, even the introduction of humanistic beliefs. But faith is free of all of that. Especially in regards to Jesus.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” Luke 4:18
He came to earth with one objective fueled by His intense Love for us: to save us from every obstacle that separated us from His Love and God’s Love. To liberate mankind so that we could be free to be loved and to love. He had no intention of instituting rules or mandates. He was emancipating every person from religion and all it’s expectations. With Him the only thing that matters is Love. He initiated the first move with the Cross. He is hoping that as I look at His Supreme Act of Love, I will love Him in return. As a human, my love response is nowhere near the level it should be for such a sacrifice. But, is that what He expected? Perfection? No, because He perfects me! That was the whole point of saving me! If I give in to His Love, my life is no longer restricted. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1a Now, I freely love Him by my life and I openly welcome the opportunities to love others like Him. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13 And in the places I come up short,(and I do) He makes up the difference. Religion could never achieve this kind of relationship. But faith in His Love does.
❤?❤ Love won’t fail or die. That will never change. ?(No post Wed, see you Thurs)
The heart is the absolute essence of who we are. Not even our mind, with reasoning, intelligence, knowledge, and memories can unseat that definition. It is where all love, faith, treasure, conviction, reside. The heart supercedes and dictates direction and decisions so much of the time but it is not unerring. It can’t be, since it is affected greatly by our emotions. With all the understanding, rationale, belief, and conciousness of God I possess, my heart is still stupid sometimes. It can be unreasonable and even when I connect it to my mind to establish order, sometimes, it still wants what it wants. My feelings override my mind and since they can be deceiving, I can’t rely on them.”The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jer 17:9 Because of this, my heart needs holy scaffolding to redirect and strengthen it. If I decide to invest my heart in God and Jesus, there’s no hesitation from Heaven to give me the help I seek. It isn’t as if I won’t still struggle, but I won’t be alone. Anyone who decides to give their heart over to Jesus has His Presence. “Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.” Ephesians 3:17 NLT My trust in Him is based on His Love for me. I’ve witnessed His Love from the Cross until now. I also know He and God are in unison for my good. “I will not leave you…”John 14:18 “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” John 14:18 I have these promises and the Holy Spirit. This allows me to bypass my emotions and put my heart with all it’s desires, hopes, dreams, love in His Hands. My way is not dependable and it always has the possibility of harm. But, like my friend @iam_2nd told me yesterday, “God’s way, is always the harmless way.” Since this is true, I will release my ? heart to Him in trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
“… For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” 2Peter1:8-9
Reading the verse in its entirety, it lands a little harsh. Whenever my heart receives the message that way, I have to filter it through Love. God is doing everything He can to have us participate in His Divine Nature because He desperately loves us. He has already given us His Spirit (1Cor 3:16) angels to minister (Heb 1:14) and Jesus as our brother, companion, Saviour who is involved in our victory. (Rom 8:34) But my faith is mine. He won’t hijack my faith. It would cease being faith. Out of Love, He is giving me specific instruction on how to power up my faith and accomplish the role he established for me long ago. He wants me to open up my spiritual eyes and zoom out to take a long view of His Purpose. I cannot know it all and comprehend every facet and aspect of it, but that is where faith comes in. If I don’t actively participate in building up my faith, when I hit those places in my walk with Him, where faith is the only thing I have, I’ll stumble. Those 7 items listed, if I live them out, will allow me to see crazy supernatural things. Just reading them I can tell you that they will because they are all based on Love. Jesus proved it. He lived like this because He was resolute in His Love to save us. So, being reminded that I was cleansed, is not a reprimand. It is counsel to look at Jesus and review the miracles that changed hearts by His Love and Life. I want to love like Him and here is the way. It will work every time even when it is hard. My heart can be whole or ???. Even in heartbreak, He can overcome me and prevail in Love. I can’t do it without Him.
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. Psalm 43:3 NLT
I need some more guidance, Lord. Send me some more direction. If You forward some truth and light, that will help me. I’m skilled at trying to interject my own ideas and plans. They are notoriously flawed. It is not difficult for me to just move forward, but I know I need to take my lead from You. I want to go where You are. Jesus, look over here at me. Do you see how inept I am? This is me asking for supernatural intervention. I absolutely need it to get to your mountain. I am going to look out. I am going to believe that You will reveal what I need. I will take your Hand, Jesus, and I am going to walk where You take me. The alternative is a dead end. But, Your path is warrantied to get me Home. So, I’ll give up my map and trust in Your Plan. ?
I didn’t have a very good idea of what to do today. What I wrote isn’t exceptional artwise, but the quote seemed appropriate. The subject is unavoidable because humans are so human. If you knew me outside of Instagram or this blog, you’d agree. In many places where my life has intersected with others, I’ve caused injury by my words and behaviour. Not deliberately every time. But, I have reacted, spoken, and acted in ways that hurt and I would never justify it. Who wants to admit that? Especially as a follower of God? But even with good intentions and a sincere heart that desires and attempts to love, I’m still so human. Forgiveness is something I don’t deserve, but Jesus provides it anyway. He is liberal with it primarily because He is counting on it to transform me into a increasingly loving person. One that is not as prone to defaulting to my humanity. But that still leaves the ones who I have harmed. What obligation do they have to forgive me? None based on anything that has to do with me. Jesus is the only hope I have that someone will truly forgive me because they have been on the receiving end of His forgiveness. I’ve condemned myself the last week and I would imagine that the ones I’ve hurt did too. At least some. In that place, I debated just dropping this whole ministry. In condemnation, there’s no joy. I’m still fighting to stay in. Jesus is who I’m looking to. He can heal and restore. He is the only way to be released of the pain and sorrow. This is true for those I’ve wounded and even for myself. The freedom of forgiveness is for everyone. The door out, is unlocked by Jesus. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever…”
I will do this. In my heart, in my car, in my prayers, in community worship. How can I not? He is relentless in His Love for me. Never putting a limit on His willingness to forgive. Always quick to rush in when I respond to His Mercy. I am in need of Him every hour since the essence of me is imperfect. But He will not let my shortages prevent our closeness. He gave Himself through Jesus to ensure that my humanity would not be a destructive factor in our love. He did not stand back. He was in Jesus, fully engaged in my unification with Him. “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.” Colossians 1: 19-20. All I can do is surrender. Then His Love and Mercy becomes an impelling force causing me to want to change and be like Him. And the whole while, I am accompanied by Jesus, and the Spirit and my Father every hour without ceasing. “And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” Romans 8:10 My singing will never capture all that I feel for His Mercy and Love, but He loves hearing it anyway.
⭐Lord, I Need You⭐
Written by: Matt Maher
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me.
… my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
In the period of time that Jesus inhabited the earth, He faced temptation, opposition, hatred, misinterpretation, hunger, homelessness, pain, death threats, and abandonment. While confronting these challenges, He maintained Peace. But unlike worldly peace which is easily disrupted, He possessed Holy Peace that transcends earth’s circumstances. Before He sacrificed Himself, He ensured that we could also live by this Peace. He left a peace of Himself so that we would have the power to remain in His Promises even as we face every force that is attempting to wrestle us from that Hope. I have been subjected to these forces and I have had to beg for the Peace that I desperately need to rest in Jesus’s Hands. The adversaries of Peace are in every Christian’s life. I’m embarrassed to look at my life and wonder how I am allowing myself to lose my Peace. I’ve let the current situation dictate my heart attitude. I read Matthew 26:36-46 to gain perspective on Jesus and how He coped in the middle of sorrow and grief. I sometimes felt like I was the only one and the rest of the world recovered and just went on to live happily. But, He knows me and he provides His example and His Peace. Jesus’s Peace does not make human sense and cannot be overcome by logic. But it is real. “…the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:7. His Peace isn’t going anywhere. It’s here and there is high probability that today I be will presented with some opposition to it. I have to know that nothing on earth is greater because this Peace is born of Love.
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart….” Mark 12:30
I want to love God with all my heart. I’m not 100% all day, everyday. I would be a liar if I didn’t admit that. Even though I am His and I am covered in His Love, there is still me in me. The self that remains a part of who I am. It isn’t as dominant as it was before I knew Jesus, but it hasn’t disappeared. This is not a surprise to Him. He knows I’m still me. My heart may fluctuate, but His never does. So, He loves me through the me moments with His Spirit. Am I an anomaly? A rare faulty Christian? If I am, then so was Paul.
“…Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:21-25
Jesus is the rescuer of “me”. It happens when I surrender. I accept that I am not responsible for strategizing my perfection. I sincerely mean it when I say, “here is my heart.” He takes my best effort to love Him and makes me flawless. It has a circular effect in that it compels me to want to live and love Him in a way that honors Him. What happens to “me”? Jesus changes me.Then God’s Heart is so joyful because He loves me loving Him.
“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zepheniah 3:17
Wait. Stand by. Hold your position. I hear this from God in my life today. I’ve heard it before and my history shows that I do not excel in waiting. I’m not alone in this. I know patience is not a prevalent trait in society. Waiting for God, though is unlike any other type of waiting. Deferring to God is trust. It is my conviction that I can completely rely on Him even when I am capable of taking action. If you need an example of why jumping the gun fails, see Saul in 1Samuel 13:1-13. He had clear instruction to wait, but he also had it in his power to act. He chose action over trust. It resulted in a fracture in his walk with God and he lost the promise of God. The Maker of all things, knows all things. I do not. What I know is insufficient to achieve the purpose of my life. I have to trust Him. He has proven He is worthy of my trust by His Love. My trust in Him is how I love Him in return. This trust has to be complete, without a backup plan. I look at the Cross, and at Jesus, and I reaffirm that trusting in His Love is not conventional, but it is hope and it is always for my good. I may experience pain and sadness. I may experience loss and not understand all the whys. But I am confident that all that has happened can be used by God to demonstrate His Love through us and for us. In spite of the hardship, and the separation, I trust Him. He will accomplish His great and perfect will for me and for those that were with me. Even if we only meet in Heaven. So, Lord, I will wait.
…I can run away and hide. I can be bold and brave. I can get reinforcements. Or I can trust in you, God. My fears are quick to drill into my heart and mind. But you are always aware of what I am afraid of. I have seen what you are capable of. My fears can’t overcome you. I know that perfect love drives out fear. 1John 4:18 Your Love is perfect and it can root out and destroy fear. Fear is not the ruler of my life. It cannot be because love and fear are incompatible. They cannot co-exist in me. You have never desired for me be driven solely out of fear of you. Fear is respect and you deserve all respect. Proverbs 9:10. But fear can’t sustain me. It can’t compel me to love you and live for you. Your unfailing love is the driving force behind our relationship. I am assured in your love for me and I depend on that truth to sustain me when fears surround me. They cannot overtake me, since your love will not allow it. So, when I am afraid…I will believe, trust, depend, rely, on you because of your True Love. Unlike my fears, it is always real.