We Are Loved and Victorious! ©

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

-Romans 8:31-39 ESV

 

As I read this portion of Romans, I get excited.  My heart leaps from within as I think about God’s love for me and for you.  God loves each of us so much and He wants the best for us.  God is for us!

 

So often we go on about our business of life and things begin to take their toll.  We may begin to feel inadequate, frustrated, lonely or even afraid.  Paul tells us in Romans that we don’t have to be.  Nothing or no one can come against our souls because God has paid the price.  When Jesus died on the cross, His blood made a way for our souls to be saved.

 

We do not have to fear what may come our way.  We can be assured of God’s love.  Paul gives us five reasons why we can never be separated from God’s love and reminds us that we are victorious in Christ:

 

God is for us!  He proved this by giving us His Son, Jesus Christ.  Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, He opened the door for our eternal salvation and everlasting life.  We don’t have to fear what others say or do against us.  The media and society tend to mock Christians. So, what? God is for us. Paul even asks the question, if God is for us, who can be against us?  As long as we are following Him and are Christians, we are under His protection. He is on our side.

 

Christ died for us!  God gave us His very best, He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ.  He loves us so much He made a way for us so that we can have everlasting life.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  God did not give His Son to condemn the world but through Him the world can be saved” (John 3.16-17).  God gives what we need.  He gives us love, salvation, compassion, inner healing, strength and courage.  God cares for His creation.  He takes care of the birds of the air and the sheep of the fields and He looks after the flowers and trees.  If God takes care of the sparrows, does He not care even more for us?  He knows the very number of hairs on our head.  He calls us His children, He takes care of every detail of our lives. Christ’s death made a way for us to be called children of God.  His death and resurrection gives us eternal life.

 

God has justified us, given us right standing with Him.  He declares us pure and righteous, clean, holy, without blemishes before Him.  Satan will accuse us, but Jesus will cover us and stand up for us.  We are God’s chosen people and accepted as a part of the Kingdom family.  When we give our lives to Jesus, He takes away our rubbish and dirtiness.  We all have done or said things that have hurt or upset God.  These things are called sin.  Sin separates us from God, but Jesus’ blood washes us clean and gives us a fresh start. All we have to do is accept that Jesus is Lord, believe that He died and rose again and confess, tell Him and mean it that we are sorry for all the wrong things we have done.  When Jesus saves us, we become His.  He calls us His family.

 

Christ intercedes for us.  He pleads for us, praying each day and even when we don’t have the words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us (see verse 26).  Jesus died for us and now talks to God on our behalf.  He sits at the right hand of God.  Jesus gives us grace and power to overcome the temptations and whatever the enemy, the devil, throws at us, we have the victory.  Jesus is our Advocate!  He can forgive our sins and restore fellowship with God.  Jesus stands up for us, speaking on our behalf.  Jesus does not condemn us.  In fact, He favours us!  We are precious to Him.  He sees us as His brothers and sisters and friends.

 

God cannot fail us.  We may fail God, and we may do this often, however, God’s love for us remains the same.  We will have difficulties in life.  We will question many times why we have to go through those difficulties. But, because we go through them, it does not mean that God doesn’t care anymore.  In fact, it is for our own growth that He allows these difficulties to happen.  These things are to work for us not against us for our good (Romans 8.28).  He wants us to use the difficult times for His glory.  We endure them for Christ’s sake.  Even though it may feel as if God has forsaken us, He hasn’t.  He is always closer than we can imagine. I always think of God holding us in His arms especially in the most difficult times.

 

God gives us the power to conquer the enemy.  We are super-conquerors in Christ Jesus.  Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loves us!  Jesus gives us the victory.  We are never alone!  Because God loves us, Jesus gives us victory over sin, temptation, and the enemy.  We are secure in God’s love.  We just need to believe it!

 

Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from God’s love! It doesn’t matter what we have ever done, God loves us.  He’s given us a way for freedom, salvation and healing.  When we accept Jesus is who He says He is, does what He says He can do and accept Him as Saviour and Lord of our lives, we can live victorious lives.  May we remember that we can be free from judgement, defeat, discouragement and fear.  Jesus is our Advocate who died for us and rose again and now pleads on our behalf to God our Father.  Christ lives in us, Christ is coming back for us one day to take us home.  If God is for us, who can be against us? We are loved!

 

 

Leaders need encouragement! ©

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. -2 Corinthians 13:11

Those in ministry are among the least encouraged people in the church.

Ministers give constantly of their time, despite being single or having a family, to helping others. Their “job” is 24/7/ Many think ministers only work on Sundays and one-week day with maybe a few home visits in between. However, this is not the case.

Anyone who is a leader in ministry, the pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth leader, women’s ministry leader, etc., has a great responsibility of being Christ’s example to the ones they teach. They are expected to be on call when someone falls ill, dies, has a child, or just needs a chat. They plan and conduct meetings, services, weddings, funerals, dedications, and in some denominations, baptisms.

They are called to be shepherds to their flock. In order to this effectively, they have to take time to be in Christ’s presence in order to learn from him. They are expected to really have a good comprehension of God’s Word and be able to explain it to others.

Leaders in ministry not only have to look after their people, they must take care of their own homes and immediate and extended families. And yet, they are expected by those around them to be all things to all people.

From what I have seen and heard, most leaders are weary from running constantly and trying to do everything. They are humans. Many forget this. They need rest. Even Jesus rested. However, for some reason, people think leaders are invincible, super-humans (sometimes they think so themselves) and don’t need to rest. What happens is churches end up having worn out, ill leaders.

A lot of leaders feel lonely and isolated. They are not allowed to show their emotions and have been taught to not get close to anyone in their congregations because of appearance’s sake.  Their hearts ache but sadly, they have no one to share this heartache to for fear of gossip or being looked down upon by their superiors because they are struggling.

Leaders in ministry need a shepherd who loves and cares for them! They need to know they are loved, valued, and appreciated for what they are doing. Sadly, often, they hear the negative.

They know that God cares for them. They know they can cry out to him. However, many times, in a leader’s life, they are not just dealing with the congregation’s needs, they are dealing with their own. They struggle with their faith. They struggle to see if what they are doing is making any difference.

Leaders in ministry need someone who will be Christ with skin on to support, pray for, and encourage them as they minister to others.

Today, I want to encourage my fellow ministers of Christ, God is near the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He is with you. He loves you. He sees you and he knows your needs. God collects every tear that falls; he stores the tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). God knows all the needs of your people, your family, yourself.

I want you to read the following words that God and I say to you. These words are truth! They matter. Believe them.

God is proud of you!

You make God smile! 😊

You are loved more than you know, by God who is madly in love with you.

You are treasured!

You are valued!

You are amazing!

You matter!

What you are doing is making a difference for the Kingdom!

God’s will is being accomplished through you!

Keep up the wonderful work that you are doing. Do not give up! Keep going, for God will reward all that you do!

Please know I am praying for you. God bless you all.

 

 

The Good Shepherd ©

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.   He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.   He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.   And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So, there will be one flock, one shepherd.   For this reason, the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” -John 10:11-18 ESV

 

Shepherds in the ancient world had a close bond with their sheep.  Lambs were raised almost like children with plenty of hugs and affection.  The shepherd would call his sheep by name and the sheep would follow him because they knew that protection and nourishment came from the shepherd’s skillful care.  The sheep also responded to the shepherd’s voice because they knew he loved them and he was concerned for their well-being.  Security and satisfaction came from staying close to the shepherd.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for us.  Jesus uses the familiar image of a shepherd and his sheep to illustrate his love for his followers and our value to Him.  We are His prized possession, a possession He guides, protects and cares for, just as a shepherd nurtures his flock of sheep.  Jesus’ words bring us comfort and assurance in a very threatening and insecure world.

From the bible passage we see several things that the shepherd does for his sheep.  The shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, he knows them, protects them, keeps them safe and finds them the best pastures.  The word “know” here is used in the sense of affectionate regard or love. It implies such a knowledge of their wants, their dangers, and their characters, as to result in a deep interest in their welfare. Jesus knows our hearts, the dangers that face us, and the needs of His people.  His kindness as our shepherd prompts Him to defend and aid us.  He is known and loved as our Savior and Friend.

The sheep, knowing that the shepherd loves them, trusts him, knows his voice, follows where he leads, and rests in his care (verses 14-16).  They recognize they are lost and in need of a Savior; they come to him, and find that He is all they need, and they love him. As a flock follows and obeys its kind shepherd, so we too follow and obey Christ who leads us beside the still waters, and makes us lie down in green pastures.

Most people can relate to Jesus being a shepherd.  We long for someone to protect us, keep us safe, embrace us when we are hurting, and lead us in the ways we should go.  A shepherd is kind, knowing what is best for his sheep.

What makes Jesus so attractive to those around us as a Shepherd?  Jesus gave up His life for us.  He loves everyone so much He gave everything for us so we can have eternal life, protection, and rest.  People know when they are loved.  As Jesus said in verses 12 and 13, a hireling watches the sheep, but because he doesn’t know them by name and is not their true shepherd, he will not fight for them, he will not protect them as if they were his own.  The hireling leaves them and runs for his life when the wolf tries to steal one.  Jesus tells us He is not like that.  He is the Good Shepherd.  He loves us; Jesus emphasizes in verses 17-18 that He laid down His life on His own accord.  Jesus’ death was voluntary; Jesus chose to give up His life so we can have life.  Even though God had commanded Jesus to give up His life, Jesus did so through His own free will.  Jesus had a right to lay down his life for the good of people. The patriot dies for his country on the field of battle; the merchant exposes his life for gain; and the Son of God had a right to put himself in the way of danger and of death, when a dying world needed such an atoning sacrifice. His death and resurrection give us life, if we but chose Him.

No matter how much the shepherd tries to keep the sheep in one-fold, one of them usually wanders off or doesn’t come when called.  Have we ever wandered off trying to live our own way?  Jesus tells us in verse 16 that the good shepherd goes to find us to bring us back into the fold.  He will search for us until He brings us back to safety.  What a loving, gentle Savior we have!  The sheep will hear His voice and return to the fold.  We can know without a shadow of doubt that Jesus loves us, He gave His all for us, He protects us, keeps us safe, picks us up when we are hurting, tends to our wounds, and never slumbers.  Jesus never fails!

Psalm 23, a familiar bible passage, teaches us all that a good shepherd does. David shared his thoughts in this beautiful passage.  In God’s presence, we lack nothing.  We are satisfied by the Bread of Life and the Water.  He leads us to rest in grassy pastures, full of life and health. He leads us beside quiet waters, where we will never have to thirst again.  He restores our inner person, our souls.  He guides us in the right paths, if we follow, we will not be led astray.  He is with us in the valley of death which represents spiritual warfare.  God will bring us through even when the path is dark and dreary. He protects with His rod and staff.  We do not have to fear the enemy’s attacks because Jesus keeps us safe.  A table is prepared for us, keeping us well fed.  He anoints our heads with oil from a never ending, overflowing cup.  The anointing represents favor, distinction, holiness (being set apart for God), and priesthood.  His goodness and grace will pursue us and stay with us all our days.  We will live in the house of God forever.

Knowing what Jesus did and continues to do for us, let us rest in the security of His

presence.  May we be confident in His love, following where He leads us, allowing

the Shepherd to protect us and keep us in His care.

 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

 

You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. -Psalm 23 ESV

 

 

Life’s Disappointments ©

Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long. -Psalm 25:4-5 (NIV)

No one likes disappointments. However, life is full of them.

The employer says we were their second choice and we didn’t get the job. Our friend doesn’t show up for dinner and did not give a reason as to why. We did not get the grade we wanted on an exam despite studying for hours. Our child goes off the rails and has run away from God.

Maybe the disappointment is due to ill health which has us laid up in our house for weeks, months, or maybe even years? We were once active and outgoing. We went out and did things with our family and friends. We had a promising career. But then, all of this was stripped away.

When disappointments come, we can feel as if our whole world has been torn apart. We become angry, hurt, frustrated, and even depressed. We ask God, “why?”. We try to rationalize what has been going on and where we went wrong.

What if we aren’t wrong? What if we did everything we could or should have done? These circumstances in our lives come despite our well intentions and living right for the Lord.

We cannot put the blame on ourselves. Nor, can we put the blame on God, despite how much we want to.

God is sovereign. God is in control. He never promised us life was going to be easy.

Yes, I know there are some preachers who declare that once we are saved, life is going to be wonderful and we won’t have to suffer. If Jesus and his disciples suffered, then why do we think we would get away from the pain?

In the midst of our pain, we can ask God what he wants to teach us.  “Show us your ways, LORD, teach us your paths. Guide us in your truth… our hope is in you all day long” (see Psalm 25:4, 5b).

Maybe God has a better job lined up for us. Maybe he is showing us that even when our friends aren’t there, he always is. Maybe God wants us to focus on another career path. Maybe our child knows he is wrong, but we have to trust God is in control and is looking after him.

Maybe our time at home, is a time for us to draw closer to God. Maybe God is teaching us to have empathy for others. Maybe he is teaching us to simply trust him.

Our time on earth is short. What we suffer here is just a blip in the midst of eternity. It’s only a moment in our eternal lives.

Where is our focus?

What is our focus?

Are we keeping our eyes on the disappointments? If so, how can we see God when doom and gloom are all we see? We have to intentionally call out to Jesus. We have to turn our eyes on him.Where is our hope? The psalmist’s hope was in God his Savior.

When we put our hope in God and listen to what he is trying to teach us, we will be secure. We will be at peace. We will grow closer to God and gain wisdom. We will be better people.

When disappointments come in the future, we can be assured God is with us. We can trust him. God is our Savior and he cares about us.

Prayer: Father God, we don’t like disappointments. They can seem never-ending. Disappointments cause us pain and sometimes anger. Please forgive us when our eyes are focused on the problems and not on you. God, show us your ways. Teach us your paths. Guide us in our truth. May our hope be in you all day long. Amen.

 

 

Desiring God More Than My Needs (c)

God,

How often do I come to You

With an agenda on my mind,

Rattling off a list of things I desire?

 

Yes, I pray for people’s needs every day,

And I try to always remember to say thank you,

For all the blessings you give.

Oftentimes I fall short of giving you

The praise you deserve

 

I want to see my friends and family

Healthy and happy,

Blessed beyond measure.

I want peace in the world

Where there are no wars, famine,

Injustice, and hatred.

 

The more I pray, the more I see.

My heart is changing,

I’m beginning to understand.

You want me to pray,

To share my every thought and need.

 

However, you desire much more than this.

You want me to long for you,

Just for who you are, not what you can do.

 

May I desire you more than anything,

More than your blessings,

For you are greater than all these things.

 

It’s not about me,

It’s all about you.

 

You are above all,

Alpha and Omega,

Beginning and the End.

You are Holy, Majestic,

The King of all kings.

You are Amazing!

 

Thank you, Father,

Amen.

 

 

Always Busy (c)

Father God,

I always seem to be busy.

Busy creating, writing, planning,

The list could go on.

Time slips away so quickly

As I sink myself into doing things for others.

 

You keep wooing me,

Calling me into your presence.

And so often,

I confess,

I say, “I am too busy, I don’t have the time.”

 

I am quick to tell others,

You cannot give from an empty cup

Because if we don’t spend time with you,

We become empty,

Withdrawn,

And giving others scraps of nothingness.

 

Forgive me, Lord,

For not taking the time

Just to be still.

Forgive me for being so “busy” doing.

 

For now, I just need to be.

I come before you in the holy place,

In the stillness,

Hungry for you.

 

I don’t want these moments with you

To be so sporadic.

You must be first in everything

Yes, my cup needs to be refilled repeatedly.

 

But what I long for most is you.

Our relationship is for eternity.

Time here is nothing compared to what lies ahead.

 

Jesus, yes, I can be busy for your kingdom,

But I don’t ever want to neglect my time with you.

Help me to prioritize my time and put you first.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

Published

This week I have published two books on Amazon Kindle. I cannot afford to publish them in paperback, etc. They are free on Kindle Unlimited, but I am asking kindly that if you like them, please purchase them as this is my income at the moment. I still am unable to work due to physical limitations.

These are the links to the books…