Jesus, You Make the Darkness Tremble

 

20190419_142600 The sky carries many messages from God. There is a tendency to focus on the tear jerking sunsets or the sunrises that fills your heart with renewed energy and hope. But dear friend, God speaks just as loud if not louder in the storm and the loudest in the silence.

When Jesus died on the cross there were many storms going on. There was the physical storm. Darkness eerily blanketed the land and the ground shook in holy fear. (Matt. 27:45,54) Then there was the spiritual storm.  People and soldiers mocked Jesus and scorned Him, as was predicted by the prophets. Their words are the mirror image of my sin and the moments when I allow apathy to be Lord instead of JESUS.  As Jesus hung on the cross the taunts and insults defaming His Lordship were slung like mud upon His face. And yet there was silence in Heaven as Jesus begged His Father for answers. “Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46)  Why? The love of Jesus was so great that it far exceeded making sense. It was life altering and earth shaking and in Christ’s love He bore the pain of silence in order to shout His love for you!

You couldn’t have been in Jerusalem that day and not have been changed.  The sky turned dark at an unusual hour and the earth fumbled beneath you. What you thought your life was founded on was sinking. What you thought was allowing you to see was really making you blind. And you longed for healing: to who would you turn?  If you were in the temple you would’ve seen the temple curtain torn in two from top from bottom, an act never done before or since. This demonstrated that God broke  the divide between God and man. Jesus made it possible for us to enter the throne room with grace.  If you were in the graveyard when Jesus died you might have seen a relative jump out and start praising Jesus. Because of Jesus, death has lost its sting. Nobody could’ve ignored the cross that day, but Jesus could’ve been ignored. Nobody could ignore the fact that their plans had been altered and something different was stirring in town, but did they really know why Jesus was there? Did they stop long enough to listen to the sound of His earth shaking love that made the darkness tremble?

Yesterday was Good Friday. The clouds were onomious and the wind howled. I think the weather was a picture of the first Good Friday. Everyone in town, was talking about the storm, racing to the store to stalk up on chocolate, milk and bread. (the essentials of course) There was a state of frenzy and fear. You couldn’t be in town and not hear about this storm or feel it’s power.  And yet people weren’t discussing  who made the storm or the power behind the breath of God’s  mouth. But it was God’s day as is everyday, rain or shine. Through that storm and every physical storm, I believe God speaks to people as a whole and as individuals.  Everyone saw the storm yesterday, but I think only few really let God speak to them through the wind, and the billowing clouds. Sometimes God speaks in the storm and sometimes in a still, small voice. And sometimes God speaks to us in the center of our silence and our cry to Him in the deepest moment of our pain. Even when it feels like He does not answer He is still there. Jesus died on the cross for everyone who has and who will ever live. But there is a message of grace and hope for you dear friend, personally. Jesus doesn’t just see a throng of people, He sees indiduals with personalities, smiles, giggles, heartaches that rip you, and dreams that make you cry. Jesus knows you inside outside and upside down and He still chose to die for you. Now friend, that’s love.

Give Your heart to Him, open Your eyes and choose to see what He has for you. It will not always be easy, but with your hand placed inside of His scarred hand, there is comfort that you will never walk alone.

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“But God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

 

Much Love and Happy Easter!

Anna ❤

 

The song “Tremble” (which was used in post) was written by Hank Bentley, Mia Fieldes, Andres Figueroa and Mariah. Check out the song and the story at this link. 🙂

https://www.essentialworship.com/songs/mosaic-msc/tremble#STORY

 

 

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Jesus ,Take Me to the Cross.

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I love a good snowfall! Don’t you? The snowflakes tenderly cover the thirsty, yearning ground. When I look out the window instead of seeing dry grass, I see a covering of cold and peaceful  perfection. I think the snow is a picture of God’s amazing grace. When God looks at us, He could choose to see everything we’ve ever done wrong. But instead when we say yes to Jesus, God see His son reflected in us. Jesus is my covering. It is only because of Jesus that I have any purity. The only righteousness I have is because of Him. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph. 2:8-9. (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, thank You for the cross; for forgiving me.                                                          Love is much more than kisses, chocolates, and random romantic gestures.  Love is deeper, messier, and more complicated, than a perfect life free of arguments or misunderstandings.  Simply, look at the cross. The cross is the deepest symbol of love.
“But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (HCSB)
When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for my sins, thousands of years before I was born. Jesus already knew what sins I would commit, and He paid for them anyway. Jesus still loved me with all His being, all of His blood, beatings, and scornful insults that were wrongly thrust on Him. Most of us are familiar or have heard of Lam. 3:22-23. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning. But I cannot simply be thankful and harbor bitterness and hurt feelings. Every morning when I wake up I must extend God’s mercies to those who’ve hurt me and who will hurt me. I know you’ve heard this before, but it’s true. “The people closest to you will hurt you the most.” So, does that mean that I avoid people? Do I avoid loving people because I struggle to  forgive? Because I struggle to forget? No.

Jesus died on the cross for everyone, knowing that many would reject Him. But Jesus still took on the pain. Jesus chose to forgive. I must also choose forgiveness.Matt. 5:14-15.

“He heals the brokenhearted. And binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:3-5.
“Satan aggravates wounds from the past to devastate your future.” (Linda Barrick, Beauty Marks.)

Whenever I am tempted to criticize or become bitter when someone I dearly love fails me, I must look to the cross and remember Jesus.  What else can I do but simply surrender and forgive?  Jesus  continues to bring me back to the cross. He continues to bring me back to 1 Corinthians 13. He shows me how much He has forgiven me and therefore I must forgive.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail, whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away ….For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am also known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Cor. 13:4-8,12-13. (NKJV)

“He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” Prov. 17:9 (NIV)

So dear friend, I don’t know what hurts wall up your heart. I can imagine that it is wrenching to thing about. Maybe you’ve shed some tears or tossed and turned unable to fall asleep. Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving. That time will never come. Forgive in faith. We must forgive if we want to move forward with Jesus and His amazing grace.

 

Much love,

Anna ❤

 

“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Luke 7:47.

If I can Stop One Heart from Breaking

SAM_4210The Power of One
How many people went to the cross?- one, the perfect Jesus
And yet millions had the opportunity to be saved for eternity.
How many people gave up their lunch?- only one little, insignificant boy.
And yet a multitude was fed.
It only takes one.
How many people does it take to stop a suicide?
It only takes one to tell that person I am here for you and I care.
How many does it take to save a beating heart?
It only takes one to speak loving truth.
It only takes one.
Everyone is important to God.
“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14
We are all made in the image of God.
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on that earth. ‘So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-28
Do you sigh when the cashier at the gas station gets chatty or do you stop and listen to her and love her? Do you dare to see past the smile and that people wear and try to see the hurt and questioning veiled behind? Do you dare to bring Jesus into every conversation?
Everyday we have the power to love people like Jesus did.
One at a time.
Did Jesus have to stop at the well and have a personal conversation with the outcast woman?
No, but He chose to see her as one God had placed before Him.
Did Jesus have to forgive the woman caught in the act of adultery?
No, but He chose to see a woman needing His grace.
Did Jesus have to heal the paralyzed man brought down from the roof during His teaching time?
No, but He chose to see the one before Him.
Did Jesus have to save your soul?
No, but He chose to see you.
Did Jesus have to love you?
No, but He chose to see you.
He saw You before you were born.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
So, this morning, ask God to help you see, truly see, the people He puts in front of you, on your phone, on your social media feed, in the grocery store, or time with a friend. Choose to love the person God puts in front of you. Choose to love with the sacrificial love of Jesus.
Love those God has put in front of you.
Understand the power of one and then one more.
Together we can impact the world for Jesus .

“If I can stop one heart from aching, I shall not live in vain,
If I can ease one life the aching I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again
I shall not live in vain.” (Dickinson)

Much Love,
Anna. ❤

A Refiner for Gold

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Scrape, scrape. I clenched my hands together as I nervously squirmed in the polyester chair at the dentist. The trained dentist continued to push and scrape and shape my teeth. I wiggled my toes, shut my eyes shut and squeezed my hands together. I pushed in my stomach in and waited for the terrible procedure to be over. The floss came intentionally between my teeth. I shut my eyes very tightly hoping that I would not cry while laying in the chair!

“The crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the hearts.” Proverbs 17:3 (NIV)

The dentist had to scrape away at the plague, and other imperfections so my teeth could be healthy again. Some of my bad habits in eating and drinking had contributed to my pain.  God was gently reminding me that I must also layside my pride. I must  put it in the corner and allow Him to chip away at my sin, and my past that I cling to. I must give my sensitivities to Him. Jesus is the only one who heals my pain. However, sometimes before there is restoration there must first be a death of the past. When I choose to go deeper with Christ, it will be painful. I cannot only allow God to chip away at my sin but I have to daily let His Word wash me.  If I choose to remain in the land of just enough than I will suffer deeper pain later.

Sweet friend, I do not know what Jesus is trying scrape away at  your life. I can imagine that your pain goes much deeper than an uncomfortable time at the dentist. Don’t take the scalpel out of the Refiner’s perfect hands.  Submit to Him and allow Him to gently peel away all that is keeping you from the gold He has called you to be. Wait sweet friend. Wait on Him.

For His Glory,

Anna ❤ ,

In the Darkest of the Night He Hears. In the Quiet of the Dawn, He Sees.

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“I will lift up my eyes to the hills- From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. “Psalm 121:1
My eyes gazed longingly at the periwinkle blue mountains and the strong trees at the top of the hill. The clouds draped themselves high above the atmosphere. The hill ran down toward the fence at the bottom of the hill and then up towards the mountains in the distance.
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory. The rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. “ Psalm 62:5-7
No matter how many times I look out the windows at my grandma’s house, the mountains and the trees are always there, strong, proud, and protective. Seasons come and seasons go, and the mountains change hues, the sky can be fierce and angry or calm and caring. And somehow this peaceful scene reminds me of my Heavenly Father. Seasons come and go in my life. Sometimes my life is as a beautiful as a picture. Other times my life is rocky and confusing. But the Lord Jesus never changes. His arms are always open ready for me to run to Him.
“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

For those of you who know me I can fall asleep at the drop of a pin or the sound of a soft voice. That particular night however, I was restlessly tossing and turning. Regrets of my past were crashing over me, making me feel like a defeated failure who might as well quit now rather than disappoint God again. In the darkness of the night, God comforted me. He allowed my tears to slide off my cheeks. And in the middle of the night God forgave me and restored my soul.

Regardless of our circumstances God is still God. He is faithful and unchanging. Run to Jesus with a heart ready to repent and be restored. Let His love cover you.

“If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

If I can encourage you in anyway please let me know. Thank you for supporting me in my writing.

For His Glory,
Sarah ❤

 

 

 

 

Hope

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God’ s mercies are new every morning, every week and every year. The same God that carried you through 2018 will stand by you each day of 2019.  Our circumstances will change ,but God is faithful and full of hope. God loves you so much! When Jesus died on the cross, He thought about you.

“But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

2018 held joys as well as difficulties for me as I’m sure it did for you. Just because a new year has begun doesn’t mean that the struggles of yesterday are completely erased. But I can choose to trust in the character of God.  My word for 2019 is hope.  My circumstances will waver and hardships will come but my hope can rest in the steady power of the God who carries me.

Happy New Year to you all! ❤

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When God Bakes a Masterpiece

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I smiled as the aroma of Nutmeg, Cinnamon and scintillating sprinkles of vanilla twirled around the kitchen and sifted into the dining room. As I began to soak my hands in the soapy water and wash the multitude of messy dishes I thought about how God mixes each of us together for His masterpiece and for His glory. There is nothing neat and orderly about how I cook. But I see the end result and how I want it to turn out. Many times, what I bake doesn’t work the way I had envisioned.
Unlike my kitchen disasters ( another time….:) God sees the bigger picture in each of our lives. He sees what each of us cannot see. I am not privy to the recipe that God has for my life. I know that He wants to cultivate in me the fruits of the spirit, and a flexible and willing heart that is completely surrendered to Him. But I do not know what methods He will do to make me holier and hopefully sweeter by His purest forms.
As individuals we are full of many moments. La Tascha, a strong godly woman, said that the trouble is when we get caught up in the moment and miss the eternal perspective. Each of our lives is like a beautiful masterpiece. Once we are saved we belong to Him but we have to give Him each piece of ourselves. We have to give God what we desire. We have to give Him our moments and our hours. Sometimes we have to put aside what we crave so we can commune with Him.  Lately God puts things into my life that I wouldn’t choose on my own. I want the end result of being more like Him, but I struggle to give God control of the ingredients that He can use. You know when you are baking or cooking and you have to wait for the butter to melt or the water to boil. It takes forever. It might seem like God does not care. If He did  understand what I wanted then He would not make certain things happen in my life. But if my life is surrendered to Him than the end result is not about what I want but about what will bring Him the most glory.

But God is so good. He sees the recipe and the end result. I wait and once all my ingredients are mixed together than God can make the miracle in my life. I come to the process of the purging and the waiting. Being made more like Christ hurts and stings. It is uncomfortable but as I burn I glow with the glory of Christ. Becoming more like Him is a gradual process that doesn’t happened over night. You slowly ooze out His love and become more intentional for the things of Christ.

In this crispy, autumn season God has been loving me through discipline. I would not add this to my baked goods list. But discipline and pain are necessary ingredients for me to become more in tune to His word with a heart beat pumping for my Savior. I don’t know what God is crafting in you this season, but surrender to Him and be more aware of His presence. Wake up in the morning and desire Him. Ask God to help you gracefully accept whatever He puts in your path for the day ahead. While I would rather avoid the frustrations that come as a result of my sin and this fallen world, I think that God’s adding something like patience and humility will make me stronger and help others grow in the long run.
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11.

Thank you so much for all your prayers as I walk through this teaching journey.
Much Love!
Sarah ❤