Monday, March 19, 2012

God's comfort when we experience a loss

Last night we got to celebrate the life of one the students that went to be with the Lord. It's still a shock to think that just a few days our beloved brother was walking next to us, and to try to imagine him now walking with Jesus, it brings a deeper revelation of how quickly it will come the day the Lord calls us to be in His presence. Patrick walked with the Lord. He loved Jesus and spent the last 2 years at the Bible College studying the Word of God- Now Patrick transitioned to see the Word of God. This brings a great understanding of what a great privilege it is on this earth to not just "know" Jesus but to "know/experience" Jesus. I heard this quote this last weekend while in Mexico: "he isn't just a fan of Jesus but he is a follower." You see to be a fan of someone implies that you can factually know about that person. To be a follower implies that you have experienced that person; you know how they would respond, what their expression would be, what the tone of their voice would be like. Patrick wasn't a fan of Jesus only... he was a follower.
So how does God comfort those who Patrick's life impacted? We know that Patrick is tangibly comforted by the hand of God and in His presence, but what about his family that misses him? I was so blessed by this this morning from a study I am doing with a group. The passage was from John 11 and how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. When he came to where Mary and Martha were mourning amongst a crowd, seeing them crying, He too wept. The important thing to note is that Jesus knew the outcome of what was to come of this situation and the reason behind it. But He still wept. Why did Jesus weep if He knew the bigger picture of the "why's"? Jesus wept not because of Lazarus' death, but because of the ones who were hurting and left behind. For those who are hurting, God demonstrates His comfort by accompanying us in our pain. Jesus comes along side of us and weeps when we weep. We can be comforted in knowing that Jesus cares and He meets us in the place we are at. Not only does Jesus meet us where we are at, but He gives us an eternal hope as an eternal comfort. While Jesus was talking to Martha, he revealed Himself as the resurrection and the life! Jesus has conquered death and has given us resurrection life, that although we may pass from this earth, we will raise with Him where He is seated. He is the door- our access, He is the life- able to bring new life, He is the way- the only way to the Father, He is the hope I hope- a hope that overcomes sin and death! I hope this blesses you in whatever state your heart is at when you read this. I pray that you allow God to teach you more intimately through pain or even in the calm that He is your comfort; that He offers the answer to your comfort in hope of eternal life. Please keep Patrick's parents and loved ones in your prayers!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

God.. of Comfort

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement),

4Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.

5For just as Christ's [[a]own] sufferings fall to our lot [b][as they overflow upon His disciples, and we share and experience them] abundantly, so through Christ comfort (consolation and encouragement) is also [shared and experienced] abundantly by us.

Above is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 in the Amplified Bible. I Enjoy this translation because it pulls the original meaning from the Greek and expands in explaining it.

In the next few postings, I'm going to begin a study on the God of all comfort, who comforts now and has comforted many who have been recorded. Excited to see the heart of God and His desire through Jesus recorded in Isaiah 61:1-3

1THE SPIRIT of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,(A)

2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] [a]and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,(B)

3To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Ladies- please watch and be blessed <-- I can't tell you how blessed I was to hear this. It's been an answer to a prayer to hear the beautiful perspective of marriage and what God has created it for. As I prayed, the Lord showed me the example of my relationship with Jesus and how He views me and took me to look at Christ and the Church and draw parallels from that. As I see each beloved friend get marry, my heart is that their marriage would display just that; that the man would lean deeper into Christ as he gets the opportunity to be like Christ to his bride, and that the wife would get to reveal to the husband a deeper revelation of how he is viewed by Jesus as the Church.

Ladies, I hope this encourages you and brings revelation to you of your worth and identity as a beautiful daughter of the King. Ladies, I pray that this also gives you the beautiful perspective of the honor that it is also to build up your brothers to be men after God's own heart!

"He... preserves the way of His saints" Proverbs 2:8

The Lord your God... went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day. Deuteronomy 1:32-33 ~ As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him. Deuteronomy 32:11-12 ~ The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24 ~ Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:19 ~ For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:6 ~ We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 ~ With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles. 2 Chronicles 32:8 ~ The Lord you God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness. Zephaniah 3:17

Monday, February 27, 2012

Christ and the Church

Jesus calls those who have responded to the call of salvation on their lives- the Bride of Christ. I’ve been asking the Lord to reveal to me a deeper picture of His love; and it is through this picture of Christ and how he loves His bride so supremely that I’ve been able to see His sacrificial and self-giving love for us.
Jesus called His bride by name. He initiated a relationship with her and woos her to Himself. He redeems her from a destructive and reckless life and gives her new life. He gives her truth. He forgives her completely. He cleanses and washes her with His life-giving words. He introduces her to His Almighty Father. He dies for her that she may experience freedom from bondage and be one day risen with Him. He goes to prepare a place for her while all the while still wooing her and preparing her for Him. He sends His comforter to her. He speaks to her telling her who He sees her as: you’re flawless, you’re perfect, you are made righteous, you are pure, you are all together lovely, you are without blame or spot. He sings over her and calls her to walk in deeper intimacy trusting Him. He prays over her and intercedes on behalf of her. He speaks to her of His plan for her life. He gives her promises to sustain her during dry times, and gives her instruction to guide her. He leaves her with guidelines, and teaches her how to live. He loves others through her and allows her hands to be like His hands. He gives her a purpose and a hope. And one day He will present her to Himself. I imagine He looks forward to that day eagerly... and until that day, He leaves her with a letter he wrote to her..

Thursday, February 23, 2012

God's grace displayed through Noah

Noah is just a sweet name.. I have to say. A man whose name meant "rest or comfort." I'm sure you have all heard the story of Noah from Sunday school as a kid or seen picture books displaying him on a boat with animals sticking out the side.
I sat in Genesis class tonight as we went through chapters 5-8. There was this one major point that stood out to me... God's grace through His sovereignty. Let me explain because that's kind of.. huge! So think on this: Noah is a man that found favor in God's eyes; a man that God called "righteous" (6:8-9). That's a crazy thing to think about- he was still considered righteous/set apart for God during a time of corruption and a violent people.
You may know what happens from here. God communicates His plan to Noah; a plan to build a boat to bring safety to Noah and his family from the judgement God was going to bring to a perverse people. Noah had the responsibility of obedience, not planning, for God had told him His plan. So Noah built the ark, taking some 100 years to finish it, and no doubt being mocked by the people he knew as he spoke of the little details he had of what God had told him to do. God revealed through Noah a character that was displayed through 100+ years of work ethic. He was devoted to what He knew was to come... he knew there was a day of destruction coming, and he was preparing the way God had told him for his family. Friend, I tell you that we today have this same knowledge of a destruction that is coming. What are you being mocked for in your devotion? Are you devoted to the things that will bring safety to those whom God loves? (John 3:16) This encouraged me to continue in a way that makes a stand for God's promise; that speaks of a message of hope beyond this world. His obedience required a long term commitment until the appointed time of God's plan.
When the day came for God to bring the rain, God also shut the door. I had to stop and think on this. We talked about this in class too: what was going through the mind of Noah? Could he not shut the door to the people he knew his whole life, and so God did it for him? Or was it that God shut the door because it was His plan that Noah was being obedient to. "God opens doors that no man can open, and closes doors that no man can shut." It would have been a hard door for Noah to have to shut. Think of God's grace in this... Noah didn't do anything to deserve such salvation. Yes, God considered him righteous in His heart toward the Lord, but Noah didn't earn salvation. Noah stands as a man that brings protection to his family (a picture of the leader of the household and a picture of Jesus Christ). So this is the punch line of what was going on in my head after class. Fast forward with me to when they step off the boat. Noah's family sins! And God knowing this still chose them to receive His grace from judgement! God called Noah righteous, and Noah's covering over his family brought them to salvation.... it gets better! Noah also sinned! (I guess you wouldn't say better) But in Noah sinning you see a huge point... God's grace for Noah's life didn't neglect His sovereignty. God knew! Just like He knows in our life that we are going to sin and fall short, but He doesn't base His salvation for us on the merit of our righteousness. He bases it on His grace! This is why grace is so good! God chose us while we were yet still sinners (for all have sinned and fall short), but thank God that He doesn't base salvation on what we have done or could possible do for Him, but on what He has done for us through Jesus. His grace is so good because it involves sovereignty of our lives!!