The Crocuses are up!!

The crocuses are up!!

In my garden, the crocus flower is usually the first flower of the spring, then the daffodil and then the tulip.  The crocuses have been up for about a week.  But I’m taking a moment to proclaim that to the world—the crocuses are up!!  Spring is officially upon us!

Spring is the season, of Passover, and Easter—each proclaiming life over death, and freedom from slavery and sin.

Most of us know the story of Passover, where the Angel of Death “Passed Over” the homes where the blood of the lamb was placed over the doorframe of the house.  The Israelites had been instructed to eat the lamb and place the blood over the doorframe.  They were told if they did this that it would protect the firstborn of their children and animals.  This was an act of faith for the Israelites.   It was an act that would result in their freedom from slavery.

In Scripture, we find Jesus celebrating the Passover with His disciples.  He takes the bread and says, this is my body which has been given for you, take and eat.  And this is my blood, the blood of the covenant which has been poured out for the forgiveness of sins.  Take and drink.   Jesus is letting His believers know that He is bringing about a new covenant, one which is based on His blood, His body.  Just as the covenant that God made with Abraham involved a blood sacrifice so the new Covenant would involve a blood sacrifice—of Jesus.  This New Covenant would involve God reaching down to us, paying the penalty we each owed for our sins, so that we could enter into the “Holies of Holies”, into the very presence of God, based on our acceptance of this gift.

 I also believe that Jesus was letting the disciples know that just as they were celebrating Passover, and the act of faith that set them free from slavery—the eating of the lamb, and putting the blood of the lamb over the doorpost—so Jesus was to be their Passover Lamb—they were to eat—partake of Him, and when they did His blood would protect them from death and give them freedom from the Kingdom of darkness. 

How do we partake of Christ?   By faith.  That is what the New Covenant is about—we come to God and have a relationship with Him by our faith.  “For by grace you are saved through faith, and it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.”  We can express that faith through prayer.  Here is a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I need You.  Thank You for dying on the cross and sacrificing Yourself for me.  Thank you for being my “Passover Lamb”.  Please come into my life and may Your blood be over the “door” of my life.  Thank You for giving me eternal life.  Take control of my life, and make me the kind of person, You want me to be.   Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, and asked Jesus to come into your life, you can know He did answer you.  Why?  Because Jesus is God, and He does not lie.  He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, he who hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in…..”    Rev. 3:20

Jesus also says, “…..Be content with what you have, for I myself have said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

If you took this step of faith, (the Israelites took a step of faith when they put the blood of the lamb over their doorframe), you can know that Jesus did come into your life and He will never leave you!!

Yes—I know—that’s why it is called, “Good News”!!!

So, be encouraged—for our Passover Lamb is Risen, and He is coming again!!!

Sexual Sin

 I have been thinking a great deal about sin.   For instance, recently a well-know Christian leader was found to have been participating in sexual sin with several women.   The world is appalled and disgusted, fingers are being wagged and pointed.  “Hypocrite, hypocrite!!” is shouted from the rooftops. 

I remember when I was a young woman, I heard of a Christian leader involved in sexual sin.  I was appalled and disgusted.  “How can this be?”  I thought.  “How can people who claim to know God, and claim to be surrendered to Him, do such things.”

My heart was broken for this situation.  My heart was broken for God.

With time and experience, I saw this repeated over and over again.  Women having affairs, and leaving their husbands—breaking hearts, breaking families, breaking children.  Men having affairs, leaving their wives, breaking hearts, breaking families, breaking children.

That’s the thing about sin.  It hurts others.  It destroys.  It mars the image of God in our lives.

Make no mistake—we are involved in an invisible spiritual battle.   The devil is a prowling lion seeking whom he may devour.    A lion takes down those at the fringe of the herd.  He takes the hurt, the vulnerable, the unprotected.

Satan wants to take us down.  He wants to use us to take down each other.  How does he do this?

He uses our fear– our fear of pain, our fear of consequences, our fear of God, and our fear of each other. He will lie to us and twist the truth.

We need to care more about God and what He thinks of us, than what we think of each other and the consequences our sin may carry. Why is this important?  Because we hide our sin from God, and from each other.

 We need to bring our sin out into the light and receive God’s forgiveness and healing and power.  We usually don’t bring that sin out into the light, and confess it to Him or to each other, because we don’t want to be judged and rejected.

 God is not rejecting us.  He wants to heal us.  Many people who participate in 12 step programs receive healing when they go to the people they have sinned against, and admit their sin, and ask for forgiveness.   Some people may not forgive them, and they face that possibility– but in the process, they learn to receive God’s forgiveness and they learn to forgive themselves.  They overcome the temptation to sin again, as they see the evidence with their own eyes, of how their sin has hurt others—they see the devastation their sin has wrought. 

2 Tim 2:22 tells us what to do when we are faced with temptations:  “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

  1.  FLEE– youthful passions!!  That’s what Joseph did when faced with sexual temptation.  That’s what we need to do.   Run!!  Sometimes we think—I’ve got this, I won’t succumb.  God tells us to flee!!  Look for the escape and take it!! I Corinthians 10:13 
  2. PURSUE righteousness, faith, love and peace.  Pursue God, get to know Him, spend time in His Word.   Pray—talk with Him, every day, every moment!!  We need to care more about what God thinks of us than what others think.  People will never be able to fill the empty, infinite void in my heart, or in your heart.  Only an infinite being can do that—only our Father God can do that.
  3. Do this ALONG WITH others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  Join a bible study—I’m part of an on-line women’s bible study right now.   Go to a church where God’s Word is honored and preached, and where love and grace are demonstrated.    (It is much harder for Satan to take us down, when we run with the Herd.)    People who have been able to finish their races well– here on earth —had accountability and support from trusted, Godly people.  I think of Billy Graham, who traveled with the same, Godly men for the duration of his ministry and there was never a hint of sexual sin to taint his ministry or his legacy.

I do want to say—that my husband and I have done some simple things to guard ourselves from sexual sin.  We share email addresses, and social media pages.   We do not have correspondence with anyone that the other is not privy to that correspondence.   If I wanted to look at his phone, I could, and he could look at my phone at any time.  

We also, don’t have friends of the opposite sex.  We have couple friends, where we spend time as a couple with those friends.  The purpose of this is not to form emotional attachments with the opposite sex, apart from the attachments we have as a couple with those persons. (We do have friends of the same sex—I have women friends, and my husband has men friends.) 

These are suggestions that may not work with everyone’s situation.  The point of these suggestions is accountability and transparency.

One thing I have become more aware of—is the magnitude of what Jesus did on the cross for us.  Jesus literally took on all the sins of the world, and those sins were crucified.   Ugh!!   Think about this.  I have heard that Jesus died for my sins, since infancy.  I have heard Jesus died for the sins of the world, ever since I can remember.  So, I don’t always think about what that means.

  Jesus died for every imaginable evil act and thought, (our sin begins in our thoughts—Jesus said those who look at someone other than their spouse, and think lustful thoughts have committed adultery).   

Jesus died for the men and women cheating on their spouses and breaking up their families.  Jesus died for the people abusing others sexually.  Jesus died for all the abusers—those beating others, those stealing others and selling them into slavery, those verbally assaulting others, those murdering others.    Jesus died for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, and possibly abusing others in the process.    Jesus died for the thieves, the greedy, the manipulative, the liars, the selfish and the self-centered, the power hungry, the control-freaks, the sexual deviants, the war-mongers, the haters, the rapists, the racists, the (whatever your hot button issue is–the people you don’t think deserve to live)—Jesus died for them. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for me.

 Jesus died for the things that deserve God’s wrath, in fact, God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus on the cross. 

Scripture tells us that maybe someone would die for a friend, or a righteous man, but Jesus died for us when we were sinners, and enemies of God.   He died to free us and redeem us—to pay the price for our souls and take us from Satan’s grasp.

The question is:  do we want to be freed?   And do we want to stay free?  We need to be aware: Satan will try to ruin our lives and make us believe that sin still has power over us when in reality– sin has been crucified with Christ.    So, remember—

FLEE Temptation……PURSUE Righteousness……ALONG WITH Others who are doing the same thing!!

And Be Encouraged!!

It’s National Proposal Day!

Today is National Proposal Day!!  I heard this on the Radio, yesterday, and the announcers proceeded to tell their proposal stories.  I love to hear proposal stories!!  I love to hear how love was expressed. 

In the hopes that some of you might tell me your proposal stories—I will tell you mine.

I knew my husband, (then boyfriend), was getting serious about me and marriage, while I was on the fence.  A friend suggested that we go to a Marriage Conference.   The Conference had classes for those thinking of getting engaged, to help couples think through the decision.   My husband and I were on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ, now known as Cru, and the Marriage Conference was run by Family Life Ministries, a Cru ministry.

We went to the Conference being held in Grand Rapids, at the Amway Plaza Hotel.   It was a beautiful hotel, and we had some friends attending, that were engaged, so I stayed in a room with my friend, and my husband with her fiancé.

We went to our classes, and spent time discussing the content of the classes.  I was still uncertain. 

Then my husband, (then boyfriend), bent down on his knee, brought out a beautiful diamond ring, and said, “Katie, you are the love of my life, will you marry me?”   I saw the love shining though his eyes, and I said, “Yes!”  This proposal happened 32 years ago, this coming April.  That is my proposal story, I would love to hear yours!!

Click here for the link to Family Life Ministries Marriage Conferences.  If you want to invest in your marriage, or prepare for your marriage, I can’t think of a better way to do this, than by attending one of these conferences.

Hope you are encouraged!!

The Shamrock

Next Wednesday, March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day!!  Many, whether Irish or not, will celebrate this day.  My husband and I feel a special affinity to the Irish people, as the majority of our forbearers came from this country. 

I was told when I was growing up, that St. Patrick, was a missionary to the Irish people.  He used a 3 leaf Shamrock to explain the Trinity—the 3 in 1 concept of God.  The Shamrock has 3 leaves, with one stem.  Typically, Irish people will wear the Shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day as it is the National flower of Ireland.

We see the concept of the Trinity in other examples of nature.  Water takes three different forms—liquid, steam, and ice.  Those forms have different purposes, and they are separate from each other, but still one element.

Also, I am one person, but I am a daughter, a wife, and a mom.  I fulfill three different roles yet, I am one person.    God also is One, and He is the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

Scripture tells us:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.  John 1: 1-4

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1: 14

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.  John 1:18

Jesus said, ““If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? John 14:7-9

Jesus goes on to say, ““But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”  John 14:26

“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,” John 15:26

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7

Just to be clear—the Triune God is:  The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.   One God, 3 roles, separate, yet One.  Just as water takes 3 different forms of ice, steam and liquid, so our God is One God, who takes 3 different forms.

Why does this matter?  Because– Jesus is the Savior of the World.  Jesus as God in human flesh— paid for all the sins of everyone who ever lived or will live, with His One Death.  A mere man could not have done this. One person can exchange their life for another person—Jesus, because He is infinite could exchange His life for us all.

 “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”  Romans  6:23    We have each earned a death penalty for our sins against God and against each other.  Jesus paid for that penalty with His death—satisfying the justice and righteousness of God— and demonstrating the love of God for each of us.

  Jesus’ death and resurrection made it possible for the Holy Spirit to come and live within each believer.   The Holy Spirit as God, guides, empowers and helps us.

So, God the Father sent God the Son to be our Savior, and God the Son made it possible for God the Holy Spirit to come and live within and help each believer.

Each part of the triune God, bringing about God’s plan to save us and bring us home.  All of this demonstrates God’s love and commitment to each of us.

Amazing and Encouraging!!  

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Everyone!!  Top of the Morning to ya!!

Click here if you would like to read about historical evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead.

Today is Gonna be a Good day

When my daughter was 7, she made me a sign, that says, “Today is a gonna be a good day.”  She made me this sign a year after I lost my son, Sean James.

I have that signed propped up on the table beside my bed.

“ TODAY is gonna be a GOOD DAY!!” 

What a thought to open my eyes to, when some days I don’t want to open my eyes.

 During the winter months, when the dark, gray days permeate my spirit, I see this sign: 

“Today is gonna be a good day.” 

I find it a little easier to hang on through the winter.

 This week, the sun has been shining, and snow has been melting, and I am thinking about that sign:

“TODAY is gonna be a GOOD DAY!!”

I can smell spring in the air—the birds are coming back.  The weather is warmer—not warm—but not freezing.

My spirits are rising.  Hope is in the air.  New Life is in the air.

“TODAY is gonna be a GOOD DAY!!”

I have the same problems.  My trials have not gone away.  But somehow, my burdens seem a little lighter.  It is easier to put those things I have no control over, in the Father’s Hands.  It is easier to put the things I think I have control over in the Father’s Hands.

Spring is coming!!  New life will overcome death and decay!! 



Line from this song: The Winter Storms make way for Spring.