How to Stay Out of Prison

The Israelites were enslaved to the Egyptians. However, God never forgot about them.

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God delivered the Israelites through a servant, Moses. When the Egyptians chased the Israelites, not letting them go, God’s mighty, outstretched arm supernaturally parted the Red Sea. His people could cross through and be free of slavery.

Afterwards, in the wilderness on the way to the Promised land, God continued to take care of the Israelites. He gave them water from a rock and bread from dew. Most of all, His Presence was with them in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night. He chose them as His treasured possession. He loved them.

God desired they love Him back through covenant obedience. To listen and obey His voice. To be set apart, holy. To be His. He asked them simply to have faith, despite the wilderness surroundings.

In the same way, all human beings are born into sin. Enslaved to sin. God loves us. So He sent Jesus, His Son, to set us free. Jesus shed His blood by dying in our place on the cross. This is akin to the cross-ing of the Red (blood) sea. God made a way. Jesus is the way to life. For those who cross God’s way, there is freedom.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—  among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:1-10

We are saved by grace through faith. Grace is Jesus taking our place on the cross / parting of the Red Sea. Faith is receiving Him as Lord / believing in the wilderness. Faith, our response to God’s grace, is how we remain in Him because He’s set us free. Loving Him back through listening and obeying. Enjoying covenant relationship with the God of the universe!

Remember the Israelites? After God set them free, they had a choice: To believe God and obey, or to disobey. They chose the latter.

The New Testament of the Bible includes warnings for Christians concerning the Israelites:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,   and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown  in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”  We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ  to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,  nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.  Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 Corinthians 10:1-14

 

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
 As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

 

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

 

For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?  And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?  So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:7-19

Today, all who believe in Jesus are free! We, like the Israelites, have a choice. Will we remain free by obeying, or disobey and fall away?

 

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Soften your heart. Listen to God. Receive His Son, His love and love Him back through obedience! Through following His narrow way: crossing the Red Sea, believing in Jesus.

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Another word for ‘abide’ is ‘remain.’ We must remain in Christ through faith. No matter our feelings, thoughts, or situations. Test and weigh every feeling against Scripture. Take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. Remember truth no matter what happens. Trials are tests of faith. Remain. Be loved. Love. Give thanks. Enjoy God’s rest.

Stand firm!

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One day, (SOON!) it will allllll be worth it.

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Fully Surrendered

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39 ESV

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:8‭-‬11 ESV

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Matthew 13:44 ESV

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
Matthew 16:24‭-‬27 ESV

To the Tired

Are you tired? Do you feel like you’ll never be good enough?

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About a year and a half ago, I was in a rehab program when God told me this verse. Exhausted & weary, carrying the weight of all my burdens and pain, I knew I needed the rest Jesus offers.

Where are you? Do you know that you need rest? Not just a physical rest–yes–but also a spiritual rest.

Christ is our rest. The good news is Jesus provided our way to be made right with God. No amount of striving or trying to earn salvation will do a thing. We can never be good enough.

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Jesus laid down His life for you. Believe Jesus loves you.

When you die and stand before God–just you and Him–and He asks you why He should let you into His Kingdom, what will you say?

Actually answer that.

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If your answer began with “I” and then a reason of your own “goodness” or deeds, it will not pass. Romans 3 says that no one is righteous. Not one. Going to church won’t save you. Having Christian parents won’t save you. Doing “good” things or trying extra hard to be good will not cover you. That’s called religion. It’s of the devil.

While Jesus hung on the cross, He said: It is finished. Rest in the finished work of God on your behalf. This is grace. There’s nothing you can do to earn your way to Heaven. Salvation is a freely given gift, to be received through faith.

God wants relationship with  you through Jesus. Not religion.

He wants  your heart.

The best part is Jesus died so we can be in covenant relationship with God right now. Yes, eternity with God will be awesome. This freedom, the Kingdom of God, is at hand. It’s now. When we truly know God, He transforms us from the inside out. Makes us reborn. Fills us with His Spirit. Sets us free. A relationship with God is not praying a prayer once to go to Heaven then continuing to live however you want. A relationship with God is total surrender and dying to self. Being made alive: a new creation. To live is Christ, to die is gain.

If you want to know God, you can! Go to Jesus.

God doesn’t “put up with you.” HE LOVES YOU. You’re His treasured creation. Go to Jesus. Enter God’s rest. Discover fellowship with God. He’s calling your name.

 

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God,

Thank you for loving us. I pray for each person that reads this blog. May they know you.

stop decorating your hotel room

“wanna see my green card?” she said. though weird, I consented. the slender stranger at the restaurant pried a small, green rectangle from her wallet, presenting it with pride. A picture of her, grinning wide with big sparkly eyes, framed the bottom left corner. beside it was her citizenship: Heaven.

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as I scanned the card, filled with scripture, my face lit up. she smiled too. “my Bible study leader gave it to me. I take it everywhere.”

like my new friend with her “green card,” Christ-followers need daily reminders: this world is not our home. this life is a mist; we are passing through.

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if a Frenchman came to America for a 1 week stay, would he purchase expensive paintings to adorn his hotel room walls? would he seek plush couches and elaborate potted plants, fancy rugs or satin sheets? other than his suitcase of a few outfits, a simple bed, and a noisy mini fridge with leftover pizza, his room would hold just what he needed–nothing more or less. afterall, it’s only a week.

why do we seek comfort on earth if it’s not our home?

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one of the number one idols in America is comfort. it’s what keeps many of us asleep. keeps us from pursuing God and pressing in. God promises we can know Him, when we seek Him with all our heart. what’s stopping you from going all in? what’s holding you back from knowing the God who made you and loves you?

Version 2

for those of us who do know Christ, we cannot have one foot in the world and one in heaven. we don’t “fit in” to this world.  we’re set apart and living for eternity.

we have hope!

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remember: this is not our home. we’re living for HEAVEN–God’s presence!  it’s going to be AWESOME! this life is a breath! eternity is forever!

if you haven’t received Jesus, your forever is destined separate from God. if there’s breath in your lungs, there is mercy available to you. turn to God and surrender all to Him. before it’s too late!

 

Origins

like all the deep bursting forth

like all the sunrises of time,

crescendoing into a glorious uproar:

Jesus is Lord!

 

until we recognize Jesus as our Maker, there will be

confusion and

disorder within.

 

for years, I sat in

unbelief and

angst.

mentally beating myself

up, insides crying out

for attention.

no matter how

hard I tried

to be satisfied

by this world

and the people,

it left me

dry.

 

when Jesus bled and died,

He defeated

sin and satan.

died so we could live;

took our blame

to set us free.

He rose again

victorious.

now,

ALL and ANY who

come to Jesus,

believing,

are receiving this

freedom and

life.

 

if this dings a chord in

you,

don’t delay:

go to Jesus today!

He will teach you truth.

He will set you free.

He loves you steadfastly.

 

Would anyone else (being spotlessly perfect)

die in the place of their enemy?

…like Jesus died for us.

like love conquered death.

trust, surrender, believe.

 

there’s waterfalls of peace and

tranquility

beyond your craziest hopes:

being satisfied and free.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own,and his own people did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John 1:1-18

 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whispers in the Woods

Though my throat hurt and my head throbbed, though my 33 week pregnant belly ached and I peed every 10 minutes, the sun was out and God whispered: go to the woods. Before my husband and I left, I noticed new, much bigger stretch marks on my belly. A barrage of old familiar lies disguised as truth flooded my mind. Stupid. Ugly. Gross. “Jesus, teach me my beauty and worth!” I prayed.

We hiked five minutes into the tall trees and feathery ferns. I sat down on a mossy log. Overwhelmed by God’s beauty all around me, tears welled and fell softly down my face. “You’re SUPER pregnant,” my husband said. I smiled a little. While hormones were definitely raging, these tears flowed from a deep hurt being healed. God was again whispering: “all this beauty? I made it. I don’t make junk. I made you in my image, you are beautiful.”

As I waddled up the short path to the overflowing port-a-potty, my heart swelled with joy. I am beautiful. I am worth dying for. I am loved.

So are you, reader.

Thank You, Jesus!💞

the cross to life

the cage door swings open. a gentle man beckons you through the opening. will you listen?

we’re like cheetahs in a zoo, accustomed to our ways. we settle for slavery.  Jesus is the door to life. He loves us. not only does He provide the way out, He takes us by the hand and guides us through. Grace.

can a cheetah know the wild joy of sprinting full tilt across savannah plains when he is still confined to a concrete enclosure? though we’re comfortable in the familiar, Jesus asks us to trust Him. we need to realize we’re lost before we’re found. deep down, we all know we were made to run free. but we can’t get to freedom on our own. we need Jesus.

as the Son of God, Jesus has authority to forgive sin. through His death and resurrection, we have access to eternal life. will you believe in Jesus and receive this free gift?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:1-11

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