Tuesday, September 19, 2017

All Your Heart.

1 Samuel 12:24

“Only fear the Lord (reverance and awe) and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

Last week I was given this verse to speak on for a ladies tea, along with a few other ladies, this verse resonated with me all week long. I couldn't stop thinking about all the implications this verse had on my life and the life of the church. Like the church, Israel was very unique. They were called out by God to be a separate nation, a peculiar people, unlike any other nation had ever been. 

The Lord had kept all His promises to the children of Israel, He delivered them out of the severe bondage of slavery in Egypt, He performed miracles before their eyes, and delivered them from all of their fears. He even brought them safely into the the promised land...all that God had done for them, yet they still reviled against Him by rejecting the Lord’s kingship over them and asking for an earthly king instead. The Lord was gracious to them and granted them the request of their hearts, and here the Lord instructs and warns them to abide in the fear of the Lord. A fear that is not that of the fear they experienced while they were slaves in Egypt, but of reverence and awe, a filial fear (that of devotion as a son or daughter) and serve Him in truth and devotion with all their hearts. They were to consider and remember all the great things He had done  for them.

I love what Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary,

“The great duty here pressed upon us is to fear the Lord. He had said (v. 20), "Fear not with a slavish fear,’’ but here, "Fear the Lord, with a filial (or devoted) fear.’’ As the fruit and evidence of this, serve him in the duties of religious worship and of a godly conversation, in truth and sincerity, and not in show and profession only, with your heart, and with all your heart, not dissembling (or concealing), not dividing. And two things he urges by way of motive:—(1.) That they were bound in gratitude to serve God, considering what great things he had done for them, (2.) to engage them for ever to his service.”

In verses 20-21, Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from the the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. You must not turn aside for then you would go after futile things which cannot profit nor deliver, because they are futile.” Just like the children of Israel, as a believers the Lord requires the same of us, His desire for us is to fear Him, walk in His ways in the sincerity of our hearts, in Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 in saying,

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

The Lord commands and desires for believers to be sincere in their devotion to Him, not with outward appearances or show but to be set apart from the world (Deuteronomy 6:5); not chasing after futile things as the world does, for they cannot and will not deliver. His desire is for us to delight in Him.

Through this verse the Lord has again reminds us of the very essence of what it means to be a Christian; that we are to delight in Him alone and be obedient and devoted to His Word, and His commands to share the Gospel, and as Matthew Henry says for us to be “engaged forever to His service.”

Are you delighting in Him or is your Christian walk merely a religious show?

Please feel free to post your comments! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Valentines: it's probably considered one of the most cliche days of the year but I love everything about Valentine's day. I love it because while the media proclaims their meaning of love, love is so much more amazing than they know!

valentines-day-background-with-blurred-hearts_1199-27.jpg (338×338)

We can only know how amazing God's love is by looking through the lens of His law - the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments was not merely a moral code for the Israelites to live by but rather it was given to them as a mirror to look into and realize their need for a Savior - to look to the coming Messiah for salvation.

Romans 7:7 says, "I would not have known sin but by the Law" and the "Law was our school master bringing us to Christ." Galations 3:24

You see we broke God's law, the Ten Commandments, and we didn't just break them, we failed to even come close to even keeping just one. Let's take a look: Have you ever lied? Ever stolen? OR Loved and folllowed God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? How about looked with lust? Jesus said that if we even look with lust, we are guilty of committing adultery in our hearts. How did you do? I failed completely.

God is love, but He is also Just; therefore, the message of God's love is this: we deserve God's wrath for breaking His Holy and Just Law, but He stepped in, Jesus Christ, and paid our fine - the punishment that we deserve - He took our sin upon the Cross and He traded our sin for His righteousness so on the day of Judgement when we stand before Him that means, you can be declared not guilty! Amazing right?

God's love is this, when we repent - turn completely away from our sin - He no longer see's us as criminals but through the filter of Jesus Christ's perfect righteousness. What an amazing Love! We are the worst of criminals, just in our thought life, not to mention deeds, and He places His love and righteousness on us when we repent and turn to Him - turning our backs on the sin of this world, putting our entire faith and trust in Him alone for salvation. He grants us eternal life through Jesus Christ, saving us from the wrath to come for: "It is appointed man once to die then judgement" Hebrews 9:27.

My friend, don't settle for the kind of love the world offers, God's free gift of Love is an eternal Love, one that can never be bought and will never grow cold.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

Does God's Love abide on you? Why wait another moment, another day...for "today is the day of salvation." 2 Corinthians 6:2

Have further questions or need prayer? email me at joyofoursalvation@gmail.com

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Redemption Cost Him Everything

"Eternal Father,
It is amazing love, that Thou has sent Thy Son to suffer in my stead"
(The Valley of Visions, p.133).

In Matthew 26:38, Jesus said to Peter and the sons of Zebedee,
"My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."

Jesus was not sorrowful because of the fear of man or for the suffering He was about to endure in the scourging and the pain endured on the cross.

Rather, Jesus was deeply sorrowful because the full wrath of the Father was going to be be poured out on Him, the Beloved Son of God. He took the infinite punishment of the human race (the wrath of which we deserve for sinning against a holy and infinite God).

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

God's perfect justice and love was displayed and poured out at the Cross. So He could redeem back to Himself His most treasured creation.

Therefore, to reject this message and live for self is to reject God's Best. To reject His Word is to reject Him. To reject Jesus and live for self is to reject every spark of goodness, kindness, and hope that exists in the present and in eternity. And to say that we are a follower of Jesus but live, neglect His Word, and behave differently, is the ultimate of High Treason against the King.

"See from His Hands, His Feet
Sorrow and love, flow mingled down,
Did ever such love and sorrow meet...
Love so amazing so divine.
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
- Isaac Watts

"Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble,"  1 Peter 1:10

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where is your Treasure?

This morning in Bible study I was reading an inspiring puritan prayer and I gasped at the reality of the words written,

"All Thy promises in Christ Jesus are yea and amen, and all shall be fulfilled. Thou hast spoken them, and they shall be done, commanded, and they shall come to pass. Yet I have often doubted them, have lived at times as if there were no God." 

It's impossible this person could have known me or my thoughts; however, they felt the same thing I have felt and what many of us feel today. We pray, go to church, attend a small group bible study, and read our bibles (hopefully more than just on occasion - but often times it happens that way) but yet many of us (especially me) are guilty of living at times as if there is no God, as if He His Word isn't real at all. 

Do the areas of our life give evidence that we belong to Him? Areas such as how we spend our money, raising our children to love and fear the Lord (taking them to church is not enough), how we dress, and what we value as most important in our lives is a great way to assess if we are truly walking with Him. Jesus said in Matthew 6:21, "For wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."

Yikes! What a charge. Yes, I am guilty. Guilty of not spending enough times in His Word, guilty of seeking worldly pleasures over the wanting to be closer to Christ Himself, guilty of thinking about my own comfort instead of focusing my heart on serving the needs of my family and others first, and how God would have me use my talents for Him. The hard truth in all this is that when we do these things, the Bible tells us that we are guilty of committing spiritual adultery, James 4:4 says, 

"You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God." (The original language used here is describing something so grotesque that it would be inappropriate for children to even hear!) Ouch. 

It's important not only to confess to the Lord where we have wronged Him but also to repent and turn our back on those very hidden sins He made known to us. I am happy to say that I have repented and have asked God to help me in areas of my life that do not line up with His Word. 

The Lord Jesus WANTS to grow us in holiness, we must allow Him full reign of our lives otherwise we are in sharp danger of becoming the people who Jesus said He will say to on that day,

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers" (Matthew 7:22-23).

Lord, please forgive us for living as though You were not our King, forgive us for being friends with this world and many times giving more loyalty to the things of this world more than we are loyal to You. Give us a heart that hungers and thirsts after You. Grant us wisdom and discernment to turn away from anything that hinders us from growing in our faith in You. 


How is your walk with the Lord going? I'd love to hear from you. Remember we were not made to walk this journey alone. :-)

Please send questions, comments, or prayer requests to joyofoursalvation@gmail.com, I'd love to pray for you. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Growing in Grace

Today I wanted to encourage you all with a Biblical resource that has helped me grow in the Lord over the past few months. My morning devotional is my time with the Lord, to be renewed and washed through the reading of His Word so that I am better equipped to resist temptations, love others, and become the person that God is calling me to be (less like my sinful self and more like Him each day). 

I want to share with you all my ABSOLUTE favorite book, next to reading God's Word, is a book entitled The Valley of Vision. The book is an amazing collection of puritan prayers and devotionals, which is a treasure trove full of godly and inspiring puritan prayers and writings (most in poem or prayer form). 

I first heard about the book through a sermon by Pastor Emilio Ramos, I immediately went home and bought the book (a great deal for $3.00 on Amazon.com). If you're a believer as I am, you will be gripped, convicted, and long for a deeper relationship with Christ by the godly writings and examples set forth by our forefathers in the faith. 

Here's an excerpt for you from the book titled Consecration and Worship:

My God, 
I feel it is heaven to please thee, 
and to be what Thou wouldst have me be.
O that I were holy as Thou art holy,
pure as Christ is pure, 
perfect as Thy Spirit is perfect!

These, I feel, are the best commands in Thy Book, 
and shall I break them? must I break them?
am I under such a necessity as long as I live here?
Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, 
that I grieve this blessed God,
Who is infinite in goodness and grace!

O, if He would punish me for my sins, 
it would not wound my heart so deep to offend Him; 
Bit though I sin continually, 
He continually repeats his kindness to me.
At times I feel I could bear any suffering, 
but how can I dishonor this glorious God?

What shall I do to glorify and worship this Best of Beings?
O that I could consecrate my soul and body to His service, 
without restraint, for ever!
O that I could give myself up to Him, 
so as never more to attempt to be my own!
or have any will or affections
that are not perfectly conformed to His will and His love!

But, alas, I cannot live and not sin.
O may angels glorify Him incessantly, 
an, if possible, prostrate themselves lower
before the blessed King of Heaven!

I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise; 
But when I have done all I can to eternity
I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction
of the homage that the glorious God deserves.
Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love.

If you want to grow deeper in your walk with the Lord, my advice is to spend as much time as you can reading and studying His Word (yes that does mean a lot less time on social medis, but who needs that garbage and distractions from God anyway?) and then add godly, Biblical resources in your life to help grow you in your faith. Most of all ask God to give you a desire to know Him, He will certainly answer your prayers. 😉

"Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve mourn and wail. Change your laughter into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up." James 4:7-10

After all, this is what being a Christian is all about, drawing near to Him, being changed by Him, and knowing Him more. 

Are you truly saved? Visit www.areugoodenough.org to find out more. 

Here are some other excellent resources to grow in your faith and share the gospel: 

www.wretchedradio.com - endless tv program episodes if you sign up to become a Wretched member (can't say enough good things about this program). 

www.livingwaters.com - tons of great gospel tracts and resources that teach you how to effectively share your faith without fear. 

Have a prayer request? Please feel free to email me at joyofoursalvation@gmail.com, we'd love to pray for you! 

Monday, February 6, 2017

A New Resolution

It's a new year. Advent is now over. Most of us are in the process of taking down Christmas lights, and putting away the decorations. Many of us are reflecting upon the past years blessings and failures while most of the world is focusing on resolutions for the new year.

Resolutions to stay better organized, to finally get that education, and of course the most popular resolutions are to eat better and get more exercise. Resolutions are all around us, one cannot escape from it.

When thinking about new years resolutions, I can't help but wonder what happened to last year's resolutions, and the one before that, and the one before that? Do new year's resolutions really even matter? And are they even worth making?

With the new year is here, I find myself thinking more and more about my personal new year's resolution. I want to make a resolution that has meaning and value, not just a to lose a mere few pounds that I'll gain back come next Thanksgiving, but a resolution that has an eternal value, one that will never fade. Let's face it, this body is fading. I am reminded of it daily. I am not as youthful as I once was. I am not as limber or athletic as I was in my teens and early twenties. I am faced with the reality as I watch my own parents age, that my life too is but a vapor as James 4:14 says. Everyday I realize more and more the truth of Solomon's words that everything we do apart from Christ is vanity - or meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:14). We work to get riches and get ahead in life but yet it will not last. We die and cannot take anything with us, our money, education, nor accomplishments. So I have come to reflect upon Jesus' words of not laying up treasures for ourselves in the this world where moths and rust will eat it up, but rather to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven.

Reading the Bible there are so many visuals of treasure given in Heaven like mansions, loved ones, streets of gold, and gates of pearls. But is that all there is? Definitely not. And the Bible is very clear that there is so much more than riches to be found if we would just take time to read His Word.

I believe that the true treasure to be found in Heaven is Jesus and scripture couldn't make it more crystal clear. He is eternal. He was in the beginning and is the Creator of all things made. Everything that we can see and touch, He has made. He made our family, our friends, our loved ones. He made all the places that we dream about traveling to each year to see. He made it all; however, we are all guilty of wanting to enjoy all of His creation without ever caring to know the Creator. Jesus is the One who doesn't change and fade when everything else does. He is the True Treasure and He gave up everything to reconcile us with Himself once again, just as it was in the Garden of Eden. He made me, He redeemed me, and even see's me as righteous in His sight - the most amazing thing about all this is that I don't deserve it (none of us do) and He didn't have to take my punishment or yours but rather He chose to. That my friend is the ultimate act kindness, and the most amazing display of love and affection one could ever hope for.

This year, I will not resolve to set my affections and heart on meaningless resolutions. My heart is set on knowing Jesus, the One who made me, Who rescued me, and the One whom I will spend an eternity with when my time on earth here is done.

My resolution is not to study about Jesus but to commune with Him because He is Emmanuel, He is God with us. We don't have to wait to get to Heaven to meet Him, He is calling us to know Him now. The God of the universe is calling us simple ones to lay aside the distractions of the world and to spend our time on earth getting to know Him through His Word and to make His Word known. Jesus is the best gift and the fullest joy we could ever know. In Him is Peace, in Him is Joy, in Him is Eternal Life, and in Him - He makes all things new.

Do you know Him?

www.areugoodenough.org to find out more.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sanctifying Hurt

During Thanksgiving vacation our family experienced some major trials that left us with some deep heartache. Our lives were turned upside down.

The majority of us in life have experienced heart break in one form or another. There's no escaping it. It is inevitable, we will all be faced with trials and hard times that leave us sad, broken, and forever changed inside.

Although the heart-break and betrayal has now passed and our family has begun to move on with life, we're all somehow changed by the experience and I'm not sure that we'll ever be the same. It's understandable. It's hard to trust, it's hard to look back and understand how something so bad could have happened to us; however, I can't help but see glimmers of God's blessings and consolations along the way. The hurt was real, the hurt was deep but God did something right in the middle of that hurt and pain that could have never been accomplished through happy times. 

God did something that changed our family for the better. He used that very hurtful situation to bring my husband and I closer together, closer to our children, and ultimately closer to Him. 

With all the hurt and the pain we were experiencing it caused us to drop to our knees, almost moment by moment. Our conversations began to move from the ebb and flow of everyday life about work and school to heartfelt tears and prayers, times that we shared our struggles with temptations of anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness, as well as sanctifying work that Christ was doing in our lives. 

The month long tragedy has ended. The season of that trial is over but as I look back, I cannot help but be thankful to the Lord for bringing me closer to Him and my husband. I grew so much through the experience, in ways that I could have never expected. 

As I was standing over my coffeemaker this morning, waiting for that much needed cup of coffee to brew, I began to reflect and thank God for helping us endure during our time of trial; however, I began to deeply wonder if it was even possible to be truly happy again. Would we be able to experience life the way that we had before? We were so confident, full of faith, and expectant for the future but after the fact I was much less confident and unsure about what the future held. 

I truly believe that we will be happy again; however, I do also believe that we will never be the same again. The experience alone did not change me but rather God used the experience to change me into the disciple, mother, and wife that God is calling me more and more to be. 

Looking back to how my life was before and how it is now, it is not possible to go back. What's done is done and we'll never be the same because of it; however, in hindsight, I would rather not go back. Although I wish the hurt never happened, I'm thankful for the stronger faith and relationship that we both have with Christ. 

I'm thankful for the deeper trust and love he and I have for one another because of the mess and the muck that we went through together. I'm thankful for God's sanctifying grace that carried us through. He never left us, not once. He provided, He brought us through. We rely on Him more now because of it and He taught us that it is possible to have joy and laughter right in the middle of a present and real broken heart. 

He did it all and when He was done teaching us the lesson, the trial was over. He taught us what it means in James 1:2-3 to "count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience." And what it means that "Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12)."

I know for certain that although this trial is over, I am wise enough to know that there will be more seasons of trials in the future; however, I expect to face future trials knowing that God will make something beautiful out of the mess. I am certain of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 that "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."

It is hurt, but it is sanctifying hurt that changes us and creates a glorious work of art within us for His glory and purpose to know Him and become more like Him.

How has a trial changed you? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below.  

God Bless.