The Silence of Saturday

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Friday, we celebrate “Good Friday”, and Sunday we celebrate “Resurrection Sunday.” Recently I heard someone call Saturday “Black Saturday.” Why? Well, it was a day of deep grief and depression for Jesus’ disciples. They had just witnessed the most grueling, horrific display of execution the world had ever known, and not to a stranger but to the One whom they had grown to deeply love and know as God in the flesh. Hopes no doubt were dashed. Disappointment was at an all-time high in their hearts. It was the day after “Good Friday” and the day before “Resurrection Sunday.” The One they had learned that Jesus was God in the flesh had just been annihilated right before their eyes! Was God dead? One can hardly blame their utter despair.

How many of you have had a “black Saturday” season in your life? I know I have. It’s a moment when time can feel suspended because of the trauma that swiftly took your breath away and God has been very quiet and even “non-existent” in a tangible sort of way. Is God dead? Does He even know what happened?

I imagine the disciples of Jesus were steeped in darkness the day after Jesus’ death. In Mark 16:10, we are told that those who had been with Jesus were mourning and weeping. In the Geek this kind of grief was very expressive. There was wailing and sobbing that could be heard. Talk about having one’s hope dashed! The disciples were also filled with great fear according to 20:19. They feared the Jews. Remember that the disciples fled and left Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane right when the soldiers apprehended Him. It says they left Him and fled in 26:56.

How often have you found yourself in this spot? A moment when what you thought was going to happen didn’t. As a matter of fact it not only didn’t happen, it went violently wrong in your eyes! You are literally flattened and side-swiped on the spot! You then enter into a season where your emotions are raw and the peace of God took flight like a flock of geese!

Think of Abraham ready to sacrifice Isaac before God provided the ram. Or Joseph wrongfully accused of seducing Pharaoh’s wife sitting in a prison cell. What about Job sitting in his utter calamity being one who always fear the Lord? In Job 42 it tells us that the Lord increased all that Job had twofold and blessed the end of his days more than the beginning. Wow.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I fear no evil;

for Thou art with me.”

Psalms 23:4

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Luke 22:31-32

Jesus prays for us. We aren’t always spared the pain, but Jesus is praying for us. He is praying right now for you that your faith would not fail you. He is praying that you hang on to hope. He is extending you the power and comfort to keep going and gain strength and courage as you go.

Remember, your end will be better than your beginning as you link arms with the One who loves you most!

Change the Way You Think

I am writing this blog in the midst of a “stay at home” governmental order during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. There are numerous voices “out there” right now saying this and that, both in our news media and the church. Some thoughts I must discard because there is no witness in my spirit for it, yet other voices ring extremely true and I know I must absorb and embrace their truth.

One thing I am hearing from the Holy Spirit that rings truth in other venues I listen to is this:

It’s time to examine ourselves and make sure we are in the faith no matter what. Fear, anxiety, worry, panic, dread and depression are not becoming to the one who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. How do you expect the world to be attracted to someone who looks just like them in a pandemic? The visible presence of God needs to be seen on us.This looks like peace, sleep, rest, courage, and empowerment to remain stable.

There is a passage in Jeremiah that speaks to me right now:

Your words were found, and I ate them; and Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

I sat not in the assembly of those who make merry, nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because Your [powerful] hand was upon me, for You had filled me with indignation.

Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you indeed be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail and are uncertain?

Therefore thus says the Lord [to Jeremiah]: If you return [and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair], then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile [cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God’s faithfulness], you shall be My mouthpiece. [But do not yield to them.] Let them return to you—not you to [the people].

And I will make you to this people a fortified, bronze wall; they will fight against you, but they will not prevail over you, for I am with you to save and deliver you, says the Lord.

And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” Jeremiah 15:16-24 The Amplified Version

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Here we have Jeremiah (called the weeping prophet) questioning God. Basically replying to God after God pronounced judgement upon His people. Jeremiah was pleading his case at how he had done right, but why was there a perpetual pain in his heart, finding no comfort and consolation?

At times we can find ourselves in this spot. It’s a spot that feels unfair and void of healing and comfort. As whirlwinds of chaos and trouble surround us, we can begin to doubt the goodness of God. We can begin to calculate our situation based upon our troubled emotions of anxiety and perplexity. We can indeed … calculate all that is facing us, without God.

God had used Jeremiah as His mouthpiece to Israel. It’s a great example of how every single one of us can enter into “dark nights of the soul.” Every single one of us from the oldest and wisest of God’s people to the new-born babes in Christ, can suddenly and most swiftly become arrested by fear, sorrow and confusion about God’s true intent for our world and even us!

In Jeremiah’s case, we see how God lovingly spoke to him, creating the path forward for Jeremiah. God gave him very powerful advice as Jeremiah boldly communicated his pain and confusion about what was going on around him. Jeremiah did not escape the fury of the hour of trouble coming upon his known world.

Here’s a few takeaways:

  1. Jeremiah was God’s servant, but tripped and found a struggle that was overshadowing his ability to see clearly.
  2. God heard Jeremiah’s prayer and did not change the circumstances, rather spoke to him, giving him the key to make it through so that he could continue to be used for God’s purpose in the earth.
  3. Jeremiah was a person who “ate” the word of God. He was so familiar with what God had to say about the state of affairs of his world. Jeremiah was a man of prayer. Prayer in his life purely meant a conversation back and forth with God.
  4. Jeremiah wasn’t afraid to tell the Lord how he was feeling, even to the point of asking if God was deceiving him! Wow. How much more transparent can one get?
  5. God did not cast him off and belittle him one bit. Rather he counseled him through the crisis by giving him clear instructions about what do do.
  6. God’s 1st instruction and promise: Return (repent) and give up the mistaken tone of distrust and despair. In other words, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop allowing your faith to falter. If you do, God will give you the place of rest and safety.
  7. God’s 2nd instruction and promise: Separate the precious from the vile in your heart. Cleanse your heart of unworthy and unwarranted suspicions about God’s faithfulness. If you do, you will get to continue to be a mouthpiece for God.

Friends, how can we be God’s witness when we walk in doubt? We simply can’t. It won’t be a pure ministry or representation of God’s heart in the earth.

Logic and faith are like water and oil. They don’t mix. I believe God is calling the church into a greater usage of faith in our day and time. Before we are born-again, we make about every decision in life according to our five natural senses. After we are born-again, we begin the school of the Holy Spirit where we begin to learn how to rely more on our spiritual senses more than our natural senses. 

That is where I’m going! I want God’s realm to become so real to me that when I step over into glory at the end of my life, it’s not much of a change! Make sense? 

At times, the solution is simple. At times the only thing we need is some good old-fashioned repentance. Repentance is simply changing the way I think, turning around and walking the other way!

So repent [change your inner self—your old way of thinking, regret past sins] and return [to God—seek His purpose for your life], so that your sins may be wiped away [blotted out, completely erased], so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord [restoring you like a cool wind on a hot day] Acts 3:19 AMP

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December 31, 2019

In the end, we will perfectly reflect Him. Have patience with yourself and others.

It’s the last day of a month, year and decade. It’s a time when there is lots of reflection, goals made, fresh starts, what did I do wrong, what did I do right sort of day.

Why do we do this? I believe God wired us for reflection. He wired us to choose life or death in how we think, speak and act. It’s so right that we reflect often.

Test and evaluate yourselves to see whether you are in the faith and living your lives as [committed] believers. Examine yourselves [not me]! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves [by an ongoing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test and are rejected as counterfeit? 2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP

Yikes! The last thing I want to be is a counterfeit Christian!

If you failed in a previous season, you get to try again. Even if you succeeded in a previous season you can’t live there because you might idolize it to the place where you miss what God has put in front of you to do next.

It’s right that we slow down and examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith. It’s proper to contemplate where we have been and where we want to go. It’s very wise to stop and listen to the Holy Spirit in order to be adjusted and re-aligned. December 31 of each year is a wonderful time to do just that.

Life in God brings perennial choices for growth and new possibilities. Otherwise we would become stagnant.

No one enjoys stale food. If the food is really old, one can become sick by consuming it. Our physical bodies need fresh food with the nutrients God put in it. Likewise, we need fresh vision and focus so we stay alive, well and mature.

Each season in our lives comes with it’s own portion of pain and joy, trauma and ecstacy. It’s the bitter and the sweet together that bring what is necessary in our lives. It’s the sweet along with the bitter that God has chosen to form us and shape us into Christlikeness.

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] John 16:33 AMP

I’m moving forward into 2020 with the foreknowledge that there will be both bitter and sweet times ahead. Jesus himself said that we would have tribulation in this world, yet we are to take heart because he has overcome the world. So there it is in this one sentence … tribulation and overcoming it. He told us ahead of time so that we could gain peace and not get caught off guard when the suffering and distress knocks on our door.

Can I tell you one more thing? Release people to be people and God to be God and don’t confuse the two. Stop demanding perfection where perfection hasn’t come yet. Your brother or sister will repeatedly disappoint you if you don’t lift your ungodly, unfair expectations off of them. Frankly, it’s a full time job to make sure I’m staying in my own lane! Since God says he will complete what he began, then he will. He doesn’t need my help. My sole responsibility is to see what my Father is doing around me and become one with it. I can tell you that this includes loving and caring for others as I love and care for myself. This will include every sentence of 1 Corinthians 13. Pressuring and manipulation in God’s kingdom is wrong. Love always allows choice even if there is failure.

We all like a story that ends well. I will tell you this: my story will end well. Will yours?

May your 2020 be your best year yet!

The Invitation

The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest rescue mission of all time.

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You know, we’re just regular people looking and searching for the meaning of life. Why were we born? What is my purpose? Many times I don’t have answers for some of life’s probing questions, but this one answer I do have: Jesus.

You were born to have fellowship with God. You were born to love and be loved by God.

Sin has separated us from God. Jesus was sent by the Father, took our punishment on the cross, and cleared the way for us to have a relationship with God. The only thing we have to do to gain that relationship is believe in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross—and follow Him. You must repent of your sins and allow the blood of Jesus to wash over you, cleansing you from all unrighteousness. And repent simply means to turn or change your way of thinking.

Dear reader, if you have never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ and had a soul-conversion, I am praying for you now. You are so loved by the God of this universe! He is calling you and drawing you this very moment. He is asking you to turn around and come into the power of His love and desire for you.

God does not ask you to be perfect before you can form a relationship with Him. Out of our union with Jesus Christ comes empowerment to be who He created us to be. He is calling you to absorb His stringless love. He is extending an invitation for you to become the you He had in mind the first time He thought of you. He desires to talk to you. He desires to walk with you. He desires to show you sights and take you on incomparable adventures.

You were created to fit perfectly in God’s heart. Consider surrendering your confusing, chaotic life to Him. No, all will not automatically be a bed of roses when you do, but you will experience God, who gives you everything you will need for this life and godliness. (See 1 Peter 1:3.) You will find joy when sadness should prevail. You will encounter hope when there is a natural reason to stop hoping. You will experience cleansing of your soul no matter what dark deed you have done.

It’s simple—God loves you and desires to spend eternity with you.

Love brings choice. He will not force or coerce. He simply extends an invitation. He desires your friendship. What you do with Jesus will determine your destiny. It will also determine your whole eternity-life beyond earthly living.

website photo 12If you wish to make this life-change now, just tell Him. Tell Jesus you are sorry for how you have lived your life. Ask Him to cleanse you of all sins. Tell Him you want to follow Him and do what He tells you to do from this day forward. Ask Him to fill you with His love. Breathe deeply, and let the rivers of living water wash over you. It’s a new day. He will come and make His home with you now. As you confess Jesus Christ as Lord, your eternal address will be changed to heaven.

When we become a Christian, the Holy Spirit moves in, and we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. (See 1 Corinthians 6:19.)

If you just asked Jesus to be Lord of your life, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God. You are now a temple of the Holy Spirit.

In the words of Kris Vallotton, Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church, “The Son of God came as a man so men could become the sons of God.”

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:16-17 NKJV)

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26 NKJV)

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Excerpt from Incredible Intervention, Living Life in the Miracles of God

Available at http://www.christineachristopher.com

Voice Out of the Wind

Father, engulf me in Your wind. Hide me under Your breath. Center me in the air currents of Your Holy Spirit. Harmonize me with Your wind words. Let our life of love together bear fruit in the earth that will be rock solid for eternity. Thank you for this opportunity to know You and make You known. Be glorified in the voice out of Your wind … amen.

The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8 ESV