Tag Archives: sin

Parting Words From The WORD . . . I Was Wrong

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I was wrong.

For the past few months I’ve considered the condition of our world and have been praying for Jesus to return and end the struggle.

I reflected on these words of Isaiah–words that could have been written about contemporary America–and cried out to the Father for the evil to end.

What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. Isaiah 5:20 (NLT)

However, the more I cried out to the Father for the hardship to end, the more I realized how self-centered my prayer had been. I know beyond a doubt that if God had answered my prayer as requested, my personal struggle would have been over. I would have been in the presence of my Father, face-to-face with the One who died for me and paid the ransom for my sin.

But what about the others?

What about those who haven’t heard? What about my family and friends who haven’t yet accepted the gift of salvation that is offered to them?

What about yours?

That’s when God showed me that my prayer was wrong. My prayer was all about me and how I wanted to escape the world’s troubles.

I was praying for escape, but what He wants is revival.

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

His desire is that we experience revival in our hearts, our families, our churches, our country, and our world. He will return on His timetable, not mine.

And we can be sure the timing of His return will be perfect, not one minute early or one minute late.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)

We should be praying for repentance and revival, not for escape from the world.

Who are you praying for?

Grace and peace,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…Making an Idol Out of Hardship

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As I spend time with the Lord, there are days when He whispers words of encouragement in my ear, when His love is comforting and validating and full of grace. And then there are the other times.

This week, as I read about idols and the warnings of what they are in our contemporary life, I heard a new definition. As a follower of Christ, I’ve been taught about idols, I’ve been taught not to put my confidence in a thing, position, or person, but to put all hope and rest in Christ alone. But in my study a few days ago, God whispered something new, something I’d never heard before.

Sometimes a conflict is an idol. Sometimes we put our hardships of life on a pedestal, visiting and revisiting it often, making sure we hold it up high for all to see.

The moment I heard it, my heart pounded in reply, “But God, You know what he…”

I can’t even tell you the story because if I’m honest, I know my motivation would be to–again–raise up the conflict and gain sympathy in your eyes.

Father, forgive me.

All that to say, could there be something in your life–something that isn’t a blessing, isn’t money or position or talent–that has become an idol? Has something bad been a way to gain something the world says is good?

Do you have a hardship, a conflict, a relationship on the pedestal?

If so, would join me in knocking it down?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:43-48

Create in me a clean heart, O God…

Vonda

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Parting Words From the WORD…We Remember…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As Christians, we know we have been set free. From the moment we truly give our hearts to Christ and seek to live for Him, we know our sins are as far as the east is from the west, hidden beneath the deepest ocean, and no longer remembered by God.

But we aren’t God. We remember. And we hold tight to those memories, giving an ear to Satan and his condemnation. Perhaps you’re like me and have a relative or acquaintance who never lets you forget how miserably you fail at being perfect, like Christ.

Sometimes believers even wallow in the failures themselves, convinced that they are worthless to God because of those failures.

But God has a different plan through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The scriptures are clear that through Him we truly can be set free.

I once read this short verse about freedom and was surprised that I’d never really considered the power and profound truth it proclaims.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Christ died, was buried, and arose for our freedom from the slavery of sin. Paul instructs us to deny and refuse to carry the burden anymore.

We are new creations, freed from the old, delighting in the new. Praise Him!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

As writers and speakers and actors and filmmakers, we’re often faced with opportunities that may not look like they honor the Lord.

It’s easy to defend our projects by pointing to passages in the Bible that are equally evil. After all, God didn’t hide the ugliness of sin.

But the Truth–the overarching goal of God’s Word–is to show His redemption in the midst of the debauchery. Are we including elements of evil in our work? If so, we must honestly evaluate its presentation. Is it truly a needed element? If it is, it’s our job to present the solution when we present the evil.

That should be our guide as we make our choices and walk this path of the creative arts.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Are we honoring God with our gifts?

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

 

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Parting Words From The WORD…

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The news stations report it. The headlines shout it. Our children suffer because of it.

Evil.

Sin.

Darkness.

We feel it everyday of our lives.

It’s enough to drag us down into a miry clay of depression and unbelief.

So now, as we close our week together, I pray we’ll all be encouraged and challenged by these words of Jesus:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it give light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

The world is a dark, dark place. But we have the Light. Let’s be sure to share it every day of our lives.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net)

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Parting Words From The WORD…

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Today is Good Friday. In my earlier days of following Christ, I often wondered how the day could possibly be called good. After all, Jesus suffered unimaginable pain and torture as He died on the cross. What could be good about that?

Later, as I began to mature in my relationship with Christ, I reasoned the day was considered good because without Jesus’ death and ultimate resurrection, we couldn’t go to heaven. All that’s true, and I believe it even more at this stage of my life.

As I got older, I wanted to know more. Where and when did the term begin? So I searched and found a bunch of commentaries on the origin of Good Friday. They were helpful and full of information.

But today I read the prophesy of Jesus in Isaiah…and the goodness of Good Friday became even more clear.

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:5-6

Yes, He:
…was pierced
…was crushed
…was punished
…was  wounded
…ultimately died and rose again

But as I read and meditated on the words, a deeper appreciation for the good of Good Friday jumped from the page:

…He was pierced for our transgressions
…He was crushed for our iniquities
The punishment that brought us peace was on Him
…By His wounds we are healed
…The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah’s words pierced my own heart and I embraced anew the foundational truth of grace:

  • He suffered it
  • We caused it
  • He paid it
  • We are free

And that is the good of Good Friday.

I hope you’ll grab your tissue and watch “The Bridge” an excerpt from the short film, Most, written by Bobby Garabedian and William Zabka. A modern day parable of the love of our Father. A powerful picture of sacrifice. You can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mostthemovie. I’ve got to get the full DVD. Watch this and you’ll see why!

YouTube Preview Image

I pray God’s richest blessings as you celebrate Good Friday today.

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Photo courtesy of ChristianPhotos.net

As Christians, we know we have been set free. From the moment we truly give our hearts to Christ and seek to live for Him, we know our sins are as far as the east is from the west, hidden beneath the deepest ocean, and no longer remembered by God.

But we aren’t God. We remember. And we hold tight to those memories, giving an ear to Satan and his condemnation. Perhaps you’re like me and have a relative or acquaintance who never lets us forget how miserably we fail at being perfect, like Christ.

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