Sharing Inwardly His Likeness

potter-and-clay  One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:29 in the Amplified version For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.

Our destiny from the beginning was to be molded into the image of Jesus Christ.  God doesn’t stop there.  An image can be formed in the likeness of something else but that doesn’t mean it has the same inner qualities.  We don’t get to just look like a Christian on the outside.  We get to share inwardly His likeness.   That’s where it truly counts.  We get to have His inner strength, peace, ability, love compassion and everything else.  For this we were foreordained!  It’s our purpose and our destiny.  What could be better?  Once we share inwardly His likeness we will share outwardly His actions.  That gets me excited!   The King James Version says, “He did also predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.”   That word conformed in the Greek means having the same form as another.  Our destiny is to share the same form as Jesus Christ!

Most Christians are able to recognize the fact that we are living in the very last of the last days.  It’s not just a popular saying.  It’s the truth!  So much is going on in the world that it’s difficult to keep track of everything.  It can be heart wrenching and make you angry all at the same time.  We have so many questions and wonder why Government administrations aren’t doing more to help and stop the madness.   The amazingly, wonderful and awesome truth is that God chose us to be here for this exact time.  I know I mention it often but it’s a powerful reminder when chaos seems to be all around.  God chose us to be here, for this time, in this place to share inwardly the image and likeness of Jesus Christ.  As I said before, when we share inwardly His likeness we’ll share outwardly His actions.  Sometimes I’m overwhelmed with all that’s happening in the world but mostly I’m grateful that God allowed me to be here for this time.  He chose you to be here for this time as well.  God has a plan and purpose for your life and that my dear friend is to share inwardly the likeness of Jesus Christ.

One of my co-workers told me today that she appreciates and admires the burden I have for certain things.  Honestly, I had nothing to do with that.  God put it in me.  I used to hate it because it caused my heart so much hurt.  At least 15 years ago I went to a co-workers mother’s funeral.  I didn’t know my co-worker very well and I had never met her mother.  Her death came as a complete shock and my co-worker was devastated.  After the funeral I got in my car and cried so hard.  I had no clue why I was crying like that.  In that moment God showed me that it sometimes hurts to have His heart.  I distinctly remember Him asking me if I wanted His heart knowing how much it could hurt.  I humbly said “Yes, I want Your heart.”  It was one of those moments I’ve never forgotten.   There’s no other way to live this Christian life than with His heart.  Now, I’m grateful to feel the hurt of others.  The Bible says in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus as our High Priest is touched with the feeling of our infirmities.  In the Message Bible it says that He is not out of touch with our reality.  That’s who Jesus is.  His love for us causes Him to be touched with the feeling of our weakness, lack of strength, and when we’re going through trials.  Since that’s Who Jesus is, I want to share His likeness.

Numerous times in the New Testament it says that Jesus was moved with compassion.  It’s one thing to be touched by someone else’s affliction but it’s something entirely different when it propels you to action.  True compassion, true Jesus compassion will propel us to action.   It will cause us to pray, fast, turn off the television, drive to a friend’s house late at night, make someone a meal and it will also cause the miraculous.  Research it for yourself.  Each time the Bible says that Jesus was moved with compassion a miracle took place.   Open your heart to the feelings of others and let Jesus within you be moved to action.  We live in awesome times with the greatest outpouring of the Spirit of God anyone has ever seen.  These are also desperate times which call for great love and compassion.

Our Brothers

martyrs

 

The names listed above are those of the men beheaded on the beach in Libya by ISIL affiliated murderers.  These men were fathers, sons, nephews, uncles and our brothers in Christ.  I was overwhelmed as I read each name but especially when I got to #15 “Worker from Awr village”.  As of right now, we don’t know his name.  As he gave his life, God most certainly welcomed him into eternity.  God knows every detail about our precious brothers.  I can’t even begin to know what it would be like to kneel on the sands of Galveston beach with a knife held to my neck.  Who knows what they went through while being held hostage.   It’s time that we take this personally and take it to heart.  We can’t just glaze over what is happening all over the earth.  This is definitely a very sobering time.  It’s the time in which God chose us to be alive though.  We have a choice, we can bury our head in the sand or we can rise up into the destiny that God has for us.  I want to fulfill all the will of God for my life and I’m sure you do as well.  Pray, fast and cry out for the nations.  Cry out for our brothers and sisters.   The news reported that when some of the men were forced to their knees they cried, “Oh God, Oh Jesus.”    ISIL had some of those men captive for up to two months.  Who knows how many more they may have.  Let their cry ring in your ears as a wake up call.  By your own choice will you get on your knees and cry out on behalf of a dying world?  Will you cry out knowing that this might not be the last of such a video?    Pray for those in mourning and those in leadership.   My friend, your prayers avail much.

Cry of the Martyrs
By Jennifer Craft
May 1, 2013

Their cries echo through eternity
piercing through the generations.
It’s the cry of the martyrs
their blood stains across the nations.

Beaten and tortured for the cause of Christ
refusing to deny His name.
They faithfully endure
refusing the shame.

Faithful until the end
through trials and pain.
They will not be silenced
their sacrifice never in vain.

The cry of the martyrs
resounds across the land.
It’s a sound we cannot deny
for action it’s only demand.

The cry of the martyrs
challenges us each day.
Will we sit idly by
or will we fast and pray?

Will we choose to ignore
as they humbly give all
or on bended knee
will we answer the call?

The cry of the martyrs
reaches the Father’s heart.
For our brothers and sisters
we must do our part.

Give them back!

quote-e1371766439768

The Super Bowl has a very dark side.  It’s the single largest event in the US for human trafficking either for forced labor or sex trafficking.  Critics are trying to claim that the statistics for Super Bowl sex trafficking aren’t true.  The truth is every major sporting event is linked to increased sex trafficking.   Last year  in New York the online prostitution ads tripled the weekend of the Super Bowl.  Due to the vigilance of an airline worker, 86 children were rescued the same weekend from a child prostitution ring.   During the Dallas Super Bowl in 2011 there was a 300% increase in internet ads regarding sex trafficking. In the Florida Super Bowl in 2009 they were actually advertising a young woman as a Super Bowl special.  Tragically, human trafficking isn’t just an issue one day a year.  It’s every single day, all around the world.

In the US sex trafficking brings in billions of dollars annually.  The US Department of Homeland Security says that between 300,000 and 400,000 American children are involved in some type of sex trafficking every single year.  That number is expected to grow.  The average age for entering into child prostitution is only 13 years old, according to the Department of Justice.   Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.  Their pimps beat them repeatedly and break them into compliance. According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.  There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.

I’m not against the Super Bowl but honestly, I don’t care one bit about it.  I don’t even know which two teams are playing tomorrow.  What I do care about are the innocent victims involved.  Knowing about the victims of human trafficking, and reading their stories has completely wrecked me.  They aren’t just numbers.  They’re not nameless and faceless before God.  He knows each and every one of them.  I can’t begin to imagine how a 14 year old girl feels after a 7:00 pm – 8:00 am “shift”.  How do you put that into words? Tomorrow while you’re eating pizza, watching the Super Bowl and visiting with friends perhaps you can take a moment and pray for those being used and abused.  Will you stand in the gap for these precious ones?  If it were your daughter or son wouldn’t you want someone praying for them?  You might wonder if your prayers matter.  Isaiah 42:22 says But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are trapped in caves, Or are hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”    Several translations say “with no one to say, “restore!”  The word ‘restore’ is translated from the Hebrew shuwb  and means to return, turn back, bring back, restore, refresh, repair.  Isaiah 43:6 says, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth.  That’s my prayer for the victims of human trafficking tomorrow and every day that I live.

One of my favorite quotes comes from the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  “As He died to make men holy, let us live to make them free.”  I want that as the anthem of my life. Jesus shed His blood so I could be free.  At the very least I can live my life so others will experience His freedom. The following is a YouTube link to a song called “Every Captive Free.”  Matt Gillman wrote it as part of raising awareness for human trafficking.

God Loves You and Chose You

3006764Hello my precious friends! I want to take just a moment to thank you for being a faithful reader of my blog. I consider it a blessing and I’m so grateful for each you. I want you to know that I pray for you and if you ever have a specific prayer request please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I have one reason and one reason only for writing this blog today. That reason comes from 1 Thessalonians 1: 4 which says we know, dear brothers and sisters, that God loves you and has chosen you to be His own people. Think about that for just a moment. The Apostle Paul, Silas and Timothy wrote to the church of the Thessalonians this is one of the first things they said to them. We know dear brothers and sisters that God loves you. We have to know about our brothers and sisters that God loves them. The word know in that verse means; to perceive, notice, discern, discover, to pay attention to, observe. Of course we know that God loves everyone but we have to pay attention to that fact.  Sometimes people just need us to look them in the eyes and say, “Look, I know God loves you.”  Sometimes they’re in a dry place and just need to hear it from another person.

My blog is hosted through WordPress.  Each year they send out statistics on your blog traffic.  It’s amazing and I love receiving it.  I had thousands of people from 102 countries visit my blog in 2014.  Brother and sister in Christ, I know God loves you.  1 Thessalonians 1:4 doesn’t just stop there though.  It goes on to say; and He has chosen you to be His own people.  My friend, God loves you and He’s chosen you to be His.  What could be more wonderful and precious than knowing that?  I don’t know what’s going on in your life but I know God loves you and He chose you.  Isn’t that a beautiful truth?

Being in Human Resources for a living, I never know what I’m going to encounter on any given day.  At the moment I’m an HR Department of only one.  I’m responsible for over 300 people.  You just never know what’s going to happen.  It makes it interesting but I have to say; I love my job.  I’m sure you don’t know what you’re going to encounter tomorrow either.  Here’s one thing I know and one thing I want you to know.  Even though tomorrow is the often dreaded Monday; God loves you and He’s chosen you.  It doesn’t matter what your relationship status is on Facebook or how many “likes” your pictures get.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have in your accounts.  It doesn’t matter who is standing with you or who is standing against you.  The God Who created the universe loves you and He chose you.  You may doubt your calling right now…He chose you my friend.  You may be full of guilt, regret, remorse, shame and loneliness.  God loves you and He’s chosen you.  Tomorrow when the enemy tries to come against you with lies and accusations stand tall knowing God loves you and He chose you.  I know this is extremely simple but maybe, just maybe someone needs to hear it.

You Are Not Alone

Jesus-Love

The joyous holiday season is upon us. Unfortunately for some it’s not joyous. It can be the best time of year for some but for others the most painful.  Yes, everyone has much in which to be thankful. Just the fact that Jesus Christ died for us is enough to be eternally grateful.   There are those who look forward to this season with great anticipation.  They look forward to the family gatherings and quality time with loved ones.  There are also those who dread this season.   I want to talk to the people who are brokenhearted, lonely, and even hopeless.  God sees you and knows everything you’re going through. He’s intimately acquainted with every hurt and He sees each tear.  You may never understand why certain things happened in your life or even why other things didn’t happen.  In some situations, only eternity holds the answers.  I don’t know what you’re facing tonight but God knows.  I don’t know what causes the dread in your heart about the holidays.  Perhaps you don’t have a family, or it’s dysfunctional at best. Maybe this time of year is a reminder of a loved one who is no longer with you.  My friend, whatever the case – you are not alone.  It may feel like everyone has forsaken you but there is One who never will.  There is One who will never walk away.  There is One who will never ignore you.  There is One who won’t cast you away like yesterdays garbage.  His name is Jesus. He’s the Fairest of all.  He loves you unconditionally.  He sticks closer than a brother.  He will never leave or forsake you. Can I be brutally honest?  Sometimes that isn’t enough is it?  We need Jesus to have skin and to be able to hold our hand.  If I could, I would take each one of you who is brokenhearted and wrap my arms around you.  I may never have the opportunity to do that.  I trust my Jesus though.  I trust that there is no distance in the spirit.  I trust that as I pray for you in the coming days that He will reveal Himself to you in new and marvelous ways.   I didn’t intend on sharing this but I know what it’s like to get the phone call Thanksgiving morning that my best friend of 20 years died suddenly.  I know what it’s like to have friends and family walk away without one single word of explanation.  Each of you reading this has a path etched by personal suffering.  The holidays often exacerbate that pain.  If you will dare to believe in His love and His constant presence in your life; this holiday season can be different. You might not be surrounded by the laughter of loved ones but you can experience His peace and love.  Very rarely does any family have the picture perfect Norman Rockwell holiday moments.  Each family has it’s own dysfunction.  The enemy likes to make people believe that they’re the only person alone or in pain during the holidays.  The truth is we are never alone.  Regardless of who is or who isn’t with us during this time, we are never alone.  Below are a few songs that I pray will minister to you.  David Crowder has a song called Come As You Are (based on the hymn Come, Ye Disconsolate).  There’s a line in that song that says, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.”  My friend, your pain and sorrow is not beyond His healing power.