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A sense of Destiny

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By: Carole L. Haines

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
(John 14:5-6)

It’s subtle at times, this revealing of God’s heart for relationship with the people He has created for Himself.  This morning I saw this precious heart-love of God in this one simple interaction between Thomas and Jesus. Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

All of my life I have had a sense of destiny, but after much failure and disappointment, found that destiny was not a place or an accomplishment. That Destiny was a relationship with the God who made me, and simply that. Jesus loved me too much to let me know worldly success. He brought an end to all my own dreams and aspirations, because they stood in the way of my true heart’s desire, Jesus Himself. That’s when I found that the Babe in the manger, the fisherman’s friend, the man of sorrows acquainted with grief, He was my Destiny.
My destiny lay not in something I did or someplace I would go to. Jesus wants me to hold His hand, to keep in step with Him, to believe in Him.
My heart is troubled when I do not believe God, but try to find my own way in the world.  My Soul has always been looking for a true home, a dwelling place to call my own. It is never to be found in a home on earth made with human hands, or in the precious relationships we have with others. These are precious gifts but they can never quench our deepest thirst. This Dwelling place of rest is found only with the One who formed me while in my mother’s womb.
St. Augustine once said, “Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they find rest in Him.”

I have found that to be completely true. Of course, I wish that I had found this out sooner,  and not had to suffer so much loss and disappointment; but it had to be a revelation of the heart. No journey is wasted or trial misspent, if it ultimately leads us to Jesus’ feet. And so here I rest now, here I can sleep. No longer anxious to prove my worth, my value, myself. Here, at His feet, I know who I am, I know why I’m here and I know He will finish the work He has begun in me, and see to it that I finish the work that He has called me to do.

We may seek God with our intellect, but we will only find Him with our heart. Cotvos

 

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Him who judges righteously

IMG_0483by: Carole L. Haines

14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…17 From now on let no one cause trouble for me, for I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen. (Galatians 6:14, 17-18)

My husband and I were discussing forgiveness this morning, and as I often do, speaking gently the Words of Jesus to him, I found myself speaking words I needed to hear as well. I love the above verses because they teach me to always look to the cross, look to the cost He paid, look to love He demonstrated. Truly, the simplicity of Christianity is the Cross of Christ, at its purest core, the Cross of Christ.

Forgiveness is never based on feelings, it’s based on sacrifice, Christ’s sacrifice.  But I know from experience, feelings are what keep me from truly forgiving from my heart. I feel such a call for justice, retribution, revenge even.  I despise these reactions in me, but I must be honest about them being there. When it comes to forgiveness, there is one passage that has helped me forgive more than any other, it is this:

“While being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:23-24 NASB)

Jesus entrusted Himself to God, no matter what happened, no matter who sinned against Him, He entrusted Himself to God.  He did not return evil for evil or insult for insult.  No eye for an eye with Jesus.  So, as I have been seeking to forgive others from my heart, I keep hearing that call, “Entrust Yourself to God.” I don’t need to prove they were wrong and I was right. I don’t need to seek revenge or vindication, I just need to keep entrusting myself to the One who judges righteously.  He will enable me to forgive from my heart and to be free from the grip of bitterness and cynicism.  If you have people you need to forgive, deep down, at a heart level; perhaps begin with that one step. First entrust yourself, your reputation, your vindication, your whole self to God. He will enable you to forgive, and only He, not ourselves, judges righteously.  Have a Blessed Day.

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The Same Image

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by: Carole L. Haines

18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

So God just blew my mind this morning, as He often does.  I was reading in Matthew 17 about the mount of transfiguration and began to wonder if the Greek word for transfigure was the same one used about our transformation in Christ, so I began to research it. Guess what? It is the same word. It is the Greek word Metamorphoo, and it means: to transfigure, to transform, to change form.

It is only found in four verses in the whole Bible, two are regarding Jesus’ transfiguration and two are in regards to our transformation. They are:

1)     Matthew 17:2 And Mark 9: 2; Jesus’ Transfiguration

2)     Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18- Our Transformation.

Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. (Mark 9:2)

As no launderer on earth can whiten them, I love it! God is transforming us into the same image of Christ, the same image.  Don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying we will ever have Jesus’ nature as God, but God desires us to be transformed into His image.  That was God’s original intent for mankind, to be made in His Image.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Jesus fulfils, in our transformation, the original intent of God’s Creation of us.  Our God is so Amazing, so precious, so filled with Holiness and Love. So when you feel that gentle nudge of God to stop doing certain things, or to start doing others, that is His hand seeking to mold you into the image of Jesus. Yield to the work of His hand, Dear Believer, just yield to the work of His hand.

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Songs by: Bruce and Carole Haines

Enjoy

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Prayer Walk of the Cross

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By. Peg Councill
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
Being blessed to live  in the beautifully majestic Northwestern United States,
I have the delightful decision before taking a walk of deciding if I want to see the awesome Cascade Mountain Range or the magnificent Olympic Mountain Range.
Once that decision has been made, my Prayer walk begins.
As I pass each home in our neighborhood, prayers are lifted up for each person residing there. Personally knowing some of the people, specific prayers are offered for them and their circumstances. For those that I am not acquainted with, prayers are always given that each one come to know of God’s love for them and the desire He has that they come to personally know who He is.
Ending my walk by taking one of the trails that lead back to our home, the majestic hundred foot tall evergreen trees provide a protective canopy for even those days when we have the “liquid sunshine” for which the Northwest is known!
Along the trail small crosses are formed by my taking small branches or twigs, placing one on top of the other in the shape of a cross. These are placed in areas where fellow hikers will see them so that the sight of them would turn the hiker’s attention to our Creator God and cause them to think of Him and the Cross.
They may even offer up a prayer of praise or a request for His help.
As my Prayer Walk ends, I offer up my own prayer of praise and thanksgiving for having the ability to still enjoy these walks and for the blessings He continues to bestow on our family.
**This precious piece was written by My Wonderful Mom, who first led me to the Lord Jesus, and who has been one of the greatest influences on my love for Him.  I can still see her every morning meeting with Him in her chair. I now meet with My Lord Jesus everyday in my chair. And so it is passed down, as our youngest son comes down each morning, gets his coffee and breakfast, then returns upstairs to sit in his chair and fellowship there with Jesus. One of my Mom’s favorite verses has always been:

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
Thank you, Mom, for my Spiritual Heritage, and your example to me. I love you
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The Ordeal of Putting Aside

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by: Carole L. Haines

Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (1 Peter 2:1-3 NASB)

There are parts of ourselves that we can tell just aren’t quite right, something is amiss. It’s hard to look at our ugliness inside. We’d rather see all the good things, encouraging things, uplifting things about ourselves and others.  But sin has left us with deep crevasses we’d rather not talk about or look at.  But that’s exactly where Jesus wants to go into our lives.  He wants us to let Him into the ugliness of sin, so that He can show us the way out of it.  All sin begins within us, as we learn in James 1:13-16.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  

Sin is already present within us before the temptation even comes.  We are inclined to sin, it is our nature while here on the earth.  Paul talks of his own struggle in Romans 7.
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For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

Only Jesus never sinned, but He wants to show us the way out of sin, not just deliver us from the penalty of it.  There are three ways Jesus delivers us from sin:

1)             Delivers us from the Penalty of sin- Justification

2)             Delivers us from the power of sin- Sanctification

3)             Delivers us, ultimately, from the presence of sin- Glorification.

Justification is a finished work. Sanctification is finished, yet continually being manifested as we grow in Christ. Glorification will be complete only when we are with Jesus, and have crossed over into heaven. I love what James tells us about cooperating with Jesus in our sanctification process:

James 1:2-8 (NASB)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

With the background I came from, I have had as much to unlearn, as I have had to learn in my walk with Christ.  Do not be afraid to go with Him into those dark recesses inside yourself and let Him cleanse you through confession and agreeing with God. It is His way of freeing you from all that binds you, so that He may cleanse and perfect you.  God has promised us this:

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

Have a Blessed Day in Him.

 

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A Friend of Christ

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by: Carole L. Haines
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:12-15 NASB)

I find it interesting in the text where Jesus calls us His friends, that He begins with commanding us to love one another as He has loved us.  He doesn’t want us to love one another with our human ability to love. He wants us to love one another as He has loved us. Jesus then proceeds to share with us what His love looks like.  His love is the Greater love, that lays down His life for His friends.

I used to think this just meant that we would be willing to die for our friends, but it goes way beyond that. In the original Greek, it means to lay it aside, to bend down, to serve.  We get the sense that it is to stop living for ourselves and to live to care for others.  Jesus tells us that we are His friends if we do what He commands us.  The commandment given here is to love one another as He loves us. In this context there are two different Greek words for love one is Agapeo, the other is Agape.
Agapeo is the verb form, the active form. It is love in action.
Agape is the Noun form, and it means:
affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.

The Noun form portrays how we feel, but the Verb form dictates what we do.  Jesus repeats the active word for love several times in this passage on friendship.  He wants us to actively love one another as He actively loves us.  The Noun form is only used in the phrase, “Greater love…”  When Jesus commands us to love one another, it has nothing to do with how we feel about one another.  Let’s face it, we are not going to like everybody in the Body of Christ.  There are personality issues, some types naturally hit it off, others not so much.  But The love He is calling us to is supernatural, Holy Spirit enabled love.

We are the friend of Christ when we do what He commands us to do.  In this passage, the only command mentioned, and it is mentioned twice, is to love One another.  Jesus calls us His friends, but says it has a stipulation, we must love one another in Him, by Him and for Him. Have a Blessed Day.

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