Resurrection Egg #6: By His Stripes

Resurrection Egg #6: By His Stripes

Resurrection Egg #6

MrssizzleWhen my boys were little they had prized stuff animals that they liked to play with. Unfortunately we had a puppy who viewed these animals  not as toys for the boys but prey to be devoured. Many a loved animal fell prey and lost an eye or had an ear chewed. Sometimes they could be repaired, though never fully regaining they former glory. Other times, they were destined to exist with the missing, ear or eye. Anyone who has had a puppy can relate. But we are not stuff animals and when we are hurt we need more than a needle and thread.

Jehovah Rapha: The God who Heals

Like many of you I have often asked “Why aren’t some people healed?” As a nurse, I probably ask this more than most. As a mom who has had a miscarriage, I definitely cried out, “Why!, If you are truly God you could have prevented this!” The Bible states that Jesus was moved with compassion and healed the sick (Matthew 14:14). So I know that Jesus has a heart and feels our pain. One of the names for God is Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. It is used 67 times in Old Testament. Healing is part of God’s nature, not just something He does. The prophet Isaiah states that the Messiah, Jesus,  “will open the eyes of the blind and the unstop the ears of the deaf. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:5-6)

By His Stripes We are Healed

He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”(1 Peter 2:24, NIV)

Both Isaiah and 1 Peter use word for healing that mean to make whole, to mend. The word in the Isaiah passage denotes a cobbler stitching to make something whole. Thank God, Jesus sews better than I do. Unlike, my boys’ stuff animals, when He heals He heals completely. He is concerned about healing of heart, mind, and body. Healing and sin are closely tied together. When sin entered the world so did sickness and death. Not all illness is a result of sin. However, we do know that sin can lead to illness. For example, sexual sins have consequences of transmitted diseases. Anger and bitterness are related to stomach ulcers, arthritis, irritable bowels. Stress is related to migraines. Cancers have been associated with alcohol and other unhealthy lifestyles. The list goes on and on. Doctors and nurses both have completed studies that show how the healing the physical body, and the mental and emotional health are closely related. Many times outcomes depend not so much on the right medicine as much as the right attitude of the heart.

On the flip side, many sickness are not related to sin at all. In the Old Testament, there are only 12 reports of individual illness and healing, 8 of them are not the result of sin. Both of the boys raised from the dead by Elijah and Elisha did not die as a result of sin. When Jesus healed the blind man, His disciples asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”. Jesus responded with, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3). This disconnect from sin and sickness may explain why diseases attack children and infants that we know have not sinned or led a lifestyle that results with illness. This is one of my biggest struggles, infants and children who are ill. Sometimes, I just have to remind myself of the sovereignty of God.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

Transgressions are willful sin. This is sin that is committed with full knowledge that it is wrong. It has the connotation violating a law. Iniquities are sin, guilt, depravity that we were born with. It is man’s bent toward perversion and sin or deviation from the right path. It is our sinful character rather than the action of sin itself.

Jesus healed stripesThe blood Jesus shed seems to have opened the spiritual door to not only forgiveness of sins, but also healing. Jesus reminds us that sickness is a result of the fallen state of man. Jesus himself mentions that He will be flogged as part of the crucifixion and forgiveness of sins. (Matthew 20:19, Mark 10:3, Luke 18:33, John 19:1).

The word, ‘Rapha’, is used 67 times in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the Greek word for physical healing is “therapeuo”. It is translated ‘heal’ 44 times.  That number does not include references for words such as ‘healing’, ‘healed’, ‘make whole’, etc. Obviously, healing is important to God. Matthew 4:23″Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” In conjunction with teaching and preaching, Jesus healed as part of His ministry. Healing flowed out of Him because it is part of His nature.

 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. “ (Luke 4:18-19)

 

“Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].” ( 3 John 1: 2, Amplified)

 

 

 

 

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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Eggs for Adults #2- Covenant

Resurrection Egg # 2

We live in a world of contracts. Contracts are easily broken, amended, or rewritten to suit our fancy. God, however, is a God of covenants, not contracts. Covenants are binding. Covenants typically involve three things: The shedding of blood, an exchange of items between the parties, sometimes a change of name which signified a change in the relationship.The first thing God did after Adam and Eve sinned and by eating the fruit was to make a covenant or promise that He would bring a savior:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, KJV)

The word ‘bruise’ denotes a crushing or completely overwhelming. Jesus would completely crush Satan, Praise God. Bruising of Jesus’ heel is a foreshadowing of Jesus bleeding from His feet when nailed to the cross. There was blood shed and items exchanged. God killed the animals and clothed Adam and Eve. Also names were changed, Adam named the woman God had given him, Eve after Fall (Genesis 3:20). There are other covenants between God and man in the Old Testament, the covenant with Noah, Abraham and Moses. Overall, the Bible describes two main covenants, the Old Covenant, which was based on Moses’ laws and the New Covenant, which is based on Jesus Christ.

The Old Covenant

tabernacle Legos
Ok, this pic is for all you moms of boys! Don’t you just love it! Holy of Holies replica from Legos! Too cool.

Under the old covenant the priest went once a year into the Holy of Holies portion of the tabernacle and sprinkled blood on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant. The priest did this once a year for atonement of sin. The blood came from a lamb that was spotless, and it was sprinkled seven times. It was a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who was spotless and bled in seven places for our redemption during the Passover week. The blood cover our sins but it did not pierce our hearts.

The New Covenant    

sacrificial_lamb-300x199

 

God wanted to establish a covenant that would be written on our hearts. It would be everlasting, forgive sins and would establish Him as our God and us as His people (Jeremiah 31:30-33) It would be a cleansing  from the inside out, not the outside in. It would cause change at the very core of our being. This would be a covenant that God would establish. It would be instigated by Him. We could not establish the covenant because of the sin. We could not approach God to establish a covenant. It would be a covenant for both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus would once and for all enter the Holy of Holies as the high priest did in the Old Covenant. However, it would not be with blood of goats or lambs, but His own blood. Christ became the negotiator and mediator of the this entirely new covenant agreement.

He went once for all into the Holy of Holies, not by virtue of the blood of goats and claves (by which to make reconciliation between God and Mn), but His own blood having found and secure a complete redemption ( an everlasting release for us).” ( Hebrews 9:12, Amplified)
How to Access this Covenant

There is only one way. We cannot save ourselves, we are not without blemish. We cannot ‘do good works’ in order to put ourselves in right standing with God. We cannot earn God’s approval and love by doing good, being good, and working hard. The only way to bridge the gap and access a covenant relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Many times we look for the perfect husband, perfect boyfriend, perfect family, perfect parents, perfect kids, perfect job to define who we are and bring our salvation and peace. The only PERFECT savior is Jesus Christ.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God“- Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[fn] The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19,NIV)

In due season…..Easter

In due season…..Easter

Easter images

Resurrection Eggs for Adults

I love Easter. To me it is the first hint of spring. Of new life, of a new promise. To me, Easter is not a celebration of bunnies and chocolate, but the celebration of the  resurrection of Jesus Christ. Knowing the end of the story it is easy to celebrate. Jesus is risen and the tomb is empty, our sins have been forgiven. Amen!  It is easy to forget the sacrifice that Jesus made, the shedding of His own blood for our sins. My husband reminded me that sacrifices in the Bible were pretty gruesome stuff. The Romans perfected crucifixion to be excruciatingly painful. In fact the word “excruciating” was a word originally used to describe the pain of crucifixion. I have been a Christian for long time, but studying the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for us, opened my eyes again to the mercy and love God has for us. So I thought I would share some of what God has shown me about the cross. I am not a theologian, just a mother of three with a love for Jesus and His word. I am calling these thoughts:

resurrection eggs numbered

Resurrection Eggs for Adults.

(Resurrection eggs are plastic eggs filled with a symbol of the Passion Week. Each day your child can open them and read a scripture and learn about events leading up to the Resurrection of Christ).

My prayer is that you enjoy these posts, but mostly you will grow in deeper understanding of Jesus for the blood of Jesus is one of spiritual weapons along with the name of Jesus, and the Word of God. It is our firm foundation that everything else rests.

Resurrection Egg #1 (1)

When we think of the cross, what do we think about? Blood, cross, Jesus, sins, love??? Probably all of the above and more. The cross is pivotal in many ways. Historically it divided time, BC and AD. Spiritually it unites us with God. Ultimately it is a picture of unconditional love. To understand the cross, you need to understand Covenant and the importance of the blood.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that make an atonement for the soul” Leviticus 17:11.

Life is in blood. In our bodies the blood supplies nutrients, removes impurities. It cleanses. The sin that came with Adam is passed down with the blood. God had given Adam a choice and he chose to give it to Satan Genesis 3:15 but God said that He would send someone to bruise his heel or to bruise his authority. Jesus is that sacrifice. He took the authority so we could have victory not just in heaven but here on earth. He overcame the devil (Revelations 12:11).

 “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”– Ephesians 1:17

 “We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.”–1 Peter 1:19

A time to Break Down…..A time to Build Up

A time to Break Down…..A time to Build Up

A time to kill and a time to heal…..A time to break down and a time to build up. Ecclesiastes 3:3

If  you have kids or a dog you can relate to this picture!

Dog and pillow

This dog is dealing with ‘fall out‘!

Fall out occurs when something explodes and debris scatters everywhere. It is the lingering effect of something radioactive or result of consequences. Something that looks strong and all put together is suddenly broken apart. Pieces fly in all directions.

Past hurts, rejection, disappoints leave ‘fall out’ in our life. When these occur we usually pick one of the following options. 1) We can run in all directions trying to put the pieces back together without success. Like this dog we want the soft, cozy, safe bed back in one piece, but how?? 2) We wish we could have a “do over”. We wish we could tear things down and rebuild from scratch pretending it never happened. 3) Or, maybe, we try to rebuild it ourselves with our own plan and tools, only to have a storm suddenly wash it away like castles in the sand.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

God always has a plan.When He created the earth, He had a plan. When He told Noah to build the ark, He had a plan. When He told the Moses to build the tabernacle, He had a plan. Jesus had a plan. He wants us healed physically, emotionally, mentally. He wants us strong and whole. 3 John says “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.” God is the ultimate creator, builder, architect. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth….” Gen 1:1. God always has a plan.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.

Learn to enjoy the process. With building and restoration comes healing and renewal. Sometimes the healing and restoration  process makes a mess. When you redo a room,  there is sawdust everywhere from sanding out the rough areas and patching holes. It doesn’t look like much, but a good builder always keeps the blue prints with a vision for the finished product. Jesus, the master builder, has a plan for your life. Jesus did not cause the bad things in our life to happen, but Jesus will take our ‘fall out’ and turn it into a work of art. 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

Enjoy this song by Jason Gray as you allow God to make your life new:

Jason Gray– I am New

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

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Have you had anything to ‘explode’ or ‘something’ in your life?

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…..Inside and Out…..Honey, Patricia, Janet, Carol

In God we Trust….four words that bring so much controversy. It is not the world we grew up in and I am sure our parents thought the same way. Songs, videos, books that praise God’s name are viewed as offensive, but when we are in a time of need, we drop to our knees…. from which comes our strength, our hope, our joy. I know we refer to the faith of our ‘founding fathers’ as the basis for this, but it goes deeper than that. It is the very core of our being. It is the empty hole we cannot fill with anything else. Since the beginning of time man has tried to fill that void with all sorts of things from money, daring excitement and adrenaline rushes (natural or man made), sexual pleasure, or just wanting to be in the best house in the best neighborhood with the best job and the best family (the idea of a ‘perfect’ life). All these are fleeting and bring joy for a season.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

As a teenager, I learned that negative emotions can be habit forming and that joy has nothing to do with happy times or happy circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God and knowing that He is there with us always. Jesus will supply all we need physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. As a teenager, my parents divorced and my mom and my sister and I moved to a new town. I struggled with my identity of who I was and with acceptance as most young girls do. During this time, God brought four ladies, friends of my mom, into my life, Honey, Patricia, Janet and Carol. They filled in the ‘mama’ gaps when my mom could not. What I saw in them was the power of prayer and faith in God and Jesus’ ability to fill that ‘gap’ in my life and bring true joy. Their families and children were not perfect, but their love for Jesus was. I saw a faith and determination to trust Jesus through the hard times and rejoice with Him in the good times. Their relationship with Jesus was and still is a steady anchor in their lives. I wanted that for me; a faith that expressed itself in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A joy that permeated to the core of my being.

Honey had ( and still does) a joy that lights up regardless. I treasure her statement, ” It is not an obstacle but an opportunity for God to overcome.”

Patricia showed me how still waters can run deep. She has integrity and showed me how to stand on principles of God and not to compromise. God has His best for you, don’t settle for anything less.

Janet, a prayer warrior (then and now), showed me where my source of strength needed to come from— the word of God, my relationship with Jesus  and prayer. Through Janet, I learned that in order to be as Psalm 1 states” tree planted by the waters that produces fruit in due season”, then I needed to take time and be open and honest with God. I needed to allow the healing blood of Jesus to forgive.Our own abilities and intellect can only go so far and will only produce temporary fixes in our lives, but Jesus’ fixes are deep and permanent.

Carol showed me that Jesus is the source of wisdom and discernment, not my own mental understanding. I watched her stop many times and pray before making a decision and it didn’t matter the size of the decision. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t just pondering the situation, but was saying,”Ok God, what do you want me to do?” Wisdom, understanding and discernment come from a spiritual ear and heart tuned to hear God’s voice. In order to hear God’s voice I needed to know Him and in order to know Him  I needed to read His word.

Through these ‘spiritual mamas’ I learned to not dwell on my own short comings, failures, inadequacies and struggles, but instead to develop a love for God and to trust Him.” All things are possible to him who believes, ‘ Mark 9:23.Thank you Jesus for the praying ‘spiritual mamas’ in my life.

summer deals!

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

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Look around for the ‘spiritual mamas’ in your life. What characteristics did they impart to you?

Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal and Jen

Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal and Jen

There are two women in the Bible who I feel represent two sides of every woman. They are Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha are first mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus and the 12 disciples decided to stop in and visit, while ‘on their way’.

Martha had a servant heart that was full of action. Mary had a devotional heart that sprang from her time at the feet of Christ. Mary and Martha were not only sisters by blood but they also had a spiritual relationship based on their faith in Christ. I grew up with Marthas, from my grandmother to my mom. But as any Martha can tell you, you need the Mary side of you to be the center point that drives you. The Mary side is the one that sits at the feet of Jesus and lays every care and struggle there. It is the part of you that cries out, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, ” and means it with the very depth of your being. The Mary side, the side that allows the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you, is the side that supports the Martha. Being a Martha by nature, God has brought some Marys in my life to remind me of this principle. They have been used to keep me on track. They have shown me again the joy and peace of staying close to God and having that intimate relationship that comes from spending time in the Word of God and from spending time with our face on the floor in prayer.

A Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal

One such Mary is Crystal. I lived with her and her family for a few months before I married. After having spent most of my teenage years in a home of a single mom, God knew I needed to see another side. During those months, I saw a woman who prayed for her husband and children. She had quiet times and enjoyed that time in the Word of God. She opened her home to college students like myself who needed some extra love and attention. She took things lightly and always had a smile on her face. She knew who her source of strength was. She was quick to cast her cares onto Jesus and allow His peace to flow. I know many a prayer was said over me as I struggled with that balance of “I can do it myself” and “I need to allow God to work through me:. She started her day with Jesus and it flowed through everything she did. She sat at the feet of Jesus with her whole heart as Mary did. In Luke 10:39, the word ‘sat’ (parakathezomai) means to ‘to make  to sit down’. It is the only time it is used in the Bible. Mary had the same choices as Martha and she made herself choose to sit down at the feet of Jesus. Mary not only physically heard the teachings of Jesus but she also learned from what she heard. She was obedient to His voice. It was not a one time thing. It was active and continual, i.e. she kept on hearing. Mary sat close to Jesus physically and close to Him with her heart to not only hear instructions with her physical ears but to incorporate them into her very being. The words of Jesus became a part of her. Mary and Crystal were yielded to Jesus.

Martha was ‘cumbered’ with serving. Cumbered (perispao) means that she was drawn away. Her actions were good but they were drawing her heart away from Jesus. Martha was said to be doing ‘much serving’. Serving and ministry of helps were Martha’s calling. The gift of hospitality flowed in her life. How many of you invite 12 plus people over for dinner at the last minute! Martha is quickly overwhelmed and goes to Jesus and asks Him to encourage Mary to help (synantilambanomai), i.e. come alongside, share in the bearing, to take hold with another. This word is only used one other time in the New Testament. In Romans 8:24-26, it is used in reference to the Holly Spirit helping us in our weaknesses. Martha was feeling left in a lurch, abandoned, alone in her calling. But was she really? Jesus was right there. Martha was being distracted mentally when she needed to be at the feet of Jesus refreshing her mind and spirit for the calling that was so evident in her life.

“But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42

‘Needful’ comes from ‘chreia’, a noun meaning ‘what is necessary for life.’ It is used in the New Testament in reference to needs of the spirit that only God and the Holy Spirit can fill. (Example Matthew 3:14, Hebrews 7:11, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31;Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:21-24). Mary and Crystal chose that good, joyful, excellent, pleasant, agreeable part that is ready to bear fruit in their life. Crystal, like Mary, incorporated the word of Jesus into her heart to such an extent that it ‘shall not be taken away.’

A Princess…Inside and Out…Jen

Mary was transparent with Jesus. Her heart was in passive mode to receive. As a Martha type person, I am usually not passive about anything. Then I met Jen. Jen talked about being ‘transparent’ with God. I thought I was transparent until I heard her talk about it. I heard not only the words but I saw a deeper level of relationship with Jesus in her life. Martha had a relationship with Jesus just like Mary. Jen and Mary chose to open their hearts in such a way that their very lives depended on it. Jen is new in my life. God knew I needed to meet her when I did not know I needed to. With Jen, her life depends on that open transparent relationship with Christ. With us typical Marthas, we are usually ‘capable’ people who as I like to say, ‘Get the job done.’ We need to be reminded that we can only go so far without being more transparent with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and open to the words of  Jesus to change us from the inside out. I think Marthas fight this intimacy because we do not want to see what is really in our hearts. You know the areas that we keep only to ourselves. The areas that we are ‘busy’ covering up. Jen reminded me that those areas even existed. We forget that Jesus knows everything about us anyway.

It is at the feet of Jesus and on our knees in prayer and in the word of God that we choose the part that cannot be ‘taken away’.

When we sit at the feet of Jesus with our hearts open to hear and understand His word, then we are changed in such a way that we cannot return to our original state. It is here that the Holy Spirit breaks down every wall and barrier in our heart and mind., It is here that we have joy and peace, It is here that our burdens become light. It is not easy. It means making deliberate choices to spend time in prayer and studying the word of God. It means being willing to change. It means being honest with ourselves. It means as Jen says, being transparent before God. It means reaching out to serve not only physically but with your heart. The rewards are worth it. It it the Mary times that provide the oil that makes the Martha times run. Praise God for the Mary’s in my life!

As you have therefore received Christ, (even) Jesus the Lord, walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots (of your being) firmly and deeply planted (in Him, fixed and founded in Him), being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving….Colossians 2:6-8 (Amplified version)

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photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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Please share about the Martha’s and Mary’s in your life……