Jesus Break Our Hearts For What Breaks Yours

courtesy pixabay.com

It takes boldness to pray Jesus break our hearts for what breaks yours, but maybe that’s what Christ’s followers are called to do.

Throughout the years I taught at the elementary school level, I set aside a time to read aloud to my class. Every year, except the one I taught in a portable, the class gathered in a specific area of the room for our read aloud time.

I read a variety of books to the class. Historical fiction. Mythology. Biography. Fantasy. Poetry. Non-fiction. Realistic fiction. Narrative non-fiction. Fables. Folk Tales. Tall Tales.  Mystery. Riddles and Jokes. The year I read The House at Pooh Corner I asked Pilot to come in and read the last chapter while I sat at my desk and cried.

courtesy pixabay.com

After one student asked if he should bring the box of tissues to our read aloud area, I knew we should keep a box readily available to pass through the circle in case the tissues were needed. Especially by me.

One year the required reading was Charlotte’s Web. Another year it was The Stone Fox. Tearjerkers for sure.

Sad books weren’t all we read. There were Junie B. Jones books. Bunnicula books. Magic Tree House books, and a whole lot more.

So what’s all this have to do with anything, you might ask. Good question.

Just as I read various books, some of which brought me to tears, I believe Jesus brings various life events and people into our lives, some of which should bring us to tears.

I believe Jesus wants us to feel one another’s pain so intensely that, as Steve Camp says, we can taste the salt in the tears they cry.

I believe Jesus wants his followers to be so moved to compassion for others we do more than simply say, I’ll pray for you. I believe Christ expects us to put our words into action. courtesy pixabay.com

We aren’t all poetry, or mystery, or historical fiction. We aren’t all biography, hard science, or fables. We each have unique stories to tell which make us who we are.

Likewise, depending on what moves us and how God created us, we  respond to others’ stories in different ways.

And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

More than likely the way I respond to others’ needs and do ministry in my life is different than the way you respond and do ministry. Doesn’t matter.

What matters, I believe, is each of us allows Jesus to break our hearts for the things that break his to the point we go beyond saying, I hope you keep warm and stay fed, to actually clothing and feeding.

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If a fellow man or woman has no clothes to wear and nothing to eat, and one of you say, “Good luck to you I hope you’ll keep warm and find enough to eat”, and yet give them nothing to meet their physical needs, what on earth is the good of that? Yet that is exactly what a bare faith without a corresponding life is like—useless and dead.  James 2:15-16 (Phillips)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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When Satan Tries To Steal Our Joy

When Satan tries to steal our joy we don’t have to let him. As difficult as it is some days, we can choose joy over despair. Not in our power alone, but in Christ’s.

Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort to block out the joy-stealers in our life and dwell on the joy we can have in knowing Christ instead. It takes practice to trust in the One who holds every tear we’ve cried to take away the sorrow. It takes faith to know the same God who created the world and has our names engraved on his hand won’t allow anything to reach us he didn’t plan or permit.

Current events are enough to make us hang our heads and run for cover. Every time I read the newspaper or listen to the news and feel my joy slipping away, I have to consciously remind myself God is still on his throne. He is still in control. Nothing happens he isn’t aware of. Even when I question what happens, I am determined to fight back against the joy-stealers.

I admit that is often easier said than done. Especially when I’m faced with yet one more health concern.

There may be moments when we stand tall on mountains of faith, then plunge to the valleys of doubt, deep fear, or depression the next.

It’s not like we go around tossing ourselves into those dark times on purpose. Our peace, happiness, and joy are not things we willing throw away. Those are things Satan, the deceiver, joy-stealer-extraordinaire delights in snatching right out from under us.

Stealing our joy is what the father of lies is good at. Satan really cannot stand for us to enjoy the life our Creator God provides for us to the fullest. He loves to drop us into a pit of despair. But Jesus is the rescuer who pulls us out of the slimy pit, puts our feet on solid ground, and restores our joy.

Satan wants us to live in joyless misery. He works very hard to fulfill that desire. His tactics are many. He uses people. World events. Natural disasters. Sickness. Death. Loss. Wars and rumors of wars.

When he attacks, we must remind ourselves he is defeated by the mighty resurrection power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When we find ourselves in a place where we feel something in our lives is missing, like we’ve lost something important, perhaps our joy in the knowledge we are a beloved child of the One True King needs reaffirmed.

Perhaps we need to sing the song many of us learned as children.

Perhaps we need not only sing the song, but believe it with all our heart.

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart.
Down in my heart;
I’ve got the love of Jesus, love of Jesus,
Down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay.

And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
Sit on a tack,
And if the devil doesn’t like it he can sit on a tack to
Stay.

George W. Cooke

Or perhaps you would like to listen to Zach Williams’ hand-clapping toe-tapper, Old Church Choir. Either way, praise God and don’t let Satan steal your joy!

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Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.  Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too. After you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. To him be all power over all things, forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11 (TLB)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sometimes God Tells Us No Or Not Yet

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Our requests of God are good. They are godly. They aren’t selfish. Still, sometimes God says no, or not yet.

Several times in the Apostle Paul’s life he received a no, or not yet from God. He longed to visit Rome to preach and see how the church was doing. His request was for godly purposes. It wasn’t selfish. But God told Paul no, not yet.

Eventually Paul did go to Rome. He went as a prisoner in chains near the end of his life. He was executed there. Even though he didn’t go to Rome as he thought he would, Paul preached where God put him.

In my life there are unanswered prayers I will never understand the reason for until I reach heaven. There are some unanswered requests I later said, “Thank you, Jesus for not answering that request.”

There are also prayer requests I feel are stacked up like airplanes on the tarmac waiting to take off. Waiting to move past God’s no, not yet.

Perhaps you have similar experiences.

As I consider this, I wonder if maybe God tells us no, or not yet because we are not the one he tapped to accomplish what we’re praying to accomplish. If we find that to be the case, I’m thinking at the point we come to that realization, our prayers should shift toward praying for those God did tap.

Could it be when God tells us no, or not yet he has something else mo’ better planned instead? How many times have we prayed for a certain job position or relationship, not gotten it, and found what God does provide for us fits better than what we desired?

Who knows? God may be working on us to change our heart, to draw us closer to him, or prepare us for what lies ahead when he says no, or not yet.

Since we don’t know if our unanswered prayers will result in a no, or not yet let’s follow Paul’s example and pray without ceasing.

How do you handle your unanswered prayers?

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Please don’t misinterpret my failure to visit you, friends. You have no idea how many times I’ve made plans for Rome. I’ve been determined to get some personal enjoyment out of God’s work among you, as I have in so many other non-Jewish towns and communities. But something has always come up and prevented it. Romans 1:13 (MSG)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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We Are Aliens In This World

Although this post first appeared October 4, 2016, I felt it worth re-posting.Hope you agree.

Last month during our trip through the Southwest, Pilot and I went through Roswell, NM on our way to Carlsbad Caverns. Although our intent was to visit the International UFO Museum Research Center to see if the truth really is out there, a tornado threatened to send us sheltering beneath the Roswell Museum and Art Center where Pilot soaked in the history of the Robert Goddard exhibit, so we decided to get out of town. Fast.

It seemed everywhere I looked between Roswell and Carlsbad there were aliens.

And this got me thinking about those of us who belong to Jesus.

We are in this world, but not of it. We are aliens, if you will. Sojourners traveling through this world, waiting for the day Jesus takes us to our eternal home in heaven.

To quote Henry David Thoreau, we march to the beat of a different drum. At least we should. People should be able to look at what we do, what we say, where we go, how we treat people, and notice we are different.

We are to reflect Jesus, not the world.

The patriarch, Abraham, was called out of the land of Ur to travel to a place God would take him; Canaan, the land the Israelites called the Promised Land. Abraham was an alien in a foreign land. He was just a-passin’ through.

We are called to be different from the world around us. We are called to a higher standard. A standard set by God. Not a standard set by the culture that surrounds us. God has chosen us to be holy and pure. We belong to him, as such, we are his ambassadors to people who do not yet know him.

This world is not our home. We are aliens. And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?

The truth is out there, and it isn’t found in a science fiction tv show. It’s found in the Words of Truth recorded in God’s Holy Bible.

Have you visited the International UFO Museum Research Center?

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But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.Dear brothers, you are only visitors here. Since your real home is in heaven, I beg you to keep away from the evil pleasures of this world; they are not for you, for they fight against your very souls. 1 Peter 2:9 & 11 (TLB)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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God is Still the King of the Jungle

Recently, a friend and I lamented the craziness of the current world we live in. The conversation reminded me of a similar conversation I had with a different friend in the nineties where we lamented the craziness of the world at that time.

Seems no matter how far back we go, this world’s been one wild and crazy place, inhabited by a bunch of wild and crazy people. I’m sure I’m not the only one with memories of times you shook your head and wondered what in the world was going on.

So what to do?

In 1994, Steven Curtis Chapman wrote the song, King of the Jungle. Guess he was looking at the state of the world and doing some head shaking of his own. Wonder if he’d add any additional verses today?

Maybe not, because it seems his message is no matter how crazy, no matter how much of a jungle our world appears, the truth is God is still God. He is still on his throne. He is still in control. He’s still the King of the Jungle.

Feel like things are spinning wildly out of control? Take heart, my friend. God’s got it. He’s the Lord of the gentle breeze as well as the rough and tumble. It’s all under his command.

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God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble. And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble! Psalm 46:1-3 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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This post first appeared on this blog May 8, 2014.