Sunday, December 20, 2009

An Extraordinary Request

Whenever I read the Christmas story, it never fails to bring a new dimension to my mind. Most everyone knows the stories that are told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke of how the birth of our Savior came to be. It is easy just to brush over the familiar and accept the story, but it is a very human story. I sometimes try to imagine how Mary must have felt when the angel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favored woman! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28NLT).

The scripture tells us of the reactions of those who had been approached by angels, they fainted or were greatly afraid. The overwhelming presence of a Holy Angel is nothing to mock, but Mary was not afraid. The scripture says, “She was confused and disturbed by the angels greeting” (Luke 1:29 NLT). This tells us a great deal about her character, first she was humble and meek. It is not an everyday occurrence to be approached by an angel, but she was continuously aware of the presence of God.

Her only question to the angel was “How can this be, I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:35 NLT). She was fully aware of how children are conceived and knew that she was not yet married to Joseph. The angel explained that this child would not be conceived in the natural way, but supernaturally(Luke 1:35). Once she learned that God would cause her to become pregnant in his special way she agreed to the assignment(Luke 1:38).

What I find interesting is the Lord asked permission. He did not take her by force or make her feel guilty, but proposed his plan and waited for her response. This is the same way the Lord approaches us today. Even though we may be confused or disturbed, we must understand that we have a choice. The real question is; do we trust him?

No one can ever know the thoughts that went through her head in those first few moments, but we can try to imagine. I am sure she never thought of the ridicule and torture her son would suffer as the Lamb of God. I don’t believe that she considered the gossip of the town’s people once they learned of her untimely pregnancy or the heartache that Joseph would suffer thinking that she had betrayed her vow to him. Mary just trusted the Lord with the outcome.

If we truly love the Lord and are devoted to serving him, we will not stop to consider any of the extenuating circumstances of accepting his call. That is where faith and life truly begin. If we continually stop to count the cost of following Jesus, we will not be of any service to him.

Are you on board? Can you say to the Lord without reservation, “Not my will but yours be done!” That was the heart of Mary; she had the heart of a servant!

Copyright©2009 tathorpe All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Unsung Heroes

There are many unsung heroes whose names are mentioned briefly in the Bible and one such hero is Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. The Lord is in the business of shaking up our world, calling unlikely people to extraordinary tasks. Life is never dull when He is at the helm!

The scripture doesn’t tell us much about Joseph, except that he comes into to history as the man who was engaged to a young girl named Mary. He was an ordinary man with an unusual family tree. He was a descendant of King David through his son Solomon. With this bloodline, Joseph was an heir to the throne, and so were his sons.

After the engagement, Joseph set about preparing a place for his bride, (sound familiar?) We are told that Mary went to visit her relative and three months later when she returned, it was obvious that she was pregnant. Joseph knew that he wasn’t the father and was quite distraught about the whole thing.

Under the Law of Moses, he could send her away and have nothing more to do with the obvious betrayal (Deuteronomy 24:1), but that was not what God had in mind. Once the angel Gabriel spoke to Joseph in a dream and told him that Mary had not betrayed him and that the child she was carrying was the long awaited messiah, Joseph immediately was on board. He brought Mary to his home to be his wife.

Have you ever wondered why God would choose such a man as Joseph to be the earthly parent to His only Son, Jesus? God knew the heart of Joseph and that he would step up and do whatever was required of him. I am sure Joseph never in his wildest dreams, imagined that he would be called to be the parent of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. How he must have perplexed at the thought of how could a mear man raise God, the father of us all? The scripture doesn't tell in what ways, if any that Joseph influenced Jesus, but we do know that Jesus honored him by becoming a carpenter.

True fathers are a rare breed. Not many rise to the challenge that Joseph did, not seeking his own but what was best for the child. He honored stepfathers and foster fathers everywhere who step up the ultimate call of their manhood to love, honor, protect, teach and encourage their sons and daughters to be the very best they can be.

Copyright©2009 tathorpe All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Birth Announcement

There are many joys that occur in the life of a family, but the greatest is the birth of a child. When the announcement comes there is excitement, anticipation and of course all the plans. It is a very special time that unites families and the hope that blossoms for the next generation. We are the children of God and as with any parent the hopes and dreams never fade.

The first indication that God had planned a very special birth is found in Genesis 3.When the Lord God informed Adam and Eve of how their life had changed and what they could now expect, which resulted from their disobedience. The Lord God also informed Satan that this was not over. The Lord God said, “From now on you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head and you will strike his heal” (Genesis 3:15 NLT). Most believe that this is the first Messianic prophecy of the Bible.

Many centuries later, the Lord spoke to the prophet Isaiah and gave him more in depth information of the coming savior. Can you imagine how Isaiah must have felt, when the Lord told him in such detail all the facts about the Messiah’s birth.He would be born of a virgin “Look a virgin will conceive a child. She will give birth to a child and she will call him Emmanuel-“God with Us” (Isaiah 7:14 NLT) and the Messiah would live in the region of Galilee (Isaiah 9:1).

More importantly, the Messiah would not be an ordinary person, for he told Isaiah, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT). He is not only, the Son of God, but also God in flesh. The Lord God Almighty does not share his awesome name with anybody.

Over 600 years later, this very prophecy came to pass when a virgin named Mary from a small town in Galilee was approached by the angel Gabriel and was told she was chosen and agreed to become the mother of the Messiah. The angel told her to name him Jesus or Jeshua in Aramaic, which means “Yahweh Saves”

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us not forget that God keeps his promises to us. He made a way to redeem us from the sin that separated us from his wonderful, marvelous, unimaginable love for us. He came in person to save us and to guarantee that all that he has promised will come to pass. Trust in his holy and awesome name “Yahweh Saves”

copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Real Gift of Christmas

The season of Christmas is upon us along with the burden of performance, which is at its peak. At no other time do we sense such a need to show those we love or care about the epitome of our feelings towards them. As with each passing year, the knowledge of past failures mount to the point that the season is looked upon with dread. This is not what the season is supposed to bring, its purpose is to bring joy.

Long ago in the divine love of God, he made a promise. It was a promise not based on performance, loyalty, or desire, but out of pure love. We all know that Mary accepted the angel’s proposal without consideration of the eventual cost to herself or to the one she would give birth. However, have we ever stopped to consider why God choose this particular way? The answer is simple, God establishes the rules and because they are perfect in every way, he will not violate his own Holy Law. Never once, did he stop to count the cost or back away from the ultimate sacrifice that would consummate that promise.

When the Lord gave Moses his Holy Law, he made certain provisions within the Law for redemption. Whenever an Israelite found themselves in such dire straits that they would have to sell their ancestral home, they were to submit themselves to their family elder who is their “kinsman redeemer.” The responsibility of the kinsman redeemer was to buy back or pay off the debt of their family member so that the ancestral property would not fall into foreign hands.

The earth was a gift to man, but the title deed of the earth was lost to Satan, when sin entered the world. Jesus was born to become our Kinsman Redeemer. In order for Jesus to accomplish his responsibility, he had to become a human. It was decided long ago the way Jesus would enter the world, not as a full-grown man, but as a helpless babe that would grow and experience all that we experience, but without rebellion against God.

To show that God’s salvation was for everyone, the king of glory was not born in a palace, where he would be pampered and isolated, but to an uneducated couple from a small town that no one respected. He further demonstrated his love with the first invitees to his royal birth, they were shepherds, the lowest class of all. The Lord found no shame in becoming a slave in order to save all those who would come seeking him. He lived the ultimate standard of love, a love that knows no bounds, no reservation, and no status.

Take a moment this season and look to the example this season represents. Look beyond the gifts, decoration, songs and gatherings. Listen for these words in the night sky, “I bring you good news of great joy, born this night in the city of David is the savior, he is Christ the Lord” Let your heart hear the angels praise, “Glory to God in the Highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men.” The only Son of God took on flesh and came into the world to deliver in person God’s message that we are his most beloved creations.

Copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today in America is a celebration “Thanksgiving.” A time of year, when our thoughts are turned toward those things we should give thanks to God for. It is a day when our forefathers celebrated not only surviving in a new land but in the new friends that they had made. It is a tradition that has gone on for over 300 years, but giving thanks is not an American tradition it is a God tradition, established many millennia ago.

We are designed to give praise and thanks to our Father for who he is, for all of his goodness and favor toward us.( Exodus 34: 6-7) He is merciful and forgiving and we can never give him so much that he would feel obligated to repay us. We, however, can never give to him the full honor and praise that he so rightfully deserves. (Romans 11:35-36)

We say we are thankful with our mouths, but are we truly thankful in our hearts? It is the heart of a person that God sees. He knows the intention and motivations of everyone. (Proverbs 24:12) We cannot fool God by our words.

We have seen his goodness and received his salvation through Jesus Christ. If for only that one act of love; we should be giving continual praise and thanksgiving, regardless of our current temporary circumstances. God knows our needs and if we fill our hearts with praise, he will meet those needs.

Our heart of praise should not be based on our circumstances but on who he is. Start giving thanks for everything good thing you have in your life, and give to him those things that trouble you. You will see that the more you trust him with your life, the more reasons he will give you to praise.

“I will praise the Lord at all times; I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Come let us tell of the Lord’s greatness, let us exalt his name together. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys those trust in him!” (Psalms 34:1-3, 8 NLT)

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Mercy Pick

One of the difficult and defining moments growing up was when it came time to pick teams. Usually those who were the leaders took charge and began to choose from the pool of participants. First called were those whose abilities had the best chance for building a winning team. One by one as the names were called a certain amount of anxiety would begin to rise in those who were waiting, they knew they were not the best, but hoping they were the worst. Those final few were known as the "Mercy Pick". Nobody really wanted them on their teams, but everybody was picked.

It should be comforting to know that God chose you first, before the foundations of the earth. It was not based on anything but his love for you (John 15:16). Every single hair is counted (Matthew 10:30). Every day is numbered and he knew everything you would do before a single day had passed (Psalms 139:16). When we think of all those who have gone before us, the names of those great heroes of faith, we may wonder where in that list could we place? Feeling we are not as good as they were or hoping were not the worst. The truth is all of us are in the same rank and file as all those who have gone before. God has no favorites.

The Lord called each of us to be on" his team", not based on our abilities but on our faith in him. “For when we are weak”, meaning surrounded by flesh, “then we are strong”, meaning built in faith (2 Corinthians 12: 8-10). The Lord takes a great amount of pleasure in blessing us. So if you are stuck in that “What can I do?” Feeling you cannot add much to the team, remember whose team you are on, and you were first picked!

Copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Truth Behind Guilt and Conviction

The basic difference between Guilt and Conviction is; Guilt separates and Conviction restores. For the child of God, those who have been reborn of the Spirit of God, they should never feel guilt or shame. “For all have sinned, all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins”(Romans 3:23-24 NLT).

We are new creations, the old has gone, and the new has come(2 Corinthians 5:17). Guilt is a lie whispered to unsuspecting, immature Christian from the evil one. It is used in an attempt to seperate you from Jesus and prevent you from living in freedom. Those who fall prey to this lie are still seeking to “earn salvation” (Ephesians 2:8-9) and have unfulfilling Christian lives.

Conviction on the other hand, is a very good thing, it identifies you as a child of God. Is the Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit and correcting you, identifying areas that you have not obeyed the Lord or harboring sin. The gentle stirring of the Holy Spirit guides us to confess our sin and receive forgiveness.“If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of every wrong” (1 John 1:8-9 NLT). It's his way of saying, "let's get rid of this, I want nothing between us." There are other times when the Holy Spirit is guiding you in the way you need to go, to grow your faith.

Those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, suffer from Guilt. They are those who are still under God’s judgment. The heavy burden hangs around their necks and it is something that they can never escape. When the gospel is spoken, the Holy Spirit moves on that person and encourages them to accept Jesus. That is why many people feel so uncomfortable in church or around Christians, because the Holy Spirit is telling them they need Jesus and they struggle to get away from that conviction.

How about you, do you feel that heaviness of separation? Only God can remove that burden. Do you feel uncomfortable when you hear things about Jesus? It should be good news, because you have been chosen by God to be set free. Come to the saving blood and grace of Jesus. Apostle Paul wrote, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead” (Ephesians 2: 4-5 NLT)

copyright@2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Sin of Complaining

In this cynical world we live in, it’s easy to get caught up in complaining. We complain about the weather, our government, our jobs, our friends, our living conditions and even our spouses. What we do not realize with all this complaining, we are vocalizing charges against the One who cares for us. The Lord is the one who provides sunshine and rain, our government. He has given us the ability to make a living to support our families. He has supplied us with friends, shelter, clothing, food, including our mates, those who are to be our biggest supporters.

When the Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel, (Genesis 32:22-28), I believe it was it was a prophecy knowing the struggles and the challenges he would face with this tribe. Israel means, “One who struggles with God” or another definition, “God Struggles.”

As we read the story of the covenant people, otherwise known as descendants from Abraham, we learn that it was no walk in the park for the Lord. They were stubborn and stiff-necked group that were constantly at odds with everyone, including themselves. Very few obeyed the commandments of the Lord or heeded the warnings of the Prophets. They easily turned away from the Lord to follow false gods.

In one of the most powerful stories in scripture tells how the Lord delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Most people are familiar with the ten plagues of Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, but you may not know that the Lord was about to reach his limit with these complaining, defiant and unruly people.

After all the powerful and miraculous signs the Lord performed, they whined and complained all the way to Mount Sinai. When Moses went to meet with God at Mount Sinai, the people quickly reverted to their old sinful ways and they crafted a golden calf. (Exodus 32:1-6).

Because of their continued complaining and disobedience, the Lord rendered this decision, “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron. How long will this wicked nation complain about me? I have heard everything the Israelites have been saying. Now tell them this: “As surely as I live, I will do to you the very things I have heard you say. I the Lord have spoken! You will die here in the wilderness, none of you twenty years or older and were counted in the census will enter the land I swore to give you” (Number 14: 26-30 NLT).

The Lord keeps his promises, but how we respond to him may make the difference of when we receive it. How about you, do you find yourself constantly bickering and complaining? Does your Christian life feel like a wilderness? If so, then you have not entered into the promised land of rest. Jesus came to give us hope and rest. Our lives should be a continual offering of praise and thanksgiving, knowing that the Lord is in complete control. When complaining begins to overwhelm you, give it to the Lord and ask him to change your heart about that particular situation. The Lord will give you the strength to praise him when your heart is set free.

“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep me from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.” (Psalms 19:12-13 NLT).

copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved-

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

When Everything Goes Wrong

One of the most difficult challenges that we Christians face in this walk of faith is believing that we have heard from the Lord and obey the direction, then our world seems to fall apart. This is one of the defining moments of faith and a process known as refining. Sometimes when things begin to go wrong, often we will question ourselves if we truly heard from the Lord. Thinking we have misunderstood, we might dismiss the direction and go back to the way we used to do things, short circuiting God’s purpose.This is a lie of the evil one who wants you to lose faith. There are other times when we might begin thinking we have become tangled up in sin and begin confessing any sin that might come to mind. Finally, when there seems to be no relief in sight, we might even question the Lord or remind him we are on the same side.

I believe that this response stems from living in a world of conditional love. We are raised in a performance-based system. If we do the right things, we will receive rewards, if we do the wrong things, then we will receive punishment. We carry this conditioning into our relationship with Jesus. Anytime things go wrong, we believe we are being punished, and anytime things are good, we believe that we are being rewarded. It takes time with the Lord to begin to understand his love and his methods.

God’s love for us is unconditional, which means he loves us without condition. This concept is very difficult for us grasp, but the Bible explains this in detail. One of the first passages of scripture we were taught as a child is, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Some may even identify a condition within this verse, but the fact is God always initiates love. He loved, He gave and it was not based on performance.

Being in the center of God’s Will, can be a place of difficulty and pain. When Jesus died on the cross, he was in the center of God’s will. When the children of Israel triumphed over their enemies, they were in the center of God’s will and when they sent to Babylon, they were also in the center of God’s will. It is difficult to understand the perfect will of God from our prospective. Our limited vision of the things of God will cause us to misunderstand God’s ways.

So what does it mean when we are obeying God, but everything seems to be going wrong? James put it this way, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy” (James 1:2 NLT).

Joy? What is he nuts? No, James continues, “For when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow, for when your endurance if fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything” (James 1:3-4 NLT). God has initiated a spiritual growth-training program that will not only grow our character or “image of Christ”, and will deepen our understanding of him.

Peter wrote, “These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It’s being tested as fire tests and purifies gold, and you faith is more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7 NLT).

When God is molding you and shaping you into the image of Jesus, it will be painful, but the end result is the ability to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. The proverbs say, “My child, don’t ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, and don’t be discouraged when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT).

Discipline is the evidence of love, if God did not discipline you, then we could never grow. If God didn’t love you, he would not correct you, but leave you to your own ways. In these trials, the Lord is preparing you for service, which is more than you can imagine. Think of all the great men and women of the Bible, they all suffered through difficult circumstances, but in the end, their sights and hope was set directly on God Almighty, who carried them through and completed their purpose and they arrived safely to their destination.

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Choosing Wisely

We make literally thousands of decisions a day never fully comprehending how those choices affect future events. Sometimes we feel we are just going through the motions of everyday life; going to school, work, or shopping. In one moment, our paths cross with another and we are changed. We like to believe that we are the masters of our own destiny, when in fact we are on a predetermined course orchestrated in love by Almighty God.

The Lord designed us for a special purpose yet, there are times when we have made a wrong decision. The path we are on is way out of sequence with our purpose. Something strange or fantastic will occur and a course correction is made. These special encounters are known as “divine appointments” or “divine interventions.” The specific timing of these events are perfect. Many people have a different idea of these happenings; some called them coincidences or chance. All those seemly random events that appear to mean nothing but in hindsight, they expose a purpose and relevance to a current situation.

There are many descriptions of these types of course corrections in the Word of God, which give details how these events affected people, nations and lives that were forever altered. Some changes were for the good and other events, were not so good. One story is in the Old Testament book of Ruth. A small family from Bethlehem left their home because of a famine and moved to Moab. During their stay, the father died and the sons married two Moabite women, which was forbidden by the Law of Moses, and they died a decade later.

Naomi, the mother was now deeply distressed, she had lost everything, there was no way that she could provide for these women and herself. She had heard the famine had passed in Bethlehem, so she decided to go home. On the way, Naomi realized that her daughters–in-law would not be accepted in her homeland. So she made a decision to send them back to their families, but Ruth refused to leave Naomi.

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God. I will die where you die and will be buried there. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” (Ruth 1:16-17 NLT). Ruth had made a choice to honor Naomi and her husband’s memory by fully submitting her life to serve Naomi who had nothing to offer her and to trust the God of Israel.

The Lord had given Ruth the desire to stay with Naomi, which kept her on the right path. Once back home, Naomi carefully instructed Ruth on the customs of the land and waited for the right time to aide in the marriage arrangement.

What were the odds she would begin working in a field owned by unknown relative? Was this a chance encounter in which she caught the eye of the man who would be her future husband? No, this was her destiny, a planned purpose that she could not have chosen. The Lord blessed Ruth for her obedience that led her straight into his purpose. Ruth married Boaz and their son was Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse who in turn was the father of David. Through obedience to her call and the courage to continue, Ruth was included in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

How about you, do you think there is a master plan for your life? Do you think that things just happen? Do you step out in faith, not sure of the end result? We on an adventure, moving through life on a predetermined route, that we cannot see. Will you trust the Lord to lead you to your destiny, fulfilling your purpose?
“For I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Copyright©2009 tathorpe –All Rights Reserved-

Friday, October 30, 2009

Scary Stories

What is it about a scary story that so intrigues us? Ever notice how quickly the tales spin around a campfire, especially when children are present. My memories of summer camp are when it came time for “lights out” that was when everyone would huddle around and someone would grab a flashlight. Holding it under their chin, they begin telling their scariest story and then each in turn would tell a tale trying to out do the last. First, we’d giggle and then everyone would get really quite, listening for any strange noises, there were always strange noises. I didn’t sleep much at camp.

Why we are so preoccupied with death and the afterlife? Something in our very core tells us there is something more. Every culture on earth has myths and legends about ghosts, spirits and ideas of the afterlife. The Egyptians built the great tombs and filled them with supplies for the afterlife. Many other cultures would bury prized possessions with their loved ones, even some Christian traditions continue to this day, placing a token of some sort with the deceased, hoping it will gain them access into the heavenly realm. The ancient Celts had a tradition called Samhain, which was not only a celebration of the harvest, but also a belief that the division between the spirit world and the physical world became thinner. During this time they believed the spirits of their ancestors would come and visit with them. This festival is still practiced in some regions.

The Bible reveals the spiritual dimension and the truth about it. Whenever the Lord sent one of his angels to the people, they were very frightened, some fainted and could not speak (Daniel 8:17-18, Luke 1:19-20). The disciples thought that Jesus was a ghost, when he came walking on the water to them (Matthew 14:25-27). Peter, James and John were privileged to witness the transfiguration of Jesus in his glory as the Son of God (Mark 9: 2-9). When Jesus rose from the dead, Mary grabbed him to make sure he was real (John 20:14-17). The Roman guards fainted as dead men when the angels of God appeared at the tomb of Jesus (Matthew 28:1-4).

The Bible is God’s revealed word to us and it is trustworthy and true. He has told us these things not to scare us, but to make us aware of the evil that is all around us. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle, that we can’t see but we know is there. Jesus told us of the enemy, who is the father of all lies and whose game plan is to kill, steal and destroy all of humanity. (John 8:44, 10:10). Whenever we are lulled into a false sense of this spiritual warfare or fall victim to its ways, we have One who has come to give us victory. Jesus Christ defeated Satan and his legions at the cross. The battle is won! Why doesn’t it seem to be that way?

Almighty God is continuing his plan of redemption. Our job as the “redeemed” or the“bride of Christ” is to tell those who continue in darkness, that salvation has come. No longer do we have to feel lost, confused, and defeated by the tricks and strategies of the Devil. Satan does not want you to know that the battle has been won and he will use every trick to keep you away from the truth about Jesus Christ and the power of his blood.

Jesus said, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave to sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36 NLT).

Are you afraid of death? Does the thought of the unknown frighten you? Then come to Jesus, let him relieve your fears of death and the unknown. When you accept him as your Lord and Savior the Holy Spirit will come to live within you and will lead you into all truth. The Apostle John told us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have won your fight with these false prophets, because the spirit that lives in you is greater than the spirit that lives in the world” (1 John 4:4 NLT)

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Church Clothes

Nothing breaks my heart more than a person not wanting to come to church fearing judgment by what they wear or how they look. The church has portrayed such an unwelcoming image, that people do not feel drawn to seek Jesus. We have poorly represented the One who laid down his life to save us sinners. I don’t know where the idea came from that someone had to “have it all together” or “clean up their act” before they can come to Jesus.

Jesus had the reputation of hanging out with the “scum of the earth.” Many of the ones he called to be his followers and apostles were tax collectors who robbed their own people and sided with the Romans. Also, prostitutes, lepers, blind, poor, cripple and formally demon possessed, they all wanted to follow him. People who were utterly helpless, because of what society perceived as, “their sin or that of their parents” (Exodus 20:5), he welcomed with open arms. There were no social services to aide them, if the infirmed were without family or someone to pity them, they would die.

Jesus showed God’s love to those who were without help and without hope, by healing them, feeding them and teaching them God’s true ways. The outcasts of society were the people he called his friends. Mark recants an event that should remind us how Jesus taught. He had just called Levi, a local tax collector to be his follower.

“That night Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to be his dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many notorious sinners. (There were many people of this kind among the crowds that followed Jesus). But when some of the teachers of the religious law, who were Pharisees saw him eating with people like that, they said to his disciples, “why does he eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor--sick people do. I have come to call sinners, not those who think they are already good enough.”” (Mark 2: 13-17 NLT).

As Christians, we have all been guilty of the “sin of the Pharisee” at some point in our Christian life. We have looked down on others and passed judgment on them and their lifestyle. Born Again Christians are those who have experienced the Lord's grace and redeeming power. Their life is growing and being filled with love for all people. All of us are a work in progress!

I feel a need to apologize to all those who came looking for Jesus and found judgment from those who claim to represent Christ. That is not who Jesus is, he loves you and gave his life to pay the penalty of your sin. Sin means living life on your own terms, completely disregarding the awesome power of God’s presence. Jesus came to give you new life, restore what was lost, and not burden you with a set of rules and regulations to follow. The only thing he asks in return is that you learn to obey him and trust him, no matter what comes your way.

If this has been your experience, please try again. Jesus will not refuse you. Seek him out in His Word, start in the New Testament and read the four accounts called the Gospels, which means “Good News” and you will discover the real Jesus. Come to him in a simple prayer, admit you have sinned against him, ask for forgiveness and thank him for his compassionate love for you. If you do this you will received his gift of salvation and eternal security.

Copyright©2009 tathorpe –All Rights Reserved-

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Bitterness- The Seed of Death

It is impossible to walk through life without getting your toes stepped on or stepping on someone else’s. A careless word or remark can sting. We have all suffered from the effects at one time or another. The real problem is not that we’ve been hurt, but how we handle it. The offended person has only two choices, release the offender of the offence, which is called: Forgiveness. Or refuse to let the offender off the hook, which is called: Vengeance.

If someone holds onto the offense, then the seed of bitterness has been planted. In that nanosecond, they have judged a person unworthy of love or forgiveness. The seed of bitterness grows at a rapid pace, bringing death to a relationship.

The Apostle Paul warned us, “Don’t sin by allowing anger to gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. For anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.”
(Ephesians 4:26-27 NLT).

God is all about relationships and he enjoys it when his children are growing in his unconditional love. This is so close to the heart of God that holding on to vengeance grieves the Holy Spirit. The Lord will not accept your prayers or offerings if there is bitterness and anger between you and another.

Jesus taught, “If you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.” (Matthew 5:23-24 NLT).

“Do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander as well as all types of malice behavior. Instead, be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you”
(Ephesians 4:30-32 NLT).

If we are the offender, the moment we become aware that we have offended someone; we need to apologize and ask forgiveness, which diffuses bitterness. If an apology is offered with a sincere motive and is accepted, then it’s a “no harm no foul” situation, which pleases the Lord.

How do you know if bitterness has taken root in your life? Is there a person at school, work, home or church that you avoid? Is there pain and anger associated when you see them or the mention of their name? If you answered YES, then bitterness has grown in your heart. You must forgive the offender, ask God to help you.

Forgiveness is the hallmark of the child of God. The benefits of forgiveness are: Peace with God and others, Your joy will overflow and love for all people is increased. If bitterness is allowed to grow, it can cost so much more than temporary revenge, it will cost you your spiritual health. Jesus said, “Forgive and you will be forgiven”
(Luke 6:37).

copyright©2009 tathorpe-All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Laughter, the Song of Life

Laughter is contagious. You don’t have to see a person laughing to feel its effects. The sound of laughter is music in the ears of God. He made everything for our enjoyment, and it gave him great pleasure. Our world being as it is, there is very little to laugh about. It is easy to become depressed with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, but don’t let that rob you of your purpose to enjoy. God designed us in his wisdom, knowing that we would become separated from him, which would lead to suffering and tremendous pain. So he designed the gift of laughter to relieve us.

Do you think God laughs? Not a chuckle or giggle, but a full on belly-roll that brings tears to his eyes? I have looked through scripture and I can’t find anything like that, but I know it exists. We are created in His image, full of emotions, but somehow we imagine God as solemn, void of expression or wearing a disappointed look. That could not be further from the truth.

Health professionals know that laughter and joy release endorphins in our bloodstream, which counter the effects of stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine. If stress hormones are elevated for a long period, they inflict damage on our immune system, which in turn leads to all kinds of serious health and mental issues. Laughing for just a few minutes will increase our health and mental well-being.

Jesus is the full emotional expression of God. Jesus laughed, joked, cried and felt everything we feel, he loved being with us. When we allow anything to rob us of our laughter, it saddens the Lord’s heart. Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27 NLT). He has given us his peace, total security that he is in complete control, so we can relax and enjoy.

When the deceiver whispers in our ears and reminds us of the harsh reality of our circumstance, just laugh, it will send him running. Everyday is another opportunity to find pleasure in life, joy and laughter. Everyday is a gift from God and he wants us to rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24). If you need to laugh, watch some kittens play or listen to the carefree giggle of a young child. Share a laugh today, it‘s contagious!!

Copyright©2009tathorpe-All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stumbling in Darkness

There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night and stubbing your toe on something, hobbling around in pain then falling into something else. When we switch on the light, we see the culprit that caused our pain. That is what it is like before Jesus. We were born into the kingdom of darkness. We are apt to stumble from one injury to the next. Proverbs states, “The way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over” (Proverbs 4:19 NLT).

At some point, we just accept “this is the way it is”, until something made us wonder. It may have begun simply looking at the night sky, having a sense that something greater is at work. It may have been the changing of the seasons, a baby’s cry or the kindness of a stranger. Something put our feet on the path toward the light.

Light by its very existence dispels darkness and it cannot exist in its presence. Light reveals the truth of our surroundings; it exposes fear, doubt and insecurity. Jesus said I am the Light of the World! By this statement, he said, “I am the Truth, I expose darkness and uncertainty, it cannot exist in my presence.” So why do so many continue to stumble? Jesus gave us the answer:

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. There is no judgment awaiting those who trust him. But those who do not trust him have already been judged for not believing in the only Son of God. Their judgment is based on this fact: The light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the light for their actions were evil. They hate the light because they want to sin in darkness. They stay away from the light for fear their sins will be exposed and they will be punished. But those who do what is right come to the light gladly, so everyone can see that they are doing what God wants.” (John 3: 17-21 NLT)

You don’t have to stumble in darkness any longer. Come to Jesus, let him expose what has caused you to stumble.

Copyright©2009tathorpe-All rights reserved

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Look Like Your Father

When someone would say that I reminded them of my father, I felt a sense of pride. I wanted to grow up to be just like my father. He was witty, charming, and generous. I liked the way people responded to his happy-go-lucky attitude. He was not perfect by any means, but my father always gave everything his best shot.

Jesus was the exact representation of his Father yet no one, including those closest to him, would believe that he and his Father were the same. Toward the end of his earthly ministry, he became quite poignant about the fact that his time was quickly coming to an end. In one conversation with his disciples, he told them he was going to prepare a place for them, and then he would return when everything was ready. The Apostle John recorded this conversation:

“No, we don’t know Lord, Thomas said, “We haven’t any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on, you have known him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Philip, don’t you even yet know who I am, even after all this time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So, why are you asking to see him?”” (John 14:5-9 NLT)

I am sure those comments stung a bit, but he patiently tried to make them understand, it wasn't until much later that they did. Much of our perception is primarily based on physical appearances. The disciples could not see beyond the flesh to see the Father. The flesh is of no consequence, but the spirit in you is what reveals your true character. How about you, does your life reflect who your father is? Can people see Jesus in you?

Copyright©2009tathorpe All Rights reserved

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Launching This Adventure

Stepping from the shadows into the light is always a difficult challenge for me. I am excited and blessed to begin this adventure with you. I have had my wavering back and forth about beginning a blog, but through some encouragement, prayers and a lot of faith, here I am.

I love Jesus! and I am not afraid to say. I am not ashamed of Jesus, he held nothing back and submitted himself to cruelty to saved me. Through his unimaginable gift, I have received more that I can imagine this side of heaven. Many things I write will be thought provoking, simply because I am not afraid to take on somethings related to Christianity that others shy away from. I am not into the mystical side of Christianity, but I do have a living, breathing, daily walk with Jesus, that I want to share with you.

I hope you will enjoy my pondering and share them with those you love. We walk together through this life, fighting and squabbling among each other is not the way of love. Seeking to develop a deeper relationship with God and His unconditional love is my goal, I hope it is yours as well.

With Blessings

Copyright@2009Tathorpe All rights reserved