Celebrating Jesus at Easter and Beyond

Victories, we all have them, but do we take time to celebrate? Lessons I learn while climbing a mountain.

I Need to Join a Gym

We made it to marker 3 without incidence. It wasn’t an easy climb, the steep path twisted and turned through trees whose roots protruded above ground while rocks acted as stepping/tripping stones. Pausing, we turned to look to the valley, but no view was to be seen as the trees blocked our line of sight; still, we appreciated how far we had come.

Onwards and upwards my grandson and I climbed, the higher we went the more rocky it became. I’m telling you I don’t remember the climb being so rocky, but then it had been twenty years since I last climbed Pinnacle Mountain. My out-of-condition thighs were starting to feel as wobbly as jelly, a few more rest stops were going to be needed before we would reach the summit. At each marker we celebrated our progress.

Standing in Awe

Somewhere between marker 6 and marker 7 I stopped to look back at hikers a few steps behind us. The were quicker at climbing than me and I wondered if I needed to let them pass. I wondered no more, when my eyes fell on a beautiful picturesque scene of tree covered rolling hills framing a calm lake in the valley below. Together, Nana and grandson stood in awe of God’s handiwork. I love how my 5 year old grandson appreciates the beauty of nature.

My fatigued legs finally reached marker 10E. Woohoo! We had arrived. We had reached our goal. We had conquered the mountain, and we sat there perched on the rocky crest with our birds eye view of the Arkansas River winding its way down towards the Mississippi. And we celebrated!

Easter Celebration, Not Just For Easter

Easter weekend, for those who know Jesus as their personal savior is a time of remembering and celebrating what Jesus accomplished on the cross and through His resurrection. Although Easter is a wonderful time in the church calendar, I am glad we are not restricted to one weekend a year to remember and celebrate His victory.

 

Because Jesus is victorious; we are victorious.

 

As we journey with Jesus through this thing called life may we take time out to pause and celebrate what He has done in our lives. Celebrate the small and the large steps forward. Celebrate even when we can’t see for the trees. Celebrate when a clearing appears and stand back and admire His handiwork of grace. Celebrate each victory, each hurdle overcome. Each lie renounced. Because Jesus is victorious; we are victorious. We don’t fight for a victory, we stand in victory with Jesus.

 

“Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:24

 

I love how the Lord never leaves us but stays close by on this path we call life, how He holds our hand in smooth and rough terrain. We are His and His grip is secure.

I pray you have a wonderful Easter celebrating Jesus. Feel free to Brag on God in the comments and share a victory He has done in your life.

What is your favorite Easter candy? Mine is Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His radiance.

Photo Credit: Laura Vinck: Unsplash

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Into The Deep: Worship on Wednesday

Worship on Wednesday, a time to honor and be refreshed in the Lord. #singanewsong #worshiponwednesday

 

Dry spells in our Christian walk are not uncommon, I have experienced those times myself on more than one occasion. Times when the joy of the Lord seems to have evaporated into thin air. Times when praying feels more like a conversation with the ceiling, than talking with my Heavenly Father. Times when church was a place to attend, rather than being part of the body of Christ. My dry spells occur when my focus is not on the Lord. When I’m caught up in doing things for Christ rather than abiding in Christ.

“When my hands stretch out towards the sky you never let me run dry.

When I dive into the depth of you my heart is made anew Jesus in you.”  (Into The Deep: Citipointe)

When we dive into a relationship with the Lord, the living water of His love refreshes us. Being immersed in His love will result in no more dry spells. Are you ready to dive headlong into His love? I am.

Father, we long to go deeper to be immersed in your presence. Take us deeper Lord. Amen

I give you Citipointe singing Into The Deep; enjoy!

Helena

 

 

 

Why I Couldn’t Hear From the Lord

I needed to know if I was in the Lord’s will before pursuing a course of action. I prayed. I asked for direction.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero communication; at least that is how it seemed from my end.

I texted a friend. She loved the original idea and saw no reason for me to change course. I wasn’t convinced. There was something inside me urging me to change, to move forward, to improve as the orginial idea now seemed sub-standard.

What was I missing? Why couldn’t I hear from the Lord? Why wasn’t he giving me the answer I desprately requested?

why I couldn't hear from God: What was the cause of the hindrance? We all have moments when we need an answer from God and all we seem to get is silence. #hearingGod #thehindrancethatblockedmyhearing

Taking Matters into Our Own Hands

The Philistine army had gathered against Israel. 1 Samuel 28:5 tells us, “When Saul saw the vast Philistine army, he became frantic with fear.” He needed answers and he wasn’t hearing from God, so Saul had his men search out a medium and they found one in Endor.

King Saul had given up waiting for an answer and took matters into his own hands. Not a wise choice, but let’s be real we have all probably given up waiting for God’s answer and found one we like through other venues.

Doing It the Right Way

When David was King he had the privilge of bringing the Ark of God from Judah to Jerusalem. On the way one of David’s men, Uzzah, tried to stop the Ark of God from falling off the cart when the oxen pulling it stumbled. Who of us have not on occassion tried to give God a helping hand? Uzzah was struck dead, David was angry and afraid to take the Ark of God into Jerusalem, so he put his dream on hold and he left the Ark of God at the home of Obed-edom.

2 Samuel 6:13 “Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the LORD our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.”

Three months later, David suceeded in bring the Ark of God to Jerusalem when he did it according to God’s instructions.

Moving Out to Move In

For months my mind sought out an answer. I asked friends. I Googled. I read articles. I prayed asking the Lord to help me come to a decision soon. All this indecision was taxing my mind. I didn’t want to continue looking for answers in other places as if I was helping God out. I needed, wanted, to do it properly according to God’s instructions.

I discovered recently my urge to change and move forward, the thinking that the orginal idea was substandard all came out of pride. I had fallen into the comparison trap; not a good place to be. Coming before my Heavenly Father I asked for forgiveness and I moved out of pride and into His perfect plan.

Saul in his pride gave up on God. David in his pride failed to ask God for specific instructions. I in my pride compared myself to those further along them me, and I was not enough.

Let pride go and move into His perfect will.

Pride will look different to each of us. How has it presented itself to you? Share your thoughts in the comments, I look forward to hearing from you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

If you have found this post helpful share it with a friend, they may be in need of your encouragement.

Photo Credit: Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Desire: Worship on Wednesday

Worship on Wednesday is a time to come together and lift our hearts with song to the Lord.

Have you ever walked in late to worship at church? I have on a few occasions and honestly I found it difficult to enter in, almost like I was trying to play catch-up bringing my heart into line. Well today I feel like I am playing catch-up with the Worship on Wednesday post.

Life happens, we procrastinate and time goes by so we decide to put things off until tomorrow. Today is my tomorrow so to speak and my plans to write early went by the board with one phone call.

Daughter: “Mam, the baby has a temp, don’t think she should go to daycare.”

Me (sighing): “Bring her to me.”

The baby who will be three in July is now fast asleep, and so here I am playing press the keys as fast as I can before she wakes up. I know those of you with young children understand where I’m coming from.

This week for Worship on Wednesday I have chosen One Desire, from NLC Worship album Our God & Our King.

“Yours is the love of my heart, Lord Jesus. Desperate I pour out my life. To gaze on your beauty and worth forever. You’re my one desire.”

May Jesus be our one desire.

Helena

 

 

Forgiveness: The Key to Healing

Forgiveness. We love to receive it, but it’s so hard to give when we are the one who hurts. Instead we hold onto the offense nurturing the wound on a minute by minute schedule. We rehash the scene/words over and over and practice what we will say when next we meet the person. Quite a mini series playing out in our imagination. Oh yes, I have been there and done that too.

“And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors [letting go of both the wrong and the resentment]. Matthew 6:12

Forgiveness: The Key to Healing. Offense hurts, we can choose to wallow in unforgiveness or be healed. Misconceptions regarding forgiveness.

Use the Key

The key to healing is forgiveness. Choosing not to allow the offense to fester, but rather to nip it in the bud. This had worked for me on many occasions, sparing me the pain of a rotting wound.

I have been on the receiving end and have also been the offender many times. Some offensives I have done on purpose (shocking I know). I have also been totally unaware that I had offended, but offend I did. Could it be that when I have been offended, the other person had no clue to the offense they had caused.

One such occasion comes to mind. I was already stressed; frazzled to be exact. I was sleep deprived and my skill set was stretched way outside its normal comfort zone. I was emotionally, mentally and physically spent while at the same time trying to cope with everyday life and look good doing it. It’s just like Satan to kick us when we are already feeling down.

I felt betrayed, but instead of forgiving on the spot, I busied myself with the task at hand. As I lay exhausted in my bed that night my mind replayed the scene. The already gut wrenching hurt increased with each negative thought.

Jesus answered  him, “I say to you, not up to seven times, but seventy times seven. Matthew 18:22

By morning I had chosen to forgive, more out of obedience to the Lord than a deep love for the person. Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling and I chose often, sometimes, several times a day. It took seven months before I felt release from the offense.

Though the person had not intended to hurt me by their action, it was nevertheless painful. It was a perceived offense but a very real hurt. Had I not obeyed God’s word to forgive, I would still be holding a grudge today.

Not all offenses are perceived, many offenses are intentional. Either way they hurt. Both perceived and intentional offenses need forgiving if we are to receive healing.

More Than a Business Deal

When we choose to forgive it doesn’t mean the offense or hurt wasn’t real. No-one is going to perform a lobotomy on our brain so we forget, but with healing from the Lord it will become a memory viewed from the side of victory. The offender does not have to do anything in order for us to forgive them, if they do, then it’s not real forgiveness on our part, rather it is a business deal.

I have heard people say that they won’t forgive because they cannot trust the person. News Alert! Forgiveness does not mean we have to trust the offender again. Sometimes trust can be rebuilt over time, but in some instances distance is best.

Father, help us learn to forgive quickly, like you. Heal our broken hearts and renew your spirit of gentleness and love in us. Help us to live in the light of your radiance and not in the darkness of unforgiveness. We can choose to forgive because we have been forgiven by you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

If you have found this post helpful, please share it with a friend who may need encouragement right now.

 

 

 

 

Worship on Wednesday: Reckless Love

Windshield wipers were full-on working hard to give me a clear view of the road as dark, heavy clouds continued to empty their water load upon an already wet Central Arkansas. I was not going to let the rain deter me from going to the worship night at church.

Worship on Wednesday is a time to come together and lift our hearts with song to the Lord.

When you are familiar with a song it’s easier to enter into worship as you don’t have to concentrate on the words. With my hands still raised and my eyes still closed, one of the worship team members began to sing these words;

“Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me. You have been so, so good to me.

Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me. You have been so, so kind to me.”

Gentle, reassuring words. Words I knew were true in my own life. He has been so, so good and, oh so kind to me. Not knowing the song I opened my eyes to read the words on the large screen.

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

I was hooked. So much truth in one song. God’s love for you and I overwhelms us in a good way. I am so glad that God chases us (me) with His love. A love that stays the course throughout eternity.

Listen to Cory Asbury sing Reckless Love. Let the words sink deep into your soul and be encouraged today that God is for you.

Helena

 

Out With the Old and In With the New: Healing our Thought Life

While I can’t claim that Arkansas has had a hard winter, I can say it certainly has been a wet one. I’m glad the temperatures have been above freezing as I’m not a fan of icy road conditions.

Nevertheless, I was happy to see buds and little white blossoms on the trees lining the main boulevard. Spring was letting the world around her know the old had gone and the new had arrived. Still the temperatures plummet at night to low 30’s F as if winter couldn’t let go.

Healing our thought life. We bring our old way of thinking into our Christian walk, how do we renew our minds? #healingourthoughtlife #Godkickswallsdown

When Old Thoughts Refuse to Go

As Christians we see evidence in our lives of the new life we have in and through Jesus. The freshness of His spirit infusing and regenerating our own spirit. We know we have been changed, yet, old thought patterns clings to us like a winter virus that refuses to go. Galatians 5:1 informs us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…” Don’t know about you but I don’t feel free when my mind is in bondage to lies.

Lies that left me feeling insecure, unwanted and ashamed. I needed healing in my thought belief system. Do you need healing there too?

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2

Savior for Mind

For years I struggled to improve myself as a Christian by trying to do all the things I thought a Christian should do, I didn’t want God to be displeased with me. Try as I did, it didn’t work, my old thought pattern was well established with deep roots. I needed a savoir not only for my spirit, but also for my mind.

I knew the scriptures, had read all the way through the bible several times and memorized many verses, but it wasn’t until I asked God to teach me and show me who He says I am did I see any change. The verses I had learn years before took on new meaning and I claimed them as my own.

And the Walls Came a Tumbling Down

Walls that had built up were now tumbling down though some took longer than others to fall. I would love to tell you all my walls are fully down but they are not. They are weaker than they once were and are in the process of collapsing. The Lord is at work healing me as my mind stays fixed on Him and who His Word says I am.

Stop trying to change yourself, the Lord will do the same for you. He is madly in love with you and wants you to be truly free in Him. I leave you a few lines from the song Reckless by Bethel Music.

“There’s no wall You won’t kick down. Lie You won’t tear down. Coming after me.”

Thankful that our Heavenly Father is in the demolition business on our behalf. Thankful the old has gone and the new is here.

What walls has the Lord kicked down or lies has he torn down for you? You can brag on God in the comments.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Reminder: Clocks go forward one hour on March 11th for all living in the USA. Suggestion for you, change your clocks before you go to bed on March 10th. That way you won’t be late for church on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Shendy Subroto/Unsplash