Journey

Journey

Do you think you have outrun God’s love? Maybe you were never really good enough? How about you’ve gone too far off the path into the woods and He can’t find you? You’ve never really had a relationship or know how to have a relationship with Him? I know the familiarity of those statements. But now I could not imagine my life without Him in it. I want to encourage you, none of the above are true or have to remain. The Lord is waiting patiently for you, His arms are open wide, and He wants nothing more than to hold you close.

It might not be an easy start. Where does someone start? Its personal, but it is simple. Because He is waiting for you, just ask Him into your heart. He is listening. You don’t have to be at church, sitting in a pew with the help of a pastor. You can be in your car sitting in your driveway. TALK TO HIM! You don’t know how? Just like you would to anyone you know, He’s known you since before you were born. Tell Him you are ready, and I’m certain it will flow from there. Tears might flow too, so keep a tissue handy. When the Holy Spirit moves, I’ve notice tears move too, at least for me.

Talk to Jesus people. There are a lot of us! You can usually tell who we are. And we REALLY like to talk about Jesus. But I promise, we won’t try to control your relationship with Him. That is yours alone. We all have to forge our own path with Him but He built us to be a community, a church. Understand the church doesn’t always mean a building you visit on Sundays with a preacher. The church is us, believers, linked together because He loves us, we love Him, and because of that we love each other. If you find a church to attend with fellowship and people to love on, I urge you to be there. But I will not push that. I push your relationship with Jesus first, and foremost. The rest will come naturally.

I can tell you my journey has been nothing like I would have guessed, but that’s what is special about our God. He sees, He knows, He is patient, and He will work it all for our good!

I grew up knowing there was a God and a bible but not much more. Both of my parents were hard workers (mom still is) and church just didn’t happen because their schedules didn’t allow for it. Neither of my parents pushed any ideas of religion on me, so I had to form my own ideas. Growing up, I took the easy path, “I’m not religious, but you could call me spiritual”. Looking back, who knows what that even meant, I sure didn’t. Maybe another way of saying I was confused. Fast forward through my confusing years to the beginning of Christian journey, like many of them, it started with pain…

March 2009, I was working as a dental assistant for a FANTASTIC group. The doctors I worked for ran a faith and family based office. My coworkers grounded me, loved on me, supported me, and lifted me. That job had started to change me from the inside out. One of girls even played Christian music, which soon held a special place in my heart. The 2nd was just like any other day at the office, except my mom had called me and asked that I come straight home to see her. I felt an ache in my heart, but couldn’t place why. When I got home I realized what I had been feeling was just the beginning of an ache that could only be healed by someone I did not know yet.

My dad had been in an accident. 

The words echoed through my head. I collapsed on the floor like a scene from a movie. Tears streamed down my face and questions spilled out as my mom looked on calm as she could be. She explained to me that my dad, my hero, my rock, had fallen walking into a truck stop for coffee, broken his neck, and he was paralyzed from the neck down. I don’t remember much else from that evening except we worked out a plan that I would go to him while he was being stabilized, before surgery. My mom would go switch places with me for the surgery. So my cousin, the angel she is, packed me up, and on the train we were, northbound for Stamford Connecticut.  I spent most of that week in the ICU waiting room, my dad was very tired, his body had experienced a trauma many of us will never know. I would cherish even the 20 or 30 minutes he would be awake for me to spend with him each day, even though I wasn’t sure he would remember I was there. Here’s the thing, someone else was there with me. I know Jesus met me there. Right there in that waiting room. He had been waiting so long for me to cry out to Him, to reach out, and when I finally did, like who He is, He showed up big time!

I could have never predicted that during the biggest trial of my life, I could feel so much peace and love. I was new to this all. I didn’t really know what was going on, I just knew that I was going to be okay, I knew mom was going to be okay, I knew my dad was going to be okay. Now, my dad didn’t just get up and walk, to this day he is still in a wheelchair, quadriplegic for a technical diagnosis.

The Lord has done amazing things through my dad’s injury. He has allowed my dad to touch so many lives. He has proven time and again how He always provides for my family. He never leaves us, forsakes us, and has given my dad, our family this story for a reason.

I know my story started there, my testimony… And I had no idea what I was doing. I spoke to Jesus just like He was my best friend, because He is. I cried out. When I started living a life with Jesus, it was like nothing I’ve ever known before.

I’ve stumbled so many times along the way, but He has never left my side. I need nothing more than Jesus in my life because the Lord goes before me. I do not have to be afriad, even if a situation seems hopeless.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lordwill personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Deuteronomy 1:30 

The Lord your God is going ahead of you. He will fight for you, just as you saw him do in Egypt.

I want EVERYONE to know the God I know!

Jesus is full of tender love and compassion for us. We serve a God whose own heart is touched by our hardships. There is nothing that our God cannot do. There is no situation His power cannot affect and change in a positive way. We only have to LET HIM do His work in us and over our lives.

Check out the following passage from Luke to see exactly what I mean about God’s mercy over our hardships, how if we just look to Him, He will move on our behalf :

Luke 7: 11-17

Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son
Soon afterward Jesus went with his disciples to the village of Nain, and a large crowd followed him. A funeral procession was coming out as he approached the village gate. The young man who had died was a widow’s only son, and a large crowd from the village was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said. Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.” Then the dead boy sat up and began to talk! And Jesus gave him back to his mother. Great fear swept the crowd, and they praised God, saying, “A mighty prophet has risen among us,” and “God has visited his people today.” And the news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding countryside.
Just like that last line, the good news should spread like wildfire! The gospel will change your life! Adversity will still come. Life will still be hard. Christianity is not an easy pass to the rest of your days on this side of the blue. What it does promise, is a Saviour who will never leave your side. One who will help you through all battles you face because He has already achieved victory. And you will have an eternal life with Him in Heaven when your life here is done beyond what you can ever imagine!
Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life! 
Pray with me…
Lord, thank You for allowing us to live in Your Son’s victory. His blood was shed so we could be freed from all of our sins. Thank You for a tender heart of love when hardships come our way. Lord, I pray for everyone yearning for a relationship with You that doesn’t know where to start or those who just desire to go deeper. I know You, and that You will show them a way and open their hearts. You are faithful! You have never failed us!
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Dear John

Dear John

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

So the first sentence, yea that part pretty much sucks. I know, and it is part of our every day battle. Remember when you gave your life over to Christ, and there was the promise of it not being easy but always being worth it? The devil is chasing after us. He wants us, he wants to win us over, back on his side. He will do whatever it takes to bring back believers from the arms of Jesus. An empty soul is worthless to the devil, but a soul full of joy and love for the Lord, that is a prize to him, that is why he fights so hard.

What is being stolen from you today?

What do you feel like is killing you today?

What is destroying you today?

 

I’ll let you in on what steals, kills, and destroys in my life…

 

Gossip. None of us are strangers to it. Often times it is hard NOT to participate. It makes us feel included, no matter who it makes excluded or who it could hurt. It wasn’t until I overheard a conversation about a friend that was very hurtful, and through all of the laughter of the gossipers I left in tears. I knew it was God telling me it was time to change. Now don’t let me fool you, I’m still working on it! I’m still guilty! But I know every single time I get immersed in a place of gossip I don’t belong it steals, kills, and destroys my heart.

Negativity. Is it easy to wear a smile 24/7? I’m not really sure, I do sleep 8 hours. But really, talk about something that will STEAL from me. Being around people who are negative can distort a believer’s vision of the world. We are taught to love and be like Jesus. This is very hard to do when the person next to you is satan. Humor me 🙂 Not really satan, but his best effort to derail us. I’m not immune to negative thoughts! Don’t get me wrong on this one either. Often times I find myself having to give the situation over to the Lord to find peace. Giving into someone else’s negativity will drain you, and for me it steals, kills, and destroys my joy.

Pain or illness. Thats a no brainer. I suffer with chronic migraine. Right off the bat, it can be a stealer of hours, days, vision, and quality of life. I’m sure many times “my head is killing me” has come out of mouth. Is it going to shorten my life, likely not. God knows the number on my days, and I’m doubtful it has anything to do with the pain in my head. Or in my dad’s case, I see how his quadriplegia was sent to be a stealer, killer, and destroyer of his life. Although my father is still in some valleys and climbing some mountains, he is still with us, such an inspiration, and changing so many lives along the way. Often times we give pain or illness the power to do those 3 things the devil desires but God is our great healer! Placed in His hands, we can truly heal or even through suffering we can see His glory revealed.

Being in this world but not of this world is going to bring us troubles, struggles, and pressures not everyone is going to understand. We will NEVER be persecuted like Jesus  was or His disciples. We likely won’t face a day where we will have to choose death or following Christ and praise Him for that!

I’ve seen a few movies and this scene in those has always drawn me in. I have my own versions that play out in my head when I read over it. I wept when I read over these verses today before I started writing. Something about The Good Shepherd & His Sheep moves my heart. I don’t know about you but I will be refusing to give into “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy”. AND I will stand on the promise of “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life”.

John 10:1-21

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”
Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
When he said these things, the people were again divided in their opinions about him. Some said, “He’s demon possessed and out of his mind. Why listen to a man like that?” Others said, “This doesn’t sound like a man possessed by a demon! Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Pray with me…
Thank you Lord for Jesus, my Good Shepherd. The one who sacrificed His life, so I could live forever with You. He has opened my eyes to the truth and I will always be grateful! I will NEVER have to worry about the devil’s desires to steal, kill, or destroy my life because I have life through Your Son and the blood He shed on the cross. No matter what comes my way, I follow You! The praise is to You only!
In Jesus’ Name.
With Love,
Michelle