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Earthen Vessels

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Dear Ones,

2 Corinthians 4:7 – But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (NIV).

The Lord kept bringing this verse to my heart this week.  I kept thinking “treasure”. . . “in jars of clay.”  The King James says “treasure in earthen vessels.”

We have this treasure. . . in us.  That’s what the Scripture tells us.  Where did we get it?  Who gave it to us?  What is it?  Why was it given to us?

So, I backed up to the third chapter of Second Corinthians, and I found: 

8 “will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?9 If the ministry that brought condemnation [the Old Covenant, the law] was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness [the New Covenant]!. . . .12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.. . .16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord[Christ], the veil is taken away.17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (NIV).

Then I thought, “Wow!”  God, you have given us, through Christ and by the Holy Spirit, Your glory!  You have placed it in us, in jars of clay, in earthen vessels!  Your glory!  When we choose Christ, an unveiling occurs, a liberation, a hope that gives us boldness!  You give us transformation!  Your glory transforms us into your image and the glory in us is ever-increasing!  The King James tells us you are taking us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18)!

Why God?  Why did you do this for us?  God Almighty has seen fit to place His glory in us!  Why?  Let’s look.  2 Cor. 4 says:

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . . 13Since we have that same spirit offaith . . . 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (NIV).

So, God has given us a way to face the times in which we are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.  He is telling us that His glory in us will keep us from being crushed, in despair, abandoned, and destroyed.  His glory in us will not allow us to lose heart!  His glory in us gives us the victory!  He has given us a way to come to the awareness that our troubles on this earth are momentary and light compared to the eternal promise we have in Him.  He has given us hope.  His glory in us, His guiding Holy Spirit, gives us eyes that see the unseen.  Because of His hope in us, we can cast our eyes and hearts above the turmoil in this world.  We can find a way out!  We can see the eternal beyond the temporary trouble, and we can share it with those around us. . . to His glory.

If I sit and contemplate all that the glory of God – living in me, transforming me, reaching through me to others, working in others to reach me – provides and accomplishes, I am amazed.  I can hardly fathom it!  I know I am only getting a glimpse, and there is so much more to come!  I am so thankful!  I am in awe of a God who in all of His greatness and grandeur and glory, has seen me worthwhile enough, loved so much, treasured so highly by Him that He has placed His glory, His Spirit, His hope, His power in me.  Words can barely express what He has done for us!  When we receive His gift, we can never walk powerless or defeated again!  When we receive His gift, we can be an answer and a help and a hope to a hurting world!

I can only say “Thank you,” and that is not enough!

Let us take hold of the gift He has given us and walk in the Glory of God,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.

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Let God rescue your heart.

Dear Ones,

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Let God rescue your heart.

Dear ones, of late, it seems I have encountered so many people who are still in pain from the wounds of their past, those who are feeling overwhelmed by the matters of daily life, those who are feeling isolated and alone, those who can’t figure out which way to turn while facing issues of great weight or tragedy or torment, many who see little hope for the future, who feel stuck in the mire.

I want to offer you hope today.

You do not have to struggle helpless and alone.  Reach out to friends.  Reach out to your pastor if you have one.  Reach out to family.  Reach out to God.  Yes, He uses people in your life to bring us counsel and advice, but He is also right there for you with wisdom, compassion, understanding, mercy, and grace – just for you.  When I say that, you may feel that you can’t hear from God or that you are crying out to Him, and you are not getting any answers, or He is not talking to you.  Precious person, God is always talking to you – by His Holy Spirit.  He has promised to never leave you or forsake you (Deut. 31:6).  He has placed in each one of us our spirit, which He has specifically designed to hear from Him.  Our minds are where all of the torment, confusion, uncertainty, self-doubt, and oppression that we may be feeling at the present time spring forth.  Thank God, however, that the spirit which He has placed in you cries out constantly to His Spirit – and the good news is that God answers your search (Matt. 7:7-8).  God designed you to hear from Him.  He designed your spirit to testify with His Spirit (Rom. 8:16).  He designed your spirit to be in communion with His Spirit.  That’s what He accomplished when He sent His beloved child, Christ, to walk this earth with us in fellowship and then to die and be resurrected.  That was God destroying anything that could ever separate you from Him and uniting you with Him, perfectly and forever (Rom. 8:35-39).  That was God’s way of giving us access to everything that He is – perfect love, peace, joy, healing, mercy, rest, understanding, kindness, generosity, grace – the list goes on and on.

So dear one, it may seem like a trite phrase to tell you to run to God in your difficulty, to rest in Him (Mt. 11:28-30), to lay your problems in His hands (1 Pet. 5:7), but that is His design for the rescue of our hearts.  He wants to take whatever it is with which you are burdened and carry it away into His everlasting peace.  When you cry out to Him for wisdom and truth and understanding, He will answer you in your spirit (James 1:5; Psalm 50:15).  He will send people to help you navigate the rough waters.  He will speak to you in a still, small voice.  He will do miracles on your behalf.  He will send you people with wise counsel for your difficulty.  He has promised never to leave you alone (Deut. 31:8; John 14:18).  He has promised you His mercy, lovingkindness, and grace (Lam. 3:22-23).

So today, I urge you to accept what God sent Christ to give you.  Talk to Him, and He will direct your path into ways of peace and help and rest.

With love,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.

 

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God’s Great Love For You!

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Dear Ones,

As I was praying and studying this morning about the love of God, the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, “If my people would truly understand how much I love them, they would never fear again…about anything.”  I thought, “That’s so true, God; I know that inherently in my spirit, but explain it to me.  I want to get to that place where all fear in every situation in my life is nonexistent.  Help me get to a full revelation of that…of Your love for us.”
Well, we all know that great Scripture, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18, KJV).  That’s God’s perfect love for us.  You see, God is love (1 John 4:8).  There is no torment in God, so there is no torment when we know, understand, and receive His love for us.  Thus, we can walk fear free!

So, next, I asked myself, “Why do we fear?”  We fear because we don’t believe our needs are going to be met or because we feel we have to fight for position.  The great thing, though, is that with God, we don’t have to jockey for position as though we were in a horse race trying to be the first to the finish line or first to capture the big purse, the jackpot at the end. . .and with God, we don’t have to gamble.  No!  God is no respecter of persons, and He loves us all uniquely and equally.  He can give each one of us our perfect good without diminishing the good He has intended for another.  It is only our natural way of thinking that causes us to believe that there isn’t enough to go around for everyone.  God never runs out of resources or blessing or plans of goodness for His children!

So, if we focus on how much God loves each of us individually and all of humanity jointly, we can begin to realize that we are not in competition with others to get what we need.  God has a perfect plan for each of us individually and for all of us functioning together.  Consequently, we can rejoice when others do well and see their dreams realized, their needs met.  We can say, “What God has done for others, He will do for me.”  If we focus on trusting God instead of envying another, God is free to pour out perfect plans in each of our lives.  Psalm 112:6-8 says, 

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear.

When we focus on God’s love, we receive confidence; it frees us to love others and bless others, and we cease to act in ways that bring torment, striving, contentions, competitions, and envying into our own lives.  All these things bring roadblocks and hindrances into our lives.  We don’t have to protect ourselves or our own interests when we know God is watching out for us, protecting us, providing for us, healing us, saving us from our own mistakes, establishing good plans for us, correcting us when needed.

Let’s look at 1 John 3:16 (NIV) – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  You see, since we know that God gave His Son for us, and Jesus, the Son, gave His life for us, we can rest assured that there is nothing God wouldn’t do (and hasn’t already done) to help us.  What more can be done than laying one’s life down for another?  That kind of love will never desert or forsake you; it will never leave you to fend for yourself; it is and will always be there to defend, protect, lift up, heal, encourage, and provide.

So, dear one, know and understand God’s great love for you, and fear will have no place in your life!
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.
 

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His Resurrection Life!

Dear Ones,
What is the cross?  It is the crucifixion of the flesh.  Christ went to the cross willingly.  He told God, “Not my will, but thine be done.”  Christ, as a man, in the flesh, submitting His will to the Father, went to the cross willingly and laid down His own life for our salvation.  He crucified His flesh with a spirit of love for us.  


What is the resurrection?  It is God’s Spirit, the Spirit of Love (for God is love), overcoming the flesh!  All flesh was defeated by the Spirit of Love, which God poured out with all great and glorious power to help us!  Every element of the flesh and its work and consequences was defeated by the power of God’s love!  All sin, sickness, poverty, offense, destruction, darkness, evil, every weakness you can imagine (envy, strife, greed, gluttony, selfish motives, oppressions of every kind) was defeated by the power of God by the resurrection of Christ.  The cross gave way to the resurrection!  Death succumbed to life!  Hate disappeared in Love! 


This is how Christ conquered flesh when He walked on this earth!  Every day, as a man, Christ had to choose to let the love of God conquer His will, guide His path, and direct His actions.  Remember, the Holy Spirit was not dispensed until the Day of Pentecost!  Christ had to walk allowing the love of God to rule in Him.


We talk so much about how we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be overcomers in this world, because, yes, God has made us overcomers by His Spirit!  We know the Scriptures.  “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” I am “more than a conqueror through Christ…”  I have the same power that raised Christ from the dead dwelling in me.  Yes!  This is all true!  But…what is that power.  It is the Spirit of Love, God’s Spirit, which is the resurrection power!  It is God’s love spread abroad in our hearts!  That is what defeated death, hell, and the grave at the resurrection!  That is the spirit which give us all power to walk in the Holy Spirit!  


Practically, how do we tap into that great power that God has placed in us to overcome every obstacle we face?  We crucify our flesh – every day, all day!  When I say flesh, I mean any action motivated by thoughts or emotions displeasing to God, any action motivated by emotions counter to the love of God.  You know what it means to walk by your flesh.  It means taking advantage of others, greed, strife, taking offense, envy, choosing to be offended, unforgiveness, dishonesty, retaliation, uncontrolled anger.  The list is endless.  We crucify those fleshly forces the same way Christ did.  We choose to apply God’s love to every situation.  Sometimes, it’s called sacrifice.  Sometimes it’s called obedience.  Sometimes it’s called trust.  Sometimes it’s called giving.  Sometimes it’s called patience.  Sometimes it’s called peace, or humility, or gentleness, or compassion, or mercy.  It is ALWAYS called the love of God shed abroad in our hearts!  We choose to apply His love, directed by the Holy Spirit revealing God’s will to our hearts, to every situation we face and let His love have a perfect work in our lives.  When we weigh our choices against the love of God and line them up in the best way we know how, with His help, we will ALWAYS walk in His overcoming power.  This is how His greatness overcomes our weakness.  This is how we become more than conquerors over the pain and problems of this world.  This is how we unleash our faith to believe He will make His promises come true in our lives.  This is how His almighty, undefeatable, resurrection power is unleashed in us! 


So dear friends, choose to let the Spirit of God’s love dwelling in you, guide your thoughts and actions, crucifying the deeds of the flesh, and you will walk in His Resurrection Life!
Lisa Marie


If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.
 

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God's Love: Our Joy

Dear Ones,

Scripture tells us that “The joy of the Lord is [our] strength,” and  “ Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice” (Neh. 8:10 and Phil. 4:4).  The natural question I think we all ask is, “How can I always rejoice when I am going through hardship?  How can I have God’s joy as my strength when I feel anxious and stressed or fearful about certain difficulties in my life?”

The answer is:  Rest in God’s love for you.  Know that as you lay your problem at His feet, His great love for you will bring you through.  His love for you causes Him to hold you in the palm of His hand.  When you are sure of His love for you, you can know that He will bring the perfect outworking of your situation.  Take joy in knowing that a God bigger than you, bigger than your mountain, is leading you and holding you.  This is true whether or not the mess you are facing is of your own doing or not.  Most messes in which we find ourselves, truth be told, result from our own choices.  Take heart.  God is bigger than your wrong choices and bigger than the injustices of this world.

If your situation is from your own mistakes, intentional or not, repent; seek God’s forgiveness, and He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us (1 Jn. 1:9), and that is immediately, not next year, or next week, or tomorrow, but the moment we ask.

Isaiah 49:13, 16 (speaking about the restoration of Israel) says:  “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains!  For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. . . .See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”  As God is the Restorer, you can rest assured that His love and mercy extend to your situation.

 

As we humble ourselves within the love of God, we can rest knowing He has our best interest at heart.  He brings blessing to our lives.  He makes beauty out of ashes.  He gives us joy in place of mourning.  He replaces heaviness with praise (Isa. 62:3).  Does this mean you will never go through tribulation?  No.  Jesus said we would have trouble in this world (Jn. 16:33), but the key word there is “world.”  That very same verse goes on to say that we find peace (which is also joy) in Christ because He has overcome the world on our behalf.

So, my dear friends, you will find God’s joy as your strength and be able to rejoice knowing that His love for you will help you overcome.  God has not left us as orphans to struggle on our own.  He has given us His precious Holy Spirit to help us, guide us, and live in us as His children, and as His children and followers of Christ, He will love us and show us the way (Jn. 14:15-21). 

Commit every situation to Him, and His joy and peace will fill your heart.  He will bring you wisdom.  He will rebuke the enemy on your behalf.  His joy will become your peace and strength.

 

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.

 

 

 

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Love Never Fails

Dear Ones,
Once we understand the love of God for us, it is important that we not only allow that love to minister to and change us, but we need to allow His love to flow through us and sow it into the lives of others.  Why?  First, we want to walk as Christ walked on this earth.  Without doubt, when we do that, we are fulfilling the Great Commission!  He understood God’s love for Him and He demonstrated that love to others.  Second, nothing in the Kingdom of God works without the love of God!  I will go so far as to say that love is the key that makes everything else in His Kingdom work!
We all know that Scripture tells us that “Faith works by love.”  We discussed that to some extent last week.  In fact, the Word tells us it is impossible to please God without faith (Heb. 11:6).  So, it is impossible to please God without love, because we need love to have faith.  Again, that is both the revelation of His love for us and our demonstration of His love to others.


Let me show you Scripture that tells us that every other spiritual gift or force only works by love, and without God’s love, they will not work.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 tells us first that we can have the gift of tongues and prophecy, understand mysteries and the knowledge of God, have overcoming faith, and do all kinds of good works, and yet it will all mean nothing and profit us nothing if not done with the love of God.
  
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” (NIV)

If that weren’t enough to convince us that we need to walk in the love of God to those around us, let’s look at what else this Scripture says.  In verse eight, we are told:  “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”  Many have taken this to believe that today’s church should not operate in the gifts of prophecy, tongues, and special wisdom or knowledge.  But my Bible tells me God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and that He never changes.  Also, when He has given good gifts to His children, He does not take them away.  So, you can disagree with me, but I believe that this Scripture is telling us here that because it is love that never fails and, thus, sustains all other things and keeps them from failing, that “without love” prophecies will cease; “without love,” tongues will be stilled; “without love,” knowledge will pass away.  Conversely, with God’s love, His agape love, these gifts will be demonstrated in our lives to bring us and those around us into the fullness of Christ.  Walking in God’s love is the key!  

You see, God operates every one of these gifts in our lives through His love, and apart from His love, He cannot allow them to function in our lives.  Without His love, each of these gifts could be used with evil intent and for selfish gain.  Men will never profit when they try to masquerade the goodness of God.  So, these gifts will only manifest in our lives when we choose to accept God’s love and operate in His love.  Christ, the exact image of God and the perfect demonstration of His love, dwells in every believer, and because of that, every believer walking in God’s love can walk in these gifts to benefit, bless, and encourage those around him or her.  That is how God intends His gifts to operate in the earth:  to heal, bring encouragement and correction (wisdom), to prosper, restore, and redeem.  He has given us the anointing of His Spirit and every one of His gifts to, “proclaim good news to the poor. . . freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).

When we walk in God’s love, that is exactly what we will do,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me

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Fear Not!

Dear Ones,


This series of blogs has now become “The Love Project.”  God is speaking to my spirit that He has so much He wants us to learn on the topic of His love.  This week the Lord has been sharing so much with my heart about His love that it is hard to know where to begin.  He is writing volumes in my heart.


So, let’s start with this one simple fact.  Believing the love of God for us is the only way to eradicate fear in our lives.  Why is it so important to eradicate fear?  It is vital to do so because “Faith works by love” (Galatians 5:6).


What does that mean?  Well, let’s start with the Scripture “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18).  You see, when we understand the perfect love of God for us, we can walk forward with no fear.  The King James says “fear has torment.”  When we are tormented by the fears of life, we are bound in shackles by the fear gripping our spirits, and this makes us unable to believe the love God has for us.  We run in protective mode instead of blessing mode.  Because we focus on our fears instead of God’s love for us, we fail to believe in His ability to care for us.


When people become fearful, they do things they would not otherwise do and believe things they would not otherwise believe.  They worry about things and focus on the negative instead of focusing on God’s goodness for them.  Worry has torment.  It can cause oppression, depression, anxiety of all sorts, and even physical ailments.  People who fear believe others are out to do them harm, that they have to watch out for “Number One” because no one else is there to watch out for them.  They believe they have to protect and strive after their own interests.  They become very self-driven, selfish, and self-seeking.  Many become paranoid that others are out to get them.  These feelings will never get us anywhere good, and they will never further the kingdom of God in our lives.  God is not about self, but about blessing.  He is not about fear, but faith.  When we fear and operate in modes of worry and self-preservation and protection, we make decisions counter to God’s character, and we stop the flow of blessing coming into our lives, because God cannot honor anything counter to His character.  He can extend us mercy and forgiveness, show us His patience and love, and that will redirect our hearts so that we can see His love and make changes in our lives – and He is always faithful to do that if we let Him, but we have to let Him by breaking the fear habit and developing the faith habit.


As we have discussed in prior weeks, fear keeps us from believing in God’s unconditional love for us.  On the other hand, when we know and believe in the love God has for us, we step out in trust, in faith.  We put down our guard.  We stop operating in protective mode.  We stop looking at the world from a “me-me” viewpoint and start looking at the world through His eyes of love.  His love shed abroad in our hearts delivers faith every time.  Remember “Faith works by love,” and with faith we can step forth to see His Word and His will come to pass in our lives every time, in every season, through every difficulty.
So, if there is something you are standing for and you haven’t seen its manifestation in your life yet, focus on His love for you.  His love for you is a perfect guarantee of things to come, of His will coming to pass in your life – His healing, His protection, His restoration of anything missing or broken.


His love gives us the ability to fear not and believe only,


Lisa Marie


If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.
 

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How God Loves Us

Dear Ones,


These last two weeks we have talked about why it is so important to understand how much God loves us and how God’s love liberates us to trust Him and cast our cares upon Him.  So, I think it is important to truly understand how God loves us.  What does it mean when we say “God loves me”?


Let’s take a look at several Scriptures and consider together how God sees us and how dear we are to Him. 


Isaiah 43:4 – “ [Y]ou are precious and honored in my sight, and. . .I love you.”
Isaiah 49:16 – "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. . ."
Psalm 100:3 – “[W]e are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”
Zechariah 2:8 – “ For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye:
1 John 3:1 – "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"
Zephaniah 3:17 – "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."
Jeremiah 31:3 – "The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'"
1 Peter 5:6-7 – “[F]or He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (AMP).

Wow!  We are precious and honored, engraved in His hands, his sheep (cared for and protected), the apple of His eye, His children, those in whom He takes great delight and over whom He rejoices, loved with an everlasting love and unfailing kindness, cared for with deepest affection and watched over carefully.  These are just a few of hundreds of Scriptures letting us know how special we are to God, how passionate He is toward us.  Stop and let that sink into your spirit.  Dwell on His great love for you.

As if that weren’t enough to convince us of how much God really does love us, let’s go further and look at how He proved His love for us.  1 John 4:9 says, “God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.”  John 3:16 says, “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Can you imagine giving your one and only begotten Son for the life of someone else who didn’t even acknowledge your existence?  You see, God made that act of loving sacrifice for you before you were ever born, before you could even choose to know Him or love Him back.  He made that ultimate sacrifice for every person ever born, whether or not they would ever choose to love Him in return!  He made that sacrifice before you ever did one thing for Him.  You see, He didn’t do it to get something from you; He did it to get something to you – redemption, grace, compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy, kindness, forgiveness, and eternal life with Him.  God is a GIVER!  He gave before you could give anything in return.  He gave out of His deep love for you.

Jesus loved you so that He chose to suffer torment, ridicule, hatred, scorn, oppression, affliction, humiliation, and physical torture.  He chose obedience to the Father in order to gain you as a brother or sister, a joint heir to all He possessed.  Jesus suffered an excruciating death and a journey into the unimaginable, abominable, horrific pains of hell to give you an opportunity to know the true love of God.  He allowed Himself to be slaughtered to give you eternal life with God!  If that doesn’t convince you that God loves you forever and without reservation and that you are precious to Him, then nothing ever will.

Read Isaiah 53 out loud, imagining all Christ went through, and you will have a new understanding of God’s mighty love for you.  When you comprehend that, you will never be able to withhold love from another, and that understanding will free you to walk in the fullness of Christ here on this earth!

Enjoy the journey as you receive new revelation of just how God loves you,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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Cast Your Cares!

Dear Ones,

This week as I was studying, the Lord ministered this Scripture to me.  1Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, 7 casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (AMP).

Several things really caught hold of my spirit in this verse.  First, God’s motivation for saying this to us is that He cares for us with “deepest affection” and is “watch[ing] over [us] very carefully.”  Thank you, Lord!  You are deeply affectionate, loving me so abundantly and watching over me to help me and lead me in ways that will bless me and protect me, save me from harm, and bring me to a wonderful place!  You are such a good, kind, and loving Father!

God is also telling us that when we humble ourselves under His great love, He will exalt us to a place of honor in His service.  Do you see how much good He has planned for us?  Each of us will be exalted into a place designed and crafted just for us by a loving God, a place in which we will be able to bless Him and those around us.  All we have to do is humble ourselves unto Him.  What a precious promise to have!  What a precious place to be!  What God is truly asking us to do is to humble ourselves under LOVE, for God is love (I John 4:16).  How easy it is to truly humble ourselves to Someone who only walks in the purest of love toward us.  We are not being asked to humble ourselves under someone or something that will do us harm or bring us injustice.  We are simply being asked to come under His umbrella of pure love, His selfless, giving, courageous, redeeming love for us.  This simply means to seek His council, to ask for His input, direction, wisdom, and guidance, to quit trying to do everything on our own, by our own power. I can do that Lord!  I want to do that!  I accept Your great love for me!

Then, God tells us how to receive and truly walk in His liberating love for us.  He tells us that all we have to do is to cast all of our cares – our anxieties, worries, and concerns – once and for all, upon Him.  So what God is telling us is that in exchange for His great love for us, all He wants – His heart’s desire – is for us to give Him our junk.  Wow, God!  I don’t know too many people here on this earth that would make that kind of a deal:  LOVE – overflowing, never ending, limitless love,  merciful, forgiving love – for my baggage, my trash, my junk, my cares, my concerns, my disappointments, and my problems!  He is asking us to trust Him.  His great love brings me freedom!  I humble myself under something that guarantees my freedom from the entanglements and difficulties and heartaches of this world!  Who can say “no” to that?  Count me in God!  I take it!  I thank you and praise you for setting me free with Your love!

Just as we were discussing last week, do you see how important it is that each of us grasp and receive God’s great love for us, a love that is deeper, wider, and higher than anything we can imagine?  Turning my cares over to God is the best thing I can do for myself and for those around me and for this world.  When I do that, I take my imperfect hands and thoughts off of the situation, and I trust Him with everything.  I place His perfect hands and thoughts on every situation, and I receive divine answers to anything that concerns me and those around me.  His covering of perfect love takes full effect, enabling His perfect plans for me to come to life!

His love guarantees our victory, and when we walk in victory, we can minister it to the encouragement of others!

I pray that you truly grasp the greatness of His love for you,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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God Loves Me!

Dear Ones,

Love - God loves me everyday II.jpg


Why is it so important that we accept, receive, and understand the breadth, depth, and height of God’s love for us?  It is so important that we truly accept God’s unconditional, perfected, magnanimous love for us because without knowing how tremendously He loves us, we cannot truly share that love with others – and He is all about sharing His love.  We can only walk in the fullness God has for each of us if we comprehend His great love for us (Ephesians 3:17-19).  His love is not the limited, conditional, human love with which we identify most readily.  God’s love for us is boundless, unending, and not swayed or prejudiced by our imperfections or wrong acts.  God loves us no matter what we ever do.  Our right or wrong acts do not change His love for us.  His love is steadfast, immoveable, and perfect toward us.  His love is motivated by His desire to bless us.  It is completely selfless and pure.

You see, if we do not grasp and accept God’s love for us, then we tend to judge ourselves by our shortcomings.  When we do this, we box our spirits in because we carry a weight within us that God never intended us to carry.  We walk in a “sin” consciousness, and this makes us ineffective to overcome in our own lives, and it makes us less effective to minister the love and grace and mercy that those around us need in their lives.

God sent Jesus to us to love us and bring us healing and freedom from the captivity of self-criticism and unworthiness.  God did not send Jesus to condemn us (John 3:17). Does this mean we should feel free to do wrong just because we know God will forgive us and love us anyway?  Of course not!  We should not, however, walk around condemning ourselves for our mistakes and shortfalls.  When we recognize error in our lives, we simply lay it down at the cross, at the feet of Jesus, ask for the Lord’s forgiveness, and immediately, He forgives us!  We do not have to carry the weight of guilt or shame around in our spirits.

When we understand God’s heart toward us, we are then free to be who He wants us to be and do what He wants us to do.  Who does He want us to be?  People who know that we are loved of the Father – at all times.  What does He want us to do?  Share His love and forgiveness and mercy and freedom and grace and deliverance and healing with those around us – to set captives free!  It is so important to be confident in His love for us so that we can be arms of love to anyone around us who hurts.  Hurting people hurt others, but those who know they are loved love others.  The only source from which we can draw a true understanding of what love really looks like is from God, demonstrated by Jesus when He walked upon this earth.  His example teaches us all we need to know, and it proves to us that in every situation, we belong to a compassionate Father moved by that which moves us.  Remind yourself of His compassion by reading stories in the New Testament – the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), healing of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-56), healings of all sorts, deliverance of the Gadarene man (Mark 5:1-20), just to name a few.  God’s love and compassion are overwhelming.  Let us be as overwhelming in our love for others!

So, dear ones, be confident and know that you are loved of the Father with an everlasting love, one that looks beyond your personality flaws and weaknesses.  When you run to God, He washes the slate clean.  He is a restorer.  You are engraved in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). You are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8; Zechariah 2:8).  Accept His redemption, and then remember that as you have been forgiven, you will forgive others.  As you have been shown mercy, you will grant mercy.  As you have been given grace, you will demonstrate grace.  As you have had your offenses wiped away, you will choose not to be offended at others when they do wrong to you.  As you have been washed in the love of God, you will minister that same love to everyone you meet.

You are loved by a good, good God,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

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He Is Risen!

BECAUSE HE LOVED AND LOVES US SO, CHRIST SUFFERED SHAME, PUNISHMENT, TORMENT, BRUTALITY, REPROACH, HELL, DEATH, AND THE GRAVE. HE DID IT ALL FOR US, THAT WE MIGHT KNOW THE TRUE LOVE THE FATHER HAS FOR US!
HE IS RISEN!
Isaiah 53 New International Version (NIV)
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

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GOD OF MERCY!

Dear Ones,

What is mercy? The dictionary definition is: compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.

Aren’t you glad God has mercy toward us? He looks upon us with compassion and kindly forbearance. He is benevolent toward us – even when we may cause offence, even when we may treat Him as an enemy, or disregard Him, or ignore Him, or distrust Him, or fail to be thankful toward Him for all he does for us. What does God say about His mercy toward us? In Lamentation 3:22-23, He tells us that his compassion toward us never fails. So great is His faithfulness toward us, that He has new mercies for us every morning . . . no matter what we have done. We know from Psalm 136:1 that His mercy for us will endure forever . . . regardless of mistakes we make. In Ephesians 21:1-5, we learn that because of His great love for us, he is rich in mercy toward us . . . even though each of us has walked counter to the love of God in our lives. Are you thankful for the depth, and width, and breadth of His mercy for you? Are you blessed by the fact that His mercy for you will never, ever end – no matter what you do wrong or what mistakes you make? I know I am.

So, if that is how God treats us, shouldn’t we likewise be willing to walk in the same mercy toward those who have hurt, or offended, or slandered, or treated us with ill-will of any kind? Aren’t we supposed to be imitators of God? I am so glad that my sin is not greater than God’s mercy! That means that my mercy toward another should be greater than their sin toward me.

In His Word, God gives me some guidance on our responsibility to treat others with mercy, how to display kindness and forgiveness and benevolence toward those toward whom we might rather show retaliation or judgment. I see in Luke 6:27-36 that God shows me exactly how to show His love and mercy:

27 Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Need we know more? I think that pretty much covers it. Though this may seem like a tough instruction, it really isn’t. As we sow the love and mercy of God into others’ lives, it can’t help but come back to us. Hate begets hate, but love begets love, and mercy triumphs over judgment! It’s God’s way of doing things, and His ways are always higher and better than ours.

If you can think of someone who has done you wrong, start today, and show him or her the mercy of God! You will be richly blessed.
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

Join us at River City Church, Sundays at 10:00 with Pastor Brian Bohrer, to hear the Spirit-filled, uncompromised Word of God. River City Church, 6906 MO-100, Washington, MO 63090

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Faith Calls It Done!

Dear Ones,

What is faith?  In a simple definition, faith is simply taking God at His Word and then acting on it or speaking in line with it.  It is believing God.  On a deeper level, faith is opening the door in your life to God’s power.  Faith is what connects us to God, and He is pleased by our faith (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith is the substance that brings the supernatural to bear on the natural or material world.  Faith brings God’s “Super” to our natural, and His “Super” ALWAYS overcomes our natural! 

1 John 5:4 says, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”  Do you notice that the Scripture says our faith “has overcome” the world, not “is going to overcome” the world?  Our faith has already overcome!  We need to stop thinking of faith as something that has to work in the future.  Jesus laid down His life, and God resurrected Him, overcoming every torment, sickness, lack, dire situation, attack of the enemy, so that all we have to do is STAND in faith!  Our faith is already backed by all of the power of God, and God is no loser!  He is always The Winner!

We just need to receive what has ALREADY been done and quit acting like the devil has any say in our lives and in our situations!  The devil is a liar and the father of all lies; he is already defeated and has been for over 2,000 years!  John 8:44 tells us that, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies,” but Christ is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).  “He [Christ] committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).  Christ showed us the way to triumph!  He spoke exactly what the Father told Him to speak (John 12:49; John 8:26-29) and nothing else.

So, if you feel like your faith is not big enough for your challenge, think again!  It may just be that you need to immerse yourself more in God’s Word.  There is Word for every situation you are facing.  The Bible leaves nothing out.  Find the Scripture that speaks to your situation and meditate on it constantly throughout your day until you see your situation come in line with God’s Word.  Meditate on His Word, and then speak His Word.  God’s Word is alive; it is a living force!  It is the same Word He used to speak this entire universe into existence.  He said, “Light be!” and it came into existence; “Trees be! Oceans be! Sun, moon, and stars be! Man be!”  When we speak His Word, it has the same life force!  Why else would God tell us in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof”?  What fruit do you get?  You will receive the fruit of your tongue, your words.  You are always speaking life or death in every situation.  Which do you want?  It’s up to you.  Once you find God’s Word, once you meditate on it so that it explodes in your spirit and brings God’s life to your mind and heart, once you speak it out, don’t speak idle words in opposition to it!  Only speak the truth of God’s Word, remembering that any “seen” fact in this world system is not the TRUTH if it is not in line with God’s Word.  God is truth and life, and NOTHING in opposition to His Word is true; it is only a temporary anomaly!  We are not moved by what we see or feel (Psalm 16:8), but only by every Word that ushers forth from God (Matthew 4:4)! 

So, when I say all of this, am I ignoring that we all go through difficult circumstances in our lives?  Absolutely not, but has the world given you the answers you are needing?  Probably not, if you are still looking for the “fix.”  God will not fail you!  Take His Word.  Stand on it.  Sow it into your heart every day.  Then wait with patience, refusing to speak Words contrary to what you are believing.  Speak words that call it done!  Even God “calleth those things which be not as though they were (Romans 4:17, KJV), or “calls into being things that were not” (NIV).  We are just imitating our Father, which is exactly what the Scripture tells us to do (Ephesians 5:1)!  Be imitators of God, and speak out the truth of His Word! 

Faith calls it done!

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.

Join us at River City Church, Sundays at 10:00 with Pastor Brian Bohrer, to hear the Spirit-filled, uncompromised Word of God.  River City Church, 6906 Hwy. 100, Washington, MO 63090

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Conduits of Christ

Dear Ones,

CHURCH!  WAKE UP!  You have in you everything this world needs!  You are conduits of Christ – conduits of His love, compassion, hope, joy, peace, healing, and redemption!  You were not simply put on this earth to receive from Him for your own life and needs.  You were put here for a divine mission to restore all that was lost when sin and darkness entered this world.  You were put here to be a beacon of light!  God has not placed in you His unlimited power to keep it hidden, but rather to be released!

Will this require you to be inconvenienced at times?  Yes!  Will this require you to sacrifice?  Yes!  Will this require you to stretch beyond your current borders and comfort zones and preconceived notions?  Yes!  Will this require you to exercise characteristics in your life that you’re not always good at and really don’t want to exercise – like patience, peace, gentleness, kindness, and joy?  Yes!  Thank, God, YES!  When we demonstrate God’s character and heart to others when it isn’t easy, or we don’t have time, or we don’t want to get involved, or we might be embarrassed, or misunderstood, or slandered, or even worse, persecuted, we are sharing in the suffering of Christ.  Not only that, however; we are also sharing in the joy of bringing His heart to someone else’s pain or need!  In what higher purpose could you participate?  What higher calling is there?   Oh, count it JOY to be the heart and help of Christ to those He brings across your path, regardless of the price you may have to pay in terms of your own time or convenience or need!  Paul, who suffered more than any, said He counted it all joy to share in the sufferings of Christ in order to know Him, impart Him to others, and become more like Him (Philippians 3:8-14).  

8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Count it all joy, dear ones!  You are a treasure trove of God’s power!  The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you to resurrect life and bring light to the darkness!  Christ is the Son of God Who came to earth as a man, and wrought miracles through God’s Spirit.  Christ told us we would do greater works than He did when the Holy Spirit works through us!  Believe it Church!  Wake up!  Share the love!  Share the treasure with which God has entrusted you!  Be the conduits of His mercy and grace and faith!  Be hope!  Share God’s Words of faith and light and encouragement with those who feel they have helpless, hopeless situations, because no situation is hopeless with Christ!  Be someone’s turnaround today!  Go forth with the power and light God has placed in you, and bring deliverance! 

You are the conduit of Christ!
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this:  Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption.  I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life.  I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit.  I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me.  Amen.
Join us at River City Church, Sundays at 10:00 with Pastor Brian Bohrer, to hear the Spirit-filled, uncompromised Word of God.  River City Church, 6906 MO-100, Washington, MO 63090
 

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Fake Christianity?

Dear Ones,
This week, the Lord is urging me to talk with those of you who have become disillusioned with Christianity – those of you who no longer practice the faith you once did because Christians have disappointed you or hurt you, those of you who don’t want to sit with a bunch of hypocrites who give lip service to the principles of Christianity, those of you who blame God for the wrong things that have been done to you or the bad things that have happened to you. You get the idea. This is for those who don’t think Christianity is all it’s cracked up to be. You’re tired of “Fake Christianity.” Fake Christianity? There is no such thing! Unfortunately and fortunately, there are just imperfect people who don’t always get it right . . . and maybe you got stuck in the middle.


Christianity in its purest form is just God loving us through Christ (John 3:16). Unfortunately, the only avenue (outside of the God’s written Word) on this earth through whom God can demonstrate Christ is imperfect people. Imperfect people sometimes get it wrong. Look at Jesus’ disciples. Just one example is Simon Peter who cut off the ear of the high priests’ servant who came to arrest Jesus, and Jesus had to heal the guy (Luke 22:47-52; John 18:10). Peter denied Jesus three times, and yet Christ forgave him showing us the more perfect way. (See John 18:15-18, 25-26; 21:15-17.) I believe Scripture gives us these examples, and others like them, to show us that Christ-followers aren’t always perfect, and they don’t always treat others the way they should. Separate their mistakes from the message of Christ – Christianity. The message of Christ still shows us the more excellent way!


So, though Christians may have done things that hurt you, disappointed you, or cause you to be disillusioned, that doesn’t mean the message of Christianity is wrong or invalid. Are you perfect? Do you always get everything right? Well, neither do Christians. You may have been improperly or harshly judged by Christians. They may have cheated you or lied to you or stolen from you. Welcome to the world! We live in an often violent, harsh, unforgiving, tumultuous world, and though Christians have an example through Christ of how to cope with and react to such an environment, we don’t always get it perfectly correct. We don’t always act just the way Christ would want us to. We, unfortunately, let our emotions get in the way, rather than letting the Holy Spirit in us, Christ’s example, lead the way, and we hurt other people – even those we love.

If you are one of those people who has distanced yourself from Christianity because of a situation similar to what I have just described, you need to understand that walking in offense is not going to help you. I’m sure you have done things to others that have hurt them or disappointed them, and you wish you could take it back. You hope that others can forgive you or realize you made a mistake and didn’t mean to do what you did to harm another. Well, why don’t you give Christians the same forgiveness or tolerance or understanding that you desire? We are all imperfect vessels trying to do our best. We are jars of pottery with flaws and imperfections trying to be containers of the perfection and purity of God. That’s a tall order. It’s not always easy, and no matter how we try, God is so good and so glorious and so loving and so perfect, that no human could ever fully reflect or transmit to another all that He is.
Regardless of what others have done to you, you are responsible for your own walk before God. Finding fault with Christianity because you think Christians are hypocritical is really just another form of making yourself a victim or blaming someone else or God. Don’t allow imperfect people to steal your road to victory! Don’t let broken vessels drain you of the rivers of life! Don’t “throw the baby out with the bath water” as the saying goes. Don’t equate Christians who have hurt you with Christianity or with God. True Christianity demonstrates the love of God toward us at all times, but each one of us is constantly learning how to walk in that love, and the only one Who ever did it perfectly is Christ. Don’t hold others to a standard you can’t fulfill yourself. Aren’t you thankful God doesn’t judge you the way you may be judging those who have “wronged” you.

Above, I said “unfortunately and fortunately” there are just imperfect people. I explained the unfortunate part, but let’s look at why I said “fortunately” there are just imperfect people who don’t always get it right. It is fortunate that God uses the imperfect because that means He can use and wants to use each one of us. That includes you. Thank God that he uses the imperfect, because that means that when we make mistakes, He understands and has compassion for us. Read the Word and see God’s character of peace and joy and love and excellence and restoration and redemption and forgiveness and victory and healing, and become someone who brings all of that – to the best of your ability and with His help – to this world! Instead of distancing yourself from the good that true Christianity – God’s love for us through Christ – offers, embrace its goodness and give it out. Where you have been hurt or harmed, offer healing. Where you have been disillusioned, offer hope. Where you have been shown strife or turmoil, offer peace. Where you have been met with hate, offer love and forgiveness. The only way to do that, the only “philosophy” that demonstrates that, is Christianity – the life of Christ. Draw from the true teachings of Christ. Don’t let the imperfections of others rob you of all Christ offers you. Renew yourself to the message of Christ and His love for you!
Thank God that He allows us to be imperfect and uses us anyway,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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Love Unleashed, Love Unbound!

Dear Ones,

What if there were a pool of liquid love, and you could jump into it and always, without fail, unquestionably, without ceasing be surrounded, completely encompassed, immersed, suspended in a sea of hope and acceptance, peace and serenity, encouragement, love that knows no boundaries, joy that defies the imagination? What if there were a place where you would always be safe and protected, where you could always find refuge and security? What if there were a place where you could share your wildest dreams and let your imagination run free and no one would ever laugh or tell you that it won’t work, and you would only find support and encouragement? What if there were a place where you were the most loved, and beautiful, and important person of all? What if there were a place where you could be you, mistakes and all, and never be ridiculed and only be loved? Does this sound like a fairy tale, too good to be true? Well, precious one, it is not, and there is such a place, and His name is Jesus. If you don’t know him, dear one, I invite you to experience a life of freedom and liberty you have never known before.

Dear one, don’t think that God judges you the way the secular world or religion judges you. Don’t judge God the way you judge others or yourself. He does not judge you through a filter influenced by your mistakes or shortcomings. He created you for a wonderful, divine purpose. He chose you to be on this earth. He desires you. He is glad you are here. His great desire is to fellowship with you, not to sit in judgment upon you. I know. I was raised during my young years in a religion where I viewed God as sitting in Heaven with a little black book keeping track of all of my mistakes. Seriously, that is really what I thought. I always felt like I had to be making up for everything I did wrong, whether I intentionally did it or not. Then, at some point, my spirit, my heart woke up and realized that God is not a God of condemnation, but of love. The world condemns, but He does not. He has given us a path to become free from all of the judgment and ridicule of the world. When we realize and concentrate on His love for us, we become free to love in return. As that occurs, our heart desires to express our love to Him, and those mistakes or bad choices or bad habits that we often struggle with just “naturally” start changing. Our choices become guided by a new spirit living in us, the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God’s love for us.

I believe so much of the reason why many do not receive Jesus as their Savior and God as their Father is because of the fear of being judged or rejected. Precious one, please try to see God apart from your pain and fear. I know that the pain of this world often causes you to shut down, to wall off, to run from those who you think will reject you or disappoint you. God will never do that. That is hard for you to imagine, because there is no one in this world that has not disappointed you or judged you or rejected you in some way, but God is different. He is not of this world, and He has a love for you that you have never experienced and at this point, cannot even understand! We have a hard time wrapping our brains around the infinite, the unconditional, because we live in a finite world full of conditions. Do this, and you will get that. Don’t do this, and you won’t get that. God is the ONLY place where you will not fall prey to that system. He loves you, accepts you, and even REJOICES over you regardless of what you do. You see, His love for you is pure and unadulterated, untarnished, without prejudice or bias. It is not based on your actions. It is based on His character. That’s even hard for us to understand, because in this world, we have never seen anyone with as pure a character as God. We tend to judge by what we see and by our experiences. Unfortunately, we evaluate everything by such a limited understanding of the reality of the supernatural realm of God. God’s character and love for us is beyond anything we have ever seen or experienced in this world, beyond that which we can experience with our five physical senses. It is higher, deeper, and wider, so far above our thoughts and experiences. His love for you is infinite and without condition. He gave us the example of Jesus so that we could glimpse His love for us. I challenge you to start reading the Scriptures and see the picture of love laid out in them through the life of Christ. Look for His goodness, His kindness, His sacrificial giving, His healing, His provision, His peace and joy, His gentleness. Concentrate on His Spirit, and it will draw you into a world filled with compassion and love. God’s heart bursts with compassion for you. He sacrificed His Son to draw you unto Him. Look at the picture of Christ in Scripture, and you will not be able to deny how God loves you and yearns for you. You will begin to see how valuable you are to our Father. Let’s look at it this way. Would you give up your kid, or if you don’t have kids, your most special friend, or if you don’t have a precious friend, your most loyal dog as a death sacrifice for someone with whom you were not in relationship? Being honest, I seriously doubt it. Yet, that is what God did for you. He sent his Son to this earth to show us the way, and then God had his only Son walk the bloody, shame-filled, painful, despised, solitary road to the cross -- all for us – those who had not even chosen to love or even acknowledge Him yet. Don’t tell me that’s not love! Get to know that kind of love!

Dear one, if you do not have a relationship with this loving Father about whom I am talking, I challenge you to jump outside the box of your former experiences with God, your current judgments of Him based upon those experiences and jump into His pure, liquid pool of love for you. He will never disappoint, abandon, or reject you. He wants to bless and help you, and if you make the choice to get to know Him, your life will be blessed. Walk into arms that will never fail you. Choose to be free from the judgment and fear and pain and disappointment of this world!

If you choose to make Jesus the Lord of your life, pray the prayer below and let us know at River City Church, and I will send you some material to help you see God’s love for you.

Rejoicing with you as the angels rejoice when you fall into Christ’s arms of love,

Luke 15

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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You Are More Perfect Than You Think!!!

Dear Ones,

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Wow! This verse of Scripture used to upset me so much! I would read it and think, “God, I can’t be perfect! Only you and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are perfect! You know I’m not perfect, yet you are requiring me to be so!” This Scripture especially bothered me because it is preceded and followed by lists of so many things at which we humans fail and need to do better. . . a “to do” list, so to speak. I don’t know anyone who is perfect in all the ways listed in these Scriptures. I’m certainly not! Plus, it would be so unfair, unjust, and unreasonable of God to require us to be perfect, and I know that He, being the loving Father that He is, would not require us to do something that we could not do. In keeping with His own character, He would not ever be unjust or unreasonable toward us. So, what about this Scripture?

Well, I believe the reality of it is that God perfects each one of us in our inward man through Him. He is made perfect in us. He is our perfection and completeness. We cannot do it alone; nor does He want us to do it alone. He wants us to realize our dependence upon and relationship with Him. We can do all things through Him (Phil. 4:13). Greater is He in us than he in the world (1 Jn. 4:4). When we commit our way to Him, depend on Him, rest in Him rather than striving on our own, He perfects our ways. He is perfect in us. We do not need to be perfect. As believers, His Spirit is deposited in us, and He promises to bring us into the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). He promises fullness, His fullness in our lives. His glory fills us up. He tells us in His Word that He is taking us from glory to glory, transforming us into His image by His Spirit in us (2 Cor. 3:18)! Do you know you are glorious in Him?!!! You are beautiful in His sight! He sees you through all He has provided for us! He sees you through the sacrifice of His Son and all that that accomplished!

I think that is a hard concept to grasp because we live in a natural world with so many imperfections and inadequacies. The concept of perfection is unrealistic to our natural way of thinking and existing, and the attainment of it conjures up feelings of impossibility and stress, but that is only because we are taking on the care of achieving perfection, something we could never do on our own. God does not intend for us to do that. Galatians 3:1-4 tells us that we can never be made perfect by the flesh, but only by God’s Spirit and our faith in Him. He tells us that He will perfect that which concerns us (Ps. 138:8 KJV). Paul tells us in Galatians 3, especially verses 7-15, that we cannot attain this “perfection” on our own, but we can be conformed into God’s image and receive all that Christ’s death and resurrection provided for us by faith in Christ!

God is not saying we will do everything perfectly, or even that we should expect to attain perfection in our own power. He is granting us a promise; He is giving us a gift; He is showing us His grace when He says, “Be ye perfect, even as your Father…is perfect.” We fall short; we live in a world where lack exists; we live in a world on imperfection, but He is perfect, and He is telling us that He will restore all that is lost. He will bring us into union with Him and all that He is – His excellence, His mercy, His love, His grace – through our faith and trust in Him. He is perfecting us while we walk with Him on this earth, and we will all be made completely whole and perfect when we join Him in eternity. . .nothing missing, nothing broken. Can you imagine how glorious that will be; can you imagine the beauty, the peace, the joy? Can you imagine basking in all of that, in His presence for eternity? Nothing could be more perfect, and as we rely and depend upon, trust and have faith in, fellowship and build relationship with Him, He makes Himself perfect in each or our spirits, so that each of us will come into the fullness of Christ and our joy will become complete!
Joining with you in the beautiful journey as His image is revealed in each one of us,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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Take Joy!

Dear Ones,

‘Tis the season of joy, right? Truthfully, every season should be our season of joy, not just the season where gifts abound and Christmas music plays 24 hours a day on our local radio stations. This is not to say, of course, that we don’t have a special reason to be joyous. After all, the birth of Christ is ultimately our most precious reason to rejoice! But, my point in this week’s blog is that during this “joyous” season, so many struggle with loneliness or isolation or disappointment or sadness. I was contemplating this and began to wonder why. Is it that they feel there are so many expectations that come with this season, and they cannot live up to others expectations? Is it that the season of frivolity and energy and rejoicing highlights contrasting remembrances of broken relationships with family or friends, feelings of loss or inadequacy in not being able to “give” all the gifts, memories of lost loved ones, or feelings of lack? Whatever the reason, the truth is we all experience pain in our lives, and for some the holidays seem to compound that pain.

So, as I talked to the Lord about all of this, He spoke to my spirit and said (in paraphrase), “I am the only One Who will not disappoint or bring pain! This world is imperfect, as are you, and as hard as you try, you will at some point disappoint others, and as hard as others try, they will at some point disappoint you. People will disappoint and events and seasons will disappoint, but I am not just a person, and I am not just a season. I am your true, heavenly Father, and my love for you will always surmount every pain!” Then the Lord took me back to a season/event in my life that produced great pain and disappointment, and He reminded me what He told me to do. He said, “Don’t lose your joy!” Of course, our human question is, “How can I not lose my joy when this pain is confronting me at every moment, when I feel like a tidal wave of disappointment is drowning out every glimpse of the sun/Son?” Scripture tells us, “The joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Neh. 8:10). How can that be true? It is true because everything on this earth is temporary, even every earthly joy, but God is forever – forever true, forever faithful, forever loving, forever delivering, forever healing, forever providing, forever forgiving – forever what you need Him to be. When we set our hope in Him and not in the things and people and events of this earth, we set our hope in something eternal – a strong, immovable, unending, all-knowing, unchanging HOPE. Our hope and our joy is in Him!

Do you know that when you may feel sad at the thought that you have disappointed others, God is never disappointed in you? Another person may be disappointed in you, but God will never be disappointed in you. Think about that. You cannot disappoint God! He knows you are imperfect, and even though He may not agree with some of your choices, He loves you the same. His will is always to stay in fellowship with you no matter what you do. Do you know if others disappoint you, God is never disappointed in them either? Yes, He cares about your hurt, but He also cares about them just as much. God is always looking at the end, the resolution, the redemption, the reconciliation of every situation. That redemption will always bring about the best in every person’s life, even in the lives of those who have hurt you. That’s why we need to forgive as He forgives. We need to forgive ourselves, and we need to forgive others. Forgiveness in itself brings joy! It releases us from the box that expectations create.

Another way to restore our joy is to remember all the goodness in our lives. Focusing on the pain produces pain. This is not to say that we should not deal with the root of the pain, but lifting our eyes and our hearts out of and above the pain lets the light in. Look up and see all the goodness God has provided for you. I find that doing something that you know will bless another person releases joy in my own life. God created us to bless others. Blessing someone else pours the oil of joy into our own spirits! Worship brings true joy. Just contemplating God and all He is and all He does for us is worship. Singing praises to Him is worship. There are so many forms of worship – dancing to Him, using your gifts for Him, pouring out your heart of thanksgiving to Him. Worship releases our spirits from the confines of this natural world. Our spirits are eternal and are joined to Him. When we worship, we shake off the limits of all that this natural world tries to put on us and our spirits are released to join and commune with His. We become boundless, free from the fetters of the natural. We join the chorus of the supernatural. We become limitless as He is limitless; we shake off the impossible and receive endless possibility; we are filled with the love and hope and true joy of our dear Savior!

All of these things release our spirits to be in true communion with God, the true source of love and joy and peace! Remember, God tells us repeatedly in the Scripture that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Take your joy in Him, and your spirit cannot and will not cling to the disappointments of this earth! You will find your true joy!
Peace and joy, dear ones. . .as we all abide with Him, every season is our season of joy,

Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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A Committed Life

Dear Ones,
This life is not a rehearsal and there is no rerun, so make every moment, every decision, and every action count for Jesus. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (NKJV) says, "You were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your father's but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Each of us needs to study the Word and find out how God wants us to live and find out God's plan for each one of us in our own individual lives and pursue that wholeheartedly without being deterred or discouraged or distracted. We can’t just go through the motions of tradition and societal norms. We need to spread the fragrance of Christ in thought and action at every corner, living intentional lives, seeking always to discover and carry out God’s destined plan for each of our lives. Each one of us needs to take every opportunity to spread the seeds of God’s incorruptible Word to as many people around us as possible. Their lives depend on it, not only for salvation, but for living victorious, overcoming lives in the here and now. As each of us walks out the purposeful, intentional plan of God, we bring His Glory to earth, the Glory He wants to pour out upon this world!

When I say this life is not a rehearsal, and we do not get a rerun, I don’t mean God can’t redeem our mistakes. He can and does – every day. What I mean is that we need to live lives of focus and purpose and determination, not allowing the devil to steal from us with his tools of idleness, apathy, discouragement, bitterness, self-centeredness, and so many more. This week, I was reading Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s. “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon, and I was so glad to be reminded that we are not living lives for ourselves. So often, we are tempted to major on our own needs, our own pain, our own vision, our own business, our own desire for respect or praise or acknowledgment. In his speech, Dr. King appropriately paraphrased Christ, reminding us that whoever wants to be first or to be great, must serve (Mark 10:35-29). We all must serve!
Several weeks before his death, Dr. King so eloquently wrote his own eulogy in essence. He said, “I just want to leave a committed life behind.” He masterfully described that committed life:

"I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. . . .Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize. . . .Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards. . . . I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. . . .that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. . . . that I did try to feed the hungry. And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. . . . that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. . . . that I tried to love and serve humanity. Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. . . . But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.

‘If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the [M]aster taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.’

Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world."
Let’s move forward in our commitment to serve our world with the love of Christ,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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Calling All Gatekeepers!

Dear Ones,

A Word of encouragement from God came forth at church this Sunday, and I will try to summarize it in our blog this week. First, we are reminded that God is the Bright and Morning Star, the Great I Am, our Redeemer, Healer, and Savior, but who are we? We are the gatekeepers. We control the gate and determine what goes in and out of it. We hold the keys to His Kingdom. God is reminding us that we are in charge of making sure the world meets Jesus flowing out of us. We are not to think of ourselves as less than He created us to be. None of us is too small or unimportant or insignificant to do His work. Each one of us has something important to offer, something God wants us to deliver to this world. We do not have to be perfect to do that. God does not create junk. He knows we are imperfect, and He is o.k. with that.

God gave us several examples of people who were imperfect, whom He used in mighty ways because they were willing and believed. Abraham slept with a woman who was not his wife (Gen. 16), and God still made him the father of many nations. Moses was slow of speech (Ex. 4), and God brought Aaron alongside him to help him, and God used Moses to deliver a nation. David had Uriah murdered because of David’s own passion (2 Sam. 11). Yet, God made David a mighty king, used by God. God even called David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). The point is: don’t disqualify yourself from being God’s instrument because you see all of your imperfections.

God said we need to think differently. We blaspheme God in our thoughts when we think that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, talented enough, rich enough – in short, perfect enough – to be the gate through which the world comes to know Him. That is distrust! We must have faith and believe that we are equipped by God and able to accomplish whatever He asks us to accomplish. All we need to do is be willing, offer ourselves as His vessels, and be surrendered to Him. That’s it, and He will do the rest. God made us exactly the way He wants us, and we need to stop thinking that we can’t or that we don’t have what it takes. God has what it takes! We just need to offer ourselves to Him and agree with Him and see ourselves the way He sees us. If we do that, the gates of the church will fling wide open, and the lost and searching will have their hearts filled with the love of God, and they will come to Him in droves!
God wants to use each one of us right where we are, just exactly as we are – imperfections and all – for His purposes!

He will perfect us as we commit ourselves to trust Him and do His work!

Blessings,
Lisa Marie

If you have never made Jesus the Lord of your life and desire to, pray this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus is your Son, that He died on the cross for me and was resurrected for my redemption. I choose to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I thank you for forgiving me and for filling me with Your Holy Spirit. I thank You that I am Your child, that You are my Father, and that You have great things planned for me. Amen.

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