The Giver

    I received a handmade pen for my birthday. The pen is fashioned by a cabinet maker, from a gorgeous piece of polished wood. The trim is gold. The grip is perfectly comfortable, the fine point tip flows beautifully.

    When the Holy Spirit opens something to me, inspires me and downloads something into my spirit, I hand write it in my journal. Today, I’m writing for the first time with my new pen. What really makes me marvel, is the one who gave this gift to me. My dear friend David chose the perfect thing for me. He knows my heart, he knows my passion for writing. David was thinking of me when he sought out a gift. It wasn’t random or an afterthought. It wasn’t an obligation or a chore. David wanted it to be special, he wanted to give me joy. It’s the giver that makes this gift so perfect.

    Is that not a lovely picture of Jesus? He gave us the ultimate gift. He continues to enrich us, grow us and bless us with gifts of grace, mercy and love. He goes farther. He inspires those around us to give into each other’s lives. Because Jesus loves Mike and me, He gave us David. Because Jesus loves David, He gave him our family to love. Together, we recognize and rejoice in God’s perfect love.

    Jesus was thinking of every one of us as He hung on the cross. He knows our deepest desires and thoughts. He lived in a human body and suffered just as we do. Jesus knows exactly what to give us to bring us joy and freedom. It’s that intimate, personal love that picks out the one special gift that brings us to our knees in wonder and adoration.

    As we enter the Christmas season, let’s think about the giver. Our father, creator of the universe, gave us Jesus, and gives us all good things. Because of His original gift, I want to remember to cherish the givers the Lord has put in my life, and give Him all the praise, honor and glory. It is an awesome thing, too much for us to comprehend. Blessings.

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Cast Your Care

I Peter 5:6-7 says: ” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” NKJV. I got to thinking, what does it mean to cast your care? It sounds almost violent to me, as if you are to throw it with vengeance and disgust. I was wrong.

The Greek word for cast means to throw upon (lit. or fig.), to cast upon. But that word is a combination of two other words, so let’s see if we can get more clarity. In digging around, I found that it means a superimposition of time, place, order, etc., as a relation of distribution. To have charge of, over, upon, beside. It is through the idea of sudden motion, to fling, with a quick toss, not a deliberate hurl. It indicates an extended projection, by qualification to deposit (as if a load), to disperse, cast down, out, scatter abroad, throw.

    So, in all that, it seems clear to me that because of the blood of Jesus, we are qualified and loved eternally, so much that, He desires to free us from worry, guilt, hurt, anything that would hinder us or cause us to focus on anything but Him. He tells us to worry about nothing, to be anxious about nothing, and gives us the way to accomplish just that. Casting has a nonchalance about it. Casting is just flicking it aside over to the one who heals our wounds of the body and the heart. Casting is not a deliberate or violent act, it’s a mere tossing of the care off to Jesus. It’s almost casual, without a lot of thought, done by rote. We can do that because He cares for us.

    We all know that the devil hates us and wants to kill us. But Jesus loves us and wants us to live abundantly, fruitfully and blessed. He will turn our mourning into dancing. He will turn all things for our good. He has already paid the price for our sin and shame, it is finished, forgotten and He set us free. So, Jesus, having walked this earth as a man, suffered and knows all our sorrows and pain, worries and life issues. He knows what it’s like to be sad and depressed, to be hurt by others, to be broke and hungry, and to be lacking. We live in a contaminated world, but keep in mind, we are only sojourners here. We are citizens of Heaven. In Him, there is fullness of joy. In Him there is hope and an unshakeable understanding that He did everything for us. It was finished a long time ago, and whatever our circumstance at the moment, if we will cast that care upon Him, He will turn it for our good. I’ve seen Him obliterate debt, fill a hungry stomach, pay the rent, and give rest to the weary. He doesn’t give us trouble to teach us something, there’s no need. The instructions for life are in His Word. He doesn’t take from you, He fills you. He doesn’t cause problems, He can’t. God is good and His mercy endures forever. He never stops being merciful and kind. He is not a man that He should lie, He is trustworthy.

    Bow your knee with a grateful heart, be convinced that He will lift you up, and tell Him your cares. Transfer authority over to Jesus concerning your cares. Remove it from yourself and focus on what is promised in His Word. He is forever faithful. Just hand it over and walk away in anticipation of what He will do. Sing to Him a song of praise. Blessings.

The Trouble

I was talking with a family member the other day about suffering. Not a popular topic, to be sure. We were talking about suffering with sickness and disease, and there was a reference made to suffering for the Lord in infirmity. I was profoundly knocked off balance and saddened that anyone might believe that God desired they suffer such agony, but then I got to thinking. Slow down Carol, analyze this. It’s a logical conclusion if someone doesn’t know God’s Word on the subject. The devil is a liar and seeks to trip us up anywhere he can. His lies sound like they make sense. If that kind of supposition is pervasive, then I better get educated. If the devil can persuade someone that we suffer for Christ in many ways, sickness included, then he succeeds in one more step in his quest to destroy them. Not on my watch! We will build each other up in our most holy faith!

Three words came to mind as I poured over scripture; suffer, trouble and tribulation. Trouble and tribulation are almost interchangeable, finding their root in the Greek word thlipsis which means pressure, affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble. I started from John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” NKJV. The same word is seen repeatedly in the new testament indicating squeezing, pressurized distress that crushes. The word suffer in the Greek is pascho, which is a verb meaning to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful), to feel, passion, vex. It is combined in this text with the word sun, a Greek word denoting union with, i.e., by association, very closely with, a process, a resemblance, possession, meaning beside or with. Together and in the context of John 16:33, Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, 9:12, and Romans 8:17, (there are many more, but I don’t want to get you lost in scripture yet!) the meaning is clearly to suffer the same way Christ suffered, to identify with, to be persecuted as He was, to endure pressure, anguish, tribulation, be crushed and beaten as He was. To go through the process of persecution in the same manner as Jesus did. It makes sense, people still revile Jesus and religion and are quick to attack a believer for things they do not understand. Go back and look again, Jesus said in Me you may have peace. If we suffer, we do so in His peace, without animosity, bitterness or worry for self-preservation.

Absolutely nowhere in the scripture is there a reference to sickness and disease in conjunction with suffering for God. I find no reference to any of the disciples suffering pain and disease. Pain and suffering sickness is not included. The reason for that is simple. Jesus was persecuted and as he was nailed to the cross, he took upon himself the sickness, disease, poverty, demonic affliction, and every other thing that would torment and distract us from life in God. Jesus bore those things so we might be free. Because of the blood of Jesus, sickness is not ours to suffer because His blood covered it. I Peter 2:24, “who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. He wants us to live for righteousness, right standing with God, unencumbered, abundantly. I Peter 4:12-19 talks about suffering for God’s glory. It speaks of suffering the same insults, persecutions, revilement and reproach that Jesus did, all because we are His. Verse 19 says, “therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” Is it God’s will that you suffer sickness? No, it very clearly says, according to His will. His will is His word, the word does not speak of suffering illness because it is finished on the cross. We have authority in the name of Jesus to cast that out. Sickness and pain serves no kingdom purpose, does not glorify God. Being healed glorifies God. Going through things in the strength and power and equipping of Jesus, glorifies Him. Taking hold of what He did for us on the cross, glorifies Him. Putting on the whole armor of God, glorifies Him.

Wow, I love revelation. So, if the devil can get us to believe we glorify God when we suffer pain in our bodies because of sickness, he can get us to accept it and speak life into that pain. He can get us to just live with it, do nothing about it and die sooner than is God’s plan. It will stop our effectiveness, it will stop us from doing what we are called to do, it will steal our joy and render us miserable. Speak truth and life, speak the Word of God over yourself, refuse to believe anything that is not the will and Word of God. Know the scripture, it is life and health, joy and freedom. Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.” Look for the goodness of God and think on those things. Forget not His benefits and remind yourself what He has done for you. Train your mind to look for God’s way first. Blessings.