In the Hard Places

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This past week has been hard. Our Women’s Ministry at church has been gearing up for a retreat and we are coming up on it at the end of this month. We are expecting some breakthroughs and some breakouts to happen in a HUGE way. We all feel it. However, with expectancy, we still have an enemy who is fighting in such hard ways and it’s stretching us to our limits. BUT God….

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  John 10:10

So the enemy has tried to use division – stealing our unity,  killing our spirit, and destroying friendships. Thank GOD for obedient pastors and preachers who when feeling this spirit of division preached the truth in love and brought conviction and healing. THANK GOD!

I can assure you that anytime you or a ministry you are involved in decides to get closer to the Lord, there will be a fight. Just expect it and have your armor on and be ready (Ephesians 6:10-18). But remember this…

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.1 John 4:4

Share your testimony of those times you came through a battle. WE are over-comers when we share!

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Revelation 12:11

My prayer is when you find yourself in a battle, you won’t run but you will stand firm in knowing that the One (Jesus) who died for you is constantly fighting for you too! Remember where your strength comes from!

Love y’all!

 

If you are wondering who this Jesus is, click here – He can change your life! If you need prayer click here and leave us a prayer request and myself along with some pretty awesome, Godly women will pray for your situation.

Receiving Grace

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BY LINDZEY YAROSH

Everyone sins. Even Christians. As Christians, we often struggle to accept this fact. We worry about what others will think if they find out about our sin. Will we be called a hypocrite? Will people doubt our salvation? When it comes to our sin, we are often our own worst critic; and we can struggle to receive the grace and forgiveness that God freely gives us through Christ Jesus. Sometimes we even convince ourselves that our sin is too much for God to forgive. For these reasons and more, we as Christians must always be reminded of certain truths.

First of all, God loves us a lot! Christians are very familiar with John 3:16 and know that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with Him. But do we always remember what this really means? Romans 5:8-9 explains it this way,

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

Even when we wanted absolutely nothing to do with God, Christ died for us. How amazing! The moment we believe this and choose to follow Jesus as King, God declares us righteous and adopts us into His family. Chuck Swindoll describes it like this, “Justification is the sovereign act of God whereby He declares righteous the believing sinner while he or she is still in a sinning state.”

Because Christ paid our sin debt and because God counts us as righteous when we follow Christ as Lord and Savior, we are no longer held responsible to receive the punishment of our sins and have no reason to be afraid.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

We can trust that this is true, even when we fail, and we will fail. Proverbs 24:16 confirms this.

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.”

Thankfully, God doesn’t leave us alone when we do fail; instead, He is there to guide us and to help us through. Psalm 37:23-24 says,

“The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”

So today, if you are struggling to receive God’s gift of forgiveness, remember the truth of 1 John 1:9.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Take a moment to confess your sin to Him today and confidently receive His gift of grace and mercy. Then continue to live the life Christ has called you to live.

Lindzey attends Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY with her husband, Billy, to whom she has been married for 5 years. She is currently working toward a Graduate Certificate at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In her spare time she enjoys relaxing with her husband, cat, and Goldendoodle, hiking, crafting and watching Kentucky basketball.

 

If you need prayer, we have some Godly women at the ready to pray for you. Click here to leave a prayer request. If you are wondering what Christianity is all about and if it’s for you, click here.

Forgiveness & Redemption

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Photo by Zulmaury Saavedra

I finally watched I can only imagine. What a fantastic movie (make sure you have plenty of tissues ladies, its a tear jerker)! It got me thinking about forgiveness and redemption. How one plays off the other in our Christian lives.

THE example is Christ; how he purchased us, paid the price for our sins, and redeemed us from a life of bondage to sin. All we have to do is believe He is the Christ – The Son of the Living God and confess with our mouth and POW – We are forgiven and born again! It is such an awesome gift. I wonder how forgiveness and redemption look from person to person. I know we can forgive someone but can we redeem them?

Now don’t get me wrong. I know that we can’t forgive someone else of their sins and pay their debt like Jesus did – I want to make that perfectly clear. No man can do that.

None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: Psalms 49:7

But can we forgive someone for something, and then redeem them? First to understand this question, let’s look at the definition of redemption.

Finding its context in the social, legal, and religious customs of the ancient world, the metaphor of redemption includes the ideas of loosing from a bond, setting free from captivity or slavery, buying back something lost or sold, exchanging something in one’s possession for something possessed by another, and ransoming.
From Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology

So what can this look like from one person to another? Here is a scenario:

Two friends get in a serious argument. It seems one of the friends (we will call her Sally) promised her friend (we will call her Jane) that she would come to her child’s graduation. Jane and Sally had been friends ever since they met in church and their children were elementary school age. Jane’s daughter was the valedictorian of her class and was giving a speech and her daughter really wanted Sally to be there. Something came up and Sally got sidetracked and forgot to go. Jane’s daughter was crushed and as a result Jane was furious with Sally.
After their big blow out, Jane refused to talk to Sally. She withheld her friendship and her counsel that Sally had depended on for so long. Sally did all she could to regain the friendship; she apologized, she sent flowers, she sent texts and emails all to no avail. Finally, Sally had an idea that she would send her a hand written, heartfelt letter telling Jane what she meant to her and how she missed their talks. This softened Jane’s heart and she called her, they had a long talk, and Jane forgave her.
Today Sally and Jane talk everyday as if nothing ever happened.

Is this story just a story of forgiveness, or is it also of redemption? Personally, I think it’s both. Jane held her and Sally’s friendship hostage. She required a “ransom” to gain it back. Sally paid that ransom with her heartfelt letter and as a result, Jane forgave her. Through that letter, Sally redeemed the friendship. She broke the bonds of bitterness by pouring out her heart. In return, Jane offered forgiveness.

As Christians, we talk all the time about living our lives like Jesus (or at least try really hard). We look at His life and we model ours accordingly. Jesus is our redeemer; He forgave our sins and redeemed us – He broke us from our chains! In a small way, isn’t that what happened with Jane and Sally’s relationship?

If you are withholding forgiveness and a friendship with someone because they did you wrong – you need to fix it. Even if they were wrong; talk about it and get it fixed. We are called to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:31-32). Redeem the friendship through forgiveness.

Now is the time.