Amazing indeed…

Greetings fellow sojourners!  I am using a guest writer today.  He is a 16 year old friend of mine that wrote for my daughters e-mail circulation that encourages ‘kids’ to be bold for the cause of Christ.  I tell you the truth I am encouraged by these sweet things and had to share.  I pray it blesses you! Here it is…

Hey guys! I’m just going to share a few thoughts :). Right now I’m sure most of us are really excited for Christmas (it will be here in 3 days, believe it or not) but there’s also another holiday coming around this time that most Christians aren’t very well aware of. I’m talking about Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication. This 8 day feast commemorates God’s faithfulness to his people during the time between the Old and New Testaments, specifically around 170 years before Christ came onto the scene.

It all began when Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes took over Jerusalem in 175 B.C. He had one goal: destroy the people of God. He did this by forcing the Jews to either bow down to his statue of Zeus and become hellenized Greeks, or they could die. Thousands of Jews were brutally killed because they would not deny God. The temple was defiled and for a while it was looking like hope was lost for the people of God. For one man named Mattathias and his family, this treatment was unacceptable. He and his 5 sons – Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah – led a revolt against Antiochus and the Greeks. When Mattathias died in 166 B.C. Judah became the leader of the revolt. In 165 B.C. the revolt was successful in their fight to free Jerusalem of the Greek rule. The Jews then cleansed the temple and rededicated it to God. To commemorate God’s faithfulness to His people, the Jews created the feast of Hanukkah. The term “Hanukkah” actually means “to dedicate”.

Right about now you might be thinking, “well all that is great but why should I care about Hanukkah? I mean the Jews are the only people who celebrate it, right?” While it is true that Jews are pretty much the only people in the world who celebrate the feast of Hanukkah, that doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t care about it. For example, if the Maccabees had been unsuccessful in their revolt, there would be no place in history for Jesus to come into the picture. The temple that the Maccabees rededicated to God is the same temple that Jesus walked in and taught in. Also, if the Maccabean revolt had been a failure, then we would probably not have the Old Testament today. At that time the Jews were the only people in the world who had the Old Testament. If they had been destroyed, then the Bible would probably have perished. But through God’s faithfulness, they were able to beat Antiochus and preserve the Word of God for us here today.

Jesus also celebrated Hanukkah in John 10. Hanukkah is about us rededicating ourselves (as Paul calls us the temple of God) to God. It has a lot of significance for Christians, even though it is oftentimes left in the dark because of Christmas. Now I realize that there are a lot of Jewish traditions associated with this feast, but you don’t have to do all of those if you don’t want to. As a matter of fact, Scripture doesn’t command that you celebrate Hanukkah, but Jesus certainly didn’t think that it was a bad idea, or he wouldn’t have celebrated it. This year Hanukkah will be from December 24 – January 1. My family will be visiting other Christians during this time as we all celebrate God’s deliverance towards his people and we focus on rededicating our lives to Him. So I want to encourage all of y’all to at least give Hanukkah some thought this year. You don’t have to make it anything big, but just ask God to help you as you focus on rededicating your life to him and making sure that your “temple” stays holy and undefiled. Now if you are still reading this, then congratulations! I just took 10 minutes of your life, but hopefully it won’t be a wasted 10 minutes :).

I love all of y’all and can’t wait to see you guys soon!

Luke

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Not in the Flesh but in the Spirit

“Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you.”  Romans 8-9a

Greetings fellow sojourners!  You are Divinely Inspired and Victoriously Anointed!  When the Word of God gets into your mind it has the power to refresh and renew you!  The best gift you can give yourself is a heart and mind that is filled with the knowledge of the Lord.  It is powerfully transforming.  Do you daily take the steps required to live powerfully transformed?

The one who has a mind set on trying to please the flesh or who is governed by the flesh is hostile toward God ~ it does not subject itself to the law of God, nor is it even able.  The mind naturally is focused on a what is best for the flesh instead of trusting God for guidance and renewal with His  life-save thoughts.   If we choose to live in this common, natural sort of thinking we are in the flesh and not governed by the Spirit.

Well then, what if you desire to serve God?  We need to repent of trying to serve a majestic Lord who is Spirit, from flesh that is naturally weak.  Why would our service be acceptable when we neglect the Spirit?  We need to recommit to serve Him from the Spirit He entrusted us to serve Him with!  “We serve by the Spirit of God.”  (Philippians 3:3)  We do not serve God by a work of the flesh.

If we intend to be increasingly and profoundly effective for the cause of Christ it will not be done by a work in the flesh but by a work in the spirit which is accomplished as a result of a soul yielded to the Spirit.  Works done in the flesh bring questions, indecision, competition, and uncertainty.  The Spirit arouses, invigorates and brings forth beautiful fruit.

We are a spirit with flesh and bones not flesh and bones with a spirit.  If we operate as if we are flesh with a spirit then when our flesh tries to take prominence the spirit becomes secondary.  We are not obligated to the flesh.  We TELL the flesh to behave.  Ramp-up in the Spirit!

“The flesh desires what is against the Spirit.  The Spirit desires what is against the flesh.”  (Galatians 5:17)  The Spirit we are talking about here is God’s Spirit.  This is not our spirit battling our own flesh.  This is our flesh battling God’s Spirit.  The NLT says, “These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”  You intend to do good but are unable because of the war going on inside you.  This should not be.  We have made a proclamation of faith that says we believe in the Lord and will therefore follow Him.  Why then are we at war with His Spirit?

So what are we to do?

“He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.”  (Romans 8:11)  All we do is YIELD.  When your flesh desires to make itself known as opposed to bringing glory to God, stop and yield to the Spirit.

We are commanded to discard our former way of living that got corrupted by yielding to desires and thinking of common people.  Our mind is renewed by the Spirit. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

It is expected that we are found faithful.  Other people’s fleshly evaluation of our spiritual work should be of little importance to us.  The Lord evaluates and justifies. (1 Corinthians 4:2-4)

This is my testimony:  If you want to live by the Spirit, get deeply into the Word.  It WILL awaken your spirit.

We are not in the flesh but in the Spirit
The Spirit will quicken us
We owe the flesh nothing
The Spirit of God leads us
Accepting fear is a work of the flesh, the Spirit instead calls out Abba Father!
God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit to all truth.  Amen!
(Romans 8:9-16)

So what if your flesh continues to take prominence?  Recall when you are ill and need a remedy.  The doctor prescribes medication and it is your responsibility to take it as indicated.  It is  preposterous to think the doctor will also come to you at each dosing to put the medication in your mouth to ensure you ingest it.  Utterly foolish!  It is no different to think Jehovah Rapha (your mighty Physician) after giving what your flesh (sin nature) needs, which was His atonement for your sin,  to also speak what is required by YOU.  Jesus’ crucification, resurrection, and ascension is your remedy!  Now instead of swallowing a pill, this requires speaking words.  Just like you must speak with your mouth that Jesus is Lord for salvation purposes, you must also speak truth with your mouth in order to overcome your flesh (sin nature).

We proclaim:
Through the blood of Jesus, I am redeemed out of the hand of Satan
Through the blood of Jesus, all of my sins and forgiven
The blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses me from all sin
Through the blood of Jesus I am justified and made righteous
Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, made holy, and set apart to God
My body is a temple the Holy Spirit! I am redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the blood of Jesus.

Proclaim this truth and others truths and insist your flesh yield to the Spirit of the living God!  All things we do that are pleasing to God is done in the spirit ~ not in the flesh.  Live intentionally DIVAs!

By HIS Victorious Name,

Amanda

Take a look at the picture taken last week dated 12:-14!  Also on Twitter @F2LHearts Ablaze

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A Privilege to Serve

“He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days.”  

Luke 1:73b-75

These are powerful statements:

(1) He has given us the privilege

We do not serve God out of obligation, because we have nothing better to do, or because it feeds our ego.  It is nothing but a privilege to worship God by serving His people!  That He would allow us to pour out to the church what He has graciously entrusted to us in order to achieve unity in the faith is a mind blowing privilege.

(2) We have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches

Jesus Christ Himself sprung our trap and put Himself where we belonged. His love for us is immeasurable and we can either sit and stare at the abyss before us and only marvel or we can plunge into the unfathomable waters of His infinite love and discover how deep we can delve.  His pure love for us is what motivated Him to suffer man’s intolerable rejection so that we would know the Father’s unquestionable acceptance.  Love is what rescued us from the enemies’ clutches!  This understanding is the fuel that creates a forest fire of fervent service to Him.

(3) We serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness

This privilege to serve is not done with an ounce of fear.  We are holy and righteous because of the exchange Christ himself made on the cross.  He took our unholiness (sin) and unrighteousness (not in right standing with God) and gave us His holiness and righteousness.  Therefore, we serve from a powerful position of holiness and righteousness.  This type of service is done faithfully from the spirit and not the flesh.  It is from the spirit that confirms to us that we are holy and righteous before God.  The flesh does not confirm this face but only brings it into question.  The flesh is fearful of having to do it perfectly and without judgment from others which gives us no place to start.  Therefore, we are able to serve Him in the spirit without fear but with full confidence.   Don’t hold back from serving because you are unsure of how it will turn out or afraid it will not be good enough.  The fear that it must be great or I can’t do anything at all mentality of service will leave you immobilized and useless in the Kingdom.  The only fear you should possess is the reverential fear of the Almighty.

(4) We serve in His presence all our days

His word says when two or more are gathered in His name He is among us.  We serve others, He is present.   Amen!  Isn’t the awareness of His presence in our lives what we ultimately are after?  He sees our service, knows our hearts, and honors our devotion.  We will use our strength to serve all of our days under the sun because we are privileged to serve our Rescuer.  Thank you Jesus.

You are Divinely Inspired and Victoriously Anointed.  Let’s go serve and do some good.

In His grace,

Amanda

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Who Is Your Brother, Sister, and Mother?

“Then His mother and His brothers came, and standing outside, they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him and told Him, “Look, Your mother, Your brothers, and Your sisters are outside asking for You.”  He replied to them, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And looking about at those who were sitting in a circle around Him, He said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! Whoever does the will of God is My brother and sister and mother.”  Mark 3:31-35

Oh sweet things…you are never alone!  Do you know you have a large family?  God indeed provides us a physical family to nurture and receive nurture from!  What a lovely and omnipotent caring Father we have!  God brilliantly designed us to need people in our lives that will love us in all seasons and that will provide companionship and support when needed most.  All of this ultimately points us toward our eternal spiritual family.  Beautiful.

One of the extraordinary exchanges the Cross of Christ provides is the new birth.  This is a spiritual rebirth which transfers us into the glorious Kingdom of his Son.  We are not only provided citizenship with this Kingdom, but we also acquire brothers and sisters which we have never had before; spiritual brothers, sisters and mothers.  You do not have to wait until Jesus returns to experience this new spiritual family.  Your spiritual family is defined as “whoever does the will of God.”  You have an enormous family!  You are not alone in this world and you have a bigger spiritual family than you probably have imagined.

There may be many reasons you do not have or feel you do not have a physical family, so try to see the spiritual family God has given you.  Do you feel unloved by your physical mother?  You have a spiritual mother ~ look for each other.  Glory to God!  He ALWAYS provides for your needs because He cares immensely for you!  Has your brother or sister separated themselves from you?  Look around at your brothers and sisters in Christ!  You are part of God’s family if you have accepted Jesus and His salvation.  You ARE NOT alone nor are you forgotten.  Reach out to your spiritual family under the direction of our one Father…God Himself.

Do you ever pause to think that who you consider Lord considers you so dear to His heart that He would call you a name reserved exclusively for immediate family?  What an incredible honor.  He is not ashamed of you.  Are you convinced that the hurts you have suffered He also feels the sting?  He loves His you with an unquenchable love.  He wants you to know this perfect love of His towards you so that you receive complete healing and can also love others.

Of all the human relationships we desire and even treasure none of them are capable of meeting our vast needs, completely overlooking our failures, or loving us when we are acting unlovable.  The only One that can do such a remarkable thing is the Darling of Heaven himself.

I am thankful for you brother, sister, and mom.  I am honored to serve you, blessed to know you, and esteem you as my spiritual family.  I love you all!!

In His grace,

Amanda

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