Injustice. What to do?*

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With so much injustice in the world, what is a person to do?

In Romans 12 we are encouraged not to let other’s sin cause us to sin, but instead leave the revenge to our just and compassionate God.

“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.”

“Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:17-19, 21

‭‭We leave things to our God who is sovereign over all and can work ALL things together for good for those who love Him. We release the desire to get even, to our God who has compassion for us in pain and can heal broken places, fractured relationships and hardened hearts. We let go and let our God, who will right all the wrongs, be God.

So as Christians, how do we do this?

We love Jesus, seek to know Him and we do good.

We love one another because love comes from God. We see each and every human as created and loved by our God who has a plan for each and every life.

We love one another the way He calls us to love. We forgive and give grace. With Him we CAN forgive; only with Him can it be done.

We can pray. Always we can pray. We can pray for all people involved- the victim (that’s easy to do) but also the perpetrator (that’s the hard part). The Bible tells believers to pray for those that hurt us (Romans 12:14, Luke 6:28).

It’s backwards or upside down, isn’t it?

But such is this life we are called to live as Christians. It goes against the world and our flesh and towards the will of our Father. The will of loving Him, and loving others.

We can beg God for injustice to stop but we have to know we live in a sinful fallen world with sinful fallen people and it’s always been that way and it, according to the Bible, will get worse before it gets better.

It will get better, though, for those who love Jesus. Because He is coming back to redeem all. that. is. broken.

So share Him today. In your smile, in your giving, in your goodness and living.

Give Him away.

Know He is in charge and will take care of injustice. Know He is a good, good God always. He alone is worthy.

May the injustice being brought to light bring a revival in the hearts of those who know Him so others will be drawn to Him.

Love Him. Love His people. In Jesus name amen. 🙏🏼🙏🏼

*This is a recent devotional originally posted to my church’s women’s ministry devotional series, Flourish Friday.

We Do Not Lose Heart!

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My Bible reading this morning was really encouraging and I hope it is the same for you!

Watch below and keep reading for the three main take-always from 2 Corinthians 4 verses 1, 8 and 16-18 ♥️

1. Our fallen bodies and worlds are wasting away but inside we can be renewed day by day by coming to the well of Jesus.

2. Look to the unseen and not the seen. We will be afflicted, perplexed, etc by looking at the seen but focusing on Jesus and our faith, the unseen, we will not be crushed or destroyed or driven to despair.

3. Because of Jesus we can have hope for each day.

More background on these words— Paul, who was hunted down, imprisoned, wanted for dead, etc… wrote these words to encourage the Corinthians in their faith. His circumstances make our afflictions truly seemingly light. Wow. What an example to live out not losing heart. Paul knew His circumstances were temporary and that a greater glory was awaiting him in heaven one day. I love Paul and how he held fast and firmly to his faith not by His own efforts but by the grace of God.

“The suffering in Paul’s ministry brought forth life.” (Enduring bible commentary)

And we can not lose heart, not quit and faint not in our callings because of hard times, we press on and into the Lord for strength. Yes, Jesus, please help us in this today!

What Would Jesus Do During the COVID 19 Coronavirus Pandemic?

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I walked to my mailbox, surgical gloves on my hands, grabbed the mail and was careful not to let any of it touch my clothing. I brought it inside, laid it on a counter and began sifting through it- imagining every piece contaminated, the small unseen COVID-19 lurking everywhere just waiting for it’s next host.

And then I snapped out of it and thought- what am I doing? Is this really happening? I’m crazy, this is crazy! Oh goodness did I just touch my face!?

Is anybody else here with me on this?

In that moment, I thought, “What would Jesus be doing right now? What would He do during a pandemic like this?”

Would He put on gloves to open His mail? Would he wonder if he washed His hands for 20 full seconds? Would He wipe down every. single. thing that comes into His house? Would He wash His phone with alcohol multiple times of day? Strip all clothing off when He comes in from going anywhere? Would He have shaved His beard and worn a mask? Wait. Would Jesus even be able to contract the virus?

You can see, I’m a gal of many questions and curiosities (I get on my own nerves sometimes, I promise!). And we don’t have time to answer all of them today, mainly because a lot of them are answered with, I don’t know.

BUT! I did realize a couple of things Jesus would be doing during a pandemic and want to encourage us all to do the same during this time. No, we aren’t Jesus; but we have the Holy Spirit’s mighty power inside of us to do more than we can think or imagine with willing, humbled, surrendered souls. Oh, that we would be those souls!

  1. HE WOULD SEEK HIS FATHER AND PRAY:   We see, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ humanity in the emotions displayed before He faced His death that saved believers. I’m grateful that Jesus was 100% God yet 100% man and could relate to our emotions but without sinning. The picture of Him here, greatly troubled, in distress, in extreme anguish and His words to His Father in these verses (Matthew 26:36-56) show me how near He was to us as a human walking the earth. He related to us. He felt. In His darkest moments He sought His Father. And we can too.
    1. Read His Word Daily. There are so many Bible reading plans out there to get you started! Or just start with the book of John- it’s sure to ignite a fire for more of Jesus.
    2. Memorize His Word. Psalms 23 is a great place to start! Search the Psalms and find a few verses that speak to you, print them off and meditate on them, memorizing them with your head and heart.
    3. PRAY. PRAY. PRAY. Set aside time each day or once a week to do some major praying and even fasting. Pray while you walk or run. Get on knees and pray… Write down requests, go through your phone list or family members and pray for them. Ask the Lord how you can be His Hands and feet during this time, perhaps with a family member, neighbor or friend? 
  2. HE WOULD HELP OTHERS, HEAL OTHERS, PRAY WITH OTHERS AND TEACH OTHERS
    1. Healthcare Workers: You are in scary but unique positions to be the hands and feet of Jesus. On the front lines, holding peoples hands, caring for them, helping them get better, praying with them, being with them when they are healed either here or in death. YOU ARE BEING JESUS. Keep it up, we are praying for you! Draw your strength from His never ending well of hope, love and grace.
    2. Pray with others–call a friend and pray! Have you ever done it? It’s beautiful, meaningful and God is in the midst even if you can’t be.
    3. Teach children: We have such a unique opportunity with our children right now. I’m reminded of Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them with you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  To teach them His Word, We must know His Word and be in it for ourselves. Study it together! One verse a day, one chapter a day, family devotionals or based on their ages, Bible studies for them. We have loved the resources at http://www.notconsumed.com
  3. HE WOULD BE FULL OF ALL THE HOLY SPIRIT OFFERS
    1. Peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control. We cannot have these fruits walking in our flesh, we must die to self, surrender to His grace and giving of these things to our souls. His Word tells us these attributes of Him are available through His Spirit. And He will supply our every need (Philippians 4:19). I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of the Holy Spirit these days. I’ve seen all too much of my many bends to everywhere but Him. This is all hard and we need something bigger than ourselves to walk steadfastly to come out of this time better than when we started it.

One final truth about our Lord is He is not a God of chaos or fear (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Timothy 1:7). So anytime we are experiencing either, know they are not of Him but can be corrected and calmed by Him. I’ve felt much chaos and fear during this whole pandemic and that is so natural and common to man. The Lord sympathizes with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15) with compassion and holds out His hand to help us. He is calm not chaos; faith not fear. Thank You, Jesus.

So. Not sure if I really answered any of my specific questions, maybe with more research I could come to a better conclusion on Jesus and social distancing, but for now, we can practice these things I listed and grow in Him during this time. We can be, as Jesus was, about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49b) and be renewed, our families can be renewed and flourish in Christ no matter what is going on around us. There’s nothing He wants more for His children.

Love you all,
Sarah

Are We Walking Resurrected?

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Happy Easter, friends!

Today we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from His death on the cross. What a glorious day then, and now.

To resurrect means to revive, restore to life, raise from the dead, breathe new life into, renew, awaken, wake up, renovate, rejuvenate, and my favorite: to bring back into use or existence after it has disappeared. What a beautiful word with such meaning.

Scripture tells us Jesus not only WAS resurrected, but He IS the Resurrection.

This means He is our revival. He is the One who can restore our lives and relationships. He can raise us from the dead of our sins, He can breathe new life into us and renew our relationship with Him. He can wake us up from the death of sin and awaken us to new life with Him. He can renovate and rejuvenate our calloused, hardened hearts. He can return to us the joy of our salvation. He can give us hearts that long to please Him. He can roll away the many stones that have piled up between ourselves and Him.

Do you ever find yourself walking in your own strength? Toiling, striving, yet never getting anywhere? Are you tired of trying to keep up with the ways of the world? Tired of trying to fill a void that only the Lord Jesus is meant to fill? Does it seem impossible, as if too much would have to change for you to be made new?

When we surrender, Jesus revives us. He breathes new life into our hearts and changes our desires, realigns our priorities, helps us love others and truly live in freedom. He teaches us about grace- for others and ourselves. He gives us sure-footing and a security the world can’t offer.

Are we walking resurrected, dear friends?

“Awake, O sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14

God’s loving plan was always to redeem His Son; God’s loving plan is always to redeem His people. Once and for all but also every day. Because He lives, we can too. Both now and forever.

Today, as we think of the empty tomb, may anything dead in us be revived. May stones be rolled away, and our hearts awakened by His Spirit. May the miraculous, mighty power of Jesus’ resurrection stir new life, love and healing inside of each of us. In Jesus name I pray.

Love you all,

Sarah

Thank you, Melinda Emerson, for this beautiful artwork.

(This devotion is from my church women’s ministry page- wanted to share with you all too)

Love Runs Red 2020

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For years, the kids* and I have worn red on Good Friday…here’s why. Hope you will join us! #loverunsred2020

Tomorrow is Good Friday.  The day many, many years ago Jesus Christ sacrificed His perfect, blameless life for our salvation and redemption.  One man, one act, one horrific death for any and all.  It’s hard to comprehend!  I can’t think about that day without recognizing the significance of Christ’s bloodshed on the cross.

We all know what blood is, it’s the red fluid continuously circulating throughout our bodies composed of vital nutrients and transporting them to and from our organs.  It gives us life and without we cannot live…interesting, huh?

“For the life of a creature is in the blood…” Leviticus 17:11

In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices for the temporary forgiveness of sins. Can you imagine? I think it’s all I would be doing, sacrificing animals to live in a brief moment of freedom, a temporary time of forgiveness…wow. Just wow. I’m so grateful we live on this side of the cross, this side of the last blood shed for our permanent forgiveness…and then I think of what it cost and I’m overwhelmed and cannot believe I am loved so much– we all are!

“…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

With blood we have life, without it there is death.  Through Christ’s blood, poured out on the cross, we can truly have life and freedom.  His bloodshed wasn’t a temporary act like an animal sacrifice, but was and is a permanent reminder of our forgiveness of sins.  Of grace being enough; of Christ being enough.

“…and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:20

From the beating with the whips, to the crown of thorns, from the holes nailed in his hands and feet suspending Him on the cross, to the final pierce in His side, the weight of the sins, sadness and sufferings of the world were laid upon Him, one man, our Savior, Jesus. With each drop of blood that fell at the foot of the cross, each drop that rolled off of His brow, we are forgiven. We are given grace. Grace undeserved but given anyway. We will continue to struggle with sin and sufferings until we meet our Savior face to face but no more is there a need for blood to be shed, just blood to be remembered and received. Oh THANK YOU JESUS!

Love runs red.  On that dark day years ago and until He returns, His love runs red for each one of us.  Tomorrow we honor Him and remember His sacrifice by wearing red, won’t you join us!?

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.” Ephesians 1:7, 8a (NIV)

 *Not all children will grasp the cross and what wearing red tomorrow truly means, but it’s never too early to start teaching them about the importance of Good Friday, Jesus’ sacrifice for us, sin and Heaven.  Pray for God to give you wisdom in speaking to your children on a level they can better understand.  There are several tools out there that can help, too.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Holy Week Breakfast Idea for Kids

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I was going to wait until Good Friday to do this but it’s perfect for any day this Holy Week♥️
Bacon alighted just right in microwave or on stove turns into a Bible lesson at breakfast ♥️
I’m sure a lot aspects of the cross are difficult for children to grasp (ummm me too!) but we can teach them John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and explain that God loves us and sent His perfect Son to die in our place. But it didn’t end at the cross! The cross saves us and the Resurrection gives us Eternal Life ♥️🙌🏼
If you do this, please tag me or #baconcrossforkids ♥️ 🥓♥️

Tornado

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You think, surely that’ll never happen. I mean, how many times do we get in our safe spot for a little while then pop back out and all is fine? The kids play and think it’s fun and exciting. We send pics to family saying “we’re in our safe spot 🎉” almost making jokes about it. You see it happening to other places and hate it for them and pray for them but maybe don’t ever think it would ever really happen to you.

But no one is immune to tragedy.

And never again will I go in that safe room again without thinking of last night.

Our community was hit by an F3 (I think?) tornado that ripped through the heart of it.

I sat in our safe spot with the kids and did NOT remain calm. We watched live coverage from our news team (shout out to them for being awesome and remaining calm) on Facebook (Thank You, Lord for Facebook)

I couldn’t belive my eyes when I saw the tornado forming and quickly touching down. Coming out of nowhere. But when I started seeing debris flying up in the air circulating with the clouds, pieces of our town blown up and scattered around I could not keep it together. I screamed and yelled at God to make it stop and to forgive us of our sins and briefly I thought it might quit but it didn’t. For miles it kept going and for what felt like minutes I kept begging God to make it stop. I really don’t know what all I was praying. I reminded myself at one point I’m the mom keep it together! But I was far too gone for that. Watching in disbelief, our town demolished; So much destruction so fast.

Wondering if my husband was ok. The kids asking if he was ok. “Of course he is yes daddy’s fine.” He better be fine, God! (He was although we didn’t find out til later; and the tornado initially touched down right by his office where he was hiding under the stairs).

My 8 year old was the adult and suggested we should maybe all calm down. Great idea, son but my body won’t let me. Shaking so badly.

Soon it was over but we were a mess and so was our town.

Seeing the videos, pictures and news coverage we are still in disbelief but amazed that NO ONE was killed. They are reporting only 6 minor injuries.

Amazing. One huge praise.

Another praise is that had we not all been quarantined to our homes because of COVID-19, sooooo many people would’ve lost their lives. So many. It hit a ton of restaurants and shopping areas that would’ve been so busy on a normal Saturday night. So thank You, Lord, for your provision in that. THANK YOU.

When I saw the debris flying I think I thought it was probably taking people up with it and my mind couldn’t make sense of it. Obviously, this tornado only scattered debris. Thank You, Lord. Buildings can be replaced. A life can’t. So grateful.

Another praise— the people have come together! It’s beautiful, humbling and as if socially distancing hasn’t already (oddly enough) made us all grow closer, THIS is showing what our community is all about and it’s each other.

Gods Word says to love Him and love others. I see this happening more and more lately, don’t you??? God’s people are rising, people are seeking, praying and drawing near to firm foundation; because all else, as we are seeing, is sinking sand.

We can praise Him in this storm. We can praise Him in any storm.

He is still good He is still faithful and surely He is coming back soon. People get ready.

Please pray for our community and those that lost homes and businesses. Please pray for revival and for all to come to know Him during this time.

And this was the calm after the storm.