Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Shattering the Darkness…

This past week, there has been so much tragedy in the news.  Which, honestly, that’s why I don’t watch the news.  I used to watch the morning and evening news every day, but it became overwhelming for me.  All the bad news just lingered in my brain and brought on unrealistic fears and anxieties.  I know that the Lord is my protector and that I can turn my worry over to Him, but I was spending so much time allowing the darkness of this world to permeate my mind, it was becoming a real problem for me.

I mean really, what are the odds that the convict on the run from a prison (that was is an eight hour drive from my home) would actually be hiding in my backyard?  Or the ring of burgler’s, two hours away from our neighborhood, were going to arrive in the middle of the night choosing us as the next targets?  And the list went on and on.  It’s probably been a good seven years since I’ve watched the evening news, and that has made a huge difference.

But some stories, it doesn’t matter where you turn, you will hear of great tragedy.  You will see desperately sad stories unfold before your eyes.  You will see unexplainable sorrow in the wake of vicious attacks.  It can very quickly seem all together too much to take in.

There is still ~ HOPE~

The darkness will never completely take over the light. 

Have you ever walked into your house late at night and quickly realized that you forgot to leave a light on?  I hate that….totally freaks me out!  But in that moment that you turn on the hall light, or the “flashlight app” on you iPhone, the darkness is pierced and the fears of the unknown vanish. Why?  Because you can see what’s in front of you; everything becomes clear.

Just look at how the Old Testament starts out in Genesis 1:1-5, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”

God created the light of this world and we have the Light to this world, Jesus Christ His Son, to pierce the darkness that begs to permeate our lives.  We have the victory over darkness my friends!

John 1:4-5 is a proclamation of a wonderful promise from the Lord for us ~ In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Another promise of victory over the darkness of this world from Jesus is found in the latter chapters in the book of John.  These are His words as He speaks to the disciples before He was crucified.  He was preparing the disciples and had spent time instructing them with the knowledge of God the Father.  I used the Amplified Bible Version below, because I love how striking the verbiage is here.  Jesus gave the disciples, and us today, a cautionary warning of what we WILL indeed face in this world; followed up by a magnificent promise to remind us that we do not need to cower in the face of the trials.  Jesus does not state that His victory might happen or that it could possibly take place….it HAS been accomplished!

John 16:32-33 (AMP) “Take careful notice: an hour is coming, and has arrived, when you will all be scattered, each to his own home, leaving Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have[perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]”

Jesus wanted them to have everything they needed ~ “And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” (Philippians 4:7).  And He wants US TODAY to have this same peace.  But that cannot come to us on our own.  It is HIS peace that He gives to us ~ all we have to do is ask for it.

Here in John 14:26-28, we find that promise from Jesus as to where we will find peace ~ But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

My friend, be encouraged that you are not just dangling out in space.  You have not been left alone.  You have a grand purpose and calling on your life.  You have been given identity from the King of Kings.  The Creator of the Universe wants to be in relationship with you because you are precious to Him.

The Lord can erase fear and anxiety from your heart and mind because His love is perfect and perfect love drives out fear (I John 4:18).  Sometimes this looks like a period of time in devoted prayer for issues that are surfacing in your life, or simply from a horrible tragedy that is going on in the world.  However, there are times when we need to call out to another person to help us bring those fears and anxieties to the surface and get them out of our life.  There is nothing wrong (or non-Christian) about seeing a counselor.  My only personal recommendation would be to make sure that you see a counselor whose guidance comes from a place of clarity in scripture, so that you are not led astray.

This world is run by the prince of darkness and the Lord warns us about this.  It is this way because of the Fall of Man when sin entered the earth.  This is NOT what the Lord intended! BUT Satan (prince of darkness) has not won; he has not ever nor will he ever, overcome the Son of God. {John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11}

Do not be distressed my friend when fears arise ~ because as I have shared in the many verses above, Jesus Christ has already won the mighty victory!  We win in the end!  We were not created to live in state of fear, but in a place of victory and freedom from eternal death through the resurrection of Jesus!!!

From the Old Testament, Isaiah 9:6-7 blesses us with this promise of the coming of Jesus Christ to earth,

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

Be strong today. Have courage for tomorrow.  Settle into peace during trials.  Trust that you belong to the mighty King.  Believe in the Prince of Peace who came to bring you Hope!

Blessings,

René

John 1 verses 4 and 5

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Framed by Grace

Have you ever gone to a museum?  I mean, to really go and appreciate the art and the artist? This past summer, we had the amazing privilege of visiting several museums, galleries, and palaces on a trip to Italy and Spain.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime for two reasons ~ our entire family of 5 traveled together and my husband’s fabulous company that he works for basically paid for our time there!

At each point of sightseeing, we took in each scene with great delight and considered the awe of the history that we were witnessing.  I actually think that I paid more attention to the places we went to, because I wanted to make sure that we were taking into consideration the huge blessing of the fact that it was all being paid for by someone else.

To see works of art in Spain: the Picasso museum in Barcelona, along with the art park showcasing the works by Gaudi, and of course the 100+ years of on-going construction of the Sagrada de Familia there….breathtaking!  The King’s Palace in Madrid; the 900 B.C. monastery in Toledo; and the architectural details of just about every building in Valencia!  WOW!  Every day was an artistic adventure!  Being able to be with my daughters and see Michelangelo’s David, in person, stationed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio (the government palace & residence of the Medici’s in Florence, Italy) was absolutely breathtaking.

All of these memories come to mind easily, because I have all 1200 pictures I took on that trip as a rotating screen saver on my computer.  All the fun we had as a family, all the places we saw, all the beauty of the artwork ~ I’m reminded of it every day.  And it just dawned on my today, how that trip was completely framed in grace.  Our family was given something we didn’t do anything to deserve.

Grace ~ the undeserved gift of salvation that we are offered by God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die and rise again in order to bring us to a reconciled relationship with our Creator!

While I was praying about how this theme of “framed by grace” could be translated into this blog, the Lord gave me the recollections of all those amazing pieces of artwork I saw this past summer.

I remember thinking how the framing process is the last piece to the artistic puzzle.

First, the artist comes up with an idea and out of his passion, he creates a masterpiece.  It is something to be shared and displayed, not hidden away or put in a stack of papers on a desk.  Once the piece is finished, the decisions begin as to how to best frame the artwork.  What color should the mat border be?  Should there be two colors or just one?  What color frame? What type of wood?  What style of frame?  Should it have glass on top, or just the framing? What kind of materials should be used for hanging it….metal nail hook or wire?  So many decisions to make sure that the frame is worthy of the precious and priceless piece of art.

My friends, YOU ARE the artwork!  You have been specifically created by God and are precious in His sight.  The color of your hair, your eyes, your skin…your height, the freckles on your nose, and the size of your feet.  Every little detail has been carefully chosen by The Creator of the Universe. Part of the artwork of your life is also inclusive of the seasons of your life.  The Lord does not just paint one setting for you to live in…the art of your life is fluid and changing, and all a part of His plan.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT), You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Psalm 139 verse 13-14

And He has framed your life with His grace.  You are His child and His creation. He wants you to be surrounded with His love and with the tender relationship He desires to have with you.  He wants to show you off to the world and say, “Look here!  This one is mine!  Isn’t she beautiful!  Look at the way her eyes sparkle when she is singing songs of worship.  Look at the love she showers upon others who are seeking encouragement.  I did that for her!”

If you have followed the Lord for your whole life, or just for the past week, you already know that the life of Christian isn’t all daisies and roses.  There are trials in our life ~ but even that part of our life {the struggles} are STILL framed by God’s grace.  We are still hemmed in on all sides.

Psalm 139:5 (NLT), “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Like a garment is hemmed ~ with the express intention of keeping that piece of clothing from unraveling.  We are hemmed in by God into His frame of grace.  We may feel like our life unravels at times, but we always have a safe place within the calming strength of the Lord.

1 Peter 3:3-5 (NLT), All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

What a remarkable truth that we carry in our hearts when we follow the Lord!  The salvation God has gifted to us, resulting in a priceless inheritance and an everlasting relationship with the Creator of the universe, is truly a precious and irreplaceable work of art that has absolutely been framed by Grace.

Go boldly forth today and every day, with joy and authority, sharing your story of how God has framed your life by His goodness and His grace.  We all have a testimony to share ~ someone needs to hear yours today!

Blessings,
René

Psalm 139 verse 5