Why did He have to die?

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‘AFTER JESUS had finished all…He entered…’

These words of God were highlighted by the Holy Spirit for me this morning as I was reading my devotional.

“AFTER JESUS had finished all that He had to say in the hearing of the people [on the mountain], He entered Capernaum.”

Luke 7:1 AMPC

Jesus was only 33 years old when His life on earth ended.

Many would say He died way too young. Ever think about how His friends and family felt when He passed away?

There were people who loved Jesus who grieved when He passed…

Yet God had a plan and a purpose for His life… to impact the lives of a multitude of others.

The people who lived life with Jesus grieved deeply when His life on earth ended.

Just as WE grieve, when OUR loved ones pass on.

God cared about Jesus’s friends.

And God cares about us.

Yes, God cares about their (and our) broken hearts…

Yet God had a purpose.

One that most of us simply do not understand.

Just like God has a plan and a purpose for ALL life-

Life is a gift from God. Whether alive for 1 day or 100 years-ALL life is significant and carries Gods purpose for a bigger picture…HIS picture.

Sometimes it’s not what the individual life can accomplish by themselves and for themselves that matters, but what that life represents in the span of another’s life.

Stop and think for a moment about some of the knowledge that we possess.

Where did we learn from? Who did we learn from?

Sometimes we learn from mistakes.

Our own and also those of others.

But more often than not, we learn by example. We follow the example of those around us.

Infants learn to imitate what their parents do and continue to grow throughout their life… shaped and formed based on their childhood experience.

Ever bump into a personality type that rubs you the wrong way? That just kind of gets on your nerves?

Yeah… me too. I often wondered why… and then I asked God.

Instead of asking God to change them, He let me know that there was something in ME that needed changing…

God was providing me an opportunity through the difficult personalities of others to teach me and develop me.

An opportunity to be chiseled… to be pruned… to be sharpened… to grow… to improve my love walk…

Perhaps the sharp edges of others are being used to file off rough spots on our own hearts… after all, diamonds in the rough need to be revealed by harsh treatment of others…

Proverbs 27:17

‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’

Both blades are being sharpened and transformed into efficient and effective tools, when used together. By themselves, they remain dull and ineffective.

The truth here is that we need one another.

And the passing of ones life is very important to those who remain and continue to live without them.

We influence one another… and sometimes the detriment of one life coming to end has a lasting, significant impact on the life of another or on a group of people.

Often times, we get so lost in our grief that we are blinded to the blessings… and the lessons, God has for us.

There’s often good that comes out of bad.

The impact of loss forever changes how the lives of others are being shaped, and formed, and molded into Gods perfect plan.

Remember, God is the Potter, we are the clay.

Isaiah 64:8 ESV

‘But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.’

Sometimes, in life… we just plain out feel like a lump of clay.

And we feel like ‘life’ keeps throwing sucker punches at us… a quick jab to the left, and POW 💥- a major blow to the stomach. Right?

Ever hear or say the expression ‘when it rains, it pours?’

We get to the point where we can’t seem to catch our breath, and BOOM! There’s yet another test and trial facing us.

Yikes!

It sometimes hurts to be pressed, pushed, pounded, shaped and molded, as clay… doesn’t it?

When a loved one dies… it leaves a hole in our hearts… we feel lost. We are filled with unanswered hard questions… and often, people blame God.

God knows exactly how we feel!!!

Look at Jesus. His life on earth was short too, but significant to all mankind.

He only lived to age 33.

His life was cut short.

Have you ever thought about it?

I’m sure many of those who loved Him felt robbed and shortchanged when He died on the cross.

I’m sure many said things like ‘it’s not fair!’ Or ‘He didn’t deserve to die’ or ‘He was such a good person’… and in Jesus’s case- it WAS not fair! He DIDN’T deserve to die! He WAS a good person!

In fact- He was SINLESS.

We’ve all heard people ask ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’

Maybe you’ve said it yourself or at least thought it…

I have a few questions for you:

What is ‘good?’ What is ‘bad?’ By who’s standard?

Can not BOTH things or circumstances that are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ be worked out for our good?

Yes. Absolutely.

Romans 8:28 NASB

‘And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.’

God had another purpose for His Son’s life that was greater than His life itself.

Like Jesus, let’s consider the life of others that ended…leaving a gap in ours….

What does this persons life have to teach me?

How might my life be enhanced for the better because of this persons life?

How has the life of my loved one impacted the lives of others?

Am I thankful to God for the gift of their life in mine?

We often times think we have it all figured out don’t we?

Sometimes the perspective is always introverted and we think ‘life is only about me’ or ‘what’s in this for me’ or ‘how can I bear all of this?’

‘Why do I have to endure this?’

These are some of the heart wrenching thoughts and questions many who are grieving experience.

Perhaps instead we should be looking at other questions?

Maybe asking God ‘show me Your purpose in this.’

Or ‘What is it Lord I need to learn from this?’

Or ‘Help me Lord fulfill Your plan for my life regardless for the length.’

God places others in our lives to help us in our development of becoming who God wants us to be.

God uses every emotion and every experience for His good.

Every tear shed, every disappointment, every heart ache, every mistake… God causes even our mistakes to prosper and work out for our good.

Not every ingredient in a recipe taste good by itself.

In fact there’s some ingredients that are downright nasty tasting- for instance, try taking a spoonful of baking powder or baking soda and see how that taste.

By itself NO ONE would eat it and say ‘yum this is so good!’

Yet it (as each ingredient) has a purpose, and by the time the cake comes out of the oven, the entire house smells wonderful and every bite of that cake is going to taste good.

I believe our lives are like a cake recipe…

Throughout our lives, there’s different experiences, good ones and not so good ones… and painful ones.

These experiences are similar to an ingredient of a cake recipe- that by themselves independently appear to be bad and leave a yucky taste in our mouth.

But at the end of our lives, when it’s all put together, we can look back one day and see how God intricately woven in every ingredient of every experience, good and bad, into His beautiful masterpieces…

Our steps are ordained established by God.

  • Ordained and established for HIS plan. HIS big picture.
  • Psalm 37:23

    ‘A man’s steps are established by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.’

    We need to stop thinking we know it all.

    And we need to truly relinquish control to God. Do we trust Him?

    Do we REALLY trust Him?

    Really? Even when we don’t understand?

    Even when it doesn’t make sense?

    EVEN WHEN IT HURTS?

    Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

    Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    It’s not always easy to surrender. God is faithful, and He knows all things, and He’s working things out for good…

    Not only for YOUR good… but for the good of His Kingdom.

    It’s good to plan… but it’s BETTER to seek out GODS plans… for His are the one that matters.

    Gods ways are not our ways. We can’t possibly understand everything about God. Only His ways He puts in His Word are we able to understand… to a degree.

    Every life matters, and is significant in Gods plans- and…

    Every life has a beginning, and an appointed time to end.

    Treasure all life. And give your treasures to the Keeper of your heart. 💗

    Proverbs 19:21 (ESV)

    ‘Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.’

    God bless the dirty roads…

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    Jesus was about to stoop low… and become a servant to His disciples… and was their feet.

    Until I did missions in Guatemala, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania Africa-this verse didn’t fully make sense to me.

    “When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!””

    John 13:6-9 NLT

    The majority of all roads (other than the one main road) are not paved like we have in USA. They are deeply rutted, dirt roads… often muddy in rainy season; or very dusty and sandy in the other seasons…

    Animals roam freely, no fences keeping them separated from traffic.

    Children are among those who walk everywhere, often bare footed, or wearing sandals.

    The roads are long, bumpy, dusty, dirty… and feet very quickly get dirty too. It’s the way of life for most cultures.

    Most don’t possess shoes for their feet- and for those who have shoes, often they are open shoes, like sandals.

    The primary mode of transportation was foot- walking. People of all ages walking everywhere.

    There’s a variety of animal dung everywhere- sheep, goats, cows, chickens and more roam free- and many steps that occur during foot travel incur stepping in yucky stuff… at times, it’s unavoidable…so you can see now how filthy the feet easily became.

    It was customary to have the lowest of servants stoop low, with a basin of warm water, and wash the feet of guests, and more so people in a higher stature.

    I’ll never forget how incredibly humbling and moving it was the first time that my feet and hands were washed when a guest in a home on missions… I WENT TO SERVE THEM… and yet, through this simply, profoundly moving act, they served me.

    It was life changing.

    Now read this passage again.

    Once Peter heard Jesus say ‘unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me’, Peters answer changed from ‘No! You will never ever wash my feet!’ to ‘then wash my hands, and my head as well, Lord, not just my feet!’

    God bless the dirty roads that leads us straight to You.

    Peter didn’t want Jesus on Sunday mornings only, Peter wanted Jesus on every day, and every moment of every day!

    May our prayers be like Peters… in all the filth of our sins… let us cry out:

    Wash ALL of me, Jesus!!! I want to belong to You FULLY Lord!!!’

    “And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.”

    John 13:14-15 NLT

    Jesus gave us an example to follow, and told us to do likewise.

    We must become servants. Church, let’s get busy!!!

    What did He say?

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    “Let us go to the other side.”

    When Jesus says let us go to the other side, He was not making a Holy suggestion.

    He was making a statement. He was announcing their destination would be the other side. Period.

    Yet, a storm arose… one of ‘hurricane proportions’ the Bible says. And even though Jesus stated exactly what would be, His disciples took their eyes off Him, and on the ‘storm’- and instantly began to doubt Jesus.

    Their faith was replaced with fear, when they gave in to doubt.

    Why do people doubt what God tells us in His word?

    Usually it’s because of their own experiences, their own understanding of things, what they hear others to say, what they see with their own eyes. All of these things lead people to doubt God when circumstances are different than what God’s Word says.

    Consider healing, for example.

    Gods Word says in 1Peter 2:24 ‘by His stripes you are healed.’ (Yet, at the moment- you may still be fighting symptoms, ‘feeling’ sick or in pain, or ‘hearing’ certain medical reports that don’t agree with what Gods Word says.

    This is where many miss it. They make the decision to not agree with Gods report, Gods Word, and instead, they agree with medical reports, and their own understanding, own feelings, own perceptions of what they are seeing.

    One might think and even say ‘yeah, I know that’s what the Bible says, but I am sick! I feel horrible.’ And Satan wins, because he succeeds in getting us to agree with his lies, even to start speaking his lies, because we give in to our feelings, and our own understanding of things…

    WHAT???

    Who do we think we are???!!!

    We are NOT God! We do not, and cannot know all things!

    Our own understanding is very limited in comparison to the understanding of God.

    Our own thoughts are limited to our own experiences and knowledge but God‘s thoughts have no end and are all knowing.

    Facts are things that we know at the moment but later can change.

    Facts are composites of one’s opinion. Or of a temporary moment.

    For instance- at the moment the fact is I’m sitting in my home working on this devotion. But that that will change in an hour when I leave my home and head on an errand.

    Facts change.

    Truth is truth regardless of what anyone individual thinks about a subject and truth can never change.

    There’s always only one right way and only one wrong way.

    Truth or false.

    Gods Word is Truth. Always, without fail, 100 % of the time, Gods Word is Truth.

    Gods Word changes facts when facts don’t line up to Gods Truth- WHEN we activate our faith in Gods Word, claim it for purses, and speak it boldly.

    Notice further into this scripture account, after the disciples frantically woke Jesus up in fear, what Jesus said, and what Jesus did.

    He addressed the problem:

    He rebuked the wind and commanded the sea to be still.

    The Prince of Peace commanded peace to the chaos of the moment, and immediately the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

    Then He admonished the disciples (followers of Jesus), for being of little faith. He asked ‘why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’

    HE WAS IN THE BOAT WITH THEM, and they STILL jumped out of faith, into doubt, because of fear.

    The disciples took their eyes off Jesus, forgot what He said about their destination, and allowed the ‘temporary’ moment to overshadow everything else- exactly what Satan tries to do with all of us!

    And you know what? If we’re not careful, Satan will do the same thing to us, too. Causes the distractions to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto the problem. Do not let him!

    People, Satan is subtle, and bold.

    Even when Jesus is ‘in the boat’ with us, he Satan ‘roams around like a lion seeking whom he may devour.’ (1 Peter 5:8)

    Resist him! Fear is of the devil- it’s a spirit that God says in 2 Timothy 1:7 He did NOT give us fear.

    When God gives us His Word, we can count on Him to do what He says.

    Mark 5:1 goes on to tell us “…and they came over to the other side of the sea.”

    Now after reading of the magnitude of the storm that Jesus subsided with a few words, it’s easy to overlook these few words in this first verse of chapter 5. But I want to highlight them because they’re extremely important.

    ‘AND THEY CAME OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SEA.’

    Only because Jesus immediately addressed the problem first, commanded peace, and then addressed the disciples fear did they achieve exactly what He originally said would happen.

    If we eliminate the in between text, it’s quite simple to see it.

    Mark 4:35 “Let us go over to the other side.”

    Mark 5:1 “and they came over to the other side…”

    The enemy snuck right in there, didn’t he?

    Satan heard what Jesus said. And he was determined to destroy the plans of Jesus!

    In fact John 10:10 says “the thief comes but only to kill, steal, and destroy.” It’s his job description. It’s what he does. However in the same verse Jesus goes on to say “but I have come that you might have life more abundant. “

    Noticed that word “might“? That’s suggestive that you may or may not. My opinion, based on other scriptures, is that the choice is up to us.

    Do we agree with God or not?

    Do our words and our actions line up with God’s Words? If so, and we use the authority God gave us to use His name, ALL circumstances that arise against us will have to cease.

    When Jesus declares a thing, believe Him. Regardless of any circumstance.

    We must train ourselves to ‘Trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, lean not on our own understanding, and in ALL our ways, acknowledge Him, and He WILL direct our steps.’ (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Determine now, no matter what, to agree with Gods Word and not your own understanding. In spite of temporary difficulties and apparent limitations, SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD ONLY. (Matthew 8:8)

    Watch God perform and do exactly what His Word says- keep on speaking it. Line up with God and get Gods report.

    This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

    IF…

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    How does a VITAL CHURCH grow?

    It becomes LIFE to ALL.

    “WHEN Christ who IS our life. (Colossians 3:4)… then you shall also appear with Him in all glory.”

    “Vital” means LIFE.

    “If” we truly are born again, Christ IS our life.

    I sincerely and without no disrespect say “If” because God says this.

    It’s NOT automatic- this ‘salvation’ or ‘born again’ experience I’m referring to.

    Something actually happens in the spiritual realm to our spirits, we become a brand new, never before existed, created spirit. (1 Corinthians 5:17).

    Just because we believe in God, and have knowledge that Jesus is God’s Son- doesn’t mean we have been born again, or saved.

    Just because we go to church, doesn’t make us a Christian, no more than going to McDonald’s makes you a Bic Mac! God’s gift of salvation is 100% FREE, but cost God EVERYTHING.

    But He doesn’t force it on us- it’s been offered, and is waiting for each of us to individually receive it, to receive Christ, who IS the gift of eternal life; as our individual Master, Lord, Savior, Redeemer, Deliverer, Healer, Provider, OUR LIFE!!!

    Date to be a disciple, a follower of Jesus!

    It’s conditional, based on each of our individual choice.

    He is The Way, The Truth, and THE LIFE.

    First thing first responders do upon the scene of an accident is ‘check your vitals.’ They are determining whether or not there is LIFE in us.

    Life is a gift, and as believers, CHRIST is our life, and His GIFT of life is to be shared and multiplied. God is a God of increase.

    Friends, we all have goals, and most include financial goals. And this is good. But what good is it to gain the whole world and lose our souls??? (Mark 8:36/Matthew 16:26)

    As CHRISTians, our main financial goals in life is not to pack away as much wealth as we can FOR OURSELF; but to be able to give without end to those in need all over the world. To spread the gospel into all the world cost money.

    The purpose of wealth is NOT to hoard it to ourselves.

    I don’t want money for myself. I want it so that I am give it away, so that I can feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, give drink to the thirsty- bless those in need, IN THE NAME OF JESUS. To bring JESUS to all I meet and ‘GO’ to find, seek and save the lost…

    I’m not talking about those capable of helping themselves but don’t., or those trapped in addiction spending every donated dollar on their habit- they need help., too, but a different type of help. For those- I love them and pray for them to receive revelation of God’s presence, power and indescribable gift!

    I speak LIFE over them, and plead the blood of Jesus over them. In their presence I speak ‘Jesus.’ ‘JESUS!’ At the name of Jesus, the demons tremble and every knee must bow. And His power is released! (James 2:19/Philippians 2:11/ Luke 10:17/ Mark 16:17-17)

    I’m talking about the majority of our world struggling to find clean water to drink; food to eat, shelter- who need our answer, their answer, JESUS.

    We must go TO THEM, and TELL THEM. We must SHOW THEM. We must CARE for them, and LOVE them, like the Jesus we confess.

    This and this only is why I desire money. I desire what I can do with it for the Kingdoms sake.

    This is why I give what I have. And to keep on giving what I have. It’s not a one time done. check off list thing. It’s GODS WAY.

    This is why I am passionate about being part of “THE CHURCH”, (not ‘a’ church) and seek a ‘vital’ church (THE BODY OF CHRIST) who gets this!!!

    Faith ACTS. It doesn’t sit still. It doesn’t remain in one place, content, like a ‘fat baby.’ I remember back in my singing days, singing an Amy Grant song called ‘Fat Baby.’ It’s time to resurrect this song, folks!!! It’s TIME FOR A GREAT AWAKENING!!! RISE UP!!! Get busy!!!

    Here’s the lyrics- read them. Let them get deposited in your spirit. Are YOU a fat baby???

    “🎼I know a man, maybe you know him, too

    You never can tell; he might even be you

    He knelt at the altar, and that was the end

    He’s saved, and that’s all that matters to him

    His spiritual tummy, it can’t take too much

    One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch

    On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best

    And gives his language a spiritual rest

    He’s just a faaa…

    He’s just a fat little baby!

    Wa, wa, waaaaa…

    He wants his bottle, and he don’t mean maybe

    He sampled solid foods once or twice

    But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice

    Ba, ba, ba, ba…ba, ba…ba, ba!

    He’s been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood

    But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud

    He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16

    He’s got the biggest King James you’ve ever seen!

    I’ve always wondered if he’ll grow up someday

    He’s momma’s boy, and he likes it that way

    If you happen to see him, tell him I said,

    “He’ll never grow, if he never gets fed”

    He’s just a fat, fat, fat, fat, fat, fa-at, fat…

    Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fa-at, Fat…

    Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fatttt…

    Baby…🎼”

    Don’t wait until you have ‘enough of the wealth’ YOU think is enough to start giving- you’ll never become a giver if you wait. Start now. Learn to sacrifice now. Become a giver now.

    You have to give by faith, with your heart, with what you have now.

    Trust God.

    Hey, ALL of the earth is the Lords and the fullness therein. ALL belongs to God… we are only stewards of what He has entrusted us with.

    Are we being faithful with it? Are we holding onto it with stingy fingers, even more tightly when the Holy Spirit touches our hearts to give, then we don’t?

    Or are we trusting God with EVERY area of our life, including our finances? Are we???

    God will take your gift, and will supernaturally multiply it; and will increase your ability to gain more; once your heart lines up with His.

    The value of something is determined by what one is willing to pay.

    God’s determined our value, ALL of mankind’s value, even in our imperfect condition, was the life of His only Son.

    God is a giver. He held nothing back.

    We are to follow His example, if indeed He is in us… we are made in His image. We are made to multiply, to increase.

    Let’s give all we can selflessly, and see our world changed.

    All of the worlds poverty, starvation, need- is solvable through the Christ who is in us…

    ‘IF’ we would but learn to see people as HE sees people…

    ‘IF’ we would but learn to love people as HE loves people…

    ‘IF’ we TRULY would obey and do what HE instructed us to do-we will see in God’s Word WHO we are in Christ, WHOSE we are in Christ, and WHO WE ARE CONNECTED TO IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.

    Our body is the ‘new’ temple the Holy Spirit dwells in, if we are truly born again. Our body IS the ‘house’ that our spirit, and God’s Spirit IN OUR SPIRIT, contains.

    May ALL our eyes open to this truth!!! May HIS Holy Fire consume us, and His passion ignite us!!!

    “Now ALL who believed were together, and had ALL things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among ALL, as anyone had need…”

    ‘IF’ we truly desire to be obedient and to become THE church, THE bride of Christ, we need to do what He has instructed us to do, then we will be the vital “church” that grows!

    This is how we will know- read what is written, when Peter was with the rest of the other apostles (followers of Christ, who were ALREADY BORN AGAIN):

    “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent. And let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you SHALL RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the PROMISE is to you AND TO YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO ALL WHO ARE AFAR OFF, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

    “Then THOSE WHO GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD… So continuing daily with ONE ACCORD in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, they are their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with ALL the people. AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY THISE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.”

    (Acts 2:37-47)

    ‘Remember?’

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    “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember?”

    Mark 8:18 ESV

    That word of Jesus leaps off the page to me, ‘remember.’

    And His question comes back to me ‘And do you not remember?’ every single morning… how could I ever forget???

    I hear You, Lord! I DO remember, vividly…

    August 27, 2011… a day our family was forever changed… a day that marked us- and defined our faith.

    Now, today, 8/27/18, it’s been 7 years, and I still stand amazed at what my God has done, and continues to do, each and every day.

    Let me tell ya!

    Because of what we went through, going from death to life, with the power of our tongues ONLY because of Jesus, and speaking the Word of God over our daughter, she is fully healed and alive today.

    She’s married, (3 years this December), a registered nurse, and serving the Lord in the Peace Corp in Zambia with her husband Asa, declaring the marvelous deeds of the Lord- making a difference every day in the lives of others.

    We have a deeper, stronger faith. We went through the flood, ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ literally, and our roots are firmly established in the revelation of a Father who never leaves us. NEVER.

    We came through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, when we emerged out of the deep end, and we have an awareness of God‘s abiding presence that forever changes the way we see impossible situations. NO one can tell me a situation is impossible when God’s involved, because I know otherwise!

    Don’t ever settle for less than what God redeemed us from! Nothing is impossible with my Jesus!

    God.

    He was in the van with us. He was our ‘ever present help in our time of need’.

    The moment we cried out ‘JESUS! Jesus, Jesus!’ He was right there, working on our behalf.

    He sent His Holy Angels, who navigated my husband out of a treacherous situation… from the drivers seat, through a crushed door and broken window, glass everywhere… across LIVE POWER-LINES, in the pouring down rain- the Angels protection shielded him from harm, assisted him in getting her unbuckled and out of the pinned position of being sandwiched between the rear of her seat and the roof of our crushed van, over the the passengers side where both her Heavenly Father and her Daddy waited.

    “Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.”

    Psalm 23:4 GNTD

    Honestly, when the tree fell suddenly on top of our van while we were driving, only five minutes from home… we were thrust into total darkness. The span of the tree so big, it covered our van… and the shield of our eyelids when we were thrown into unconsciousness also was utter darkness.

    When my husband awoke first, his first instinct was survival and protection. Searching frantically for a cell phone to call 911, realizing the gravity of our situation he attempted to wake me, ‘WENDY! WENDY!’ he hollered my name multiple times. I seemed to hear him as if in a dream, with his voice sounding far away, though he was sitting right next to me…

    My hand went to my head and neck, exploding in pain… then I heard these words:

    “MORGANNE’S NOT BREATHING!”

    These words reached into the depth of my darkness, my eyes flew open, heart was shocked into beating…dazed, seeing broken windshield and tree limbs covering us, trying to move my body around towards where our daughter was sitting, and then seeing her there… lifeless, like a rag doll, long arms and long hair hanging over side of seats edge alongside her knees…with the rear of her seat folded on top of her, the roof of the van pinning on top of her-I instantly was gripped by a level of fear and panic I never experienced before in my entire life!!! A sight forever branded on my heart and in my mind- not a day goes by that I don’t ‘see’ that gut-wrenching image…

    I knew I needed to speak but the enemies grip on my throat was so tight it seemed literally impossible.

    BUT GOD!!!

    The power of the living Christ within me through my Helper, the Holy Spirit, arose a mighty spirit of faith. In fact, the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead was activated in me-and I cried out ‘Jesus!!! JESUS- HELP MY BABY GIRL!!’

    As I twisted in my seat, I reached out my hand and touched her pulse, on her neck and wrist. THERE WAS NO PULSE! NO HEART BEAT!

    Words of LIFE, God’s Word, started flowing off my tongue, guided by the Holy Spirit, as I laid my hands on her- ‘Morganne will live and NOT DIE, and shall give account of the deeds of the Lord! It is written! When believers lay hands on the sick they SHALL recover! We resist you Devil! We submit to God, you MUST FLEE! Go! Leave her alone! She will live and not die in Jesus Name!’

    And we prayed in the Spirit, kept saying ‘Jesus! Life! Help our baby girl! JESUS! LIFE!

    6 minutes from when we found the phone and called 911, she remained unchanged…Lifeless.

    But our God breathed life back into her, by HIS Words we uttered over her.

    She started to breath. And rescue arrived… they pulled her out of the narrow opening on the passenger side of the van; no time for jaws of life or crane to remove tree…

    And took her to the emergency room. Praise God for first responders!!! We do, all the time!

    Throughout our ordeal, a total of 13 initial days in two hospitals-finding out of her massive blood loss and brain bleeds, fractured skull, multiple hematomas and subdermal bleeds, major brain damage on both lobes and brain stem, hearing the words ‘1-5% chance of survival with little to no quality of life if she makes it’ , emergency ground medic transfer to MCV during the height of Hurricane Irene, followed by a 9 hour brain surgery then hooked up to life support for three days… we held tight to God’s Word and each other.

    Our son and older daughter with us, we kept praying and speaking God’s Word of life over her. A nightmare for each one of us…only we ALL were living in the same one.

    We fought the good fight of faith. We refused the reports we were hearing and only believed God’s. We kept on saying she would fully recover and that it would be expedient. Nothing else was acceptable. It didn’t line up to what we believed, and we believed GOD.

    On the third day, she awoke, though her journey of recovery and HER fight of faith was just beginning.

    It was soooo hard seeing her in pain! Seeing her swollen beyond recognition; all of her long beautiful hair, gone- replaced by vicious staples across half of her head… all a testament now of the incredible God we trust in and serve, and of her amazing strength.

    Fighting severe pain, inability to see in one eye, unable to walk, she kept saying ‘I need to run!’ Even though she couldn’t even yet stand. Doctors and nurses told her ‘honey you need to understand that you have a severe brain injury. You can’t do what you used to be able to do. This is what having a traumatic brain injury is about, it’s for life, this is your new normal.’

    Our feisty girls response? ‘Will you stop telling me what I can’t do when my God says I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength?!’

    On the 13th day, against all odds, our daughter WALKED out of MVV to our vehicle, on her own two feet! She refused the wheelchair. Of course she refused it- she was making a statement without words, she didn’t need it!

    The next day, she surprised her team at an invitational run; and on the way home stopped at the storage yard where the wreckage of the vans remnant remained… seeing her standing there, looking at the van, I knew we were looking at what a miracle looks like. Another image branded forever on my heart…

    Two weeks later after intense physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, and lots of prayer, she returned for a consequent brain surgery to reattach her bone after swelling went down… and after another five days of intense pain, and hospitalization at MCV, she was home again.

    And, one month after original accident on September 30th, she returned to school- to all her advanced and AP dual enrollment college classes, and that afternoon?

    Morganne ran with her cross country team!!! I’ll never, ever forget it.

    The power of the tongue… Like a rudder on a ship- it’s so tiny in size yet it powerfully steers the direction of our lives by the words off our lip.

    When we line up our words with God’s Words- life will always follow.

    “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” Proverbs 18:21 GNTD

    “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

    Proverbs 18:21 MSG

    This year is bittersweet, as we always commemorate this day with an anniversary dinner to honor God and thank Him for saving us, and for restoring our daughter back to life, miraculously… but with Morganne being thousands of miles away across the world from us, we will celebrate in two separate time zones, and in two parts of the world.

    We will always remember, Jesus, what You’ve done for us. We will tell the world of Your goodness every opportunity we have-

    ‘We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony’. (Revelation 12:11)

    If I could encourage one person not to give up by ‘remembering’ and sharing what Jesus did for us, then our trial has been worthwhile.

    Jesus Himself tells us in Mark 11:22, ‘Have faith in God.’ We live by faith., and never stop thanking Him for the incredible things He has done.

    We remember…

    Hope.

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    All throughout the winter, I have been driving past this tree on my way to and from work.

    Always captures my attention…

    This tree has a lesson. So does this empty fruit basket.

    It’s been speaking to my soul. And yes, trees can speak.

    We read about Jesus speaking to the fig tree in Mark 11… it spoke back to Him, in obedience. It heard what He said, and did what He said.

    Regarding THIS tree-and THIS empty basket…

    Most specifically the little fruit basket sitting as if it’s waiting. It has been speaking to me.

    A lot.

    It is a symbol of hope and of new life.

    When we look at things that seem lifeless and hopeless, the more we let our gaze dwell there unchecked, we grew weary and depressed.

    This image paints a different picture to focus on-if only we have eyes to see and ears to hear…

    The tree branches are empty.. there’s no sign of life…

    There’s a hint of life however on the bottom, of the green grass starting to grow… but the symbol of hope here is in the empty bucket waiting at the bottom… it’s a sign that good things will come in the future.

    I believe this is a message to encourage somebody.

    Are you facing a hopeless situation?

    Anyone feeling as if life will never come again the way you want it to?

    God has different seasons in our life for a reason.

    While we learn to wait on God, let’s purpose to trust Him!

    “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrew 11:1),

    Based on the true uncompromised Word of God!

    We need to learn to be obedient and to do what God says to do, in order to get the results God says we can have.

    “call those things that are not as though they are!” (Romans 4:17)

    God is a speaking Spirit!

    He spoke everything into existence and to this day there are new galaxies still being created based on His original command to exist!

    “Words are powerful! Words can be our salvation and words can be our damnation.” (Matthew 12:33 MSG)

    “Death and life are in the power of the tongue!” (Proverbs 18:21)

    What are we saying?

    What are we declaring?

    What are we confessing?

    We need to learn to look adversity directly into its face and declare our victory!

    Like this little basket sitting at the foot of this barren tree, waiting for the right season of fruit to come-anticipating…

    let’s “trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on to our own understanding- in all our ways acknowledge Him and let Him direct our steps!” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    Lets look with eyes of faith! And speak into our future right now the expected end!

    Be encouraged, dear loved ones- hope never disappoints!

    Little Children’s Imaginary ‘Friends’ Have Spiritual Purpose

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    Often times, little children have imaginary ‘friends’.

    To them, they ‘see’ their ‘friends’ as real people. They confide in them. They are content for hours spending time with them.

    They talk with them, eat with them, play with them- as if they are REAL people.

    Little children are given great imaginations by God! They love to sit on the floor and pretend real life situations and act them out.

    They make up stories, acting out with dolls, or toy cars, or they ‘play’ house or doctor, policeman, cowboy etc.

    Many times when my children were little, they’d say “Mommy, come play with me!”

    And quickly they’d assign me a position-a role to act out “You be the mommy, I’ll be the baby.”

    Without effort on their part, they’d come up with the most natural conversations as they play-acted. But for me, it was not as easy to ‘pretend’ anymore as a grown up.

    I loved watching my children play alone content with their ‘imaginary friends.’

    They’d be oblivious to me standing in the doorway,observing their conversations, lost in play as if I was the invisible one and their ‘friend’ was more real than me.

    I believe God gave little children the gift of imagination, and especially imagination friends for a reason.

    It teaches them at a young age to be comfortable with themselves talking out loud to an ‘invisible’ yet very important figure in their life they believe to be real.

    Colossians 1:15 (NLT) “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation”

    The gift of a childlike imagination is from God. Children have innate unquestionable faith. They ‘see’ with the pure, undefiled eyes of faith.

    Playtime for a little child with an unseen ‘real’ friend, is prayer preparation time with an unseen REAL God!

    I believe God gave little children the gift of imaginary friends to allow them to grow comfortable talking out loud to their unseen friend/s, so that without question they will be able to ‘see’ Jesus, and talk with God whom they can’t see, but know is there.

    When we ‘see’ Jesus as our real, personal living friend- when we become comfortable as as child talking with Him openly and anything and everything- we will ‘become as a child.’

    “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)