The Conflict Within

The Conflict Within

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15) For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these ae opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. (Galatians 5:17) For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells, in my members. (Romans 7:22, 23)

The dogs’ ears were stinky and itchy. He whined every time his master cleaned them out. He tried everything to help this poor dog. Then one day someone suggested it might be the chicken. The dog loved his food made with chicken, but the minute his master changed his food, his ears stopped itching and stinking. But still, he begged for any chicken in his sight.

Isn’t that the way with us? There are things that we should not have or do, and yet, we can’t help ourselves?

God, it isn’t easy to walk in the ways You have planned for me as I’m drawn to the flames of my past. But will you ease the pull it has on me? In Jesus’ name, Amen

Happy Easter

Cheers, Jeers, Tears, JOY!

The Hebrew people were suffering in Jerusalem. They were under the cruel and oppressive rule of the Romans, just as their ancestors were under the Egyptians (The Book of Exodus). They needed deliverance. The Old Testament Prophet, Zechariah predicted their salvation, he said, “See your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9) This prophecy came to fruition as we read in Matthew 21:1-10. Then the crowds cheered loudly, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Vs 9) This was a plea from a depressed people to their Savior for deliverance.

However, it wasn’t long before these cheers turned to jeers. Jesus was telling the people how they must act and to whom they must follow and it wasn’t the Scribes and Pharisees! This riled the leaders—albeit, self- proclaimed leaders—and they began to conspire Jesus’ arrest and ultimate demise. The people who had cheered for their Savior now jeered Him because of their fear. They became part of the mob who shouted, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”(Matthew 27:22, 23) How easily cheers can become jeers. Soon tears would be running down their cheeks.

It wasn’t long before these same people who cheered when Jesus entered through the gate, began to jeer Him, and fear overtook them. The people watched their Savior as He was nailed to the cross and died before their eyes. They realized that they had failed to recognize their God. They had allowed “fear” to be their god. Their eyes welled up with tears and spilled over and ran down their cheeks. Their hearts sank. Still God said, “Be strong and courageous”( 2 Chronicles 32:7). God had a plan and He had vowed to “never leave His people or forsake them,” (Deuteronomy 31:8) Also, on more than one occasion He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged.” In fact, it is repeated 365 times through-out the Bible! Yet we do not listen.

But, as I said, God has a plan and He wasn’t defeated. At the end of the cheers, jeers, and tears came joy. The Psalmist writes,” …there is joy in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

The morning after Jesus was carried and laid in the tomb, the women came to anoint His body. They stopped short when they discovered the huge stone had been rolled away from the entrance. They looked in and what did they see? NOTHING! IT WAS EMPTY! When the guards who were sleeping outside the tomb awoke, they were overtaken by fear and stood like dead men. But, an angel of the Lord appeared to the women. The angel told them not to be afraid for Jesus had risen! (Matthew 28:1ff)  “Go and tell the others,” The angel said.

As they were running to tell the others the good news, Jesus appeared to them and said, “Good morning.” The women fell down and grabbed His feet and worshipped Him. Jesus simply said to them, “Do not be afraid…Tell My disciples to go to Galilee and there they will see Me.” Joy came in the morning! Do not be afraid. At the end of the cheers, jeers, and tears, there is joy.

God is with you—Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, be courageous. Believe. Turn your fear into faith for the best is yet to come. In a little while Jesus will appear to you, as well.

Dear Heavenly Father, on this Resurrection Sunday I pray, that the family with whom you have blessed us, will see You. Dispel whatever fear is gripping them and turn it into faith in You, Lord, our Living God. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY

It Is Done!

“From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over the whole land.” Matthew 27:45

We watched as Jesus was nailed to the cross. With each pound of the hammer a shiver went up my spine. Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 28:46) The pain was great. But, it wasn’t the physical pain, although I can only imagine how great that was! Think of it—nails driven through your feet and through your hands holding you upright with all the pressure of gravity pulling you downward. It must’ve been excruciating! But, that wasn’t the pain Jesus was feeling. It was the pain in His spirit because you and I had turned our backs on Him and have sunk deep in our sin. For this He gave Himself up on the cross.

God has forsaken not even one! We are the ones who have done the forsaking. But, there is hope. Even so, Lord Jesus come. Jesus has died, but now He lives! We can hold on to the promise that “God will never leave us nor forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Do not be lost in your sin—your broken relationship with God. He is waiting for you with open arms. Turn to Him and give up your willful ways. He will appear to You as He did the women who found His tomb empty. Don’t look back, move your being towards the future He calls you to with faith, hope, and love for “joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Lord, help me to open my eyes that I may see You more clearly. Keep me close to You in the storms of life. Be not crucified in my heart. Let my soul soar as I imagine the totality of life with You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Tears

“Tonight all of you will run away…” Matthew 26:31

It wasn’t long before the people who cheered, then jeered, would have tears running down their cheeks. The heaviness of what they had done began to weigh them down. What had happened? How could something that seemed so right become so wrong? They didn’t take time to think about it, they just joined in with the rest of the crowd. A crowd that was led by a bunch of jealous, glory-seekers.

Think about it. You are standing in the square watching your hero, the one who has come to free you from the imprisonment of your own unbelief. There is great jubilation! You are caught up in the ecstasy of the moment. But, in a few days the mood of the crowd changes. This one who was to be your Savior has been arrested and beaten and spat upon and humiliated! You find yourself hurling insults as you become part of the mob. You have run away from the One who could save you. Now, this thought brings tears to your eyes.

Jesus is remembered on Maundy Thursday as we participate in the Last Supper He had with His disciples—at lease here on earth. This is an example of “the end not being the end.” But, how can you know? Definitely not by joining the hateful mob!!!

Paul tells us in Acts 16:31—“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved; you and your household.” Have faith and believe. There is nowhere in the 66 books, we have named The Holy Bible, that says it will be easy. But, I say, it is the easiest hard thing you could do. Proclaim your faith in Jesus and believe that He is the One, true Savior of the world and let Him lead you through the maze of life into the Promised Land. We are all born and we all die. It is your choice where you will spend eternity. May your tears not fall on dry ground for “there will be joy in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)

Dear Lord, keep me safe, keep me true to You the “Word that was made flesh” (John 1:14). Take up residence in my heart. Don’t allow me to be a part of the angry mob. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Already Forgiven

“Jesus said, “Father forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

The time had come. The beatings were done, the humiliation couldn’t hurt Him, and the angry mob spread out below Him. Jesus, nailed to the cross, held no animosity toward any of them—greater love has He than no man. Jesus freely gave Himself up, taking all our sins upon Himself, though He knew none. He took away our sin and guilt–past, present, and future. Yet, many still struggle under the weight of their sin refusing to give it up. Why?

Don’t you know that you have already been forgiven—even before you ask? It is done! It is finished! Christ paid the price that day on the cross. Blackness came over the land. The curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the common folk tore from top to bottom, lightning flashed, thunder roared as the sins of the world were put to death and Jesus died. No greater event has ever taken place in all of creation, yet many of us do not have a clue of the meaning of it all and continue to struggle with our burdens.

Jesus cries out with the voice of God, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28, 30) Jesus gave Himself up for you that you might live life abundantly, joyfully and filled with love. Receive it. Accept it. Believe it. Renew your relationship with Him for your sin is forgiven. Does this mean you will never sin again? NO! You and I sin every day and we need to ask forgiveness. Yes, our sin is forgiven and our relationship is restored, but our fellowship is broken with our day to day sins for which we bow our heads in humble prayer and ask for forgiveness.

Dear Lord, help us to see beyond the grief of Good Friday and the aloneness of Saturday to the joy that comes when we love You and each other as You have loved us. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Jeers

“Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” Matthew 27:22, 23

How easily cheers can turn into jeers. A short time ago these same people who were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” were now shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (Matthew 21:9; 27; 22, 23) How could this happen? These are the people who were looking for a Savior, after all! Did they not know that this man who rode on a donkey—a borrowed one at that—was Him? Maybe. Maybe not. Something had taken hold of them.

Cheers became jeers. The people who greeted Him now spat on Him and became a part of the angry mob and stormed the streets as they watched Jesus being led through them. They stood on the hill called Calvary and watched as He was nailed to the cross. The jealousy of the Scribes and Pharisees and the fear of the people led them to this place. There they stood and watched as Jesus was put to death.

This is what happens when you forget where your strength really comes from and allow jealousy and fear to have reign in your heart and mind and, yes, even your soul. Ole-sloo-foot, you see, wants all of you and if we aren’t submissive to the will of God and His presence in our lives, Evil has us.

When we are frozen with fear we forget where our strength originates. It is not in our prowess or our intellect—none of that matters. Our true strength comes from God. Knowing Him and how much He loves us is our greatest strength. There is no greater strength than love—love that comes from God. Nothing can harm us, for whether we live or die, we are alive with God.

Will you deny Jesus as Peter once did? Or will you stand by Jesus as did John?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 NKJV

Dear Lord, help me not be a part of a mob that is controlled by fear. Your love has overcome fear and leaves no place for its companion, jealousy. No greater love have I but you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Cheers

“…Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 21:9

Jesus entered Jerusalem amid cheers and shouts of acclamation. The people were ecstatic! They were jubilant! They proclaimed Jesus as Messiah as they shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9) They were giving a plea to be freed from their oppression under the rule of the Romans, as well as, the Scribes and Pharisees who maintained their own level of rule. Is it no wonder the Hebrew people were so exuberant?

The Savior had arrived. But what was their responsibility? Were they simply to be recipients of Jesus’ goodness?

There are many times when you and I see a door opening, an opportunity to be released from an oppression that we have been under. It may be a failed relationship, a job that seems to be going nowhere, a financial struggle, an illness, or even an affiliation with a church that is not preaching God’s Word. Then you see an opening to be free, and fear that has been lurking, waiting for you to falter, grabs you. What do you do? Make believe you never heard God speaking to you? Join the crowd? What is your part in this whole scene?

God’s voice is a little less audible—a little less appealing—when everyone else’s rings in your ears. But, it is still there. Can you not hear it? Listen! “Be strong. Be courageous. Do not be afraid. I am with you. Follow Me. I will give you rest.” It is clear, you know what to do. Will you do it? Or will your cheers soon turn into jeers?

Dear Lord, let me not turn away from you. Keep me on the straight and narrow path that will lead me to love, peace, and joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Free!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8

Is anything really free? We are told this is free or that is free, only to find out some kind of payment is needed. We have come to believe that nothing is free in this world. That may be true of our physical existence, but not of our spiritual.

However, there is one thing that is totally free—no taxes, no shipping, nothing we have to do or say—nothing is asked of us to receive this free gift. It is totally free and when you receive it, it will change your life. I’m talking about God’s free gift of grace. God does not save us in response to any good works we perform, any bad things we avoid, or any prayerful begging we do. You see, God “chose us” (Ephesians 1:4).

Salvation is both God’s work and His gift. In other words, our salvation is by “grace”. (Ephesians 2:8) Grace is defined thusly–

G R A C E = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.

God, sending His Son to die was purely an act of His grace. Christ died taking our sins upon Himself though He knew none. He did this for you and me—for all. Yes, Virginia, there is something free—it is called Grace—God’s Grace.

Thank you, Lord. Lead me in the path of righteousness–the path that You have chosen for me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Where Am I Going?

“You show me the path of life. In Your presence there is fullness of joy; in Your right hand all pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Without vision a people perish. (Proverbs 29:18)

Do you ever wonder where you are going or what you are doing? Maybe you feel like you are going around in circles! You seem to have no sense of direction. You don’t know what your next step will be. You need to stop and assess your thoughts and actions. Something is missing.

Let me ask you—have you prayed today? Have you asked God what He is calling you to do? If you are a believer, He will hear and He will answer. If you are not a believer, you need to get down on your knees and ask God for forgiveness for your sin, ask Him into your heart and feel His love. God promises to forgive, in fact, He already has, but you need to forgive yourself also.

He will give you a vision, for even before you were born He had your life all laid out for you. (Jeremiah 1:5) He wants you to grab hold of that vision and walk through the doors as He opens them in faith, knowing that He is with you. He is writing your vision plainly upon tablets that can be seen even as you run by. (Habakkuk 2:2) God wants you to be energized with a fresh sense of a new dynamic in life. This new energy comes with a clearly defined vision of who you are and what you can become.

Lord, when I am in the middle of Your will, there is not only full joy, but a new dynamic for living for which I give You thanks, as well as, all the honor and glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

(C) Rev. Betty A Beach-Connell 2021 His Spirit LLC

PRIDE

“Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18

How many times have you said, “I want you to see what I did? Look at what I grew, what I made; what I wrote; what I built; or what I fixed?” Really? Did you do all that? Did I? Yes, we did—BUT—we must never forget the force, the wisdom, the power that made it possible to do whatever it is that we are able to do! It is not just “I”, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” writes James (4:6) as he reiterates Solomon in the Book of Proverbs. (3:34)

Pride has been a stumbling block since the beginning. It was an issue for Adam and Eve as they ate from the tree in the middle of the beautiful garden that God had created for them. He had told them that they were not to eat from that tree but the “old deluder” told them that was not so, and their pride then told them “I can do it”, and sealed their fate and ours. (Genesis 3) From then on we have been locked in a battle between pride and humility which is a spiritual battle as Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10-20; “For our battle…is with the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens…take up the full armor of God…” (Vs 12, 13)

Moses warned the descendants of the people he led out of bondage and slavery from Egypt, who were about ready to cross over the Jordan River into the land that God had promised His chosen people saying, “be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord you God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (Deut. 9:14) This is a warning for each of us yet today—be careful do not forget the Lord your God…

We have come a long way since the beginning of time. I think we call it “progress.” But, has it been because of our own ingenuity? Our own quality of cleverness, originality or inventiveness? Yes, but not entirely, our pride wants us to think it is, but humility tells us something else. Pride separates us from God and humility gives us a relationship with Him. You see, without recognizing that God wants a relationship with us we lose any lasting abilities He has given us. Thus, the lesson of the Israelites. God sent Moses to set them free from their slavery. Yet, they began to grumble and complain—over and over again. They forgot all the miraculous things they saw as God led them away from danger. As a result they lost their lives before obtaining God’s promise.

My question for you today is, do you want to lose God’s promise of eternal life with Him? There is a second exodus promised to each of us who maintain a loving relationship with God and our neighbor. One day the trumpet will sound calling us home and I for one want to be ready to cross over. How about you? Don’t let pride stand in your way. Being stiff-necked will not save you. TO GOD BE THE GLORY.

Dear Lord, make me humble in Your sight. Make me a pleasant fragrance and a shining light to those around me, whether friend or foe. Blessed be today as I walk with You on the way to the Promised Land. In Jesus’ Precious name I pray. Amen