THE CURE

Breast CancerI can’t believe its October already, can you?!?  I sometimes wish that time would slow down just a bit, however I do love the Fall season; particularly the month of October.  This time of year is full of colorful leaves, cooler weather, football, cozy meals, sweaters and boots…and of course, my favorite – all things pumpkin! October is also known as the month of Halloween, as well as breast cancer awareness month. I am sure that breast cancer is something that most of you are already aware of. It’s hard to miss with all of the (pink) symbols everywhere you go. Pink ribbons adorn stores, products, websites, and NFL players. I even saw a pink fire truck recently – yes, that’s right – a pink fire truck in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Everyone seems to be getting involved with this cause somehow.

The massive attention to breast cancer caused me to ask myself, “What’s the big deal?” So, I decided to do a little research and found out that about 1 in every 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That means that either you, someone in your immediate family, in your close circle of friends, co-workers and/or acquaintances, will develop this disease. We are ALL affected by this in some way. I personally know women who have won their battle with this disease, and who today, are living healthy, cancer-free lives. On the other hand, I also knew women who are not alive today, because of this incurable disease. There are many treatments for breast cancer, but no official cure. Treatments can be helpful, but those same treatments can also cause the body to further deteriorate; many times leading to death.

As I reflected on breast cancer (and other forms of cancer) and the amount of people who are touched by this issue, I thought how wonderful it would be to find a total cure. Can you imagine?!?!  It would be all over the NEWS – A CURE FOR CANCER HAS BEEN FOUND!  I believe that people would be celebrating, and those with the disease, doing everything in their power to get a hold of the cure.

 
But what if there was only ONE cure that was only administered by ONE doctor, in ONE location in the country? What if the cure was something that didn’t make sense? Maybe it was so simple that it seemed unbelievable. Would you reject it? I believe that cancer patients everywhere (and their loved ones) would take drastic measures to get to this ONE doctor to get the answer that they so desperately need. I am certain that just the thought of being free from cancer, and chance at living a long, healthy life would drive many to go to the ONE who holds their answer.

 
As I thought about this, I asked the Lord, “Why don’t people have that same motivation with you?” After all, we are in need of an answer to our problem, which honestly is much bigger than any cancer.

 
The problem I am referring to is one that has been passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time.  I am talking about the THE SIN PROBLEM. The very first human on Earth made a choice to disobey God, and the result was death. This sin problem (disease) didn’t stop with that one person, but has been transmitted to every human born after that up to this day. We are all born sick, with this sin condition, and in desperate need of a cure.

 

Moses Staff
The wonderful thing is God – The Great Physician – has provided a cure that is readily available to ALL who ask. There is however, only ONE cure, which comes from ONE God (just like the scenario above). That cure is found in JESUS CHRIST alone.  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me ~ John 14:6
I truly believe that with any terminal illness, people would rejoice at just the thought of a cure, yet this doesn’t seem to be the case with our sin disease. When it comes to being physically sick we are usually open to whatever will work, and wouldn’t argue about having only one cure. Why isn’t this the case with our spiritual condition? People are dying and need a cure! God has provided that cure, yet we reject Him.

 
I believe that many people are either in denial (afraid to face the truth), choose to reject the answer (rebellious) or prefer to try other pointless methods of remedying the problem (none of which will cure).  Just as with cancer, you may find temporal forms of treatment that hide your sin symptoms, but if the root of the problem is not dealt with, you won’t be completely cured – and it is all in vain.

 
God has given me the desire to tell people the truth about Him, and while many may disagree with me – the facts don’t change. The fact is we are ALL in need of THE CURE. The fact is there is only ONE CURE. The fact is that without this cure, we will remain sick and will die (eternally). I am not writing these things to judge or condemn anyone. As I said before, we are all born with the same problem. I too was sick at one time, BUT I was introduced to the ONLY ONE who could cure me – JESUS. I am cured, and long to share THE ANSWER with others now.

 

 

So, as we bring awareness to breast cancer and finding a cure for it this month, I’d like to also bring awareness to the SIN disease, and the fact that there is already a cure.  I’d like to bring awareness to my Lord – THE CURE!  I’d like to encourage you today, to be real with yourself, and consider your life.  Have you been cured from the sin disease?  Have you ever met  THE ONE who can cure you?  If not, I would invite you to do so today?  He is the only ONE who can heal, save, set free and completely cure you!

 

 

Romans 6:23 ~ For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

 
Romans 10:9 ~ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved

 
Psalm 86:5 ~ For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You

 
Romans 3:23 ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 

~ Melissa

What’s in Your Closet?

Last week I started doing a little Spring cleaning.  Okay, okay so its Summer time and I’m a little late.  Better late than never, right?  I’ve been meaning to get around to cleaning out several closets in our home for some time now, but for one reason or another, I put it off.  With the new school year approaching, I decided to tackle it now.  I believe that organization helps everyone (especially myself) feel better prepared and able to focus on life’s priorities.

I started going through my clothes closet first.  I hesitantly picked through a few items trying to decide what I could get rid of.  It’s amazing how attached we become to things, and specifically things that we don’t even use or wear anymore.   I picked up each item and thought to myself I may need this one day and then put it right back in my closet.  After a while I realized that I was getting nowhere, so I came up with a new method – if I haven’t worn it in the past year…GET RID OF IT!  My give-away pile of clothes grew quickly.   At one point while going through my closet I realized I had ten pair of black pants.  Most of which I don’t even wear anymore.  Why on Earth did I still have these?   I ended up getting rid of half of them.  I dug a little further in my closet and found all types of clothes that either didn’t fit me or weren’t really my style anymore.  It’s amazing the things we hold on to.  There was one particular pair of pants that I had a hard time parting with.  I’m really not sure why, other than they were my “comfortable pants.”  I didn’t really like them, but often wore them when I didn’t know what else to wear.  I finally got up the courage to part with them.  By the end of the evening I had a huge garbage bag full of clothes to give away.  It was strange, but after cleaning out my closets, I actually felt like I had more clothes than before.  I was able to put new outfits together with clothes that I already had.  I didn’t recognize it before, because of the clutter.  It felt so good to purge and do away with my old stuff!

During the process of cleaning out my closets I thought about how many of us have spiritual closets full of stuff that we don’t use anymore. I wondered how many born-again believers have spiritual closets full of things that don’t fit them, yet they still hold on to them.  I think it’s time for us to do a little spiritual closet cleaning, what about you?

Before we came to know Jesus Christ most of us had closets full of all kinds of stuff…wrong thoughts, wrong attitudes, wrong behaviors, wrong language, wrong desires and so on.  Maybe these things suit us before we were born-again, but now we don’t have room for them.  Prior to giving our lives to Jesus Christ, we clothed ourselves with things like lust, pride, drunkenness, strife, envy, gossip and greed.  However, those things don’t work for us anymore.  Our old wardrobes consisted of all types of items that just aren’t conducive to our new lives.

We (believers) have been clothed with salvation and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  So many times though, I see Christians wearing their old clothes; things that are contrary.  Not only does it not look right, but it doesn’t work!

Mark 2:22 ~ No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.

Have you taken the time to clean the old things out of your closet or have you just pushed them to the back?  Even if we don’t wear these things anymore, holding on to them can still cause problems for us.

In the same way that holding on to my old clothes caused my closet to be a bit cluttered, holding on to things in our spiritual closets can cause our lives to be cluttered.  It can cause confusion, double-mindedness, complacency and hinder our spiritual growth.  Remember the black pants that I had a hard time letting go of?  There was nothing special about these pants.  They didn’t even look that good on me, but I wanted to hold on to them just in case.  I wanted to have the option to turn to them in case nothing else fit me.  They were my comfort pants and my safety net.  What does that sound like?  FEAR maybe?  When we hold on to things because we are afraid to let go for one reason or another, we are not operating in faith.  Faith told me to get rid of those pants, because I don’t need them and God will provide ALL of my needs.  Fear on the other hand told me to hang on to the pants, because I may never get another pair like them.  I may need them one day.

Holding on to things in our spiritual closets can also tempt us to want to wear those things again.  Even though some items in my closet only sat and collected dust, they caught my attention every time I walked by.  At times, I would even think about the time when these things fit me.  I would dream about being able to fit into them again.  I would pick up the size 6 jeans and hold them up to my body, trying to see how many inches I need to lose around my waist in order for them to fit again.  The reality is I probably will never fit into a size 6 again and if I am able to, do I really want to wear the old ones?  Do I trust God to provide something new and better by keeping the old stuff?  The answer is NO.

Okay so maybe the closet analogy is a bit of a stretch, but do you get what I am saying?  It’s time to get rid of certain things in our lives once and for all.  Its time to deal with and remove the things that are keeping us from being ALL that God created us to be.  No more pushing things to the back of the closet just in case.  No more holding on to things from our past.  The Bible says that once we are born-again we become a NEW CREATION.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

These are God’s words, not mine.  He assures us that we are a new person, a new creation and have a new life once we accept Christ Jesus.  The old person, along with his or her habits, is GONE!   There is no need for us to hold on to the old, and there is no benefit to us by doing so.

You know, two days after cleaning my closet out I was blessed with some new (very cute) clothes.  I didn’t ask for them and I didn’t have to pay for them.  They were just simply given to me.  God reminded me right then that when we give, we receive.  When we empty ourselves of the old, God fills us back up with something new; something greater.  He can’t bless us with something new if we are holding on to the old stuff though.

I would like to encourage you to take inventory of your spiritual closets today.  Are there things in there that don’t fit you anymore?  If so, what is keeping you from getting rid of them?

If you are like me, the Holy Spirit constantly brings things to your attention that you need to deal with.  He reminds you of things that need to be purged out of your life.  Are you listening to Him?  Or do you shove that thought to the back of your head and say “Later Lord?”  I think it’s time that we all do a little spiritual Spring cleaning!  Let’s get rid of the junk that doesn’t belong.  Let’s do away with the old attitudes and behaviors that no longer fit the new us!

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Isaiah 43:25 ~ “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

Romans 12:2 ~ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 4:31 ~ Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

God’s love…allows us to go through hard times

I was driving to work the other day, just thinking on the goodness of the Lord.  I began to think about all of the things that He saved me from.  I also began thinking about how hard my life was before I truly came to Christ.  It was burdensome.  It was empty.  It was lonely at times. 

All of a sudden it hit me…God’s love!  The magnitude of God’s love hit me like a ton of bricks!  I began to get overwhelmed with emotion thinking about how God’s love is what allowed me to go through the hard times in my life.  How it was God’s love that allowed my life to get so bad and so painful that I didn’t think I would make it through at times.  It was God’s love that allowed me to hit an all time low in my life.  I know you are probably saying to yourself, “what, how is that love?”  Well, it is.  It is the greatest love I’ve ever known…in fact it is the greatest love of ALL (and I’m not talking about a Whitney Houston song either). 

Have you ever thought about where you would be today had you not gone through some of those tough times in your life?  I know many times I thought that God was no where around me before I was saved.  I thought He was too busy worrying about ‘perfect people’.  I didn’t think He could possibly be concerned with me while I was busy making a mess of my life.  Boy was I wrong!  It was in fact God who allowed me to be in those places, KNOWING that it would eventually get bad enough for me, and lead me straight to Him. 

God is our Creator.  He created each of us just like an artist creates a painting or a sculpture.  He put so much thought and care into making us. Psalm 139:13 ~ For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  Did you see that?  He formed you and wove you or knit you together.  He made sure every single detail about us was perfect.  He knows us inside and out.  He knows when we hurt and when we don’t.  In fact, He knows exactly what it takes to make us hurt and where our breaking point is.  He knows what will break our hearts and our pride enough to realize our need for Him…..and it’s at that place where the love (and life) exchange can take place.  It’s at that place where we humble ourselves before the Lord and He takes all of our brokenness and gives us His love in return.  It’s at that place where He takes our ashes, and gives us His beauty.  It’s at that place where He takes our mourning, and gives us His joy!  (Isaiah 61:3)

I never realized before the other day, however, that God loved me so much that He caused me to go through some of THE most painful times in order to ‘wake me up’ and draw me to Himself.  Did you know that He does the same for YOU!  He does whatever it takes to get our attention.  Some of us learn quickly and realize our need for the Lord at a very early age.  For others (like myself) it takes a lot more, such as near death experiences in order to get our attention, and maybe even going through the same situations over and over again until we get it.

Don’t ever think that you went through the things you did for nothing.  If those situations are what led you to Christ Jesus, they were worth it.  God is amazing for many reasons, one being that He saves us, cleans us up and then uses our past to witness to others who are in the same situations.  God uses our lives, good, bad and ugly for His glory!

Had I not gone through the hurtful times in my life, I don’t know that I would have ever found a need for God.  I am so thankful NOW that He permitted me to go through those things in order to save my life.  Don’t ever think that because you are going through “it” God doesn’t love you.  It is actually quite the opposite.  He loves you too much to let you die and go to hell.  He is doing everything in His power to get your attention (whatever it takes), even if that means putting you in some uncomfortable circumstances in life, because He loves you too much to spend eternity without YOU! 

Bible References:   

John 3:16  says that God sacrificed His Son for us, so we could be saved.  He allowed Jesus to go through “the hard time” of dying on the cross in order to fulfill His greater purpose for humanity….SALVATION!  This is the same thing that He does with us.  He allows us to go through the pain, because He knows that is what will save us in the in the end.  He sees the bigger picture and knows how we will come out on the other side….free, victorious and a new creation!

Luke 15:11-32 tells us that the Father (who represents God) of the prodigal son allowed the son to go through the pains and consequences of making wrong choices in his life, because he knew that eventually he would turn away from that life.  He knew that his son would come home once he had enough of the crazy lifestyle and suffering.  In the same way God allows us to go through sometimes unbearable situations, knowing that these things will cause us to reach out to Him…and when we do, He is right there waiting for us with open arms.  He is ready to welcome YOU home!