What do you think?

Today I felt led to read 1 Peter 3. So, I did. 🙂

1 Peter 3:13 asks, “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?” Then Peter went on to say that sometimes we are treated wrongly when we act in righteousness, but it’s “better to suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.”  As I read this, I reflected a bit on more of Francis Chan’s book, “Forgotten God.”

Francis talked about people attempting to dissuade you from doing what you know is right. Usually this is because we are a selfish people, always looking out for how we can benefit ourselves, and we even lead other Christians into thinking this way, instead of emptying ourselves for the sake of the needs of others.

Yet Scripture is very clear on this:

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves…”

So, for example, Francis Chan explains in his book that he decided to give all of his royalties from his other book, “Crazy Love” to a fund that feeds and blesses the sick, hungry, impoverished people and people involved in the sex trade. He says,

“People told us that we were being foolish and irresponsible with the gifts God gave us. They said we should have at least put some away in case of an emergency...is it only an emergency if it affects me and my immediate family?”

Whoa. This just about blew me away. Why is it that we are so prone to say YES to doing things for ourselves but so prone to say NO to others who need it?

The question should not be, “Is it best for me?” or “Isn’t it going to be uncomfortable?” or even, “Can we afford this?” Instead, it should be, “Am I following what the Lord is calling me to do?” “Am I being obedient to His voice in Scripture?” Remember that Jesus is going to separate the sheep from the goats–the sheep fed the hungry, clothed the naked, gave drink to the thirsty, visited the prison inmates, went to see sick people, and gave strangers a place to stay. The sheep inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. (See Matthew 25:34-38)

So what is it that the Lord is asking you to do for Him that you are perceiving to be “too hard” for you to do? What is that thing that you’ve been thinking about but you are too afraid to do it?
That thing that has been on your mind but you think it’s crazy to consider that God is calling you to do it?

For me, it would be inviting strangers in and giving them a place to stay. He has opened my heart to do this–at least I hope to do this–with foster care. But I want to be willing to do it with any age, any background. Anyone to whom the Lord calls me to minister to in my own home, I want to do it!

So if you’ve got time, please answer one of these questions. (Or both!)

  1. What calling from the Lord would be the hardest for you to obey at this time in your life? 
  2. What do you sense the Lord calling you to do that you’re afraid you can’t because
    a. It seems impossible
    b. It’s scary
    c. You don’t have the money
    d. You seriously don’t want to!

I would love to hear from you for this friends & family Friday.  Let’s have a great discussion!

With love,
Jen

Good Friday part 2!

LOL. I found something to write about. Actually, it’s a vision that my friend Erin Van Lente received from the Lord. I thought it was absolutely appropriate for Good Friday!

   It was Sunday night and I was sitting in our college Chapel amongst a bunch of my brothers and sisters in Christ singing worship songs to our Almighty God, Jesus Christ.  Most people around me were standing in praise, but I was so physically exhausted and in so much pain, sitting upright in the seat took effort. Throughout the service, my pain and my exhaustion increasingly worsened and I reached the point where I was too out of breath to sing, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and I was having trouble holding my head up (even lifting my arms to have my head rest on them was too challenging).  Then it happened…
   Earlier that week, I had had a couple of nightmares; the first one didn’t really phase me too much, thanks be to God for the peace He gave me, but the second one haunted my thoughts for the next couple of days.  The theme of these nightmares involved me or my brother being attacked and bitten by different animals.  Snakes were one of the kinds of animals that attacked us.  Following these nightmares, I happened to hear about or see random things involving snakes.  Snakes popped up when I passed by a table in the cafeteria as those people were talking about what they were afraid of.  Snakes popped up when I was studying in the coffee shop and a girl was talking about how she saw and killed a snake in the field across the street.  Snakes popped up when I was watching the movie, “Milo and Ottis,” as a snake tried to attack Milo in one of the scenes.  Being afraid of snakes myself, these reminders of snakes and their terror did not exactly make me feel any better and they especially did not let me forget my most recent nightmare!  However, being close to Jesus myself, I was able to recognize what Satan was trying to do to me; this was another spiritual battle of fighting the powers of fear, doubt, and confusion.
   Along with these “snake attacks”, Satan started to flood me with lies about my self image.  That Saturday night, I was getting ready to attend our semi-formal/formal dorm banquet and dance with a bunch of my friends.  That entire day I was wrestling with this battle, and whenever I managed to get the thoughts of snakes out of my head, Satan would fill me with lies: “What makes you think you can even go to this dance with your best friend, Lily* who is way more beautiful than you and who shines as a Christian more than you.  Bob* even sees her as more attractive in every way possible; he only tells you he values you as a friend because he has to since you are always with them.  Why are you even bothering to curl your hair and put on make up when you know you are too ugly to even attempt to make yourself beautiful?  You are fat, you are ugly, you are not truly valued by your friends. Why would God do this to you?” and the lies went on and on….thankfully I knew these attacks were not true and I knew God’s Word to combat most of these lies, but I still did not feel complete peace.
   I ended up being able to cover up this battle within me pretty well as I put on a good attitude for the dance (thanks to Jesus for helping me do so), but starting that afternoon, I began to feel weaker than usual, almost to the point of passing out (part of that/maybe all of this unrest in me probably was linked to the fact that I had just gotten my monthly gift from “mother nature”, but it was all way worse than normal).  Also, throughout that day and night, my friends prayed with me to have God give me peace and protect me from the devil’s attacks.
   So then it was Sunday.  The day started off on a better foot as I had finally had a restful sleep and I subbed for one of my friends teaching Sunday school at the nearby church.  The kids were a joy and had deeper insight into certain topics than I think they even realized.  One of the kids, while drawing a picture of one of the things that can be a refuge in God (funny how that was the lesson for the day – that God is our refuge in times of trouble), he said, “And here is the Bible, glowing with power!!!”  That simple reminder, along with seeing a multitude of child-like faith, was a great encouragement from God; He reminded me that the Bible is where I need to turn in trouble, because it is the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17).
   That day was the worst day with my physical pain and mental and physical exhaustion.  So when I attended the worship service that night in a state of vulnerable weakness, Satan took another opportunity to attack in a vision:
...Between half-asleep and half-awake consciousness, I saw a massive python snake head appear out from underneath the seat in front of me.  It looked up at me with menacing yellow eyes; its long forked tongue licked the tops of my shoe laces, then I saw its fangs appear as it opened its mouth to strike!
 
   Mid-strike I jerked my eyes open and looked around me, breathing hard.  There was no snake at my feet and no one else had noticed anything, but I still did not feel peace.  Still exhausted, my eyelids drooped back shut again, and I saw the snake again.  The vision replayed, and I recognized the point where the snake was about to strike – at that point, I called out to Jesus and I saw Him appear and stomp on the serpent’s head, completely crushing it!!! Jesus stood in front of me facing me and He reached both of his hands down toward me, gesturing for me to grab them.  At that moment (in real life), the worship leader asked everyone to stand up to sing the final song, “The Stand”; I grabbed both of Jesus’ hands and He lifted me up – I opened my eyes and had strength to stand up and sing again!!! Thank You Jesus!!! I knew the peace I had spiritually, but after the song, I was completely wiped out.
   At the time, I was reminded of a couple of Bible verses:
1. Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring[a] and hers;
he will crush[b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
2. Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
   Looking back, I realized how God strengthened and encouraged me through this trial.  And now He is using this trial to help others, which I’m pretty sure is the opposite goal Satan was originally shooting for, haha 🙂   Jesus is always with us and we know we have the victory in Him already, so nothing can truly harm us!!!  With every attack, God wishes for us to be like children and run to Him – whenever we do so, He will never fail us.  We may not be relieved right away and it may happen in ways we simply cannot see right now, but God is always faithful and He will never forsake us!!!  Also, I felt that this is a very appropriate and wonderful picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross this week about 1,982 years ago – Praise God for His love, mercy, grace, strength, and goodness to us all!!!
Helpful verses and study:
 1. Ephesians 6:10-17 – “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
2. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “There has no temptation come your way that is not common to all mankind, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength, but will, when you are tempted, also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
3. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 – “But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from evil.”
4. Dueteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
God bless and Happy Easter!!! 😀
*names are made up to keep the true identity of my friends safe
Thank you so much, Erin for sharing!
Indeed, the Lord Jesus has fulfilled the prophecy–today, we remember that Jesus died and crushed satan’s head. Praise the LORD!