Monthly Archives: February 2015

Comfort From the Staff by Cheryl Lutz

Grace“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)

 

Hello friend,

My soul was weary and heavy laden.  Conviction of sin weighed me down.  The Holy Spirit used an illustration a friend had given me on finding comfort in God in the darkness of trials. My revelation was more on finding God in the darkness of sin.  I had sinned against the Lord.  I didn’t “make a mistake” or have a slight “issue”.  I had sinned.  I couldn’t blow it off, and I also knew I couldn’t wallow in it, allowing Satan to immobilize me. Jesus came to take our sin so that we might experience grace and forgiveness.  I had to call my sin what it was, and take it to Him.  I pictured a white canvas, and in my mind I painted it as black as could be.  In the middle, I drew a red cross.  Yes, my sin was real, black, and ugly.  BUT GOD!  He sent His Son to the cross to take the ugliness for me.

As Joni Erickson Tada says,

 If you think your sin is too great for God to forgive, crawl up the cross and tell Him it wasn’t enough!”

WOW.

Did you know we have a “staff” to comfort us in our affliction and conviction?

The staff represents our beautiful Holy Spirit.

According to Philip Keller in his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, the staff is a symbol of concern and compassion, which a shepherd has for his sheep.  Just as the Holy Spirit draws us to Christ, the staff drew the sheep into intimate fellowship with the shepherd.

Even when we go through the “valley of the shadow of death” the “rod” gives us protection and the “staff” brings us comfort.

As the shepherd gently uses his staff to disentangle a lamb from a thorn bush, so our Good Shepherd uses the Holy Spirit to disentangle us from our sin.  He loves to hear His children cry to Him for help, that He might pour out His abundant grace upon us.

How about you? Are you trying to hide your sin from God?  There is no place where you can flee from His Spirit, dear one.

Are you wallowing in your sin and allowing Satan to use it to immobilize you?  Meditate on Joni’s illustration.  Are you telling God His work on the cross wasn’t enough?

Contemplate the words from: It is Well With My Soul, by Horatio Spafford.

“My sin- O the bliss of this glorious thought!—my sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

How about you? Is it well with your soul?  Take the time to sing and praise His good name!

It’s Not About Me!

This is a guest post by my brave friend, Brooke Lynn.  Her memoir, Raised by Strangers, ministered to my soul on many levels.

Raised by Strangers“I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:14-17)

When searching deep into my heart, I find my one true desire is to help people. There is a lost and hurting world out there that needs every ounce of love, kindness, encouragement and spark of hope I can give them. I’m not an optimist with unrealistic expectations asking for world peace; I’m an optimist possessing daily choices and opportunities with abilities to add hope to other people’s lives. I’m keenly aware that I’m unable to do this alone or in my strength. God gives me courage to step out in boldness for His name’s sake; sharing the message of Christ for the purpose of saving souls. I’ve come to realize there’s a deeper purpose to life, and it’s certainly not about me.

Life isn’t about personal gain so we can sufficiently meet accomplishments to suit ourselves. Life is a gift to enjoy while surrendering ourselves back to our Creator, so He can use us to fulfill His plan, purpose, and will. We have to press past any discouragement, pain and insecurity we feel.

We have to press past the lies of the devil and the criticisms of others. Someone will always be there to criticize. But we can’t allow the critics to keep us from Gods plans for us. We have to press on into the future, press into Christ and press through the darkness, into the light to passionately pursue our calling.

Many people around us are hurting deeply. Life is about standing in the trenches next to these people. Maybe not in the literal places; but in the place where our hearts can empathize, love, pray and call upon the Lord for them. It’s in these places that people can’t see the light from the darkness, and sometimes they are living in deception. But whatever is going on in their lives, our hearts feel for them, and they need to know and understand the one and only true answer. The one and only eternal thing that matters or makes a difference; which is Jesus Christ! We are here to intercede and believe in faith that Jesus will reach out to them the same as He has done for us. He will open their eyes so they can see His truth and love. Do not despise the pain and discomfort you feel for people. But instead, open your heart and pray. We have a faithful God,who hears and answers prayer.

 

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

If every day we would help who we can; we would be a better woman or man. If every day we would be mindful of what we say; there would be less pain, tears and pushing people away. If every day we would learn to love more; our relationships would be stronger and fewer people walking out the door. Let’s live each day listening to the promptings of our heart, and remembering we are not of this world but called to be set apart. And let today be the day we understand this reality; our life is about helping others and “it’s not about me.”

Bio:  

Brooke Lynn

Brooke Lynn is a writer and a speaker who passionately lives — reaching others with God’s word and love. She is a survivor of abuse, sharing her past pain and recovery to encourage others with hope. Brooke resides in the Washington D.C. area, has been married for nineteen years, has two children and loves dogs.

Raised by Strangers

“Raised by Strangers” is available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Nobles.com

 

Below is all my contact information:

You may contact me at: BrookeLynnMail@gmail.com

Website: www.BrookeLynnBooks.com

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