Holy Week: It Is Not Goodbye!

 

 

 It is Saturday. The day after the worst day of their lives.

The unthinkable deed has been done.

Jesus—the expected Messiah, Mary’s first-born son and the disciples’ beloved friend and master—has been crucified and his body lies in a sealed tomb.

It’s over!

What can be more final than death?

What grief… what confusion… what mixed emotions Jesus’ loved ones must have experienced! How forlorn they must have felt.

I can recall feeling devastated when my mother died.

I can recall:

  • the mixed feelings of peace and assurance that she’d gone to be with the Lord,
  • the relief that she no longer had to endure loss of dignity and suffering,

 and also

  • the void in my life that she left behind.

As I considered what I should write about today and how I should tackle the theme of this post, I remembered searching for the right poem to read at my mother’s funeral. I wanted a poem which would adequately express my family’s feelings. Although this was not one of my choices, the following poem came to mind, as one which eminently suits the circumstances of our Saviour’s death.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sun on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.1

Now in the case of our Lord and Saviour, the above words have a particular resonance because we know that Jesus, is God. He fills all and is all. He is the First and Last, the beginning and the end. He is Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8, 11).

More importantly, Jesus told his disciples that he would arise from the dead.

And so, unlike our mortal loved ones, even though Jesus had died, he’d previously declared to his disciples that he would not only live again but they’d see him alive with their own eyes. In fact, he even arranged to meet them in Galilee (Mark 16:7).

However, the disciples found this a difficult concept to wrap their head around—as would you or I!

And so, despite being present when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead2, despite being aware that their Messiah friend had brought a young man back to life during a funeral procession3, despite witnessing the astounding resurrection of Lazarus who’d been dead for 4 days4, the disciples either did not believe Jesus, or were so overwhelmed with grief that they failed to remember his words.

Before his death, Jesus had given them words of comfort and assurance which should have been a solace to them. He was saying in effect: Yes, I am going to die. But, No – it is not permanent. It is not goodbye!

And as I considered these things it made me think about how many times, we as God’s children, may hear the Word of God and know his promises yet fail to believe them, or fail to remember them, even at times fail to allow them to be a source of comfort, or strength, to dictate our behaviour, or guide our decisions.

I can imagine that alongside their grief, the disciples struggled with condemnation. They had failed their Messiah friend. And those who were the closest to him, had run away in fear during Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter, despite declaring that he was ready to die with Jesus, denied him in no uncertain terms. And poor Judas was so remorseful about the treacherous part he had played that he hung himself.

Now, as I mentioned above, we often look for words which express our heart and feelings towards our loved ones, to share at their funeral. We have seen that Jesus left behind words of assurance for his disciples and loved ones, which they either disbelieved, or failed to remember.

I wonder what words of comfort Christ might wish to speak to us today. I imagine they could be something along the lines of this:

 

Friends and followers, I pray my message today will remind you that God is loving, merciful and forgiving. That is why he sent his Son to die for us.

Jesus did die. The deed was done. But hallelujah! He faithfully completed the task God sent him to do. It is finished!

Today, let us be thankful to our Heavenly Father that it’s not goodbye to second or third or even a million chances. It is not goodbye to God’s blessings, grace and mercy. And for those of us who enjoy an ongoing spiritual relationship with our Father God and with Jesus Christ – it is not, and will not be goodbye to his precious presence – forever!

Happy Easter!

Love from

Carol (aka Lady Cee)

 

References:

1 – Written by: Mary Elizabeth Frye – source link:

2 -Mark 5:22-24; 35-42

3 – Luke 7:11-15

4 – John 11:38-44

 

 

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Good Friday Reflection

 

 

For Christ also suffered once for sins,

The just for the unjust,

That He might bring us to God,

Being put to death in the flesh

But made alive by the Spirit.

(1 Peter 3:18 NKJV)

 

God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’

– Billy Graham

 

In Christ we see a maturity of love that flowers in self-sacrifice and forgiveness; a maturity of power that never swerves from the ideal of service; a maturity of goodness that overcomes every temptation, and, of course, we see the ultimate victory of life over death itself.

Vincent Nichols

 

AGNUS DEI

 

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

 

CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Holy Week – A Time to Ponder

A time to reflect. A time to examine our hearts afresh. A time to make sober assessments of our lives and see whether we are truly aligning our thoughts and lives to the spiritual requirements of our Father God. A time to contemplate the Passion of our Christ. A time to surrender. A time to pray. A time to praise. A time to express heartfelt gratitude. A time to celebrate!

If the above words resonate with you and you’d like to spend a little more time in an atmosphere of prayer, praise and worship, then here is a link to one of my previous posts, which I trust will help you to do just that.

Happy Easter dear friends!

Love,

Carol (aka Ladycee) ♥ ♥ ♥

CREDIT: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

Stop Complaining and Making Excuses — The Light in the Heart

Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life. Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the heart

via Stop Complaining and Making Excuses — The Light in the Heart

Captives, Chains & the Power of Christ

But thus says the Lord:

“Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away,

And the prey of the terrible be delivered…” (Isaiah 49:25)

 

In order to fully appreciate the message of this post, please listen to the following video of gospel artist, Tasha Cobbs.

Singing a Song of God’s Deliverance:

Wow! Whether through preaching, praise or prayer, what an honour to be able to have such influence, to be a vessel through whom God’s glorious power can be released!

 God Cares About the Captives:

There is power in the name of Jesus!

And in the mighty, matchless name of Jesus, every chain can be broken!

Do you believe that?

Maybe as we look around us and consider the problems of this world, we find it hard to believe. Perhaps even our own personal experience stands at odds with the above statement.

So if that’s the case, what is one to do?

Beloved, let me encourage you to take a leaf from the book of a humble and honest man in the Bible, who cried out: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!

Did you listen to the above video? I hope you didn’t skip it because I know it will bless you, and this post is in part my response to it.

Greater is God’s power within us than the Enemy’s attack against us!

I have spent a good 2 hours or so this morning, listening to Tasha Cobbs sing her powerfully anointed song: There is power in the name of Jesus!

Following an overwhelming and persistent attack of the Enemy upon my mind and physical being, I began to watch this video. Listening to this song and responding to the power and anointing of Jesus as Tasha ministered, changed the very atmosphere around and within me. Furthermore, it has stirred a new desire to be used mightily by God, to see people set free from the lies and deception of the Enemy.

A heart of compassion:

Dear readers, I’ve been listening to this song quite a lot this week. And yes, whilst I’ve been touched by the testimonies of God’s power, I’ve been even more deeply moved by the cries of individuals beseeching God to change them… to change their lives… to deliver them from addictions and all manner of brokenness or the destruction of their circumstances.

And these testimonies, these pleas for God’s intervention, have birthed afresh in my heart, wonder and amazement and adoration for a Holy God who could love as He loves, who could be so merciful and generous of heart that he would stoop down to rescue those who call upon him, whether in faith, or in desperation. What a mighty God we serve! What an awesome God we serve!

Privileged to serve:

And what an honour, privilege and responsibility we’ve been given as Christ’s disciples, as members of his Body to bring that message of hope and reconciliation to others. To come alongside our Heavenly Father as his co-labourers and use our gifts for his glory, and to serve those he brings across our pathway. What an honour to be entrusted to pray and intercede for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven… to command that the chains of Satan’s captives be broken!

Dear friends, I am positive that there are no addictions, afflictions, overwhelming cares, bondages, or besetting problems in heaven. Absolutely none!

So if that is the case, why are we not seeing more of God’s will being accomplished here on earth? Has God’s power diminished? Has the power resident in the name of Jesus somehow decreased?

Ridiculous even to ask, isn’t it? Of course it hasn’t!

So if the problem is not with God’s power, if it’s not with the name of Jesus, then what’s the problem? Who’s the problem?

That’s the question you and I have to ask ourselves honestly. This is the time to examine ourselves—not our colleagues, not our neighbours, not our leaders, not our pastors or politicians!

Why am I not experiencing the phenomenal power of God in my life, in the lives of my loved ones, in my work place, local fellowship, city and nation?

Heeding Christ’s Call to Prayer

Creflo Dollar once said that every failure in our lives is the result of a prayer failure.

Bearing this in mind, may I remind you of what Jesus said whilst he walked on this earth? He said that “…men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not forget Creflo Dollar’s words. And let’s begin to be diligent in obeying Jesus’ uncompromising direction. Let us pray always and not lose heart.

Have a blessed and victorious weekend!

Love from,

Carol (aka Lady Cee)

 

Credit: the above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

 

An A-Z Challenge – Looking back over 2018

 

 

I have to admit that when it comes to the idea of developing an attitude of gratitude, I’m a keen advocate. Particularly since God’s Word warns us that an unthankful attitude can cause us to have futile and foolish thoughts and worse, darken our hearts (see Romans 1:21).

No way do I want this to be my story!

I came across the idea of a Thankfulness challenge from Dainty M. See her post on this at: https://daintym.com/2018/12/30/think-thank-challenge-2018/

Dear friends and followers, there are some who expected to celebrate the New Year but did not even make it to the end of 2018. Remember – if it were not for the grace of God, this could so easily have been me, or you!

It’s easy to beat up on ourselves if we haven’t accomplished the goals we set out to achieve, or to entertain a bad attitude because life didn’t deliver the goodies we’d envisaged. As we prepare to close the door upon 2018 and move forward into a brand new year, let’s do so with a positive spirit. Let’s do so with a heart FULL of thanksgiving to our Father God, for his gracious goodness toward us.

And now for my personal take on this challenge, as I look back upon the year(s) gone by.

First and foremost, I am thankful that recent years have seen me develop and maintain an attitude of gratitude. It’s easy to go through life with a “poor me” mentality. Self-pity only blinds our eyes to the good aspects of our current circumstances.

I am grateful for unlimited access to books.  I love reading and in the past I have devoured books in the hundreds. This year I’ve read 13 non-fiction books and 7 novels. I’m supremely thankful for the various versions of the Bible available, and in keeping with my goal to read the entire Bible once per year, I have so far read 44 of the 66 books in the Amplified version (Yes, I am somewhat behind!). This makes a grand total of 64 books read this year, which have educated, entertained or empowered me. Yay!

I am thankful for Christmas. Not necessarily the baubles, gifts and glitter of the season but for the real reason we celebrate this event – the birth of Jesus Christ! If God had not sent him into this world, I shudder to think about where you and I would be, as spiritual outcasts doomed to damnation.

I am grateful to God for deliverance. Not just for the instant deliverance from the power of sin, received when I entrusted my life to Christ and chose to become his disciple, but also for daily deliverance from the power of the Enemy unleashed within and against my life and the lives of my loved ones.

I cannot thank God enough for his generosity of heart in granting us the opportunity of eternal life. I’m referring here not just to the assurance of life after death, a glorious future in heaven where neither tears nor trials will exist, but also to the God-quality type of life we can enjoy now, right here upon this earth, as an heir of salvation.

I am hoping for many things in 2019 and beyond, should God spare my life! I am therefore thankful for faith (the substance of things hoped for). I am grateful to God that even if my faith is as small as a mustard seed, it is enough to secure my miracle, or a significant breakthrough. It is sufficient for me to be able to withstand the wiles of the devil and emerge as a victorious overcomer!

During the latter part of this year, I have enjoyed the wonderful ministry of two individuals: (Joel Osteen and Rabbi Schneider).  I am so, so thankful for godly ministers such as these two men and the positive spiritual input they have contributed to my life.

I am thankful for the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit. What a priceless and precious resource to have in one’s life! When I don’t know how or what to pray, when I have no idea what I should do in a particular situation, when I need the back-up of a spiritual heavy weight, guess whom I turn to. That’s right – my confidante and helper – the eminent Holy Spirit!

I am thankful God did not make us robots but blessed us with imagination. Now in the past, I have used this to my detriment, imagining mostly negative scenarios. But what a blessing to be able to use this ability in pursuit of our gifts and calling! What a blessing to be able to use this gift as a visualisation tool for success… to be able to use this in our creative endeavours. Recently, I wrote a poem, Autumn’s Soliloquy (click here to read), which I could not have done without the use of my creative imagination.

And how can I not be grateful for Jesus? He is my Lord and Saviour. He is the author and finisher of my faith. And it is only through him and because of him that I am able to reign over troublesome circumstances.

I am thankful for the gift of kindness. This year, I’ve been on the receiving end of beautiful acts of kindness from two of my sisters, who decided to celebrate me and whom God used to both tell and show me that I am “special” in his sight; as well as through prophetic words of encouragement received from a blogger (meet Holly), someone I have never met! Isn’t God amazing?

I am thankful for love. That is, God’s love! Agapē love. A brand of love that is extravagant and extraordinary. An unconditional love. A love that has been extended to me without reservation. Many people have gone out of their way to show me their disdain. But the one who has every right to shun me, has lovingly embraced me, welcomes me into his presence and wants to associate with me. I can only reiterate with heartfelt gratitude the lyrics of Graham Kendrick’s song, in which he so aptly observes: Such love!

I am thankful for precious memories. Having suffered the loss of my mother two years ago, I am grateful for those memories of when she was here on earth with us. Cherished memories of wonderful times at Christmas and birthdays which she created, are now stored within my memory bank alongside memories of her faithful prayer life, which challenges me to do better in my own spiritual journey.

I am thankful for new opportunities. Every day is a fresh chance to draw closer to God, to become a better version of myself as a disciple of Christ, to improve my relationships, to conquer adverse circumstances.

I am thankful for the various occasions that grant me an opportunity to dress up, meet with family members and friends, or host dinner parties at my home. Concerning the latter, I guess I’m more like Martha in the Bible, who became hot and bothered by all the preparation, rather than sitting and enjoying the company of her visitor. I also love those special celebrations, which enable me to participate in an atmosphere of praise and worship to our Father God. And I’m deeply thankful that I live in a country where I can enjoy such occasions without fear of persecution.

Without the shadow of a doubt, I know I could not survive, or thrive, without Prayer. I am thankful indeed for the opportunity to communicate with my Father God, at any time, without the need to make an appointment, or go through a third party. I am thankful for the privilege of having direct access to the ear and heart of the most powerful being in the universe.  

I am grateful for the ability to quench my thirst – whether literally (I live in a country where I can pour myself a clean glass of water to drink whenever I wish), or metaphorically (I can consult an expert or avail myself of the vast knowledge on the Internet) at the click of my mouse.

I am thankful for Rick Warren’s manifesto on the meaning of life, as revealed in his book, The Purpose-driven Life. This year’s re-reading of Warren’s 40-day spiritual guide has been a huge blessing to me, as I’m reminded of God’s five-fold purpose for my life.

I am thankful to God for a sound mind. There are so many people suffering from depression, or dementia, or some form of mental illness. There are also those of us who ordinarily believe that we are of a sound mind, yet we are being driven by different debilitating fears. I thank God for the lessons he is teaching me regarding maintaining a sound mind.

Today and every day, I am thankful for the Truth of God’s Word. The word of family and friends, line managers, national leaders and world rulers (even our own words), can prove fickle, untrustworthy. God’s Word is stable, fixed and unchanging. He will not break his covenant, or alter the word that has gone out from his lips (Psalm 89:34).

I appreciate and am grateful for the UCB Devotional, Word For Today (you can check out the audio and written versions of this resource at:  https://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today). As anyone familiar with my two blogs: A Purpose-driven achiever and Women of Warfare! can confirm, I highly recommend this spiritual resource written by Bob and Debby Gass and often quote from these within my posts.

I’m grateful for the support of various bloggers, such as Shell Vera, who regularly leave a comment in response to my posts. As a blogger, comments are like gold dust. They are the only means by which I can receive valuable feedback to my posts. Equal thanks goes to those who regularly drop by and “like” my posts. You are a treasure!

I never thought I’d find myself uttering these words but I am thankful for my work. It is a job, rather than a career, but I am thankful that through this position, I’ve been able to help pay bills, maintain the roof over our head, enjoy great holidays and give towards the work of God’s kingdom.

I thank God for the X-chromosome that produced me. As Psalm 139 accurately and definitively declares: I am fearfully and wonderfully made! It’s reassuring to know that God purposed I should be born, even before my conception. It is so awe-inspiring to know that God planned every single detail of my conception from the parents who would raise me, to my geographical location. What an amazing God!

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m thankful to God for YouTube! Through this channel I’ve discovered motivational speakers such as: Brendon Burchard, Jim Rohn and Les Brown.

Finally, I am grateful for the zealous individuals who come across my pathway whether in the Body of Christ or in secular situations. I am thankful for the inspirational messages of people such as the Apostle Paul, TD Jakes and Maya Angelou.

Thank you dear Father God, for ALL that you have done within, for and through me, in 2018.

 

CREDIT: The above CC0 image comes courtesy of Pixabay.com

Progress Check – Where are you on your journey?

Hello Peoples!

How are you doing?

I trust you are enjoying an abundant life, enjoying your privileged relationship with God, and making good progress on your spiritual journey.

At the beginning of this year, I wrote a 7-part series which focused on your journey – the journey you will take from 1 January to 31 December 2018. I asked you to think about what this journey will look like.

Will it be a journey of frustration, or a journey of faith?

Will you emerge from this year’s journey as a victorious overcomer, or will circumstances hold you captive and make, or keep you a victim?

It may seem harsh to hear what I’m about to say but I hope you will hear me objectively and realise that I speak from a heart that genuinely wants the best for you.

So, what am I about to say?

That whether or not you reach the end of your journey this year as a victorious overcomer, will be your own choice!

And so my dear spiritual buddy, what are you choosing? Are you choosing to obey God’s Word or spending too much time listening to the voice of the Enemy? Or are your ears constantly attuned to the voice of secular opinion?

Are you choosing to die to self-serving desires, or to live a life which honours and glorifies God?

Are you praying or complaining? Praying or pity-partying?

Dear reader, whether by intention or whether by default, your decisions, your mind-set, your habitual actions will determine the success or failure of your spiritual journey this year.

I close with this beautiful quote I discovered today:

 

Whatever your storybook carries within its pages, own it with love, courage and compassion. Remember that you can change your story at any time – nothing is fixed and we all have free will. We should not seek to love someone else’s journey more than we love our own; the swords of comparison are sharp and cutting to our soul and innermost values. We are all designed unique with our own original paths to walk through; we lose momentum and our natural impulses for creativity and progression when we focus our energy on other people.
Christine Evangelou, Rocks Into Roses: Life Lessons and Inspiration for Personal Growth

 

Have a blessed weekend!

ooooOOOOOooooo

 

In case you’d like to remind yourself of my message to you at the beginning of this year, or if you are a new visitor to Women of Warfare! here is the link to my post referred to above (click here).