Written by: Alexandria Brown
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God is not surprised by our circumstances. No thing that we walk through was, is, or ever will be a shock to God. We can not make a decision or go down a path that He has not accounted for.
This scripture tells us that God knew everyday of our lives before we even knew day one! And more than that, it says that he INTRICATELY made us for every circumstance that we would come into.
If we believe that is true then it must also follow that we recognize that God is aware of our mess-ups, our stumbles and struggles. And He was aware of them all BEFORE He sent His Son and yet, He still sent Him and Jesus still came.
God’s love for us is stronger than anything else in all creation, and we are completely, totally and irrevocably loved by God.
The truth is that God’s love is not based on you or me. We don’t get to determine or control how much God loves us. God does not love us because of who we are or what we do or do not do. God loves us because IT IS WHO HE IS.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?-Nothing in all création will be able to separate us from the love of God.”
God’s love is strong. God’s patience is more powerful than our stumble. His love is so much stronger than our frailty.
We are fully known. You are fully known. Mess-ups and all.
And yet, still completely and totally loved by the God of the universe. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...
The God of the universe bought YOU at a cost. The Highest cost. He did not bargain or negotiate. He did not ask ‘what is the price’ or wait for a sale. He simply gave everything...
YOU are the most expensive thing in heaven & earth. Nothing, no one cost more! God named the price and Jesus willingly paid it for YOU.
God’s love for us is not something to be earned. We can’t work for it. It’s not an award, it is a gift. We only need receive it.
Jesus made it possible for us to once again walk in and through the love of the Father.
For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whoever believed in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
Sis, believe it. Receive it. Share it.
There is nothing that you have done or ever will do that is to scary for God. Let Him love you today. There is nothing He want’s more.
I love you and so does He!
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
There is a woman of great faith and humility that the Holy Spirit keeps bringing to my mind. Her story is found in Matthew 15 and it is short and yet powerful. Her interaction with Jesus is at first a bit confounding, but I believe this small passage of Scripture holds much for us to glean and to cling to.
“And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matthew 15:21-28)
Why did he not answer her? Not even a word? As she cried out for mercy and as she, a Canaanite woman, recognized just who He was? “O Lord, Son of David” she called Him. She knew who Jesus was and that it was only the Lord who could help her.
And yet, He was silent.
Perhaps His disciples mistook His silence for indifference or refusal even, because they begged Jesus to send her away. They begged Him since she kept crying out to them, as well.
Have you known that kind of desperation before? To cry out to the Lord over and over again, only to be met with silence? To come to the church, His people, for relief? I pray that you have been met by the members of His body with nothing but sacrificial and supernatural love - and that is a gift and a grace - but those people serve to usher you into the presence and the love of Christ.
What do you do when there seems to be no answer to your cries for help? When people can’t save you and when the only One who can seems to be choosing not to?
When He answered her, His answer was not what we may have expected: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Was there no hope for her? She was a Canaanite, after all. We know that the gospel would go forth to the Gentiles, but Jesus seems to be saying this is not the time. He is here for His lost sheep. She is not of the house of Israel. But she’s encountered the Lord Jesus and is so close. So close. Will He really not show her mercy?
She comes closer and kneels before Him, pleading, “Lord, help me.”
His answer: “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
What is your response to that statement? It sounds harsh, right? Offensive, even. How could He say that? As she kneels before Him in utter desperation?
It’s important to note a couple of things here. By “children”, Jesus means the Israelites. His usage of the word “dogs” does not actually reflect His mind toward this woman or toward Gentiles at all. “Dogs” was a term commonly used by the Jews that represented their animosity toward ‘unclean’ Gentiles. And in fact, the word that Jesus used here for ‘dog’ is a much more mild, gentle word.
Still, we may wonder at His statement and ask ourselves if this context makes His words any less harsh. But note here, sweet sister, that this woman does not. She does not even flinch and without missing a beat, she replies, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
When Jesus encountered this woman, He knew what He would do. He knew that the very words she would speak came from a heart full of faith, humility and trust. Note that just before this account, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees and states, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart...” (Matthew 15:18a) and what came from this woman’s mouth represented a deep humility, content with even crumbs from the masters’ table. Faith that even those crumbs could heal her hopeless situation. Trust in the person and character of Jesus Christ.
His silence and His words did not deter her. His words were not a hindrance to her and she did not receive them as such. No, in knowing and recognizing Jesus, trusting in Him, she persisted. He did not remain silent nor did He refuse her out of malice.
Her faith was put to the test and her perseverance was rewarded:
“"O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.”
Oh, Lord, would you grow our faith? And as you grow our faith, would you grow us also in humility? Would you grant us a humility and a meekness like this Canaanite woman?
Would you make us persistent? A people persevering in prayer? Bowing before you full of faith and wonder, content and confident in even crumbs from your table to be more than enough for us?
Oh, God, let it be so.
WRITTEN BY: OLIVIA CALDWELL
There is a beautiful series of events that unfolds after Jesus’ death, as the stone has been rolled away and his tomb is found empty. In John 20:1-10, Scripture says:
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.”
Though it may appear clear to us throughout the Gospels that Jesus had been pretty explicit regarding what was to come and what He must do, so that the Pharisees remembered that Jesus had said He would rise again in three days and ensured that His tomb was guarded (Matt 26:62-66), we also see that later, as recorded in Luke 24:44-49, Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures. So what did they make of all this? What could they do, but marvel and wonder at the empty tomb and folded grave clothes- and then go home??
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:11-18)
Mary, who had been delivered from seven demons and followed Jesus all the way to the cross and beyond, as she approached the tomb early that day with spices to anoint Jesus’ body (Mark 16:1), stood weeping. She lingered. Where else could she go? Jesus, the Messiah, had saved her life. Her life had become His, as she followed Him to the end. Her hope was Jesus and now it seemed that her hope was not just lying in a tomb but gone altogether.
Although she knew that the tomb was empty, she still stooped to look as she wept. She kept seeking. And can you hear the desperation in her voice as she encounters these angels and answers, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”?
Turning, she sees Jesus, not yet actually seeing Jesus, and again seeks after her Lord, stating that she will take him away if she can only find him. And one word stops her in her tracks.
As soon as she heard His voice, she knew. She recognized Him and immediately turned, exclaiming,“Rabboni!”
Her Lord, her deliverer and savior, stood before her upon her searching after Him, and sends her to tell the others, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
“My Father and your Father.”?
“My God and your God.”?
This changed everything.
I can imagine her breathless exhilaration as she ran to the disciples yet again, only this time to declare, “I have seen the Lord!”
Oh, may we linger like Mary. May we never stop seeking after our Lord Jesus. May we know His voice and stop in our tracks upon hearing Him speak. May we let His voice change the trajectory of our lives!
And may we not hesitate to run to announce that we have seen the Lord. We have been with Him. We know Him to be true.. the Truth.
May we be faithful with the commission that has been given to us- the good news that we have been entrusted with.
May His great love shine forth because we ourselves have been loved much. Because to us the cross no longer means death and because the tomb was empty. Because we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Pet 1:3)
May our lives be wholly given, so surrendered to and wrapped up in Jesus, that we cannot do a thing apart from our Lord and our King.
That can change everything.
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