I’m a Believer

…blessed is she that believed… -Luke 1:45

Bloggy Recommendations April 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:10 pm

Hello!  I pray everyone had a blessed celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and an equally blessed spring break.  I know I did.

I’m busy in preparation for our upcoming beach retreat.  Please pray for us this week as a group or 19 ladies head to Fort Morgan for our spring retreat.  This year’s theme is Taste & “Sea”. 

O, taste & see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.
~Psalm 34:8

I’ll be leading the teaching portions and ministering with the retreat team.  (Going to the beach is a tough job, but someone’s got to do it… GRIN!)

I plan to share much about what I learned when we get back.

In the meantime, I would like to share a couple of blogs with you that I LOVE!

heremycuplord_button2One is my friend GINGER.  Her blog has a brand new look, and she is celebrating her one year “blogaversary”.  It is not only beautiful to look at – complete with my favorite color (red) and animated ladies drinking coffee in a little sidewalk cafe, it also has great content:  from recipes, to spirit lifting scriptures, prayer requests, beautiful writing, and much encouragement.  Stop by Here’s My Cup Lord and allow the Lord to fill your cup to overflowing. 

pink-ribbon-joy21The other blog is a blog of someone I’ve never met, but her strength and boldness during a difficult time encourage me every time I stop by.  Her name is Lori Moon, and she is battling cancer.  Her blog, My Own Road Home, is full of the word of God and testimony of His faithfulness even in the dark times of life.  She has beautiful music, things to laugh about, and personal stories.  Stop by and be encouraged.

I’m a Believer!



He Is Risen! April 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laura @ 6:00 am

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.  

~Matthew 28:6


Father, Into Thy Hands (Surrender) April 11, 2009

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)

PRESENTATION OF HIS LIFE & SPIRIT – Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. ~Luke 23:46

Again, Jesus prays.  He began with a prayer, He prayed in the midst, and He ends with a prayer.  As He lived, so He died, in perfect communion with His Father.

At this point, Jesus has been brought through anguish, obedience, darkness, and recognition of the completion of God’s plan.  It has been a long, painful day.  And so at the end of this day He prays and addresses God again tenderly as Father. 

Again He prays scripture:

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. ~Psalm 31:5

Psalm 31:5 was the “now I lay me down to sleep” type of prayer of the day.  Many Jewish mothers undoubtedly prayed this prayer at the end of long days with their children.  Perhaps even Jesus had done so throughout His life.  Now He prays it one last time, knowing that even though He had felt forsaken only hours before, His spirit will be safe in His Father’s hands.  These words speak the ultimate surrender to the will of the Father, and now the redemption spoken of in the psalm is completed.

There are several noteworthy things about this presentation of his spirit, but the main one is this:


Many times we think that we can just skip to this step when trying to walk through something difficult, trying to crucify something about our flesh.  We yearn desperately to press the fast forward button to get to the finish line and run headlong into the arms of our Father who is waiting for us.  But can we really expect a heart of surrender toward Him if we aren’t willing to walk in forgiveness, mercy, grace, provision, spiritual dependence, obedience, knowledge of God’s plan, as Jesus did on the cross?

We must walk through what God has for us.  Jesus had to – what makes us think we are so special??  We ARE special though – God sends the Holy Ghost to empower us – to help us as we walk by faith seeking to do the will of the Father.  He is conforming us to the image of His son. 

To commend our spirit into God’s hands demonstrates complete and total trust in the nature of God and the plans of God, as shown in the Word of God. 

At death, after living a perfect life, as Jesus presented His body as a sacrifice for all believers, He commended His Spirit into the hands of His Father.  If you have accepted the sacrifice of Christ as atonement for your sins, when you come to the end of your life, you need not be afraid.    If you practice a daily life of surrender into the hands of God, how much more joyous will that day be when you confidently and with sweet surrender and relief run into the open arms of your loving Father who waits for you.  I’m looking forward to it! 

I’m A Believer!



It Is Finished (Surrender)

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)

In previous posts we looked a Jesus’s selflessness in the dying process and His endurance in the dying process.  The last part of the dying process that we are going to look at is SURRENDER. 

I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20

As we are in our dying process, we will go through a lot.  Usually it is very painful.  Whatever part of our flesh we are seeking to crucify puts up quite a fight.

Whether it is attitude, habits, rebellion against God, pride, lack of faith… there is something in our lives that we need to crucify.  During this process, we will have opportunities to die gracefully, as Jesus did, and experience the resurrection power of God, or to put up a kicking, screaming, fight and experience continual turmoil and grief.

We will have the opportunity to pray for others, to forgive others, to extend undeserved blessings to others, to make provision for others’ needs.  We will have times when we have to endure pain & hardship, at which times we can either let our anguish or our faith take over.  We will have opportunities to cry out to God. We will have opportunities to know the heart of God, to ask for help from others, or to bear more than God has required.  We will have the opportunity to do our part in the fullness of God’s plans, or to take shortcuts.

All this will bring us to the ultimate point of surrendering our SELF to God.

Let’s look at Jesus’s next statement from the cross.


When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  ~John 19:30

He makes a statement, a simple statement of three little words.  What does this simple statement mean?  What is finished?  What does it mean for us?

It is a statement that the sin debt has been paid.

As God speaking to us, Jesus lets us know that the amazing, gracious redemption plant is completed.  No more are we under the old covenant of law, but under the new covenant of grace offered freely for all who will call upon the name of Jesus.  The redemption plan established before the beginning of time has been completed and believers are the beneficiaries.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow

Elvina M. Hall, 1865

Statement of victory.

This simple statement is a statement of triumph!  I like that He didn’t say “It is over.”  That would imply defeat or giving up.  No – Jesus did not come to abolish the law, He came to fulfill it, to complete it, to FINISH it! 

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  ~Matthew 5:17

How joyous to be a part of God’s plan and to see the accomplishment of that plan.  This is ultimate accomplishment.

Jesus knew that a debt had to be paid.
Jesus knew his part in paying it.
Jesus knew when his part was completed. 

There is a lot of “knowing” involved. 

There are a lot of things we KNOW that God wants us to do.   Have we taken steps to complete these?  How close are you to your “It is Finished” line?

It is an example to us that we can complete the work God has given us.   

Wow!  What an accomplishment – to finish the work that God has assigned us.  I hope that every day I’m striving to seek God’s will and God’s way so much that I am finishing the work He has for me.

Another interesting thing that I think we can learn is that when we are finished doing God’s work here, He promptly takes us home where we receive our reward.  The everlasting presence of the Lord is quite an incentive to work towards the “IT IS FINISHED LINE”;  to deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow.

I’m a Believer!



I Thirst (Endurance) April 10, 2009

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)


After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.  ~John 19:28

These words are not spoken as a prayer.  They are not spoken to God.  They are words from a thirsty man expressing a need.

I see several things about these words.

Jesus had a knowledge of everything that needed to be done.

We see the words “Jesus knowing“.  This verse tells us that before Jesus spoke these words, He knew “all things were now accomplished.”  He knew God’s plan, He knew His part, He knew it had to be done God’s way.

Jesus was willing to accept the suffering that was necessary, but discerned that which was not necessary.

Jesus at this point was beaten, bleeding, suffocating, hot.  He had been nailed through His hands and His feet, He was wearing a crown of thorns.  But yet He said “I THIRST.” 

He didn’t complain about anything else, but thirst. 

 Sometimes when we are in the middle of “dying” we lose track of what we do and don’t have to endure.  If we can discern what God has for us to endure, and what He has relief for, we can endure that which we must endure, for much longer!  There are some circumstances that God has ordained to make us stronger and some are just distractions that God has not ordained. 

 Additionally, God has placed people in our lives to help in some of these areas that aren’t necessary for us to endure.  The difficult part for us is KNOWING God’s plan.  To do this, we must seek Him seek to understand what is and what is not required of us.

 Jesus was willing to do everything required of Him.

 Not only did Jesus have a knowledge of what needed to be fulfilled, what his part was (and wasn’t) in it, He was WILLING TO DO EVERYTHING REQUIRED OF HIM.

 He knew exactly which scriptures must be fulfilled.  His death, burial, resurrection could not be allowed to be wasted by sloppy execution.  All scriptures must be fulfilled!

 He WAS thirsty!!  You would be, and He was too.  And being God, He knew that His thirst would not be quenched.  He knew he would endure more mocking, persecution, humiliation, as vinegar was offered to Him.  But yet He said “I THIRST”, so that scripture would be fulfilled.

His obedience to God’s plan & determination not to waste one bit His pain are what kept him on course.

ENDURANCE is often the most difficult part of dying to self.  It can seem sometimes that our circumstances have gone on far beyond what seems reasonable or fair.   But Jesus showed us the way to do it.  His endurance on the cross continues to bring life to believers today.  The offer is extended to all believers to be part of God’s plans.  It will take endurance, but knowing the plans God has for you, knowing what is not required of you, and being willing to do all that IS required, will help you to endure.

Endure and be part of God’s plan.

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.   ~2 Timothy 2:1-3

I’m a Believer!



Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? (Endurance) April 9, 2009

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)

And He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  ~Luke 9:23

Jesus gave us three ways that we are to follow Him  (deny, take up, and follow), and then demonstrated these ways as He bore His own cross.  In complete selflessness He denied Himself as He prayed for His persecutors, promised paradise to the thief on the cross, and provided for His motherSELFLESSNESS is first called for in following Jesus. 

In taking up our cross daily, we are called to ENDURANCE.  Once again, at His own crucifixion, Jesus demonstrates the kind of endurance that we are to have. 

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  ~Mark 15:34

 A PRAYER OF DESPAIR –  My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

The fourth thing that Jesus says on the cross is once again a prayer.  I find it interesting that the first, the middle, and the last statement of Jesus are all prayers.

He cries out with a loud voice…loud enough for all to hear.  At this point Jesus has been on the cross for about six hours.  The world has been in darkness for three hours.  And He makes this cry of “God-forsaken”ness.

Honestly, this portion of scripture has troubled me.  Here’s why – because I know that God promises to never leave us nor forsake us.  The 23rd psalm says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” 

But there are times in our lives, dark times, when we feel forsaken.  God-forsaken even; as if God Himself has forgotten us.  This is where Jesus was.  It had been completely dark for three hours.  He had been on the cross for six hours.  It was a dark time.  It was during this time that the judgment of God for the sins of the world was being poured out onto Him.  Because of this, God will never have to forsake me – that price has already been paid.

And so He prays.

When we are in dark times, what should we do? 

Pray and seek the Word of God! 

Prayer will help you endure!  In this verse, Jesus does just that.  He is actually praying the 22nd psalm.  This was familiar to Him and the Jews of His time, just as perhaps the 23rd is familiar to us.  We can even just quote a couple of words from it, and it elicits a response from people who know it.  Simply say “The Lord is my shepherd…” and you will get heads nodding in recognition because they know the rest of it. 

I believe that is what Jesus is doing right here.  Let’s look at His words first, then at the actual psalm.

MY God

Again he is expressing his relationship – MY God.  This is not an “Oh, God if you are there” prayer.  This is a prayer to a God with whom He has a relationship.

He didn’t turn into one of those people who say, “That might be your God, I don’t want a God that allows this type of suffering.”

Even in the midst of this pain, God is still His God.  Jesus did not allow circumstances to override His faith and His relationship with God.


He acknowledges that God is still God.  In fact, this is one time where Jesus does not call Him “Father.”  God is still in control of this situation and worthy to be called on, even in the midst of allowing this to happen.

A God that still hears

The fact that Jesus calls out, and even asks a question, indicates that even in feeling forsaken, He knows God still hears.  And not only does God hear, He knows why the suffering is taking place.  God always knows why, even when no one else does.

Even when we feel forsaken, God still hears and knows the answers to all those tough questions.

Praying the Word of God

Jesus was the word made flesh that dwelt among us (John 1:14).  Why would the Word have to pray the Word?  Once again, I believe that Jesus is giving us the ultimate example of how to live while dying.  In the process of dying to ourselves, during the most painful dark times, we need to remember to pray the Word.  The Word will always assure us of who God is and who we are.

Take a look at Psalm 22.  Read it…

 In this psalm (a Messianic psalm) we see that the psalmist goes from desolation, to praise, to describing his situation then back to who God is, what God can do, what God has already done, what God will do, and what God will do through him.  The psalm ends in ultimate victory, wrought by the hand of God.

I believe that Jesus, in quoting this psalm, is reminding people that He is the fulfillment of this psalm (written 600 years prior to his crucifixion, when crucifixion was not even done).  By quoting this psalm, by praying this psalm, He claims victory in the midst of despair.  This allows him to ENDURE. 

Endurance begins with prayer to a God with whom we have a relationship, who is still God even in dark times, that still hears us, the God who gave us His precious Word, the God who delivers victory to His people.  Hallelujah!

I’m a Believer!



Woman, behold thy son! (Selflessness) April 8, 2009

(This is part of an Easter series: The Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross.  To view all posts in this series, click here.)


Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother!

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. ~John 19:25-27

Jesus’s third statement from the cross was also a statement of selflessness.  Not to sound like a broken record, but let me reiterate that this occurred while Jesus was quite busy and uncomfortable.

Jesus Offered Comfort

V 26 says “when Jesus therefore saw his mother.”  I believe that when He saw His mother standing by his cross, on which He was dying, He was moved with a heartbreaking compassion for the suffering that she was enduring.  The Bible talks in several places of Jesus looking, seeing, and being moved with compassion.  He saw his mother grieving, and His first reaction was to comfort her.  From the depths of His own discomfort, He sought to comfort her.  In a situation that was completely comfortless, He gave comfort to someone else.

How many times have we seen someone hurting, but because we are “hurting worse” we just don’t have the time to offer comfort because no one is comforting us?

 Even worse – sometimes we don’t even dare open our eyes to see the hurt.  We don’t want to take a chance at being moved by compassion, so we don’t even look, we refuse to see.

 Jesus Fulfilled His Personal Responsibility

Jesus knew that his mother would need someone to care for her when He was gone.  This was just a plain physical need.  She needed someone to care for her. 

As her eldest son, He should be the one to provide for this need, to make arrangements, but these were extenuating circumstances.  It all happened so fast, the arrest, trial, and crucifixion.  There was a whole group of people supporting each other.  Everyone else could take care of it.  Something could be figured out when He was gone, right?

 WRONG!  Jesus took personal responsibility for his obligation to his mother.  He didn’t forget the command to honor his mother; He did not turn his back on her.  He made provision in the midst of His suffering.

 What a selfless Savior…  In His first three statements from the cross Jesus offers a prayer for his persecutors, a promise to a repentant sinner, and provision to his mother.

Consider your selflessness.  Ask God to show you areas in your life where your personal pain is more important than prayer, forgiveness, second chances, obligations, or comforting others.  We have the perfect example of selflessness in Jesus Christ even as He was dying.

I’m A Believer!