Dare We Follow Jesus

These days, opinions are everywhere and everyone has one. Do we listen to this voice or that? With so many, I find it hard to know and see the truth at times. I have to remember God’s Word never fails.

For some, January 6th gave much pause. After the initial shock, time allowed resolution. It gave us time to think and pray and time to rest in God, knowing that our assurance comes from Him, alone.

For others, confusion prevails and hatred filters common conversations. A real agitation exists and the peace of God seems short changed.

Know this, He is the Master of the universe. Nothing has changed. His Word is Truth and states that “Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NLT). Jesus prevails. He sits on the right hand side of the Throne of God (Colossians 3:1, NLT). He is the Almighty King of all kings and LORD of all lords. He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come (Revelations 1:8, NKJV). Jesus is everything, and in Him we can put our complete trust.

Some may be thinking, Why do so many take refuge in Him? The answer. His opinion is really the only One that matters. It is the buck stops here One, and it is in Jesus Christ with whom I and so many others, entrust our lives by faith. Wise people follow Him because He is the way, the Truth, and the Light, and they truly know and believe Him because He is, He was, and He will always be the ONE who loves us, never leaves us, and helps us to overcome by helping us stand boldly for Him.

The shedding of His blood at the cross of Jesus gives us our testimony. His resurrection secures our walk through faith. Remember, He is the One who died, rose again, and went to Heaven and will thankfully come again to bring us home.

That is why we take refuge in Him. He is our Maker and Master. He takes care of our every need, and in Him we have no need to fear because He protects those who love, trust, and obey Him.

Hebrews 13: 5-6 tells us that God is always with us. Those who choose to follow Him. “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (NKJV).

As the Father of many nations, Abraham believed God by faith, and it was counted as righteousness. We would be wise to follow the Genesis 15:1 account where Jesus tells him, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield and your great reward.”

He is our reward, and in Him we can know that His love endures forever. I John 1:5-7 tells us,This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (NKJV).

God’s Word offers answers that shed light on every dark deed known to mankind. Wise people read It every day, and they follow what It says in order to bring clarity. When in doubt, wise people seek His voice through prayer and wait for an answer that comes from the Holy Spirit, which lives inside every believer.

Know and understand that “God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. That verse is well known to many, but do we really look at the next one which tells us “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17, NKJV)

As a world wrought in confusion and chaos, we have a redeemer who sheds light into our darkness. He is love. He is light and a refreshing goodness for all mankind. If He came to save and not condemn, then should our opinions condemn?

Can we cautiously be careful with our words and yield back our time for God’s perfect will and wisdom–Ask Him for guidance and to search our hearts.

Maybe even, ask for His grace and give pause to our words as we stand boldly for principles and righteousness. Perhaps, whisper a silent prayer for others to allow the love of Christ to rule deeply within our hearts and theirs, so we can allow the evidence of His love inside us to flow and reveal His light to others in darkness.

During lofty opinions, dare we say, “Jesus, what do you want me to say or do? Give me direction, LORD, and help me to be obedient to Your voice. Help me to hear Your voice and distinguish It from all others.”

Jesus brought life through His death and resurrection, giving our souls life by believing that He came to earth as an offering for all sins. My sins, your sins, and everyone’s sins, too. As a matter of fact, all sins of every single human being throughout all of history’s sins are covered under His blood offering for our souls.

That is how much He loves us. He was willing to pay the penalty for sin for everyone and He forgives us if we go to Him in true belief and repentance. It takes a humble attitude to recognize and admit our own errors.

When Jesus comes into our life, we are immediately set free. A veil of unbelief is removed from our eyes so we are able to see clearly. Jesus comes into our life and breathes freedom from all of our sins. He gives us joy, love and a peace that passes all understanding.

Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door. He said in Revelation 3:20,Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

If you have done this but feel the wages of sin creeping into your soul, then repent. Seek His favor through this prayer. Ask Him to help you turn your life around. If you have never received Jesus as your personal Savior, it is time to experience this new life for yourself.

Bid Him entrance. Just pray this prayer from your heart:

LORD, I can never adequately thank You for all You did for me on the Cross. I am so undeserving, Jesus, but You came and gave Your life anyway. I repent for rejecting You, and I turn away from my rebellion and sin right now. I turn to You and receive You as my Savior, and I ask You to wash away my sin and make me completely new in You by Your precious blood that paid for my sins. I thank You from the depths of my heart. For doing what no one else could do for me. I would be eternally lost without your favor.

Thank You, Jesus that I am now redeemed by Your blood. On the Cross, You bore my sins, my sickness, my pain, my lack of peace, and my suffering. Your blood has removed my sin, washed me whiter than snow, and given me right standing with the Father. I have no need to be ashamed of my past sins because I am now a new creature in You. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new because I am in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus, breath on me Your precious Holy Spirit of God. Fill me with His presence and be my guide, teach me with Your Word, the Holy Bible, and give me a thirst. Let me have the water that You offered the woman at the well and breath on me Your truths. Because of You, Jesus, today, I am forgiven, I am filled with peace and I am joint-heir with You! Satan no longer has a right to lay any claim on me. From a grateful heart, I will faithfully serve You the rest of my days!

If you prayed that prayer from your heart, something amazing has happened to you. You are no longer a servant of sin; you are now a servant of the Almighty God. The evil spirits that once exacted every ounce of your being and required your all-inclusive servitude no longer possess the authorization to control you or dictate your destiny!

You are heaven bound, living with the Power of Jesus. As a result of your decision to turn your life over to Jesus Christ, your eternal home has been decided forever. Heaven will now be your permanent address for all eternity.

God’s Spirit has moved into your own human spirit, and you have become the “temple of God” (I Corinthians 6:19). What a miracle! To think that God, by His Spirit, now lives inside you!

Now, You have a LORD and Master, and His name is Jesus. From this moment on, the Spirit of God will work in you and supernaturally energize you to fulfill God’s will for your life. Everything will change for you as you yield to His leadership in your life — and its all going to change for the best! Heaven will now be your permanent address for all eternity as long as you remain in Him.1

Now, read Psalm 139 and learn of His goodness, love, and grace.

Psalm 139 A Psalm of David

You Have Searched Me and Known Me For the choirmaster.

1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; You understand my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down; You are aware of all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, O LORD. 5 You hem me in behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle by the farthest sea, 10 even there Your hand will guide me; Your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me”— 12 even the darkness is not dark to You, but the night shines like the day, for darkness is as light to You.

13 For You formed my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works, and I know this very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all my days were written in Your book and ordained for me before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God, how vast is their sum! 18 If I were to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand; and when I awake, I am still with You.

19 O God, that You would slay the wicked— away from me, you bloodthirsty men— 20 who speak of You deceitfully; Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD, and detest those who rise against You? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them as my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. 24See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the way everlasting.

Berean Study Bible, Biblehub.com

1 With permission for Turning Chaos into Joy, this chapter was adapted from Signs You’ll See Just Before Jesus Comes. (Rick Renner, 2015, Harrison House Publishing, Tulsa, OK, pages 177 – 178).

Turning Chaos into Joy

Enter Chaos

Chaos is everywhere; it includes the lies, the distortions, the confused state of minds, and the prevalent evil.

In AD 2020, chaos visits our world once again and claims a steadfast gruel. Upon arrival, division sets the tone and penetrates our republic with an impeachment trial, a pandemic, and a constant pull between political parties, spun by a divisive media. This is followed by civil upheaval, a hijacked election with no concession, and civil oppression for some. People grow angry and unsure because of it– it is never ending. As one thing leaves, another proceeds.

Chaos is everywhere; it includes the lies, the distortions, the confused state of minds, and the prevalent evil. Many do not know what to do, who to believe, or where to turn.

While this book is not written to point blame, it does point to the One who cures it all. Jesus, the Savior of our world. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one can come unto our Father without Him (John 14:6. NLT).

This book, Turning Chaos into Joy will point to Scriptures and Jesus Himself, the lifter of my head. He is the One who gives joy in the midst of chaos….

Turning Chaos into Joy

By Debbie ALLEN Ed. D

Chapter One

Americans can agree on one thing. Our world turned upside down in 2020. The Coronavirus plus more thrusted our way of living into new norms. While subtle in its wake; the strongholds could not have been more relentless. 

I remember its beginning as sullen — No, strange and recall, others, felt that way, too. While waiting outside a local, pizza shop, an acquaintance stepped in line. Her eyes stared off, forlorn. 

That look was familiar. A blank stare, crinkled forehead, and lifeless personality led me to think that she, like so many others, were under duress, unsure of things to come, feeling lost — shaken.  

“Everything is so different,” I said. “How are you?” 

Our eyes met, and compassion introduced another topic. She responded with a light hearted smile, shaking her head, she said, “Chaos.”

How true? Haven’t we all been through so much confusion. One catastrophe after another. After all this time, it’s surreal and a constant reminder that life is not perfect.That look she had was in response to all of this torment. It was a little frightening; yet, more revealing. She was afraid for her future.

I felt a connection and it brought back memories. No, fears of not knowing what to do when your whole world seems shaken. The pain of not knowing what to do makes you feel hopeless and broken. 

As a youth, I knew about brokenness. I lived through it as my mother and I were traumatized by the abuse of her second husband. On one particular day, this man literally choked the life right out of her. Thankfully, we survived, but her story speaks of horror and death.

She recalls the weight of his six, foot frame as he sat on her chest. The grip of his bare hands clenching her throat. Nothing could get in and nothing could get out. My Mother was dying. She fought, but her strength held no comparison. She describes the darkness of his angry assault as black eyes filled with judgment. She said, “I will never let another man control me.”

Her limp body lay there for who knows how long. As it gave way to a pulse, she opened her eyes and in utter shock, his hate turned to fear. With eyes wide open, he gasped, jumped to his feet, and ran out of there. Later, he was found and sentenced to prison. 

After so many battles like this, we had finally won. It was as if relief was scattered throughout many painful wounds. However, the damage had already been done. Our trust and security were always in question. Through time, this damage from his constant assaults would try to gain control to deplete us, giving way to that notable blank stare held by my friend at the pizza shop.

During that time, my Mother tried her best to protect us, but fear held a tight grip, leaving us with caution and a lack of trust for mankind. This fate encompasses panic, defeat, and a constant agitation from the trials we face. Mistrust is an inner conflict. It is always awaiting one more trauma. Just like his personality, things would quickly shift. One minute, everything would be fine and then pow, all hell would break loose. We would once again, find ourselves circling back into another chaotic mode. He was going to get out of jail sooWhen would it ever end?

At times, life seems hard to overcome, and hope rarely appears. Maybe, just maybe, that could be us. But during that time, it was as if hope was on the other side of a vail, hidden from view. It didn’t exist for us, but surely hope was held by others. Not for me but others had it because it was written all over their faces. You could see the hope in their eyes and you could hear the joy in their laughter. They were filled something I didn’t understand. 

As a child, I felt alone and incapable of knowing how to stop this vicious cycle. In looking back, I realize I could not see a clear path to gain control of the chaos surrounding me, but for some reason, we found relief. We found hope, and we found everlasting peace. 

At the time, I didn’t know it was God, but it was God who came through for us. He removed the darkness and brought a small glimmer of hope. In one final blow, God took our assaulter away permanently. 

Out of jail, this evil man swore vengeance to finish what he had started by sending my mother to her grave. Driving in fast pursuit, he was decapitated when he rolled his BMW on a major highway in our hometown. 

In that moment, I felt as if all of our problems had vanished. I knew that something greater than me was watching out for us.Who it was, didn’t matter because all I needed to know was that we were safe, and that whoever that was standing behind the vail, hidden from view was watching out for me. Hope had finally found me, and I was not alone.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
PSALM 91: 1

Stay in the Scriptures

If you want to keep joy in your life, then you must stay in God’s Word. Few things are more important! Why? God’s Word is a shield for you, and it is one way to stop confusion and fear. His Word guides and directs our steps so getting into it every day is a good plan.

Read Psalm 1 and notice how a person obtains joy. It reads, what the godly person does not do and also what he or she does do. Oh, the JOYS…

Psalm 1

1. Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2. But they delight in the law of the lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3. They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
4. But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff,
scattered by the wind.
5. They will be condemned at the time of judgement.
Sinners will have no place among the godly,
6. for the lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Did you notice what the godly person does not do and what he or she does do? Well, he or she does not take advice from the wicked, stand around sinners, or join in with mockers. This person does not actively involve himself with people who live in sin. Another words, this person stays away from the grumbling people who do nothing but mock others and sin(verse 1). Right? If you want joy, take heart. Stay away from grumbling sinners who mock.

Now, what does the godly person do to obtain joy? He or she delights his or herself in the Law of the LORD, day and night, meditating on it. That means this person spends a lot of time reading the Bible. He or she thinks about it even after reading it. He and she applies the Word to his or her life as a way of life.

Notice what happens to the godly person. He or she is refreshed by the flow of God’s Word in his or her life. This person is like a tree that is planted near a riverbank, drinking up the luscious water that flows throughout their body offering refreshment. Eternal refreshment. Soak it in and enjoy the flow of His Word. It is cleansing and replenishing. That’s what God’s Word does for the godly person. It gives us fruit in each season of our life, our leaves do not wither, and everything we do will prosper (3). Plus, the LORD watches over our path in verse 6.

Throughout my life, I have read God’s Word consistently. Some days are better than others, but I can honestly say the flow is at its peak when I stay in God’s Word. Simply stated, my life has a considerable advantage and the joy remains. When I drift away from reading it, things become hectic and my own judgement seems to fade. This discernment, or ability to judge the things that surround me, fades. You see, God’s Word gives us that spiritual guidance that comes straight from the mouth of God, so it is a major conversation between us. His Word shouts out when we start to turn away from His teachings. The Holy Spirit prompts us and guides us through the power of the living, breathing Word of God. We really don’t want to neglect that for very long because His Word keeps us connected to the source, which is Jesus, Himself. The Word made flesh.

So, spend a lot of time in the Word. Dig deeply into its roots and enjoy it. Memorize it, and study it diligently. There are plenty of ways to memorize Scripture. Read it, write it, and say it until you know it. Another way is to dig deeply into the meaning and apply what it is saying to things that pertain to you. Sometimes, I will follow the helpful passages that are connected to what I am reading. Every Bible is different, but many have other Scriptures that point you in another direction. Sometimes, I pick a book and dig deeper, comparing it to similar books. Maybe, Matthew to Luke, Psalms to Proverbs, and so forth. Other times, I have read through the Bible in a year. I have done that many times, and strongly enjoy reading a chronological Bible because it is laid out based on when the events actually happened. Which ever you do, get to know God’s Word. You will not regret it.

Another very important point, get to know God as your read His Word. Remember, prayer and Scripture go hand in hand. Prayer is a vital tool when it comes to understanding His Word. Whenever I come to a stand still, I ask Jesus to teach me and show me what He means. I ask Him to help me see clearly what He is saying and to show me how this applies to my life. In that way, I am developing that very important relationship, seeking Him through prayer and supplication; I ask Him many, many things. In return, He quickens my spirit with wisdom of His Word. Remember, His Word will never fail (Luke 1:37. NLT). He is faithful and a constant help in times of trouble.

In closing, know that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17. NLT).

Scriptures on the Word of God

  • Luke 1:37 “For the Word of God will never fail.”
  • Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes the innermost thoughts and desires.”
  • Matthew 13:21 “But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s Word.”
  • Matthew 13:22 “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s Word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.
  • Matthew 13: 23 “The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s Word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much times as much as had been planted!”
  • Luke 8:11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s Word.”
  • Mark 4:14 “The farmer plants seed by taking God’s Word to others.”
  • Luke 11:28 “Jesus replied, But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.”
  • John 8:47 “Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the Words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
  • Acts 13:46 “Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, ‘It was necessary that we first preach the Word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles.”

By Debbie Allen Ed.D