Tag Archive | Abuse

Jesus, The Story Teller, Matthew 13:3

BudandMe

We all have stories to tell about our lives, some more exciting and adventurous than others, but we all have a hi-story. Buddy does too. He suffered abuse by the husband of his very ill owner till a kind Silky terrier breeder rescued him and fostered him till he found his forever home. His story demonstrates that some suffering does end and some lives have a happy ending.

I applied to an advertising art program at an art school some years ago but was rejected by the school’s President. She said I wouldn’t do well in the program because I “was a story teller”. Personally, I think a lot of ads are telling “stories” but I respected her opinion as she had a lot of experience that I didn’t have.

Each new year I realize that I have only so many more years on this earth and ask myself if my goals and how I spend my time is really what God wants me to pursue. I love to draw cartoons and write stories. A bit of depression settles in as I ask myself, “Is my strong desire to tell stories really helpful in furthering God’s kingdom and my purpose on earth?”

And then I remind myself that Jesus told stories, stories that impacted His listeners and the lives of millions for nearly 2000 years. These stories continue to endure, be examined, shared and transform lives.

“And He spoke many things to them in parables,…”–Jesus, Matthew 13:3

So many times I’ve read or heard someone say, “That book” or “That movie” changed my life. Because art often bypasses our intellectual gate keeper and touches our hearts.

King David repented of his hardness of heart, after his murder of Uriah to hide his adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, when Nathan the prophet spoke a parable to him that touched his shepherd’s soul (2 Samuel 12:1-14). He responded to the prophet’s rebuke after the parable revealed the severity of his sin and hypocrisy.

So I can take heart that, perhaps, I too, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, write stories that will touch people’s hearts and promote introspection, and with God’s grace, encourage positive change. That maybe my particular personality bent has a purpose and place in God’s kingdom after all.

***

I can honestly say that I wish I’d come to the Lord 10 years sooner. I gave my heart to Christ at age 28 after calling up a volunteer working the phones for a Billy Graham crusade which was televised locally. The reason I wouldn’t want to come before my college years is so that I will never forget what it feels like, the emptiness and loneliness that filled my life, before I came into a personal relationship with the Lord. You too can find peace in a relationship with Him. It is possible. He is not a myth: Jesus is real.

If you’d like to enter into a relationship with our Heavenly Father, please pray the below or something similar in your own heartfelt words: Lord, I’d like to know you but my sin has separated me from You as You are a most holy God. I accept that Jesus, as God in the Flesh, took the punishment for my sins. Please forgive me and grant that the Holy Spirit would enter into my heart. May the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, lead me into all righteousness and truth. Open my heart to love you. Amen.

 

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Fairy Tale Ending, 1 Corinthians 2:9

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When I first adopted Buddy, he was terrified of me and my family. But after several years of love and treats, walks and healthy food, he finally relaxed and enjoys our company. He was rescued from a situation where he was kicked and chased and now enjoys a loving home.

You might feel like life gives you, not love and affection, but numerous kicks and suffering. You might have chronic pain or financial problems that seem insurmountable, or family members and coworkers who torment you, or great past affliction that’s difficult to forgive or forget.

But please think of your life as a fabulous story. Every good story has conflict or it’d be tremendously boring: times of great suffering and trials that must be overcome, monsters to be slain. But the hero endures, and because he/she never gives up, triumphs.

However, if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, your unique life story has a fairy tale ending. One day you will be present with the Lord in Heaven which is so wonderful that we cannot imagine it, says Apostle Paul,

“Eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”–1 Corinthians 2:9

Just think of your favorite book with the happy ending you enjoy so much and Heaven is far better.

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”–Revelation 21:4

You enter into a relationship with Jesus by believing that He died for your sins, suffered the punishment you deserved, and maintain your relationship with Him by faith (Galatians 3). You cannot do anything to deserve your eternal salvation, nor can you do anything to maintain your salvation:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9

Jesus had the courage to voluntarily face the tremendous suffering of Crucifixion because He kept his eyes on the “joy set before Him endured the cross”–Hebrews 12:2

“Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize…”–Apostle Paul, Philippians 3:13

So when life seems hard and you want to give up, please remember to keep your focus on the joy ahead. You are the lead character in your own life story. And your story has a fairy tale ending if you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rejoice! This is good news!

Greatest Faith: Luke 23:39-43

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It’s hard to believe that Buddy was abused for nearly three years before I adopted him from Silky Terrier Rescue. He was so afraid of me that he yanked and pulled at his leash, trying to get back to his foster mother (who is a responsible Silky Terrier breeder). I wondered what I had gotten myself into, he was so adamant about not going home with me. Then he kept running away the next week or so. Fortunately, I had a kitty collar on him with a bell, so I was able to locate him by the ringing when I couldn’t find him. I was so afraid he’d get hit by a car. (Fortunately, at that time we lived in a closed neighborhood which lessened the odds of getting hit, but didn’t eliminate it.)

Then, one day, it was like a lightbulb flipped on in his head, as if he was thinking, “Why am I running away? They love me. They give me good food and treats, bathe me, comb me, kiss and hug on me, and take me for rides and walks.” And he stopped trying to run off. Now, he greets me at the door with joyous adoration.

One of the people I admire the most in the Bible is one of the thieves on the cross next to Jesus. Of all the people in the New Testament, I believe he had the greatest faith.

If you don’t know the story, two thieves were crucified on either side of Jesus. On Jesus’ cross, Pilate had a placard nailed above His read which read, “King Of the Jews” to mock Jesus’ claim to be a King, only Jesus claimed to have a spiritual, not earthly kingdom.

“One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him (Jesus), saying ‘Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!’

But the other answered, and rebuking him, said, ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’

And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’

And He (Jesus) said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'”–Luke 23:39-43

Though the thief had no opportunity to do any good deeds nor be baptized, he recognized his sinfulness and God’s great mercy. He acknowledged he was a sinner deserving death for his evil deeds, repented of his sin by rebuking the other man for mocking God, and asked Christ to save him. This is why I so greatly admire this man. He was one of the few at the time who really got who Jesus was, the Christ–the sacrificial Lamb of God–who died to cover our sins.

The repentant thief is a great example of salvation. The perfect man, Christ, had to die to take our penalty for God’s wrath against our sin. God is just and must punish evil, and only the perfect God Man was holy enough to take that punishment so we don’t have to.

The thief understood that it was all about repenting and faith, not about working for God’s favor, but receiving God’s approval and gift of righteousness by His mercy alone.

“For by grace you have been saved thorough faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”–Ephesians 2:8-9

And this very kind and loving God, though in great torment, reached out to acknowledge the thief was forgiven and encouraged him to look forward to Paradise.

There were two thieves, however. The other continued in his disbelief. Which is really sad, because God’s grace would’ve covered him too–if he’d only believed in the Son of God.