thefeminineheart

To Encourage the feminine heart along lifes journey


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STEP OUT OF THE CROWD

imageWalk Towards Easter . 17.
” All of you will desert me,” Jesus told them.
” For the scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepard , and the sheep will be scattered’. But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Mark 14:27-28
Q. How do the words of Zechariah the prophet come true? ( Zechariah 13:4-9) What can scare us away from following Jesus?
Imagine being in a situation where you were about to embark on an incredibly difficult undertaking, knowing that all your companions, friends, were going to desert you. Jesus knew that His disciples were going to scatter, abandon and deny Him when He needed them most. That His closet friend would choose to follow the crowd and declare not to have known Him so as to avoid persecution and embarrassment.
It’s hard to be different , it takes a lot of courage to choose an opposing path to the majority. We fear rejection and isolation if we don’t subscribe to the values and views of the societies in which we live. In choosing to follow Jesus we may be marginalised and ridiculed, but He has conquered that battle for us.
‘I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those on the road to destruction ‘ 1Corinthians 1:18
He understands that we will be considered foolish by others……….
‘ Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.’ 1Corinthians 1:27-29
We need never fear that we will be left out in the cold , alone. For we have this promise……
” I will never leave you, I will never forsake you.” That is why we can say with confidence, ” The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid . What can mere mortals do to me ?” Hebrews 13:5-6
If we go on ahead, step out in faith and be prepared to risk the mockery of others…….He will meet us there.
Lxx

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CORNERSTONE

imageWalk Towards Easter. 11.
Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures?
” The stone rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone. This is The Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous to see.” Mark 12:10-11
Q. How does Jesus apply Isaiah’s cornerstone to himself? ( Isaiah 28:16-22) What does it mean for you to make Jesus the Cornerstone of your life?
Jesus knew that He would be rejected, but He also knew that upon Him, the new covenant would be built. That all who came to Him , built their lives upon Him, would have a place with Him in eternity.
A cornerstone is the basic element of something; a foundation. When grand or important buildings and edifices are constructed a ceremony is often held in honour of the laying of the first stone, to mark the commencement of construction.
Often we make decisions in hast, neglecting to pray and seek God’s guidance , we steam ahead building our own future and then wonder why the walls begin to crumble down. We have built on our own dodgy foundation , one that has not been tested and proven.
” Look ! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem ( Zion ) . It is firm, a tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never run away again.” Isaiah 28:16
What a beautiful promise , that we can confidently build our lives upon one who is secure, steadfast and unwavering, who has been proven and cherished, a reliable foundation.
When all else seems to be failing, when it seems as though our world is crashing in around us, our cornerstone stands firm. Jesus will forever be there waiting for us to place the building blocks of our lives securely upon Him.
Lxx


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WHOSE AUTHORITY ?

imageWalk Towards Easter .10.
As Jesus was walking through the Temple area, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders came up to him. They demanded, ” By whose authority did you drive out the merchants from the Temple? Who gave you such authority ?” Mark 11:27-28
Q. Where does Jesus authority come from ? When do you question Jesus authority over your own life?
I find it hard to fathom as to why the religious leaders even considered it necessary to ask Jesus by whose authority He cleared the Temple. This was a House of Prayer and they had allowed it to become a market place seething with dishonesty. They were supposed to be leaders and representatives of Gods people in the community! Instead of listening to Jesus and following His example and teaching, they chose to question His just actions and by whom He had been given the authority.
Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else in this world or the world to come. And God has put all things under the authority of Christ…… Ephesians 2:21-22
Jesus even stated , ” I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth ….” Matthew 28:18
What does authority mean? It is the power to issue directives accompanied by the right to expect obedience! If we apply that to worldly principles in today’s society , it may evoke negative connotations and feelings. We seem to have an aversion to coming under authority and obedience.
But it so different with Jesus. He does not seek to forcefully rule over our lives……He gives us the choice. He does not seek to control and manipulate our lives…….He gives us the choice. Every time we question His plan and will for our lives, doubt the path He has laid out for us, disbelieve His goodness towards us, we are questioning His authority over our lives .
” For I know the plans I have for you,” says The Lord. ” They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Obedience to Christ is not a burden, quite the contrary. It brings joy and fullness of life……if we would simply trust in Him.
Lxx


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WHISPERS OF A KING

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Walk Towards Easter. 6
” For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
Q. What surprises you about Jesus words? What kind of King did Jesus come to be? What did He ransom you from?
Grand castles, royal courts graced by nobility, loyal subjects bowing in fear at the feet of their fearless leader. Opulence , excess riches and entitlement abound. Respect is demanded whether or not it has been earned or is deserved. The well being of his people placed below his own self preservation.
This could be the description of a fairytale king or even some of histories notorious rulers, but not of the King Jesus came to be, was and is.
Jesus mingled with everyday people and often with the more undesirable in societies eyes. He ate with them, shared their homes. He taught them about wonders unknown He healed their sick, raised their dead, He even washed their feet. He travelled by foot and on a donkey, not in a grand chariot, He wore simple robes, not Kingly attire. He was the master of love, not war. He accepted the lowest of low and gave no credence to those full of their own importance. He was buried in a borrowed tomb, not in an monumental shrine to his greatness. He asked nothing of those who followed Him except that they repent, love one another and love The Father. He didn’t send the angels to His defence in order to avoid paying the ransom for you and I . He put himself as King, in our place, to pay the debt for our transgressions, past , present, and future. He could have saved himself……..” I came here not to be served, but to serve others.”
In His Kingdom the first shall be last and the last shall be first. This is the King I want to follow , this is the King I want to love and serve. His Kingdom of justice, righteousness , forgiveness and love will never end.
” Do you see what we’ve got ? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship , deeply reverent before God….” The Message Bible Hebrews 12:28
Lxx


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TROUBLE = JOY……You’re kidding, right?

imageWalk Towards Easter Series . 4
” I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for The Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over………And in the world to come they will have eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30
Q. What are the benefits of following Jesus and what can you thank God for in your life?
It would be really easy to go the feel good route here and prattle on about how wonderful it is to follow Jesus, how He has done so many great things in my life, and it would all be true……but…….I want to thank Him for something a little different, the tough times, the trials, those valleys painstakingly traversed. Please don’t misunderstand , I’d much rather not have had to endure those experiences, nor do I believe God caused them to happen in order to grow me, stretch me and mould me. However…….That’s exactly what He did. I am who I am today because He brought me through those trials and used the inevitable sorrows of life to forge my character.
” I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Being a Christian doesn’t guarantee a fairytale life, it’s not all froth and bubble, happy days every day. We are just like everyone else, our journey is scattered with good times, the not so good and , well , those ordeals we would rather forget. The difference lies within the way we handle our tribulations, the hope we hold onto in the midst of it all, where we draw our strength and endurance from.
“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” James 1:2-4
So I’m thanking Jesus for using my tough times to change me, for shaping me into a more tolerant, caring and understanding individual . I’ve still got a way to go, getting my head around being joyful in the dark times is proving to be a challenge, but I’m certain there will opportunities ahead to build that quality into my life.
Lxx