Sucker Punched on Palm Sunday

Sucker Punched on Palm Sunday by Lori Hatcher

My dear friend, Lori Hatcher, got sucker punched on Palm Sunday. And we reap the benefit:

Read:
Sucker Punched on Palm Sunday


Watch the video that sent Lori to this verse: Palm Sunday: Jesus, Our Passover Lamb, & His Triumphal Entry




When You Know It’s God’s Plan But You’re Still Scared!

When You Know It's God's Plan But You're Scared Matthew 26:39 - (www.JeanWilund.com) Stop the Ride! I Want to Get Off!

You’ve felt that way before, haven’t you?

My family and I took my niece HannahBrooke to Sea World, and she wanted OFF the ride.

Her mom (my sister) was laughing and smiling behind her, and my brother was trying to encourage her.

I was able to snap this picture of HannahBrooke because I refused to get on the ride to begin with!

Unlike an amusement park ride, we can’t refuse to get ON this wild ride called life. God chose to create us, and He doesn’t make mistakes!

We’re on this ride together, but it isn’t always the same for us all the time.

Some of us are screaming our heads off while others are laughing and having fun.

No matter what kind of ride you’re on now, I can assure you that at some point, you’re going to want off the ride.

Jesus knew that feeling (Hebrews 4:15), and He left us encouraging words that will help us ride to the end — and be glad we did!


From “Let Me Off” to “Nevertheless”

Jesus prayed, “Let me off!”

Ok, not really. He actually prayed:

“If it is possible, let this cup pass from me…”

We can pray that, too.

But then we must remember to end our prayer as Jesus did:

“nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

Jesus also said,

“Now is my soul troubled” (John 12:27).

We know Jesus never dishonored God once in what He thought, said, or did. So, if Jesus can admit His soul was troubled, can’t we?

And without feeling like a failed Christian?

Why did Jesus say what He said out loud? Why didn’t He just keep His thoughts to Himself?

Simple. The disciples — and we — needed to hear it.

He was teaching them, and us. It’s okay for us to be scared.

If our soul is troubled and we want off the ride, it’s okay to admit it. (He knows anyway. And your friends get it. They’ve felt the same way.)


A Troubled Soul Doesn’t Have to be a Hopeless Soul

After Jesus revealed His soul was troubled, He spoke words that should give us strength.

“And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (John 12:27).

There was never a moment when Jesus reconsidered continuing the treacherous ride God had placed Him on — and He had willingly chosen.

Jesus possessed the power to stop the ride in an instant.

He reminded His disciples of this when Peter tried to alter God’s plans for Jesus with a sword. He slashed off the high priest’s servants ear when the guards came to arrest Jesus.

“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Matthew 26:53-54).

Imagine what would’ve happened if Jesus had hopped off the ride before the end — if He’d refused God’s plan for Him (and us).

All hope would be gone. We could strive our entire lives from the crib to the grave to make ourselves right with God, and we’d fail. On the first day we tried, we’d fail.

Thankfully, Jesus always intended to ride to the end.

The moment certainly troubled His soul, but the end resulted in God’s glory and our redemption. And that, He knew, was worth riding all the way to the end for!


Troubled But Not Darkened with Doubt

As fully God, Jesus knew the end from the beginning. He knew what His sacrifice would accomplish.

Though Jesus was troubled, never a doubt darkened His mind.

As fully man, Jesus trusted His Father. Never a doubt darkened His mind or troubled soul.

There will be times in our life when we want off the ride. NOW, God! Please!

Admit it. It’s ok. But then trust. Trust God’s plan.

We can’t see the end from the beginning, but God can. The end of this wild ride for you will result in God’s great glory, and you do not want to miss that.

God has a purpose for your ride that, if you knew what it was, would give you all the strength you need to ride every inch of the ride to the bitter end.

We don’t know what that purpose is, but God does. And we can trust it just as Jesus did.

Don’t give doubt an inch. It’s so stingy, it will demand a country mile.


Three Powerful Truths for Whatever Ride You’re On

What’s your ride like now?

Is it the ride of your life ❤️ ?

OR the ride of your nightmares 😱?

Whatever it is, never forget — or doubt — these three powerful truths:

1. It’s God’s plan for your life.

“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:18).

2. God never makes mistakes.

“This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

3. Jesus will never leave your side.

And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:20


Please share this with anyone you know who’s on a bumpy ride. Or will ever be on one. (I think I just covered everyone.)When You Know It's God's Plan But You're Scared Matthew 26:39 - (www.JeanWilund.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Can Sin Ever Be Good?

Can sin ever be good? The answer may seem obvious. Consider the facts.

Can Sin Ever Be Good?

Can sin ever be good? The answer seems obvious – No!

But hear me out.

I have a story that can help us answer that question — a question we each need to ponder.

Just to warn you a little, this is not a chicken nugget post. It’s more like filet. By that, I mean this question is meaty.

Worst Decision Ever

Many years ago I made the worst decision of my life.

I sat on a vinyl-covered barstool and walked away from God.

We’d come to an impasse.

The life I wanted didn’t match the life He seemed to want for me. So I told Him the time had come for us to part ways . . . at least for now.

I hadn’t stopped loving God. But He wanted me to surrender to Him, and I wanted Him to surrender to me.

Since we both refused to give in, I made the worst decision of my life.

Two years and painful scars later, I found my way back to God.

With relief and joy, I fell into His welcoming arms and surrendered to His will.

At least I thought I’d surrendered.

Here We Go Again

While my renewed relationship with God exhilarated me, my repeated failure to walk free from sin frustrated me.

Want what God wants. Want what I want.

Gain victory. Fall on my face.

Stand against sin. Run after sin.

Before long, I was digging my heels in with God. Again.

“You always get Your way,” I cried. “Please, this time, just do what I’m asking!”

The Pangs of Death

Ever patient, God spoke through His Word into my aching heart and clouded mind.

“Your way leads to destruction. Your path is paved with lies. Believe Me when I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24)

I’d been feeling the pangs of death, sure enough, but not the kind God meant.

I was killing my fellowship with God. I was fighting a battle I knew I’d ultimately regret but couldn’t seem to stop fighting.

As they say, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

They are so right sometimes.

Except it was like I had two hearts.

Two Hearts – One Battle

One heart wanted what God wanted as it overflowed with love for Him. The other heart wanted what my sin wanted, as it overflowed with desire for it.

I begged for relief. “Change me, God! Change my heart!”

Silence.

I understood why suicide seems appealing. Relief from pain and struggle in an instant.

God knew I didn’t need relief, though. I needed power. Resurrection power to follow the heart that desired God more than sin.

The funny thing about resurrection, though, is it only comes after death.

Finally, on a warm spring day, I sat on the soft grass in the shade of my Vitex tree and died.

“You win, God,” I said. “I can’t fight anymore. I don’t want to fight anymore. I just want You. I don’t care about anything else. Just give me You. I’ll do whatever You want, no matter what it costs me, even if You never bless me again. I don’t care. Just give me You.”

In utter weakness, I died that day. Yet, I rose up and walked into my house stronger and freer than I’d ever been.

God had won the battle, and I gained the victory.

The Verdict

It’s time for a verdict on whether sin can be good.

But first, let’s review the facts of my story.

Facts:

My love for God – as strong as it felt – didn’t draw me back to Him. The pain of my sin did.

My desire to please God didn’t open my eyes to the reality of how good He is or how perfect His law is. My sin did.

It was the devastating “rewards” of my sin that shook me awake to the truth that the path I was walking led only to destruction.

Sin’s agony sent me fleeing to Truth. Running back to God.

Without sin’s wretched grip, I may never have become desperate for relief. I may never have died that day and fully surrendered to God.

Instead, at the very best, I might have lived the rest of my life in exasperation, feeling doomed to a rollercoaster existence of failure, victory, failure, victory.

In view of the facts, I ask again: Can sin ever be good?

Verdict:

No!

No, it can’t.

Sin can never be good. It is unadulterated evil bent on destruction.

But God is good.

God is so good and powerful that He can and does use everything, including our most hideous sin, for His perfect purposes.

He used my wretched sin to draw me to Himself and teach me the truth we all must learn:

Jesus paid the full price (penalty) for our sin on the cross, BUT sin isn’t gone. It lives on inside us, and we are powerless to defeat it – by ourselves. But thanks be to God for His resurrection power over sin through His Holy Spirit, who lives in every Christian.

Sin is Never Good. But God Is.

If you’re struggling with sin and feel powerless to defeat it, you need to know that only God can, and He will. Abide in Christ.

Trust Him to be your strength and walk in that trust.

If you’ve already reached an impasse with God and walked away, I pray you’ll return. God is worth more than anything sin or this world has to offer.

Sin’s “rewards” lie perched on a mountain of crumbling lies.

Because sin can never be good.

But God always is.

Can sin ever be good? Consider the facts #Biblestudy #God Click To Tweet




Is That Your Final Answer?

Is That Your Final Answer? Just wondering with Billy Graham, Regis Philbin, & Jean Wilund via www.InspireAFire.com Billy Graham got me wondering.

I read Billy’s final My Answer column, and he got me wondering.

What if God set Regis Philbin of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” fame (remember that show?) outside heaven’s doors with one final question and four multiple choice answers?

What would your final answer be? 

I talk about both over at www.InspireAFire.com today.

Check it out by clicking on the photo or the link.

Thanks!




A Total Eclipse of Awe-Inspiring Faith & How to Find It

Total Eclipse of Awe-Inspiring Faith -- The One-Two Punch via www.JeanWilund.com

Ooh, Wow! Don’t Look at the Sun!

I think I said, “Ooh, wow!” and “Don’t look at the sun!” in my sleep last night.

If you watched the total solar eclipse, you know what I mean.

Ooh! Wow!

Especially if you watched it with small children.

Don’t look at the sun!

For about 2 1/2 overwhelming minutes, the moon utterly eclipsed our sun, a blazing ball of burning gas 400 times bigger than it.

That describes the faith I want. The faith I need all the time. A Total Eclipse of Faith.


The Awe of Eclipse

Viewing any solar eclipse is incredible, partial or total.

The moon blocking 90% of the sun is quite a sight. 

But 100%? That’s epic. Magical. Miraculous.

The birds and bees left my flower garden with the light and went to bed. Our street and porch lights came to life. The temperature dropped to an eery, comfortable coolness of evening.

All for 2 1/2 minutes.

Then the moon shifted over a hair.

The sun lit up the sky again. The birds and bees returned along with the blistering heat.

If you notice in the picture above, I’m wearing socks — bright white socks. But not for an awkward fashion statement or to keep my feet warm, but to keep them from burning on the scorching stone walkway.

After the total eclipse of the sun, all was as before — except for us. We stood in awe and wonder. Overwhelmed by the greatness of the experience.  

No photos or words do it justice. You have to experience it. And once you do, you’re Googling where the next one will be.


A Total Eclipse of the Heart

The next day I received a letter from a lady who’s struggling to fully surrender to God and hoped I had words to help. I related with her heart, eclipsed by doubts and fears.

As I sat to write her, I suddenly saw the solar eclipse as a great illustration for surrender to God.

Most of the world lives outside the path of totality for a solar eclipse. They see only a partial eclipse and long to experience a Total Eclipse.

Likewise, most Christians live in partial surrender to God, but long for a total eclipse of faith — faith that eclipses all their fears, doubts, and rebellion.


Do You Live in a Full or Partial Eclipse? 

I would imagine that many Christians live in at least 50% surrender to God.

We’ve trusted Him for salvation and thank Him for eternal life. But for this present life, our faith is weak. It doesn’t make much difference in our daily lives.

We attend church. Maybe not every week, but more than some. We own a nice leather Bible, and if you’ll give us a minute, we can find it. 

We do Christian stuff, but knowing Christ doesn’t seem to have transformed us because we worry just as much as our neighbor who doesn’t see a need for Christ in their life.

Christ is our Savior, but not much more than that.

We hope our faith will deepen and move to greater surrender. Maybe 75% surrender? But we don’t know how to get it to 100%.

We struggle.

Partial faith is exhausting. If we don’t get some answers, we may move back to 50%, and eventually down to negligible faith. Or none.


Oh, for faith to trust You more, Lord

How can we move our faith to where it eclipses all our fears, doubts, and rebellion?

I can’t speak for everyone, but two factors (a one-two punch) have allowed me to experience many amazing moments of a total eclipse of faith.

And the time between eclipses has shortened as I’ve learned to give my fears, doubts, and rebellion the one-two punch: Know and Obey God.


1. Know God

Any fears, doubts, or rebellion we hold are unfounded. God is always able to care for His children, and He does all things well. All things.

Since we can trust God enough to cause our fears, doubts, and rebellion to shrink in the face of who He is, why don’t we?

We’ll never trust anyone more than we know him.

We must come to know God — not just about Him.

Study the Bible, the Word of God. Look on each page to find Jesus and discover God’s character. Don’t study to know how to be a better Christian. Study to know God.

Learn His character. Treasure it in your heart where it will transform your faith in Him.

Check out my ever-growing list of posts on God’s Character.

The more we know God, the more our heart will believe we can trust Him, which leads us to the knock-out punch: Obedience.


2. Obey God

The more we know God, the more we’ll trust Him.

The more we trust Him, the more we’ll obey Him.

The more we obey Him, the more we’ll experience Him.

The more we experience Him, the more we’ll love Him,

The more we love Him, the more we’ll want to know Him more.

God reveals more light after we obey Him with the light He’s already given us.

Once we obey, we learn by experience that God is indeed everything He said He is. And we fall in love and grow in faith.

But it’s a process, like a total solar eclipse.


Bit by Bit, A Total Eclipse of Faith

Total Eclipse of Faith -- The One-Two Punch via www.JeanWilund.comBit by bit, as we obey, our faith will overshadow our fears, doubts, and rebellion until we enjoy a total eclipse of faith.

Then we’ll stand in awe and wonder at our Lord, the One who, by His kind grace, gives us faith. (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8, I Timothy 1:13-14, Romans 10:17)

Pray and ask the Lord to give you a total eclipse of faith. Then obey Him in whatever He shows you to do, trusting Him to do in your heart what needs to be done. 

I wish I could say my faith is always at 100%, but each time I enjoy a total eclipse of faith, it inspires me to trust God more the next time. 

And unlike in a total solar eclipse, in a Total Eclipse of Faith, I can say, “Ooh, Wow! Look at the Son!”


Have you enjoyed a Total  Eclipse of Faith? Share your experience. We’d love to hear it.

If this post encouraged you, I hope you’ll share it. There are handy sharing buttons below:

Imagine if ur #faith could #eclipse your fears, doubts, and rebellion. It can with this 1-2 punch. Click To Tweet