Good Friday—His Life for Ours

Good Friday—His Life for Ours

Greater Love hath no man than this that a man lay down His life for his friends. John 15:13

Luke 23:44-46 Now it was the sixth hour (noon) and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour (3 PM). Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two. And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last breath.

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour (3PM) Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

I want us to reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for each one of us. We will never know the immense pain He experienced not only physically but spiritually. On the hours that Jesus hung on the cross from 12 noon to 3 PM the whole earth was darkened, and so was the sun. God had forsaken His only Son when He bore all the sins of the world on His body. Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The word forsake in the Merriam-Webster dictionary means to renounce or turn away from entirely. Holy God darkened the earth for 3 hours because He could not look upon Jesus when He bore our sins upon Himself. The Bible says that Jesus became sin for us, who knew no sin. I read a commentary that said God caused the darkness so humans could not look upon Jesus and see the turmoil and agony that He went through on our behalf. It was a sacred sacrifice that only the Father could see. This was His perfect Lamb of God who was sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.

At the same time the veil in the Temple, between the Holy of Holies, was torn from top to bottom. The very hand of God tore the veil, giving us access to God through Jesus His Son. Jesus was the new and living way for us to go to God, we no longer had to go through a Priest to make atonement for our sins. Jesus paid for our sins so we could have free access to the Father by Him. This gives us, you and me, access to God anytime day or night, that we need Him. That is so comforting to know.

Now think of all the sins you have ever committed, they are too numerous to count, yet all of them have been covered by Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, if you have received the gift of salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins. If you are born again, the Bible says you are a new creation in Christ, old things are passed away behold all things become new. (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It is good Lord, to be reminded of the miraculous work you did in me when I became born-again. Thank you for forgiving all my sins, my rebellious actions, my drunkenness, drug usage, fornication, my abortion, my lying, stealing, my pride and my idol worship. All these I lay at your feet Jesus. I no longer have to carry these sins on my back. You have exchanged my sins for your righteousness. I am so grateful to you Lord, the day you had mercy on this broken woman and opened my eyes to see that what I was doing was not working and I needed you in my life. I surrendered my will and my life to you and confessed my sins and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. It was the most beautiful day of my life, February 6, 1994. A day I will always cherish.

Questions:

What is the Holy Spirit bringing to your mind right now?

First, Are you born-again? Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Have you asked Him to forgive all your sins?

Even after we are saved, we need to confess our sins daily to God. Is there anything the Lord is putting on your heart that you need to confess publicly?

What are you most grateful to God For?

I pray the Lord will bless you as you seek His wisdom and discernment in your life.

 

You are loved,
Toni

 

 

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The Traps of the Devil (Series): David

The Traps of the Devil (Series): David

The Traps of the Devil: DAVID
A Series Taken from Dr. Charles Stanley

(2 Samuel 11:1-17-12:1-10)

This week, we will look at the sins of King David, a successful military leader and a man after God’s own heart. Led astray by lust, he actively pursues another man’s wife and opens himself up to all kinds of evil. David attempts to hide his sin of adultery with Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. She becomes pregnant with David’s child, which leads David to murder Uriah. God sends Nathan the Prophet to show David the error of his ways, and David is convicted. Although, he does not escape punishment and the consequences of his sin. His child’s life is taken by God, and the sword never leaves David’s house (2 Samuel 12:10a).

Through Scripture, we observe the rapid progression of sin in David’s life so that we can learn to guard our own hearts from the devil and his devices. No one is exempt from sin. We must do all we can to stay untarnished from the world by confessing sin daily, by being in the Word and praying throughout the day.

David’s first mistake is when he chooses to stay at the palace in the spring when kings customarily go into battle. One day, bored from laying on his bed, David decides to walk upon his rooftop from where he observes a beautiful woman bathing. When we are not doing what God has called us to do and we become lazy or bored, we are prey to the devil and his demons. Be sober and vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Who do you think would be living close to David’s palace? Most likely, his most trusted warriors. He inquiries about Bathsheba and learns that she is the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah, both of whom are members of David’s special forces known as David’s Mighty Men. He knew them well, for they had served the King for many years and had sacrificed their lives to keep him safe. But that doesn’t stop David from pursuing her.

Let’s apply David’s situation to our lives. As I remember, I had made my appointment to have my abortion, and I knew how to prepare for the upcoming procedure. However, on my way to the clinic, I was so hung over that I stopped to get something to eat. I was also driving myself, which shows you how unaware I was about the effects of abortion on a woman’s body. When I finally arrived at the clinic and they discovered that I had just eaten, they canceled the procedure. Here was God giving me a way out. But did I take it? NO! I rescheduled my abortion for December 10, 1980, and at the time of this writing, next week will be 40 years since my abortion. I should have stopped to reconsider what I was doing, as David should have, yet neither of us did. As a result, many people suffered a horrible fate because of our sins.

Did God give you a way to escape sin but you did not heed His warning?

We read that David involves other people in his sinful plan when he asks his servants about the beautiful woman and tells them to bring her back to his quarters. At this point, his secret lust has been made public and known to his servants. They know he loves the Lord, and he is about to commit adultery. When one is in leadership, he or she is a target for the enemy to destroy, especially a person of faith in Jesus. We must protect ourselves and be diligent because the enemy would love to destroy our testimonies and our ministry. Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

How do you protect yourself from the enemy?

As we move further along in the story, David devises a plan to bring Uriah home from battle so that he will sleep with his wife and appear to conceive a child thus hiding the pregnancy from everyone, except from his servants and Joab, his military commander. Uriah refuses to go home to his wife because the Ark of the Covenant and his fellow warriors are still on the battlefield. As a result, he does not sleep with his wife but lays at the king’s gate with all of the other servants. They were probably whispering, Isn’t that Uriah the husband of Bathsheba?

Whenever we try to cover up our sin with another sin, it never ends well for anyone. During the time of my abortion, I had to hide the fact that my boyfriend, the father of my aborted baby, and I were living together. My parents would be coming to town to attend my college graduation, so I needed to find a quick solution. In the 3 years I lived in Ohio, my parents never visited, so I was able to live like the devil without fear of being discovered. But the day of reckoning was coming. When my sister called off her wedding in the summer of 1982, six months before my graduation, I decided to get married to cover up my sin. That way, when my parents came in December, my lifestyle would be acceptable. Looking back, it took many years of Christian counselling and recovery work for me to finally become the woman God created me to be. Over the years, my husband and I had a very rocky marriage and were on the brink of divorce twice. God graciously intervened, and now our marriage is stronger than it has ever been.

When have you tried to cover up your sin with more sin?

A famous quote, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”

You are loved,
Toni

 

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

The Traps of the Devil (Series): Achan

The Traps of the Devil (Series): Achan

The Traps of the Devil: ACHAN
A Series Taken from Dr. Charles Stanley

“Achan”

(Joshua 6 & 7:1–12)

Why is the love of money the root of all kinds of evil?

 

1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Joshua 6:18-19, God warned the Children of Israel, “And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accused things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”

After Israel had won a huge victory in battle over Jericho where the Lord caused the walls to come crashing down, Joshua went to take the city of Ai. God commanded the children of Israel to refrain from taking anything that belonged to the people in Jericho. All the gold and silver would be brought into the storehouse for the Lord. If anyone were to disobey God’s command, they would be accursed. Unfortunately, there was an Israelite who did not heed the Lord’s warning as a result of his disobedience the battle was lost and 36 men died. Devastated, the children of Israel could not understand what went wrong. Joshua and the leaders of Israel cried out to the Lord, rent their clothes and put ashes on their heads. God responded by telling Joshua, “Get UP! There is sin in the camp, and that’s why you lost the battle. Someone has taken the accursed things from Jericho.” Joshua was given the responsibility to seek out the person responsible for sinning against God and for betraying the people of Israel.

Israel’s situation paints a vivid picture of how destructive sin can be. Many people are often affected by just one act of sin. Joshua discovered that it was Achan who had touched the accursed items by bringing them back into his tent and burying them. Because he allowed the sin of greed to control his actions, Achan’s whole family was punished for his actions. What a powerful example of the deadly effects of sin on an entire family and group of people. Sadly, Achan’s family suffered the consequences of his greed, which is the case for many families today. When a person in a family falls into grievous sin, all the members of the family are harmed by the effects of it. Because of God’s awareness of the destructiveness of sin, He protects us by giving us laws to guide us, not to punish us.

Why didn’t Achan trust God to provide for his family?

Why don’t we trust God to provide for all of our needs?

Why do people steal and take things that don’t belong to them?

Is it out of fear that I will not have enough, doubting that God will provide for me?

We may say to ourselves, “I cannot trust God to provide. So, I must take matters into my own hands and steal and cheat and lie to get what I need. No one will find out.”

Let’s apply 1 Timothy 6:10 to our society today.

Why does the love (obsession) of money open us up to all kinds of evil?

What is our motivation for the money?

Is it to provide for our families and to help others, or is it for personal gain?

Some people want to acquire large sums of money so that they can have greater power, control, and influence. We see this very same situation occurring today in several professions where the accumulation of wealth leads to pride, arrogance, power, influence and lawlessness. They become deceived and consumed with the notion that they are somehow better than you and me. I pray they repent and turn from their sins and receive the gift of salvation, which was purchased for them with the precious blood of Christ. If such people die without having repented of their sins, then they will stand before Christ and will be judged, according to what they have done, Romans 2:6. They will be cast into hell where the fire is not quenched and there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. Separated from God for eternity, they will be tormented with the memories of all the evil they have committed in their lifetime. God will be much harsher with them than we could ever imagine. Let’s pray for those who believe they are superior to others and have no fear of God, that they come to faith in Christ.

Will you pray with me that the God of heaven and His Mighty Warrior Angels will dismantle this evil world system, which is opposite of God? They strive to divide, steal, kill, cheat and lie to get what they want all because they have chosen to follow Satan, the prince of this world.

Stay in community and be accountable to one another so you do not fall into temptation and a snare.

 

You are loved,
Toni

Read more of Toni’s blog posts here!

One Life Can Make a Difference

One Life Can Make a Difference

September 2020

Micah 6:8

Friday, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG), passed away. The second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice once admitted to aborting her second child. Because it was very difficult for women to have job security at a time when men dominated the workplace, she believed that she would lose all she had worked for by having another child. She advocated for equal rights for women. Some of those rights were beneficial and some detrimental. Her commitment as an activist judge for the left pro-abortion agenda dominated her career. Fearless and determined to maintain a liberal foothold in the Supreme Court during the current presidential election, she extended the life of her career despite facing various health challenges. She could not allow President Trump to choose another conservative Justice. She was strongly encouraged to retire during the Obama Administration, but she refused. I suppose she was still on mission to ensure abortion remained the law of the land. I read an article several years ago that stated she had an abortion in her past, but now none of the media outlets are talking about that.

Can we be as fearless as she was and work tirelessly for what we feel God has placed in our hearts? I pray that we can be faithful!

As a young teenager, I dreamed of going to foreign lands with the Peace Corps to help improve the lives of people throughout the world. Even then, God put in my heart a sincere care for the plight of others. During my latter teen years and into young adulthood, I felt a sense of joy when people would come to me for help. I felt needed, which in turn made me feel good about myself. I never could have imagined that God would call me to start this ministry. I am so grateful for God who has used my most horrific and traumatic experience—my abortion—and turned it around for my good and the good of so many others.

When I think about it, we have to be just as fearless and determined as RBG was—never giving in and never giving up. We are on the front lines fighting for women and babies against a very real and present evil. This work is not for the faint-hearted as the emotional impact resulting from dealing with women’s pasts and their abortion stories can become overwhelming at times. Because of the Kingdom work we are doing, we must also be watchful of the fierce spiritual warfare directed towards us from an enemy that wants to harm us, destroy our families, and silence us forever. Praise be to God who has raised up mighty warrior women of which many are on this call. Even if you are just starting your healing journey, you are courageous. Let us continue to do the work God has put on our hearts. I will remain on the battlefield until He either tells me to stop, or He takes me home. I will never stop fighting for you and for the next generation. No, I am not famous nor do I want to be. But, I want to be known as a warrior for those that have no voice and are the most vulnerable in our society—babies in the womb.

This week, we had an incredible opportunity to intervene in a young woman’s life who was planning to have an abortion at 24 weeks pregnant. Sadly, even though she and the father of the baby are believers in Christ, they considered abortion their only option in order to cover up their shame and guilt. With God’s intervention, her friend became instrumental in saving the life of that baby. Her friend, is a previous tenant of mine. Many years ago we connected and began Bible Studies together along with holding long conversations over the phone. Over time, I had asked a woman from the ministry to continue mentoring her, which she still is doing to this day. Thank you, Lord. This young woman, upon learning about her friend’s devastating decision to abort her baby, courageously asked for help. Immediately, we went into action by praying. I urgently texted back and forth with the abortion-vulnerable woman. We became engaged in a major spiritual attack for the life of this baby and the very soul of this woman. Our training from the Making Life Disciples (MLD) course equipped us for this very situation. God gave her friend the wisdom to show the woman a picture of her 3-year-old son, and it softened her heart. As a result, she was able to see that children are truly a gift from God.

I am still praying that this young woman and I can connect at a later date. Although the father of the baby still wants her to have an abortion, the mother has chosen to make a birth plan. Please continue to pray that she remains strong and chooses life for her baby each and every day. An update January 2, 2021 I heard from the birth mom and she decided to keep her baby. Praise Jesus!! She stated how grateful she was for our words of encouragement, and said it was ok if we shared her baby’s picture.

We never know what kind of effect our words and actions have on another person. I am reminded and encouraged to keep doing the right thing. I love what the verse in Micah 6:8b says, “…And what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Let me ask you:

Are you obeying God in all areas of your life?

Do you believe He has a purpose for your life?

What is God calling you to do?

You are loved,
Toni

Read more of Toni's blogs HERE!