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The Roman and The King: Executing Jesus

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’  And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23:34 Recently, I was watching The Passion of the Christ with a group of friends (I know you do this every Friday night with your friends, too,) and the woman sitting next to me, through her tears and sniffling asked, “How can those men torture Jesus?”  This simple question began echoing deep in my spirit, and I haven’t been able to let it go.  How could these men be capable of carrying out this torture?  This crucifixion was violent, brutal, and bloody.  In modern day standards, this sort of action is impermissible, but during the rule of Ancient Rome, crucifixion was an important method of capital punishment and a method implemented frequently. Here are a few facts about Ancient Rome I hope will put the soldiers’ […]

Trampled On and Torn to Pieces

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 I have heard several viewpoints concerning this particular scripture, but none so moving as the reference to believers choosing not to walk in love. Is it possible this scripture is referring to our God-given ability to love each other? Jesus commanded us to love one another as he loved us (John 15:12). Since you and I have been commanded and empowered to love each other by God, what happens when we don’t? Instead of loving each other we judge, criticize, and allow ourselves to be offended. When this happens, is it possible that we are taking the Holy things (love) and casting them before dogs (spirits) and swine (demonic) to be trampled on? Not only is […]

Journey of Truth: Part 3

“Excellence is not a skill.  It is an attitude.” – Ralph Marston So far, we’ve discovered that excellence and perfection are two different words, but we have assigned them the same meaning.  Last week, I left you with this thought:  Believing we can do enough works to redeem ourselves is pride.  Pride is the greatest separation between God and us.  Living a life of perfection is not only exhausting but also an illusion.  Performance leads to perfectionism.  Perfectionism leads to legalism.  Now that’s a mouth full! Unless you plan on living like the Pharisees – in an illusion of perfection – just know and accept that at some point you will mess up.  I’m here to tell you, that’s ok.  In fact, that’s great news!  You’re human, and you still need your Father to help you out of that mess. The Biblical definition of excellence is:  virtue, moral goodness, the […]

Journey of Truth: Part 2

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6 In Part 1, we established perfection and excellence are in fact two completely different words with two completely different meanings.  This week we’ll look at perfection a bit deeper.  At elevateHim, we define perfection as man’s attempt to redeem himself.  It stems from doing works, or an unhealthy drive for performance. Before Christ came, died, and rose again, men had a very long list of regulations that was supposed […]

Journey of Truth: Part 1

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how perfect are you?  How would you define perfection in your walk with Christ?  How has perfection helped your walk with Christ?  Depending on how you define the word “perfection” will determine how you answered those questions. Now that you’ve answered those questions, is it possible that we confuse excellence with perfection in our culture?  Isn’t it strange how words with completely different meanings become synonymous?  “That’s cool!” and “Man, that is sick!” “That’s wicked!” and “That’s awesome!” “That’s so gay!” and “That’s so stupid!”  We have also given excellence and perfection the same meaning.  Yet, in reality they are distinctly different. Perhaps a little reluctantly, we would all admit we cannot obtain perfection.  We let the devil’s lies into our hearts, and we then feel shame for not being perfect.  STOP!  God has no false expectations on […]

Authentic Love

He is jealous for me/ Loves like a hurricane/ I am a tree/ Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy// When all of a sudden/ I am unaware of the afflictions eclipsed by glory/ And I realize just how beautiful You are/ And how great Your affections are for me// – “How He Loves” John Marc McMillan In 1 Kings, God grants Solomon’s wish for wisdom; Solomon not only received wisdom, but also a discerning heart, both of which reached such deep measures that no one will ever be able to be compared.  Solomon demonstrated this newfound wisdom to his kingdom by ordering a small baby, whom two mothers were claiming as their own, to be cut in half.  Wow!  What a risky move!  Not only was this order a wise decision, but also a resolution fueled by love.  Are you thinking, “How could this dicey act be […]

A Divine Romance

The world views restoration as the act of returning something to a former condition.  Isaiah 43:18-19 tells us our Lord views restoration differently: “Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (NKJV). After 25 years of marriage, Randall and Sharon Grissom learned God’s definition of restoration.  While this couple allowed God into their lives, they only allowed Him in on their own terms; He was not the foundation.  They write, “We had a history of secrets, lies, infidelity, anger, [and played] the blame game.  Over the years bitterness took root in our hearts, and in our marriage.  That bitterness reached a boiling point in 2010.” By 2010, both the Grissom’s children were grown and out […]

Your Cloud of Witnesses

My name is Rachel. Recently, I joined ElevateHim as the Missions & Writing Coordinator.  God’s timing has been amazing! I am beyond excited He made a place for me here! I have been running since before I can remember running.  It has been the biggest passion and struggle in my life.  I started running competitively in 5th grade.  I guess it stuck because in high school I earned a couple of state titles and in college I was blessed enough to join Texas Christian University’s cross country and track and field teams.  I say all of this to validate what I am about to share with you. I believe the one thing that has kept me running, even after countless injuries and encountering those who are dream crushers, is that God designed me to run, not running just in the physical but also in the spiritual.  My parents always spoke […]

It is Not Selfish

“We need to realize that in all things our first duty and responsibility is to God Himself.” Harry Ironside As I mentioned in the January newsletter, the wonderful thing about a new year is it allows us to not only meditate on the past year but also look to the future. As you reflect on your past year, what feelings come to mind or overwhelm you? Is it joy, bliss, contentment, uncertainty, loss of inspiration, or a feeling of being overworked? The year always ends in a flurry of holidays, family visits, and overindulgence, so when the New Year starts, our souls often cry out for a break. Psalm 91:1 tells us, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Why do we feel selfish if we take a step back from our busy and demanding lives, when Scripture constantly […]

Are You being Bewitched?

“Foolish” is a strong word to use when addressing an individual, much less a group of people.  Yet, this is exactly what the apostle Paul did in addressing the churches in Galatia. “You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?  So again I ask; does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?” Galatians 3:1-5 For this devotion we will use the following definition […]