Under Spiritual Attack

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been under spiritual attack?

The last three months have been some of the hardest times I can remember. It began with weird harbingers like accidentally grinding up my pearl earring in the garbage disposal (don’t even ask). Next, I broke off a tooth biting into a pretzel. After a few more bizarre “accidents,” a thought crossed my mind. Might I be under a spiritual attack?

Yes, I was. But then the attack spread to other family members. The worst began on April 20th when my mother saw something black hanging in her side vision. That led to emergency surgery to repair a detached retina.

Everything should have been fine with a happily-ever-after ending…BUT. That small, three-letter conjunction changed our lives and spiraled us into a Kansas tornado lasting over three months.

The problem? A viral infection appeared in Mother’s eye a week after surgery. The prescribed eye drops didn’t seem to work, even after several weeks of applications.

To make matters worse, black streaks reappeared in Mother’s side vision, indicating a second retinal detachment. When her doctor planned to do a second surgery despite the worsening virus, I knew I had to find another doctor and a second opinion. Quickly. Thank God I did, or otherwise, she would have surely gone blind in that eye…BUT.

God led us to the right doctors who diagnosed her infection correctly and began treating it aggressively. After several weeks, her new surgeon was able to do major surgery. He had to remove fluid from the back of the eye cavity that was beginning to cave in and then reattach the retina. We held our breath and prayed.

The operation was a success, thank the Lord, and everything was back in place. We were rejoicing! God had come through again, and all Mother had to do was heal…BUT.

Without explanation or reason, she developed unbearable pain on that side of her head, like a severe migraine. I can’t express how frightening it was to care for an elderly person in that physical state. I felt completely helpless. As her eye swelled closed, she couldn’t eat, take her medication, or get out of bed. I had to get help.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

So off we went to the ER at a local hospital. Not only did we go that day, but also the second day after. Her blood pressure was sky-high, as well as the pressure in her eye. After aggressively lowering her pressure, an ER doctor decided to treat her pain with opioids.

What a mistake.

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

As a person who has never taken drugs stronger than Tylenol, I had no idea of the effects she would experience. I assumed her pain would be eased and she would be able to sleep…BUT.

After arriving home from the ER, I seated her at the table for dinner, but she was only able to eat a few bites. Since she sat peacefully with her eyes closed, I decided to wash the dishes before helping her back to bed. Before I could finish, however, it became apparent that something was wrong.

She had lost consciousness and was having a petit mal seizure. She had experienced a few in the past, so I was familiar with the symptoms. I sat next to her, all the while talking and trying to get her to come back to consciousness. When thirty minutes had passed and she was no better, I prayed earnestly to Jesus for help. After another thirty minutes with no change, I didn’t know what to do.  There was no way I could carry her back to bed. Would I need to call an ambulance? I was desperate.

Suddenly her lips began to move. I listened carefully as she whispered, “I see Jesus.”

At first, I was elated! But the next second, fear gripped me—was Jesus coming to take her to heaven? Was she going to die? Oh no. Jesus couldn’t take her. Not yet. It wasn’t her time.

I sloughed off fear and clung to my faith that all would be well. Sensing that this was a holy spiritual encounter with the Lord, I asked, “Did Jesus speak to you?”

She could barely respond. “No. He touched my shoulder.”

Wow. A healing touch from Jesus. I could sense His very presence in the room as she grew quiet and peaceful, and her seizure ended. My knees hit the floor.

Right then I led us in a time of prayer and praise songs, thanking Jesus for touching her. I was awed to witness His glory, and tears flowed as I basked in His holy presence.

Soon Mother’s eyes opened, and she was able to walk back to bed with my help. She talked about Jesus, especially His face, describing Him as a young man in his thirties with brown hair, dark eyes, and a perfectly clipped goatee.

 

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

 

I imagine you’re wondering like I did, if she really had a vision of Jesus or if it was a hallucination.

I’m convinced she saw the Lord. I believe Jesus came and touched her that night because of her steady improvement after that encounter. Her migraine and the swelling of her eye dissipated within a few days and totally disappeared.

Today her eyesight is returning steadily each day, and we know it is being perfectly restored. Her eyes are focusing together—something that has surprised her doctor, who had predicted she would probably never see much out of it again. Her strength has returned and she is again active and enjoying her life.

BUT God!

What was the key for my mother? I believe several things played a part in her healing.

First, prayer and communion. My daughters and I anointed her with oil, took communion together, and prayed over her daily.

Second, speaking to the illness or affliction. We prayed Scripture over her circumstance, speaking to her eye and every cell to be healed and made whole in Jesus’s mighty Name.

Third, understanding spiritual warfare and how to pray against the attacks of the enemy, which is vital in these last days.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places ~ Ephesians 6:12 NKJV.

In Jesus’s Name, we bound up the ruler of darkness, Belial, another name for Satan or the Lord of Lies, and cast him into the pit.

What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? ~ 2 Corinthians 6:15 NIV.

Another factor is my mother’s personal life. She has lived a life of obedience, holiness, and humility and has always walked softly before the Lord. She especially has compassion for the poor and helpless, and she never passes a beggar on the street without rolling down the car window and giving money.

Psalm 41: 1-3 promises:

Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.

 The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive,
And he will be blessed on the earth;
You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies.

The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness;
You will sustain him on his sickbed (NASB).

How amazing that God graciously performed these promises in Psalm 41 over Mother’s life.

Did you know the enemy attacks God’s anointed ones, especially when something glorious is just around the corner? Whenever you’re under attack, rejoice!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance and let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing ~ James 1:2-4 NASB.

AND

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed ~ 1 Peter 2:24 NASB.

Do you have a physical illness or affliction that you’re asking the Lord to heal? He is no respecter of persons. Jesus is waiting for you to ask and tells us:

 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” ~ Matthew 7:7 NKJV.

Be encouraged in your suffering. There is an end because we have a merciful, loving heavenly Father.

We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful ~ James 5:11 NASB.

Are you experiencing a spiritual attack of the enemy? I would be honored to pray for you. If you fill in the comment box with your request, I will agree with you for your healing.

Abundant love and blessings!

Under Spiritual Attack by Karen Jurgens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lamb of God in Revelation

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

Isn’t it thrilling to read books or see movies where the good guy saves the day?

Like me, do you remember watching episodes of Superman? The sole survivor who rocketed from the planet Krypton, the orphaned infant was taken in by a Kansas farm couple and raised to have a strong moral compass. As an adult, mild-mannered Clark Kent resolved to use his superhuman abilities for moral good alone. During times of trouble, he transformed from a journalist into a super-hero, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and flying through the air to rescue the innocent.

Jesus, on the other hand, is beyond compare to any superhero. The Son of God came to earth to establish the New Covenant through His death and resurrection.

Have you ever contrasted our humble Savior with the same Lord who is glorified in heaven? Truly amazing. Let’s take a look.

Christ’s appearance to John

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

 

Christ first revealed Himself to the Apostle John on the island of Patmos in a vision amid seven golden lampstands:

…in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.  In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength ~ Revelation 1:13-16 NASB.

 

Jesus describes Himself

Have you ever gathered up Jesus’s own words about who He is and pondered their greatness? Jesus instructed John to write a letter to each of the seven churches of that day. Preceding each letter, Jesus depicts Himself in various ways.

As…

  1. The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands (Revelation 2:1).

  2. The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life (Revelation 2:8).

  3. The One who has the sharp two-edged sword (Revelation 2:12).

  4. The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze (Revelation 2:18).

  5. He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars (Revelation 3:1).

  6. He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7).

  7. The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14).

WOW. What a glorious glimpse into the greatness of God’s only Son. Such powerful words we can also offer back to Him in prayer.

Jesus in the Throne Room of God

Chapters 4 and 5 are truly two of the most awesome in all the Bible because we get a glimpse into God’s very throne room. Wouldn’t you think that holy place would be bathed in austere silence? What took me by surprise is that it’s busy and noisy, full of the glory of God.

Amid the flashes of lightning and peals of thunder sit seven lampstands burning with fire. God’s throne sits in the center of a sea of crystal, around which are four living creatures, full of eyes all around, who continually shout praises to God: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come’ ~ Revelation 4:8 NASB.

The living creatures are joined by twenty-four elders who cast their crowns before Him and say, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created’ ~ Revelation 4:11 NASB.

The Book with the seven seals

Something very important regarding the Lamb happens in Chapter 5.

God holds out a book sealed with seven seals, but since there is no one worthy to open the book, John weeps bitterly. Then one of the elders tells John, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals’ ~ Revelation 5:5 NASB.

Jesus is pictured as the slain Lamb of God who comes to receive the book from God’s hand:  He is a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth ~ Revelation 5:6 NASB.

As the only one qualified to open the sealed book, there is mighty worship and praise in heaven for the Lamb. Myriads of angels and every living creature in heaven, on the earth, and under the sea bless and glorify His Name.

The Second Coming of Christ

The Lamb of God in Revelation by Karen Jurgens

Revelation concludes with a most powerful image of Christ as He returns to earth to destroy the beast, false prophet, and all their armies at the Battle of Armageddon.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS’ ~ Revelation 19:11-16 NASB.

What a glorious description of the conquering Christ, and one we will see with our own eyes in the near future.

‘I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’ The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost ~ Revelation 22:16-17 NASB.

Today let’s sing a praise and worship song from heaven. Let’s join together with voices in heaven and on earth, under the sea and on the sea, and all things in them.

 To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and power forever and ever ~ Revelation 5:13 NASB.

 

 

 

 

 

The Lamb’s Sinless Blood

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Growing up, my mother had encouraged me to become two things—a pianist and a nurse.

After seven years of piano study with some of the finest teachers at the Cincinnati College Conservatory, my final teacher dismissed me with a smile and a word of advice: “Perhaps your true talents lay elsewhere.”

However, I was wise enough to know without being told that I could never be a nurse. I couldn’t bear the sight of blood nor stand to be in hospitals, so I disqualified myself from seeking that degree. Even my two daughters had to clean and bandage each other’s booboos growing up, poor things. They learned at an early age that Mommy couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

As distasteful as the subject of blood may be, it is of supreme importance and significance, however, in Judaism and Christianity. As I discussed in my previous post, only innocent blood can atone for sin. Since there is no flesh and blood in heaven, only spirit, that sacrifice had to be made on earth. So, after using animal blood for thousands of years, God sent His Son to be the final propitiation for our sins. Simply put, Jesus was born to die.

How could Jesus be born with sinless blood?

Click to tweet: How could Jesus be born with sinless blood?

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Martin R. DeHaan, M.D.

What a fascinating question. Martin R. DeHaan, M.D., author of The Chemistry of the Blood, is an expert who scientifically proves how this is possible. Dr. DeHaan (1891-1965) was a physician, author, pastor and Bible teacher. Founder of Radio Bible Class, he spoke to millions of listeners for twenty-seven years. Author of more than twenty books, he also founded and contributed countless daily devotionals in Our Daily Bread, still published today from Michigan. (Click on the name above to visit Our Daily Bread website.)

Conception and Birth of Jesus

Even though Christmas is five months behind us, let’s begin by reading the Bible’s account of this supernatural event in Matthew 1:18-23:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.  And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us’ (NASB).

God sent Jesus to earth to be born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. His human body required a pure vessel to grow in, one that had never been touched by a man. Mary herself wasn’t sinless, because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 NASB), but her physical body hadn’t yet known sexual intimacy with her husband-to-be.

After the immaculate conception, Scripture tells us that Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25 NASB).

The Origin of Blood

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever cracked open an egg and found a dot of red in the yolk? I learned as a young, aspiring cook to throw that stained egg down the drain and never use a fertilized egg in recipes. Left alone, a hen’s egg won’t develop into a chick, but just hours after it’s fertilized, the red streaks of blood appear. Life is in the blood, and exactly twenty-one days later, a chick pecks its way out of its shell.

 

The same principle applies to us. A women’s menstrual cycle occurs every month, but a pregnancy requires a father’s contribution. After sperm unites with an egg, life begins, and the life is in the blood–proof that life begins at conception. Forty weeks later, a baby is born. Scripture tells us this fact:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:14a NASB).

Since it’s the father’s contribution that produces the blood in a conceived child, God’s Son grew inside Mary’s womb with God’s perfect, sinless blood. Scientifically, the mother’s blood never mixes or comes in contact with the growing child. For a more scientific explanation from Dr. DeHaan, click How Jesus had sinless blood.

Sacrificing lambs, goats, and bulls wasn’t God’s final solution. He had a better plan.

While Jesus celebrated Passover in the Upper Room with His disciples, Passover animals waited for slaughter on the altars of Jerusalem’s Temple. As His ministry came to a close, Jesus explained to His disciples about His blood and Its purpose. Remember when Jesus said people would have to eat His body and drink His blood to be part of Him? Consequently, many of His followers found this to be a hard saying and had fallen away. However, Jesus was referring to the New Covenant, not cannibalism.

Communion, not cannibalism

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

During the night on which He was betrayed, Maundy Thursday, Jesus established the New Covenant’s Holy Communion with His disciples at the Last Supper.

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom’ (Matthew 26: 26-29 NASB).

What a glorious day when we will all take communion together with Christ in heaven!

While sacrificial animals shed their blood on the Temple’s altars, the Great Exchange happened at the Cross, and Jesus became the Savior of Mankind. With the establishment of the New Covenant, we take communion to remember what the Lord Jesus did for us—die in our place so we can be forgiven of our sins.

With the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, all blood sacrifice has ended. Forever. There is only one way to God, by His Son’s blood shed at Calvary. Through His sacrifice we are forgiven, and through His resurrection we have eternal life in heaven, becoming joint heirs with Christ.

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Do you know Jesus as Savior and Lord? You can. Today is the day of salvation. We have no promise of tomorrow. Ask Him to come into your heart and cleanse you of your sins with His blood. You’ll become His child, and the angels will rejoice in heaven. The angels will write your name in The Lamb’s Book of Life, and your eternity with Jesus will be sealed forever.

Have you noticed that this theme of the Lamb of God keeps growing? The more I’ve studied and delved into Scriptures concerning the Lamb, the deeper it’s become. The final post about the Lamb of God in Revelation will be the most exciting because those events are yet to come. I hope you’ll join me again soonUntil then, be blessed!

Forgiven

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens

I’m sharing one of my former blog posts to commemorate the Easter season.

A crowd of men pushes and shoves me outside my house, tearing my clothes, slapping my head. Their deep voices swirl around me, angry and taunting. The dark tones rumble, thirsty for blood. My blood.

I try to wrap my half-dressed body with my shawl, preserving what little modesty I have left. The suddenness of being discovered in bed with my lover has left me in shock. No hope of escape. Their condemnation will have its cruel way.

My heart races, chugging and pounding against my rib cage, pleading to jump out of my chest and dash away.

Clouds of dust boil around my feet as the mob pushes me toward the temple. Many pairs of dusty sandals rush in unison, stomping like a judge wielding a gavel.

“Guilty!” The Scribes scream.

“Condemned!” The Pharisees spit.

Hope has spread its wings and flown. Their hatred settles on me, like a buzzard taking up permanent residence.

Swells of roaring deafen me. Their righteous indignation drowns me.

Rough hands cast me to the ground. My shoulder scrapes across uneven rocks, tearing my flesh. The jolt smacks my side and sends pain down my leg.

I reach out to stop the momentum, but a sandaled foot crushes my hand. I collapse from the pain, laying my head down, observing dirt mingle together with my blood.

My head has changed into a heavy melon. I cannot see my persecutors through the black veil of my mangled hair.

My heart wrings itself dry of tears. Hopelessness consumes me as I surrender to their hands. My guilt waits for the sharp sting of justice, ushering death. I brace myself for the pounding of the rocks. My body shakes with fear.

Seconds pass. Every muscle in my body is tensed.

Nothing.

Voices raise poignant questions through the air. “The Law of Moses says to stone her . . . what do you say?”

I inhale a weak breath through my mouth, pressed hard into the dirt.

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” This voice is full of authority.

Silence.

Where are the stones that should be crushing my head? Are they planning something more painful? What are they doing? My entire body throbs.

Stones pummel, one after another, to the ground.

I cringe and gasp for my last breath.

Still, nothing touches me.

The ground vibrates with sandaled footsteps. I hear a creak of leather coming closer and can discern the outline of a man’s foot.

I raise my heavy head enough to peer at him through my hair. My eyes focus. Surprise jolts through me as I look into His face.

I know this man.

Liquid love oozes from his understanding eyes. Compassion flows from his smile. Holiness bathes his being, making me even more ashamed of myself. How can he look on me—an adulteress? I am not worthy of his attention.

“Woman, where are they?”

I push up a little, looking around for the first time. I’m outside the temple, and the men have disappeared. Only He is before me.

“Did no one condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” I answer, still not comprehending what has happened.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more.”

He pulls me to my feet. The touch of His hand electrifies my entire body. All pain dissolves, and I am bathed in total peace. My flesh that was bloody and torn is now whole. I feel reborn.

He turns and walks inside the temple. I watch him with a clean heart, washed and dressed in the newness of gratitude and hope. Yes, I will sin no more. I am overcome with amazement that I am alive and not dead.

I begin to step toward home when I see something on the ground. It looks like someone wrote a word in the dirt. I pause to read it.

FORGIVEN.

Fresh tears run down my face. “Messiah!”

I will never be the same.

John 8:1-11

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens

How to Become Queen

 

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised ~ Proverbs 31:30 NASB.

How did a common Jewish girl end up in a palace, married to a king? During this month of romance and love, let’s see what it took for Esther to get that kind of promotion.

Hadassah, better known as Esther, didn’t have a privileged upbringing. After the death of her parents, her Uncle Mordecai took and raised her as his own. Her fairytale story began during King Ahasuerus’s banquet to celebrate his three-year reign.

 And he [King Ahasuerus] displayed the riches of his royal glory and the splendor of his great majesty for many days, 180 days. When these days were completed, the king gave a banquet lasting seven days for all the people who were present at the citadel in Susa, from the greatest to the least, in the court of the garden of the king’s palace ~ Esther 1:4-5 NASB.

On the seventh day of the final banquet, King Ahasuerus commanded that Queen Vashti come before the king with her royal crown in order to display her beauty to the people and the princes, for she was beautiful ~ Esther 1:11 NASB.

But Vashti refused to heed the summons.

Not wanting to give the married women in the land an excuse to mimic Vashti’s impertinence, the king agreed it was wise to replace this disobedient queen. He invited all the virgins in his kingdom to a year-long beauty pageant. After a beautification regimen of twelve months using cosmetics, spices, and oil of myrrh, each girl would spend one night with the king. Whoever pleased him the most would wear the queen’s crown.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

Although Scripture describes Esther as fair of form and face, her character played a strong part in sweeping her to the summit of royalty.

First, Esther was obedient to follow instructions. Uncle Mordecai told her to keep her ethnic background a secret and not reveal her Jewish heritage. We can infer that she was humble, with a heart to serve others, so not a surprise that she also found great favor with the king’s eunuch.

Esther was taken to the king’s palace into the custody of Hegai, who was in charge of the women. Now the young lady pleased him and found favor with him. So he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and food, gave her seven choice maids from the king’s palace and transferred her and her maids to the best place in the harem ~ Esther 2:8b-9 NASB.

Second, Esther heeded wise advice. Each virgin had the option of taking along anything she desired from the harem for her special night with King Ahasuerus. Esther, however, listened and heeded wise counsel instead of following her own desires.

Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai who had taken her as his daughter, came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch who was in charge of the women, advised. And Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her ~ Esther 2:15 NASB.

Third, Esther’s character yielded the fruit of great favor.

The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and kindness with him more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king’s bounty ~ Esther 2:17-18 NASB.

The vanity and pride of Queen Vashti stole her title and position.

The obedience and humility of orphaned Hadassah promoted her to the king’s palace to become the new queen in Vashti’s place.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

 

What does this story have in common with the Church? We, the Saints, will soon become the Bride of Christ. On that day when we are in heaven and He places crowns on our heads, we, along with the twenty-four elders, will fall down and worship, casting our crowns at His feet.

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

 And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created’ ~ Revelation 4:9-11 NASB.

May we, like Queen Esther, be found faithful in heeding God’s wisdom, found in His Word. May we live our lives in obedience and humility. May we be granted favor with God and man as we beautify and anoint ourselves to meet Our Bridegroom—washing with the pure water of the Word and donning clean, white wedding clothes to meet Jesus, our Messiah, in the air.

Maranatha!

How to Become Queen by Karen Jurgens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering God’s Love for Valentine’s Day

First published on Heart”wings” Blog

gods-love-by-karen-jurgens

Who is the author of love?

On Valentine’s Day, the world may claim it’s Cupid. But as Christians, we know who is the real author is—the Lord God.

What are the characteristics of love? cupid

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NASB.

With Valentine’s Day literally around the corner, most of us have someone special on our minds. Tomorrow lends a unique opportunity to express our appreciation in a way that demonstrates value to our loved ones.

What about exchanging valentines with God?

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God sent us His valentine when He sent Jesus into the world.

16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him John 3:16-17 NASB.

Jesus signed his valentine in red from the Cross.

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8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us Romans 5:8 NASB.

How much does He love us?

15 Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands  Isaiah 49:15-16 NASB.

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On Valentine’s Day as we celebrate, let’s also remember celebrate God’s love for us. Tell Him you love Him. Do something special for Jesus. Thank Him for His overwhelming, perfect love.

With Jesus, every day is Valentine’s Day. Let’s remember to always rejoice in His love.

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Welcome to the Best Year Yet: 2017

Can you believe it’s already New Year’s Day? If you’re like me, the events of 2016 seem to have flown by at a record rate of speed.

I recall when I used to dread January the most—all the bitter cold weather, the snow and ice, the dark days with little sunlight—and worst of all, it lasted for an eternal thirty-one days. But last year, I noticed how quickly it passed for the first time. Perhaps the blustery winter winds will also hurry the days along to February, one of my favorite months.

How are you going to begin this New Year? I have participated in fasting and prayer for many years, and my 2017 will begin the same way. I like to do a Daniel Fast for the first twenty-one days. This year I’m adding a juice fast for part of the time, making it more challenging. An article on fasting in Charisma Magazine is helpful because it describes the different kinds of fasts and what you eat for different lengths of time.

And the benefits? Not only is your physical body cleansed, but your spirit is also renewed. God can speak to you through prayer, His word, dreams, and visions. God renews your relationship with Him and will set your feet on a new path for 2017.  As you seek God’s will, fasting and prayer will lead you to find those answers.

I also want to thank you so much for following my blog. I plan to share what the Lord shows me this year, which I hope will be a blessing to your life.

Wishing you all the most blessed and happiest of New Years! May 2017 be the best yet!

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Be Thankful

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O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! ~  Psalms 34:8, NASB.

A few days ago, we celebrated our Early American holiday of pausing to give thanks to our Creator God for all His blessings.

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My preparations for its celebration began two days ahead. As I set the table and arranged flowers, I remembered the story of the Puritans. In 1621, their first Thanksgiving must have required many days of diligent work, and history tells us that they feasted for three days.

As I baked the pumpkin pie, the turkey, and the cornbread for the dressing, I was very thankful that I was born in the modern age.  The Pilgrims’ “ovens” would have been a spit over a fire where their gift of deer roasted. The Wampanoag Indians, who also attended the first Thanksgiving meal, supplied the meat. Did they have roasted fowl like we do today? No one knows for certain, but it would probably not have been turkey. [As a side note, I have gained notoriety over the years as the “Turkey Lady” due to my tender, juicy meat. My technique is baking the bird a day ahead and letting it marinate overnight, chilled, in its own natural juices.]

Throughout my busy preparations, a spirit of thanksgiving wrapped around me, a hushed reverence of deep gratitude. Be thankful whispered through my soul. I humbled myself before the Lord, offering Him thanks for all His blessings this year.

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Cait’s boyfriend, Will, joined us this year. 

The Pilgrims also bowed their hearts to God in true gratefulness for allowing them to have such abundance at their first harvest. After landing in Cape Cod in November, 1620, the survival rate that first harsh winter was only about fifty percent. Their search for a new land where they could freely worship God came at a great price, costing many lives. How disheartening it must have been for those who witnessed their family and friends buried in this New World, so far from home. If it hadn’t been for the Native Americans who taught them what to plant and how to fight the elements, they may have all died, but for the grace of God. How thankful I am to live in a country where we can still worship freely without government interference or persecution, all built upon the godly foundation laid by those brave Puritans.

Thanksgiving Day. Up early, snapping beans and crisping lettuce while enjoying the annual tradition of the Macy’s Day Parade playing in the background. Of all years, 2016 has seemed most significant, ushering in fresh hope of a bright future basted with peace and prosperity. My family, still together this year, all healthy. Be thankful. My heart bowed in reverence.

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Cait brought her traditional pie, chocolate pecan

I followed the corn pudding’s recipe from Beaumont Inn and Caesar salad dressing from Chasen’s. My great-grandmother’s directions for cornbread dressing, passed down the generations, came from my memory. The potatoes bubbled in broth next to a pot of simmering green beans. Gravy gently boiled in its skillet, ready to cradle the center of garlic mashed potatoes. All the while the National Dog Show played, another annual tradition, and I eagerly anticipated the poodles.

Again, I wondered what the Pilgrims would think if they could watch us prepare our feasts in our electric and gas kitchens? Be thankful. I counted my blessings beyond health and family—my growing ministry, writing career, and dear friends. And most of all, for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour.

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Cait, Left, and Meg, bottom right, between Will and Nana

The time for gathering together arrived. All seated, love shining like mirrors reflected to each other on this sacred day. Like a mother hen, I reveled in having my family around my table as I offered them my finest cuisine, my labor of love. Our corporate prayer of thanks ascended to heaven.

As we progressed through three courses, we each took our turn to voice what we were most thankful for this year. I rejoiced in their shared words, so precious and sincere, and recorded them in my heart. As we passed the whipped cream for the pumpkin, cherry, and chocolate pecan pies, my soul was just as satisfied as my stomach.

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Meg, Nana, Cait, and I (L-R)

May we as individuals, families, and as one nation be truly thankful for all of God’s blessings, not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day through each year. So much good awaits us—individually and nationally—as we walk in humility and repentance. Let’s rejoice in that expectation and be thankful.

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14, NASB.

 

 

 

Every season is beautiful

Fall is a beautiful time of year, isn’t it? Here in North Texas, temperatures still feel like summertime (but we’ll just wake up one day and suddenly need a coat and mittens, as those of us here know). But nonetheless, signs of the new season have arrived — leaves turning to red and brown, college […]

http://caitharrison.com/2015/10/15/every-season-is-beautiful/

Here Comes the Bride

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Doesn’t every little girl grow up dreaming about her special day—that day when she will walk down the aisle on her father’s arm and be given away to her waiting groom?

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Prior to the internet, all we had were bridal magazines and our imaginations. But these days, social media has introduced brides-to-be to Pinterest, hosting hundreds of ideas for their wedding planning. Reality shows have also intervened, bringing us armchair adventures about each exciting phase of becoming a bride. From Say Yes to the Dress to Four Weddings, we can share everything from the quandaries of bridal gown shopping to the wonders of watching their beautiful weddings unfold on the TV screen.

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Today’s traditions, however, don’t match those of ages past. The bride had to be dressed and ready for her groom’s arrival at her parents’ home, never knowing the exact time he would come. After her groom and his entourage appeared, there was great rejoicing as he took her away, veiled, to his home where they would celebrate their marriage ceremony.

The bride wore white, a symbol of her sexual purity, and was adorned with jewels. The proof of her virginity was displayed on the wedding sheets the morning after. That consummation was the legal blood covenant between the bride and groom, representing their physical union that promised until “death do us part.”

According to the Bible, there is a deeper and more mysterious meaning to the terms bride and groom.

In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says to the people of Corinth, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin” (NASB). Here Paul defines the bride, who is the church, and her groom, who is Jesus Christ.

Additionally, Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:25-32 that marriage is a comparison of the relationship of Christ to the church. Wives are to be subject to their husbands, as the church is subject to Christ, who is its head. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her so she could be cleansed by the washing of water and the word. Holy, blameless, without spot or wrinkle, He could therefore present her to Himself as His bride.

Have you ever wondered about the bridal dress? Listen to John describe it. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8, NASB).

The righteous acts we perform don’t save us according to Ephesians 2:8-9, but they do play an important role because they will be our glorious, pure-white wedding gown. The beauty of it is certainly beyond our imaginations—but just thinking about it—wow!

The time is short, and we the church should be expectantly looking for our groom. No, we don’t know the day nor the hour of His arrival, but He told us that we can know when the season is near.

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Remember the story in Matthew of the ten virgins who waited for their bridegroom?  The five foolish virgins weren’t prepared to meet him because they had fallen asleep and didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. After they left to buy some from the dealers, the bridegroom arrived and took the five prudent virgins into the wedding feast with him, and the door was shut. Although the others returned and asked the Lord to open the door for them, he replied that he never knew them. (See Matthew 25:1-13). Don’t be caught by surprise with no oil in your lamp!

“Then he said to me, ‘Write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb”‘” (Rev.19:9, NASB).

The invitations have been issued and everyone is invited to the wedding. Are you getting ready to meet your bridegroom? Look up…one day soon we will hear the shofar sounding from the clouds, announcing His arrival.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:16-18, NASB).

“‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev.22:20b, NASB).

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Photos courtesy of Blowthetrumpetinzion.info, Vittolo photography, Pinterest.com