Author Archives: maf4977

Father, Forgive Them

Luke 23:34 – Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

 

He hung on the cross.

Beaten to within an inch of His life.

Bleeding from every area of His body.

Nailed through His tender wrists and ankles.

Hung, naked, for all to see.

Mocked and taunted to help Himself as He helped others.

 

And yet, with one of His precious breaths, He prays.

For them there witnessing the horrors of the moment who demanded His death.

For those who had walked with Him and abandoned Him.

For those who would come to believe in the days ahead.

For those who orchestrated and participated in His execution.

 

And for us, many years into the future, who would have His Word and His name readily available to believe in.

 

Though taking that breath was hard and wracked His already broken body with pain, He prayed for His Father to forgive them all.  All who were involved in His death.

 

But He also prayed it as an eternal prayer for all people through all time.  He was asking His father to forgive us all, including those in today’s technological society.

 

He prayed because He knew.  That we as humans would be limited to know the power of our choices and the vastness of their consequences.  That we as humans would be unable to harness our emotions all the time and would therefore speak rashly and brashly.  That we as humans would be prone to selfishness and self-centeredness.

 

father_forgive_them

 

But here is the hard truth that hit me hard Thursday night – most of the time, we are not making an honest error or simple mistake.

 

He reminded me that we often are making a deliberate choice to do things our way, by our power.  We are choosing to ignore His guidance and do what we want to do, without regret or remorse for ignoring His Spirit.  We are choosing to be selfish for our desires, without regret or remorse for those we hurt in the process of pursuit.  We are choosing to be emotionally driven and lash out, without regret or remorse for the damage we do and the relationships we destroy.

 

Yet, He knew all this.  He knew we would act contrary to His best and fight against His purpose.

 

So, as He hung on that cross, His body slowly losing its battle with life, He chose to pray for us.  He prayed for God to forgive us for those times when we didn’t realize what we did was wrong.  But He also prayed for God to forgive us for those times when we did know we were wrong – and chose to act anyway.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because they do not know how they break Your heart.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because they do not know how they are hurting themselves.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because they do not know how they are rewriting their futures.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because they do not know how much it will cost them.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because they do not know how much damage they are doing.

 

Father, forgive them”.

Because we love them in spite of themselves.  That’s why I allowed myself to be beaten and crucified.  So we could forgive them, by the power of My blood, and have an intimate relationship with them.  Especially in those moments when they need extreme forgiveness for extreme humanity.

 

And that is true love!  He knew how we would act, think, and speak against Him and His love.  Yet He chooses to love us anyway.  In the unconditional, unrelenting, unending way that He does.

 

So choose to acknowledge where you have gone against God, decide to change your heart and turn it back toward God, and accept the forgiveness He is waiting to give you.

 

Marie Fremin.  5/19/19

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Acts 4: Boldness

Acts 4:27-31 – 27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”  31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

 

We often wonder if God hears our prayers and sees our tears.

 

It is easy to convince ourselves that God does not care about every detail of our lives.  Because we are pulled in so many directions by expectations – those of the world, those of ourselves, and those of others.

 

So we get lost and confused, and we turn ourselves away from what God has for us.  We tell ourselves that we are doing good and things are fine … but deep down, in the most hidden places in our hearts, we know they aren’t.

 

And maybe Peter and John felt this same way that day at the temple.  They were going to the temple to pray (Acts 3:1), possibly hoping to get direction from God or possibly hoping to get to talk about Him to anyone who would listen.

 

And then God presents them with an opportunity as they climb the temple steps and come face-to-face with a lame man, begging for enough to support himself and his parents.  And Peter does not hesitate to meet the man’s expectation – only Peter does just as He saw Jesus do and goes above the man’s simple expectations.  He says “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6) and then pulls the man up to standing.

 

The same man who never once in his life had stood or walked now walks into the temple with them.  To the disbelief of all who know him.  And they want to know what happened.

 

So Peter takes the opportunity to tell them who Jesus is and to remind them that repentance will change their lives.  And the crowd is moved.  Much to the chagrin of the religious leaders, who have them thrown in jail for the night.

 

The next morning, they come together in full force, hoping to intimidate the disciples into silence.  They repeatedly threaten them, wanting to secure their silence and keep the crowds under their religious rule.  But Peter and John will not cower.  It is very simple for them – “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

 

They are released, and they return to their fellow believers.  And a prayer vigil breaks out.  Because they want that extra boost of confidence to know that God is for them and God is with them.  They have seen how the religious leaders treated Jesus, and they know their road will be just as hard … if not harder, since now the leaders know what is possible and see that the crowds are still drawn to His influence.

 

So they pray for the “boldness” they will need to face each coming day.

 

Acts 4 - boldness

 

Boldness to speak when the opportunity arises.

Boldness to act when the circumstances allow.

Boldness to care at all times for all people.

 

Boldness to carry out the mission He gave them – “you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

 

They have just had their first encounter with the religious leaders.  And they walked away unscathed.  They know this could be a one-time miracle – and the next time there could be (serious) physical repercussions.

 

So they need boldness – to act according to God’s purposes and not worry about the consequences of man.

 

And God hopes we will pray the same thing.  God hopes that we will give more concentration to His leading and His purpose than to our fears, our anger, and our sorrows.  God hopes that we will give more concern about His will and His plans than our comfort, our convenience, and our cares.  God hopes that will give more consideration to the power He has flowing through us and around us than our weaknesses, our limitations, and our disabilities.

 

So pray for boldness.  To follow God, wherever He may lead.  To obey God, whatever He may ask.  To be available, whenever He needs you.

 

And just as He answered the disciples’ prayer for boldness – “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (31) – so too will He answer you!

 

Marie Fremin.  5/19/19

Acts 2: Whole House

Acts 2:2 – And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting

 

I read this verse this morning, and something struck me.  God is moving among the first century followers, preparing them to take His message of hope and love “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

 

But He knows they cannot do it alone.  He knows they will need help for the words they speak, for the direction they go, and for the hearts that will not always be sure.

 

So He is going to send a part of Himself to be a part of them.  A Helper to live within them to help them make better decisions, think better thoughts, and speak better words.

 

And as over one hundred of them are gathered together, waiting (Acts 1:15) and praying, God shows up.

 

Here is the part that caught me today – He “filled the whole house where they were sitting”.

 

He did not pick and choose which person among them received His Spirit.

He did not exclude anyone who was gathered in that room.

He did not disqualify anyone who was gathered in that room.

He did not ignore anyone who was gathered in that room.

 

Because He was not looking at their resumes and qualifications.

Because He was not judging based on their past choices.

Because He was not counting the coins in their pockets.

 

He is God, and He is good.

And “the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

 

And in that room in Jerusalem, …

He saw hearts open to His purpose and available to His presence.

He saw hearts blossoming with faith.

He saw hearts willing to live outside of their comfort zones and normal routines.

 

So He came upon each believer there.

No exceptions and no exclusions.

Everyone was touched by God that day.

 

And He can give the same touch, the same hope, and the same faith to you.  If you are like those believers in that upper room – open, willing, and with a measure of faith.

 

Marie Fremin.  5/3/19

Psalm 46: Be Still

Are you going through a trial or trouble?  Is someone or something making you feel distressed or disturbed?

 

Israel knew trouble.  They were slaves in Egypt for 430 years, being forced to perform hard labor and have their newborn sons taken for a nation in great fear of their increasing size.  And in one night, God redeemed them.  He led them out of Egypt – with much provision – to begin their journey to the Promised Land.  But it was not an easy journey.  He took them through the wilderness, where they had no one but God to protect them.

 

And sometimes we are in the wilderness.  And all we think we have on our side is God … and even the thought of God’s love may feel impossible or unsure.

 

Psalm 46 can be our go-to assurance that God is with us and God is for us.

 

Because He is “God the Refuge of His People” (Subtitle, NKJV).

 

There is nothing we go through that God does not know about.  He wants to help us through everything.  He also wants to restore everything we have been through.

 

So why would we not trust Him?

 

God is our refuge and strength” (1a).

 

Psalm 46 - be still

 

God enables us to keep moving forward, into the unknown (scariness) of tomorrow.   He helps us remember how He can and will work out this impossible situation for our good (Romans 8:28).  He helps us remember that His best life does not come easy – His character in us is developed through trial and tribulation (Romans 5:3-5).  He helps us remember that His love is real and readily available to us (Romans 8:38-39).

 

So He tells us twice more that He has our back – “The God of Jacob is our refuge” (7b, 11b).  We can run to Him with any problem.  We can trust Him with any pressure.

 

And we can know we are never alone – “The Lord of hosts is with us” (7a, 11a).

 

When our security – a job, our spouse, a friendship, etc. – is taken away or disappears from our life … “Even though the earth be removed” (2b).

 

When all that is good seems to be sucked from our lives and we seem to have no hope to cling to … “And though the mountains be carried into the midst [heart] of the sea” (2c).

 

When all we can see is the bad and all we hear is the negative the world wants us to focus on … “Though its waters roar and be troubled” (3a).

 

When our hope is being strangled by fear and our heart is being overcome by worry because the answer to our prayers seems to be withheld … “Though the mountains shake with its swelling” (3b).

 

No matter how our situation looks.

No matter how our emotions are raging.

No matter how our heart is leaning.

No matter how unsure our faith is.

 

We need to remember – and tell ourselves over and over again – that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (1).

 

As life happens and effects our hope –

God is not far away.

God is not unfeeling or lacking compassion.

God is not punishing us.

God is not hoping we will take care of ourselves.

 

God is with us.

Next to us when we need support.

Ahead of us when we need guidance.

Behind us when we need protection.

 

So remember you have the Creator of the world fighting for you and cheering you on to victory.  And remind yourself of these truths:

–        “God is in the midst of her” (5a) life, giving strength in the struggle

–        “she shall not be moved [shaken]” (5a) by temporary, fickle, or powerless things

–        “God shall help her” (5b) in every way possible to get through

–        “just at the break of dawn” (5b), in His perfect timing and according to His perfect purposes

 

He can defeat or remove anything that will keep us from His love and His best life.

–        The things we control and hold onto instead of trusting Him … “He uttered His voice, the earth melted” (6b)

–        The habits, mindsets, and attitudes that keep us from growing and making progress … “Who has made desolations in the earth” (8b)

–        The relationships and influences that cause us to stray from doing good and living right … “He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two” (9b)

–        The harsh and cruel words we speak over ourselves and the negativity we speak over our lives … “He burns the chariot in the fire” (9c)

 

Which will allow His peace to secure you, His love to assure you, and His grace to move you.

 

So when life is at its hardest and stress is at its highest, we can be confident in Him and His power.  “Therefore we will not fear” (2a) anything we see, hear, or think.  We will choose to be assured of God’s purposes.

 

So we will praise.  We will choose to rejoice and “make glad” (4a) about His answer and redemption that are coming.  We will choose to rest in “the holy place” (4b) of grace and produce worship instead of worry.

 

And as we trust and worship, something amazing will happen.  We will be able to “Be still, and know that I am God” (10a).

 

We will calm our emotions.

We will check our thoughts.

We will control our words.

 

And our hearts will be quietly at peace, knowing God is in complete control and can be trusted to help us.

 

What powerful truths!  So desperately needed in this season of my life, where I am experiencing a war of the wills at work.  I need to continually remind myself to step back and give God space to work for me – instead of charging ahead trying to work it out myself.  I need to continually remind myself that God is bigger than any vendetta – and He will only be hindered by any pettiness on my part.  I need to continually remind myself that God’s part is to be God – and I do not need to control or manipulate things to my advantage.

 

I must trust God to work things out.  “Come, behold the works of the Lord” (8a) that are possible when I let go and let God, choosing to “be still” (10a) instead of choosing to be vengeful.

 

So Father, thank You for loving me.  Through every failure to yield to You.  Through every stubborn decision to go my own way.  Through every moment I tried to control the outcome.  Thank You for never, ever, ever giving up on me.  As I go through my current valley, I pray You help me step back from control and lean into Your love.  I pray You help me pause before speaking and consider the consequences.  I pray You help me sift through my churned-up emotions and only listen to the ones that promote peace.  I pray You give me the endurance to keep going through each hard day with an undaunted spirit and an unfaltering faith.  Thank You for being with me and never giving up on me as I go through.  In Jesus’ all-mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  4/27/19

Stop Resisting Blessing

Consider this: how are you resisting God today?

You balk, thinking you are not.
I know, because I do it too.

But the revelation hit me tonight that we are.

Because God is trying to pour blessings out on us.
And we are saying no.

We are closing our hands from receiving.
We are closing our hearts from accepting.

And we are denying ourselves the blessing He has for us – to reward us in our present season for our past season and to prepare us for the future season coming.

Accept a gift given.
Accept a kind word spoken.
Accept any act of kindness or generosity.

Because it is coming directly from God to you.
Just when you need it.

So please do not be too stubborn or independent to receive.
Choose to lean into Him and accept it with gladness.

 

Marie Fremin.  2/23/19

Still Small Whisper

We tend to think if it is not loud or flashy or colorful that it is not God.

 

We want God to give us neon signs and big directional arrows.  And usually that is not how He words.

 

Because He will not push or coerce or force us to follow Him.  He will not yell commands like a drill sergeant.

 

Read 1 Kings 19:11-12.  We are just like Elijah – we expect a grand display.  We think God has to bring noise (wind), motion/emotion (earthquake), and drama (fire).

 

But notice in these verses that “God was not in” any of these displays.  He was not speaking or comforting or guiding out of the dramatic, noisy, disturbing, chaotic, emotional things.

 

God spoke and comforted Elijah in a STILL, SMALL WHISPER.  Something so soft and tender Elijah had to LEAN IN CLOSE to hear God.  Something Elijah had to STOP SPEAKING (aka complaining) to hear.  Something Elijah had to STOP STRIVING to focus on and change directions.

 

God purposely whispers in our chaos and plans so we have to CHOOSE TO STOP and seek Him.  Sometimes He is outright silent – because we are too stubborn to obey (aka we think we are smarter than He is and can figure it out on our own).  He needs us to work through our flesh until we are willing to let Him transform us.

 

We cannot be transformed (into the person He created us to be, full of Christ) until we stop conforming (doing things the world’s way and thinking we know what is best).

 

So how hard are you working?

What big sign are you looking for?

 

You won’t hear His loving whisper if you continue this way.

Today is a great day to choose to stop … and listen.

 

Marie Fremin.  2/27/19 and 3/16/19

Habakkuk 3 Prayer

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NKJV

Loving Father,
Thank You for showering us with grace, even when we could not – and would not – see it or feel it. Thank You for loving us through all of our mistakes, our bad choices, our hard times, our pain, and our fears. Thank You for never giving up on us and for continuing to pursue us, no matter where we were and what we did. Thank You for helping us by opening our eyes to Your truth, our minds to Your grace, and our hearts to Your forgiveness.

I know, gracious Father, that several of us are going through a hard season. The provision is lean, the opportunities are limited, and the outlook looks less than great. Just as in Habakkuk 3, where everything was against God’s people and it seemed hopelessness was the only option.

I pray as we walk through this season that You continue to uplift us, continue to encourage us, and continue to strengthen us. Thank You for giving us the courage to lean into You fully and to trust You with extreme faith. Thank You for giving us the courage to be radical in our choices, our thinking, and our words.

Help us to see the opportunity in our pain, in our struggle, in our confusion, and in our waiting. Help us to remember that You had a great plan for Joseph that started with his pit. He could not see the purpose of that pit, just as we cannot see the purpose of our current season. But You took the time needed to work the tattletale out of Joseph and the wise leader into him. You also used the pit to remind him that he needed You to be his source, his security, and his surety. Because he had nothing else.

Thank You for loving us as much as Joseph by helping us work our way out of the pit and into Your purpose. Thank You for giving us a heart that is sure about Your love and secure about Your purpose. Thank You for giving us the ability and determination to keep moving forward, even if it is one inch at a time, no matter what our circumstances and feelings are trying to tell us.

Thank You, loving Father, for meeting each woman reading this at the point of her greatest need. Thank You for opening a door that leads to an answer she is praying for. Thank You for bringing us each one step closer to Your best for our lives.

In Jesus’ almighty name. AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  2/15/19