He Is Jealous For Me

While going through the drive through for my morning Joe (diet coke), I heard a song I’ve heard many times before but this morning it particularly spoke into the depths of my soul and I began to dwell on the love of the one who deeply loves me. This love I speak of is tender yet loves like a hurricane. It’s steadfast and never changing, nor does it fail me and its strong as death. He is strong and He doesn’t give up on me even when I don’t understand my own self and feel like giving up. He has etched His love across my being permanently and places a seal of His love over my heart. He carries a flame for me like I’ve never known and it burns like a blazing fire, and He loves me with every fiber of His being. His love is jealous and unyielding as the grave. His feelings towards me are astonishing and go beyond my comprehension and many waters cannot quench this love He has for me. This love I speak of is God’s love.

Upon awakening this morning, I sat by my bedroom window staring into the cloudy skies asking God to speak to me today, and He did. He sent me to Isaiah chapter 62, and for the record, Isaiah is my favorite book of the Old Testament as it brought me through many storms in my life. I read verse 3 and my mind wandered and I could not concentrate any further on the rest of the chapter. ” You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of God.” As I contemplated this verse, I tried to imagine God’s love for me that He would consider me to be a “crown of splendor” even a “royal diadem” in His hand. A diadem is a jeweled crown worn as a symbol of sovereignty. This symbolizes royalty and one day soon, in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, God is going to display the redeemed as a King would display his crown.

As I drove around this morning in the rain, I dwelt on this scripture until I heard the song by David Crowder.
“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 His glory, and I realize just how beautiful You are, and how great Your affections are for me
…” This was a beautiful confirmation of God’s love to me and the meaning is taken from Exodus chapter 20 verses 4-6. It’s amazing that so many beautiful songs have been written straight from God’s word, and this one is no exception. In Exodus chapter 20 it talks about how we are not to make for ourselves any carved out images to bow down and worship. God wants our worship for Him and Him only because it shows our love for Him. And in verse 5 it says, ” I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”

His jealousy isn’t that of envy as in a negative connotation, but He is diligent to protect what He created and He created us to praise and worship Him and Him only, and He does not want to share His praises with another nor will He. He is not jealous of us, but for us. He loves us so much that His infinite power and His glory is concerned about us and He cares like a loving parent cares for their children and I find it totally amazing that God is jealous of my best interest. Let that sink in. God does not want our spirits to be consumed by the things of this world or by the god of this world for that matter. God wants a relationship with us and He will not settle for the back seat or second best, And once we truly, whole heartedly realize how much He really loves us, it changes our lives drastically. We no longer want to hold on to old habits, or things that take center stage in our lives.

There is a battle that rages over our human spirits and the god of this world, the devil himself, wants to be the god of your spirit so he can influence you to do his will. He comes to kill and destroy you, but God comes to bring life. He has breathed this life into every human on the face of this planet and God jealously yearns for this spirit in us. He wants us to depend solely on Him and if we do, we can’t go wrong. We were bought with a price therefore we should glorify God in our bodies. Corinthians 6:20. There is no greater love than that of our Father God the kind of love that hides you under the shadow of His wings when we go to Him for peace. His peace is unexplainable, you can only experience it because words are too few to describe what it really means to have that peace that passes all understanding and that kind of peace can only come from a compassionate and loving God. I think of those words, ” He is jealous for me” and my heart strings pull me into a different mindset knowing that His love transcends, it binds us, unites us and because of that, my God is jealous for you and me…

Be blessed

-Jane Hardin

Should The Truth Be Told

It’s no secret that I am a preacher’s kid nor is it a secret how strict the environment was I grew up in. In all the splendor and chaos combined, its no wonder my life was a total mess when I left for college. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people and loved God and their family and they made sure we were loved and taken good care of and they did their best to raise us right, the way they knew how. But I grew up in a Pentecostal atmosphere, one that was very strict and full of legalism and I cannot begin to reiterate the many times I was told by different people that I was going to hell for this and that. Every thing that could be deemed a sin, was indeed deemed a sin. It wasn’t until God removed me from such chaos and taught me the truth and taught me more about Himself outside a church setting than I learned growing up in church, and that’s when my life changed drastically.

Being a Christian was something I took for granted and felt like I was automatically Christ-like because I was in church every time the doors were opened. In my youth, I was told who I could and could not hang out with. If you were not a Christian, then I was not allowed to go near you. If you were a gay person, I could not even speak to you. If you smoked cigarettes or drank liquor, that was a big no-no. My life was stained with “holier-than-thou” and I wasn’t anything near being holy myself, just a false pretense, a young soul locked in mortal struggle every single day of my life. In a way, I felt more like the beaten man in a ditch who was left for dead alongside the road in Luke chapter 10. Most church services were marked with absolute silence for me when I would hear how Jesus sat with a Samaritan woman at the well, or when He sat in the very dust with a woman who could not lift her head from shame after being caught in adultery. I remember hearing about Jesus calling down a thief in the form of a Tax collector from a sycamore tree and going to his house for lunch one day.

It seemed to me His (Jesus) choice of company made many of the high and mighty, holier than thou leaders during that time very upset and Jesus taught a very simple yet notable lesson for those who put Him under a microscope. Matthew 9: 12-13 (NIV) tells us, and this is Jesus speaking; “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Somewhere along the way we got it wrong! We didn’t go “into the world” rather, we saved ourselves from a bad name by secluding ourselves to only ourselves, and from the world. I asked the question then and still ask it today, “how can we be a witness to the lost when we have fully immunized ourselves from sinners to begin with? Who are we suppose to be a witness to when we are reduced to a circle of people just like us or better yet, just like the Pharisees?

I have seen with my own eyes people who desperately needed God come to church dressed like a hooker only to be asked to leave because of the way they were dressed. I’ve seen drunks and drug addicts come in only to be ridiculed in the altar where they stood asking Jesus for help. But because their breath wreaked of alcohol, or they weren’t acting quite like we thought they should act in a church setting, we doubted their sincerity even though they made the effort to walk down to the altar during an altar call. The sick came, and were ridiculed by the spirit of the Pharisees. It sickens me to the core how many professed Christians are so NOT like Jesus Christ.

During Jesus’ time on earth, He made it a point to correct this line of faulty thinking. He made a statement that in my opinion is the most important statement in the New Testament. It’s actually a commandment. Matthew 22: 37-40 (NIV), ” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” I believe it is in our nature to avoid situations and people that make us uncomfortable. If you read about the good Samaritan in Luke 10: 30-37, you will find that it was fear that made a priest and a temple assistant ignore a beaten man in a ditch on the side of the road. But who finally showed up to help the poor man in need? An outcast! Someone who stopped to check on the beaten man and even went as far as seeing to it that he would have a place to stay and to heal from his wounds. That person whom we know to be the “good Samaritan.”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is so much to learn from that statement. Our neighbor? Our neighbor with different religious beliefs. Our neighbor with different moral beliefs. Our neighbor who is a rebel. Our neighbor who drinks, who snorts lines, who commits adultery, that neighbor who is your enemy. How can you love a neighbor when you think you are too Christ-like for them? To be Christ-like would be to go to them and love them and do good to them. To sit with them and cry with them. To learn what and why they choose to do what they do. You have no idea the pain and struggles these folks have that drive them to the very things we detest. I know this for a fact because I became one of them. If you know me, you know I am friends with gay people. I am friends with alcoholics and drug addicts, those who do not live the way those of us in Christ live. I am even friends with known witches. I follow Jesus according to the example He set and the words He taught.

Following Jesus is not easy! It wasn’t even easy for Jesus when He was among us on this earth. I feel this next scripture sums up what we are commanded to do. Matthew 28: 19-20 (NIV) ” Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Go change the world! You cannot be the salt of the earth, nor the light on a hill if you are not out there among the smelly sheep who need you to rescue them from their “ditch.” We need to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ even if that means going into uncomfortable places and being around people who are not like you. Recently, I have found a way to break free from my comfort zone to witness to others, and that’s by sharing my arts as gifts with a hand written message of the good news of Jesus Christ. This was done during lockdown, after midnight when no one was watching. I took wrapped gifts and left it on the door of every neighbor in my area. I don’t say this for accolades or to be noticed, I say this because sometimes we just have to be creative. Now? I will speak to anyone face to face and tell them about Jesus because time is short and I believe we are at the end of the age. I share on social medias, etc., anyway God provides me to share the good news I share it.

My final thought is that if we step out of our own comforts we will be stepping out in faith and into God’s will just like Jesus did. My friends, there is absolutely nothing as fulfilling and exciting than following the Path Jesus took.

Be blessed.

-Jane Hardin

Defender Of the Defenseless

I’m just a small voice in a huge universe. I’m not talking about the voice of conscience, that wee tiny voice that fights for moral sense, I’m simply stating a fact that I am not known, I’m unheard of, in layman’s terms, a nobody, but 1 Corinthians 1:27 tells me that God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, He chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. That can also apply to those like me who are dust in the wind, God can choose the unknown who are willing to take a stand and be heard. I am not saying, God chose me to be the voice for this platform I’m about to speak of, but in my opinion, it should be all of us speaking up and speaking out against a holocaust on a mass scale against unborn babies.

Abortion, just the mere mention of that name sends chills up my spine and as long as we have breath in us, we should be fighting this form of genocide because we will be held accountable before God, both in this life and in eternity. I speak boldly and loudly through written words that fear of disapproval of others is not an excuse. We will be held accountable for those fears. These unborn babies whose lives began at conception can’t speak for themselves and if we do not speak up for them then we should prepare to answer a question on the last day and realize now that there are no reasons more important than the lives of those who did not choose to be conceived in the first place. The very lives God created in His own image, the very lives God breathed life into.

Proverbs 31: 8-9 ” Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” The question here is who is more poor and needy and incapable of speaking for themselves than those tiny humans who are being stripped of legal protection and are being murdered at the rate of one million per year? If we don’t speak up then who will? My next question is why are many Christians trying to make peace with abortion? We are Pro-Life not peace makers for murderers! Planned Parenthood is not our friend! I read an article today that said Planned parenthood’s goal is to make sure that the next generation of young Christians will be those who will make peace with abortion. This is an evil scheme. We do not , DO NOT make peace with evil, and killing babies is evil.

Photo from the internet

Like me, you are probably asking who these Christians are that are opening their doors to Planned Parenthood and why would we open our doors to America’s leading killer of pre-born babies? If you will recall, Planned Parenthood was caught red-handed chopping up recently-aborted babies to sell, to make a profit for their organs. This should bring tears to your eyes and anger should sprout up inside you because this kind of evil is as evil as it gets. How did Planned Parenthood infiltrate the Christian community with such influence as that where a Pastor (and I am going to mention names), Pastor, Dr. Willie Parker is now promoting his memoir, Life’s Work and he says and I quote, ” I believe, as an abortion provider, I’m doing God’s work.” What is his reasoning for this? He convinces Christian women that this is a “quick fix” for moral failings and he has cozied up to Christian college administrators and school Presidents to sell this idea and Planned Parenthood jumped all over this idea and are now focusing on colleges and universities targeting Christian young people to make them believe abortion is ok.

This IS NOT ok! Satan has got his foot in the door putting that last nail in the coffin for pro-life movement. This is where the rubber meets the road. We cannot sit down or sit back any longer and allow this to take root. We need to slam this door and do it now. We need to stop this insanity the insanity that a Pastor preaches that he’s doing God’s work by promoting abortion in the name of “quick fix” for moral failings. I am furious! I am heart broken! I am disgusted! I am calling on churches to take a stand and stop sitting back and allowing this genocide that is now being done in the name of Jesus. How dare you bring this disgrace into the Christian community and allow it rather than stopping it dead in its tracks. Dr. Willie Parker, I come against you. You are wrong and you are in danger of hell and if you do not turn from your wicked ways and repent, you will spend eternity along with your new buddies from Planned Parenthood paying the ultimate price for your sins!!!

When deliberate steps are taken to end life, its called MURDER! And when we kill them mercilessly and sell their organs for harvesting, or use their tissue for lifesaving does that really make sense to kill for profit or kill to save? Now abortions are being done just within a week of delivery and they throw out the baby. Do you honestly, wholeheartedly think God is pleased with this? Do you really think God is upstairs applauding abortions because of moral failings? These little lives have the very breath of God in them and Planned Parenthood wants to profit because they do not value life nor do they value the lives of those mothers who are being convinced to “quick fix!” I met a lady several years ago who opened up to me about an abortion she had when she was younger. At the age of 58 she still is haunted by her choice. She cried bitterly wishing she could go back and change that choice she made and give birth to that that precious soul rather than destroy it. She attended the church I attended at that time, and she went to the altar every service begging God to take away the pain she was left with. Prisons are full of people who killed someone and they are full of regret. Most women I have met who have participated in abortions, are full of regret. There is an effect that becomes a mental burden when we prize death over life, its a burden that follows you the rest of your days.

If you are a woman who is considering an abortion, I ask you to please reconsider. It may seem like a “quick fix” now, but your life will be full of regret, there will be no peace and you will be haunted by your decision and heartache will be the garment you wear for the rest of your life. Planned Parenthood is not going to tell you this. To them, its more about padding their pockets than telling you how beautiful it is to give life to another human. There is no greater human love than that of a mother’s and children bring so much joy and happiness into our lives. Maybe you have had a moral failing and as a result, you find yourself pregnant. I beg you not to turn to Planned Parenthood for help. There are organizations who will help you throughout your pregnancy and when your child is born, if you still choose to give up your baby, then these organizations will find a good home for your baby. Someone gave life to you, please don’t consider abortion, it comes with a price and its a heavy, heavy price, instead give life and allow God to heal you from the choices you made.

-Jane Hardin

My Jordan

If you know the story of Joshua, Moses successor, then you know Joshua had a Jordan river to deal with and it did not come easy, but he obeyed God nonetheless. This morning during my own personal bible study, I read the account in the book of Joshua and as my mind wandered back several thousand years to that place and time, I was able to catch a glimpse that match the reality I face today. I’ve read this account many times through my life, but for the first time, it became real for me.

I stand at a crossroad with a Jordan river of my own raging at every turn. It’s a scary place to be one full of uncertainties with no hope in sight. Back in the days of Joshua, many ancient cultures believed that rivers were sacred, just like the Egyptians honored their Nile and for those who lived in Canaan, the Jordan river was the symbol of power and they whole heartedly believed this river protected their fertility gods, their gods known as the Baals. While there is no literal Jordan for me to put my feet in, in my conscience the raging waters are very real. And as I stand in deep wonder of how, where, what and when, the river seems to be rising fast. In the physical, my true reality, I’ve reached a place in my life where nothing makes sense and chaos is trying to fill my mind and the question of whether or not I trust God has infiltrated and that alone haunts every future second given to me.

It wasn’t long ago, I found myself in a very bad disposition on a solo hiking trip and I did not have time to struggle with obeying God or not. I simply just gave it to Him to help me and He did. My future, my well-being, my entire life was being chased through a forest by evil humans, and God parted a sea or a river so-to-speak and I was delivered from a potentially, deadly moment in my life which is probably the most terrified I have ever been. But now, time has brought me to the edge of another either or. Moses stood in this very disposition as did Joshua with no where to go and a miracle to be had as their only way of escape. Sometimes, just like the Israelites, we reach moments when we have to cross a red sea or the Jordan and it takes faith to do so. As I read the account today, I studied the Jordan river itself and allow me to give you a little perspective of this particular river.

As I mentioned earlier, many cultures deemed Jordan as sacred, but the Israelites deemed it as a barrier. It was something they had to overcome and it was a huge obstacle to face in order to enter their promised land. It was during flood season and the Jordan river was flowing over its banks. I’ve read that the deepest part where the Israelites crossed was 17 feet deep and this particular river is a fast moving river with vicious currents. In 1854 an expert swimmer was unable to cross the river near Jericho because the current was too strong even for this man to swim across. I myself have swam in currents that are difficult and will wear you down quickly. But when the Jordan river floods, it becomes a turbulent river one that would make anyone change their mind about crossing and for good reason. The photo below I found on the internet, is the Jordan at flood stage.

Jordan River via Internet

As I stand at my crossroad with that Jordan raging around me, the photo above is the turbulence I feel inside. Fear has tried relentlessly to take me over, but God’s word tells me, “be strong and very courageous.” When hopelessness rears its ugly head, God tells me, “when the righteous cries for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” When I feel anxious, God tells me, “don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.” And my life-line verse that gets me through is from Isaiah 40:31; “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” God gives me the direction I need and all I have to do, is trust Him.

But as I read this account in the book of Joshua, I imagined the Levite Priests who were the first to cross the Jordan, standing there on the edge holding the ark of the covenant, the very seat of God, and what must have been running through their minds. Were they afraid? Were they being taunted by the Canaanites watching from the other side? The Canaanites felt protected by a flooding, raging Jordan, because the waters showed Baal’s power to save them all from the approaching Israelites who were just obeying God. But these same Canaanites witnessed something so spectacular, entirely amazing and unexplainable to them. the moment those Priests toes entered the waters edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. And the waters heaped up in a town away from them called Adam and the Priests began to cross over with the Israelites following behind. Can you imagine mouths flying wide open, heads being scratched and expressions to die for as the Canaanites stood there watching the miracle from a front row view?

Those same Priests, with the ark of the covenant, felt the cold swirling water as their feet touched the edge, and in my mind I could see terror etched across their faces but trusting God was paramount and immediately, suddenly, that cold vicious river stopped, And they all crossed safely over to the other side. But the real miracle to me isn’t how wide or deep the river was, it was the fact that during flood stage they crossed over on a dry river bed. This alone tells of God’s power and how much He truly cares for His people. The same thing happened with Moses at the Red Sea.

Many times, when people come up against their Jordan, maybe its a job or a relationship that is everything but good, maybe an addiction, whatever it may be, we have a decision to make and this is where we sink or swim. The only way over to the other side is to fully trust in God and that comes by just stepping out in faith like those Levite Priests carrying the ark of the covenant did. They just took that first step and God took it from there.

As for me, I broke down and cried when I read how the river bed became dry immediately. That was God’s grace! His love for His children. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us and these are words we must cling to even while the waters rage around us and everything seems hopeless. I’ve had my share of many Jordan’s in the past. They have been stern lessons for me and as I look back, I see the fear I carried and the lack of trust in God I demonstrated while keeping my eyes on what I could do to fix the situation rather than giving it to God. But today, as I stand here once more, I’ve decided to step in by faith and let God direct my steps knowing that the outcome will be for my greater good. It’s all about the trust. But like the rest of you who have been here, its that first step into the unknown that sends voices screaming through our heads and this is where desperation tries to make our decision for us.

When we let go and let God, peace that passes all understanding is released and the joy of the Lord becomes our strength. When we become desperate for God’s help and we are grasping for an anchor for our souls, our soul will find rest in God alone. The Psalmist David also found himself with many Jordan’s to cross. He wrote in Psalm 119 verse 47, ” I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.” I, like David, find hope in God’s words because they are true and bring life to my dry bones and when I come to a Jordan, all I need to do is just wait! Wait upon the Lord to go before me and lead me to where He wants me to go. I can smile knowing I am not alone. Tonight, my heart and soul are resting in the peace God has given me. Nothing has changed in my situation, but I know God has got this and He directs my steps. There is no room for fear, doubt or anxiousness, not like before.

Where He leads, I will follow….