You can win a blog makeover..... Beth over at I Am Heading Towards My Destiny recently had her blog made over by Blog Designs by Tara. It looks great by the way. She is offering a FREE makeover to the winner of the drawing.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
You can win a blog makeover..... Beth over at I Am Heading Towards My Destiny recently had her blog made over by Blog Designs by Tara. It looks great by the way. She is offering a FREE makeover to the winner of the drawing.
Friday, January 30, 2009
You could roll it up in a ball, sugar coat it to make is look good but that didn't change the truth, it was sin. It was the sin of gluttony.
The definition of a glutton according to Webster’s is this:
Glutton - a person who greedily eats too much, great devourer (wolverine).
Greedily is defined as this - desiring more than one needs or deserves, wanting or taking all that one can get, with no thought of others, having to strong a desire for food and drink.
This is not the same as an eating disorder. Eating disorders are serious and need a doctor’s attention. Neither is this about a medical imbalance of some kind. There are some people that have issues with eating that are due to medical problems. These types of problems should be taken to a doctor and are not what I am talking about here.
What I am talking about is over eating due to over indulgence. Eating more than you should because you have no self restraint or self control. I am talking about not taking care of your body, the temple that houses the living God inside you.
God calls us to feed and care for our soul, but He also calls us to feed and care for our body the same way.
From the beginning of creation we have been tempted by food. It was food that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden and caused her to fall. Genesis 3: 6 says So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. Eve saw that the tree was good food and it looked good to eat which made her greedily want it. Why not, it looks really good....
It was also part of the destruction of Sodom. Ezekiel 16:49 says - Look this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom; She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. Sodom was full of pride, gluttony, idleness, sexual sin and neglected those in need. Gluttony was one of the sins that brought down the great city of Sodom and made her and her daughter an abomination to God.
Proverbs 23:21 - For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
Titus 1:12-13 - One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in faith.
Proverbs tells us that the glutton is the same as a drunkard and will find only poverty. In Titus, Paul’s calls the glutton lazy and tells us to sharply rebuke him so that they may be sound in faith. In other words, gluttony will pull you away from being completely sound in the faith and should be rebuked.
In Philippians 3:19 Paul tells us this: Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
Paul is warning us, that gluttony will eventually lead to destruction because we will be putting it before God as an idol. He further states that a glutton’s glory will actually be his shame because they are looking at earthly things and not at heavenly things.
If we as Gods people are going to really become serious contenders for the faith, we must begin to put aside the "acceptable sins" in our lives. We must call a sin a sin and stop pouring sugar on top of it to make it look sweeter. Gluttony is a sin, and in Gods eyes it is not something to gloss over and accept in our lives. We are called to serve, which means we put our desires aside and do the will of the Father. Our body is no longer our own, it belongs to Christ. We must begin to treat it as such.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Do you have a burden that you just can't seem to lay down? Something that no matter how hard you try you can't seem to overcome it? Maybe it’s something you have just resigned to live with because trying to overcome it seems impossible.
I have felt this way. For years now I have struggled with taking care of my body. I have a bent towards compulsive behaviors and the last struggle that I had to deal with in this area is my diet and exercise. I have prayed and surrendered it to God, only to do better for a time and then go back to my old ways. It has been a frustrating battle. It’s acceptable in Gods kingdom among Gods people to be out of control in the area of eating.
As many Americans do, with so much abundance available, I have struggled with disciplining myself when it comes to this area. I have always given in to my appetite and hated to exercise. So several years ago after God convicted me of another vice, smoking, I quit and immediately gained 40 extra pounds.
The way that I had always treated my body and the extra weight made me feel bad. I didn't like the way I looked or felt physically. Since then I have gone through a process of renewing my mind, changing the way I thought of myself but I still found no victory over my lack of discipline. I drank diet coke from the time I woke up until I went to bed at night. I ate horribly, and craved sweets all the time.
I knew all the things I needed to do, I just could not make myself do them. Then one day I finally came to the end of myself and really cried out with all my heart to God. What he said to me was this, "Your problem is not about health or feeling better, your problem is sin, and it’s called gluttony" This hit me square between the eyes and I dropped to me knees. I was broken. I asked for forgiveness and placed the issue in Gods hands asking him to help me turn from it. What He informed me was if I wanted freedom from this, I needed to fully obey Him.
The first thing God required from me was immediate. I was to give up the diet coke. I had given it up before only to allow myself to have one when I went out somewhere. I soon found excuses to go out so I could have one. Need milk, great, go to the store, buy myself a diet coke and drink it on the way home.
To be obedient, in the very moment that God spoke to me I was to do just that, give it up. Mind you now, I had a 12 pack in the frig and half a can still in my hand when He told me this. I resisted and argued in my mind for a few moments and the conviction became so strong I knew if I really wanted freedom I needed to go pour it all out and be done with it. So that is just what I did, poured out every drop.
Since my step of repentance and obedience in that area God has helped me in so many ways to overcome my sin. It has been a process of submission by humbling myself before Him, prayer and fasting.
Each day I humbly bow before God with my face to the ground to acknowledge His majesty and glory. I place my life in his hands and ask for Him to guide me that day. Then I spend time in prayer and worship. Recently He has put me on a journey of fasting for freedom and to go deeper in my walk.
I will be sharing more tomorrow on what God has to say about the sin of gluttony and the freedom that can come from prayer and fasting....
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I went to the hospital to visit her today. She is a sweet woman with a huge heart and the most encouraging person I know. She gives encouragement to everyone she meets. In her job as a children’s counselor she has a gift with helping people. But when I walked in to her room she was crying and it was my turn to encourage her.
As we were talking she said something that I thought about all the way home. In her line of work she sees many that need her expertise but sometimes there are those that only really need a friend to talk too. She doesn't charge high prices but most counselors do. And there are some clients that will pay 12o dollars an hour just to have someone to talk too.
It set me thinking about how we as Christians need to be Gods ears. We need to care enough to sit and listen to someone in need. To be that friend to talk too.
Sometimes we just need a human pair of ears to hear us. We need someone to give us a nod of encouragement and the touch to our hand that says I hear you. Life is complicated and yes we can and should go to God with everything. But once in a while we just need a little God with flesh on. That can only come from another believer being used by God to show his love and compassion.
These days we have so much media coming at us. So much noise to cloud our thoughts. We are assaulted by pictures and words from every angle. These things affect us and make it difficult to keep a calm and peaceful mind. It creates thoughts that take us to places we don't want to go but end up at anyway. In times like ours, I believe we need someone to listen even more. We see so much more with our eyes then any other generation, how do we process it all.
We must begin to slow down and see those around us. Put ourselves in there lives and care. Stop trying to fix all the problems and leave that part up to God. Our part is to listen and pray. God will do the rest.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Today, let me give you a different thought concerning these words....
Humility brings us glory. I know it sounds rather odd to think on the word glory as something given to man but I believe we are.
I am speaking of glory in the definition of: honor resulting from a good opinion, glory emanating from God, an appearance commanding respect, exellence.
Proverbs 3:35 says The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.
Wisdom is something given to man by God, not something that we learn anywhere else. We can gain all the knowledge the world has to offer but to be wise we must seek God and His ways. Wisdom is a gift of knowing the ways of God that is only given to those who ask for it. God does not impart wisdom to the proud. It is the humble that inherit the wisdom of God. It is in the breaking of our self pride that our eyes open to the vastness of God and His ways. In our humility, we are lifted up to know who God is.
James 4:10 -Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
When we are humble, we are then lifted up in wisdom and then because of Christ we inherit glory.
Hebrews 2:7 - You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands.
We were made a little lower than the angels but because of the blood shed for us, we have been crowned with glory and honor. We didn't deserve it, we still don't, but yet, we are given glory because of Jesus.
In John 17, Jesus prays for the believers, those then and those that would come later. In verse 22 He says this, "and the glory which You gave Me, I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one."
Jesus has given us honor and glory, the same as was given to Him by the Father. We share in His glory by no right of our own, but by grace, the unmerited favor of God.
When we break our foolish self pride, we are emptied, we become an available vessel to be used for the work of God. It is our humility that allows God to use us fully. When we are used fully by God, people around us notice and are changed. We then recieve glory that we humbly turn back and hand to our savior.
We through no merit of our own have been given a place of royalty. A glory and magnificence that could never be earned by works of our hands. A crown has been set on our head and we are called to shine before men. Not with the light of ourselves but the light of Christ. It all comes by bowing low.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Satan seeks to destroy us. He hates God and since he can not touch God, he does the next best thing. He tries to destroy Gods people. If he can, he will destroy any possibility of you ever seeing the light. From the time you are born, you have an enemy who hates you. You have an enemy that will stop at nothing to keep the knowledge of God from reaching your ears. If he can not stop you from hearing the truth, his next attempt is to discredit God so you will not accept the truth. Finally, if you accept the love of God and receive the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ offers, Satan begins a plot to render you ineffective to pass on the truth to others. He may have lost one soul but if he can stop the progress forward he can stop others from the truth.
This is what each of us is up against. An enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy what God created for himself. Even though this is a truth that we must deal with, God wants us to know this. We are not alone. The enemy may be strong but God is stronger. The enemy may want to consume us, to cage us up in sin, but there is a redeemer that offers himself as our strength.
Joshua 23:10 says One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.
You may think there are one thousand men that stand against just you but God tells us they stand against Him also. It’s you, and the mighty warrior standing next to you. That warrior rides in on a tall white horse, the earth shakes as each hoof hits the ground. Then He pulls up next to you and is ready to go with you into battle. He who goes with you is called Faithful and True; He judges all, even Satan.
Revelation 19:11 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
Sometimes, it can be easy to think to ourselves, this is too much for me. It is easy to think, I am not enough. More often we think also that God is not enough. And if He is enough, maybe, just maybe, He is really not completely for me. He doesn't really care that deeply for me. He may do those things for others but not for me.
Here is what God wants you to know.
He does them for YOU. He loves YOU. Before creation, he knew each thing that you would face, each thing you would do. He knew that you would be filled with sin, that you would continually turn your face from Him, you would deny Him, and you would fail to be righteous. He knew you would have an enemy that would seek to destroy you. He knew every bit of every day and how you would respond to everything.
He chose you anyway. Before the earth was put on its axis, before the stars were in the sky, before the sun rose for the first time, He chose you. In that moment, He called you His beloved and wrote down your name in His book.
You are not alone. You are never alone. The enemy may rage, put thousands against you but you will never face them alone. The one called Faithful will be right beside you.
You need only call His name; horse and rider will appear at your side.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
I don't know about you, but the subject of resting in God has been quit the struggle for me. The thought that I don't need to know what lies up ahead for me has been a struggle. It’s in my nature to plan, so just going with the flow has never been my strong suit. Is anybody with me here?
I don't believe that I am alone on this one. Otherwise there wouldn't be a million ways to plan everything.
We want so badly to know what the future holds. Some of us will try everything to figure out what is going to happen before it happens. Take prophecy, scholars have been predicting the end of time for centuries. Searching and searching for the answers..... We know from bible prophecy what the end looks like but WHEN..... And HOW..... When will it all take place? How exactly will it all play out? We hypothesize, but we really don't know for sure. Only God knows.
So we plan what we believe we have control over. We plan everything out just so, and then we have nothing to worry about. Right?
I am not saying don't ever plan anything. We are supposed to use our resources wisely and be good stewards of what we are given. What I'm talking about is trying to control everything so nothing bad happens. Because the truth is, as hard as we plan, life happens. Nothing except the reality of Gods control is a sure thing. So what to do?
We rest in God's control. We do the next thing. We put ALL things in His hands and go along for the ride. We do the next thing He gives us to do when He tells us to do it. Isn't that what a servant does?
Our life is no longer our own and although we are at times given the privilege of seeing the outcome of Gods work, it is not a given that we will. Sometimes we just do the work and move on without knowing the reason why or seeing the outcome. It is after all His work not ours and we are only His tools.
If we set our minds on eternity, fix our gaze straight up instead of around us we will see that what is all around us is but a breath in time. We have no real power over the things that happen around us, but we know the one who does. So we rest in His power, trusting in His goodness. Knowing that He has our best interest at heart.
You see, He is not afraid of us going through a little trouble or pain. He knows He can handle it and if we are relying on Him we will be OK.
How do we stop relying on ourselves and trying to control the outcome of the future?
We break the pride that’s inside of us that gives us the belief that we can control things. We trust that the one who created us really does love us and wants the best for us. We put ALL of our life in the palm of His hands and take the attitude of a servant. Then we do the next thing we are told to do.
Hebrews 4:9-10 - There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Maybe it’s a long time battle that you have been fighting. Maybe it’s a new one. What ever the case, it seems to have you chained and bound up with no release in sight. Is this your plight? If it is, I have good news for you. For this too, God can handle. This too He has control over and can bring victory from.
Last night I read this verse and it spoke to my soul.
Acts 16:25-26 - But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.
Paul and Silas were not sure if they would live to see another day. The wounds from the beating they took ached and kept them from getting any comfort. The air was stale and made it hard to breath. They could not sleep so they began to look up. They began to pray and sing.
They looked up to the one sitting firmly on the throne above. Their focus was no longer on the circumstances that surrounded them or the future that might befall them. They looked to the one who made all things, the creator of the universe, the beginning and the end. I am sure their look was not one of a small simple glance but with a firm stare of intent. With a heart filled with faith for the one who knows all things they firmly looked to God to know best. They didn't stare at the circumstances that surrounded them and lament their coming demise. They looked to the one that knows all things in full confidence that this too was in His hands and He would not disappoint them. They looked nowhere but up.
Then they began to pray and sing. When Paul and Silas lifted there voices together in songs of victory, the earth shook! The prison was shook and all the doors were opened. Not just Paul and Sila's chains were loosed; ALL the prisoners’ chains were broken.
In Joshua chapter 6, God used the music of trumpets to bring down the walls of Jericho and bring victory for Israel. They circled seven times blowing trumpets, gave a loud shout and the walls came tumbling down. Music was once again used to obtain the victory.
Beth Moore in her Psalms series called singing the language of the soul. I believe she is right. When we sing with all our heart, our soul is mended. Sometimes the joy or sorrow we feel can not be expressed fully by any other means. Our soul cries out to God through music. The angels sing continually, “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” God even sings over us. It is also his expression from the soul.
Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
Are you bound by chains, do you know others that are bound by chains? LOOK UP, SING FOR VICTORY! Sing loud, sing strong until the chains are loosed for yourself and all you know. When we look directly at God believing that He is all powerful, and wants our sinful chains to be released, amazing things happen. So lift up your voice and herald the victory.
Praise Him for the victory! Praise Him for who He is! King all things, ruler over all! Master of even this! Even these bonds that seem so strong are under His control! When you feel defeated, lift your voice. When you can't see the light, look up and raise your voice in song. In this too He cares about you and will bring victory.
LOOK UP AND SING!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Seems like many think staying pure until marriage is an unreasonable request. Many think we should have the freedom to "do what feels good" as long as we stay safe while were doing it. I too used to think this way. Even after I was saved, I couldn't see the problem of living with the one I was going to marry before hand.
It wasn't until I was deep in study that God took me on a journey to understand what He intended for us when He told us to remain pure. What I found was, it’s not for punishment or to teach us how to have restraint. Although restraint is not a bad thing to learn and practice. More on that topic some other time... Purity is for our own protection. God wanted us to remain pure so we would have fewer thoughts to cause us to be tempted and sin.
Let me explain, sin first comes from a thought in our minds. Something rolls across our mind and we now have the choice to stop and ponder on it or not. Once we begin to ponder on it, our next step is to act upon it. Before you know it we are knee deep in the act of sin.
When we have experienced sexual things, we have a memory of it burned into our minds. Not only is it now in our minds when we recall it, it also invokes a physical reaction from our body when we think on it. Now we not only have a thought cross our mind, we also have a vivid memory and a physical reaction that drives us. What it does is make it much harder to thwart off temptation.
God knew that if we were exposed to things impure we would struggle in our thought life with it. He knew how great sexual temptation would be, He understood our human weakness and He loved us enough to want to protect us. The best protection He could give us was to require us to remain pure.
It is not unlike what we do as parents. We want our children to stay completely away from certain things. We do not want our children to experience any thing that could hurt them or scar them later in life. We do our best to protect them from the things that could possibly do that. When they are too small to fend for themselves we do our best to keep them completely out of harms way.
Sexual thoughts can lead to many things, adultery, pornography, rape, sexual child abuse, teen pregnancy, unwed pregnancy, abortion, etc..... God wanted to protect us from these things happening.
But let’s take unwanted pregnancy right now. When we engage in sexual activity outside of marriage, we take the chance of unwanted pregnancy. Of course we say to ourselves, it could never happen to me, but then it does. Now we have a huge decision to make. God doesn't want us to have to even be put in these kinds of circumstances.
What about adultery, would it be less likely for a man or woman to stray if they had no experiential memory of sex from the past? It becomes a more real idea when you have something to go back to in your memory. Especially when there is trouble in the marriage and you can begin to think back on previous relationships. Those thoughts would not be there if the experience were not there.
Once the experience takes place, it puts a memory in our mind; a thought is forever burned into our memory of it. A random thought may be removed and replaced with another thought but a memory is there forever.
A memory is there forever to be used by Satan in a multitude of ways. When your marriage isn't going so well, He reminds you of the fun you had before or that person that got away. Then when you think on it, Satan tells you how awful you are. "You’re not a real Christian with thoughts like that, might as well give it up".
God never intended for us to struggle, so to protect us and take care of us He required certain things of us. One of those things He required was purity. He still requires it today, even in a morally bankrupt environment. We are to stand out from the world and remain pure in all ways. Spiritually and Physically.
Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virture and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sometimes I wish this were true. I wish that I was made of rubber so things would just bounce right off me. So the things people do and say wouldn't stick to me like they do. It would also be helpful in the sense of humility. Maybe if my neck was rubber it wouldn't stiffen in pride so often. Maybe I would be more pliable, bendable. Then I wouldn't crack under the stress when God is trying to bend me a little. Instead, I often find that I am rigid and stiff when I should be just going with the flow.
This happens most often for me with my husband. I know that I am supposed to put his needs before mine but doing so seems difficult at times. It is so ingrained to think of myself first. You see, I like to be right. I like it when I get to be the one that wins. Admitting when I'm not right, ohhh, that stings! I can be wrong with everyone else in the world but my husband is a completely different story. Why is that?
It just seems like I am pliable and loving....... my husband says something and BAM! The next thing you know, I have the taste of his head in my mouth. My mouth can move at the speed of light to bite his head off and on occasion spit it back out at him. How ugly is that? How does that reflect Christ? The truth is, it doesn't, and neither do I in these times.
Why is it that those we love the most, are the ones that get the worst from us at times?
I have noticed that sometimes just my tone of voice or attitude can make my words sound wrong. Why is it we feel justified in our actions when it comes to those we love the most? We don't set out to hurt those we love, but in our words and actions at times we do.
Then pride sets in and we want to roll around in it a while. At least that's my story. My stubborn pride has kept me from just letting go of things. Remember; where my husband is concerned, I like to be right. So I will blow up all his flaws in my mind when I am angry, then I don't need to apologize and admit my own fault. When God finally gets a hold of me about it, I have made it a much bigger offense than it needed to be.
So how do you change a thing so automatic? First I believe we must be deliberate. We must be conscious of the words we choose and the tone of our heart when we say them. Like I always tell my son, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing". For a while, you may just need to practice saying nothing.
I Thessalonians 5:15 says - "See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another"
Even when evil comes our way, we must actively seek to repay it with good.
Lord, change my stiff neck and make me bendable. My mouth opens too quickly when I should just listen. Make me sensitive to others, especially my family. Help me to say nothing when I have nothing good to say. Give me power to hold my tongue and practice the gift of silence. AMEN
Monday, January 19, 2009
If these are your perceptions of God then you have a wrong view of who He really is.
Many times when we grow up, we hold the same view of God as we do our earthly father. If your father was distant and unemotional, then you will probably view God as stoic and distant. If your father abandoned you, you may fear that God is not truly trust worthy. If your father was mean or a strict disciplinarian then your view will most likely be the same of God. We most often associate the traits we experienced in our father with what our heavenly father must be like.
Scripture show us a very different God. It shows us a very personal God not a distant and cruel God. He desires us to seek Him and spend time in His presence. We were created in His image and put in the Garden of Eden to have fellowship with Him. It is only by the fall of man that we were no longer able to be in His presence. Sin forced a separation between God and man to occur but was rectified by the sacrifice Christ paid.
Act 17: 24-29 says - "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from on blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,"
In this scripture, Paul is addressing the men of Athens. So religious they were that they had all the Gods setup to worship. Not to miss any, they even had an alter made, inscribed "to the unknown God". Paul proclaims the God they do not know and begins to describe Him to them.
He told the men of Athens then and tells us today that God made everything, the world and everything in it. Since He is in charge of everything here on earth and in heaven, He doesn't need the things we could make for Him. There is nothing we can make here on earth to house God.
Also, He doesn't need our praise or worship; after all He made us and breathed life into us. He created man from one bloodline and spread them all over the earth. Nothing has happened that He did not appoint to happen.
So what does He want then?
The answer is in verses 27-29 "so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising."
He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to seek Him, in the hope that when we begin to grope for Him we will find Him. He is right there waiting for us to find Him. It is in the constant companionship that we are to live and move and have our being. We are to be in constant communion, walking with Him, talking with Him, just like Adam did in the garden before the fall.
We are His offspring. We are to think of ourselves as loved and cared for, wanted and adored. God is not distant, He is right there waiting for us to find Him. Waiting for us to need Him and just be with Him.
Our God is a merciful God, a loving, compassionate, gentle, kind, longsuffering, holy, completely righteous God. He is not pushy or overbearing; he waits patiently for us to come to Him.
We can not compare Him to what we see here on earth, it could never do Him justice. We must go to Him in prayer and search the scriptures to know Him truly as He is. The personal God who cares for each of us individually.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
It is hard for me as his mother to let him go. Most of his life I was a single parent and he was my first and only priority. Although I know that he is a man now, in my mother vision, he will always be my little boy. Don't get me wrong, I am happy for him. He chose well, his new bride is a beautiful person inside and out. Even though I believe God has brought them together, my selfish side continues to want to hold on.
You see, I will no longer be the first one he runs to when he's hurt or upset. That is hard for me to come to grips with. Letting go is difficult but I have to release that duty because it’s now in the hands of his wife.
As a parent, our natural tendencies are to protect our children. As I sit here today, I am reminded that they are not alone. Even when our children go out on there own in this big scary world, they too have a God that watches over them.
So as my son embarks on a new journey so do I. My journey is a different one then his. While his is about beginning, mine is about ending and letting go. Mine is one of trust in God that He has my son firmly in his hand. That the promises of God I hold so close to me and stand firmly on are the same promises for my son. As in all circumstances, we are to learn and grow from them. This is no different; I must learn and grow not by holding on but by letting go.
What will God teach me? Well, I think maybe he will teach me about prayer, how my prayers are now my biggest tools I should use for my son and his wife. I am sure I will learn about trust, I already am learning about this one. I must trust God to watch over and take care of them.
I am sure the next 24 years will be a different journey. One that is lead not by a mother taking care of her son, but of a man leading his own family while a mother watches and prays.
For me today is somewhat bittersweet, there is a little bit of mourning for what was, mixed with happiness and pride for what has come. I am proud of the type of man my son has become. God gave me a good one to take care of for Him. I know that He was really never mine, he has always belonged to God, and I was only given the task of caring for him while on this earth. So I leave him now in the hands of the one who made him. He knows what’s best for him and I trust in His care. My prayers will go up each day for not just my son but also his wife now. Eventually, as they have children, prayers for them will be added.
I don't know what the future holds for the two of them but my prayer will be that what ever it is, it will be lead by God. My hope is that their lives and their union will glorify our Lord and Savior. They are off to a good start.
As for me, I'm learning.....
Friday, January 16, 2009
Instead, I would like to introduce you to a couple of friends of mine. They are new to the blog world so please stop by and check them out.
The first is Brenda @ Brenda's Blog. Brenda is a fabulous God filled woman. She is a writer, speaker and pastor's wife. I met Brenda from another wonderful friend of mine which you will meet below. From the first moment I met Brenda I knew that God resided in her. We were at a women's conference and the love I felt from her was true and genuine. Brenda has great insight so stop by her blog and give her some love.
The next is Carrie @ Just "Czech'n" In . Carrie and Clem both go to my church. But not for long because they are getting ready to go onto the mission field. Five years ago Carrie heard the call to the mission field and then waited patiently for the call to be received by her husband. The last year they have been attending to the necessary details to prepare to go out on the field. If all goes well, they will be in Czech Republic by April. Stop by and check out their story, follow and see where God will lead them.
Finally, I would like to introduce you to a good friend of mine that I truly adore! Her name is Pam Morgan and really is a walking miracle. Pam and her husband Phil are gospel singers. They travel all over to perform at churches and other Christian events. They have released many Cd's and are available for bookings at your church too. In 2000 on the way home from a concert they were in a tragic car accident in which Pam should have died. Her experience and recovery are indeed a complete miracle of God. They have shared their story through many mediums including the Oprah Show. Pam is currently writing a book to share her story that will be out soon. Stop by to check out Phil and Pam Morgan. Show them some love, book them to sing at your church or maybe even buy some music if you like.
Have a great day, I’m off to explore the great state of Texas!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Have you ever met a person that seems to never have anything good to say, ever? That person who's face is so sour that their lips seem to be in a constant pucker? Don't you wonder what has made them so miserable that they can't even smile?
These are the people in life that just suck all the light out of a room. If we are not careful they can suck the light out of us also. They can provoke us and change our mood so we reflect back to them what they are giving out.
Matt 5:14-16 - You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Here in Matthew, Christ tells us we are to be a light to a dark world. We are to set our light up on a lampstand where everyone can see it. In other words, we are to add light to the world, even to that sour faced person that tries to put our light out.
Sometimes it may seem the impossible to do. It may seem like you are being asked to swim through shark infested waters just to let your light come through. We may feel lousy or maybe even hurt but we can still reflect light.
You see we are not the ones that make the light we are only reflections of light. It is Christ in us that is the light and when we are walking strongly in the spirit, our light will reflect Him to a dark world. Just like the moon reflects the sun at night to give light to the earth. We too must reflect the Son to a dark world.
All power must have an outlet for it to generate more power. Additional power can only be generated as power is used. It is the same with us; we must use the power that has already been given to us for more power to be given to us. If we are to become strong in the spirit and used by God, we must first use what we already have. It would do no good to give an abundance of spiritual power to someone that would go out and live in the flesh. The power would be wasted. Instead, the spirit is poured out on those that are walking in the ways of the Lord.
Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
We must fill our lamps with oil and trim the wick to be at our full lighting capacity. Oil is like the word of God; it fills us with His light and keeps our wick trimmed for the world to see Him. Without the Word of God, our light would soon go out just as the lamp does when it runs out of oil.
John 8:12 - Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
In conclusion I would say that if we are to add light to the world instead of take it away, we must follow the Master of Light Himself, Jesus Christ. We must follow, one foot, one step, one foot, one step, right behind so we don't lose our way in a dark world. It’s easy for us to lose our footing and stray but if we stay right behind Jesus we can show His light with every step that we take.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
I have been thinking a lot about Satan’s way of stopping our progress yesterday and today. It seems like just when I feel like I am achieving huge spiritual breakthroughs, my body gives out on me and I become sick. I am wondering if this sickness, like many others in the past, is a way for Satan to try and stop my progress.
As I look back now, there have been times that once I got sick; the progress I was making seemed to stop. I would be pursuing something with fervent prayer and all the sudden I would fall sick. I wouldn't feel like praying so the pursuit would be stopped. After getting well, the momentum was gone.
So I am wondering, is this what Satan uses to stop me? Has this happened to anyone else?
Today, I am feeling a little better but still under the weather. I have decided that this too will pass and I am going to power through it with the same fervor in prayer. This time, Satan will not stop my progress. Sickness will not stop my pursuit of holiness and closeness to my God.
Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world!
Monday, January 12, 2009
It has that reaction for us, I believe, because brokenness is directly associated with pain. When we just hear the word we immediately think of something painful. Our thoughts go to a time when something happened in our lives that caused us to feel hurt, ashamed or maybe even betrayed.
What we don't normally associate with it is the thought of freedom. We don't think on our pain as an agent to bring freedom in our lives. Instead we hide or avoid it because, well.... It's painful.... Right?
I would like to ask you for at least the next few minutes to change your paradigm, to have a shift in your thinking. I would ask you to begin to think on the word brokenness and associate it with freedom. Begin to think on the pain of brokenness not as something to run from, but something you walk through to get to the freedom it brings.
Galatians 5:1 - Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Christ came to set us free from the burden of bondage we all carry. We all carry the bondage of sin, whatever your sin of choice is; Christ has come to set you free from it. Many times we hold on to our sins. Maybe it’s just a small sin that no one really cares about. Could be one that everyone else thinks is not a sin, but it is for you. Maybe its pride in you that needs to be broken. Maybe it’s a hurt from the past that you have stuffed down inside and refuse to look at. Maybe you are caught up in something that you never could have imagined being part of your life. What ever it might be, if it hinders your closeness with Christ, it’s probably a sin for you, and you need to lay it down.
Often, it takes brokenness for us to see what needs to be changed in us. We don't see our flaws or what needs to change in us as glaringly as others do. Our Savior, however, knows all of them and loves us anyway. What He does require though is a continuation in the process of sanctification. That means when we see the hurt or sin that God wants to cleanse us from, we don't run from it. But instead, we run to Him and cling tight as He walks with us through it.
What we find as we do this is there is freedom on the other side and with it comes joy.
So you’re probably asking, how? How do I break that association of pain to brokenness and reconnect it to freedom? How do I break the bondage that holds me and find freedom?
I believe to break the strong bonds that sometimes hold us; we must go beyond the casual prayer. The answer I believe is three fold.... Submission, prayer and fasting.
First we submit ourselves to the Lord. By coming before Him in humility and presenting ourselves as completely yielded. I do this each morning by bowing first on my hands and knees to show my submission to His will not mine. I place my face to the floor as an act of humility before a holy God to show that I know He is God and I am yielding to His authority.
Next, we must pray with fervor. How do we do that? We cry out with our whole heart. We begin by praising Him for who He is and what He has done. We repent of our sin and ask for what we need. We stop trying to fix ourselves and ask to be fixed. Then we yield to His will. We listen for His answer and accept it when we get it.
Last, we fast. Fasting has become a discipline that many forsake these days. I tell you, if you really want to change things in your life, begin to fast.
Matthew 17:20-21 - So Jesus said to them, "Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "move from here to there", and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."
Jesus tells us that some things can only be cured by prayer and fasting. In this part of scripture, the disciples had tried to heal the young boy and could not do it. Jesus tells them that this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
If we want to find complete freedom, we must approach the brokenness in our lives not by running from the pain but with submission, prayer and fasting. With all this done, we can take His promise in Psalm 126 to heart, at the end the reward is joy.
Psalm 126:5 says - Those who sow tears, Shall reap joy.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Before the sun and moon shone, before the stars twinkled in the sky, even before the earth had an axis, I knew you. Before all things began, I spoke your name and the angels applauded.
I knew the color of your hair and the shape of your eyes. I knew the smile you would have and the kind of heart you would carry. I knew all these things because you were already mine. Even then you belonged to me.
I waited many years for you. As the day finally arrived of your birth, heaven buzzed with excitement. The angels praised, as I paced the floor in anticipation and the time ticked off in waiting. I heard the cry come as you gasp your first breath on the earth. I watched anxiously as all your fingers and toes were counted. My child was born and all of heaven rejoiced.
You see I know all these things because I planned you. I am your Father and you my beloved are my favorite child. I sit on high in my heavenly realm and watch over you. Nothing passes by my eyes that concerns you. I see all things good and bad. I know what plans I have for you and they are all for good.
I am all things. I am the beginning and the end. I am the first and the last. I am the almighty God. I put the whole earth into motion, created all things, though many dispute it. I was there before all things and I will endure when all things pass.
I am giving you this note today to tell you, I have missed you. I have waited so long to be with you. After the fall of man and sin entered this world I could no longer walk the earth with you. I can not look upon sin you see and you would perish to look on me with sin in you. But I took care of things. I sent my son Jesus to change the course of man. Only, they spat on Him, mocked Him and nailed Him to a cross.
I made the earth shake that day and I tore the veil of the temple built for me in two from top to bottom. Then three days later, I did the impossible and rose Him up from the dead. He is alive and well, living with me now.
Those that meant to kill my son were fooled. What they meant for evil, I used for good. You see, His death and resurrection paid the price for you. You were always the one I wanted, so I sent my son to pay your price for you.
Now I must ask. After I have done such a thing for you, what have you done with my son Jesus? Do you know Him? I sent Him so you could come home to me one day. But the only way back home to Me is through Him. Without Him living inside of you, you will never see me or be with me. Instead you will live eternally away from me in the place I have prepared for those that choose to do evil. That place is Hell. So I must ask again, what have you done with my son? Will you go talk to Him? He is only a prayer away.
When you lay your head down tonight I will be watching and He will be waiting. He waits for you to invite Him in. Call His name and He will hear your prayer.
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.
Your Heavenly Father
I would like to pass this award on to 5 people:
Ben @ The Daily Walk , Peter @ Rediscovering the Church , Darlene @ Everything to Me AKA Puff's Pocket, Susan @ Mud Splats , Leslie @ Godstops
If you haven't already, I recommend you stop by and check them out.
Here's the rules:
1) Put the logo on your blog
2) Add the link of the blogger who shared the award with you
3) Pass this award to bloggers whose blogs you love
4) Add your link to the list of participants below
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Friday, January 9, 2009
As a Christian, I see the world in such turmoil, such distress everywhere and a dread rises up inside. I see the signs of our nation taking a direction that is not favorable for those of us that believe in the Almighty God. It is a time when our country has made a choice to go down a path away from God not to Him.
As I read Psalm 9 today God spoke to me to say, "I still have you in my hand" "Even though your nation may turn its head from Me, I still have you in my hand"
So first, as in Psalm 9:1-2 I will praise Him! "I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works, I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High."
He and only He is worthy of our praise, so we praise Him not because of the circumstances that surround us but in spite of them. We praise Him because He is the Most High, the sustainer, our comforter and all things are created by and through Him. We praise Him because He deserves our praise for who He is, not what He does. We Praise You Lord!
Verse 3-5 says When my enemies turn back; They shall fall and perish at Your presence. For You have maintained my right and my cause; You sat on the throne judging in righteousness. You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.
When I read this verse my heart breaks for the nations of the world, especially for America. Those nations that knew Him and turn back shall meet Him face to face and they will fall. They will perish from being called one of His nations and He will blot out their name from His blessings. Even though they no longer choose to recognize Him, He has not left His throne and He judges the righteousness of all.
But don't lose heart, for there is hope, Verse 9-10 says The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.
We are not forsaken. Just because things around you may seem scary and times look bleak, it does not mean that God is not actively involved or doesn't care anymore. You are in the palm of His hand. Those that know Jesus as their Savior are His and He cares deeply for them. Our nation may fall, but He will not allow you too. He is our refuge our safe place. When all is tumbling down around you, run to Him. Don't walk, RUN! He will give you the strength to walk and if your legs get to wobbly He will pick you up and carry you. Run to Him.
Verse 12 says When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. God does not forget His people, even if the earth quakes and trembles, He is still there for those that have humbled themselves and called upon the cross. Even when judgment is falling on a nation that chooses to reject Him, we are not forgotten.
In the end of this Psalm, verse 20 says this; Put them in fear, O Lord, That the nations may know themselves to be but men. When all is said and done, those that have denied Him will once and for all fear Him and know He is God. They will finally see that they are but mere men, not Gods themselves.
Those that have been faithful, the ones stamped with His name, will have hope. A hope eternal, full of joy and full of unspeakable Love. An eternal life in the presence of the one that gives light to all things. The one that sets things in motion, that speaks and causes things to exist. The one that IS just because HE IS, the Beginning and the End.
You are not forgotten, you are held in the palm of His hand. He calls you wonderful, marvelous, beautiful. He knows each breath you take, your fears and your joys. He counts your hairs each morning and kisses your forehead each night. Not one in heaven is allow to speak against you, not even the angels. He says to them "Have you seen my child? So amazing, that one is!" "For that one, I sent my son!"
So the only way to end is the same we started, once again to lift our voice in praise.
O Lord, I will praise You, I will praise you with my whole heart! I call you marvelous, wonderful, faithful, my sustainer, the one my heart adores. If all falls around me, I will praise your name. For you alone are worthy to be praised. I sing praises to Your name, for you are, the Most High!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Will you approach the throne?
Through humility we bow to meet Him. Just as the road is narrow, the gate of the door is also low. So we must stoop, stoop, stoop to enter the door. As Beth Moore always says "In Gods economy, the way up is down." How true that is my friends. To seek a deeper sense of God we must first render His glory. We bend our stiff necks and submit ourselves. Falling face down to the God that deserves our reverence.
Beginning this year, my prayer was to go deeper, love more, having a deeper love as Christ has. What I am finding as my prayer is being answered, is that the way to this is a broken pride and a humble heart. All chains of bondage must be broken, all pride must be extinguished and all of my own gratification must be set aside.
Matthew 26:39 - He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."
As Jesus was about to face the impossible task of the cross, He too struggled with His flesh. His response was to "fall face down" before the Father and make His request known. He shows us the way up; the way to a deeper presence with the Father is down.
Face down is the position of humility, of complete submission, that breaks the stiffness of our neck and draws us to the foot of the throne. We walk boldly through the door, which is Jesus, into the throne room, approach the Father and fall down at His feet. Often His response is to comfort us. To pull us up from the floor and draws us into His arms. Other times we are asked just to sit with Him while He tells us of His plans.
So as I seek a deeper walk with, a closer resemblance to and truer love of my Savior Jesus Christ, I have begun a journey up through falling down.
I humbly fall face down, my back to the sky and praise Him for the greatness that He is. I spend my first few moments in His presences showing Him the reverence that is due. Bent over this morning, as I reflected on the greatness of who He is, the power of Psalm 8 swept over me and I cried tears love for Him.
Psalm 8:1 - O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!
His glory is above all the earth and the Heavens. How glorious is that! Hallelujah! Praise His name!
Verse 3-4 - When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him?
He made EVERYTHING. Who are we that he is concerned for us? He is mindful enough to care personally for each and every one of us. How amazing! How amazing!
Verse 5-6 -For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.
We were made as a creation lower than the angels but yet we are given glory and honor. We are given a position of dominion, ruling over what God himself created with His hands. He put the other creations under submission to us. Sinful creatures as we are, made lower than the heavenly angels, we will be allowed to one day reign with Christ.
The only response to that are shouts of praise! We do not deserve what we have been given.
I leave you with this. In the desert after all was ready and the priest prepared to finally begin their ministry in the tabernacle, Aaron blessed the people and sacrificed their sin offering. The glory of the Lord appeared to the people, and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and all the fat on the alter. The last line in Leviticus 9:24 says this, When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Let that be our response today. Let’s shout for Joy and fall to our faces before a glorious God.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Over the holidays, I was told such a sad account that it made my heart stop for a moment. The statement was”I used to go in the bathroom (at a public place), cry, then smile at myself in the mirror and go back out". I was deeply affected by these words. As I began to really think on it, I realized that what she was doing was denying her feelings, stuffing them inside and putting on a smile for the world around her. As I thought about it more, I realize that I too was guilty of putting on a happy face at times.
We are taught from an early age to just "pull your boots straps up and move on" or "there's nothing you can do so just get on with it". Boys from a small age are told "Big boys don't cry",”be strong, be a man". Little girls are told "smile, look pretty".
As I began to pray on this, God began to show me, how I was taught myself to deny my own feelings. Sometimes I can be hurting inside and cover it so easily with a smile. That is not what God intended us to be like. I'm not saying that we should fall apart everywhere we go but maybe we should be a little more honest with what is going on in us.
I don't believe I have ever heard any of those responses from our Savior. He never told anyone, "Just smile through it". I believe He would say mourn if you need to, there is a time to cry, I will hold you and comfort you while you do.
So I say, don't smile while your heart is breaking, don't just put on a happy face. Instead, take your broken heart to Jesus. Let him comfort you and mend it while he keeps you cradled in His arms.
Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 126:5 - Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Transparency is not one of the greatest attributes of the world these days. For that matter, even the church has issues in this area. I think maybe, it’s even more difficult to be transparent in a church environment than anywhere else. We get up in the morning, put on our "got it together" mask and we are on our way to meet the world. We live our lives denying our feelings, telling ourselves "it’s not that bad" and stuffing it away inside. We think our incorrect thoughts or do our wrong deeds and file them away thinking, "glad no one knows that!” All the time living our life so scared that we won't be accepted, liked or loved if people knew the whole truth about us.
Is this you? Is this really how we are supposed to live? Is this the surrendered life?
Little by little as I have exposed my scary past to the light, God has swooped in each time to be my protector. He has stood guard of me as the openness of my truth is laid bare for the world to see. What I find each time He has me do this, is that He places care and protection around me and keeps the judgment at bay.
Transparency is like a window into the soul. You can see right through it. When you look inside, instead of seeing the darkness, you see the light of Christ inside. When you have past hurt, sin or shame clouding up the glass, how can people see the light of Christ through the window? It's like putting up a poster of Christ on the inside of the glass to block the window. People might see an artificial image of Christ, but it’s not the light that glows from within you.
Healing only comes in the light. We must bring all things into the light, out in the open so Christ can clean them up.
John 12:46 says - I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.
Christ came so we could live in the light, not in regret or bound to the sin of our past. We must bring it into the light; detach the shame from it for we have been forgiven and live as a new creation.
In Ephesians 6: 13-15 Paul tells us to put on the armor of God to do battle and defeat the enemy. We are to gird our loins in the belt of truth. The belt of truth is being open and honest to God, ourselves and others. We are to live with no secrets hidden away, a transparent life so the devil has no foot hold in our lives. If we have no secrets hiding anywhere, what will Satan have to whisper in our ear? The answer is nothing! That my friend is part of girding your loins in the belt of truth. Giving Satan nothing that he can use to send thoughts of defeat.
Galatians 6:2 says - share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.
As the body of Christ, we are to share one another's burdens. We are to hold each other up and encourage one another. Slowly, as I lay my burdens down and share them with you, you have been there to lift me up and encourage me. I just want to say thank you for being obedient and sharing mine. I will share in your also.
Monday, January 5, 2009
My regrets come from a time in my life when I was too young and to innocent to know any better. You see I came from a broken life. A mother who's idea of love was wrong and as a result I ended up spending most of my life trying to make her love me. A father who after the divorce from my mother gave me up to adoption with my step-father. Finally a new father, who in the end used me for his own sexual pleasure. So you see I had no concept of God, no understanding of what love was and no protection from the cruelty of the world.
But these are not where my regrets come from. They come from a choice I made as a 16 year old girl. So many years ago, I meet a guy and I loved him. We let our passions overcome us and I ended up pregnant. I remember feeling so alone as I had to make a decision. I was only a girl trying to make an adult decision. What was I to do, my mother had told me I couldn't live at home and she wouldn't help me if I decided to have the baby. My boyfriend got scared and left me. I still remember entering that clinic to abort my child. I remember the feel of the cold stirrups on my feet. I remember the empty, hollow place inside of me that was left after all was said and done. Only scars were left, but they were ones you couldn't see because they were on the inside. I didn't know that abortion was taking a life, that I would regret my decision for the rest of my life. I made a decision with no real education, no knowledge of the truth.
There are more regrets that go with this situation. After the abortion my boyfriend and I stayed together. I loved him so much but I was so hurt by the whole experience and I blamed him. I blamed him for leaving me alone. I blamed him for not stopping it from happening. I left him and we broke up. During the time we were broke up, I found comfort in the arms of an old boyfriend. After we got back together he could never forgive me. After all that time, it ended because of my mistake. I loved him and I had such regrets for the mistake I had made but it was over. He moved on and eventually I did too.
It is by the love and grace of God that I know that I am forgiven for the choice to abort my child. I know I have Gods forgiveness and I am so grateful for that. But I still have regrets for the decisions I made and sorrow comes when I think on what should have been.
So as I look back now, after so many years, the tears seem to flow so easily. I'm not sure why. Maybe I tucked the feelings down inside and just moved on, so many years ago. Maybe it’s OK to let the tears of regret finally flow. Maybe it’s OK to mourn the regret and let the guilt go.
We own nothing on this earth, why do we strive so hard to accumulate things that we have no real ownership over? God created everything, the universe, the earth and everything in them. We buy land, have a deed, but don't really own it. Countries go to war to claim a land that doesn't really belong to them. Leaders set themselves up on high platforms and claim their fame. Such vanity, it all is. They rage against being ruled by a creator and build themselves up on their own to rule. They plot against the holy one to rule the earth their own way.
The Lord laughs from heaven and holds them in ridicule as He watches from Heaven. I am sure He is shaking His head in disbelief.
Psalm 2:1-4- Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord against His anointed saying, Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.
God warns, that eventually all people around the world will be spoken to by the almighty. In the end they will all see the son descending down from Heaven and the earth will quake with one word from His voice. There will be much distress, but every knee shall bow to the King and call Him Lord one day. The nations all belong to Him they were given to Christ by the Father as His inheritance. All things (the ends of the earth) are His possessions. The pride in themselves will eventually be broken with a rod of iron.
Psalm 2:5-9 - Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: "Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion." "I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron: You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel."
So God tells us to be wise. And for those in positions of authority, He instructs to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with fear and to rejoice in trembling. He warns us, to stay on the side of Christ because all authority has been given to Him. We should stand before Him in awe and reverence for He is God and this earthly Kingdom belongs to Him. You are blessed to put your trust in Him and not fight against Him.
Psalm 2:10-12 - Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
Just as Solomon and the Psalmist both figured out, the only real wisdom is to put your faith in Christ and look to eternity. All else is vanity.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
God has said repent, turn back, but no one is listening. It affects us only mildly. Pray, ask for forgiveness, but where’s your passion, your surrender? Why won't you give it all? Where is your surrendered heart? God asks. "Where are my people that are willing to die for me? Where are the ones that are willing to fall to there knees? Those that will forsake there pride, look like a fool to the world and cry out my name?"
Don't you see the pain in Gods eyes as He looks upon a people that have spit upon His mercy? Don't you see the arms of a Father that falls to His knees as He watches the children He sent His son for turn and walk away? His son had to die for this, for those that speak so nicely but have no love? For the lukewarm, so lacking in love that they would rather live comfortably than feed a starving child? That would judge the less fortunate and only walk by someone begging for food?
I watch a nation, building its temples, other Gods everywhere. Every religion accepted in a tolerant world. If you don't like what God said in His bible, then you just change it to suit you. Blasphemy! God says "go and worship your other Gods, worship you money." "Build you churches that have no passion in them." "I will not bless you", God says to America. "How dare you defile My sacrifice that was given."
"But when your own child lies dieing and you have nowhere to turn, what then. What then will you do? Will you throw your hands up in the air then? Will you put your pride aside then? Will you give up your treasures then? Will you cry out to me then? Or will you still care how you look to the rest of the world? Will you still worry about what others might think of you or say?"
"You have lost your heart for me." says God, "In my mercy, I will warn you once more...... Repent, turn back......"
"Care for the poor and the hurting..... Change your heart..... before it’s to late....."
Saturday, January 3, 2009
My final exam in that class was to bake a cake and bring it to school. Seems easy enough, right? Well, I nearly flunked that class due to one small error. I left out the flour. The recipe had flour listed in the ingredient area of the recipe but not in the directions area.
I was so confident and excited as I began to prepare. I followed the recipe directions exactly, mixed it all up and put it in the oven. I waited and waited and waited.... Paced the floor.... Then waited some more.... I eventually came to complete frustration over the cakes refusal to solidify. I then decided that what I had made was never going to be considered a cake and attempted to take the soupy mixture out of the oven. Next thing I knew the soup that was suppose to be my cake was all over my mothers kitchen floor. AHHH, she’s gonna kill me!
The waterworks began to flow and tears of frustration leaked from my eyes as I stood looking at my final exam spreading across the floor. Not only was my final exam ruined, but I now had a huge mess that would take forever to clean up. Not to mention how my mother was going to react.
Recently, as I reflected back on this experience, it occurred to me that religion is very similar to baking a cake. Just like flour is the main ingredient needed for a cake, Jesus Christ is the main ingredient needed for religion. Just like a cake is not a cake without flour, religion is not true religion with out Jesus. You can take religion, stir it up with all kinds of good ingredients but without Jesus, there is no salvation. Without Jesus religion will never be what God intended it to be. It will never be the bridge to get back to Him. So just like you can't have a cake without flour, you also can't have salvation without Jesus.
Although you started with lots of good intentions, it all falls apart in the end. Without the main ingredient all you end up with is a soupy mess spilled on the floor. Without Jesus, your tears of frustration when everything falls apart will fall on deaf ears. Then when you find yourself in ruins and the mess needs to be cleaned up, who will help you put it all back together.
Only Jesus can do that because just like flour in a cake, Jesus is the glue that holds everything together
Friday, January 2, 2009
Let's dig in.....
The first thing that comes for the righteous man is blessing from God.
Verse 1 - Blessed is the man, who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
This shows a progression, first walking with the ungodly, which leads to stopping and standing, then eventually taking a seat. When we decide to take a seat, we intend to stay awhile. This verse shows a progression of what happens when we begin to consider the worlds view reasonable, stop to consider it and eventually let it take root in our life.
We are blessed when we avoid even walking in the counsel of the ungodly. The counsel.... What does that mean? I would say it means we don't look to the ungodly for the advice as to how to live our lives. Most of the advice coming from the world is backward to what the word of God advises. We must live by Gods standards, not the worlds.
The second thing that comes for the righteous man is great joy and pleasure in the ways of God.
Verse 2 - But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
As we drench ourselves in the laws of God, (His word) we see the character of God and we begin to fall in love with Him. As this happens we want to do what He calls us to do. His desires become our desires. It becomes more than a duty; it becomes a great joy to meditate on His ways day and night. It becomes one of those things that you can't get enough of, like a song that you can't get out of your head. Because we love Him we also love His law.
The third thing that comes for the righteous man is prosperity.
Verse 3 - He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
This does not mean if you do everything right you will have plenty of money and everything will be smooth sailing. It does mean that we will have what God considers prosperity. Let me explain.
A tree planted by the river grows to be a great and mighty tree because it has plenty of the things it needs to grow. It gives off fruit, "in season" and it stays strong, it does not wither and die. When we walk in Gods counsel and stay rooted in His word we will be like that tree planted by the river. We will grow to be great and mighty for God because we are staying where we can be feed with what we need to grow. There will be great times (seasons) where we produce much fruit. We will stay strong and not wither and die spiritually because we are connected to what we need to live. When we are strongly connected to God and rooted in his word we prosper. We prosper not in the framework of the world but in the eternal sense. What we do will prosper because what we do has become the same as what God desires.
So what does it say about the ungodly?
First, the ungodly are unusable in the Kingdom of God and they will blow away like the wind.
Verse 4 - The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
The chaff is the unusable portion of wheat that falls to the threshing floor. The wind then comes along and blows it away. In the Kingdom of God the ungodly are like the chaff, they are unusable to God. They will eventually fall to the ground before God but it will be too late. They will be thrown away like the chaff with the wind.
Second, the ungodly will not stand in the judgment
Verse 5 - Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
The ungodly will not stand up to the judgment that will come. Their excuses will not hold water when they stand before a righteous and holy God. He is love yes but He is also holy and just. Justice will eventually come and the excuses will not hold up in the court of God. There will not be sinners that get to stand together with those that God calls righteous. Only those forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ will stand as righteous. The ungodly will not be a part of what waits in heaven for the believer.
Third, in the end, the ways of the ungodly will perish
Verse 6 - For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The choice made to reject Jesus Christ as their savior will ultimately damn them to hell. Their ways of wickedness will not stand forever. God will eventually make all wrongs right and evil will be put away for eternity. They will perish with the evil they have chosen. God will not allow evil to continue forever. He will, in His chosen time, destroy those who choose to be ungodly.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
I don't really like making New Year resolutions. We always make resolutions and then turn right around and break them. I don't like it when someone else breaks a promise to me so I figure why do that to myself. Instead, I decided that I would seek God for the first change in me He would like to bring this year.
In other words, what's next God?
God has shown me many things that I must do to reach out to people in the New Year. I have written about and even challenged many to do some of them in the coming year. But as I began to pray about today's post, God spoke to my heart very personally.
The main focus for God with us is not the things we do, but the condition of our hearts. Don't get me wrong, we are supposed to give abundantly of ourselves to others. But it will come easily and naturally if our heart is right. If we truly love others then we will reach out to them. First though, God is concerned if our heart is right.
Over and over this past year, as I would complain to God about the things I saw wrong, He would remind me to focus on my own part. I would see the lack of real love in the church and get upset. I would go to God, stomp my feet and say, "Why don't they reach out to me? Why don't they act like they want to know who I am?" What He said to me was, "why don't you reach out to them?” Now that caught me off guard.... Instead of expecting everyone else to reach out and be different, I should be different. I should extend myself in love even if they don't.... I should love others even when I'm not being loved.....
You see, the only person that we have control over is ourselves. We must first concern ourselves with our own behavior. I had to ask myself, "Is my heart right when I blame everyone else for the problems I see?" "Do I really love unconditionally when I am worried about what the outcome is for me?" Christ reached out and was rejected by His own people. Did He recoil and complain? No, He simply asked the Father to forgive them and reached out again. He continues to reach out today and gets rejected by many. But His love is constant in spite of the rejection.
As I was reading today in I Peter where God is speaking to wives about submission. I read this in chapter 3 verse 4 : rather let it be the hidden person of the heart with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
If you read the verse before this one, it is speaking about adorning our beauty in our hearts not just our outward appearance. What really spoke to me in this verse was "the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit" and how that is very precious to God. My thought was "if it’s precious in His sight then I so want that sort of spirit" A gentle and quiet spirit of love would silently move the world towards God. I want that heart in 2009 Lord.
As I wondered what that might look like, a picture began to form in my mind. A gentle word, a loving touch. A quiet prayer. I think maybe I have seen it in the love of a mother for a child when she quietly holds her sick child to comfort it. She loves with a gentle touch. Without a single word her love is known. It’s known because it’s felt by all who see it. Its felt because it comes from a tender loving heart. She's not concerned about how it will affect her or if she will get sick herself. There is no worry about rejection or what is fair. There is only the simple love of a mother quietly being shown to her child.
The love we receive every day from Christ is this way. It’s not loud and boastful or pushy and prideful. It’s gentle and quiet. It’s simple and comforting. It is the love that only comes from a gracious and merciful God. A love that comes from a Father to his child, from a Bridegroom to its bride, from Jesus Christ to us.
I want that kind of love in my heart this year. A heart of gentle and quiet love. A heart that gives love no matter the circumstances, unafraid of rejection and not looking for anything in return. One so full of Gods love that it’s just felt by others because its kind and caring. A heart known only by the quiet touch that it gives off.
As we begin 2009, this is my prayer. "Lord, take my heart, mold it and change it, so that when we reach this point again next year, I can say, my heart now more reflects Yours."