Consider the Lilies..: October 2012   

Oct 31, 2012

Ready, set, let go!


'Let them go'
T.D. Jakes

There are people who can walk away from you.
And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you,  loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone.
When people can walk away from you... let them walk.

Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.
The Bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us.


For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us
1 John 2:19



You've got to know when it's over.  Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me.
And if it takes too much sweat... I don't need it.
Stop begging people to stay.
Let them go!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to..


If you are holding on to past hurts and pains..



























Sowing the seeds of greatness

Have you ever wondered why some believers experience the best life God has for them, while others seem to only reach a certain point somewhere between mediocre and less than ordeal?  Some end up settling for less than the best and grow stagnant in their walk with Christ.  And then there are still who meet Christ, receive salvation, but the quickly walk away from the precious gift they just received.

In the Bible, Jesus tells a simple story that gives powerful insight into why some Christians can hear God's word and not bear any fruit from it while others do bear fruit but at different levels.  You see, God has no favorites.  He gives you and me the same opportunity to have the very best.  So, if we want to reap God's best in our lives and not just settle for something less, we need to study what Jesus talked about.
Lets take a look at the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-8 (Amplified Version)

Give attention to this!  Behold, a sower went out to sow.


And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, 
and the birds came and ate it up.

Other seed [of the same kind] fell on ground full of rocks, where it had not much soil;
 and at once it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil; 
and when the sun came up it was scorched, 
and because it had not taken root, it withered away.


Other seeds [of the same kind] fell among thorn plants, and the thistles
grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it,
and it yielded no grain.


And another seed [of the same kind] fell into good (well adapted) soil
and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielding up to
thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times
as much as had been sown.


Notice how Jesus first says "Give attention to this!"  Obviously, this parable is important.  Next we need to understand that the sower is the Holy Spirit, the seed is His word, and everyone receives 'the same kind' of seed.  God is no respecter of persons and each of us hears the same word of God, no matter what our circumstances.
The ground is the key in this parable.  Lets look at the four types of ground or soil Jesus describes and think about which one fits you.
  • The first ground is a weak, unprepared ground that allows the enemy to easily snatch up, or steal, the seed that's been sown.  An example of this is a believer who gets angry at someone right after a powerful message in church, so they lose what they received.
  • The second type of ground has no depth.  This represents a shallow Christian who may love God, but they live controlled by their will and emotions instead of the Holy Spirit.
  • Then there is the ground that cannot focus.  This is a big problem today because we have so many frequent distractions like cell phones, that keep people from spending time with God, causing them to miss out on things He wants to tell them.
  • Lastly, Jesus described a good soil that takes the seed and produces a harvest.  This is where we want to be if we want God's best.
If you aren't experiencing God's best, it could be that you need to become better soil for the seed of His word. If so, there is something you need to know...

Compromise limits God's best!  Compromise relates to a lack of commitment.  If you are not truly committed, you will not reap the hundred-fold that God says you can receive.  A commitment level to Christ that is not 100% is the reason some people bear only thirty-fold or sixty-fold like the parable describes.  If we want to reap a harvest of a hundred-fold, then we must get the compromise out of our lives, which is anything contrary to scripture.

For example, if you're bitter with someone- your heart is not right with that person or God, and you are compromising your godly character.
Someone may have treated you badly, and you may feel justifiably upset- but according to God's word, you have no right to stay angry with them.

Joyce Meyer


Oct 29, 2012

What I learned today..


My homework today was a study on gossip (false reports) and how Satan uses the power of our words against us..  I found it interesting so I thought I would share it..

Before you speak ask yourself..
1. Will what I am about to say bring glory to God?
2. Is it the truth?
3. Is it fair to all concerned?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
5. Will it edify others?
6. If you are talking about another person, have you said the same thing to him or her?  (please note, I said have you, not would you).
7. Do you know that what you are saying is a fact or have you arrived at your own conclusions after hearing rumors?
8. If you have something against your brother or sister, have you attempted to be reconciled to them before discussing it with others?
9. Is it absolutely necessary that you say this?

If you answered no to any of these, your path is simple..  Don't speak at all..


"Thou shalt not raise a false report" (Exodus 23:1). The word "raise" in this verse means
receive or utter. We are not to listen to or spread false reports. Philippians 4:8 indicates
we are to think on only good reports. 

But how do we recognize if someone is bringing us a false report?

 A false report will:

• Raise questions about the motives or actions of other brothers and sisters in the
Lord.
• Discredit spiritual leadership.
• Cause division and strife. When we are busy fighting between ourselves, we
cannot aggressively fight the true enemy, Satan.
• Always focus on the negative.

A false report arises from motives of: 
• Pride: To exalt themselves, a person puts down someone else.
• Envy and covetousness: A person secretly desires what others have so he/she criticizes
them.
• Guilt: A person transfers his guilt to others. He feels guilty about his own sins and
failures so point out those of others.
• Rebellion: The rebellious spirit targets leadership.  "If I were the leader I would....."
• Bitterness: A person has been hurt, so they hurt others with their words.

How to recognize a false report:
• The person may test you first. They may ask "How do you feel
about__________?" They are testing your feelings before proceeding with the
false report.
• The person will create curiosity. They may say "You won't believe what I heard
about_____"or "Did you hear the latest about_______". They are trying to
motivate your curiosity to ask what they know.
• They will claim to know the true story or have access to secret, inside
information. This appeals to your pride. You want to become part of this select
group with such knowledge.
• They may disguise it as a request for counsel. "I need your opinion on a
matter....", and then proceed to share a false report under the guise of seeking
spiritual counsel.
• A false report can even be shared through a prayer request. "We really need to
pray for ________because_____" and they proceed to share what is actually
gossip about the individual.
• A false report is often shared under the guise of concern. The person begins by
saying "I am deeply concerned about ________". This serves as an introduction to the false report which follows.


How to stop a false report:
Ask the person bringing you the report the following questions:
• "Why are you telling ME this?"
• "Where did you get this information?" (A person giving the false report usually will
not want to tell you their source.)
• "Have you gone to the person you are talking about according to the principles of
Matthew 18:15-17"?


“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

• "Have you checked the facts, or are you just repeating the story?"
• "Can I quote you when I check out the facts on this?"
• "Do you think this qualifies as that which we are to focus on according to
Philippians 4:8?"

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Or you may just simply say...
• "I really do not want to hear this."



Make it count..

As I type this, an 800 mile wide hurricane is headed straight for the east coast..  It is getting stronger by the minute..  The weather channel said that millions of people will be affected.. Thousands of people will be without power, people will be without water..  Families will loose their homes..  People will die..

I live a pretty comfortable existence  in The Midwest..  This morning my husband drove our daughter to school in the new SUV she got for her birthday..  I got up and cooked breakfast for my husband, father-in-law, and roommate..  I took a long hot shower, put on a pair of designer jeans, and texted a friend of mine..
Those are the things I did this morning..

These are the things I didn't do this morning..
I didn't thank God for my father-in-law who drove all the way to Omaha from New Mexico to bring my daughter an SUV for her birthday.  I didn't thank Him for the nice weather that enabled my husband to drive our daughter to school while parents on the coast are rushing to get their children to safety..  I didn't thank Him for the electricity to cook our breakfast or a working refrigerator that kept the bacon and eggs that I cooked from spoiling when tomorrow others wont have that luxury..  I didn't thank him for the hot water that rushed out of the shower head for me that people on the coast won't be enjoying tomorrow..  I didn't thank Him for my designer jeans..  I didn't thank Him for the ability to text my friend today knowing that tomorrow others will be desperately trying to reach loved ones on cell phones that won't be answered..

Friday I had a conversation with someone that didn't sit well with me..  I woke up this morning still dwelling on it..  Yesterday as I was walking down the hallway I heard a pastor say something that bothered me..  I festered about that this morning too..
But then I turned on the news and heard about the hurricane and all of a sudden I felt very small..  I realized how insignificant my offenses are..  Not just Friday's and yesterday's offenses, but all of them..

We take our time on earth for granted, thinking that we will always have time to deal with our feelings, we will have plenty of time to 'make it right'..  But we don't know that..  We could be gone tomorrow..  They could be gone tomorrow..  What if someone left this earth before you could 'make it right' with them?  Yeah, maybe right now you don't want to make it right..  Maybe  now you are still stinging from how they treated you..  Maybe now you feel justified for how you feel and you are waiting for them to make it right with you..  But what if they were gone?  Would you still feel justified knowing that the only thing that kept you from making amends was your pride?

I don't know how to say this in a tactful way so ill just say it..
It doesn't matter what someone said or did to offend you..  It doesn't matter how you were treated..  It doesn't matter if the offender isn't sorry or hasn't made an effort to change their behavior..  IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW YOU FEEL..

What matters is the Kingdom..  Living for God..  Doing our best to live like Christ..  
A while ago I blogged about having an eternal perspective..  Little did I know when I wrote it how significant it would be to me today..

Today IS the first day of the rest of your life..  Make it count..

Kindness


Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
There’s nothing that this sorrowing, sinning world needs more than kindness. Yet, there are many Christians who seem to never learn how to be kind.
We need to pray for the grace of kindness, so that we may walk softly among people, never hurting another life by harsh words or ungentle acts.
When we’re kind, we have something of the beauty of Christ in our life. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, the light of divine love will shine out from our dull nature, and transform it.
“Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Col 3:12)
This will make us more sweet-tempered and gentle-spirited. It will make us honest in our dealings with our fellow men. It will make us godly people to live with at home. It will make us good neighbors and faithful friends. A life lived this way will leave countless blessings in this world.
Such a life of quiet, simple, humble, Christlike goodness will influence other lives, making them better, happier, holier, sweeter. A ministry of simple kindness is within the reach of every Christian. It requires no brilliant gifts, and no great wealth. It is a ministry which anyone may fulfill.
“The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Pet 3:4)
In these days of worldliness, the church needs just such simple goodness. It has eloquence in its pulpits, and activity in its pews, but it needs more godly people filled with the gentleness of Christ, repeating the life of Christ wherever they go.
- J. R. Miller

    Oct 26, 2012

    The Mark

    Click on the link and watch the video!

    666 Truth Home

    Oct 23, 2012

    Ogres are like onions..


    SHREK: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.
    DONKEY: Example?
    SHREK: Example? Okay. Uh... ogres are like onions. 

    DONKEY: They stink? 
    SHREK: Yes. No!
    DONKEY: Oh, they make you cry?
    SHREK: No!
    DONKEY: Oh, you leave them out in the sun, they get all brown and start sprouting little white hairs.
    SHREK: No! Layers! Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.~


    ***
    People have layers too..  I believe that part of God's job (for lack of a better word) is to peel away the outer, maybe not so good layers..  This process is usually pretty painful for us..  You see, most of the time we don't know that God is working on us by ridding us of the hard, prideful, thick, spiny, rough outer layers..  Now you would think that once we are aware of what is happening that it would be easy for us..  We know that God is good, we know that God's ways are the right ways, that He has a plan and His plan is always for good..  So naturally not only are we be happy about this procedure, we are more than willing to cooperate and help the process along..  Right?

    Nope..


    You see, we want those outer layers!  We have lived with them for so long that they have become a part of us..  We think we need them, it hurts to have them pulled away..  So we make excuses as to why we need them..  "No it's not pride, it's strength!  I'm not easily offended or defensive, I'm 'guarding' my heart!  I'm not judgmental, I'm just honest!"  Or my own personal layer "I don't have trust issues, I just turn to God and not people"..  Oh, believe me when I realized that God had decided that my distrust of any male but my husband was a layer that needed to be peeled, I was so not on board!  I fought it..  A lot..  Which only makes the process even more painful..  Once the layer is peeled, what is underneath is exposed..  It's much more sensitive than the outer layer..  Sometimes the inner layer is so sensitive that we cover it with several outer layers, each one tougher than the one beneath it..  So it takes God a while to pull away all of the layers, and each one more painful than the last..



    But once all the layers are peeled away we can take another look at the more sensitive inside and and do what we need to do to fix it..  I know that sometimes we think that it doesn't need to be fixed, that it was so long ago, we have put it behind us and there is no need to expose it again..  But we don't really put it behind us and move on..  We just cover it up and try our hardest to pretend like it isn't there..  But it is, it always is.. It never goes away until we deal with it for real, and once and for all..  Sometimes, even with all of the layers covering it, it manages to peek out once in a while..


    If you are in the peeling process right now, I can empathize, I am too..  I have a lot of layers over my trust issues and I am no where near the core of it, but I'm in the process..

    But what happens when we don't allow God to peel away the layers?  Well, like any onion, if you leave it alone long enough it will grow roots..
    Believe me, you don't want that to happen..  So let God do what He does..

    Even if we think it's unnecessary, even if it's something we are sure we don't want, even though it might agony for us; it's a good thing..  The whole process..  The peeling, revealing the sensitive layer under it and the layers even more sensitive under that one, it's all for good..

    Peeling onions brings tears..  But they don't last forever..

    Oct 22, 2012

    What is it gonna take?

    Today a question was asked of me: "What is it gonna take for you to stop being affected with the things of this world that upset you and realize that compared to the kingdom, all of this is insignificant?"

    Um...

    I was talking to a friend of mine who found a lump in her breast..  She does not have cancer, but she said "If I learned that I had cancer, would the offenses that I hold on to now mean anything to me at all?  No, they would not.  I would be too focused on the Lord and the time I had left on this earth"

    So what is it going to take for me to get over hurt feelings, misunderstandings, offenses, and indignation?  Do I need God to make something  incredibly significant (and probably not good) happen to me before I stop looking around and start looking up?  When am I going to realize that it's all just so stupid?  That I don't need to be offended, strike first, strike back, defend myself or confront anyone who acts in a manner that I don't approve of?

    What is it gonna take?

    “Meaningless! Meaningless!
    says the Teacher.
    “Utterly meaningless!

        Everything is meaningless.”

    What does man gain from all his labor

        at which he toils under the sun?

    Generations come and generations go,

        but the earth remains forever.

    Ecc. 1:1-4

    If my house caught on fire right now would I care about a few stupid disagreements or misunderstanding?  If my daughter were hit by a car today (God forbid) would someone's opinion mean anything to me?  If my husband didn't make it home safely would it matter to me if someone may have the wrong idea about me?
    If I were standing before God himself, would anything else matter?  At all?
    NO!

    What is it gonna take for me to realize; to really, really understand that though my life on earth is limited, how I live my life on this earth will determine my reward in Heaven?  And what is it gonna take for me to live that way?

    You know, my house is not on fire right now, but that doesn't mean it won't ever be..  I can think that I will live a long life and that I will have plenty of time to get my self together, but the truth is; I don't know that..  I could die today..  And if I did, and I stood before God today, could I hold my head up and say that I did everything that I could have done to live the way He wanted me to?
    No, I could not..

    Because I can do better..

    Oct 21, 2012

    The thorn in my side..

    Paul (the guy in the Bible) had what he called a "thorn in the flesh"..  For some time I believed it to be a health issue, but after more research I don't believe it was..  I believe it was something else..
    Anyway, Paul asked God to remove the 'thorn', but God would not..


    But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
    2 Corinthians 12:9

    So then Paul was grateful for the thorn because it made him remember who he was and how much he needed Jesus..  I have a thorn in my side..  I think we all do..  I don't know if we have the same thorn forever or if after we pull it out, another one gets wedged in..  But my thorn is a person..  Now I don't know if this is going to make any sense but I'll give it my best shot..  

    As odd as this is going to sound, and several people who know me may not believe it, but I do not hate this person, I don't feel anger or malice toward this person..  I do not even dislike this person..  Seriously!  But along with this thorn comes so many misunderstandings..  It just never stops.. Now that I think about it, maybe the person really isn't the thorn..  Maybe it's simply the misunderstanding and the confusion that comes with the person..  Stick with me, I'm trying to work though this..

    My plan for dealing with this thorn, or the person (I can't figure out which is which just yet) has been to ignore it/him/her..  About a week ago I made the decision to just put it behind me and not allow myself to look at or listen to anything concerning this person..  Sort of out of sight out of mind..  And I haven't..  But tonight while I was sitting here watching football, I had a thought..  If this person is misunderstanding the things I say, do, or write; which is frustrating to me; well maybe I'm doing the very same thing?  Duh..
    I know, that sounds pretty obvious doesn't it?  I suppose anyone looking from the outside in probably would notice it in a heart beat, but yeah, I just got it..  I mean, I just got it right now..  

    Wow..


    We have all heard the phrase "you think you know a person"..  But I am thinking that even though you are pretty sure you do, well sometimes you just don't..  It comes down to looking beyond how much you think you know about a person and realizing that you don't know as much as you thought you did (with the exception of your spouse right?)..  I mean seriously, if I have been thinking this whole time "dang! This person really has the wrong idea"  why have I not even once, until this very moment, thought that if this person has the wrong idea about me, that I probably have the wrong idea about him/her too!

    Yeah, total light bulb moment..

    I'm not sure how helpful this post has been for you or if it has at all, but wow, it sure helped me! Thanks for reading my rambling anyway..

    The Forgiveness Test

    "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other"
    Matthew 24:10

    Jesus was talking about signs of the end times..  As I said before, I believe that we are in the beginning of those times..  Things are going from bad to worse..  I have never seen as much hatred, bickering, and mud-slinging in any election prior to this one..  But it's not just about the election..  We are becoming angrier quicker, saying horrible things to each other and simply not caring, and even feeling justified for doing so..
    We are defending our actions, our harsh words and bad behavior..
    "Well SHE said something mean first! If HE hadn't done what HE did, I wouldn't have done what I did.  Oh I forgive her BUT she started it!  Well, I'm sorry BUT.."  Blah blah blah..

    We are acting exactly how the Bible said we would..  Anger and indignation is at a new high, forgiveness and kindness is at a new low..  We are supposed to be set apart..  We are supposed to be above this, yet we are down in the mud with everyone else..  

    I watched this video this morning and it really spoke to me..  Please watch it with an open mind AND heart..  And please, don't do what we usually do..  Don't watch it and think "Oh, so-and-so needs to hear this, this isn't about me"  I watched it for me, I listened to how it applied to me..  
    Please take a moment and really listen..


    Oct 18, 2012

    What are you thinking?



    "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
    Phillippians 4:8

    This is pretty cut and dry..  At least is would appear that way, but it is more difficult to do than it sounds..  It means to think about good things..  Noble things, right things..  Pure things, admirable things, excellent and praiseworthy things..  
    Notice that the Bible doesn't say to think about and dwell on things that make you unhappy, angry, hurt, offended, etc..  


    "They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts."
    Ephesians 4:18

    This is what happens when we don't guard our hearts or our minds..  We dwell on the negative, what offends us, what makes us angry, or what hurts us; we become hardened .  We pull further away from God without even realizing it..  We become unforgiving, thinking more about ourselves and our lives on this earth instead of Jesus and the Kingdom..  
    It becomes OK for us to be offended, hold grudges, and repay hurt for hurt.. 
    The Bible tells us not to do this..  But we do it anyway..  Most of the time not even thinking about Jesus or the Bible..  We are thinking about how we feel, how we have been offended, how we have been treated unfairly..


    We are all familiar with Ephesians 4:26: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.-  But we don't always remember the verse that comes right after it: and do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph.4:26)

    'In your anger do not sin'.  When we argue back, when we complain to others, when we share our grievances with others hoping to get them on 'our side' so they will carry on our offense, we are sinning in our anger..  When we refuse to let go, refuse to forgive and ask for forgiveness, when we complain and gossip about others, argue with others, and then dwell on it, we are giving 'the devil a foothold'..  We are actually inviting the enemy into our lives..

    Like Saul and David..  Saul allowed himself to dwell on his anger and jealousy for David..  So much so that he tried to pin him to a wall with a spear..  Twice!  Every day that he harbored anger for David, his heart hardened .  He was pulled further and further away from God..  
    When we continue to act on our anger and indignation (physically or verbally) our bad behavior becomes acceptable to us and we feel justified in that bad behavior..  But where does that justification come from?  It surely doesn't come from God..  It comes from us, from our flesh, and the devil..  And the more we allow it to happen, the more we allow Satan near us and the further we push God away..

    It’s easy to justify our anger. It’s also easy to justify being unforgiving. The anger that festers never hurts the one who has caused the anger. When we carry the anger inside it becomes a living, breathing, monster. It feeds and grows. It is consuming. There resides in all of us a potentially destructive angry beast. There is only one tried and true way of eliminating that beast. Don’t feed it.

    Oct 17, 2012

    What are we doing??


    As I am sure everyone knows, the presidential debate was last night..  Don't worry, this isn't going to be a 'political' rant, but I will warn you; I'm going to rant, just not about politics..

    I don't have Facebook, but from the texts and phone calls I received last night and this morning, I can only imagine how heated things became..  It wasn't just Facebook though..  Hate and discord was spreading all over the internet..  I heard about fights on Twitter, chat rooms and other public forums..
    People posting things they know would offend others, just waiting for someone to jump on it..  Others just waiting for that offensive post so they could jump on it, ready to do battle..  Why?

    The Bible tells us to think of everyone as more important than ourselves..  To put our feelings and what we want aside:

    "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility.  Consider others better than yourselves."
    Phillippians 2:3

    "Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ"
    Phillippians 2:3

    Yet we insist on making our opinions known.  We insist on disagreeing with others, and we just have to make sure they know it.  We have to be right, we have to win, and we have to make sure that everyone else is watching when we do!  Mud-slinging, name calling, throwing insults and little digs in wherever and whenever we can..  
    Feeling satisfaction and justification when others jump on our bandwagon and back us up..  Just spreading more and more poison with every petty little argument we get into..  How could any of this be considering others better than ourselves?  This is how we make others feel more important than ourselves?  This is how we show humility?  This is how we show our obedience to God?
    No, this is pride..  
    Why is this ok?  Where does it say in the Bible that this sort of behavior is acceptable?  Is Jesus proud of us when we behave this way?

    I wish I could blame this shameful and selfish behavior on the enemy, but I can't give him all the credit..  He just sets the stage and then sits back and watches us do what we do..  And we don't disappoint him do we? Nope..  Because we insist on arguing back, we insist on getting our point across, and we refuse to give up the right to be right..  We just have to have the last word..  No way can we turn the other cheek when we have the whole of cyberspace watching to see what we will say next!  We have an opinion, the right opinion (as far as we are concerned), and we are going to say what we want to say, when we want to say it and how..  Period!  If it offends you?  Hurts you?  Upsets you?  Too bad..  Not our problem is it?  It's not like we are supposed to show love, mercy and grace to others right?

    Are we Christians or not?  Do we want to be obedient to God or not?  Do we love Jesus or not?  
    Has anyone considered how God feels about all of this?  How does He feel watching His children go at each other constantly?  Do you think our behavior brings Him joy?  Do you think that when He watches us not only attacking each other, but taking satisfaction in it that He is proud of us?  Do you think acting like this towards each other pleases Him?

    "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"
    Matthew 22:37-40
    2 commandments..  Just 2..  Can we truly do that?  Are we even trying?

    These arguments and this behavior does not benefit anyone or glorify God in any way.

    Oct 14, 2012

    Your own hometown


    Jesus left there and went to His own hometown, accompanied by His disciples.  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard Him were amazed.
    "Where did this man get these things?" they asked "What is this wisdom that has been given to Him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn't this the carpenter?  Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon?  Aren't His sisters here with us?"  And they took offense at Him.
    Jesus said to them "A prophet is not without honor except in his own hometown, among his relatives, and in his own home."

    I understand why the people in Jesus' hometown thought what they did when He came and taught in their synagogue..  Here was a guy that they had watched since He was a toddler..  They saw Him grow up, probably watched Him play with his friends and His siblings, they watched Him go with His parents and siblings to church just like everyone else..  
    They watched Him do his chores, and later build furniture..  They saw Him live his life, just like everyone else..  It wasn't until He went away at 30 years old and was baptized by His cousin, John the Baptist that he began preaching..  So to the people in His hometown He was just "Mary's boy"..  And then to see Him come back claiming to be the true biological Son of the most High God, and then telling them to change their ways?  Really, it had to be a bit much for them..  
    Imagine if it were you..  You have a friend that you grew up with; you know everything about him..  How he thinks, how he behaves, what he's like when no one else is around..  You have seen him do some pretty messed up things, and heard him say some pretty stupid stuff..  But then he 'find's God' and not to long after, he is telling you all about the Bible, and commenting on your behavior..  I can understand how that might irk you a bit..

    But I can also understand Jesus' frustration too..  He is the Son of God.. He has been called by God to teach the Word, and preach to his peers, He was anointed by God to do so..  He was sent to help them..  And then to have His own people; His friends, His family, everyone who knew him the best, take offense at Him?  
    I am sure they thought He was full of Himself, maybe self-righteous, a know-it-all..  Maybe they thought He considered Himself above them, smarter than them, better than them..  Or maybe they just thought He was a whacko with delusions of grandeur..  Either way, they did not believe in Him..  People everywhere else who were strangers to Him, followed Him wherever He went, hung on His every word, begged Him to heal them..  
    But his own people just shook their heads, rolled their eyes and walked away from Him..

    OK, so what is my point?  It's pretty simple..  
    God made each of us for a purpose..  A particular purpose..  Each of us are called to do something..   A calling that will glorify God, spread His word, and help others..  It will be amazing..  No matter how big or small it is..  But there will be people who will doubt you, question your motives, or ignore you completely..  There will be people who will be envious of you, say bad things about you, and people who might even stop being your friend because God called you to do something..

    Do it anyway..

    Oct 13, 2012

    Nothing In My Hand

    This is sort of long but worth it..  So grab some coffee and get comfy!

    Oct 12, 2012

    Looky Looky! Watch me!

    Rejoicing begins when we look at our situation in view of God's mercy and with worship of Him.. Instead of holy wrath for our sins and disobedience, we've received mercy for our pride and rebellion..
    Sometimes I think we put that truth on a shelf somewhere and forget about it.. We're like toddlers seeking daddy's attention.. God keeps telling us to look at Him and pay attention to what He is telling us, but we are too busy goofing off and hollering "watch me Daddy!  Look at me!" 


    For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 
    Romans 12:3-5

    "We should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought". But isn't that what we're doing when we turn our eyes from the mercies of God and start coveting the blessing of another? Hey, I deserve that blessing, too! I'm good enough — I should have all that I have and what they have too!

    We like to say that we don't covet..  We want others to believe that we don't desire what someone else has and that we never get angry or upset when we see someone else blessed with what we have been wanting for ourselves..  Or what about people we are angry with?  Or someone who does not behave the way we think they should?  How do we feel when we see them blessed while we still don't have what we think we should?

    Have you ever considered that maybe it's our attitude that keeps us from receiving blessings?  Petty and selfish thoughts like:  Why does she have more friends than me? Why don't I make a salary like him?  Why did he get promoted?  I have been at this job longer!
    God wants us to put others before us..  All the time..  Every time..  I can't think of anywhere in the Bible where it says "don't concern yourself with the welfare of others, focus on yourself and what you want"..

    If you truly must think of yourself and compare yourself to others, how about asking yourself questions like: Why do I have enough money to buy groceries this week and someone else doesn't?  Why is my neighbor going through a divorce while my marriage is solid?  Why do I have a home while my friend's home was foreclosed on?  Why does my husband have a job while my sister's husband does not?  Why am I wishing for the blessings of others instead of thanking God for my own?

    We live in a 'I want it and I want it now' society..  Everything should come to us when we want it, how we want it, and where we want it, with little or no work on our part..  But Hebrews 6:10-12 says:

    God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

    In my opinion, it's very simple..  Put everyone first, be thankful for everything you have, be patient, and get over yourself..

    Forgiveness.


    Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
    Matthew 6:12

    When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, he responded with what is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer.. Embedded in the language of the prayer is this specific request for forgiveness..

    It is evident from the content of the prayer that our Lord meant for us to pray after this manner daily, because it includes a request for this day's daily bread..  It is therefore equally plain that Jesus is instructing us to confess our sins daily and ask for God's forgiveness..

    Too often we allow a long time, and many unconfessed sins, to amass before we go to the Lord in prayer.. As a result, we begin to feel estranged from God; our guilty conscience then makes it even more difficult to go to him in prayer at all..

    It is best to keep "short accounts" with God, going to him regularly with our sin debt and allowing him to wipe it clean.. We then delight to go to him for a regular time of confession, communion, and refreshing..

    Notice, also, how this daily forgiveness is tied purposefully and inseparably to our own forgiveness of others..  Jesus, in effect, couches this prayer in such a way that we must either forgive others completely and daily, or we are cursing ourselves each time we pray!

    "Forgive us as we forgive others," Jesus tells us to pray..  Have you taken your sin-debt to God in prayer today? Have you forgiven others as you yourself hope to be forgiven?

    Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die..  It really only hurts you..

    Oct 11, 2012

    What is Spiritual Warfare? Really?

    Often when we think of spiritual warfare we think of things like exorcisms, deliverance sessions, and walking through a house with a Bible and a crucifix, splashing holy water while shouting "get thee behind me Satan!"

    Sometimes on very rare occasions those things might be necessary, but they are only a temporary solution..  And that is not true spiritual warfare..

    “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order.
    Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
    Matthew 12:43-45

    What good does it do to go through rituals, shout out deliverance passages from the Bible, and chase away demons, when you do nothing to keep them from coming back?
    A good offense is the best defense..  As a former Satanist (a big one) I can tell you that you don't have to shout, or get excited, or rant at the enemy..  It doesn't have to be scary or dramatic..  Besides, if all you bring to the fight is a lot of yelling and a couple of Bible verses, you won't last long anyway..  
    True spiritual warfare is how you live..  It's about your attitude, your behavior, and your faith..
    Paul teaches us in Ephesians what true spiritual warfare really is..

     Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
    Ephesians 6:10-18

    Standing on the truth, living righteously, holding your peace, living in faith, receiving your salvation, and declaring the Word  is what real spiritual warfare is..  Praising God through your struggles, living with humility, denying your flesh, fasting, and learning the Bible, is real spiritual warfare..  Being kind, serving others, giving to those who have less than you do, is spiritual warfare..  Guarding your heart, your tongue, and your mind, is spiritual warfare..  Obedience to God is spiritual warfare..

    Praise God, read your Bible, forgive, show grace and mercy to others, live well, be obedient, and love Jesus..  You don't have to fight, Jesus has done that..  You just have to resist..
    So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.
    James 4:7 (amp)
    That's it..
    Really..