Consider the Lilies..: February 2014   

Feb 25, 2014

grumble, grumble..

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 that there were four things the Israelites did that angered God. 

1. Idolatry
2. Sexual immorality
3. Tested God (Christ)
4. Complained

This day in age the first three, at least to Christians, are still pretty big. But we really don't seem to hold the last one on the same level.  Seriously, how many of you would put complaining on the same level as sexual immorality?
Nowadays at least to a lot of us, voicing our complaints is really not that big of a deal. 

It's a big deal to God. 

I understand that it was a few thousand years ago that God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt.  I understand that this was "Old Testament" and there are significant changes in the New Testament. The veil was torn, we no longer give burnt offerings, nor are we bound by law to circumcision.  I get that..  Totally..

But one thing has absolutely not changed? The character of God.  What pleased God 4000 years ago pleases God today.  What grieved God 4000 years ago grieves God today. What angered God 4000 years ago still angers God today. 

The people grumbled and deplored their hardships, which was evil in the ears of the Lord, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled. 
Numbers 11:1

We think of murmuring and complaining as really no big deal. We are just saying what we feel right?  We are being 'real'..  
But according to the Bible, God considers it evil.  So evil that He gave Miriam leprosy when she complained and then later destroyed thousands more for complaining too.
Why would we take something that God considers evil so lightly?  If it's really no big deal, it should be no big deal to stop either, right?

The point is, we are known by our fruit, what comes from our mouths is spiritual fruit. Complaining is bad fruit.  And it displeases God. 

This is not just an Old Testament concept; Philippians, Ephesians, James, 1 Peter, 1 Corinthians, Romans, Colossians, and Thessalonians, all warn against complaining.  Even Jesus said "do not grumble among yourselves". 

So, what happens when we complain?

1. Complaining kills gratitude. You cannot complain and be grateful at the same time.  *Which also means, if we truly have a heart of gratitude (like the Bible tells us to) then we have no reason to complain.* 

2. Complaining is contagious. When we complain to others, it invites them to complain as well, thus we are spreading the poison.   

3. It demeans our quality of life.  When we think negatively, we speak negatively. Words have power! When we speak out those complaints, our words plant negative seeds in our lives that are fed and watered by even more complaining (one complaint just breeds another). After a while we have a whole harvest of negative, which is our life. 

4. It's selfish. No one complains for someone else. We complain for ourselves. We are speaking of our own discomfort be it physical, emotional, relational or spiritual. It's all about us. When we put a voice to our complaints we are saying "hey, look at me! Notice me, and hear all about how annoyed/angry/upset I am!"

There are lots more reasons why we should not complain but the fact that it displeases God should be the only one we need. 

"if you love me you will obey me". 
-Jesus

"do not grumble" 
-Jesus

Feb 14, 2014

Thoughts..

 
1. I am seriously into Galatians 5 lately..  I think I'll focus on this chapter for the rest of the month..  Sometimes it's nice to really dig into a verse or chapter, just read it over and over..  It's amazing how many times you can read the same thing and still find stuff that you missed..


2. It really is true that if you make more time for God time, God will make more time for you time..  What I mean by this is simple..  If you make the effort to spend time with God EVERY DAY and if you allow God to orchestrate your day, you will find that you have more time throughout the day to accomplish what you need to accomplish..  Seriously..  Try it for a week..
I can't imagine how I would feel if God ever said to me "you know what Ren?  I have a lot to do today, I'm really too busy to listen to or talk to you right now.  Maybe we can get together for a few minutes on Sunday.  I know you love me unconditionally so I'm sure you understand".

3. No matter how many times I have tried, I simply can not get into the Book of Hebrews..  I have no idea why..  I can read the last half of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and even both Chronicles with no problem at all, but Hebrews?  Nope..  I can listen to it, but actually reading it is a different story..  It's weird..  To me it reads like stereo instructions..  Odd considering that I love the rest of the Epistles and I can absolutely relate to Paul, but the study of the book of Hebrews was the one class that I struggled through in Theology school..  I got an A, but it was hard, really hard..  To be honest, I couldn't even tell you what I learned without looking at my notes.. 
I'm really frustrated by this...

4. So far, I think that THIS SERMON is the best explanation of why we should read the Bible.  Next week I might hear a better one, but for the moment, this is it..


5. I'm an introvert and a very happy hermit..  I love being at home..  I love being by myself..  I love quiet..  I absolutely despise talking on the phone (unless it's my BF in Kentucky).  
I am perfectly content to stay in my house, away from everyone for long periods of time..  By long periods of time, I mean months (for real)..  Well maybe not completely alone, I like having my husband and my kids around..
But it's only recently that I took the time to really notice how so few people share this love of prolonged solitude..  People actually crave social situations like I crave solitude..  Isn't that strange?  OK, probably not to everyone, but it's strange to me..  
There are people who actually hate to be alone..  People who actually want to talk on the phone, every day!  People who want to have lunch with friends more than once a week, who want to entertain, host get-togethers, have people just drop by, hang out every day, talk every day, etc.  EVERY DAY!
I mean, I do just fine in social situations..  I'm not uncomfortable in a room full of strangers, I can sit at a table with people I have never met and easily have a conversation, and if you didn't know me, you would have no idea that I would rather be at home..  
Please don't get me wrong..  I don't hate people, there was a time that I did, but that was before I knew Jesus, and didn't understand the importance of friendships and truly loving people..  By people I mean everyone..  We are supposed to love everyone, even people we don't like.. 
And I do..  At least I try to..  
I love my church (which has grown to 3000 people) I love my Lifegroup; seriously, I really LOVE the people in my group, I absolutely adore my friends; but every day?  Wow..  
I honestly can't get my head around it..  Am I the weird one?  


I'm all outta thoughts..



Feb 12, 2014

Found Something!

So, I was visiting 'Happiness Is a Mood Not a Destination' and I found inspiration :)

Every Wednesday she is doing segment of '50 questions that will free your mind'..  Now, while I cant say that I am positive that my mind will be any free-er than it is now, at least I have something to post :)
She posted 10 last week and 10 this week, so I am starting with last week's questions..  

I'm still looking for a good blog challenge, or other inspiration if y'all have any good ideas..
If anyone decides to do these questions on their blog too, let me know so I can go and read them too..



Which is worse, failing or never trying?
If you never try, how do you know you will even fail?  It's quite possible that you would do it right the first time, yes?
Besides, if we never tried anything, we would never do anything or be anything..  
We would have nothing..  No love, no relationships, no happiness..  Nothing..
So I guess I'll go with the obvious..  Never trying is worse than failing..

What are you most grateful for?
At first I was just going to say "everything", but the questions is what am I most grateful for?  So I have to pick one..  I am most grateful for the Bible.  The living-breathing Word of God.  
'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word is God'
John 1:1
The Word of God is Jesus.  Jesus is God.  When you read the Word, miracles happen;  The Word flows into you, changes you, shapes you into the person God created you to be..  There is nothing you could possibly face in this life that you can not find direction for in the Bible..  It tells you how to pray, how to love, how to learn..  How to be a good wife, parent, friend, everything..  It comforts you when you are lonely, sad, fearful, and anxious.   It gives power, wisdom, peace, joy, everything you could ever need or want..  It is living water..  Life..  
It is a direct line to Heaven, to the Almighty God..
It baffles my mind, truly, that there is even one Christian on this planet who simply can not find time to read this book every day..  We find time to eat, spend time with our spouses and children, watch television, browse Facebook, and a million other things, but we don't have time for this?
I don't understand how anyone can say that they love the Lord more than anyone else, that God is their priority, yet not read this book..  
(Sorry, I ranted didn't I?)
There are people who have died to protect this book, people who would give anything for the chance to read this book and learn the Word of God, and I am free to do so.  Anytime I want..
I am most grateful for this..

Why are you, you?
Because God wanted me to be..

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?
Nope..  

Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
I enjoy the work I do..  I'm a wife and a mom..  I like everything about it, everything..  I think if I had less work to do, then that would mean that there would be less people in my house..  Less people would mean less of my husband, less of my daughter, and less of my boys..  I know I wouldn't that, so I would definitely pick more work..

Do you push the elevator button more than once?
I try not to go into an elevator at all, but when I absolutely have to, the only button I push more than once is the 'open door' button..

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
I think this is an odd question..  I'm not sure why I would offer a newborn any advice at all, considering a newborn wouldn't understand a word I was saying..  I suppose I could write it down, but by the time he/she was old enough to read it and understand it, he/she would no longer be a newborn..
Not to mention, I rarely give advice anyway..  I have learned that no matter what I say and no matter how profound or helpful my advice may be; no one is going to hear it until they are ready to..  They may listen to what I say, but they won't really hear it or apply it to their lives until they are ready to..
That said; if I was going to offer only one piece of advice, I would share the best piece of advice I ever received myself..  
Don't sweat the small stuff..

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
I wouldn't..  I would have died 5 months ago..

Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
I think that if I lose touch with a good friend who lives right near me, that good friend wasn't really that good of  a friend..  How do you lose touch with a good friend?  Especially one who lives right near you?  If the friend is truly a good friend, you would do all you could to stay in touch wouldn't you?
My best friend moved away over 10 years ago and we talk every week, but I miss her..  I don't love her any less because she moved away..  In fact, we try even harder to keep our friendship together :)

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
Simple..  I'm not..  
I mean I try not to, but I don't freak out of I do, and there certainly isn't any fear about it..

Nothing..

It's been a long time since I have posted anything real (from my heart) on this blog..
To be honest, I just haven't been inspired to write anything..  I sort of keep up with my whatever blog, but haven't done anything on this one (which is my favorite)..
I hate the expression, but maybe I'm just 'going through a season'..

As soon as I come up with something, you'll be the fist to know!

Anyone know of any good Christian blog challenges? Anything? 

Feb 6, 2014

A conversation..

A Professor of Philosophy was speaking to his class on the problem science has with God.  He asked one of his new students to stand;

Professor : Do you Believe in God?
Student : Absolutely, sir.
Professor : Is God good ?
Student : Sure.
Professor : Is God all powerful?
Student : Yes.
Professor : My Brother died of Cancer even though he prayed to God to heal
him. Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't.
How is this God good then?

(Student was silent )

Professor : You can't answer, can you ? Let's start again.  Is God good?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Is Satan good?
Student : No.
Professor : Where does Satan come from ?
Student : From God.
Professor : That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Evil is everywhere, isn't it ? And God did make everything, correct?
Student : Yes.
Professor : So who created evil ?

(Student did not answer)

Professor : Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, who created them?

(Student had no answer)

Professor : Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, have you ever seen God?
Student : No, sir.
Professor : Tell us if you have ever heard God?
Student : No , sir.
Professor : Have you ever felt God, tasted God , smelled God?  Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student : No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.
Professor : Yet you still believe in Him?
Student : Yes.
Professor : According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says God doesn't exist. What do you say to that?
Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.
Professor : Yes, faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student : Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Professor : Yes.
Student : And is there such a thing as cold?
Professor : Yes.
Student : No, sir. There isn't, 

Student : Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega
heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything
called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we
can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is
only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure
cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the
absence of it.

Student : What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Professor : Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?
Student : You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something.
You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if
you have no light constantly, you have nothing and its called darkness,
isn't it? In reality, darkness isn't. If it is, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?

Professor : So what is the point you are making?
Student : Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Professor : Flawed ? Can you explain how?
Student : Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is
life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the
concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science
can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has
never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the
opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a
substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of
it. Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your students that they evolved
from a monkey?
Professor : If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes,
of course, I do.

Student : Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?

The Professor shook his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the
argument was going.

Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work
and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not
teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

Student : Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's
brain?  Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain,
felt it, touched or smelled it?  No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures?

Professor : I guess you'll have to take them on faith.
Student : That is it sir exactly! The link between man & God is
faith. That is all that keeps things alive and moving.

Feb 4, 2014

For real?

At a 1990 crusade in the United States, 600 "decisions for Christ" were obtained. No doubt, there was much rejoicing. However, 90 days later, follow-up workers could not find even one who was continuing in the faith. That crusade created 600 "backsliders" or, to be more scriptural, false converts.

In Cleveland, Ohio, an inner-city outreach brought 400 decisions.  
The rejoicing no doubt tapered off once follow-up workers could not find a single one of the 400 who had supposedly made a decision. 

In 1991 organizers of a concert encouraged follow up and discovered, "less than 5% of those who respond to an altar call during a public crusade are living a Christian life one year later".  In other words, more than 95% prove to be false converts. 

In 1985, a four-day do you crusade obtained 217 decisions. However, according to a member of the organizing committee, 92% fell away. 

In his book Today's Evangelism, Ernest C Reisinger said of one outreach event, "It lasted eight days, and there were 68 supposedly conversions". A month later, not one of the "converts" could be found. 

A church in Boulder, Colorado, sent the team to Russia in 1991 and obtained 2500 decisions. The next year the team found only 30 continuing in their faith. 

According to Pastor Elmer Murdoch "for every one hundred people making decisions for Christ, only two may return for follow-up a few days later.  The majority of the people making decisions leave the church in 6 to 8 weeks". 

Between 1995 and 2005, Assemblies of God churches reported an amazing 5,339,144 decisions for Christ.  Their net gain in attendance was 221,790. That means that 5,117,354 decisions could not be accounted for. 

Charles E Hackett, the national director of home missions for the Assemblies of God in the United States, said "A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realized approximately 95 out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In fact most of them will not return for a second visit". 

In Leeds, England, hey visiting American speaker acquired 400 decisions for local church. Six weeks later, only two were still committed and they eventually fell away. 

In Omaha, Nebraska, a pastor of a large church that he was involved with the crusade were 1300 decisions were made, yet not even one convert was continuing in the faith

*sigh*

-God has a wonderful plan for your life: the myth of the modern message. 
By Ray Comfort