Are You Doing It Right?

I am constantly on a quest for self-improvement. I want to get so close to God on this earth that people will think I am already in Heaven. I know that sounds a little silly but I am happiest when I am in the presence of God and to be as close to Him as possible is a moment by moment quest.

It isn’t exhaustive by any means. It is actually easy as long as I don’t let the things of this world interfere. Today, as I was working on my studies, I came across this sentence. “Daily put-off the old self and put-on the new self by biblically responding to life’s irritations and offenses.” I had read and studied the passage in Ephesians 4 for years but here was a solution I had not learned before. Here was the HOW… “by biblically responding to life’s irritations and offenses.” 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)  that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Suddenly I felt vindicated or something. I often wonder if I am doing things right or if God is shaking His head at me. But this tells me how I should be responding and that I am mostly getting it right. I’m not sure why this was a surprise or “ah ha” moment. I guess I second guess myself too much. Well, I just wanted to share in case you are like me and needed some clarification. We’re OK after all.

Stay safe and God bless…

 


 

Change is Good

I am embarking on a new journey. One of sight and sound and smell. Hopefully it won’t be the twilight zone but it should prove to be remarkable.

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2010 after several years of unexplained symptoms. I have continued to do research because the doctors don’t have any answers. I recently found a book by a doctor who is also a devout Christ follower who breaks down into layman’s English each aspect of the human body and what is probably causing all of the symptoms.

He has designed a system to eliminate the elements that invade our bodies and creates havoc on then. He uses food and supplements to reverse the issues that cause the symptoms.

I will document my journey and share it with you. I plan on involving God in this journey too. After all, it is all about Him.

And the Winner is…

I was reading my morning devotion and the scripture verse was Exodus 34:14 “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God“. It went on to talk about how Paul explained to the church in Corinth that he was jealous for them with a godly jealously in 2 Corinthians 11:2 (For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.”). And more scripture that tells us we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him”). If jealousy is in His image then how can it be a bad thing? So I started to wonder about this jealously Paul (and others) was speaking of since, in my understanding of the word, ranks up there with envy.

To make matters worse, envy is defined as “the desire to have for oneself something possessed by another, covetousness”. OK, so now, we’ve added yet another word to this issue that is clearly talked about in scripture under the heading of “Thou shalt not”.

But never fear, my trusty dictionary will clear this up. I dug around in the “jealous” department and discovered that it isn’t actually similar to envy although we sometimes use the different words and meanings interchangeably. Way down in the definition of jealous I found that it also means “solicitous or vigilant in maintaining or guarding something” and ” intolerant of unfaithfulness or rivalry”. Phew!

Now we’re getting somewhere. But as I pondered my own “jealously” issues for Christ, it brought up questions. Could all those people standing around preaching and yelling (“repent and be saved” or “Jesus is coming, get right with God or die”) and a variety of others, actually be reacting to this world out of Godly jealously? We tend to think they are a little nuts, ignore them and continue on about our day but what if it is real honest Godly jealously? What if they have it right and we are just uncomfortable with their delivery? What if, instead of ignoring them and walking briskly away, we shaked their hand and acknowledged our new understanding of their mission?

I don’t know if this will help me when I get passionately defensive of Christ or if it will fuel my patience and love of those who choose not to follow Him. But at least now I have a new found understanding and tolerance for those who choose to shout it in the streets.

This ending wasn’t anything I had envisioned for this post when I started it. I paused a lot and prayed a lot over it so hopefully it is what God directed me to write.

Stay safe and God bless.

And the Verdict is…

My dad was working a puzzle today and asked me if  g-u-i-l-t-y was the correct spelling for the word “guilty”. For the first time that word hit me like it never has before. I was slightly stunned as I sat there and pondered what it felt like to be pronounced guilty of something. Yes we are all guilty of lying but hopefully grow out of that as maturity sets in. And I’m sure everyone has gone home with a pen from work in their pocket from time to time. So what was it today about this word.

It felt as though I had just been given a moment to physically feel what being guilty really feels like. That shock when you think your life is about to change forever. Just a brief amount of time that couldn’t have been more than several seconds but felt longer. I am guilty, me, I did it. For that moment I felt guilty. I felt condemned. We talk about that and explain it as we spread the Gospel but this was the first time I had ever physically felt my guilt.

But God wasn’t done with me yet…

Before I could feel bad about that guilt, God replaced it with feelings of redemption, forgiveness and grace. I love it when God gives me small glimpses into His heart.

Stay safe and God bless.

The Loss of Innocence

Imagine you are at a resort at a beautiful beach. You have a three-day weekend to enjoy the sun, the cooler weather and just be. You are watching your two sweet girls playing in the Lazy River. The cares you left at home are less stressful. No worries flood your mind as you watch your girls having fun. You don’t get to do this often and you enjoy treating your family to some much needed down time.

But then it happens…

The word “degenerate” was the first kind word that popped into my head.

  • The dictionary defines it as “to fall below a normal or desirable level in physical, mental, or moral qualities; deteriorate”.
  • I liked this one too, “to diminish in quality, especially from a former state of coherence, balance, integrity, etc.”
  • Or this one, “a person or thing that reverts to an earlier stage of culture, development, or evolution.”

I’m not sure why I kept reading down the list of meanings for this word but then I saw it. The last one and I’m not sure why I was surprised it was there.

The final meaning is “a sexual deviate”.

In contrast, I looked up the word “innocence”. The dictionary defines it as “freedom from sin or moral wrong.”

Remember the serenity that once existed as you relaxed next to the Lazy River…

The girls scurried over to their mom to tell her about a man. A man who was sitting in a tube floating in the Lazy River with his “business” out.

Before I grabbed my laptop to put this together, my mind was racing with anger. I wanted to put that anger on paper so you, too, could feel my pain and disgust. But a funny thing happened as I walked the 10 steps to my recliner, sat down and opened my computer. I felt God take away the anger. It’s not about me and what I want. Not that I can do anything from where I am but you know what I mean. I want…to do something. I want it to stop. I want to be mad. I want to be furious and I am that it happened. All children are precious and this creep is preying on them everyday. But God took away my anger and replaced it with pity.

As I write this I am still feeling what that feels like. I can feel Him removing the emotions He doesn’t want me to have and replacing them with emotions He wants me to have. I feel as sense of relief, a sense of calm, a sense of peace. I tell people about this kind of love all the time but I have never been able to write about it as it is happening.

I am overwhelmed.

I don’t feel the rage that would have allowed me to choke him had he been in front of me at the time. God has allowed me to see a small glimpse of this degenerate the way He does. Yes, I am still mad that it happened, but the emotional stress that anger causes is gone. I wish I had better words to share this with you. I sit here just shaking my head as I try to write.

All I feel now is pity…

which is a synonym for GRACE.

Stay safe and God bless

Which Mocker Are You?

It is easy to pass by someone and not realize who they are. You don’t recognize them from a photo or something. Their persona doesn’t strike you as a famous person or whatever. But if they tell you they are someone you don’t know they are, will you believe them? I met a famous actor many years ago who did not look like he did many years before and I have to tell you, it took me several minutes of staring to see it. He was bald and fat and did not look anything like he did before. I could have easily mocked him, but I didn’t. I think mostly because I was in shock.

As I read over Luke 23 at the different people who were present at the crucifixion of Christ, I can’t help but wonder what their motives were.  I get the passersby. They just happened to be there and were curious, although a grim curiosity. But what about the others?

The Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders were present mostly because they wanted to win their arguments. Whether or not they believed Jesus to be the Son of God or not shouldn’t have mattered. He was a man who had done nothing wrong. His only crime was that He disagreed with the “religious right”? And they had the audacity to mock Him on top of that? Why did they have to stand and watch Him die? Oh yea, they expected Him to come down from the cross. Such hypocrites!

Now the two Criminals. Well, one of them. They were close enough to talk (this is a naive concept since talking was extremely difficult to do considering how much stress the body is in, in that position) to Jesus or at least to see Him in a way that none of the others could. One thief did eventually “get it” and repent.  They were closer than anyone else and should have both been able to glean the awesomeness of Christ’s deity had the one not been so blind.

So…

Are you one of the Passersby who just so happens to be visiting the area that very weekend when the event is happening and you find yourself in the middle of the excitement so you get involved without knowing or caring about what is going on?

Are you one of the Denominations, Church Members, or Bible Students who disagrees with Jesus and sneers at Him because He challenges you?

Are you one of the Criminals who hung next to Jesus on the cross? They too joined in on the mockery at first, although one began to see something in Christ that all the others missed.

Christ’s death fulfilled an eternal purpose. We can analyze the events that lead up to and away from His death but the fact still remains…God has a plan. Everything happens for a reason and our understanding of it isn’t a requirement.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

Aggravation

I remember a game growing up as a kid called aggravation. I don’t think it was/is spelled the same way though. I never thought, back then, that life would be so much worse. I haven’t spoken much about my sister only because I don’t want to hurt her feelings when the subject is not on the bright side of life. She is sometimes high maintenance but that is her nature and that’s OK. As much as I would love to slap her into reality sometimes, I still love her to death…lol pun intended.

This morning brought on a little drama. She was running late, not a surprise lately. She told mom she would do something and mom was pressing her to take care of it but she was out the door because she was running late. Now the second phone line, which she runs her business off of isn’t working, and she doesn’t have time to call the company to have it checked. She just wants “someone else” to take their time to call and make an appointment to come look at it for her since she doesn’t have time to do it herself.

Yea, I get it. I should jump at the opportunity to help her out since she is so busy and needs my help but I have to tell you. When you watch someone who goes out of their way to get bogged down at what looks like on purpose, it is hard to jump in because you know they aren’t learning to plan better to do better, they are just learning to rely on you more. Wow, that was hard to write and harder to reread. You want to believe the best in people and I am usually the eternal optimist but this is really hard. I don’t think I can ever wish for her to be better and expect it to come true. I don’t think I can wish her into being a better planner. I don’t think I can wish her into being someone who doesn’t cuss and yell when she is overwhelmed. I don’t think I can wish her into being someone who is more responsible and gracious to the people around her. All I can do is hope and pray and even then God will be the one who decides when and if this comes about. This isn’t about me. I can’t make it about me.

So here I go again making a change to my mindset. That I can change.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

Are You Immune?

I got my flu shot the other day. Do you plan on getting yours? It really does help if you are exposed to the flu. I know, there are critics who say it is a waste of time but what if they are wrong? Do you want to go through that mess if they are? I don’t. Besides I get to visit my grandchildren in a month or so and I certainly don’t want to take any chances.

The professor in the news who is teaching her warped views to her college students is way out of line to me. She should be teaching only the curriculum and not her misguided views of anything. The school should not allow this let alone the parents. But they are another story.

So, my sister says, what does it matter. Well, in the grand scheme of things maybe it doesn’t if it is only one teacher. But consider two things. One, she is teaching two semesters a year, 30-50 (or more) students each semester. So that adds up. Now the scary part…two, what if she isn’t the only teacher? Which, I’m sure she isn’t. And other’s may be worse.

This means there is actually an epidemic going on behind our school walls. Too bad, the odds are, that mostly Christians saw the movie “God’s not dead”. I guarantee you that is not an isolated incident. I myself had two professors in college who had it out for redheads because of ex-wives. I had to work harder than everyone else because I was born with red hair. At first I was speechless but then it felt like a challenge which I rose to and conquered despite the obstacles.

Well, this epidemic now becomes a plague of biblical proportions. Like a snowball that never stops. All because no one thought it mattered. Just like no one thought it mattered when we allowed prayer to be taken out of school. What happened to accountability? Why do these professors go on “teaching” unchecked? Why are others afraid to speak up? Why do their jobs matter more than the children?

My friend Kim’s ex-daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher. She is aware of a fellow teacher who is abusing her students but she refuses to say anything because she is afraid of losing her job. This appalls me as I’m sure it does you as well. How do these people sleep at night. I don’t understand.

Luke 21:36 (NKJV) “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

We have redemption through His blood, Amen! That is our assurance, our immunity. It’s still frustrating but I know God’s got this too.

Stay safe and God bless…

 

Sitting on the Fence

My friend Kim believes you can lose your salvation even though scripture is clear that you can’t. While I feel in my heart you can’t lose your salvation, I still know people who have completely denied God and I believe it is possible. So I am still on the fence.

Romans 8:38-39  (NKJV)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I was reading about salvation this morning and came across Romans 8:38-39. Of all the things mentioned in these verses that cannot separate us from God, the word “created” jumped out at me. I’ve been struggling with the salvation of others wondering if their salvation was real. Yea I know that is between them and God but I also feel a responsibility to act on their behalf if needed and possible, while there is time. So I’ve been doing research and having conversations on the subject.

It never occurred to me before but I am “created”. Not sure why that hit me this time. I know I have read those passages many times before. Everything and everyone is created, so why is this significant? Could it be telling me that no human has that power? The passage doesn’t mention mankind specifically so maybe that’s what I missed before. Could it be that simple?

John 10:29 (NKJV)
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Since John 10:29 states no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand, why would we think it is possible to lose your salvation? There are no stipulations attached to this passage. There are no “therefores” or “what ifs” or “conditions” of any kind whatsoever. It is a statement of fact. This passage removes the possibility of losing your salvation once attained. “Wahoo”!!! But the really really cool part of this passage is…the “no one” includes ME. I don’t know about you, but that is awesome! Not that I’d ever want to but it’s reassuring that I could never make that mistake.

Stay safe and God bless…

Silver Lining

When I sat down to write this post, I had several rants on my mind. But I decided not to give them life. Instead I am choosing to write about the opposite views. Please forgive the lies and look for the silver linings instead.

People are inherently wonderful!

Our kids have a wonderful world to grow up in!

Evil doesn’t exist any more!

No more bullies or sexual harasses anywhere!

Everyone speaks kind words and does good deeds for each other!

Stay safe and God bless…

 

Responding with Silence

I often write how people amaze me. With their actions and with their words. Lately, I’ve been noticing how people use profanity and mean talk like breathing air, yet are at church or doing church work. Can you be accused of judging if the subject is a truth?

I am real good at responding to insults and bad behavior in a way that makes people scratch their heads. I respond in a manner that is completely opposite to the action that is due back to them or expected. But as bad as it has gotten lately, I have decided to remain silent, at least for as long as I can. I could very easily fall into a baited hole and that would not be good for anyone.

In 1 Peter 2:23, Jesus remained silent when insults were hurled at him. He did not retaliate but instead entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. I have made a committment to follow Jesus. Remaining silent goes against our nature but I am determined to do things His way, not mine.

 

Tiny Desires

Before the sun greets the day, Under the gentle pull of the moon, Beneath the bright starry night…Without regret, With forgiven hearts, Upon grace filled souls…We pray to the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV) says to “pray without ceasing”. I have a strong longing to be in constant prayer. It is my earthly connection to God my Father. It is almost like holding His hand. Almost like feeling His presence. I know He is always next to me but when I am in conversation with Him, I feel closest to Him. I know He is with me always but it is more intimate than just knowing He is here. It is hard to explain. My longing wants to be in His presence constantly. I want to see His face. I want to memorize every line, every vein, every wrinkle, every hair. I want to feel the warmth of His hand. I want to hear the tones of His voice. I want to see the colors in His eyes.

Suddenly this desire isn’t so tiny.