December 29, 2010

The Choice

I am experiencing a heart transformation that can only take place when I make a choice.  It is because of what took place on Calvary that I am free to make this choice.  This has become my prayer.  It is not original.  I have spent years praying that I would display the fruit of the spirit in my daily life but this prayer spells it out for me in a more detailed way.  Maybe you will find it helpful in your own prayer time.

I choose love...
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness.  I choose love.  Today I will love God and what God loves.


I choose joy...
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.  I refuse the temptation to be cynical...the tool of the lazy thinker.  I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God.  I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.


I choose peace...
I will live forgiven.  I will forgive so that I may live.


I choose patience...
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world.  Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so.  Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray.  Instead of clinching my fist at a new task, I will face it with joy and courage.


I choose kindness...
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.  Kind to the rich, for they are afraid.  And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.


I choose goodness...
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.  I will be overlooked before I will boast.  I will confess before I will accuse.  I choose goodness.


I choose faithfulness...
Today I will keep my promises.  My debtors will not regret their trust.  Those around me will not question my word.  My children will not question my love or fear that I will leave them.


I choose gentleness...
Nothing is won by force.  I choose to be gentle.  If I raise my voice may it be only in praise.  If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer.  If i make a demand, may it be only of myself.


I choose self-control...
I am a spiritual being.  After this body is dead, my spirit will soar.  I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.  I choose self-control.  I will be drunk only by joy.  I will be impassioned only by my faith.  I will be influenced only by God.  I will be taught only by Christ.  I choose self-control.


Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  To these I commit my day.  If I succeed, I will give thanks.  If I fail, I will seek His grace.  

When God Whispers Your Name
Max Lucado

December 28, 2010

My Christmas Wish

I have always believed in the promise of Christmas and it has always been an incredibly special time of the year for me.  There are times when I find myself caught up in the trappings and expectations of what I think Christmas should be or how it should look or feel.  I expect the music to sound a certain way, the food to be amazing, and for people to actually be nice but how ofter times does Christmas really deliver those promises?

We are all guilty of running around trying to buy the perfect gift, attend the Christmas parties and take part in all the church activities. There can be pressure and friction to as you try and spread yourself out amongst all who want to see you and Christmas can end up feeling commercial, empty, crass and exhausting. 

When I think of Christmas at its best, I experience a glimpse of heaven and the warmth of the promise of hope. Christmas is a promise  Christmas cannot bring us happiness.  Christmas cannot bring peace into our lives.  Christmas cannot make all the wrong in our homes right.  Christmas is just a holiday.

Christmas IS though,  our reminder of the promise that was sent to us by a Heavenly Father who adores us and wants to fill our lives with hope.  Christmas is our reminder that Christ Himself was sent to bring us hope, love and peace.  Deep inside we long for those things and they can be found but can only be found in Him.

We long...
  • Not for Christmas but for Christ
  • Not for merriment but for the Messiah
  • Not for goodwill but for God
  • Not for presents but for HIS presence
We can have these moments every day when we realize that ALL we need is Jesus Christ.  When He is all we want, we can experience His hope, love and peace every day!


December 14, 2010

Sinking


"When I look beside me, I see that there is no one to help me, no one to protect me…Lord, I cry to you for help; you, Lord, are my protector; you are all I want in this life."
Psalm 142:4-5


Tonight I planned to go to bed early.  I had all the kids in bed and by 8:30, I was ready to head that way myself.  I walked in my room, saw clothes everywhere, and knew there was no way I was going to sleep until my room was clean. 
This is usually how it begins when God wants to work on my heart.  He puts me to work.  You see, when I am cleaning or cooking, I am the most focused and my mind and heart are still.  I know that probably sounds crazy but sure enough, as soon as I started cleaning, my heart started stirring.
I was cleaning the bathroom and had a sponge in my hand.  God started showing me how that sponge soaks up all that water and once full, it becomes heavy and a decision has to be made The decision whether to squeeze out that water and then choose whether you will fill it up again or set it to the side.  I found this interesting as I thought about my own life.  I go through seasons where He fills me full of His truth and promises and it is as if I am in overdrive soaking it all in and learning.  Those times are exciting and full of hope because I know that there is so much more to come.  The time comes though that I realize that I’m full and need time to put those things into practice and live them out.  Here is where I often fail.
 For several months, I was growing and learning and learning and growing.  I was so excited and full of hope but then something went wrong and instead of relying on those truths and looking up, I looked ahead and turned to people instead of God. 
It came time to squeeze out that sponge and put all that new material to use but then I became scared and held on too tight thinking “people” would make it all better when things got hard. I lost my focus and became Peter, walking on the water.  I lost sight of the only One who can keep me above the waves and I sank and sank fast.  He has been trying to teach me to stop looking toward people for security and hope and instead turn to Him.  He has repeatedly taught me that people will only disappoint, not because they are bad but because they are human and sinful.  Until I finally allow that sink into my head, I will end up drowning in those waves every time.   
Tonight the lesson begins again.  It is such a wonder that He has not given up on me yet but I guess He sees more promise in me than I do.

A thought...

One of my greatest frustrations at Christmas is those people too lazy to write out Christmas and choose to replace Christ with an X. It seems these days that we attend holiday programs at school and people attend holiday parties at work or with friends. Rarely do you hear of Christmas programs or Christmas parties to fill our Christmas calendars. I did not really think much about it until I had kids but every year it bugs me more and more because every year we move further and further away from Him. What is happening to this country??

Now the origin for Xmas is not bad if you are writing it in the way in which it was meant. I am of the belief though that there are way too many out there that one, write it that way to be disrespectful and two: totally to denounce the day that celebrates the birth of Christ.

About a week ago I was reading a devotional written by Bill Bright and I had one of those "AH- HA" moments. He talked about God's discipline on this country. People moan and complain about our president and the state of our economy because it is easier to blame someone else for the mess we are in then to take responsibility for where we have taken our country. I believe our president is in office for a reason. I believe God placed him there and I believe that our lack of obedience and our eyes being fixed on worldly things instead of Kingdom things cause the suffering that is taking place. Maybe God is leading us once again to a place of complete brokenness in which we fall on our knees and confess our separation from Him in an attempt to live lives that are worldly and more fitting to our own happiness instead of His glory. I'm just saying. The more we embrace tolerance, the farther we separate ourselves from our Protector.

I do not know if something as simple as saying Merry Christmas and teaching our kids the true meaning will change where this country is headed but maybe it would be a start. I hate to think of where this will all lead and how my kids will be celebrating Christmas with their kids someday.

The following is the devotional:


God's Solutions To Our Problems

Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life (Romans 6:22, NLT). 

Dear Friends,

Previous messages in this series have summarized the overwhelming evidence of the biblical roots of America and how God has been the source of our nation's blessings, which are absolutely unprecedented in all of history.

Then I explained some of the things that went wrong in the past 50 years, causing this nation to turn from God, making us vulnerable to His chastening, and even in danger of losing our country.

The question is obvious: How can our nation turn back to God?

The answer is not in the world, not in the government, nor in the media. It is simply in God's people -- the church -- who must repent, seek God's face, and meet God's conditions recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (NLT).

If God's people do what God requires, He will take care of everything else, "forgive their sin and heal their land." It is a promise.

In a nutshell, we need a great spiritual revival in America. What is revival? It is not just scheduled annual meetings with a sign out in front of the church. Charles Finney, revered as the father of modern revival, called revival a "renewed conviction of sin and repentance, followed by an intense desire to live in obedience to God. It is giving up one's will to God in deep humility."

For revival, the first requirement is for God's people to "humble themselves." In my opinion, there is no other Christian discipline but fasting with prayer that fully meets the conditions of this marvelous promise from God.

By faith we humble ourselves, fast and pray for God's intervention and answers, and by faith we receive. Faith with fasting and prayer move the hand of God.

Another requirement of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is to "turn from their wicked ways." To turn means to repent. God's people must turn from, or repent of, living, thinking, speaking and acting like the world.

Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,

Bill Bright

November 29, 2010

The Sin of Assumption

During the American Civil War, rival armies camped out on opposite banks of the Potomac River. A musical contest erupted. Whenever the Federal band played one of its national tunes, the Confederate musicians would quickly strike up a Southern melody. On one occasion one of the bands started to play "Home, Sweet Home" and immediately the contest stopped, and soon voices from both sides of the river could be heard singing, "There's no place like home." Whatever differences each side had assumed, those differences were diminished by a common understanding—both sides would rather be at home nurturing their families.

It has been said that assumption is the lowest form of communication. If so, then at the time of the conquest of Canaan, Israel was at an all time low! When the 2½ tribes who built their homes east of the Jordan River after fighting and settling the land they built an altar as a monument to God's faithfulness. But that's not how the other 9½ tribes saw it. They viewed this altar as "competition" to the central sanctuary where all of Israel was supposed to worship. What was intended to be a symbol of unity was mistaken for a symbol of apostasy. This assumption led to hearsay and the hearsay almost led to civil war: "The whole assembly gathered at Shiloh and prepared to go to war against their brother tribes" (Joshua 22:12). Finally, a committee investigated it and the accused were cleared—all in the nick of time.

How many times are we willing to assume the worst? How often do we hear one side of a story and then form a conclusion based on that? We can become jury and judge, all based on sinful assumption. Rather than personally investigating or confronting, we go to others first, many of whom have the same inadequate information. "What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!" (Proverbs 18:13). Before fighting with a fellow believer, think of your future home—you'll be spending eternity with your offending brother or sister. Ask God to help you get things straightened out here first.

Skip Heitzig

November 20, 2010

Worthy?

"Lord, who can dwell in Your tent? Who can live in Your holy mountain?" 
Psalm 15:1

Psalm 15 goes to the heart of humanity's deepest problem-is anyone worthy of living in heaven with God? You are told that you must be honest and kind and that you must be keep all the Lord's commandments and never do wrong to others. Reviewing these requirements, you may question whether you can truly meet God's standards.
That is as it should be. The inability to be good enough makes you aware of your need for God's help, which He graciously provided through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
When you trust Him for salvation, God covers you with His righteousness and makes you worthy of dwelling with God for eternity. So believe in Him, trusting His provision. Because then you can rest in His goodness forever.

~Psalms to soothe a woman's heart

November 12, 2010

Floundering?

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."

1 Peter 1:3-5

God knows that we cannot live without hope and does not conduct a business of granting our wishes. Instead, He gives us "a living hope" that comes from our faith in Him. It is like a sweet kiss of his unending mercy when we are born into His family. Our hope is based on God's unfailing love and knowing that it is a sure thing because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and nothing can break that seal.

When trials and suffering find their way into our lives, it is easy to lose hope but we have to be reminded that our hope is based on God's faithfulness and not anything that we are able to do on our own. Christ is our anchor during those storms and trials and our hope in God's grace and love is our link to strength and courage to weather the storm. Some may choose not to put there hope in Christ and find themselves floundering in a deep sea of pain and there is no hope for a rescue in sight leaving them feeling hopeless.

When we find our faith falling flat, we have to choose to believe that God will turn our trouble into a door of hope. God takes our pain and suffering and turns it into an entryway for hope and a new doorway to Him. We need to take refuge in Christ and walk towards Him, focusing on His great love and mercy instead of the storm around us. His love and faithfulness will never fail or disappoint us and will always be our guide into the safe harbor of His loving arms.

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
   for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
   great is your faithfulness.

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
   to the one who seeks him;"

Lamentations 3:22-23, 25

November 3, 2010

God’s Gentle Reminder

Do not try to punish others when they wrong you, but wait for God to punish them with His anger.

Romans 12:19

Do not repay
evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay
evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:8-10


 

This morning as I was driving home from taking the kids to school, my mind was racing. In my mind, I was devising a way to take revenge on those that have hurt me over the past couple of years. I was working it all out, mapping out the words I would say, the actionsI would take and how I would justify every part of it and then I got home and opened my bible. As I began my quiet time, I turned to 1 Peter because over the past two weeks, our pastor has been preaching from this book. As I was flipping through the pages, I came across 1 Peter 3:8-10 and immediately, God got a hold of my heart. He is pretty amazing that way. Funny how Satan will get in our heads and try to lead us down an un-Christ like way if we are not careful. What if I had chosen to come home and take a nap or type a nasty email instead of opening my Bible? This is why quiet time with the Lord is so important. He guides our steps and takes us down the path that leads to a righteous way of handling things. This is the lesson I have been learning over the past couple of weeks. It is not always easy, especially when we are being hurt but I have had to learn to trust God and His promises to me. When someone has wronged me, my job is to return their evil with kindness and love and this is something that can only be done with the help of God.

If you stop and think about it, you can probably think of someone you have heard spouting off about someone they are angry with and in that moment you have probably thought, I hope never to get on his bad side. It is best to avoid those cantankerous sorts. Best to just stay away and avoid being put in that situation yourself. Those who try to take revenge end up lonely and unhealthy and find themselves sad, unsettled and alone. Why? Because when we are angry, we distance ourselves from God. When we try to take control from Him and do things our way, we compromise our relationship with Him.

If you find that your mission in life is to settle the score with someone that you feel has wronged you, I can promise you, there will be no peace. First, you may never get your revenge and as much as you think you are owed an apology, chances are, you will never get it. On top of that, the justice you think is deserved will never be enough. It is just the way we are wired. The only peace that we will ever find when we have been wronged is the peace that can only come from God and allowing Him the control of our circumstances. It is a hard lesson but a beneficial one to learn.

Watching the consequences of someone trying to execute revenge has been enough for me to be still, keep quiet and allow God to punish them with His anger. This is the command of our amazing heavenly Father and so far, it has worked for me.


 

October 27, 2010

Delighted

The Lord takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation. Let the godly celebrate in triumphal glory; let them shout for joy.

Psalm 149:4-5


 

Times will come in our life where we find that we may feel like we are completely on our. We begin to question whether anyone cares or understands. In those moments, it is greatly important that we remember our Father, our Creator who loves us and cares for us. We are important to Him because He works through our life to fulfill His great purpose.

His heart breaks when we sin because we bring hurt and devastation upon ourselves but He gives us the power to turn from those sins and be triumphant. When you find yourself feeling unloved or rejected, that is the time to give up your opinion as well as others about yourself. Take comfort in knowing that God loves you and has a vision for your life.


 


       The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.
       He will take great delight in you,
       He will quiet you with his love,
       He will rejoice over you with singing."

Zephaniah 3:17

October 24, 2010

Thank you for the Cross

Thank you for the cross Lord
Thank you for the price You paid
Bearing all my sin and shame
In love You came
And gave amazing grace

Thank you for this love Lord
Thank you for the nail pierced hands
Washed me in Your cleansing flow
Now all I know
Your forgiveness and embrace

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne
Crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious
High and lifted up
Jesus Son of God
The Darling of Heaven crucified
Worthy is the Lamb
Worthy is the Lamb


 

I am thankful for an amazing morning of worship. I am thankful for being reminded that I was chosen by God, purchased by the blood of Christ and set apart by the Holy Spirit. I am thankful that before the heavens and the earth were created, God saw me and called me His own. I am thankful I belong to Him. That I am His child and NOTHING can remove me from His hand. I am thankful for His mercy and His grace but most of all I am thankful for His unfailing, unconditional and amazing love.

And he
made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

 In him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:9-14


 

October 4, 2010

Everlasting

"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. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:9-10


 

I have not always been overly confident in myself. My mother would deny this fact because she claims that as a child, I had a ton of confidence but I promise all who knew me then, it was an act. I might have come across as a lion but inside I was nothing more than a mere mouse. As I got older that lack of confidence only grew. I truly thought I could not do anything other than cook, clean, give birth and help with homework. Then my world changed.

Sometimes life will throw us quite the curve ball but I am learning that there are reasons for those moments and they are for the sole purpose of making us stronger. In the past year, I have experienced my share of personal heartache. I actually thought it would destroy me until something got a hold of me. One of the lessons I have learned is that nothing passes through my Heavenly Father's hand, whether good or bad, that He does not know about. God is not evil or vindictive but He allows bad things to happen to good people in order to remind us that He is in control and to reign us back in if we have wandered off. This is a hard lesson I have had to learn in order to survive. It will most definitely be the greatest life lesson I will EVER learn.

Through this time, God has used many different methods to speak to me. I believe that God meets us where we are and uses methods to teach us things in a way that is fitting to our individuality. For me, He uses music a lot. When there are big decisions to make or I am dealing with trials and need encouragement, He always uses a song.

This past year, I set out on a journey to find a church home for me as well as my kids. This is not always an easy task, especially when you have five kids and want to please them all and you want them to want to go to church. I also wanted to find at place that we could call home. I have not had that in a church in a very long time and over the past year have realized how important it is when dealing with struggles, to have people who love you to walk beside you. I have not had that and it has made dealing with stuff very hard but has taught me an incredible lesson in searching for what God has for me.

Last Sunday, during the service, we sang a song that I had heard a couple of years ago that had really spoken to me and in fact, changed my walk in a profound way. I had gone to my worship pastor at the time and suggested that we do the song. It never happened. Last Sunday, the first two chords were played, and I knew exactly what song it was. My heart leapt from my chest and I was completely overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. He started working on me immediately.

Yesterday was my first Sunday getting to take all of the kids. This was the test. I felt certain that this church was where I was supposed to be but I knew their reaction would confirm to me my decision. On the drive to church, we were listening to a little Chris Tomlin. My baby girl's favorite song is Sing, Sing, Sing and so we were all singing away as we made our way to church. Upon entering the building, I went to sign in the kids. As we were about to walk to their classes I heard the first two chords of that song (Sing, Sing, Sing). My little ones eye lit up and she looked at me with the biggest grin on her face. I walked her into the sanctuary and she beamed as the band played and the congregation was singing the words to that song. We stood there and sang with them. She sang at the top of her little lungs and danced around. It was the most amazing moment. It was truly a God moment.

I took all the kids to their classes, worried about them and it being their first time but they all entered without hesitation and so I made my way to service. All I can say was that the service was amazing and left me so very overwhelmed. I knew in that moment, I wanted to be a part of this body of believers.

I knew this was my place but now I needed the reassurance of my kids. On the ride home, they each shared the things they learned and even the names of new friends they had already made. They were little chatter boxes and so excited. My six year old wanted to know how long church lasted. I told him that they had been in their class for an hour and half. The ten and nine year old chimed in with "no way". I was a little taken aback but they let me know that it did not feel like they were even there thirty minutes.

I have found a joy and peace in Him on a new level. I have known joy in the Lord in my life but never to this extent. It is truly amazing that when your eyes and your heart are totally on Him, how your perspective changes. I used to be afraid of things, but now I have no fear in the future because He has shown me that He truly is in control, which allows a confidence that brings about such great peace. This peace then allows me to move forward where He becomes the focus and purpose of my life. My life has become a new adventure and I am so excited to see where He takes me.

In case you were wondering, the song from last Sunday was Everlasting. Click the link and it will take you to the song on YouTube.


 


 

September 28, 2010

Be a doer of the Word


"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."
James 1:22

 

We are going through a series at church right now that has been quite eye opening to me. For a while, I have been fighting this feeling that we as Christians trivialize what being a Christ follower truly means. I have watched people who claim to follow Christ live a life that reflects something very different. Being a Christ follower is not about saying a prayer. Being a Christ follower is not about believing in Jesus. The demons believe in Jesus.
I have spent my entire life in church but on only a few occasions have actually heard it preached or taught that following Christ is a sacrifice. That it is about denying one's self, taking up your own cross and following Christ. It is living a life of obedience. Somehow, along the way, churches have lost that teaching.
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Matthew 16:24

 

We were created solely for the purpose of bringing honor and glory to God. That's it. It is not about us. It is not about our happiness, our wealth, and our needs or wants but instead the growth of His kingdom. This is not a difficult concept to understand but because we are such self centered and sinful people, we struggle daily to achieve the goal set before us.
The goal I am referring to is the one that Jesus left with us before ascending into heaven. We are to go out and spread the gospel. Pure and simple. No matter the cost, we are to spread the gospel. Here is what is happening though. We set out to teach people truth but somehow end up helping them to say a prayer, that may or may not be sincere and that does not transform their life. Now I am not saying that this is always the case but I can vouch to the fact that there are many out there walking around professing Christ as their Lord and Savior but living for themselves. Nothing in their life reflects a life where Christ sits on the throne but instead reflects a self-centered love for themselves. In addition, we wonder why people do not want anything to do with our God. Can you blame them?
So what do we do? We set out determined to live a life of sacrifice and devotion to the One who saved us from our sins. We begin a journey where our love for the lost overwhelms us and we are compelled to share the gospel. There are those who would claim that Christ came to save us from hell but that is not true. If He came to save us from hell, then the moment we accepted Him into our lives, we would join Him in heaven because there would be no purpose left for us here. We do have a purpose. He has a plan for every one of us and it begins with Him. It begins with us setting out to share His love, His grace and His mercy with those who need it.
We need to go out looking for those that live in a constant state of conflict not only in their heart but also in their mind. They are lost and cannot gain any understanding for the things of God because the Holy Spirit is not present in their lives. To them, Christianity is just a religion and they are totally unaware of God and His presence. These are the unsaved, the lost. These are the ones we should seek out.
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14

 

Maybe you are one of those feeling conflicted. If you feel like you have no peace or purpose in your life or like something is missing, chances are you don't know Him. If you do know Him but your life if filled with regret and guilt, you may need to reintroduce yourself to Him. Even if you have fallen away, He is waiting with open arms for you to return no matter what you've done (much like the story of the prodigal son)
The Lost Son


 

The following verses say it perfectly. These are the words of Christ and He clearly says that we will be known by our fruit. When I hear that, I immediately begin to name the fruit of the Spirit, which is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. From what I've read in scripture a born again Christian clearly reflects these fruits. I believe this. People should know us and see Jesus in us as we go about our everyday life. It doesn't mean we won't ever do anything wrong but when life happens, our reaction should reflect something different in us.
"By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Matthew 7:16-20
So here is what you do. This is straight from scripture and nothing I've made up on my own.
"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine your heart. All you have to do is ask the Holy Spirit for direction and He will give it to you. The Holy Spirit of God is so powerful. Some people will say that Satan has made them doubt their salvation but I don't know that I believe that. Why would Satan make you doubt something that you would investigate further which would be considered a loss to him if you chose God? Just saying...

 


 


 


 

Stand Firm


Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say

Sidewalk Prophets- These are the Words I Would Say


"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."


 

Ephesians 6:10-11


 

So many times the blows of life can beat and wear you down to where you feel defeated to the point of just giving up. Always in those moments, God reminds me of very specific things. This morning it was Ephesians 6: 10- 18


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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.


Life can bring us down but when we are grounded in Christ, we are able to get back up again. I have amazing kids. All of them. They can drive me crazy at times but then those moments come when God uses them to remind me of truth. You see, in recent days, someone that was once very close to me has decided and has chosen to tell people that I am an unfit mother and mentally unstable. As a mom, you cannot hit any lower below the belt than with that statement. Since I was a child, all I ever wanted to be was a mom. God saw fit that this was in fact my calling and blessed me with five precious kids that are my life. I received an email from a friend not too long ago and her words said this; "those kids are who they are because of you. You have been a stay at mom since the first was born and you have sacrificed your wants and desires to be there for them. Your kids are amazing and display such a confidence that can only come from having a mom that loves them and has taught them truth." Satan would want me to doubt who I am in Christ. There is no greater way to attack me than to attack what God created me to be and so God gives me those moments through my children to serve as a reminder.


I have spent the past week dwelling on that truth and I was having a really hard day last week, feeling quite defeated when my sweet 10 year old came into my room and pulled up a song on YouTube for me. 
It was Matthew West More.
 
I sat and listened to the words and was reminded all over again, that God is in control. People are people and Satan will use people and their words to try to destroy, but God is ultimately in control and He will take care of not only me but also my kids. They are safe in His hands and nothing that happens, whether good or bad, happens without passing through His hands first. God loves me more than I could ever imagine. My kids know God and know the truth of God because I have spent years teaching it to them and in that, God uses my kids to remind me of that fact.



What a sweet reminder. There is no need to fear the unknown and there is peace through the storm because HE loves ME and He is in control.

September 16, 2010

Because He Loves Me


You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe, I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because
I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me, the tender wind that carried me
The light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you


 

-Celion Dion


"He will cover you with his feathers,
       and under his wings you will find refuge;
       his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…

Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
       I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
       I will be with him in trouble,
       I will deliver him and honor him.

 With long life will I satisfy him
       and show him my salvation."


 

Psalm 91:4, 14-16


 


 

So maybe I have found myself in a one of those cheesy moods. This week began with Hakuna Matata and it is going to end with Because You Loved Me.

This posting is to announce that I have in fact found true love and it DOES exist. It is the most perfect and amazing love out there. It is a love that is selfless, brings security, leaves no room for fear or worry, is something you cannot live without and brings great joy and completion. Yes, you have heard me correctly. I do believe in true love and I am convinced that is does exist in this sinful and ugly world.

Over the past year, the roller coaster ride, that is my life, has brought me to a place where I finally recognized that 1 Corinthians 13 Love can be accomplished and it does exist. When you have been betrayed, abandoned and lied to, you are left alone which opens the door for true love to find its way into your life. Now I am not talking about that soul mate kind of love but instead the love that only the perfect husband could provide: a love that can only come from a person who can do no wrong, who is totally selfless and loves unconditionally.

Not too long ago I received a message from a friend who dealt with divorce. She provided me with some huge encouragement and thanks to this special person; it sent me on a quest to find my true love. She told me that through her pain, she as well as her daughters found a complete new faith in God and He became her husband. That is where I am right now.

I am no longer relying on a person to love me the way in which I need to be loved. God has been here all along; I just didn't allow Him to love me the way that He wanted to love me. I guess I didn't understand how it could work when there wasn't someone physically present to hold me or to say verbally "I love you" but I understand it now.

For months, I lived in fear and pain until I finally opened my eyes and recognized the cover of protection and unconditional love over me as well as my kids from His mighty wings. God has revealed Himself in so many ways to me that I have no doubt whatsoever that everything is going to be ok. He has the book for my life, that He wrote, opened up in front Him and as long as I rely on Him and trust Him, He is going to take care of me.

It's actually pretty exciting. I was driving in the car the other day with my 10 year old and he told me that he liked the new mommy. That this mommy smiles and laughs a lot and does not cry like the old one. It was a profound moment for me as I realized that He really is changing me and that my kids can see that change. I have found a confidence in His love that allows me to live without fear and worry. I have assurance in His plan because He is my Father, my Creator and my Husband.

Life will now be different. I have always had faith in Him but now I have so much more.


 


 


 

September 13, 2010

Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase


 

Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze


 

It means no worries for the rest of your days


 

It's our problem-free philosophy


 


 

Hakuna Matata-The Lion King


 

Ok, so I know this is not scripture but of recent days it has become the theme song in our house. My three year old has fallen in love with Simba and Nala. She carries them through the house daily singing Hakuna Matata which translates to "No worries". Isn't it funny how a Disney song can be a reminder and source of comfort to a mom when she needs it?


 

If you have not seen the movie the story goes a little like this;


A young lion prince is born in Africa, thus making his uncle Scar the second in line to the throne. Scar plots with the hyenas to kill King Mufasa and Prince Simba, thus making himself King. The King is killed and Simba is led to believe by Scar that it was his fault, and so flees the kingdom in shame. After years of exile he is persuaded to return home to overthrow the usurper and claim the kingdom as his own thus completing the "Circle of Life".


 

Taken from
IMBD


 

This story has become my life. Now I have not killed anyone or been falsely accused of killing anyone but instead have been accused of doing things I have not done and made to believe things about myself that are untrue. Because of this, I found myself in exile but slowly I am returning to the main land in which I live and realizing that truth wins in the end and because I am the daughter of a mighty King, I have no need to worry.

Simba had to return to the "Pride Land" in order to clear his name and make things right. It took time for him to reach that place of believing in himself but when he did, he returned to Pride Rock, defeated the enemy with the help of his friends and Pride Rock was returned back to its beautiful state before it was ruined by Scar. Now in the movie, a group of lions, a baboon, a meerkat and a warthog accomplished this. In real life, the Creator of the universe will have this victory. The mightiest warrior alive will defend His children and restore the wrong done, making it right.

A counselor told me once that even though life may seem like hell right now, one day my life would be restored and God would bless me with a love like one I had never known. However, was also told that the person who was causing all the hell would continue to live in torment until they recognized their need for God and find true peace.


 

Until then, I sit and patiently wait upon the Lord and His timing, singing Hakuna Matata because I know I have no need to worry.

I will extol the LORD at all times; 
       his praise will always be on my lips.

 2 My soul will boast in the LORD; 
       let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

 3 Glorify the LORD with me; 
       let us exalt his name together.

 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me; 
       he delivered me from all my fears.

 5 Those who look to him are radiant; 
       their faces are never covered with shame.

 6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; 
       he saved him out of all his troubles.

 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, 
       and he delivers them.

 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; 
       blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

 9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, 
       for those who fear him lack nothing.

 10 The lions may grow weak and hungry, 
       but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

 11 Come, my children, listen to me; 
       I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

 12 Whoever of you loves life 
       and desires to see many good days,

 13 keep your tongue from evil 
       and your lips from speaking lies.

 14 Turn from evil and do good; 
       seek peace and pursue it.

 15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous 
       and his ears are attentive to their cry;

 16 the face of the LORD is against those who do evil, 
       to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

 17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; 
       he delivers them from all their troubles.

 18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted 
       and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 19 A righteous man may have many troubles, 
       but the LORD delivers him from them all;

 20 he protects all his bones, 
       not one of them will be broken.

 21 Evil will slay the wicked; 
       the foes of the righteous will be condemned.

 22 The LORD redeems his servants; 
       no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34


 


 

September 10, 2010

Lost Salvation?


"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
Romans 8:5

 

I am at a crossroads. I would truly enjoy some feedback on this posting because I really would like some input on the belief of other Christians out there.


 

What does the bible say about unconditional salvation? Can we lose our salvation? What of those who profess to be a follower of Christ but their actions, words and lifestyle reflect something very different?

I know a person right now who is living a lifestyle in front of some that leads those people to believe that they are godly and walking a righteous path but behind closed doors, is manipulating and destroying another believer. This person does not seem to feel guilt or act as if they have a conscience. It is almost scary. They live as if the lies they tell are complete truth and it has becomes their reality.

When I think about it, I do not know which scares me more. The fact that this person has a following and that those following are totally sucked into this world of lies or that this person can act, speak and live in this way without feeling any sort of conviction. What does that say about their spiritual health?

Scripture tells us that none of us is good (Mark 10:17-19) and we all sin (1 John 1:8). The important question to ask then is are you convicted when you sin? If you lie, does the Holy Spirit convict you? When you hurt someone, does the Holy Spirit tug at your heart? If you cannot answer yes to that question, I believe that you may not truly be saved.


 

I have asked more than one pastor about their thoughts on losing your salvation and one of the responses I received has always stuck with me. His response was that if you fall away from God and there is no conviction for your sins, though you may have prayed the prayer, it most likely was not sincere and you are not saved. There are so many out there that proclaim to follow Christ yet everything they do speaks to something different. Scripture says that we are known by our fruit.

"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Matthew 7:15-20

If our life does not reflect good fruit, then how can we claim to be Christ followers?

I am truly at a loss. My heart breaks for this person and all I can do right now is pray for them because I truly question their salvation. I know I cannot judge but I care for this person enough that I do not want to think of them spending eternity in hell and so I will choose to pray for a spiritual awakening. I pray that this particular heart will be opened and possibly, for the first time this person will feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

How do you combat something so evil? I know God is greater than any enemy is. I know He will have the victory in the end and that His justice will be served but how do you survive against something so dark that makes you feel as if you're living hell on earth? When I am around this person, it is truly unnerving. I literally begin to shake and my spirit becomes unsettled. Every time I know that I am going to have to see this person I have to pray to get prepared for the battle that takes place spiritually within me.
What are your thoughts? Do you know anyone like this? Do you believe that salvation can be lost?