Thursday, January 30, 2014

What would it take to move you?


Yesterday I was reading in the book of Acts and was struck by this question the Holy Spirit put on my heart.
Acts 20;22-24 (KJV)  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there.  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither do count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

The KJV can sometimes have a lesser impact because of the style of writing....I want it to hit home with you so I am including the same text as written in the Living Bible.

And now I am going to Jerusalem, drawn there irresistible by the Holy Spirit, not knowing what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit has told me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.  But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus- the work of telling others the Good News about God's mighty kindness and love.

WOW!  This is powerful and there are many lessons to learn in these few verses.  Let me share with you what the Holy Spirit shared with me.

1.)  Paul's mind was made up-   Prior to sharing what the Holy Spirit shared with him, concerning what awaited him,  Paul states "I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit.  and not our intentions.  It is wise to have your convictions settled prior to facing the moment of decision, that fork in the road.  When we are in a crisis, we tend to make emotional decisions instead of decisions based on the wisdom of God.

  2.)  Paul states he was constrained by the Holy Spirit or, as in the KJV, bound in the Spirit.  Paul was fully submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When we submit to the Holy Spirit, we follow His path, not our own.  I don't know what was going through Paul's mind, but looking at the character of the Apostle Paul in many other situations, and the words used here, I doubt that Paul considered any other option.  I was thinking that when we are "bound" to something, we are dependent on someone else, are we not? If my hands and feet are bound then I must depend on someone else to transport me where I need to go, to carry out basic everyday tasks.  (If you have ever had broken legs or arms then you have experienced dependence in some degree.  When we are bound in the Spirit, then we are dependent upon the Spirit for every need.

3.)  Paul was not moved (detoured) by the words of the Holy Spirit "in every city, imprisonment and afflictions await me."  I hope I could pass such a test.  We often look for detours to get us out of a tough situation.  If there is too much traffic we seek a detour around it, we delay medical tests or avoid them all together because we know what awaits us (i.e. a colonoscopy!  :).  We avoid certain people because we don't want to talk to them.  This is our human nature, if there is a way out, we will find it.  Now, that is not all bad- but do you see my point?  If the Holy Spirit delivered the news to us that He delivered to Paul, would we be steadfast, unmovable?

4.)  Paul did not count his life of any value or precious to himself. -  We see them theme throughout the other books of the Bible that were written by Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Paul is not speaking of a self esteem issue, when he says he does not count his life of any value.  Instead he understands that when He became a Christian, he died to self.  In Galatians 2:29 Paul states the following:

I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

5.)  Paul looked at things through an eternal perspective- Paul ends these verses by sharing what was driving him to go, in spite of what lied ahead.  In verse 24 he states that he wants to finish the course and the ministry that was given to him by God.  Paul wanted to finish well.  Paul also understood that his mission was not of his own doing, but rather this ministry was given to him by God.  It wasn't his mission to decide if he would go, or any other decision.  Rather, he obeyed his Master, the One who gave him the mission.

America is living in dark days right now.  Christians are having their freedoms taken from them in record speed.  We must be prepared.  Paul said in vs 24 "But none of these things (the afflictions and imprisonments) move me.  What would it take to move us.  Let's stand steadfast in our convictions, submitted to the Holy Spirit and have an eternal perspective that we might stand firm even in the toughest of times and finish the race hearing our Master say "Well done" !

I Corinthians 15:58- Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

To God be the glory!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who are YOU??

January 29, 2014

First of all, let me say LONG TIME NO POST!!  I have wanted to but I have been so busy and my health does not always permit me to do all that I would like to do- However, I praise God that the blog is still being read on a daily basis by various folks in various countries around the world! To God be the Glory.

Yesterday I was reading my Bible and something struck me that I wanted to write about today- so let's jump in!

I think we all frequently answer the question "who are you?"  "what do you do?"  I am quick to answer that question with "I am in the medical profession"  and you probably do that same, answering the question with explaining your profession.

As I was reading my Bible, I was, once again, struck with how the Apostles answered such a question.  Friend, you and I would be wise to consider exactly how we identify ourselves.

Let's go to Scripture:

John called himself "The Voice"- He was a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way (John 1:23)

The Apostle Paul identified himself at the start of his letters as follows:

Romans 1:1- "Paul, a Servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, Separated unto the gospel of God"

I Corinthians 1:1- "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother."

II Corinthians 1:1- " Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth."

Galatians 1:1- "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ,) and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead"

Ephesians 1:1- "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."

Phillipians 1:1-" Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons."

Colossians 1:1-" Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother."

I Timothy 1:1- "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope."

II Timothy 1:1- "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus."

Titus 1:1- "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness."

Philemon 1:1- "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon, our dearly beloved and fellow laborer."

James introduced himself like this:

  James 1:1  "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ..."

Peter introduced himself like this:

I Peter 1:1- " Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia."

II Peter 1:1- "  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

Jude introduced himself like this:

Jude 1- "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ and called."

If you are a Christian then your primary identification, your primary occupation is as described above!  We are called to be a servant, servants to those who have obtained like precious faith,  we are called to be followers  or "apostles" or Jesus Christ, we are called to be Separated unto the Gospel,

When we come to the understanding that this is our primary occupation then we will carry that out in our worldly occupations. If you are a waitress, you will not just a "server" but a Servant!

If you are a Nurse, you will be a servant to your patients and their families.

If you are a business person- you will conduct your business in a Christ like manner, as you understand who it is you work for.

If you are a stay at home mom- (the most difficult of occupations! :) ) you will be a godly parent and be a Servant of Jesus Christ in your parenting while also teaching your children how to be a servant of Jesus Christ.

Fellow brothers and sisters in Christ- Our Employer, our Boss is Jesus Christ.  When we are mistreated by our earthly employer, we must remember that our Heavenly Father is well aware, He is fair and just and He will handle the mistreatment if we remain faithful to our calling to be a servant, to be an apostle.

We must never lose sight of who we are.  It is overwhelming when I take the time to ponder on who I am in Christ- I am identified with the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe.  I will never be separated from Him.  I have 24/7 access to the Throne of God.

What happens to our heart, our lives, when we understand who we are and allow that to play out in every area of our life here on earth.

1.)  We will be more sensitive to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives-  When we walk in the path that God has called us and strive to live out all that He has given us and asks of us, we can rest assured that the Holy Spirit will enable us to do this.  He is our Counselor.  Our ears will be more attentive to His workings and also our heart will be softer to the process of correction and convicting.

2.)  We will experience less discouragement.-  Our employers will let us down, our 8 hour days may become 10 hour days as we are called to meet deadlines, or take on added responsibility.  We will never get laid off or fired from God.  He will never hand us that pink slip and wish us "lots of luck" on our job search.  God will never approach us and say He has run out of resources and can no longer use us- there is no unemployment line when employed by God!

3.)  We will function with eternal values/consequences in mind.- Everything on this earth is temporal.  All of it will vanish away and have no eternal value.  The only eternal thing on this earth is the human soul.  The human soul will spend eternity in one of two places- heaven or hell.  Therefore, we must walk in a way that would help to draw others into a relationship or renewed relationship with Jesus Christ.

4.) We will remain humble-We have nothing to boast about.  We are no more important to God as the next soul.  We are not who we are due to any effort on our part.  We must never lose sight of the  reason, the One responsible for our awesome identity.  It is tempting to take credit for any achievement, as if our "spirituality" has anything to do with being a Servant, a fellow laborer.  All we did was accept the invitation- God did all the rest when He sent His Son to come to earth for the sole purpose of dying on a cross and resurrecting on the third day!  As the old hymn says:  Forbid it Lord that I should boast"  (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)

5.)  We will understand to whom we are servants-  Look at whom the Apostles were servants-They served God, the  saints AND the strangers!!  I believe when we serve Christ, serving the saints and strangers will follow.

6.)  We will better understand the Separated life we are called by God to lead-  This is a separation from the evil of this day.

Let us understand who we are, whose we are, and live a life that is worthy of our calling!

I will try to be more consistent with blogging!  It is something that helps me and hopefully encourages and blesses you!

To God be the Glory

Monday, December 10, 2012


To all of my dear readers:  I have an urgent prayer request and knowing I have readers all over the globe, I am putting the word out through this blog.

Frank Pastore is a Christian radio personality on KKLA 99.5FM.  He hosts  a call in talk show every afternoon.  This station is located in the Los Angeles California area.  3 weeks ago today, Frank was riding his motorcycle home from work around 7:30pm when a driver lost control of her car and hit Frank. He was ejected from his motorcycle (he was wearing a helmet) and found unconscious on the side of the freeway with severe head injuries.  Airlifted to a trauma hospital, Frank remains in a coma.

Frank is 55 years old, married with 2 children and a small grandchild.

Frank is a contender for the faith.  Once an atheist and a professional baseball player......for many years now, a full time servant for his Lord Jesus Christ.

I am urging you to pray.  The Christmas season is upon us and the only item on the Pastore wish list is for Frank to wake up.  This family is trusting in the Lord and accepting of whatever the will of the Lord is ....but as you can imagine, they are pleading for a miracle.

Take a moment right now to pray.  Put a little note on your bathroom mirror or wherever you will see it to be reminded to pray.  As you pray before your meal, pray for Frank.  Ask your church to pray for Frank.  Ask your Bible study group to pray for Frank.

Let's flood the Throne of the Almighty with prayers for a miracle.  Please also remember the family.  Gina, his wife, Christina, his daughter, and Frank, his son.

Thank you dear blog family!!  Will keep you posted, and celebrate answered prayer with you!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life in the hands of the Carpenter

At some point in our lives we have had to practically put our lives "into the hands" of someone else.  If you are getting ready for surgery, you are basically putting your life into the hands of the surgeon, stepping on a plane, you are placing your life in the hands of a trained pilot.  But, for the most part, these are temporary situations.  Surgery ends, the plane lands and life goes on til the next time.

Perhaps you are a Christian.  You have placed your life, your very soul, into the hands of Jesus and yet your life is a roller coaster of events that leave you wondering when a moment of calm will come.  Confused, wondering what God is up to.

Perhaps you aren't a Christian, but you are considering Christianity, having observed the lives of friends, family or coworkers who are Christians, or you sense that void  in your life and you've yet to find something to fill it with.  Only God can fill that void

Perhaps you think the Christians are just silly people- using religion as a "crutch" - just something to dream about when there is a need to escape from pain and sadness in life.

I want to spend a few moments to talk  about life in the hands of the Carpenter, Jesus Christ.  Hopefully, no matter what category you find yourself in (believer, questioner, or total skeptic) you will walk away with a better understanding of Jesus and how His earthly occupation, a Carpenter by trade, will help you and me gain  even just a little glimpse into His workings in our lives.

We read in the Bible that Jesus was a Carpenter.  As I began to ponder on this I wanted to look up the definition of carpenter.

A person who makes and repairs wooden objects and structures.
A skilled crafts person who works with timber to construct, install
A skilled worker who makes, finishes, and repairs

When I really began to dig in I found some other interesting points that were brought out when defining a carpenter.  As follows:

A carpenter is involved in the framework and roofing of buildings
Installs floor joists- these give the floor strength to handle weight- provide good balance to build on when adding beams
Involved in fine and detailed work- specializes in closets and making other furniture designed for storage
Carpenters can be involved in shipbuilding

Wow!  In a short time I learned some things about carpenters that I did not know and have not shared due to space.  Nonetheless- my mind went back to the most famous Carpenter of all, Jesus of Nazareth.

You see, I have placed my life in the hands of this Carpenter.  So what do I see Him doing in my life?  In times of questions and pain, in times of joy and abundant blessing, Jesus is busy performing the tasks of a carpenter.  Let's apply the definitions of carpenter listed above to how Jesus works in our lives.

1.  "makes and repairs"-  Like it or not, call yourself a "big sinner" or a "little sinner"- Jesus doesn't measure sin. We may try to measure sin,  as it might provide us some comfort (false comfort) thinking we just aren't all that bad. when comparing ourselves with our neighbor  But Jesus just says
"FOR ALL HAVE SINNED". (Romans 3:23)
Yep, we are all in one category...the "sinned".  We are marred by sin and until we reach heaven, Jesus will be forever making us and repairing us.  Hopefully as we learn to walk closer to the Carpenter the repairs become less but they will still be necessary at times as we still reside in the flesh.

2.  "constructs and installs"- Jesus is into building us up.  Sometimes it is necessary to tear down in order to build up.  Who would know better than a carpenter the necessity of a good foundation.  Installing those "joists" that provide the ability to tolerate weight and good balance on which to build.  If Jesus is tearing down in our lives it is because He has beautiful blueprints for us and He has to fix the foundations.  Satan is just interested in tearing down.  He is the captain of the wrecking crew.  The wrecking crew comes in to tear down and then the job is done.  Unless there is a carpenter, the torn down building will remain exactly that, TORN DOWN!  Satan is never interested in building us up.- IT IS IMPORTANT TO GRASP THIS-

Jesus the Master Carpenter is also interested in installing.- We have been given the mind of Christ.  This comes as a result of the Holy Spirit, the Installer in the heavenly carpentry business.  He installs the fruits of the Spirit and the Word of God as we read it.  The Word of God is our power against the forces of evil.   Just like those joists that provide balance and strength to build upon,  the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives will continue till we reach glory so that means we should forever be building on what we know, always growing...precept upon precept.  At times this is painful, Installation takes hammers and nails and tearing out to make room for whatever is being installed.  So it is with the Master Carpenter.  Sometimes He has to practically gut us in order to ready us for what He is desiring to install in our lives.

3.  Involved in fine and detailed work-  Detailed work is a process.  It is not that hard to paint a room- slap a coat of paint on and there you go!  Well, not really.   You see, if the wall is not primed and the trim that is not supposed to be painted isn't taped over then it will be sloppy, not pleasant to the eye and will not endure as long as it would had it been done right.  The value will also not be as great.  Have you ever gone house hunting?  Boy what a process!  Inspections to do what....that's right! look at the details!  Will it withstand weather, time, etc ?  We look at the woodwork, the flooring etc, and what we can't see, we hire someone else to look at for us!  This person will crawl up into the attic, get upon the roof,  use all types of gadgets and tools to examine the details.

Jesus is interested in details!  He knows to be the best asset to His work here on earth which is advancing  His kingdom in heaven, He has to pay attention to details.  He is not interested in just slapping on a "coat of Christianity" that may look good at the moment and for even a short while but will not withstand the test of time or the storms that will come our way.  He primes us, He carefully performs His work in our lives that we may be a light, salt and still be standing even when the forces of evil come against us.  He wants us to still be standing even when the world is bent on snuffing out Christianity.

Carpenters can also specialize in making furniture designed for storage- Immediately I thought of the application here.  Our mind is our closet so to speak.  It is designed for storage.  Jesus had a lot to say about our mind/heart.  Consider the following:

Philippians 2:5-Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus

Proverbs 4:23- ABOVE ALL ELSE guard your heart (mind) will all diligence- for out of it flows the springs of life

Ephesians 6:17- Put on the helmet of salvation -In combat the helmet is worn to protect blows to the head,  The helmet of salvation protects from the blows to our mind

II Corinthians 10: 4-5-we are to refute arguments and theories and reasoning and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself against the knowledge of God and we take every thought captive into the obedience of Christ

Romans 12:2- Renewing our mind

Proverbs 23:7- As a man thinks in his heart/ mind, so is he

Romans 8:5- Those who walk according to the flesh, set their mind on the things of the flesh- but those that walk after the Spirit set their mind on the things of the Spirit

Acts 17:11-Receiving the word with all readiness of mind

Philippians 4:6-7- Be anxious for nothing but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto God and the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus

Isaiah 26:3- Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee

I haven't even scratched the surface!  But for the sake of time I will limit.  Just get on your computer and search all the Bible verses that talk about the mind

Jesus knows that the battle of temptation and sin always begin in the mind.  King David's allowed his mind to stay too long on Bathsheba and it followed with full blown physically playing out what he was pondering on in his mind.

One thing we all can relate to is the necessity of "making space"  We make space in our daily schedule but removing something else we had going on that day.  We make space in our closet (ladies especially) by getting rid of those clothes that we never wear or don't fit in to.  We move into a smaller house or apartment and we find we must get rid of somethings in order to make room for what we really can't do without.

We must allow Jesus to work on our mind. We must allow Him to get rid of somethings so that He can make room for what we cannot do without- Jesus Christ.  We must permit Him to make room (renew our mind) so that we can experience the mind of Christ in our own lives, allowing us to make decisions according to what He would have us do.  We must permit Him to rid the garbage we have installed in our minds though things we read or listen to or watch.  We must permit Him to sweep out the bitterness we have harbored or the vengeance we have allowed to take root in order that He may fill it with grace, mercy, love and forgiveness.  This might just be the most painful of all processes.  I say this for 2 reasons:

1.) Not even a worldly therapist or psychologist would deny that trying to reprogram a mind that has been damaged though pornography or hatred and bitterness or an unforgiving spirit .is not an easy task.  The mind has a video capability of recording and replaying time and again what it has recorded.

2) The re-programming of the mind will ensure a spiritual battle against satan and his demons.  Satan is smart enough to know if he get work on our mind everything else on his agenda to destroy us has a better chance  to succeed.  Do no be discouraged- it is a winnable war- but it will take filling your mind with the Word of God and perhaps re-thinking about the music you listen to, the TV programs you watch, the movies you go see, even the crowd you hang with.

Jesus never gives a command that is impossible for us to carry out!  Therefore, when the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to say  "let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5) you can be sure it IS achievable, and the Holy Spirit is there to help you and guide you through the process

Carpenters also can be involved in ship building-  How can this apply to our Christian life?  Well what is the most necessary, in fact, a MUST when it comes to building ships?  You got it!  They can't sink!  I once had a pastor that described the world (meaning the unsaved and the worldly)as the sea and we are the ship.  While on this earth we have no choice, we are "in the world"- daily surrounded by evil.  So as the ship we must float.  The important task is to not allow us to take in water (the worldly influence)  Therefore we must be first repaired and built up so that we don't sink,  and the maintenance of the ship (us,, the believers) must be an ongoing daily process till we reach heaven.  When we take on the water (the world) even just a little bit, the ship sooner or later will sink.  Jesus made it clear that while on this earth, He took on and experienced all we have experienced yet was without sin.  He knows the pressures of this world that we face on a daily basis.  Therefore He wants to first build us up, making us a secure ship and then He wants daily communion with us and the filling of the Holy Spirit in order to make sure we don't take on even the smallest worldly influence.  Just like a boat that must have routine maintenance to continue functioning properly, so must we

For the sake of time-I will end here.

 I hope you see that if you are a Christian going through difficult times- rest assured you have placed your life in the hands of the Carpenter and He is using all these sufferings to repair, build up, strengthen you and to make room for Him in every area of your life.

If you are not a Christian but considering Jesus- do not fear.  Don't believe the lies that satan has planted in the minds of the world that Jesus is "out to get ya" to make you lead some boring life filled with a set of rules!  Just the opposite!  He gave His life for you and desires fellowship with you.  Revelation 4:11 says "Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they were created!'  Jesus does have guidelines set forth for our good, Jesus does call us to lose our life that we may find it but He summed it up best when He said "I came that you may have life and life in abundance! (John 10:10) You can trust your life as you reside in the hands of Jesus the Carpenter.

If you are a full blown skeptic that thinks we Christians are just day dreaming and conjuring up some "feel good" story that will have a happily ever after ending please listen-  I especially speak to you.  Jesus LOVES you- enough to give His very life for you. (John 3:16)  He made it clear that one day we will all stand before Him- in fact, we will not stand but rather "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father!- (Philippians 2: 10-11)  Christianity is a crutch- and boy crutches are great things aren't they?  Ever try to walk on a broken need crutches don't you?  Well, let me speak for myself.  I am a broken person, Jesus is my crutch so to speak but not in the sense that the world thinks!  Rather, He makes it possible for me to stand in every circumstance.As my Crutch, He promotes my healing and helps me walk.  He carries my load.  He steadies me and helps me from falling again.  My friend, Christianity does have a "happily ever after" it is called heaven.  It was designed for all but only those who call upon the name of the Lord as their Savior will be able to take up residence there when they die.  Those who reject Christ will be doomed to an eternity in hell, forever separated from God.

Christians are not perfect and, by the way, not everyone that claims Christianity is a true Christian..  Yes, there are the performers using Christianity as their disguise for some selfish gain or other motive.  Don't resign yourself to an eternity in hell because "Christians are hypocrites", etc.)  Jesus Christ will never let you down- He desires to accept you into the family.  The invitation has been sent, you must reply.  Your "RSVP" must be in effect before you die as after the fact will be too late.

Have you ever gotten an invitation to a wedding and the enclosed RSVP card?  You can't send in your RSVP after the wedding.  I mean I guess you can but it will have no meaning.  The wedding already took place! You missed it!  So it is with the invitation of salvation.

Accept Him today!!  If you make that decision let me know!  I'd love to pray for you and rejoice with you in making the most important decision you will ever have to make!

40+ years of walking with the Master Carpenter and would not trade anything for the journey I am on till I see Him face to face!


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Clinging to the Word

I love the Old Testament.....I especially love the book of Deuteronomy.  It is full of good instruction.
I want to focus for just a moment on Deuteronomy 32: 46:47

 And he said to them:  "Set your hearts on all the words which I testify among you today, which  you shall command your children to be careful to observe- all the words of this law."
"For it is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life, and by this word you shall prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess."

Let's look at the context- Moses is nearing death.  He is giving final instruction to the people.  Israel is about to finish her journey into the promised land.  Chapter 32 is called "the song of Moses".  Nearing the end of his song he reminds the people to set their hears on all the words he has spoken telling them it is not a "futile thing for you" but rather "it is your life"

The Hebrew word for "futile" here is better translated "empty"

What a great reminder and last words of instruction from Moses.  We need to cling to the Word of God and heed it's instruction.

I grew up in church and in a Christian school.  I can't remember a time when I did not have a Bible- in fact, I have always been around plenty of Bibles.  My Christian school had us memorize plenty of Scripture (I thank God for that) - so I have a lot of head knowledge about the Bible.  While that is wonderful, I must be careful that I do not take it for granted and treat it as a "futile" thing.  If not careful, I could easily take it for granted (and I have at times) because I've always been around it.

The Bible, the Word of God, is our life.  Just like blood must continue circulating throughout our bodies to keep us physically alive, so must the word of God be forever circulating in our bodies to keep us spiritually alive.

I am a nurse and throughout my nursing career of 25+  years, I have given death care to more patients then I care to think about.  A corpse has blood in him- he died because the blood was no longer circulating.

We can have the Word of God in us but if it is not circulating through our bodies (reading it/applying it/heeding it/ clinging to it) we will have a dead spiritual life

Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, you will hear Moses over and over again say these words "be careful".

We must be careful to not forsake the Word of God or not neglect the Word of God but rather cling to it - as it is our life.

If we were bleeding today we would know to act quickly- to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, to call 911, to seek help immediately  for we understand that the life of the flesh is in the blood.  So must we take the same action when we find ourselves slipping from the Word of God or treating it lightly.- our very life depends on it.!

So many times throughout my life when I have been confused or upset about something, I have slept clinging to my Bible like it was a teddy bear.  Not because there is any magic that happens by clinging to the Book physically but because I had been reading it and clinging to the words on the pages spoken to me by the Holy Spirit that I did not want to let it go, I could not let it go

Cling to it today- it is your life

To God be the glory

Sunday, September 16, 2012

forgiveness....part 2- the toughest part

It is so easy for me to write out what God says in His Word about forgiveness.  The tough part is application!  I wish I could say I mastered it but sometimes I realized I haven't even scratched the surface.

  First I want to say that I don't want to confuse forgiveness with taking appropriate action.  If a crime has been committed, especially against a child then appropriate steps have to be taken- those steps include notifying the proper authorities and removing any child or person from danger.  People that commit such criminal acts forfeit, often for a lifetime, certain rights or privileges such as teaching or working with children.  The Bible has laid out the conduct of a deacon or a pastor and when a pastor falls into some sins, I believe he has a Biblical responsibility to permanently step down from God's call on his life.  Can God use these folks again?  Of course, but in the Lord's time and in the Lord's way -

Second- Forgiveness should not be confused with wise choices- There are times when it is wise to remove ourselves from certain situations or certain people who have harmed us physically, emotionally, mentally.  You might have to change churches or even stop contact with a friend or family member for a time or forever.  There have been people in my life that I have separated myself from because they remained abusive in certain ways- despite attempts to talk with them, advise they seek help, or even warn them of my plan to sever ties with them if they continued in that behavior.  It was a hard choice but a necessary choice.

When someone says they're sorry- We are called to forgive-actually with our without the apology we are called to forgive- Christ died for us  before we ever offered up an apology.  I am forgiven of past, present, future sins.  When someone tells me they are sorry- it is not mine to judge the sincerity- to forgive or not forgive.  It is my duty to forgive.  I should use wisdom in my interaction with them.  When trust is broken, it takes time for that to rebuild- but by all means I must forgive.

It is not mine to determine the punishment to be inflicted on them before I will forgive them.  Vengeance is mine says the Lord- I will repay.  Romans 12:19.  Let God handle all of that.

The goal is always restoration if the person is saved or salvation if the person is lost- When church discipline is spoken of in the Bible - it is for the goal of restoration.  Excommunication of a brother or sister from the church is not done in anger or with intent to punish- but rather with love and the intent to restore. I Cor 5:5

Summing it all up:  Last night my husband and I sat in a church service and the topic was grace.  It could not have been  a more fitting sermon for me to hear  while I am writing this blog.  The pastor spoke of active grace- we are to extend grace.  The pastor reminded us that the word "Christian" means "little Christ" .  If you claim the title of Christian then that is what you are- a "little Christ".  We are to be Jesus in the flesh to people.

Jesus has always responded to me with grace- He extends grace to me daily and His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)  When I've blown it- Jesus has responded with grace and forgiveness.  The devil reminds me of my past but the Lord focuses on my future.  The Lord has put my sins behind my back, while the devil piles them at my feet every opportunity he has.  Jesus extends His hand out to pick me up- the devil extends his foot to kick me back down on my way up.

May we seek to be like Christ- He set the standard.  I have recently read (concerning forgiveness) that "God forgives like that because He's God, I'm not God and He understands that"  Well that statement has truth to it...after all we aren't God and Jesus certainly suffered all things on this earth so He could relate to our hurts,and our temptations (Hebrews 2: 18),  but He doesn't let us off the hook.  He was the example and we are to follow in His steps.- I Peter 2:21

Oh Father, reveal to us right now the secrets of our heart, the bitterness or unforgiveness that we have hidden away tucked in a corner of our heart.  Oh Lord, You see it, and You desire to clean house.  Please cleanse our hearts - change our minds.  Let this mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus- Phil 2:5

Help us to see things as You see them.  May the things that break Your heart be the things that break our heart.  Father rain down fire to melt our hearts of stone.  (Ezekiel 36:26)

Father for Your children, our brothers and sisters who have stumbled, some in some big ways- would You grant them great grace, would You pick them up and hug them tightly.  Father, some of these folks may face serious consequences for criminal acts.  Father, even in the darkest of nights, may they find hope in You.  You are our only hope (Hebrew 6:19), our only peace. (Romans 5:1)

Thank you Jesus- thank You for forgiving me that day You hung on the cross.  You who knew no sin, became sin that I might be saved (II Cor 5:21)- Help me to grasp even just a tiny bit of that today.  May I walk worthy of the name I bear- "Christian"

In Jesus Name

To God be the glory  great things He hath done!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012 it possible? I have to?..........

Well, I have been gone longer than I expected!  I have been working very hard in my job as a nurse and a lot has gone on that has kept me away from my personal time on the computer but I have not forgotten my readers and I have missed you!.  I have been praying for you!  I have a large map on my study wall and I have marked all the countries where God has allowed my words....which I believe have been His words spoken through be heard.  I look at them often and whisper a prayer for my readers.

The last few weeks I have had a heavy heart and tonight I bring to you what the Lord has laid on my heart.  The topic of forgiveness.  I received some bad news over the last few weeks.  Some folks I know fell hard.  Satan has a way with temptation and our human nature as a way of craving whatever it is that he is cooking up.....not taking time to fully digest the consequences.

People are mad, hurt, sad, confused and probably a variety of other emotions- all understood- even justified...but anger left to itself has done exactly what God said it would do.  It has led to bitterness, slander, hate and you can forget about satan gaining a "foothold"- Goodness, the door opened wide and he just walked right in!

Satan is having a field day right now and to be honest, my heart is broke.  Folks I know have chosen the social media to just slander and spew out words of bitterness and anger and hatred.  Supposed Christian brother and sister just slaying other brothers and sisters with their words.

I began to ask myself and my husband questions and I began to ask God some of the same questions.
"Is it justified?  After all, what happened was horrific...."
"Is it beneficial?  After all- the sins were ones that disqualified a man from ever preaching again and it was a criminal act- they must be punished"
"Is forgiveness letting them off too easy?....should they pay through such public slander and gossip....after all what they did was pretty bad"

The verse that came to my mind immediately was Ephesians 4:32-" And be ye kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

Well, I just kind of quickly thought over that verse in my mind as I had memorized it years ago in jr high Bible class.....been there, memorized that, let's move on.  But God said "NO!  Meditate on this verse for a while."  I invite you to journey with me into true forgiveness as we tear apart Ephesians 4:32.

 The verse starts with the word "AND"- Chapters and verses in the Bible were not determined by God.  When the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the books He did not say "verse 32......."  Nonetheless- when a verse begins with "and"- it reveals a continuation of something and I need to go to the verse before and find out what it is.

So lets look at verse 31.  It reads:

" Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice"

Next: I want  to look up definitions of these words:

Wrath-Forceful, often vindictive anger; wrath is forceful anger with a desire to swiftly punish or retaliate.

Anger- A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility.

Clamor- A loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting vehemently.

Evil speaking-Includes all defamatory or injurious remarks against others- words of hatred, malice envy or strife- everything which would injure another to any degree.  Even an uncomplimentary remark respecting another, injuring his reputation, is evil speaking, although the statement may be true.

Malice- The intention of desire to do evil; ill will.  Wrongful intention, especially as increasing the guilt of certain offenses.

Now that we've learned what we are to put off, let's return to verse 32 and look at what we are to put on-  as it is laid out in verse 32.

"Be kind to one another"- 

Kind- Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable.
Forbearing; tolerant;
Generous; liberal
Agreeable; beneficial

"Tenderhearted, forgiving one another"-

  Tenderhearted - easily moved by someone's  distress; "a noble tenderhearted creature who sympathizes with all the human race" W. M. Thackeray

Forgiving- To excuse for a fault or offer pardon; To renounce anger or resentment against

Even though all  that has been said in this verse so far has been difficult at times to apply to situations- nothing was as bold and thought provoking as the following words

"even as God in Christ forgave you"- I am not to just show forgiveness in the ways listed above but EVEN as God in Christ forgave me.  I started this page last night but decided to go to bed and sleep on this part of the verse- " How did Christ forgive me at the time of my salvation and how does Christ still forgive me today?"

1.  First thing- (meaning the moment I ask for it)
 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved- Romans 10:13- The thief on the cross was moments away from death- he asked for forgiveness, and Jesus immediately responded.
I John 1:9  - If I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me of sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness

2.  Fully- There are no verses in the Bible that speak to forgiveness of some sins but not others.  Again
 1 John 1: 9 says ALL unrighteousness

3.  Freely- Forgiveness was the most costly gift I've ever received- It cost God everything but it was freely given to me.

4.  Forgetting- "I will remember them no more"- Hebrews 8:12, Isaiah 43:25, Jeremiah 31: 34

5. No Fishing- I love what Corie ten Boom said "When God forgives our sins, He throws them in the depths of the sea and puts up a sign "No fishing"- Micah 7:19- He tosses our sins into the depths of the sea

6. Forever- Is this forgiveness something we can lose?  I don't see one verse in the Bible supporting that, in fact  just the opposite.  A few come to mind

King David- You probably know the story...King David should have been with his men in battle but he was not, one glance at a woman led to lust, led to adultery and then the problem snowballed as King David tried to cover up adultery and the pregnancy which resulted and went as far as to murder his friend.  Pretty "big sins" huh?  Surely King David lost it all with God....or did he?  Read Chapter 51 as King David prays for repentance- In verse 12 David says "Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation"  King David had not lost his salvation- he lost the joy of fellowship with God and the JOY of salvation- Sin has a way of doing that.

My salvation is not, nor has ever been in my possession- How can I lose it?  It is in the safekeeping of God Colossians 3:3 says that I have died and my life is hidden with Christ in God-

I must stop for now- please think about how you can apply this to your life....I will do the same.  How do we  learn to forgive "even as Christ forgave you"- What about criminal acts?  What if it is a repeated offense?, What if I don't think the apology is sincere?

Tomorrow we will pick up where we left off....looking at the tough questions

To God be the glory