D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

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I receive a daily email from a site called Mamapedia.  I am not sure WHY I get it, since I do not have small children.  The daily digest  mainly has a list of questions that struggling parents are asking.  One of the questions was from a desperate dad reached out to the audience for help and reassurance.  He had a 4 year old that was very disrespectful to him.  She consistently said mean things, such as “I don’t want people to see me with you”, called him names, hid from him when he was taking her to dance or school, and often stuck her tongue out at him.  He had tried timeout but she would not even stay in the time-out chair.

I do not want to lose any followers so I will not give you my advise on HOW to handle this child, but I will tell you that I am a believer of spare the rod, spoil the child.  The Bible is very clear that respect is good and disrespect is bad.  Respect is admiration for a person because of his or her position, abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect is associated with esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, and honor. In the Bible, respect is more specifically the act of acknowledging another person’s worth, especially because of position, honor, or age. Disrespect is the opposite of respect: it is failing to acknowledge another’s worth, withholding the honor that should be given, or actively demeaning someone.

According the Bible, respect should be given to those who are owed respect.  So who are “those who are owed respect?” The Bible gives us four categories of people to whom respect should be given: elders, authority figures, Jesus Christ, and mankind in general. Elders are owed respect because of their age and experience. (Leviticus 19:32, 1 Timothy 5:1). Since the experience that comes with old age to respect your elders is to respect the wisdom they can give.

Authority figures outside the church would be policemen, firemen, teachers, and bosses, to name a few.  Others listed in the Bible who are owed respect, include political leaders such as the President (1 Peter 2:17) and city officials (Mark 15:43).  The Bible continues to list people and positions Christians should show respect to; those in authority at the church (1 Timothy 3:2), spiritual leaders (1 Thessalonians 5:12), good fathers who discipline their children (Hebrews 12:9), parents in general (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:4), husbands (Ephesians 5:33), and the masters of servants or slaves (bosses). Interestingly, slaves are told to respect their masters not only when their masters are good and gentle, but also when they are harsh and unjust (1 Peter 2:18).

Finally, respect is something that is owed to people in general, from one man to another.  A parable is told about a wicked judge who did not fear God or respect man (Luke 18:2). The judge’s disrespect for people is a feature of his wickedness in the story. Christians are not only to honor their fellow believers (Romans 12:10), but also to respect those who do not believe. We are Christians and should be Christlike.  Christ respected others, even those who He knew were wrong in their thoughts or actions. (1 Peter 3:15).

First Peter 2:17 describes respect, perfectly “Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.”  Many of you will not like, and may even disagree, with the Bible’s instruction on how to handle disrespect.  The Bible not only gives us instructions on what is good and wise but how to do what is good is wise.  We live in a culture that disagrees with God and the Bible.  The worldly experts tells parents that the way of the Bible is old and outdated instruction.  But the Bible is  timeless. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Many of you deal with grown ups who act just like this 4 year old to their family members, to the waitress, the sales associate, the pastor, the teacher and anyone else who tells them no or doesn’t do what they want. They are mean and nasty to people in authority, will not listen to wise counsel and use the excuse that the people they treat disrespectfully do not deserve their respect.  They have an excuse for everyone they treat badly and they are adamant that they are the victims.

Some of the responses to the father made excuses for the child. Some appeared to say maybe the things the 4 year said were true.  While others explained how to stop the disrespect and emphatically said, stop it now before it gets worse.  If I were going to give advice, I would encourage the parent to seek out the answer in God’s word.  God not only tells us that we should be respectful but He tells us how to handle people who are not, children and adults.  Churches don’t like his answer.  Christians don’t like his answer.  BUT HE GIVE US THE CLEAR ANSWER!

Disrespectful children grow up to be disrespectful adults.  Unfortunately, we have a lot of D.I.S.R.E.S.P.E.C.T going around.  God never said respect had to be earned, man made that up.  I will give respect when I get respect, is not in the Bible.  Again we made that up. If we want to change the world, we need to look at ourselves, look in our own homes, our churches and our schools.  God says there is blessings from obeying His Word.  Are you, your children, your church members, your employees receiving God’s blessings?? If not, you can.  Open the Bible today and make a commitment to live your life as God directs and tune out all the world experts who advice you to be totally contrary to God.  It may be hard, but it will be worth it.

Wanted Alive Not Dead

Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

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I grew up watching country western movies and TV series like Gun Smoke, Bonanza, High Chaparral and anything with John Wayne in it.  We had one television in the house.  Yes I said one.   After dinner each night, we would watch something together as a family.  Since my dad was in charge of what we watched, we all knew it was going to be a western.

In most westerns “wanted” signs were posted on trees through the land of a mad gunman that the sheriff and his posse were looking for.  The sign would have a reward for the capture of the mad gunman and would say that the bounty would be paid whether the mad-man was brought in dead or alive.  Ultimately, the sheriff wanted to prove that the mad man was no longer on the loose.

The Christian life is also supposed to be one of death to self in order to live a life by faith. Paul told the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17). He who loved us and died for us now lives in us, and the life we live is by faith in Him. It means sacrificing our own desires, ambitions, and glories and replacing them with those of Christ. We can only do this by His power through the faith that He gives us by His grace. Part of the Christian life is praying to that end.

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Think about these scriptures!  CHIRST LIVES IN US!!!  If Christ lives in us what do we look like.  Do we look like we are alive?  Do we look like Christ in how we walk, how we talk and how we live? Christ doesn’t want to capture us so He can show the devil we have been caught.  He wants us alive.  As a matter of fact, we were dead, but now we are alive, transformed, because HE LIVES IN US.  Once we begin to replace our old self through personal sacrifice we start to look more alive than ever before.

Changing ourselves is not easy.  Currently, I am trying to change my diet to eat better, I have been trying to loose weight, to better care for my physical body, and I even began taking seminary courses, AGAIN.  Each one of these things have proven to be hard adjustments for me personally.  Most of them are slow going with little progress.  BUT CHRIST LIVES IN ME and with Him I am stronger than I think.

God wants us alive.  What kind so life are you living?  One full of the things of Christ or one full of self.  Stop making excusing why you are not living life to it’s fullest and let Christ have full reign over you.  Today is the day to die to self and to live for Christ.

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Neuropathy

1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.

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If you know anyone who has diabetes you may be familiar with Peripheral Neuropathy.  Oxford Dictionary defines neuropathy as disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness. Frequently when patients suffer from diabetes, neuropathy is one of the early signs of the disease’s presence.  The patient can lose feeling or experience a tingling sensation as nerve damage grows and spreads; and, left unattended, amputation may prove to be the only solution.  The condition is usually at its worst in patients who haven’t acknowledged the seriousness of their condition and modified their diet.

My mother is a diabetic and she has this in her feet.  She is a true born and bred southern girl and walks around bare foot all the time.  Several times, when visiting with her,  I saw bloody foot prints on her floor. After a few questions, I realized that mom had cut her foot. The neuropathy in her feet had caused them to become numb and she did not feel the pain from the cut on the bottom of her foot.  She was completely unaware that her feet had been cut and she was tracking blood across the kitchen floor.

I think many of us are dealing with neuropathy on a spiritual level.  We have become numb to God and the things of God.  It came on gradually, we didn’t even notice it, until one day we SAW signs of our wounds.  Maybe you no longer experience joy or contentment that Christ promises.  Maybe you are unhappy, frustrated, overworked, and harried.  God promised that His yoke was easy and His burden was light but you are not feeling it right now. Some of you may be angry, bitter or depressed and some of you are living a double life, Christian at church and full blown sinner outside of it.  You don’t even know who you are anymore.

What happened?  You never intended to become this way.  It seemed like one day you were worshiping Jesus, raising your hands at church, crying when you prayed and now you are numb.  Emotionless.  Full blown Spiritual neuropathy.

Fortunately, while the physical reality of peripheral neuropathy is often a chronic malady that may never go away completely, there is a definite cure for the spiritual version.  Jesus comforted his disciples before going to the cross by saying, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

The problem with spiritual numbness is that it isn’t honest. We have no room in our hearts for the One we say we love most. If Christ is better than anything the world has to offer, why do our lives tell a different story?

In this lifetime, we will never be able to stop having pain, or trouble, becoming tired or weary or simply just sad or depressed at some point. We need to constantly assess our passions and desires, not to squash them, but to strengthen and realign them with God’s desires.

In communing with Christ, we move toward becoming our most authentic self, namely, dead to sin and alive to God. So let me encourage you to make just one change that will promote your spiritual health. If you are spiritually alive in Christ, then live. Reshuffle your priorities and become who you were meant to be. Maybe you are letting life run you and your schedule and not the things of God or God himself. The key to overcoming spiritual numbness is to “fill up” with the Holy Spirit.

Overcoming feelings of spiritual numbness is often not a mental or academic exercise; rather, we need the personal touch of another born-again believer. Here is where the church comes in, with brothers and sisters everywhere, Bible study and, of course, worship services and the preaching of God’s Word we can begin to heal, regain feeling.

You can begin to heal today by, sincerely desiring to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Confessing your sins and thanking God that He has forgiven all of your sins whether past, present, or future, presenting every area of your life to God for His gracious control, by faith claiming the fullness of the Holy Spirit according to His commandment in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14–15.  God loves you, even when you may not feel like you love him.  1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins.

 

Binge Watching

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

About 2 years ago, we decided to get rid of cable and satellite.  We signed up for Netflix and bought a flat antenna for local channels.  At first, I hated it.  Series on Netflix were a year behind, from the 1980’s or not interesting.  Then I heard about Hulu.  Hulu was great because I could watch current tv series one day after there original showing.

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Then I discovered that both Hulu and Netflix posted new shows with series spanning up to 9 seasons, some of those had up to 12 episodes. When I found a new series, I watched it every day.  I watched one episode after another.  Each time I turned on the tv I could not wait to find the series and watch the next episode.  I had suddenly become a Hulu/Netflix BINGER!

The definition of binge from Merriam-Webster is: an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence and an act of excessive or compulsive consumption (as of food).  Yes, I was definitely a binger.  I was hooked.

Maybe some of you reading this can relate, while others are saying “Bless Her Heart”, the ole southern kind way of saying, “she ain’t right”.  But as I speak the truth about my own life, I want to ask you to think about your relationship with God and His word. What if we binged read the bible?  What if we binged going to church?  What if we binged prayed, binged evangelized, binged judged ourselves,? You see where I am going?

I think many of us fill our time with something.  Work, drugs, alcohol, affairs, sleeping, eating, pornography and the list goes on.  But these things are just fillers.  They are not satisfying.  With all the binge watching on Hulu and Netflix, I found after awhile I had watched everything worth watching.  I craved a new series, day after day, but they were not there.  Each day I would go back to the two apps hoping something new would be out, feeling let down when there wasn’t.

I have been a Christian and in church for the majority of my life.  I read the bible every day and love to delve into the word of God, to read and study it.  But if I am honest I do not BINGE read it.  What if I did though?  Would I be different?  Would I be more able to defend my faith?  Would I love The Lord more?  Could I begin to have the mind of Christ?  Might I live a better life, have more faith, wait more patiently?  As you can see, I have not reached perfection in my own Christian life, so please do not think I am calling you out.

I know that I love God.  I often say I love Him with all my heart, all so soul and all my mind.  After digging down deep and thinking about it a little bit more, I now feel guilty saying that. I want to fill my time with the things of God. That doesn’t mean that I will not binge on a new series every now and then.  What it means is that I will add more God into my downtime schedule.

I want to leave you with this.  At the end of each series, I felt let down, almost hopeless.  What would I do now?  When I spend time with God and my time ends, I have the exact opposite feelings.  I don’t know what you BINGE but I am sure you have those some feelings I had at the end of my BINGE. Try God.  Just give him a try.  Sometimes when I started a new series, the first 1-3 episodes were not that great.  Once I pushed through, the show became better and before you know it I was hooked.  I didn’t try episode one and quit.  Try God.  Don’t try just once.  I promise, if you give Him a chance, you will not be left wanting. God NEVER breaks a promise.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Judging Others

Ephesians 4:22-24 (GW) You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. However, you were taught to have a new attitude. You were also taught to become a new person created to be like God, with a life that truely has God’s approval and is holy.

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I am reading a book, “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”, by Peter Scazzero.  There was a quote in the book that goes “The monk,” said one of the Desert Fathers, “must die to his neighbor and never judge him at all in any way whatever”.  He continued: “If you are occupied with your own faults, you have no time to see those of your neighbor.” WOW.

I don’t know about you but I have a long way to go in being perfected in Christ.  I, like you, sin every day.  If I could choose to be like someone in the bible I think I would like to be Enoch.  The Bible says in Genesis 5:22-24 (NKJV) After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Just sit for a minute and let that scripture soak in.  He walked with God three hundred years.  I know that God walks with me every step of every day.  But to actually WALK WITH GOD!?!  I love the old hymn that says, “And He walks with me and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share, as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

Both the quote and this scripture made me stop to evaluate me.  Not to measure me against anyone else but to measure me.  God loves you and He love me.  He knows that we are not perfect.  He knows that we continue to sin, even when we try not to to.  That’s why He sent Jesus.  That’s why He has done everything through history….just for US! Because He loves us!

I don’t know about you but every now and then I need to be reminded of this.  I need to stop and reflect on me and my imperfect relationship with Jesus so I can focus on making it better.  Not because I think I will die and go to hell.  Not because I believe that God is judging me.  Not because I have to stand before the Lord and confess all my sin.  BUT because he loves me so much and has done so much for me, how I can I not want to replay him with my love and dedication?

You see the scripture of Enoch ends with “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”  How amazing would it be for your tombstone to have this written across it with your name instead of Enoch?

 

 

Alone

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

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I just finished a seminary course on Genesis.  It never ceases to amaze me how I learn something new every time I do a deep study in God’s word.  There is so much in Genesis, the first book of the bible.  It is the beginning of the world and the beginning of life.

One of my favorite parts is the creation of Adam and Eve.  I love how The Lord said “It is not good for the man be alone.” And then, because He is God, He did something about it, He created Eve.  Not only did He create her, but He created her to be his helper and He made her just right for Adam.

God wants us to be with the right person.  The one He has planned for us.  I think we all know someone who got ahead of God and married the wrong person.  Some of those marriages ended in divorce, some are still married and still struggling and some turned it around and have great marriages.

If you are single or single again I want to encourage you to wait and pray for the right person that God has created for you.  If you are in a bad marriage I want to give you hope that God can turn it around.

You see I was saved when I was 13 years old.  I knew and loved the Lord very much for about the next 5 years.  When I turned 18 and became FREE from my parents, I decided to try all the things I did not try as a teenager at home.  I drank, I smoked, and hold on I even tried pot.  I went to night clubs, disco’s, and danced the night away.  In other words, I fell away from the Lord.  I no longer listened to the voice of God and I certainly did not obey his word.

During that time, I meet my husband, who was not a Christian.  We got married and started our life together.  We got pregnant really quick and boy was that a wake up call for me.  As a Christian, I knew that I had to get my life together because I had a baby on the way. The problem was we were living a sinful life.  But you see my husband was not a Christian and not only that he was an alcoholic. Neither of these were really a surprise to me.  My husband did not even want to get married in a church and I said ok.  I knew he drank a lot but so did I, it too was ok.

The rub came when I decided to clean up my act and he did not want to clean up his.  We struggled for the next 2 years, almost divorcing.  THEN GOD.  After separating,  my husband went to a church and accepted Jesus into his heart.  At first I thought it was just to get me to come home, but it was real.

God turned my marriage around, and delivered my husband from alcohol.  Many years later he was called into the ministry and has been a pastor now for close to 25 years.  The beginning of our life was soooooo hard.  It was hard because I was a Christian and I knew I should have married a Christian.  I knew that I was not living the life that God had planned for me.  Looking back, had I simply got my husband in church or told him the salvation story before we were married our life could have been different.

I had a very wise pastor who told me not to give up on my husband.  He told me not to live in a dangerous situation but also not to stop praying for him and not to stop praying for my marriage.  I took his advice and it worked.

If you are looking for that person that God has for you, focus on being the best Christian you can be and keeping your relationship with Christ strong.  THEN WAIT.  DON’T SETTLE.  Set standards that you know God wants you to have for your future mate and don’t date anyone who doesn’t meet the standards.  WHY?  Because you just may fall in love and marry the wrong person.

If you are in that bad marriage, don’t give up.  Don’t live in a bad situation.  Pray every day for your spouse and your marriage.  Get close to God and be the best daughter to God that you can be.  Read the word often and seek out wise counsel.  Cry, get mad, then get serious about saving your marriage.  If God can change my husband and restore my marriage, He can do the same for you.

If you are in a good marriage, be an encourager to a young couple, a single woman or a teenager who may begin to date soon.  We serve a big God who said, “It is not good for man to be alone”.  That means He has someone out there for you.  Just wait for the right one!

Shhhhh

Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Our world is so full of noise.  Noise of cars going by, noise of the television or radio, noise of dogs barking, kids talking and for some chickens clucking.  I grew up in the country where we did not lock our doors when we left home and we slept with our windows open at night.

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After getting married, my husband and I decided to live in the country close to my parents.  The first night in our new home, we settled into bed, with the windows open of course, and my husband and I had the first of many, differences of opinions.  You see my husband is a light sleeper and I am a heavy sleeper.  A bomb could not wake me up.  The sound of the barking dogs and the crickets chirping were maddening to him, yet lulled me to sleep.

I think as Christians, we have filled our days and nights with so much noise that we may be missing Jesus knocking at our door.  Now I know this scripture is really talking about knocking at the door of our heart for salvation but it made me stop and think about how how, maybe, God knocks on our door a lot after we are saved, to come sit and visit with us.

You see growing up in the country, there was always someone knocking on our door.  The neighborhood kids were at our house knocking on the door to ask us to come outside and play.  The neighbors were knocking on the door asking for help or to borrow sugar, eggs or butter.  Our family was knocking on the door because they had time to stop in and visit.  We did not have inside pets and our television was only on at night when we gathered to watch it as a family.  We always heard the knock on the door.

God loves you.  I am confident that he wants to talk to you more than just on Sunday mornings when you are in church.  I encourage you to be still and know that He is God.  Turn off some of the noise in your life and just be quiet.  Shhhhhh.  If you do you may hear the still voice of God.  Listen to Him.  He is the wisest, kindest, most forgiving friend you will ever have.