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 Being crucified with Christ means that our old nature has been nailed to the cross and has been replaced by a new nature which is Christ’s (2 Corinthians 5:17).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.

 

 

 

 

Your Spiritual Resume

Romans 14:10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

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Our pastor ask a question to the worshipers at church that made me go hummmmmm.  The question was “If you had a spiritual resume that you had to present to the Lord what would it look like?”  WOW, what a question.

Today’s scripture reminds us that when we die everyone will stand before the Lord to give an account of ourselves to God, basically our spiritual resume. 2 Corinthians 5:10, says, For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”  The word recompensed means compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered or effort made.

I believe, that once you become a Christian, you will go to heaven, no working to get in, however, I also believe that  we become ambassadors for Christ on this earth until we die.  As ambassadors we are not to sit and stare at the sky just waiting for Jesus’ return or our death, instead, we are to learn everything we can about Jesus so we can share what we learn about Him with others.  Remember we are ambassadors, that means we are the mouth, the eyes, and the ears of Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t leave us guessing what we should do, how we should act as His ambassador, He teaches us everything we need to know in the Bible.

SO, once we are saved, we begin to build our spiritual resume and at the judgement seat of Christ we present it to the Lord.  Unlike a resume we build for a job, we can not delete things we do not want Jesus to know nor add false information.  God knows the number of hairs on our head, in other words, he knows all.

This post isn’t about the sin that we all have in our lives, the things we may not want on our resume.  I am a glass 1/2 full person, so this post is about the good things we will have on our resume as an ambassador.  Some of the things are ask to do as an ambassador are really hard, like turn the other cheek, pray for your enemies, don’t do harm to those who harm you and many more.  But God tells us that we are to do what is right and we will be blessed for it.  Being an ambassador is a foreign land can be hard, but says He is with us always and He will help us to do what we think we can not do.

So I will conclude by asking you the same question that was posed to us. “If you had a spiritual resume that you had to present to the Lord what would it look like?” If it doesn’t look like you want it to, it’s not too late.  Be the best AMBASSADOR you can be today and tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

 

Separated

Isaiah 59:2 But your wrongs have separated you from your God, and your sins have made him hide his face so that he doesn’t hear you.

1 Corinthians 15:33  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”    

Sin not only separates us from God but it separates us from other brothers and sisters in Christ and our church or it should anyway.  Not forever, but until they decide to get back on track with their spiritual life.  Does that mean that we stop loving them, stop praying for them, stop being nice to them?  The answer to all these questions is no.  We can still associate with them but because they have chosen to live a life contrary to what God has asked to do we need to take a break from hanging with them every day.  These are not my words only but God’s words.

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2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of Godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

We should love them and encourage them, we should pray for them and we should not act like we are better than they are because we are all sinners.  Ask yourself, do they know what they are doing is wrong yet purposefully choose to do it. Remember that God never stops loving them and neither should we.

Romans 8:35-39  35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Surround yourself with others who love The Lord as you.  My mother always said, birds of a feather flock together.  It is time to find a flock that flies for Jesus.  Together you can soar to heights that you never thought possible.

Are You Swiping God Right or Left?

John 15:5  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Have you heard of the mobile phone app Tinder?  Because I work for a pregnancy center I am very well versed on this and many other hook up apps.  These apps are used by Christians, non-christians, young people and middle aged people to find people who want to have a sexual encounter without commitments.  You know…hit it and quit it.

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I think some Christians are playing hit it and quit it with God.  He is popping up to us in our thoughts and circumstances and we are swiping Him left.  Not now God.  You are not what I am looking for.  I don’t have time for you right now. God is swiping you right while you are swiping Him left.

Some of you are swiping God right but with the intention of just hitting it and quitting it.  You want God, but only for that moment or that problem you are trying to fix.  Sometimes it is a swipe left for God and when things are going well it’s a swipe left.  However God is always swiping right for you because He is always there.

God does not want to be a hook up for us.  He wants to be our friend.  He wants to be there to hear the good things that are going on in our lives as well as our challenges.  He wants to know when we are just having a so so day, when we have bombed the day and especially when we have rocked it.  He is following us on every social media out there to keep up on what we are doing because with some of us that is the only way to know what is going on in our lives.

The scripture says: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Abiding involves our response to the teaching of Jesus.  Colossians 3:16 tells us that we are to  “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,”

Abiding in Christ means allowing His Word to fill our minds, direct our wills, and transform our affections. In other words, our relationship to Christ is intimately connected to what we do with our Bibles! Then, of course, as Christ’s Word dwells in us and the Spirit fills us, we will begin to pray in a way consistent with the will of God and discover the truth of our Lord’s often misapplied promise: “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7b).

How our culture dates and the values and morals used for sex has changed but one thing that is consistent and will always be consistent is God and His love for us.  Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Romans 8:39 (ESV) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is time to make a decision to stop the hit or quit app with God.  I challenge you to dwell Him every day.  To follow Him, read His post, to like his comments and even to retweet them.  God is so good and He loves us like no one else.  He promises us that by abiding in Him will bring us much fruit.  I don’t know about you but I read and see so much junk and depressing information on social media today that I could use some fruit in my life.  Today, make a decision to quit flirting with God and make a commitment for life long relationship.  Maybe you have been having an affair with the world.  Never fear, God doesn’t want He divorce.  Tell Him you are sorry and fall in love with Him again.  God is good and He is good all the time.

 

We All Fall Down

Romans 3:23 Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory.

I attended a class a few nights ago to hear about a healthy weight loss program. The room was full, mostly of women, who were there to hear that loosing weight was possible for them. The instructor ask the class how many had tried and failed to loose weight and finally given up all hopes that it was not possible. Hands went up across the room.

How many of you have tried to quit ______ sin so many times and so many ways and failed so now that now you have quit trying. Do you feel that you have failed so much that even God is tired of you trying to quit?

The Bible says that all we have all fail and we fail a lot, every day as a matter of fact. No one is perfect, no matter how perfect they appear. Every Christian struggles to be the best they can be for Christ, some just hide their struggles a little better than others. Some struggles can be hidden more than others while others are out front and everyone sees them.

At the end of the class, I saw smiles, including my own and women walking out with HOPE. Today I want to give you hope that no matter how you struggle with your sin that you are not alone, we all struggle. I want to encourage you to keep trying to overcome it, no matter what it is. There is a story in the bible about a young man who left his father, took his inheritance and left home. He failed to make it on his own and went back home, humbly, to his father to ask for help. When he arrived home, his father threw him a party and welcomed him home. If you have quit God because you have quit trying to stop your sin, go home. He is waiting to throw you welcome you home, no matter how long you have been gone.

Be encouraged! You can do it with God’s help. It may not easy, it may not be fast, BUT YOU CAN DO IT.

 

How God See’s You

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

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Tomorrow when you look in the mirror try to see yourself as God sees you. Don’t look with your eyes or through the eyes of your friends, family, coworkers or your neighbors. Instead see yourself as God sees you.

Once you are saved, you become new and HE lives within. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person and now has power. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

You are no longer a weak person. You no longer have to walk in fear or be burdened with anxiety and worry. You have become a new creature. You have changed from a little meek and mild kitten to roaring lion. Queen of the jungle we roam.

Post a picture of a lion where you brush your teeth, put on your make up or fix your hair and remind yourself every day that you strong, brave and courageous. Now go out and conquer today!!

DIY Christian

Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, …

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I am in the process of installing a small section of fence in my yard to keep my new puppy, a big lab, in my back yard.  After making a few calls I quickly discovered that the cost to install a small fence to keep her out of my flower bed is very expensive so I decided to check out DIY fences.

It made me wonder what DIY Christianity would look like.  If there was a Pinterest board or a website for it I think it would look a little like this.

DIY Christianity

  1.  Read the Bible for yourself.  No need to have a Pastor teach you anything.  I am smart enough to read it and understand it on my own.
  2.  Going to church isn’t important. Who needs to GO to church.  I can pick one I like on TV.  I can pick 3 or 4 different ones and watch them anytime I want to, while in my pj’s or cleaning house.
  3. Bible Studies aren’t necessary.  I can buy all kind of Christian book about anything and do my own study.  There is no reason to get dressed, take extra time away from my already busy schedule to meet with people to read and talk about a book together.  Study on a book of the Bible…well refer to number 1.
  4. Church Events are an inconvenience –  My schedule is already busy.  I clean house, cut grass, grocery shop, do laundry and home maintenance all day on Saturday. Sunday is my day to rest and I am too tired after working all week to add anything else to my schedule.
  5.   If I do go to church I don’t commit to just one.  I prefer to visit other churches to keep it interesting – The good news is if I don’t go to the same church each week then I won’t get bored with the same people, same music, or the same preacher.  I won’t be ask to volunteer and I won’t feel like I have to tithe since I don’t use their stuff every week.

Ok so maybe this DIY Christianity is real.  I think there are a lot of Christians that fall into DIY Christianity but that is not what God intended for us.  The scripture today says that he has equipped the saints to teach us and help us grow.  Without going to the same church and sitting under one pastors teaching it is hard to Christians to grow.  Bouncing around and not being committed to a body of believers in a church building allows you to be blown to and fro, which is not of God either.  Find a good church and get involved.  If you are trying DIY Christianity, try the real thing.  It is better than anything you can do on your own.  I PROMISE!