The Quick Change

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

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The Bible says that in this world we will have trouble.  Trials will come our way even though we are Christians.  So why is that when trials come our way we want to hide them, keep them to ourselves and pretend that all is well?  My husband is a pastor and he often talks about the “Sunday morning get ready trials”.  We stress, yell, argue all the way to church, then the moment we pull into the parking lot we turn on our smiles and pretend life is grand. In other words, Christians like to quick change from a life with burdens to a life that is full of rainbows and unicorns.  We want everyone to think our life is just grand.

If God gives us a command to share each others burdens then two things are for sure.  One is that we will have burdens and two is that we should share them.  I grew up in a good home with loving parents, however we grew up being told that “what happens in this house, stays in this house.”  In other words, keep your burdens to yourself.  Some of you reading this know what I mean.

Today families are dealing with burdens such as, a child cutting, a teenager trying to commit suicide, a family member addicted to porn, a loved one struggling with homosexuality, a couple considering divorce, a spouse is having an affair, a child is stealing, alcoholism or drugs or both are ruining a family members life, a child has to take care of a sick parent, and the list goes on.

The thing they all in common is that in some cases no one knows.  In other cases a friend may know but is sworn to secrecy.  WHY?  Pride.  The devil has convinced us that people will judge us, we will be deemed a failure, others will talk about us, feel sorry for us or worse yet will not have anything to do with us.  If God wanted us to bear our own burdens he would have never given us this command he gave us in todays scripture.

I do not know what burden you are bearing today but I challenge you to share it with other Christians, good strong mature ones, and ask them to help you bear your burdens.  They will help you by listening, praying for you and imparting wisdom.  Don’t hide your burdens anymore.  Stop your quick change routine and be real.  Be real with your burdens. Start by sharing them today and begin to heal.

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.

 

Let It Go

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.

I know all of you are sick of the kids song “Let it go” from the movie frozen BUT…….some of you need to take these specific lyrics to heart…..”Let it go, let it go, Can’t hold it back anymore, Let it go, let it go”. You know what you are holding on to that you need to let go. Hate, resentment, anger, jealously, fear, and the list goes on. Just let it go and then replace it with joy, peace, love and all the other fruits of the spirit.let it go

Word Twister

Isaiah 5:20 ESV Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
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Do you know a Christian that you are pretty sure has twisted the truth about a situation and then used God’s word to make their situation look right? I have! Sad but true. I have seen past church members, friends and family members do it.  I have seen it happen more times than I wish I had.
This morning, my grand daughter got in trouble.  She played a prank on her brother and he nor her parents found the prank  to be funny.
 Here is how it all went down…stay with me would you?
 1) She made a conscious decision to play the prank.
Adult version: We make a decision to do something that is against someone else. As an adult it is not a prank , however, it is not received well. It could be not following instructions from our boss, trying to get someone in trouble, take someone else’s job, talking bad about someone, under-minding another persons authority. You get what I am saying?
 2)When her brother told on her she made excuses about how it was not wrong.
Adult version: We justify why it is ok to do something wrong to someone else. We know that we are suppose to love others as we love ourselves. We know that the bible says if we have a problem with someone else we are to go to them but we don’t. We talk about them, we find fault about them at every turn, and after awhile, because we have not followed God’s instructions on how to handle our sin, it consume us without us even seeing it happen.
 3)She tried to get other to agree that what she did was really not that bad.
Adult version: I have seen this happen over and over again, at work, at church, and in families. I think it is our nature to want others to validate how we feel. We sin again by gossiping with one side of the story. Some friends will fall prey to this and sides are taken without ever hearing the rest of the story. Why aren’t the Christians hearing the story, telling the other Christians to go to their brother or sister and fix the issue instead of jumping on the bandwagon and taking sides???? SIN. We would rather be their friends instead of giving/following biblical advise.
 4)She became mad because she got in trouble. 
Adult version: The person has sinned against their brother/sister. They have made excuses why it was ok. (the other person started it) They have gotten others into their camp and now they are mad at those who have pointed out their wrongs and not jumped on their bandwagon.
 5)She refused to admit fault, refused to apologize and could not believe she was being punished. PRIDE.
Adult Version: Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. If you left a person or situation angry, you are at fault. Maybe you did not forgive, did not accept your part in the drama, maybe you have a jealous spirit or you envy that person and what they have or do, think more highly of yourself than you should (I can do it better etc).
 As I watched this all play out today I was reminded of many situations that I had experienced in my own life where the scenario was so familiar except it was adults. In the wake of these scenario’s there was damage, relationships destroyed, people led astray, sin embedded deep in peoples hearts, and churches and it’s members hurt from the actions of Christians who did not handle a situation God’s way.
 If a person uses scripture to get you to do something wrong they are deceiving you.  If they ask you to say anything against another Christian, cause you to hurt another Christian, ask you to follow them, to leave a church/family, hurt a church or pastor (God chooses his shepherds and He will take care of them, the good and the bad.), then you are being led astray. God wants you to, ask for forgiveness, forgive and restore your relationship with others believers.  He even tells us to stop praying and go make things right with another brother/sister. They should not be talking to you about their problem with someone else, they should be talking to the Lord and the person they have a problem with. I don’t care how much scripture they use to justify themselves these things are wrong.
 It is not too late. Go restore a broken relationship today. Stop following man and follow God. Follow His words on how to handle any and every situation you face and you will be blessed. Go be blessed.

Training Required

warrior-pose-3401143_1920.jpg1 Timothy 4:8

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

As a recent cancer survivor I decided it was time to get into shape.  After making a decision to do something about my health, I whispered a little prayer for God to help me take my words and turn them into action.  Within an hour I heard an advertisement for a local gym offering a $1 registration fee for membership.  It was my first confirmation sign.

Afraid I would change my mind, I decided to talk to my friend and co-worker about the special.  Maybe saying the words out loud would motivate me to move forward and sign up.  The $1 registration was a “Today” only special so I had to make a decision quickly. Needless to say, my friend not only thought it was a good idea, but she wanted to sign up with me.  Confirmation sign two.

On my first day, I looked around the gym which was full of people working on cardio and body sculpting.  I wondered how many of the people in the room were working as hard on building up their spiritual lives as they were their physical bodies.  The last part of the scripture came to my mind “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come”

It is both the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness, to train himself to be godly, to study diligently the practice of godliness.  What then is godliness? What are the marks of a godly person? How does a person become godly?

Listed below are 5 ways you can practice godliness:

  1. Honor God – The first commandment says that we should have not other gods before Him.  Is God really number one in your life?  Are you honoring Him with your mouth?  Are you telling others the wonders of His great love for you and them?  Are you honoring Him with your praise in song, by fellowshipping with others and reading His word? Begin your day by honoring God early in the morning as you ask Him to help you honor Him in all you do and say. Your morning prayers need to be attuned to honoring God. Your evening prayers should be occasions to ask for forgiveness and to praise God for all that He allows you to have.
  2. Diligently Seek God – Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” There are two important concepts in this scripture: faith, and a reward to those who seek God.
  3. Produce Good Fruit – John 15:2 reads, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” In verses 16-17 of the same chapter, Jesus states, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another..”  Your fruit production involves virtually every are of your life: your jobs, your child rearing, church attendance, tithing and giving, your love for others, and your marriage.
  4. Apply biblical truth to your life – James 1:22 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  Read, study, and meditate on the Bible’s words often to get to know it well and absorb its truths into your soul. Practice applying what it says in the various situations you encounter – focusing especially on trusting in God’s grace rather than your own efforts to be righteous, valuing God over what the world offers, choosing faith over fear, and learning to love in deeper ways.
  5. Practice spiritual disciplines – Spiritual disciplines will help you consistently reduce the amount of selfishness in your attitudes and actions while increasing the amount of holiness in your life. 2 Timothy 3:16  says “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”
    Fellowship with other believers, confession of sin, fasting, meditation, prayer, service, solitude, study, submission, and worship are a few examples of spiritual discipline.

I know that my friend is going to help me stay on track with my physical activity and the goals I set with my new gym membership.  I am so blessed because my workout partner is also a wonderful spiritual friend.  That means that she also helps me focus on my spiritual fitness as well.  If you are a Christian, your journey to godliness is an important part of your spiritual life. Pray for friends to accompany you on your journeyAsk God to connect you with some good friends who are also pursuing spiritual growth so you all can encourage and support each other.

 

 

The Perfect Mother

Proverbs 31:28 says Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her

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Aha.  I knew I would get you to read post after reading the title.  I hope my post today will take the pressure off of you to be the perfect mother by telling you that there is no perfect mother, no not one.

When I am in my car, preaching is on the radio.  This morning I heard one small statement from a preacher before reaching my destination that has rolled around in my mind all day.  The pastor said, “You will never be the mother your children think you should be.”

Since I did not hear the full teaching I tried to break down what this statement might have meant.  If he was referencing a teenage child, I get it.  They want you to be like the COOL parents who don’t have rules or curfews for their kids.  A toddler or small child doesn’t like it when their mothers say no.  What about an adult child?  Could he have meant an adult child would look back over their years at home and pick apart the good and bad parenting skills of their mom and dad?  Would parents ever measure up to their adult child’s expectations of how they should have been raised?

After mulling this over all day, I began to reflect on my children’s life and how I impacted them as a mother.  I can tell you that I messed up allot, mostly on my first born.  She was our guinea pig.  None of them came with an owners manual so we had to figure it out on our own.  Then when number two came along, I thought I knew exactly what to do and then I had boy and boy was he different.  Again no owners manual.  Number three came along and I decided who needed an owners manual, this one had to be perfect.  Threes a charm right?  Again no owners manual.

Although I was not a perfect mother and although I made mistakes I tried my best to be a good Christian mother. Below are a few scriptures that I tried to live by as I raised my children.  Remember I said tried and remember I also said I messed up allot.

  1. Gentleness: Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
  2. A Teacher: Deuteronomy 6:6-7  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
  3. A Trainer: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go;  even when he is old he will not depart from it.
  4. A Disciplinarian: Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
  5. Forgiving: Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
  6. Love My Husband: Titus 2:4-5 … and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
  7. A Prayer Warrior: Luke 18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
  8. Trust In The Lord: Psalms 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
  9. Taught them Work Ethic: Proverbs 31:17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
  10. Mama Bear: Ok so this one isn’t in the bible, however Psalms 127:3 says Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

After I compare myself to the scriptures I tried to live by, I think I was an ok mom.  My kids call me, check on me, send me cards, buy me presents, come to visit and tell me they love me.  I am one blessed mama who is not perfect but who is perfectly loved.  Read the scripture s every day and try to do what you can to follow them. You will be or you are a great mom.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Happy Mothers Day!

The A, B, C’s of Christian Relationships

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Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 

So this post is an interactive post.  It only works if you participate.  I would like to go through the alphabet and choose a word that is important to good relationships.  If you know of a scripture that works with your word, then list the scripture also.  Don’t get stuck….let’s get to the letter Z.

 

I will start us off with a couple:

A – ACTIONS speak louder than words – 1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

B – Use the BIBLE as your book on marriage and relationships – 2 Timothy 3:16- 17 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work

– COMMUNICATION, communication, communication – James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

D – DEVOTED to each other – Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love.

Ok friends, what can you add to this list of A, B, C’s for Christian relationships.  Share your knowledge, wisdom and experience.

 

 

The Bad-mouther

Proverbs 6:12-19 (ESV) 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals[a] with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
 
The bad-mouther is a person who says something nasty about nearly everyone at the office, the member of your extended family who insults everyone in your family, or the guy in your local church who capitalizes on every opportunity to share how stupid, inept, and hypocritical another Christian is in your church or another one. The sad thing is that some of these are Christians
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How do these people get away with it? What is it about the strategy of bringing others down that works?
 
1) Because sometimes we get unwillingly involved in gossip because we don’t want to hurt feelings, say no, and decline the unsolicited information. When someone wants to gossip to you or in your presence: change the subject or just say you are sorry but you would rather not listen or talk about someone who is not present. It’s just a rule you set for yourself. You are encouraging another to sin. If the gossiper did not have you listening, he would not be gossiping. “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
 
2) People love gossip, whether it is true or not. “The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
 
3) It leads to success if allowed to happen and/or continue. This is a way of creating fear in others at work, church and/or in the family. If a person has “TAKEN DOWN” people by sowing discord or gossip then they create fear from others in their circle. Others have seen what chaos this bad-mouther caused for someone else and they do not want it to happen to them so they give in to whatever the bad-mouther wants.
 
4) They plant bad seeds in your mind about the person they are talking about. You can’t forget it. It may or may not be true, but regardless, it could cause you to treat someone unfairly or love him less. Assumptions and reading into things with the person you heard gossip about begins to grow the seed planted when you listened.
 
5) Because what they are saying is truth. Truthful gossip is a way to distract you that it is still a sin. Unjust violation of the good reputation of another by revealing something true about him is wrong. We have no right to spread information that ruins something so precious as a good reputation unless it is necessary as in defense of self or of others. It would be great if we all focused on mastering ourselves, rather than wasting time gossiping, passing judgment, and betraying people behind their backs.
 
I leave you with these 3 quotes:
 
“What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t witness with your mouth.” ~ Jewish Proverb
 
“Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to.” ~ Author Unknown
 
1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.

Loving Difficult People

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Matthew 5:46 ESV For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Luke 6:32 ESV “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
A difficult person may be one who is condescending, argumentative, belligerent, selfish, flippant, obtuse, or simply rude. Difficult people seem to know just how to “push one’s buttons” and stir up trouble. Dealing with difficult people becomes an exercise in patience, love, and grace.
I think we all have or are currently dealing with a difficult person. It can be frustrating, annoying and down right hard to be a Christian in the face of this adversity. Jesus never displayed an attitude of harsh superiority or dismissive pride; rather, He showed authority under control. So we should strive to follow His example.
Here are a few suggestions on ways to deal with a difficult person:
1) It is important to determine if you are dealing with a Christian or a lost person. If they are lost they will not understand the word of God, which is our instruction book on life. John 8:47 (GW) says The person who belongs to God understands what God says. You don’t understand because you don’t belong to God.” (We are going to assume for this post that they are Christians)
2) Sometimes, the answer is to be silent. Don’t respond. Ignore them. Their intent may be to push you over the edge to get you to behave in a way that is not appropriate. They may then use your bad behavior against you. So you may need to zip it! Proverbs 12:16 The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.
3) Sometimes you need to confront the issue with them with love and grace. Matthew 18:15 ESV “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
4) Don’t argue with them. A difficult person is really not looking for a resolution to their problems. They are looking for a quarrel. Proverbs 20:3 It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
5) If you know in advance that you are going to have to deal with this person, ask for the Holy Spirit to intervene. John 16:13 (GW)When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come.
6) Ask questions rather than make statements. We rarely make it a point to ask other people questions. In using questions frequently, I think Jesus is modeling the behavior of a good communicator, one who cares about the other person enough to engage with them and challenge them. Even, and perhaps especially, when they are being difficult.
7) Pray for them and love them not their sin. God will be honored and our hearts will find deeper satisfaction as we seek to love people just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies. Matthew 5:44 ESV But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
8) Pray for your own heart. 2 Corinthians 13:5a Examine yourselves
Difficult people have been around forever and will continue to be here as long as the world is standing. They’re everywhere: on the road, at work, in the grocery line, at church and even in our own family. Some people are truly damaged, and that damage often spills over and touches others. It may be that their wounds will not be healed in this lifetime, which means that we have to accept the reality and the limitations of who they are.

Be All That You Can Be

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1 Peter 2:9 (GW) However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

I want to focus on a couple of key words in this scripture. The definition of chosen from Merriam Webster
1 : elect 2 : selected or marked for favor or special privilege

God has chosen you. Stop and think about that for a moment. I think I love the second definition the most, marked for favor or special privilege.

Do you remember as a kid, waiting and hoping to be picked out of a line up by one of the team captains for kickball or another sport? You were hoping and praying with each pick that your name would be the next to be called. Do you remember how happy you were when your name was called.
You jumped with joy that you had been chosen, and it was even better if the winning team captain called your name. Well you have been chosen by the best and winning team captain ever, God. He saw your worth on His team. He knew you would add value to His team. He wanted you on His team. Now, let that soak in for a moment.

The second word to focus on is priesthood. The definition of priesthood is the office, dignity, or character of a priest Wow. God has chosen you to be His priest. How many of you feel so under qualified to be a priest? How many of feel there is no way you can fulfill this position, there must be a mistake? Well there is no mistake. God chose you. Yes you.

Most of us when we think of the word priest our mind will either go to our pastor of today, a priest like the pope or it may even go back to the description of the priest in old testament times. Looking at any of those and comparing yourself, again, you may think not me, I am not qualified.

God is the winning team. He only chooses winners. That means He not only thinks you can do it but HE KNOWS you can. The last part of the scripture tells us what God has chosen us to do on His team; “You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Each of us has a responsibility to do our part for the rest of the team. For the team to be a team each member must show up, train, do their part, be a team member, not an individual and listen to the instructions of the coach.

Here are a few ways for you to prepare for the priesthood that God has called you to: the first step is say I accept that God have chosen me, begin to take steps to train, study scripture (don’t just read it to read it, read it to understand it) join in community with other believers (Go to church. Take every opportunity to be with other believers. Not because you are suppose to, but to learn from other believers and encourage each other), meet with your pastor as a couple or individual and ask Him to pray for you to gain knowledge, strength and to remove sin from your life that may be holding you back, pray often, engage in ministry by serving at your church, and tithe like you never have before (Jesus told a man once that if he wanted to follow Him to sell all his possessions and the bible says the man went away sad)

Don’t sit back and say you can’t do it. You are on the team whether you want to be or not. The question is what kind of team player are you. God believes in you and so do I. God has chosen you to be His priest. Today is the day to fully commit. Today is the day to say yes to The Lord. Today is the day to prepare for your priesthood. The world needs to hear the good news and someone in this world needs to hear it from you. Today is the day to sign up with God for bootcamp and to go all in. As the old military recruitment slogan says “Be All That You Can Be” however, I would change the last part of the song to say in the Christian Army!