Walk a Mile in My Shoes

Titus 3:2 urges us “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”

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I am a visual person.  When I read scripture or a book, I actually visualize what I am reading.  When I read about Jesus, in the new testament, I can see him walking, talking, healing and hurting.  It’s almost as if I am walking along with him, side by side.  As I journey with Jesus, visually, I also feel a variety of emotions.

I think this generation has become less sensitive, intolerant if you will, of those who are not like them. Instead of realizing that we are all different and trying to understand each other, we seem to hate anyone who is not like us.  As a teenager raised in the church, I remember Christians were accused of this behavior.   Now, it seems like it is an attitude that is running rampant regardless of age, nationality or background.

I think unless we have walked a mile in someone’s shoes, we do not have the knowledge or authority to talk about them?  I have never been a president so how can I truly talk bad about him.  I may not like decisions that he makes, but because I do not live in the white house and I do not have the whole knowledge of the situation, how can I really know why he chose to do something.  Isn’t he the president and doesn’t he have the responsibility to look after the US as best as he can.  Doesn’t he live here too and wouldn’t everything that he does effect him, his wife and his family also?  If he loves them and himself, wouldn’t he do things that would be positive for them also.  He isn’t going to be the white house forever right?

This attitude goes beyond Jesus and the president.  If you have never been a pastor, the owner of a company, a manager, a mom, a dad, an addict, an abused woman, abandoned, mentally ill, the list goes on. Unless you have walked in any of those shoes you are simply talking about what you see. What we see is very rarely the whole story.  There was a reason why Jesus came, why He healed, why He ask men to become His disciples, why He went to the cross, why He died and rose again and the list goes on.  If you just look at Jesus without understanding the whole story, He could appear to just be a mad man.  But when you understand all those things you see what an amazing thing He did for us.

If Christians, would think of ways to encourage and understand those who are different from them, walk a mile in their shoes, our world be a better place.  There would be less quarreling, we would be gentler to others, and we would show perfect courtesy toward all people.  Today, take time to ask questions of someone who is not like us, someone who has made a decision you do not like, talk to someone living a lifestyle different than yours, who believes different than you and so one.  You just may walk away understanding that person more, talking about them less and being kinder to them.  After doing this a couple of times, I think you will begin to talk about others less because you will try to walk a mile in their shoes before making judgements of others based solely on what you see.

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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Young Woman Studying the Word of God Bible Close-up

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.

 

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!

The “NEW” Barbie

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1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

I recently watched a new Hulu documentary called “Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie.” Here is a quick overview of the movie:  Over the years Mattel had seen a decline in Barbie sales. The design team discuss how the slim and trim Barbie of yesterday was no longer relevant and was in need of a body make-over. In most of the video the team struggles as they design the new plumper, shorter, taller and blacker barbies that will launch in January of 2016.  They believe this change will be the answer to increasing Barbies sales.

I immediately thought about today’s focus scripture and the following scriptures as well.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

And lastly, Genesis1:31 And God saw that everything that He had made, and behold it was very good. 

I grew up playing with Barbies and so did my daughter.  Barbie did not make me or my daughter feel bad about ourselves.  As a matter of fact we are both very confident women.  To me, Barbie was a doll and nothing more.  Barbie was the next step up for a little girl when she was too old to play with baby dolls, so it was sign of growing up.

As I listened to the documentary I could not believe how people thought a small doll like Barbie was causing so much identity trauma in our young girls.  Just this weekend, my grand daughter was telling me and her grandfather about a girl in her 4th grade class who had changed her name to a boys name, wore boy clothes and was taking hormone shots to become a boy.  Earlier in the day, I had watched two tv shows, both which had men kissing men and women kissing women.  BUT Barbie is causing issues right??!!

The Scriptures says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Our children need to realize that God created billions of individuals yet gave each one his or her own look, strengths, personality and potential. We can live in confidence that God doesn’t make junk and that every one of us is a unique masterpiece of His creative genius.  Not everyone is going to believe this way.  As Christians we do.  It is our responsibility to insure we teach our christian children to believe this as well.  I have always heard a quote, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”

My personal opinion, is that our young people do have a lot of identity trauma they are dealing with it, however, it is not coming from a small doll called Barbie.  It is coming from a world and people who were once perfect and now are not.  If we want our little children to be all that God created them to be, we must tell them over and over again about God and His plan for them.  Read Deuteronomy 11:18-19.  We have to be in the world to provide hope and encouragement but not of the world.  We are just ambassadors here for a short while.

Don’t Be Spiderman Be You

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The Book of Galatians is written by the Apostle Paul to the Galatian churches. In chapter one and chapter 2:1-10 Paul is telling everyone who he is, why he has authority to speak to them, how he was chosen by Christ and how the other apostles had accepted him.

Chapter 2 verses 11-21 Paul confronts Peter about what he was doing wrong. Peter was telling the Gentile Christians that they had to behave and follow the customs of the Jews Christians in order to be saved. Paul said that was not biblical and he told Peter that he was a hypocrite. When Peter was alone with uncircumcised christians, the Gentiles, he would eat with them but when other Jewish Christians were around he would not eat with them. Jewish law stated that Jews were not to eat with those who were not circumcised. Paul ask Peter “Since you are a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?”

This scripture made me think of Spider-Man a fictional superhero appearing in the early 1960’s American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student behind Spider-Man’s secret identity. Peter was self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness as Peter Parker, while Spider-Man was the exact opposite.

Peter became Spider-Man as a result of a bite from a radioactive spider that triggered mutations in Peter Parker’s body, granting him superpowers. In the original Lee-Ditko stories, Spider-Man had the ability to cling to walls, superhuman strength, a sixth sense (“spider-sense”) that alerted him to danger, perfect balance and equilibrium, as well as superhuman speed and agility. The character was originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as intellectually gifted, but later writers have depicted his intellect at genius level. Academically brilliant, Parker has expertise in the fields of applied science, chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, mathematics and mechanics. With his talents, he sews his own costume to conceal his identity, and he constructed many devices that complemented his powers, most notably mechanical web-shooters to help navigate and trap his enemies along with a spider-signal as an flashlight and a warning beacon to criminals.

Once we are saved, we have supernatural powers, just like Peter, AKA Spider-Man but even bigger and better powers. Our “spider-sense” is the Holy Spirit. In Mark chapter 9 the Apostles tell Jesus about a man they saw healing someone. The disciples were upset and complained to Jesus because this man was not a disciple. Jesus tells them to stop complaining because you don’t have to be in the inner circle to perform miracles, you just have to perform the miracle in Jesus name.

Many Christians are living a Peter Parker life self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness when the Bible says we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). To put it in Spider-Man lingo, we have been bitten by the Holy Ghost Spider. With that bite came the power to do things in Christ name and to perform the greatest miracle, the miracle of leading others to salvation with a promise of eternity in heaven.

In the Spider-Man movie Peter does not want everyone to know who he was so he created a mask and added tools to expand his abilities, i.e. the web. Peter Parker wanted to live two lives just like Peter in todays scripture. Peter Parker protected his identity with his mask, and Peter in the scripture hid is identity by changing who he was based on who he was with.

God created you to be you. He tells us in the scripture how we should dress, act, talk, raise our children, treat our family, treat others, fellowship with other believers, obey our pastors and elders and so much more. He didn’t create us to look alike, act alike, talk alike or even love alike. For example He tells us to love our neighbors, but he doesn’t give us specifics of what love looks like in action. I may love my neighbor by cooking or grocery shopping for them. You may love your neighbor by house setting their pet while they are on vacation. But the instruction to love our neighbor is the same instruction for both of us.

I challenge you today to take off the mask you may be wearing as a Christian and use the power that is within you. Maybe you are not wearing a mask but you are not living a christian life all the time. As a Christian you are not self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness because with Christ you can do all things and you are a new creature. Old habits are hard to break but you can break them with Christ help. You can do all things with Christ who give you strength. So ask Him to help you be that new person He says you can be. Stop acting like you are not saved when you are with those who are not saved. As a matter of fact let your light shine.

Like Peter Parker, Christians must learn that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Commit to be YOU starting today!! I believe in you! You an do it!!

You Aren’t From Around Here Are You?

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Ephesians 4:29 ESV  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

I was watching a show on Amazon Video the other day that was filmed in a small town in Kentucky. In the series, the people on the show were portraying Kentucky mountain folks.  The southern accent was very prominent, and actually pretty accurate of the south.  In one of the series there was a man from up north that came into town on business with the locals, both bad guys.  I had to laugh as I watched this episode.   In the first series the northerner starred in, he would say over and over again how he could not understand the local man.  In the second series he starred in, the northerner said he needed google translate to help him understand what the local man was saying.

It reminded me of how we should speak as Christians.  Our language should change after we are saved.  People who are not saved should not understand what we say because we don’t talk like them.  John 8:47 says “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”  Non-Christians may not understand the things of God but that doesn’t mean we should not talk about God.  We should talk about Him so much that they want to know what we are saying.  In the show, even though the man did not understand what the locals were saying, he really wanted to understand them.  His frustration made him work harder to figure out what they were saying.

When we are Christians the way we talk to others is different.  Those who are not saved may not understand the way we talk to each other.  Colossians 4:6 ESV Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.  We should not loose our cool with other people, christian or not.

Matthew 15:11 ESV says “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”  What words are coming out of your  mouth?  I heard a sermon by Joel Osteen and he was talking about the different sins people struggled with.  He specifically mentioned people in his life who struggled with swearing.  I hear so many christians swearing.  I have watched the faces of lost people when they hear a christian swear.  It is a look of confusion.  Even they do not understand how a christian can so freely swear.  

Ephesians 5:4 ESV says “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.”  The bible is full of scripture that tells us how we should talk once we become saved.  Maybe you don’t know “churchy talk” but we all need to learn God talk.  How do we do that?  By reading His read.  Churchy talk is man talk.  God talk is His language and there are blessings for His children who use God talk.

I am not sure if there is google translate for the bible, however there are many tools available to you to make reading the bible easier.  There are many different versions of the bible.  Check them out online before you buy one.  Here are a few online resources where you can read a verse in many different versions.  If you keep going to a particular version then maybe that is the one you should buy.

http://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/

https://www.bible.com/

https://www.youversion.com/

Each of these sites also have a commentaries by several people.  If you read something and you don’t understand it, no matter which version you read, then you can read the commentary, which explains the text you just read.

In Joels sermon he stated that we all deal with our own sin.  For him, it was impatience while for someone else it was their words, swearing.  This isn’t a devotional to make you feel bad about swearing.  The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  Maybe you are saying that you can’t change your language.  Those old ways just won’t go away so how do you change?  Philippians 4:13  (GW) I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.  With God’s help thats how.  YOU CAN DO.  Don’t stop trying.

Just in case no one has told you this today….God loves you, wherever you are in your walk with Him!

Make Jesus Great Again

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Philippians 3:7-9a NLT – I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.

Some of you may be offended that I used anything similar to our Presidents words in todays title. If you are offended then be sure to read yesterdays post then come back and read today’s post. LOL. Seriously, I have had this scripture and this title on my mind for days now.

Did you know that Rock Hill has a population of 69,103 residents and is the 5th largest city in South Carolina? Did you know that there were 8051 churches in SC as of the most current statistics? That’s a lot of churches. A lot of people who attend church. If you dig deep into the statistics you can see the number of people in our city who go to church, what they believe about God and what required to be a Christian. Ultimately, the statistics show that there are a lot of people who do not go to church and/or are not saved in our city.

The scripture says everything is worthless when compared to knowing Christ. EVERYTHING. If we want to make Jesus Great Again we, the Christians have to believe He is great. Our actions and our words must show that He is great. Things that are important to us take priority in our lives. The important things are in our conversations and we make time for them. I can assure you every one that knows me and spends any time talking to me knows that my grandkids are important to me. I talk about them every chance I get. I rearrange my work and personal life for them. I take their phone calls and/or face time calls. I go to their special events and love to celebrate them on birthdays and holidays. My grandchildren are great!

This scripture also says “For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Ladies, there is nothing as important than Christ and our relationship with him. As a young mother and new wife I struggled with this thought. The love we have for our family, especially our own flesh and blood, is indescribable. I used to think it was unimaginable to love someone more than them. But as I have grown older I realized that God loves them more than me. Really. Hard to believe, because I love them all so much.

If we want to make America Great Again, we have to make Jesus Great Again. He is great right? Do you show it? Are you saying it? These are not questions for you to necessarily answer in this post but to internalize. We live in a time where there is much brokenness in our world. Jesus is the answer. I believe it. I have seen the miracles of families restored, marriages saved, bodies healed, forgiveness given, and entry to heaven granted by those accepting Christ as their savior. He is the greatest and He deserves our praise, our worship and He deserves to be number one in our lives.

The great news is that if you do not know Jesus you can come to know Him today. If you do know Him and you are not sharing the good news, you can decide to do it beginning right now. Ladies, we can make a difference in this world and we start in our homes. As an old saying goes, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Making Jesus Great Again begins with one person. That person spreads it to their home, their work, their friends, their family and their churches. You can do it. I believe in you! Lets make Jesus Great Again!!