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.

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

A Love Grown Cold

Cold Love

John 21:15-17 (ESV)

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

Ask yourself these questions?

  1. Do you say you love Jesus but people don’t see it?
  2. Are you excited about the mere mention of Christ name?
  3. Are you asking Jesus to make you more like him?
  4. Is He the priority in your life?
  5. Are serving Him at work, at your church, in your community?

Go back to the day you were saved.  Do you remember how you felt?  Most of us could hardly wait to get back to church the next week.  We read His word, talk about Him to everyone would listen and we wanted to know every thing we could about Heaven and Jesus.  So what happened?

  1. Romans 3:23 (ESV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    We forget we are sinners in need of Christ forgiveness.  Either we are living in sin or we begin to judge others sins not our own, thinking that WE are ok.  We no longer pray for God to remove the sins in our life.

  2. We have become one or more of these things:  2 Timothy 3:1–4 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
  3. We have lost faith because we have stopped asking God for impossible things.Matthew 17:20 ESV He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
  4. We forgot how much He loves us.  Romans 5:8 (ESV) but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 If your heart has grown cold for Jesus it is time to TURN THE HEAT UP!  It is time for your SOUL TO BE ON FIRE AGAIN!!

Ephesians 3:17b-19, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV)

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!!

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!!

The Pressure Test

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Today’s Truth: Job 36:15 He rescues suffering people through their suffering, and he opens their ears through distress.

From My Heart To Yours:

My husband and I love to watch a television show called “MASTERCHEF”. It airs each week on the Fox TV Network and is now in its 3rd season. The show features three judges, famed award-winning chef Gordon Ramsay, restaurateur Joe Bastianich and acclaimed chef Graham Elliot. The best amateur cooks, approximately 100, are brought in from all over the US to compete for the title of MASTERCHEF and a grand prize of $250,000.00.

Through several individual cooking test the total is then reduced to 18 contestants competing for the title. Individuals are then separated into two teams to compete. Members from the losing team members have to participate in a “pressure test” challenge. The amateur chefs are given a dish they have to create in a very short time. Once the time is up, the dishes are presented to the judges. The judges critique then eliminate one or more contestants.

As we were watching the losing team participates in the pressure test I began to think about the pressure tests we have to deal with throughout our lives. Like the cooks we should have the skills and knowledge to help us face the pressure test challenges we face. Job immediately came to my mind. I think he had the biggest pressure test a Christian could face. His test was given to him in a short period of time and like the contestants, he had no idea what was coming up.

All the amateurs considered themselves to be the best chef and were shocked they were even on the losing team participating in a pressure test. You know, kinda like Job. In the beginning of the book Job was riding high, on the top of world, living life large, confident in himself. As the pressure test hit him, he was a little shocked. He, like the amateur chefs, thought he was too good to find himself in the situation he was in.

Under the pressure of the clock and the food task given each chef handled the stress differently. Some wept, some cursed, some cried, some became panic-stricken and were almost immobilized, some gave up and some a combination of all. As you read further into the book of Job you see that Job too responded to his pressure test in a variety of ways.

After the pressure came the judging by the experts. This was as true for the amateur chefs as it was for Job. Job’s critics, however, were the worst kind; his friends and family. At least in the show everyone knew that the judges are going to rate your food, cooking ability, then insult you personally. Job on the other hand was discouraged when it is his very own friends who were judging him so unkindly instead of encouraging him.

From the book of Job I learned SIX ways to help us pass pressure tests we face:

1. Realize that God knows what we are going through and understands how we feel. Though Job could not begin to understand why all of these things were happening to him, he knew God knew about it. Jesus suffered while he was on the earth and because of that suffering God understands how we feel. Job told his wife, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10).

2. God is not the cause of the pressure test, but he is there to help us make it through it. God is involved in every test that we undergo and God is in charge! James 1:13 says, “When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” God does not bring problems on us. He is not the source of the trials we may face, but he does allow us to be tried, and he will help us, if we rely on him.

3. Sometimes there is no clear “why”.  One of the difficult things for us to accept is that many of the sufferings we go through simply cannot be explained. The why is often a question unanswered. Bad things do not only happen to bad people. Job recognized that many times the wicked live to reach old age and even appear to prosper.

4. Trust God. It is relatively easy to trust God and believe he is in charge when things are going right. But what about when things turn upside down and inside out? It is in the midst of such perplexity and anguish that faith in God is most needed.

5. There are blessings for obedience. It is easier to quit when tough times come, to curse God and jump right back into our past life of sin. At the conclusion of the book reveals, “Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning” (42:12). In the end, there were blessings for his obedience and for staying true to God.

6. Our trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Once the trial passes we should have a better understanding of ourselves and of God’s mercy and grace. Whatever the trial or test, there is always growth that can be achieved. God wants us to grow and mature spiritually. Therefore, we must undergo periodic pruning to stimulate that growth (John 15:2).

Let’s Pray:

Dear Lord, we know that even as Christians we will face pressure test in our life. Sometimes, we forget you are in control when things are turned upside down. Help us to trust you, to rely on you and stay faithful to you during these stressful times. We ask for wisdom, during these tough times, to understand what lessons we are to learn about ourselves, others and/or our relationship with you. In Jesus Name.  AMEN.

The Old Oak Tree

Today’s Truth: Revelation 2:4-5, “4 However, I have this against you: The love you had at first is gone. 5 Remember how far you have fallen. Return to me and change the way you think and act, and do what you did at first…..” (GW)

From My Heart To Yours:

If you were born after in the 90’s you will probably laugh as you watch the following video.  Now try to listen to the words of the song and not focus on the large mustache.  If you were born before or right after 1973, go ahead and sing along, you know you want to.  By the way, I immediately wanted to search for, watch and sing Knock Three Times, didn’t you?!?!  Oh no, I couldn’t help myself…found it, watched and sang it too.

This popular song, Tie A Yellow Ribbon by Tony Orlando and Dawn, was based on the true story of a convict returning from jail who requested a sign from his wife to indicate that she would welcome him home. First he writes her a letter and puts it in the mail, text messaging, emails or cell phones didn’t exist back then.  Ok so go ahead and laugh again those of you who laughed earlier.  He doesn’t wait for her to rejection him, instead he jumps on a bus to go to her. In his letter he ask her give him a visual sign that she will take him back, a yellow ribbon around a tree he remembers in the front yard of her home.

As the song goes on you can hear the anticipation, urgency and yes even fear in the lyrics as he gets closer to her house.  Rejection will be hard but easier to handle if he doesn’t have to see her face to face and hear the word NO.  That’s why he has ask for visual sign.

Almost there, tension building, all the feelings of rejection and discouragement overwhelm him to the point that he can’t even look, can’t look for the sign he asked for a simple yellow ribbon around big old oak tree that he remembers standing in the front yard.  He has pulled the other passengers on the bus into his story by telling them about his love and how he hopes she will take him back, about the simple sign of acceptance he hopes to see and his fear of not seeing it.

The passengers tell him he doesn’t even have to look, they will be his eyes.  They too are now hoping and looking for HIS yellow ribbon on the tree.  As they near the house I can see EVERYONE but the man standing on the same side of the bus stretching to see over the others to see if the simple yellow ribbon requested is on the tree.  I can imagine as the man hears the shouts and cheers is he excited and stands to see what they see. It turned out that he was very welcomed home: there were a hundred yellow ribbons on that old oak tree.  Whew, I almost want to cry and shout with joy myself as I am typing the description of this song.

This song really hits home with me not because I have lost an old love who was in prison or been separated from husband before, but because I know so many who have lost their love for Jesus.  Todays scripture talks about returning to your first love, God.  So many have strayed far away from God, almost forgotten that they were saved.  Fear somehow replaced the faith they once had, causing them to run away from God and go back into the sinful world of the flesh to satisfy their doubt and unbelief.  Have you or someone you know left God, been a prison of sin, and want to return but you have the same fears and anxiety about rejection as the man had in this song?

If you want to return to God you can do it.  First you have to decide that you are tired of doing it your own way and remember that doing things God way is more satisfying.  Proverbs 14:14 says: A heart that turns from God becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God’s ways.(GW)  YOU and only you can decide that you are tired of living the way you are.

God wants you to come back home to him.  He knew that some of us would wonder so he has made a way for us to return home.  You are not the first nor only one to stray away from God.  He tells us in Jeremiah 6:22 “Come back, you rebellious people, and I will forgive you for being unfaithful….” (GW)

So how do you return to God? So change the way you think and act, and turn to God to have your sins removed Acts 3:19  (GW)   Ask God to forgive you, get back into the word, and let God blot out your sins. It’s that simple. Just pray and ask God to forgive you and clean you up and HE DOES.  How wonderful and amazing is that?  No rejection letter, no door slammed in your face, just yellow ribbons all over the oak tree for you.  Just like in the song not only will God say yes but He will say emphatically yes.

Now that you have been given the forgiveness to come home you should be careful so you do not stray away again. Jesus said, “Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted. You want to do what’s right, but you’re weak.”, Matthew 26:41(GW).  Tell other Christians about your return home to let them rejoice with you, like the passengers on the bus rejoiced with the man in the song.  Ask them to pray for you and with you.  Welcome home my friend.

Let’s Pray: 

Dear Lord, I am sorry for leaving You, my first love.   Sometimes the pull from the world is so strong that I can lose my way.  Help me to stay strong through the reading of your word, prayer and meeting together with other Christian brothers and sisters. Thank you for forgiving me, for loving me and for allowing me to come home.  Let my light burn brightly once more for you.  Hear my heart, Lord, and ignite my passion for you in a, fresh and dynamic way.  In Jesus Name. AMEN.