Hooked, Caught and Captured

James 3:3-12 (ESV)  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

My husband, children and grandchild all love to fish.  My father taught all the kids in my family how to fish, including all the details of which bait to use, which hook to choose, what strength line was needed, how to choose a fishing pole, and how to fish for the different types of fish.

As I read the scripture above I was reminded of fishing and the hook you use to catch the fish.  The official description of a fish hook is as follows: A device which goes at the end of a fishing line that actually catches fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish.  The barb is shaped so that after the hook goes into the fishes mouth, it won’t easily come back out. A basic fishing hook is shaped like the letter J.  Funny how Jesus starts with a J right?

 

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I think the devil uses different bait, just like a fisherman to catch us on his hook.  It could be anger at another person, gossip, jealously, hate, pain, the list goes on.  I think we open our mouth, take the bait and then we are hooked.  Some open their mouths so wide they completely swallow the hook while others are simply hooked on the mouth, the lip or even the body.  Once we are hooked, just like a regular fish hook, it is hard to get loose because of the barb, we have already committed with our words.

As a fisherman, we had to choose if we were going to catch and then release the fish or if we would keep them for dinner.  I assure you the devil has no plans to catch and release us.  Each time we took the fish off the hook the fish would fight and wiggle to try to get away.  Sometimes, they would escape from our hands and fall back in the lake.  They could either fight for their life or fry in the pan. They had been caught but they were not truly captured until they were in the ice chest or in the frying pan. Then there was no hope.

The devil may have caught you with his bait I mentioned earlier.  You may feel caught, you may feel trapped, captured, backed into a corner.  Maybe you have started something and you don’t know how to get out of it. You don’t have to live there.  Start fighting the devil and the desire to use your words against others.  Fight, wiggle, jump, do whatever you can to get away from the devil.  Stop and go apologize for the one you have wronged.  Go back and repair the damage you mouth has made.  Make amends.

Maybe you are the one that is suffering from someone else’s words.  God does not approve of us tearing each other down as the scriptures says above.  Pray for the person who is trying to hurt you.  They have been hooked.  They have been caught.  Pray for their freedom.  Pray for them to see a way out.  Pray for you to forgive them.  Don’t stop praying until they are freed.  Ask others to pray with you for them. Ask God to give you wisdom on how to release the hurt you may feel and to love your enemies.  In other words, do what is right, no matter how hard it is.  God will honor and bless you if you do.

Shhhhh

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What’s In A Name?

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

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Names in the Bible often have significance, telling us something about the person’s attributes or circumstances. Several people in the Bible were given new names, usually after they or their situations changed.

Jesus was born into a culture in which names were filled with hopes and expectations. God deliberately placed more than 100 names in the Bible that tell us about Jesus. They allow us to know Him more fully. Only Jesus can simultaneously be the timid, submissive Lamb and the mighty, conquering Lion. This dual identity is the reason Jesus was able to put death to death by sacrificing himself. The mission of Jesus is communicated through the names given Him in Scripture.

Names, whether they belong to people, bands or companies, have the power to communicate something significant. Perhaps this is why so few people name their children Dorcas and Nimrod these days, biblical though those names are. This advent season and beyond, I hope that you’re able to experience the beauty of Jesus in new ways through worshiping Him by name.

6 Reasons Why Names are Important in the Bible

  1. A biblical name could record some aspects of a person’s birth.
  2. Biblical names sometimes expressed the parents’ reaction to the birth of their child.
  3. Biblical names were sometimes used to secure the solidarity of family ties.
  4. Biblical names could be used to communicate God’s message.
  5. Biblical names were also used to establish an affiliation with God.
  6. Biblical names are given to establish authority over another, or to indicate a new beginning or new direction in a person’s life.

Naming is one of the great privileges given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, the power to define the world in certain terms, to label reality and determine people’s perceptions of it. To ask what your own name is, is really to ask: ‘Who am I?,’ or indeed: ‘Who will I become?’

Many Christian parents name their children with biblical names, perhaps as a sign of the spiritual heritage in which they hope their children to grow up. Some Christians today take naming very seriously, and may have their name legally changed in adulthood as a symbol of a particular moment of transformation or represent a new identity.

If God were to choose to change your name, what would it be?  If you could name yourself, searching out a name that represents who you are as a Christian, what name would you choose?  Do you know the biblical explanation of your current name?  Does it accurately represent your spiritual life?  WHAT’S IN YOUR NAME?

 

Families Belong Together

1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

The current political debate is whether families should be separated who have illegally crossed into the USA.  Months from now it will be off the hot plate and something else will divide Americans once again.

Most Christians would say that God loves the family. All throughout Scripture, God has given families task of rearing children in the Lord. Husbands and wives are commanded to be faithful to one another, and children to their parents. The thing that I love so much about God and His word is that when he ask us to do something, He gives us all the instructions on how to do it.

Here a few things, that I think, are biblical instructions on how to keep our families together and if followed will bring many blessings upon our family. (in no particular order)

  1.  Teach your children about God and His word every day.  Deuteronomy 11:18-20  You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  2. Teach your children to obey their parents.  Ephesians 6:1-2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother(which is the first commandment with a promise), so that may be well with you, and that you may life long on the earth.  
  3. Teach your children to have a healthy fear of purposely disobeying The Lord. Proverbs 1:7-9 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. 
  4. Treat your children justly, fairly and respectfully.  Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. 
  5. Teach your children to obey the law of the land.  Romans 13: 1-5 Obey the government, for God is the one who has put it there. There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power. So those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow. For the policeman does not frighten people who are doing right; but those doing evil will always fear him. So if you don’t want to be afraid, keep the laws and you will get along well. The policeman is sent by God to help you. But if you are doing something wrong, of course you should be afraid, for he will have you punished. He is sent by God for that very purpose. Obey the laws, then, for two reasons: first, to keep from being punished, and second, just because you know you should.
  6. Teach your children about marriage by living your marriage as God has ask us to.  Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  Ephesians 5: 22Wives, place yourselves under your husbands’ authority as you have placed yourselves under the Lord’s authority, Stay away from porn and refrain from having an affair:1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
  7. Teach your children to have good work ethic.  Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, and 2 Thessalonians 3:10 While we were with you, we gave you the order: “Whoever doesn’t want to work shouldn’t be allowed to eat.”
  8. Teach them to be financially responsible and give tithes and offerings.  Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender, and
    Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
  9. Teach your children that church and serving at your church are important to God and to you also. Hebrews 10:25 Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching and 1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
  10. Teach your children to respect and obey those who have authority over them such as pastors, teachers, police officers, adults etc  Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders, and accept their authority. They take care of you because they are responsible for you. Obey them so that they may do this work joyfully and not complain about you. (Causing them to complain would not be to your advantage.)

    I believe this is how we keep families together.  When we stray from Gods plan for families we begin to allow satan to have his will and his way in our lives and to cause chaos and disunity.  I will not join in on the debate about what we should do with the illegal immigrants in the USA because I think we should focus on cleaning up and tightening up our own families and be the example to others.  Even Christians can’t agree on these 10 things, all supported by the Bible, so how do we expect them to agree on this new hot issue facing Americans.

What do you think???

When I Was Helpless

Romans 5:6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

I love the read the bible.  I read at various times during the day just because I love to read it.  Today I was reading Romans and I read this verse.  I have read it many times before but something resinated with me.  The first part of the scripture is something that all of us have either faced or may even be facing now, a feeling of utter helplessness.  I read that part and just kept on reading AND then part two of the verse hit me like a ton of bricks.

Two things really stood out for me in the last part of this verse.

  1. It says that Christ came at just the right time.  Isn’t that our God?!?!?  He did not show up early, he did not show up late, he showed up at just the right time.  Maybe in your struggles you are wondering where God is, why He is not on top of the situation.  I am hear to tell you that He is there at just the right time.
  2. The last part of that verse says he showed up TO DIE for us.  Let me say that again.  He showed up at just the right to die for us.  Wow.  I have had someone show up to help me in times of needs but never to die for me.  Other than Jesus, my husband is the only one who I believe would actually die for me.

Everyone at some point in their life is going to feel utterly helpless, even Christians.  The Bible says as long as we are alive and in this world we will have troubles.  Today it could be me and tomorrow it could be you feeling utterly helpless.  Write this scripture down and put it somewhere so it can be a reminder to you.  If Christ came at the just the right to die for us in our utter helplessness, he will surely be here to help us at just the right time today.

Are you feeling utterly helpless now?  Do you have someone in your life who would die for you?  If you have ask Jesus to come into your heart you at least one person who has already done it, even before you loved Him.  Jesus.

 

Walk This Way

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. This is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Jesus.

I think everybody loves Winnie The Poo, so I wanted to share one of my favorite quotes from him,  “I Always Get To Where I Am Going By Walking Away From Where I Have Been ~ Winnie The Poo.”  This fictional character is giving us good advise, sort of even biblical I would say.

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A lot of women I know are either walking in circles, standing still or pacing back and forth from the present to the past and from the past back to the present, just to keep repeating the process.  It could be a relationship, a death, a divorce, a hurt or a past decision that they keep going back to.  Day in and day out the past is impacting their present and their future.  I have always heard insanity is the doing same over and over expecting different results.

God tells us in the scripture today that we need to forget what lies behind us and strain forward to lies ahead.  Now I agree that saying it can be easier than actually doing it.  If we are Christians, trusting The Lord is the way to move forward. We can have confidence that God is faithful to His promises.  Today’s scripture says we are to press on for the prize.  Not just any prize but a prize that God has for us.

Here are a few ways to put one step in front of the other to get to the prize:

  1.  Focus on reading the word of God.  It is amazing how God’s word can be the best medicine for what ales you.  I encourage you to read a chapter in Psalm and a chapter in Proverbs every day.  These books of the Bible are encouraging and packed with much wisdom about life.
  2.   Seek out someone who has been a Christian for a long time.  Not one who just goes to church, but one who studies the word of God and can advise you on the what God says about what you are going through.
  3.   Understand and believe that when you are weak, God is strong for you.  How do you believe this?  Through prayer.  The more you pray, the more God will reveal His strength to you.  You will begin to see that you are stronger than you ever imagined.
  4.   Set baby goals and an action plan on how achieve them.  Maybe your goal is to stop talking about……  Your action plan could be to find a positive scripture that you can memorize and recite or read when you begin to talk about ……..  You could write it down in a journal instead of talking about it and end with writing something positive.  As you begin to focus on the future and you can check off items on your action plan you will begin to see the future more.
  5.   Lastly, seek counseling.  Too many people let pride or money stop them from seeking out help to move forward.  I do not understand why church people do not take advantage of the wise counsel in their churches.  The pastor and his wife are two free resources that are not often used.  I have actually heard people say they would never go to their pastor because they did not want him to know they had issues.  REALLY!?!  That is why he is there.  He wants to serve you and so does his wife.

What is holding you back from running straight toward the goal to win the prize that God has for you?  I am praying for you and believe in you.  With Jesus YOU ARE UNSTOPPABLE!!