Archive | August 2013

Closed! No way!

Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The other day, I picked my son up early from golf. It had been 3 weeks since his last allergy shot and it was time for one. So we drive over to the clinic expecting to get a shot. We pulled into the parking lot and I said, “Why are there no cars in the parking lot?” They were closed on Wednesdays. My blood began to boil. I had taken him out of practice early to get this done. I knew that I has seen somewhere that they would be open that day. So I get out my trusty phone and check the picture I had taken of the shot schedule. I was already loading my mental gun with what I was going to say to those people who had falsely advertised their hours. But instead I find that I had looked at the wrong line. Oh, they were open on Wednesdays, in a different city and different clinic. Now, I’m deflated and frustrated. My two kids (5th grade and 6th grade) have been particularly crazy this week. Not sure if the moon is pulling their brains from their bodies or what! But any way, they were excited that they didn’t have to sit in a boring and cramped little office for 30 minutes. So, craziness ensued. I quickly put out that light by saying, “Hey! I’m pretty frustrated and angry right now. I would suggest you knock it off until we get home.” “Yes ma’am,” they said. And all was quiet for me to sulk.

So as I’m driving in my quietness, I hear this verse roll across my heart. God was reminding me that everything was okay. That I really don’t need to be all upset about it because obviously He has a reason for me getting this shot thing all confused. Come to find out, we were able to come home, get homework done, have dinner as a family and go to church together. It really was beautiful. Good times together and learning about The Lord together.

Princess, you are going to make mistakes and things are not always going to go your way. But you must remember that the Creator of the universe is on your side and directing your path. He really does know what is best. And by the way, I apologized to my kids for blowing up at them. And I reminded them of this verse as well. I think it is important for your children to know that you make mistakes but also that you have found the way to forgiveness and it was all because God led you there.

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Smoking or nonsmoking

The Bible tells us about two very real places – Heaven and Hell.

Heaven
Revelation 21:3,4 – “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'”
We like to think of Heaven as a place of beauty and wonder. And it is. But more importantly, Heaven is where we will be eternally with God. The way we know things to be here will be gone. Read Revelation to get the whole (and end) of the story – Go ahead it won’t bite too hard.

Hell
Luke 16:23,24 – “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus at his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'”
We don’t like to think about the fact that there is a real place called Hell. Hell is reserved for those who reject the free gift of salvation. Our society wants us to keep quiet about such things. Don’t rock the boat. It might offend someone to tell them that rejecting God’s gift leads to Hell. Jesus used this parable of the rich man and Lazarus to illustrate that there are consequences for choosing to reject Jesus. And it is not fun. Punishment never is.

Let me just be blunt. I heard this saying when we were having revival at church a few weeks ago: If you are not saved, this earth is as close as you will get to Heaven. If you are saved, this earth is as close as you will ever get to Hell.
Think about that for a moment. Read it again. It’s true. Hell is far worse than we can comprehend. And Heaven is far better than we can understand.

Today, princess, you will come across someone who has a choice to make – smoking or nonsmoking, Heaven or Hell.
I believe Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Get prepared. And get those around you prepared. When we are taken out of this life (one way or another) that is when it is all done. No changing things then. Now is the time to make a change.
It is a harsh truth but we would do well to remember that there really is a place called Hell and people really do go there.

Love take me over

1 John 4:16 – “And so we know and rely on the love of God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

Have you heard the new Steven Curtis Chapman song “Love take me over”? It has become one of my new favorites. Almost to the point of a life song.

Have you ever thought about how much better and easier things would be if we truly let God’s love cover every single aspect of our life? I mean every thing! From cleaning the toilet to serving at church. Every thing that we do being doused in God’s love.

Our desire should be this. Unfortunately it is not. We let that ugly monster pride get in the way. We want someone to recognize what we have done. When you spend all day cleaning the house, don’t you want your husband to say something about how good it looks when he walks in the door? Um, yes. Yes I do. Well, sister, that is the wrong attitude. That is not doing something out of love. That is doing it for your own recognition.

Love can take our thoughts and desires and make them glorifying to Him. Love can take our words and make them as honey when you have to say something hard. Love can take your actions and show Christ sacrificing love to others. Love is pretty amazing when we get out of the way and let it do its thing.

So today, check out the song. Listen and let it over flow in your heart. Let love take you over!

Micah

Micah 6:8 – “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

We are going to dive into this verse today.

“To act justly” – the word used here means to give a verdict or sentence. I know what you are thinking – Jesus told us not to judge people. Yes, He did. He also told us to test the spirits to discern if they were from God or not. I think that “acting justly” means making right discernments. Use your brain. Think about things before you do them. Engage your brain before you engage your mouth. Those kinds of things. You know, the things we frequently forget to do…

“Love mercy” – I have been told my entire life that “mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.” And I believe that. There are many times anyone else would have thrown in the towel and walked away. But God stands by me, in spite of me and my sinful ways. Mercy can imply kindness. Kindness is doing or being nice to someone who may or may not deserve it. (See how these things are connected?) We are encouraged to love this – not only in the character of God but also in others and how we deal with them. If we don’t show mercy to others, why would we expect God to show mercy to us?

“To walk humbly with your God” – the word used here is “humiliate”. Man, that is harsh! But if you look at it in context, it means to take away all pretenses. No pride. Pride is an ugly beast that hides in all our closets. It rears its ugly head and makes God sick. How dare we think we know better than Him! Look at what Micah says here – “with”. Do you know what that makes me think of? A friend. God wants to walk alongside us without our pride tagging along.

So today, princess, strive to incorporate these principles in your life. Think about things before you do them. Be nice, even when you don’t want to. And be a friend of God. Walk WITH Him.

He IS coming!

1 Thessalonians 5:1,2 – “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
Matthew 25:13 – “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 24:44 – “So also you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Do you ever have one of those days where God is hammering something in your head? That was my night. All through church last night I heard this. Think He wanted me to get it?

You know He is coming back soon. On top of the lesson and message I heard last night, I am reading Revelation. Pray for me on that one – Revelation makes my head spin.

God gave us these warnings and prophecies for a reason – He wants us to be ready. My pastor encouraged us last night to think every morning, before you get out of bed, that today could be the day. Today could be the day He breaks through the eastern sky. Today could be the day He calls us home. Today could be the last chance you have to tell someone about Jesus.

How does that make you feel? Does it create a sense of urgency or are you immune to it? Have you heard that for so long that you have become complacent?

Sometimes I feel that way. If I’m truly honest, probably more often than not. But that is no excuse. Sister, it is time to confess these things. Clean out the dirty laundry and get the floor swept! God isn’t going to tolerate those excuses anyway. Get rid of them! And trust me, I’m speaking just as much to myself as to anyone else.

What is God going to find you doing when He returns? Is He going to find you sharing His love with others or will He find you trying not to rock the boat? Is He going to find you staying away from the evils of the world or will He find you knee deep in it? Is he going to find you serving in your home and in His work or will He find you out having “a good time”?

These are serious questions, princess. We have become too absorbed with what we want. We have heard of His return for so long that I fear we have lost sight of the real issue – HE REALLY IS COMING BACK!! He has tarried this long to give us time to share and bring as many to Him as choose to come. Don’t delay, princess. Get on your royal steed and get out there and herald the news – He is coming!

The Mannequin

1 Corinthians 15:58 – “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

I heard a preacher on the radio the other day that reminded me of something – human mannequins. Have you ever seen those? We have seen some that are completely covered in bronze material – skin, hair, nails, clothing – the whole person. Weird looking. The only way you know they are a person is that they blink or move from time to time. But people can go up to them and try to make them move but to no avail.

We are to be something similar to this. We are to be completely covered, every square inch, in Christ’s love. No part of ourself, our earthly flesh, should show. Only that of Christ.

And when we stand for the world to see, we should not be moved. People will try to get us to move. They will mock us. They will try to distract us. They may even laugh at us. But this should not take us off our stance. Jesus gave His all for us. How hard is it to stand for Him? Shouldn’t be too tough, but it is.

When these people (the human mannequins) are doing their job, the job they have been hired to do, they do it fully. They are focused and determined.

Should it be any different for us?

These people have decided to accept the position of human mannequin. These people have decided to don whatever clothing and make-up their employer requires to do the job. They have decided to focus their mind not on what is going on around them but rather on something else to keep them from failing to do their job.

Let’s look at that in relation to the life of a follower of Christ. We have decided to follow Jesus. We have decided to don His love and do whatever He tells us to do. We need to focus our mind not on the problems of the world and what is going on around us, but rather on heavenly things and that which pleases Him. We have to keep on trying to do our job to His standards. We have to keep showing others Him in our life.

Today, princess, remember that you are showing the world Him. You have the opportunity to be different. Embrace it. Let God make you into who He wants you to be.

Learning

Proverbs 2:1-5 – “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.”

We all want to be smart. We want our friends and family to be confident that we know what we are doing. Sometimes that is true and sometimes that is a facade.

But God gives us the opportunity to gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

The first thing we have to do is be obedient. We must choose to follow Christ and His commands. We need to listen to Him and do what He commands. That means we have to be quiet sometimes and pay attention. Hmm, I’m not so good at that most days.

The next thing is that we have to ask for wisdom and understanding. It is there for the taking but you have to ask first. Then you have to put forth the effort to retrieve it. God isn’t going to just dump it in your head with no effort on your part. But if you seek it out, you will find it.

And by doing all of this, you will finally get it. You will finally see an end result – better choices and clearer insight.

My kids are back in school and have been for a week now. Quizzes are starting to pop up. Remember those days? You had to study. Information about volcanoes is not readily in your head, typically. They have to study. They have to practice. They have to have someone to go over the information with them. They need assurance that they understand what they have studied and must be confident that they can be successful. Are you seeing the practical application of these verses yet? God wants and expects the same thing from us.

Learning should never end. It should be our desire to try and learn something new everyday – even if it is trivial. Life is so much fuller when you choose to learn and when you choose to let God teach you. So today, princess, don’t let your head the pillow until you let God teach you something new.