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Monday, June 1, 2015

Incoming!

I am going to share something with you that I have told only a handful of people since it happened nearly thirty-five years ago. It is the darkest thought that has ever crossed my mind. My eldest was a "colicky" baby. For the first three months of her life, nearly every time she ate she would begin to fidget and fuss. And then, she would begin to scream. An inconsolable, something hurts, could literally last for hours wail. One stressful, my baby can't get any relief and Mommy's really sleep deprived afternoon, I was standing in the middle of the living room cradling my shrieking baby in my arms trying to achieve the "c" hold the doctor had said might help alleviate her discomfort. Head and knees resting on my elbows with her bottom drooping lower to make a "u" shape actually. I was really, really trying to get the hold just right and kind of wailed myself as I said aloud, "Please, please just stop." And that's when it came. I bet she'd shut up if you slammed her against that wall over there. My mind screeched to a halt.

What was that? What!? I could not fathom that my brain had produced such an evil thought. Mommy had always been way, way at the top of the list in the "what do you want to be when you grow up" category. What a monster I must be to think such a thing about this precious, albeit screaming, baby! I flew the few steps to the phone, shifting my daughter up to one shoulder on the way, ready to grab the receiver and dial. I mechanically gave the extension number to the switchboard operator. "Export, Janice." As soon as I heard that soft, much loved voice, a flood of emotion escaped me in one drawn out word. "M-ah-ah-ah-m!" I sobbed. I am sure initially I must have caused her great alarm although she never spoke of it. (My Mom was awesome like that.). Losing it was not something I was prone to do and there was a very unhappy baby in her ear. Well, two actually.

I don't remember all the details of our conversation, but she ascertained no one was in need of immediate medical attention... Other than the fact her eldest daughter momentarily thought she was insane. :/ She assured me I was not. But this is the part of the conversation that lodged itself in my mind and heart. She said something to the effect that stressful, upsetting times in our lives were when that old devil (She always called him that. *grin* That old devil.) could throw some crazy, crazy thoughts into our brain. Just a few calming moments with my Mom and I knew without a doubt that the wicked, evil thought had not been my own. What else could it have been but an attack! 




A fiery dart sent by the evil one. Random, sometimes crazy thoughts seemingly out of nowhere that can pertain to anything. The self-derogatory thoughts alone can be crippling. Add to those a huge spectrum of others. Confused thoughts. Depressing thoughts. Overwhelming responsibility. Panic attacks. A mad desire for something we know is not in our best interest that just keeps popping into our head until we succumb. Maybe a thought to spur angry or envious thoughts toward someone. Or something very dark intending to instigate harm either to ourselves or others.  The goal of the enemy being to cause us to act on those thoughts. The flaming darts strike silently. Their mission? Seek and destroy.

 Had I been a tiny bit more stressed or maybe had just a bit less sleep and reacted spontaneously to that vile, vicious thought... I shudder thinking of it even now. I would have been destroyed. I would have tortured myself with the "how could I have" question until the day I died. Or at least until I went insane. I was 20 years old, but still a tiny baby in my spiritual growth. I believed in God and the salvation Jesus provided with all my heart, but had not yet grasped the fact that the Bible is chock-full of information about living our daily lives in line with God's plan. And I was is church nearly every Sunday until I was 19! But that's a story for another day. In retrospect, my shield of faith was not very adequate. :/ I believe God sent me straight to the one who's shield was large enough to encompass the two of us and I thank Him for it to this day.

You see, children are my thing. I believe caring for and nurturing them is part of who God made me to be. I could not wait to become a mother and I have had a home childcare business for around thirty years. It was the best job ever... most days. I know it's important to plant the seeds of God's great love for us, that Jesus came to prove to the world that God is real and when we believe that with all our hearts, we will live in heaven with them one day. Those seeds can grow to fruition at any point in that child's life. I share that information with pretty much all children that I meet. It just seems natural for me to share the gospel in simple terms with them. The point I am trying to get to is this: I'm pretty sure Satan knew just where to hit me hardest; the thing that would do the most harm to my soul and that is why the thought came so hard. Maybe loud would be a better description, but to me it seemed hard and fast. Rapid fire. As if a quiver of darts had been emptied simultaneously, each burning with the same, horrid suggestion. If  he or his minions (I assume he has the demons doing his dirty work, because try as he might, he will never be God and is not omnipresent.) had met their mark that day, had I been destroyed, then not one of the things that I have done working to help God further His kingdom would have happened. The little ripple in the big picture that is my life would not have rippled. Like when George got to see what it would have been like were he never born in It's a Wonderful Life. Things would be different.

It is so for all of us, believer or non. Every time a dart hits it's mark in the mind and it turns to action or plants a seed of discontent within, things become different than what God would have them be. For a non believer, I am sad to inform you, you are losing the battle for your very soul. Please talk to God. Accept His offer of salvation through Jesus! But for one who believes, God has a plan in place to equip us in this battle of spiritual warfare.


 

We find His plan in the Bible. We need to know what the Word of God says and to cover ourselves in the faith that what it says is true. The devil is a very good liar. John, a disciple of Jesus, said, "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." When we remain vigilant and in tune with God, the lies become easier and easier to distinguish. We can flick those darts out of our minds as easily as we flick a pesky bug from our arm. After awhile, we are no longer such worthy targets. But remain on guard for the enemy is always at the ready to ambush us if possible. Hold high your shield of faith!

Satan must have known the jig was up and he would never, ever catch me off guard where my children are concerned because nothing like that has ever happened again. Oh, there have been many other fiery darts and I have made some bad choices all right! Until I really committed myself to living my life for God to the best of my ability no matter what, I was like a ship being tossed about on the waves with no capacity to steer. I know I still fall prey, but I think most of the time, I am quick to realize it. I do not hesitate to acknowledge that I have been wrong because that's what you do to make things right. But nobody's perfect and I do not want to hint that I am... I mess up! Thank you, God, for your unconditional love!

He loves you, too. No matter what has happened in your life, no matter what choices you have made, He is waiting and hoping you will choose to believe. That's faith. Believing in things we can not see. It only gets better from there! I'm praying for you... it's a blanket " God, I don't know their names, but I am lifting them up" kind of prayer, but you are included! Pray for me, too, will you? :)

See you next time.
Love,
C

Oh, hey! I have a P.S. Demons shooting evil and darkness into our brains is a daunting thought, I know, especially if you are learning of these things for the first time! Take heart! We are not alone in this spiritual warfare battle! God's angels are always at the ready! Their swords raised to do battle for love and light. And believers have God's Holy Spirit living in our hearts. So when your "conscience" tells you to hold up on this or that... do it! Ask God if He had something to do with it whether angelic or through His Holy Spirit. :) I think He will let you know the answer is yes!



*shield of faith image courtesy  http://dailytimewithgod.com/?p=71

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Everybody Who's Anybody



Big stuff. Little stuff. Intentionally or not. It doesn't matter to what degree, we all stand guilty as charged. There is just no way around the fact that people do things that displease God. It has always been so. Lucifer (Satan) had a prestigious position in heaven, was very good looking and the wisest of all God's creations. He grew so vain as to think he could overthrow God!* How ludicrous is that? He was even able to persuade others to join him in his evil plot! Was God displeased? Yes, He was. They were all cast out of heaven.** Sin was born and Satan did not repent, but instead the evil one devised a new plan. That's where we come in. When God created Adam and Eve, they had it all! I won't go into the whole story, but they were the first humans created and soon fell prey to Satan's coaxing to disobey God and it's because of them things got messed up. You can find their story in Genesis chapters 2 & 3 if you would like to read it.         

I am sad to report that by chapter 6, mankind had gotten so out of control that God had had enough. And rightly so. We were already far from the perfect creations God had placed on the earth. There are four reasons God chose to send the Great Flood. They are:  
  1. 'The wickedness of man was great in the earth' (v. 5).
  2. 'Every imagination of the thoughts of his (man's) heart was only evil continually' (v. 5).
  3. 'The earth was filled with violence' (v. 11).
  4. 'The earth...was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth' (v. 12). (All the people on earth had corrupted their way.)
There were only four men and four women who were spared because they chose to honor God and His ways. Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives. Noah and his family were the answer to our sin problem for the time being. They built the ark as God commanded. When the task was complete, God sent the animals, closed the massive door and the earth was washed clean. God style

When the waters finally receded and God opened the door, Noah freed the animals.

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

 “As long as the earth endures,
   seedtime and harvest,
   cold and heat,
   summer and winter,
   day and night
   will never cease.”. 
                                   ~Genesis 8:20-22

And a bit later He said to Noah and his sons:
 
 



 There's our true pot of gold, dear ones! God's promise in the rainbow. And it was established not only as a reminder for us, but for our Creator! He knew us well, didn't He? How many times have you said, "I'm never gonna' do THAT again!" only to do that again? Me, too. Have we continued to make God angry to the point of wanting to wipe us off the face of the earth? I am sure the answer to that question is a resounding yes! But He will not. No more wiping us out and starting over! For as long as the earth endures. A lot of time has passed since that day. Judging by the fact that there were only 10 generations from Adam's creation and Noah's birth, I can not imagine how much worse things are now. But God knows. Sin causes so much destruction in this world. The earth, itself, cries out for relief. (Romans 8:22) Sin is destroying our beautiful planet  It's destroying lives. It's destroying souls. God promised not to wipe clean the earth again, but He did provide a solution for our sin problem.    

For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.             
                                                                                                           ~John 3:16

Jesus will take on your sin and it will be no more. Will we still fall victim to sin after becoming Christians? Yes. Satan works just as hard to pull us away from the glory of a meaningful relationship with God as He does to keep us from meeting Him in the first place. His battlefield is vast, but Christian or not, it all starts in the mind. Next time we will talk about that.

I think this post has been long enough. So I will leave you to think about things. Have you accepted God’s offer to you of forgiveness for the things you do that displease Him? If you have not, I hope that will be what you think about most. Everybody who’s anybody. That's who Jesus died for because everybody is somebody to God. Jesus would have given His life if it had been you alone He came to save. If you are reading this and know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, think about your sin problem and talk to God about it. Put on that armor and fight! And, please, let's remember to pray for all of those who do not yet know Jesus. Satan works hard, we must work harder.

I'm praying for you. See you next time.
Love,


*Isaiah 14:12-14
 **Ezekiel 28:11-19
~rainbow image courtesy of Kidimage

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It Doesn't Measure Up





 

 
 

 
I had been wrestling with whether or not to address my thoughts on the Indiana/wedding cake issue here, but was hesitating because I planned to ease in to the discussion of our sin problem with the "basics" (i.e. language, greed etc.). But then a friend shared a blog post entitled Bake For Them Two (big, beautiful wedding cake in the picture foreground) by Jessica Kantrowitz last week on social media. The title intrigued me because the topic was obvious and I recognized the scripture analogy (Matthew 5:41), but had never even in the most remote sense put that passage of scripture together with this topic. I wanted to know what she had to say. So I read. I was trying to make the connection with her but, honestly, was having trouble for reasons I am compelled to share. A comment in parenthesis that she, personally, did not feel that gay marriage is immoral bothered me.  My immediate response being, "Well, she should." It is certainly not the only immoral practice in this broken world, but it is definitely on the list.

I spent the next few days reading through the comments to see if anyone had voiced my thoughts as to how Jesus might address this matter. They disagree with those of the author and if no one else had told her, I was going to do it. While I was still struggling with the wording here, she became overwhelmed with the vast number of comments and closed the section. Ah, well, if she is meant to read my thoughts then I have no doubt God can get them to her. :) In the meantime, I do feel like I am supposed to put this out there so I would like to share with you.

It seems that the majority of comments published (by Christian or non) after her commentary hinged their view of gay marriage to whether or not they, personally, believe being gay is a sin. That is not our choice to make. The Bible clearly states in numerous places that, yes, it is. That is not the issue here. We are all sinners which makes us all players on the same field regarding our relationship with God. He can not abide sin and we can not keep from it. To such a degree that over and over again in scripture, God had His fill of how blatantly out of control things had gotten and just washed His hands of us. When the people would truly repent, forgiveness was had. Then at some point, off down the wrong road the majority would go again. That is why Jesus came. To save us from separation from God.  

More than one published post on the blog made the point that Jesus never spoke of homosexuality and whether or not it was a sin. He did, however, reiterate His Father's view of marriage. Granted,
Jesus was technically speaking on the subject of divorce, but He, too, stated the specifics. Male and female.

"Haven't you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  ~Matthew 19:4-6
 


Jesus, most certainly, would not have shunned the LGBT community. He would have shown them the love of God. He would have taught all who would listen the ways of the Father. Reaching out to us, sinners, was why He came. But would He be baking a cake (or two) for a wedding between two people of the same sex? Would Jesus condone a marriage between two men or women in any way? Knowing that doing so would be going directly against what His Father had deemed as sacred and that He had confirmed? Would that not have made His mission null and void? No. I do not believe he would have changed the plan regarding God's boundary for marriage.
 
This is the man who faced every temptation known to us and did not succumb.  He lived the only totally sin free life in the history of mankind. All the while knowing, by the way, that His reward for doing so would be to die a gruesome death to atone for the sin of the world. Giving every drop of His precious blood to fulfill His mission of worthy sacrifice and thereby creating the new covenant between man and God forevermore. So that now all we must do to be reconciled to God is but believe He is indeed the Son of God, acknowledge our sin before God and our need for Jesus, as Savior.

Remember, please, I am not condemning any people group. (On second thought, sadly, I guess I am. It is the group that does not know or come to know Jesus and their need for Him in their lives.) I am speaking to the institution of marriage and it's boundaries.
 
Our society and even some government officials and religious leaders are trying to make what's wrong in God's eyes right. That is where a Christian is to draw the line, dear ones. Christians are called to abide by the law of the land. Two specific examples can be found in Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-17. But there is an exception! When our leaders, government, and/or society are going against what God has put into place, we are to take a stand with an emphatic no! Acts 5:17-42 tells the whole story, but in a nutshell Peter and the other apostles sum it up in vs 29-32


“We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging Him on a cross. God exalted Him to His own right hand as Prince and Savior that He might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
 
We, Christians, are the only Bible many will ever see. If a person, gay or straight, is hungry or thirsty, I will share what I have with them. If a person, gay or straight, needs a coat or shirt, I will share what I have with them. I won't continue the list, but I know how to be a helper. I understand the love thy neighbor as thyself importance of Christianity and try to cast no stones of judgment. That's not my job. I am just a person like everyone else here. But to allow the world to tell me that God's view on the matter of marriage just doesn't fly and I should embrace the love factor and just go with the flow? I will not! I will stand firm as Peter and the apostles did. Gay marriage (and therefore, the celebration thereof) is not okay with God nor His Son. Saying that does not mean I view any of mankind as lesser. It just means my loyalties must lie with God before man. We should not follow the "laws of the land" when they blatantly go against what God has ordained as something sacred between a man and a woman.

I hope you have read this with an open mind and heart. I hope you will think about the possibility that sometimes love has to get tough and say, I can't condone that because God says it should go like this... And, if your heart whispers that these words are true, perhaps you will pass this along to others.

I am curious to know what you think. I am such a novice blogger that I am not even sure if you have to be a member of Google+ to post comments here or not, but there is the facebook page. :)

Until next time...
Love,
C

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Can't Be Walking On Eggshells

 
But I'll admit that I have tried a few times these past couple of weeks. And here's why. It's time to move on from the topic of how much God loves us. I am all about sharing the love of God. He defines the word awesome. No question! And bolstering confidence and self-esteem in people is just part of my nature. Stepping on toes and tsk tsking? Um, not so much. For the most part, I do not care to make waves. Not even a ripple.

I'd been trying to decide which topic to broach first and kept changing my mind. Trying to think of an oh so gentle way to start the conversation without making anyone uncomfortable. *C-R-R-R-R-UNCH* Eggshells. I've had a lot of talks with God about this these past weeks, believe me. And for awhile the majority of them were just me rambling on about how maybe I should share the love just one more time. ("You are stalling.")  I squelched that thought down as soon as it came and tried to press on.  In fact, maybe that is what I should do with this blog after all. You know? Keep it positive, upbeat. That's a good thing, right? ("That was not the plan.") That thought was a little harder to submerge because I know it was not the plan. And because I have tried in the past to side-step a little and carry on kinda sorta doing what I knew the Holy Spirit was leading me to do so I didn't really have to step out of my comfort zone, I know things don't turn out the way they would have had I stuck with the plan. His plan. I apologized for trying to change things and asked God to make me bold. Then started thinking about verses I know and love that contain that word. Paul tells us that when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we can go boldly before the throne. (That was me paraphrasing. Hebrews 4:14-16 if you want to read it verbatim.) And there are several that talk about men speaking boldly to share the gospel message. It was one of those I was trying to place, but couldn't remember who was emboldened or where exactly to find it.

I will admit to you that I am really bad at remembering exactly where to find Bible passages, but I know it's in there and over the years have purchased books that help me. Find It Fast In The Bible by Ron Rhodes is my favorite. I think there is even an online version now, but Google search is usually my source these days. So I googled "boldly Bible verse" and didn't find the specific verse I was looking for but I don't think I was supposed too.


Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request,
and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.  
Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.  
For this I am an ambassador in chains.
Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.       
                                                                                                   ~Ephesians 6:18-20   
 
  
That was the first scripture reference that popped up. Exactly what I was asking God to do for me? Yes! Yes, it was! You might say, "Well, it must be the first use of boldly in a Bible verse." I know it is not. May I repeat how amazingly awesome God is? But wait! There's more! He didn't just boost my morale by leaps and bounds, pretty sure He gave me a serious word for you, too. I felt I needed to read the scripture preceding the verse. And was blown away. It's a Bible passage I know well, but like I told you, I would have not a clue where to tell you to look for it without checking a reference. It's not a fact I am proud of, but it is a fact about me and has always been so. I just don't retain those details. (I write things down a lot. Always have a list to reference or I am all over the place.   
Another little about me tidbit for you.)
 
As a  precursor: Remember when I stood on my soapbox? I said that there is a battle to be won and we are all soldiers for one side or the other?
 
Christian Warfare
Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.   Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 

 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest,
and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
 
 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.  For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.
                                                                                                                   ~Ephesians 6:10-20
 
Serious business. I think He wants to make sure you understand the importance of what's going on.  Granted, some of the armor of God is reserved for those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives, but following those you are able is a good way to begin seeking Him. Be truthful. Do what's right.  It is my prayer for you that the rest will come into your life. If you have accepted Jesus into your heart, dust off that armor and suit up every day! This is war! We must be ready to take a stand.
 
As far as this blog goes, it is time to move forward. We are going to start addressing the thing that separates us from God. Our sin problem. Every one has one, Christian or non. Things the world says are ok are far from it. Things the world says are okay pull us a little farther and a little farther away from God. It is a battle plan of the devil, himself. I want you to be well armed. I'll not be walking on eggshells in fear of seeming judgmental and prudish any longer. Nope. Not kissing that frog. I will trust that God will take us where He would have us go.
 
So, pray for me, please, that the message may be given to me when I put my fingers to keyboard to make known with boldness the message of the gospel. Bold enough in Him to speak as I should.
 
I'll be praying for you, too. :)    
 
 Love,
C
 
 

Monday, March 2, 2015

You've Got Mail

    

 Please, view in full screen mode.

  
 
 
Did you open it?  
Such powerful words!
I hope you allowed them to fill your heart and soul for they are speaking of the relationship God wants to have with you .
 
You may have seen this post up yesterday. I started to post just the video because it is surely able to stand on it's own. Every word is true. Believers are sure to be inspired time and again as the words wash over them. Non-believers can surely come to the realization that there is indeed a Creator and He wants to establish a relationship with them. But there is something I want to make sure everyone realizes because there is another frog croaking loudly in this world. It is bellowing the news that there is no hell. Ultimately, everyone is going to heaven in the end. If this is a belief that you have heard or embrace, I do not want anything said in this letter to have been strung together in a way that allows your thought process (which is easily swayed by the clamor of a fallen world!) to wallow in that bog!   
 
It is my obligation to make sure you know that this is not true. Throughout the video, the verses tell of how much God loves you. He planned for you to exist even before the creation of this world. He has a plan for your life, will never stop doing good for you and will one day wipe every tear from your eye. I believe wholeheartedly that every good thing that comes to us, believer or no, is a gift from God. But to find the plan intended for us, to receive life everlasting and one day know no sorrow or pain, we must pay attention to God's words when talking about Jesus' main reason for coming here to earth. He came to reconcile us to God. To become reconciled, we must realize our need for a Savior. We must understand that we have done and will do things that displease God. Because God is pure goodness, light and love, He can not abide sin. Just can not be around it. 
 
But there was one man that walked this earth and lived a sin free life. There was one man who, because He had led a life resisting temptation and choosing to follow God's will in everyway, became an acceptable sacrifice in God's eyes for the sin of mankind. This man was Jesus.  God's one and only son. Jesus knew what living such a life meant to His Father. It made Him an acceptable sin sacrifice for all of mankind. Jesus chose to give His life on the cross to complete His mission because He loves us so much. He didn't have to do that. He, too, had the choice of free will. He chose us. We, too, must choose Him.
 
 

 
I was happy to see they have added the statement at the end of this video message telling how to receive Jesus as your personal Savior and ask Him into your heart. Even sharing a prayer, although you may certainly use any words you choose! But they don't mention one last step. Tell someone. In our church, we teach the a b c's of becoming a Christian. When you talk (pray) to God the prayer of your salvation:
 
A - Admit to God that you are a sinner. You have done things in your life that displease Him.
 
B - Believe that Jesus Christ is God's one and only Son. Tell God that you believe that and ask Jesus to come into your heart as you accept Him to be your Savior and Lord.
 
C - Confess with your tongue that Jesus is Lord. That simply means tell somebody of this decision you have made and what it means. What does it mean? It means welcome home for you are heaven bound! It means all of heaven is rejoicing! It means you are free of the past. It means your new life has begun!  
 
 I hope you choose life everlasting.
I hope these words you have seen and heard here today resonate in your very soul!
God wrote you a letter!
 
See you next time :) 
 
Love,
C
 


 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Don't Fade To Grey

 

I've not read the book or seen the movie, but sounds to me like Mr. Grey was appropriately named.  The little bits of information that I've learned about him are that he is very wealthy, does what it takes to get what he wants and has a penchant for... well, I imagine you know that all ready. I think of his character as being very worldly. And I think of the world as being very grey. The subtle erasing of the line between black and white, right and wrong, has wrought increasing chaos in every aspect of our society; touching every life in one way or another.  Yes, there have always been darker elements of society, but they are no longer held in check. It happened ever so slowly, but battle lines were drawn. Some that come immediately to mind? Pornography springs to the forefront in light of current controversy. Human trafficking. Racism. A woman's right to choose. Political correctness. "YOLO!" And the list goes on. Meh.

Images we have had pounded into our brains have left us desensitized. Things that once shocked the majority of our society have become very commonplace. And with each passing generation the shade of grey grows darker. The eye candy glows brighter. The tolerance level of what's okay grows higher. We may "tsk, tsk" from time to time, but for the most part just turn our heads and look the other way. Better to over look it than take a stand and make waves. Easier to succumb to the theory that "it's just the way things are now" than to make a change. Desensitized. Meh.

I'm stepping up on my soap box now in hopes my voice will carry through the ever-thickening fog, rise above the den of the croaking frogs begging for a kiss, and will resonate in your very soul. This is important! There's a battle to be won! We are all soldiers for one side or the other whether we want to admit it or not. Mankind has been duped by a cunning adversary while he carefully formed and worked into shape his dastardly plan. If God is real, so is the devil. And he has been working hard since time here on earth began to blur right and wrong into what's right only for himself! His one goal is to pull us further and further away from God. Taking us down a path so ridden with darkness that we never find our way back.  If you are a follower of Jesus, he may not be able to pull you completely off the path into the muck and mire (and he can never have your soul) but he will try.  Because he wants to keep you from the life God has planned for you. God has a plan for all of us, but will not force us to follow it. Then we would be puppets on a string.  Forced love is not love at all. Free will. God wants us to choose His way, but He won't make us.  He has given us guidelines in the Bible to live by, but the choice to do so is ours.  Don't fade to grey!

It's my plan to share those guidelines in future posts, but for now I will leave you with a verse from the Bible that will provide you with enough ammunition to take a stand.




I'll repeat:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable ~ if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ~ think about such things.    ~Philippines 4:8

Now... Charge!!!
.
 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blech! I Kissed A Frog! :/

So this post will be starting with a disclaimer.  In sharing the story of the Prodigal Son with you, I used The Message, a paraphrased translation of the Bible.  I don't own a copy, but have heard passages read and liked what I heard so sometimes I look up a verse or passage online to use here or there.  Anyway, I couldn't shake the thought that I should do a little research and it turns out this translation is not always a reliable source.  But! I usually like to read several translations of the scripture I am using when teaching and did so when deciding which to use last post.  The Prodigal story is sound with a minor difference. The number of meals (3 square) is not mentioned in the King James. That's my go to translation and I will share with you why, but first... Back to The Message.

The Message was written by Eugene H. Petersen in the late 1990's and claims to be the Bible in Contemporary Language, but it is a paraphrased version and may even be taken from ancient manuscripts from Alexandria, Egypt that have been proven corrupted.  I, also, learned Mr. Petersen has copyrights on the text. Copyrights on the text???  And this really bothers me, because of the copyrights, people are only allowed to copy/use up to 500 words without obtaining written consent beforehand.  (I neglected to do a word count.  Oops!)  There are, also, proven contradictions, numerous omitted verses and Jesus is never referred to as Lord Jesus.  Not once.  (I'm a little rusty in my writing etiquette, but think I am supposed to note my sources since I have not read The Message in it's entirety enabling me to come to the above conclusions on my own, right?  The two main sources:
    http://www.bible-researcher.com/themessage.html   and  http://www.bereanresearchinstitute.com/02_Bible_Versions/BV.0101_04_Is_Eugene_Petersons_book_The_Message_Gods_Word.html)
Frankly, there is a lot of information out there on the inaccuracies of this text when bumping it up against the King James, but my free time (which is my writing time) is extremely limited and I have used a few days worth all ready researching the little bit I've shared with you so far.  I've seen enough to say I will not be using The Message in the future.  That way, I won't be steering anyone who may be considering reading more of God's Word to read it from that book.  You want a copy of the word that you can trust.  I know because this is not the first time I have nearly been sucked in to the bog of false teaching.

When I was 13, my Mom got me a copy of The Living Bible.  It had only been out for a couple of years and was all the rage. So easy to understand! It, too, was paraphrased.  But the finished product never earned the backing of Biblical scholars.  There were too many flaws within it's pages to be called an accurate Biblical account.  When word of that got out many abandoned it.  My Mom among them.  We switched to the NIV (New International Version) which has credible backing, but admittedly has a few verses omitted.  These omissions are noted in the text and given in the footnotes though so I have never felt deprived of the knowledge.  It became my preferred scripture, but I couldn't bring myself to throw the Living Bible away.  It just didn't seem right, the word Bible was right there on the cover!  So it sat on the book shelf next to the King James, dormant for years; only being touched when packing and unpacking during a move.

Fast forward about two and a half decades.  I had taken a concern to God and was certain He had literally put scripture right in front of me that was the answer I needed.   The concern involved others and I needed help knowing how to address the situation.  Believe me when I tell you I read and re-read those verses in the days prior to my speaking up.  I can't remember why I didn't have my Bible at hand that night, but I didn't.  That was why I reached for a different one on the shelf just a couple of days before I was going to speak up for God.  I eagerly looked up the scripture and began to read expecting the same sense of exhilaration and wonder at the awesomeness of God Almighty.  Thanking Him (again!) for answering my prayer so perfectly.  Then I reached the next to the last verse of the passage and instead of exhilaration all I felt was confusion.   The verses prior had addressed the problem and what God thought of it.  This next to the last verse had spoken clearly of what the outcome could be if ways were changed.  But what I was reading did not contain any of the words I was expecting to read. Not one. There was no way I could get the same meaning from this text. I was floored.

And that's how easily doubt can creep in.  I gave not a thought to the reason that "Bible" had been abandoned on the shelf all those years before.  I just began to wonder if I had been mistaken.  Had I been about to make a huge mistake?  I immediately started asking God what in the world was going on! And continued to do so for the next day or so.  Still wrestling with my dilemma, I decided I needed some clear my mind time so I sat down at the computer to play a game of spades one evening.  I was pleased to note the person to the right of me had a "nick" that reflected their belief.  Lots of bad, bad sports out there in online game world.   It was good to see the odds were in my favor that at least half of this team would take a loss graciously. ;)  You know what? I don't have a clue if my team won or lost, but score one for God for sure!  After the game the other two players clicked off the table immediately and I was getting ready to say good bye when the person to my right asked if I was a Christian.  I answered affirmatively and then found myself pouring out my new problem over the problem I had been so certain God had solved so adequately.  The person to my right said,

"Let the King James confirm it for you, child.  You can trust it every time."   

Our computer was arm's reach from the book case.  I immediately reached for the suggested edition and turned to the verse in question.  It's meaning confirmed my NIV version.  Relief flooded my soul and I felt sure of my task once again.  I thanked God and my opponent profusely and left the game table filled with joy and praising His name.  God had calmed my unrest with two sentences spoken by a stranger.  The King James became my go to edition for confirmation from that moment on. 

Did God, Himself, take time out to play a game of spades with me that night? Probably not, but if He did... wheeeeeeee! I think more than likely He used one believer to help another.  That's part of His plan.  Lifting other believers up when they are down.  Sharing what we have learned with believers and non.  Ever growing closer to Him.  Becoming more certain when we hear His still small voice in this loud, loud world.  Knowing we can turn to His Word to help us solve all our problems. 

I love Him!  He loves me!  He loves you, too!  See you next time.

C

Sunday, January 25, 2015

He Will Meet You Where You Are

I've been trying to figure out how I was supposed to start this post for several days.  I start to type then erase it and start to type again and... Well, you get the point.  Pretty sure most everyone (and maybe everyone) who reads this blog figured out from my first post that I want to share some things that I know about God and His Son, Jesus,  I have wondered though if I start spouting Bible verses at you right off the bat if a good majority of you that haven't met them will click the x to close the window and be gone before I start my introduction,  Or maybe you did meet them once a long time ago and became disillusioned along the way.  I'm not kidding when I say the world is loud for a reason, constantly calling out, "Look over here! Check this out! All that Bible stuff... Meh, who needs it? Your time can be spent in much more entertaining ways!"  Distraction.  Don't kiss that frog!

I keep thinking about the story of the prodigal son.  And because I can not stop thinking about it and it gets to the point of what I wanted to share with you first, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and give it to you verbatim.  Jesus had been attracting a LOT of attention and many of the men and women that were listening to him intently were of an "undesirable sort."  The religious leaders were grumbling about "those people" which triggered a response from Jesus.


"There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said, 'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'

So the father divided the property between them.  It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country.  There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had.  After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt.  He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs.  He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.

That brought him to his senses.  He said, 'All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death.  I'm going back to my father.  I'll say to him Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son.  Take me on as a hired hand.'  He got right up and went home to his father.

When he was still a long way off, his father saw him.  His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.    The son started his speech, 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.'

But the father wasn't listening.  He was calling to the servants. 'Quick.  Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him.  Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it.  We're going to feast!  We're going to have a wonderful time!  My son is here--given up for dead and now alive!  Given up for lost and now found!'  And they began to have a wonderful time."                 ~The Message Luke 15:11-24

The first thing I want you to know is Jesus was describing His Father.  In God's eyes, we are all the prodigal son.  He loves you so much!  But he has given you free reign over your life.  Nonetheless, He is waiting, hoping, actually yearning for the day you will start down that long road home.  He won't wait for you to make it all the way.  He will meet you where you are.

This is the third story Jesus told those religious leaders that day.  I chose to share this one with you because it talks about the love of a father for his child.  Do you want a father like the one described here?    Strike up a conversation!  Go ahead.  Talk to Him.  You don't have to use fancy words or thee's and thou's.  He's listening.  It will be music to His ears.  I am certain of it,

See you next time.  :)

Love,
C