Saturday, December 31, 2011

Love. What is it exactly?

I am going to start doing a personal study on this subject. I know in my heart what love is, but it has so many diverse uses and meanings. It just got me to thinking this morning about all of it. Every aspect of love. Any-who, whatever triggered my train of thought, I'll never know. Just woke up, in the night, from one of my many dreams with this thought. I posted a little more HERE, if you'd like to read about it some more. I'll be thinking and praying about what to share here on this blog too.

Happy New Year Blessings to you and yours! May God guide you through this coming year, and may you hold Him close in your heart!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let God Mold & Guide You. (Not the World).

We are in Hawaii this week and Hubs wanted to visit one of their Nazarene churches while we were here. I am glad we went. The message we heard yesterday was based from Matthew 2:19-23 and the Lesson was -The Wise Guys- "Guidance- Out of Egypt".  Pastor Mark talked a lot about the mysterious workings of God's guidance and how God guided Joseph & Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, then to Egypt, & then to Israel. Each of their stops had an important purpose. (Matt. 2:5-6, 15, 23) And that each destination was usually a surprise. (Matt. 2:23, Rom. 12:2) Their entire journey consisted of 600 miles by walking or by riding a donkey. Sometimes Mary was pregnant, & sometimes she was holding a child in her arms. I'm sure the journey was long and hard along each path God directed them. Yet, they were on a guided tour by God. One thought that stuck to me was when Pastor Mark mentioned that, "As our lives seem to flow so perfectly, God often will change things up on us. Showing us a mysterious working of His guidance & will for our lives. How often do we feel we are in a dry, difficult time, wondering what God has for us? Even when you don't know or understand things, He will never let you down! He will always guide you! The one thing we need to remember is to TRUST HIM WITH EVERYTHING. (After all, it is all His anyway.)"

Another thought that I really wanted to share was one of his last statements.

"Don't let the world squeeze your form. Let God mold you." (Romans 12:1-2)

May we always remember these things when thinking about His mysterious Guidance & will for our lives.

  1. God's guidance is given one step at a time.
  2. The rascals (or things) God uses are often those you'd least suspect.
  3. The route to the destination (God has for us) is not always direct.
  4. Let God guide & mold you. Not the world.
Do we trust God as much as Joseph & Mary did, even if we don't know exactly what He has in store for us?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why Must I Be Silent?

Recently, on FB, people have posted a video concerning a young man who is fighting for the rights of homosexuals b/c he was raised by two mothers. He states that his family is no different from mine. (I beg to differ!) Many people are using phrases like: "Why oppose this?" or "Why not just accept this?" And my answer was this: "I oppose it, b/c God opposes it." Why should I sit back and be silent on this subject, while they are free to express their beliefs & opinions? Why are Christians being silent and sitting still? Why aren't we crying out against sin, as the Bible tells us to? Why are we willing to be silent? And why are some willing to just accept things as they are b/c they're (we're) told to? What do we profit when we ignore the Word of God & become so accepting of what the World views as okay? God did not intend for family to formed of two mothers or two fathers. God intended that families be formed of one male & one female. It is natural from men & women to attract. It is what God intended when He created us. However, same-sex attraction is sin. It is an abomination the eyes of God, and therefore should be viewed the same way if indeed we call ourselves Christian. The Bible refers to homosexuality as sodomy. When I spoke up on my beliefs, I was being neither hateful or judgmental (in the negative sense). I only stated what I feel to be true based upon the Holy Word of God. I also stated that I wasn't trying to pick a fight or be argumentative, only that I was tired of people being able to express their opinions, while I am just to sit and remain silent on my beliefs. That really bothers me too. As long as Christians stay silent, the World will get along with us. But when we speak out on sin, we are no longer "loving" and only judgmental. I also stated that it was not the person that I oppose or that God opposes, for God loves each of us the same and offers each of us the same plan for Salvation. But God does hate the sin. There is a difference. While I knew (and know now as I write this) that I would (will) be met with opposition, I must remind myself, "wasn't Christ?" John 15: 18"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you".(NIV)  Luke 6:22 "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."

A good thing to remember as Christians is Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." We cannot sit on the fence concerning anything God speaks about. If He is for it, so should we be. If He is against it, so should we be. We must be one way or the other, for we cannot have it both ways.

Here are some scriptures & definitions I have been looking at this morning concerning homosexuality, or as the Bible puts it "sodomy". I also know that God gives each of us a choice. When we continue to ignore His warnings, He will let us have our way and will give us a reprobate mind. Though, please note; God did not create us for this purpose. At the same time He will not force us to believe. Just as I cannot force you to believe, you must have faith & a desire to obey, understand, stand by it, & stand up for His Word.

Romans 1:
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:
25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31Without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Reprobate (according to Webster) -\REP-ruh-bayt\

1:a person foreordained to damnation
2:a depraved person:scoundrel

transitive verb
1:to condemn strongly as unworthy, unacceptable, or evil;reprobating the laxity of the age;
2:to foreordain to damnation
3:to refuse to accept: reject

1archaic: rejected as worthless or not standing a test: condemned
2a:foreordained to damnation
b:morally corrupt: depraved
3:expressing or involving reprobation
4:of, relating to, or characteristic of a reprobate

Genesis 1:20And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

2 Peter 2: 4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them in chains of darkness[b] to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh[c] and despise authority.

Definition ofSODOM
:a place notorious for vice or corruption

Definition of GOMORRAH
:a place notorious for vice and corruption

Definition of VILE
1a:morally despicable or abhorrent vile as intellectual dishonesty;
b:physically repulsive: foul vile slum;
2:of little worth or account: common; also: mean
3:tending to degrade;vile employments;
4:disgustingly or utterly bad: obnoxious, contemptible;vile weather; vile temper;

All of that being said, I say again, "Why must I be silent? Why is it okay for others to fight for their rights, but when I fight for mine, it is not okay? I'm tired of being silent. I'm tired of standing by and seeing my rights and beliefs being stripped away b/c others don't like the Word of God. Let's stand up and fight for Truth saints!"

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Be Thankful in all Circumstances.

 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

After listening to today's devotion & reading this scripture in 1 Thess., I was reminded of the things I have been working on. For example;

  • When I found out I was pregnant I cried & kept thanking God for this answer to prayer. Since being pregnant, I have had 24/7 morning sickness. During this time Philippians 4:8 has become my power verse. It talks about thinking on things that are lovely, pure, of good report, etc. So whenever I felt sickness coming on I would say, "What things are lovely?" And my husband and I would start naming things that were lovely. It really helped to get my mind off of the sickness and dwell on more pleasant things. I did this often when the dry-heaves started to help calm myself down. 
  • Another example are the blog posts that I have been posting this month. In honor of Thanksgiving, it has been my goal to post something, every day, that I am thankful for. Whether it is a good day, or a bad day.
  • And lastly, I was reminded of prayer. A few years ago, God convicted my heart to stop what I was doing, whenever a prayer request was made, & say a prayer for those in need. In years past I would tell people that I was praying for them, and then realize later, that I had not prayed for them. In recent years I have made it a habit to stop what I am doing & and say a prayer for those in need. When God convicts our hearts, we need to stop, listen, & obey. I'd hate to get to Heaven & have God tell me "remember all those ppl you said you'd pray for, but never did?"
I don't claim to be perfect in any of my shared examples, but I do my best to make them a habit every day. Lord knows if I miss a prayer request or let circumstances rule me, He'll convict me. Reprimand me. Spank me. Correct me. And give me the push I need to carry on. :) I just really like to do my best to avoid that. Don't you?

Let's work on these things together:
  1. Always be joyful.
  2. Never stop praying.
  3. Be thankful in all of life's circumstances.
It will be hard. We are human after all. And life will throw us some hard, hurtful knocks. But let's find at least one thing out of those hard times to be thankful for. It will help us carry through & have a little joy to focus on. Blessings!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take Time to Listen.

I wrote a little about my Bible study this morning here at Directed Paths.

Today I read from Acts 16 & Galatians 2:20-21.

The main highlights that I received, personally, was what Wendy Pope said about learning to know when God says "yes" and when He says "no". Learning to know Him well enough that we recognize His voice when He speaks to us. Learning to "go" or to "stay" when He says to.

In Acts. 16:6-8, Paul & Silas trust the voice of God well enough to do both. They started heading toward Asia, but the Holy Spirit stopped them and told them "no". They started heading to the next place & again Jesus said "no". They listened & obeyed.  Then when God sent Paul a vision telling where they should go, they got up the next morning and went. Souls need to be saved. What if they ignored God's warnings? What if they went to those two places to preach any way? What if they had ignored His calling to go to the next place? They could have been killed. Souls would not have been saved.

Are there times in our lives when we ignore the voice of God & His calling in our life? "Well how do we know it's God speaking to us, and not just our own mixed-up thoughts in our head?" Here is how we can know the voice of God:

  • Spend time with Him ~ learning to recognize His voice.
  • Read His Book ~ learning His ways
  • Obey Him ~ learning to trust Him
The question is, "Will we take the time to stop what we are doing to listen to His voice? Will we stop & listen for even the faintest whisper? Or will we be too busy & do whatever we feel we need to do?

Just some things to think about. Blessings!

Friday, October 7, 2011

How Deep Is Your Relationship?

How deep is your relationship with Jesus Christ? Is it only surface deep, or does it go completely to your core, (heart deep)? Do you fully rely on God when you find yourself in troubled times? Or do you rely on yourself & your feelings? 

Psalm 63: 1-11

1 You, God, are my God,
   earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
   my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
   where there is no water.
 2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
   and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
   my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
   and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
   with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
 6 On my bed I remember you;
   I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
   I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
   your right hand upholds me.
 9 Those who seek my life will be destroyed;
   they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
   and become food for jackals.
 11 But the king will rejoice in God;
   all who swear by God will glory in him,
   while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Do we really cling to Him? Do we truly and honestly seek Him with our whole heart? (Proverbs 3:5) Just some things to think about.

(Wrote more about this HERE.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good Reminder.

A year ago, today, my Facebook status read: "Devotion Reflections: "Do I see my time with God as somthing on my checklist, or a pleasure? How can I use time with God to know Him better?" Power Verses -Psalm 82: 1,2, & 10 -Luke 10:39 & 42 Very good thoughts to meditate on today."

This is such a good reminder for myself, today, a year later!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Can Only Imagine.

Have you ever read the book "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper? I finished reading it a couple weeks ago and I highly recommend it! He talks mostly about his death, being brought back to life, and his healing process through it all. But he also talks about his time in Heaven.  And how it is so much more than he could ever explain in human terms. He said the colors were 100% more vibrant than the colors we see on Earth. I shared a little in church this past Sunday how that I love admiring God's creation! I don't know if it's my photographic/artist eye, but every detail He has created truly amazes me. Right down to the small details on a butterfly's wing.  God is so awesome at what He does! He is the Master Artist! And it made me think about how He has created all of this for us to enjoy. It made me think about that book, as we sang "I Can Only Imagine". I can only imagine what Heaven will be like, but did you know He have us a little taste of it when He created the Heavens and the Earth! He has given us a small taste of what colors are. Of what sunshine looks like. How beautiful are the trees and the mountains and the oceans. How beautiful is all of His creation! And yet is is only a small taste of what Heaven will be like. I can only imagine.

That said, I going to change the subject a bit. There is one part from this book that I really wanted to share with you b/c it spoke to my heart personally. It is from Chapter 14, "The New Normal".  He says, "Some things happen to us from which we never recover, and they disrupt the normalcy of our lives. That's how life is. Human nature has a tendency to ry to reconstruct old ways and pick up where we left off. If we're wise, we won't continue to go back to the way things were (we can't anyway). We must instead forget the old standard and accept a 'new normal'. I wasted a lot of time thinking about how I used to be healthy and had no physical limitations. In my mind, I'd reconstruct how life ought to be, but in reality, I knew my life would never be the same. I had to adjust and accept my physical limits as part of my new normal."

Isn't that how we humans are? Something comes along and completely rearranges our little "perfect" world. We try so hard to "go back" to our old lives that we waste endless amounts of time that we could have been spending to move forward instead of backwards. We can't go back. But we can go forward. Sometimes I find myself fretting over "what used to be". I worry about what ppl think and what they say. Sometimes I worry myself sick over stuff. I always like to say "Why worry when you can pray?" And yet find myself being a worry-wart! Wasting my time on things that are beyond my control.  God wants us to move on with our lives and accept what is our new normal. And sometimes I just have to be reminded to let go & let God so that I can move forward with my life and accept my new normal.

I really enjoyed this book! I will admit, there are a few gruesome details about some of this guy's injuries and healing that I had to skip. (My mind and stomach can't handle stuff like that.) But over all, I was blessed in reading it and would highly recommend it to anyone!

Hope you enjoyed today's post. Blessing to you as our week ends.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Only A Moment.

It only takes one little moment to allow sin to creep in. And in that little moment, life is impacted in a big way.

Only a moment of anger.
Only a moment of lust.
Only a moment of jealousy.
Only a moment of pride.
Only a moment of hate.
Only a moment of lies.
Only a moment of dishonesty.
Only a moment of sin.
That's all it takes to make a difference in one's life. Whether it's yours, or someone elses.

I'd like to share part of a devotion from Lysa TerKeurst today.

“Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” Genesis 37:17b-18 (NIV)
"Today, there will be a moment. No one will snap a picture of it. It probably won’t make it into the journals of those who journal. Or linger in the thoughts we carry with us to sleep tonight.
It will come.
It will go.
It will slip by seemingly unnoticed. But its affects won’t slip. (God doesn't miss a thing.) They’ll stay. And if fostered, grow to epic proportions.
This moment where something creeps into our heart and pulls our focus from right to wrong. It will be just a hint of distortion. The smallest amount. But a slight and seemingly insignificant amount of skewed thought will take root.
And grow.
Beyond what you can even imagine.
The course of history was changed because a few family members got a little cranky and a little jealous of their brother Joseph. Envy and anger slipped in. Just a hint. But just enough. It doesn't take much.   
Because a few brothers on an ordinary day got a little jealous and allowed anger and envy to slip in.
And the moment it slipped in, the course of history changed.
In a moment.
May we never assume our moments don’t matter. The decisions we make every second of every day matter.
There are no little moments or little sins.
There is a domino affect to it all.
So, I fall hard upon soft grace. I thank God for this realization. I ask Him to make my soul even more sensitive, more aware, more in tune to my constant need for forgiveness.
Though I am weak, I walk in the strength of utter dependence.
And I refuse to beat myself up for mistakes made yesterday. Today is a new day. A new chance to set things going in a different direction.
Joseph’s brothers had years to try and rescue Joseph — find out where he was — help him — set their past mistakes right.
Years. They had years. But they never did set about to turn things around.
Oh sweet sister don’t let today slip by.
Moments matter.
Watch for a moment today where you are given the choice to let anger, envy or something else negative slip in. Recognize it. Refute it. And replace it with God’s spirit of love.
Dear Lord, You made me. You know me. I need Your help where I am weak. Make me aware of any place where I’m off course today. Give me the desire to do what pleases You. I want to do your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Betrayal

I shared this story on my main blog, but thought I would share it here also, in preparation of Easter. Blessings!

The room grew quite as He broke the bread and began to pray, thanking His Heavenly Father for the food and praying for strength for the great trial He was getting ready to face. He than began to speak to His disciples saying, "Take this bread and eat, it represents my body." Then he took a cup and gave thanks and said, "Take this and drink, it represents my blood of the covenant which will be poured out for the forgiveness of many sins."

Then He said, "One of you will betray me this night."

"Surely it is not me, Lord! Who is it?" the disciples asked.

"It is he who dips his bread with me."

Soon, Satan entered Judas after he dipped his bread with the Master. He got up and left the room.

As they finished their supper and Jesus spoke to his disciples, trying to prepare them for what lied ahead. Peter said, "Lord, even if all fall away from you, I never will!"

"Peter, you will deny Me three times this night before the cock crows!"

"Not I Lord! Never will I deny Thee." And all the others said the same.

By this time they had finished their meal and Jesus took His disciples for a walk up to Gethsemane to pray. The night was warm and the disciples were tired. When they got there, Jesus instructed them to sit while He went a little farther, taking Peter and 2 others with Him. Then He asked Peter to please keep watch while He prayed. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38) Going a little farther still, He fell upon His face and prayed, "Father let this cup pass from Me! Nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done." Then He returned to His disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you not stay awake to keep watch with Me? Please help me pray! Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak." Again, He went away to pray and again returned to find them asleep. For their eyes were very heavy. So He left them a third time, not bothering to wake this time, and began to pray for a third time. When He came back, Jesus told them to to wake up, "My hour of death is come. Rise up! For I am to be delivered unto sinners. Here comes my betrayer now!"

And Judas came up to Him and kissed Him on the cheek. How sad to betray the Son of Man with a kiss for 30 pieces of silver. And soon after, the soldiers, who had followed Judas there, seized Jesus and arrested Him.

***To be continued***
For references, look at Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, & John 13

*Something to think about: Judas was willing to betray Christ for a kiss and 30 pieces of silver. Chirst said it would have been better for Judas to never have been born. "Whoa be unto him who betrays Me!" What are some things that people are willing to betray Him for today?