Thursday, December 25, 2008

Isaiah 26:3

3You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. Isaiah 26:3

As we bring the celebration of Christmas to an end and look ahead to the New Year this seems a perfect and fitting passage to focus on. In the anticipation of Christmas it's "easy" to remember the "reason for the season" and have our thoughts drift back to the birth of Jesus often. However, as the days get farther and farther away from that it gets harder and harder to keep that focus. We often find, then, that anxiety, stress and worry or fear creeps into our spirit without notice. However, this verse promises us something incredibly significant: perfect and constant peace.

Ah, peace. It's a toss-away word if ever there was one. It's that phrase so many shout at rallies and conferences looking to find some magical way of saving the world that hasn't worked yet. It's the beautiful script with a dove on cards that fill mailboxes at Christmas-time. It's elusive to many. I've heard people say that it is just out of reach and if only they'd get this or that taken care of it would be longer lasting. Forgive my paraphrase of the old country and western song, but they're looking for peace in all the wrong places.

Peace can be found in one place and one place only: in the arms of The Savior. If you haven't found the One True Savior, keep reading this blog and get to know Him...if you want to know more leave a message and I'll respond...if you can't wait for a response go here: . If you're looking for peace you'll only find it as you fix your mind on The Very One who loves you so much He sent His only Son to earth so we could have an advocate...a who will fight for us when it seems like no one else will. Lean on Him...put your hope for a better future in Him...fix your mind on Him.

Friday, December 19, 2008

John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

I wrote this one last night when I didn't have my Bible with me and I wasn't near my laptop. I remembered the verse differently ~ thinking it ended in "brother" instead of "friend," but there's a message here that goes deeper than the "treat your friends well and be willing to sacrifice for them." It's a message of how deep and wide and amazing our Savior's love is for us. So, based on the above verse, here is the (little bit longer than usual) entry for today:

This verse brings to mind soldiers, best friends (BFF's) and comrades in arms, but today I'm looking at it differently. God, as part of the Trinity, is The Father. Jesus, as part of the Trinity, is Son. When we accept the Son we become "joint heirs" of the Father's riches. (God) This means, then, that Jesus is our brother...and, in realizing He laid down His life for us as the ultimate sacrifice, we can then know we will never find a greater love than this! Isn't that amazing?

Sit with that.

Let it sink in.

You were died for.

Jesus laid down His life for YOU...His brother/sister! there will never be a greater love than that.

And, as they say on TV, "but wait! there's more!" Not only did He lay down His life for You, (insert your name here), and not only will you not find any greater also can't make Him love you any more (as in quantity, not cessation). His love for you is like a credit card in the hands of a shopaholic ~ Maxed Out. He loves you with a love that does not end, sees the real you and says, "Wow. I love you SO much" and wants you to be all He created you to be without shame, guilt, fear or chains.

Can't wrap your mind around it? Neither can I, to be honest, but I also can't wrap my mind around how a deaf man could write some of the most brilliant piano masterpieces this world has ever heard. That doesn't stop me from popping in a Beethoven CD and getting lost in the brilliance. You'll never understand. God makes that clear when He says, "your ways are not My ways, your thoughts are not My thoughts."

Don't let it stop you from believing it and living it out. If you do, it will be your only true regret.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Proverbs 31:30

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

There are days it is very difficult to read Proverbs 31. We read about a woman who seems to be able to bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan...and it's from the pig she bought, raised and butchered all on her own, too! However, this verse pretty much sums up the one true quality of what is praiseworthy in her. It isn't her ability to see a crop and buy it. It's not her ability to put together amazing menus and chore lists for her family. It's not even her beauty or ability to make her husband proud with how well she interacts with his colleagues. It is, instead, her fear of the Lord. It is her understanding that she does not work as unto her husband. It is her foundational belief that she was made by, loved by, and enjoyed by the very Creator of the Universe. It is the knowledge that she serves an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-sufficient God...and HE is in charge of her life. It is, as stated above, her fear of the Lord that brings her praise.

What will people praise you for?

More importantly, what will God praise you for?

Matthew 25:23

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:23

Have you ever seen a child who knows that if they care for their chores and do them well that they will then have the opportunity to attend a movie or a special event with their parent? They want that time, so they put all they have into it to make sure it's done well...knowing that they will be rewarded in their parent's level of trust as well as time celebrating with that parent. Knowing they have completed a task gives them the confidence to do it well next time...and next time...and eventually they'll be doing more because the parent knows they can handle the responsibility. As a parent, I can say there is a level of excitement in me when I see my children putting forth effort to be the best they can be at something. I don't love them less if they don't, but I do know I can give them more responsibility...I can trust them with more opportunities for growth...I can honor them and bless them with rewards they couldn't know before.

That's how it is with God's love and with our responsibilities in life. He gives us a bit...sees how we us some more (or not, depending on our faithfulness)...and, the Bible says that we'll have mansions waiting for us in Heaven where we will celebrate with and worship our Lord for eternity! Today think about how you're living your life...are you living it in such a way that if you were to die today you would stand before God and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful in a few things, I gave you more and you continued to be faithful...come in and share your Master's happiness!"??

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Romans 8:6

"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace..." Romans 8:6

How many times do you catch yourself thinking of your Christmas shopping list? Are you mentally counting tablecloths, cups and dessert forks as you wander the aisles putting together the Christmas dinner? Maybe you're wondering how, in the middle of an increased work load, you're supposed to get it all done AND have time to reflect on the true reason for this season. In light of this verse perspective comes clearly: reflect on the things of this world and you are coasting toward a separation between you and the very Savior you're preparing to celebrate. (in the Bible, when speaking of "death" in these terms it means a separation between you and God, which is quite literally eternal death) Without taking the time to get away with God ~ mind and body ~ and surrender the weight of responsibilities (not the're responsible for those!), the fear of expectations not being met, and all the other distractions that come with this time of year you are missing out on the peace so many stores, cards and banners pronounce all around us.

What a beautiful testimony that would be! A glimpse into one reason we love our Lord so much! Walk through a crowded mall with a look of absolute peace...and mean it. May God bless you and keep you as you keep your mind surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit. (don't forget to respond!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Psalm 116:2

Psalm 116:2
Because he bends down to listen,I will pray as long as I have breath!

Have you ever had those times when it seemed like praying must be such a burden to God and you wondered if He really even hears you? Sometimes when we pray the circumstances needed to be in place to answer the prayer take a while to fit together and we don't hear from Him a yes or a's those times when this verse comes to mind. Those times when we wonder if He really hears us. This verse tells us that we NEED to keep praying! Keep talking to "the Father" as a friend of mine calls our incredible God. He hears us! I love the action...not only does he turn an ear toward us and hear in His omnipotent power, but He bends down to listen! What a glorious and amazing God He is! Put it to practice...He's bending down; He's listening; start talking!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hebrews 12:3

"Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" Hebrews 12:3

If you hadn't noticed (who couldn't) Christmas is on it's way! What a season of hope and anticipation this Advent time brings to the world. People who wouldn't normally give Jesus Christ a second thought shout out, "Merry Christmas" and plan to attend church...because that's what you're supposed to do on Christmas, right?

However, as Christians we know that on this side of the story, the baby we are celebrating came to bring more than hope. He came to save us. We look at the manger and see a cross. We see the hay and we see the road that lead to our celebration... knowing that baby would be ridiculed, persecuted, lied about, falsely accused, rejected and scorned because of what He professed to believe and be. It sounds familiar, doesn't it? There are days when being a Christian is just plain lonely. However, in this verse we have our main reason for continuing on...He took all of it so we could know the strength available to us and keep on keeping on. We may be alone in our stand here on earth, but our party's waiting...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"I always thank God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing of your trust in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God's people."
Philemon, verse 4.

It is not unusual to read a passage like this and have people come to mind who have had that kind of impact on our own lives. Hopefully there are many who have invested in you and your walk with Christ of whom you can say, "I always thank God when I pray for you...". However, how many can say that of you? Have you taken the time to show kindness to someone in the store/at work/on the road who may not be having a very good day? Have you spent time listening to a child babble on and on about seemingly nothing just so they know they matter to you? Have you taken the time to pray over and with your spouse or significant other that God will work in such a way as to make the most of what God has made them to be? Who in your life would say to you, "I always thank God for you!" If you can't think of anyone right now take the time to ask God to help you invest in the lives of others...nothing else can be taken with us when we die.

One other thing...Paul took the time to encourage Philemon in his's not wrong to want to be encouraged as well as to encourage. If you're needing some encouragement today ask God to bring it (and to open your eyes to see it when it comes)...He will not let you down.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes." Psalm 19:8 NIV

Precepts: the laws, the ways the instructions. They give joy. Commands: the instruction, the direction, the motivation. They give light. Joy & Light are attractive ~ they are desirable attainments. Precepts & Commands are difficult ~ they require subservient action. You can't have one without the other, though. If you want joy then you need to do what you know needs to be done. If you want to be a light to those around you there needs to be a different set of actions at work in your life. You need to follow God's Word and His commands more than you do the crowd. (This includes the command, "love others as you love yourself.") The two, Joy & Light, go hand in hand. Have you ever seen a joyful person who wasn't also a light to those around? Or a person who just seemed to shine who didn't have joy? However, the hands don't work without the muscles in them...the tendons and the mind to tell them what to do. These are the Precepts & Commands. Without knowing and doing what is right in God's eyes there will never be Joy & Light. You can act happy and be nice to people, but without fully immersing Yourself in Him...body, mind and will never know complete Joy & Light.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ephesians 1:11

"It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for."
Ephesians 1:11 The Message

So many times we hear it. "Who am I? What am I supposed to do with my life? Where am I supposed to go after this time in my life? What's Your Will, Lord?" I love how Eugene Peterson takes the fact that we are made for a purpose..."predestined according to His purpose" as the NASB version says...and takes away all the question of what does this mean? It means that when we seek HIM and HIS righteousness we will know who we are...where we should go...what we should do...and for Whom we do it all. As we draw closer to The Very One who created us in our mother's womb ~ who knit us together as He laid out His plan for our lives ~ we discern the road before us. And when we get there we know the path which we should take.

But only when we remember the first three words of this verse: "It's IN CHRIST..."

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Exodus 13: 17

Exodus 13: 17 (NIV)

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt."

I will confess that I wonder at times what my life would be like if my path had taken me someplace else. Would I have the same sex and age of children? Would there be other similarities in my life? How would life really be different if (fill in the blank) had (or hadn't) happened? Well, this verse tells me I can wonder all I want but ultimately I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. How? "For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt."" God knew the Israelites better than the Israelites knew the Israelites. This says to me what Garth Brooks says oh so eloquently..."Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers." He truly knows the path of least resistance...and He knows how to get us where He wants us to go. Our job is to follow Him and trust His hand implicitly.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crushed to Glorify

Psalm 53: 10-11
But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.

When I first read this passage I went, HUH?! The Lord was PLEASED to crush Him? He's talking about His one and only SON, here!! But then, I kept reading.

I grew more and more astounded and humbled and loved....and positively on-the-floor in thankfulness that God was pleased to offer His Son (who, of anyone I know, would be the only One who could "handle" it) so that my sin...your "stuff"...your "stuff" could be crossed out with a big, blood-red X. Done so that when He looked at us we would be as white as that lamb He led to slaughter...for US. The Lord was pleased to crush Him because He KNEW that in so doing He was offering us a way Home.

If that doesn't bring tears of amazement, you don't know Jesus. And, if you don' can. John 14: 6 says, "Jesus said to him (Thomas), "I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes the Father but through me." Acts 4: 11 & 12 say, "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." Romans 10: 9 says, "...that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved..." All of this to say that Jesus, the Lamb of God who was slaughtered for us, is the only way to Heaven. We have a choice in the matter...will you accept a love so amazing and pure you can never fully grasp the "why" of it? Or will you continually deny you're lovable and know Him but not KNOW Him? 2 Peter 3:9 ~ "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for ALL to come to repentance." He's there...just like that picture we've seen where Jesus is standing at the door preparing to knock...or maybe He's knocking...just know this: He'll never pound on your door. He's just waiting for you to hear Him. Today?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Acts 17: 11

"Now these were more noble-minded than those in (A)Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."
Acts 17: 11

Also read: I John 4: 1-3

Just because someone speaks, writes or shares something that is intriguing or spiritual sounding doesn't mean they are of God! In I John 4:1-3 we find the secret to discerning truth in succinct and clearly laid-out terms. In Acts Paul & Silas were newcomers bringing a message of a new way of thinking, but the Berean church knew to search THE SCRIPTURES to discern the truth (or lies if it would have been the case) of their message. Keep your own mind in check ~ a trusted TV host, a well-0loved author accepted in Christian circles, a worldwide superstar and dream man, your pastor, or even a friend ~ just because they follow a certain line of thought doesn't mean they are speaking truth. You must search the scriptures yourself to discern the truth found in God's Word.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nehemiah 8:5

"Ezra stood on the platform in full view of all the people. When they saw him open the book they all rose to their feet."

Earlier in Nehemiah 8 it explains to whom Ezra is reading...and what. He had brought the scroll (the Scriptures) before the men, the women and all the children who were old enough to understand. He had on either side of him leaders of all the people ~ I'm picturing a stage where someone is being honored and all these important people are up there with them to signify the IMPORTANT importance of this person. But in this case they are there to stand as "honored guards" if you will ~ these men are preparing the people for the HOLY SCRIPTURES to be read. And when the people saw that Ezra was ready to read ~ that he had opened The Scroll ~ they stood in honor of what they were about to hear. I like to think they stood as an stand and lean forward a bit so as to make sure they didn't miss anything he read. In verse 6 it describes that when he finished the people yelled out AMEN! and raised their hands in praise as they bowed down and worshiped the One True God. What a BEAUTIFUL picture, isn't it? Imagine the masses...all raising their hands and bowing down, putting their faces to the ground as they worship...WORSHIP...submit themselves to His power...and give up their glory for HIS GLORY.

How about you today? Have you spent time in The Word? Read the passage above again...follow the link and read the beautiful description of what it looks like when the Scriptures are treated correctly ~ when they are taught so as to open the door of understanding and the essence of the very God we serve and love. Read it...soak in it...let go of you and grab more of Him.

"All of You is more than enough for all of me...for every thirst and every need...You satisfy me with Your love and all I have in You is more than enough."

Friday, April 11, 2008

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (New International Version)

"But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong"

Have you noticed how off-track the world is lately? From a "webinar" with a popular TV host and an author who just doesn't quite get it a book that says it can open up the knowledge of the garden of good and evil, oops! I mean the secret to being extremely wealthy and, therefore, successful. Then there's mediums and fortune tellers who can tell you your future and "give you a leg up." It's sad, isn't it? It's downright heartbreaking. These people don't like to look, feel, or think they are weak in any way, so they look to lies to tell them they're powerful and they are gods. (little g...of course) But according to this passage, they're missing the real secret (which is no secret at all). According to this passage they're missing the boat completely because it's in their weakness, when they've got no one to give credit to but God, that they are made strong. As a Christian we need to embrace...not our god inside of us as there is no "god" in a human...but our human weakness. We need to admit regularly, "God, YOU are in control of this world. Not me. I can be successful by the world's standards on my own if I really want to, but to be truly successful, fulfilled and content in this life and the next, I have to give it over to You. I rejoice in the roadblocks You've given me in my life. They remind me I am a creation of the One True God, and through my struggles and weaknesses I am able to see more of You. THAT is success." Take some time today to realize your limitations...and thank God that He breaks through all limits and boundaries to amaze us again and again with His grace and power.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Habakkuk 3:18

"...yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

The book of Habakkuk, just three chapters found at the end of the Old Testament in the section of books called "The Minor Prophets", is such a picture of life. We, as Habakkuk did, ask God when He's going to do all He says...He says He's going to do it all the wrong ways (as to the way WE think) we sit back and wait to see how it's going to work because none of it makes sense. As we wait, we watch, and in the watching stand amazed at our great God.

In the end we realize that...

Though the future is unknown & sometimes scary,
Though our homes may not be peace & joy filled,
Though jobs and even friends may be beyond reach,
We will be faithful and trusting that the L-RD, our God, will be with us always.

He will care for us, and, if we acknowledge our sin and let go of the shame and guilt we sometimes wear like war medals, He will help us become the Child of God He intends for us to be...and we will rejoice!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Matthew 15: 8-9

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men."
Matthew 15: 8-9

Jesus was speaking of the Pharisees when He said this, but I believe He could be speaking of so many people today who call themselves Christians. We need to read this and ask God, "Could you say this of me?" We need to immerse ourselves in God's Word, The Bible, and bring our hearts "home" to Him. Reading books by Bible teachers and Christian leaders is great, but our real teaching comes from God Himself. I know I have my favorite authors who open up the meaning of God's Word, and I will readily suggest some books to friends who ask questions about different subjects. However, we need to make sure we're learning (and loving) more of God that we are of the author ~ or even of ourselves. I learned long ago about those trained to reveal counterfeit money, and it has stayed with me as a catalyst for my own ability to know false teaching when it comes my way. A counterfeit specialist doesn't study counterfeit money...they study THE REAL THING. How are you doing? Could you listen to a popular TV host and have your stomach turn at the lies being believed by so many? Or would you believe the lie "because there's some truth there?" If you want to know the truth, then get to know the truth...SEEK GOD ~ may your rules be HIS rules.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Psalm 119:28-35

28: "My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word."
35: "Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight."
Psalm 119

As the longest chapter of any book in the Bible, and a Psalm (a song) no less, you would think Psalm 119 would be a love song to God for who He is. Instead, it is a love song to God for His *LAW*. I'm not sure any of us would ever sit down and write a long letter to our governing body singing praises of our laws. However, when the law comes from the One who knows no time constraints, sees life from beginning to end, created each and every particulate in the Universe, and even knows our hearts better than we do, it seems foolish NOT to sing praises for the parameters He has laid out for us to follow in His Word.

Make it a study in your life ~ ask God to reveal to You what "law" of His Word He wants you to work on...whether it be learning HIS definition of sin or learning to love yourself through HIS is in the doing so that you will find joy and peace. Yes, THERE you will find delight.

Friday, April 4, 2008

James 1: 26

"If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he decieves himself and his religion is worthless."
James 1: 26

OUCH! This is one of those verses we read every once in awhile, remember how hard it hits, and try to smile through the pain as we quickly jump to verse 27 where we can feel good about serving orphans and widows! However, this verse really needs to be brought home ~ straight to our hearts. How often have you seen it in someone else? The person on the road with a Christian bumper sticker or symbol on their car who cuts people off while obviously calling them names.... Or how about the person at the office who is constantly complaining about anything and everything but makes it a point to let everyone know they're a faithful church-goer (and usually shares their opinion on anything anyone is doing, too).... Maybe it's the person who thinks off-color jokes are funny and okay to tell no matter how far over the line they step...Or maybe it's the person in ministry or on the leadership team who thinks the best way to pray for someone is by getting every juicy, er, um, necessary detail about each and every prayer request, and sees to it that they get as many people praying by sharing the requests ~ and the details ~ with whomever they see.... Now, take it a step often do you see these things in yourself? I know I am duly convicted on many fronts about the rein I have (or don't have) on my tongue at times. What is God trying to say to you? Is there something you need to confess?

Thankfully God CAN change a surrendered life, and we can ask forgiveness from Him knowing it is given freely and fully. We can also ask forgiveness from, and make amends with, those we have wronged. All in the power and grace of Christ. Take some time today and ask God to open your ears to what He wants you to hear in yourself....

Monday, March 31, 2008

Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brothers, 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."
Philippians 4:8

True…Noble…Right…Pure…Lovely…Admirable…Excellent…Praiseworthy… Now THAT'S what I call a filter! This verse tells us to put the things we think about each day…or read, listen to or watch…through the filter of these questions:
Is it true?
Is it noble?
Is it right?
Etc, etc, etc. If we did this, our relationships would more than likely be deeper, our families would probably be stronger, and our lives would absolutely be richer. Do you want those things? Let us see what differences we can make in the world around us by using this filter regularly. Try it for just a day and see what happens…then another…and another….

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Micah 7: 18-19

"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever, but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."

Please read the scripture again. Let the amazing character of our Lord sink in and resonate in your soul.

Beautiful, isn't it? "...the remnant of His inheritance..." that's us! He forgives and pardons and hurls and treads, and He delights. Today, on Easter Sunday, I stand amazed at the confirmation that Jesus Christ ~ King of Kings and Lord of Lords ~ delights in me...the very one who nailed Him to a cross...whose sins were whipped across His back with threads of leather and bone chips meant to rip Him to shreds. The Lord's crucifixion...the torture and torment He endured right up to the final cry of, "It is finished!"...I think it's a very clear picture of what sin does to us in our lives. As a child of God I can say, however, that I am pure and clean before Him because He lives and because He delights.

We beat ourselves up and wear our faults like medals of honor and He wants to take them off and replace them with red badges of courage. Read it again...and again...and again. Read it until the lies being whispered in your ear meet nothing but the truth of God's Word and disappear.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Proverbs 5:21

"For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all his paths."
Proverbs 5:21

I remember watching a movie with my cousins when I was younger ~ it was a great movie, and we were really into it. That is, until one of the characters said a swear word and one of my cousins got up and shut the TV off!! I was shocked and asked, "WHY?!?!?" Their reply obviously had an impact on me since that was probably at least 30 years ago. They said, "Mom & Dad trust us to only watch movies we would be comfortable watching if they were watching with us. They don't swear, and don't want us to, and we'd be embarrassed by that language if they were here with us. So, we shut it off."

I don't do this very well on my own, but I am challenged as a Mother to live that kind of moral life not only in front of my children, friends and "people," but in my alone times, too. Although God isn't some Holy Judge watching us and just waiting to ZAP us when we mess up, He truly does go with us wherever we go. How would you feel looking back on your last few days through His eyes? Remember ~ He is just, but He also loves you more than you can ever imagine. Confess and move on...only better.

Monday, February 25, 2008

James 1: 15

"Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."
James 1:15

Being a Mom, I resonate with the word picture of this verse. Having gone through the process of "thinking about conception" and then conception itself...the growth process leading to birth, and realizing that we all face the ultimate end: death. There is a vivid message here.

Affairs don't happen because a spouse (husband -OR- wife) looked at someone else and thought they looked cute. No, it happens when someone looks, lingers, thinks and contemplates how that person looked (or treated them so nicely, or seems so Godly a spouse, or was so much neater than..., etc, etc, etc). Over time the thoughts begin to settle in and become comfortable, and before you know it the sin has become full-blown and there's nothing ahead, it seems, but a slippery slope.

There are two things to remember, then:

1) Guard your heart, for out of it flows the well-spring of life. Don't let those thoughts take root ~ surrender the desire and the feeling to Christ. A companion to this is that God does not tempt us...but He does give us the strength (HIS strength) to walk away when we simply say, "HELP!"

2)There is no sin so great God can't redeem it. Confess and repent to God your sin. Then take hold of James 1:9 that says we can ask for wisdom when we don't know what to do...then look for His leading in what to do from there.

Sidenote: I am not so naive to think that sin always looks ugly. Sometimes we've become so comfortable with it that we really don't want to stop thinking about it or doing it. It is in those times that you can ask God to make it ugly to you....ask HIM, the One who created you, to change your mind about it. He is faithful, and He will, in the words of an acquaintance, "catch your conscience." If you still don't want to...see it through to the end in your mind's eye. Sin is never worth the end result.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Thessalonians 4: 7-8

"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you His Holy Spirit."

Something you may not know about me is that I am a Birth-Mother. In 1996 I had a baby girl. I was not married at the time, and I placed her in the arms of her God-chosen Adoptive Mother to be a member of their family. she is beautiful and vibrant, and very much a part of my life today. God has truly worked all things together for good in this part of my story.

However, I tell you this not to share me, but to point out the wisdom and urgency of the two verses Paul writes above. Purity is nto a Christian "buzz-word" like "WWJD" or (enter any popular phrase here). Purity is a mandate.

The Thessalonians were good people ~ Paul even urged them to do what they were doing "more and more." The fact that he addressed sexual sin and manipulation in the middle of it only points to the fact that it's so easy to get sucked in! An impure life ~ sexual, thought-full, immoral ~ only leads to pain. Giving your body to someone who is not your spouse; manipulating someone to get your way; using ill-gotten ways to further your cause, none of these lead to a peaceful, joy-filled Spirit. (I can say that with confidence that comes from personal experience.) No, these things lead to the death of your Spirit.

So lead PURE lives! The Spirit, if you are a Child of God, is yours ~ seek God and His righteousness and He will make your ways pure.......Don't reject Him. In doing so you're basically telling Him He is not enough ~ and I can also say with confidence that turning from what looks like it will fulfill you to what God insures will fulfill you will bring blessings and fulfillment you can only begin to imagine.