Welcome Readers!

"Hello" to all my regular readers and those who are here for the first time!
I hope that this blog enlightens and encourages those who read it but I also hope that it will wake up those who have been asleep to the clock that is ticking within our beautiful nation and within the body of Christ. It is my goal to glorify our Lord and share the Truth with anyone who will listen!
I pray that the Lord will give you strength and courage each day to do His will and to glorify Him. It seems to be getting harder and harder these days to keep our heads above water, but He does promise us that He will not allow the waters to overtake us! Praise Him for that promise!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Childlike OR Childish

Although these words are similar they have two very different meanings. Even the pictures that come to our minds when they are mentioned are different. I picture a spoiled person who throws tantrums and is impatient when I think of the latter. I don't have a feeling of warmth and love in my heart when I think of a childish person. But on the contrary, childlike behavior sets off in me a whole different emotion. I think of fun and lightheartedness. I conjure up imagery of laughter and giggles. It is no wonder that God's Word instructs us to be childlike not childish. The sad part is that I believe we see way too much childish behavior these days, in those who call themselves Christians.

If we are truly taking the Words of the Lord to heart, then we should at least be making an effort to reflect the "fruit of the Spirit" (see Galatians 5:22-23). Although "childlike" isn't listed as a "fruit", it can be inferred to mean some of the same. The Webster's definition of childlike is innocent and trusting. If we are living by the power of the Holy Spirit, then these two characteristics of childlike should be present. An innocent child is gentle and kind while their hearts are full of joy and love. Throw trusting into the equation and you get patience, peace and faithfulness. Does this describe the Christian who is in church on Sunday, but on Monday is impatiently honking their horn at the person driving the speed limit, all the while they have an "I love Jesus" bumper sticker on their car? How about the Mom who serves in the Sunday School ministry but during the Wednesday PTA meeting, complains that Mrs. Jones only brought half of the cookies for the bake sale that she promised to bring? Well, I'd say these are childish behaviors, wouldn't you? Webster's definition for childish is immature and foolish. If the shoe fits!

When I was a little girl I loved it when my Dad would push me on the swing. "Higher Dad, higher" I would sing. I trusted him and knew that he would push me as high as he could. I felt a joy in my heart then, that to this day I can still feel. I don't remember feeling that joy as an adult, that is until I gave my life to the Lord. I am learning how much better it feels to be childlike than childish. As long as we are clinging to the selfish desires of getting "our way" and what "we want", we will not be able to fully experience the lovely fruit of the Spirit. There are two main ways that we glorify and honor God: producing His fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit and sharing His fruit with others. There is one sure way to dishonor the Lord: by doing neither of these. What childish behaviors do you need to leave behind? What childlike behaviors do you want to embrace? Give some quiet time to the Lord and discuss these things with Him. He'll take it from there...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Water-The Universal Solvent

Years ago I heard the term "universal solvent" being applied to water. As an explanation was given to me, I pictured the work that water can do; washing off dirt and grime, polishing stones to a beautiful shine as it pours over them for years. It can be the gentlest cleanser available yet has the power to shape and mold even the hardest of surfaces. It makes a beautiful and peaceful sound when gravity pulls it along a stream bed, yet with the mighty strength of the oceans' currents, it is a force with which to be reckoned. Yet our bodies can't live without it! So is it any wonder that our Lord and Savior, Jesus, would be called "The Living Water"?

If we look at this for a moment, we can see that it was His deep love and compassion for us that caused Him to be our "solvent". His blood and death on the cross washed us clean of our sins. While His resurrection brought victory over the wage of that sin which was death. He died for ALL who choose to believe in Him not just a select few. Christianity is not a private club or a religion of preferred members only. Jesus offers eternal life to everyone on the face of the earth. You can't get more "universal" than that!

As we explore this a little further, we can see that He is so very gentle in His daily washing of us as we get dirty from walking in this world. Yet He will be a torrent of judgment to those who have rejected His gift and denied Him as God. Just as any human needs the molecule of water to survive, so too is the need of His "water", His Spirit, to live eternally. His "living water" comes to us as we accept Him as our Savior and dwells within us forever. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity and was promised to us as our helper. He prays for us when we don't know what to say, He counsels us in our trials, He brings peace to the believer even in the hardest of times, He convicts us of our sinful ways and brings to us the power to overcome them. He provides for us a multitude of things, but without Him we will die, spiritually.

Like the stones in the river bed, we notice with time that the sharp edges we used to project are softening and that we are starting to have a little bit of sheen to our appearance. Even the roughest of stones can be polished into a gem with the "living water" of Jesus.

So, the next time you shower, ask yourself if you have truly been cleansed by the blood of Christ. The next time that you take a drink, think about whether or not you are drinking enough of Jesus, through prayer and by reading His Word. Are you receiving the peace that you need from the Holy Spirit, like a quiet stream of water would provide, as you lean on Him? What part of your life needs the perfect "Universal Solvent" applied?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

True Security Comes from God

It seems that security is a very important and sought after item these days. We buy security systems for our cars and houses; we spend a ton of money on insurance for security while we live and for loved ones after we die. We seek security in finances and security in relationships and even have self-help books and classes on finding security in ourselves. Whichever the case, security is a coveted thing. Where do you find yours? Do you feel comfortable in your relationships but not in your job? Or maybe it's the other way around? Are you struggling with your teens and their choices? Do you feel safe in your home at night or while you walk down the street? How can we feel secure in life these days with the crime, economy and the immorality that is taking over our world? In ALL things, we can find comfort and security in the Lord Jesus.

The Webster's definition of security is this: 1. a feeling secure, freedom from fear, doubt, etc. 2. protection, safeguard.

WOW! Is there really a way to have true security? Can we ever be free from doubt? From fear? To feel safe at all times? Years ago I would have answered unequivocally NO! I had so many fears and doubts that I never could have imagined a life without them. Does that mean that now I am completely and totally free from them every single moment of the day? Well, no I am not. But, I am learning how to experience the freedom from them a little at a time. As the Lord allows trials in my life and as I turn them over to Him, I learn each step of the way that I CAN trust Him in ALL things and that He is my security.

God is sovereign, meaning that He is in charge of all things, supreme in power. Therefore, He has control over the circumstances of our lives. If we are struggling, He knows about it. If we are steeped in sin, He knows about it. If we are trying our best to be obedient to Him or if we are lost and don't even know Him personally, He knows about it! In this we can be secure.

As we learn to trust Him in small things, He will show us that we can trust Him in the big things too, like failing marriages, the loss of a job, the death of a child and even in the things that cause us to be insecure in ourselves. This doesn't mean it will be easy, but it means that it will be okay. Jesus loves us more than we love ANYONE in our lives. Do you think for a moment that He will forget us or abandon us? He promises us in His Word, that He will never leave or forsake us even though sometimes it may feel like He has. When we get to the other side of our struggle, we will clearly see that He was there the whole time, holding our hand.

God's Word teaches us verse after verse, to trust in Him, to look to Him and to follow Him and it is when we do these things that we will experience the freedom from our fears and doubts and ultimately experience true security.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

No Pain, No Gain

With the winter Olympics right around the corner, it caused me to think about what most of the athletes are willing to do to gain a spot in the famed games. For one, they usually have been competing in their sport for some time before they even breach a chance to enter the Olympics. They have pretty regimented lifestyles; no drinking, smoking or eating a bunch of junk. Right? They work very hard at their sport and put more time into practice than most anything else in their life. Typically the general populous admires them for their self-control and dedication. I know that I do! To be so passionate about something...WOW!

Do we ever think about our relationship to God in the same terms? I never used too, until recently. We can look at this from both sides; our side and God's side.
First God's side: God wants all of us to be Olympians for His kingdom. He wants us to be the best that we can be...in His strength. He takes care of us when we allow Him to. He provides all that we need for us to be able to run the good race. He even allows us to practice...a lot through our trials and temptations. As He is doing the work in us that He needs to do (the chiseling), He is providing us many opportunities to get into shape. The greatest proof of His passion and dedication to us is His willingness to come to earth as Jesus. To die on the cross a criminal's death and finally to rise again to be victorious over the wage of sin which is death. HIS pain...OUR gain.

So now let's look at our side of the relationship. How are we as athletes for God? Do we show discipline and self-control in our lives? Are we devoted to Him by reading His Word, worshipping Him, time in prayer and putting what we learn into action? Is He the main focus in our lives and everything else comes in second or third? For me, I am slowing allowing Him to gain rungs on the ladder. Some days He is even at the top! But I have to say not every day. As I have grown in the Lord, I find things being replaced by Him regularly. Like my need for TV and my desire to be as lazy. It doesn't just happen though. I know Christians who are in the very same place spiritually today as they were when they accepted the Lord. An athlete doesn't become an athlete by reading a book on how to do it and then voila, they're an athlete! NO! It takes work and lots of it. But when they are standing on the platform receiving their medal I bet they would say it was all worth it. Are you longing to hear the words by our Lord and Savior, "Well done good and faithful servant"? That is truly the hour of our award.

Becoming a Christian happens the moment you believe, with all sincerity, that Jesus is God and came to earth to die for YOUR sins. But it is then that the work really begins. God's purpose for us is to glorify Him and to lead others to the Truth. We can't do that by just reading about it, it has to be a way of life, our lifestyle. Yes, it is at times painful and hard. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming, but God is ALWAYS there to carry us through. He won't let us down.
So, OUR pain...HIS gain!! Amen?

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Work has Begun (Part Two)

Years ago my husband and I ran a small cabinet business from home. It was fun and I enjoyed being with my husband all the time. But the work was hard. There were so many steps to building a nice cabinet. Our shop was small so when we had a big job it made it rough to maneuver the big sheets of material around without getting in each other's way. But, finally, we would get to the point where we were ready to go install them and it was such a good feeling to see our finished product. Our cabinets were made with care to last for many years.

It made me think of the work God does in us. When we do hand the chisel over to Him, also known as our life, it seems like there is a lot of stuff that gets in the way. Sometimes we can feel like the job He has is too overwhelming and that there is no room to maneuver. Will He ever be able to clean up the clutter in my life, the bad habits and the wrong ways of thinking? AND, do I really want Him to go to some of the places that I've hidden way down deep? It can be intimidating to think of all the work that lies ahead. But never fear, because God LOVES a challenge! The bigger the mess, the more work to do, the more glory He will ultimately receive. We serve an awesome and mighty God and nothing is too big OR too small for Him.
When my husband and I first started our business, I was worried about having to figure out the process. You know, being a woman, I am a planner! Well, I quickly learned to just let my husband do the directing. He knew how to get things done and it was best if I just let him show me what to do. What a relief it became, to trust that he had a plan. Sometimes he would ask for my opinion and I appreciated that, but overall, he had it figured out. We need to do the same with God. TRUST Him to know what to do. TRUST Him to have a plan and to take you step by step. TRUST Him to be able to complete the job.

Are you asking "How" do I trust and give it all over to God? Start small. First, go to Him in prayer and let Him know what you want to do. Acknowledge that you know it will be hard to allow Him to do the work, but that you desire to hand Him your life to shape and to clean up. If you've never before committed your heart and life to the Lord, below is a prayer of assurance that you can start with. From here, you need to spend time getting to know the Lord Jesus. You can do that through fellowship with mature Christians, reading His Word (the Bible), attending a faith based church, listening to Christian radio and mostly listening to God. When you accept the gift of forgiveness and give your life to the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes into your body and helps you along each day. He is your counselor and helper, He convicts your heart when you are being disobedient and He helps you to pray to God. Don't panic, just trust. If you have sincerely, at any time, committed your life to the Lord, He will gather you to Himself and take it from there. Your job is to listen to Him and then follow His instructions.

The first few months of working with my husband were difficult. There certainly was a learning curve. I got frustrated, sometimes angry, hurt and I even cried a few times, but I got over it. I didn't give up and neither did my husband. God won't give up on you either. And chances are good that you will go through each of those emotions and probably some that I didn't list before it all is said and done. Don't expect it to be easy, because it won't be. Expect it to be worth it because it will be. In fact committing your ways to Him will take you places that you've never imagined and in the end He will have a finished product that will be useful for years to come!
Until next time as I continue my work, take the steps to begin yours...