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!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The "F" Word

Did I catch your attention? Good! Even though I am not going to talk about the more common "F" word, the one I have in mind is treated in a similar fashion. It is used frequently and is thrown around without thinking in many cases. The word is forgiveness. How many times have you tossed it out there without much sincerity behind it? Do you "forgive" your spouse when they offend you with their words only to help the tension dissipate? Do you forgive your friend because you know that she will feel guilty for days on end if you don't? In any case the bitterness and irritation may still be alive and well and in fact thriving in some cases. I am doing a Bible study about King David this summer and as I thought about forgiveness I contemplated the affects that the lack of true forgiveness has in our lives; but not forgiveness towards others, forgiveness towards ourselves.  

God is so wise in His desire for us to be holy people. Most of my Christian life I have spent believing that He wants us to be holy so that we can set a good example to others. As we walk a holy life, we can show that there is an ability through the Holy Spirit to live out a life pleasing to God. This is a very true principle to the Christian faith; however, I recently realized another reason God desires obedience from us. As I thought about the sin in David's life and the recent sin in my own, I considered the guilt and the condemnation that I felt. David, too, felt this cloud of despair and the separation from the Lord as he wrote Psalm 51. God knew that sin would lead us to guilt and guilt would cause us to create a wall between ourselves and God. It isn't because He doesn't forgive us our sins, but because we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. This lack of forgiveness causes a dam that blocks the flow of relationship and the longer the dam exists the harder it is to break the drought of connection with the Lord.

My sin was a bad attitude. I wasn't behaving with the appropriate heart in a certain situation and I was irritated. This irritation within myself caused me to feel unworthy of being in His presence. Commencement of the dam building had begun! As the first day went into the second and then the third, I found it more and more difficult to talk to Him. I didn't want to linger and go on and on in apology about my sin because we are supposed to go to Him, repent and move on, yet I felt that if I moved on too quickly, I was acting as though I had done nothing wrong! Hence, God's wisdom! He knows what sin will lead to; that it causes us to build a dam and that it can cause conflict within our own hearts regarding the forgiveness that we just can't seem to give ourselves. Yes, God does want obedience from us for many reasons, but He doesn't necessarily request it just for His own glory, but for our preservation as well. 

For which sins have you not forgiven yourself? Do you have a mighty dam that has stopped-up your relationship with the Lord? Do you find it difficult to go to Him without feeling lowly and pitiful? Take heart! Go to Him right now and repent. Share your every feeling and thought and then pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward. That is what God wants from us. WE are the ones who don't let go. God has already moved on and so should we! Pray the words of Psalm 51 in all or part. If it truly is God against whom we have sinned and He has forgiven us, shouldn't we be able to forgive ourselves?

Monday, June 14, 2010

How Strong are You?

How often do you work out, one to three times per week, more often than that? Do you religiously squeeze in a workout no matter what may be happening in your hectic schedule? Taking care of our bodies is important. We should eat right and get enough exercise, but how often do you exercise your spiritual muscles? Do you make that a priority in your schedule? Maybe you are asking, "What do you mean by spiritual muscles?" Well, thanks for asking!

I didn't come up with that term. I have heard it many times over the past number of years, but I like what it means. Exercising spiritually is simply growing in the Lord. Whenever we are put to the test, so to speak, we are being given a chance to exercise our faith which inevitably allows us to gain strength in our faith. The specific exercise may a situation like when we end up with an extra expense that we just can't seem to cover on paper, when one of our family members falls ill, if we lose our job and even daily trials like an annoying co-worker or an angry boss. It can also be just setting aside OUR desires for a few hours each week for church or Bible study! We are so blessed because we don't even have to try to squeeze these workouts into our schedule! God gives us opportunities every day to exercise.

As we look to the Lord for encouragement and direction, we are taking action that is strengthening our spiritual muscles. As we become stronger, God asks us to do harder things. If you have a trainer and they start you out lifting 10 pounds, eventually they will be increasing that to 20 and then 30 and so on, as you are able to handle more. God does the same thing with us.

Now, the situation itself isn't any use to us unless we take the action to do the exercise. This involves time in prayer, reading His Word and seeking godly counsel from mature Christians. As we work through the situation and put God first we receive help and power from the Holy Spirit and we then grow stronger for the next 10 pounds of weight. Why does God want us to be strong spiritually speaking? Because we have work to do for Him and it requires us to stand firm in difficult situations. Being a Christian is pretty easy in this country, but it is becoming more difficult. Not only do we need to be able to stand for God's values and God's name but we need to be careful not to fall into the traps of society's victim mentality. Weak Christians will not be willing nor will they have the spiritual strength to do this. As we watch the Lord work in our lives, we will become bolder and we will desire to share Him with others. So, how strong are you? Do you have what it takes to be a strong firm believer in Christ? If not are you willing and ready to put in the proper time and effort to be trained? Don't wait until tomorrow. Start exercising those spiritual muscles today by spending 20 minutes alone with the Lord!

Deuteronomy 31:6, 1st Corinthians 16:13, Ephesians 6:10      


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

God: The Board Flipper

Hay season is right around the corner so I decided to do a thorough and much needed cleaning of our barn. Currently we use pallets with wood over them on which we stack the hay. Our barn is old and not very critter proof, but to my surprise, when I flipped up a piece of wood that was laying on one of the pallets, I discovered a skunk underneath! It took a few seconds for my brain to register what it was but it didn't take long after that for my legs to register what to do next...Run! After I gathered my dogs and got a safe distance from the barn, I decided that I needed to go back and flip the board back up so that the skunk wouldn't feel like sticking around. I needed to remove it's sense of security. I realized later that the skunk wasn't the only thing that needed to be removed from my life, a few pesky little sins needed to be chased off once and for all too.

Sometimes it takes God turning over boards in our lives for us to see what has been hiding underneath. We have a canny ability to act as though we don't know they are there. In some cases, I believe that we truly aren't aware of their presence until God reveals them to us or they start to smell a little! Sins can be like this skunk, and until they are revealed to us, we ignore them or are oblivious to them. Either way, God knows they are there and will deal with them in His timing. I know that was the case with me today. I was blessed with the opportunity to see an area of my life that needs to be thoroughly cleaned.

As I grow in my walk with the Lord, I find at times, that I become disillusioned into thinking that I am running out of sinful behaviors. I tend to look back and see how much work He has done in my life and I start getting a little puffed up. It is about this time that the Lord will flip a board over and low and behold...another sin! Where did that come from? I am starting to see that it is true; sanctification is a process and takes a lifetime. I will never be done sinning this side of heaven, so I remember what my husband says, "...as long as I am a little better today than I was yesterday". So don't worry if you are not as "good" as you think you should be, God's work is not yet done. And don't worry if you think that you are running out of sins to work on because God will flip boards as needed!

1st Thessalonians 5:23, James 1:4, Hebrews 12:10