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!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Are You an Arsonist?

If you have ever lived in an area prone to wildfires, you know how much damage they can do and how quickly they can spread. Literally within minutes they can destroy homes, property and lives. It doesn't take much to start one either. A small spark, lightning, or an act of carelessness can set the tinder box ablaze. When a wildfire gets going, it can be almost impossible to put out quickly, especially if there is a wind and the environment is arid and hot. Considering the damaging power of fire, have you ever considered that we have that damaging power within ourselves? It is called our tongue. This is what God tells us in James 3:6 regarding our tongue: "And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself." (NLT) WOW!

Over the years, I have set many fires with my tongue and some of them burned for a very long time. Along the path, there was much destruction and in a few instances ... death; death to love, trust and relationships. If you are living and breathing, you too, have probably started a fire or two. All it takes is a spark; a simple word. Add to the environment a little heat of emotion and the arid air of bitterness or self-pity and you have the ideal situation for a raging, out of control wildfire. The sad part is that by the time the spark is ignited, you usually know that you have set into motion something that will soon be out of control.

So, how do we combat this evil lurking within ourselves? We start with allowing the "Living Water" of the Holy Spirit to live in us. He then provides us with the tools that we will need to help control the spark from being ignited but in the event of a fire, He also gives us the equipment necessary to douse it quickly. The main spark arrestor is self-control. If we seek the Lord's help to enable this tool many fires will be prevented. However, if our flesh takes control and the tongue is let loose, then God still provides the equipment necessary to douse the flames before they get too far. Things such as humility, forgiveness, love and patience, just to name a few, are the pieces of equipment that the Lord provides, not only for the arsonist, but also for the one in their path.

Wildfires are very real AND very scary. I used to live in a region that was very susceptible to them, but as humans, we live every day with the threat of starting one right where we live. How many have you started this year, this week or today? We need to be aware of the damage that we can do in a very small amount of time and be sure that we are prepared to apply the use of our spark arrestor the minute we feel one coming on!

Read James chapter 3 to see God's warnings about the power of our tongue and Galatians 5:16-26 for tips on proper firefighting techniques.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tumbled Rocks

A number of years ago my sister bought me a rock tumbler for Christmas. I have an affinity for rocks and she thought that I would enjoy polishing them. She was right! It is a long process to polish rocks to a "wet look" finish, but they are so beautiful when they are finished. The process starts with heavy grit sand which you allow to tumble for up to three weeks. You then change out the grit for one that isn't as harsh and the process starts all over again. After three to four different sized grit sands, you end up with a polished gemstone.

As I was listening to a teacher recently, the thought of tumbling rocks came to my mind. The topic was on temptations in our trials and as she was talking I realized that our temptations are multi-dimensional. What I mean is that just because we think that we have conquered a temptation in a certain area of our life, there may be another dimension to that situation of which we aren't aware. For example: Let's say that you are tempted to get irritated by other drivers as you are headed for work. You pray for God's help to overcome and over the next few months or year, you realize that you are getting better and you think that it isn't really a problem for you anymore. But, you now find that you are irritated with people at the supermarket being in your way or too slow at the register. God has just revealed to you that the original sin of irritation on the road hasn't been completely overcome, and there is another dimension to your sin that needs to be addressed.

I personally had this revelation recently in an area of my life. I had submitted something to the Lord and really, truly was "over it", but low and behold a different aspect of the same problem was revealed to me and I realized that I truly hadn't submitted complete control over to the Lord. As I listened to the teacher talk about trials and temptations it made me see how we are in God's rock tumbler. He uses different grit trials to grind off certain sins, but even though the sin appears to be gone, a different grit of trial reveals that it is still embedded in us. Rocks require longer periods of time in the tumbler depending on their hardness. So too, it is with us, that the more stubborn we are to submit to God in repenting and laying ourselves at His feet, the longer He has to allow those trials to confront us. If we are a "soft" rock, less time is required for our sins to be tumbled out of us.

So, what needs to be polished off of you? Are you a "hard" rock that seems to go through the same trials over and over? Maybe you have had victory in an area of your life that you think you are "done with"; if so, ask the Lord to show you if that is the case. He may bring to light another dimension of that sin that needs to be addressed. It is exciting to see the rocks as they are transformed into beautiful gems. I am always amazed that something that looks ordinary and even not all that pretty can look so beautiful after being tumbled for awhile. We are the rocks in God's tumbler! What stage are you in, on your way to being God’s gemstone?

Read the book of James for encouragement to persevere. It isn't a long book, but it is full of wisdom.