Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is He Lord AND Savior?

I recently listened to a message on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  I was quite challenged with this message and the question of whether I have made Him, or allowed Him to actually be LORD over my life, every area.

I think we all sign up for the ‘Savior’ part of the deal, but how do we really feel about the ‘Lord’ part?  If ‘Lord’ means boss, ruler, the one in charge, Master . . . a person who has authority, control, or power over others, chief, ruler, is He indeed ‘LORD’ of our lives?

I don’t know about you, but in several areas of my life I apparently think I can handle this one.  “Thanks, Jesus, but I have this one covered”, seems to be my mindset.  Oh, it wasn’t that obvious, it took some light from the Holy Spirit. 

I have been a wee bit shocked as He has revealed to me areas that I have not submitted to Him.  Things I would rather hold on to, mostly because of a lack of trust in His ability to handle it the way I want Him too.  Ouch.

I challenge you to get quiet before Him and ask Him if there are areas you have not submitted to Him.  You might be surprised at what you see, I sure was.

I love what He is showing me.  I love the refreshing repentance brings.  I love the peace and joy that comes when I am submitted to Him and trust Him for the very things that I have held on to so tightly.  It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders each time. 

If you would like to listen to the message that started this in me several weeks ago, you may do so.  Just a heads up though, the actual service the message is from starts out with  35 minutes of worship that I did not listen to, so I can’t vouch for that part.  I have been so blessed by these messages, but I always fast forward to the teaching, skipping the worship.  (just my opinion)  It’s called, “More Than a Savior”  You do need to download it to fast forward.  I think fast forwarding about 37 minutes is where the message starts.  A simple, but powerful message.

Let me know your thoughts!  Have a blessed day.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lessons For This Mama

We are in a very unique season in life.  Brian was laid off and now works at home (he has work now, praise God), we have a family business that God is blessing and has the potential to go even further. (that takes vast amounts of my time) We still homeschool, two of our adult children live at home while attending college, and well, life!

I tell you all this to say that the Lord is really stretching our family on many levels.  Selfishness that could remain hidden in the past is now being exposed.  Lack of unity and lack of working as a team and sharing a common goal and purpose just isn’t working any more. 

Don’t get me wrong, there is and always has been some as semblance of the above things, but we are just being stretched and made to grow and choose and live differently.  Not so much for self, but for Christ and what He has for us right now.  Each of us are having to take on new tasks and new responsibilities to make this work.  Oh, and growing and stretching, it hurts, right? LOL

I have been reading a book with my sixteen year old daughter for the summer called, “The Family Daughter” by Sarah L. Bryant.  I’ll hold off a formal review as I can’t seem to get past chapter two without DEEP conviction!

Convictions on so many levels.  I don’t feel condemned or hopeless, but am choosing to recognize that God is showing me these things because He equips me to change and choose differently.  And nothing is ‘lost’ with Him.  I don’t need to look back with deep regret of what ‘could have been’ or ‘should have been’.  I look back and see where we missed it and humble myself before Him trusting Him to bring about the change.  Trusting Him to bring beauty out of ashes.  Trusting that His grace and love covers and redeems and restores.

I will leave you with a small snippet from the book that is convicting ME, even though it is intended for the daughter.  Ugh, I thought this was for her, not me.  Funny, she is light years ahead of me on some of this stuff.

“Our attitude as daughters has a great impact in our home.  If we maintain a cheerful attitude, it will promote a loving and peaceful atmosphere, but if we are discontent and unhappy, it certainly will not be a blessing in our father’s home.  We must strive to consistently radiate the love, peace, and compassion of the Lord Jesus, though circumstances around us change daily.  We, as believers, should trust in the unchanging Rock, and He is our eternal anchor.  (Ps. 61:2)  Because of this refuge, we can maintain serenity and composure through Christ, no matter what vicissitudes may assail us.  This unwavering attitude is a choice we face and a choice we must make. (pg. 39)

I didn’t bother changing the daughter stuff to wife/mama stuff, but you get it, I am sure.  Oh, it goes on and on, trust me.  I am sure this is hitting me right between the eyes as ‘emotions’ have always been a battle for me.  I think even more so with all the hormonal changes going on.  I have found myself giving into my emotions but expect my daughter to some how overcome them.  I have excused them and sometimes just been beaten down by them.  I have had greater victory over the years and even more so in the last couple of years, but I think we are going to another level here, the Lord and I.  How can I teach my daughter to have victory over them if I do not?  How do I teach ‘dying to self’ if I do not?

Trust me when I say this is a small snippet of the goodies I have gotten out of this book.  Victoria and I are enjoying it very much.  Actually, I am reading sections of inspiration to all of the children. 

I will share more conviction in a future post.  This is all I could take Winking smile.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Response to “Anonymous”

I received several “Anonymous” comments and I wanted to address one of them here.  This response is not solely for this particular commenter, but likely encompasses all of them.  You can read the posts and comments I am referring to here and here and here

1 Samuel 16:7 says, "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

The heart is what God sees. Yes, be respectful in the way you dress (for example) but also respect those who may not be convicted the same way you are. Don't just assume what someone's heart is like based on their appearance.

I know what you are trying to say in your posts, but the line that you said in your first post about this comment saying, "if Jesus walked into any one of the many churches, even in my own city, His first thought might actually be, ‘wow, they are doing so awesome, look at all the hookers and prostitutes here.'" I cringed at this statement. First of all because it is wrong to even say what you THINK Jesus would say, secondly because going off of the verse above (1 Samuel 16:7) God looks at the heart not the outward appearance and thirdly because Jesus LOVED the prostitutes! He did not love their sin, but he LOVED them.
So just think about that. If our God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance, shouldn't we do the same?

Thank you for your response. I agree, that in my zealousness, to presume what Jesus might think is inappropriate. I am firmly convicted to not add anything to the Word of God and would not want be the one to presume to know what “Jesus would say or think”. That was not my intention. Perhaps it was sloppy zealousness.

I am not saying He would say that, nor am I saying that because they dress like prostitutes that they are indeed prostitutes. I was talking about appearances. Nor was I saying that their heart should be judged and that they are not loved, by Him or by us. They need teaching and correction, which is the subject of another post. Who should teach them???!!!  Perhaps us ‘older’ women??? Which, by the way, is sort of what this is! Winking smile

. . . the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5)

. . . in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. (1 Tim. 2:8-10)

I think my point is getting missed here. I am simply talking about common sense. It really doesn’t take an Einstein or some deep conviction to dress in an appropriate way. I am absolutely not talking about hair length, ‘dresses only’ or tattoos, etc. I am simply saying that it is not right, for the believer, to dress in such a way that exposes vast amounts of body (and likely causing others to stumble) in the name of fashion or freedom.

I am not judging someone’s heart by the way they dress. I am simply pointing out that immodest dress is inappropriate for the believer and it shouldn’t need some deep conviction to correct it. One look in the mirror and the question, ‘am I presenting myself in a way that represents a pure and holy God?’ is all it really takes.  Or, ‘Lord Jesus, You are LORD of my life, does the way I dress reflect You?’ Yes, that might look different for everyone, but again, skirts that expose upper thighs and tops that expose cleavage seem to cross that line. It is not that hard to figure out.

And absolutely yes, If our God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance, shouldn't we do the same. But here’s the rub. We live in a society that does indeed place high value on appearances and you simply cannot deny that the way one looks, dresses and behaves really does go a long way in expressing what may or may not be in there heart.

Again, I am not judging the person, I am simply pointing out the Truth. If I see someone rob a bank, I am going to tell them that stealing is wrong. If someone (a believer)  is dressed like a ‘hooker’, I think someone should tell them so,  and they actually should want to correct that. Not claim their heart is judged.  And, if one resists the correction, refusing to take it to the Lord and the Word, then yes, perhaps the heart is not exactly in the right place. 

I don’t know how to make it any clearer that just because sin is pointed out does not mean the person’s heart is being ‘judged’ nor the person pointing it out is somehow making some unloving and ungodly judgment of the person’s heart.  My point is really just to get the Church (including MYSELF!!) to stop and evaluate the way we act and dress and live our lives. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

I’ve Been There

So here’s the deal.  In the last two posts I shared some very grievous things that I see in the ‘Church’.  Some felt judged and criticized.  Others encouraged me strongly and thanked me for voicing their concern.

Why is it that when one proclaims the Truth and cries, ‘repent for the kingdom of God is at hand’, in essence, do many assume you to be heartless, cold and judging?

I suppose it never crossed the mind of some that it is from a heart of compassion that my heart cries out.  You see, I have been there.  I have been in that pit and I know the way out. 

I was the young girl wearing the mini-skirt and tank top, eyes all painted and heart looking to be loved.

I was the girl who filled her mind with evil only to have it come back to haunt and wreak havoc years later.

I was the girl, clueless to the holiness of the God I ‘claimed’ to love.

I was the girl who thought I had it all figured out and how dare YOU tell me what to do, what to wear and what to watch.

You see, it’s been a long, long road to wholeness, one I have not finished yet.  If you have read any of my posts you know that I believe in mercy and grace and love and have known each of these on a deep level.  That I am a woman who has been forgiven much, because there was MUCH to be forgiven.

Sometimes we need a gentle arm around us whispering the Truth.  Sometimes we just need a good old fashioned ‘spanking’.  I am pleading with you to examine your heart. Examine your life.  You judge your life and choices with the Word of God.  Don’t wait for HIM to do it, you judge it now.

. . .  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you  (James 4:4-10) (better to read the whole context, but for space I shrunk it down)

Humble yourself under His mighty hand.  Don’t bristle against correction and stiffen your neck.  He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  You see, He loves you with a crazy kind of love.  He forgives and restores.  Humble yourself before Him and ask Him if there is any area in need of His correcting and healing.  He is faithful.  Do it with an open heart and walk away changed and new and looking just a wee bit more like Him.  Trust me on this one. Winking smile

My sons shared this story with me this past week as we have discussed these posts and the topic at hand.  The last line is my heart. 

"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out.
"A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
"Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on
"Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

Friday, June 8, 2012

I Knew It Was Coming

I have found that the more you share Truth, the more you will be criticized and accused.  It is natural to defend and deflect when one’s choices come face to face with the Truth.  I understand this full well, it is my tendency too.

The biggest accusation is usually to be labeled as, “judgmental”.  Another is ‘legalistic’.  ‘Harsh’, “lacking ‘grace’” and many others.

I really appreciated what one of the commenters said in a comment on yesterday’s post.

“People have a problem with the Word of God, not me. The Word judges, and we can use it as a guideline.”

I appreciate this so much, because it really is not ‘me’ doing the judging, it is the Word of God.  Just because I spoke it, wrote or proclaimed it doesn’t mean ‘I’ am judging you.

Example:  A friend confides in me that she is having an affair and seems to be okay with it.  When I exhort and challenge her sharing that God’s word says that adultery is a sin and she should really evaluate her choices and repent, I am not ‘judging’ her, it is the Word that is Truth and the Word that judges her choices.  I’m just the messenger.

My definition of me judging her would be to think she is an awful person for doing what she does and because ‘I’ have never done that.  And to think that I am somehow superior to her because of her choices.  That’s sort of a ‘loose’ definition.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that murder is wrong.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that homosexuality is a sin.

It is not ‘judging’ to believe (and share for that matter) that adultery, stealing, lying, cheating . . . is a sin.

And, for the believer, the Christ follower, the set apart and chosen ones, it is not ‘judging’ to exhort and challenge them with the Truth that dressing immodestly, putting evil things before their eyes and living like the world is indeed a sin to a believer.

13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good. 14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2 Thess. 3:13-16) Emphasis mine

Counting him as an enemy in my mind would be ‘judging’, but admonishing him as a brother is not.

14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 15 See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. (1 Thess. 5:14-15)

24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

The following are scriptures (certainly not exhaustive) that go with my post from yesterday.

15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:8-16) Emphasis mine

Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)

While the Lord has given me a great passion for the Truth, He has not given me a great passion for confrontation and strife.  If you know me, you know my heart is to share the Truth, to encourage others to walk in that Truth.  You know  that I love deeply.  None of my posts, including yesterday’s is ever meant to judge, criticize or condemn a person.  Perhaps condemn their choices, but not them.  I have personally experienced the deep love, mercy and forgiveness of Christ for my wicked choices before knowing Him as well as after. 

My heart is NOT judging you, don’t shoot the messenger, okay?  Winking smile I have found that when I hear the Truth and my first reaction is offence or feeling ‘judged’ that eventually I see there was actually something there I didn’t want to see at the time and wanted to excuse away.  It happened just last week while listening to a message on the Lordship of Christ.  I thought, come on, this old message.  Been there, done that, this doesn’t apply to me.  It wasn’t too many minutes later that the Lord began to reveal to me the areas that I really have refused His Lordship over.  I repented.

My point in my whole post yesterday was, take the areas that I mentioned and hold them up to the Word of God.  Not me, not my personal choices, but the Word of God. 

That’s all I’m sayin’ Winking smile

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I’m So Done With Being a Christian

Perhaps I should clarify. I am so done with being grouped together with those who call themselves a “Christian”.  Allow me to explain.

I believe it is clear in scripture that ‘Christians’ are actually supposed to look different. We are, after all, ‘living epistles read by all men’ (2 Cor. 3:1-3) and we are to “represent’ our Lord.  People are supposed to ‘know us by our fruit’. The changes that are, or at least should be taking place on the inside should show up in our lives and the way we live them.  When the unsaved look at us and our lives, they should see a difference, not feel as though they are looking in a mirror.

I am not at all talking about putting on airs or only outward changes or some legalistic type of living.  If there are no ‘outward’ signs that you are different than the world, it might be beneficial to do some soul searching and find out if we are actually saved.  Praying a prayer and going to church on Sunday does not save us, nor is it evidence of true salvation.  Just sayin’.

I have been astounded in the last week or so to hear and see things that “Christians” find perfectly acceptable.  For instance, apparently “Christians” are reading a book called Fifty Shades of Grey en mass.  It’s porn, ladies! 

How about the Twilight series.  How in the world does one justify reading these and seeing the movies?  I dare you to find one scripture that says it would be okay to fill your mind with such filth.  Perhaps it our ‘freedom in Christ’, right?  'It’s only a movie or a book’, right?  ‘You are being so judgmental, what harm is there in it?’

The movies we “Christians” see.  I personally am ever convicted in this realm, so don’t think I am being all self-righteous here.  I too have seen movies I am ashamed to have seen and have repented. (even recently)  Do we really think that the admonition to think on things lovely, pure, vitreous, good and praise worthy doesn’t include the two hours we are stuffing popcorn in your mouth watching movies with evil spirits represented, adultery, magic, violence and more??  Have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness!  (Eph. 5:11)

Oh, and lest you think you are good girl because at least you don’t see rated R movies (which by the way, do you know how many “Christians’ see rated R movies??) the PG13 movies are not necessarily any better.  Let’s stop judging a movie by its rating and start asking,' ‘would I be comfortable sitting next to Jesus Christ, GOD incarnate, and watch this movie’?  I would challenge all of us, that if we do, we probably have no clue of the holiness of the God we are supposed to be serving.  Tough words, I know.  Again, I am not saying my behavior and choices are exempt here, I’m preaching to myself too.

One more subject that is stuck in my craw.  The way we “Christians” dress.  I will probably dive in deeper in another post, but come on!!!!  This might be harsh, but I had the thought the other day, if Jesus walked into any one of the many churches, even in my own city, His first thought might actually be, ‘wow, they are doing so awesome, look at all the hookers and prostitutes here.’  Thems is fightin’ words, I know.  But in the name of ‘freedom in Christ’ and fashion and harmless fun, do you really think it is okay to dress with skirts mid-thigh??  Cleavage showing??  Tight, form fitting clothes??  Not trying to offend anyone here, but my husband, nor my sons need to see the parts of your body that really should be enjoyed only by your husband!

Do we just throw out the verses that talk about modesty and being discreet because the fashion trend right now is trashy and sexy?  And why is this okay with the husbands and the fathers?  To see young girls with short shorts on with the words ‘delicious’ or ‘hot’ plastered across the back of her shorts.  I am not kidding when I say I have all I can do to not go up and grab her daddy by the collar.

Back to my point of what we ‘look’ like.  I know we aren’t supposed to judge on appearances and it’s ‘the heart that matters’ (insert finger into throat) but, sorry, we live in a very visual world and our behavior is being ‘judged’ by every single person who sees us.  Does our behavior and/or our choices represent the King of kings and Lord of lords?  Would our behavior (which often times represent our heart) get us spit out of the mouth of Jesus?

Revelation 3:15-16

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

I heard recently in a message on this scripture and it was pointed out how when people look at and judge another’s life, Jesus would prefer the Church to either be cold or hot, because then it would be obvious to the unbeliever whether or not you are His.  When you are lukewarm, who can tell? Do we look more like Christ or more like the world?

So, at this point, I am not sure I am thrilled with being lumped into the “Christian” group.  If being a “Christian” means being ‘relevant’ (don’t get me started on this one) and doing what “I” want, acting, thinking, and talking like the ‘world’, I am not sure about being called a “Christian”.  Isn’t being a “Christian” being a ‘Christ follower’ anyway?!!

What really put me over the top this week was reading a review on “Christianity Today’s’ website of Snow White and the Huntsman.  I did not find it ironic at all that a magazine called “Christianity Today” (which apparently represents Christianity of today) found nothing wrong with this movie and in fact found it to be a pretty good movie.  WHAT??!  A magazine/website called “Christianity Today”, one the ‘Christians’ might turn to for a decent review on whether or not they should see this movie, gave it a good review.   Where is the admonition that this movie is FULL (actually rated extreme) in areas like, violence, scary/tense scenes, guns/weapons, disrespectful/bad attitudes.  Or, HEAVY in, alcohol, drugs, blood/gross stuff and sex/nudity to name a few!  How is this okay??  Sounds like a movie to sit and watch with Jesus, doesn’t it?

I guess this speaks volumes to what “Christianity” really is today, doesn’t it?  I am so not done yet with my ‘rant’, but I had to get some of it off my chest, it has been building all week. LOL  Please know that I am not exempting myself from this post.  I have been challenged in all these areas this past week.  I have done some repenting and some real soul searching myself.

AND, I am not ‘judging’ you or condemning you, just challenging you.  I hope to share some companion scripture with this post, just ran out of time.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Heart Today

O God, thou are my God; early will I seek thee: my soul is so thirsty for You, my flesh longs for You.  I am tired and weary.  Not necessarily in a bad way.  I find even as I am Your vessel, being spent for You, I am tired, a bit weary.

Oh, Lord I have seen Your glory and Your power, I am in awe, that You would use me, us, to display just a bit of it.  Humbled to be Your servant.

As I look around and see all You are doing, and how I often fuss and fight, again, humbled, repentant.  Your loving-kindness is better than life, Lord.  It is better than life! 

Your love and handiwork is all around, woven in every single detail of my life.  As You open my eyes to see I am brought low.  How can this be?  Your loving-kindness overwhelms me.  I’m a fool, so often blind to Your goodness.

My lips shall praise You.  I will bless You while I live.  I will lift up my hands in Your name!  You alone can satisfy.  I shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.

Oh God, when I think of You on my bed and in the night; the darkness, I remember how You have been my help.  My everything, really.  How do I forget?  Therefore I will hide in the shadow of Your wings and I will rejoice.  My soul follows hard after You.

Oh, the peace, the rest I find snuggled up under the shadow of Your wing.  I am a child, safe in her Papa’s embrace . . . just now, as I was typing, my door opened and in walked my Elijah, my baby.  He came for his morning snuggle.  He climbed on my lap like every other morning and melted right into me.  What a gift.  A perfect picture of what I feel like this morning, sitting in the arms of the One who loves me most . . . Yes, I am bawling Winking smile

Just sharin’ my heart today.  May you know the Love and ‘care’ of Your Father this day.