Sunday, September 21, 2014

"One Anothers" of the Bible

A Colorful Lesson

We could learn a lot from crayons: Some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors....
but they all exist very nicely together in the same box.
Robert Fulghum

Found this the other day and thought it worthy of a reminder. 
It's a good guide for how we should treat "one another."

Love one another.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."
John 13:34
We are members of one another.
"So, we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another."
Romans 12:5
Be devoted to one another.
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;"
Romans 12:10a
Give preference to one another.
" honor preferring one another;"
Romans 12:10b
Be of the same mind.
"Be of the same mind one toward another."
Romans 12:16a
Do not judge one another.
"Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way."
Romans 14:13
Build up one another.
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Romans 14:19
Accept one another.
"Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God."
Romans 15:7
Admonish one another.
"And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another."
Romans 15:14
Greet one another.
"Salute one another with a holy kiss."
Romans 16:16a
Serve one another.
"For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
Galatians 5:13
Do not bite and devour one another.
"But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
Galatians 5:15
Do not provoke one another.
"Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another."
Galatians 5:26
Bear one another's burdens.
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2
Forbear one another.
"With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love."
Ephesians 4:2
Be kind one to another.
"And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted,.."
Ephesians 4:32a
Forgive one another.
"...forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32b
Be subject to one another.
"Submitting yourselves, one to another in the fear of the Lord."
Ephesians 5:21
Do not lie to one another.
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;"
Colossians 3:9
Comfort one another.
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
I Thessalonians 4:18
Encourage one another.
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Provoke one another to love and good deeds.
"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"
Hebrews 10:24
Do not forsake one another.
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25
Have compassion for one another.
"Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:"
1 Peter 3:8
Show hospitality to one another.
"Use hospitality one to another without grudging."
1 Peter 4:9
Minister to one another.
"As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
1 Peter 4:10
Fellowship with one another.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin."
1 John 1:7
The greatest vehicle for our sanctification is relating one to another.  As we relate, we "rub" against one another with our "sharp edges."  And it's that "rubbing" that should drive us to the Lord asking Him to change uso make us into His image.  As we submit to that sanctification process, He is faithful to increase the measure of holiness and righteousness within us. 
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son,"
Romans 8:29
"Relationships are not easy. Paul knows this is true even among people who have the Spirit.  'Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace' (Ephesians 4:3).  Paul says that our relationships with other Christians are not something we should take for granted.  He says that we are to maintain - not create - these relationships.  If you are a Christian, you automatically are in relationship with other Christians.  You are united to one another because you are united to Christ.  Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, you already share a deep bond that has been given to you by grace.  Therefore, these relationships are gifts to be managed with great care.  I am either being a good or a bad steward of these gifts.  If I hinder my relationships with other believers in any way, I am devaluing these relationships.  But if I am willing to pursue, forgive, and serve, I demonstrate care for these gifts."
                                          Timothy S.Lane and Paul David Tripp from Heart of the Matter

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jesus Was Never Politically Correct

We live in a world filled with the spirit of entitlement. 
That spirit manifests itself in many ways, but none greater than in the realm of "political correctness." 
I believe this is one of the most insidious and dangerous elements to creep into our culture.

This "political correctness" has led to a culture of offense.  We are offended by everything we don't agree with.

Recently in my hometown of Winooski, VT a local restaurant had a sign advertising their establishment and it happened to have the word "bacon" on it.  A Muslim woman complained about it and the restaurant removed the sign.  That created a backlash of such magnitude that the restaurant had to hire a PR person to handle it!!  The whole incident made the national news!

My first reaction was "Seriously?  Are you kidding me?" 
Today that is still my reaction. 
What is wrong when we can be so offended by a word that we need to have someone remove it because it causes us distress? 

Are you offended by the "Stop" sign at each intersection? 
You should be - it interferes with your right to keep driving!
Are you offended by the displays of meat in your local supermarket and the signs indicating the "cut" of meat? 
You should be - it interferes with your decision to be a vegeterian!!

Do these sound ridiculous to you? 
They should - because they are!

If I don't like that a restaurant is serving bacon and chooses to advertise it, then I have every right to choose not to eat there! 
It's that simple!
But my right to not see that sign does not negate your right to see it!
When I see something that offends me, I need to realize that there are lots of others that desire this thing and that I am free to choose to look away and you are free to partake, whether I like what it is or agree with it or not.
When does my right to freedom end and yours begin?

I see and hear lots of things as I live my life every day that I don't like and would rather not see or hear.  I don't like listening to profanity, but often times I am subjected to it because I am in close proximity to someone who is using it.

I don't like seeing the excess skin that I see on a lot of people who choose to wear less clothing then I would deem appropriate, but often times I am subjected to those sights, too.

I realize there is nothing I can do about what you choose to speak, the clothes you choose to wear, or how you choose to conduct your life. 
You have the freedom to choose.
We need to grow up and stop acting like spoiled brats when we can't have everything just the way we want it in this cold, cruel world!
Paul said in Acts 24:16 -
"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men."
This Scripture tells me it's my responsibility to keep my conscience clear of offense - that I can choose to not be offended! 
What a concept!
The word offense in the above Scripture means (in the Greek) to not lead into sin.  So Paul is saying he exercises his conscience to keep it free of anything that would lead him into sinning against God and against men.
When something happens to us, whether it comes through the hands of man or not, we need to examine our conscience and choose to forgive, choose to keep it clear of offense!  We need to choose to walk in the will and obedience of God in our reaction to the offense and to the person/people involved..
Jesus spoke much about offenses in Matthew, chapter 18:6-9
"But whoso shall offend one of these little ones (read vs 1-5) which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Let's look a little closer:
In vs 6, the word offend means to entrap; to trip up; to entice to sin; to cause to stumble.
In vs 7, the word offenses means a snare; cause of sin; occasion to fall; stumblingblock.
And in vs 8 and 9, the word offend means the same as vs 6.
So we see in vs 6, Jesus is saying if you cause someone to sin or cause them to stumble, it's better for you to be drowned in the sea! 
We see from this verse, that just as I am responsible to keep my conscience clear of offense, I am also responsible not to intentionally offend another.
In vs 7, Jesus says that offenses will come, but woe to the man by whom the offense comes!
NIV states it this way: "Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!  Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!
In vs 8 & 9, Jesus is saying that if your hand, foot or eye cause you to sin, cut them off.  If your hand does things that are sinful, if your feet take you to places that cause sin, if your eye sees sinful images, cut them off and out!! 
Strong words!
The Greek root for these words - offense, offend, offenses - is skandalizo; skandalon, which is where we get our word - scandalize.  It means a snare; a trap.
It boils down to this - an offense is a snare or a trap that the enemy of our souls sets to trip us up, to cause us to stumble out of "the way", the way of Jesus.
When we choose to become offended, for any reason, we fall into that trap, that snare and it causes us to stumble.  We choose to camp there and build a whole campsite. It prevents us from walking on in the things of God. This leads to unforgiveness and stops the flow of God's forgiveness washing through our heart and soul.
How many times have you heard of people who left the church because "so-and-so" offended them?  They chose to let the offense turn them back from following God.
When we intentionally choose to offend someone, we are setting a trap and being used as a snare in the hands of the enemy to trip up a brother or sister!
Woe to you, Jesus says!
I think it's important for the church to be aware of these "traps", these "snares" and follow Paul's leading - exercise our consciences; keep them clear of offense. 
Don't let an offense take up residence in your heart. 
Keep short accounts.
Let it go!
Choose to extend grace and mercy.
Choose to give your brother/sister the benefit of the doubt.
And seek to love always.
Seek to let love rule in your heart so you do not become a snare or stumbling block in someone else's life.
We need to live different than the world does.
We are not subject to being "politically correct."
We need to be "Biblically sound."
The only offense we should be is to those who do not believe:
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.  To whom coming, as unto a living stone (Jesus), disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and preciouys, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded.  Unto you therefore which believe he is precioys: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner.  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:"
I Peter 2:1-9
"As it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed."
Romans 9:33
See also Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Fruit of Neglect

I love flowers and I love flower gardens! 
Many years ago, I took a Master Gardener's class at a local university. 
In my past life, I had lots of gardens and loved the time I spent working in them.
I love to weed!! 
Yes, I do! 
To me, there is something very therapeutic about pulling out those "suckers" and throwing 'em out!!
As I've gotten older, I still love flowers and still love gardens, but find I don't have the time and energy to work at them like I used to.
I have a small flower garden on the side of my home that I have cultivated since I moved here a little over six years ago.  It's big enough to meet my need to "play in the dirt", but not too big to be overwhelming to care for.  I have lots of planted pots which I love to move around during the summer to make the prettiest view.  I love the colors and the variety of plants that make up a garden.

But this summer, something happened. 
I don't know if I was too busy, away too much, or just plain lazy, but I didn't tend to my garden the way I usually do. 
At the beginning of the summer, I hurt my shoulder and so my granddaughter was watering the garden for me.  Then she went away for a week and I guess I just forgot I needed to do it. 
Anyway, it didn't get done!
And the fruit of that neglect is not pretty!

As I walked by these very neglected plants one day, it reminded me of what our hearts must look like when they are not tended.  When we get too busy, grow lazy or just plain forget,the garden of our heart suffers from lack of care.
When we neglect our devotional time, when we neglect to practice His presence, when we neglect time in His Word, our hearts dry up and wither, too.
Our spirits grow hungry and thirsty for nourishment.
"My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
Proverbs 4:21, 22
"They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them."
Isaiah 49:10
"And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst."
John 6:35
It is recorded in Scripture of a time when the disciples were encouraging Jesus to get some nourishment.  They supposed He must surely be hungry.  He told them He "had meat to eat that they knew not of."  He was talking about the "meat" He received directly from the Father as He took the time to spend with Him.
This is the "meat" our spirits need, too, if we are to grow and prosper in Him.  As we feast on Him daily, our souls grow rich in grace, wisdom and truth. 
We are filled to overflowing. 
And it's out of that overflowing that we can share His love with others.
But when we neglect to feed our spirits, we dry up, wither and become desolate.  When others look to us for spiritual food, we have no reservoir to minister out of.
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper."
Psalm 1:1-3

It's easy to get caught up in the busyness of life.  Some days I find myself going from one commitment to the next and I don't have time to eat lunch.  By mid afternoon, I am not only really hungry, but I am tired and find myself with low energy. 

My body has no nourishment to convert into energy.

When I don't feed my spirit, I grow hungry and tired in spirit and find myself succumbing to grumpiness, impatience, laziness, I get annoyed easily - all signs (fruit) of neglect.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Galatians 5:22

The fruit of neglect or the fruit of the Spirit?
You choose!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

The "Sign"

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
John 3:16-19

The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately about love - loving God and loving others.  It is not my job, nor does the Lord require me to condemn or convict others.  As Scripture indicates, He didn't send His Son to condemn the world because they are condemned already. 

Lately I have been using a small book titled, "Majestic Is Your Name" by Theresa of Avila for my daily devotional.  I would like to use today's post to share with you a particular reading that ministered to me and brought needed conviction.
The "Sign"
     Love is a great fire, and it will do nothing but give out a very bright light that will attract others to God.
     If any Christian does not have love in his life, he should stop and consider this deficiency very carefully.  Do not think you can go on in your spiritual growth.  No, if we are not growing in love, we should be filled with dread, for something is very wrong.
     If you find that you are without love toward anyone, this is what you must do - for you will not go on with the Lord unless you resolve this matter in your spirit:
     1 -          Go to God in honest prayer.
     2 -          Open yourself to Him in the spirit of humility - which means asking Him to sift your heart and show you where wicked self-exaltation is causing you to lift yourself up and think you are better than your brother.
     3 -          Beg the Lord to keep you from any temptation that causes you to keep falling into the sin of pride.  It is pride that keeps us blind to our own sins, but so loveless that we are always aware of the smallest sins of others.  And so we ask God to correct and judge them, but to spare us!  (Matthew 7:1-5)
Unless you open your soul to God in this way - that is, completely - you will never bear the sign of the one who is a true believer in Jesus Christ.  That sign is love. . . .
    If you want to grow in your love for God, then your attitude of heart must change.  You must be so loathe to offend Him that you stop acting as if you are superior to others.  Then, I tell you, your inner life will become one of peace and tranquility.

I needed to be reminded of this today - that when I complain and put others down, it's really because I think I am better than them - the sin of pride - as pointed out - and a lack of love.

It is so easy to be blinded to our own sins. That sin of pride that dwells deep in the heart of all of us, severely blinds us.  I've heard them called "blind spots" and the only way they are revealed to us is when we go to God and ask Him to show us.  And He does - in gentleness and love.  And if He shows us with gentleness and love, then that's what we need to extend to others - that same gentleness and love.
It really is a genuine lack of love; oh, how short I fall.

Lord, teach me to love the way you do.  Holy Spirit, remind me as I walk throughout my day to love others.  When I am tempted to judge and criticize, remind me that you don't treat me like that and help me not to treat others that way, too.  Keep me from temptation and self-exaltation, especially at times when I'm not even aware of it in my own heart. May my heart increase in my love for you and may that love then overflow to others.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who You Are in Christ (part 2)

You are a minister of reconciliation for God.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation.  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
You are God's co-worker.
"For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building."
1 Corinthians 3:9
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."
2 Corinthians 6:1
You are seated with Christ in heavenly realms.
"And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
Ephesians 2:6
You are God's workmanship.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:10
You can be confident that the good works God began in you will be perfected.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
Philippians 1:6
You have been justified.
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:1
You have been adopted as God's child.
"Having predestined us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,"
Ephesians 1:5
You have access to God through the Holy Spirit.
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ephesians 2:18
You have been redeemed and forgiven.
"In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:"
Colossians 1:14
You have been chosen and appointed to bear much fruit.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you."
John 15:16
You can approach God with freedom and confidence.
"In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."
Ephesians 3:12
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:15, 16
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13
You cannot be separated from the love of God.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:35-39
You belong to God - He is your Father.
And you can take that to the bank!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Who You Are In Christ (part 1)

You are God's child.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
John 1:12
You are Christ's friend.
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
John 15:15
You are united with the Lord.
"But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.  Flee fornication.  Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.  What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price" therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
1 Corinthians 6:17-20
You are bought with a price.
"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular."
1 Corinthians 12:27
You are a saint (set apart for God).
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."
Ephesians 1:1
You are complete in Christ.
"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
Ephesians 2:10
You are free forever from condenmation.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."
Romans 8:1, 2
You are assured all things work together for good.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28
You are free from any charge against you.
"What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not hiw own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?  It is God that justifies.  Who is he that condemns?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us?"
Romans 8:31-34
You are established, anointed, and sealed by God.
"Now he which stablishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God.  Who has also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."
2 Corinthians 1: 21, 22
You are hidden with Christ in God.
"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Colossians 3:3
You are a citizen of Heaven.  You are significant.
"For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ."
Philippians 3:20
You are the salt of the earth.
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."
Matthew 5:13, 14
You are the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.  I am the vine, ye are the branches.  He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:1-5
You are a personal witness of Christ.
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
Acts 1:8
You are God's temple.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" 
1 Corinthians 3:16

Monday, September 8, 2014

A New Creation!

I recently wrote this letter to someone who was being harassed by the enemy based on her past life before knowing the Lord.  As I printed it out for her, I felt prompted by the Lord to also share it here for any of you who may fight this same battle.  May the Lord set you free!!

Dear Friend:

Here are some scriptures I made reference to the other night when we were together. I thought it might be helpful for you to have them in your arsenal as you do battle with the enemy. Remember, he has been defeated and his only shot is to get you to believe his lies. BUT, you have God’s truth. Use it!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come?”
2 Corinthians 5:17

The old you no longer exists; she is dead and her life is now “hid in Christ with God.”
 (Colossians 3:3)
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

This means that when the enemy whispers lies in our ears about us or anything else, we use the divine power we have through Christ (His Word) to demolish those lies. And we capture every thought as it enters our minds and turn it to fit God’s truth. For example - the enemy whispers - “you’re never going to change. Once a sinner, always a sinner.” You reject that thought and replace it with this one - “God’s word tells me that I am a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come.’

Satan is a liar from the beginning.

This is Jesus speaking to the Pharisees - “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
“… is impossible for God to lie,….”  
Hebrews 6:18b

 By this scripture, we can be assured that all lies come from satan, for God cannot lie!

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

John 8:32
"The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

The thief comes to steal your joy, kill your hope and destroy your faith.

“For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” 

Revelations 12:10c

Just as we know that all lies come from satan, we can also be assured that all accusations come from satan. God never accuses or condemns us. But this is the promise and assurance of satan’s future demise - the one who has accused us relentlessly day and night WILL be cast down!! Hallelujah!!

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
According to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
So that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” 

Psalm 51

Read and reflect on this scripture, ask God to speak to you through it, then write down any questions you have about any part of it and we can discuss it the next time we get together.

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 

Acts 20:28 KJV

You were bought and paid for with His shed blood on the cross.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” 

Ephesians 1:7, 8


“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” 

Ephesians 2:13

“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” 

Hebrews 9:14

Jesus’ blood has cleansed all past sins and actions that led to spiritual death.

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” 

Hebrews 10:19-23

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

I John 1:7 KJV

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” 

Psalm 103:11, 12

I hope these scriptures have helped and continue to help as you walk forth out of the bondages of the past into the new life that God has promised and provided for you!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to Reality

Today is my last full day of vacation. 
I will start packing up tonight and tomorrow morning will make the 4-hr trip back to reality!

This has been a wonderful vacation. 
The weather was absolutely perfect. 
I ate lots of my favorite ice cream (pretty sure a year's allotment!), actually went into the ocean to ride the waves, sat and read, sat and read, and then sat and read some more!!
Laughed a lot, walked the beach a lot, took lots of pictures, took a couple of naps, went out to dinner, rested and relaxed. 

 I thoroughly enjoyed my time away.
It was everything a vacation should be and more.
But now, it's time to pack up, put the bathing suits away, brush the sand out of the car and head home.
Back to reality!
What is reality, anyway?
Wasn't my life real this past week just because I am alive and real no matter where I am?
What do we really mean when we say to someone - "Get Real!"
Definition of real - " genuine and authentic; free of pretense or falsehood."
Definition of reality - "the quality or state of being actual or true."
I was genuine and authentic, actual and true this week in my enjoyment of time away from responsibility, in my enjoyment of the beautiful weather, the ocean and the beach!

But, still, every time I think about going home, I think about going "back to reality."
Because real life is not a vacation every day.
Real life is not sitting on the beach, soaking up the rays, reading a good book and generally, just doing nothing every day.
Real life is not ice cream every day.
Real life is not about indulging the desires and wants of the flesh every day.
Real life is not fun every day.
Real life is not a nap in the sun every day.
Real life is responsibilities and meeting them head on, whether we feel like it or not.
Real life is reading the stark headlines of our newspaper.
Real life is eating food that will give our bodies proper nourishment.
Real life is working to provide for our needs, not necessarily our wants.
Real life is sacrificing for the good of others, not just ourselves.
Real life is about growing up and facing reality.
Real life is about trials and tribulations, weathering storms and reconciling relationships.
Real life is about hardship, pain and giving even when it hurts.
Real life is this:
Jesus said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33
(read the previous Scriptures to find out what "these things" are!)
"Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you, if they have kept my saying, they keep yours also."
John 15:20
Pretty heavy stuff, this reality, isn't it?
But there's some pretty heavy stuff going on in the real world right now.
And the Word of God is where we find our reality.
"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.  Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Philippians 4:4, 6-8
This is our reality!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Share God's Love

"For God so loved the world that He gave....."
John 3:16
Love gives........
Love originated with God because God IS love.
I've been thinking about this lately because I am always, always amazed at the very many, creative ways God will show His love for me as I walk out my very ordinary days.
Right now I am in Maine with some friends on vacation.  One of the ladies, Linda, got sick yesterday.  It's an ongoing medical condition and not one to be taken lightly.  When I went downstairs this morning, she and Pat were discussing whether or not she should go to the hospital.  We chatted for awhile, discussed some options and she decided to put the hospital visit on hold. 
I left to go for a walk on the beach.  As I walked, I started to pray and asked God to touch her body and give her peace. 
As I continued my walk, I found this message of God's love for me on the beach.
An absolutely perfect heart!
I was so excited and felt my heart respond immediately to God's love expressed in this stone found right there on the beach.
Then, I heard these words.
"Love isn't love put in your heart to stay. 
Love isn't love til you give it away."
"No, Lord, you can't mean........  Really?  I'm not sure I want to.  Really?"
Yes, I knew really.  He wanted me to give her this stone as an expression of His love for her in the middle of this medical situation. 
I wish I could tell you that immediately I said okay, but I didn't. 
I struggled. 
I didn't want to give away this perfect heart.
"But, Lord, it's such a perfect stone.  I really want to keep it.  I'll never find another like it.  You're not really asking me to part with it, are you?"
"Yes, I am." 
I heard loud and clear. 
"Bring this to her, tell her I love her and pray with her."
Then my heart settled and I remembered again that "love isn't love til you give it away."
I continued my walk on the beach reflecting on the love of God and the fact that God expects us to be conduits of that love.  When He so unselfishly pours out His love to us, it's not just for our benefit, but it's so we can share it with others who may not be aware of it. 
God loved and He gave
Isn't that what He wants us to do?

As I finished my walk and approached our ocean cottage, my heart skipped a beat as I saw this in the sand:
 The things that ran through my mind as I took this picture and then picked up the stone.
When we willingly share God's love, it comes back to us.
Our supply is never depleted, because God's love is continuously being poured out
and lavished upon us.
We can never outgive God.
The first heart was perfect which symbolized to me the perfect love of God. 
The second heart is not perfect which represents the way we, as humans, love. 
When we receive the perfect love of God and allow Him to use us as conduits of that love to others, then His love becomes complete and perfectly expressed. 
As we express God's love to others, we don't ever have to worry about "running out."
God did not have to give me another heart this morning, but He did. 
That is the expression of His never-ending, unconditional love.
How precious it is to me!
I came home and shared with Linda what God said to me and gave her the stone. I then asked her if I could pray with her.  She said yes and I lifted her up to the Lord, marveling that the same love He shows me, He has for her, too.
And the love He has for her in no way diminishes the love He has for me.
He has way more than enough to go around!
Linda did not take a trip to the hospital today and I know she was touched by God's expression of love to her.  I trust she will grow stronger in body and spirit in the days ahead.
I felt challenged by God today and I want to challenge you.
Actively look for an expression of His love for you today.
Begin keeping a "Love Journal."
Record the many ways He pours out His love for you in the course of your ordinary day.
Let the increasing knowledge of His perfect love for you begin to change you.
And then begin to share God's love with others.
Ask God each day to send someone your way who truly needs a touch of His love.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day

"There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."  Hebrews 4:9-1

Today is Labor Day in the United States.  According to, Labor Day was originally organized to celebrate various labor associations' strengths and contributions to the United States economy.  In our day, it is largely celebrated as a day of rest.  Many people mark this holiday as the end of the summer season and a last chance to take trips or hold outdoor events.  The first Labor Day was held in 1882 and became a federal holiday in 1894.

I did my part today to celebrate this day of rest on the beach in Maine.  For the last several years, my last "hurrah" of summer has been spent at this beautiful cottage right on Moody Beach in Wells, Maine.  It's like coming home when I walk through the door.

The week that I spend here is truly a time of rest, a time free from the responsibilities, chores and cares of every day life.  I sit and watch the waves, walk the beach, soak up the sun and catch up on some fun reading.  I laugh with friends, eat way too much ice cream and keep my toes in the sand.

Our cottage is right on the ocean and my bedroom is on the beach side (top left windows in picture below).  I fall asleep at night to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and I wake up to the most beautiful sunrises almost every day that I'm here.

Today the water was probably the warmest I have ever experienced up here in the northeastern part of the USA.  I actually went in and played in the waves for awhile.  Course, once your legs are numb, it doesn't really matter any more how cold the water is!!

As wonderful as this time of rest is and as much as I enjoy every minute of it, it pales by far in comparison to the rest that God provides for His people.
The rest that He provides doesn't require a 4-hour drive to get to it; isn't dependent upon the weather and it makes no difference what time of day, month or year!  This is a rest that knows no time restraints or special days off from work. 

It's a rest that He provides to those who believe, to those who trust in Him and to those who simply "enter in" by belief in the Son, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross.
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it."
Hebrews 4:1

Did you truly rest on Labor Day?