God’s Map

“I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” Ps 119:19

When we look at this verse, we can also conclude that “stranger” could be “sojourner,” which means a person who resides temporarily in a place.  Earth is not our home.  Dwelling here is not the end goal.  I have overheard people say that it is not a fear of dying, but a fear of leaving this place.  They say that they are “not ready to go.”  Before I gave my life to Christ, I could relate to this thought process.  I lived each day for me and for the next adventure.  Leaving this earth scared me because I was having too much fun with “earthly life.” 

1 John 2:15-17 states: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”  Once we give our lives to Christ, the desire to Love HIM overwhelms any desire we may have once had to love the world.

The psalmist reminds us that we are strangers here and asks the Lord to show us the way; “do not hide your commands from me.”  We need guidance.  Think of this life as a trip.  Almost any trip or journey, requires a map or guide.  As we travel through life, the Bible serves as our road map, our spiritual guide to maneuver through this world.  It will help point out hazards, obstacles to avoid, the safe routes to take to our final destination (eternal life with our Father).  We must recognize ourselves as sojourners, travelers on this earth, who need to study God’s map to learn the way.  If we ignore the map, we will wander aimlessly through life and risk missing our real destination!

God Bless you all!

 

Is your relationship with Christ declining??

“Man did not begin with ignorance and gradually work his way up to intelligence; he began with a blazing revelation of the power and wisdom of God and turned his back on it.”  Warren Wiersbe – via sermon by Chuck Gililland

I have spoken many times to women over the years about “getting right with Christ.”  Along the way, I have encountered the statement, “God doesn’t answer my prayers.”  My response is always this:  “What is standing in the way of your relationship with Him?”  Think about this for a moment.  There are several answers to this question but today I want to focus on what is causing our decline in the relationship we have with Christ as it pertains to the focus of our attention.

Romans 1:18-19 tells us that “For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.”  In these verses, Paul answers a common objection to belief in God:  How could a loving God send anyone to hell, especially someone who has never heard about Christ?  Paul goes on to tell us that God in fact DID reveal Himself to all people plainly in the creation.  “In His image” man was made.  Still we reject even this basic knowledge of God.  Also, everyone has an inner sense of what God requires, but they choose not to live up to it.  In other words, people’s moral standards are always better than their behavior.  If people suppress God’s truth in order to live their own way, they have no excuse.  They know the truth, and they will endure the consequences of ignoring it.  Although someone may believe there is a God, they refuse to commit themselves to Him.  Knowing that He exists is not enough, we must learn that God is loving and that He sent His Son to demonstrate that love!!!

Now, I pose the question as above, “What is standing in the way of your relationship with Him?”  What are you “committing” your time to, when you should be spending it chasing wholeheartedly after Him?  What are you replacing Him with; what is your idol?  The words that Paul writes in Romans can be intimidating and somewhat scary but true.  We must examine our hearts and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and then spend our lives pursuing Him!  It is only by this selfless act, that we can begin to experience the life God means for each of us to have.

I challenge each of you to pray on this.  When you identify and rid yourself of your idol and then focus your attention on Christ, you will notice that you are a better mother, father, sister, brother, friend, co-worker, etc.

God Bless you all.

Feeling like a failure

It is easy to take the circumstances of our lives and allow the enemy to use them to make us feel worthless.  The hardest thing for many to overcome is “feeling like a failure.”  September is suicide awareness month and a reminder that mental illness and overall feelings of despair and worthlessness are very real in our world.  Sometimes even those we love and are closest to, can make us feel like a failure, like we are not worthy of their love.  It is difficult to remember that we are not perfect and cannot allow our imperfection to define our emotional state.  It is too easy to say, “I can’t do this anymore” or “I’m just not good enough for …”  I know, I’ve been there.  Staying on track when all you want to do is derail and quit, is the hardest thing to do.  But we have a God that has been there!  He has suffered and walked in our shoes and knows how we feel.  He will never turn His back on us!

Psalm 37:23-24  The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.

Deep in the depths of failure and self-loathing, it can be difficult to understand the heart of God. Why would He love me when I messed up so bad? When you fail, not only does God love you, but He loves you enough to hold your hand. Others may desert and disown you, but Jesus is by your side holding your hand. He is not embarrassed by your mess.

I pray that this reaches the heart of those who may be suffering and encourages them to know that they are loved!  No matter what, God loves you!

I am appalled at the looting and destruction going on by the very people facing nature’s disasters.  As if this time isn’t hard enough as a nation, we are reminded of man’s fall from God.  Turn your eyes to the Lord!  Seek His guidance, comfort, and peace.  Turn away from the sinful ways of man.

Compassion

Let’s face it, no one is perfect.   We all make mistakes and fall short of the grace of God.  In doing so, we make mistakes that affect each other and can cause hurt feelings or emotional stress for those around us.  It becomes a great lesson in life when we have the opportunity to show grace and mercy when we are the ones hurt.  It is not always easy to show compassion, especially when we are hurting and still angry.  Jesus showed great compassion for mankind when He died on the cross for sins committed by everyone BUT HIM!  What a display of compassion!

Colossians 3:12 states “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

We are charged with showing compassion, even when we don’t want to, feel like we can’t, and don’t even know if we can.  Remember that you too, at some point in your life, have hurt someone.   How did they react?  How did that make you feel?  Did they show you compassion and forgiveness?

Remember, we are not perfect but we are created in the image of a perfect being who died for us!  Try to remember this when someone hurts you…God shows us compassion, kindness, gentleness, and patience when we least deserve it.

God Bless you all.

Genuine Love

As we finished up our bible study this week, the topic of love continued to come up and became a brief discussion once again.  We live in a society where the phrase, “I love you,” is thrown around too easily.  It is used to manipulate, tempt, and lure people for purposes that are not pure or even remotely loving.  In order to truly love someone or show genuine love, we have to remind ourselves what Christian love means, “Agape” love. 

Romans 12:9-10 states, “Love must be without hypocrisy.  Detest evil; cling to what is good.  Show family affection to one another with brotherly love.  Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Most of us have learned how to be courteous to other (speak kindly, avoid hurting feelings, appear interested in what they are saying).  Some of us have even perfected “pretending” to feel compassion when we learn of others’ needs, or to feel indignant when we learn of injustice.  God calls us to “genuine love.”  This goes far beyond pretense and learned politeness.  It requires concentration and effort and demands our time, money, and personal involvement.  We have to help others to become better people. 

No one person has the ability to show love to an entire community, but the body of Christ DOES!  I challenge you to this: stop throwing around the word “love.”  If it is not genuine love as dictated by the word of the Lord, do not say it.  As you continue to learn and express love for others, look around your community, school, church, or family for people who need your love.  Find ways you and your fellow believers can “love” your community for Christ.

God Bless you all!

Trials of Life

With all that is happening in our country right now, it is amazing to sit back and watch people of all cultures, races, religions, and political status, come together in the aid of all being affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Every day that we turn on the news, we see more stories of devastation and/or sadness related to that storm.  I cannot begin to imagine the emotions of those who have lost their homes, families, loved ones, or way of life.  What I do know, and CAN imagine, is how big our God is in spite of it all! 

James 1:12 states “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

We are called on to categorize hard times as joyful things.  Our faith grows immensely when we are tested by trials.  Our relationship with Christ grows and develops as we learn to trust God through the hardships we face.  The choice to trust God in the very midst of the storm, brings us His blessing.  No matter how large the storm is that rages, our God is BIGGER!!  We have His approval and He has our back!  All we have to do is cry out to Him and He is there!  Be bold. Persevere.  Cry out! 

As we sit in our warm, safe homes, remember those being affected and those that have been affected by this tragedy.  Pray for strength, comfort, and for the courage to cry out to our Lord for his protection and blessing.

Jesus does not care about societal norms.  He doesn’t care who you are, where you came from, the color of your skin, the political party you vote for…He only cares about LOVING US!!!  Go to Him, He WILL BE THERE!!!