Archive for January, 2013

The Gospel? …or a comfortable substitute

Posted by on January 16, 2013  |  No Comments

Often when something makes us uncomfortable, we look for a way to make an adaptation or adjustment that will support how we feel so that no change is necessary.  Do you think this is how we should respond to God’s teachings and directions to us?  Hundreds of thousands today are looking to rewrite the Word of God so that it will better serve themselves.

Paul says –   “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7

How much easier would it be to float through life with our own blueprint instead of the one God gave us?  Does that sound familiar? It should… It is exactly what Lucifer proposed. He became full of himself with pride and arrogance and self confidence… seeing no need of a Savior or King.  He had plans that made much more sense.  Because of this He was cast out of heaven and today he is trying to convince you and I that our way is better than the perfect plan that God laid before us.  Do you see the danger in this?  More and more people are willing to adopt this theory and believe that God is approving of their decision to addapt their life in whatever way they see fit.

The deception is overwhelming.  Those introducing the deception are baffled by those not willing to enter deception along with them. They want you to be drawn to a “different gospel” through sympathy, anger, outrage and any other sense that satan would have you deceived by.

This is the simple and same tactic used to deceive  Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Six thousand years later, people are still responding with their senses rather than submitting their hearts and minds to Jesus and seeking His truth and guidance. By not adapting to what seems easier and kinder, they would have you think that you are not representing the pure love of Jesus Christ.

When you have children and you want them to learn how to live, you give them a set of guidelines right? Often children test us and live outside those guidelines.  You don’t stop loving them, but you sometimes discipline them or allow them to suffer consequences so that they will value the original plan set forth.  This is no different than what Jesus has been trying to teach us.  Why are we so resistant?

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” 2 Samuel 22:31 Over and over we are shown in God’s Word how His truth was declared and disobeyed. There were some grave consequences. But there were also many places of the demonstration of God’s grace and the humbling of those who would come to Him, repent and believe in Him. They experienced His love and lives were changed.

His Word gives no permission or license to live in homosexual relationships. But the world continues to normalize and condone what God’s Word has declared as an abomination. I don’t have the authority to rewrite the Word of God.  But I have been given the power of choice.  I have been given the ability to come to His Word and reason with what is true and what is not. I have been given His promise and His demonstration of  love. 

In humbly coming before Him in what I do not understand, He promises to give me strength to live in His truth. He promises to change my heart. He showers me with His blessings and His love for choosing to live according to what He has made perfect rather than allowing my beliefs and actions to be managed by what is imperfect.   So simple…. yet so many refuse to allow His truth to prevail.

By setting ourselves up to be master of the universe instead of crowning  Jesus in our lives, we will suffer eternal consequences. The Father who shed His blood for us will have no choice but to let the deception we have adopted destroy us. His heart breaks and He weeps for those who refuse to surrender. But ultimately they have decided who their master is.

Come to Jesus. Surrender your soul. Live in harmony with Him and let Him change you. He will not force Himself on you. He seeks your humility. To be able to lay it all down before Him and ask Him to change your life and let it be a life that adores Him and is being prepared for an eternity of life with the life-giver.

“I surrender all.”

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I have been crucified

Posted by on January 15, 2013  |  No Comments

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:20-21

Again I am reminded to “die daily” to the flesh. The enemy continually tries to use feelings to pull us away from Christ.  He will pummel us with emotions if He thinks He can gain ground.  This is why it is so important to go to the Word daily and to “abide” in Christ. He asks us to come to the cross daily and be crucified with Him. Die to self. Accept His righteousness in the process and be declared clean and free in Him.  His blood is so powerful.

My mistakes and failures along the way are many… but praise God His grace is sufficient for me and covers me as I grow in Him and invite Him to change all in my life that is not pure and in accordance with His perfect plan. This is how His promise to us have having His mind and character in us comes true.

With each decision I make for Him… dying to my human nature,  He then takes up more real estate in my life. It is a life-long process. But one that is beautiful and life-changing.

Without Him I am nothing. So I try to make it a practice to invite Him in and to take control from one moment to the next.  None of us are safe for a moment without Him. I want Him as master and ruler over everything in my life.  It is easy to get side-tracked. It’s easy to lose focus and be caught up in some desire or feeling that is not from God. We have been socially and culturally programmed to think that we have a right to certain pleasures and permissions that are not at all in alignment with God’s plan. We become so immune to a spiritual life and can easily miss out on the plan that God has for us by not continually submitting ourselves to Him.

Renew your life in Jesus often. He is the way, the truth and the light.  And isn’t it wonderful that John 8 says that the truth sets us free. Free from the bondage of sin.    He is an awesome God!  Spend time with Him and fall in love with Him.

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The Love That Matters Most

Posted by on January 11, 2013  |  No Comments

“Through the cross we learn that the heavenly Father loves us with a love that is infinite. Can we wonder that Paul exclaimed, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”? Galatians 6:14. It is our privilege also to glory in the cross, our privilege to give ourselves wholly to Him who gave Himself for us. Then, with the light that streams from Calvary shining in our faces, we may go forth to reveal this light to those in darkness. ” Acts of The Apostles pg 210.1

Four years ago I gave my heart to Jesus.  I’m sure there are people in the world today who would say.. “Why would you do that?”  What happened?  Why did it take so long?  What brought me to the realization that I need Jesus?  What was wrong with “love” the way I saw it before Jesus?

Since childhood and the rejection of my natural mother at birth,  I had looked for something or someone to fulfill all that had been missing.  The warmth, affirmation and complete acceptance.  I wanted approval for just the way I am. I had become stubborn in my ways as part of a defense mechanism and self protective shell. It was all about me.

When I think about Jesus today, I am amazed at how He allows us to experience a great deal of things in life that we don’t “need” to experience.  He allows them so that we can learn what we would not have otherwise come to realize and understand.

Jesus let me surround myself with all kinds of distractions and friends that would seem to cater to my every desire. Yet still… I longed for something else. Something that doesn’t come through the world or people in it.  Only He loves with a love that is pure. His love changes lives and fills them with His righteousness. Through our decisions to die to self, He begins to occupy more and more of us which brings glory and honor to Him.  I didn’t understand this when I was younger.  I was missing out on a relationship that He desired from me and that He desires from every living soul.

One by one my friends began to die.  My distractions in this world were being overcome by the stain of sin that has destroyed all that is beautiful.   Eventually …. He was right before me.  I was face to face with Jesus and He was asking me if I would now afford the time and devotion of getting to know Him intimately.  Was I just going to drift through the rest of my life that He had so lovingly preserved, or was I going to ignore Him and continually focus on anything that would bring me temporary joy?

It was like a big thud!  It was like a lightening bolt!  I had always been blaming and pleading before God.  All along He had tried to show me that I needed to make a decision for Him. He is not a God that forces.  There I was … faced with a question directly from God.  “Do you want to know me?”  I was deeply ashamed that I had ignored God and lived in a way that was in complete opposition to His plan for me.  I wasn’t doing anything that pleases God. I was self absorbed. I was living life according to Lucifer’s plan.  I had a better way. My opinion was more important. God didn’t understand.  I, I, I … You see that is really where the center of life’s problems begin.

So right there before me was God with the question… “Do you want to know me?”   I was overwhelmed with self disappointment.  My ways had not given me anything that had eternal value.  I was living for life in the moment, not for what Jesus offers all who will listen to that still small voice that’s crying out in the midst of the loud proclamations of this world.

And so a process of relinquishing self began. I began to make decisions to turn myself over to Jesus. All of me.  He was pleading with me for intimacy that I had never known. It only comes by way of spending time with Him. Reading His letter to me… and talking to Him.  We don’t get to know anyone without communication.  And communication with Him has great reward.

Oh … It’s puzzling at times. I don’t have it all figured out. Many times I have to keep studying, praying and spending time with God to determine truth and what He is trying to teach me.  But God has promised me that if I am dedicated to Him, He will reveal Himself to me. He has asked me to love Him with “ALL” my heart, not just part of it.

That’s quite a consideration.  “ALL my heart.”  God only allows trials to come to us that He knows we will be able to endure with His supplied strength.  God has taught me so much!  He has been so gracious and loving to me.  He has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination.

Yet walking with Him is certainly not like walking on the streets of gold that are promised in Heaven.  The road here can get a bit steep, rough and narrow.  It is the narrow way that leads through the gates of heaven.  God has begun to allow some of the temptations of my past to revisit me.   I began thinking… “I’ve dealt with that already.. haven’t I?”  We are tested. How much have we grown?  Are we really planted firmly in Jesus?  Can we easily be drawn away from Him under varying circumstances or will we stand for and with Him … unshaken?

I recently found myself focusing on the acceptance I used to want from society.  No judgment or criticism. Oh it felt great!  You begin to feel pretty good about yourself and the affirmations and joy that are not all wrong by any means; it’s just that the focus slowly begins to tilt toward self instead of being completely focused on Jesus.   And in that … the enemy believes that he is regaining ground that was taken from Him when I made a decision to live for Jesus.

The ministry God has given me has always been about HIM.. not me. He takes care of me. But I am a vessel used to convey His love and truth for all His children.  If my focus in continually on Him… I will lack nothing because He is my provider. He will not leave or forsake me.   He tells me to rely on Him.  1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

In Him … I don’t have to ask if He still loves me.  I am safe while abiding in Him. Anything or anyone else has no guarantee. This is why He asks for us to trust in Him who we cannot see, but who will never let us down.  In Him…. all things are possible. Philippians 4:13.  

We must be so careful not to be led by our feelings. They can easily be manipulated by the enemy. They can be traps set to take our focus off of our Savior.  

My focus must stay on the cross… and looking heavenward toward Jesus.  Troubled times are forecast for those who will stand firmly in their faith. But our powerful, loving God has promised to see us through any trial or temptation and reward us with life that will go on forever without further pain, suffering, doubt, discouragement or failure.

So today and every day… I vow to renew my faith and my trust in Him. It is a privilege and honor to be about my Father’s business. It’s such  a good business!

God’s rich and powerful blessings to each of you!

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Highlights of our trip to Kenya!

Posted by on January 6, 2013  |  No Comments

Stay tuned for more content from our trip!

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