Here comes TROUBLE!

Think of every fairytale you have ever read. 

Each character was seemingly at the wrong place at the wrong time.  I mean, if Snow White wasn’t home, when presented with the apple, she would have been awake when the Prince came for a visit.  Belle could have just married Gaston to avoid the hassle and had an uneventful, yet loveless, life.

The same can be said of us.  In real life, it can seem, we become a magnet for the negative.  I can tell you, from experience, that I can be whistling while I work or singing “The Happy Working Song” probably not as delightfully as Amy Adams, but then TROUBLE comes! Wha?

I was minding my own business and BOOM! Conflict arises!

It seems like Murphy’s Law might apply to the good, but those who just plow over others get rewarded.

Guess what? Jesus promised, in this life, you will have problems.

“I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” John 16:33

Jesus made it clear that when we chose Him, we would not fit into the world.  

We will not be fully understood.  Jesus said even wise men would be stumped by his teachings.   If we are like Him, our Teacher, we will be like the square peg in a round hole.  Yes, God will give us favor with man, but many will look at us cross-eyed. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have had someone say, “You  are too happy.” I have had someone bothered just by my presence. I truly believe when someone is running from God, if you are His Light, you will be offensive to them. 

And,“He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”They stumble because they do not obey God’s word… 1 Peter 2:8a

If God’s Word, Jesus, lives in you, you will be offensive to people who don’t know their Maker. 

Have you ever asked yourself, even though you know God is always with you, “Why don’t they like me?” Jesus had people hate Him and He was God! God!!

Hear me out, rain proves how strong and secure your house is built! 

“Whoever hears these words of Mine and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.  The rain came down. The water came up. The wind blew and hit the house. The house did not fall because it was built on rock.” Matt.7:24-25

When I wasn’t living for the Lord, I remember going out with my sister and wanting her to “fall” off her righteous pedestal.  I didn’t believe she could be strong in Jesus.  I knew I had no willpower so I wanted to see her “break” under pressure!  Know this, people in the world want to see someone fail.  Just notice some of the gossip magazines.  It is usually magnifying a divorce, drug problem, wardrobe malfunction or anything to put another down. What sets us as Christian’s apart is our desire to see another win.  A marriage survive. An addict recover. We are the difference in this crooked world!

The strength of  my relationship with Christ can be proved, only and if, when faced with injustice, I can be confident in Christ!

That means, I let Him be my defense.  I let Him be strong in me when temptation seems formidable. 

If I know trouble will come my way, I must stay close to Jesus. In His Word. Away from anything against His Word.

Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper, just as you have claimed. Amos 5:14

Just like we must trust a pilot when going from point A to Point B, we must trust God in our walks, regardless of the turbulence. 

If we want His direction, we must know He sees past the minor hiccups to our destiny!

Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17

How amazing that He already knew what we’d face, but gave us a “Head’s up!”

In that way, you can prove yourselves to be without blame. You are God’s children and no one can talk against you, even in a sin-loving and sin-sick world. You are to shine as lights among the sinful people of this world. Phil 2:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One thing I can tell you, God promises that hard times won’t last long. This means you will have relief.  His Word says you will also have His reward!

God will bless you, if you don’t give up when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as he rewards everyone who loves him. James 1:12

 Along with reward from the Lord, others will see your testimony! When you remain strong in the Lord, others will know who to turn to when trouble comes into their lives. 

It might be uncomfortable and unfair in your shoes, but you will see God use it for His Glory!

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Beautiful inside and OUT…

Beauty is a Godly thing.  Originally, beauty was God’s signature.  It was the finishing touch on every created thing.  Everything He made was unique and one of a kind.  Everything was perfect and lovely. 

The heavens proclaim the glory of  God.
The skies display His craftsmanship. Psalm 19:1

Nothing was dying or touched by disease.  It was a continual living, thriving Garden.  It wasn’t until sin tore God and man’s relationship  apart that we saw the awful “death effects” on the earth.  What once was fresh became rotten. What once was stunning, grew ugly.  The withering needed healing.  It needed a touch from the Creator.

I could stop right here and say what every sermon I have ever heard says.  They say, get close to Godly people and regardless of their outward appearance, a beauty can be seen, and this is true.

But I want to say something and I know it is somewhat controversial, but I will say it anyhow. I believe God likes when we take care of ourselves inside and out.  I know my husband enjoys when I look nice for Him. 

Just for a moment, imagine receiving a priceless painting from a world-famous painter, but you never let anyone see it and you don’t take care of it.  Oh, people know you have it, and it is considered priceless. You even tell others of your relationship to the Artist.  Then, after several years, the painter comes to town, and asks to see the painting.  Only to find out, it is wrecked. 

We are a work of art (inside and out) and we are meant to care for this intricately detailed frame and masterpiece by the Universally Acclaimed Creator, God.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

It seems that as I have been around many in the church, we embrace God’s transformation and salvation’s beauty on the core of our being, but we reject or downplay any beauty we may have on the outside.  God calls us to give all!

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1

I have seen women put down for trying to look beautiful on the outside. It seems the church can’t have a part in any beauty, but has traded our birth right to the world.   Beauty has been equated with pride and encouraging lust.  We have handed Beauty away “on a silver platter” to the world, and instead held on to a false sense of humility and “plainness”. 

I know this is a different day and time than the turn of the 20th century when makeup was introduced or thought of just for the prideful or the Hollywood starlet.  But there is still an underlying lie that women use makeup or beautify themselves because of vanity.  Yes, motive is subjective.  I know as I get older, I praise God for the means to make my skin softer and different colors to enhance what He has given me. 

When I was first married, I probably didn’t need any products or clothes that brought my inward beauty out

Every woman is different and maybe there are many out there who can get away with a little chapstick.   For me, after four kids and 40 or so years, I put on some attractive clothes, a dab of perfume, a smidge here and there  of some color, and thank God that my husband thinks I am gorgeous. 

I am just scratching the surface on Beauty.  Of course, there is a balance.  Peter expressed that in several scriptures, that it is not just the outward adornment, but a woman’s attitude, that made her beautiful. 

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:3-4 

The same is true today! 

I just want to say God made beautiful things.   Beauty is from God.

 

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Who are You?

With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Ephesians 3:20-21

I am a planner.  I love to be prepared for the unexpected.  I love to have extra (of something) that we might run out of.  I love creating to do lists and itineraries for trips we go on.  It is a part of my makeup.  I love a clean environment.  I like everything in its place.  It makes me smile when I complete a task or the laundry room is empty!

But, recently, the Lord has been speaking to me about how Christians are different from the world.  When we are talking to our neighbors and they bring up the economy, what do they see in us?  Do we join in the fear-filled conversation?  Do we believe that we have a victory when the world seems defeated?

Recently, I heard a fabulous quote from Pastor Ken Jumper,

” We all say, ‘We are His Hands and Feet’,  but we are His Face to the world.  Without us, Christ remains faceless!”  ~ Ken Jumper

Amazing!  We represent His Hope, not the hopelessness we see in the world.  We are His Answer, in a world filled with questions.

There are many, in the church and outside, who are frantically grasping for more food, supplies, and ammunition, when God has always promised to supply.  I have searched His Word for a scripture to substantiate hoarding or becoming a doomsday prepper.  Even if one might fit in that category, I have found many more scriptures and a multitude of instances where God came through with “little to no” saved up food or supplies.   

And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything—enough to give to every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Sure, we can point to Joseph and his saving the food in Egypt that would one day be Israel’s sustenance.  But take note, that the very land where Israel ran to, for food, became the very place where they prayed to be released from captivity. 

Many more instances throughout the Old and New Testament, give testimonials of a God of the impossible.  A God that must be trusted by faith.  In the midst of the desert, the children of Israel were fed from drops of manna falling from Heaven.  Elijah prayed and the widow’s ounce of oil filled as many jars as she could get her hands on.  Even Jesus took a tiny lunch and fed 5,000.  Amazing feats accomplished, not through human endeavors, but by faith in God. 

And God was Seen! 

Human wisdom says, “I will show God’s power by being frugal.  I will save and never need to depend on another”.  Is this what God would have us be?  Paul said, 

“My teaching and preaching were not with words of human wisdom that persuade people but with proof of the power that the Spirit gives. This was so that your faith would be in God’s power and not in human wisdom.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

What does human wisdom and fear based planning show the world, looking to us for a difference?  How can we proclaim that we have a Saviour,when we live on rations stored up in our pantries, just as the world. 

Truly, we can see the inflation and the waning power of the American dollar, but even the Children of Israel saw the locust, the plagues of Egypt all around them, but because of their faith in God, they were immune from the diseases.  Even Abraham, after Lot took the better land, was blessed by God and that land became a fertile land, while Lot’s selfish pick became utterly destroyed by fire. 

The Lord spoke to Abram after Lot had left him. He said, “Look up from where you are. Look north and south. Look east and west. I will give you all of the land that you see. I will give it to you and your children after you forever. Genesis 13:14-15

The world must see God in us.  Self-sufficiency such as manufacturing a plan to beat the economic demise of the government or hoarding and setting our homes as a place of refuge reveals our lack of faith in God. It quite possibly sets us up for ruin, because we begin trusting in our provisions, when God wants us to trust solely on Him!   Plus, how can we keep so much in our pantries or our churches, when God has told us to give and it would be given back to us! (Luke 6:38)

You must completely obey the Lord your God, and you must carefully follow all his commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you greater than any other nation on earth.Obey the Lord your God so that all these blessings will come and stay with you. Deuteronomy 28:1-2

Deuteronomy gives the clearest instruction on how to always receive the favor and blessing of God.

God’s amazing grace and love chases after us all, both sinner and saint.  But there is a place of faith and obedience that brings His blessings regardless of our GPS  location.  Whether we are in a poverty-stricken land or in a land filled with disease, we trust and obey God Almighty. 

Do we believe it?  We sing about it.  We preach it.  Do we follow a God who covers us in an insecure economy?  Do we serve a God who heals us, when there is an epidemic? 

The Lord says, “Whoever loves me, I will save.
I will protect those who know me.
They will call to me, and I will answer them.
I will be with them in trouble;
I will rescue them and honor them.
I will give them a long, full life,
and they will see how I can save.”  Psalm 91:14-16

If we proclaim Psalm 91, we must stand on our solid faith and not be swayed by the swirling fear.

Those who are right with me
will live by faith.
But if they turn back with fear,
I will not be pleased with them.” — (Habakkuk 2:3–4)  Hebrews 10;38

Who do those around you see?  Do they see Jesus in your eyes?  Do they see you handling life differently or do they see you just like anyone else?  If you love and obey God, impossible things happen.

  Blessing, healing, and miracles can be part of your life when God is Your GOD!

 And He will be seen!

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All Things New

I love everything new. New cars have a new car scent.  A new outfit has the tags and isn’t worn or ruffled.  New shoes have no scuff marks. 

New things make sense and sometimes are necessary when the old has broken down or can’t be fixed.  

This next year, 2012, is a new chapter in our lives.  It can be filled with yesterday’s hurts and last year’s disappointments, but then it wouldn’t be new. 

Jesus gave a parable about old cloth vs new cloth and old wineskins vs. new wineskins.  He was speaking to the temple leaders who saw that Jesus’ disciples didn’t follow some of the unwritten obligations of the church, namely fasting twice a week.  It wasn’t a law, but it was something the temple started requiring of its leaders.  It was a good practice, but it wasn’t necessary to fulfilling of the Law and it definitely didn’t “fit” into the Gospel of Jesus only requiring faith in Christ. 

The temple leaders were pretty upset that Jesus didn’t force those same requirements on his disciples.  And Jesus could have just given in and said, “OK, we’ll fast twice a week”, but He understood why He had come to earth. 

He never forgot that the real reason for putting His All God foot  into our sandbox was to show us the way to the Father. 

But now God’s way of putting people right with himself has been revealed. It has nothing to do with law,  even though the Law of Moses and the prophets gave their witness to it.God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21-22a

It was a New Way than keeping the hundreds of laws recorded in scripture and even the religious suggestions that the temple tried to superimpose upon the people. 

He showed us His Love and acceptance, not based on any merits of our own, and said, “Believe!” 

It was new and different!  Even today, we can’t fully wrap our minds around the simplicity of becoming His Children. 

So when He explained to them that you don’t patch up an old shirt with a new piece of cloth,  He wasn’t giving a sewing class, but  letting them see that a new way of righteousness was being revealed and it would never really “fit” into man’s  legalism or religion. 

When He explained about the old wine skins  not being able to hold the new wine.  It was because the skins probably couldn’t handle expanding  and contracting again, or they’d burst or break open. 

This had nothing to do with Jesus refusing to fast, but everything to do with our freedom from the law into a relationship of faith. 

I have seen in my own life, God calling me to let go of  imposed regulations I subscribed to at the beginning of my walk with Him which were quite superficial!  He has shown me a new and better way which  is spending more time in His Presence!  

But now you have been set free from sin and are the slaves of God. Your gain is a life fully dedicated to him, and the result is eternal life. Romans 6:22

I have nothing to do with saving myself! Jesus is my Saviour!  He renews my mind, purifies my heart and removes the impurities and spots in my life.  He makes my life New! 

The One who sat on the throne said, `Look, I make all things new.’ Revelation 21:5

 This year, I have an excitement to try out this “New Me!”   Old things are history! 

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Everything new remains!

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How can I spot “Hate” in my life?

Hate is….

 Hate is impatient.

 Hate is unkind.

Hate envies what the Other has and how they are treated.

Hate has no respect for the Other and dishonors the other.

Hate is selfish and easily angered.

Hate keeps a list of all the Others sins and offenses and brings them up.

Hate delights in evil or bad things happening and rejoices in gossip or lies being spread.

Hate neglects.

Hate distrusts or has no confidence in the Other.

Hate gives up and doesn’t put any more effort in it. 

Hate leaves. 

Hate fails.

(antonymic of  1 Corinthian 13:4-8)

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Do you hear…?

  The Carols are playing. 

Songs of winter,

songs of children and santa,

and of course, hymns adoring the Saviour come as a babe.

The malls are bustling with shoulder to shoulder shoppers, all “in search” of the perfect gift.  The parade of people, the crunch of time, the kids crying to avoid or begging to see the man in “the red suit.”

The parties, the programs, the baking, the wrapping, the pictures to take, the Christmas cards and packages to mail.  All the busy-ness and running this way and that.  Traditions and entertaining.  Family dropping by invited or unexpected.  Or driving miles for a short visit and making it back before the holiday traffic “standstill”. 

It is noisy. 

There is an overwhelming demand to accommodate each task perfectly and a certain guilt that could overtake you if it is not up to par with Martha Stewart. 

But there’s a “Voice” calling, beyond Christmas songs, Santa’s laugh, parties, or whispers by mistletoe. Many are looking around for The Speaker! 

If you look around, you might sense Someone calling your name.  It isn’t to hard to hear Him, but many things can crowd Him out.  Sometimes His Voice is audible.  Sometimes it comes from an unlikely source, like a line in a movie, that sticks with you. 

God’s voice is still and quiet and easily buried under an avalanche of clamour.
Charles Stanley

 

But if you take the time, you will realize, deep within you, you hear “Him!”

Listen, my people and I will speak! Psalm 50:7

 

When you become overwhelmed or underwhelmed over the season, pay attention to the “Voice!”

 

God wants to speak to you, if you give Him a chance. 

 

 

 

 

 God goes to those who have time to hear Him– and so on this cloudless night He went to simple shepherds.- Max Lucado

 

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Shine!

You know, my children love Christmas.  So do I!  When we get the Christmas Tree decorated, they can sit staring at the lights(for literally hours at a time~granted in segments of 20 minute increments! ) with huge, admiring eyes.  They are enthralled! 

Lately, I have been studying scriptures about Light.  Some might say, that topic is  so overdone, but I felt God saying, “Shine!” and I was thinking, I will reflect. 

 Have you thought about whether or not, you shine or reflect?

Shine means to emit or reflect light; be radiant or bright with light; gleam; glow

Reflect means to bend or throw back (light, heat, or sound) or to give back an image of; mirror or reproduce

I have always thought of myself as the Moon to God’s Sun.  I guess it seemed really prideful to think of myself as a “Lighted” entity when He is “The Light” and I get my “little light” from Him.  But as I have been studying “Light”, I have come to an interesting conclusion. 

I believe most of scripture when talking of Light proves that we shine and not reflect

 Of course, I haven’t put all the scripture here, but I challenge you to look it up. 

See a mirror reflects, but it’s two-dimensional image.  It reflects that which is in front of it.  It only generates light if light comes into view.  We are not to be that flat image you see on a screen, but a real life “LIGHT” production coming from within. 

God said, “Let light shine out of darkness.”—(Genesis 1:3) He made his light shine in our hearts. It shows us the light of God’s glory in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

I found that we were once actually called “Darkness”.  We were an entity without any light or ability to produce light, but when Jesus became our Saviour and Lord, He made us “Light”.

For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light! Ephesians 5:8

  Even in the Old Testament, Daniel describes God’s people, who lead others to righteousness, as stars that shine forever.  Who is righteousness?  Jesus!

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness on the horizon. Those who lead many people to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever. Dan.12:3

 But that same description is given to us, in the New Testament.  You see we become righteous, because of Jesus! So we shine bright as stars, in this dark world.

Then you will be innocent and without any wrong. You will be God’s children without fault. But you are living with crooked and mean people all around you, among whom you shine like stars in the dark world.Phil 2:15

We are “Light” as Christ lives brightly in us!  Many around us are walking or driving down a dark and dangerous road, but when they come around us, Christ’s Light should be evident!  Bright!  Shining Love!  Illuminating Hope!  Electric Faith!! 

Maybe at first, it will be a little startling.  Just as a child awakened when a light is turned on, can’t look directly at the Light! But after acclimation to the Light, that child doesn’t want to be or go back in darkness. 

Jesus, in His own Words said,

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Mathew 5:14

We shine!!

 

 

 

 

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