Identity Theft? ME?

We have a dear friend who had their identity stolen. The thief used our friend’s name to make a lot of unauthorized purchases.  Sadly, the friend’s reputation was soiled because of somebody who did stuff in ‘their name’.  

When we claim to be Christians, using the ‘identity’ of Christ but not living by the principals He set forth; we misrepresent Jesus to the world.  The scripture instructs us to live a life that is Holy.  (I Peter 1:15-16 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”) 

It is often easy to set aside that standard and choose to take on the identity of the world in our attitudes, language and entertainment choices.  An independent Barna survey taken in 2003 found that 8 out of 10 protestant Christians, by their OWN admission, did not apply the standards of the scripture to their personal lives.   

The world watches us and judges Christ by our actions. In a 2005 article in Christianity Today (The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience; Why don’t Christians live what they preach?)  George Barna was quoted as having concluded, “because Jesus’ modern-day disciples do not act like Jesus; this scandalous behavior mocks Christ, undermines evangelism, and destroys Christian credibility.” 

We wonder why we don’t see more healing and miracles; yet we have no conviction to clean up our personal lives so a Holy God can be manifested through us. The lives of God’s people must line up with the holiness the scripture demands or we are an ineffective witness! 

It’s not enough to say, ‘the church needs to be more Christ like’ because I’m the church.  When I say, “I’m a Christian”, I can not continue to behave like the world while taking on the identity of Christ. The most influential witness is Jesus living through ME 

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.  

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Identity Theft? ME?

Life Is Like Buffalo Breath

 

The Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior version of Matthew 10:39 is,

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night, the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.”  

Indeed, it seems the older I get, the faster time passes!  

In my youth, I would stand before the mirror and pay great attention to putting on makeup and doing my hair.  In my youthful fervor for staying fit, I made diet and exercise a top line priority. 

Now, with a dozen grandchildren, a thick waist and arthritis in every joint, I stand in front of the mirror and wonder, “Who is that fat old lady and why is she wearing my shirt?” In spite of all my efforts, age happened.  

Many of the priorities that seemed so terribly important in my youth are no longer on the top of my list.  But, one top of the list priority I’ve made in my life has not changed. If anything, this one priority has gained in importance; my relationship with the Lord. 

Contrary to popular belief; loving God and serving Him has not meant my life has been without pain or hard lessons.  It has meant that no matter what life has brought me, God’s presence, direction and encouragement have been with me.  

God has never failed me; however, sometimes, the people who have claimed to represent Him have. I’ve had little control over circumstances. But, allowing God to be Lord of my life has been my choice.  How those circumstances affected my life was determined by my relationship with Jesus.   

No matter what age we come to the realization of who Christ is, He welcomes us into relationship.  Like buffalo breath on a cold morning, life fades quickly. Jesus is the only priority that matters—forever. Seek Him now while you still have time. 

Isaiah 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Life Is Like Buffalo Breath

Life Is a Trip, Get Directions

 

If you know my husband, you know that he is a human road atlas. He has a GPS in his truck and literally challenges every direction it gives.  If the GPS says, “take the next right,” his response is to take the next left and still get to his destination.  

There is an exception to my husband’s insistence on going his own way.  Life; he seeks direction daily from the Word of God. However, life’s road can have some unexpected turns and some pretty deep pot holes even when we follow the directions!   

Life is a trip; thankfully, Jesus traveled the same ‘roads of life’ that we do and left us directions in the Word. Scripture says that Jesus was tested in every way as we are, but was without sin!

Sometimes, even with directions, you and I can still get off on a wrong road.  But, when we read the Word everyday, we can make course adjustments and find our way back. Jesus understands how the scenery could mess us up and get us off track. He has traveled this road Himself and knows how important it is to keep focused.  

The Bible has not only reliable directions, but instructions on how to find our way back to the right road when we detour off in our own direction. God’s Word provides both directions and faith (Romans 10:17) for day to day living.

The circumstances of life may change through the ages, but the temptations and trials are still the same. Stop making excuses for going down the wrong road; life is a trip—get directions and stay on course.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Life Is a Trip, Get Directions

Playing Hide and Seek

 

When I was a child, I loved to spend the night with my Aunt Violet.

Whenever I went to her house, Hide and Seek was one of our favorite games together.

Part of the fun was that I could hide SO good, she wouldn’t be able to find me!   *)

Aunt Violet would look behind the coat rack, on the sun porch, in the cubby beside the refrigerator, laughing and calling, “Where are you?” 

The whole time, I’d be crouching down, in plain sight, beneath the dining room table, giggling into my fingers as she walked by! 

After a few moments of hiding, I’d jump out and run into her arms! Of course, my Aunt new exactly where I was all along; but she would let me hide as long as I wanted.  

As adults, sometimes, we play hide and seek with God. Like my aunt in the childhood game, God knows exactly where we are all the time. We only think we are hiding.

There are a lot of reasons why we hide from God.  Maybe we’re hiding inside our pain. Or perhaps we’re hiding behind our busyness. Sometimes, we disobey God and we hide under our sin; like Adam and Eve in the garden.  

Whatever the reason we’re hiding, God not only knows exactly where we are; He knows why we’re hiding.  No matter why we are hiding, God stands beside our hiding place and calls to us, “Where are you?”

God knows where we are. But, the first step of our choosing to not hide anymore is for us to stand up and say, “Here, I am.” Once we stop hiding, we can run into His arms and open our hearts.

When we admit to ourselves the real reason for our hiding game, God reminds us that He gave His son so that we can have relationship. We no longer need to hide, not for any reason.  He welcomes us back into His presence and holds us close.  

If you’re playing hide and seek with God; He’ll let you hide as long as you want. But, every moment that you continue to hide is a moment that you could be enjoying the intimacy of His presence. Come out, come out, wherever you are.  

Genesis 3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.  But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Playing Hide and Seek

I Love Old Bibles!

I love  old Bibles! One of my most treasured possessions is an old, very old, small Bible.  My husband paid only a few cents for it at a sidewalk sale.  According to the dates etched in calligraphy on the  presentation page, the Bible is over 100 years old.  

Inside are hand written notes; favorite scriptures.  Faded by the ravages of time, some of the markings are almost illegible.  In my mind, I can imagine the owner of this small Bible sitting at her kitchen table each morning, reading inspiration (by candlelight?) for the new day in the pages of God’s Word. It is very moving to gently flip through the pages of this treasure and read the verses that encouraged a dear saint who has gone on to be with Jesus. 

Odd as it would seem, the woman struggled with the same problems, temptations and failings that I do.  I can tell by the worn, dog eared pages what chapters were her favorite to read. Our modern technologies haven’t changed the fragile human condition with all its weaknesses and trials.  One day, when I’ve gone to be with my Lord, I hope to meet this gentle soul who lived so strong for Christ. 

My heart can only hope that one day somebody who loves the Lord, hopefully my own grandchildren, will find my old Bible and be encouraged by the markings I’ve made in its pages as I’ve read. What an incredible testimony of God’s faithfulness; to leave a Bible well used, marked up, worn out and earmarked with tear stained pages.  

One of the verses this dear saint, whose name was “Anna,” treasured, speaks even more clearly now, to me, as I read God’s Word today, than it did when she read it in 1886:

Hebrews 13:8  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I Love Old Bibles!

Let’s Talk About the “F” Word

What is it about faith? Some people say if you pray and you don’t get what you want, you don’t have enough of it. 

If you believe even when it looks impossible, people say that you have lots of it.  

James 2:20  says if you have tons of it but don’t do anything with it, it’s worthless. Jesus said it only takes a little.  (Matthew 17:20)  

Jesus’ first miracle was at the wedding in Cana. (John 2:1-11) His mother didn’t ask Him to change the water into wine.  She simply stated the fact, “the wine is all gone.”  Then, she turned to the servants and with the confidence of faith, simply told them, “Do whatever He tells you to do.”  

Jesus had not yet done any miracles. His mother had the head knowledge and the Spirit’s confirmation that He wasn’t an ordinary child.  And, with that, the heart knowledge that grows from close relationship. She had no proof that He COULD do miracles.  She didn’t know HOW He would get more wine but, she knew that He would.

In Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus ignored the Canaanite woman who pestered Him about her demon possessed daughter. Jesus finally told her ‘so what’ and was, in fact, really kind of rude to her.  She responded about how even the dogs eat the crumbs under the master’s table. 

Jesus told her, “Woman YOU have GREAT faith.” and delivered her child from the demons. Why was ‘her‘ faith great? She had (probably) seen, or at least heard about, the miracles. In spite of impossible circumstances, she knew that He could so she persisted.  

The first miracle, (water to wine) was done through a heart’s awareness that existed because of an intimate relationship. The other (demon cast out) was done because of a persistent faith that came from knowledge. 

When we have an intimate relationship with the Lord that acknowledges His sovereignty; our faith is perfected.  Faith is  knowing that He “can.”  Perfect faith acknowledges that He is Lord while trusting that He works all things for our good because He loves us.  (Romans 8:28) 

Perfect faith acknowledges the sovereignty of God. So, how DO we acquire perfect faith (?); through intimate relationship in prayer and the confirmation in knowledge that comes from Bible study.

 Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Let’s Talk About the “F” Word

Why The Patience of JOB?

One of the magnets on my refrigerator door reads, “Lord, give me patience, but do it NOW.”  

The hardest part of patience is waiting; I want what I want and I want it now.  

Sometimes, when patience is discussed, the example of Job is brought up.

Most people have, at one time or other, referred to “the patience of Job.” People talk about the patience of Job when it is the patience of God, Himself, that is beyond comprehension! 

God created us for relationship with Him then gave us the choice to choose Him—OR not.  Patiently He uses the circumstances of life to draw us toward an intimate relationship with Him.  

It’s interesting to note that Christianity is entirely about relationship. We were created for relationship with God. Sin ruined that relationship.

God sacrificed His own son, Jesus, so that relationship could be restored.  Jesus sent us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so we could not only have relationship but have intimate relationship.   

The Lord of all creation has literally given and done all that can be done in order to make relationship with Him possible. Now, God patiently waits on us to — respond.   

II Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why The Patience of JOB?

When You Don’t FEEL It

 

(Hebrews 11:6)

#scriptures written out at end of devotion#

One day, I was praying through the house anointing the door posts with oil.

Lost in prayer that God would touch my loved ones and friends; I knew that I was alone and could pray without hindrance or interruption. 

Prayer consumed me as I poured out my heart to my Lord.  As I walked through the kitchen door, anointing the doorposts as I went, my kitty awoke from her nap and decided it was time to play.  

Troublemaker (appropriately named–) jumped off the top of the refrigerator onto my shoulders! Oh. My. Mercy. Sakes.  I screamed, I yelled, I danced flailing my arms and finally fell breathless onto a chair once I realized I’d been attacked by my kitty instead of some huge spider or heaven knows what.

I’m always happy to feel God’s presence but I wasn’t expecting a physical confrontation. MercySometimes, when I pray, God’s presence IS so real. At other times, it seems my prayers hit the ceiling and fall back to my feet. How can I make sure my prayers are effective, since ‘feeling’ is not a reliable reference? 

One of the first things I do, before praying, is ask God’s forgiveness for my sins. We all have sin, if we think we don’t, we are lying to ourselves (I John 1:8). Through the blood of Jesus, we are brought back into relationship with God. (Romans 6:23) 

If there is a damaged relationship, a fuss or fight with another person, Jesus said to take care of that before I pray (Mark 11:25).  If there is a problem in my marriage, my prayers can be hindered (I Peter 3:7). It’s important that I come into God’s presence with a pure heart; without the hindrance of broken relationships. 

One thing I must remember is that God is sovereign. He works through circumstances, relationships, conflict and experience to make us into the vessels He planned for us to be.  Sometimes it is the hurts in our own life that make us sensitive to the needs of others (II Corinthians 1:3-5). 

When my heart is pure through the blood of Christ, my prayers are answered. It doesn’t matter what my eyes see or how I feel, Hebrews 11:1 says faith is the evidence of what we know; that God is faithful. 

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.



Prayer: Father God, I love you and I want my prayers to be effective. Help me to know through your Spirit and personal Bible study, the things that hinder my prayers. Forgive me my sins and teach me your ways.  Amen.

Scripture reference:

1 John 1:8-10 (NIV) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a]Christ Jesus our Lord.

Mark 11:25 (NIV)  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

I Peter 3:7 (NIV) Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

II Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on When You Don’t FEEL It

Who Is the REAL Winner?

At the conclusion of Valentine’s Day, my 12 year old grandson was standing with two friends at the car loop waiting for their ride home.  

One friend was holding a box of chocolates, a fuzzy teddy bear and a bright red heart balloon in his hands; all gifts from his girl friend.

The other friend walked up and began taunting, “You have a GIIIIRLLL friend!”  The first friend said nothing and friend two kept on with the teasing.   

Finally, my grandson turned to the taunting friend who stood with no gifts and said, “DUDE!  The man has a box of chocolate candy, a cute little fuzzy bear AND a big red balloon—while you and I stand here with NOTHING because we don’t HAVE a girl friend. Who should be making fun of whom here?  Hello?” 

The world does the exact same thing to Christians!  We stand, with our sins forgiven and the up close and personal moment by moment attention of the God of the universe.  Yet, the world makes fun of us!   

The scripture says we will be persecuted; we are really and truly a “peculiar,” chosen, called out, different kind of people.  The world can’t understand the meaning of the evidences of our committed lives.  The gifts we bear are not discernible through the eyes of the world because they don’t comprehend the value of what we have. Pray for their eyeballs to be opened.

 I Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Who Is the REAL Winner?

Is Anybody There?

 

My daughter in-law, in England, wanted a cookbook. Pleased to be able to do something for her, I made my selection from a web site and proceeded to “check out”.

The site would not accept the APO address. I clicked, “if you have problems with your order, try our on line chat with a live representative”. Relieved to have personal   contact, I clicked the button.

“Hello, my name is Jill, can I help you?” appeared.  I typed in my problem.  Jill responded that she needed my credit card information. I quipped “you promise you won’t use it to get a condo on the beach?” 

“Jill” responded, “I don’t understand your request.”  This response seemed strange, but, ok, after all, she’s at work; business is business.  I typed the information and waited. Time passed, I typed, “hello? Is anybody there?” 

Jill typed, “I don’t understand your request.”  Frustrated, I told my husband that it would have been faster if I’d have wrapped the book and held it in my teeth while I swam to England.  

Weary of waiting, I added, “It doesn’t help that the rep I’m working with has the personality of a stump”. Dan laughed, saying, “There’s no rep there! It’s all computer generated; certain words are recognized and the appropriate response is given.” 

In disbelief, I turned back to my computer, where I was still waiting for “Jill” to finish the paperwork to make my purchase. Timidly, I typed, “Are you real?”  She typed back, “I don’t understand your request.”  Horrified, I realized that my husband was, —MAYBE—right.  

Still not entirely convinced, I typed, “There’s no company rep eager to serve me, is there?” Jill immediately responded, “Thank you for choosing to shop with us”.  Feeling totally betrayed, I typed, “Your mamma is a circuit board.”  Jill responded quickly with “I don’t understand your request.” 

One of the many things that my heart cherishes is that when I speak to the Lord, He hears me.  He doesn’t tell me he’s busy or give me a number and tell me to get in line. He ALWAYS hears me and understands me. (Psalms 91:14-15)

My Lord never hands me off to an automated program.  He is there, first time, every time, all the time (Isaiah 65:24).  My Lord loves me, hears me and answers me. That’s not customer service, that’s RELATIONSHIP.

 Luke 11:9-10 So, I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened to you.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Anybody There?