Saints Are Like Good Chocolates

Image result for jpeg image of good chocolates

Mathew 25:28-30

They say that there are two kinds of people; those who love chocolate and those who just haven’t tasted really good chocolate– yet. When hovering over a box of fine chocolates, the only thought is the delight of the moment. However, a box of gourmet chocolates does not just magically appear all yummy and ready to be enjoyed.

The cocoa bean is huge and lumpy and almost impossible to crack open. Once the shell is open, there’s no chocolate, as we know it, inside.  The beans inside are hard, bitter and difficult to dig out. The delicious chocolates that look so perfect are a result of an intricate process.

Christian’s are like cacao beans. We all start out “lumpy and raw.” Like the box of wonderful chocolates, the Christians that we see as being so perfect have been through quite a bit of processing.

The learned saint who speaks with such passion and knowledge of God’s Word was once fumbling through their Bible trying to find the book of Amos. Not even the Rev. Billy Graham sprang into ministry learned, experienced and accomplished.

Satan loves to hold a magnifying glass up to these saints. He also loves to whisper in my ear about how inept, useless and failing my efforts are compared to “them.”  But, I must remember; even the most eloquent scholar was once a mumbling student.

To start with, God gives each of us talents according to the work He has called us to do (Matthew 25:15). Neither you nor I will ever be held up to another saint and compared to them. The most accomplished saint will be judged on the work they were given to do just as you and I will be judged on the work WE were given to do.

God will never compare my works to the works of others. What I accomplish will only be measured by the talent and directions I was, myself, given. In the parable of the talents, the master did not measure the servant with the least return by the servant with the most return. The master held each servant responsible for what they did with the talents they were, themselves, given (Matthew 25:19-23).

The only servant that was severely reprimanded was the one who did nothing at all with their own talents (Matthew 25:24-27). When satan convinces me to not do anything because I think that I can’t do it right—-or I can’t do it as well as somebody else; the work that I was intended to do doesn’t get done at all. And for THAT, I will be held accountable.

 Mathew 25:28-30 Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 Prayer: Father, thank you that I won’t be judged according to what others have accomplished. Help me to see the talents that you have given me. Show me how to use my talents to glorify you and serve you. I love you. Amen.

Scriptural References:

 Matthew 25:15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.

Matthew 25:19-23 After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Matthew 25: 24-27 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shiny New Independence Day

dan grilling framed

 

Shiny New Independence Day

My husband bought a brand new truck.  It was the fulfillment of every man’s fantasy, a ‘man’ vehicle; leather interior, shiny chrome trim, loaded inside and out!  After every outing, he’d shut the doors tenderly, carefully brushing off leaves, bug butts and road dust. However, as time went on, the ‘shiny new’ wore off and it became nothing more than ‘the truck.’

The same can be said for the Declaration of Independence. It was a big deal when first signed and later legislation passed to give honor to the day it was introduced. It was a BIG event for the new colonies to finally be free from the oversight of Britain.  After this declaration was finalized, our newborn country was on its own, a sovereign nation. Britain no longer had any say over our government or our laws nor could they force us to pay taxes.

Now, as hundreds of years have gone by, little attention is made to the original event. People celebrate with fireworks and picnics but oddly, few when asked, really know anything about WHY there is a celebration.  When inquired of, most respond, “Because it’s July 4th!” But when questioned further, many know it was the date the Declaration of Independence was signed (not exactly right, but close enough) but are clueless about what the holiday actually does celebrate; our independence from the  government control and taxes of England.

Human nature is like that in the remembrance of important dates. When we first get saved, we are SO excited! We keep our Bibles by the bedside and read every night, pouring over the scriptures, soaking it up like a sponge. We can’t get enough, say enough or do enough for the Lord.  As time goes on, the ‘shiny new’ wears off and going to church and reading our Bible are done with less enthusiasm until it’s all simply “church stuff.”  We’re still “Christians,” but our first love has quieted.

God created us for relationship with Him. He gave His son, Jesus, to die on the cross so we could have a personal relationship with Him.  Then, God sent His Holy Spirit so we could know Him intimately, know His thoughts. There are many false Gods that people worship, but our God is the only God who wants us to have a relationship. Satan will do ANYthing to discourage us from having that personal intimacy.

The tools satan seems to have the most success with are simply; busyness and mundane acceptance. Like the celebration of Independence Day, most know the event of Christ’s atoning death but the significance of the event has lost its shiny new excitement. As we go on picnics and enjoy pretty fireworks, let us be thankful for our freedom and independence not just as a sovereign nation, but as a born again believer who has been set free from sin and bondage.

After God has gone to such incredible lengths and paid such a huge price to have intimacy with me, shouldn’t I at least be as faithful to plan time with Him as I would be to keep a holiday?  Today, I determine that I will be thankful for America’s independence as a nation AND my independence from satan’s hold on my life.  I’m going to keep my relationship with my Lord, ‘shiny new.’

Scripture:

Revelation 2:3-5 (NIV) 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank you for saving me and setting me free from the destructive power of sin. Thank you that I live in a free country where I can choose to worship and go to the house of worship that I want. Help me to remember how precious both my freedom of choice and my freedom from sin is. I love you. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Your Monkey Hot?

Is Your Monkey Hot.jpg

 

 

 

IS YOUR MONKEY HOT?

Hebrews 4:12

While visiting my son’s family, I was enjoying the company of my 7 year old grandson, Quinlan. Suddenly, Quinlan started singing a song:  “Don’t you wish your monkey was hot like me?”  (WHAT?)

When I asked, “What’s up with THAT?” he told me that he heard a song on the radio that said, “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?”  He went on to inform me that he didn’t have a girlfriend because he was too little, but, he would really like to have a monkey.

He continued about how his mama kept telling him to put his coat on but he never does because he’s always HOT and doesn’t need it.  The two unrelated events had inspired his personalized version of the popular song.  I laughed till I hurt!

Sometimes, Christians struggle with the Word of God. Our life doesn’t really line up so we try to change the original intent to fit our attitude or activities.  The Word can seem difficult when we apply it to our own life; particularly when we “want what we want and we want it now.”

We usually know when we are out of God’s will, but we choose to ignore God’s input. We try to rationalize the circumstances and convince ourselves, “That’s not REALLY what the scripture means.” When we do this, we set aside the power of the Word to convict our hearts.

We do what we want; convincing ourselves we’re not REALLY out of God’s will.  But, the truth is, God’s Word brings conviction for a reason; to mold us into the image of Christ.  We can deafen our ears to the quiet conviction, ignoring the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit. However, the Word of God stands strong, regardless of what we “think.”

The next time the Holy Spirit convicts our heart of something that isn’t “quite right” in our life, we need to step back and seek God’s direction to bring change to our heart. We need to stop seeking ways to change God’s Word to fit what we’re doing and start letting God’s Word change us.

Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to the dividing of soul and spirit; joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Prayer:  Father, please help me to read your word with discernment. Give me your Holy Spirit to reveal Biblical truth and how to apply it to my life. Thank you for your Word and thank you for the Holy Spirit. Amen. (click to return to table of contents)

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Hot Lemon Prayer

lemons

Hot Lemon Prayer

Hebrews 4:9-11

 

Did you know that a lemon explodes when it gets hot?  Neither did I, until today. Since I’d forgotten to put the lemons for a pie out to warm to room temperature, I decided to put the fruit in the microwave. If the lemon is at room temp, the juice is released more readily.

In my haste to get the pie started, I must have set the microwave on three minutes instead of three seconds—and walked away. The lemons exploded like citrus hand grenades; blowing the door on the appliance open and spraying hot lemon juice all over my kitchen!  Instead of hastening the pie prep, I’d prolonged it. What an AWFUL mess.

Sometimes, I have the same attitude about answers to prayer as I had about the pie, fast is better. God has all the time in eternity. He doesn’t have a list on his fridge headed, “Things I MUST do today.”  God is much more concerned about our relationship with Him than He is with our immediate pleasure and comfort.

Sometimes, when we pray, we demand things to start (or stop) RIGHT NOW! We fail to understand that when we let God be in control of our lives, everything happens under His loving supervision. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Both the good and the bad in our lives work for the long term goal of making us into the image of Christ.

When we take matters into our own hands and start trying to “be God” instead of wait for God, like the lemons in the microwave, we can make a mess.  In Hebrews, God’s Word says that we know we have entered into His rest when we have ceased from our labors.

This does not mean that we put aside ministry and just sit down. Nor does it mean we turn a blind eyeball toward sin. It means that we give our problems, plans and ambitions to God and wait for His direction while doing the things that are “my part;” like preparing, planning and when in the case of sin, prayerful intervention.

God doesn’t forget us, sometimes, it takes time to get us ready and time for the circumstances to be just right for God’s plan to unfold. When we enter into God’s rest, we trust that He knows what He is doing and simply follow His directions; even when it takes longer than what we thought it would. (Isaiah 40:31)

Hebrews 4:9-11  

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.

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Prayer:  Father God, help me to be patient with myself and with your plan for my life. Encourage me through Bible study and fellowship. Confirm in my heart that your ways are not my ways but your ways always work out for the best in my life. I want your perfect will for my life. Amen.

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Scriptural References:

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.

Isaiah 40:31

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as an eagle. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

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GOT FOG?

GOT FOG? fog

Psalms 3:8

This morning, as I was driving through the heavy fog, everything familiar was concealed. The houses alongside the road, the landmarks of trees and buildings were all hidden in the fuzzy mist.

Sometimes, in our Christian walk, we find ourselves in a spiritual fog. We haven’t done anything bad; we haven’t been negligent in our Bible study or prayer. Of course, it is always good to end every day with a prayer of forgiveness so as not to give satan any devices! But sometimes, for no obvious reason, we feel like we are caught in a spiritual fog.

One of the peculiar things about fog is that it is eerily quiet. Landmarks are fuzzy or totally obscured and the silence can almost be felt on your skin.  When I find myself caught in a spiritual fog, I draw close to my Lord. Spending time reading Psalms as an ‘extra’ part of my daily devotions helps me to remember God’s power and presence.

When King David was being pursued by the enemy He would pause and think about Gods presence, His provision and direction. David included the word, Selah, in thirty-one of the thirty-nine Psalms with the caption “To the choir-master.”

Selah is found in the Psalms 71 times and in Habakkuk 3 it appears three times. It is a music term that means, “To pause or reflect.” “Selah” can also mean an instrumental prelude, you know, “background music” while you “think about it.”

As David wrote the Psalms, out of his own past experience, he remembered God’s power.  Because he had an intimate relationship with God, he could recall the Lord’s majesty when he was frightened or lonely. Praise made God’s presence come alive again, right then, “now,” and he was encouraged and comforted.

When I feel surrounded by fog, I read Psalms and pause to remember the last time God delivered, protected or glorified His presence in my own life. God inhabits (comes alive, has substance in) our praise, even when we feel surrounded by fog, God’s presence can be real.   (Selah)

Psalms 3:8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.  Selah

 

Prayer: Father, help me to keep my eyes focused on you. Make my heart sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that even when my direction seems uncertain, I know that you guide my every step.  Thank you for directing me in your perfect will. Amen.

 

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New Book Release!

GREAT addition to your kitchen bookshelf and a great gift for friends who love to cook!   Not just a motivational thought at the bottom of the page, not just a recipe now and then. 38 Christian devotions with 70 favorite home recipes! Available at Amazon.  Food for Body and Soul (also available without recipes, devotions only titled, “Food for the Soul” on Amazon)

38 recipe cover for rubber

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whatcha got coverThe newest book has been published and is available in BOTH Kindle version and paperback!

“Whatcha Got? GOD Has Answers” brings you 42 devotions that are presented in two parts.

The devotions in Part One address every day life issues, like anger, temptation, bitterness and failure.

The devotions in Part Two explores “stuff” we just GOT to have to live the Christ life in a hard and dirty world. No matter WHAT you got OR need, God has answers.  Get your copy on Amazon.com today; follow the link below. http://www.amazon.com/Whatcha-Got-GOD-Has-Answers/dp/148396325X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365806479&sr=1-1&keywords=whatcha+got+god+has+answers

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Devotion Book released on Amazon.com

The first in a series of Rubber on the Road devotion books has been released for sale on Amazon.com.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008Z86G48

Life is Like Buffalo Breath is a devotion book with 32 devotions illustrated by animal and pet photographs.  It is available for $4.99 and can be found as an introductory promotion for free on August 19-20, 2012.

If you download the devotional, please take the time to go back to Amazon later and post a comment about how you liked the book.  Book rankings on Amazon are determined by the number of “stars” readers give the book. Thanks.

The skit book, “Got Mouth”, a humorous skit about being responsible for what ‘we’ say is also available on Amazon.com for $2.99  A great skit for Children’s Church groups, Youth Ministry and Sunday School class.  Check it out.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008NN40N4

 

 

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WATCH FOR THIS!

Rubber on the Road is very happy to annouce the upcoming publish of  “Whatcha Got? GOD Has Answers” in paperback. Already an active Kindle publish, Whatcha Got is the second in a series of Devotional books to be published.  The first book in the series was “Life Is Like Buffalo Breath,” published in August of last year.

Both devotional books are now available as a Kindle puplish and will soon be available as a softcover.  Also published as a Kindle is “Sick Is An Attitude, Living Well With Diabetes.”  A common sense book on living an active, healthy life as a type I Diabetic. Soon to be available as a soft cover.

Check on Amazon.com for books by Author, Annie Keys.

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When Is It Real?

crossThe week before Easter, my six year old grandson was riding in the car with me.  On every street corner, there was a church with the “cross of Calvary” newly erected on their front lawn. 

Knowing what Easter is about, my grandson asked me if all the crosses were for Jesus.  I told him, “Yes.” 

 After we rode for a few moments, passing more churches with crosses, he said, “Mamaw, how many times does Jesus have to die on the cross for it to be real?” An innocent, yet stunningly profound question that each of us should ask ourselves. 

If I could be perfect on my own, there would have been no need for a savior. Scripture says that Jesus died once for all sins. (I Peter 3:18)  After accepting the blood of Christ; the decision to lead a Godly life is a choice I make moment by moment. (Romans 6:1-2) 

When I make a decision to follow Christ, I’m a new person; the old ways have been set aside. (II Corinthians 5:17)  However, when I commit my heart to Jesus, God does not MAKE me behave nor does He make me do good works. 

He does offer me the awareness of sin and the strength to resist temptation. (I Corinthians 10:13)  God knows my flesh is weak, so He sent His Holy Spirit to convict me of sin. (John 16:7-10) 

Reading the Bible also makes me aware of sin; explaining in detail how to recognize AND avoid it. (I Corinthians 6:9-11). People can not judge me, the Word of God, however, does judge me.  

I don’t have to wonder what being a Christian means; the Word of God provides instruction, direction and help for when I do ‘slip.’ The book of I John teaches how to live a life that represents Christ. 

The scripture says if I ignore the sacrifice for my sins by continuing in sin, after accepting the blood shed at Calvary; I have no part in Christ. To continue in sin while acknowledging the grace given us at Calvary is heresy.

How many times does Jesus have to die for my sins? Once.  How many times do my rebellion and self will nail him to the cross again? Every time that I choose to go my way instead of living the Christ life.

Hebrews 6:4-6 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

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