buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Godly life”

There’s a Difference

I have been told that I am different. My tastes are unique. After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease eleven years ago, I eat differently than most people. The first Easter after my change to a healthier lifestyle was the first time I experienced the reality that I was totally different. My Mom was still alive and well at that point. The family was together as was the tradition for holidays. As usual, Mom fixed everyone’s favorite food, except I couldn’t eat any of it.

Mom forgot that I could no longer eat like the rest of the family. I had to have a different menu. Not because I wanted to be different, but because I had chosen to treat my disease with a food-based approach and not a medical prescription approach. My Mom didn’t get it. My family didn’t get it. And on that Easter Sunday, I had to come to terms with hard reality of being different.

I don’t think many people really like to be different, especially young people. We like our friends to be similar to us. Even our church life has the same mentality. We want to be like our neighbors – nice car, nice house, perfect lifestyle with perfect kids. And sometimes that comes with a hefty price tag. We go into debt to finance our desires. I heard Dave Ramsey say recently on a show that we need to be different. Normal is to be in debt. Different is to have a healthy bank account without the burden of debt. The Bible tells us debt is our master; we are a servant to it (Proverbs 22:7). Possessions possess us.

We all need a hard reality check. Jesus didn’t come to burden us but to free us from our burdens. No matter what we struggle with – health issues, debt, unhealthy habits, etc. – Jesus is the answer. How you say? If we are followers of Jesus, we should have a different mentality. We should have a different focus. Pastor Tony Evans has a teaching series on eternal focus. We should be living in the light of eternity. Possessions shouldn’t possess us – sell it. Move into something that is affordable. Free up the bank account so that it allows for Kingdom purpose – to help those in need at a moment’s notice.

Living a healthy lifestyle has changed me in more ways than just my eating habits. It has freed me from the burden of feeling sick and tired all the time. I have the freedom with a clear mind and satisfied heart. Living well is a choice. It may have a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it to be different. Finding the right people to encourage us along the way is important. We don’t all have to be alike. It’s healthy to have a diverse friendship base. They can teach us many things. However, there always has to be a true foundation of belief in Jesus so that no one can move us from Jesus’ rock of truth.

Jesus promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit when we receive His gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit is our guide to living a different life. The Spirit will give us a check in our spending habits, in our eating habits and in choosing a different path. However, we have to be sensitive to His promptings. If we continue to ignore the promptings, we will no longer feel His leading away from the things that will entangle us in an unhealthy life. There’s a difference in the way we live when the Spirit is in control. It’s not easy living differently, but it’s very rewarding when the Spirit gives us a nudge in the right direction. There’s always a blessing when we do the right thing.

As followers of Jesus, the world cannot give us what we desire. When we look to worldly things, we leave God out of the equation. When God is in the picture, everything is seen in a different light. I had a conversation last week with a fellow at the gym about marriage. He said marriage was overrated. I said, God has to be in the marriage too in order for it to be a good marriage. God has to be in the middle of our lives in order for it to be a good life. We have to live differently. It’s the only way to live a truly joyful, peaceful life. Jesus is the answer. Choose to be different!

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NLT)

Preach It!

Over the last few days, I have been listening to the Code Orange Revival from Elevation church in Charlotte, NC. There have been some great speakers with an inspired word given. However, it doesn’t remind me of the old revivals I went to as a child. The preaching I remember in those old revivals got into my business. It stirred up in me a great confession and a cleansing spirit. There were many times the altar would be filled with people coming before the Lord confessing their sins; asking for the cleansing spirit to wash them white as snow. At least, that was my prayer back in those days. Different time; different message.

On some Sunday’s, my pastor will speak a message that will mess with my heart. When he gets into that meddlin’ mood, we have a man in our midst that will shout out “Preach It!” and that just encourages the pastor to go deeper into my mess. When this happens, I know it’s time for confession and cleansing. It’s good to have an inspiring word to encourage, but we should also have a word that meddles in our business. We need to have our toes stepped on every once in a while.

One comment that was made last night that has left me a bit unsettled. The two pastors were kidding one another about their text messages back and forth to each other. The comment was that if their congregations saw their messages, the members would leave their churches. And they chuckled as well as the audience. It reminded me of a saying I have heard too many times lately “boys will be boys.” That too leaves me unsettled. It’s an excuse for anything that is done that would not be done before the Lord. And that’s what it’s all about.

Everything that we do as Christ followers should hold up in front of the Lord. I am reminded over and over Christ could be here at any time. If we are doing anything that would not be good when Christ returns, then we have some things to get right before that Day. If a text message is sent and Christ showed up right after we hit “send” would we face Him ashamed or confident that we were right before Him at that moment? Is our language God honoring or is it something that needs to be changed to reflect our true nature in Him? What about our actions? Are we doing anything that would not be good when Jesus shows up in His glory to take us home? Will we shrink back in that moment? We may not have time to confess those sinful actions when Jesus calls to us in those clouds.

James MacDonald is preaching about prayer breakthrough in his current series. One of the reasons we may not be experiencing breakthrough prayers is because of our hearts. The story is from Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector offering prayers in the temple courts. Pastor James points out two things that the Pharisee was showing that the tax collector wasn’t. The Pharisee was self-righteous and self-important. Pharisees were all about keeping the rules but their hearts weren’t right before God. Whereas the tax collector, knew his heart wasn’t right and had true heartfelt confession. He beat his breast showing his sorrow before the Lord. Pastor James point was that “True contrition results in a change of direction, which proves a change of heart – that person is ready for a breakthrough.”

When we have a true heartfelt change, that’s when revival begins. The rah-rah of revival will only get us so far. Once the revival is over and we’re back into the rhythm of life, the only thing that holds true is the word that made us beat our breasts and drop to our knees in confession before the Lord. We are to be committed to become who we are meant to be in Christ. Alive. Forgiven. Righteous. Holy. Living with the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to do what is right in God’s eyes. No shrinking back for His people. And the breakthrough happens when confession is real.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Ephesians 4:20-24 (MSG)

A Different Standard

Growing up, I lived in the shadow of two older sisters. I lived more in the shadow of my middle sister since I had some of the same teachers she had in school. My parents didn’t do the comparison game with me and my sisters, but sometimes I wondered if my teachers did. My oldest sister and I call my middle sister the “perfect” child. To my knowledge, she never got in trouble; she had perfect grades in school; and she was always happy (except when I didn’t clean my side of the room). My sisters call me the “spoiled” child. I tend to disagree with their assessment of my finger-wrapping ability, just as my “perfect” sister would disagree with her angelic status. We always have a good laugh when we debate the evidence.

Over the last week in the Armor of God study, Priscilla Shirer instructed us on wearing the breastplate of righteousness. I must say, I am not righteous. And my sisters would agree with that! This is not a natural tendency for any of us. We have a fallen nature, and no one lives up to the standard God set by His own holiness and righteousness. Priscilla wrote this is perfect righteousness (pg 73). “Even the most good-natured among us, on our very best day, fall woefully shy of God’s expectations.”

However, we are indeed righteous. Our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ. It’s an imputed righteousness that comes with the salvation through Jesus Christ. This is Christ’s gift to us by way of the cross. Christ paid our sin debt by the cross, but He also added righteousness to our account (pg 77). Righteousness is credited to our account; it’s an asset we didn’t earn. Nice! A clean slate and righteousness. Neither one based upon our own acts, but all based on the love of Jesus.

We normally don’t think of righteousness in God’s viewpoint. We usually compare ourselves to someone else. I could compare myself to my “perfect” sister. I would have fallen short. But if I applied myself, I could have measured up to her standards. I could have gotten better grades. I could have been more obedient to my parents and followed the rules more closely. When we compare ourselves to others, Priscilla called this comparative righteousness. It is a deceptive practice and can also be disheartening when we fall short of their standards (pg 76). Other people will always give us the wrong standard.

When we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we are putting on Jesus’ righteousness. Righteousness is already in us through Jesus, but we actually have to do something with it. It is part of the fruit we are given to develop. It’s practical righteousness (pg 83). “When you choose practical righteousness, you place a blockade between the enemy and the area of your life he most commonly targets – your heart.” Practical righteousness is an intentional act. It is not just behavior modification but also an internal purification. “You must make a conscious choice to act in a way that is consistent with your new life in Christ (pg 85).”

The breastplate was designed to protect the heart in battles. The soldier had this piece of armor to fight in hand to hand combat. It guarded the vital organs. Wearing the armor gave the soldier a fighting chance against the enemy. It provided to be a life or death choice he made as to whether he wore it or not. We too have a choice to make. The enemy is gunning for us. He has many tools in his arsenal. But thanks to Christ, we too have many tools in our arsenal. We just have to learn to dress properly for the battle.

When we learn to put on the armor of God, we are covered in protection for the day ahead. It’s a matter of reading and applying the truth. It’s our first line of defense against a crafty enemy. We have a measuring stick that’s different than the world’s standards. We cannot compare ourselves to others; the enemy will use that weak thinking every time. But the righteousness we have will attain for us a new life of freedom. No more battles where we are defenseless. We can grow into the full measure of a spiritual warrior that battles the enemy with stronger tools. We have it all available but we have to use it effectively. It’s time to suit up and battle on, warriors!

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

Warning Signs

Over the last few months, I have seen a few warnings posted on the door across the street. Each time the warning sign was taken down, but no action was taken (that I could see). Last week, the warnings were not heeded and the Sheriff arrived. My heart hurts for my neighbor. But I am reminded as I sat down to have my quiet time we are given warnings all the time. The Holy Spirit gives us warnings through His promptings. We are given warnings about our health through pains and various symptoms. God warns us about things to come in His word. I am an observant person in most things, but sometimes I just miss the signs. I get distracted by life to really pay attention to what’s going on around me or in me. The only reason I saw the signs going up on my neighbor’s door was because I was outside each time it occurred.

We are told in Scripture to be watchful for the signs that God places around us. Many people I listen to believe we are getting closer to the second coming of Jesus. God says He puts signs in the sky for us to observe. The Holy Spirit helps us and teaches us how to pay attention so that we can learn from these signs. I have been fascinated this past year over “The Harbinger” by Jonathan Cahn. Just the other night, I listened to one of his recent sermons on this coming year – the seventh biblical year. In September, we will be remembering the fourteenth year of 9/11. We as a nation were shaken to our foundations of what we consider our security. We thought we were invincible. We had pride and arrogance that no one could touch us. We were the superpower that no one would dare come against. Soon after it happened, I felt in my spirit that God’s hand had been lifted for that brief time to allow the destruction; to get us to turn to Him. Many did come back to church, but it didn’t “stick.” Life went on. We adjusted to the new normal and moved on.

Since that time almost fourteen years ago, we have fallen away even further. Have we learned from the warning signs of previous years? Will God send another “sign” of His displeasure? This is what Jonathan Cahn is considering in this seventh biblical year of “shemitah” – the shaking, the release of debt year. It’s interesting to hear what he has to say. It’s also interesting to see the signs that are happening in the last few months even. The seventh year began last September. Over the next few months, we will know for sure that God warned us. We could be aware of God’s work by the Holy Spirit. We could pay attention to what’s going on in the world. We could take precautions in our own lives to make sure we have our affairs in order. Or we could just ignore it all and just consider it all hype to sell another book. Time will tell. For me, I don’t want to see signs on my door and do nothing about it. I don’t want the “Sheriff” to come, and I have not been actively preparing the way for Him. I need to be ready for whatever God has in store – good or bad for this coming year. My heart needs repair work done. My life needs to be scrubbed clean of all filth that accumulates over time. And my house needs to be in order. How will you prepare for the coming year? My neighbor got several warnings which were not heeded. Let that not be said of us!

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 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.” 1 Peter 1:13-15

In the Center

In my last newsletter, I sent out a challenge to the readers – to grow in godliness in 2015. I like to encourage them in their health goals. However, I realized most people know how to get healthy, but they just don’t do it. One of the things we need in order to obtain any goals is self-control or discipline. Maybe the area that needs work is our health or maybe its finances or even to help grow in our spiritual life. All these things though require discipline or self-control. Those of us who have the Holy Spirit in us already have everything we need to accomplish our goals. We are given self-control as a fruit of the Spirit. But why don’t we see greater success in our yearly “resolutions?” We give up way before we accomplish many of our goals in life. In my opinion, we just don’t allow the Holy Spirit to work in us to become the men and women God has created us to be.

One of the things I would like to accomplish in 2015 is to memorize scripture. I am terrible in this discipline. I can memorize numbers without really thinking too hard on them, but words are hard for me. I would also like to grow in my spiritual life. Each year I want to see a difference over the previous year. I know I cannot become the woman God has designed me to be staying the same each year. I don’t know if I particularly like how God grows us though. God likes to take us through those difficult places in order to grow. God takes us through them – He does not leave us there! There is always another valley to cross; another storm to conquer; another pit to climb out of. But it’s always with the help of Jesus and His Spirit that gives us a way out.

I want to be in the place God wants me to be in order to grow. As Pastor Steven Furtick (Elevation Church) explained in his New Year’s Eve message (on Genesis 26), we need to be able to get into the “flow” of the Holy Spirit. We might have to dig out a few wells to be able to let the water flow again. There may be areas in our lives that block the Holy Spirit from working in us. This is something that needs to be examined closely and let the Holy Spirit reveal those blockages. Last year, I know the Holy Spirit was working on my blocked wells. I had some digging out to do. I am not finished with the process, but I am much further along than I was. I want 2015 to be successful in God’s way. I don’t know what that looks like right now, but this is something that I want Him to reveal to me. I don’t need more information – I need more revelation!

One of the points the Pastor made was “we cannot fulfill our calling in our comfort zone.” We need the challenge in order to grow. Muscles are only developed when they are stressed. Faith is grown when we take risks; when we are in that uncomfortable place. The enemy would love to block the flow of the Holy Spirit so that we will not accomplish what God has in mind for us. We let the enemy win when we fold too easily! I want endurance. I want security in His presence with me in the battles. Do I really want to grow if that means God is going to place me in those difficult battles? Do I really mean what I am asking God for – His will to be done? The amazing thing is when I am finished with the battle, I will see His blessing. I will see God’s glory in it. It will be worth it in the end.

One of the verses that I really want to memorize is Isaiah 41:10. This verse was given to me a few years ago. God was beginning a new path for me, and He gave me this verse. This verse also encouraged my Mom when she was facing her battle with cancer. I know that God has a plan in all that we face in this coming year. And it’s very comforting to know that God goes with us and helps us in the middle of whatever we’re facing. We will be in the center of His flow when the wells are dug out, and the Holy Spirit is working through us in those difficulties – it’s for our good and for God’s glory!

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Make Room

My Christmas list wasn’t very long this year. I had a couple of things on there that I really wanted – wanted not needed. In the last couple of days, I have been in the midst of making room for my new stuff. I have had to rethink where I used to have my router to get the best results for my new toy. I had to move a few things around in my kitchen for my latest gadget. It’s a matter of removing as well. Out with the old and in with the new. For many times in my past, I have gotten so much more than I have removed. Over the last few Christmases though, I have learned to let go of things that I no longer need or want. Someone else might like them better, so off they go. I wouldn’t say I was a hoarder by any means, but I always had a problem with letting go because I might need the item again one day. So closets have been full to overflowing, junk draws get more junk, hiding places no longer were hidden.

A few years ago that mentality changed. I like clean spaces with less clutter. I like things in their places. I have found that clutter around my house also flows into my mind and heart. I definitely had a mindset that was not in the clutter free zone. My heart too was full of things that were not honorable or pure. In the last couple of days, I have also been considering this past year – whether I have grown very much in my spiritual life. I realized I didn’t see much in the way of growth. What I see that really happened last year was clearing the space in my heart and mind. Both are less full of the bad stuff and greater room was made for God to work. This past year wasn’t really significant in the amount of work that was done on the outside, but the inside seems to be a bit freer of the junk. I have made room for Jesus by removing the flow of the bad stuff and giving Him more time to input the good stuff.

All this was not possible though unless the Holy Spirit moved in my heart to make the changes. I would not have done it on my own. I like junk. I like junk “food,” junk television, and junk conversations. But none of that honors God. Too much junk really creates a bad environment for growth. And I want to grow. I want to honor Him. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and feel remorse of how I have lived. Life is too precious. Stuff just gets in the way of real growth. I am challenged to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. I need more compassion. I want to be known as a kindhearted, generous person. I want to love others like Jesus commanded us to do. But none of this is possible unless I give Him room to work. This past year, I have seen the movement. I am challenged for 2015 to do more with what He has given me.

I don’t know what 2015 holds, I just know Jesus holds it in the palm of His hand. Nothing comes to me unless the Father allows it for my good – good things and all the bad that will happen next year. I am called to a purpose and He has to get me ready to accomplish all He wants done. That is His purpose in each of us. We have to make room for Him to do His work so that we are ready to finish what has been started. Be prepared this year to be a greater light in the darkness. To Jesus, the glory and honor is His. There is no greater purpose than us serving a loving Savior who is worthy of all our love and sacrifice. My prayer is that all who read this blog will know His love, His sacrifice and His devotion to making us a better light in our communities. May God bless our time here on earth to glorify our Risen Savior! May we all make room for Jesus this next year!

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:15-17 (The Message)

The Yuck Factor

If you had asked me at some point in the last week or so whether I was a clean person – meaning that I am a neat freak – I would say yes and no. I don’t like clutter. I believe in keeping my house clean, but I am not fanatic about it. I will get into a real cleaning mode at some point within the year and get into those dark places. Recently, I had one of those moods to clean. I started the cleaning spell one Saturday morning when I knew I needed to flip the mattress. I took off the mattress cover and gave it a wash. I even gave the dust ruffle a fluff in the dryer. I was stopped in the middle of the cleaning though to meet a friend for lunch. Like everything else when interrupted, the momentum stopped; the cleaning spell was gone. Until Sunday.

I don’t normally do much on Sunday. But I do cook. The afternoon was sort of overcast, and it was a little dark in the kitchen. With the cooking done and the cleanup now at hand, I started to clean up the dishes that I piled in the sink. I was too lazy to walk over and flip on the overhead kitchen light, so I flipped on the overhead sink light instead. I usually don’t use this light. The overhead kitchen light is usually sufficient and normally on when I am cooking. With this new light shining in the sink, I was shocked to see what is usually hidden by the dimmer kitchen light. There was a “yuck” factor as soon as I looked down. I thought I kept my kitchen sink in good condition. But this light brought out something that was hidden to my eyes. And the cleaning began once again!

I say all that to say, that’s what the Bible does for me as well. The Bible to me is a light to show me “the yuck factor” in my life. Sometimes though, I really don’t see the yuck until Jesus shines a light into that dark place which has been hidden from me. I have been praying recently for my spiritual blindness to be revealed. And the light has been shining in those dark places. I love the song “Amazing Grace” but I have always thought that the “wretch” in the song was only the songwriter’s dirtiness. The songwriter knew his sins of selling slaves as one of complete wretchedness. He saw his sins as God saw them. Yet, when I sing that song, I don’t see my own wretchedness. Sure I am a sinner – aren’t we all? But are we wretched? Is my sin as bad as selling slaves? Or even murder? To God, all sins are wretched. We all fall short of God’s glory as Paul wrote in Romans 3. It’s not until we truly see as God sees that we see the sin in our hearts as wretched.

Our deeds are even filthiness in God’s sight. So how in the world can God look upon us in our filthiness? If you are in Christ, you know the answer. Through Jesus. He is the only thing good in us. I may not see the wretchedness, but God sees all things. It’s by His grace and mercy that He covers that sin and shame with the love of Jesus. Jesus died so that we could live a new life of righteousness. Not by our works; not by what we can accomplish, but what was accomplished through Jesus. As I contemplate my blindness and my dirtiness, Jesus says He has made me clean. The dirt in the corners will be brought into the light so that He can provide a good reflection for all to see. If we are living right with Him, His light will shine through us so that God will get all the glory for the new heart and new life that is now present. He will make everything new.

It’s nothing like the shiny reflection of a new kitchen sink! When the scrubbing has to be done to get the sink back to a good reflection, it’s going to take a little elbow grease. It’s going to take a few pangs along the way. But it’s worth the cost when the reflection is back. It’s a constant battle to keep the grime from building up. But with the Word of God shining the light, the pain is worth it to keep the yuck factor away!

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT)

The Church Body

I have listened for the last couple of years to the teaching offered by Mark Driscoll. I have learned from his teaching through the books of the Bible. I am saddened by the fact that not all is well with his ministry. I understand that he made some mistakes. I understand it because I have made my share. The difference being that I am not in the public eye like Pastor Mark. I hear that others have really hurled insults and injury to an already tense situation. I feel for his family – both his loved ones as well as the church body that he once shepherded. He spoke at a conference recently about the situation that his family is now in. They have moved several times because of the hatred shown them. I don’t know if these who are coming against him and his family are from the church family or just outsiders looking in. Nevertheless, we are a broken bunch of people –inside and outside the church. Unfortunately, hurt people hurt people.

We expect more from church people, don’t we? We expect them to behavior in a godly manner. We expect them to rise above the fray and love those who fall from grace. But sometimes the ones we should love and support are the ones that hurt us, and we lash out at them. I have witnessed this from friends in the church body. I have seen friends walk away from each other because of words spoken or actions that went against what was expected. Sometimes it was over words that were spoken out of love, but was not received in the right way. Right motives, wrong approach. It’s difficult to know when to say something and when to stay silent. It’s only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to know when to speak the truth to those who are in the wrong. And hopefully the ones who receive the word, will take it for what it is – accountability of living godly lives. We all have degrees of brokenness. And only Jesus can do the mending of our brokenness.

I don’t think I am any different from any other person in the church body. We all have brokenness that has to be healed. Every leader, everyone in the seats listening, every person serving in a ministry; we all need to be healed by the great Physician. We all have different areas of brokenness. We all have been scarred. But it is a deliberate act to submit to the Healer. We have to be willing to grow up under His care. We can do no good if we continue to hurt people because of our lack of healing and wholeness. The Body of Christ should be the place where we should feel safe to confess our brokenness. We should be able to love those who are not perfect. (And nobody is perfect!) We are all a work in progress. Going to church is not the thing to do on a Sunday morning, just so we can check a box. It’s a place where we come together to support one another. It’s the place where we are to love one another and show the ones outside the church that we are a different people.

Going to church is more than listening to a message but not being changed by it. It’s taking a word from God to the heart for a change of heart. Church is where we grow in our understanding in the Word. It’s learning about who Jesus is and who we are in Jesus. We have to develop our relationship with Jesus so that He can minister to us in those hurt places. We need to be intentional about our relationship with Him. We have to spend time with Him. Jesus is the answer to the hurting church. As a church body, it’s time for healing to begin. The world needs to see a change in the Body of Christ. We can no longer afford to be complacent with our brokenness. Jesus is counting on us to move His church forward. We have to be surrendered to God’s loving touch to heal the hurts and make us whole. It’s time to move forward church! Let the healing begin with me. Revive me, Lord for your glory!

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

The Dash

A few weeks ago, I posted some thoughts on life and death. This topic keeps coming up for me. I was listening to a sermon series from Pastor James MacDonald on Psalm 90. In one of the sermons he asked those listening to count the number of days we have remaining. In Psalm 90, it states in verse ten about “the length of our days is seventy years – or eighty, if we have strength.” So if I calculate my age now until mid range of seventy-five years, I have a little over eight thousand days remaining if I make it to seventy-five. I don’t know the actual days remaining, but God has already set my end date. We all have an end date, whether we like to think about it or not. One hundred percent of us will die one day. Our hearts all began to beat in our mother’s womb and one day it will stop. If we should have a tombstone on our grave, we might have the dates stamped on there with a dash in between.

In Psalm 90:12, the writer asks God to teach us to number our days. The writer goes on to say in verse 14 to satisfy us in the morning with His unfailing love so that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Wouldn’t that be nice to have joy every morning? What if we started each day with joy in our hearts; how would our day change? How would our life change? How would we impact those around us? These are the things I am contemplating as I have considered the rest of my days on this earth. The dash on the tombstone is our life on earth. The dash determines our destiny for eternal life. The dash matters.

The “dash” was another message I heard a couple of weeks ago from Pastor Louie Giglio (yes, I listen to many preachers). His message was from Luke 12:13-21 concerning the parable of the Rich Fool. The rich man had many riches – he didn’t have enough room to store his goods. Right now, I am picturing garages filled to the brim with junk; the one thing that should be in the garage doesn’t even fit amongst the junk! Our most expensive possession (outside of the house itself) has to sit outside in the weather. (This is not to mention that many people in the world live in a garage-sized space!) The rich man built bigger barns to hold his goods. He believed that he could then relax and take life easy. He had enough to last him the rest of his days. He just didn’t know how long his days were. In verse 20, God called the man a fool. The stuff the rich man gathered would do nothing for him in his eternal life.

We will all give an account to God one day. I would much rather hear from God “well done, good and faithful servant” rather than “you fool!” Each day matters. Each day I have a choice to make. I want to be wise in choosing things that bring God honor and glory. I want those treasures in heaven to be piled high, don’t you? The garage piled high will get me nowhere. It will only cause a lot of heart ache for the one who ultimately has to clean the garage (and house) out after I am gone. Someone will have all my possessions here on earth one day. Does this sound morbid to you? To me, it’s a reality check to make sure that I count my days wisely. There is more to this life than stuff. Life is a precious gift that is given to us by God for His glory and for our joy. Jesus came to give us abundant life, not abundant possessions! The dash matters.

Then he (Jesus) said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15

Blinded

I am a health advocate. My passion is learning about health and helping others to learn as well. Health involves food. I was listening to a conference recently where a speaker was talking about our food industry in the US. The speaker made me very disappointed in our food system. The food industry is sabotaging our health. God provided the foods to eat and gave them to us in abundance. Food can be our medicine or it can be our poison. The trouble is though, it is becoming more difficult to distinguish between what is healthy and what is not. The topic of the message in this particular session was on genetically modified foods (GMOs). Many countries have banned GMOs yet, we can readily find them in our grocery stores.

The talk led me to think about other areas in which we can turn a blind eye to. God has provided a healthy ecosystem for our health and well-being. Trees bring us the oxygen we need to breathe. The earth provides our needs through the plants that are produced. The sun gives the life force that gives our bodies energy by the foods we eat and for our emotional well-being. The systems are in place by God’s hands. He designed this perfect system and we are connected to it in order to live on this planet. We are still discovering what God has given us. Everything God has done for us for our benefit we take for granted, thinking that it will last forever. Most human beings don’t see the damage we’re causing by our destructive ways.

For the last few years, I have had a greater sense of urgency in getting the message across that we need to be awakened from our slumber. We as the Body of Christ have a responsibility to be alert and watchful. God is at work, and we need to be aware of what He’s doing. He wants to use us in His process of completing His plan of redeeming the people on this planet. But if we’re not paying attention, then we will lose the opportunity He presents to us. We need healthy minds and bodies so that we can be alert and ready to respond in obedience to what we are called to do.

What’s this got to do with GMOs? Is this really about food? Or is this about opening our eyes to what’s going on in the world? We need eyes to see. God says that we can ask Him and He will give us wisdom in the circumstances. We need God’s perspective. I know God cares for our planet, but He is more concerned with the people on the planet. We need wisdom to discern the truth of what we see and hear. Nothing is by accident. Everything is allowed for a reason, even GMO’s. God is at work, and we need to open our spiritual eyes. We can no longer walk around in spiritual blindness; there’s too much at stake. There is a desperate world that needs God’s healing hand. Ask and God says He will provide the Holy Spirit to guide us to the Truth. And if we seek Him and call out to Him in repentance then He will heal our land.

Please give us eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart submitted to obedience in accordance to Your will. Amen.

Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:50-52

Post Navigation