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CELL PHONE IDOLATRY

March 26, 2014

The email said “Free iphone 5c!”  All I had to do was upgrade an old phone which was no longer under a contract and renew the contract for 2 years.  Wow!  I love gadgets and I love new cell phones.  I was so excited!  I looked on the website and, yup, it was true.  I could get a brand new, top of the line phone…free!

We use cell phones for business and for personal use.  None of our phones are currently under contract, we are on “month to month”.  Our phones are “obsolete”, I’ve been told.  This sounded like such a great deal.

I have learned not to jump when I see a great deal (the hard way).  So, I talked to my husband about it (he wasn’t excited), I talked to the local store about it (they weren’t excited either-no commission).  I told my friends (no excitement there either).

Well, having all this “counsel”, I decided to wait a little.

I found myself thinking about this phone, arguing with myself as to why it was a good idea (or less: why it was a bad idea).  For a few days, I wrestled with whether or not to do it.

One night, I woke from a deep sleep thinking about THE PHONE!  Oh No!

I realized that I had made the phone an idol!  It was consuming my mind!  I knew at that moment, I could not get the phone.  Not because it would be a sin, but because I agreed with God that it was getting in between Him and me.

It’s amazing how subtle our flesh is, how even a free phone offer can move me from focusing on those things that give me peace, in Christ to obsessing and lusting for an inanimate object.

So, I’ll do with my old “dumb” phone and move forward with a better perspective.  Thank you Lord.

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HUMBLE EGO TRIP?

February 24, 2014

            I remember thinking, during a worship service, how grateful I was for the cross.  I was imagining myself standing at the bottom, looking down at his blood, and feeling so very overwhelmed with my own unworthiness.  In the midst of this tremendous emotional drama, I heard in my mind (in my own voice…like a random thought) the words, “You are on the wrong side of the cross.”  It caught me up short!  What?  What does that mean I thought, wrong side?

            At the time, I didn’t realize the importance of that statement.  I understood that it meant that I needed to get into the forgiveness side of things, but didn’t really know what that meant.  But, I knew it was the Lord.

Most of my Christian walk (since 1975), I’ve felt unworthy or less than.  When I was first born again, I didn’t care if I was worthy or not.  I knew that I was saved, loved, forgiven, set free…had a clean slate and a new beginning.  As the years went by, I started putting things on my slate.  I put on a lot of “should’s”, “have to’s”, “must not’s”, etc.  I also always fell short of all those goals.  Some were taught to me, some were found in the Bible, and most came from my own mind.

So, I got involved in church, got counseling, studied the bible, listened to certain TV preachers, etc.  All the while, I still felt like everyone else “had it” but me.

Recently, the scales fell off my eyes (just like the apostle Paul in the Bible (Acts 9)) and I saw Jesus again!  I was reading a book entitled, “God Without Religion”, by Andrew Farley, on New Year’s Eve and by the next morning, I couldn’t’ put it down.  He plainly explained grace in his book and brought me back to the “joy of my salvation” (Psalm 51:12).  When Jesus said “It is finished” it was finished!  I didn’t have to be concerned about “should, have to, mustn’t” words.  Jesus covered everything.  He left us with only two commandments:  “Love God and love others.”  We can’t love God until we know that God loves us.  Once we know, we begin to love him.  As we get to know more about his love for us, we begin to love him more and more and we want to tell others about Jesus.

Does this give us an excuse to keep living a life of sin?  Why would we want to?  Why, after being touched by his love, would we have any desire to do anything that would move our focus from that love?  He said he will complete the work he started in us (Phil. 1:6), He will take us from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18).  We are his forever, He tells us that we know his voice and no one can snatch us out of his hands, and because the Father has given us to him, no one can snatch us out of the Father’s hands.  (John 10:26-29).

Humble?  Who cares!  Jesus loves me just as I am and will make me whole, through the Holy Spirit.  I just have to love Him back and share that love with others.  Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM! (2 Cor. 3:17)

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The Old is New Again!

February 17, 2014

     I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior in 1975. That was a long time ago.  One thing I knew, then, was that I was forgiven, my sins were removed, my slate was clean.  He loved me and died for me to set me free.  I KNEW that!  I didn’t know the Bible, I didn’t belong to a church, I only knew that I was forgiven and new. 

I was so excited I couldn’t wait to tell others.  I was so excited that others hid when they saw me coming, and then…they too accepted the Lord and they became “born again”.

This was during the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church and, following my mother, I began to attend prayer meetings.  I was baptized in the Holy Spirit, Wait! Don’t stop reading because you don’t believe that is for today, or that is only for the Apostles.  Who told you that anyway?  No one told Stephen, Philip, Barnabas and many others, so they just did what Jesus said. Look for yourselves.

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to start reading the Bible and finding out what is said.  It came alive.

That excitement lasted about three years.  I saw miracles. I saw addicts set free and arthritis and migraine headaches healed by the laying on of hands (by just plain, ordinary believers, just like Jesus said).

Over the years, the excitement wore off and the world crept in.  I was leaving my first love and becoming self-consumed again.  Little by little, like Chinese water torture, self became more important.

When I attempted to get back what I had, I joined a bible teaching church, I diligently listened to the Pastor.  I learned about faith and the power of it.  I learned and learned.  I liked my church and loved my Pastors.  I became involved in service and small groups and training, and the like.

We eventually changed pastors and our new Pastor began really teaching the Bible.  He took more than a year and a half to go through the Old Testament historical books giving us a clear understanding.  He had us do daily readings and we read the Proverbs and Psalms.  His teaching was clear and concise.  I began to take BibleCollege courses to learn more.  He took us through the Gospels, tying the Old and the New Testaments, showing threads and shadows and how it all led to God’s Plan to set us free.

I was filled with knowledge, filled with faith, yet something was missing.

On New Year’s Day, 2014, in a little book, I found what it was.  It was just plain Jesus!

That day in 1975, I met Him. I knew He loved me unconditionally.  But, over the years, I forgot.  I started adding have to and if  to the Gospel…“conditions”.  Then, I tried to meet all the “conditions” I had imposed upon myself, or had imposed upon me by various teachers, books, etc.

Jesus spoke to two types of people: religious and believers.  To the religious, He said, in essence: “You’ll never be good enough. You have to be perfect to enter into My Kingdom.”  To the Believers, He said, “I have covered it all, you only have to believe in Me and tell others about the good news!”

I now know when I read the Bible or listen to teaching, I must rightly divide the word of truth…there are no if’s or have to’s in the Good News, just Jesus, who did it all for us and finished it.

It’s called “Grace”, unmerited, empowering, freeing, loving Grace!  Grace to just love God and others.  Grace to set others free!  He just plain loves us!  We can’t escape His love and we can’t make Him love us more!  All I had to do is believe…and it’s still all I have to do. He did all the rest.

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Free to be Me!

January 21, 2014

Gal 3:3  Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

What happened when I/we responded to the call of Jesus in our lives?

John 3:16-18  [we all know this scripture]  Jesus said that all we have to do is believe, that He was not sent to judge the world, but that the world would be saved through him.

Well, I believed.  I was given eternal life and I didn’t have to do anything to get it except “believe”.  What did I believe?  That Jesus gave me eternal life.

Jesus’ commandment:  Love God with all our hearts and love one another like He loved us.

2 John 1:5,6

 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one anotherThis is the commandment just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

What happened to us when we accepted Jesus? We were no longer separated from God.  Our sin was covered in His blood and we were completely made new.  I became a new creature, nothing of my old self remained because new things have come.

  [2 Corinthians 5:17 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.]

What are those new things? Here are some:

I no longer live for myself, but for Him. (2 Cor. 5:15)

My sins are no longer counted against me. (2 Cor. 5:19)

I have good news for others that they can be new and free too. (2 Cor. 5:19,20)

I am the righteousness of God because Jesus became sin on my behalf.  (2 Cor. 5:21)  I don’t have to do anything to become “righteous”, I already am and will always be!

Ephesians chapter 1 tells me that

I have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

I was chosen by Him before the foundation of the world.

I am holy and blameless before Him in love!

I’ve been adopted as God’s daughter through Jesus because that’s what He wanted!

God’s grace has freely been bestowed on me in Christ.

I’ve been redeemed!

I’ve been forgiven according to the riches of His grace (not by anything I’ve done)

He has lavished His grace on me.

It goes on and on.

I am free to be me.  But what about my walk?

The Holy Spirit resides inside of me. He is the pilot of my new self.  He guides me into all truth.  He teaches me all things, He brings Jesus’ words to my mind. He is the Spirit of Truth who bears witness of Jesus for me.  (John 15:26).   He guides me into all truth and will disclose what is to come and He glorifies Jesus all the time. (John 15:13,14).

I can choose to listen to the Spirit or listen to the flesh.  I have the ability to choose life at all times.

Jesus said that we receive power when the Spirit comes upon us! (Acts 1:8)

The power to witness about Him!

I am free to be excited about what Jesus has done for me and to listen to the Spirit direct me in my and life to tell others about it.  I am free to love others and have the grace to do so.

Jesus only asked that we love God first and love others like He did.  The Holy Spirit in me gives me the ability to do so.

We are to make disciples and teach them to:  Love God first and love others as He loved us.  That’s what Jesus asked of us and for that, He has given us eternal life, total freedom from sin (original, separating sin), ability to live for Him and choose His way.  He gave us His peace that passes understanding.

I need to stop thinking about what God wants from me (like I could give Him anything), and start thinking and remembering what He did for me.

When I first accepted my Jesus, I worshiped Him, I praised Him, I continually thought about how wonderful He is and what He did for me.  I couldn’t stop talking about the freedom I found, the love that entered into me and the wonder of walking with Him.

Little by little, for the best reasons, I started to put in “if”, “have to”, “should”, “must” because I wanted to please Him.  I already please Him, He loves me unconditionally and only asks me to love Him back!

THANK YOU LORD JESUS!

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GOD OR NOT

April 22, 2013

To those who don’t believe in God, should they be right that we live and just die and are gone, I say: Because of my belief that He is, I will have lived a life with joy and peace, convinced that He loves me, cares for me and plans my way.  Even if I am misguided the life I’ve lived will be a  full one—as opposed to those to whom life offers nothing: no hope or meaning.

To you who cannot or will not consider Him, I say to you:  He loves you anyway and calls you to Himself continually.  When you seek Him, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart.  Today, if you hear His voice (and you just have) don’t harden your heart. He is real.

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Quench not the Spirit

November 10, 2012

In the aftermath of  Hurricane Sandy, many of us on the east coast did not lose our homes; some did not even lose electricity.  Some of us did lose power for days, but when we see the magnitude of the losses around us, we are grateful to have lost so little.  Many of us have been helping others wherever we can.   We are “doing” and “coping”.  We think we are OK, because we have been spared the storm’s wrath.

 But we who are Christians and who have the Holy Spirit within us are wondering why we are unable to concentrate, are at the brink of tears, are not “ourselves”.  We feel guilty that we have come through the storm nearly unscathed and still feel a sense of loss.  We don’t understand.

 In speaking to a friend, I realized that the Holy Spirit within us has given us God’s love, His “feelings” so to speak.  God is weeping for his children and we are the holders of His tears.  We are His body…  Let His tears fall through us, let his love pour out, cry out in prayer in groans and uttering’s that we cannot understand.  Pray earnestly for those who need our prayers and help. Quench not the Spirit!

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THE PROBLEM CENTER

September 23, 2012

          There are two doors in front of us when we have a problem or situation.  One states: “PROBLEM CENTER”; the other says  “SOLUTION CENTER”.  If I open the ProblemCenter door, first I have to go through the “hall of mirrors” which only offers warped images of the “problem”.  Then, when I cannot see the situation without distortion, I enter the main operational center.  In there is a desk filled with paperwork, charts, graphs and I am sitting behind the desk, in charge.  If I open the Solution Center, there in only one room, and on the desk there is only one Book and the Holy Spirit is sitting behind the desk with a pointer, pointing out the true problem and the true solution located in THE BOOK.

          The center of our problems is in our minds.  We take our thoughts to the “problem center” instead of the “solution center of the Word”.  If we don’t change the “center” we remain in the problem.  In the problem center, we decide:  1)What the problem is (filtered through all our human filters); 2. how it can or can’t be resolved (using all our human resources, based on our filters); and 3. then attempt to execute our human solution based on our own faulty thinking.

          Just like in the story of the blind men each describing an elephant based solely on the part of the body they can feel, we see only what our filters allow us to see and then we barge ahead or quit based on that unreal realty.

          The Bible teaches us how to enter the “Word Center”, and not the “Problem Center”.  In 1 Cor. 13, we see that our human thinking is like a poor reflection in a mirror, that we know in part.

          The Holy Spirit expects us to bring our problems to Him…He is the teacher and counselor who will lead us into all truth.  (John 16)  and He only speaks the Word.

          Proverbs 14:1 says “The wise woman builds her house; the foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”Before  we became Christians, we used to be of the world, we used to operate solely in the human “ProblemCenter”; but now, we are no longer of this world, we’ve been bought with a price.  Phil. 2:12b tells us to “work out our salvation in fear and trembling…”  We are responsible to change our thinking so that lines up with the Word of God.

          If you are ever unsure…Love is the always the answer