Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

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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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GOD HAS NO GRAY AREAS/ Part 1

April 16, 2012

            “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.”  (The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 3, verse 15)  The rest of the verse says “I could wish you were cold or hot.”  Verse 16 says “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”  Jesus, as the Risen Lord, the “Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” spoke these words to John and asked him to write it down and send the letter to the churches.           

            Jesus asked if He would find faith on the earth when He returns.  Will He? 

            I’ve been reading the Gospels and the Book of Acts.  There is power, signs, and miracles following believers in the first century church.  Why have we pulled the plug?  These things were written, as Luke says in his Gospel (Luke 1:4) “that you many know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”  The certainty of what things?  Those things about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One of God, the Lamb of God, God’s one and only Son who came not to condemn the world, but to save it. (John 3:17) 

            We have become complacent, lazy and “lukewarm”.  I speak for myself also.  Where is the fire that burned when Christ first make Himself known to us?  Where is the power?  Where are the signs?  Where are the miracles?  Where are the gifts of the Spirit which so freely flowed in the beginning, the gifts…yes, including speaking in tongues, which were not only flowing, but expected.  Where is the boldness?  

            We may or may not go to church.  We sit in a seat, listen and look at our watches, yawn, and then say like the Pharisee in Luke’s Gospel “Look at me, I am so righteous and obedient” and outside the world perishes for lack of knowledge.  (Hos. 4:6)

            We hold the keys to the Kingdom and will be held accountable.  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  We have choice.  Who will we serve, God or Mammon?  His kingdom or Satan’s. 

            “If my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  (2 Chron. 7:14).  “Today if you hear my voice, harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:15). 

            I pray for myself and you “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of His calling…”  (Ephesians 1:15-18a). 

            I want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” when I stand before Him.

 

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Negligence

March 17, 2012

When God created Adam, He gave the entire planet to him and everything that is on it.  God created this world for man, for man to subdue it, to care for it and enjoy it.  When Adam fell, the Lease was turned over to Satan who continues to attempt to destroy everything on it and in it.

 When Jesus died and rose again, He bought back the planet and tore up the Lease.  He returned it to those who believe in Him and gave them all the authority that Adam had.  This time, the authority that was given to those who believe in Jesus is over a damaged and degraded world. 

 The power that is in us, however, is the power of the Holy Spirit…the power of God Himself.  We have authority over the earth, over Satan and his prior dominion, and the power given to us to accomplish the retaking of the land for we are more than conquerors through Christ.  We have been given the tools, the weapons, and the guidance of God to retake everything.  How?  By the authority in His Name, by prayer both in our minds and in the Spirit, by action in faith as we fight the war.  Just like Hezekiah, we dress for battle and enter the field trusting and believing God. 

 “I go to church,” some say.  “I pray,” some say.  “Those gifts were only for the Apostles,” some say.  Well, we can let this world speak for itself as to how powerful and correct those beliefs are.

 Father, I pray that our eyes may be opened, that our ears may hear, that we turn from our sins and earnestly seek your face, that we humble ourselves and pray so that you will hear from heaven and heal our land.  I pray that we be strengthened in our inner beings with power through your spirit and that we have the power to comprehend the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.  Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know you more and to know the greatness of your power in us, according to the working of your great power and give us the boldness to carry it out in Jesus’ Name.

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THE GREAT FORGETTER!

March 15, 2012

            I was thinking, in the beginning in Jerusalem, after the Resurrection, when Peter and the other Apostles began preaching and teaching, many miraculous signs and wonders followed them. The people brought the sick and impaired to them and everyone was healed. I was thinking how marvelous it would have been had they been allowed to continue with full backing of the Jewish ruling class. What a different world it would now be. By now, there would be no sick, no lame, no blind, and no unbelievers. 

            Before Jesus left this planet, he told us that we would do the same things he did. He even told us we would do greater things. The apostles believed him and did those greater things. Somewhere down the line we forgot what Jesus said. We forgot that he empowered us, that the Holy Spirit has enabled us to heal the sick, raise the dead, and bind the broken hearted and proclaim the gospel. That was all he commanded us to do, except for his commandment to love God and love one another. It seems we’ve forgotten that too.

So much for the Great Commission.

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Ephesians 1:1 CALLED

October 17, 2011

   Ephesians begins with Paul qualifying himself as an Apostle.  God chose him and he had a personal encounter with Jesus on the road toDamascus.  The other Apostles knew Jesus before he died, but Paul did not.  God had a special purpose for Paul and He has a special purpose for us.  We all have had our road to  Damascus. 

   The Message Bible states “by the divine will—the purpose and the choice of God”.  That goes for us too.  Jesus told us that no one can come to Him unless the Father calls him.  The Father called me and you.  Whether or not we respond to Him is on us. 

    There is a job for each of us to do.  We were called according to His purpose and set on a path to bring others into the kingdom.  We are given specific spiritual gifts to enable us to do the work set before us.  We were not saved to just go to heaven.

    Just as Paul was chosen to serve the risen Christ, so are we.  We are called “saints”, set apart ones.  We are called to be “faithful, loyal and steadfast” in Christ (Message Bible).

Nothing should be more important than our call and no purpose should be higher than God’s purpose for us.   If we keep the Kingdom first, all the rest is gravy.