Thursday, October 19, 2017

Paul to the Corinthians 

About a month ago I picked up a counted cross stitch kit while out shopping and began working on it. I thought it would be something fun to revisit as the weather cools off, plus as it is a great passtime.      The kit I selected is based upon 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 to be specific. A message from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians                                                                                                                        What a wonderful opportunity it has been to revisit those words spoken by Paul to the people of Corin and to truly reflect on their meaning. This scripture is most frequently associated with wedding vows, however, Pauls thoughts were far from weddings or ceremonial vows. It was Paul’s intent, to teach the people of Corin how to treat one another...with charity.                                                               Charity is defined as goodwill, compassion, consideration, concern, kindness, kindheartedness, tenderness, tenderheartedness, sympathy, indulgence, tolerance, leniency, and caritas which is Latin for Christian love of human kind, ‘charity’
In todays world when we hear the word charity most, clutch their wallets tightly as their brains immediately go to the poor, broken, unfortunate, helpless, diseased, aborted, beaten, abused and on and on.
The true meaning is totally eluded.                                                                                                  Charity is in fact, the voluntary giving of help and isn’t that what we all deeply desire from the people in our lives? Our parents, spouses or significent others, children and friends?
Although I am uncertain which Bible version my cross stich is, I have chosen to use the King James; where the Apostle Paul refered to love as ‘charity’ in his original writings and the Message, which is quite contemporary and has a lovely and interesting view and flow.
The Way of Love.                                                                                                                            Though I speak with human eloquence; the tongue of men and angelic ecstasy, but have not ‘charity’,    I am as sounding brass or a tingling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy (I speak Gods words with power, revealing his mysteries and knowledge) and though I have faith that I can say to a mountain, “move” and it moves, without charity (love), I am nothing.                                                             If I give everything I own to help the poor, and even give my body to be burned at the stake like a martyr, if I don’t love, it has been of no profit to me.                                                                             So no matter what I say, what I believe and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.                                     Charity suffereth long (never gives up), is always kind (never me first) nor does it want what it does not have (never jealous)                                                                                                                       Charity never behaves irritably (flys off the handle)  It doesn’t ever keep score, it puts up with everything, (endures all things). Is always honest (speaks truth in all things) and fair, (never rejoicing in wrong but always rejoicing in right) Love Trusts God Always and Always looks for the best and never looks back but keeps on going to the end (love never ends)

A good excercise that only takes a few minutes is to read this again and replace the words love or charity with “I” See how that feels. God will test your heart, (he’s really good at that) and it will serve as a good starting place for all of us when we ask God to help us be more like him.



   
                   Blessings for a truly wonderful Holiday Season.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What you allow, defines you.


We've all heard this expression; "Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car". Most of us pretty much just giggle at it and decide it applies to someone else, right?
The truth is harsh.
It has everything to do with us, especially when we tell people, including ourselves, that we belong to Christ thus making us Christians.
What does that mean, anyway?
If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he rose from the dead and is seated in heaven at the right hand of his father that should be enough, right?
The only way to the Father is through the son, right? There is a little more to it than that.
Titus 1:16 tells us that if we profess to know God, but deny him by our works (actions), we are detestable, disobedient and unfit for any good work.
There's that harshness again.
So what can we do that will show our good works?
We can start with our behavior. God is watching us, he misses nothing.
1 Peter 2:9 says we are to be a peuliar people, right? That means we’re different. How are we different? We don’t behave like pegans, thats how. That means when those around us are behaving like pegans we don't join in  We  behave differently, we  are no longer led away by anyone by heathen thinking. We are new in Christ. We need to stand up for ourselves.We are also discribed as a chosen generation, a royal priesthood. We are to show forth the praises of him who called us out of darkness. into the marvelous light. We are to be representatives of Jesus and conduct ourselves accordingly.
God will be there for us, and that is a promise.
A few months agonI was working part time processing clothing at a department store. I really enjoyed the work, although I needed more hours. My community was preparing for the annual motercycle ralley and i came across a job for a part time cook for one of the vendors who would serve as a food providor. at our local Harley Davidson Store. I applied, was hired and was given a schedule. The next day, the person who interviewed me called me and asked me if I would be interested in something more permenent. It seemed her daughter was the GM at a local hotel and she needed a breakfast cook. It all happened so fast I felt like I just fell into the job.It was kind of odd.
I accepted the position and began questioning my decision soon after as I worked with someone who was prone to temper tantrums; during which he would say some very unkind things to me and behave very childish. The executive chef at the time excused the behavior saying chefs act like that. Maybe some chefs do, I dont. The turnover at the motel was pretty crazy and before too long that executive chef was gone as well, but before he left, he hired a chef with a very impressive degree from the Cordon Blue. I am always excited to work with people like that so I was thrilled.
The Saturday before she started the Holy Spirit told me that I would not be there much  longer. His words provided me with much food for thought and I began guessing what was going to happen.
Silly me. We can never, ever outthink God!
The new chef started and she was great! A week later the hotel brought on yet another executive chef. This one from the east coast. His love for himself left very little room for anyone else to grow fond of him and his very first day he insulted the new chef so severly she never came back.
He was prown to angry outbursts complete with some of the most foul language I have ever endured. He claimed that foul language, fits of rage and occasional flying objects were all par for the course in restaurant land.
Once those words came out of his mouth, it was as if the staff took it as license to go crazy. When one of the wait staff called me the filthiest of names, this executive chef stood there as if nothing had been said. When I mentioned it to him later he laughed in my face.
I knew then why my papa God didnt want me there to deal with it.

The next morning I was pushing the same char grill out of the way that I do every morning, but on this particular occasion, for some crazy reason, it tipped over.
The chef began yelling and screaming obsenities, grabbed his phone and began to as he called it, document the incident. It all seemed so sureal. I knew exactly what was going to happen next and it did. So when I recieved a message to come in on my day off, I went and was directed to his office where I was asked to sign a document admitting to pushing the grill over in anger and frustration, which makes me giggle just thinking about it.  Needless to say I not only refused, but I resigned my position.
God is so good. The word that he gave me not only prepared me mentally for something to happen that would end my job, but it also provided me with a peace that surpassed all understanding and the knowledge that I have a father in heaven who loves me so much that he doesnt want me to be subjected to the heathen behavior and language that was going on at that workplace.

We are a peculiar people. In this world of filthy language, lies and trickery He defends us and allows us to show that we are different, we are indeed peculiar. We don't take part in pagan behavior. We are His. So do not be afraid to be different! Dont be afraid to be Godly and worthy of the seat in Heaven next to Ashua. We ARE different and our works show it, or at least they should. We are a cut above because we belong to Him.

In a side note, when I went in to pick up my final paycheck, the front dest associate informed me that the new executive cheft had been fired. Gods a busy man!




Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Sanctuary of Tranquility: As Christians, Are We Allowing Fear of the Truth t...

Sanctuary of Tranquility: As Christians, Are We Allowing Fear of the Truth t...: For I want you to know  how great a  struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face,  2  t...

As Christians, Are We Allowing Fear of the Truth to Divide Us?

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3

Because I was on a small vacation, I attended church this past Sunday with a friend in her hometown. The church we attended was one I had previously attended for several years. It has become one of many churches that are struggling to capture and keep a steady congregation.
It started small and then moved into a huge venue with all the bells and whistles; coffee in the lobby, trendy flooring, a very cool paint job and steampunk decor. Sadly, all of those things weren't enough to keep people coming and they have now gone back to a small venue.
What are people seeking?
Whatever it is, it was obviously not found there.
During the sermon, an associate pastor was teaching that Jesus should always be first and foremost in our minds, hearts, and lips, except in places like our jobs, as we don't want to mention his name, annoy someone, and run the risk of losing said job, right?
That offended me.
My mind went immediately to John the Baptist and I felt as though this pastor was advising people to deny Christ. No! As Christians, we can't ever do that! There's no turning back, remember?
O.K., so granted, our jobs are important. No one is asking you to jump up on a break room table and deliver a sermon; (unless it's in your heart and Holy Spirit led), and then if you want to do that, it would be great! Living in fear of annoying someone because of your adoration of Jesus Christ is no way to live, no one to show that adoration.

Matthew 10:30-31  But even the hairs on your head are numbered. 31. Fear not, therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also acknowledge before my Father who is in Heaven. 

Fairtrade is it not? 
Remember, God always has contingencies. 
If you value and honor Him, 
He will never forsake you...not ever.
  

I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. Colossians 2:4-7

I understood what that young pastor was saying. ...honoring Jesus before others can present a risk. However, sugar coating the Bible is lying...it's misinforming and that presents an even bigger risk.
When we are reluctant to be a teacher of the truth we are misinforming the flock.
Advising people that it is ok to deny Christ to keep your job is first and foremost a lie.
Put God first and he will see that and you will always be taken care of.

Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high sounding nonsense that comes from the spiritual powers of this world rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8

Before I left for vacation I had coffee with a friend who has a twenty-seven-year-old son who is a homosexual, in an active relationship. This scenario was making his mom a tad bit uncomfortable so she set up an appointment with one of the pastors from their church; which is a huge, very popular church in my home town, and discussed her son with him. The pastor gave her a book to read which defends homosexual behavior, stating that as long as both parties have good relationships with Jesus not to worry about them. 
Whoa!. 
The look on my face when she said that made her quite defensive. I am sorry if that is the case, but read your Bibles, my friends. Don't seek the truth from some paper back book that someone gives you that will support your version of that truth. 
Don't read books about the book, read the book!!
Discover what it says for yourself and then believe it. Don't run from the truth, you are only fooling yourself. Face the truth, even if it makes you squirm in your seat. Even if it causes you to deal with your family and friends differently and harder yet, even if some of them walk away. 
Choose Christ. Choose the truth. 

 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:9

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Our Walk With God is Unequally Ours

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Our Walk With God is Unequally Ours: In one of my way too many recent emails, I read the fictional account of two women who had both passed on to heaven.  As the first woman ap...

Our Walk With God is Unequally Our Own


In one of my way too many recent emails, I read the fictional account of two women who had both passed onto heaven. As the first woman approached the throne of the Lord and knelt before him, he commended her for all of her earthly accomplishments. She had opened and operated an orphanage, financially sponsored countless children from all over the world and had been an inspirational speaker reaching countless people. The next woman who had been patiently waiting, lowered her eyes as she knelt before the King and wept silently. When He asked her why she was weeping, she asked him to please forgive her for not accomplishing more during her own lifetime. After hearing of all the wonderful things the woman before her had accomplished she was certain she was a huge disappointment. The Lord studied her for a moment before reaching out and wrapping his arms around her. "What are you talking about?" he asked, "Why you are a wonderful wife and a beautiful mother. You raised four remarkable young men who each went through very difficult periods, yet are excellent, hardworking grown men who honor my word and laws. That, my daughter, is an accomplishment few can master." 

This little story made me stop and think of all the times when I feel like I have fallen short and have done things all wrong, or not done what I was supposed to do at all. 
It filled my heart with a deeper love for the one I pray to and adore.
A God who is loving, kind and fair.  A God who created us each to be beautifully unique in every way, including our walk with Him. 
We each have our own journey with assignments and instructions to fulfill that lead us to our own destiny. The first woman may have had access to a great fortune and multiple connections at her fingertips. She may have also battled alcoholism or lost a child. Yet she may have known just the right people to ensure that everything she wanted to accomplish would flow smoothly. 
Her stumbling blocks were unique to her, and her path her own. 
The second woman, whose accomplishments may have seemed more mundane had her very own struggles as well. Perhaps difficulties giving birth, or raising and nurturing her boys. She may have had to make many personal sacrifices along the way that no one was even aware of... except Jesus. 
Both women completed the assignments given and pleased God and that is all that mattered.
For anyone to try and compare one with another is foolish. 

When my children were growing up, they asked me why certain classes; that didn't really make sense, were required to graduate from high school or college, There were times when I didn't fully understand those reasons myself. I did, however, understand that often times what we were taking or studying isn't nearly as important as that we were following directions and completing the required material.
Following directions that are given to us by the Holy Spirit is much the same; it is not up to us to determine if those instructions make sense, or if we agree with them or want to carry them out. 
It is simply our job to do what we have been asked to do without too much whining. 

Certainly, some of the things he has asked me to do didn't make sense nor did it seem like they really mattered, and sometimes I even thought to myself, this is really silly or he must be joking, right? 
But in retrospect, I am certain that they were all important, for even if they seemed silly, or inconsequential at the time to me, they were requests from my Lord, Jesus Christ, and he wanted to see if I was listening, being obedient and having faith. 
As Christians, we have each had our own experiences with the Holy Spirit and we have heard testimony from others concerning their experiences as well. I have met people who have made great sacrifices to be obedient. People who have been asked to move to destinations that make no sense to them or their family and friends and I have met people who have been asked to give up things or do things that our earthly minds feel are crazy or even wrong. In some cases, their livelihood and finances were jeopardized and in extreme cases, they were arrested and placed in jail or prison
But because they believed they were being obedient to God, it didn't really matter what other people thought or what the consequences were.  

Meeting and sharing with these various people has shown me that we have no business ever doubting any one's personal testimony concerning the Holy Spirit. Most of the time, what we think we know about someone else's life is not even close to the truth.  
It is never a good idea to second-guess or doubt someone's testimony unless it is evil or against the scriptures. Doing so is calling the Holy Spirit a liar and we all know that nothing could be further from the truth. 

Numbers 23:19(KJV) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Telling someone that God doesn't speak like that, or that he wouldn't ask them to do something which may seem far-fetched to them such as giving up their job or home or lifestyle, indicates a huge lack of understanding of Our Lord. Advising someone that the things prophesied over their lives are not possible or are unlikely is wrong as well, doing this is not an assumption we are qualified to make. It creates an unnecessary division amongst Christians, which is getting to be all too common.  When someone offers us their testimony it is good to listen, have faith and offer prayers and support. Never ridicule or judge. We may have made up our minds that we have it all together and that our life is cake until God asks us to turn that all upside down to do the things for our own good or things he knows we were born to do. He knows all things. and he is nothing like us.   

                      "His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. 
                    For as the heavens  are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than
                                 our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts."

Believing anything less indicates a lack of faith and trust in him. For he is God Almighty and if he wants to throw diamonds down from heaven or sprinkle us with gold dust when he is pleased with us, who's going to stop him? Believing anything less than that about him is putting him in a box and you can't put God Almighty, the maker of the Universe in a box.
It's time we all press in closer to Our Father instead of second-guessing or judging what he is telling someone else to do. Allow their walk to be theirs and yours your very own. Busy ourselves listening for his voice, his instruction in our own lives. Be alert and without one single worry or concern about the things he asks us to do. So what if we are inconvenienced or our lives get tossed around for a season. His plans for our lives are exactly what we need to transform us into who He wants us to be. They are for our own good and the good of the kingdom. 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

So why not start right this very moment by encouraging to others and focus on the prize...remember that our rewards are in heaven and that God knows every little detail of our lives. and we never know what he might have for us right here, right now if we only just listen and obey.
It might just blow your mind. God is that good!