Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Leaving Earthly Thinking Behind (Part 1)

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Leaving Earthly Thinking Behind (Part 1): As I grow as a Christian I am discovering that there are a great many things I need to unlearn . I spent the first fifty some odd years of m...

Leaving Earthly Thinking Behind



As I grow as a Christian I am discovering that there are a great many things I need to unlearn. I spent the first fifty some odd years of my life developing habits and attitudes that were not of God. The two ways of thinking collide with a tremendous force. A Christian walk is a way of life one must decide on, be determined to stick to, study and follow with a no turning back attitudeOne of the things I hear people complaining about the most is tithing. It is questioned and criticized by many, but if one is really reading the word they realize that it is a blessing to both the donor and the recipient. 

The Old Testament requires that man gives the first 10 percent of anything that brings benefits to his home or dwelling. If a person did not want to give what he produced he could give 120 percent of its value                  ( Lev 27:31 ). 
For livestock, however, there could be no substitute. Animals passed single file under a rod dipped in coloring and every tenth one was marked. Selecting inferior animals was prohibited by law. That part made me giggle, people have been trying to be sneaky and underhanded and find excuses to be an exception to the rule forever! I guess it is one of the human traits that provides lawyers with bigger houses, right?

The New Testament says nothing about tithing ten percent, but it does reiterate many things associated with tithing: those who minister are entitled to receive support ( 1 Cor 9:14 ); the poor and needy should be cared for       ( 1 Cor 16:1; Gal 2:10 ); those who give can trust God, as the source of all that is given             ( 2 Cor 9:10 ), to supply their needs ( 2 Cor 9:8; Phip 4:19 ); and giving should be done joyously ( 2 Cor 9:7 ).
The New Testament directs that taxes be paid to the state ( Rom 13:6-7 ), which replaced Israel's theocracy. Paul's vocabulary and teaching suggest that giving is voluntary and that there is no set percentage. Following the example of Christ, who gave even his life ( 2 Cor 8:9 ), we should cheerfully give as much as we have decided ( 2 Cor 9:7 ) based on how much the Lord has prospered us ( 1 Cor 16:2 ), knowing that we reap in proportion to what we sow         ( 2 Cor 9:6 ) and that we will ultimately give account for our deeds ( Rom 14:12 ). 



I enjoy giving things to people. Cash given is always a gift, not a loan and the money I give to someone or the money I spent in the past is just that, it's in the past. Hopefully, it left someone with a big smile on their face and the desire to pay it forward.  
The Pay it Forward concept is awesome and should be participated in with joy! 
2 Corinthians 9:7 - Every man according as he purposes in his heart, shall give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.



Giving just feels good, pay it back, pay it forward, pay for the person's coffee or burgers behind you and then drive away fast and don't look back! It's a blast!
I have done this and it has been done for me as well. It blesses us with a tremendous feeling in either situation! My daughter called me the other day just laughing her head off because she had paid nearly twenty dollars for the person behind hers coffee order and only spent three dollars on herself. 
Now that is a cheerful giver!

A verse my pastor uses frequently is the following...
 Luke 6:38 (ESV)38 give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”  
                           
As important as it is to be a cheerful giver, we must also remember that having the ability to receive or accept gifts with grace is just as important. You never know where that desire to give to you came from. For example, I recently had an acquaintance call me out of the blue. After a bit of small talk, she came right out and said to me, "God told me to give you some money." I had heard of this happening to others, but I had never experienced it myself. As it turned out, her gift of money was precisely what I needed a few days later to cover an unexpected emergency expense.

 Having faith and believing will never be the wrong thing to do. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and never, l mean never, ever lean on your own understanding and keep that covenant with God next to your heart, for it is between you and Him only.  

James 3:17  (ESV)17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.


Further, how do we accept a gift from someone? We reach out and take it because we trust (that’s faith) them to give (that’s grace) it to us. What do we do then? We thank them simply because we are grateful, and then as the possessor of the gift, we use it (that’s works). When the Holy Spirit convicts us that we need to be born again through Jesus Christ, God is offering us His gift. We reach out and take it because we trust (that’s faith) Him to give (that’s grace) it to us. We thank Him simply because we are grateful, and then as the possessor of the gift, we use it (that’s works).**


All of this and life experience has taught me that God wants us to be cheerful givers as well as people who receive with Grace. I used to be that person who thought I wouldn't make it through the pay period if I wrote a check for ten percent each time I got paid, but after I started doing it I discovered that I made it just fine. 
Life has taught me to place less value on money and stuff and more value on human kindness and people who are true friends of God and honor His laws.



James 1:12 ESV

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.




All scripture references come from

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finding Peace & Jesus



For me, a part of being a Christian means having empathy for other people's situations all of the time, not just when it is convenient. Often times we the people find ourselves in some pretty precarious positions because of our decisions in life. Some of those positions are no fun at all.  I know because I have been there and won the award! 
Some of the tough trials in my life have come because of poor decision making...maybe I thought I was doing the right thing only to discover I was way off the Mark.  Then I have to go through my own personal storm to learn. I have been so blessed to have never allowed them to harden my heart. Thank you, Jesus, for always saving me and thank you for not making me go through all of them at once. You are amazing, God.

God wants us to Love people through their bad days as well as their good. He calls on us to be nice even when doing so is a stretch. Be helpful, even when you want to walk away and be forgiving even when the other person may or may not be sorry. He wants us to care about each other, not just when it affects us...care about each other because He asks us to. Instead, we ignore Him and tell ourselves we are too busy or that someone's personal stuff is really none of our business. Making excuses is the easiest thing in the whole wide world to do and we all do it over and over and over each and every day.

I pray for wisdom and the words to speak to people, the eyes to see and the ears to hear and still I miss more than I want to. I miss the person waiting to cross the street or waiting for a chance to get out of a busy parking lot. We all have missed opportunities from God...some small and others very large.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth...

If you are faith-minded, you believe that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. (Psalm 37:23). However, not every good man listens and obeys those orders. It doesn't make us bad, it makes us human. Sometimes we are frustrated or in a hurry or our strong will to do what we want gets in the way of our listening and obeying God. 

I had a great job opportunity a while back but I already had a job, so I basically blew the opportunity off. God kept whispering, "Take it,  take it." But silly me, I didn't want to let the people down that I was working for at the time, so I stayed. It wasn't long before I realized I had made a mistake, but the door was closed, the position was filled. You see, God knew there was a storm in front of me and He was trying to get me out of its path but I didn't listen to Him. Instead, I ignored his nudges and completely forgot that His way is always best! 
I have apologized to God for my know it all attitude and I  know He has forgiven me, as He does for some reason or another each and every day. What a great friend! He forgives me, because He is like that, God is always a gentleman.  


“I can do nothing on my own... As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me."


When we ask God daily, "What do you have for me today?" He listens and provides for us. He may call on us to do things we "don't wanna do" like take a different job, speak to someone about something that we don't understand, or even move to a different town.  He encourages us to be and do things for other people and some days He is very specific about who what and where. There have been many times when I have cried out  "Oh please Lord, give that task  to someone else." But He rarely changes his mind. In the end, you may as well just make it easy on yourself and do what He is asking. It typically turns out pretty amazing anyway. For this reason, and so much more, when I wake up in the morning, He is the very first to hear my praise and thanks.    



I praise you Father God for all of my blessings,

               each breath and step that I take.

                 And I ask you Lord…what have you for me today?
  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Living the Truth



My youngest child is one of a trillion young adults from the 'entitled generation' (not limited to) who want to re-write the Bible to suit her desires and opinions. 
The other day, she and I were discussing homosexuality and gay marriage. The views on gay marriage she has acquired out there in the big world of watered down Christianity are sad and unfortunate, to say the least. She said, "Mom, your attitude is really offensive, Jesus says that everyone has a right to love!" "I agree, they do," said I.
She continued, "If you agree with that then why don't you think God blesses gay marriage?" I organized my thoughts carefully and I explained, "God may give us free will, but he fully expects that we will follow the guidelines that he set up for our own protection. He also gifted us with the Holy Spirit to guide us through all things and warn us when we face temptations that go against the plans he has for us. It is not me or God who is offensive, what is offensive is that we choose to ignore such wonderful advice and blessings from Him at our own detriment." 

1 Corinthians 7:1-3 (ESV) Principles for Marriage
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

God is very clear that he does not bless sexual relations that He finds less than righteous. It is so important to him that it is mentioned over fifteen times in the Bible. He wrote these guidelines and laws for our own protection. We can have all the discussions in the world about how God should rewrite the Bible to suit the needs of the people today and we can continue to ignore the portions of the Bible that make us uncomfortable, but it changes nothing. All we are doing is sticking our heads in the sand and tossing away our blessings.

I told my daughter that I believe that every person born into this world with some kind of an affliction. Something so great it can only be overcome through the blood of Jesus. That is what he wants, he wants us to come to him for help. When people say He won't give us more than we can handle they know nothing about God. 
Maybe you are a homosexual or you know in your heart that you are different and you don't understand why. When it comes to sin, it really doesn't matter what it is, thievery, gambling, drinking or drugs. Too pretty (or too handsome) for your own good, or you feel that you are a far cry from attractive in any way. 
Overly confident or not at all confident. Dreadfully selfish and you don't think it is possible to change? Plagued with anxiety or depression. 
Maybe one or more of these afflictions have caused you to hurt others or you have been hurt by someone with them. Either way, it is making you gun-shy of relationships or commitment for fear you will hurt or be hurt again. That is not what our Father wants for us. Tell Jesus.... He is waiting.

1  Corinthians 6:9-12 (ESV)9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 
                                                               
No matter what your sin is, and we all have something, give it to Him. 
Lay it at His feet. Allow him to deal with it. I can't promise you a painless process, for it is not. But what is the greater pain, the recovery or the affliction itself? He will cleanse you and love you through it and you will thank him for it and develop a love for him that is greater than any other love in this world. He wants to perfect us because he is our mighty daddy God and he loves us and he is most glorified when he brings us through a fire. Because I know I am a sinner, (dirty hands and a dirty soul-D.C.) I make every effort to honor and obey all of His laws, not just the ones that work for me. Alas, I am only human so I fail miserably from time to time.  Seeing the constant changes in our world and watching our countries decline in values and traditions is both frightening and aggravating for most of us. My daughter and so many others like her were raised in the truth, it was planted in their hearts. 
They need our prayers that those truths will be remembered.  

  Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)10 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
 and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

I find that God is always a gentleman. Because He loves us He is always concerned for our well being. It is that very concern that prompts him to remind us, humble us and correct us. I am willing to accept any and all of his correction because I know He is blessing me. I make every effort to learn from those corrections for fear that I may be tossing those blessings to the wind if I ignore Him. Because I know that his laws were written out of love for me, I love them and I don't believe them to be overly difficult to understand.  It feels good to be his servant and please Him. He wants to help us and guide us through all things. Don't ever forget...His love and plans for us are bigger and grander than any plans we could ever dream of creating for ourselves. Blessings!

      We are all born to sin and that's 
why we must be born again.

I love David Crowder's latest CD, Neon Steeple. I included a link for one of the songs. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seek The Truth In All Things.





My youngest child is one of a trillion young adults from the 'entitled generation' (not limited to) who want to re-write the Bible to suit their desires and opinions. The other day, she and I were discussing homosexuality and gay marriage. The views on gay marriage she has acquired out there in the big world of watered down Christianity are sad and unfortunate, to say the least. She said, "Mom, your attitude is really offensive, Jesus says that everyone has a right to love!" 
"I agree, they do," said I. She continued, "If you agree with that then why don't you think God blesses gay marriage?" 
I organized my thoughts carefully and I explained, "God may give us free will, but he fully expects that we will follow the guidelines that he set up for our own protection. He also gifted us with the Holy Spirit to guide us through all things and warn us when we face temptations that go against the plans he has for us. 
It is not me or God who is offensive, what is offensive is that we choose to ignore such wonderful advice and blessings from Him at our own detriment. 

1 Corinthians 7:1-3 (ESV) Principles for Marriage
7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

God is very clear that he does not bless sexual relations that He finds less than righteous. It is so important to him that it is mentioned over fifteen times in the Bible. 
He wrote these guidelines and laws for our own protection. We can have all the discussions in the world about how God should rewrite the Bible to suit the needs of the people today and we can continue to ignore the portions of the Bible that make us uncomfortable, but it changes nothing. All we are doing is sticking our heads in the sand and tossing away our blessings. 

1  Corinthians 6:9-12 (ESV)9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 


I told my daughter that I believe that every person born into this world with some kind of an affliction. Something so great it can only be overcome through the blood of Jesus. That is what he wants, he wants us to come to him for help. When people say He won't give us more than we can handle they know nothing about God. 
Maybe you are a homosexual or you know in your heart that you are different and you don't understand why. When it comes to sin, it really doesn't matter what it is, thievery, gambling, drinking or drugs. Too pretty (or too handsome) for your own good, or you feel that you are a far cry from attractive in any way. Overly confident or not at all confident. Dreadfully selfish and you don't think it is possible to change? Plagued with anxiety or depression. 
Maybe one or more of these afflictions have caused you to hurt others or you have been hurt by someone with them. Either way, it is making you gun-shy of relationships or commitment for fear you will hurt or be hurt again. That is not what our father wants for us. Tell Jesus.... He is waiting.  
                                                                
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.



No matter what your sin is, and we all have something, give it to Him. Lay it at His feet.  Allow him to deal with it. I can't promise you a painless process, for it is not. But what is the greater pain, the recovery or the affliction itself? 

He will  cleanse you and love you through it and you will thank him for it and develop a love for him that is greater than any other love in this world. He wants to perfect us because he is our mighty daddy God and he loves us and he is most glorified when he brings us through a fire. 

Because I am a sinner myself, (dirty hands and a dirty soul-D.C.) I make every effort to honor and obey all of His laws, not just the ones that work for me. Alas, I am only human so I fail miserably from time to time.  Seeing the constant changes in our world and watching our countries decline in values and traditions is both frightening and aggravating for most of us. My daughter and so many others like her were raised in the truth, it was planted in their hearts. They need our prayers that those truths will be remembered.  

  Proverbs 9:10 (ESV)10 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
 and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

I find that God is always a gentleman. He is always concerned for us and it is that very concern that prompts him to remind us, humble us and correct us. I am willing to accept any and all of his correction because I know He is blessing me. I make every effort to learn from those corrections for fear that I may be tossing those blessings to the wind if I ignore Him. Because I know that his laws were written out of love for me, I love them and I don't believe them to be overly difficult to understand. They were written for our protection. It feels good to be his servant and please Him. He wants to help us and guide us through all things.
Don't ever forget...His love and plans for us are bigger and grander than any plans we could ever dream of creating for ourselves.



   

                         We are all born to sin 
and that's why we must be born again.