Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Sanctuary of Tranquility: A Little Blog About How We Grow & Change

Sanctuary of Tranquility: A Little Blog About How We Grow & Change: O nce, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water ...

A Little Blog About How We Grow & Change



O
nce, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles.
They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad. He was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. 
As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. 
So, fly he did! 
And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now that he was dead. 
He wanted to go back to tell them and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. 
Then he understood that perhaps their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

— Author Unknown And Greatly Appreciated!

This is a very powerful prayer we sing at my church...

Change Me, Lord, 
Change Me, Lord, 
Don't Let Me Stay the Same, Lord, I want to be just like you. 
Take My Heart, Make My Heart, Just What You Want it to be
Lord, Please Change Me, Change Me, Dear Lord.... 

If we spend enough time with Him, God will change us just like He changed the little water beetle. We become a new person in Christ. 
We become the person He intended for us to be before all of the religious training we engaged in messed up our thinking and before all of the ideas and values were dispensed by friends and even family members.

I can honestly say that although I often wish I had known God sooner, I am thankful for the fact that I never experienced very much of that other stuff in my life. Not ever learning it certainly simplified my transition from Gentile to Christian. I seldom wonder where the old me went, I am just very thankful for the changes.

Thinking about this brought to mind the little story of the water beetle. 

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

If only we could each grasp the concept that we are all much like that little water beetle. All capable of changing into something as beautiful as the blue-tailed dragonfly. Capable because of the great love of Our Father, God.

We may not be water beetles living underneath lily pads, but we are all characters in the Book of Life, and our story has already been beautifully written by Our Father; who wants nothing more than to bless us and fill us with joy.


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

Each and every moment of our lives, both the good and the not so good were conceived by the author and the finisher Himself to draw us closer to Him, and turn us into human versions of the beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly. 

I hope this little dragonfly story blesses you as much as it did me. 
We should always be seeking ways to be more like God and asking Him to change us and make us more like Him. He will introduce us all of the things we have been missing and show each of us that new world to explore so that we too can be fulfilled.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Sins We Take For Granted

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Sins We Take For Granted: My church was reading in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 last Sunday about the reminder from Paul of the sins the people were committing as Moses...

Sins We Take For Granted



My church was reading in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10 last Sunday about the reminder from Paul of the sins the people were committing as Moses lead them out of the wilderness.
Verses 1-4 remind us of how they were all under the cloud, they all passed through the sea, they were all baptized unto Moses, and they all survived forty years in the dessert eating only mana; (John 6:49-50) and drinking only from the Spiritual Rock of Christ.
In verse 5 Paul reminds us of the things they did that were displeasing to God as a reminder that we should not commit those same sins ourselves. He let the reader know that many were struck down (some versions say overthrown) because of their sins. Verse 6 lets us know that these things should serve as an example to us and also as a reminder for us to not desire evil as they did. 

In verse 7, we are warned "Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play." I wasn't totally clear on the whole idolatry thing so I did some research and discovered that most idolatry in our world today is our self.
The core is in the three elements of lust found in 1 John 2:16 "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world." 

The more I researched, the more disillusioned I became. Although I already had some idea, I was disturbed by the fact that millions of people, mostly women work sixty to ninety hours per week so they have more money for stuff. Self-worship propels some to work weekends as well as vacation time so they can buy; to name a few things; newer cars, more expensive toys, luxurious vacations and nicer homes. In the meantime, children are shoved into daycare and are starving for attention and love. We fool ourselves into believing that we are doing it for others when in fact it is to feed our own self-esteem. 


We fancy ourselves to be more clever than our creator by rejecting God's word and his description of how he created the heavens and earth and believe instead what scientists tell us. We convince ourselves that we can preserve the earth as it is for perpetuity when God has made it very clear that the earth and everything on it will be laid bare (2 Peter 3:10-13).
And last but not least, we are so obsessed with fulfilling our own selfishness that we overlook the needs and desires of those around us, including the people we love. We have become a world filled with self-indulgent people who take advantage of unlimited amounts of drugs, alcohol, and food to make us happy. We expose our children to those same addictions and wonder why they are obese, suicidal, and have the addiction, and attitude problems that they have. 
We are making every effort to be the God of our own lives.

This has its origin way back in the Garden of Eden when Satan (I hate using a capital form of the letter 's' for his name) tempted Eve, assuring her that if she ate the apple she would be just like God. (Genesis 3:5) This has been man's desire for all time; to be God. How tragic. 

Verse eight tells us point blank that we must not be involved in sexual immorality of any kind as it says "Many of those people were, and it is told that twenty-three thousand people all died in one day as a result of this kind of behavior." 

I have included the list of the top four excuses people attempt to use for their sin and the scriptures that explain why they are not valid excuses.  https://www.gotquestions.org/sexual-immorality.html

1.It's not wrong if we love each other.

Sex within marriage is blessed (Genesis 1:28); sex outside of marriage is “fornication” or “sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 7:2–5)
2. Times have changed, and what was wrong in Biblical times is no longer considered sin today. 
Most of the passages condemning sexual immorality also include evils such as greed, lust, stealing, etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10Galatians 5:19–21). We have no problem understanding that these other things are a sin. 
God’s character does not change with culture’s opinion (Malachi 3:6Numbers 23:19Hebrews 13:8).
3. We're married in God's eyes.
This argument implies that God is cross-eyed. 
The fallacy of this idea is that the God who created a marriage in the first place would retract His own command to accommodate what He has called sin. God declared marriage to be one man and one woman united for life (Mark 10:6–9). The Bible often uses the imagery of a wedding and a covenant marriage as a metaphor to teach spiritual truth (Matthew 22:2Revelation 19:9). God takes marriage very seriously, and His “eyes” see immorality for what it is, regardless of how cleverly we have redefined it. 
4. I can still have a good relationship with God because he understands.
Proverbs 28:9 says, “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” We fool ourselves when we think that we can stubbornly choose sin and God does not care.
First John 2:3–4 contains a serious challenge for those who persist in this line of thinking: “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”

Verse nine warns us not to test Christ. Testing Christ means to deliberately continue doing something after you have a full understanding that it is wrong. However, verse ten is the one that really opened a few eyes at my church that day and the one that has been following me around all week.

10 Do not grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

It doesn't matter if you whine, snivel, or grumble; it all adds up to the same word, complainer. 
When translated from the Greek, it means one who is discontented with their lot in life for that is certainly not a Fruit of the Spirit.
The first complainer on record was Adam, who was less that pleased with his wife after she ate from the forbidden fruit and went whining to God that it was all Eve's fault because she gave him some of the fruit to eat. (I can envision the entire thing, can't you? Eve sat on him and forced it down his throat.) 
From that moment on, complaining seemed to be a fairly common thing to do. 
Cain was obviously displeased even though there is no record of his saying so. 
Moses was not very happy about the burning bush situation or the trials during the Exodus. 
David complained to God in several Psalms.
The prophets complained about the idolatry of the Jewish nation, and Job, well Job...he complained all the time about everything. Although, despite his complaining, he was able to sanctify his complaints to the Lord, and that took more humility than most people will ever have. 

Philippians 2:14-15 says "Do all things without murmuring or complaining that you may be blameless and innocent children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine like the lights of the world" 


I must confess that I wasn't the only person in church that day who squirmed in their seat during the discussions, especially those about idolatry and complaining. After church that same day I had lunch with my pastor and his family at their home. My pastor always asks each and every person at his dining-room table what they took from the morning's sermon.
 As we went from person to person, the overwhelming response was our surprise that God was as disenchanted with complaining as he is with the other sins. 

This made me stop and think about how quick we are to put sins on some imaginary list we have developed in our own mind that classifies them from the worst to the least offensive, something very human that we are all guilty of. 
Needless to say, complaining was certainly at the front of my mind all last week. Especially when the traffic was slow and backed up and it inconvenienced poor little me and then there was the day that my job was monotonous and the next day how there was so much to do I couldn't keep up, and sadly I can think of several other times as well.

I knew I was as capable of sin as anyone else, so I have asked for forgiveness and added complaining to the list of traits I need to work towards truly repenting from. 
Praise God for His Mercy & Grace for they are new every morning.  

                                                                            
2.5 BILLION PEOPLE HAVE NEVER HEARD THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST ....
IN TODAY'S WORLD OF INSTANT COMMUNICATION, FAST TRAVEL AND GLOBAL MEDIA, THAT IS JUST SHOCKING.
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. TOGETHER, HAND IN HAND FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST CAN TAKE A STAND ON BEHALF OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.
JOIN ME IN PRAYING, ADVOCATING AND TAKING THE GOOD NEWS TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.