The Struggle

For some, the struggle to do what is right is a daily fight. This struggle includes making wise decisions, being considerate of others, standing up for justice, doing what God says to do, and do it well. Why is this struggle so great?

The struggle to do right is greater because it is so much easier to give in to temptation. It is easier to think and act selfishly. It is easier to cuss someone out than to think about how to say what you want to say. It is easier to go along to get along than to stand on principles aligned with God’s Word.

 

If the struggle to do right was easy, many people would be saved and living abundant lives. But it is so much easier for people to live unsaved, without thinking about the consequences of their action, and how what they do impacts others. Since there are so many people struggling to live–without fear, without concern about finances or what the economy will bring or what the politicians will do, we know the struggle is real, we know there are people who have yet to find peace with Jesus, who are yet unsaved.

 

Lord Jesus, help us in our struggles to do what is right and help others to do the same. Help us to fight the good fight of faith in you, not self. Help us to resist the devil and watch him flee from us.

Are You a Notch On The Devil’s Belt?

Being notch on someone’s belt is a phrase that is indicative of someone merely taking advantage of a situation–there is no attachment to the person or the event–just a game to keep count of those foolish enough to participate.

Women who sleep with men, indiscriminately, are usually just a notch on the man’s belt. He has no real affection for her and is usually involved in a macho-sadistic game with peers to see who can sleep with the most women in a given time period.

Young folks–who think and do stupid and dumb things are just a notch on the devil’s belt. He influences their their thinking and manipulates them into doing. He doesn’t care about them or the consequences they face; he just laughs every time people–especially our young people do stupid.

Doing drugs and becoming addicted–stupid–another notch on the devil’s belt; he doesn’t have to worry about you any more–your life will be filled with negativity and the consequences will include loss of friends, family, trust from others and eventually, you’ll end up in jail or dead. Can you hear him laughing at you?

Playing stupid games with people’s lives–such as the “knock-out” game–another notch on the devil’s belt. You knock out a person “just because” and they end up seriously injured or dead and you end up in jail. Another notch on the devil’s belt. Can you hear him laughing at you?

Participating in foolish challenges–risking your life to fit in with the stupid crowd. Social media is being perverted by those who are influenced by the devil and you have the nerve to jump right in and join them, never thinking about the risk. How many people died from the Cinnamon Challenge? Was that you who was rushed to the hospital, unable to breathe? Can you hear the devil laughing at you? If you had died, the devil would have been really ecstatic–another notch on his belt.

Whenever we do stupid–drinking and driving, texting and driving, having promiscuous sexual relationships with every Tom, Dick, and Harry or Sally, Sue, and Jane, doing drugs to relieve our boredom, contemplating suicide or homicide, ignoring instruction from parents and teachers or anyone in authority who actually cares about us–stupid things that lead to disastrous consequences–are just another notch on the devil’s belt.

Remember this–the devil hates all who God loves and he really loves to get you confused and doing stupid things so he can add that new notch in his belt. Don’t give him the satisfaction! Think before you do anything and learn to seek God for wisdom--turn the tables on the devil and every time you resist his influence, make that a notch on your belt. It’s your turn to laugh at him!

At the end of the day, count the notches–who’s winning–the devil or you?

Is This You?

“Declare me innocent, for you see those who do right.You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong. I am determined not to sin in what I say. I have followed your commands, which keep me from following cruel and evil people. My steps have stayed on your path; I have not wavered from following you.” (Psalm 17:2-5 NLT)

Does any of our communication sound like David’s prayer?

When we have reflected upon what we do and have done, do we dare ask God to declare us innocent–knowing He sees everything we do, knows our hearts and certainly knows our hearts? Can we realistically say to Him, “You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong?”

Considering we are saved by grace–not because of anything we done to deserve God’s favor, but because of who He is–our sins are forgiven and we have a right to declare whatever it is we want to Him.

When we understand we are forgiven for those things we did when we did not have a relationship with Him, it is so much easier to understand David’s declaration. It is also easy to understand the importance of “staying on the path” which God has established, not following evil people or trends, and not wavering from following His directions.

We know what and who we were–notice the past tense–before we knew and understood Him.

I refer to some aspects of my life as my “BC” time–before I had understanding of Christ and what He has done for me. I am now living in my “AC” time–after obtaining understanding of who He is and grateful for what He has done and is doing for me. 

If we never acknowledge that we have done anything that needs to be forgiven, how can a forgiving God, forgive us? If we never obtain a relationship with Him, how can we expect to communicate with Him–knowing He knows all about us and loves us anyway? If we never change our ways, how can we expect to be a beacon of light in the darkness that pervades the earth so others will come to know Him? Can we be like David and make such declarations?

David was not perfect by a long shot and neither are we, but right now–I declare I am the righteousness of God; I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; I am forsaking all those people who might lead me astray; I am staying on the path that God has set me upon and I will not be moved! I am Blessed and highly favored and never alone because He is always with me!

Is this you?

I Am All That God Says I Am available on http://www.amazon.com/Mary-M-Hall-Rayford/e/B00BAW31CQ/

Running Wild!

“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” (Proverbs 29:18 NLT)

How many times do we have to see the actions of rebellious children to  know that somewhere along the way, they chose to ignore instruction and guidance or were never given any?

The children who are running wild, skip school, join gangs, and prefer getting high on drugs more than paying attention to good advice. When they drop-out of school, they are angry and rebellious and think life has treated them unfairly when in all reality, they end up where they do because of poor choices and willful ignorance of guidelines and rules.

How many times must a person ignore traffic laws to understand that ignoring them will bring about unwanted tickets and fines and eventually the loss of privilege to drive?

What’s amazing to me is the “anger and rebellion” often exhibited by those who blatantly ignore traffic laws. They drive under the influence of alcohol, after repeated DUIs. They don’t slow down after repeatedly getting tickets for speeding. They drive with suspended or revoked licenses and get angry when they are arrested. These are the “adults” who are running wild.

Realistically, those who never understand the importance of obedience as children, seldom get it as an adult. They view their consequences as just part of their unfair life, rather than accepting responsibility for their behavior and disobedience.

The same is true for all who ignore “divine guidance” from God–people end up in ruts and pits they cannot dig themselves out and blame everyone but themselves.

This country–right now–is running wild–very few are listening for divine guidance and we can see the results in every aspect of our society.  Without regulations for the airways, we are bombarded with all manner of immorality on prime-time television, cable, and even the cartoons and so-called–teen shows. Drugs are legal, but the bible is not. Sexual immorality is touted as “normal” but agreeing with God is touted as being “hateful.”

We are a nation–running amuk–without divine guidance and yet the same people who are responsible for the chaos are blinded to their role in the decadence of morality because they are afraid of what people think, “being insensitive” and have a greater desire to be “politically correct” than Godly righteous. Their desire is to please man and weak, fleshly desires, rather than to please God who holds the future of all mankind.

But we must understand the carnal mind (fleshly desires) is in opposition to the Spirit of God and cannot understand the benefits of living a Godly life before man and God.

Divine guidance is as close as your Relationship with God and in His Word. The choice is ours–are we running wild or heeding divine guidance and knowing the joy of doing so?

Proving God’s Choice!

“So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.” (2 Peter 1:10 NLT)

What things shall we do? According to Peter, we should:

Supplement our faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, our moral excellence with knowledge, our knowledge with self-control, our self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with Godliness, our Godliness with brotherly affection and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  (verses 5-8)

When we are able to demonstrate these things, we prove to all who may wonder, or question, God’s calling upon our lives and the fact that He has chosen us. In order to perfect our faith and do all He has called us do, we must consistently seek Him and constantly reflect and assess where we’re headed and how we’re doing in being all that God wants us to be. If we do these things, we won’t have time for the enemy to influence our thoughts or what we do.

We must realize that if we allow our thoughts to be influenced by the enemy, our behavior will soon demonstrate what we’re thinking. The same is true when our thoughts are focused upon pleasing God–our behavior demonstrates what we’re thinking.

This then is why Paul admonishes us to think on those things that edify who God is–purity, integrity, honesty, lovely, true and of a good report–never being ashamed of what we do–then those watching us will know to whom we belong.

If we think on these things (all the goodness of Him)–we will not lie, manipulate, deceive, cheat, or spread negative rumors about anyone or anything.

If we think on these things–we’ll make every effort to make sure that our behavior cannot be condemned or make God ashamed of us.

Whenever we allow the enemy to influence our thinking and ultimately what we do, we give him free reign for more people to become unbelievers in the Lord Jesus Christ! This then, is the battle we are currently fighting–the battle of the mind and the enemy’s influence that makes us a public spectacle–leaving those watching shaking their heads in wonderment and turning away from anyone and anything remotely related to Christianity.

Faith–increased by hearing and hearing and hearing The Word, developing relationship with God and hearing His voice when He speaks, provides the impetus we need to keep going, gathering knowledge and maintaining the highest moral standards to prove God’s choice in His selection of us!

He Has Not Changed!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” (Revelation 1:8 NLT)

Before time was measured–He was.

In the midst of time revolutions–He is.

At the end of time, as we know it–He will be!

He is our self-sufficient, all knowing,

Ever-present, Awesome God.

There has never been another like Him,

Nor will there ever be–one like Him.

Not one god–has ever created all that was created,

Not one god–can move mountains or create the seas.

Not one god–can love man like He does,

Not one god–can be merciful and forgiving,

Though man may worship many gods,

There is none like Our God.

Though some may think He exists in the imaginations of man,

They cannot refute–all of creation–and if imagined into existence,

Why cannot man still imagine–things into existence, where nothing was?

He was not created by the hands of man,

Nor should He be worshipped with things man makes,

Those who know–worship Him in Spirit and in Truth,

Those who do not know–create symbols and images–

With the things that man has made and gives them power,

There is no power on earth like His

And there is no one who responds to the cries of man like He does.

Statues cannot respond to our pleas,

Holding beads or stones in prayer on our knees,

Will never accomplish what He can through

Our faith in Him–the only wise God!

He needed not man, but desired him to be,

The object of His affection, loved into life,

Guided along life’s journey, and waiting for him

For all eternity to live with Him!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah to the God of Heaven

Who was before, is now and forever will be–

Our soon-coming King, taking us Home–

Our Awesome God!

Think You Can Write?

Purposeful Writing

Writers today lack ability to compose words that connect the reader with a mindset to engage, entertain, and influence those that ponder and contemplate the connected contextual content of so many slashes on paper that attempt to mimic classic construction of such, viably termed, literature. Small wonder that society as a whole has lost its way to elucidate minds and encourage discovery in changing and rearranging the alphabet in ways that tackle the boredom of youth, yet re-energize the minds thought past redemption to understanding age-fraught diseases that lead to forgetfulness and sometimes complete eradication of what was.

Stifled, stunted by contemporary verbiage that is more folly than wisdom at its best when the best of language appears to be that which we now disown rather than use as an indicator of our intellectual ability and foresight and not just an extant reflection of who we once were.

Hampered, hamstrung by rituals and rules constantly changing, and rearranging thought patterns from ancient to present, but not relaying any message with clarity, as yet understood by the masters-of-words who could with the blink of an eye or stroke of pen transport readers from there to then within the space of time, not withheld from those who had imagination.

A preponderance of evidence exists, illustrating ineptitude by many, including those who proclaim they are masters of the written word in teaching it and yet fail to elucidate their ability at every turn, penning composition better suited for elementary students with simple minds that lack sophistication to compose letters of the alphabet that would entice a scholarly mind to read.

Mundane describes with understatement the slew of words on paper that attempt to divulge the essence of thoughts pre-arranged in random order that never meets with structure and organization designed to formulate a clear, concise message with fortitude.

Many redesign and regurgitate the prose of ancient ones in an attempt to supersede abilities in their proliferation of archaic pronouncements in terms that float just out of reach of those who dare to contemplate use of a dictionary, or resource of any magnitude, dispelling the notion that words and their contextual use are unimportant.

The means by which change occurs, lies within the ability of all concerned to see the need to reevaluate the processes used in learning and teaching and mostly in views that are ensconced in boxes with lids and fresh ideas are staled with the hindrance, and no one gets beyond the pale to think beyond the boundaries established by those who did not access galactic thinking.

Gender Who?

Gender Who?
I am a woman.
My pronoun is “she”
My figure is mature
My speech is articulate
My biology is intact
All the parts—born with—
Still functioning as
God intended.
I am a woman.

My husband is a man.
His pronoun is “he”
His figure is mature
His speech is manly
His biology intact
All the parts—born with—
Still functioning as
God intended.
He is a man.

My children are female and male.
My grandchildren are male and female.
We are not an “it”
We did not conceive “its.”
We will not refer to ourselves
As anything other than—the
Male and female God determined
When He created us—male and female,
Female and male, created He, them.

Confused people create confusion,
God gives us clarity in all things, when
We simply believe Him and not the enemy,
Who rejoices in the chaos he creates!