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.

What’s Growing In Your Garden?

“I am against you,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.” (Nahum 3:5 NIV)

Who is the Lord against? The inhabitants of Ninevah who were living in opposition to God’s Will. Jonah was sent to Ninevah to warn them they were about to face the wrath of God and the people repented, but later turned back to the ways of evil and the city was destroyed.

That was then, this is now. Is there a place or people to whom the Lord is saying, “I am against you?”

Before I answer this question, let me explore how history is repeating itself. Many have warned the nations against their wicked ways, but most have refused to listen. Throughout man’s history, whenever flesh dictated reason, people lived outside the will of God. Many were the prophets who spoke what God gave them and though some heard them, many did not and because the prophets spoke against evil and wickedness, many of them were killed. They were killed by those in authority who did not wish to stop wickedness–primarily that of worshipping idol gods which included sexual immorality and sacrificing of children.

Small wonder these practices continued since those in charge were evil incarnate. Moving to the 21st century, do we not have those in authority who are more concerned about appeasing man’s fleshly appetites for evil than God’s Will? Absolutely! Not much has changed when fleshly dictates override the spirit–the constant war between flesh and spirit–good and evil–and those who promote evil–living in opposition to God, will have much to answer for in the end.

Now, back to the question as to whether or not God is saying He is against some.  Yes, He is and we who know The Word–have a right relationship with Him–know this and are warning the nations, but once again, not many are listening. And once again, we shall see the wrath of God–His removal of His hand of protection–from all who are against Him–and He knows those who are His Children. All we need to do is go back and review history–not just the Bible, but remember the bible is a summary of the history of man.

Either we are for God–living according to His Word or we are against Him–living in opposition to His Word. God knows where we stand and so do we–if we’re honest with ourselves. Of course, those who are influenced by the god of this world–are blinded to the Truth of God’s Word and they have managed to spread evil like wind-blown seed into high places, planting more evil everywhere the seed lands.

It is time for the gardeners–to pluck up the weeds of evil–and plant the seeds of goodness, righteousness, and love for God and His people. Wherever we see the seeds of evil sprouting, we pluck them up and replace them with God’s Truth for His love is shed abroad in our hearts and because we love Him, we obey Him.

Now, who do you think God will be against? The gardeners of righteousness or those who deliberately plant seeds of evil? We do have a choice and it’s time to make the right one if we plan to reign with Jesus. Today, not tomorrow, is the time for change in what we plant.

A Title Means Nothing If The Role Is Not Fulfilled!

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (I Peter 5:2,3 NIV)

What does a good shepherd or a good leader do?

Being a good shepherd and being a good leader–in anything–means that the people are more important than the title. There are many people in leadership positions in churches who hold titles–pastor, bishop, apostle–and few of them are actually shepherds. How do we recognize them?

The shepherd realizes that those in the congregation are “not his/her people” but they have been given the responsibility to watch over the flock–feed them God’s Word, correct them when they go astray, warn about impending dangers, and provide them direction and instruction they can use to teach others. How many church leaders are actually doing this? Many are more concerned about how “they can influence others with their sound or things they amass” and never take the time to get to know those in their congregation or what they need.

I remember being in a meeting that was not being held in a church when the man who was the pastor of the church I attended came in late, needing to be seen, and announced that he knew his flock. But he didn’t recognize me as a member. I didn’t say a word, but that struck a chord in me. He wasn’t interested in serving the needs of the people because he didn’t know what the people needed. Not long after that meeting, I left that church when bizarre behavior starting ruling.

The same is true for leaders of other non-church groups. Some people only want leadership positions because of a title. Titles mean absolutely nothing if the person holding the title is not fulfilling the duties. I’ve recently been involved with a parent-organization for the high school my grandson attends and discovered that the reigning president has not fulfilled their duties from the outset, but is now angry they were voted out of office. They were not interested in “doing the role” they obtained, but only in being a position they could use to bully others. What I don’t understand is why. Holding a title means nothing and impresses no one if people don’t do the job that goes with the title.

These have not been good examples for anyone; especially the children in knowing how to be a good leader and even more important in how to demonstrate good sportsmanship when losing–an election or a game. No character–no grace; no grace–no room for entitled personalities–who do nothing but create problems for others.

If what we do on any level is not done from pure motives–it will not succeed. God knows the heart and He watches all we do and He hears everything we say. We cannot hide from Him and when He exposes a person’s true character, they can no longer hide from people.

In a position of leadership–we must always question our motives for being there and when we are incapable of fulfilling the role of that position, we must leave it to those who are capable and will do.

Take Us To The Rock!

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2 NIV)

At any place, at any time

A Believer calls to God, He hears.

He responds to our call

And calms all of our fears,

Knowing we trust Him, The Rock.

Throughout many scriptures in the Bible, we see the reference to a rock and in Deuteronomy 32:4, the reference states, “He is the Rock.”

What is a rock and what does it do? A rock is a hard surface that withstands the tests of time–the rain, the snow, the sleet, the hail–all that nature throws at it–it survives and thrives, remaining as steadfast as the mountains it forms. We know that certain rocks are more porous than others and they don’t withstand the elements as well as those rocks that are solid as granite.

My husband and I often play “Frisbee Golf” on our WII and I am always amazed at the graphic designer to created a scene with towering rocks that almost look like dinosaurs standing guard. They are high and provide shelter and shade from the bright sunshine designed into the game. And I think of Jesus–the solid rock–the immoveable rock, the strong tower that provides us refuge, whenever we play the game.

When we know who we have and what He will do for us–we can see Him in almost anything we do–and not just in a bible or in a building–but all around us, we see proof of His existence and The Word becomes alive for us. We can call upon Him–from any place at any time and He hears us. We can expect His protection from the enemy at any turn when we call upon Him and we can run to the Rock–His ever-abiding shelter–to protect us from the elements and keep us from harm.

Of course, for anyone to actually know who He is and what He will do for us, we must discover Him in The Word–from Genesis to Revelation–and develop a right relationship with Him, out of obedience to all He says–Love God and Love others–and then we can with assurance know–He will be our Rock.

Lord, open our hearts and minds to receive revelation knowledge through Your Word and embed that Word in our very beings so we will not sin against You. Create in us a desire to please You in all things and not man who is so fickle they change from moment to moment. You are our Solid Rock and we cling to You–for comfort and shelter from all harm and we thank You for being who You are in our lives.

We Are His Treasured Possession!

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,” (Exodus 19:5 NIV)

To obey God “fully” is to acknowledge His authority in all things and to simply, just do it! There is no other way that we can see ourselves as His treasured possession, chosen specifically by Him, and given favor so all the nations shall see us as His.

Of course obeying God comes with a price tag that many of us already understand. It means we withstand the ridicule and derision of those who think they know than God–who are actually the Godless and we know them by their behavior. We are belittled by those who attempt to derail everything we say because of their own insecurities, guilt, and self-hatred. We stand up to their accusations of hate because we know it is not us who hate–when we are filled with the love of God–there is no room for hatred, but watch how they personalize attacks against those who dare to stand up for Truth and Righteousness according to God’s Word and not our opinions.

Yes, there is a price to be paid for obeying God and some are paying with their lives when they refuse to recant their faith in God. These are the true heroes of faith in Christ Jesus. Those who will not turn back or turn away from serving an all-wise God, though physical death may be the end result, God’s reward for obedience is greater than the hatred of those who will not hear Him and obey.

Yesterday, as I often do, I commented on an article in the New York Times regarding Ireland’s referendum. Part of the caption to the article started, “love prevails…” and that is what caught my attention. My comment, “Too bad many cannot distinguish between love and lust,” and it triggered so much vitriol that I was truly amazed. Hatred spewed from the fingers of many who replied and I just sat in wonderment watching them, thankful that I have so much of God’s love within that I never went into attack mode as they did.

This is when we know we are His treasured possession–when we can respond to someone attacking us, without attacking in return. I am so thankful to God that He has chosen me to be His, curbs my tongue and my fingers when the godless attack and propels me to show them respect for their opinions, even when they won’t respect mine.

When we are filled with His goodness, we recognize those who are hurting because their hatred directed at us, is without merit. They react out of guilt and self-hatred and when we dare to say anything that is remotely different from what they think–they attack. I truly feel sorry for them and I’m praying that they will eventually see the need to know God and be set free from the hatred that holds them so tightly. They fail to understand that it is not us–the Believers who obey God–who hate them, but them who hate us because we dare to believe God and obey Him.

This world is in need of much prayer for all–the saved and unsaved, but while we wait for the unsaved to get a revelation of God’s love, we can rest in the knowledge that we are His treasured possession. Keep praying!

The First Death Is Just The Beginning!

“Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

Unless Jesus returns before we take our final breath, we will die (or fall asleep) and our end will only be for the earthly measurement of time. The heavenly measurement of time begins when He returns and all the dead in Him (those who died believing Him to be their Savior) shall rise at the sound at the trumpet and they shall be judged first.

It is not the first death that we need to concern ourselves while we live. It is the second death–the assignment of eternal resting place–in heaven reigning with Jesus or in the lake of fire, being tormenting continually for eternity.

While I know there are those who do not believe in heaven or hell, according to God’s Truth they do exist and in the end, we’ll all discover their existence. But while we wait for the end to come, we must know that our final resting place for eternity is determined by what we do while we have breath to live. Notice what John says, about who ends up in the lake of fire.

“The cowardly–those who are always fearful because they do not know that love casts out fear. The fearful do not know love for it they did, they would not fear. The unbelieving–those who refuse to accept God’s existence so they can do whatever their flesh dictates. The vile–those who do every imaginable evil thing they can without concern about how their actions impact others. The murderers–those who have no respect for life and consistently are responsible for the deaths of others. The sexually immoral–those who use sex as a tool for pleasure with anybody and everybody without discrimination or adherence to God’s plan for sex. Those who practice magic--misusing gifts of discernment and abilities given by God for monetary gain or fame. The idolators--those who worship things made by the hands of man or people–holding the things and people in higher esteem than God. The liars–those who twist and malign truth (especially God’s Truth) for their own personal agendas in order to influence others into doing what is pleasing in their own sight–totally ignoring God’s plan for man.” All these–when they have chosen to do these things–will end up in the lake of fire, unless they choose to live as God desires before the first death.

No person–can send another to hell and God won’t either. The eternal resting place in which we end up is determined by what we do when we are alive, having the ability to choose and choose wrongly. Every person–believer and unbeliever–chooses their final destination and they have no one to blame but themselves.

No matter how our end comes the first time–illness, accident, war, acts of violence or old age, our greatest concern should be the second death.

God Still Has True Prophets Speaking His Truth!

“They have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring on them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered, when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” (Isaiah 66:3b,4 NIV)

When the prophet spoke to the those who were willing to listen, he revealed God’s thoughts and declarations and promises. And this is the role of a prophet–to hear God and speak what God says–not what they want to say.

One of the reasons the children of Israel did not want to listen to any of God’s prophets is because they spoke God’s Truth rather than tell the people what they wanted to hear. It’s not always easy telling people the truth; especially when they choose to not hear it and then get angry because someone dared to speak truth. When the king had enough of Isaiah prophesying against all the evil they were doing, he ordered Isaiah to be cut in half–like they cut up the bulls for sacrifice.

In the face of all this persecution and ultimate death, not many people wanted to tell the people what God said out of fear. That was then and it is still true. People would rather pacify others than speak God’s Truth out of fear of persecution from those in leadership positions. We who know God, hear God and love Him have no need to fear anyone else. They can only kill the body, not our souls or keep us from receiving our just rewards from God.

Is there anyone out there who God is speaking to but afraid to say what God says? Are we yet willing to hear, but don’t want to upset the apple cart or care too much about what others will think of us? Is there anybody left on the planet who is as bold and courageous as the devil, willing to speak up when they hear God?

There are a few people who are bold enough to say what God says–no matter what others may think. I see them what they have to say on Twitter without anonymous profile pictures. I see them on Facebook, and Tumblr, and Google. We are here to stay and we have no fear of those who choose to live in opposition to God’s Word and we don’t care what their title is or what their position in government is–WE WILL SAY WHAT GOD SAYS AND BE JUDGED BY HIM AND HIM ALONE!

Every morning, the first thing I do is to read what God has said and then He speaks to my heart and I respond by writing an explanation, exegesis, poem, analysis, or whatever anyone wants to call my blogs. This is the will of God for me and I will continue to do it as long as I have life since my life belongs to Him. When people choose to live outside the will of God, they choose the consequences for disobedience and when they will not hear or heed God’s people warning them, their just reward is all they can get. Those of us who love God, love people enough to tell them the truth, and not just what they want to hear.  And we will keep saying what God says, whether people want to hear it or not!

Look For Opportunity To Do Good!

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10 NIV)

How often do we have an opportunity to do good? As often as we wake up, we have opportunity to do good–even if it is something as simple as smiling and offering an encouraging word to someone else.

Therefore, let’s look for opportunity to do good–always, for all people, but especially for those of the household of faith–those followers of Jesus Christ who will not back down from standing firm on God’s Word.

We can encourage our children.

We can encourage our spouses.

We can encourage our neighbors.

We can watch out for our senior citizens and make sure no one is taking advantage of them or we can do some of those things they have difficulty doing–yard work, driving, shopping, etc.

We can get involved as a volunteer in our school districts, our churches, our communities–doing whatever we can do to help make life a little easier for someone else.

Sometimes, a phone call is all that is necessary to let someone know we are thinking about them, care about them and to see if they need anything.

I’m not saying that Believers should be doormats or used indiscriminately. We should always be wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove, doing all things to please God, not us or to impress people.

Whenever we question our own motives for the things we do, we should ask ourselves, “Would this please God or do I have a hidden agenda?” We need to be honest with ourselves. If love is not our motive for doing the things we do, we should not do them.

When we know what we do pleases God, it becomes easier to do and we keep looking for opportunities to do good.