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 Are You Wearing?

What Are You Wearing?

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:8-14 NIV

Styles–what we wear–in clothes, shoes, and other apparel–often change as rapidly as we can blink our eyes. But whether we follow the trendiness of all these changes doesn’t matter. It’s not the clothes who make us who we are–it is who we are that makes a difference in what we wear–not only materially, but spiritually.

I know some people can hardly wait for the new fashion seasons to start and those with money–big money–have a “must-have” mentality and will go anywhere and pay any amount to have what they want to wear–to make sure people pay attention to them. We know this because “red carpet” events always emphasize what people are wearing–on the outside. But what resides on the inside of the person? That’s what usually comes out and determines the character of the person.

If a person looks good on the outside, but nothing worth having resides on the inside–bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, rage, jealousy, bigotry and hatred–nothing they put on the shell of the body will make a difference in the greater scheme of things. Why? Because God looks upon the heart–not the outside–of anyone.

It won’t matter how much money a person spends to make themselves look good on the outside if the inside–the spirit person–is in need of cleansing and renewal. What happens in the “renewal process” of the sinner to the saint–cannot be purchased for any amount of money–we either submit to God’s leading or we don’t.

So, if we think we are something when we are nothing–we only fool ourselves and the real “us” will be seen in how we treat others. Time to change clothes yet?

If we ever expect to see unity–of all mankind–determined to be submitted to Holy Spirit and do things out of obedience–we must learn to wear love as  a tightly knit garment to hold in the virtues of compassion, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, peace, humility, and righteousness--keeping out all of the old stuff–belonging to the un-regenerated person.

Now, what are you wearing?

Let’s Build Bridges!

Let’s Build Bridges!

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:12-14, 17 NIV

Instead of building walls that isolate

Let’s build bridges that reciprocate

Integrity, honor, and respect,

Giving to get what we expect.

What makes it so difficult for us love?

Did we not receive it from Him above?

Are our hearts not filled from within,

Enough love and respect for all men?

God’s love flows continuously from Him to all,

Not hindered by hate or discriminating wall,

With the message of love preached and all receive,

The world will know–In Him, We Believe!

 

And It Shall Be!

And It Shall Be!

maryhallrayford

And so it shall be:

Instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench;
Instead of a sash, a rope;
Instead of well-set hair, baldness;
Instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth;
And branding instead of beauty.

Your men shall fall by the sword,
And your mighty in the war.

Her gates shall lament and mourn,
And she being desolate shall sit on the ground.  Isaiah 3:24-26 NKJV

Whenever we as a people–men and women–male and female–all created by Him who created all things–refuse to obey God and do things His way, we find ourselves on the receiving end of the consequences of disobedience. And when we see these things coming to fruition, most don’t acknowledge the role they play in helping us get there and instead, point fingers–blaming others–never accepting responsibility for what they do.

This has been the story of mankind–from the…

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Is Your Foundation Intact?

Is Your Foundation Intact?

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne. He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them. The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face. Psalm 11:3-7 NIV

If we don’t build on solid foundations,

Of love, hope, and respect for all

We set the stage for destruction of nations,

Both far and near, within, without not hearing the call,

Of God’s Word to relieve oppression for all generations.

We need to fill the cracks, restoring foundations,

Building bridges, cementing partnerships, not building a wall,

Promoting hatred, distrust, fear and division, in all relations–

Ignoring the one truth we seem to have forgotten,

God knows when we we’re good and He knows when we’re rotten.

We are One Blood, One Nation, One Race–All His Creation!

 

He’s Watching!

He’s Watching!

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3 KJV

God sees and He knows

We cannot hide our hearts

Our thoughts, our deeds;

Before we think them, He knows!

Judgment Coming For Whom?

Judgment Coming For Whom?

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you. Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! James 5:1-9 NIV

On the surface it would appear that James has a problem with those who are rich. Since–we who Believe we are children of God–we know that can’t be the problem since James wrote as The Lord spoke to him. The issue here is not in the riches, but in those who are materially wealthy, but spiritually poor.

If our only pursuit in life was in attaining “things” to the point where the things have us, then we have a problem. The purpose of being blessed by God is so we can be a blessing to others. Now we know some are filthy rich and claim their achievement was because of what they did. This is an example of a spiritually poor person and if we look closely enough–we see these people all the time. We can’t help but see them if we pay attention to any media. They like to be seen and flaunt their material wealth and actually think, their material wealth entitles them to do anything they want to do. I could at this juncture provide a list of the those who think this way, but why bother. God knows who they are and in the end, He will have the last say over their lives.

However, the important take-away from this passage of scripture is in understanding that as brothers and sisters in The Lord, we should not condemn or belittle one another, but encourage one another to be patient while waiting for The Lord. God is not deaf or blind. He sees all the injustices and wrongs committed against those who are His and in His own timing, He will judge the matter.

Once again, a commenter on a thread called themselves chastising me–without knowing me or who I serve–by invoking the name of Jesus into the commentary. His attempt was to belittle me, while making a claim to follow Jesus. I had to remind him that his behavior was not a good example of an ambassador for Jesus–especially since he thought he was the only person who had a right to speak his mind and everyone else needed to “shut up.”

What I see–especially in this political cycle–is difficulty in determining who the Believers really are from those who say they are Christians. “Christians” are loudly proclaiming their desire to “execute” and put people on the “firing line” promoting the worst kind of hate! Is this what Christians truly believe and how they act towards others? If this is the new “Christian” mantra, then I respectfully decline from acknowledging myself as a “Christian” but loudly proclaim that I am a TRUE BELIEVER IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND ALL HE DESIRES US TO DO!

Now, judgment is coming for all–saved and sinner alike–and our eternal resting place will depend upon the judgment rendered by God–not people.

So, I’m distancing myself from those who proclaim to know God in His infinite mercy, goodness and grace and unconditional love and yet they are incapable of demonstrating it. It is not our place to fuel frenzied conduct by the masses, inciting hatred and bigotry and I will not participate in that arena.

I will continue to write as The Lord gives me direction and for any who choose to ignore or disagree, I respect that. But I will not tolerate anyone attempting to tell me that I should condemn anyone when I have been redeemed by a loving Savior.

Lord, I pray you’ll speak to hearts all over the land so violence will not erupt and leave this country mourning like we’ve never mourned before. In Jesus’ name I ask and thank You, Amen!

Lessons Learned!

Lessons Learned!

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer. Proverbs 9:7-12 NIV

#Politics Alert

For the past two days, I have–as per my habit–scrolled through various media articles and commented on those I thought warranted a comment. It is always my intent to simply comment “to the article” and I never comment on what another poster has said–unless they reply to me directly.

Herein lies the challenge–for them and me. It would appear that many who post to Internet articles feel they are the only ones entitled to an opinion and they repeatedly end up calling people names when asked to produce verification of what they said. Here’s an example to a comment I wrote regarding the use of the song, “We Are The Champions” on CNN 7/19/16.

Mary Hall-RayfordNot surprising–he thinks he can get away with anything. After all, he hijacked the GOP in order to pursue his own attention-getting agenda that’s all about him!
Tony Guidroz
Tony GuidrozWell Hilary knows that she will get away with everything, including murder, illegally sending classified information, and perjury. You let me know when Donald gets on that level.
Mary Hall-Rayford
Mary Hall-RayfordTony Guidroz Who did Hillary murder? I must have missed that trial!
Tony Guidroz
Tony GuidrozThose are FACTS.
Mary Hall-Rayford
Mary Hall-RayfordTony Guidroz You didn’t provide any facts–just more speculation and obscure biased opinion. Who did she murder and when was the trial held? Just the facts, please!
Tony Guidroz
Tony GuidrozLet me guess you are denying all those others or no? I gave you all facts that you can look up yourself. You seem pretty lazy not wanting to do any research for yourself. Typical.
Mary Hall-Rayford
Mary Hall-RayfordTony Guidroz Actually, you gave me NO FACTS–just innuendo–there is a difference. I usually research information before I proffer an opinion–about anything. Who did she murder and when was the trial? That is factual information and unless you can prove it–with documentation–you might want to take a nap and then wake up from your delusional world.
Tony GuidrozI told you. Where are your factual rebuttals for the FACT that she is a thief, that she sent classified information illegally, and that she committed perjury? All things that are on video. As for the murderer part, she didn’t pull the trigger, but she may as well have. Oh and she was investigated for it. She’s not in prison for the same reason that she’s not in prison for the email scandal. She is apparently above the law.
Tony GuidrozShe sat there and lied to Congress on 2 separate occasions, about 2 separate cases. So sad that you defend a woman who takes money and sympathizes with the very people that view women as property. She belittled and berated women that were sexually abused by her sex crazed husband. She calls black men super predators, yet she has your support. Lmao. Who’s the delusional one?
Marvel Amber John If she was this bad she should be behind bars. She’s not.. Your point? No wait! Don’t tell me.
Mary Hall-Rayford Tony Guidroz I didn’t say one word about anything other than your allegation that she had committed murder. None of what you just spewed provides any factual information of your allegation. But I won’t belabor the point that you keep straying away from. You’re entitled to your delusions and as for the other allegations that I’m defending her–where did I say that or did you just assume that? Not much for facts are you? Just spewing bigotry, I guess–is a way to spend your time. Have a wonderful day!
My point to titling this post, “Lessons Learned” is that even though I tried to end the conversation with calm, it escalated into something far more sinister than needed to be.
While I realize every person on the planet has already concluded who their political candidate is, I am extremely cautious about making accusations about anyone–without concrete evidence. I have to admit, I seldom experience the kind of hatred for one person that I’ve seen lately about Hillary (in the past about Obama simply because of his skin color). People have criticized everything about the woman–from the clothes she wears to her husbands past indiscretions and everything in between and beyond.
Who has never committed a stupid act in their life? Who has never made mistakes? As I pointed out to several people on that thread yesterday, I usually research information before I speak on it and can and have provided links to support what I say. But the lesson I have learned is that no matter what you say to some people–they go into attack mode and never recover from it. At that point–it is wiser to stop talking to them–even though they won’t stop.
I’m not afraid of controversy and I don’t back down from anyone attempting to bully or intimidate me–I know who I am and don’t have to prove that to anyone. I am concerned about the level of hate that people don’t have a problem displaying and how all that hatred impacts the challenges we see on a daily basis.
I encourage substantive discussion about issues I care strongly about, but I refuse to be embroiled in stupidity–where what we say, matters not. While I can respect a differing opinion by anyone, that courtesy is not often reciprocated, but it won’t stop me.
When The Lord speaks to my heart, I will respond and obey. It does not matter if people accept what is said; what matters is my obedience and therefore, I will continue to obey God for He is the only one who deserves my praise. Politicians–come and go--and in the end, only what we do for Christ will have any lasting impact in our society.