Are We Defeated?

Are We Defeated?

The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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 Corinthians 6:7-11 NIV

When victory is not the end result–there lies defeat. Are we defeated?

I submit to you–that as long as we do things according to The Word–we will not be defeated, but know victory at every turn!

When we tell the truth–we know victory!

When we stand up for and promote righteousness–we know victory!

When we refuse to cave to popular opinion and reject the ways of the world–we know victory!

No matter what the doctor’s report says–we are victorious!

No matter what our bank account shows us–we are victorious!

No matter what people think of us or who we support–politically–we are victorious!

No matter what temptation the enemy puts in front of us–we will not be tempted to live in opposition to God’s Word–we are victorious!

With God going before us in everything we do–He is more than enough! In Him, we live and move and have our being! We are victorious through Jesus Christ!

So, keep going–living The Word, daily–never expecting or ready to concede defeat in anything. Just keep going and going and going–looking to Him–the author and finisher of our faith–knowing that no matter what happens on earth, in the end–we win and will spend eternity with Him!

 

Where Our Allegiance Lies…

Where Our Allegiance Lies…

For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his idols, he will examine the liver. Into his right hand will come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp and to erect siege works. It will seem like a false omen to those who have sworn allegiance to him, but he will remind them of their guilt and take them captive. Ezekiel 21:21-23 NIV

When our allegiance is criticized by those who have not lived our experiences, it warrants a deeper discussion and understanding of the values held and the need for those values to be respected, regardless.

Children are taught to “pledge allegiance to the flag” when they are young–at least that was true in yester-years. Now, I’m not sure what they’re taught considering the fact that there are movements determined to teach children in kindergarten about homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and only God knows what else–and school districts are allowing this rather than acknowledging a parent’s right to teach their children about any type of sexual behavior. So much time is spent teaching children things that have nothing to do with academics that it’s no wonder our children have difficulty focusing and passing standardized tests–unless the answers have something to do with sexuality.

So, if no one is teaching the children about what allegiance means–as it pertains to the American flag–why would anyone be upset about the “physical position” one takes when facing the flag? Stand or sit–what is the big deal? In the case of the football player, Colin Kaepernick and his “sitting” protest–why is it a “terrible thing?” He is not the first to adhere to the “standards” set by others in acknowledging the flag when the national anthem is presented and he won’t be the last. In America–the flag is supposed to represent the fact that we have rights and choices and none should be objectified when exercising those rights–especially since there was no desecration or mockery involved.

What I see–is people so blinded to their ideals of American political partisanship, that those complaining have forgotten about “what freedom means” for all. If students cannot be compelled to recite the pledge nor punished for not doing so–why are we vilifying an adult–is it because he is a black male professional athlete? Or is it that the last part of that pledge does not include him with regard to “freedom and justice for ALL?”

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Liberty–synonymous for freedom sees to evade people of color–from times past to the present. Whenever there is supposed to be freedom–it gets ignored and criticized unless one happens to be a funny-faced man with money who has trampled on others with his freedom to speak racist remarks and yet–he is promoted and touted as a “great man” by his subservient supporters. This is not to say he hasn’t been called on the carpet for the foolishness that keeps falling from his lips, but since it does keep falling–he should have been “sat down” some time ago and banished from the public view.

And before anyone criticizes what was just said, think about what the funny-faced man said about Kaepernick–“go find another country” as if someone made him king. He hasn’t even been elected and thinks he has a right to stick his nose in places it doesn’t belong–or rather tweeting about things that don’t concern him, but making it about him and politics. What a waste! Telling someone to “go find another country” proves the point about him being racist.

If one person’s freedom is not recognized then none of us have freedom or we shouldn’t especially when some use their “freedom of expression” to belittle and humiliate others. Either we’re all free or the “allegiance pledged” means nothing for anyone. We cannot have it both ways.

If our true allegiance was to Jesus Christ–none of what is happening would be happening, but most of those who claim devotion to Jesus–lie every day with their actions and loose lips. When our allegiance lies with the ability of a mere mortal to do more than God, we get what we deserve–and then we become captives of the Babylonians (those who never worshiped our God)!

Considering Admiration!

Considering Admiration!

Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:5-8 NIV

We often choose people we set on a pedestal–those we greatly admire and then when their imperfections and flaws are exposed, we get angry and sometimes, we rebel by interjecting venom that poisons us and all around us.

Not all of us can be right at the same time in the same place, but we can be righteous in all we do. If we only do what is right–at all times–we never have to consider what happens if we do something wrong because we won’t. Sound complicated? We live complex lives and throughout our journey, we make decisions based upon the information and experiences we have at hand. If our experiences and our information is limited, our views may seem a bit short-sighted, but when we broaden our experiences and gain greater access to information, the likelihood that our views will change are incredible.

For instance, when we were in kindergarten and learned all we needed to know about life–the experience was limited and the information provided was at a level that our undeveloped minds could handle. We thought recess was the greatest part of the day and for some, it was the storytelling hour. Every person in the class came away with different perceptions of what kindergarten was about, but we learned: to share, wait our turns, be respectful, and to move to the right when traveling–walking down a hall or driving. And many of us learned to be considerate and most of us–had a great deal of admiration for  our teacher. Unless the teacher did something really wrong–we admired them and remembered.

As we navigated middle school and high school and college–we discovered there was so much more to learning and being in a classroom that we began to think (and not just swallow everything told to us) and eventually–our views about things we learned in kindergarten changed. It’s called–maturing–and it’s a part of life that most of us enjoy.

But then there are those who–though past the age of 50–still act like they are still in kindergarten. The saddest part of all is there are people who admire–the kindergarten mentality which makes one wonder–if the admirer–ever matured. And it is these people who concern me and how they evaluate admirable qualities in a person.

So, when we express admiration for a person or an ideology–perhaps we should consider the source of our admiration and evaluate our own maturity if we admire others who are immature and act as though they are still in kindergarten.

The ant–a tiny creature with a tiny brain, but obviously smarter than those of us with a larger capacity to think, evaluate, and assess and we don’t. What exactly is there to admire about a non-thinking person? Absolutely nothing–unless we happen to be an ant. Let’s choose to admire Jesus and become more like Him!

 

Have Mercy O God!

Have Mercy O God!

Listen to what the LORD says: “Stand up, plead my case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.  “Hear, you mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel. “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam. Micah 6:1-4 NIV

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Listen! The LORD is calling to the city— and to fear your name is wisdom— “Heed the rod and the One who appointed it. Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house, and the short ephah, which is accursed? Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights? Your rich people are violent; your inhabitants are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully. Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. Micah 6:6-13 NIV

While many people do not believe what the prophets of old said are relevant to this day, I beg to differ. If we read–with understanding–and carefully consider how our lives today are parallel to the times when God used the prophets, we see the similarities–but will we hear and obey?

The biggest difference in what was done then and now is–God spoke through specific people warning the people–those willing to hear and speak what He said. Today, all who desire to know–have access to His Word and Holy Spirit–we have the means to hear without a middleman–if we choose to hear. When we choose to ignore God and all He has done for us–we reap the consequences of our actions and if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we can hear Him asking us the same questions.

What does He require of us–to treat others with love, mercy and justice–and to walk humbly–showing humility in all we do–not boastful or bragging about what we’ve done or said and certainly, knowing how to be empathetic and compassionate. Are we doing it?

Are those who are dishonest and cheat others going to be receive anything from God? Yes, they will receive the appropriate consequence for their actions because God sees everything we have ever done and knows everything we will ever do.

Are the rich violent–either in action themselves or provoking others to act violently towards others?  Are we lying–just to get what we want or do we know how to speak truth? Are we allowing out tongues to rule us deceitfully, hoping others will not expose the deceit? While no one has to answer these questions asked on this blog, God is waiting–for us to respond to Him with answers that are truthful and without any attempt to conceal the reality of what we do. Are we ready to answer Him?

When we attempt to conceal our lies and deceptions–they are ultimately exposed for all the world to see (or at least in front of those we were trying to deceive) and we stand naked–with nothing to cover us, nothing to shield us from the onslaught of criticism that is bound to come. So why lie and deceive? The enemy has discovered the flaws in our nature and has used them against us so he won’t be alone–in the lake of fire for all eternity. Don’t be caught with defenses down! The enemy’s job is to kill–we see the result of his influence, daily; to steal–the joy of everyone who loves; to destroy–any hope that others have for a better day; he is the father of liars–so he influences others to lie and the master of deception–always masquerading as something good until he gets close enough or has influenced enough people–to do the most horrific things we can imagine.

What can we do? Pray, pray, and pray. We pray for ourselves to hear God and then act in obedience to what He tells us and we pray for mercy–His forgiveness for our foolishness so we’ll have opportunity to get things right before Him.

Have mercy upon us, O God!

Life, Light and Love!

Life, Light and Love!

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7 NIV

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.But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:3-6 NIV

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 John 3:9-11 NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.1 John 4:7-13 NIV

There is no improving upon God’s Word and when and if we ever learn to take it to heart, studying for understanding and acting with the Wisdom received from Him, we will understand Love and live–loving all as He loves us.

Where there is no love, darkness and hatred reign, but light dispels the darkness and there can be no light without love.

Isn’t it time, we walked in the light of love towards all people–regardless of their religious beliefs or the color of the skin or their ethnicity? Until we learn to love, the world will never know peace. Until we learn to accept the fact that no one group of people is superior to another, we won’t love as God loves–unconditionally.

Talk is cheap–and by the multitude of words is a fool known. Let’s stop talking about love and start living love so the entire world will see God in everything we do!

Enough said!

 

A Divine Do-Over!

A Divine Do-Over!

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him. Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8 NIV

With many of the video games kids and adults play (we’re Wii gamers), the player can start the game over if their score is in jeopardy. In life, we don’t get many chances to improve our score when our decisions cause us jeopardy, but there is a divine do-over, that every person has an opportunity to receive.

We are born of a woman–a female whose reproductive system functions as God designed and that process includes a fetus living in “water” (amniotic fluid) until it makes an appearance in the visible world. This is the first birth. Because of our flawed and imperfect natures–prone to doing the wrong thing no matter how “religious” we think we are, we do not have the power on our own to change who we are. However, when we’re born of the Spirit of Christ (the second birth)–having accepted the gift of salvation because of the work on the cross–Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, we get the Divine Do-Over.

I wish I had the time to really delve into this subject this morning, but I’ll have to summarize because of my restricted time. If we look at the rest of this chapter regarding the life of Jesus and we get to the best known (hopefully) passage of scripture, we see why Jesus had to come. “For God so loved the world (the people in it) that He gave His only Son (He came in the flesh) so that whoever believed in Him would not perish, but have eternal life (after the first death). He did not send His Son to condemn the world, but to provide an opportunity for the world to be saved through Him” (John 3:16,17 paraphrased).

That was His purpose. The methodology was taking upon Himself the sins of the world and being crucified on the cross, dying (for a moment), being resurrected, returning to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, but leaving His Spirit in the earth realm so whoever receives Him, has within them the power to not sin, when we are obedient to His guidance. Hallelujah! We have opportunity to repent–from doing things our way which is usually the wrong way, and have divine instruction–daily–if we’ll listen and obey–getting a second chance when our lives and souls are in jeopardy–a do-over–to get things right.

I am so thankful for the opportunity for this Divine Do-Over that I simply can’t thank God enough for His love and mercy. Surely goodness and mercy indeed follow me all the days of my life. It was His goodness that kept me when I couldn’t see through the darkness and His mercy that keeps me on the path of light and love–knowing without Him, I can do absolutely nothing, but with Him–all things are possible!

Victory in the name of Jesus over all the enemy has attempted to do in my life and in the lives of my family (biological and spiritual) and friends is my proclamation all day long! Now, let’s dance–thanking God for the Do-Over!

What To Do About The Message!

What To Do About The Message!

Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: “LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God. “It is true, LORD, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste all these peoples and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are the only God.” Isaiah 37:14-20 NIV

What should we do when we receive a message that causes us anxiety?

We do what Hezekiah did–we turn our concerns over to The Lord since He has all the answers, we don’t.

The doctor’s report with bad news–spread it out before The Lord.

The bills we can’t pay–spread it out before The Lord.

The disobedient child–spread it out before The Lord.

The tragedies occurring all over the world–spread it out before The Lord.

The divorce papers you weren’t expecting–spread it out before The Lord.

The lawsuit you were just served about–spread it out before The Lord.

The violence and crime sprees the media reports–spread it out before The Lord.

The chaos and instability of this political cycle–spread it out before The Lord.

And once we spread our concerns before The Lord, we acknowledge we’re incapable of resolving the issue and need Him in our lives. Then we listen, hear, and obey. That’s what Hezekiah did and since we know that God is not a respecter of persons, He’ll do for us what He did for Hezekiah–save the day.

We don’t have to sweat the small stuff or the big stuff–just spread it out before The Lord and know–God’s got this!

Fighting The Good Fight!

Fighting The Good Fight!

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy 6:9-12 NIV

How do we measure progress when we’re doing something for the first time? What standard becomes our benchmark? We’re still determining our direction with our boot camp.

What we didn’t anticipate is a change in our scheduling that makes this attempt almost futile. I say, almost because I’m not one who gives up easily at the first sign of adversity. Unexpected events have taken me away from home during the crucial hours of our scheduling and that has thrown everything off course. But still we muddle forward. Leaving written instructions for someone to follow without being in their presence is not the same as being right there.

While we’re learning how to adapt our methodology and accomplish our goal, I get a better glimpse of how God views us. Though He has set out the guidelines for us to follow in His Word, if we are not totally cognizant of His presence–at all times, we veer off track.

This then, is how we fight the good fight of faith. We must remember at all times, He is a very present help in our midst and we must look to Him for direction in all things. ALL things–every little thing–and never take Him for granted because He knows when we’re faltering in our own wisdom and when we allow Him to guide us–we cannot go wrong.

So, instead of relying upon my memory for the first breakfast of this boot camp, I should have consulted Him–who would have reminded me to look it up and all ingredients would have been included. Had I consulted Him about the week of our plans, He would have provided me with insight as to what else would occur in our lives.

What to do, what to do! Adjust–all plans and determine if there is a need for continuation for another week or even for the next month–one day at a time. I’m waiting to hear but I will continue to provide the necessary building blocks that will ensure my grandson will thrive and be able to resist the temptations that are bound to be put before him.

Lord, though we know to seek Your wisdom in all things, sometimes we think we can handle the minor details without You. Thank You for bringing us back to the realization that You are our focus and without You, involved in all things, we can do nothing. Thank You for reviving us and strengthening to continue the good fight–every day!

Expecting From The Lord!

Expecting From The Lord!

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. I Chronicles 4:10 NIV

So, the first day of boot camp didn’t quite turn out the way we wanted it to work.

The breakfast I had planned was a miserable fail (baked omelette). Apparently, I forgot something needed in the recipe and we ended up with cheesy egg toast.

Lunch was chicken salad, which for me was enhanced by using the cheesy egg toast for an open-faced sandwich.

Dinner–well, I have no idea since I didn’t eat dinner and left the others to their own devices.  We’ll get better as we go along–I hope.

A rocky start, but most of what we wanted to accomplish for day one–achieved.

Grandson is reading and analyzing specific passages of scriptures, relating them to daily living and other literature designed to open his eyes and open dialogue with us.

More next time–keep praying!

Lord, keep us focused on our task and always dependent upon You and enlarge our understanding of how to move forward in such a way that not only will our grandson learn a valuable lesson, but we will, too.

 

This Is It!

This Is It!

It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of. Ezekiel 39:8 NIV

For the next few days, this blog will hit a little closer to home. We’re conducting a boot camp (of sorts) to teach my grandson a lesson in “fortitude” and staying the course of being right even in the wrong places with the wrong people.

We have a schedule beginning from 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. detailing what we’re doing each hour or block of time set out. He won’t have any free time until 4:00 p.m. and then we enter into our evening schedule of events until time for him to go to be 10:00 p.m.

When we love our children or grandchildren, sometimes we have to take “extreme” measures to get that message across to them in order to help them develop the skills and tools they’re going to need to survive–teenage years, young adulthood into mature adulthood.

So, we including exercises to build mental fortitude, physical fortitude, emotional fortitude and spiritual fortitude. I’m sure I’ll have to say in the coming days about what worked, how it worked and what adjustments we needed to make to ensure the outcome we expect.

We’re trying to help him develop critical thinking skills and how to react to adverse situations that could cost him his life.

Pray for us while we take this unknown journey–striving to reach the finish line of excellence so he’ll be ready for The Master’s use!

This is the day!