Transform Us, Lord!

Transform Us, Lord!

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:1-10 NIV [Please read it all for insight into  David’s heart after he committed adultery with Bathsheba]

Before we can expect to see any change in any of us, we must be willing to admit where we have fallen short and then seek God’s forgiveness. If we think we have never done anything wrong, we close the door on the transformation that only God can achieve in us.

None of us are perfect–though we strive for perfection as God defines it–not us, so there are areas in us we need to submit to God.

The first area in our lives that we need to submit to God is our “stinking thinking” so we can stop holding our noses. Yes, our thought life is what gets us into trouble and until we submit our thoughts to God, nothing will change in our lives. Why? Whatever we think about–extensively–is what we’ll act upon.

David’s adulterous act occurred first, in his thoughts–when he watched Bathsheba bathe on the roof top–had he been out with his army, he never would have been tempted. But then, he created a bigger mess having her husband killed. When the prophet Nathan pointed out to him that his deeds were not hidden from God, David repented and we are told that God saw David as a man after His own heart. In other words–when David acknowledged his sins and sought forgiveness–God was pleased. However, that does not mean that we should commit sin and repent in order to please God, but we do have an advocate when we fall short and He is always available to us. Our deeds are not hidden from God!

The second area in our lives that we need to submit to God is our tongue. We must watch what we say at all times. If we think first, then speak–chances are we’ll not say things we need to retract or back pedal later. We are admonished to be quick to listen and slow to speak. James warns us that the tongue–the little member–can ignite fires and wars–simply because we will not control it.

The final area–that should be first–is our heart. If we submit our heart to God and allow His love to saturate our being, we’ll focus our thoughts on Him, and we’ll hear Him when He corrects us, and we’ll learn to speak what He speaks. If we never submit our hearts to God, we’ll never focus on the things He would have us to focus upon and if our thoughts are not aligned with His, we’ll never speak what He speaks because we won’t hear Him. We are in need of transformation and this psalm is a perfect–transformational prayer.

Lord, we are in need of help, forgive us for all the wrong we’ve done and lead us to the path where You want us–submitting to Your will in all things. Transform us, Lord so we’ll be more like You–knowing how to love unconditionally all of Your children–without bias or fear or retribution from others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

None Like Our God!

None Like Our God!

Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:11 NIV

“There is none like You. No one else can touch my life like You do.

I could search for all eternity long and find, there is none like You!”

“In times like these, we truly need a Savior. In times like these, we need a friend.

Be very sure, your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock. His name is Jesus!”

Song lyrics keep rising in my spirit as I attempt to reconcile my thoughts and feelings  about all the tragedies occurring around us. Stuff happens–stuff we cannot control–but it does not mean that we don’t feel–inadequate, helpless, angry, forlorn, sad–but we must feel–because if we don’t feel something–we are dead inside. And anything dead, needs to be buried.

There are many gods people serve, but none of them are like our God.

Our God is not represented in the shaping of stones, He is the stone-shaper.

Our God is not represented in a string of beads or jewels; He is the creator of all that was ever created.

Our God is not contained or restricted by things or elements--He is everywhere at all times.

Our God knows everything about us and when the tragedies will occur–and He fills us with compassion, igniting desire to talk to Him, and to intercede on behalf of others.

Our God is compassionate, loving, merciful, and forgiving. And because He is, we who are filled with His Spirit–can be likewise.

In times like these, our true nature will come forth and we will either be more like God (we are not gods) or we will be insensitive to all going on around us.

His compassion towards His greatest creation–mankind–never ceases, never fails, and neither should ours.

His mercy is everlasting and though we may disagree with people about how they live and what they do–we should be merciful towards others when tragedies occur.

He forgives us–those who once were sinners–and some more sinful than others–but with God–sin is sin–no big ones or little ones, but we come to Him, repentant, He forgives all we’ve ever done and so should we–forgive others and ourselves.

He loves us so much He was willing to sacrifice Himself–for us–even though we rejected Him from the beginning as evidenced by our disobedience–He still loves us–unconditionally. And so should we–love others unconditionally, but unconditional love, does not mean we condone sin.

When we look at the attributes of God and how marvelous He is, we know we’ll never measure up to Him, but it should not keep us from trying to reach a place of perfection in which He will be well-pleased.

 

 

No Comparison!

No Comparison!

If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Galatians 6:3-5 NIV

It’s one thing for us to think positively about who we are–without the influence of others shaping or influencing us–and quite another for us to think more of ourselves than what we are.

We teach girls–especially–to think of themselves as beautiful and for some they are and for others–what others have said has gone to their heads and their attitudes can be quite ugly.

We teach boys that they’re strong and can accomplish anything (girls are included in this now) and when they exhibit tendencies that are not connected with “being strong” they get maligned, teased, and bullied.

Each one of us–should take note of who we are–learn to love us and not be concerned with other people. When we attempt to compare ourselves with others–we nullify what God has done in creating us to be unique within our own rights. God knows best! We have not need to compare ourselves to others. We are responsible for being the best we can be with what we’ve been given–our talents, our compassion, and our love for others.

If God had wanted clones–He could have created them, but He didn’t–He created me, and you, to be uniquely and wonderfully creative–not trying to please anyone, but Him.

So, I’ll never be a model or a great singer, but the models and the great singers will never be me! Oh what a relief that is! There is only one me and only one you! Embrace it and love it–not caring what others may think–but knowing God knows who He created us to be! There is no comparison where God is concerned!

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and though there may be others out there who tend to look a little like me, there is only one me–a little off-center from the rest of the world, creative, and loving–and I will live my life as God intended me to live it–praising Him all the day long.

Focused On What Matters!

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained. Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Philippians 3:13-17 NIV

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little bombarded with the weight of all the negative things that are reported in the news. Part of the problem is–I’m listening to far more newscasts than I should. Normally, I see the early morning newscasts because I need to be aware of weather and traffic and in listening to this–I can’t ignore the sad events that are repeatedly reported.

Knowing as I do, how the enemy deceives people and confuses their minds, I should not be surprised at the number of people who commit random crimes and kill others with no thought as to how their acts will affect others. I don’t just mean how the killings affect immediate family and friends–I mean everyone who has a heart. And the killers–people who kill older people in their homes–are heartless; people who hit people with their cars and then dump the body–heartless; people who randomly shoot at others not caring who gets hit in the crossfire–heartless.

Sensitivity to all the negativity reminds me that I do indeed have a heart, but if I focus on all the negative stuff, my heart will too heavy to continue doing what may make a difference in the lives of others.

At some point, I’m sure others have felt the same way. How do we keep moving forward with all the tragedy that is constantly bombarding us? We stay focused on the things that matter. We cannot control people any more than God will–He gives us all freewill to make our own choices. Some choices people make are not good and some are even worse, but the choices we make–keeping our focus on hearing God and being obedient, can and will make a difference.

We must continue to encourage all to live according to God’s Word. We must continue spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ–no matter how heavy our hearts are and we must continue to love–even those who hate us because of our obedience to God. Our focus on doing the will of God is what matters and for that reason, we have to filter what we hear and deliberately choose to ignore all that will distract us from our purposes.

There is absolutely nothing we can do to change those things which have already happened, but we may make a difference in our present and future–for us and others. Let’s focus on the things of God and encourage others to live for Him.

Don’t Just Listen–Do!

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:19-22 NIV)

We know from reading The Word that faith comes by hearing and hearing by The Word of God–says, Paul to us. Now, James tells us, don’t just listen to The Word, do it! If our faith in God is going to be sustained, then we must do what we hear and read from The Word–and not just people.

The Messengers of God are worth hearing when they are speaking God’s message. When they veer off into their own imaginations and opinions that are based on nothing–especially not The Word–no one is obligated to hear or do what they say, yet so many people do.

I’m thinking particularly about a pastor–somewhere–who poured bleach over the heads of his congregants to “wash them clean” because of erroneous understanding of The Word. The Word tells us that the blood Jesus shed on the cross is what washes us clean–not bleach or anything else we attempt to do. The psalmist mentions being washed by The Word–not the literal word–but as representing what Jesus would accomplish since He is The Word.

Getting back to hearing and not doing–many people claim to listen to their pastor on a Sunday morning and praise their messages, but when asked what they said–they develop amnesia. “I don’t know, but it sure was good.” Apparently, they were not the good ground into which The Word was supposed to be sown.

Then there are those who wouldn’t miss church for the world–uh uh–no siree, they’re not missing church. They are there every time the doors open and listen intently to every word heard, but then their lives don’t demonstrate what they heard (unless they heard a message that opposes God’s Word). From their actions, one can tell, they didn’t hear about loving one’s neighbor as themselves because the minute they got into the parking lot, they started cussing out everyone in their way. They get home and talk about everyone who attended church–they talk about the pastor and his wife; they talk about the noisy children; they talk about the ushers who are too slow; they talk about the soloist and how they could see better than they did; they talk about the choir director who, “couldn’t direct traffic.” They talk about everyone and since they “saw” so much going on, how on earth did they hear any Word?

We can hear without listening and when we pretend to listen the only person we fool is us. God is not mocked. He knows our hearts and He knows when we’re pretending to pay attention and so does everyone else when we are not doing The Word.

We “do The Word” when we obey The Word and people know we have either read with understanding or at listened to God’s messengers because they see it in our conduct. We who “do” The Word don’t live in opposition to The Word, but strive to obey God in all things and that obedience starts with knowing how to love others and God.

Today would be a good day to start–not just listening, but in doing The Word–loving all we meet and greet and making the devil cringe because we even woke up–with desire in our hearts to please God!

Keep On, Keeping On!

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have show hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” (Hebrews 13: 1-3 NIV)

How simple are these instructions? Keep on loving, keep showing hospitality to strangers, keep remembering those in prison and keep remembering those who are mistreated! Who are our brothers and sisters? Who are the strangers we should be nice to? Who do we know in prisons? Who is being mistreated?

Our brothers and sisters are everyone in the Body of Christ–no matter what denominationalism is recognized and honored, all Believers–are joint-heirs with Christ, we are the spiritual seed of Abraham, and children of the Most High God. If then, we are all children then we are all brothers and sisters in The Lord! I love meeting my brothers and sisters who I’ve never met–at car rentals (had a great time of fellowship at Enterprise once with two brothers in The Lord upon our first meeting), in supermarkets, at the park, in parking lots, at phone stores, online, in restaurants–everywhere I venture, I meet a new brother or sister and we just rejoice like we’ve known each for all our lives. In the spirit–we have–which is why we have no problem loving one another.

Showing hospitality to strangers should never be a problem for those of us who Believe since we never know who it is we’re treating right. And it shouldn’t matter. If we treat all we know the way we would be want to be treated, they will know who we are. And I don’t mean we should treat people who are celebrities or politicians with more respect than any other person with whom we have no relationship. The beggar on the street deserves our respect just as much as any other person of any type of status. I’m not advocating being foolish, but in exercising the wisdom God has so abundantly given us, in all things. I realize that sometimes, we can not, avoiding certain people is an exercise of using wisdom rather than putting ourselves in danger. We must be wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove–not being hateful, but mindful of our safety and staying out of harm’s way. The enemy is a master of deception and some of his demons will try to use this instruction to worm their way into our lives and destroy everything we’ve worked to accomplish.

Remembering those in prison means so much more than just empathizing with those locked behind bars a prison cell. Some people are prisoners of their mind because they don’t have the mind of Christ are constantly at odds with themselves. Some people are prisoners of their addictions and don’t know how to break loose. And some are prisoners of spouses, parents, or children–locked into situations they cannot escape. We must continue to pray for them and those who are locked up in prisons–for standing for justice and holiness.

There are so many people who are mistreated that this space is not room enough to enumerate them. But there are people who are persecuted for their faith in God; parents are mistreating children, and children are mistreating parents and grandparents; spouses are mistreating each other, governments are mistreating the people and total strangers are abusing and mistreating those they encounter. Lord help us all to seek You for wisdom in all situations! For anyone who mistreats someone else, they demonstrate they have not received the love of God, are incapable of loving themselves and therefore, cannot love others. We cannot give or demonstrate what we do not have!

Lord, help us to keep looking to You to know how we are to do all You have asked us to do. Help us to keep on keeping on, doing all that pleases You, mindful of the fact that You know our hearts and see all we do.

Don’t Get Tired Doing Good!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6: 9,10 NIV).

Sometimes, when our own circumstances seem insurmountable, we tend to dwell on our problems and sink into depths of depression, oppressed by those things we cannot control. When we cannot see beyond the next moment, it is difficult to think about the needs of others, but we must.

When we know to do good and don’t–it is sin, no matter what our circumstances are. God encourages us in His Word not to focus on our own issues, but to be on the look out to do something for others–especially those who belong to the family of believers. If we really trust Him, we can know with assurance that when we give our problems to Him, He will take care of them-in His timing, not necessarily ours.

So, while we patiently wait for Him to bring to fruition what we need, we can–if we try–see the needs of others and do good, no matter what our own circumstances.

Doing good for others does not necessarily cost money, but it will take time. But how much time does it take to smile or hug? Time used in prayer is never wasted time, and neither is time used to call or write someone to encourage them to stay strong. This is doing good and when we take the time to serve the needs of others, we please God. When God is pleased with us, He responds to our faith in Him.

It’s a good time to exercise unconditional faith (resting assured of the outcome–no matter what we see), and do good for someone else who is waiting–for us–for an encouraging word. It won’t cost us anything but time. Love–such a wonderful thing–that can shared with anyone, by anyone,, at any time–all the time! Love to love you, today–now get going and do something good!

Have A Great Day!

Instead of worrying about all those things you cannot control,

Live–enjoy life to the fullest every waking moment.

Smile–at others and watch their response to you.

Laugh–a hearty belly laugh is good for the soul and lifts heavy spirits.

Skip–with a joyful heart as you navigate this day.

Dance–to your own song ringing down in your soul–don’t think about what others will think.

Give–of yourself, your talents, your excess resources–so others will know just how blessed they are to know you.

Pray–always communicate with the One who makes it all possible and worthwhile.

Praise–God for His goodness and for all He has done, is doing, and will do in your life.

Witness–tell someone else about the love of Jesus–not in words, but in deeds–let them see your light shine in what you do.

Rest–at the end of the day rest your body–take care of what it needs so you can get up tomorrow and do it all over again.

Reflect–before closing your eyes after the events of the day–think about everything you did and how you can do it better–tomorrow!

Have a Great Day!

Teach All Nations!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28: 19,20 NIV).

What a great parting gift from Jesus to His disciples just before He ascended and returned to The Father–giving us the authority to do just what He said.

To go–means to move from one place to another.  We cannot remain stagnant or pulled into ruts that keep us from going–moving forward; not backwards to share the Gospel.

Make–means to create/mold something into something else.  In this case, we are to mold people into disciples of Jesus Christ, after going into all nations–by whatever means possible.

For those who choose to accept the call to discipleship–they are to be baptized–totally submerged under water, (just like Jesus was) as a symbolic representation that our old sinful nature has been buried with Him and we arise a new creation, ready to serve Him.

Teaching–the most important thing we can do–by example, how we should conduct ourselves with each other–learning to love and forgive and how we should love God.  This is the commandment in total–to love, for if we love we cannot hate or commit crimes against one another.  If we love God, we do not want to sin against Him.

From the looks of the condition our society today, we have much work to do.  Let’s go and get it done so The Father will be pleased with what we do and bless us to be a blessing to others. Moving Out!  Forward, March! Doing all things to His glory!

Help us O God to exercise the authority You have given us with wisdom moving before us, in all things!

 

‘Fess Up!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9–read all 10 verses).

What an awesome God!  When we were in sin (deliberately doing all the wrong things), He loved us enough to die for us in order to bring us back into right relationship with Him.

Even now, when we know to do better, we don’t always make it, but He is faithful and just (not willing to allow us to sink into our own depravations headed for hell) and if we ‘fess up, He will forgive our sins (giving another chance), and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (making it appear as if we have never sinned).

Sin–a deliberate, wilful act in defiance of everything Godly–committed against/with others or self.

There is no little sin, big sin, worse sin–any act of ungodliness is sin–sin is sin.  Murder (taking a life not in self-defense), fornication (sexual relationships outside of marriage), adultery (when a person who is married has sexual relationships outside of the marriage), lying (not telling the whole truth), manipulation (promoting/leading others in acts of ungodliness), favoritism (showing respect of persons over others–unjustly), complacency (when we know to do right and don’t), hatred (creating problems for others without cause, with malice), and the list goes on and on.

When He forgives our sin, the consequences for our actions are not negated–we are still subject to the principle of “reaping and sowing”.

Why live under a cloud of uncertainty?  Take a good look at all you are doing (hopefully past sins are just that, past) and if there is anything in your life that is not like God, ‘fess up!  Confess it while you have a chance and know His goodness and mercy which shall follow you all the days of your life.

If we love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls–we cannot sin against Him.  If we love our neighbors as ourselves–we cannot sin against them.  The appropriate response to sin–learning to love–works every time. That’s why He does, what He does–Loves!