Thursday, March 26, 2015

When God Closes a Door...

That old saying usually finishes up with "He opens a window".  What I'd like to say about that today is that as we travel the path of life that God has planned for us, He does, indeed, close doors; and perhaps, he opens windows.

It has been my experience in the past that when God closes a door that I don't want closed, I have kicked and cried and screamed and thrown a tantrum and beat on that door.

And so, my post today is short and salty and straight to the point.  God does have a plan for your life, my life and everyone else who loves Him and is called accordingly to His purposes.  So. if God closes a door in your life, especially one that you're particularly fond of, don't do that.  Do not kick, do not cry, do not scream, throw tantrums or beat on the door, because you know what?  That door just might open back up and God may allow you to have what's behind it -- you know that thing that God knows is not best for you.

It happened to me, and I am here to remind you.  When God closes a door, He's saying. "No, my child, that is not best for you.  I have something much better planned for you if you will just wait."

All these days, months, and years later since my tantrum re-opened that closed door, I can say, Lord, I wish you hadn't listened to me.  Please forgive me for my foolishness.

I have learned my lesson.  Please bless me with the grace to recognize when you are working in my life, not to harm me, but to prosper me.  It is my desire to follow the plan of life you have for me.

It is my desire to quietly and quickly submit to your greater knowledge, wisdom and your great love for me.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Without Excuse...Worshiping the Creature Rather than the Creator

My Bible study ladies and I are embarking on the arduous task of studying the book of Romans.  Arduous because there is so much in the book that is vital to a living, breathing, born-again faith in Jesus.

This is a Precept Bible Study (precept upon precept) with Kay Arthur.   One of the things she's having us do here at the beginning of our study is to read the whole book over five times (she breaks it up several chapters at a time over the course of a week).

You know the one thing that is really hitting me in the face:  the fact that God has declared Himself and made Himself --  His power and might and also His divine nature -- known to all people in and through His creation, and because He has, those who refuse to believe or suppress the truth so that others won't believe are without excuse.  Someday those people will stand before Him who hung on a cross to pay for their sin and will have no way to explain how or why they failed to believe He is who He says He is.  They will have no excuse.

...and because of their failure to believe in Him, God, at some point in time is going to just give them over to a depraved mind.  Do you ever think of society as becoming more and more depraved?  I do.  There are stories in the news daily about teachers having sex with students,pedophiles having sex with children, some of the European countries are now advocating for sex with animals and relationships with family members and this is only the beginning of depravity.  Adultery is now pretty much accepted, as well as homosexuality, changing your gender.  Divorce is don't even need a reason.   Alcoholism and drug addiction is rampant with heroin addiction killing many of our young people,   Abortions are given on demand and up to and including the time of birth and many legislative people are advocating for abortion on children up to age 2!!!! (because they have no sense of self so they say.)    

Is it any wonder we feel God has placed the US under His judgment.  Yes, fewer and fewer people are standing with God and because of that the world is becoming more and more God-less.  That's what happens when people worship the creature rather than the Creator.

For reference, please read the first Chapter of Romans.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Win Others to Belief in Jesus Christ

This morning in my prayer time, I asked the Lord to restore me to the joy of my salvation.   You see, I've been struggling for a long time because I "felt" like I had been telling so many people about Him and not seeing any change or acceptance on their part of Him and His glorious salvation.  I've been walking around like a downtrodden misfit in the Christian realm.

The Holy Spirit within 30 minutes was speaking to my heart telling me to just "plant the seed, Kim; it's not up to you to bring them in.  ONLY God can change lives.  How can people's lives be changed if you are only telling them about Him and not letting them SEE Him in you?"  Oh, the relief that flooded over me as my heart and mind took that in and accepted it as truth.  Truth that I personally read in my Bible.

For instance, I really, truly believe in the sanctity of life and that abortion is wrong.  Not everyone feels that way.  They have a right to believe that...even if they are wrong.

I believe in the sanctity of marriage as described in God's Word, between one man and one woman. Not everyone believes that.  They have a right to believe it, though; even if they are wrong.

I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me that we are living in days where I just have to be courageous, stand for what I believe in, plant the seed by living a holy life, loving God, really, truly loving others and not trying to convert them, but sharing the gospel of God's love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, patience and justice with them.   Show them God, and they will come.

The book of The Revelation says:

"But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

That is part of what I have been thinking about...being a coward.  A coward to say I believe it's wrong to abort babies; I believe it's wrong to change the way God chose to create a family...a man, a woman and their children.    I don't have to make other people change their way of thinking.  Only God can do that.  I just have to live what I believe!

1 Cor. 3:7  (NLT)  It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.

I hope that truth sets you free.  It has me.  Today I don't have to convince anyone of God's anything.  I just have to live out my faith in Him, my belief in His goodness, my belief that He is coming again and my belief in His love and His many great and precious promises.  Someone else will come along and water that seed and if it is God's will, He will make it grow.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Death; It Visits Everyone.

With the death of Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall and now Joan River, and my mother-in-law this summer, I thought I would share some thoughts I have about death:

We are all appointed to die one time (Hebrews 9:27) according to the Bible, and I believe that the time of our death is actually appointed by God himself.  Have you ever seen the movie, The Appointment?  It's a good one.  Check out its trailer:

When we die, according to the Bible, a person either goes to heaven or hell.  1 Peter1:4 tells us we have:

 an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Luke 12:6 tells us that we should not fear man but God:

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

What determines...or maybe I should say, who determines where we spend eternity, is Jesus Christ and what we have done with regard to him in this human life of ours.  Did we accept Him and surrender our lives to Him or did we reject Him and disregard Him?  John 14:6 says:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the waythe truthand the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
It's sad, but yes, Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Joan Rivers and even my mother-in-law were all subject to these same terms of examination, and if they had no relationship with Jesus Christ, they will spend eternity in hell.

The Bible also says that it is better to attend funerals than parties:

Ecclesiastes 7:2  Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies—so the living should take this to heart.
The Psalmist prayed in Psalm 90:12 that God would help him to number his days in order to gain a heart of wisdom.  Again, thinking about death is a wise thing to do.

I believe THIS BLOG is great food for thought concerning whether or not a person truly knows Jesus and has experienced being "born again".  Take time to read it.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

From the Moment You Were Conceived

It's interesting that a lot of us think that one thing makes us a sinner (or others think that one thing makes us a sinner); something like, because I am a prostitute, I am a sinner.  Because I am alcoholic, I am a sinner.  Because I am an adulterer, I am a sinner.  Because I am a liar I am a sinner.  Because you are gay, you are a sinner.  According to the Bible, all of these things are sin in and of  themselves, but they are not what makes you a sinner.  (Friends, please don't comment or email me because I called these things sin.  I didn't decide it; God, in His Word, did. I have an alcoholic husband, a gay daughter, I committed adultery and I have a rebellious teenager.  I love all people and it is my desire for all people to be reconciled to God.)

What?  Am I committing blasphemy? Give me a second, I don't think so.  It came to me in church this morning as our Pastor preached on Paul in the book of Acts preaching to the Corinthians and how He shared the gospel with them.

First, let me say, I accepted Christ as God's Savior of Mankind when I was a child, and reaffirmed that commitment as a teenager.  My faith has bent and swayed with the times of my life.  I have sinned since that time.  Because we accept Christ's gift of salvation does not mean that we will never sin, but that we have power living within us in the form of God's holy spirit that will help us overcome sin.  The Bible says that we are always slaves to something....slaves to sin, slaves to God, slaves to booze, slaves to sex, slaves to homosexuality, slaves to pornography, etc.  When you look at that list, what one pops out at you as the best one to be enslaved?  Personally, I'd rather be a slave to my Creator, the one who is totally good, loving and always works in my best interest.  (I didn't say He always gives me what I want but that He always works in my best interest.)

Each and every human being on the face of the earth (with the exception of one) are sinners the moment they are conceived.  The fact that we all are compelled to serve our own selfish desires from the first breath is indicative of that.  Does anyone teach a two year old to be selfish or self-centered and to always be concerned with what is "mine"?

However, there is also within each one of us a longing, a desire to know unconditional love, like the love of a father and/or mother is supposed to be, but because of our sinful nature, can't be known from a human being.   God can give us that kind of unconditional love.  He can fill that longing; that need.

BUT God is holy and completely good.  The Bible says He cannot and will not even be around sin or evil. This is the problem:  How does one bring together sinful man who is longing for unconditional love and acceptance of God with holy a God who cannot and will not reside in the same space as anything sinful, sin or evil?  Enter in Jesus Christ, born of a virgin (overshadowed by the Holy Spirit), fully God and fully man - God's child born of a woman!

He lived as we do, was tempted and tried in every way that we are, but you know what?  He was able to do to walk day after day His whole life and not commit any sin of any type or kind.   How?  Well, first because He is God, and second because He had an unbelievably intimate relationship with God and also because God's spirit lived in Him. He had all the power of heaven to overcome sin and evil.  He never gave into ANY temptation.  Being tempted is not sin, but acting on that temptation is.  He was tempted and tried in EVERY way.    Temptation to drink, to lie, to love a woman, but He NEVER GAVE IN TO IT.  Tried with people who hated him, tried with illness, tried with problems, but HE NEVER GAVE IN TO THEM.

How and what does He have to do with us?  He came to earth; He willingly gave up everything that made Him God, all his power, His knowledge, His Majesty, His Honor in order to bridge the gap between God and man.  He willingly died for us, and during His death, He took all of the sins of every person ever born and put them on himself.  The Bible puts it this way:  2 Cor 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Do you get that?  He didn't know any sin but He became sin for us so  that WE might be MADE the righteousness of God IN HIM.

Unfortunately, today most people think the gospel has everything to do with "I", "Me", Myself" and very little to do with God.  The truth is, the gospel has very little to do with I, Me or Myself, and EVERYTHING to do with Jesus Christ.  The gospel a lot of people are hearing and teaching today is a gospel SUITABLE for I, Me, or Myself.    That means it has been turned around, tossed about and fluffed up until it suits the needs of the individual.  We make God out to be Santa Claus.  If I can be good enough, He'll give me this or that; if I take out this scripture (because it doesn't suit my life style), I can let Him be in my life.   If I give money to this individual or that organization, God will bless me, etc.

Folks that is not the way it works.  We are ALL separated from God because we are all sinners, and the only thing that can make us right is to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.  The Bible says that we must be born again.  Well, how can one be born again?  As Nicodemus asked Jesus, does one have to go back inside their mother to be born again?  No, when you accept the gift of salvation from Jesus Christ, his holy spirit comes and lives inside you and you are a new creation - not in terms of age, but in terms of quality.  You are then reconciled to God, and when you stand before Him, He doesn't see you and all your sin, He sees Christ and Jesus'  imputed righteousness that you received when you believed that He was God's son sent to save the world from going to hell in a hand basket!

What then is a Christian?  A Christian is a person who has been reconciled to God through believing in Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection as God's means of saving the world.  A Christian is also a person who helps others to be reconciled to God.

Do you wish to be reconciled to God?  Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.  It's that simple.   But now that it's that simple, you are called to live a life worthy of Christ, forsaking sin and helping others to be reconciled to God, and it is just that complicated.  But that's a story for another day.

Lord Jesus, Thank you!   Thank you so much that you didn't  think the fact that you were God should prevent you from humbling yourself and taking on the form of a man and that you would die for the rest of mankind  in order to restore our relationship to the Father!  Your selflessness is unknown to the world today because we are all about me, myself and I.  Thank you for loving us enough to go to these lengths to save us. I want to be reconciled to you and to help reconcile others to you.  Help me to be gentle, kind and accepting of all people simply because we are all alike.  We all need you.  We all want the love of the Father.  Help us to see sin as He sees it.  Help us to turn from it and toward you.   Keep us close, Lord, it's so evil out  there and temptations are very great, slick and the evil one is so formidable.  Fortunately for us, Lord, you have defeated sin and death and the same very great power that resurrected you is at work in us.  Praise your name, Jesus.  I pray in that one and only, unmatched name.  Amen.

Monday, June 2, 2014

One Year Later...

The 365 days that I have lived since last June 3, have gone by even more quickly than normal.  Last June 3, at 8:30 a.m. I was scheduled to have Deep Brain Stimulation surgery at the University of Cincinnati, through the Mayfield Clinic with Dr. George Mandybur as my surgeon.  I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. anticipating the 8:30 surgery.  For various reasons, such as Dr. Mandybur was in a surgery already and was delayed, the first CT-scan was improperly done and insufficient for the surgery (this is a vital part of the surgery because the CT-scan is used to map the brain as the doctor performs the surgery), and who knows what other reasons, but the day dragged on and on and on.  I don't think I actually went in to surgery until around 3:30 p.m.  I know that in my anticipation of the surgery, the one thing I really wasn't looking forward to was the screwing on (literally) of the "halo".  The halo is what keeps the head still during the surgery by being screwed down to the surgical bed.  Here I am in the halo:

One of my not so admirable personality traits is that I am impatient, and it certainly showed itself in the days subsequent to the surgery.  I wanted immediate results; my doctor and his staff kept telling me "four to six months, Kim"  "give it four to six months".

The first four months were very difficult.  I am told that I am particularly sensitive to the stimulator, and my changes were very minute, but I was changing the setting every two weeks.   I'd see moments of promise, and then I'd be a diskenetic mess.  On my son's birthday at the end of September, my family and I all went our for dinner with some friends, and I had to have my best girlfriend cut my steak for me.  It was very humbling, and yet, when I went to the doctor in October, I scored a "4" on my neurological exams, and was told that the closer to "0" you get, the more normal you are.  I tested a 26 in July, a 13 in August and then the 4 in October.  I scored a 4 in December as well.

Right around December, I really began noticing a huge difference in my dystonia and my diskenesia.  It was remarkably reduced.  I no longer sat around waiting for my meds to "kick in".  Prior to my surgery, I was taking 21-24 tablets of Carbadopa/Levadopa 100 (Sinemet).   Today, I take about six tablets per day.

I am remarkably better.   I am playing golf again.  I am traveling again (by myself).  I am not afraid to go somewhere and think what if I can't get back home.   It is a miracle that I give God the credit for.  I would never have done it without Him.  I asked Him to close the door for me if I were not to have the surgery.  I sailed through all the tests.  I never had anything that would cause me to regret having the surgery, and I pray that God will continue to protect my brain and allow me not to have to have to experience the surgery or any of its counterparts again.

I still have Parkinsons's Disease, and I know that my condition will continue to progress.  There is no cure at this time.  How and when it will make itself known in my life is only known to God.  I know that He is with me in everything that life throws at me.  I praise Him for this reprieve.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Priests in the Service of God

As a follower, believer and disciple of Jesus Christ, I am made a priest in the service of God (1 Peter 2:9).

Interesting, huh?  What do you envision when you think of a  priest?  I know what I think of, and it's not good.  God has a vision of good when He enrolls us in  His school of theology, so let's put that vision out of minds and look with fresh eyes at what His Word tell us.

God's word gives us guidelines for being His priests, and these fruits should be evident in our lives:

1.     Thankfulness

2.      Having a broken spirit and a broken and contrite  heart

3.      Singing songs of joy and thanksgiving to Him

4.      Filled with faith and sharing it with others

5.      Sharing our financial gifts with those who are in service to Him

6.      Praising His name

7.      Doing good

8.      Sharing what we have with others for the glory of God

9.      Sacrificing of the body, the mind, and the will to Him and what He desires in all situations and at all                times.

This is quite a list, is it not?  If all who declared they were followers of Jesus were living priestly lives like we're supposed to be doing, wouldn't the world really look differently?

As I ran through the list, asking myself how well I was allowing God to work through me as his priest, I came up with a lot of poor performance on my part.  Thank God that my salvation is ALL about what Jesus has done for me, and not based on what I have done for Him.  However, that being said, I believe our Lord does expect us to adhere to His expectations along the way of the road we are traveling during our time on this planet.  We are to expected to work for the Lord with all due diligence.  Our works are the proof of our faith, and according to Brother James, faith without works is dead.

Go through the list, give yourself a "+" or a "-" depending on which you think you are and see if you come out on the plus side or the minus side.    If you came out with more "minus" signs than "plus" signs (like me), what then must we be doing to put ourselves and our faith into action as God's priest here on earth and in the age to come as we reign with Him?

It struck me, as I read 1 Peter 2 that "I" am a part of the chosen race, royal priesthood and holy nation that belongs to God because HE called me out of darkness into HIS marvelous light.  I no longer belong to myself.  I am bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ.  I am to proclaim (no matter who doesn't want to hear it) the excellencies of Him to chose and called me.

Therefore, I need to realize that:

I am special to God; I was chosen long, long ago, before the foundations of time.

I am a priest in the service of God.

As God is holy, I am to be holy.

I am a part of a large body of people who are also chosen and called by God; His body, His church and
some day soon, His bride.

God owns me, for His purposes.  He owns my heart, mind, body and soul, and when anyone of those want to go against what God wants and do what it wants, I need to use the power of the holy spirit within me to be in control of my self and my flesh and exercise His will.

God, I am far from perfect, you know that.  But Lord, you know that my desire is to be wholly, completely yours.  I want to be obedient and to serve you as well as I  know how.  I rely on your Holy Spirit to teach me and lead me.  I ask that you would build my faith, and give me a true, fresh desire to serve give you my very best in everything I do.   You have brought me this far, Lord Jesus.  I trust you to complete what you have begun in me.  Have your way in my life and help me to be thankful to you for ALL things.  I ask this in accordance to your will and in your name.