Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are My Hands Clean?

After reading and watching the videos and records of the revival that occurred in the Hebrides Islands (see this post), it appears to me that the first step in true revival is a thorough examination of our own lives. We must humbly come to God and ask Him to show us our sin and then to really, truly, once-for-all-time repent of that sin and ask the Holy Spirit to keep us from ever returning to that particular activity or lack thereof. So I ask today: Are my hands clean?

John 14:26

But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Father God,

I stand in your presence today and proclaim your greatness. You alone are good and wise and all loving and worthy of my praise. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and with all that I am that you chose me and moved me and allowed me to know you. Thank you for sending Jesus to restore me to the righteous place that you created for me. Thank you that I am covered by his precious blood and so, therefore, can approach your throne.

Lord, open my eyes to the things that I need to repent of. I'm lazy and easily distracted, and so I know I don't look at myself closely enough to see if I am hitting the mark that you desire for me. My fire burns high and low, Lord, but I want it to be a steady high flame. Set me on fire for you. Holy Spirit lead me in the way that is right. I only want to love what you love; hate what you hate; want what you want and do what you want me to do. Revive me, Father. Put a light in my eyes and a song in my heart that is constantly reflecting you and singing of your glory and goodness.

Why do my lips stay shut, Lord? Open my mouth and let me sing your praises for you have been so good to me. Your hand has been on me since my childhood, you have favored me with many gifts which make me who I am. You have blessed me with beautiful children, marriage to the one man I told you I loved and wanted, and materially I could not ask for more. Thank you for all of that. You have blessed me with godly friends and a church that has stayed true to you. You opened my eyes to the truth of the world and the things that are happening around me when many are walking in ignorance.

I should be shouting your praise to all I meet. Open my lips, Lord. Let me not be able to be quiet about you and your goodness. Forgive me for being silent.

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. 15 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. 18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; 19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Revive Us, Oh, Lord....

Oh, Lord, this world that you have created is in trouble. The people you have created have turned from you and walked away from your face. We have committed every type of sin the imagination can come up with. The stink of our sins no doubt have risen as high as heaven and must assail you day and night. We no longer call good things good, but we call evil things good and good things evil. We have forsaken our position as caretakers of your creation and brought destruction upon everything that we touch. We no longer feel a need to keep your laws and are working diligently to erase any evidence of your ever having had a part in making the laws that mankind was to live by.

We have little care of our children's safety, security and purity, Father. We have killed them mercilessly. We pass them off to people we have no knowledge of to teach them and care for them.

There is little compassion on this earth for those who are downtrodden, poor, disabled, without physical beauty, and who don't meet mankinds' standards for what is acceptable physically, mentally and emotionally.

People idolize money and things and spend all their lives trying to acquire more of each. They spend little time reading your instruction manual for life, meditating on it, talking to you; let alone praising you, thanking you and allowing you to direct their lives.

We hate our brothers and sisters and engage in hateful activities and mean gossip and backstabbing. There are many wars going on all over the world and men are devising horrible ways to torture, maim and kill each other. There are awful, destructive bombs just waiting to be set off to kill millions.

God, our food is untrustworthy now due to men thinking they know better than you how it should be and using science to re-create what you, the Perfect Creator, made for us in the beginning.

Our families are falling apart more now than they are staying together, Lord. Instead of mothers and fathers raising their children, we now have single moms, single dads, two moms, two dads and many other family configurations that you, in your wisdom, did not see as being the best for mankind when you put the systems into place.

Purity is as rare as an albino tiger, Father. It is "the norm" to be intimate with men and woman a person has known for only hours. There is no desire to have one husband, one wife for life these days.

Lust is promoted everywhere all the time, and it doesn't matter what a person is lusting after, we're told we're worth it, so we should have it.

We have lost our ability to wait on anything. We are an impatient lot, and we don't mind telling you so. As a matter of fact, Father, we're quite proud of our ability to speak our minds and that we have opinions and wants and we don't care who knows it. We are bombarded by people telling us that our self-esteem is vital to our well being. It's not okay to be humble or to think that we're really not "all that". We'd be looked down upon for that, Lord.

How much more do I say here, Father? You know it all. You know our sin. You know our rebellion against you. Against you alone have we sinned, Father God. Forgive us, Lord!

Have mercy upon us, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out our transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)

Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalm 85:6)

Send your mighty wind, Oh, Lord

Do these words ring true to your heart? Are you aching over the sin that is so prevalent in the world and in your life today? Do you long to see the hand of God working in the world and in the lives of people you know? Are you hungering and thirsting for a fresh outpouring of God's holy spirit in you? Then join me in praying for God to move across the United States and ultimately the world in a fresh outpouring of His spirit. Join me in praying for men and women everywhere to repent of their sins. Join me in praying that people everywhere will come to know the Yahweh, God of the Ages, Creator, and Redeemer of the Bible. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and The One who sent His one and only begotten son, Yeshua, the Christ, who gave His life for the redemption of men and women and to restore our broken relationship with God Almighty.

Can we covenant to pray for this for the next 30 days? Watch the following video about the Revival of 1949-1952, known as the Hebridean Revival:

The Hebridean Revival

You can read more about this revival HERE, and HERE.

All that we know and are familiar with is falling apart here in America and across the world. It is only the hand of God, working amongst us and within us that will bring us true change that we can live with. I pray that you will be moved to begin praying for God to revive us again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2 Cor. 5:7 For We Walk by Faith; Not by Sight

Do you really walk by faith and not by sight?

That is a question I am constantly asking myself these days.

It is very easy to speak words that indicate you have faith, but when you get down to the nitty gritty parts of life; the things that really matter, you learn whether or not you really have what it takes to get through tough times...the times that require deeply rooted, unshakable faith.

Since we got to North Carolina, there has been a remarkable change in my son. He's sleeping well, he has an increased appetite, he's lost that "ghostly" look of hollowed out eyes, poor coloring and he's put on a pound or two that he had lost. He's anxious to get out and play and doesn't appear to be tired all the time, too. These are all good things, right?

We spent our first week here taking lots of medical tests. He had lots of blood tests and is working on a testing of the elements of his elimination; an in depth test that will tell us if he has parasites, good flora, bad flora, how well his digestive system is working and if there's anything in his elimination system which is harming him.

We went in to talk to the doctor yesterday to get the result of the blood tests, and it was confirmed that my son is one sick young man. I hardly heard the results of my tests.

My thoughts became so focused on what I was hearing about my son that I didn't notice that my pulse picked up, my hands started shaking, my respiration rate increased and I began to perspire until I got out to my car and began to drive. I looked at his little face and saw the sadness and disappointment because of what he had heard.

We need to complete the stool testing as soon as possible and begin colonics; he has to start a gluten-free, sugar free, minimal fried food diet. We'll know what else he has to do at the completion of the other test. It is possible that my son has celiac disease which is an allergy to gluten and wheat which has caused the ulcerative colitis.

The kid LOVES pizza! He LOVES bread! And, of course, like all kids (and most of us) he LOVES sugar and fried food.

My heart ached for him, not just because of what he won't be able to eat, because really that's minimal in the whole scope of this thing, but because right now, his body is sick and he's going to have to learn one of the biggest and hardest things we all have to learn...self-discipline.

I just wanted to sit down somewhere and cry, and I did cry a little bit but the spirit of God again brought to my mind Romans 8:28, and I kept thinking that I know there's good in this God; good for him, good for me, good for my husband. If we just look for it and trust you, something good has got to be in for each one of us.

Maybe this is the thing that my family needs to build faith that is deeply rooted and unshakable. I have this thought running through the back of my mind that if I can get this right, I am going to know God on a deeper level. God knows all about this situation, and He has allowed it and in my heart of hearts, I know that it's going to work out the best for everyone of us who love Him, trust him and are called according to His purpose (not our purpose).

As I sit and pray that God will heal my son supernaturally; I find myself next praying that God will protect him and keep him healthy until we can find the culprit and begin treating it. Then I hear God's spirit ask me if I didn't just ask Him to heal my son and now I want Him to keep Him safe until we can begin treating him? Well, Kim, which is it? Which one do you want? I want him healed, Lord. I want Him safe in your hands. The spirit speaks to me that whatever I do Kim will be for his good and your good. Trust me. Know that whatever happens, it is good.

I'm a control freak. I know that's sin. It's called pride...pride in my ability, my knowledge, my wisdom. "I can do it" would be an appropriate motto for my life. Prior to 2007 and my parkinson's disease becoming a reality in my life, I had very few things I didn't think I could do, overcome or accomplish. So putting this in God's hands and trusting Him to do good with it is very hard for me as it is, I'm sure, for many of us. But I am in a new place and I seriously want to learn this lesson that God wants me to learn. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I CAN place it in His hands and I CAN trust Him to bring HIS plans to fruition, and HIS plans are good.

I went to my son's VBS closing program last night. I had the pleasure of having his teacher tell me what a wonderful boy he is and how much she enjoyed having him in her class. They had a meal afterwards and I wanted to run and pull the hot dog on a bun out of my son's hands, but I realized that this is not going to happen overnight. Eleven years of eating habits are not changed in a day. I told myself if I really trust the Lord to do what is good and right, then jerking that hot dog out of his hand would accomplish only bad feelings and I decided to let him go. Today we will begin to change things as best and quickly as we can.

As I sat alone on the porch last night, I thought about all the mothers all over the world who are worried sick about their children and whether or not they will get well or not. Until we're in that place, it's so easy not to think about someone else's pain. Please, stop now and pray for me and my son and for all the parents in the world today who are hurting because of seriously ill children.

God is showing me that I really do need to trust him, that I can't just speak it. I have to live it. My son has to know that I have faith in God to do the right thing.

I read this today on T. Austin-Sparks website:

In a sentence, true spirituality is not to live on the outside; it is to live with God right down deep in the inner part of your own being, where He, the Spirit, is.
That pretty much sums it up for me.

Father, I'm still scared, but I know you're here, you're walking through this with me. I feel your love for me and I know you love my little guy. I know you have plans for our family, each one of us, plans for good - not to harm us. Take this burden from our shoulders and show us how good it is to depend on you to carry it. You are all wise, all knowing and your love never ends so let us live our lives like we know that, trust that and depend on it. I thank you for this trial. I pray that my family will come through it leaning more heavily on you and knowing you more intimately so that when the next "thing" comes we will be better prepared to walk in the knowledge of your love and wisdom. I pray that this trial will teach us about your goodness and the great plans that you have for our lives and how you work those plans out. This is my prayer for all who pass through here today.

And father, I ask for a special pouring out of your holy spirit upon parents all over the world today who are dealing with a seriously ill or dying child. Please let them feel your presence and know the peace that you alone can bring. I ask it all in Jesus' name and for His glory and honor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Be Strong, Be Courageous, and You Will Have Success (Josuah. 1:9)

We take being strong and courageous for granted. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say that in today's world it's very easy to look like we are strong and courageous when we encounter trials and tests simply by not sitting around fretting, crying and wringing our hands. However, truly being strong and showing courage is much more than just not fretting, crying and wringing our hands over our problems.

Recently (one reason I have not posted lately) my family and I were faced with a situation which required us to truly be strong and have courage. My son, who is just a couple of months short of 12 years of age has been having difficulties with his digestive and disposal systems off and on for the past two years. He has been to the doctor on numerous occasions with complaints about how often and long he visits the bathroom. Recently, he began complaining of pain, losing weight and looking very drawn in his face with dark circles under his eyes. I knew whatever was going on was getting worse.

So, off to the doctor we go...again. This time, however, the doctor decides my son needs to return to the GI doctor who schedules him for a colonoscopy and an endoscopy. I was amazed as I watched him being prepped for the procedures in the hospital... not one word of fear out of his mouth, but he did watch everything they did to him very closely.

We were shaken to the core when the doctor came out. She showed us photographs that were taken during his procedures (which she couldn't complete because he was so inflamed that she was afraid she would harm him). Her diagnosis was ulcerative colitis. I had been thinking that he most likely had irritable bowel syndrome, but this was worse; much worse. The photographs made me shake and her advice to begin him on steroids made me ill.

I told her that I didn't want to put him on steroids and asked if there were any other methods of treatment or if there was some way we could treat him naturally. Her only other suggestion was some kind of extreme diet where he was fed like baby food (I forget the exact name of the diet). She also said that he was "incurable" and would have this the rest of his life, and that it could lead to surgery, a colostomy and even cancer in the future.

My son is a beautiful boy. I can still hear him at three/four saying, "When I grow up mommy, I am going to be a righteous man of God". He has a heart for God, and I know for sure that I can claim Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

On top of that, my son is smart (tests "gifted" at school), good looking, an extrovert, a leader and very courageous.

The week before the procedures, he went to church camp. As we were driving there, the poor kid is holding his stomach and asking, "oh, mom, why do I have to be this way?" I told him I'd take him home and asked if that's what he wanted. He assured me it wasn't and told me that "God will get me through this". He asked me if I knew how many times a day he asked God to help him get through and I told him I didn't know and asked how many. "Lots", he said. I asked him if God did help him through, and he said, yes, mom; all the time".

When I picked him up from camp, the counselors told me he had had a rough week but that he was a great kid and a pleasure to have in camp and a great leader of other kids.

My husband and I both take prescription drugs and we hate them. I am constantly looking for things to do which might allow my body to heal so that I can stop taking this last drug. The thought of our son being on steroids for the rest of his life made us both sick. As I thought about whether or not to agree to having my son take these drugs, I thought about God and how He created our bodies to heal. He put the systems in place in our bodies so that when optimal conditions are present, the body will heal itself, and I don't buy that diseases are "incurable" or "unhealable". So, we decided to pray for God's healing, God's leading and God's protection for our son. We also decided to take him to a holistic medical clinic for advice from medical doctors who treat holistically.

In the mean time, family members starting telling me that my son's life was in my hands and that he was trusting me to make the right decision and that he needs to be on the steroids because he was miserable and that something terrible could happen to him (surgery, colostomy, cancer and/or death, I suppose), and I felt myself begin to waiver, and because it's my husband's family, he begins to feel "the pressure" to conform to mainstream medical treatment. I went to the computer and looked up steroids and had him read about them and asked him if he wanted to subject our son to that. His answer was "no". So I told him we had to have each other's back in this and support each other 100%. I told him we had to be strong, have courage for our son's sake and trust God to take care of him.

Last Sunday I left for North Carolina with my son. It's a 7 hour drive and he slept a lot of the way down so I had plenty of time to ponder and pray. What God showed me will be the subject of my next post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who Will You Let Win the War Today?

The Bible tells us that everyone who belongs to Christ has the holy spirit living within them. This brings about a war within us because we are still human beings born with a proclivity to sin. Our old man nature wars with our new man nature of Christ. Do you ever feel that war going on within yourself?

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Heirs with Christ
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

What, exactly does it mean to let my mind be set on my flesh?

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Walk by the Spirit
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

So, those who are living life by the spirit will not find any jealousy, envy, hatred, adultery, fornication (any sexual sin), drunkenness, fighting, murdering or witchcraft or idolatry in their lives but will find an abundance of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

That really spoke to me this morning. You don't know me. I could be sitting her making all this up; saying some nice words, quoting some Scriptures, acting like God is important to me and that I love Him and follow Him; that I want to know Him more and be more like Him. Why would I do that you ask? Just so you think I'm good, Godly, worthy to be liked, that I know something about God or "religion" as some people put it. "Why," you ask. "Why would you want that?" I guess because I need that kind of acceptance and acclamation from man.

I want you to know my heart, right now. I do have a tendency to want acceptance and to be liked by people, but that is not what this blog is about. It's about me writing down my thoughts and feelings and what I'm learning so I can see if I'm making any headway in this desire I have to be known by and to know God. I'm a driven woman. I think about God all the time. I read His Word, I go to church, I listen to sermons and other Biblical teachings online, I pray without ceasing, I read blogs, I listen to worship music, and He's what I want to talk about with people that I know have a relationship with Him, too. God has chased me up this tree, and I know that it's only when I know Him as He really is without the advice or teaching of someone else that I will be able to get down, sit down and rest again.

So, I'm asking myself after reading these two Scriptures today: Okay, make a list of eight of those listed items which show you are not living "in the Spirit", and I get really happy because thankfully most of them are not things I see myself participating in. But then I hear a quiet little voice saying in my ear. "Well you were upset because the Pastor didn't wish you happy birthday and he did wish it to all your other friends on facebook", and I thought about how the thought had run through my mind that I was in this special "giving" group at church (I guess they're the ones who give the most) and how I always get invited to the special "insider" meetings, but the Pastor didn't think enough of me to wish me happy birthday. Silly, huh? But those are the thoughts you have when you think you are somebody. It's called PRIDE, jealousy and envy. So then, consciously I ask the holy spirit to show me my sin as I began writing down the things I needed to confess and repent of and were somehow hidden in words like fornication, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, strife, rivalries, dissensions, and divisions.

My eyes and ears were opened and I really understood that if we are really, truly being led by the Spirit of God, these things will not be present, and our minds will be set on spiritual things. Of course, it couldn't be just that easy. The next question that popped in my head was exactly what are "spiritual things"?

Philippians 4:8 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Having the holy spirit living within you doesn't necessarily mean that you are filled with the spirit. To be filled with the spirit means that you are controlled and empowered by the Spirit. As Paul said in Ephesians 5, being filled with the Spirit is more than a suggestion, we are commanded to be filled. Filling involves confession of any known sin, repentance and total surrender to God.

Ephesians 5:1-21 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. 13 But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, 14 for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

If the people of God are filled with the holy spirit, then none in the church would be in need, the church would be of one heart and one soul and one mind, and even more importantly, we would speak the gospel with power and effectiveness.

I'll finish up with this prayer today, found in Acts 4:23:

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, "Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, "'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'-- 27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

May you filled today to overflowing with God's holy spirit.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hey, Jude...

This week the Lord has set me on a new journey. I have been reading and studying the Bible under the tutelage of many teachers for the past...ummm, how many years, (my goodness, where did all those years go)? Well, believe it not, 42 years, give or take a year, that's how many. Off and on during that time, I've taken a Kay Arthur or a Beth Moore, or a Church led Bible study, but I've never just studied it on my own. Lately, though, I've been hearing the Lord tell me it's time to strike out on my own and trust Him. It's time to become a Berean and find out that I can know the Scriptures on my own. He will teach me. (I did pick up Kay Arthur's "How to Study Your Bible" book, though, to be completely honest.)

It's very appropriate that the holy spirit led me to begin with the book of Jude. One of the reasons I have felt led to begin my own study is that for the past year I have been getting so many mixed messages; i.e, from my past teachings from my mother, my church, blogs, different pastors; teachings about grace, works, the law, prophecy, universalism, eternity, hell and frankly, it was taking a toll on my relationship with God, and I was like, "I know I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died to pay for my sins and to put me back into relationship with God, but where and how does the rest of all this come into play. What is truth, Lord?"

A word of caution, here, folks. I am not a Bible scholar, and I am not professing to be a teacher. I am writing this for my own good, and if you would like to comment and if it helps you,...great! Then, please join me, BUT be a good Berean, like me, and read it and ask Him to teach you, too.

Jude was, according to my KJV Study Bible, a brother of Jesus. He wrote this small, one chapter, 25 verse, letter to a group of Christians who had been infiltrated secretly by false teachers. These infiltrators were teaching a message that promoted moral looseness, doctrinal error, destructive pride and divisiveness. Sound like anyone you know?

In verses 5 through 7, Jude then refreshes his readers' memory of three instances when God judged and punished individuals for similar actions: (1) Israelites who "murmured" and complained after being delivered from slavery in Egypt and were then killed off/died and not allowed to enter the Promised Land; (2) the fallen angels of Genesis 6 who have been put in everlasting chains in darkness until the great day of judgement; and (3) Sodom & Gomorrha and their destruction due to sexual sin.

Jude is very explicit in his criticism of these "filthy dreamers" but cautions that even archangel Michael in disputing with satan over Moses' body didn't just go all viral on him but calmly said, "The Lord rebuke thee." So, it seems in contending* for the faith, we are to know the truth and calmly rebuke those who are teaching a false gospel. We are to know that there are dire consequences reserved for those who do teach a false gospel, and when Christ returns with "ten thousands of His saints" (verse 14) He and His saints will execute judgement upon them. These infiltrators are characterized in verse 16 as being murmurers, complainers, boasters, and persuasive in getting what they want by flattery.

v contend [kənˈtend]
1 (usually withwith) to struggle against.
2 (withthat) to say or maintain (that).
n conˈtender
a person who has entered a competition (for a title etc).
n conˈtention
1 an opinion put forward.
2 argument; disagreement

Jude then advises Christians to remember the words taught by Jesus and the apostles that in the the "last time" there would be individuals infiltrating the Church but that they were to "contend" for the faith by building up their own faith by praying in the holy spirit, staying in the love of God and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus for eternal life. Also, we are to have compassion on others who are lost and even though we strive not to be defiled in our own walk, we are to save them with fear as though pulling them from a fire and "hate" even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Kay Arthur teaches that in rightly dividing the Word, we are to try and answer as many of these questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How as possible.

The Book of Jude

Who: Jude to Followers of Christ
What: Letter advising them to contend and defend the true gospel
When: Not mentioned in the letter.
Where: Not specified.
How: Praying in the holy spirit, staying in God's love, seeking
to reach others for Christ, and waiting anxiously for Christ's
mercy unto salvation.
Why: Because certain men had infiltrated the church and were teaching
a false gospel which gave license to loose morality, divisiveness,
doctrinal error and pride.


As I leave your Word today, keep me ever aware of those I come in contact with who need a touch from your hand for healing and restoration. May I contend for and defend only the gospel that you and your disciples taught. Thank you for the Bible, your instruction manual for my life. May I hold it in high regard and importance and may my desire to know what it says increase each day.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's Time to Put the Word "Sin" Back in Our Vocabulary

I read with interest Michael Hyatt's blog (found here) entitled The Difference Between a Sin and a Mistake.

This blog is especially timely in light of a news story that has been flooding the internet, tv and radio concerning Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-New York). You all know the story, so I am not going to recount it, or the photos or "twitters" associated with the story here. That is not the real issue of this blog.

However, this morning, on Fox and Friends, I was watching a segment in which Brian Kilmeade was interviewing a marriage therapist, and he asked her (paraphrased) whether the Congressman's twittering to these other women was "cheating". I waited with baited breath to hear her answer and was pleased and astounded to hear her actually say, "yes, I think so". In Matthew, Chapter 5, Jesus spoke to the masses about what actually constituted adultery: 5:27-28:

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

He's saying that there is more to adultery than a physical act, but that adultery is committed when a married person even thinks sexual thoughts about someone other than their spouse. It is a heart and mind act as well as a physical act. As with most things, God looks at where the heart and mind are in addition to what our bodies are doing.

The purpose of my sharing this is not to denigrate the Congressman...he just happens to be the one of us currently in the news trying to make himself look good by lying and back pedaling his actions so as not to lose his job...but it is to remind my sisters and brothers in Christ and anyone else who might cross this path, that yes, it is sin to send tweets, emails, FB messages, phone calls, text messages, anything that even has an inkling of sexual misconduct with someone who is not your spouse (which means unmarried people, too)!!

I use that word often with my children, my husband and myself so that we won't forget who we are answerable to. It's so easy to say, "I made a mistake" and so hard to say, "I'm sorry; I have sinned against you". Why? Because you'll see, if you read the excellent BLOG of Mr. Hyatt's that we just don't want to acknowledge that God is there watching us and that we CAN and DO do things that are against HIS law. We don't want to recognize a higher power.

Without recognition of the fact that we do, indeed, sin, how can we ever commit ourselves to turning away from sin and allowing God to bring us to a state of holiness? Maybe this is too simplistic; I don't know. It just seems to me that I hear a lot of "I made a mistake", but never any "I sinned..."

Lord, God, You created me to be in relationship with you, and I thank you for that. Why do I want to rebel against you and do what is wrong in your sight? I appreciate that I am not a puppet and that I have a choice to do what you want or what I want to do, but God, please, in the name of Jesus, lead me not into temptation and deliver me from the evil one. I want to be holy as you are holy. I thank you that when you look at me you see me washed clean by the blood of your son, Jesus the Christ. I cannot praise you enough for that because I know the things I have done. Your Word says that you remove my sins from me as far as the east is from the west and you "remember" them no more. God, take them from my mind because I know you know my every thought and I don't want you to remember my deeds. Take them away, Lord, far away and help me to live this day for you. May everything I do and say bring glory to your name. Amen

Monday, June 6, 2011

The "Things" of Life CAN Bring You Peace

When events like the tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the earthquake in Honshu, Japan happen, it's very hard to think (let alone see) that there is something good happening within the event. Everything looks like a twisted, topsy-turvy mess. People's lives are in complete disarray and pain, suffering and death is everywhere you look.

God's Word tells us that ALL things work "together" for good to them who love God; to them who are called according to his purpose.

I put emphasis on the word "together" because if we were to look deeply in to the mayhem, destruction, pain and death in Joplin, Tuscaloosa and Honshu, we would find "things" happening.

"Things" that if we had eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, we would see and hear that God is working in the lives of those who love him. Maybe in the loss of a home, God is working to show someone that "home" truly is where the heart is; that a home is nice for protection from the elements, but that if you love God and your heart is in His hands, home is wherever He puts you; in whatever circumstances He puts you into.

Maybe in the loss of a loved one He is teaching someone there compassion - compassion for others who, too, have lost a loved one or two, or three.

Sometimes I think that unless we are suffering some"thing", we (as human beings) just stop thinking about other people's pain and suffering because we are by nature selfish and self-focused.

Give me a full cupboard and refrigerator, a roof over my head, a blanket, a pillow and my loved ones around me and I can almost forget the rest of the world exists. That's one thing we can thank the Internet for...keeping us connected to the rest of the world (and it's pain and suffering)!

As I am learning everyday, it is the circumstances of our lives that God works in to bring us to trust Him completely and to live in the circle of His provision. We are "needy" beings, but we don't like to think of ourselves as such. We want to think we need no one, no thing and we can overcome any obstacle and/or opponent.

The truth is, even when all of our needs are met, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, love and human interaction, we still, at heart are in need of a relationship with the one who made us and who is The One who gives us the final stamp of approval. Without His stamp, we continue to run through people, places and things trying to find that one "thing" that will give us peace, and until and unless we finally accept that the thing we need most is God, we won't find that peace.

Is it possible that part of the reason for this is that we need to know that our lives our not completely in our control; that there is One who is control of everything and that nothing happens to us that He is not aware of and is okay with? I think so.

As I said at the beginning of the ramble within my brain this morning, Romans 8:28 tells us that ALL things work together for good to those that love God and are called according to HIS purpose. If you look a little further down the page, then Romans 8:31 says "What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?" and Romans 8:35 "Who (What) shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?"

Even when the very things we "need" (as we see it) are taken from us, when we have that "one thing" that gives us true peace - that being approval of the One Who Created Us - nothing can separate us from Him. We can walk daily in the reassurance and confidence that ALL things that happen to us WORK TOGETHER for good because we love Him and have been called according to HIS purpose. It's much easier (but still not easy) when we can lay ALL things at His feet and trust in His wisdom (which is far greater than ours) and His love (which is much purer than ours) to do what is going to bring the most good to the most people.

Father God, I pray today that you would help me to really put my trust in you into action today; that I might really grasp that everything that happens to me works together for my good because I do love you and I know that you have called me and your word tells me that you have a purpose for me. Lord, I want to put my life wholly in your hands. Help me do it. Stay especially close to me today and open my ears and eyes and let me hear and see you at work in my life. I ask it in Jesus' name.