Sunday, August 21, 2011

My God is Not a Wimp

I worship the same God who spoke all that is into being;
I worship the same God who had the power to flood the earth;
I worship the same God who divided the Red Sea and enabled the
Israelites to cross over;
I worship the God of Elijah; the One who set fire to the sacrificeI
Elijah placed on the alter;
I worship the God of Elisha, the One who healed Naaman's leprosy;
I worship the God of David; the One who slew Goliath;
I worship the God of Job; the One who makes Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades;
I worship the God of Solomon; the One who has ALL wisdom and shares it if you ask for it;
I worship the God of Isaiah; the One who washes our sins as white as snow;
I worship the God of Jeremiah; the One who knows our heart;
I worship the God of Ezekial; the One who sanctifies His great name;
I worship the God of Daniel; the One who can close up the mouths of lions;
I worship the God of the Prophets; the One who knows the past, the
present and future;
I worship the God of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Timothy, James, Titus, Jude, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, the One who teaches,
leads, forgives and loves;
I worship the God of John the Baptist; the One whose sandals I am not
worthy to tie or untie;
I worship the God of Jesus Christ; the One who has the power over life,
death, heaven and hell;
I worship the God the Father, Jesus Christ, his only begotten son and
the holy spirit;
The One who lives within me and has promised to give me the power to do
ALL things in HIS name and for HIS glory, honor and praise. God has ALL POWER, ALL KNOWLEDGE, HE IS LOVE, HE REMOVES my sin as
far as the east is from the west; HE CAN RESURRECT THE DEAD!

THAT IS POWER. My God is not a wimp, and so, neither will I be a wimp.
I will go forth today in HIS power against satan, his followers and
all the enemies of God. Nothing can harm me or touch me that HE
does want to do so. I am nothing. I am here today and gone
tomorrow. HE IS ETERNAL. May He see something in me that is
worthy of HIS use.

May God be praised throughout HIS creation today.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord

When I started this blog, I wanted to write about the Lord and the way He works in my life from my heart. Then I got all caught up in a being a blog that was "scripture based", and I got lost along the way. I have not blogged for the past couple of weeks because the Lord has stopped me. I have been asking Him for something to write and this morning He has given it to me as I layed in bed.

I saw the movie The Help yesterday. It is a poignant tale about relationships between employers (wealthy white women) and their maids (black women) in the 1960s. As with all poignant tales, there are things you can laugh about and things that make you cry. If you're like me, those things that make you cry also make you ashamed.

I have a friend, who has now moved to the east coast, that I met about ten years ago when I sold her a home here in SW Ohio. She is a beautiful, sophisticated, intelligent, kind, christian black woman. We've been in many prayer meetings together and sat together in church many Sunday mornings.

I can remember one particular Sunday, I believe it was a Sunday just before Martin Luther King day when our pastor ran a movie about Rev. King and it showed the bigotry and prejudice the people of my race showed to the people of his race back in the day. I cried with shame. I reached out to touch my sister's hand and told her how sorry I was for all the hurt and harm done to her black brothers and sisters. That's how I felt during The Help. I hate bigotry and prejudice and have tried all my life to shake off the drops of it that fell on me from my parents. I hope my children have been able to shake off more. Maybe someday we WILL all come to know that Jesus loves everyone, no matter what sex or color they are.

I came away from the movie with a few thoughts that I quickly posted on facebook last night: 1) there has always been bigotry and prejudice on earth (you only have to look back at Israel becoming slaves of the Egyptians); 2) There is still bigotry and prejudice but I believe many people have taken a giant step away from it; and 3) We must all pray that God will enable all of us to love each other the way He does.

However, this morning, as I lay thinking about God, my thoughts drifted away to the movie and how black families were portrayed in the movie as being so godly, and that caused me to think about the rich heritage of godliness that the Black Americans had as I grew up.

It came to me that when our lives are filled with difficulties and prejudice and persecution and hard time, period, we are humbled to the point that we cry out to God; morning, noon and night we call on Him. We realize our great need for Him. But, just as soon as it all lets up, we get out and make a little money and get our confidence in ourselves back, we lose that humbleness of spirit and mindset that shows us just how God-needy we really are.

I would rather, right this minute, lose everything I have and be humbled and dependent upon God than to have everything the world has to offer and not have God. God really is what life is all about even though most of us don't want to accept that. This story that we're living our right now is not about us, but about Him, and just like Moses, David, Esther, Ruth, Naomi, Deborah, Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, John, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King and Abiliene and Winnie (from the movie), we have a moment etched in time for us to stand up, be brave and do that for which God has brought us into being. It is not a moment of self-reliance, self-assuredness or dependence on anyting that this world has to offer but it is a moment when we realize that all we are and ever will be are reliant on God and His work in our lives and that unless we stand up and do that thing which He calls us to do our lives will have been lived in vain.

Some will have great tasks that require much knowledge, strength, wisdom and/or courage, and some will have a small unknown task. The THING is that we have to recognize it as something that we were born to do and then DO it, and I believe it will be a HARD thing. No, it can't be easy because then it would be something that you can do without putting your heart and soul into it.

I have been a very self-assured, self-centered person in my past. God has used my illness and now this summer the illness of my son to show me that it's all right to achieve success as this world sees it, but it's not what is really important. What is really important is being there when someone you love needs you, when the people you love needs you, when the world you live in needs you; being there completely in mind and body and giving your heart and soul to the task at hand, realizing that without Him you couldn't do "it" (whatever "IT" is) and giving God the glory and honor and praise while you do it.

That's what the movie The Help is all about. Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and HE will lift you up (when He's ready to).

Finally, then, this blog will go back to being about my thoughts and feelings about the Lord. I may quote scripture to back it up and I may not. I am not a teacher of scripture. I am woman living out my life and loving and trusting God to lead me to and through all the HARD things he has waiting for me to do in this life...affectionately called "the race" to those who love Him and are called according to HIS purposes.

God bless you with His presence today.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Crazy, Mixed Up World

I have been saying for the past three years that we are living in the final days of this age. I still believe that, and I believe it more and more with each passing season. One thing that really makes me believe we are in the end of days is the acrimony amongst various churches and the body of Christ.

One says that we are to be tolerant and accepting (not negative or pointing out one's sin) of all people. That makes sense doesn't it? Jesus spent most of his time on earth amongst sinners stating that he did not come to save the healthy but to save the sick (Luke 5:30).

One says that we are to adhere strictly to biblical teachings, pointing out false doctrine and standing against sin being committed, winning the lost and setting the oppressed free. That, too, makes sense, doesn'it, because Jesus came to do that very thing. Luke 4:18

One body of believers says that the tribulation is 7 years long; another says it is 3.5 years in duration.

One group of Christians says that Christ will return to rapture the Church prior to the tribulation; another group says the Church will be raptured in the middle of the tribulation; and yet another group says that Jesus will rapture the Church at the end of the tribulation.

One segment of the Church says that it's okay for homosexual and divorced people to teach and preach, etc., within the Church. While another group considers this to be apostasy.

The Church is SO divided. Where are people getting their doctrine, their beliefs, their truths?

2 Peter 3:3, we are warned that in the last days, people would scoff about the return of Christ, and we are warned in Galatians 1:8,9 that anyone who preaches or teaches any gospel but Christ is to be cursed.

2 Timothy Chapter 3 espouses all kinds of aberrant behavior that will be evident in the last days, and that behavior is all around us.

Everything, everywhere seems so confused and out of control and mixed up and unusual. Does anyone else feel it? From politics, to finances, from sexual perversion, to the weather and earthquakes and volcanoes and weird bird and animal deaths and global catastrophes; everywhere I go I feel an uneasiness, a wariness and whether people believe in God or not, I feel that, unless a person is totally out of it, we are all waiting and watching for the other shoe to drop.

Where do I stand on all these much-discussed, many-sided issues to the Church?

First and foremost, Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man can come to God without going through Christ.

Secondly, we have to rightly divide the Word of God in order to determine what is right and wrong, and I believe it is specifically stated that the preachers, teachers and leaders of the Church will be the "husband" of "one wife" (1 Tim 3:2 and Titus 1:6).

Last, we cannot make our own doctrine, rules and laws. We must search the scriptures daily like the Bereans did and we must ask the Holy Spirit to teach us ALL things including THE TRUTH even when we don't really want to know the truth. We have to be honest with ourselves about what we want to know and don't want to know, and then seek God's help in learning and accepting His truth.

It is, indeed, a crazy, mixed up world right now...just one more sign that we are living in the last days.

Father, you cannot lie, and your Holy Spirit lives within me. Please, I pray, help me want to know the truth and give me a desire to find the truth in Your Word. My heart is very wicked, and I want to deceive myself, if I can, into finding a way to mold my beliefs and actions into what your word says. Don't let me do that, Lord. Make me face the truth; whether I want to or not. Let me see myself as I really am. In Jesus' name I pray.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Does Worrying Weigh You Down?

My mother worried a lot. She even called herself a "worry wart". I've often wondered about that nick name and why anyone would want to wear that title. I looked it up today on the Word Dectective, and here is what is stated about this much used moniker.

“Worry” itself is an interesting word, one that has traveled far from its origins. When “worry” first appeared in Old English (as “wrygan”), it meant, not “to fret,” but “to strangle” (putting a whole new light on “put your worries behind you”). That grisly meaning of “worry” softened a bit over the subsequent centuries, first to “bite and shake” (as dogs “worry” their rubber toys today), then “to harass or vex,” until finally arriving at its modern meaning of “to make (or to be) persistently anxious” around 1822.

“Wart,” on the other hand, has meant “a small excrescence on the skin” since it appeared in Old English from a Germanic root. Several centuries of development gave “wart” a variety of figurative meanings, including that of “a defect or unattractive feature” (as in the phrase “warts and all”) and, perhaps inevitably, “an annoying, obnoxious or insignificant person” in the 19th century.

Thus the stage is set for decoding “worry wart” as “a person who annoys others by worrying loudly and constantly over nearly everything.”

Worrying is really quite fruitless and so I guess it can be annoying to others because they realize that there are times when no matter how much you try, you just can't change the way things are and no amount of worrying will change that.

If a worry wart is indeed a person who annoys others by worrying loudly and constantly over nearly everything, and if one's parent is a worry wart, then it stands to reason that their children might learn to be worry warts by watching their parent in action, right?

On the other hand, if we as parents show our children that when you are perplexed and challenged by the the things of life you take your problems to God in prayer, perhaps, that, too, can become a learned response.

The Bible tells us that we are not to worry about anything; not what we are going to wear, or eat or what is going to happen today, (Matthew 6:25-34) or tomorrow or what might not happen. We are not to worry about logs or specks (Matthew 7:3 and Luke 6:41) in our friends' eyes, we are not to worry about what we are to say Luke 12:11).

I have found myself worrying many times in the last few weeks; worrying about whether my son was going to get his health back, whether he was eating enough, if he was eating too little, whether he was taking his medication correctly and on and on and on. The Holy Spirit is teaching me that this is wrong and is, in fact, a sin. I am showing a lack of confidence in God. I am not trusting Him, and I am trying to be in control of a situation that is completely out of my control.

God knows what He's doing. He has a purpose and a plan for our lives. He doesn't want to hurt us. He wants to give us a future and a hope Jeremiah 29:11.

When we accept the gift of God's forgiveness, redemption and become joints heirs with Jesus, we are entering into God's rest. He is our strong tower, the lifter of our head, and we need to learn to let Him "be" in us. We need to rest in the assurance that He is in control and that He is working "all things" for good because we love Him and have been called according to His purpose. It is hard to make these big life changes but that is what those who follow Him are called to Him implicitly just because He is God and He is good (and only God is good).

Even if the end result of our turmoil turns out to be not what we wanted or wished for or hoped for, if we just focus on Him and how He loves us and how He sees the big picture and knows how it all turns out in the end; then it becomes a little easier to rely on His wisdom, goodness and love.

When the circumstances of life bring on worry, that is the time to boost your courage with these two thoughts:

First, God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-control 2Tim 1:7; and

Second, Isaiah 55:11 says: So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth; it shall not return to me void--without producing any effect, useless--but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it (AMP Bible).

We do not have to worry and fret because we have his spirit living within us, a spirit of power and love and one which enables us to say, "no, enough; I will not be afraid and worry".

When God allows things to touch us in this life, it is for a purpose, and when He says "so be it", then it will happen to accomplish that thing which He has planned.

It sounds difficult, doesn't it? Rest in him, trust him, lean not on our own understanding and yet we are to be on our guard, wearing our armor and standing firm in the presence of difficulties, trials and even evil.

I believe that means that even though we have responsibilities with regard to our faith, ultimately, we have to realize that God holds us in the palm of His hand and as we learn to let go of our worries and allow Him to do His work in our lives, we will grow in our knowledge of Him and His righteousness.

Lord Jesus, as I walk the path of life that you have directed me to, I pray that you will make me aware of the places where I am most susceptible to failure. Show me where I am to be alert to obey and where I am to rest and watch you. Give me the mind of Christ today. Help me focus on today for tomorrow has worries I don't even know about today. I ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.