Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Much Does One Need?

 

Ezekial 16:49...Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
 
My understanding of this verse is that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because the people were proud, well fed, had little to keep their hands busy and the poor were neglected.  When these two prosperous cities became overtaken by sexual sin which included but was not limited to homosexuality, the camel's back was broken, so to speak, and God reached His limit of tolerance and wiped the people, the cities and anything within them off the map never to be inhabited again. 
 
I ask myself sometimes if this is not where we are currently as a nation.  I have never seen greater pride than that of an American.  35% of the population is obese according to the CDC.  According to CNN.com, one-half of the world's richest people live in the USA.  We have more gadgets than I can think of that enable us to have more free time than ever.   And the poor are getting poorer and poorer. 

 
 


The video states that there are 3 billion people making less than $2 per day in the world.  The web site for the Social Security Administration states that in 2011 the average national wage in the US was $42,979.61.

According to Unicef, there are 783 million people in the world without access to clean drinking water.  2.5 billion people live without proper sanitation.  Yet, statistics says that people in the U.S. use an average 70 gallons of water per day.

Our pastor preached a sermon on Sunday about poverty.  He asserted that there are three types of poverty:

1.  Generational poverty - which is poverty resulting from sins of our forefathers;
2.  Situational poverty - which is circumstances beyond our control; and
3.  The poverty of wealth - which is complacency and self-focus on the part of the wealthy to the
      extent that one fails to see the needs of others.

There was no New Testament which Jesus walked the earth.  In the Old Testament, Jesus is the gospel concealed.  In the New Testament, He is the gospel revealed.  So, one Sunday, Jesus goes to the temple and stands up and says:

1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;2to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.4They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; 6but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast. 7Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. 8For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the LORD has blessed. 10I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.

Imagine, friends, what it would have been like to have been in the temple that morning.  A good jew knew the scriptures; they had to memorize them and repeat them so they could be passed on.  Imagine that you are poor, very poor, only able to put two mites in the offering plate and it was all you had!   You whole life you had heard the scripture that one day; some day in the future, God would send the One who would make your life bearable, set you free; even up the score of life, and then you see a man stand up and you hear these words being spoken.  Can you imagine the chills that must have run up and down the arms of many in the temple that day?  I get chills just thinking about it!  What a way to tell people:  "Here I AM.  Your messiah has arrived!

If He held Sodom and Gomorrah responsible, don't you think WE will be held responsible too?  God is unchanging.  He is the same YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW, and to those who have been given much, MUCH will be required. 

Jesus' mission was for all people, but ESPECIALLY for the POOR! Friends, the Lord is expecting no less of us than to take care of the poor and hurting, and there are so many. One only has to look so far as out your car window at any stop light, and there are so many ways to help.   Check out World Vision (worldvision.org), Compassion International  (www.compassion.com), Please Pass the Bread (www.davidwilkerson.com) and Amazina Ministries (http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/).

Let's do everything WE can to ensure that the Lord DOES find faith on earth when He returns...AND HE IS RETURNING, SOON!  Keep looking up.



 


 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How Do You Give Thanks?



I've been noticing a lot of people posting things they are thankful for in anticipation of the celebration of Thanksgiving day.  I believe it is called 30 Days of Thanks. 

Along with many other things that I have considered "good" for the whole length of my life, I have been pondering the Thanksgiving holiday. 

It's really not fun when God opens your eyes to a truth of something that is in direct opposition to a previously held belief.  When He does, you can rest assured that (if your life has really been submitted to Christ) you will not be at peace until you decide what you're going to do with what He has shown you.   Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Thanksgiving day is bad or wrong.  I just think how we go about it is wrong.  Psalm 92:1 tells us that it "is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord..." 

We have taken a day that was set aside to share the bounty that God provided to the settlers and to give thanks to God for that bounty and the fact that they had enough food to survive another winter, and we have turned it into a food/football/shopping orgy with perhaps (if He's lucky) a 20 second prayer of thanks for the food offered up to God. 

It is so easy for mankind to take something that is good and right (Thanksgiving Day) and turn it into something that God must surely find offensive by making it all about us instead of all about Him. Instead of a fine meal offered up quietly and thankfully with lots of reflection of His goodness, we have made it all about how much food we can consume, how much alcohol we can consume, how much football we can watch in one day or how much shopping we can get done. None of that glorifies God, does it?

God has convicted me of it.  In prior years, I would prepare this unbelievable table of food and desserts and punch and tea and coffee and soft drinks that you would think I had a football team coming to eat.  Not so this year.  There's too many hurting, hungry people out there...right here in the USofA; not to mention all over the rest of the globe.  So, yes, I will prepare a turkey and I made homemade bread today and a cheesecake and on Thursday, we will have a salad and mashed potatoes and gravy and my mother-in-law is bringing cranberry relish and a vegetable dish.   And it is my intent to share a devotional from the Bible and offer up a true prayer of thanksgiving for the many ways that God's love for us is evident each and every day.   So I ask you...how will you spend your Thanksgiving day?  Will there be time set aside for personal devotions, praise and worship and prayer?  Will it be a day of overindulging to the point of feeling stuffed and uncomfortable?  Will the power to your TV set ever be set on "OFF"?   Or will be you be mesmerized by the advertising flyers in the daily paper deciding which "Black Friday" sale to attend?  Isn't it bad enough that Christmas is the most commercial time in the year; do we have to make Thanksgiving a sham, too?  

God has richly blessed me and my family, and I pray that you, my friend, know Him and realize that He is the giver of all good gifts because everything was made by Him and for Him (including you!).  God bless you and have a happy Thanksgiving.



Heavenly Father, You know my heart about this because you are the one who has convicted me of my sin.  Please forgive me for never giving you enough...enough praise, enough thanks, enough glory, enough time, and enough love.   I know it's a small step, Lord, but it IS a step.  I have heard your voice and I am following your direction.  Less is more with regard to consumption (whether it's food, fun, or football) and more is what it's all about when it comes to being thankful.  Open our eyes to the abundance that you have provided to us, and inspire us to be REALLY thankful.  Let our lives show it.   Lead us in being generous with others.  Fill our mouths with praise and thanksgiving to you, our Lord, Redeemer and King.  In Jesus' name.  Amen

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The USA -- a Post-Christian Country

Well, the election is over and many of us are still rubbing our eyes and asking ourselves, "Did I just see what I thought I saw?"   A country that has repeatedly over the past 12 to 18 months given its president very low approval ratings, complained about the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and been literally "up in arms" about many of his policies and acts, re-elected that very same president!!!

I, personally, did not vote for a presidential candidate, although I did cast a vote in the senatorial race, a local judge race, and a school levy.  I did not feel within my spirit a "release" from the Lord to be able to vote for either of the two main candidates.   I have been very dissatisfied with the performance of our current leader, and had no wish to have him spend another four years issuing Executive Orders to bypass working with Congress, and finding untold ways to insinuate the government into my private life.  I also am appalled at his position on abortion -- to the extent of allowing partial birth abortions and late term (last trimester) abortions.  He even went so far as to say he didn't wants his daughters to be "punished" with having to have a baby. See Video.

He also is all about changing the biblical definition of marriage.  Not to mention how he disdains the Christian faith, Israel/the Jews/Benjamin Netanyahu while advocating for Islam.  He has shown no leadership ability, has little to no experience in running a business let alone a country, and has shown little restraint in telling what I call "whoppers" and working hard to turn the US into a third world country with no military might whatsoever. 

At the same time, I could not endorse the opposition for many reasons including the fact that he really was a closet progressive with an agenda frighteningly similar to our current leader and I didn't feel I could put my "AOK" on a man who says he worships the same God I do but who is in essence, a member of a "cult"  but is a man who appears to have good morals in that he has been married to the same woman for 47 years, raised 5 sons, "propagated" that he was for marriage between one man and one woman as the "definition" of marriage and was against (supposedly) abortion. 

Even so, in listening to the political pundits and "news" media, it seemed as though the opponent was gaining traction and even though I didn't endorse him, I had begun to think that perhaps the American people would reject the out and out wickedness of  the incumbent and support the challenger.  

However, as I watched in stunned amazement as the polls came in, I realized that the USA has crossed an invisible line in the sand; going from a nation that for many years past had embraced  the God of the Bible, and all He stood for, thereby receiving the blessings of God on our country, to a country that embraces wickedness.

Our country has crossed the line into an area where people love themselves, are covetous, braggers/boasters, proud of themselves and believe they are capable of doing anything, they don't need God so they become blasphemers, are disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure and sin more than lovers of God.   We are a nation of people who have become intent upon pleasing themselves at any cost - no matter what!

As I was thinking about this as I drove to church tonight,  I began wondering how long it would be before the Lord would take His hand of protection off of our country or if possibly we are under judgment as many have claimed.  This, in turn, started me thinking how does one reach out to those who want to embrace a life that is in direct opposition to God.  They think we hate them and condemn them and want nothing to do with them.  God spoke to my heart then, and this is what I heard Him say to me:

Love them, even as  I love you.  It is so much balm for your soul, Kim,  to know that  I love you in spite of your ignorance, selfishness and sinfulness, so why wouldn't it be balm for another sinner's soul to know that someone loves them in the same way?  There is no other way than through love to let another sinner know what I have done for them.  If you don't love them on their own playing field, how can you ever obtain an opportunity to tell them about me?  They think you hate them because you don't believe the way they do.  And when they ask you what I am saving them from, here's the answer.  I came not just to save them from death which is the required payment for committing sin,  but I came to save them from being bound to a life OF sin -- to set them free from the chains of sin.
John 3:17 which tells us:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
 
The election showed me how much passion people have in wanting a leader who can unify us, really lead us in the right way (known as paths of right-ness or righteousness), someone who can win our loyalty and trust.  The Bible tells us that there is no one good except God.  Therefore, there is no man who can accomplish all these things unless he is God...that man was/is Jesus Christ - God Incarnate.

If you don't know that you know that you know Jesus Christ, oh, my friend, I pray for you that you would come to know the love of God which is beyond our comprehension, that you would come to know His peace that passes understanding, and that you would begin taking baby steps of faith in living your life by dying to what you want and living in the power of His spirit to do the things He planned for you before the beginning of time.

Elections will come and go and men will disappoint us and leave us asking why and how they could have failed us, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever; His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is oh, so GREAT.   Join me in coming out of the post-Christian USA into life everlasting in the kingdom of our great God.  He's coming soon, oh, glorious day!!

Lord Jesus, Father God, we praise you today that we do not have to live a life in bondage to sin - whatever that particular sin may be in our lives.  Give us your wisdom to know what is right and the courage and strength to do it.  Inspire us to introduce you all we come in contact with.  Thank you for your grace and mercy and help us to show those same gifts of life to others.  We pray for the leaders of all nations that they would seek your guidance.  We pray that you would raise up Godly men and women to be leaders in every city, state and and country.  In Jesus' name.  Amen














Monday, November 5, 2012

Straining and Groaning

Do you sense it, too...that the whole world is groaning for the return of the King, Master, Creator and Landlord of all?   The Bible tells us in Romans 8 that all creation is awaiting release from the bondage of sin.

I feel it.  The pain and dissatisfaction.  The disillusion and hopelessness.  The wealthy are bored and looking for their next high.  The poor are hurting and looking for a deliverer.  The family is being dismantled.  The Bible is being discredited.   Hatred, division, discord and rebellion are words for the day.  People only hear what they want to hear.  Nature is showing what extreme power she has that we have never seen before.  You seldom hear about 6.0 level earthquakes now as they have become very commonplace. And while many are experiencing floods over the world in levels never seen before; others are experiencing unbelievable drought.      

All seem to be asking, "Where is the one that can deliver us from all this?"  That's one of the reasons I know that we are living in the last minutes of the age. The stage is being carefully set up for the arrival of the evil one - the man who will "SEEM" to be the one who is the answer to all our problems; the one who can change it all and correct all the injustices, but it will be just the opposite.  He will make life on this plague-filled earth that we inhabit today pure, living hell.  As bad it looks today, it will be MUCH worse when the man of sin arrives on the scene. 

Soon though, thank God for His mercy in shortening those days, it will be over and we will be ruled by the only person who has ever had the ability to be a King or a Judge, God's one and only begotten son, Jesus Christ.  He is the only one wise enough, and the only one good enough.  He will rule with an iron rod, but he will rule justly.  He loves mercy and kindness.  He is the full embodiment of the word "love".  There will be peace on earth for all: men, women, children, animals, vegetation, land, and sea.    No more global warming, no more pollution, no more genetically modified food, no more elections, no more anything that isn't in God's plan.  A thousand years of good (Godly) living.

I am thankful today that I know who holds my future, and it isn't Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, or any other man, for that matter.  I can walk through these very disconcerting days with the assurance that nothing is going to happen to me today that God has not allowed to happen, and that He was a plan and a purpose for my life...not to hurt me, but to prosper me.  Jeremiah 29:11-14



 



Monday, October 8, 2012

Preparing for the Wedding

In my quiet time this morning, as I was thinking about the rapture and going home to be with Him, the Lord brought to my mind what women are like when they are preparing for their wedding.

  

Brides (and their family) are responsible for planning the wedding.  As I remember, as much as it was possible within my budget, I wanted the day to be remembered for its beauty, its solemnity, its genuineness and sacredness.

We want to be remembered as a beautiful bride.  We want our dress to be perfect, our hair to be just so, we want everything about us to be evidence of how extensively we have prepared for this day, down to our nails and make up.   We want to capture our groom's heart and mind as we walk down that aisle.  We want Him to thinking..."there she is, my beautiful bride."  "There is no other one for me." 

Behind all this planning and preparing that we have been making for months, we have been thinking about our soon-to-be-husband.  We think on all the things that made us choose him, what it will be like to be married to him, to be free to be one with him without anyone or anything else's interference.  We think about how handsome he is, how perfect he is for us; how much we love him.

And, of course, we are preparing our home for when the wedding is over - where we will live, furnishing it with love and stocking it with all that we'll need to live by. 

It's a whirlwind time and we move at a frantic pace.  When it's over, we look back through the photos and videos and see that it was all and more than we wanted it to be.



That's how I see this time right now.  We are, without a doubt in my mind, living at the end of this age.  My bridegroom is coming...soon; at anytime, without any notice to me, and I must be ready.  He wants me to be beautiful, spotless, and ready to make our covenants that will never end.  He, however, is preparing our home and planning this wedding, so all I have to do with prepare myself. 

To this Bridegroom, to be beautiful is to believe in Him, to accept the cleansing work that He has done for me and apply his makeup -- His blood that was shed for me.  I must be focused on Him; how beautiful, good, kind, loving and perfect He is.  I must be focused on pleasing Him, loving Him and preparing for a life without end with Him.  I must know Him intimately and want to know Him even more. 

There will never be a more beautiful wedding.  There will never be a more perfect Bridegroom.  There will never be a more beautiful home.  This is one wedding I don't want to miss so I am spending the greatest amount of my time focused on my Bridegroom and our home and what it will be like.  I hope you are preparing for your wedding with the Bridegroom.



Sunday, September 30, 2012

Change You Really Can Count On...

Do you ever wish you could change who you are?  Is there some bad habit in your life that you would like to eliminate?  There is a way to do exactly that:

Romans 12

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In my King James Bible, verse 2 reads:  "...be not conformed..."  In other words, stop being conformed to this world and be transformed by renewing your mind so that you can find out what God wants you to be or do.

I guarantee you that if you do as these verses suggest, you will be a changed person.  There's no help for it.    When you completely forego your wants and follow the leading of God through His Holy Spirit, you will find strength to say no to those things you do that you don't want to do.  You will find the courage to do that thing you want to do but are too scared or lack the confidence to do.  You will find that your desires change and begin to look more and more like the things that God wants and less like the things that this world finds important.  Are you addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, pornography?  If you REALLY (and I mean REALLY) die every time you start to take a drink or light one up, or place your bet or start searching on line (or wherever) and say to yourself, "no, I have died and I am no longer alive.  It is Jesus Christ walking around in this body, and He has nothing to do with this", I am certain that you WILL see change in your life.  I knowbe cause I've been there and done that (and, as a matter of fact, I'm still there).

Lord, Jesus, I thank you that you are true to your word.  We only need to seek you and ask for your help and you are happy and willing to help us become all that you intended for us to be.  I pray for those who are out there and want to change but don't think they can.  We both know better.  I ask, Lord, for your glory and your honor, that you would draw them near  to you and let them experience your love, mercy, grace, acceptance and the feeling of knowing that You are an advocate before the Father on behalf of each and every person who accepts your sacrificial death, burial and resurrection as atonement for their sin.  You are so worthy of our praise, thanksgiving and love.  May these words be your words, and I pray that you will use your Word for the purpose for which you intended.  In your name I pray these things.  Amen.




  





  
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Time for Soberness

1 Peter 4:7  The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.  

I have not posted in a while because I am being very cautious.  I only want to say something if I feel it is something the Lord has layed on my heart to write about. 

As I waas praying tonight before going to bed, I felt led to share with you that this is a time on earth for us to be sober.  We all like a good belly laugh now and then and one always looks forward to a good party, right?  I just don't think now is the time for that.  As I prayed for my fellow man tonight, I thought of the many who are living in hell right now...the people of Syria, Egypt, Spain and Greece, specifically came to my mind.  I can't imagine what their lives must be like.  I know the Lord is there.  I pray that many will come to know Him and that there is someone there speaking the truth and spreading the gospel.  The Lord has a remnant throughout the earth, so I know He is working, saving people.

There is so much pain being experienced on the earth now.  My heart aches for people.  No, there is too much suffering for a good belly laugh or a party.  Now is the time to be on our knees and in prayer to our Father.  It is time to stand in the gap for our fellow man, interceding on behalf of the persecuted, the poor, the hungry, the widow, the orphan...our neighbors...that ALL may come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, the only one in whom real life and breath and being can be found. 

We, too must be ready to be faithful.  We must be read-up on His Word and ready to give our testimony and why we believe.  It is a sober time, friends.  May you be with God; I know He's with you.


 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread



I love bread, don't you?  Bread that's warm and crusty on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside...pumpernickel, rye, oatmeal, wheat.  I love them all!  I have always loved bread.  Several years ago, I began hearing negative statements about bread; like, it's carbohydrate overload, made with the "white death" flour, fattening, causes your blood sugar to spike, etc.  This was very troubling to me, especially the "fattening" part.

As a young girl in junior high school, I taught myself to make cinnamon rolls and home made doughnuts, and I can remember my Mom's home made bread slathered with butter and honey.  Man, I loved those things.  I stopped making them once I left home for college because I didn't have the time to invest in making them, and I surely could not afford the calories that they carried with them.

About two years ago, I began to experiment with making home made cinnamon rolls and doughnuts again, and at that same time, I began hearing lots about breads made with "whole grains".  I wasn't sure what it was, but everyone seemed to be pushing it as the next big "health fad".

My husband and I attended a picnic at the OWBC that my son attends on Memorial Day this year, and we were served home milled, home made wheat bread.  It was the most delicious piece of bread slathered with home churned butter and jam that I have ever eaten.  

This, too, began to pique my interest in bread.  A fellow blogger Joseph Herrin  (Parablesblog  posted a series in May about how he had begun to mill his own flour and make his own bread.  I began to think more and more about it; contemplating, too, that should (when) the economy fail, I would need to have some craft that I could use for barter.  So I began my research and bought a flour mill, organic wheat seed and a cook book entitled, "No More Bricks" in order to learn how to make soft, wonderful bread instead of those hard brick loaves that I have seen come out of the oven in the past.

The cook book is a step-by-step "how-to" book which provided invaluable information that I would never have even begun to think about asking.  I really learned a lot about milling your own flour and baking whole grain bread.  For instance:

*   In the 1700's when everyone lived "on the farm", everyone had their own flour mill and milled their own flour.

*  As people left the farm and moved to the city, more and more commercial mills appeared. 

*  The milled flour had a very short shelf life and became rancid. 

*  In order to have a longer shelf life and therefore earn the mills more $$$, they began milling off the wheat germ and the wheat bran.

*  The removal of the wheat germ and the wheat bran eliminated 32 nutrients which were inherent in the wheat berry.

*  Prior to WWII, illness throughout the world was the infective kind. the kind related to lack of personal hygiene, antibiotics and safe food handling practices.

*  With the removal of the 32 natural nutrients in the wheat berry, illness caused by the lack of soluble and insoluble fiber began to flourish.

*  The FDA required commercial bread makers to add back in four nutrients (the B vitamins, I believe) and later folic acid in order to put nutrition back into bread. 

Bread, delicious as it is, is the foundation of food.  It is basic nutrition in just about all cultures and can be and is served with any meal.  Throughout the past, in times of extreme hardship, bread has many times been the only food available to those struggling for survival.

Jesus referred to himself as the "bread of life".  In other words, He is a basic need for survival in this life and for eternal survival in the long term.    Jesus is the only ingredient needed for us to live as God has called us to live.

If only we would partake of and love the "bread of life" as easily and habitually as we love and eat of the bread on our tables.  Just as God provided manna (a type of bread) for the Israelites' survival in the wilderness, God has provided Jesus Christ the "bread of life" for our survival in this world and the one to come.

There are many things to learn about God and our relationship with Him through a simple loaf of bread and its ingredients.  I'm sure I'll be sharing them with you soon.

Father God,  Thank you for the wonderful, life-giving provision of your son, Jesus.  Thank you, also, for the food you provided today and that I have never had to experience true physical hunger for more than a day.   Lead me in generosity, Lord, that others throughout the world will not have to go hungry either.  Thank you for giving me a desire to be busy, and I pray that your will would be done in my life and on earth as it is in heaven.   In Jesus' name...




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's Really Important

I have committed to leading a group of junior high school girls at my church for the duration of this school year.  The Lord has me awake tonight; thinking, praying and meditating about many things.  One of which is what I would like this group of girls to learn from me.

The world is teaching them that what is important is being popular, looking a certain way physically, acting a certain way, wearing certain kinds of clothing, having the right boyfriend, taking part in the right activities and/or the wrong activities.

However, what I would like for them to learn from being a part of my group is that what is most important in life is coming to a full realization of who God is, what it means to commit your life to Him, and that there are adults who care about them just for no reason other than that they are who they are.

John 1:18 tells us:  "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him]."  Further, Jesus said in John 12:45:  "And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me."   So it is only when we become intimately acquainted with who Jesus Christ is that we can know who God is.  

Fortunately (or unfortunately; depending on how you look at it) most junior high school girls have not experienced enough of life to know really how hard life is.  They are very shallow at this age for the most part.  Life is all about "me".  Their hormones are a mess and they really don't take the time to sit down and think things through.  If you will study people, you will see that those who suffer hardship in life are, generally, the ones who have a closer walk with God.  Why?  Because they depend upon Him to get them through life's situations.  Those who are born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth learn early that Dad, Mom and their money can get them a lot of what they want in life so who needs God?  He's such a party pooper anyway.  Let a hardship - a real hardship like the loss of everything many people experienced in the West Liberty, Kentucky tornadoes this past spring - happen to them, and without God in their life, it is so much harder to bounce back...to be hopeful, recover and go forward in life. 

I hope I can convey to these young women that external things are just that:  external, and with the passing of years become those things become very unreliable.  It is the things that happen to us internally through the workings of God's holy spirit that make a solid foundation upon which to build our lives.  What do I mean by this?  Well hair styles and clothing styles and nail polish and the like change like the weather.  Beauty itself is very fleeting.   Being a cheerleader or a school athlete or Homecoming or Prom Queen passes quickly and when it's over, who even remembers much about it?  I discovered this personally this past summer when my graduating class held its 37th reunion (only our second since graduation).   But when God gets hold of a person, really takes hold, His holy spirit effects changes in a person that can change the world.  When a person is filled with love and joy, peace and patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control, my what they can accomplish!  And not just for their benefit, but for the benefit of many. 

How does one go about teaching this to these young people?   I believe that the first step is having it firmly ensconced in my own mind who Jesus is, what it was that He came to accomplish and what He wants from us as his followers.

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh (incarnate).  God, even though He is GOD, didn't think He was too good to divest himself of his God-hood and take on the form of a simple, humble human being.  Philippians 2:5-9

He was tempted in all respects as we are but lived without sinning.  Hebrews 4:14-16 

He was sent to preach the gospel to the poor, to set the captives and oppressed free, restore sight to the blind and to proclaim the year of God's favor.  Luke 4:18-19

He was sent to die for us.  The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death.  If I sin (you know, like: lying, stealing, loving anyone or anything more than God, coveting someone else's possessions, dishonoring our parents, murder, etc. - and we all have!), my penalty is death.  Because Jesus (God) was a sinless and perfect man, he was a worthy sacrifice to be offered on behalf of mankind.  He paid our debt and offers the gift of abundant life on earth and eternal life upon our death if we ONLY believe in our heart that He is who He said He is, that God raised Him from the dead and confess it with our mouth, we will be saved.   Romans 10:9

He wants our love - all of it!  We are to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength.  Mark 12:30

He requires us to live justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him all the days of our lives.  Micah 6:8

He wants our obedience.    John 14: 21 tells us:  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 

Look at this list that the Lord God wants for us:  deep love for Him, freedom from sin, forgiveness of sin, abundant life, justice, mercy and humbleness and obedience.  Quite different from what the world teaches:  no God; evolution; if it feels good, do it; self-esteem; condemnation; the rich win; where's your pride?  

When we focus on being all that God wants us to be, love Him with all that we are, strive for justice among our fellow men and women, love giving and receiving mercy;  walk humbly and simply through life depending on God for everything and finally, give our lives to Christ by submitting to him in obedience, how can one not live life more abundantly and freely and joyfully (and with a whole lot less problems)?  Give me peace with God and contentment in life any day over a nice manicure or trendy clothing! 

Pray for me, will you?  Pray that I invest myself in these girls wholeheartedly.  Pray that I can be a safe haven for them in times of need.  Pray that I can show them the love, mercy and justice of God, and pray that I can show them a humble heart and a genuine desire to help them know Jesus better.

Father,

Your Word says that you are my loving ally.  Thank you for being on my side, Lord, and for loving me even though much of the time (in my eyes) I am pretty unlovable.  Help me to love others like that, Father.  Lead me in being merciful and show me how to walk humbly because I have this nasty tendency to walk proudly.   I am nothing without you, Lord Jesus.  I am like grass that has been mowed and is blown about by the wind...here today; gone tomorrow.  But you, Lord, are eternal and the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Thank you that I can rely on you always.  Work through me with these young people, Father.  Show them what you want them to see, teach them what you want them to learn and help me to grow in love, faith and obedience through this ministry.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Word for the Day - Deliverance

The Word of God tells us that death is the result of mankind sinning.  Romans 6:23 and James 1:15.

The Word also tells us that Jesus Christ, the son of God, (God incarnate) came to pay the price for our sin.  John 15:13.

This is the part of the gospel that we hear about the most often; and, it is INDEED good news!

We don't hear enough about this, though:

Jesus came not just to provide forgiveness of our sins and therefore eternal life with and through him; but Jesus also came to provide deliverance from our sins:

1 Peter 4:1

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Romans 6:22

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 6:18

Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
So, my friend REJOICE in the Lord!  Again I say, "REJOICE in the Lord"!!  Give your life to Christ.  Give your sin to Christ.  Give your addiction to Christ.  Give your bad habits to Christ.  Give it ALL to  Jesus Christ, the Messiah,  and be DELIVERED from bondage and set free to live life more abundantly, more freely, more joyfully, more confidently (not cockiness; but assurednesss) because you are no longer in control but you are controled by HIS holy spirit!

Psalm 34:1

 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise [shall] continually [be] in my mouth.

Father,

Bless those who read this with a supernatural assuredness of your reality, your presence, and the truth of these words from Your Word.  If the reader already belongs to you, please give them a greater joy a greater peace and a greater appreciation for who you are, what you have done and how great their freedom from sin truly is.  Bless the reader, Father, with a fresh outpouring of your spirit.

If, Father, the reader has not submitted his or her life to you; then, Father, I pray that you will remove the blinders, open the ears, soften the heart and remove any and all stumbling blocks from their path to you.  Father I ask that your Word will not return void but will accomplish the purpose for which it goes forth.  May the reader come face to face with the Savior and be faced with the love that is beyond man's ability to understand, ability to accept and ability to return.  Make them yours, Lord, for I know that that is your good and perfect will; that all would come to the saving knowledge of your son, and it is in His name that I ask these things.  Amen

  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Worship Without Sacrifice

The Seven Blunders of the World: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle... Gandhi

It goes without saying that people who are wealthy without ever having done a day's honest work, tend to be somewhat "worldly"...think Paris Hilton.  I don't want to judge this woman, but her wealth without work has provided her ample opportunity to indulge in pleasure without conscience (I might add), and she doesn't seem to mind letting the whole world know about it because she tends to be in the hollywood limelight a lot.
Wealth without work lends itself to decadence, lack of appreciation and a mindset of elitism.

Pleasure without conscience is defined as sin, licensiousness, and overindulgence.
I think of Monsanto when I think of commerce without morality.

Commerce without morality looks like greed.
...again Monsanto and other companies who are striving to line their pockets without any thought to what effects their "products" might have on human beings.
Science without humanity brings about humanism, transhumanism, genetic manipulation, and playing God.
Is there any country out there with principles in their politics?
Polictics without principles looks exactly like what is playing out on the world's stage right now.

It is the Worship without sacrifice that I would like to look at at little closer. What does it mean to worship without sacrifice? What happens when we do that?

 Jeremiah 33:11

The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD [is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: [and] of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.
Hebrews 13:15

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.

To the best of my knowledge, Gandhi was not a follower of Christ; however, Gandhi claimed to like Christ but did not like Christ's Christians because they were so little like their Christ.

We are all called to pick up our cross, and endure persecution and sorrow for the Lord just as He suffered for us. It's part of the package. 2 Tim. 3:13 says: "Yea, and ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."

John 16:20 goes further in this vein by saying "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy."

Something that I have noticed about myself is that sometimes (even when it is appropriately due) praise dries up in my mouth and evaporates. I'm not just talking about praise for God; I'm talking about praise for anyone or anything. I always wonder about that and why I would be so unwilling to lift up someone for something for which they deserve praise, and it always shames me because I know that is sin - most likely caused by envy or covetousness. Thankfully, though, that is something that does not occur often, and I have even been told that I have the gift of encouragement which I believe stems from naturally praising others for their gifts and talents.

It stands to reason, then, that it's not always going to be easy to praise God. For example, in the book of James, we are instructed to count it all joy when we are visited by times of trial and trouble (James 1:2).

The strength, the wisdom, the patience, the ability to endure hardship; these are all great reasons why we should praise God during times of testing. One of my friends has a saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  Kelly Clarkson recently even made a record by that title.

A lot of times, then, praise really is a sacrifice;  something we make ourselves do even when we don't want to or don't feel like it, simply because we know that, in truth, God is teaching us a life lesson that will in the end be very good for us.

Psalms 116:17: "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD."


This time last summer I was dealing with my son's illness, that progressed into a state of destruction, disobedience and anger that led to our enrolling him in wilderness camp.

Just today, my daughter informed me that she believes we (the people of the world) all believe in the same God; that God in Christianity is the same god in hinduism, islam, sikhism, buddahism, etc.!   My heart hit the floor.  Instead of immediately replying; I kept silent.  I wanted to think about my answer before just blurting out an instanteous reply.   A little later I addressed her remark by calmly saying to her that I wanted her to think about what she said.  I then told her my belief in a short statement of "We do not all worship the same God.  The God I worship is not the God of islam or hinduism or any other religion.  I understand why you want to believe that (she has friends who are from those religions and the areas that partake in them as well as Jewish friends), but that does not make it so."

 
And so it has been in this season of trial with my son's illness and subsequent problems with anger, destruction and disobedience and now with my daughter in her belief of satan's lies.   It has been a time of making myself walk the walk of truly putting my faith and trust in the goodness of God and praising Him even in the bad things we go through; even when we don't feel like it; simply because He is worthy of our praise. 

Lord, there are so many things in my life that are not the way they "should" be.  By that, I mean that they aren't lining up with your Word and You.   They are out of my hands, and I have no control over them because they have to do with the actions and thoughts of those I love.  Today I put them in to your more than able Hands.  I give them to you.  One minute of worry on my part will not change them.  Only you can change them, and that is my prayer today, Father.   You know my heart.  I want for all my loved ones to give their lives to you.   I trust you  with their lives, Father because you are good, and you are able, and You are God.  You are in charge.  Turn their hearts toward you.  Open their eyes and ears and heart to all that you say, to all that you do and to all that you are.  I pray on their behalf this morning for your forgivness and mercy to be poured out on them.  I praise you for who you are and for Your Great Name's Sake.   I thank you that you drew me near and I came.  Bless the Lord,oh my soul, oh, my soul, worship His holy name!  In Jesus matchless name, Amen.



Thursday, August 2, 2012

So Many Today are Saying "Love One Another" But What Exactly is God's Kind of Love?


God loves you. God loves me. God loves us. There's no failure to get that message out there. Yes, God does love us. There are three types of love: eros (romantic or erotic love), philos (friendship between two people) and agape (unconditional love). God's love would obviously be of the type of agape love, and the Biblical definition of love can be found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love




The thing about God's unconditional love for us, though, is that His love is not indulgent.  If you consider the average American family, I am sure you would agree with me that parents today are very indulgent with their children.   As a fifth grader, my son was constantly badgering my husband and me to get him a cell phone, an Ipod, a certain type of shoes, or style of clothing, even down to pencils, binders and other  school-required supplies -- all because ALL THE OTHER KIDS HAVE THEM.  Do they ALL, in fact, have them?  I couldn't say postively, but I have been out and about enough to know that a great majority of kids are indulged in this way.

Because we are indulgent with our children, we expect God to be indulgent with us.  That, however, is a false expectation.  God is God!  He expects our love, respect and obedience just because of who He is.  He is all knowing -- he knows the beginning from the end and everything in between.  He is omni-present - everywhere at all times, and He is always good.  Consider Psalm 139:

    O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. 7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night," 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. 19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! 20 They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!21Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
God (being all knowing and always present) always does what is best for us in the long run (Romans 8:28), but it is not easy for us to understand God's love.  It is fairly easy for us to believe that God loves us.   He took the form of a human being and came to dwell among us in the person of Jesus Christ and gave His life on behalf of every human being who would ever grace the face of the earth from that time on.  All each one of us is required to do is (1) believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, that he came to pay the penalty for our sins by living a sinless life and dying on the cross and (2) confess it with our mouths.   "But that's too easy" you may say, and you are exactly right, it is too easy, and some people who profess really have not experienced the saving knowledge of Christ at all.  Yet when a person really sees him or her-self as they really are and really see God in all his holiness, glory and "God"ness,and understand what He's offering, they can't help but be transformed.   When one considers their immense lack and inability to attain the perfection required by God without His help, and then believes and confesses, God sends His holy spirit to live within them and He begins to work in them changing them into His likeness; sometimes with small baby step changes, sometimes with huge 180 degree life changes, but it's never just a one time thing.  It's a daily task of looking at Him and looking at oneself and asking Him what He wants to do in us today. 

Step three in this process is the hardest, obviously, not just because we are so unlike Him, but because deep down, we like our sin and we have an aversion to change.  But as we are faithful to spend time in His presence and reading His love letter to us (The Bible), and as He sees that we are willing to change, He does, in fact, cause us to change to become more and more like Him.

I believe one of the big struggles in the life of a follower of Christ is that sometimes God "feels" far away.  For myself, I think it's because He has brought me to a place where He wants more change than I am willing to accept, and until I see the light of why it is best for me, I feel kind of lost and out of sorts.   BUT once, I accept the change that God wants, my relationship with God gets back on track and I can go forward.  It's the word "feel" that gets us in trouble because the relationship God wants with His people is not based on feelings - it is based on faith...faith in what God tells us and faith in what God expects us to believe. 

You see, just like in the Old Testament when God brought the Israelites out of Egypt to take them into the promised land, He is leading us out of our own personal Egypt into the promised land.   Just as then, God is delivering us from a life of bondage and slavery to sin and giving us a land flowing with milk and honey known as the Kingdom of God, Heaven and eternal life.  It is a hard journey and one where we will have to make sacrifices and lean totally on God for directions and strength to get there, and if we don't have the ability to believe that this is the way to salvation and life more abundant and free, we'll never get there.  The whole original host of Israelites, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua (yes, not even Moses), never got to enter in because of their lack of faith and trust in God and His Word - only the children of those who had actually been slaves got to go in. 

That leads me to where I'm head with this today.  Sometimes I get really down on myself for my failures (past and present), but as I read the story of the Israelites, it hit me, that God said  they didn't get to enter in because they did not believe in  His word as salvation and that that goes for me, too.  God loves me, and I have to press on in faith that what He has said in His Word is true.  He says if I mess up, I just need to know it, confess it, don't do it anymore and go on.   Again, isn't that too easy?  For someone who's a part of the crazy, mixed up world today when there are so many ifs, ands and buts to everything, yes, it is, but God is different. His ways are different than ours and His thoughts are different than ours; but of course, that's one of the main reasons I love Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love.  Thank you, also for your Word which gives us reassurance of who you are and that what you say, you will do.   Thank you for making our salvation something that we have to invest ourselves in by showing you our faith.  It is hard, Lord, to simply believe and trust in what your Word says, but it is so much more rewarding when that lights goes off in our minds and we "get it".   I pray for all people everywhere today, Father, that they will come to know you and love you.  I pray for your people all over the world working to get the Word out today.  May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven today.  In Jesus' name.