Sunday, January 29, 2012

Am I Truly Saved?

Have you ever asked yourself this question? Do you ever doubt your salvation? If you have, you are not alone. I think we have all doubted our salvation at some time, and we are admonished in the book of 2 Corinthians:
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
Our salvation is the most important thing in our lives, so it is critically important for us to examine ourselves and question our motives and to ask God to cleanse us of all unrighteousness.

My attention was grabbed and my heart stabbed by the wonderful message given by Pastor Paul Washer HERE.

I simply don't know how to express the importance of his message. All I can say to you is... "Please listen to this message." It's only 53 minutes long and I believe God will speak to your heart through it. There are very few men who preach like Paul Washer. I pray with all that I have within me that you who stopped by here today will listen to it; even if you have proclaimed to be a Christian for years - listen to it.

May God bless you and regenerate your heart so that you are born from above.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

PSALM 23
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. 3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 has long been a psalm of comfort to the dying and those who are losing someone to death. I can remember a time when little children were given stars at Sunday School for memorizing things; like the Ten Commandments, John 3:16 and the Psalm 23...I was one of those children. The 23rd Pslam was hard for me for some reason; I never did get that star as a child in Sunday School, but 45 years later, everytime I read it, I draw great comfort from that Psalm.

Because it's always read at funerals and probably because the word "death" seems to stand out (probably it did in my childhood anyway), I've always associated it with death. However, when you sit down and take time to meditate and ponder it, this Psalm is really about right now - life in the here and now. This life we live...getting up, going to work, eating, drinking, sleeping, learning, growing, rejoicing, hurting, sinning, repenting and learning to walk in the wisdom of God is the SHADOW of death.

Today could be the day I die...or you, maybe, or someone close to us. There's about 7 billion people in the world, so that makes a lot of people dying everyday around us, too. We ALL live in the shadow of death because we are all sinners according to the Bible. It is within us all to do bad, bad things, and the Bible says that the consequences of committing sin is death.

If you are like me, you don't like shadows. Walking in the shadows when I'm alone is very scary; you never know what's hiding there, and as a kid, shadows always meant sure death when you played hide and go seek. Being out in the light is much more preferable. A lot of children (and adults when you come to think of it) need to have a night light on to go to sleep. When you think about how big the world is and beyond that, the universe; and add in to the equation just how small and helpless you are in that big world/universe, thinking about being a part of it be a really scary thing.

How comforting it is to know that you can walk everyday in the presence of the Creator of the world/universe and that his rod and staff are there to hold you up and for your protection, and even though you might be surrounded by enemies (human or otherwise), you can trust Him to take care of you. Not one thing will happen to you today that God did not say was okay to happen. Are you hungry? He will feed you. Are you in need of clothing? He will clothe you. Are you a sinner? He will cover you.

When that day comes that is appointed for you and me to take that last breath, we can take comfort in knowing that we can dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If you have never entrusted your life to God through Jesus Christ. I urge you to take the time today to sit down and make an account of your life. Pray for forgiveness for the things you have done wrong and ask Him to lead you through the rest of the valley.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Can Your Family Be Saved?

According to Ask.com, the divorce rate is right around 50% and in Christian families,it is between 40 and 50%; 41% for first time marriages. The pressures within a family are great and the preparation and the mindset going into marriage so unreal and so romanticized by society that it's a wonder that percentage is not higher. I often wonder what God is going to do with things like divorce and remarriage when we appear before Him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What started my wondering about this is a book I read by Joseph Herrin, the author of the Parablesblog and owner of the Heart4God.ws web site. I refer you specifically to his book entitled The Marriage Covenant if you, too, would like to wonder about this.

With that being said, I believe the Lord gave me a word to share with someone out there; a family; a family in pain. A family to whom the word conflict is not unknown. A family who gets up fighting, eats dinner fighting and goes to bed fighting. This is a Christian family, or maybe not - maybe only a portion of the family is Christian. It's a family with an older child - not a young child - perhaps a teenager or a tweenager.

The family feels hopeless and in agony. It gets to the point where none of them want to go home and face it all again but where else can they go? Home is supposed to be a haven; a place of love and acceptance, but it's gotten so out of hand that now they are trying to hurt each other on purpose. "I'll show you; you do that to me, and I'll do this to you."

The Bible says in Mark 3:5: AND IF A HOUSE BE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF, IT CANNOT STAND.

If the above description fits your family, your house is divided and is in line for imminent destruction if something doesn't change and change fast.

The word that I believe the Lord gave me for you today is this:
Ephesians 6:1 Children obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise); 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
You don't know what body aches and pains or heartaches and pains your parents might be going through. Life as an adult with all the responsibilities that go with it is not easy and the world expects success, wealth, beauty, aggression and ambition. Look at them through eyes of compassion and love. The world isn't all about you and your problems. Try thinking about what they may be dealing with: how to pay their bills, job loss or insecurity, their health, maybe one of them has an addiction to something you don't know about, maybe one of them has done something they are not proud of, maybe a special friend or family member is dying - you just don't know what they're dealing with, so give them a break. Show them some love and kindness and compassion - and obedience and respect.

And for you, parents: Ephesians 6: 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

You don't know what your child has been through today away from you. Look at them through the eyes of love and compassion. The world is different today than it was when you were young, and you have no idea what kind of pain your child may have been assaulted with today, and if your child is in the throes of puberty, then everything is multiplied 10x. What if you knew your child had been taunted, teased and made fun of by other kids today, would you tread more gently with him or her? What if you knew your child had failed a very important test today and is failing the class and may be held back, would you take back those unkind words? What if you knew your son had been cut from the team and told to go take a ballet lesson instead, would you act differently, and what if your daughter had been called a slut or some other equally insulting name, would you show her some love and kindness instead of berating her because she didn't get her room cleaned? You just don't know and unfortunately, our children don't tell us everything.

Your family can be salvaged with determination, love and dependence on God. First, everytime you look at your parent, mate, child: pray for them; pray for God's best to be given to them. Do you know what God's best is? It's His son, Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Pray it every day; pray it every hour. Ask God to help you look at them through His eyes, with love and compassion. Count to ten before answering anything that could possibly lead to a confrontation. Realize your part in the equation - children = obedience, honor and love for parents; parents = love, nurturing, teaching your child about God and His desire to know them and set them free from a life of sin and to give them a hope and a purpose. Determine to live your part in the equation without exception and in complete dependence on the Lord for strength and wisdom.
You CAN do it with His help and IF you really want to. Is this His word for you today?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Love God....Hate My Family???

1 John 2:15,16:

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The Father's thoughts and ways are much higher than mankind's ways, and so is His speech. Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that only those who truly loved Him and followed Him would be able to understand what He was saying. Also, Psalm 78, verse 2 says: I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

Reading Romans 9:13 one day, I was stopped in my tracks:

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

What? Why would God ever say that He hated anyone or anything? My mind could not grasp this, and I was puzzled and confused.

Thank God that in studying the Word, I recently learned that this was not a real, true "hatred" of Esau but a type of comparative speech that when you look at the blessing that God bestowed on Jacob in comparison to that of Esau it was like saying that God loved Jacob and hated Esau.

Sometimes our minds work like that; thinking just because someone has been blessed by the Creator with brains, money, possessions and what appears to the world as "anything and everything" they could ever want, that God must have loved that person more than He loved the one who was not so smart, poor and had very little in the way of worldly possessions. I remember being asked once why I thought God had blessed us in such as a way as allowing us to be born in America when so many others in the world were hurting or in need. I don't remember my exact response but I remember it being something totally stupid and incorrect and lame.

I say that it was totally stupid and incorrect now because I know what the Word says: Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

Have the people of the United States really been blessed by God? Of course we have, in many ways, but in others maybe not so much. I read these days how thousands (and I mean like 30,000 a day) of people are coming to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in countries where you wouldn't think it would be happening, like the communist countries and the muslim countries (and I mean real, true, die-for-your-beliefs saving knowledge). And, here we are in the U.S. where everyday you read about someone saying or doing something to undermine being a believer and follower of Christ and people are trying to have the name of Jesus and anything to do with Him erased from American laws and culture.

There are a lot of things that I love in this world; my husband, my children, my home, my pets, my friends, my extended family. I can think of materials things that I love, but, with all thanks to God, I know in my heart I could give those things up without a huge fight if need be. My God is a jealous God, and he wants to be first in my life. He wants to be the main love of my life and if my heart is in the right place there, then He's okay with me loving my family. He just wants the love I feel for them and everything else to be like hatred in comparison to how much I love Him.

The wonderful thing is that the more time I spend with God, the more I love Him. The better I know Him; the more I love Him and want to be with Him. There's only one way to get to know God...read His word and talk to Him about it and all the things happening in your life. I can't begin to tell you the difference it has made in my life, but I wholly encourage you to try it. The change it makes in your life may be the difference between love and hate or life and death.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Hour is Late and Time is Short


It's late; 1:30 in the morning and I should be sleeping, but the Lord has laid something on my heart - something I believe He wants me to put down in words. It is late here on earth and our time is short. What do I mean, the time is short, you ask? Well, I believe that the time is short for anything that we might consider a life of being somewhat "normal". I hear in my Spirit that soon "normalcy" will be hard to find and unless we are "in Christ", we will all be in a state of flux and chaos. I keep hearing the words "be sober".

Things have been very unsettling in the world for a long time, but especially since this new century began with 9/11 and then the financial chaos that the world experienced in 2008. So, I believe, it is not unusual for us to try to find things that make us smile and laugh and remember better times. We want to "feel" happy.

With this in mind, and the fact that I keep hearing the words be sober, I want to send out a message of caution to all who pass by here. The word sober is used 12 times in the KJV of the Bible in 12 different verses.

2 Cor. 5:13

1 Th. 5:6

1 Th. 5:8

1 Ti. 3:2

1 Ti. 3:11

Titus 1:8

Titus 2:2

Titus 2:4

Titus 2:6

1 Peter 1:13

1 Peter 4:7

1 Peter 5:8

In all of these verses, the word sober pertains to keeping one's self in a state of mind which exercises self-control, discipline and curbing one's passions (and although it's not the same word in the greek, specifically, it also includes the sobriety of not being drunk) and being in a state of watchfulness and readiness.

The Spirit is directing me specifically to the use of the word in relation to "curbing one's passions". It seems to me that sometimes as human beings when things are down, we want to just throw all caution to the wind and do something we consider adventurous, or "fun", and not necessarily true to our nature. This is not the time for that. This is the time for soberness.

As I write this, I'm thinking "Hmmmm, that's interesting. So many times when I am with people, I find myself thinking what a bore I am, always thinking seriouosly and "soberly" and I find it hard to get in the swing of things when talk gets a little off color or rowdy." Now I know why, I have become sober because the Lord's Spirit has shown me the lateness of the hour. I realize that this is not a time for that. I still laugh (usually at myself) and I smile, and unbelievably, I find myself not anxious or afraid, but I just don't find myself being "giddy" for lack of a better word and I don't tend to join the fray of joking, getting "involved" in tv programs or sports, etc. My mind is usually on the things of God and how they are intertwined with the things of the world.

I'm going to be blunt here, I guess, because I can't find another way to put this. Time is short; Jesus is coming back, and I think it's soon. Passions a lot of the time lead us to do things that we wouldn't normally do; and (believe me I know) usually they are not things God wants us to do (and I'm not talking about passion for your job, your ministry or art!) Don't do something stupid, by throwing caution to the wind, just to have a moment of passion fulfilled. What if He returns right then?

I'm talking to those who say they know Christ and claim Him as their savior. You're bored, or lonely or scared or tired or frazzled. Something appears in you life that looks to be the thing that could give you relief, a moment of pleasure, fun, satisfaction; whatever. Get out your Bible, read it; get on your knees; pray. Ask God for direction; ask Him if it's the right thing to do. Don't be like the foolish virgins who got tired of waiting and ran out of oil. Now is not the time to be giving in to passionate urges.

That's what God wanted me to write tonight.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Do You Know My Jesus?

Another year is here. For those of us in many areas of the U.S., winter is here and we have several months of cloudy, cold, possibly rainy, snowy, icy weather ahead of us. When you add to that the fact that there could be war any day in the Mid East, the European Union is on the verge of a break up due to over indebtedness and our own country is basically broke and our money could be worth nothing any day, you find yourself asking where's the hope?

So I ask you: Do you know my Jesus? He's the one who gives me hope and a purpose in life. He took my focus off of myself and put it on Him. He makes me feel safe. He gives me peace. He loves me just as I am, and yet, because of who He is and the way He expects the best of me, I don't want to let Him down and I find myself being more honest, more open, more vulnerable, more giving, more loving, more understanding and accepting; so that even though He loves me just as I am, I find myself changing.

Jesus carries me through the hard days and walks beside me on the easy ones. He's never too busy to listen and His advice is always given with the intent to do the best for me and for anyone else who is involved. He heals the hurts deep within me by giving me a new understanding of things and an ability to forgive that is, itself, supernatural.

He's as old and wise as anyone ever could be, but He's young and hip and at the forefront of invention and imagination. He has no equal in artistic and/or musical ability. He wants to know everything about me down to how many hairs are on my head. He's never stuck up or too proud to hang around with the likes of me and He never makes me feel like I'm lacking or unimportant. He never gets tired; and he always energizes me.

If you do know Him, you know exactly what I'm talking about; if you don't know Him, you should! All you have to do is speak His name, tell Him where you're at in your life, what you've done wrong and how you want to do right. Give Him your hand. Ask Him to show you the way and then go with Him. Once you've experienced real life in Jesus, you'll never want to go back.

That's my hope for you for 2012; a real, living, breathing, one-on-one relationship with the best friend, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, God-Man you could ever imagine. You know what? This could be the year we see Him face to face! So get to know Him, get ready and get excited. This could be our best year yet! There's the hope!