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Posts Tagged ‘Lord’

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Gently Lead Us

Gently, Lord, oh, gently lead us
Through vale of tears,
Though thou’st decreed us,
Till our last great change appears.

As temptation’s darts assail us,
Or in devious paths we stray
Let thy goodness never fail us,
Lead us in thy perfect way

In the hour of pain and anguish,
In the hour when death draws near
Suffer not our hearts to languish,
Suffer not our souls to fear.

As this mortal life is ended,
Bid us in thine arms to rest,
Till, by angel bands attended,
We awake among the blest.

Then, oh, crown us with thy blessing,
Through the triumphs of thy grace;
Then shall praises never ceasing
Echo through thy dwelling-place.

~Octavius Winslow

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Backsliding.  We’ve all heard the term.  The dictionary defines it as: to relapse into bad habits, sinful behavior, or undesirable activities.

Bad habits, sinful behavior, undesirable activities….  doesn’t sound so bad really, does it?

The Bible, however, has a different attitude towards it.  Hebrews 2:1-3 tells us that backsliding is indeed VERY SERIOUS and not to be taken lightly, in the least.

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.  For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?  Hebrews 2:1-3

In 2 Peter2:20,21 it’s addressed this way – If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 

I don’t know about you, but these two verses alone give me such a different view of “backsliding” and a good healthy respect for how truly serious backsliding really is.

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What is your definition of a Christian?    I’m surprised by the various meanings people attach to that one word.  Some people think of a Christian as someone who attends church each Sunday, others think of it as someone whose parents were church goers and therefore they attended church their entire lives, maybe even being baptized as a young child and now going is simply part of what they do; a habit.  Others still, consider a Christian as someone who has prayed the “prayer of salvation” at some point in their life.  But what truly defines a “Christian”?

Wikipedia shares information on the etymology and states that:   The Greek word Χριστιανός (Christianos)—meaning “follower of Christ”—comes from Χριστός (Christos)—meaning “anointed one”[5]—with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership.[6] In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ,messiah), meaning “[one who is] anointed.”[7] In other European languages, equivalent words to ‘Christian’ are likewise derived from the Greek, such as ‘Chrétien’ in French and ‘Cristiano’ in Spanish.  (Borrowed from Wikipedia.org)

A Christian is a follower of Christ.  What does that mean though?  What does it look like to “follow Christ”?

Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 7:21-24 –  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’   Then I will tell them plainly, ‘ I never knew you. Away from me you evildoers!’  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  

Mark 8:34-38  says – “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

In 1 John 2:3-6  We’re told – We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands.  Whoever says, ” I know Him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys His Word, love for God is truly made complete in them.  This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.  

And in 1 Peter 2:21 it says – To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

There are plenty more Scriptures to show us how as a Christian we are called to become more like Jesus Christ and follow in His example each day of our lives.  Not in any effort to “work for our salvation”, because we already know we can’t “earn” that.  Instead it’s to show the world that we ARE indeed followers of Him that first loved us and died in order to pay our own debt for our sins.

James 2:14 – 19 shows us the importance of our actions in day to day life –  What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep arm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.  You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.  

Let’s make it our life’s mission to be sure and follow Christ every single day, giving Him our very best in all that we do, and show the world what Christians really are!

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armor of God  Put it on

There is so much out there these days on spiritual warfare and what all it entails.  Lots of practices and methods for dealing with the devil and his sneaky, evil, ways.  But let us not get side tracked from what God’s Word clearly tells us in regards to resisting the devil and dealing with him.

Paul spells it out plainly in Ephesians 6:10-18 when he says:

10 A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so that you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  15 For shoes put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  17 Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 

We need to do as Paul said in Ephesians and put on all of God’s armor, pray, pray, and pray some more, and keep our minds focused on Jesus and what He’s already done for us, which is win the battle.   We have no need in concentrating on the newest fad in spiritual warfare.  The important thing is to concentrate on doing what God’s Word says and keep our minds solidly on Him in order to resist Satan and all of his tricks and games.  God is with us when we are with Him.  He’ll never let us down.

Now, let’s do this!  Praise God!   🙂

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Praise the LORD!

I will thank the LORD with all my heart as I meet with his godly people.

How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! 

All who delight in him should ponder them.

Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.

His righteousness never fails.

He causes us to remember his wonderful works.

How gracious and merciful is or LORD!

He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant.

He has shown his great power to his people by giving them the lands of other nations.

All he does is just and good, and all his commandments are trustworthy.

They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.

He has paid a full ransom for his people. 

He has guaranteed his covenant with them forever.

What a holy, awe-inspiring name he has!

Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom.  

All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom.

Praise him forever! 

Psalm 111

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Learning to Fly – shared from Godvine.  I loved this and wanted to share it with all of you! images (2)

My neighbor has a number of mature spruce trees in his back yard and every year a family of magpies nests in one of them. We are blessed that our back yard often becomes the place for magpie flight school.

The young birds work their way to the end of a branch, and sit there squawking for a while. Mother magpie is never far away, encouraging the young ones to try again. A nest of magpies can make a lot of noise when it is time to learn to fly.

After working up enough nerve and making a suitable amount of noise the young birds jump, spread their wings and drop to the ground. Squawking some more, they eventually jump up from branch to branch to climb back up the tree, and repeat the process.

The young one goes back to the end of the branch, makes enough noise to work up its nerve and tries it again.

Sometime during the process, they actually get airborne and soar a bit. The first time they soar, it frightens them and they land quickly, unsure of what just happened. Eventually though, they get the idea and fly and soar at will.

As Christians we are often like those young magpies, we stay near the nest and make a lot of noise. Sometimes we take a brief leap, then make a lot of noise over the attempt and head for home.

Other times we actually get to fly a bit, and it surprises and frightens us. We knew it was possible, but we didn’t really think it could happen to us and we stop in disbelief.

Now and then though, we get the idea and actually begin to do what we are called to do and fly. To soar, empowered by Holy Spirit. We begin to become the people of God that we are called to be. Other people see us soaring and the sight turns their mind towards God.

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Each of us is called to work in different ministries. Each of us is at a different point in our faith walk.

Perhaps you haven’t yet broken out of the egg or left the nest. Perhaps you are standing on the edge of the branch squawking in excitement and fear preparing to jump. Maybe you have just soared and it surprised you. Perhaps you are like the mother magpie, knowing you can soar and that it is your duty to encourage others.

Where ever you are in your walk, know that we are called to soar and are empowered to soar, all for the glory of God.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Do not grow tired of the attempt — know that the Father has prepared a ministry for you to excel at; to soar and bring Him glory. May you find that ministry and soar in His presence, as He intended, according to his plan. God bless.

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you get tired of certain “friends” only calling you when they need something.

Is this something you deal with?  I know I have dealt with it off and on for years.  And I’ve heard many others complain of this particular issue as well.  When things are great, you don’t hear a thing from certain folks, but boy oh boy… let them have a need that you’re able to fill and they’re ringing your phone off the hook.

Often times, people like that also don’t have time for you when you need them.  Ever notice that?  You have a crisis and could use some of their help and it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack, cause now they’re sure impossible to find.

It can be really frustrating to say the least.  Occasionally, you might even be tempted to simply quit being their friend at all, but something always stops you from going that far.  The next time they call with a need, you can’t help but go ahead and fill that need if at all possible.

Now that you’re sitting there thinking about how “Yeah!   It really IS annoying when So n So does that to me!”, imagine if you were GOD……..

God has to deal with this ALL THE TIME.   Literally… ALL THE TIME.  It never ends for Him.   There’s never a break from being taken for granted this way.   Can you possibly begin to imagine?

As I sat thinking about this I felt so sad and so sorry.  Sorry because I’ve done that to God myself in the past.  I’ve been that person who only prayed and spoke to the Lord when I needed something or was in some type of trouble.  I’m thankful that this is no longer “me” and I pray that it’s never ever “me” again.  I know how horrible being treated that way makes me feel and I would never want to treat my very Creator, my Father, my Lord and Savior so badly.

if you only pray when youre in troubleFolks, this is sin in one of it’s worst forms.  If this is something you do, then please realize it, ask for forgiveness and make a definite point to no longer take your very Creator Himself for granted this way again.  Spend quality time with the Lord your God.  He loves you dearly and wants to be more than your trouble fixer,  habit at the dinner table, or your obligation on Sundays.

He gives Himself freely to us and we should do exactly the same.

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379455_469705126399165_1053964202_nJanuary 1, 2013.  That’s today.  Another year is gone and a new one is here.  I pray it’s a good one.

I noticed a trend on Facebook as we were on the downhill stretch towards the start of this brand new year.  A fairly large number of people were in agreement that 2012 was a bad year for them.  Seriously, it was a decent sized number of folks all extremely glad to see the end of what appeared to be a banner year of bad luck and unhappiness.  It seemed like people were focusing on everything bad that had happened to them over the past twelve months and only a precious few were thankful for the good things the Lord had done for them.

Thinking about this issue while browsing around some of my favorite blogs, I ran across a post with a great idea for keeping track of the blessings God gives us.  (Thank you – utesmile!)   jar Each and every time something good happens to you and your family, write it down on a slip of paper and stick it in a large jar, then at the end of the year go throuigh them all and thank the Lord for all the blessings He’s given you through that year.  I love it!

What a fun way to spend next New Years Eve!  It would be a great habit to start your children doing too.   We need to spend more of our time being thankful to the Lord for all He does for us and much less time concentrating on what we don’t have, didn’t do, or wish was different in our lives.

Ok, I’ve gotta run…. time to go find a large jar in which to cram all the blessing memory notes that I just know God is going to give me and my family this year!

Happy Beginning of 2013!!!

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I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it really grabbed my attention.

This can be oh so hard… the world, and especially the culture of today, calls for us to compromise, to live in the gray areas we try to create for ourselves.  We try to rationalize our own known sin because we WANT to do it.  Then we attempt to assuage our guilt by getting self righteous and looking at others and their sins to make ourselves feel better. “Well, I’m not so bad cause look at So n So and what they’re doing! At least I’m not doing THAT!”  Doesn’t matter, never did.  God sees absolutely ALL OF IT – even what we may not see for ourselves quite yet. The Bible tells us in James 1:5-8If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure your faith is in God alone.  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.   You can’t live with one foot in with the “world” and one foot in with God.  It just doesn’t work that way, as the Lord is clearly telling us here in James.

It is of utmost importance that we get something straight and sooner, rather than later.  Jesus didn’t suffer and die so we could continue in our sins, doing whatever pleases us.  Far from it.  Don’t take my word for it though! Please don’t!  God’s own Word, the very book He gave to us in order for us to learn all we can about Him and from Him – The Bible – explains it to us quite well.

In Matthew 18:3 we are told by Jesus Himself – “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”   Jesus isn’t mincing words here.  Turn from your sins and become like little children (innocent) OR you will NEVER get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  We may not like it, it may seem harsh, but regardless, He’s pretty clear.  Jesus also tells us in Matthew 18:7-9 “So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet.  And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”   According to Jesus, we are better off if we cut off limbs and gouge out our very eyes, than we are if we sin.  That’s a pretty clear statement regarding sin!  Another statement Jesus made that tells is as plainly as possible is Matthew 7: 21-23 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.  On judgment day many  will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord!  We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.”  That folks, is a dramatic and clear statement and no one can deny after reading it that turning from sin and obeying God’s laws is something Jesus wants and expects us to do. 

In Matthew 16:24-27 we’re told – “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”  The very definition of a Christian is to be a follower of Christ.  Jesus tells us to be one of His followers we must give up everything for Him. 

It’s heartbreaking, as well as quite terrifying, to me that for so many years I believed various things I was told about Jesus.  Things like:  Jesus is LOVING so He’ll not send me to Hell as long as I believe He’s saved me.  All you need to do is say the “Sinner’s Prayer” and then you’re Heaven bound no matter how you’re living.  You can’t “earn” salvation, so don’t worry about your sins.  Only God can “change” you, so just “believe you’re saved” and don’t try to change anything because that would be “works” and no one can “earn salvation” since it is a gift.  It sure was nice thinking I could say a simple little two minute prayer and then I could carry on living as if nothing happened and will still enter Heaven!  Were I to have died, it wouldn’t have been “nice” at all. My life and the way I lived proved only that Jesus wasn’t Lord of my life at all, thanks, in part, to my believing false teachers, but also thanks to the fact that I enjoyed some of my sins and didn’t want to give them up.

The Bible warns us of false teachings. Matthew 7:15-16“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.   You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.  Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?”

Please do not misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that we work for our salvation at all.  It is a free gift, no doubt about that.  However, where I messed up for many years, and where many others appear to be messing up, is in taking advantage.  Thinking that since Jesus paid for our sins with His very death, that it was okay to continue in sin – known sin, and to not fully love Him.

To truly love Jesus means to put Him first in our lives, as the Bible clearly tells us to, and I didn’t do that for a long time.  Oh, I had all sorts of convenient excuses…. “I’m busy and don’t have time to read my Bible cause I just have so much going on right now, I don’t like going to church, it’s full of hypocrites, well I’m only human so sure I’m gonna make mistakes, and no one is perfect except Jesus, but it’s okay cause Jesus died for me.”  There were plenty others too, but you get the point.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 23: 37- 38“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment”  Again, Jesus is clear in His teachings.  Put God first in your heart, in your soul, and in your mind. He doesn’t tell us to put God first, but only if it’s not going to interfere with your other plans, wants, or desires.  I can’t find Jesus saying that anywhere in the Bible!  

To truly love Jesus and put Him first in our lives means we’re to turn from sin and to do as God’s Word tells us.   James 1:22- 25 tells us – But don’t just listen to God’s Word.  You must do what it says. Otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the Word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.  

To live a Godly life instead of a worldly life can be hard, of that there is no doubt, but God will help us.  In Galatians 5:16-25 we are told: So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.  Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.  These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.  When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealously, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.  Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things!  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.  

Yes, let’s do that.  With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can.  Amen!

I am so thankful that the Lord chose to keep after me until my eyes were opened to what is  real instead of leaving me to die in my sins.  Now, I seek Him daily and am more in love and alive than ever before in my life.  Giving it all up for Him isn’t like losing anything at all, it’s more like gaining everything and then some.  I am thankful to know Him and blessed by His amazing love.

You know what?  He loves YOU too!

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It hurts.

That moment when you think that, for a second perhaps, someone gets it, gets you, understands where you are even,  then as quick as a lightning strike – you realize that no… that’s not what’s happening at all.

What is happening is just a little more of the same pain, just applied a little differently.

Variation.

Is it really them doing the hurting?

Or is it possible that it’s only the enemy using them as a tool to inflict damage so deep that you can’t be healed this time?

Or is it possible that instead of it being a damaging pain that it’s a healing pain?

That maybe it’s the Lord using His knife to cut from you something that has needed to go, but that you’ve been foolishly hanging on to.

Could the pain then be a good thing?

Perhaps.

Even still.

For now, it hurts.

♥  Update: I’m learning that sometimes…. sometimes….. it’s us.  Us hurting us.  You hurting you, me hurting me.  It’s good, this knowing.  Knowing helps it stop.  There’s enough out there to hurt us, so let’s not hurt each other senselessly. ♥

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