The Russell Brand “Type” Discovery

30 Sep

Jesus typeI just accidentally discovered that by pressing Control-N on my keyboard, I instantly get a fresh, new document page. There have probably been thousands of occasions over the years when I’ve been frustrated that it required so many steps to accomplish that task. I don’t know if this was part of my latest Microsoft update or if it was always there, but I can only imagine how much time I’m going to save from here on out.

This time-saving discovery is nothing to compare with what a notoriously vulgar actor recently said he figured out. Russell Brand, who can be extremely offensive to a Jesus lover like myself, recently announced, after being in rehab, that he believes, “We have been tricked into not believing in God.” He then expounds quite eloquently about the futility of life without religious belief. When I had a similar epiphany, it turned my world upside down in the best possible way. I mean, way better than an instant new document!

Have you encountered God yet? Because God doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Jesus, I’m completely convinced that everyone gets a nudge from God at some point in their lives. There may be a question, like, “God, is that you?” When it is God, it’s potentially an eternal mistake to turn a deaf ear or push the “pull toward God” away. Because what’s really happening is that Someone wonderful you don’t know personally yet is trying to change your life for the better. You have to say yes to God to experience the awesomeness of being part of His family. He, not the world system, is why we were created. That’s why life is crazy-empty without Him, which Russell Brand apparently now agrees with me about.

Back to my new keyboard function — I discovered it when I kept hitting the wrong key to make a capital “N”—over and over. Suddenly I snapped! Hey, what did I just do there? A mistake led me to the light! It’s often a mistake or tragic loss that leads people to God, by the way. A fitting analogy, though probably not really. In any case, don’t ignore the unusual voice popping into your head, when God’s trying to show you a New Way. You’ll be so glad you paid attention!! I guarantee it.

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Avoiding Tell-Tale Christian Blowouts: You Can Do It!

19 Jul

Just like God says people have built-in recognition that the heavens are God’s handiwork, even unbelievers recognize when Christians aren’t acting like Jesus. One of the most frustrating things that happens in my life is that I have occasional blowouts. Whether it’s flair of temper, a fit of rage, or a hard-hitting emotional upset, it kind of feels like when a tire explodes and causes a car to run off the road or get into a collision. It is certainly no way to represent Jesus on the earth. Because we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, these episodes can be completely avoided. Just the fact that we have these outbursts is evidence that we surely have not recently been with Jesus or we are still growing toward Christian maturity.

When the Storm Hits, Are You Ready?

Staying close to God and remembering that there is no need to freak out about anything must be done daily. We lean on Him instead of falling on our faces—unless we are falling on our faces in prayer. Remembering Romans 8:28 is a great way to start any day, since it’s a reminder that everything is going to be okay.

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Even though I start each day with a devotional and Bible reading, upon opening my eyes, this doesn’t always keep the light of Jesus shining brightly in me. Honestly, I need to expand my prayer life. A day when something devastating happens isn’t a sign we’ve blown it. It’s our response to unexpected, unwelcome blows that reveals just how spiritual we are. (Not in judgment of each other but when evaluating our own behaviors.)

pexels-boat in storm

It’s like when Jesus was on the boat with the disciples and the boat was literally about to break apart from the violence of the storm they were in the midst of. Jesus was napping through it all. They finally woke him in a panic. He rebuked them for their lack of faith and then rebuked the waves and all was calm and still. We have been empowered to be like Jesus, standing peacefully in the middle of chaos!

Things go so much more smoothly when are connected with God in prayer all through the day. Just now I stepped away from the computer and couldn’t find a laundry list of different things I was looking for, all of which are usually right here within reach. Judging from my response, it quickly became evident that I have not spent enough time with Jesus! This doesn’t make me a hypocrite, that I don’t act so holy. It makes me a forgiven sinner who had a tough workday and little prayer. However, I am aiming higher and will do a better and better job of reflecting light instead of crashing and burning in a moment of darkness.

God Myth: God Listens to All Prayers

18 Jul

People sure do take God for granted. Millions of people have decided that when they get to a certain life milestone, they’ll finally turn to God and religion. There are no guarantees that we will ever make it to such a milestone. God loves us but He doesn’t fall for insincerity or out-and-out fakeness. He doesn’t listen to every prayer, either. Keep in mind that we are made in His image. Is there anyone in your life you wouldn’t give the time of day to because they lost your trust? Well, God doesn’t just honor every prayer uttered or answer every call. This may be a shock but it’s true.

Phone no answer

Psalm 66:18 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart,

The Lord will not hear.

 

Isaiah 59:2 New King James Version (NKJV)

2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God;

And your sins have hidden His face from you,

So that He will not hear.

God is light and there is no darkness in Him. He’s a glass half full kind of God. I feel compelled to defend him here, even as I reveal that prayers aren’t always getting to His ears, since He sometimes refuses to listen.

Just myth-busting, since sometimes people make assumptions based on things that aren’t actually in the Bible. My goal is to reveal what seems to be a hidden truth and to inspire others to open the Good Book.

If there is anyone you want to have an ear with, it’s God. Nobody loves you more. As we can see here, there are behaviors that shut off our prayers. This is not something any of us should be okay with, if we have an inkling what’s good for us.

 

Three Missing Links Between Us and God

17 Jul

The direct line to a truly victorious life filled to overflowing with the presence and blessings of God was broken when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. They disobeyed God. Ironically, it was the only rule that could even be broken. Nowadays, we are surrounded by things in the world that have eradicated Jesus as much as possible. Our options are numerous, quite unlike the first two human beings. Still, it’s not that complicated. All we need to do is what Adam and Eve chose not to: Love God, believe God, and obey Him. These words are all wrapped up in one another, ultimately. Our failure to love God results in a failure to believe or obey Him.

1-Love God

The way we are supposed to love God is clearly spelled out in the Bible. One way Jesus put it is probably something just about anyone can understand:

Luke 14:26 New Living Translation (NLT)

26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

The first and great commandment is to love God with all of our heart, all our soul, and all our mind (Matthew 22:37).

How many people do you know who are more excited to brag about God than about themselves, their spouses, their children, or their grandchildren? The love for God that the Christian people have for Him is collectively cold, which is tragic.

2-Believe God

If Adam and Eve had truly believed what God told them, they couldn’t have been fooled by the serpent. We are no different from those two. If we truly believed the Bible, we would put things of heaven above things of the earth. Our love for God would be evident. We’d all be Jesus Freaks! That’s not what’s happening. It’s probably because we are more convinced that the world will give us satisfaction. Too many Christians just don’t believe God and his promises in the Word. If we did, we’d live a whole lot differently.

3-Obey God

God isn’t interested in watching us take the driver’s seat of our life. He is our Lord as well as our Savior. He expects obedience. The Bible is full of promises and blessings that go along with obedience to God. There is also a lot about curses associated with disobeying God. Deuteronomy is full of info about the choice we make between life and death, such as Chapter 11 and many more verses. He’s our spiritual Father, and He knows what’s best for us. He has a purpose for us that will make us happier than if we go off on our own, which, sadly, most of us do.

These three missing links get in the way of living life in the empowered way God intends for us. We all have a fresh new chance to get it right — every morning. Because that’s the kind of God we serve. Not to say there aren’t consequences for disobedience because there are. But He still gives us the chance to repent. It’s our choice. No links need to be missing.

brokenbridge2

The Phenomenal Love of God

16 Jul

Have you experienced the overwhelming love of God before? It’s not something that necessarily happens automatically, even for Christians. The love of God is there sort of like electricity is inside outlets. Until you plug something in, the flow of electricity doesn’t make an impact. There is nothing more powerful than love, and God is pure love.

Remaining distant from God makes it less likely that you will know just how amazing love can be. Millions of women dream of real love and read romance novels, even Christian romances. The dream of finding love resides in all of our hearts. God loves us more than anyone, and He can cause is to feel that love in the way we crave to be loved. But how do we experience that?

The fact of God’s love is clear throughout the Bible. Getting it from the words on a page to being like a raging waterfall of manifested love requires belief, getting to know God through His Word and through prayer, and obeying God. I can’t imagine a blessing in the Christian life greater than heartfelt knowledge of being completely and perfectly loved.

With a grasp of God’s love, it becomes impossible to be lukewarm about Him. Christianity would be making a far greater impact on the world if more Christians held tightly to God and never let go, because of bonds of love.

You know how love has a reputation for making people do crazy things? Well, the off-the-charts thing we are actually instructed to do is to make disciples. People need to hear about God and salvation and living with empowerment of the Holy Spirit. When we love God and others enough, we can share the Good News, even though it can be unpopular and result in persecution.

waterfall

Ephesians 3:17-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
“17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

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Better Than a Luxury Spa Treatment

28 Mar
spa-town-teplice

Spa Town Teplice (Photo by Vera Kratochvil)

 

The best part of being a Christian is that we have the kingdom of heaven within us right now, and we can bask in the presence of God. There are countless people sitting in Christian church pews that don’t know what it is to: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

If more believers were to simply follow this scripture, the world would not be in the condition it’s in right now. (Things aren’t good.)  Something powerful happens when we stop striving, acknowledge God as the Almighty Father He is, and walk in obedience. The grace of God empowers us to go forward and fulfill our calling.

When we worry or follow our own paths, we are not in that luxury spa-like place of resting in God and His Word.

World-changing faith comes from a place of resting, not striving. As a result of being with Jesus, powerful things happen through us.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Acts 4:13

Hebrews 4:1-11 speaks about the rest of God and that those who have believed enter that rest.

I believe a good demonstration of being in the presence of God is when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to Him while chained in a disgusting prison. In Acts 16:25-34, it tells of an earthquake that followed their act of faith. They were set free but did not run. Instead, the keeper of the prison and his family believed in Jesus and were saved.

It is better to be in the presence of God under any circumstances (in prison, in the hospital, etc.) than to be without Him, even if in paradise on earth.

Not-so-Easy Steps of Faith

27 Mar
stationary-bike

(Photo by Circe Denyer)

 

Abraham, the father of our faith, obeyed God, which took him out of his place of comfort and the place called home. Literally…

“He went out, not knowing where he was going.” -Hebrews 11:8

Walking consistently under God’s clear but not-so-exciting marching orders is the hardest part of faith for me. I have a lot of the Word of God under my belt, soaking it in over a period of 33 years. It makes me feel that my faith is utterly unshakable.

But the testing ground is in the mundane task of doing not what I find comfortable or what I want to do but what I know Jesus has called me to do every day.

Yes, for me, that is the simple matter of adding physical disciplines to my spiritual disciplines. God is supposed to be my Lord. My stupid flesh is not supposed to reign supreme. I actually feel better in my body and more alert in my brain by obeying God’s admonitions. Fortunately, once the flesh has been consistently trained in a healthy life habit, there is tremendous cooperation — unlike the kind of struggle I’m currently experiencing.

I’ve been going my own way of comfort and ease for too long. My daily pep talk to myself today is this scripture:

“I press on  toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillippians 3:14

God has a plan and obedience is the way to walk on the path to fulfilling that plan.