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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.

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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.

 

Unfettered Asking

24 Mar

old-castle-gate-11281969200foh6

(Photo by  Petr Kratochvil)

How great would it be to have a loving Dad who shared our life’s vision and came alongside as we journeyed to supply everything we needed so that it could be fulfilled? Well, news flash, if you are a Christian, we already have that! Christianity has become so watered down in the U.S., the church at large has been satisfied to substitute the glorious power of Almighty God for a worldly church infiltrated by churchgoers who don’t even want to get into the spiritual side of things.

What do you need? If you are walking on God’s path, all you need to do is ask. God can literally do more than we could ever dream or imagine, and He is our heavenly Father. Just as loving parents here on earth will do all they can and should for their children, God does for his own.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout the generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Nehemiah had been praying and fasting about Jerusalem, because the gates had been torn down. It’s no accident that he worked for the king. When the king asked what he could do to help, Nehemiah breathed a quick prayer and literally asked for everything needed to rebuild the wall and gates and even to travel through various provinces on the way there. The king granted his request in full! This king wasn’t even a believer in Jehovah God. (Nehemiah 1:1-8)

There are many more examples in the Bible of people of faith asking for big things and getting them.

If you’ve been boxed in with worry, I encourage you to build up your faith and believe God for all that concerns you. Go way outside the box and ask big. If all of us Christians individually would do this, the world would sit up and take notice of Jesus with a much greater level of interest. Many more souls would no doubt be saved.

 

What Will You Do With That Freedom?

23 Mar

braveheart-1313768696-hero-wide-0If you’re a big fan of the movie Braveheart, like I am, you immediately recognize the words, “What will you do with that freedom?” When you say it like Mel Gibson did, you can grasp the passion behind this post. Just like the real battle depicted in that movie, we are all in a battle every single day. There is a battle for our souls, which determines eternal direction. And then there is the constant battle for our minds. If Satan has already lost us through accepting Jesus as our Savior, he fights with all of his experience gained through the ages to at least rob us of our joy and the victory of living in Christ.

(Please continue reading in the growl of a Scottish warrior)

God wooed me to himself many years ago, and I repented of my sins on October 4, 1979. Since that time, I have been clinging to Him and reading the Bible as though my life depended on it. As a result, He delivered me not only from death but from the lies of the enemy that robbed me of my peace day after day.

“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8

Here I am now, with a mind that is free. Yet the battle for souls rages on. God has called each of his children to be a light in the darkness. We don’t have to go out and become televangelists or Scottish landowners to fulfill our calling. The battle is won on our knees.

We must pray for those who don’t know about God’s all-consuming love. Pray that their eyes will be opened and their souls will be saved. Tell about His faithfulness.

If we will stop lying complacent on our beds, we can fulfill the calling that Jesus gave:

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24-27

So that you have marching orders for the day and an understanding of where your battle can begin, here is Psalm 34:12-14:

“What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

The Lord has set you free from the bondage of sin and the bondage in your minds placed there by lies of the enemy. Take up your cross! Seek peace and pursue it! You have been set free! What will you do with that freedom?

Free-Falling into Cushy Faith

21 May
Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

Eames Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you sometimes freak out over concern that a chair won’t hold your weight?  If you do, you’re either a very rare person or you’re struggling with extreme obesity.  The fact is that most of us sit all of our weight in chairs every day without a second thought, and the furniture holds us up just fine.  I believe that this “chair” principle is a perfect example of how life is meant to be lived when our faith in Jesus is genuine.

My situation recently got very scary.  I actually had good reason to believe that I had a limited amount of time left in which I would be physically capable of using my hands to work on a keyboard.  Every job I’ve ever had involved typing either on a typewriter or a stenograph machine or both.  With my elbows also problematic and my hands in bad shape, how many jobs fit my capability?

So between the chronic pain and the descent of a loved one into the proverbial bottom of the barrel, life has been extremely intense and stressful.  My response at some point was to simply jump off of the cliff I was clinging to and into the arms of God.

I’ll tell you right now that it’s safe to leap into faith feet first.  Jesus caught me.  In fact, He was with me through the entire ordeal and never left me.  What was missing was my complete trust that I can rest in the Lord as comfortably as I rest my tucas in my favorite reading chair.

My hands have improved tremendously, and I have two new employers who, together, are prepared to keep me working as a writer full time for good pay.  Wow!  And praise the Lord, right?  My loved one is the subject of prayers every day, and I’m trusting and resting in the Lord regarding the outcome.

My Alienating Porcupine Quills May Come Out

1 May
A porcupine

A porcupine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a genuine knack for orchestrating excellent events.  When these occasions include my family, they hate being around me.  Moving is sort of an event, and tomorrow my youngest daughter will be helping me.  She dreads it because of the demeanor I take on during such activities.

Frankly, I don’t know what their problem is.  I’m simply focused on the task at hand and not in the mood to molly-coddle.  I guess I become like a drill sergeant without realizing how mechanical I become.  But I really need to be a different me tomorrow than I usually am during a move.

Here my daughter is planning to help me do one of the worst things for anyone to be involved with, and she’s dreading the time with me.  That’s just not good.

The question is, can I change?  Can I behave differently, after being pretty much the same all of my adult life in such situations?  Can I be sweet as a kitty, which is my usual demeanor, instead of as prickly as a porcupine?

If I don’t let pride get in the way, I know that God will answer my prayer to make tomorrow actually fun for all of us.  After all, I’m beautifully packed up with a minimal amount of work remaining.  The apartments I’m moving from have promised to pay for the move because of the situation I’ve had to put up in this toxic place.  So there’s no money pressure.

There’s simply no excuse for me to be terse tomorrow.  Lord, for my daughter’s sake, help me put on Christ instead of my prickly suit.

Spiritual Urges are Way Better Than Fleshly Urges

23 Apr

I’m often struck with various urges. Mostly, I get the urge to eat a bit of chocolate.  My love of the outdoors is why I believe I get the urge to take the kids to the zoo on a regular basis (if you’re going on a long walk, why not go where the scenery is engaging?)  But today I’ve been struck with an ongoing urge to pray.

What a great reminder — as I move from living mostly with my mind on earthly things to keeping my mind mostly on the things of heaven – that the Christian life is a supernatural journey.

Imagine if you were part of an entourage for a huge celebrity and as such got to see and experience things the throngs would consider once-in-a-lifetime thrills.  Now imagine being in the entourage of the most powerful Being in existence; perhaps the throngs don’t see the excitement in it, but I certainly do.  I’m trying to draw a distinction between earthly thrills and heavenly pleasures.

When I commune with God as a person who is free from unforgiveness and habitual sin, life is anything but commonplace or boring.  Experiencing the nearness of God is like turning my human existence into what in fleshly terms would be the equivalent of enjoying a chocolate sundae with homemade Blue Bell ice cream (available mostly just in Texas and the best in the world).

Indeed, today I find the urge to pray stronger than the urge to eat.  What am I praying about?  I’m not even certain why there’s such a powerful pull on me to drop to my knees.  I know that two of my children have job interviews today for positions which would improve upon their current work situations.  I also know that my second move in approximately a month is one week away; definitely need prayers for that.

It’s been a while since I’ve felt such a strong spiritual pull of any kind.  I’m not using a lot of words other than agreeing that God’s will be done in the situation prompting my Spirit to pray.  Whatever God is up to, I’m just grateful and excited to be in his entourage.

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Romans 8:26

New King James Version (NKJV)

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us[a] with groanings which cannot be uttered.