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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

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?

How to Be Electrifying

22 Apr

I’m currently taping a concert by Adele which she is performing live for a public television program.  If you aren’t familiar with Adele, she is a singer/songwriter who has been breaking all kinds of records with her platinum albums.  She writes about the heartbreak of a breakup; my favorite song is “Someone Like You.”  Ironically, that title (though not the song’s meaning) is what I’m writing about here.  You are the only someone like you, just as I’m the only one like me.  There’s a place for us in this world which I believe makes the same kind of impact in some realm or another as Adele has made on the music world and in the hearts of millions who are enraptured by her songs.

There have been moments in my life which stand out because I was so aware that my life was making an impact on others as I was a part of a team.  Nothing I’ve ever experienced compares with being prayed up for my calling and fulfilling that calling with passion and focus.  Most of this type of experience occurred when I was ministering in prisons.  It was absolutely incredible to be used as an instrument of God.

And yet I believe that in my life right now I’ve been given the opportunity to create an even bigger impact on the world than all those times in the prisons put together.  These children I’m now raising are my mission field.  If I raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and with all the love and wisdom I can muster, they’ll grow up to make significant contributions to other lives.

But my desire to impact children goes beyond my immediate family; I was powerfully reminded of this last night when I helped a lost little boy who was about 4 or 5 years old and wandering in a Walmart parking area by himself, looking for his mother.  I’ll probably never forget that encounter.  As I first saw the boy and realized he was definitely lost, two men were attempting to take charge of him; sorry, I just have a problem trusting that strange men will definitely do what’s right for a lost little one.  I stopped right there in the drive, put on my hazard lights, and made sure that a person in management at Walmart took charge of the boy, who only spoke Spanish.

The lost child, who my heart goes out to, served as a reminder that I believe God will give me the inspiration I need to write books for children that will bless, encourage, and empower them.  Most of all, the books will, in a subtle way, prove how incredible God is while making it clear that the children are highly valued and loved by God.  The books will make Christianity even more cool than Harry Potter made magic out to be.

I believe that the devil works very hard to help us forget that we have a thing we’re equipped to do unlike any other person.  If we don’t get off track and we do plug into that divine purpose, we become lights in a dark world.  Sometimes as we’re walking in obedience to God we’re actually giving off the most light while completely unaware that our lives are positively electrifying.

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Proverbs 22:29

New King James Version (NKJV)

29 Do you see a man who excels in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before unknown men.

Note to Self: A Really Big Storm is A-Comin’

21 Apr

raining sheets

After bringing the little ones to the zoo today, we all took a nap.  We were awakened by a crazy storm that dumped hail and sheets of rain while lighting up the sky with lightning and booming thunder.  Within a few minutes, the sidewalk surrounding my apartment became a small stream a few inches deep.  In the midst of it all, I put raincoats on the toddlers and pushed them in a stroller to the car so we could pick Logan up from school.  How quickly the world changed completely!

The storm reminds me of the very first rain storm, which was when Noah had finished building an ark and had loaded two of every creature on board.  Everything changed as it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, killing every living, breathing thing that wasn’t on the ark.  A similar event is due to come someday, when the rapture occurs.  Believers will go up and things on earth will get very volatile after that.

Ultimately, the earth’s purposes will be finished and all of humanity will either go to heaven or hell.  And this very thing is what our existence on earth is about.  It’s so easy to forget that, what with the world offering so many engaging distractions.

What would happen if we lived every day with a stark awareness that an eternal tempest of judgment is coming upon everyone who rejects Jesus Christ?  I don’t know about you, but I believe it would help to nudge me out of my complacency and find creative new ways to share the Good News that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins.  And we can pass from this tumultuous journey called life into a place of eternal peace and joy.  There, we’ll probably never have to slog around in soggy shoes.

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“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.”  Luke 17:26

The Pieces Came Together Before I Fell Apart

13 Apr

God rarely leaves me hanging for long, when I’m in a place of genuine desperation.  Today I found my answer for where to live, and it’s already all set for me to move there.  Not much longer in this toxic apartment; but I’m going to miss the completely ideal front porch with the cool breeze and freedom to let the kids play.

Where am I moving?  I’m going back to the same apartments I’ve lived at for the past four years.  They’re very nice, it’s quiet, the apartment has a large built-in bookcase, and we all feel safe there.  Best of all, to me it’s home.  I love “home.”

I’m determined to let this move — which carries a lot of significance the details of which I haven’t gone into — be an exciting new start for me and the kids.  Living life the way I truly want to, with a dependence upon God that the kids will participate in simply through acknowledging the Lord as a family more.  It doesn’t have to be a pipe dream!

Faith Like Potatoes

Faith Like Potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a movie called Faith Like Potatoes.  It is an amazing true story and an ideal example of living for God.  You have to watch the movie and then also watch the documentary part which reveals true footage of the man this film is about.

I’ve mentioned an admiration for the Amish; but there is something that seems to be missing in those communities, that being an apparent faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior over and above their ordnung.  The Faith Like Potatoes guy lives out the life I long for.

Okay.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve felt that a husband was a necessary component to really pulling it off.  But of course that’s utterly ridiculous.  Living an obedient, worshipful life with God as the Lord doesn’t require a husband!

My despair has disappeared like the fog in Houston when the sun burns hot.  My feet know where to go and my heart knows what song to sing.  Praise the name of the Lord!

Out of a Trance and Facing the Original Big Fear

12 Apr

”]Cover of "Matrix-Trilogy [Blu-ray]"Didn’t the mass population in The Matrix sort of go through the motions of life without truly living?  That’s how I remember it, anyway.  At this point in my life, with no clue where to move as we leave this toxic apartment, I believe God may be giving me a wake-up call, as though I’ve been just going through the motions without committing to living for Him the way I’m supposed to.  Do you know who I think has a much better grasp on living for God than most of the rest of us?  The Amish.

No part of me believes for a second that I could exist as an Amish person because I’ve always been such a staunch individualist and entirely too impractical.  But I aspire to change my daily routine and my consistent actions as a parent raising these two young ones in my care.  I’m responsible for raising two grandchildren, ages 8 and 3; have I mentioned that?

I’m facing such a dark time right now, since where I’m supposed to live is so uncertain.  And it’s ironic because when I first became a Christian part of the reason I chose to marry the man I did (the wrong man) was because of the security of having a home.  He had established a career at a young age, and he was more responsible than any young man I’d ever met.  (Enough about the unfaithful ex.)

One of the first things I came to an agreement with God about was that, since I’ve always loved “home” and could easily panic about problems related to where home is, I would trust Him completely as regards every place I live for the rest of my life.   (This was after realizing that my marriage was a bit of a nightmare.)

And yet here I sit in a toxic apartment in which all kinds of personal turmoil with other family members has got each of our three lives reeling.  It’s like we aren’t on sound footing.  The toddler has taken to nervous eating, though I’m not going to let that continue, for her sake.  We’ll get more active together starting tomorrow.  And my 8-year-old has been consistently on his worst and most defiant and disobedient behavior.

The Bible talks about rejoicing always, and I believe we really are supposed to do that.  And right now, in spite of the yuckiness of the place I’m currently in, I am excited knowing that God is going to use this experience to set me on a better path to serving Him in the home.  An improved “me” will emerge from this creepy juncture of my short stay on the earth.

And while many people may think that living the way the Amish do is a bit creepy, I think it’s a great example.  I believe God intends us to be intentional in our separation from the ways of the world and in our devotion to Him.  And one of the most wonderful aspects of the Amish life is community – home and family and community life is very strong.  None of the faithful would ever have to wonder where they’re going to be laying their head for the next year.

Oh, wow, it just came to me that Jesus once said he had nowhere to lay His head.

You see how all over the place I am?  That’s one of the effects of not knowing where my place in the world is.  Very disconcerting.  Good thing God is so very faithful.  All will be well.

How to Be Happy When You’re Not Where You Want to Be

31 Mar

Selah, a fellow blogger, regularly posts gorgeous pictures of nature.  Today I literally wept as I looked at her images of the great outdoors.  A shot of their campground brought back a flood of delicious memories of childhood in which my daddy brought the family camping every summer at various locations across Texas.  Cousins or friends usually joined us, and the adventures were always awesome.

The desire of my heart is to live in the country and experience nature, but where has the good Lord placed me?  Directly in the heart of the fourth largest city in all of America!  This is literally the opposite of where my heart longs to be.

But don’t get the idea that this is a whining session.  I’m merely stating this fact in order to say that when we moved into our spacious new home, it was with me having decided that I would embrace city life.  I am purposely making it my own.

Before, I think I may have gone around town sort of gritting my teeth and/or holding my breath.  Now, I’ve opened my arms and heart wide to say, “This is where God has placed me, and I rejoice!”

We are members of the Houston Zoo and visit there frequently.

What a difference this decision has made.  My entire being is more relaxed, and the possibility of being an effective witness for Christ is no doubt ramped up.

My family is right here, and I’m sure that’s a great reason for God to have me in Houston.  So for now I will do what my daddy did.  I’ll bring the kids on major outdoor excursions every year, though I doubt we’ll camp the old-fashioned way (I don’t feel safe enough as a single woman in charge…armed with joy as my only weapon.)

A 2009 adventure -- a visit to Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas Hill Country.

 

Hebrews 11:8

New King James Version (NKJV)

Faithful Abraham

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.