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Entries in World (10)

Wednesday
Dec022015

3 tips to help us keep Christ at the center of Christmas - Tip 2

In Tip 1, I shared how easily distracted I can be by the things of this world.  Even at CHRISTmas.  I can start out with a heart to celebrate Jesus and keep Him at the center of all my Christmas doings but then I can find myself getting distracted by the twinkle lights, decorations, holiday clothes and Christmas menu.  Far too easily it can become about creating a wonderful environment, meal or "look" - all in the name of Jesus or Christmas.  These things aren't bad.  It's just that I have to determine to keep Christ at the center of my Christmas and life.  Then, I have to be intentional about keeping Him there.  I have to fix my eyes on Jesus and not on the things of this world. Okay, so Tip 1 for helping me do this is to stop and remember where I am - the world and what's true about this world and my relationship with it.

Tip 2 to help me keep Christ at the center of Christmas (and life)

Remember whose I am.

I'm not even sure if that's proper grammar but it works for me and hopefully you get the point.  Stopping to remember the truths about who I am in Christ turns my attention away from the world and the desires of my flesh and puts my eyes or focus back on my Jesus.  One of my favorite places to to go when battling with distractions is Ephesians.  It's like having a "V8 moment" with God.  If we belong to Jesus, the below list represents just a few truths about us. This list is our reality!  Read Ephesians, review the list and have that "V8 moment" with God!  In the midst of all the hustle and bustle let's take time to remember whose we are and rejoice - celebrate.  If you don't belong to Jesus or aren't sure - please ... let's talk!  

  • Blessed with every spiritual blessing
  • Adopted by God through Jesus
  • Redeemed through the blood of Jesus
  • Forgiven
  • Are lavished in God's grace
  • Sealed in Jesus with the Holy Spirit
  • Were dead in our sins and trespasses
  • Walked according to the course of this world
  • Lived in the lusts of our flesh
  • Indulged in the desires of our flesh and mind
  • Made alive together with Christ
  • For by grace we have been saved through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works.
  • His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works

Remembering whose I am helps me to fix my eyes on Jesus and helps me from getting distracted. So, how about this: if we find we are getting distracted by things like whether or not we have a Christmas tree, give or receive presents, sending or receiving Christmas cards, family gatherings, meals to cook (or not) - whatever - let's take time to remember where we are and whose we are.

What tips do you have to share?

Wednesday
Dec022015

3 tips to help us keep Christ at the center of Christmas - Tip 1

In starting my Bible study of 1 John this morning, I was to read through the book marking every reference to the words write, writing, written.  That was the instruction but I couldn't get past 1 John 2:15-17. Here is what grabbed my heart:

Immediately, my mind went to a time when we were on vacation at the beach.  Those first few mornings I couldn't wait to get up before the house and walk the beach with the Lord.  I was eager to see the sunrise He would paint, praise Him and ponder His Word with Him.  It was wonderful!  But ... on the third day I began to notice the beautiful houses along the beach and was aware that I had to draw my attention away from them and back to the Lord.  On the fourth day, I not only saw the houses but noticed they had beautiful pools, landscaping, a bench or chair for beach watching ... Oh...so many pretty details to take in.  Yep, my attention was being drawn away from the Lord and to the beautiful things of the world.  I am ashamed to admit it but by the fifth day, I was totally distracted.  So why am I telling you this?  Well, this story reminds me of how Christmas starts out being all about celebrating our Savior. We all want to keep Christ in Christmas but if you are like me, you can so easily get distracted by the desires of the flesh and eyes.  More and better decorations.  I mean don't they just get more beautiful each year?  Oh, and what about trying to find the best ever Christmas card or chasing the sales and adding more packages under the tree.  Come on now - you know you have to work to not go there - right?

Tip 1 to help me keep Christ at the center of Christmas (and life):

Remember where we are.  

Remember, we are in the world and as 1 John 2:15-17 reminds us we are not to love the world or the things of the world.  No matter how pretty they might be. The world is passing away. Or, as my sweet daddy used to say - "it's all going to burn".  Yes, the things of this world will pass away - along with it's desires.  But until then the things and desires of this world can and will distract us from keeping Christ at the center of Christmas (and life).  So, let's:

  • Remember where we are - the world.
  • Remind ourselves and each other we are not to love this world for this world and the things of this world will pass away. (My life as a harlot - Part 1Part 2Part 3.)
  • Be alert and aware when the desires of our flesh and eyes are distracting us from Jesus.
  • Determine to fix our mind and eyes on Jesus (watch for Tip 2).

What tips can you share?

 

*The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Jn 2:15–17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


Sunday
Jan152012

Liar, liar - pants on fire!

I entered womanhood during a time when every orthodoxy about what it meant to be a woman was being challenged.  Yes, that would be the 60's and 70's.  These messages felt right, spoke to my womanhood and soon I became convinced ... I am woman - hear me roar!  I can do anything, I am strong, I am invincible - I am woman!   If you have no first hand knowledge of these times, then let me just say that much of the way we act, think, do business and even legislate today is as a result of the 60's and 70's.  Interesting isn't it?  The 60's ushered in the second wave of the feminist movement and the messages during this time were radical!  "I can bring home the bacon, I can fry it up in the pan and I can never, never let you forget your a man".(Enjoli commercial from the 70's).Seriously? Yes, seriously! I, me, moi - I decide what I want and when I want it. We've come a long way baby.(Virginia Slims commercial).

Liar, liar - pants on fire. You can't do it all or have it all.  I know because I've experienced the exhaustion of  trying to doing it all and shattered dreams from wanting it all.

Big Fat Lie #1? Women have the right to choose or decide to end the life of their baby by having an
abortion. If we would just stop and really think this through we'd see this is a crazy notion. Think about it - how can it ever be right for someone to choose to kill?  We've believed a lie and as a result "the choice" has been to end 54 million little lives.

Liar, liar - pants on fire. We were sold a lie. We were marketed. Just check out the above commercials. You don't believe me?  I'm certain! You aren't? Okay! Check it out for yourself.. Read The Marketing of Evil and watch the below video. Let me know what you think and remember, God redeems and restores.


Note:  The above photos were buttons were from the 60's and 70's.

Sunday
Apr192009

The cost of complacency

I remember the moment I realized I was a complacent woman. Sometimes the truth hurts and this was one of those times. Until that very moment, I would have never thought of myself as complacent. In fact, God was developing within me a real passion for Him and for His Word. As such, I was seeking Him in a greater way and devoting more and more of my time in service to Him and to His. But I was still complacent. In some ways I still am. I hate that because there is a cost to complacency.

How did I come to understand I was complacent? I came face to face with the Word of God. Specifically, Isaiah 32. There I saw that the women who were at ease and complacent were being told to "rise up." A verse later the women at ease and who were complacent were being told to tremble, be troubled, take a look around and then mourn and weep over what they were seeing. These women were comfortable and secure and this had caused them to be careless. I learned they no longer cared about what was going on all around them but cared only for their own comfort and ease. Otherwise they would not have been told to "rise up." So how does complacency look in my life?

It looks like…
…A lot of time, energy and effort making sure I live in comfort and security.
…Spending hours tending my stuff and accumulating more.…Pursuing the "American dream" rather God's will and plans for my life.
…Seeing what others have, are pursuing and doing and letting that be the measure for how I am doing in my own life.
…Doing everything I can to keep from sacrificing any of my comfort and what I’ve determine brings me security.

Being complacent is the exact opposite of trusting in and relying on God. For trusting and relying on God ALWAYS, ALWAYS means getting out of my comfort zone and walking away from what I consider secure.

Complacency has cost me God ordained moments. You see, to pursue what God has planned for me means giving up my plans for a life of comfort and ease. That means giving up something or being uncomfortable in some way. My complacency causes me to put my needs above the needs of others. So then, my complacency cost others. I mean just look at Isaiah 32 and what had happened to the land and to the people because of complacency.

More and more every day, I realize how much I have bought into the "American Dream" that I should have and hoard. I have so loved the world and the things of the world. I have been so easily distracted and bought into so many of the lies the world has offered and I am SO ashamed.

Complacency has cost me years of denying myself, taking up my cross and following my Jesus (Matthew 16:24)

Complacency has cost me untold moments when I could have "gained Christ" but didn't because I was unwilling to "suffer loss" (Philippians 3:7-14).

Complacency has cost those God has put within my reach and influence because I have been and am unwilling to get out of my comfort zone, give up my comforts & ease. So it means others go without. Complacency costs me the experience of finding all my joy in God, having all my needs met in God or being totally satisfied in God.

Complacency costs me untold opportunities to bring God glory by proving He really is my Provider and that suffering for His name sake really is a gift.

God's Word has opened my eyes and what I see is that God wants me to live a life totally abandoned to Him so that I can fulfill His purposes for my life. It means trusting in and relying on ONLY Him. It means walking by faith but in order to do that I have to KNOW Him and the only way to KNOW Him is to KNOW His Word. I understand now that I cannot step out in faith and follow Jesus if I don't know Who it is that I am following. Praise be to God I do KNOW. But I’m also learning what it really means and looks like to FOLLOW Jesus.

To follow Jesus will cost me my comfort and life of ease. I will have to deny myself. It will cause me to have to “rise up” and follow Him. How did we get so far from the truth? Truth has stumbled in the streets (Isaiah 59:14). We preach another Jesus and a different gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4).

I am tired of paying the price of complacency and I am tired of making excuses for myself and other complacent Christians. Living out of our comfort zones isn't easy. Denying me of what I want and think I need - dying to self is painful. I don't want to suffer - but if I'm not denying, dying and suffering - can I really call myself a follower of Christ? What does staying in my place of complacency say to the world about what I really believe? How does my complacency distort the character and glory of God? What will happen to the world around me - around us - if I/we don't “rise up” out of our place of comfort, ease - complacency?

I call myself Beloved of God. Years ago, I claimed Philippians 3:7-14 as my life verses (I know, obviously clueless). But today I am taken back by a fresh look at these truths from God's Word and also from Romans 8:16-18 which says...

"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."

"If? IF? IF INDEED I WHAT????? What I BELIEVE determines how I live my life. Does my life say that ....
...I suffer with Christ?
...I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed?
...Whatever things were gain to me those I counted as loss for the sake of Christ?

Oh God, what does my life say about what I really believe? I am so tired of missing the mark, living the life of complacency. I want my life to SHOUT your trustworthiness and faithfulness because I trust in and rely on YOU and YOU alone. I want to live a life totally surrendered and submitted to you no matter what it costs me. Please God - don't let me miss another minute of what You want to do in me and through me. Cause me to fully understand what it means to find ALL my joy in YOU. Help me to experience being full in the fullness of YOU. Help me to remember that glory awaits me and nothing this world has to offer or can take from me can compare to that!

Wednesday
Jan282009

Taking diligent heed

One of my favorite Precept Upon Precept (PUP) Bible studies was on the book of Joshua. Go figure! Who knew it contained such practical and applicable tips for living? Oh, the Word of God has treasures to be mined! But think about it. Here God's people were going into the land that God had promised them. A land of milk and honey - yes! But also a land with giants, gods and hostile to God. I love the sub-title given to this PUP study. It was something like "possessing your possessions" or "learning to possess your possessions." Here on this earth, if I am ever going to possess what is mine in Christ Jesus, then practical and applicable tips are certainly needed! One of the "tips" that pricked my heart then and now is Joshua 23:11. It says: "... take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God." Okay. So, what does diligent heed look like?

We used to live in a house that was built in the late 1800's. One of the previous owners had planted gardens and I became passionate about gardening. But, beautiful gardens don't just happen. No, they take a lot of work! Each week I would spend hours and hours weeding, watering, feeding and tending those gardens. Each season certain things would have to be done to prepare the gardens for the next season. It was only a few months each year when the snow was on the ground that I didn't need to HEED those gardens. If I didn't "take heed" on a regular basis those gardens could get out of hand very quickly. During the growing season? Forget about it. I would have to "take diligent heed. " God has once again reminded me that I need to take that same diligent heed of myself - of my heart. If I don't the things of this world will come in a crowd out and choke my love of the Lord. Doesn't it seem strange that I would have to weed, water, feed and tend after my heart like that in order to love the Lord my God? With as glorious as He is and after all He has done for me, you would think it be natural to love God with all of my heart. No so. In fact, God says that when I stop giving heed to the Lord that's exactly when I start playing the harlot (Hosea 4:10).

Yes, I finally finished my PUP study of Hosea. God has used the truths from Hosea to remind me of just how easily I can forget Him. God says this in Hosea 13:6: "As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, and being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me." You know why I gave up gardening? I lost my passion for it. I no longer wanted to spend the hours necessary to take diligent heed of gardens. Compared to other things that came into my life, gardening lost its value. Actually, I gave up gardening to spend more time with and serving God. But, I have to wonder. Could I give up God that easily? Unless I take diligent heed I know I could - I know I have.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. “Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Deuteronomy 6:5-12