Tag Archives: letter to god

Works?

21 Mar

One of the craziest, most mind blowing change that happens when you begin a walk with Christ, is this:  The more you know-the less you know; The stronger your faith becomes, you grow more and more needy for His direction, HIS wisdom, HIS approval, less concerned with your place in the world but rather, your place in His heart and His Heaven.

“He must become greater;I must become less. John 3:30 NIV”

As the years creep by that I have been making notes and highlights in my bible, I often revisit the same scripture that was so powerful before and maybe this time, it is just as powerful but in a different way, or today, it may just be a Good Word.  The Living Word, (*insert big sigh…) I gain new knowledge, new application, new wisdom every single time I open my bible. Every sermon, lesson, even a song, will lead me to the Word.

I didn’t always believe the bible. Well, I didn’t actually ever read it. I honestly didn’t really understand much more than Psalms. I figured it was man’s interpretation. Nature was my bible, my church. I had my own opinion of faith, prayer, and what Christians looked like.  I judged a relationship with Christ by those that went to church. I expected them to be perfect, and because none of them were, I judged them as hypocrits. I didn’t need to go there, and I didn’t need to read the bible. Until I broke; Until there was nothing left but God and I.

In the depths of my despair, He rescued me. He didn’t just make it all better, he filled me with unspeakable hope, he began a ‘good work” in me. What a fantastic journey it has been! And! …the Bible came alive for me. Understandable, expressive, moving, it truly sustains me.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Now it makes sense. It isn’t “magic”-it’s just a wisdom that comes with growth and communion with the Holy Spirit.  We don’t begin our new or renewed faith knowing the bible either, nor does God expect that from us. You only need to know this truth. That Jesus died for you and has been waiting for you to follow Him ever since. That begins the relationship. God takes us through our very own journey designed just for us, full of mistakes and love and forgiveness and healing. He will bring those along side of you to help you along.  And you will want to know Him more. You will read the bible and it will begin to make more sense than you ever imagined.

You see this all the time…John 3:16 but there are so many more!

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7 [Full Chapter]

Now, if you know me at all, you will agree that I am absolutely not legalistic.  I would describe my walk as a bit of ‘Grace and Mercy’ rebel.  I fight hard against any words that direct me to “DO” rather than “BE”.  Those that declare (which is grave sin) who is saved and who is false or heretic or unsaved, also push me away. I have been so hurt in my life by those faith talkers which is probably why it has taken me three different studies of James to fully embrace His writing.

Things are getting a bit shaken up and stirred out in a different way for me. I have gone toe to toe against believers that will disagree with my mercy belief; I always felt wrong because they were more studied than me, I never knew how to answer them. I just held hard to my hope that the Love He filled my heart with, was the same love He would pour out on all who seek Him. So I set out upon truth (growth leads to growth). I wanted to fully understand a more DO book, like James.

In my studies, which I now thirst after- *Psalm 42:1 (how did He know that about me?) I have grown beyond reacting to the legalistic undertones of some of our scriptures, to understanding rather our human journey to holiness. This is not something we do because scripture says to, we do it because as we begin to embrace our salvation and walk in it, we long to become more like Him. I have realized in my own journey that to understand what that looks like,  you first have to understand the entire journey from Genesis to Revelations, that includes the journey of the law (Torah).

First, lets define who is going to heaven. If you say everyone, do you truly think Hitler will? Do you truly think a child molester will? If you drew a line and labeled good and bad on either end, where is the line that says, too bad. Crazy as it seems, truly there is no stopping point of grace or mercy on that line for those that are in Christ.

Our salvation is bought and paid for by the suffering of Christ on the cross.  In my journey, I hung so tightly to that point and understood that the change that took place in my heart, is still taking place, every day, is Him, not me. It isn’t me being a “Good Christian”. I am on a journey of becoming holy, I am still changing. That said, here is the change in verbage for me….   even though you are saved, if you start at the ‘bad’ end, shouldn’t your salvation and hope move you a little closer to the ‘good’ end?

I remember hearing Francis Chan years ago, as he demonstrated faith as a balance beam exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y46YoVzX0VM   I liked it, it made sense. I read Kyle Idleman’s “Not a Fan” four years ago. I remember really enjoying it, but at the same time, not liking the legal tones echoing within my own heart!

It wasn’t the author, nor the scripture becoming legalistic, it was my difficult journey to know my worth to God. To understand ‘Agape Love’.

The truth is so crazy! ~ To fully understand what freedom we have in our salvation, we have to submit completely.

“Submit yourselves, then to God.” James 4:7, “in all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight”. Proverbs 3:6

In the end, the legalism is to know where we have come from, who to turn to, submission, hope, trust…faith. To know the importance of submission to Him. Faith without works is dead. If we believe that Jesus died for us, and we are forgiven, this should shake our world! This should overwhelm us with repentance, hope, and a desire to “pay forward” if you will, that amazing gift. It should begin to change us, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. This is the DO part! Let HIM do!

If you read the Sermon on the Mount, it is all there. The sermon on the mount is my “go to” I find all I need to know, right there in the words of my Savior. Unlike the teachings of “The Secret”, the need for total perfection of thought and words, putting things or not putting things in the universe (where does that go?)~  Christ achieved that for me.

My goal is not perfection, my goal is obedience. Always has been. It is not a place you arrive at; It is a place you seek. He calls us to desire to live in a submissive longing to please God. To stop assessing (judging) how well other’s are doing in their walk, to come along side those that need help back up in their walk, gently, with love and humility. Not from a knowing better, but a place of “there but the grace of God go I, point of view.

Christ followers are called to Seek Him in all things. Seek the truth. It doesn’t matter what we DO, it is the very core of our faith that becomes the truth. Only God knows this place in us. What good is anything we DO if our hearts have any form of judgement, jealousy, envy, anger (same as murder) insecurity. That is the DO part of our walk. Cleanse our hearts, our minds and our spirit by meditating on Him at all times. (It is truly the only way).

Truth is humbly being transparent.  Truth is loving at all times the entire body of Christ. Truth is loving our neighbors, no matter their color, their faith, or how they sin. Truth is not pretending to know God, but seeking to know what He desires for us. Truth is submission. Truth is forgiving everyone, including ourselves, everything. Truth is not self seeking. Truth doesn’t reject or boast. Truth is not about anyone else. Truth is the humble understanding that He is the only one that truly knows our heart, our life, our walk, our sin nature, our journey. Truth is love in action and mercy towards others. Only He knows your neighbors heart. Truth is that it is from fear or ego that we judge. Judgement is not discernment and conviction is not condemnation and the anger of man can never truly be righteous. Watch that you are not representing God, but actually following Him. Submissively.

James 4:12 “But who are you to judge your neighbor?

If His words are not honing you, building you up, tearing you down, healing you, teaching you, preparing you, softening you, strengthening you, removing pride, arrogance, judgement, if His words are NOT creating your next steps to walk in His plan for your life, to share in His wisdom through your own testimony, then you aren’t doing it right!

This is the works. Submission and mercy. Gentle mercy towards all. Especially your body of believers.

In the end, my issue has not been with legalism.  My issue was with man’s (including my own) interpretation of what that meant. Jesus fulfilled the law so we could live with God forever. He did this because there was no other way.  God knew this. Truth…That takes but a mustard seed. However, that mustard seed should change you atleast a little bit, should it?

We will still have an accounting for our journey. If the world holds more value to us than pleasing God, then it is time to really assess what our true belief is.

Works: Acceptance that I will never be perfect but that I can embrace and openly admit my arrogance, my lies, my hypocrisy and doubts and fears, and submit to Him to heal and be healed is freedom. To allow him to hone me even when it hurts.  It allows for true relationship free from ego.That is what faith with works looks like. Because from that place, He shines so brightly within us. We give Him Glory.  We hear His calling, His prompting.

We become strong.  We can say to that mountain move, and it will.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

 

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Survivor or Thriver

4 May

I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [[a]continue in His love with Me].If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing. John 15:9-11 AMP

The word thrive has been buzzing around me this week. It was first posed as a question, then it was stated in a beautiful testimony and today, it was sent as a note of encouragement.

I was asked what it means to thrive (flourish, prosper, blessed). I would explain it as this: When I am one with God, full of the Holy Spirit, I am far more than surviving, I am thriving. Even as I struggle with finances and worldly worries, I am thriving in my soul! I can also tell you this, you cannot thrive without Christ, without hope, gratitude, pain, growth, trust and forgiveness.

When we claim Christ, embrace Christianity, we must understand that because of who He is, we need to know who that makes us.

Thriving isn’t about things going your way, this isn’t about answered prayers, it isn’t about you at all. It is the opposite of what the world tells us. This is about Love, about surrender and trusting God with our lives, with our course, to be enough. What that means is giving up your whole way of looking at things. How you look at yourself, at what you have been taught or told, at your plans, at how you see your past, present and future. Becoming a sponge to soak up all that He will teach you, little by little.

Surrender it all and gain everything. This is not a small thing He asks of us. Your free will means you are given the ability to absorb that Love within your heart or tear yourself apart.

We live in a time of self. We think we are so powerful, that we create our lives, that we can change the course of our lives, by willing something. If that were truth, we would have cures for all diseases, we would have no war, no crime, no hatred. We would all be rich. The lies are obvious… We are not that powerful.

We tend to “adjust” the bible’s teachings, to soften our sin, saying God understands. It’s different now. It’s okay to be unkind in the face of unkindness, it’s okay to live with someone, or be intimate with someone because we love them, even if they are not our spouse, that is what we do now, right? It’s not hurting anyone. If we can quote scripture, pray with power,point out other’s flaws and sins, we can hide the fact that we don’t buy a word of it. Ah! We are so short sighted in who and how these things affect. Understand, I am not saying you won’t go to Heaven. I am saying, you will not thrive in Him. You cannot receive what you don’t believe applies to you.

God never changes. Jesus never changes. The Bible never changes. The Living Word, lives. Our salvation is cemented. This isn’t about salvation. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, what changes is us.

Sin separates us from God, not by removing us from salvation, not by making us unwelcome or unlovable, but through our shame, we break the bond between us. We don’t break our salvation, but we cannot possibly receive all the blessings He wants to bestow on us, if we don’t believe we are cherished enough to receive them. If we look at our sin as inflicting shame upon ourselves and shame as a brick, place that brick between you and God. That is what sin is. There are many bricks. Shame, unbelief, distrust, fear…these are bricks that we place, not God. These are the bricks that Satan holds out to us and we grab onto.

When we are in complete connection, he protects us from our weakness to sin. He keeps us from stepping out of His blessings. We are not called to perfection, we are called to relationship. You are not perfect and you never will be. You will sin. Embrace that fact along with appreciation for all that your journey is, heartbreak and all. It is blessed opportunity to remain in His favor and Loving embrace.

We are the vine, one of many, we are not the vineyard. We have a Father that Lovingly prunes us. If we are stubbornly hanging on to our sin, that is a vine that will not bear fruit. Even if you don’t bear fruit, you can live in a distant belief in God,but you are only surviving, not thriving! That said, trust your farmer with all of it, because sometimes to thrive, the farmer has to remove a healthy branch. It can hurt us because we don’t understand it, but learning to trust Him, eagerly wait for the blessings that come from that pain, is learning that He can be trusted with our whole Vine, That is what it is to thrive in Him.

If you are surviving, and not thriving. Ask yourself if you are making God your cornerstone. Allowing Him to prune your sin, are you living for you or for Him?


John 15
The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

2 Peter 1:4
And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Philippians 4:19
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Isaiah 40:29-31
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Romans 8:37-39
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rise Up or Lay Down

8 Apr

For greater things have yet to come…And greater things are still to be done in this City ~ Chris Tomlin

I am not psychic and I am not a prophet but I can read the writing on the wall. This world is clamoring and changing quickly.
The righteous have a feeling, a need, deep within our bellies. We know what we know, and it is a sense of turbulence and exuberance. We will be divided and we are, as never before. Christian against christian, brother against brother. There is unrest and need. We are called. We are called to be more, do more. Everything around me, brings me this message. I have had dreams of massive world earthquakes and destruction.Realize, I do not foresee the future, but this is all so etched in my heart, it is pouring out in my dreams. I have a deep, deep need to spread His love and His word to all I know.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

God is calling you, crying out to you. This is Easter, Jesus died to set you free and apart from evil. This doesn’t stop suffering (actually it can be quite the opposite at times) but throughout the suffering there is this amazing, distinct Joy that only comes from being saved. I wish you would ask Jesus to come in to your life, in your heart. To be comforted by the Holy Spirit. To be rescued and lifted all at once.

Psalm 42 1-2 NKJV: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV) Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

Below is one of many of my scriptures as of late. Today this was my reading from my one year bible plan this morning. My sermon on Sunday, my dreams last week of earthquakes.

God is calling us to rise up and be the disciples we are called to be. He is reminding us to be dressed and ready and waiting for His return. Always. I want to bring as many as I can with me, to that beautiful place in heaven.
I invite you to click on and read the link. The message I got from this is loud and clear to me. I always read in multiple versions.. and the message is so descriptive to me.
<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+12%3A35-59&version=NIV;MSG;AMP;NKJV

John 21:15-19 (NKJV)
Jesus Restores Peter

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[a] do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
John 16:8-11 (MSG)
8-11 “When he comes, he’ll expose the error of the godless world’s view of sin, righteousness, and judgment: He’ll show them that their refusal to believe in me is their basic sin; that righteousness comes from above, where I am with the Father, out of their sight and control; that judgment takes place as the ruler of this godless world is brought to trial and convicted.

Who’s There?

4 Apr

Jude 1 (NLT)
Greetings from Jude
1 This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.
I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.[a]
2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.
The Danger of False Teachers
3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus[b] first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.
8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.[c] 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,[d] did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.
12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.[e] They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”[f]
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.
A Call to Remain Faithful
17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,[g] 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to[h] those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,[i] but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.[j]
A Prayer of Praise
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
2 Timothy 3(NLT)
The Dangers of the Last Days

3 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
6 They are the kind who work their way into people’s homes and win the confidence of[a] vulnerable women who are burdened with the guilt of sin and controlled by various desires. 7 (Such women are forever following new teachings, but they are never able to understand the truth.) 8 These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. 9 But they won’t get away with this for long. Someday everyone will recognize what fools they are, just as with Jannes and Jambres.
Paul’s Charge to Timothy
10 But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived.
14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. 15 You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.

Mark 12:38-40 (NLT)
38 Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. 39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.”

Matthew 7:15-23 (NLT)
The Tree and Its Fruit

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
True Disciples
21 “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. 22 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.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
2 Peter 2:12-14(NLT)
12 These false teachers are like unthinking animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed. They scoff at things they do not understand, and like animals, they will be destroyed. 13 Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception[a] even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. 14 They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse.

1 Corinthians 1:18 (MSG)

18-21 The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written,
I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head,
I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation.

Matthew 7:21-23 (AMP)

21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?
23 And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].

1 Timothy 3:1-13 (NLT)
Leaders in the Church

3 This is a trustworthy saying: “If someone aspires to be an elder,[a] he desires an honorable position.” 2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. 3 He must not be a heavy drinker[c] or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. 4 He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. 5 For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?
6 An elder must not be a new believer, because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall.[d] 7 Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. 9 They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. 10 Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.
11 In the same way, their wives[e] must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well. 13 Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Every Precious Life

11 Mar

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.~Matthew 10:29-31

Someone posted this photo on Facebook. I hesitate to share this post. I steer clear of politics as much as possible, but feel God put this on my heart heavily, to share my thoughts. What strikes me about this picture is that it is aimed at Christians, and it comes from a place of seeing the hypocrisy in us, from a place of feeling judged in the name of Christ.

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The truth of my walk is this, the deeper I go in my relationship with Christ, the more I abide in love. I used to abide in the law, in the order of things, right and wrong, opinions that were very black and white. That was my security, that was how I remained in the false sense that all was under control; That I was in control.

The more I learn, the absolute belief that every moment, every part of our journey and every being is a perfect creation of God himself, even before conception. The bible tells us that every hair is perfectly placed; every life is lovingly designed, by Him, for a purpose. God loves with a love that you and I will never understand or ever come close to.

I love the Lord and know He loves us all. If He can love a sinner like me, a person so full of mistakes and imperfection, then I know this to be truth: If there is to be any judging it will be on me.

1 John 4:8 (NIV) 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Lord, you didn’t say, “except for those people, they need to be judged” you said “love, as I have loved you”. Please, let me always be an example of your love.

Walking in faith isn’t about changing laws, it is about changing hearts. If I could inspire a love for Christ, then I know His great power to change hearts and lives. I don’t judge on either above “political” issue, but I do so love my gay friends and family members;I do so love the babies. Truth is, I will hurt forever for the life I took.

I wouldn’t lobby, argue or fight on either political issue, but my one true hope, as a Christian, is that I would be willing to lay my life down for both, for all.

John 15:12-13 (NIV) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Galatians 1:15 (NIV)
15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased

Jeremiah 1:4-5(NIV)
The Call of Jeremiah

4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

John 1:3 (KJV)
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

She Walked in Faith

16 Feb

I lost my beautiful friend this week. Though I am mourning her loss, I rejoice that her time here is done. She is free from the bondage’s of this world and she is with Jesus.

I feel so blessed that for my comfort and grief, I have my faith, God’s promises, and beautiful friendships to keep my heart set straight.

There is promise in the words of our Father, Hope in our Savior and Peace in the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 34:18(NIV)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

John 16:22 (NIV)
22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

I want to share some inspiring thoughts on my friend: She touched lives, she loved unconditionally and she walked her talk. We are all broken, but we are all given amazing gifts, as well. Jill’s gifts were Encourager, Mercy and Giver and the Fruits of the Holy Spirit were evident in her.

Jill was so beautiful in spirit, she shone with love; His Great Love. Jill was incredibly kind, humble and she was a stinker. Jill made me laugh, and I made her laugh,what a precious laugh and wicked sense of humor she had, too. Most of all, she loved the Lord with all her heart and wanted everyone around her to feel loved. Jill was not perfect, (to me, she was) but she had flaws like the rest of us. (There is no one without fault, you will always fall short). You will never achieve wholeness until you arrive in Heaven, then you will be made whole.

My thoughts have been around who we are called to be, who we are to one another, what our responsibility to one another is and walking our faith. This world is so unkind, so unforgiving sometimes. We will be disappointed many times, by many people (there is scripture for that, as well). We are to forgive. We cannot walk this world with hate in our hearts. Hate will destroy our peace and our relationships, especially with Christ. True, we are saved from our sins by Grace, we do not pay for our sins by God’s Great Mercy, yet we are called to walk within that belief, as well. We can’t perfect it, we can never be good enough to earn our way into heaven, we can never be flawless, but we know our Savior, we know who we are called to be and we are directed to walk in that faith.

Ephesians 5:15 (AMP)
15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),

This walk means you stumble,fall,and start back on your knees tomorrow. This walk means you focus on His teachings and allow Him to soften you, to take your sin from you, one by one. This walk means you allow yourself to be convicted, to learn, to grow. You let go of shame, judgement and self righteousness. You learn to walk like Jesus; obedient and with Love. You allow yourself to be transformed, little by little. You become more and more whole, more centered. You heal and then you become the light you are meant to be. You find your gifts and you share them with the world.

“As a believer, your question is no longer what do I want to do, but rather What do YOU want me to do, [God]?” (Pastor Mark Ragsdale)

Jesus loved; Jesus loved everyone. Imitation is the sincerest form of gratitude and humble appreciation for our salvation.

Jill loved; Jill loved everyone.

Forgiveness

9 Feb

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

In our friendships, our close relationships, when we get hurt, our first reaction is to either lash out or withdraw and lick our wounds. How many times should we be hurt by our friends, our loved ones, before we figure out we are being fools?

In Matthew 18:21-22 we hear a parable about forgiveness. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

When our sisters and brothers sin against us, cause us pain, we are instructed to forgive with God’s kind of grace. Constant and without reserve. Agape Love. Imagine a marriage with this type of love. With this forbearance and grace? (note: This does not apply to anyone that is toxic or abusive. For those we can forgive and love from afar. We do not need to be unsafe in order to follow God’s teachings. This is about friendship and blessed relationships.)

This forgiveness and grace, goes so much against the grain of our societal teachings, “Hurt me once? Shame on you, Hurt me twice? Shame on me!”

We are not perfect, and in my humble opinion, the only reason we don’t forgive is because of our own ego’s need to not be wrong or less than. To forgive means we understand that we are acceptable and lovable and worthy, even in our imperfection. It accepts that other’s are like us, imperfect.

When we hold a grudge or refuse to forgive, we are showing our need to hang on to our validation that we are the victim. We are wronged. For some it can become the costume they put on to hide their fears. But Jesus died for you, He suffered terrible abuse and beatings to save you from your weakness and brokenness. You are forgiven. When you know Jesus and understand this amazing sacrifice, that you are forgiven by the Grace of His sacrifice. That you are shown true mercy and will never pay with rejection for your sin? How can you not forgive someone for the things they do to you?

We are called to love and we are given great blessings in our friendships. Lasting friendships overlook a multitude of sins and forgive over and over. Agape Love = lasting relationships. I am so grateful for God’s forbearance with me. I must exhaust Him at times; but no matter what I do or don’t do, there He is, so near and so perfect.

For Valentine’s Day start with real love, of you and your people; Agape Love. Give to all what you want in return and know, most of us never mean to hurt one another. None of us are capable of being perfect. Know this about you and about them, then just…

…Love.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Isaiah 43:25-26
“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence.

Acts 3:19
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Ephesians 1:7
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Hebrews 10:17
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

Daniel 9:9
The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;

Colossians 1:13-14
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Psalm 103:12
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Numbers 14:19-21
In accordance with your great love, forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now.” The LORD replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the LORD fills the whole earth,

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Matthew 6:9-15
“This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘ For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Mark 11:25
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. ”