He Reigns!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You're Gonna Die

1 Corinthians 15:41-44 (TLV)
"There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead:
Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption!
Sown in dishonor, raised in glory!
Sown in weakness, raised in power!
Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body!
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body."

Most people don't like to think about it, but we are all going to die. You are going to die, your mom is going to die, your children are going to die. When a loved one dies, even though we know death is a natural process and the end of life, we're never really ready for it to happen. Death is painful for us even if it's the death of a grandmother or grandfather who have lived out their lives and died at a ripe old age. Death is never easy for us to accept.

I have had a lot of deaths in my life. When I was 19 my first born son, Eric, died, and in 1992 my sixteen-year-old daughter Cassandra died. In between those years I lost grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and since then I have lost a husband and several grandchildren. Death is never easy and grief can be overwhelming. But we have to find our way through it and continue to live even in dark days when we don't want to. Life goes on whether we want it to or not.

As painful as death is when we lose a loved one, we can be comforted in the knowledge that if they were a Christian and loved the Lord, they are now in heaven. It is only through the grace of God and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can get through this life, and especially get through the loss of life as we continue our walk each and every day.

Sometimes death makes absolutely no sense and we look for someone to blame. But when we are in Christ Jesus, we realize that there is no one to blame. Death is a fact of life and it is no respecter of persons. While the grief of losing a child is much different than the grief of losing a husband, which is much different than losing a grandparent or a parent, the sense of loss and the questions of why still remain. But when we are grounded in the word of God, we know that death is not the end because we know that our spirits live on, and while life on planet Earth may be over, life in heaven has just begun. We have the promises of the Bible that even though death comes to all, there is life in the Spirit and there is a reward for our faith in Jesus Christ. That reward is living forever in heaven, and the promise that we will see our loved ones again.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where's Your Focus?

Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
~Colossians 3:2 (TLV)

Focus is everything. Our eyes focus depending on available light so we can see better. We have to stay focused at work in order to complete the daily tasks and keep the boss happy. We hear about staying focused in life from the time we start school. Stay focused and keep your eye on the prize whether it's graduating with a degree, getting a driver's license, or our dream car. Life is all about focus. So why do so many lives seem to fall off track?

The verse above explains it. We are to focus on the things above - the things of God through Jesus Christ rather than the things of this world. When we focus on Christ first, keeping His ways always in sight, we will have the "desires of (our) heart" (Psalm 37:4).

Too many people seek their own praise and glory instead of seeking God. Matthew 6:33 tells us to first seek God and His righteousness, and then everything else will be added to our lives.

Too many times we get bogged down in doing life on planet Earth that we forget about afterlife on planet Jesus. Our jobs, spouses, kids, friends, all can take our focus off Jesus and keep it on our mortal lives. Even our ministries can bog us down in the doing of them if we aren't taking time to be alone with the Lord and allow Him to both center us and be the center of us.

And finally, sisters, "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
~Philippians 4:8

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Devil Didn't Make You Do It

Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom. ~Galatians 5:19-21 (TLV)

When I get a follow request on Instagram, I always check out the requesters posts to determine who that person is because we all know social media profiles can be deceptive.

One day I received a request from a young lady whose profile said she was a Christian and initially, her profile backed that up. However, the next time I saw a post from her, it's a video of her in bed, covered with a sheet over one leg, coming up over her belly and barely covering her chest. She writhed around under the sheet while telling viewers she wanted to be 'friends'. It looked like an ad for a porn site.

I messaged her and asked why she would disrespect herself and God by posting such a video while professing to be a Christian. We chatted back and forth and she agreed with me and removed the video.

A few weeks later she posted some other sexual pictures of herself and commented about drinking at the clubs, and picking up some guy. I messaged her again. This time her response was, "I'm only human and I sin. I'm not perfect but that's what God is for."

My responses were Scripture on sin, sinning, righteousness and Holiness. Her answers weren't rude but she was not happy and said I must be taking the verses out of context because there was no way we could be expected not to sin.

Funny how we can justify our lives to make what we are doing seem right in our own sight. Proverbs 14:12 says, 'there is a way that seems right to man but it's end is death.' Justifying our sin might make us feel better and it might make others nod in understanding but it still won't fly with God.

"Be holy for I am holy," is what God tell us in 1 Peter 1:16. God is perfect and even though we are not, He sent a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins - Jesus Christ. It is through faith in HIM that we are justified, sanctified and made righteous but we must also work out our salvation with 'fear and trembling' (Philippians 2:12). Jesus said, Go and sin no more," (John 8:11) after saving the adultress from being stoned to death.

Colossians 3:5-6 tells us to put "to death" our earthly, or carnal, natures, which tells us we have control over those things. It's not the devil, demons, or any other outward influence that causes us to sin, it's our own sinful nature. But through the power of the Holy Spirit we have power over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What Happened to Godly Marriages?

Proverbs 30:18-19 (TLV)
"Three things are too amazing for me, four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the heart of the sea, and the way of a man with a maiden."

This verse always makes me chuckle. Written so long ago, yet that last part is still true today. Do you remember how your husband acted before he was your husband? How it was between you those first glorious months of wedded bliss? We can all get a little silly when we first fall in love and all those endorphins and pheromones are zinging around inside of us. They don't call it 'crazy, stupid love' for nothing! But marriage is more than pheromones and romantic walks together. While those things are wonderful, a relationship with the opposite sex has to be founded on more than physical attraction. Yet we see marriages continually ending in divorce, even among Christians. The divorce rate is now 53% even among church-going Christians. What has happened to our marriages?

The Bible tells us a husband will "cleave unto his wife" (Genesis 2:24), and "the two shall become one" (Mark 10:8). A relationship nothing less than death can separate (Matthew 10:9). So how are so many Christians winding up divorced?

Of course there is no one single answer but a good clue is in the world around us - the less important Jesus becomes in our lives, the less we act like Him and the more we act like the world around us. The less important Christ is, the less important our lives and relationships become. The less we come to church, more of the world seeps into every area of our lives. Contrarily, when our focus is fully on our relationship with Jesus the less world we will see in our lives and relationships.

Our marriages were created as a triangle with God at the top point, and spouses at the other two points. Inside the triangle is everything else - home, kids, jobs, finances, friends etc. With spouses at the bottom points, you have no choice but to keep looking up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Who Are You?

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua." ~Galatians 3:28 (TLV)

The Who sang, "Who are you? Who? I really wanna know. Who are you?" That is something we tend to to turn inward and question about ourselves from an early age. We spend our younger years trying to 'find' ourselves, acting one way or another, dressing this way or that, trying to belong, to be popular or cool, and hopefully, we figure out we are who we are and don't waste our entire lives being something else.

God made each of us individually for a reason. He has never looked for cookie cutter people, or cookie cutter Christians. He gave each of us a personality different from others, yet complimentary to others. He gave us different talents, likes, dislikes, etc but He intended each of us to use those talents to glorify Him and to help one another. But often, we can see the talents and wonders in others though not ourselves.

1 Peter 4:10 says, "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of the many-sided grace of God."

Your gifts are the talents, abilities, desires to do something in particular. The fact that you may not have the resources to achieve what God has placed inside you to do doesn't mean it's impossible, for "all things are possible with God" (Matthew 19:26). Whatever God has begun within you, He will complete if you don't give up.

I have a friend, Sue, who had the desire to help women who were addicts. She wanted to open a residential facility that not only dealt with the addiction, but also taught women the fullness of the love of Jesus. She had no formal training and no resources to accomplish her goals but she had a vision she wouldn't let go of. Instead of focusing on what she didn't have, she focused on what she knew to be true - God brings to completion whatever He begins (Philippians 1:6).

Sue tackled one thing at a time. First, she enrolled in the local community college to get her degree in addiction studies, then she began seeking those who were like-minded and could help her toward her goal. And she continued in faith and prayer to believe God would complete the task. It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't always easy to get others to see her vision, but Sue persevered. Now, more than 25 years later, she is the founder of Streams of Living Waters in Humboldt County, California and has helped hundreds of women get clean and sober and to become the women of God they were created to be.

No matter your circumstances, there is a higher calling on your life. No matter who says you can't, God says you can. He has made you capable and stronger than you think you can be. He has equipped and empowered you to be a mighty woman of God who can change the lives of others.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Practice Patience

Ephesians 4:32 (TLV)
"Instead, be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other just as God in Messiah also forgave you."

The other day I was listening to my grandchildren having an argument over something and call each other names, and hurt each other's feelings, and then somebody started crying and came running to Nana. I sat them down to have a talk with them about the way they spoke to one another. I told them if I didn't know they were brother and sister and actually loved each other, I would think that they really hated being together. Megan told me that he was just a little brother who bothered her all of the time and she just couldn't stand it. Dax told me that she was a big sister who is always mean to him.

I began explaining to them the way Jesus says we should treat one another and how we should always love one another, and speak kindly, show kindness, and be gentle with one another. I asked if they talk to their friends like that, and they told me they were nice to their friends. I asked them why that was and they said because if they weren't nice to their friends, their friends wouldn't play with them.

And I got to thinking about how sometimes it is easier to be kind towards people we don't know and how it can sometimes be difficult to be kind towards the people we live with every day.

No one can aggravate me more than my husband. Sometimes I think he enjoys aggravating me and
does it on purpose!  We can get on one another's nerves once in awhile and sometimes we say harsh things that we don't really mean. In our frustration, the people closest to us are often the ones that see the worst side of us.

It's a terrible thing to think that we are kinder to strangers because we don't want them to see our bad side, the side we don't mind showing to our family every single day. But that isn't how God wants us to treat anyone especially not our families. Jesus was an example to each and everyone of us to be patient, kind, loving, generous, patient, patient, patient...

I get very impatient when I'm driving - people in other cars just seem to do that to me. So thinking about the verse above, I began this little habit of saying, 'practice patience, practice patience, practice patience,' until it makes me laugh and I can continue without feeling frustrated. So I started doing that when I feel frustrated with other people at home or wherever I might be. I want to practice patience in all things, but especially with the ones I love.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Be A Josiah

"Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses."
~2 Kings 23:25

Josiah's father was an evil king, as were most of his predecessors. They had ignored the word of God, they had allowed the people to build altars to false gods, and they had allowed the sacrificing of children to Molek to continue, as well as the worship of idols. Not only were the people doing this but the temple priests followed the same path. However, when Josiah read the Book of the Lord, he realized the sin going on in the country and put a stop to it. Josiah followed the Lord in a way no king since David had, and he led his people back to the Lord.

We are all like the children of Israel who turn our backs on the one true God, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, the one who created all things, and we follow the false gods of this world. Whatever Idols we follow whether it be money, our jobs, fame, success, or any of the other things that do not glorify God, the one true God, we are following false gods. That can also include our spouses and our children. Our families can become our Idols as well. Anything that we put before the Lord of the universe is a false god.

Getting our priorities straight is something we hear a lot about. But in a worldly way, getting our priorities straight is still not a Biblical view of priorities. Our priorities have to begin with Jesus Christ. He has to be first in our lives for everything else to fall into place. When Jesus Christ comes first in our lives and we put away all of our idols, then our lives begin to make sense in a way they never have before.

There are many things in this world that are upside down. Everything from religion to politics to personal lives to world views, are upside down. We look at the things going on in the world and shake our heads wondering how it came to this, but the truth is, it's always been like this. The only reason it seems worse now is because we have a wider view of the world than we ever had before. We have the technology that gives us a view completely around the world and that was something we never saw before. In the past,  we only heard the Nightly News that reported just the top points but glossed over the true tragedies of the world. The world today is quite literally the same way that it was when Josiah was king, we just have more toys.

The other thing that has not changed is God is still God. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and He is still looking for the Josiahs of this world who will stand up for what is right, for what is true, who are willing to knock down the idols of this world, and proclaim the Living God, Jesus Christ is the only one worthy of our worship.