He Reigns!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Be Who God Meant You To Be


Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

You were never meant to be stuck in the past, or in your present situation. You are meant to learn from these things & take steps forward. We sometimes get bogged down in our situations, either past or present, and lose our future focus. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has given us hope and a future but to enjoy this promise, our future has to be focused on Jesus Christ.

When driving a car, our focus has to be on the road. If we get distracted by cell phones, text messages, children fighting in the back seat, or by something we see along the way, there can be disastrous results.

The same applies to our personal lives. There are so many things that distract us. For that matter, life IS one big distraction. We are busy people with jobs, spouses, kids, grandkids, family and friends. We spread ourselves too thin, and we get frustrated. Even when we think we have it all together, some little thing can pop up and throws it all off balance.
Our past hurts, fears, and frustrations can crop up at the least expected moment and throw us into chaos.

We lose focus.

However, when we submit our lives to Jesus and keep our focus on Him, He becomes our sails, rudder, and anchor no matter how rough the seas of life can get.

You are more than your past. You are more than your experiences. You are meant to have a full life, so take a breath, focus, and take that first step to be the you God created you to be.

~MM

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Practice Love

Romans 12:17-21(ESV)
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
1 Peter 3:9 (ESV)
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

It seems to be human nature to want to lash out at those who hurt us. If someone cuts us off while driving, we want express our feelings, and usually in a negative way. If someone yells, we yell back. If our spouse gets mad, we get mad back. We repay in kind, yet that is not how the Bible teaches us to respond.

In the early years of our marriage, my husband and I fought a lot. We are both control freaks, me moreso because I had raised children as a single mom, ran my own business, and I took care of everything as both mom and dad. My husband had never married or lived with another person, and had no children. He was a bachelor who did things his way, when he wanted, how he wanted and answered to no one.

We butted heads regularly. If I got mad, he went ballistic. If he got mad, I felt guilty. Our arguments were epic, and within two years, we were considering divorce. We loved one another but we could not communicate rationally. It wasn't looking good to say the least.

I didn't want a divorce and I only knew one thing to do - pray like never before. I cried out to God to show me how to deal with this man, but also, how to treat him and how to react differently. I couldn't change him but I could change me. I prayed that God would give me the same kind of love for my husband that Christ had for me. That all-encompassing, all-forgiving, Agape love of God toward my husband. And I asked God to give me joy in loving him, and joy in our marriage, and joy no matter what. I also prayed - God, please show me how to deal with this man before I kill him!

You know the saying "bite your tongue"? I literally bit my tongue every time I wanted to repay his words or actions in kind. I took a breath and remembered my prayer. I silently reminded God of my prayers and that I needed an answer now! God answered those desperate prayers in a way that I didn't expect.

He gave me laughter. Every time I was about to jump into the fight, I laughed. I couldn't help it. And it was laughter that bubbled up from deep inside me and I couldn't stop it. The first time it happened, my husband looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Then he got offended and left. When he returned, he was in a better mood. Every time afterwards, when he got mad, I laughed. Loudly! And then a strange thing began to happen, the anger in me disappeared (who can be mad and laugh?) but it also began to lessen in my husband. His fits became fewer and farther in between. And when he did get mad and I laughed, he began to laugh too!

Years later he asked me why I started laughing at him and I told him I wasn't laughing at him, I was filled with laughter from God. I told him about the prayer I'd prayed when I was at my wit's end and how God had answered me. I was filled with laughter but it came from the overwhelming love Christ had for me and had filled me with for my husband. We celebrated 17 years of marriage recently, and I'm still laughing.

How we relate to people is a choice. How we respond to people is a choice. When we choose to follow Jesus, we are choosing to act like Him. That goes against our sin nature, and it definitely goes against the way people today deal with one another. When we react in a godly way, it "heaps coals of fire" on the individual, but not literally of course. In ancient Egypt a person guilty of a crime carried a tray of hot coals on their heads to show repentance, so when we treat people as today's verses say, it will bring about repentance in them. Repentance means change, and change can save much more than just a marriage.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Do Not Be Conformed To The World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 John 2:15 (NKJV).

We are called to be set apart for God and to not conform to the things of this world, however, it seems more and more that people who profess to be Christians look so much like the world it's hard to tell them apart.

Being a Christian is so much more than just saying, "I believe in Jesus." Being a Christian means following Jesus, and obeying the word of God. If our lives are going to change the lives of those who do not know the Lord, then our lives cannot be like the ones who do not know the Lord. We are called to be set apart, to be holy, to be pure in our speech, our dress, and our actions. We are called to be like Jesus, not like the world.

There is a way that seems right to man, but it's end is death (Proverbs 14:12).

Conforming to this world is doing the things of the world. Going to R-rated movies, drinking alcohol at the club with friends, dressing the way that people in this world dress, using vulgar speech, telling off-color jokes, participating in activities that everyone else does, having sex outside of marriage, living with someone you're not married to, and the list goes on. I know people who profess to be Christians who think nothing of going to the casino and gambling. I know people who profess to be Christians who still smoke and drink. On social media I see pictures with lots of cleavage, and more, that are posted by people who profess to be Christians. I see people who profess to be Christians conforming to the ways of this world by participating in the things of this world, by going along with things that the Bible strictly opposes, because when you don't take a stand against the world then you are standing for the world.

The Bible says, "Be holy for I am Holy" (1 Peter 1:16). That may seem impossible but it's not. We are not to conform to this world, we are to conform to what the Bible tells us is right and pure and holy. We might not achieve Holiness in this life but we are to strive for it. We are to put away the things of this world and to walk the walk and talk the talk the way that Jesus did.

Sitting in a church on Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage makes you a car. Following Jesus and obeying the word of God is what makes you a Christian.

I hear people complaining all of the time that they go to church on Sunday yet their life is not blessed. Blessings do not come from sitting in a church. Blessings come from living out a Christian life every single day of the week. A Sunday Christian will not have a blessed life.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Root – The Shoot – The Fruit Marie McGaha

The Root – The Shoot – The Fruit
Marie McGaha


~ One ~
In The Vineyard

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
John 15:1-8

~ * ~

     My sitting room is decorated with wall hangings depicting vineyards, grapes, wine, and my favorite has this verse on it. Everything that I am as a Christian is in these eight verses. It defines who Christ is to us, who we are to Christ, and how we are to live as His children. I spend several minutes every day reading just these verses, and since I have to pass by the sitting room to get to the laundry room, I always take the time to pause and look at what I have chosen as my inspiration for not only the room, but for my life.
          I would like to be able to say that I have always used these verses as my guide in life but that just isn’t so. Like fine wine, I had to age a bit to be able to understand the simplicity of God’s word and how to apply it to my life. I wasn’t raised in a godly home but thankfully, I had a godly grandmother whose influence from those summer visits stayed with me.
          Life can be complicated and as such, I believe we make God and His word just as complicated. I know I did. However, after years of making a mess of my life, I finally decided there had to be a way to get through my years on earth that didn’t hurt quite so much. I came back to the One I knew had been there all my life even through the messes I had made, the trouble I had borrowed, the people I chose to associate with. God had never left nor forsaken me (Joshua 1:5), it was I who had left God. And although He had always been there, He did leave me to my own defenses until I finally gave up in the knowledge that my defenses were pretty flimsy at best.
          John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
          How quickly we tend to forget that kind of all-encompassing love! How quickly we pull away and try to do everything on our own, in our own way. We were never intended to live apart from God. We were never intended to be thrown under the bus of life. Quite the contrary, we were intended to live life fully. To live life loved beyond measure, (John 10:10). To live life safely in the arms of God.
               We were created in the image of God in both body (Genesis 1:27) and in spirit (Ephesians 4:24). We have a God-shaped hole inside of us, yet we spend our lives trying to fill that hole with everything but God! We use sex, drugs, alcohol, rock stars, movie stars, music, sports, fast cars, wealth, food, everything under Heaven except that which we were created for – God.
          None of the things of this world can fill that hole God created within us that yearns for Him. Romans 12:2 tells us to not be “conformed to this world,” yet, from the time we can crawl, we are fascinated by the things of the world. Not all are bad of course, it’s human to want things but it’s how we use them, and what we use them for, that defines its worth.
          Having money isn’t bad. We all need money to live but when money becomes all we think we need, and it becomes all we seek to have, our intentions have gone haywire and money has become our god.
          Listening to music isn’t bad. Music is pleasurable, relaxing, motivating and part of our being that God put inside of us. But when we begin identifying with lyrics that do not magnify the Lord, or draw our attention away from the important things in our lives, then we’ve made music our god.
          Food is a good thing. We need to eat to stay healthy but when we allow food to become our focus, our bodies begin to rebel. We gain weight, arteries harden, and diabetes can develop, along with heart problems, high cholesterol, and a myriad of other maladies. Food has become our god.
          The list goes on. Anything that takes our focus off of God is not good for us. Our spirit weakens, our lives get out of control, and we lose our sense of direction. God is our magnetic north and His Word is our compass. Anytime we allow ourselves to wander off of His course, the life path He has planned for each of us, our lives become something other than what God wants for us. In order to stay on course, we need to be firmly grounded in God’s Word. That is the root of our existence. Without a good root system, nothing grows strong.                   
          Anyone who has ever tried to grow plants, flowers, or a vegetable garden, knows that there is a process to getting what you want out of what you plant. When you grow plants, you expect green healthy stalks and leaves. With flowers, you expect tulips from tulip bulbs, roses from rosebushes, and from a vegetable garden, you expect each type of vegetable to produce its own fruit.
But you don’t just toss bulbs or seeds outside on the ground and wait for them to grow. You till up the ground, you might have to bring in good soil if you live in an area like I do. The ground is mostly rock, and what soil we have is red clay, so we had to build up garden beds and bring in soil to fill them. The soil has to have water and fertilizer to be healthy enough for the plants to develop a good root system. But they also have to have plenty of sunshine, which is why we plant in springtime and let the vegetables and flowers grow through the hot part of summer, and then harvest in early fall.
Another part of being a gardener is knowing when to prune. When I go out to water my garden, I check the plants to make sure there are no bugs eating them, no aphids present, and I have to sometimes prune back some of the leaves and branches so all the fruit can get plenty of sunshine. Our spirits are like that too. If we don’t get plenty of God, His Word, and fellowship with other Christians, we become like the fruit on the bottom of the plants. They grow but they never get quite as ripe or sweet as the other fruit because they don’t get the same amount of sun until we prune off some of the leaves.
Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
Have you ever seen calves in the fields? They run and leap about like they are so happy just to be there. And when the Lord shines on us, we should leap about with that same kind of joyous abandon! The Lord is our sun. He shines on us with goodness and mercy.




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Copyright Marie McGaha ©2017
All rights reserved

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Don't Worry About The Past



Isaiah 43:18
"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.
Philippians 3:13-14
...one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...
You cannot change the past, so let it go and move forward. I know that's​ easier said than done but if you're ever going to have a life worth living, it is absolutely necessary. Don't let your past haunt you, don't let it drag you backwards, don't let it keep you from living the life God wants for you.
You have three choices:
-Live in the past wallowing in your mistakes
-Stand still and miss out on life
-OR-
MOVE FORWARD!

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60 Second Scripture

Each day I add a 60 Second Scripture to YouTube. Each one is designed to inform everyone about having faith in Jesus Christ, but in one small bite at a time.

Take a listen today!

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Blood & The Cross

Do you remember this song? "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus, What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

It's one of my favorites and it always brings me to tears. The image of Jesus on the Cross fills my mind and it breaks my heart. Here is God Almighty, who came to earth in the flesh for one reason: to save us from a fate worse than death - an eternity in hell. He was beaten and nailed to a tree when He could've called angels to rescue Him.

The Bible says He became sin for us. But have you ever considered what that really means? Jesus, the perfect human, Jesus, the sinless among a world full of sin took on our sins. He never murdered anyone, yet while on the Cross, He became fully aware of what goes on in the mind of a murderer. He saw, felt and tasted the bitterness of taking a human life out of anger, spite, & jealousy. He took on each and every single sin the same way. He became a thief, an adulterer, a liar, a drunkard, a gambler, an abuser, and felt, saw, and tasted each and every single sin we've ever committed.

But He also took on the human condition - hatred, bitterness, gossip, loneliness, despair, anger, and every other negative emotion we ever experience.

It was during this time that God could not watch because God cannot look upon sin. The sky went dark for three hours (Mark 15), it took three hours for our sins to be piled on Jesus. One by one, Jesus was crushed by our sin. Look at the world around us, do you see the sins going on daily? Rape, murder, shootings, drug addiction, terrorism, homosexuality, abortion, divorce, living together without marriage, lawlessness, cops being shot, arson, bank robbery, drug smuggling, human trafficking, child abuse, pedophilia, and so much more. Things that make us angry, feel helpless to stop, and make us cringe at the thought.

Jesus took them all on, in His mind, heart, soul & body. And while He did, the world went dark.

He did that for you, for me, for all of humankind for all time. For every race, creed, and color. Jesus Christ became sin for us. His blood on the Cross is the only way we could ever be reconciled with God. Jesus, the sacrificial Lamb whose blood was required by God in order to save a lost world.

Look at the Cross. Look at Jesus. Remember the blood that ran down the Cross, the single drop that fell on you, that fell on me, that continues to fall on every sinner who calls out to Jesus in the realization that apart from Him, our lives are useless.

God has always required blood sacrifices and Jesus is the final sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice for this world. His life was required by God to save us from sin  and death. One day your life will be required by God, but it won't be to save anyone. It will be to stand before the Almighty and answer one question - Did you accept Christ as your Savior and let His blood redeem you?

Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name and I apply the blood of Jesus to my life, to all that belongs to me, to everything you have given me to steward. I put the blood of Jesus on my mind, my body, my emotions and my will. I put the blood on my family, my co-workers and my friends. Thank you for protecting me with your blood. Thank you for the drop of blood that fell from Calvary and landed on me. Lord, let everyone who reads this know and understand the power in the saving blood if Jesus. In the Name of Christ our Savior, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Modern Idols - The Arts

Back before I wound up in a wheel chair due to a degenerative bone disease, I loved to dance. I think most of us do but when does the things we like to do, such as dancing, music, singing, painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, acting etc. become a modern idol? It's no secret that musicians, actors, and sports figures have fans who follow them on social media, buy tickets to their concerts, movies and events, and some even go so far as to stalk these entertainers.

The word "fan" comes from "fanatics". And when we turn from what is right, from our families, our jobs, and other important things in life, we become fanatics. It's not just following after the famous but it can be the things we like to do, including our jobs and the money we make.

Fanatic is defined as: excessive, single-minded, with zeal especially when it comes to religion and politics; enthusiastic devotee, ardent admirer. The 16th century French definition was used to describe possession by a demon. (Fantasque or Latin, Fanaticus).

An idol is a false god. Exodus 20:4 says we shall have no idols, no bowing or worshipping
Deuteronomy 27:15 says idols are cursed and detestable to the Lord
Isaiah 44:9, 15, 17, 19 says idols are foolish, worthless, show stupidity and ignorance, and makes one a "deluded fool."
Habakkuk 2:18 says idols are "deceptive, foolish"
Romans 1:23-24 says it's "utter foolishness to worship idols."
1 Corinthians 6:9 says those who worship idols "will not inherit the Kingdom."
1 Corinthians 8:4 says an idol is not a god, there is only One God!
Revelation 2:14 told the church at Pergamum their sin was that they tolerated teachings like Balaam, and that was teaching sin

Anything we follow after whether it be money, jobs, a person, or a pastime and it draws our focus away from God, it becomes an idol, and we are committing the sin of spiritual adultery. Focus on anything that takes our time, money, and thoughts away from God is a self-centered pursuit. If we are to have a life in Christ, our focus must be on Him, on His Word, and our time must be spent in pursuit of Him alone.

We must ask ourselves:
Who created me?
Who do I ultimately trust with my life, my finances, my future?
Who do I look to for ultimate truth in both the every day things of life and the grand scheme of things?
Who do I look to for security and happiness?
Who is in charge of my future?
Who is in charge of my life on earth and my life for eternity?

Idols are nothing more than figments of our imagination. They are false advertising and most of all, they are worthless. Idols may bring us a few moments of happiness, and we might think it's worth giving up everything else but in the long run, our idols will fail us and leave us in the ruin of reality.

Only a life in Christ Jesus is worth giving up everything in this life for. He is the only One who can bring us true joy and happiness, and give us an eternity with Him.







Monday, January 23, 2017

Forgive & Forget

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
Hebrews 8:12

It's never easy to forgive someone who has caused us pain, who have injured us, we have abused us, or have forced themselves on us in some way. But we are commanded by the Lord to forgive others just as Jesus forgives us of our sins. The Bible says that if we don't forgive others, then we won't be forgiven (Mat. 6:15).

The person we need to forgive might not deserve it but we still have to do it. Forgiving someone is a conscious effort of your will. It is something that you have to decide on your own to do. It is not predicated by the person wanting forgiveness, deserving forgiveness, asking you to forgive them, or for them even being sorry for what they did to you.

Forgiveness doesn't mean that you just say, "I forgive you," because you can say it but it doesn't make it true. It's something that you have to will yourself to do but the essence of forgiveness is that after you have decided to forgive someone, you can no longer hold it against them.

You can't bring it up to them ever again. You can't remind them of what they did to you. You can't keep reliving it to make them feel guilty for what they did to you. You don't forgive for them, you forgive for YOU.

You have to let go of the bitterness, anger, disappointment, and yes, even the guilt that you may feel that somehow you were responsible for the abuse in some remote way, even though you're not.  You may have been told that it was your fault but you do not make other people hurt you. You cannot make another person abuse you. You can stick around and let them continue to do it but you never MAKE them do it, that's an act of their will.

Even so, we are commanded to forgive and we are commanded to let it go. I'm not saying that it's easy because it's not. It can take years to come to a place of forgiveness for the person(s) who have hurt you in your past. But you have to actively seek that ability through prayer, through the Bible, & through fellowship with people who have been through the same things you have.

Forgiving and forgetting the horrors of our past is how we move forward, and are able to live fully the life that God has planned for us.

          www.mariemcgaha.com

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Comfort & Joy



Forgiving those who have hurt us can be one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. In fact, it’s so difficult that there is a very popular saying, “I may forgive but I will never forget.” I’ve even heard this come from Christians but nothing can be farther from the teachings of Christ.
1 John 1:9 tells us that, “He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” Not only are we forgiven for our sins but they are no longer remembered by God. He takes our sins, throws them into a Hefty Bag, and then tosses it into a big dump that only God has the directions to.
          God is not a god who reminds us of our faults of yesterday but of our abilities through Him for all of our tomorrows. God wants us to shine, to minister to others, to represent His Son, Jesus, wherever we go, and to win souls to the Kingdom of Heaven.
          One of the biggest things we will have to do in order to accomplish this is to forgive and forget our own past. Yes, I said to forget the past, not just forgive the past but forget it ever existed. That includes not only forgiving others but one’s self, which is a difficult task, I know.
          I am one of those people who bear the weight of the world on their shoulders. I think that I am responsible for everything everyone else does, and if I had just said or done one thing differently, the entire outcome of everyone else’s lives would be different. I ride on waves of guilt that seem to well up within me from nowhere at all. I allow the consequences of other people’s actions to land on me, and make me feel as if I am responsible for what they have done.
          What I had to come to terms with is I am not God. Imagine that—I am just one of several billion people who occupy earth and take up oxygen, living a very ordinary life. I cannot make anyone do or say anything they don’t want to, and beating myself up over what other’s do only drives me farther from the love and grace of God.
          I have laid in bed crying in anguish over my ex-husband who passed away. (Dancing With Bear: A Love Story) I was so distraught over his passing, and convinced that I could have done or said something to someone, somewhere, that would have prevented his death. I loved this man for more than half my life and his passing felt as if it would destroy me. It was just one more thing the devil had in his arsenal against me, and he used it well.
          The truth is, the devil is out to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) your life on  earth, and ultimately, your soul. He doesn’t want you to live happily with God’s blessings, no, he wants you to be miserable and unhappy, and he wants your soul in Hell with him.
There is a saying among Christians, “We know how the story ends and the devil loses.” Yes, he loses but in the meantime, he is active in this world to make sure he takes down as many of us as he can in the time he has left.
          So, how does the devil work? Unbelief is his greatest ally. For those who don’t believe in God, the devil doesn’t really have to worry about them. He knows they have what they want—money, drugs, fame, or whatever it is—and that is their reward. But for those of us who believe in God, who believe Jesus is the Savior of the world, we can expect the devil to do his best to destroy our lives. The devil is a coward, he never just confronts us directly, no, he likes to use those things that make us most vulnerable. The biggest of those is our past.
          Don’t we all let our past get to us? Don’t we obsess on all the things we have done wrong in our lives? And don’t we dwell on the things others have done to us? These are the devil’s weapons. He knows where to jab, punch, and kick. He knows how to use our guilt and unhappiness against us.
The Bible describes the devil as “…your great adversary, the devil… prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) But verse nine says, “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…”
So, the only way to defeat the devil is to be strong in our faith in Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Bible.
          I know sometimes that is so difficult, especially if you are new to Christianity and are just learning the Bible. When we are brand new, baby Christians, we still have our old non-Christian baggage that we drag around behind us. We haven’t figured out yet how to let it go, or what to do with it. And the devil knows this.
          What is inside your bag? Were you hurt as a child? Abused physically, sexually, emotionally? Have you been raped, lived with an abusive partner, or been a drug addict? Were you a prostitute? Do you have a sexually transmitted disease there is no cure for? Were you a criminal, served time in prison? Or perhaps nothing in your life has ever worked out for you, and everything you have tried to do has come to nothing?
          No matter what is in your bag, God can rid you of it, but the first step is allowing God to have full control of your life. And to allow God to do that means to forgive yourself and those who have harmed you.
Forgiving those who have hurt us can be one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. In fact, it’s so difficult that there is a very popular saying, “I may forgive but I will never forget.” I’ve even heard this come from Christians but nothing can be farther from the teachings of Christ.
1 John 1:9 tells us that, “He forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.” Not only are we forgiven for our sins but they are no longer remembered by God. He takes our sins, throws them into a Hefty Bag, and then tosses it into a big dump that only God has the directions to.
          God is not a god who reminds us of our faults of yesterday but of our abilities through Him for all of our tomorrows. God wants us to shine, to minister to others, to represent His Son, Jesus, wherever we go, and to win souls to the Kingdom of Heaven.
          One of the biggest things we will have to do in order to accomplish this is to forgive and forget our own past. Yes, I said to forget the past, not just forgive the past but forget it ever existed. That includes not only forgiving others but one’s self, which is a difficult task, I know.
          I am one of those people who bear the weight of the world on their shoulders. I think that I am responsible for everything everyone else does, and if I had just said or done one thing differently, the entire outcome of everyone else’s lives would be different. I ride on waves of guilt that seem to well up within me from nowhere at all. I allow the consequences of other people’s actions to land on me, and make me feel as if I am responsible for what they have done.
          What I had to come to terms with is I am not God. Imagine that—I am just one of several billion people who occupy earth and take up oxygen, living a very ordinary life. I cannot make anyone do or say anything they don’t want to, and beating myself up over what other’s do only drives me farther from the love and grace of God.
          I have laid in bed crying in anguish over my ex-husband who passed away. (Dancing With Bear: A Love Story) I was so distraught over his passing, and convinced that I could have done or said something to someone, somewhere, that would have prevented his death. I loved this man for more than half my life and his passing felt as if it would destroy me. It was just one more thing the devil had in his arsenal against me, and he used it well.
          The truth is, the devil is out to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) your life on  earth, and ultimately, your soul. He doesn’t want you to live happily with God’s blessings, no, he wants you to be miserable and unhappy, and he wants your soul in Hell with him.
There is a saying among Christians, “We know how the story ends and the devil loses.” Yes, he loses but in the meantime, he is active in this world to make sure he takes down as many of us as he can in the time he has left.
          So, how does the devil work? Unbelief is his greatest ally. For those who don’t believe in God, the devil doesn’t really have to worry about them. He knows they have what they want—money, drugs, fame, or whatever it is—and that is their reward. But for those of us who believe in God, who believe Jesus is the Savior of the world, we can expect the devil to do his best to destroy our lives. The devil is a coward, he never just confronts us directly, no, he likes to use those things that make us most vulnerable. The biggest of those is our past.
          Don’t we all let our past get to us? Don’t we obsess on all the things we have done wrong in our lives? And don’t we dwell on the things others have done to us? These are the devil’s weapons. He knows where to jab, punch, and kick. He knows how to use our guilt and unhappiness against us.
The Bible describes the devil as “…your great adversary, the devil… prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) But verse nine says, “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…”
So, the only way to defeat the devil is to be strong in our faith in Jesus Christ and the Word of God, the Bible.
          I know sometimes that is so difficult, especially if you are new to Christianity and are just learning the Bible. When we are brand new, baby Christians, we still have our old non-Christian baggage that we drag around behind us. We haven’t figured out yet how to let it go, or what to do with it. And the devil knows this.
          What is inside your bag? Were you hurt as a child? Abused physically, sexually, emotionally? Have you been raped, lived with an abusive partner, or been a drug addict? Were you a prostitute? Do you have a sexually transmitted disease there is no cure for? Were you a criminal, served time in prison? Or perhaps nothing in your life has ever worked out for you, and everything you have tried to do has come to nothing?
          No matter what is in your bag, God can rid you of it, but the first step is allowing God to have full control of your life. And to allow God to do that means to forgive yourself and those who have harmed you.

                                                              www.mariemcgaha.com

Marie McGaha is an author, editor, & owner of Dancing With Bear Publishing. She is the author of several books in genres ranging from Christian nonfiction, historical fiction, to contemporary romance. She was named as one of the 50 Authors You Should Be Reading 2016.

She lives on a farm in SE Oklahoma with her truck driver husband, Nathan, and a plethora of farm animals, and a houseful of dogs.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

50 Great Authors You Should Be Reading

I am very proud and honored to be included in the 2016 "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" from The Author's Show.

Click http://50greatwritersyoushouldbereading.com for the full list.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Our Good Deeds

I read a thing today about this woman who was talking about how she's not a church-going Christian although she does believe in God she says, and while in a fast food place, she felt the need to buy breakfast for two homeless men who had no money.

That is great, I'm glad that she did buy those two men breakfast, they needed it. I've done it a million times, I know people who've done it a million times, and it's good that people do that, but buying a homeless person breakfast does not make you a Christian. It might make you a good person for the moment but that's it.

Isaiah 64:6 says, But we are all like an unclean thing and all our righteousness are like filthy rags...

The term "filthy rags" is very strong language for Isaiah's day. He is actually comparing our good deeds and righteousness to the rags that women used while on their period.

 Titus 2:5 says not by works of righteousness which we have done but according to his Mercy he saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

That word "renewing" is the Greek word, anakainosis, a combination of "ana" (again) & "kainos" (new), which means renovation, restoration, transformation, and a change of heart and life. It means an adjustment of one's moral and spiritual vision.

 Our good deeds will not lead us to Heaven. The road to Heaven is paved with good intentions and the road to hell is going to have a line of people who have been doing good deeds all of their lives.

While we are admonished to produce fruit with our works, we are also cautioned that our works are nothing. James 2:14-26

 Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father except through me." John 14:6

For by Grace you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

The only way our good works means anything at all after the moment that we have done them, is if they are done in the context of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) there is nothing good... Romans 7:18

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and sanctification and Redemption
1 Corinthians 1:30

So if you are going to brag about your good deeds, make sure they're coming from the right place. If your good deeds are not because of a relationship with Jesus Christ, you may as well not even do them because in the end, they are not going to get  you anywhere. And if you are doing good deeds just to get brownie points in this world, and if what you do in this world is the only thing that you are concerned about, then you have truly missed the mark.

Do not  lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal, for where your treasure is there your heart will also be.
Matthew 6:19-21