Archive for Jenisms: Blogs aboput Life’s Lessons and our Lord

Lying to Ourselves Part 5: Caught in a Web of Lies

Have you ever been so caught up with something that you start to believe it is true?  Do you have a difficult time deciding what is true and what is a lie?  Welcome to our world!  Nowadays more than ever it is getting harder and harder to discern what the truth is.  I am beginning to think people genuinely like it this way.  We want to believe the lies being told.  Who doesn’t want to believe that they will prosper if they do this, or be happy if they win that?  When we center on the materialism and false promises of this world, we deserve to get everything that comes our way.


Right now politicians lie (Yes, sorry to burst your bubble, but they do!), news reporters do not seek to report the facts, but love to flash the bait to reel you in, people give false testimony, and statistics are manipulated to sway the public towards one end of the spectrum over the other (It is all done to serve the means of whomever is pulling the string).  Let’s face it negative stories get more airtime than positive ones.  We are a negative world and negativity has a way of spreading much more quickly than positivity.  I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, but we all need to have our eyes open – especially all Christians.


Deception entered in the Garden of Eden by a sneaky culprit called Satan.  The world turned the wrong way that very moment Eve and Adam tasted the apple.  As the axis turned the world lost all sense of balance and common decency.  Mankind became selfish and thought only of himself and how he would satisfy his desires.


As Christians we need to be alert, proactive and positive and not become adaptive to the worldview.  We are warned many times throughout the Bible about the deception of this world and that we are to walk in the light as Christians and avoid iniquity.  The road of iniquity leads to an eternal damnation in which man will perish forever.  In Romans 12:2 we are told not to conform to the world but be transformed by Jesus.  Psalm 52:2 warns us against being deceitful, and Psalm 12:2 outlines man’s true nature is to deceive, while Mark 7:20-22 warns us of man’s desires, James 4:1 and Ephesians 5:6 warns us the consequences of our desires and deceit, Philippians 3:18-19 warns us that this pits us against God, and 1 John 2:16 tells us that this deception does not come from God, but from the world.


“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”


            “You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor.”


            “Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts.”


            “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.”


            “What causes quarrels and fights among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”


            “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.”


            “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  Their mind is set on earthly things.”


            “For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.”



The world is heavily laced with problems and we, as Christians, need to learn to navigate the storms of life and avoid deception at all costs.  We are reminded in 1 Chronicles 29:15 that we are sojourners in this land and this is not our home.  In Philippians 3:20-21 we learn that our citizenship is in heaven – our true home.


“We are foreigners and strangers in your sight, as were all our ancestors.  Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.”


            “But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”


So how do we become susceptible of adapting to this world?  Here are some problems and solutions to these problems that will help us stand out instead of blend in with the world.


Problem:  The world lives in constant worry and fear regarding their circumstances. When we succumb to the fears and worries of the world, we demonstrate a lack of trust in God and His mighty hand.  This will sabotage any chance of spiritual growth.  Matthew 6:34, and Luke 12:25 reveal what happens when we give in to fear and how futile it is.


Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”


“And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?”


Solution:  The Christian needs to live by faith.  When we place our faith in His hands, we have peace and understanding as John 14:27 and 2 Thessalonians 3:16 state.



“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”


“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means.  The Lord be with you all.


Problem:  The world runs to, or depends on, man for the answers regarding their needs or circumstances.  They seek out other realms such as psychics, willingly accepts stranger’s advice, and trust in man’s wisdom completely.  They do not believe nor accept Jesus; thus, they fail to run to him.


Solution: The Christian surrenders his selfishness and learns to depend on God by acknowledging/seeking Him as we see in Jeremiah 29:13 and 1 Chronicles 16:11. We humble ourselves and commit to an active prayer life when we make our petitions known to Him as 2 Chronicles 7:14 instructs us.  He does hear us and answers our prayers.  He is our provider and meets all our needs.


“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”


 “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”


 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


We must put our focus on God and not the world as Isaiah 43:1-3 advises us.


“But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, fear not:  for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.  When thou walkest through the fire, though shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.  For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior.  I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.”


Problem: In our world, man is selfish, seeks to fulfill his own desires, covets what his neighbor has and is quick to start quarrels/fights or risk division to get what he wants.  He would rather stand-alone then stand with others in pursuit of this.  Man blindly lives in hate, anger, resentment and seeks revenge for every perceived wrong.  Man holds onto all of this and refuses to forgive or be merciful.


Solution:  As a Christian we need to put God first, then others and learn to love our neighbor, as well as, show mercy to them whenever we have been mistreated or used.  Ephesians 4:31-32 brings the point home by stressing that we are to first let go of all bitterness, hate and thoughts of revenge and be merciful to those who hurt us.  When we learn to forgive others as 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 and Colossians 3:13 warn us, we can see how God in turn will forgive us of our sins as pointed out in Matthew 6:14-15 and Mark 11:25.


“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”


“But if any has caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part; that I may not overcharge you all.  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.  Wherefore I beseech that you would confirm your love toward him.  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.  To whom ye forgive anything I forgive also; for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”


 “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.”


 “For if we forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”


“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”


Yes, problems do arise, but our God is in control and He can overcome any problem.  The solution is to trust the Bible and what it teaches us.  Trust His word and trust what we as Christians know about the awesome powers of our God.


  1. The world changes and is getting darker every day, but our God is constant and unchanging as pointed out in Hebrews 13:8.  He is always with us and will never leave us!


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”


  1. Our world is bound by time, but God lives outside of space and time, and is therefore, not bound by it as we see in Isaiah 57:15. He is capable of anything.  He does not live by deadlines or man-made laws.  We are not his equal, so be humble before Him!


“For this is what the high and exalted One says, he who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”


  1. Man is made of flesh and will die one day, but God is a spirit that lives on forever as told in John 4:24. He is the Alpha and the Omega, He is our Creator – our Sovereign Lord!


“God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”


  1. Man faces temptation and most likely gives into it, but Jesus was tempted just like us, yet He never succumbed as we see in Hebrews 4:15-16.  He knew the outcome of every trial yet, He paid the ultimate price for us.  We need to sacrifice whatever the cost to ourselves may be as He sacrificed it all for us!


“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


In fact, Jesus knew before He came to earth, the suffering he would endure to free us from our sins and reconcile us to the Father.  He was rejected, persecuted, beaten, and crucified by the world.  He taught us how to respond to temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13.


“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”


Let’s face it the world can weigh us down.  It first shifted once sin entered and as a result, man has adapted and accepted the consequences of that sinful nature.  Man is capable of judging others without all the facts, of holding on to bitterness, past hurt, and memories, and of refusing to let bygones be bygones.  Man will ridicule or persecute those that do not meet his expectations or those who are different.  Man will boast about his own worth and at the same time devalue the worth of someone else.  Man will seek to avenge any wrong (whether perceived or assumed) done to him by getting even or inciting action to be taken, and man will stubbornly refuse to forgive the person or persons who harmed him.  Instead of living by God’s precepts and commands, man lives under the world’s climate and is easily influenced by it; thus, adapting to the worldview.


The Christian relies on a much different foundation – Jesus.  He is our compass, not the world.  We live for Him and for His glory and not for what the world claims to offer.  Do not center on the lies, whether they be lies we tell ourselves, lies that Satan tells us, or lies that the world believes in, but keep your eyes fixed squarely on Him.  When we do then we can see how He leads us and where He will lead us to.  He is the only path to life and He will lead us home.  Trust that and never forget all He has promised us.  God bless everyone.

Lying to Ourselves Part 4: Our Need to Be In Control

Man is indeed one strange animal of complexity.  We strive for the best and at the same time we naively believe we are the best.  We rely on our wisdom and what stems from this false perspective is what brings us down every time.  We are infallible, but deep down inside we feel that we are not.


Delusional?  Maybe to an extent, but I believe it is much deeper than that.  I believe that we are oppressed by our pride, defiance, rebellion and stubbornness.  This is what weighs us down, and if not addressed, this is what prevents us from living a life with purpose.  Let’s address each of these areas by defining what they are, how we respond and react when we face issues or conflicts, and how we should respond as Christians.


I begin with pride since everyone at some point struggles with this.  Pride is an inordinate self-esteem or conceit.  It triggers so many emotions within us.  First, it deceives us because it does not zero in on the real danger of pride, which is the fear of the fall.  Instead of facing that fear, we camouflage it and seek to protect our status as it is instead of striving to be better or aim higher.  Our focus is on the downside of pride because we fail to see what the upside could be.  It weakens us because it makes it hard for others to get close to us.  We fear becoming vulnerable because of what that would expose.  However, it is our vulnerability that strengthens us and shows that we are just like everyone else.


When we are prideful we respond by asserting our supposed superiority over others and believe that we are better than others.  We need to reach for the opposite and learn to be humble and accepting of everyone.  The prideful are not better but are the same as everyone else.


Our pride does damage as we see in Galatians 6:4 when we think of ourselves first, it does have consequences as we learn in Isaiah 2:12, goes against the very fiber of God and we are then subjected to his justice in James 4:6 and Proverbs 8:13, it brings us down in Proverbs 11:2 and warns us in Romans 12:16 to not be conceited.


“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”

“For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.”

“But he giveth more grace.  Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame; but with the lowly is wisdom.”

“Be of the same mind one toward another.  Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.  Be not wise in your own conceit.”


Instead we are advised to be humble as the church elect were told in Colossians 3:12, stressing again James 4:6 that we are to be dressed by His grace and not proud, and promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that if we submit and are humble, God will hear our prayers, forgive us and heal us.  However, obedience is the key to this.


“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”

“But he giveth more grace.  Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray,  and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Another issue that we must address is our defiance.  Defiance is an open resistance and we find ourselves being uncooperative.  We respond with anger or with sharp sarcastic biting comments.  Our defiance is a sin as James 4:17 points out, we discover in James 1:20 how unproductive anger is, and 2 Timothy 3:16 informs us that all scripture since it is the inspiration of God, benefits us by discipling us or reproofing/correcting us.


“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

“For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”


The opposite of defiance is cooperation.  When we desire to follow God faithfully, we must seek to work together for the better cause which is furthering His kingdom as the whole church elect.


The next issue is rebellion. Rebellion is an open resistance to authority.  Instead of getting along and respecting authority, we willfully choose to be vocal and openly disobedient to God’s will.  There are two examples of rebellion to drive this point home.  The first example is in 1 Samuel 15:23 when Saul disobeys the command of God and he suffers a devastating blow because of it, and the next  example is in Numbers 14:9 which shows us that when the Canaanites rebelled it hindered them from retaining their land; thus God promised the possession of the promised land to the Israelites instead, but with the caveat of them not showing fear towards the enemy (Canaanites).


“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”

“Only rebel ye not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us.  Their defense is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not.”


As previously stated, the remedy is that we need to be respectful to those in authority and seek means of peace which can be found when we choose to surrender our old self and become transformed by the hand of God.  Submission is a choice that we must make regardless of what the circumstances may lead you to believe as we read in James 4:7. In Psalm 46:10 we learn that God is in control and deserves to be honored and revered as our Sovereign Lord.  We are wisely advised in Proverbs 3:5-6 to trust His wisdom and obey even when we cannot discern what is going on or why.


“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

“Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”


Finally, the last issue is our stubbornness.  Being stubborn is a determination to not change our attitude or our position on something.  Stubbornness bears bad fruit such as making rash decisions and suffering consequences as a result.  We refuse to budge because we depend on our wisdom and not God’s.  We feel we have the power within to change on our own and we hate to leave the comfort zone that we are currently snuggled in or we choose to do whatever feels good.


Acts 7:51 proves our stubbornness when we resist the Holy Spirit as he prompts us, in 2 Timothy 4:3 we believe in our own wisdom and hear only what we want to hear, we ignore the warning in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and choose to do whatever we want, and we refuse to learn wisdom in Ephesians 5:15-18, but rely on our emotions instead (even though our emotions deceive us).


“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye.”

            “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.”

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”


We also naively think that we are in control and get offended whenever someone else tells us what to do or tries to define what is right for us.  In Isaiah 41:10 we see that God is always with us; thus a constant in our lives, in Psalm 46:10 God is exalted; thus in control over his creation, we learn in Philippians 4:6-7 to depend on God for everything, to pray and ask for what we need, and in Luke 12:22-26 we find no reason to be worried for Our Creator always provides and meets our needs.


“Fear thou not; for I am with thee, be not dismayed; for I am thy God, I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

 “Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

“And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow or reap; which neither have storehouse or barn; and God feedeth them.  How much more are ye better than the fowls?  And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?  If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?”


We become the fool when we discard the warning in Proverbs 28:26; thus, becoming impetuous in voicing our opinions as we see in Proverbs 18:2-3; 18:13 and Proverbs 29:11.


 “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

“A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.  When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.”

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

 “A fool uttereth all his mind; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”


The fool tends to make rash decisions and easily jumps to conclusions and speaks before seeking an answer. Out of this rashness comes shame and a rush to judgment as is verified in Proverbs 25:8 and John 7:24.


“Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame.”

“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”


Distraction is also related to foolishness when we tend to become so busy that we fail to hear God when He speaks to us. We set ourselves up to do busywork and miss whatever opportunity He sends us.  Opportunities are ways for us to continually serve Him (on both sides of heaven) as pointed out in 1 John 2:17, waiting to hear His voice means we should listen for it as restated in Psalm 46:10, and we are asked to faithfully wait and be patient in Psalm 37:7 for each opportunity that comes our way.


“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”


The opposite of stubborn is to be compliant and joyfully do what we are called to do.  We recognize that we need to work together to find a common ground and open ourselves up to other perspectives that may lead to viable solutions. Titus 2:12 and 2 Timothy 2:15 both show what we reap when we live rightly with God, as well as Romans 12:1-2 show us the proper way to manage our emotions and keep them in check.


“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”


When we can address these issues and gain a better perspective, only then can we find the hidden treasure underneath this.  God will always provide a way and has everything under His hand.  Jeremiah 29:11 reveals that He wants the best for us.


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”


When we can set our egos aside and center everything on and around God, we can find peace.  We have no need to be self-absorbed, or stubborn, or unwilling to change, but instead we can think of others and their needs, surrender everything we have to God, learn to love and live with one another and reap the benefits of His graciousness.  He knows us, He perceives all that we encounter, and He has a plan.  Trust it and trust that He is in control and relinquish our so-called independence.  Make that choice today, search for God and you will find Him.  Know Him and you will find calm and have peace of mind.  Grace is a gift He willingly extends to all of us.  Why would you turn this gift down and live under the pretense of having it all together on your own?  I, like everyone else, do not have it all together, but rather I have God and I know my life is in His hands and that is all I need.  Are you ready to have Him meet your needs today?


My final installment in this series will be how we adapt to the worldview despite what is going on around us today.  Until then, have a blessed day.

Lying to Ourselves Part 3: When Lies Can Undermine or Define Our Identity

How do you see yourself?  Do you see a confident individual or do you see an insecure person with so many doubts?  Are you alone and feel unworthy or are you one of the gang and find your value defined by being a member of the gang? Are you gullible and tend to follow others easily or are you capable of taking an initiative and stand on your own two feet?  Are you tired of being scrutinized or ostracized because you are unique or different? It is how we see ourselves that tells us who we are, but to see ourselves more clearly, we need to first change our mindset.  We need to stop believing the lies, the put-downs, the phony set of standards that we measure ourselves against one another.  We need to stop making excuses and start searching for the truth.  Are you willing to take a chance and a leap of faith?  Come along with me today to explore past actions that put us on the wrong path and lead nowhere, and then see how to veer off that path and seek a new path that will not only redefine who we are, but will lead to contentment and peace as we endure the journey ahead.


Before we can begin to see the truth, we must confront the lies.  Today’s blog is centered about our view on identity and how it can undermine; thus, affect us.  We may be under society’s thumb, seeking their approval, living or trying to attain their set of standards, but ultimately, we are the ones who choose what to believe.  When we constantly take in negative information and process it, we begin to have a negative viewpoint.  That negative visual is unhealthy and can cause more damage than what we visibily see.  It eats away at our innermost thoughts and we are at risk of depression, a loss of mental balance, and isolation.  However, if we filter the negative and replace it with the positive feedback whether verbal or nonverbal cues, we can change our perception; thus, allowing us to become more positive and productive in life.


Externally, we have vast experiences to draw from that become examples that tend to mislead us daily.  We seek out the perfect look, the best personality, the wittiest comments and try to become the “everything appears to be going well” individual.  We are misled because we see exterior only and have no idea of the demons or vices the person that we use as a role model or measuring stick, is going through on the inside.  We need to go past the surface and explore what lies underneath.


We all have an inner voice issuing comments non-stop at us.  Most of our comments are either highly inflated self-praising or negative.  Both are false images of who we are and lead us down a wrong path.  The negative reflects comments such as:  you are not pretty, you are worthless, and those that are geared to have us questioning ourselves such as:  Who told you that you were smart, are the ones that do the most damage.  There is a force working and lurking in the background that magnifies this to be much worse than it is.  The perpetrator is the devil who constantly lies to us.  His goal is to attack our defenses and get us to be non-productive, become insecure, carry and conceal bitterness, hate and anger, and to do damage to not only ourselves but others.  Today I want to focus on the individual going through this, not the mass public.


I am asking my reader to take a moment, sit down and write what you think of yourself.  Be honest and be brutal because your enemy is brutal.  Your enemy will always have a negative description of your traits or attributes.  Set the list down once completed, in front of you and let’s start off by addressing some key issues:  your identity, your weaknesses, your value and worth; all of which make up your self-esteem.  This negativity is the foundation of why you would rather justify making excuses which allow you to avoid making an attitude or lifestyle change.  So, take a deep breath, let it out and let’s move on.


Our first misconception is that we feel worthless which results in our lack of self-esteem.  That is a lie. This is an excuse that we have hung on to for a long time and we use it to justify why we don’t come to Christ when we are called.  We start off by saying if He only knew what I have done.  First, He does, but He still wants you and frankly, we all can start our story off that way. The Bible tells us the truth that all of us have a value according to God.  Let’s look at Matthew 10:31 to see that value, Ephesians 2:13 to realize that we are all bought at a price (Would God purchase something of no value?), and Psalm 139:13-14 and again, I want to re-emphasize  Matthew 10:31 to attest that we are each unique and a priceless masterpiece in God’s eyes.  God will never demean you or talk negatively about you unlike Satan.  He wants the best for you, is there for you, and will refine you to achieve this.  He will convict you of your sin and He will go the extra mile to refine you by correcting you.  Please do not confuse conviction and correction with negative connotations.  He convicts us to open our eyes to our sin, that can lead to repenting of our sin.  He corrects us to remove our bad behaviors, not to demean us, but to bring us to the fullness that He has previously designed each of us to be.


 “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

“For thou hast possessed my reins:  thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:  marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

 “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”


Next, is the notion of comparing ourselves to someone else.  In general, many people here use someone else as a measuring stick by which they fail to meet the perceived expectation.  We set ourselves up for failure because we assume we all need to meet the same standards.  What we need to realize is that we all have challenges, and trials and experiences that take us down different paths.  We are not all cut from the same cloth and were never meant to be the same as one another.  It is our differences that define us in His eyes.  He has a specific purpose for each of us, so it would be impossible to live up to man’s standards/expectations when each of our purposes differ for a reason; thus, we need to solely devote ourselves to God’s standards.  We fail for many reasons in this area.  The first is our lack of wisdom as pointed out in 2 Corinthians 10:12. Next, we need to identify who it is we follow:  our flesh/man or God as we learn in Galatians 1:10.  In Philippians 2:3 we see that we are to humble ourselves first; thus, honoring God, so that we then can encourage others in their walk. We next see that our focus has to be on God and His calling for us, not on how or what others are being called to, as stated in 2 Timothy 2:15.  Finally, in Romans 12:4-8 we learn that we all work together as the hands and feet when we use the spiritual gifts and talents specifically crafted for us, and bestowed to us.


“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that command themselves, but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”

 “For do I now persuade men or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of God.”

 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

“For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophecy according to the propitiation of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth,  on exhortation; he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that shewth mercy, with cheerfulness.”


When we believe the lie that we must all be the same or measure the same, we fail to see that all of us fall short.  Yes, all of us fail to live up to God’s standard as we see in Romans 3:23.  We all are sinners and because we are sinners, we will never measure up.


“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”


But do not despair because we have been gifted by His grace when He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay our debt as sinners.  Just when the devil tries to point out our flaws and says we are nothing and not worthy, grace enters and saves us.  It is our refreshment and restoration and we find in Ephesians 2:4-9 and 2 Corinthians 12:9 that this grace provides us the needed strength to do His will.


 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace we are saved;) and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 “And He said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


As we realize that we are His masterpiece and through His grace we can accomplish great things for our Lord, the devil takes another swipe at us and says we cannot succeed and will never be able to do what is asked of us.  We do not have the necessary skillset required.  This is another lie, so please do not believe it.  Whenever God calls you to do something He will always equip you with the needed skills, provisions and words to use.  He will never leave you hanging or twisting in the wind.  Romans 8:28 supports this, and Philippians 1:6 guarantees this.  Let go of the fear and do what He asks of you.  Don’t run away from, but rather run towards Him and see how He is working through you to accomplish His will.


 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”

 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”


Another issue that we give as justification as to why we do not run with the opportunities He provides us is that we say we do not know His will.  It is here that we need to rely on His word to not only learn His will, but the instructions of how to obey His will.  This beautiful instruction manual provides us everything we need to know to navigate throughout our lives.  It says who God is, why He created us, why He sent His son to save us, and how we can live with Christ indwelling in us; thus, for Christ.  In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 is His purpose for all mankind, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 gives us our reason to be grateful and praise Him for such provisions, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust Him completely, and finally, in Hebrews 13:36 reveals to us the promise of what is to come after we have obediently followed Him and have done His will.


 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

 “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”


Remember Satan’s job is to deceive us and get us so discouraged that we forgo the will of God and set our minds on the world and its problems instead.  Do not succumb to that line of reasoning.  Take a stand today, pick up God’s word and see for yourself that you matter to Him, He has value in you, He loves you and sent His Son to die for you.  That is a very powerful statement of His love for you.  Search for Him and then develop a personal relationship with Him.  Make an investment, discard the lies and excuses and find peace and hope instead.  Next time I will take a closer look at the lie we mistakenly believe of our own strength and wisdom.  It is called pride and it tries to convince us that we are in control of our lives and that we do not need to call on God.  Ponder on that and I hope that the message today was of help to anyone seeking to let go of the excuses and let God into their life.  God Bless!

Lying to Ourselves – Part 2 Identifying the Enemy

Last time in Part One we looked at how one can justify why they choose to lie.  This time we will look at the lies we are told about ourselves and tend to believe.  Why is it that we always tend to believe the worst about ourselves or the opinions that others have of us and fail to believe the truth when it is staring us in the face?  We are blinded and need to understand not only who the enemy is, but how to identify the enemy and his tactics to overtake us or control us.  Today’s blog will be zeroing in on this and then further down the road the series will continue with major lies we allow ourselves to believe and how we can combat them and move on.


My friend, you and I are in trouble.  Daily we are hounded and threatened by the enemy whose objective is to take control over us and keep us apart from God.  I say daily because this constant attack will not end until either he wins, or we die.  Sounds discouraging right?  It does not have to be if we are aware of this and prepared to fight for our souls.


So, who is the enemy?  It is the devil the arch-enemy of God.  He uses whatever means is necessary to either distract, discourage, divide and then conquer his prey.  We learned how manipulative he was in the Garden of Eden; thus, sin became a part of our world.  We are told how he tried to convince Jesus through temptation, to come and worship him instead of God.  He is crafty, crooked and determined to gather as many souls for his dominion as possible.


Throughout the bible we are given prime examples of his lack of character and his wiles used to cleverly undermine us.  Many sadly, give in to his reign of terror and faithfully follow him.  Let’s look at a few verses that illustrate who the devil is, his desire or purpose, his tactics used to thwart us and how we open the door and let him in; thus, bowing to his will and not God’s.


In John 10:10 Jesus compares the devil to a thief when He states:


“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”


In 1 Peter 5:8-9 a clearer picture of the devil is depicted as an adversary and we are given the proper way to respond.


            “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”


Several times the devil is compared to an animal or other creatures in the Bible.  For example, John 10:12 compares him to a wolf, we just saw previously in 1 Peter 5:8 that he is also compared to a roaring lion, in Revelation 12:9 he is compared to a dragon and of course in Genesis 3:1 he is compared to a serpent.


John 10:12

“But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep.”


1 Peter 5:8

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”


Revelation 12:9

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”


Genesis 3:1

            “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God has made.  And he said unto the woman ‘Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’”


Now that we can clearly see who the enemy is we need to next address the purpose or the intent of the devil.  Everyone knows when you are facing an enemy there is always a reason for the battle.  The devil is strategic, and cunning and we are the impressionable sheep he is after.  The devil wants you on his team.  Once again, I state he is the enemy of God; thus, he desires to obtain the souls of all men and make his team “winnable” or successful to do his will – his way.  Christians know the outcome and that the devil has limitations – he is on a short leash; however, that does not deter him from taking as many souls as he can with him.  He needs a solid plan to do this.  What is the bait you may be wondering?  It is our flesh – our desires and he zeroes in on this through the art of temptation.  Hitting us where it hurts and causes the most damage.  He knows our weaknesses and plans to attack accordingly.  There is no coincidence – everything is strategically planned for this attack.  I did mention that he is cunning!


In Proverbs we learn who is wise and who is deemed a fool.  A fool is someone who refuses to hear and adhere to God’s word.  A fool lacks sense and discernment and is set in his ways and due to his pride, leaves the door wide open for the devil to slither in and overtake him.  Stop for a second and really examine where you are and who you are.  Are you playing the part of the fool?  Are you at risk of being devoured?



Does Isaiah 32:6 describe you and your behavior?


“For the vile person will speak villainy, and his heart will work iniquity, to practice hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.”


If so, not only are you are at risk of being a welcome mat for the devil and his work, but you are great fodder for whatever tactics he employs to distract or overtake you.  Every time we refuse to hear God’s call and decide to live life our own way, we make his job so much easier.  We become his and follow his leadership. Remember he is not working alone.  He has many followers and princes of principalities behind him.  Let’s examine a few, shall we?


In John 8:44 followers are identified as willing participants, and Ephesians 6:12 goes as far as giving us the details on who is part of the enemy’s legion.  He is an enemy who does not play fair and one who fights against and not for us.


“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.”


            “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”


He has a full arsenal of tactics that he will throw at us to get us to come to him and walk away from, or reject, God.  Let us look at a few tactics he uses.

  • He deceives us and convinces us to do what is wrong and justify it as right. Lying for example, is wrong, but we justify this tactic and use it with said good intentions (re: white lie to avoid hurting someone) or commit a wrong act to satisfy our desires (re: viciously slander someone whom we feel is inferior to us, we are envious of, or threatens our personal agenda).
  • He will distract us or wear us down. Right now, currently in history we have never been more divisive.  This is where he wants us to be.  When he can keep us focused on the divisive issues and away from God’s word, he is successful, and we fall further down the rabbit hole.
  • He uses our trials to discourage us and tries to sway us to disavow God and His word.
  • He uses our emotions against us and anger is one of his most effective tools used to achieve this.
  • He leads us to believe that the blame lies on the shoulder of a loved one and not on the real culprit which is him.
  • He plans and schemes.
  • He uses false prophets to mislead people into believing false doctrine.


Every time we blame someone else for our problems or situations, every word uttered in anger fuels his fight to overtake us.  Every proud thought or action he applauds.  Upon realizing that we are susceptible, it should lead us to investigate why we are giving him our allegiance, and why we are responding to his tactics. We respond whenever we seek to meet our own individual needs or fulfill our desires and overlook others in return.  We respond in bouts of anger or blame.  The evidence to support this is in Romans 2:1, Proverbs 21:2 and we are warned in Galatians 5:19-21.  We must stop shirking responsibility and address our actions.


 “Therefore, thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”  


“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but the Lord pondereth the hearts.”


“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”



So, what can we do about this?  The answer is found in James 4:7 telling us to submit to God, 1 Peter 5:8 advises us to be sober and diligent, and Ephesians 4:2 suggests that we resolve and mend broken relationships, stemmed from anger, quickly.


            “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”


            “Be sober, be vigilant…”


            “Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”


This can be done if we are strong, stand united and are prepared to fight back.  Finally, follow the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 16:20.


            “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.”


Stand tall, do not give up and lean on God.  He will carry you through this battle.  Next time I would like to look more closely at some of the lies the devil tries to get us to believe and how we view ourselves through the lens of his eyes.  Until then, take care and God Bless!


Lying to Ourselves Part One

Have you ever told a lie, or have you ever found yourself justifying a lie?  Was it a last-ditch attempt to save your bottom or was it thought to be the easier road to take?  Some people can slide right into a lie with such ease and have an answer for everything.  Others believe that the little white lie occasionally told to spare someone’s feelings is okay, but is it?  Why is honesty so difficult, but lying so easy to do?  Isn’t the fact that you have now created a lie and having to maintain it with consistent lies much harder in the long run?  Does it get you any further down the road or is it short-lived due to lack of maintenance (keeping it believable to others) of the lie or because you were caught in the lie?  Honesty is quoted as being the best policy, but society has turned that on its ear by seeking to deceive instead.


It is not always you who is the liar.  It can be a family member in denial, it could be someone you trust posing as a friend, it could be an ad that wants to target a specific audience they know will accept the bait dangling in front of them or it could be an endless list of faceless people who choose to deceive rather than speak the truth.  Our society today seems to want the lie to thrive.  Look at all the promises politicians make and never keep.  Advertisers again follow the same logic to lure someone in.  Deceit is all around us and most have let it settle in only to find themselves accepting and welcoming it.


As a Christian we know that lying is wrong and that there will always be repercussions when we choose to lie.  These can come swiftly or later, but they will come.  One of the ten commandments is Thou shalt not bear false witness, so it is clear where God stands on this issue.  However, just in case it still does not register with you let’s look at a few different verses in the Bible to support why lying is wrong.


First, lying is a trait that God disapproves of and hates.  We see evidence of this in Proverbs 6:16-19.

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”


Lying may seem profitable, but eventually the lie is found out.  Luke 8:17 can attest to this.

“For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.”


Now we know from Genesis (1:26-31) that in the beginning the earth and heavens were formed, man was created in God’s own image and it pleased the Lord.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air and over every living things that moves on the earth.””


Life was perfect until a serpent entered the picture and caused the great fall for Adam and Eve.  In Genesis 2:8-9 we see the before picture of what life was meant to be like in the garden.

“The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.  And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.  The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”


However, once sin entered the scene things took a turn for the worse.  The world was now fallen and the way into the garden was now forbidden as we learn in Genesis 3:24.

“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”


In short, lying has thrived since then and it is only getting worse.  However, the players roles have shifted.  In this world we are subjected to co-existing with those who lie, but the ringleader behind all of this is the devil himself, Satan.  He and his dominion are real threats and do great damage to us.  He is called the father of lies in John 8:44.

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”


Every day we are told lies that we believe to be the truth. Lies that tell us we are failures, worthless, or lies that convince us to never let go of our past disappointments and hurt. Some realize that these are lies, while others cling to and embrace them; thus, giving all control to the wiles of Satan.


We need to let it go and let God lead us. He is in control and only wants the best for us. He loves us unconditionally and promises us that there is no condemnation if we come to Him. Trust Him and His plan. He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. Satan will not tell you that. God will never call you a loser or unacceptable.  Yes, He will through the Holy Spirit, convict you of your sins to prompt you to repent/change, but He will not degrade you or devalue you. He will correct and discipline you, but anyone who loves you that much would do the same. His plans for you are good as stated in Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


God’s gift of grace is for everyone to hear about and then accept.  So, stop believing the lies and surrender it all to God while we are in His grace period. None of us know when grace will end and the offer to come to Him expires.


You may be asking yourself how do I break the hold Satan has over me?  It all begins with a cry for help.  You need to call out to God, get down on your knees and begin to pray. He will hear you and answer you.  A few verses come to mind about His response.  These are verses of hope and promises.  Let’s look at Isaiah 59:2, Psalms 66:17-20; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 Peter 5:7; and James 5:16 to see what the word says.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”


“I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me; but verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me.”


“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”


“Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.”


“Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”


He does hear the prayer of a sincere heart asking for forgiveness, so please do not be misled.  Do not believe the lies, but cling to Jesus as your buoy and hold on.  First, you must begin the journey by searching for Him.  You can start by getting connected with a church and read His Word. Learn who He is and what He has done for us. Trust Him and His plan. Hear the truth and let it sink in and then rejoice. We have reason to celebrate because of His love and mercy and grace. Never forget that gift. He doesn’t see failures or unworthiness when He looks at you, He shines with love for you. Satan sees failure not God. Satan distracts, but God points you to the truth. Where do you want to stand and who do you want to stand with you? God or Satan? You have a free will to make this choice. Will you take the next step and suspend your fear to find this precious gift?  I truly hope so.  Next blog will further explore the lies we tend to believe about ourselves or tell ourselves to avoid taking this step.  Until then, take care and God Bless!

Discernment Part 2: How Will I Respond?

Last time we explored how important it is to utilize discernment when we see open doors / opportunities to pursue.  Today I want to look at how we are to respond to these open doors and why it is so important that we do so.


A lot of my readers may be a little too young to remember the game show called “Let’s Make A Deal”.  In the game there are doors to choose from, and behind each door is a prize.  All you need to do is decide which one you would like to open.  The operative here is that you get to choose.  Now apply that to this series and see how you would respond.  You have no idea what the door will reveal, or once it is revealed how to proceed further, yet you are curious to find out.  Do you take a leap of faith, catch your breath and then open the door and walk through or are you afraid of what may be behind the door?  It may require you to step outside of your comfort zone or put you into a situation in which you have no control.  It may ask more of you than you are willing to give.  How do you handle it and how do you respond?


First, I want to assure you that God will never send you to a place without equipping you with the ability to do His will.  He is a caring God and He has promised that He is always standing beside us and that He will always provide us with what we need.  We can look to Joshua 1:9 and see that God is always with us and then we can look at 2 Corinthians 9:8 to see that He always provides all our needs.  These are His promises and He keeps His word.


Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”


I don’t know about you, but I hold on to these promises and it provides me a peace of mind and it serves as a desire to continue to do His will without fear or doubt.  You might be saying that is all good, but I do not have the skillset needed to do this request.  Yes, you do!  He would never call you to do something and not give you the tools needed to do it.  All of us have special gifts that serve as our purpose to do His will.  We just need to realize what those gifts are and to use them the way that He intended us to use them.  Romans12:6-8 explains the gifts we have.


Romans 12:6-8 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:  if prophesy, let us prophesy in  proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”


Once we can recognize our gifts we need to expound on them and use them to achieve whatever opportunity He provides.  Don’t doubt the gift nor refuse to use it for His will.  He can take a weak character trait and make it a strong tool in His hand for His purpose.  He is in control and it is His plan to follow, so submit and do so.  Hebrews 13:21, Ephesians 4:12 and Philippians 4:19 assures us that He will equip us for whatever purpose He has deemed for us.  Along with this are some great biblical examples of people who faced uncertainty or doubt when called by God. We learn in Exodus 4:10-12 God’s response to Moses’ fear, in Judges 6:15-16 He calmed Gideon’s doubts about his ability, and in Jeremiah 1:9 He calls the young and unsure prophet Jeremiah and proclaims how He will instill in him the words to do His will.


Hebrews 13:21 “Make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever.  Amen.”

Ephesians 4:12 “For the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God shall supply your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.”

Exodus 4:10-12 “Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before or since You have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.’  So, the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth?  Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?  Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’”

Judges 6:15-16 “’Pardon me my Lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel?  My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’  The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.’”

Jeremiah 1:9 “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.’”


Once we realize our gifts, and we rely on the skills He provides us, our next step is to open the door and walk through it.  A new set of questions emerge though, don’t they?  What if I am not ready?  What if I make a commitment that would take up too much of my time or take me away from my comfortable life?  I asked to be used but don’t I get to decide what to do to serve you?  What if I do this and I fail or what if I open the wrong door?


We need to remember we are here to serve God’s will and not our own desires.  He presents the open door for a reason.  He knows what is best for you as stated in Jeremiah 29:11, so you should trust that.


Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  


We need to keep in mind that all we do is for His glory.  It doesn’t matter if it makes us uncomfortable, or if we need to change our priorities, and we do not get to choose or cherry pick what we are to do.  He is our Creator, our Sovereign Lord and this is His will.  We are to be obedient and just walk on faith.  Regarding the fear of failing, the only way we can fail is to refuse to do what He asks of us.  We must walk blindly and do whatever is presented to us.  We may never know the result or the impact that it made, but the mere act of obedience to Him is our success story.  It is out of love and reverence to Him that we respond and act on the task at hand.  Regarding the wrong door reasoning, once again we need to first use discernment and test the door to see if it matches with scripture, if it does then there is no wrong door.  The only time we enter wrong doors is when we just act on the opportunity and fait to take it to God first and see if it indeed came from Him.  The devil can tempt us with doors as well, so please do not forget that.


I understand that the first step is always the most nerve-wracking and the scariest, but once you are determined to be obedient and take that first step, the road becomes easier to continue to walk down.  Who knows where it will lead or who you may encounter, but isn’t it worth it to have the privilege of serving Him?  Toss the fear and the excuses aside and open the door (after confirmation from God) when it appears.  A true Christ follower will take this untraveled route and trust in Him even when we do not understand how it will all come together or work out.  Lean on Proverbs 3:5-6 throughout the journey.


Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”


Walk on in faith and stay on the path that He has laid out in front of you.  One day you will look back and count your blessings that He chose you to serve His purpose.  When we get to meet Him on that great day it will be just as foretold in Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant!”.  Oh, what joy it will be to hear those words and what joy that day will bring!  May God Bless you and your journey.

Discernment: How Will I Know? Part One

Have you ever wondered about the open doors or opportunities that present itself in your life?  Are you maybe looking back and thinking regretfully how you missed your chance at something?  Do you feel that you are a little unsure if you are reading the signs or getting the message correctly?  I have been there done that and yes, it is frustrating, but worth the challenge it presents in finding out what that opportunity is and where it can lead.


We all could benefit from a little discernment and having it makes things a little easier when making tough decisions to act on before we move forward.  The Bible has a lot to say about this matter as well and we will explore it in just a bit, but let’s get a better understanding of the word first.


Discernment is the ability to be able to grasp or comprehend something, or to gain a better understanding of a situation.  We use discernment to make wise decisions or choices to utilize better judgment. It is a keen perception that many fail to make the most of, and few take advantage of the benefits, that come from discernment.


Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are told about two different type of men:  the fool and the wise man.  The fool refuses to be discerning; thus, giving into his folly by his poor judgment.  The wise man uses perception to pause and think first before jumping into something he is ill-prepared to handle.  Where do you fall?  Let’s explore a few profound bible verses and see, shall we?  Proverbs has really impacted my life.  I have seen my portrait from it’s wisdom and I have found myself to be a fool more often than not.  But then again most of my foolishness happened before I started a relationship with Jesus.  I want to shed light on that so maybe you can be a step ahead of where I was and not make the poor decisions I did repeatedly.  Proverbs 15:21 aptly hits the nail on the head by stating how important it is to have common sense.


Proverbs 15:21  “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.” 


Let’s take a step back for a moment.  Why is discernment important and why is it part of the purpose of mankind?  Proverbs clearly defines that it is important for man to coexist and honor God by having a strong relationship with our Creator. Look at Proverbs 1:2-6 and see the purpose of our understanding God’s handbook on how to live; thus, addressing this for yourself.  Then take a further look and meditate on Proverbs 1:7 which instructs us on how to accomplish this purpose.


Proverbs 1:2-6 “ For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words and insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and letting the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.”


Proverbs 1:7  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”


Man has an ego problem.  Man feels he has the wisdom to resolve any issue on his own.  Man believes he has mastered the necessary skill of understanding to navigate himself throughout life.  Man takes the credit for this, and does not acknowledge God; thus, he rebels.  When we can see God in and around us, we can lean in to Him and rely on His wisdom and understanding.  It will guide us.  It will help us see past the trees of sinful deceit and see the forest (sinful world) as it truly is.  We must submit to Him and His power, not the other way around.  In Proverbs 2:1-15 we learn about that there is an advantage when we seek wisdom and what we gain if we follow His instructions.


Proverbs 2:1-15  “My son,  if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—for every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.  Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.”


When I read this passage, I get confirmation and feel great assurance that I am walking the way He wants me to walk.  I let my ego, my rebellious nature, fall by the wayside and I submit fully to Him. Is it easy?  No, but it is worth it.  Is it costly?  Yes, but most things of value are going to cost you one way or another.  In Proverbs 4:1-2 and 7, we learn wisdom must be sought no matter the cost, if we want to maintain His instructions for a godly life.  It all begins with wisdom.


Proverbs 4:1-2; 7  “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.  I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching…the beginning of wisdom is this:  Get wisdom.  Though it cost all that you have, get understanding.”


Wisdom and understanding (discernment) go hand in hand.  One needs to pursue the first to be able to obtain the second.  All we need to do is ask for it and then receive it as pointed out in James 1:5.


James 1:5  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraidth not; and it shall be given him.” 


Proverbs tells us what discernment is and why it is important to obtain or gain it, but we now need to view discernment as an act of obedience and a requirement of serving God.  I want to support this further by showing how important this requirement is and how it demonstrates obedience and that placing all our trust in God is of the utmost highest priority.  Let’s look at the following verses:  Philippians 1:9-10, Hosea 14:9, Hebrews 5:14 and Hebrews 4:12.  All of these verses are connected to the theme of why discernment is needed and should be applied.


Philippians 1:9-10  “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ.”


Hosea 14:9  “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them for the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”


Hebrews 5:14  “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”


Hebrews 4:12  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


When we can obtain wisdom and gain understanding, then we can apply it to the open doors or opportunities that appear in our lives at specific times.  We need to use discernment to test and see who is presenting this opportunity to us.  Is it God or is it Satan?  These last three verses are a litmus test for us to use to measure and determine where the opportunity is coming from. It will tell us whether we walk through the open door or walk past the open door.  Let’s look at the following verses in 1 John 4:1, Romans 12:2 and 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and see how to test these open doors.


1 John 4:1  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”


Romans 12:2  “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”


1 Thessalonians 5:21  “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”


Now that we know what discernment is, how important it is to obtain, and why we need to utilize it to progress further with our opportunities, we next will see how the application if used correctly, can bring and offer, many blessings into our lives and those we are meant to touch.  Part 2 will delve deeper into this.  I hope this helps someone get the clarity they seek. Have a great day and God bless!

Choose Love Every time

Have you ever been through a test and wonder if you failed or passed it?  Have you ever been pushed to the limit and wonder how to let it go so you can move on?   Have you ever been exasperated and feel the need to scream just to vent?  Well, I have been there and in fact, I am being tested in this area again.   Sometimes we must keep taking a test repeatedly because either we didn’t successfully pass it the first time, or an issue keeps arising that tests your strength in certain areas, so you can be refined.


There is an answer to passing this test.  The answer is to love no matter what the situation is or whomever is causing friction in your life.  However, this must be a conscious and deliberate choice.  Love should always be a continuous action regardless.  It should not be biased or applied to only family and close friends.  We are commanded to love everyone and treat them as we would like to be treated.


I get it.  It is hard.  It can be so frustrating to love someone who verbally attacks you when you offer to help, only to refuse that help because they are determined to stay in their current circumstances.  It is unbearable to be around someone who is a constant negative Nellie who after asking for advice, refuses to take it because it is not what they wanted to hear.  It is hard to love when someone loves to boast and sing God’s praises when things are going well, but as soon as the tide turns they become unwilling to submit to God, trust in Him, or give Him the respect He is owed.  However, despite all of this we see in Luke 6:27-31, 35 and Matthew 5:43-48, that Jesus commands us to live out love regardless.


Luke 6:27-31  “But to you who are listening I say:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on the cheek, turn to them the other also.  If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.”


Luke 6:35  “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.”


Matthew 5:43-48  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”


We are offered guidance and wise wisdom in Romans 12:20-21 as we learn how to treat those who are our enemies or those who follow a different belief system.


Romans 12:20-21  “On the contrary:  If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”


Doing all of this can be hard to wrap your mind around.  It seems like we are rewarding those who hurt us, slander our name, or just plain do not like us, but we are not rewarding anyone.  We are being obedient to God’s command not to the world point of view.  We are asked to stand out and be the light Jesus wants us to be.  We cannot follow His example if we refuse to walk in His footsteps.


Instead we keep it all bottled up inside and let the hatred or anger fester.  It grows too quickly and if not tended to, can start to damage our viewpoint on our own life or life in general.  Hatred should never have a place in our lives.  It is futile, and it damages us the most, not the people who hate us or persecute us for offering to help or share our beliefs.  In Proverbs 10:12 we are fed much wisdom regarding hate and its remedy.


Proverbs 10:12  “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.” 


Hate breeds more hate.  We become discontent, we tend to argue more, we refuse to listen as a result and become more distant to others.  We pigeon-hole ourselves into a corner when we do this.  We become the very thing we previously tried to get others to let go of.


When we refuse to give in to hatred or anger we are setting a new standard.  Jesus never expressed hate and yet He was able to get His point across.  Why?  He used a gentle word and showed love and compassion to all of us whether in times of adversity or during our smallest to greatest trials.  He reached out in love and heard our pleas for help.  He stood (and still does) by us during the storm and long after it had passed.  His love was pure and unconditional.  It remained; thus, allowing us to gain strength by the power of that love.


Hold on to love and let everything else drop away.  Hear the cries of those calling out during their hardest hours, be patient and willing to listen without judgment.  Offer advice when needed knowing fully that it may not be received.  Be encouraging, yet do not be afraid to warn when another Christian brother or sister is backsliding.


Backsliding begins when a believer stops praying or reading The Word, stops being faithful/obedient to God, and decides to live in their sinful nature and go their own way instead.  They become discouraged and look to the world for answers instead of taking it all to God and submitting to His will.  Matthew 26:41 warns us how vital it is that we pray continuously to God and where failing to do so can lead us and Colossians 4:2 stresses the power of prayer.


Matthew 26:41  “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”


Colossians 4:2  “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”


Mankind does turn away from God and we become determined to resolve our own problems with human wisdom, not God’s wisdom.  Isaiah 59:12-13 and Jeremiah 2:19 state the consequences when we backslide and forgo God.


Isaiah 59:12-13  “For our offences are many in your sight, and our sins testify against us.  Our offences are ever with us, and we acknowledge our iniquities:  rebellion and treachery against the Lord, turning our backs on our God, inciting revolt and oppression, uttering lies our hearts have conceived.”


Jeremiah 2:19  “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you.  Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me, declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”


God can send us a storm to warn us of our straying and that we need to get back on track.  Jonah was swallowed by a whale, Israel suffered a plague and David lost a child when he slept with Bathsheba.  All of these are prime examples of how a storm can quickly rise if we choose to be disobedient.  What we need to keep in mind is to be thankful all the time.  When things are prosperous we become comfortable and overconfident; thus, tending to stray from God and go our own way.  However, we call on Him whenever we experience adversity.  God should be acknowledged all the time, do not dishonor Him or downplay His glory by coming to Him only during your roughest patches.  The good news is that God allows us the opportunity to repent when we backslide and promises to restore us if we do as He promises us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Hosea 14:4.


2 Chronicles7:14  “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”


Hosea 14:4  “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely:  for mine anger is turned away from him.” 


Sometimes the problem is not backsliding, but rather the person suffering through trials are not truly Christians.  They never repented or were never transformed by the Word.  They may lead themselves to believe they are, but if there is no change or any fruit of their works, then they may have never been saved.  In 1 John 1:9 we see how important it is to confess our sins and come to Him; whereas 1 John 3:8-9 shows us that our refusal to repent or to continue in our sin is not a characteristic trait of a true Christian.  A Christian who accepts God is born again and is affected by his sin – convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent and make it right with God.


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.”


1 John 3:8-9 “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.  No on born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”


What I have learned from all of this is that we are to help one another and meet the needs of those in trouble. To try to warn Christians who have strayed, and then get them back on the right path once again.  We are to warn gently but firmly and not to enable them if they refuse to accept the wisdom offered.  Our job is to warn despite the risk of possibly losing a friendship or creating an irreparable distance with a loved one.  Their responsibility is to decide if they want to accept the advice given or refuse to change their behavior.  It is the foundation built on love that runs through all of this.  We want to treat every one the way we expect to be treated, but we need to be obedient to God and honest to those we are trying to help.  Never stop loving them and always keep them in prayer for the chance that their allotted time to come to Him happens and is not turned down when offered.  Salvation is a gift – a gift that through God’s grace we are offered.  We did not earn it, nor do we deserve it, yet there it is ready for us to accept.  Please let Him into your hearts today, submit fully to Him and place all your trust in Him.  Give Him your burdens, then let them go.  Live as He wanted us to live.  Be patient, show compassion, be hospitable, merciful and forgiving.  Love above all of this.  Together we can work it out, we can bear with one another and we can all reap the joy of having an Almighty God in our lives.  God bless!

A Little Bit Right and A Little Bit Wrong

I was watching a fight break out the other day and it was eye-opening, as well as, humbling.  Both sides were acting immature, fighting tooth and nail, and both sides were missing the point.


What they had in common was a self-imposed vision of who they thought they were and who they viewed the enemy to be.  However, neither side could see their own flaws, but could only focus on the flaws of the opposition.  A dangerous miscalculation!


So what side won? You may be asking this question at this very moment.  The answer is staring us right in the face – obviously neither side.  Yet, both sides would rather work against one another instead of learning how to work together.  I do not know about you, but this deeply saddens me.  We live in a society that tries to aim so high to be sophisticated, but never reaches that goal because we fail to get past the elementary stage of our lives.  In short, we refuse to let someone else win and we refuse to admit the opposition is making a valid point.  Our egos are getting in the way and neither side wants to move aside and welcome another viewpoint.


I am frustrated by this because we are working too hard to be divided and not hard enough to be united.  Peace may never come because of our inability to listen to our opposition, think clearly, speak slowly, and apply wisdom generously.  Because of our failure to do this, both sides are wrong in their actions and both sides make valid points.  In other words, both sides are wrong and both sides are right.  As I write this blog a song by the Monkees is playing in my mind called “I’m a Little Bit Wrong and You’re a Little Bit Right” that hits the nail on the proverbial head.


As Christians and as anyone who desires to live in peace with his or her fellow man, we need to outline a few things:  First, we are commanded in the great book of God’s Word to put God first.  I repeat:  first, not last and not off to the side.  Our next great commandment is well stated in John 13:34. Jesus instructs us when He states that “A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  He did not tell us to love only those who share the same beliefs as we do, but to love everyone.  No one should be left out!


He further backs this up by repeating this in a more defining way.  He zeroes in on who to love in Luke 6:27-28.  “But to you who are listening I say:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”  I believe this command fully covers everyone – no excuses!


It was God who taught us love not the other way around.  It was Jesus who told us in 1 Corinthians 16:14 that we must “do everything in love.”  As this command is often repeated throughout the New Testament, it should underline or stress how strongly God asks us to follow it.


However, love is a choice – an action.  Your obedience matters and your reluctance to obey (failure to act) this command is a choice as well.  In Romans 12:9-11 we learn what love looks like: “Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”  After all we are called to act, to stand out and up for the right cause.  It is not just an honor but a blessing to do so as Matthew 5:9 points out.  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”


Love is the root that makes relationships grow.  It makes negotiations possible.  It allows both sides to reason an issue out and find the most beneficial and viable solution to the said problem.  It is a willingness to compromise and apply a “give and take” mentality to form an agreement.  I am not saying to bend God’s Word to fit your argument.  His word stands above man-made laws and we must honor His Word.  However, I am saying that we need to practice brotherly love as well.


Brotherly love is showing compassion toward one’s fellow man.  It is being concerned about your “brother” and helping him in his hour of need.  We are not to take advantage of his hardship or misfortune, but rather do what we can to look out for each other.  Our goal is to be honest and fair, compassionate to one’s trials, and to treat one another with honor and respect.  We are not to find joy in someone’s suffering, boast about our accomplishments, or offer false promises.  We should never utter words to hurt or maim, nor words ingenuously spoken to appear to placate someone until we can find a way for us to cunningly profit from another’s hardship.  Again, we are told to look out for one another.  It is a code of ethics we are to maintain.  Again, it all takes root in the command given to us.


Isaiah 56:1 shows us how to help and be there for our “brothers”.  “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.”  Solomon, who was gifted by God with much wisdom, imparts the same message about being just in Proverbs 21:3. “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”   We should not feel compelled to do this, but we are to do this because of the love we hold for God and for each other.


Being just is a fine attribute, but we also need to respect one another and treat each other with honor.  Looking out for one another is an honor – a privilege – a fulfillment of a command or promise.  It demonstrates a high respect for one person to another.  How can we honor someone if we fail to respect their point of view or their side of a disagreement?  Were we ever listening or were we just using that time to come up with retorts, derisive language, or some sound rebuttal that would put the other side in “its” place?


I, for one, think we tend to build walls around ourselves to protect us from our opposition or serve our own personal needs, instead of making way for us to get together and collaborate as mature adults.  We are too quick to cut each other off just when they are beginning to state their point, and instead of “clearing the air” we are blocking each other’s view and widening the rift.


Robert Frost wrote a wonderful poem called Mending Wall.  It stresses how fences make good neighbors.  We have become too willing to go the distance to build walls to keep others out and to maintain them so we can prevent others from having an opportunity to get to know us.  We selfishly seek our own comfort, yet we love to confront the opposition because we are dead set on fighting to preserve the walls we built.    We refuse to back down because that would be a sign of weakness and we cannot show that side to anyone.   Our pride is the root cause of all of this.  It is choking the life out of the unity that we are striving to achieve.


When do we seek to find a way to tear the wall down?  We all must live together.  Isn’t it more profitable to be able to communicate effectively with one another instead of going for the jugular?  Shouldn’t we respect the rights of the individual by hearing them out?  I am not saying every cause is right.  I am saying that if two sides are willing to hear the issue out, and then together determine what the solution should be, both sides are fighting for the same cause:  resolution and unity.  To love one another, respect one another, hear the other side and iron out the differences when able.  Imagine a reality in which we work together for the common good!


Jesus calls us to put others first as stated in 1 Corinthians  13:4-7.  “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious.  Love does not brag, it is not puffed up.  It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.  It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  Love is the foundation that we must build upon.  When we follow this simple, yet important, command, we can live in peace and both sides can work together for the right reason.  It is a choice and it is up to us if we want to work and live together.  I want to live in love.  I want to be a person of peace.  God Bless the peacemakers who serve and follow His commands!


The End of the Year

Do you feel the anticipation of something coming or maybe it is a little anxiety creeping up?  Do you hear the subtle ticking as if the clock is running out?  Is there an incessant tick that never seems to be satisfied no matter what you do?  My friend time is short and the end is indeed near.  The end of the year 2017 is winding down and will soon be over in just four more days.


How do you handle the news of an ending coming so quickly?  Are you in a party mode and anxious to get out there and celebrate the end of the year or do you prefer to sit back, relax with a warm beverage, a warm comforter and just reflect on all that happened this year?


Is this a time to make new resolutions and start a new beginning or are you resolved to keep things the way they are as long as there isn’t much thought involved?  Are you reduced to just living each day without ever looking forward to what may lie ahead?


Each year I like to take a moment to reflect on what happened during the year, how I responded to each challenge or moment of joy, and where I stand at the present time.  I used to waste so much time in my past by de-cluttering my apartment (at the last minute) and then planning every little detail for what I expected to happen in the New Year.  I lived for the planning stage, not for it to actually happen; I dreamed about it, not actively trying to bring it to fruition; thus in short I wasted time.  I lived in the here and now and kept an eye on what could happen, but stopped short in being prepared for when it did.  I simply suggest that you put away the planner and set aside the dreams for just a moment.  Instead let’s take a short journey together and explore a new way to get ready for the New Year.  Yes, let’s change it up a bit.


We all get a do-over – a chance to start again.  This is not determined by a date on the calendar, but rather by the grace given so richly to us from God.  Once we set our mind on searching for Him, we will find Him.  When we accept Him and receive Him, we are new again.  As pointed out in Romans 6:4 our very lives change when we come to Christ.  “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism.  And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.”  In short, our old lives fall away because we chose to accept Him and follow Him.  The old dies, but the new start – the new life begins when He takes over for us and we surrender who we once were to Him.


Some may be reading this and feel a little confused or some may be alarmed.  Let me try to explain it this way:  I am a sinner who lives in a sinful world.  I mostly have chosen to do what pleases me and for my benefit.  I focused on myself and not on others.  I was never satiated.  I always wanted more and sought it, yet deep down I was empty and not sure as to why.  One day I decided to search for more meaning.  I began to look for God and proof of His existence.  I read His Word, I searched and I found Him.  I believed His Word and I repented of my past sins.  I willingly chose God over everything else and I surrendered myself to Him.  When I accepted Him I received His Holy Spirit which indwells in those who are transformed by Him.  My old ways died and I was reborn.  To be reborn man dies (to his former ways) and asks Christ to live within him.  The old is gone and the new begins.  We all have free will and we all have a choice to make.  It is when we choose Christ that we have the new start.


A fresh or new start is freeing.  Once we accept Christ we have no need to go back to our old way of life.  It is useless to do so as pointed out in Luke 5:36-38 when Jesus explains the benefits of living anew as opposed to our former lifestyle.  “Then Jesus gave them this illustration:  ‘No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment.  For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.’  ‘And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.  For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins.  New wine must be stored in new wineskins.’”  When we find Jesus we need to press on and move forward with Him.  When we cling to our past and old ways and think that if we just alter them somehow, they will work fine, then we are fooling only ourselves.  We need to not resist change, look forward with eyes on Jesus and walk down a new path as a Christian who loves and serves Christ.  The old is useless and the new will bring life – a new start.


Making this choice offers us as a Christian hope.  Hope is something to trust in, to look forward to and to wait for.  The Bible shows us many examples of hope, but mainly the New Testament attests to the reason why we are hopeful.  In 1 Peter 1:3-6 we learn about a living hope.  “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is by His great mercy that we have all been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance – an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.  And through your faith, God is protecting you by His power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.  So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.”  Wow!  What a powerful image and a testament to what hope means for the Christian!  Our hope is the gift of eternal life through salvation.  It is a gift because man cannot earn it, does not deserve it, may long for it, but has to act on it by searching and finding God, willingly accept it and then receive it.  It is worth whatever trials we must go through (and each year the trials seem to appear more frequently and are more challenging), but His promise is that He will walk with us, get us through the trial and then gift us with eternal life.  Do you desire to sign up for a re-start and receive Jesus in your heart?


Once we make the decision to change and then receive the precious hope from our change, we then can find peace of mind that we can cling to throughout our daily lives.  Peace can come and live amongst us if we truly seek Him out.  Let me point out a few verses that will drive this home and make it clearer for you to understand.


To me peace of mind is living day to day without worry or fear.  Living in harmony with one another and loving everyone regardless.  It is not centered nor should be focused on judgment, but rather it is empathizing with one another during their struggles or challenges, and loving them.  We need to listen and hear each other as we speak.  Keep in mind though that honesty has to go hand in hand with this concept as well.  I, for one, cannot live peaceably with someone if I cannot be honest with them.  My hand is not to point a finger at or accuse, but rather in truth tell them what His Word says and love them no matter what.  I focus on honesty because your views and mine may differ, but I cannot alter His Word to give you some peace of mind on something His Word is not aligned with.  This is not a judgment call, but my view on the importance of His Word and how it is prioritized in my life.  Once again He commands us to love one another, but He also instructs us what He deems right or wrong in His Word and He is the only judge in that matter.  So why is peace so important?


First of all, we are called to peace as stated in Colossians 3:15.  “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.”  A Christian is meant to get along with one another, not to order the other about or sow discord, but to rely on that peace He has set in our hearts.


Peace is something we seek and pursue as stated in 1 Peter 3:11.  “Turn away from evil and do good.  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”  It is a top priority and it is important to work on maintaining it once found.  We are called to it and we are instructed to preserve it once we find it.


It is important to God and it is one of the fruits of the Spirit we receive when we come to God.  Galatians 5:22 tells us this.  “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.”  We never would have been gifted peace if we were never meant to live in it or extend it towards others.


Peace reaps its own reward as James 3:18 tells us.  “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”  God rewards the peacemakers for standing up and doing what is right in the name of peace.  How blessed are we?  Accept the gift of peace and as Romans 12:18 says:  Promote it.  “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.”  Sounds like good advice to me.


As this year starts to wind down, and before you jump into something without thinking, take a moment and assess where you are right now.  Are you happy, content or at peace?  Are you miserable, at war with someone, unable to rest and feel restored?  Do you have an emptiness or void deep down inside that just cannot be filled?  Ponder all of this and then open The Bible and see what our Wondrous Lord is instructing us, guiding us towards, and learn about the promises of fullness of His Word.  Search Him out, listen to Him, and really hear and apply the wisdom patiently offered, and then once you are “filled up” on His Word, ask Him into your life.  You do get a second (and sometimes a third) chance, so take it and start a new path today that will enlighten you, encourage you, shape you and free you from the bondage of our former selves.  He gives us all a new start, a reason to hope and a peace to carry on until He calls each of us home.  It is your call to make or to avoid.  I had to make the call for I needed a Savior and I wanted to live a life worth living:  A life serving Christ.   It changed my whole outlook on each year I have been blessed to enjoy and grow from.  2018 can be that year for you.  It can be the year you found Christ and started a new beginning.

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