Thursday, May 31, 2018

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people."

I don't know about you but I am still such a child at heart. I remember doing this fun exercise with my children but no one has offered to do it for me! My son Matthew can bench press a lot more weight than mine, but I think it would hurt my stomach! No, I'm not going to mention it to him.

We can see from this verse how much we need the Lord. Without His Holy Spirit we would be reprobates, lost in our own ways. Greed is just as improper as things we might consider a lot worse. It just goes to show us that His ways are not our ways.

The standards we think are correct do not meet God's level because He sees All things and we don't. I don't mean to be so cut and dried but there you have it. Why get wordy when it is this simple?

When I was a child, we didn't even think about sexual predators but now we do have to be concerned about them. Our children have many other concerns than we did. School shootings, opioid deaths, gang activities and other things plague our youth. Add social media bullying, and comparisons to the mix and life for a school aged child is stressful. 

All of these societal troubles can be linked back to family life, or the lack of it. If family life was in the forefront of society again many of such ills could be cut in half if not more. How we need to call out to God to revive our land!

Cry out to God to put a hedge of protection around your children, neighbors and all you know. The battle in the spiritual realm is fierce but we have the victor on our side.  Jesus has made a way for us.  We do not need to allow fear and anxiety rule us. He is the Almighty King over All. Amen!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV

Live a life of love!  I think this is probably every heart's desire starting out in life. We get pushed off course so many times as life goes on and we don't know how to get back up. Which way is up we may ask. It reminds me of being tossed by a wave in the ocean. 

When I was young getting tossed by a wave was my biggest fear while being in the ocean.  I remember loosing all touch with the right way up. How can I put my feet down when I don't know where down is?

I felt this exact way when going through post partum depression. How do I stop this tumbling over and over again. How do I put my feet on solid ground where I won't get tossed any longer? Only Jesus had the answer, and only Jesus was the answer.

The enemy of our souls wants to keep us tumbling so we will deny Christ and follow after things in order to bring death to us. He will serve up a whole lot of trouble and put it on a platter for us to enjoy. It won't look like trouble, oh no, he is too crafty for this.

It will come in beautiful, well wrapped boxes camouflaged to look innocent and serene.  It's no big deal if I have a few drinks, how can it hurt me? What if I am friends with a few men I don't know on my twitter? It isn't a bad thing. It could be completely innocent, but before you know it things are out of control.

God tells us to imitate Him, and this is how we will stay under His care where we can be safe. Sure, the unexpected can happen to us, but it is never unexpected to God. We can be surprised by situations and we are at times but we do not want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We don't want to be unprotected by His grace.  

Stay in a safe place friends, out of the way of evil. Jesus is our strong tower! The righteous run to Him and are safe! Proverbs 18:10.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate " Ephesians 4:31 NIV

This is a picture of the beach on Jupiter Island. It is quiet all year round because it is private. People can't come here to visit because there is no parking on the streets and it is heavily patrolled by their own police force. This is the view from the deck of the cottage we stayed in a few years ago. 

Our friends own the cottage and were gracious enough to invite us to stay for a week. We enjoyed a very different pace of life there. New York has an energy all of its own. The beach life is nothing like this. Thank God for another pace!

A slower pace is what we needed, especially my husband. He needs away time so he can clear his mind and not be concerned about his office or clients. He loves being an Attorney but the constant race of going to court then the office is waring on him.

The apostle Paul reminds us of what life should be like, in regard to kindness. As you might remember from previous posts I have written, Paul wants the Ephesians to be compassionate.  This is God's desire! All of us need time to think clearly and to put away our fleshly ways.

Time restraints can play into our behavior. The quick pace and running around with busyness can cause us to be short with people and we might forget to be courteous. Ouch! Didn't I just do this on the phone with the tech in the doctor's office? Yes I did.

I am caught in my own judgement! Oh well at least you know I'm human. There was a time I wouldn't get on the phone with a Dr. office because I was too shy. I think you know what I'm saying. It takes a concentrated effort to show God's love all the time. It is worth the effort because He gets the glory. Hallelujah!

Friday, May 25, 2018

I have hit the jackpot this week with pics! I love the look on this little girl's face. She is so excited! How long has it been since you were this excited about Jesus?

"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."  Ephesians 4:30 NIV

This weekend may be a beach weekend. Saturday is supposed to be really nice. Seeing this precious little one on the beach makes me want to run right down there. As a child my Dad would take us several times a week. We live on an Island and the local beach was 10 minutes away. I still live this close to the Long Island Sound.

Some of my friends won't go to the Sound beaches. It has to be the ocean or nothing. Since I grew up on these beaches I can enjoy either. I especially like not having to drive forty-five minutes to get to the ocean. There is lots of traffic, and I end up spending a whole day when I might want to go for just an hour or so.

West Meadow Beach in Setauket is low key. Not a big deal, but I like this about it.  It beings back memories of what Long Island used to be. I have lived here all my life so I remember in the 1960's when roads weren't crowded and life was simple.

Life since my childhood has changed dramatically! What is on God's heart about all this? He has an opinion I'm sure. As we go to His Holy Word we see lifestyles today are very different. The biggest change which I believe and many experts agree is the family.

The basic structure of husband and wife is God's design because it supports each other member when it is correct. Not perfect, but in accordance with God's priorities. Not one of us can achieve perfection especially when it comes to relationships. Words seem to be a huge part of maintaining good, strong marital bonds.

The Holy Spirit is grieved by the recklessness of priorities in our lives. Placing our Heavenly Father in the forefront of every relationship will cultivate an atmosphere of respect and self-control. I didn't say it was easy. Nothing worth anything in this life comes easy but it is worth every every struggle.

I have learned recently to swallow some of my words before spewing them at another. Stop and think before anything comes out. Will my words build this person up in the long run? Can I use a word picture as Jesus did to convey my thoughts so the precious member of my family can understand better? Can I humble myself just for a minute so I can gravitate toward words of life? I can, and so can you! Ask Jesus to help you as I have. It will make a difference.

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend. Say a prayer for a family who has lost a member recently while in combat. I hope to be talking to you on Monday. Blessings and love to my dear readers!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

"Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Now this is a picture I can relate to! Not only does it have flowers, the girl is wearing a dress to match. It is whimsical, and light and outside. The rain has stopped here, and we have had a few good days in a row. Thank God, He is the sunshine when the sun doesn't shine!

Thank God for His grace. Without grace none of us could stand before God or know anything about Him. Grace says we can come to Him without any fear or concern of judgement. Grace is what brought Jesus to the cross. He was determined to have grace reach us.

Once and for all He took the judgement for our sin. It isn't fair, one would have to die for all, but He didn't care about fairness. He cared about us being with Him for eternity. I am forever glad and I could never praise Him enough to equal how wonderful His sacrifice was. All of our praises put together could never match or be enough.

Not that we shouldn't praise or thank Him! We should never stop  thanking Him as this helps us to come into His presence. Corporate worship especially draws us into the throne room of the Almighty. This is one reason we are told not to stay alone, but to come together at least once a week to worship and hear the Word of God. 

Grace is something we can forget about in our busy lives.  It is necessary for my words for sure. The right words spoken in the right moment can bind wounds, heal hurt and pain. How hard this can be at times. We all want to say the RIGHT thing, and sometimes it is beyond our understanding to know what is right. 

As we read God's word and pray He molds our hearts and teaches us how to say what's right. Prayer immediately in a situation also can bring the right words. God wants to help us with such things. How gracious and loving He is to give us words in a situation when we are stuck.

I was with a Mom recently who was suffering through a desperate situation with her daughter. I couldn't think of anything to say to this girl, even Hello didn't come out. I thought afterwards maybe nothing was better than anything  else I could have said. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." Ephesians 4:28 NIV

Paul, our dear friend from the first century is a practical man. Thank God for practicality. We all need to make simple decisions regarding the trivial things in life. Whether to steal or not has not been one of those trivial things.

As a loving Father deals with his son, Paul has to give sound advice. Maybe some of the newly converted christians came from a rough background. Thankfully God has made provision for all to come to His saving grace! 

 Usefulness can be described in various ways. In this verse Paul describes usefulness as a hands on experience. We can be used in more than the obvious.  My mother grew older and couldn't do as much as she was used to. She felt her usefulness was hindered but I told her it wasn't. I loved her and because of my love for her she was useful. 

This wasn't enough for her. Do you realize how many things can be done while sitting in a chair? Chopping, prepping, folding laundry, reading a story to a child, all things we can do while sitting. 

Our faithful God is not concerned with how much we do. His concern is about how we think. What is our attitude about our life and about Him. His love and grace for us does not change.

 Our usefulness is not based on our actions. If we couldn't use our limbs or speak He would see our usefulness and bless us. Our being is what He wants. He wants us to love Him for who He is and what He does. Who couldn't love the Lord God Almighty who always does wonderful things!

Monday, May 21, 2018

"And do not give the devil a foothold." Ephesians 4:27

When the weather is so wonderful it can be hard at times to remember it does get better than this. Today is warm and sunny after many days of cool weather and rain. I don't mind winter if it would only be January, February and March, but lately spring doesn't come util May.

I'm sure you didn't tune in today to hear the weather report. My complaining about the weather can be a foothold of the enemy if I allow it. Nothing can bring others down like complaining. I won't do it anymore.

The enemy of our souls is sly, and He doesn't advertise His coming in our lives. He can be so subtile we don't realize he is anywhere around. He wants to trip us up big time. When I was dating my husband I had anxiety day and night. I thought it was indicating we were not right for each other. 

Nothing could have been farther from the truth. A seed from my childhood had been planted and it was a fear of men.  As we attended a friend's church one evening the Pastor came over after the service and started to pray for me. As he laid his hands on my head God gave him these words---

"That which you think is not from God is from God!"

The fear broke and I was free. Prayer is not always answered immediately and I'm not sure I have had it answered like that since. Before this service I had been praying and asking God for release and wisdom. It's amazing when God shows up!

Maybe I needed the power and faith of another person to break through.  Whatever the reason the enemy wanted to ruin my life and he didn't get to do it. We rejoice for His faithfulness and goodness in our lives. We have three grown children who have finished college, and one more to go.

Our kids will be arrows bursting the lies of the enemy and setting captives free. Rudy and I aren't finished by any means either. We have many good years ahead of us doing the same. Hope you can enjoy some sunshine today! 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

"Be angry, and do not sin" "do not let the sun go down on your wrath." Ephesians 4:26 NKJV

It's not a sin to be angry, but what you do with your anger can be. If we are mindful of our thoughts sometimes we can catch anger before it gets out of hand. Being careful about what we allow in is critical to this.

I know I have said it before but humor me. What we put into our minds will come out in one way or another. I need to hear this again and again. I am extremely careful with what I watch and read, sometimes I can't help it. As I said the other day, even Doctor's offices have televisions!

Thank God I am not as sensitive as I used to be. I am grateful for this. Just this morning I remembered a past moment of anger and I relived it for a few minutes. Then I realized we would be reading this verse. Now that is a clear message form the Lord! 

Forgive quickly and don't let a root of bitterness take hold.

Don't allow anger or bitterness to become a dandelion in your heart.
As I was weeding in my yard the other day I noticed how thick and long the root of a dandelion was. I needed a special instrument to get down deep and get all of the root, every last bit.

These are  feisty weeds and we don't want them in our hearts or yards either. It's a lot easier detecting one in our yard. All we need is our vision. In order to detect one in our hearts takes a little more introspective thought. Although one can be just at the surface as mine was this morning.

As I go to prayer I will ask the Lord, {who knew it was there long before I did} to help me let go of this nasty root once and for all.  Our attitudes about others effects our relationship with God.  All of these little foxes as The Song of Solomon calls them, can clutter our hearts with unnecessary trash.

Releasing trash to God allows our hearts to be filled with His love and goodness instead of filth. I don't want anything cluttering my mind or blocking my vision of Him.

 At least in this situation, I can be free, and hopefully next time I can catch it before it's a dandelion.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

"Therefore, putting away lying, 'let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,' for we are members of one another."  Ephesians 4:25 NKJV

God wants us as it says in verse 23, to" be renewed in the spirit of our mind." Being renewed takes time. Sometimes we need to be washed, or our minds do. We need to be washed with God's Word to gain fresh perspective. Only His Word will give us a clear understanding of His ways.

It can be easy to pick up the wrong ways. It comes naturally to us but to change our ways takes effort. We have to consciously engage our will to make changes. It is worth every effort to be more like Jesus. Basking in His presence restores us to peace and love as He designed us to live in.

Offended and afraid we become nasty and cynical. God doesn't want this for us and we certainly don't want it either. We become drained by negative emotions and exhaustion can set in. Don't allow any of these things!

Paul is speaking to the Ephesians because he wants growth to happen in their lives. Some of these things may seem superficial but we can all handle reminders of the basic way to live. As a father reminds a son, and cautions him to follow in the ways of goodness and truth, so Paul is guiding those he loves.

He is guiding them in the ways of love. When we care for one another we will tell the truth, speak kindly, and watch out for each other. It is the way of love. It is the way God wants us to live. How often do we see the opposite in the news or around us?

Regardless of what others might do, we are called to be different. We are to do what doesn't always seem natural. He are called to a higher standard. How will anyone know anything else if we don't show them?

 If you feel as if the natural will be blurted out, stop. rest. Take a deep breathe and let it out.  Then you can be in control of what comes out. It seems if we realize we can control our breathe we can control other things too. It works for me. Be blessed dear ones.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Do you ever have the simplest things not work for you? Today is one of those days. No matter what way I tried to download a picture in this blog, it wouldn't. I just noticed the ink should be light green but it isn't. I will roll with it because the message is most important. I didn't write yesterday since we were busy saying goodbye to our daughter Rachel in Chicago and traveling back to New York.

It was a whirlwind of fun sights and life long dreams come true. Rachel graduated from DePaul Law School and is busy studying for the Bar Exam. Similar to her brother who is a public defender, she wants to work with foster kids who have been placed in the system. 

I am thankful both have chosen to serve others, but look forward to the day when each can support their mother in her old age. Ha! I don't plan on being old for a long time. Hopefully it won't come to this. My trust is in the Living God, who provides for our needs in such a faithful way.

 I will be 60 next year and with all of the new beginnings in our family it is hard not to wonder what the future holds. Our son Matthew is graduating form Stony Brook University on Thursday and my Birthday is Saturday. Mother's Day was the same day as Rachel's graduation. Did I mention about the whirlwind? Yes I did, well it is coming our way again.

I love all of the great beginnings and new starts. In all of this my anchor is in the Lord. A Mother prays for many years for her children. Most times she doesn't see the progress but she knows her prayers are building a child for something greater than themselves.
Once in a while she is able to catch a glimpse of what the future will be, as God gives the revelation.

Prayer is never a thing to cast aside as God builds the younger generation. It becomes increasingly vital to their welfare. Never feel your family doesn't need this vital element in their lives. Spiritual warfare is the necessary purpose of our lives.
God sees this as a huge job, and it never stops being essential. I dare say in the day in which we live it is indispensable for all of us.

If you don't pray why don't you start? Call upon God through Jesus Christ the one and only giver of  abundant life. His leading and guidance will bring you into a relationship with the Father and will open up the dreams in your heart you might have forgotten about. God is the giver of dreams. Your life has just begun!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

"to be made new in the attitude of your minds" Ephesians 4:23 NIV

Spring is here after much delay and cool weather. A fresh scent is in the air as trees bloom and flower pop out of the dirt. It seems as if spring came all at once on Long Island because it did! No gradual build up but what matters most is it's actually here. 

The newness of everything where ever you look is amazing. It is what we wait for and desire all winter long. It is parallel to our new minds when we come to Christ, and as we grow in Him. 

The transformation has been likened to a butterfly who starts a dull, dingy moth. Nothing about us is fresh and bright before the new attitude is given. Our minds become regenerated and cleansed in a marvelous way.

 We think about life in a whole different light, because we are in the light. We have to guard our hearts though because we can fall into darkness. This is where what we watch, hear and look at effects us.
I need to be especially aware of this  because I know I am sensitive. 

It is impossible to learn to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and feed ourselves trash. It would be a tug of war from one side to another. It would also grieve the Holy Spirit. This is not what we want as daughter of the Most High King!

The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not hang around where He is not wanted. We live in a culture full of images and words which fly at us without warning. Television screens are in Doctor's offices, airports, and malls blaring sights and sounds we may not want to see or hear.

We all know about personal devices. Phones are our closest friends these days playing u-tube videos and other things no one has to know about. God doesn't look at us in judgement about our personal time. He looks out of love and compassion on us because He is the Prince of Peace. Thank Him today for His great love for you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; " Ephesians 4:22 NIV

This little boy is darling. He looks as if he is enjoying time with his Dad or an important man in his life. We wish at times our children could stay this age forever, but this is not what God wants, or the child. Maturity is what God has planned from the beginning of life.

Maturity can be a bad word for a teen. As life brings struggles between childhood and adulthood a teenager can bounce back and forth from one world to another. The balance comes and peace is restored as life comes into focus as an adult.

I wish it could be as easy to live with teens as it is to write this to you! Sometimes I go for the ride with the emotions being off course and sporadic. A parent can go up and down like a roller coaster if our teen's emotions are not even. It can be the same with our spiritual lives.

Putting off our old nature isn't a one time thing. Unfortunately it isn't as easy as taking off your winter coat and putting on a sweater.
We constantly have to keep the sin or old nature in check. It doesn't die easily, and it doesn't want to surrender but it must if we persevere. 

Jesus is sufficient for every need we have. I am reminding myself of this lately. I need to be grounded in this truth so I stay calm when life gets harried. The roller coaster ride of emotions isn't unique to teens. I suppose you have noticed this yourself.

Jesus is stability personified. He is the rock that we stand upon, and He never falters. No foundation in our lives is as stable as the love of God and His truth. Proclaim His Word as your truth today! 

"No weapon forged against you shall prevail. and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me declares the Lord."Isaiah 54:17

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Surely you heard of Him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus." Ephesians 4:21 NIV

Do you celebrate your dog's birthday? We don't but if my daughter knew when each of my three were born I'm sure she would want to. Right now she wants a cat, or another dog if we would allow it. She has no idea how much work it is to care for an animal.

Work is not the worst part. It's the vet bills that cause me to say I have no hobbies, or vacations because I have dogs. Celebrating birthdays doesn't seem to make any sense under these circumstances. I love my dogs but I have no desire to celebrate their birthdays. I hope you are ok with this.

Paul is encouraging the Ephesian church in this verse to move on with their walk with God. Some have tried to mix worldly ways with their christianity. Remember the church is a brand new baby at this time. Putting on a new nature was not taught in old testament times.

 The Ephesians are mostly unfamiliar with Jewish traditions anyway. Their knowledge base comes only from new believers who have been redeemed just as they were. Paul wants to make sure this church understands the basis for faith before he goes to a deeper teaching. Jesus is the only one who can forgive sin and shame to set the captive free.

This truth has to be in place before Paul can go further. We can't change ourselves. We might have some success but to be truly transformed it has to come from above. The spirit of God does the transforming over time as we allow Him to work. This process can be painful if we aren't yielded.

While on the Women's Retreat a few weeks ago the speaker Ellie Lofaro said it this way:"You can't hurt me, I'm already dead." She was referring  to taking offense at what others say to us. God changes us and we aren't offended by what others say, because we only care about what He says about us. His opinion is what counts.

Maybe you haven't come to this conclusion yet. I don't think I have, but I understand the concept, and agree with it. We are all diamonds in the rough. As time moves ahead we will detect a difference and know we aren't who we used to be. I like a quote from Joyce Meyer that says: "I'm not what I want to be but thank God I'm not who I used to be." Well said, Joyce.

Monday, May 7, 2018

"You, however, did not come to know Christ that way."      Ephesians 4:20 NIV

When we come to Jesus for the first time, we don't know what to expect. Hopefully you were taught by someone who told you the truth, and didn't try to chocolate coat anything for you. Walking with God isn't a picnic in the park, but it's exciting, adventurous, and filled with new ideas. He is more wonderful than we could ever imagine!

Our minds can be cluttered with many ideas of what others think He is like. Just about anyone you talk to will tell you some tale of who He is to them. Only the truth tells us He is good, faithful, and kind. It is His kindness that leads us to repentance, the Bible tells us. Why would we dedicate our lives to someone who wasn't all of these things?

Deception will try to tear the truth from us and describe God as a tyrant who loves bossing others around. This is a funny thought! Jesus paid the price for us to enter into God's presence with His own blood. This was His Father's will so you and I could be part of God's family. Jesus was obedient to the father for our sakes. This doesn't sound like an unkind thing to do.

It was His greatest moment, laying down His life for those who could never pay Him back, or save themselves. Love is the only motive for such an act.God's grace was richly poured out for us on the cross. There is nothing we can do to match such a selfless act.

All we need to do is accept this undeserving free gift. All of my sin and unrighteousness for all of His grace, love and kindness. It isn't fair, but then heaven is far beyond our ways and fairness as we may think of it is not how God operates. Grace gives and gives without asking for anything in return.

Love doesn't boast about how wonderful it is. It simply is. Love overcomes all wrongs, despair and torment. The chains are broken and the captives are set free. Faith is the avenue by which we  receive His love. Believe God today to do great things through you! 

Friday, May 4, 2018

"Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality, so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more." Ephesians 4:19 NIV

These little girls remind me of my daughters when younger. Life was simple, pure and untarnished by worldly ways. They believed what we said, without any reason to think otherwise. Having a differing view is not a problem. When any view is outside of God's view of life we have a problem.

I'm not saying this about my own daughters. It could be anyone young or old. It could be your Grandma who did not have a christian worldview.  It could be a parent who couldn't quite understand the sovereignty of God. 

Today we seem to have less of an understanding of who God is and a hostile attitude if His name is mentioned. I am encountering less of  a desire among people to know Him, as if the enemy is sowing seeds of resentment towards the Most High.

All of these signs point to a need for revival. We need God to move in a miraculous way and He wants to do this. Can we pray in accordance with His will? Yes! In Paul's day vileness and wickedness were rampant. Today, in our day, it is much worse.

It is by grace we are still here. "These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good peace, for I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Thank God He knew before we were born the need we would have for His Word. John 6:33 has spoken peace to me over and over again for many years. We live in dark days but He knew these days would come. He tells us, Don't worry my daughters, I've got this!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

"They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts." Ephesians 4:18 NIV

All of the beauty of spring surrounds us now. Gone are the cold days of winter with snow and sleet. Somehow spring has escaped me though. Tuesday morning it was in the forties, and today we are in the eighties. Isn't this temperature indicative of Summer? The trees don't have any leaves yet, so I guess it is spring.

Why has spring left us? Did we do something wrong? Is it because of global warming or is there another reason? I would like to know but I think it is an enigma. It doesn't matter I suppose as long as it doesn't make my taxes go up. Ha Ha! 

Paul is pretty clear about the gentiles who are outside of the faith. A hardened heart is a wall that is impossible to climb or jump. When a person doesn't want to know God is there anything we can do to persuade them otherwise? Yes but it has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God.

Love is what will bring down a hardened heart.Don't try to do it yourself because you might get frustrated, angry and loose your patience. This doesn't help us or the other person. In fact, it probably hurts the other person's chance of seeing God in you.

Before we take on loving the unlovely we must first have a good soaking in God's word. Ephesians is the perfect spot. "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all  the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17b-19

The love of God breaks down walls, and changes hardened hearts to be soft. He is working on mine and yours too. Let Him have His way. You will be glad that you did. Have a good soak!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

"So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. Ephesians 4:17 NIV

Paul thought of the gentiles as the flowers we see in this picture. They floated along, not being anchored in the truth according to the Word of God. Without an anchor all of us will float away to distant lands where we can be caught up in trouble. A gentile is anyone outside of the Jewish faith.

Paul was sent to preach truth to the gentiles and he did it with all of his heart. His sincere faith and openness to the romans, the greeks and whoever else was nearby was genuine and real. His love for them was sincere, and because of this he wanted new converts to free themselves form anything from their past.

Our way of thinking can cause us to trip up every time. Although I was a strong christian, when depression dropped me into a deep pit, I thought Jesus was far from me. I knew this wasn't true for others because His word says," I will never leave you nor forsake you." Somehow I thought at this juncture I didn't fit into this promise any more.

Deep inside I felt I couldn't be forgiven for the thoughts that plagued me night and day. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Jesus doesn't leave us, we might leave Him, but He doesn't turn His back. The dedication and love God has for those who are called by His name is eternal.

The futility of the gentile or unbeliever is a deception about their eternal life. Those who are believers in Christ Jesus and follow in His footsteps belong to God on earth and will gain entrance into eternal peace and grace in heaven. An unbeliever will spend eternity in hell. This is because of free will.

God never wanted his creation, man and woman to be robots without a choice. God desires pure worship from His own. It must be genuine, not coerced or pressured. Just as a parent wants a child to demonstrate true devotion to a mother or father.

We grow in our relationship with God through prayer, teaching, and fellowship with other believers. Paul has a father's heart for the new believers and wants to see them grow into mature followers of Christ. I need to grow in my walk with God. How about you? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

"From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:16 NIV

What a wonderful picture this verse paints for us. If only it actually worked the way God intended it. There are divisions, arguments, and outright fights between the members of God's body. We are a broken people in America. Division is a tool of the enemy to bring down the body of Christ. 

What can we do to bring about peace and healing? Prayer is a tremendous vehicle of change. God hears and answers prayer. We ask God for revival and He is willing and able to do this. It is on His heart but we need to be vessels of change and peace.

Do we as christians want to see our country overcome with ungodliness and moral destruction? Not at all. Nations who are strong have strong moral fiber as their base. Pray for God to shake us! This is a scary prayer but it may be our only hope.

Why don't we see answers to prayer as some do in foreign countries? Have we become too lax in our devotion to God? Have we been lulled to sleep by our culture of status quo? Do we have a heart for what God wants?

Why has MS 13 become strong in many states across our land?  Do we join in prayer with churches in our area to pray for these young people who are full of violence and drugs? Please tell me yes! Tell me you have a desire to bring change in your neighborhood.

I'm not pointing a finger at you because I haven't been active in this area either. God gives to every one of us differing gifts and abilities. What if you are the one who is called to bring God's body together? He equips those whom He chooses. Be the change you want to see in this world.

Walking out our relationship with God may not look like what we had in mind. There could be one of you or more who are asking God to use them to do something radical. It only takes a spark to get a fire going!