Friday, March 29, 2013

Christians cannot excuse sin to condemn sin!

This is the day Jesus faced from birth for us. He came to die for the sins of the world! That is a love we do not truly understand until we experience and understand His Grace! (Colossians 3:1-11) I have heard much argument from folks who feel equality is the answer. That same sex marriage is fine just because people are in love! Well Jesus died for us so we could die to self it is not just about feelings it is about sacrifice!

What I am saying here is this, Christians have gotten themselves in a battle against same sex marriage and equality. There are a number of reasons they have listed! God created marriage between a man and a women. They were created to pro-create and many more. All of these I agree with, I feel the Bible is very plain on the subject. But there is a bigger subject at hand, and that is the challenge from the other side, one that is valid!

Why are Christians more accepting of some sins than others? Why do we say some are alright and we work around them yet some are just plain not acceptable? My answer to that is, we as Christians are not living a completely sold out life for Christ. We compromise when we should just be calling sin, sin.
We have forgotten that we were changed, made new in Christ.

We are to put off the old man and put on the new. We have to remember we were sinners saved by His grace and not of ourselves it was an gift from God! (Ephesians 2:8-10), We are to be the shining light of change and not the dimming light of compromise when it suits us! We give the equality folks all the reasons in the world, why they do not need a Savior who can change them, when they see no real change in us!

If we truly seek what is above, and set our minds on Christ we will see that we need to change also! That does not mean we agree with them! That means we will need to call all sin, sin! We will need to step up and relight our candles as it were! We need to do some of our own house cleaning before cleaning others homes! When we do this and become genuine followers of Christ you will not have to do a thing!

People will be attracted to you as they were Jesus! Remember Jesus died for the sins of mankind not just a sin of mankind, to save them! If we truly want change for others they need to see change in us! Not just enough change to make us feel comfortable. But the change that Jesus made in us through a conversion we could not have done on our own!

We have been changed, we have been made new, and we have been reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus! The world needs to see more grateful hearts. Hearts that have a desire to see people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus the same as we! Having all our sins forgiven, not just one exceptional sin! Sin is sin and we need to be all inclusive when we are in discussions about sin! We need to use and live all the scriptures not just the ones that suit our claims!

We need always be ready to give an answer of the hope that is in us (I Peter 3:15) not be ready to attack in the name of Jesus! That gives everyone an excuse not to listen or take us serious! That gives the Devil more ways to trip them up to believe they are no worse then we because they see our short comings are not as serious as theirs! I am not for equality in Marriage and I do not agree with same sex marriage because someone just loves someone!

But what is more important pointing out their wrongs, or pointing them to Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith? The time has come when we need to look to our own hearts.Go before God and get some cleansing ourselves,and ask God to show us what and how we need to live in this world to make a difference in at least one life! The Angels rejoice over one sinner who comes to repentance! We can only change the world one soul at a time.

In I Peter it tells us we are to suffer for doing right not for doing wrong! Right now the church, us, have been attacked in the same way we have attacked! We do not like it, it is not comfortable, and it does not feel good! What if we did it completely God's way, did it right, and became the light in the world that attracts people to God instead of deflect people from God! They will do that on their own they do not need our help!! When Christians sin it is sin we need to deal with that just as much without compromise!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Being different does not mean being wrong!

I am glad I am different, I am glad I don't always follow the crowd, in doing so I can never blame others for my bad decisions! (Proverbs 12:26). That is not saying we blame our friends for our good or bad choice's. It is saying that we do not follow everything others do. We at times, need to make decisions based on how we feel or have prayed about a decision. That may not go with what the majority feels is the right thing to do.

But if we do everything others think should be done, because they feel they are right. We can get into the trap of blaming others when things or decisions do not go right. We put the responsibility on others instead of  being responsible. You have to be different enough to stand back and take a longer look at what is taking place. And how we may fit into that decision, and how it may effect our example to others around us.

You can go with the crowd, just do not always be influenced by the crowd. Be willing to stand on your own once in a while. Have the confidence that the majority may not be right in some matters just because they are the majority! We need to be different at times, we need to stand out from the crowd! We need to, at times, be a shower of the way and not just a goer of the way!

We need to have the confidence, we just may be right. Be willing to stand up even though we are out numbered. If we do not that may lead to those bad decisions we tend to blame others for. Why? because we did not want to be different, even when it meant we could be right, and they mistaken. The idea here is certainly not to alienate yourselves from others, but be different enough to not always follow!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A shining example works best!

I cannot change anyone! The only thing I can do is live my life by what I believe and be a better example to those who do not! I Timothy 4:16-Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. It seems like it is hard for most Christians to think like this.

We have so much zeal and excitement in our lives knowing the Lord, we tend to forget how that came about. It was from someone sharing their life in Christ with us and not trying to change us. They shared the gospel message in a way that, at the very least, planted the seed of change. We do not like anyone trying to force feed us anything. Why should our approach be any different?

If we want to see change in people, if we truly want them to know Jesus Christ. Then they need to see a genuine change in us. They need to see we live what we believe daily. Not only in their presence but in our everyday life. How can that work? Through others who know us also. Our neighbors, our family, business associates etc.

When we live a life for Jesus in a genuine way people will see, without having you prove anything! When people see and hear this about a believer there comes with that a natural trust. And a willingness to listen to what you have to say! They may not become followers today, but if we remain faithful and keep the doors of dialog open. That day will come.

We need to remember always, Jesus called us to be fishers of men, and not the cleaners of men. That is His task not ours. We need to work as hard on our lives as we think others should theirs. They need to see difference, they need to see genuine change, they need to see Jesus not us! So stand on the word of God strengthen your faith daily and plant seed by keeping dialog open. 

Arguments and debates never accomplish anything except closing the doors and driving people away. Live your life before men as God would have you do and see the difference. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alzheimer's, a lesson in family values.

Caring for my mom has taught me the true meaning of family values! (I Timothy 3:4-5, I Timothy 5:8) My wife and I have learned sacrifice, as our lives have completely now been devoted to my mom who has Alzheimer's. And we are so limited to what we can do or where we go. We have learned devotion, as we care for her we are devoted to her, making sure she is taken care of properly.

We have learned more about being committed to family. The importance of spending time and the value of it. We have learned not to take anything for granted but savor each moment. When we talk to others about family it has become much more intimate for us! Family has become more valuable, more precious. I have learned more about patience and wow that is a big one!

It is hard at times to be patient, forgetting that mom has no clue as to what is happening around her. When I become frustrated with her, and yes I do, I find I have to slow down, back up and regroup. I am reminded by God she is still mom and deserves the utmost respect. Yes I have learned more about respect and how important that is!

I am reminded in scripture about the 5th commandment of God, honor your father and your mother. She deserves respect especially now when she is so confused and acts like a child most times! I have learned humility in many ways! One, especially when I am helping my wife clean her. Never was I prepared for that, to diaper my mom, to wash her and feed her!

One of the most important for me, she is still mom no matter what. She is the one who did all the above mentioned things for me. And I am sure it was just as hard for her at times, yet she remained committed, she sacrificed, she was devoted to giving her best. I am sure she felt like throwing in the towel, giving up and wanting to hide! But she did not she stood up to the task of giving her best.

The value of true sacrifice is not just what you give up, or do without. It is a willingness to stay in the trenches even when you are frightened and ready to give up. Even when you feel alone and no one out there cares. The rewards far out weigh what we are giving up for a moment.  I begin to think about how Jesus may have felt facing the Cross, when He was alone in those last moments. How He looked out at us and said they are worth the sacrifice, they are worth it to Me, giving my life for them! 

Though it has been hard, heartbreaking, and even times of wondering why. We stop and see the values and life's lessons. When I look out at my congregation on Sunday mornings. I understand better, how sacrificing for my mom has made me a better pastor. I have such a greater appreciation and love for them. I understand better the scripture in I Timothy 5:8 and why it is so important to God to care for family in the way He cares for us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A time for quiet!

Today is just a be quiet day and and do what God's word tells me! Psalm 46:10-Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just another day to dress up?

Palm Sunday and Easter are not Hallmark events they are life changing historical facts!  These 2 Sundays have become more like fashion statements. There is probably more money spent on new suits, gorgeous dresses, and fantastic hats than any other time of the year! Cards and candy bought, eggs decorated and family get together's. Yet I wonder if families are talking about the historical and life changing event that actually took place?

Like Christmas, we as a church have gotten to a place where it is a day of extra guests and larger offerings. We plan for the bigger once a year crowds and they leave the once a year big event no different! And we wonder what we can do different next year! We already plan to advertise and promote with the same gimmicks as Hallmark and any other organizer of special events.

What we have done is made these faith foundational days insignificant! We have taken the fact of what happened on these days and made them more entertaining then life changing! Now I know we need to make them special, but not in the Hallmark sense! We need to make them special because they are life changing events! Our faith is built on what Jesus did on these days. From Palm Sunday, as the sacrificial lamb being praised as king, to the ultimate and final sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, to rising from the grave giving us victory over death, and all that for us!!

If we would show the excitement in our lives, and live our lives as a people who have received this victorious gift. Not just dress up the outside, but allowing what has changed on the inside out! It would not be just another Hallmark moment, a program we present, or even the special music just for the occasion! It could indeed be a life changing event!  But we have to live as lives changed, people need to see the difference.

They need to see our faith in what Jesus did for us on these days! Though we are dressed up on the outside we are also showing how dressed up we are on the inside. How? because we live for this day all year! They need to see Christians this excited about what Jesus has truly done for them daily! That it is not just another day to dress up! (John 12:1-15 Palm Sunday, John 20:1-31 Easter, Plus many famous artists, and historians to research)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Knower or a show-er or both?

Leaders need to not only know the way, but should be showing the way! It is not enough to have knowledge without being willing to share that knowledge. Too many people today, want to continue to receive, rather than give back! We as leaders sometimes forget that, if not for someone walking with us on our journey, we would not have the knowledge and experience we have gained.

If we as leaders stay in front and let those with less experience bring up the rear, we are setting ourselves up for disaster. We have the thinking that as people have watched us they have learned from us.Wrong! It is not until we humble ourselves and walk beside them that they truly learn. Why? Because we are taking the time to genuinely care for them and want nothing but God's best for their lives.

When people see that leaders truly care and they are willing to share their time and knowledge, they gain a true sense of belonging. Too many times leaders assume that because they teach and preach, people are getting it. I wish it were that easy. But it is not! Leaders need to come along side them and guide them. They need to be willing to go back to the basics even when it means tedious repetition.

Paul himself was a leader who did not mind going back to the basics. In Philippians 3:1 he wrote, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe. He was willing to back up and go over the things he already knew to help others grow in knowledge. He was never too smart, or had he come to the place he knew it all!

Paul always spoke in terms of teaching and learning growing in the knowledge of the Lord. If we as leaders have gotten to a place in our lives where we have lost the desire of serving to learn, how can we ever expect people to step up and learn to serve. They will never know how until we stop wanting to always know the way and not be more willing to show the way!

II Timothy 2:1-2-Paul writes--You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2-And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A smile could make the difference!

The benefits of bringing a smile to anyone even when you do not want to smile, brings a healing you cannot explain!  I have learned this especially since caring for my Mom who suffers from Alzheimer's. There are certainly times when you do not smile. Under those unusual circumstances when you at least try to smile. A smile can become good medicine.

When we realize that it only takes a little bit of us to make someone else feel good for a moment it is healing. To who? Ourselves, and also to those we are sharing a smile with. Why do we smile when that is the last thing we would like to do? In some cases it is a protective devise we throw out to keep folks from knowing we are not doing that great.

Yet when we go against our feelings, it tends to make us feel a little better about life around us at that moment. When someone lights up after we have been with them it gives us a sense of purpose. And our day seems to smooth out a bit. Why? Because you have done something for someone else, or given them a moment they needed. And by perking up their day it seems to bring healing to ours.

Just like the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. So a smile at just the right time, may lift a persons spirits and maybe even mine! We may never know until we try. Until we take the chance to put our feelings behind us for just a moment. I know we cannot use a smile to answer every situation. But in most cases if we put fourth the effort to force one out. The results could amaze you.

Once we force that smile to our face something changes inside. When we see others respond with a smile it  seems to bring an inner warmth. When my mom gets frustrated because she does not understand what is happening to her at any given moment. It can be frustrating to me also. She becomes less cooperative and even resistant. When I respond to her in the same way, with frustration, I get less cooperation.

It is not until I tease her and make funny faces that her mood changes completely. When I smile she begins to smile back and that creates a whole new atmosphere. She lights up like I have made her feel special. Even though her memory has been effected by this disease! A smile still brings a since of healing and comfort to her. A smile can make the difference and determine the outcome of your day, give it a shot.

The benefits of bringing a smile to anyone even when you do not want to smile, brings a healing you cannot explain!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You could be the difference your family needs!

Taking care of your family is important why? Because it is important to God! I Tim. 5:8-But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. God takes family very serious. He created the family to be special, caring, and loving and just as importantly to be there always to provide.

Not just in material possessions but in the physical and spiritual sense also. We are not always expected to cut a check to meet a need. There will be times when we will need to get our hands dirty, use some elbow grease as it were. We may need to sit up some nights to give comfort and hold a hand. And when it is most difficult to lend a smile, or maybe just have a good cry together.

The most important thing to remember is family is important and not something to take for granted. Time goes by faster than we understand. And before you know it the kids are grown, mom and dad have aged so much. We wonder where the time went! To God we are always to take the time for family. They are so important to Him, that He gives instructions about caring for them in every sense!

Dads with children, moms with children, children with parents, home life and and the things that make a home, a home (Proverbs 31:1-10, Gal. 6:1-3) that is just to name a few! My challenge to you today is. If there is any division, any quarreling, any long time separation in your family. Take the time today to start the healing process. Do not quibble over who is at fault or who is responsible.

If you truly want a relationship, if you truly want peace in your life. Bring healing to your family. They are important, they are the heart beat. They are a special gift from God, though at times we may doubt that. But it's true! Our families may make mistakes but they are not mistakes! Loving them does not mean they are right all the time. Loving them means you will walk with them even at times you do not agree.

The sad thing here is some people will go their whole lives playing a blame game. They are missing out on some wonderful memory building years! Please take some time now and reflect on your family and how you can make a difference in them and yourself. Experience the peace you will get from the healing process. And the pleasure you will receive when you become a whole family again!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The proof is in the pudding!

If you have to prove to people you care maybe you really don't, caring without expectation is what catches the eye! When we do for others there should be no strings attached. If we are spending time reminding them in various ways what we have done for them our help becomes empty and void! Because we have done it with the expectation we should be acknowledged for all we have done!

Being genuine is the key to caring for folks. Looking out for their best interest should not come at a cost to them! They should never be guilted into being grateful. And you should never have to remind them or get their approval whenever you have helped them! When you do this to people they will certainly not be grateful. On the contrary they will be just the opposite.

When we have to prove anything we need to check our motives. If we are genuine and truly care, what people know will not be important. In fact you will not want people to know anything  because you have done what you have without expectation and that will be reward enough. The saying, the proof is in the pudding comes to mind here.

Once you have tasted it you know it's pudding no one has to prove that to you any longer. The same should be when we care for for people. The proof should be in the pudding of our life. How will we know this? How will we know they are grateful? They will come back for seconds without being asked! Why? Once people know that you care for them without expectation they know they can trust the ingredients of your motives.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Lord, you toot my horn!

It is a warmer more rewarding feeling when someone you help does not know it and they are telling you how much someone cared. Matt. 6:3-But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. In other words don't toot your own horn let someone else. God would love to be your horn tooter if we would be willing to give in a non-expecting way!

We all know that it feels good to do something for someone. It also feels good when we get credit for that help we give. Buy to enjoy it in a greater way we need to do more without needing the credit! Just do it because they are worth it and no more! And see what happens. See the joy and pleasure someone gets just because others cared!

It is kinda like a treasure hunt. You get to see the excitement on their faces as they search diligently to thank someone. They share their gratitude and all along it was you. What a genuine way to have someone else toot your horn not knowing it was you. What a warm feeling it is when we do not seek after the glory and the credit and it just comes our way.

Those who need to toot their own horns, those look at me people see what I have done! Seeking someones approval taking all the credit are folks who are truly needing this kind of gift. They have not experienced true giving in the since of sacrifice. And their rewards are short lived because folks know their intentions were not sincere. That is when, instead of looking down on this fault, we need to do a little something in secret for them.

Watch what happens when you help them see how much more precious it is to give than to receive! Stand back and watch the look on their face when they have received a gift from God! As they begin to search and ask people where it came from sharing how they got it just at the time they needed it! See the warmth of caring overwhelm them and guide them to a better understanding of true giving and helping.

Let the Lord be your horn tooter He will toot it loud and see you are rewarded. Not as people can, but only as He can. It is a warmer more rewarding feeling when someone you help does not know it and they are telling you how much someone cared. Lord you toot my horn!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

How are we reflecting today?

How we treat others is a true reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Remembering always that truth comes from within! We need to, at times, stop and take a look at how we act towards others. A time to deflect from them and reflect on ourselves. Doing this would certainly help us see, it may not always be someone else creating our problems and stresses or even joys!

One of the hardest things to admit to ourselves. One of the toughest is accepting the fact. It could be how I am portraying myself to them to them. If we act a certain way towards others, guess what? That is exactly, in most cases how they are going to respond right back! It brings back sayings like we reap exactly what we sow!

The impression we throw out to people by our actions gives them the perception of who we are! And that may not be the case at all! Everyone has a bad day or even just a bad moment. It is then we need to take the time to slow down and think through how we are going to act. Because it is exactly our actions toward others that draw a false picture of who we truly are!

If we indeed take the time to listen how we talk and respond towards others. It may wake us up to the fact, we are asking people to treat us the same way! When we expect people out there to treat us a certain way. We must first expect no less from ourselves! If we are rude, expect others to be rude. If we speak in certain tones, expect those tones to be returned.

 How we treat others is a true reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Remembering always that truth comes from within!  A bible verse comes to mind here always, treat others in the same way you would like to be treated. (Luke 6:31). How are we reflecting today?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The show or not the show that is the question?

Being humble is making sure you are not the show, even when you are in the show!
Mark 1:7 (John the Baptist) And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. John the Baptist, even though at the time was a key player in God's show did not want the star billing.

Whenever he was asked the question about who he was. Never took the opportunity to say, hey look at me, look what I am doing for God. He always pointed people to the coming Messiah Jesus Christ who would soon come. John was a man who was in the show as a star yet never wanted to be the show.
He remained humble and very willing to back out of the way that he not distract from Jesus the true star of the show!

As Pastor's and leaders in ministry being up front can sometimes get us in trouble. We tend to forget, especially when we are getting much of the attention. To point people to Jesus solely, and be willing to get out of the way as not to distract people from seeing Him. It is not always our fault though. As people will at times build us up as the star attraction or put us on the pedestal for an Oscar!

That is when we see whether we are humble and able to handle star billing in a show that we are part of. A show that we share in but we are not the main character. A show in which we will do our best and our best will make the star of the show even better.That is true humility. Knowing we are good yet using that good without a trumpet sound and fanfare to help someone else shine brighter.

If we are serving the Gospel people need to see the Gospel. That is the show we are in and have become, by God's Grace players in His production. Remembering that if not for Jesus we would not be who we are. So we need to make sure that people are not seeing us but the Jesus in us. It is easy to get caught up in the trap of popularity, people's compliments, and big pat on the back for a job well done.

All that is good until we forget where and who we are in Christ. It is good to be encouraged nothing wrong with that. We just need to remember it is not all about us. It is about the One who brought us to where we are. And by faith in what He did for us at Calvary. Even Jesus who is the star, who is the key player in this play humbled Himself.

As John was humbled and willing to get out of the way and give Jesus top billing. Even Jesus humbled Himself, Phil.2:8-9--And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9--Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

Why did Jesus do that? He was willing to take the cross be disgraced and humiliated for us! He made a way that we would become the righteousness of God through His humble sacrifice (II Cor.5:21). If you do not know that you can today. It is believing by faith in what Jesus did for you. It is humbling yourself before Jesus and saying Lord with all my heart I come to you. Change me as only You can Lord Jesus.

Take the star billing of my life. Take the sin away that has so distracted me from the truth and reality of life's production. And put me into Yours. A production of eternal life.That I see, even though I am in the show  I am not the show. I humbly surrender to You that star billing on the door of my heart amen! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Treat them good no matter what!

No matter how you treat someone they may not return what you think you deserve! It may not be right but remember you are better than that! Romans 12:21-Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. One of the hardest things to do is to treat someone nice that continues to treat us rudely! Our first thoughts are they must want to be treated badly!

That is very far from the truth. One thing we will never know, if we do not stick to who we are in Christ. That person may be going through some trust issues, hurts, marital problems, a death and all the emotions that go with those! In other words because we are doing the right thing does not mean that person will respond back in the same way. Yet!

What we need not do is get caught up in their emotions. Not allow their reactions to change who we really are, a child of God! Romans 12:18-If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. That brings our actions right back to us, and our lives in Christ. It reminds us how Jesus reacted to those he had shown complete compassion too and in return got nothing but rejection.

The one thing we need to think of most here. Is getting out of ourselves and looking at that person through the eyes of Jesus. The same way Jesus had to look, and does look at us now. Whenever I am very quick to react to someones actions toward me, not taking time to evaluate what may be the cause. It puts me in an uncomfortable place with myself. I am reminded of who I represent Christ!

No I am not perfect at it. But the more I practice it the more I catch myself wanting to do better toward those folks. I find that it is not about me it is about whether they see Jesus in me. I have found that the longer I express interest in them they tend to come around. They tend to start smiling a bit more, they tend to trust a bit more as they are seeing that all people out there are not the same.

There are still people who care. There are still people out there they can trust in again because they were willing to go the distance and not get run away by bad behavior. A protection devise they had begun to use to keep people from getting close enough to hurt them again. Or anything that had happened in their lives to cause them to not be who they truly are.

Try and remember that people are not always where you are in life. Try and remember that people may be going through things in their life you cannot see. Never feel that it has to be you that is causing them to respond a certain way. Yet it can be you that helps them see there is hope that life can get better because, no matter what you are not treating them as they treat you.

No matter how you treat someone they may not return what you think you deserve! It may not be right but remember you are better than that!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Out of the Heart.

If you want to know what kind of heart you have just listen to what proceeds from your mouth! (Matthew 15:18-19). The Pharisees, a religious group in Jesus day had a bunch of rules and regulations. One was eating with unclean hands. They had challenged Jesus, being upset that His disciples where breaking a religious law by not washing before they had eaten.

They had the people convinced that if they would eat without washing they would become defiled. Jesus dispelled that falsity by challenging them by the very law they were abusing. They used their rules and regulations to their advantage. They took the commands of God and twisted them. Yet on the outside the people saw them as the authority. They were the teachers and the preachers in the temple so they must be walking with God.

Well Jesus using the law exposed their hypocrisy to the people. He would show that they were a do as I say not as I do kind of leadership. Though they imposed these rules, they themselves were not following them. In fact they were the worst rule breakers! To be a leader whether a Pastor, Teacher, Military, political, etc. that does not live as they expect others to do is hypocrisy!

It reveals the true individual, what is truly on the inside of that person! Jesus would go on to say, it is not what goes in the mouth that defiles a person but what proceeds from the mouth. In other words it was their heart condition! To eat with unclean hands never hurts anyone, but the words that come from a person can cause much hurt and confusion! Or it can truly show one as being genuine.

Why? Because it was from the heart that one speaks or acts out! It is from the heart that will expose a persons true nature, who they really are. They can only hide their actions for so long before the truth, or lie, of their lives will be revealed. If you want to know where a person truly stands just watch and see if their actions measure up to their words! Then you will know their heart the true person!

This also goes for ourselves if we genuinely listen to how we speak and how we act. It will tell us who we truly are and what truly lies in our hearts. We also have expectations of others but do we really live as we expect others too? We so dislike what others do and say yet it seems alright for us? A little hypocrisy there? Basically do not set higher standards on others that you are not willing to live up too!

Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19-But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man. 19- For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornication's, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. It is whatever we tend to harbor in our hearts that reveal the true self! Jesus was saying the most important thing here the thing we need to listen to most is our hearts!

If you want to know what kind of heart you have and what kind of person are just listen to what proceeds from your mouth!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Grace oh how sweet.

To be what God wants me to be is the greatest honor I can achieve. Yet it is not my achievement at all it is only by His grace that I am able. (Ephesians 2:8-10).  For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.  I love the old hymn Amazing Grace it is the most humbling set of words put to music.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I am found, was blind but now I see. Some folks sing this song yet cannot get past to first line. They cannot get past the part that says they are a wretch! The hymn writer John Newton (1725-1807) in his deepest dispare of life found forgiveness and mercy. Something he could not do on his own as the song says.

 It was by faith the he cried out and believed and was changed forever more! He was in a place where he realized he was helpless and hopeless. Yet he did not get stranded on the first line. He wrote a song about God's gift of grace through Jesus Christ alone a gift that would change him in only a way God can! A gift of forgiveness, and mercy undeserved yet by God's grace given freely.

I too thought that I could change myself, that I could do better. But it was not until a ship wreck of life hit the I truly understood grace! Grace is used in so many ways and in so many different meanings. A couple that are familiar, God's Riches At Christ's Expense, and unmerited or undeserved favor. Both do pretty much explain grace. But it is not until we live and experience it personally do we truly understand.

It is not until we, by faith alone reach out and grab the hem of Jesus that we truly understand. It is not about feeling good inside and being on an emotional high always. It is the confidence knowing that we truly have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. We know this because we do not see ourselves in the mirror of life the same anymore. We see the reflection of Jesus in whose image we have been made.

We are changed! We are different! And we know beyond a shadow of doubt because, what has taken place in our lives could not have been done by us! That is the true experience of grace. Something we can not take credit for or brag about because we have been so humbled. Humbled to the point of almost being speechless. But we do not remain speechless our words come out in expressions of praise and gratitude!

 To be what God wants me to be is the greatest honor I can achieve. Yet it is not my achievement at all it is only by His grace that I am able. (Ephesians 2:8-10).  For by Grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. 9-not of works, lest any man should boast. 10-For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When all else fails call someone!

When all else fails, never be to proud to call someone and talk a bit! You never know you may just get the answer you need. Proverbs 11:14-Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. I have always been told, that the only dumb question is the one not asked! We learn when we reach out.

Asking for someones guidance tells you two things. 1-you are showing wisdom. 2-you are not alone.
It is always more comforting to find out that you have someone to lean on a bit. You have someone who cares to take a little time for you, that you are important to them. In return, helps take away feelings of doubt and insecurity.

When all else fails, when we have exhausted all we have in ourselves. We tend to give up or give into our feeling and our emotions. This is not always the best decision making place to be. For myself this was most always a dangerous place to be. I would, and could convince myself that I was deserving of anything I wanted to do or even buy! Beep, wrong answer!!

I was especially weak in the area of finances. I worked hard for that money so why couldn't I spend it on what I wanted? Well that would be alright if I had it to spend. In most cases, in those past days I did not. And the result was financial disaster. I had learned the hard way that it was better to go without than to be in debt!

That is, of course only one example. Yet it is one that people struggle with. I had learned that I did not have to be embarrassed. I was not the only one in the world who had little money to work with. How do we learn this? We seek counsel from someone we trust, someone we can confide in. You will be amazed that as you share your situation with that person, you may find they have gone through the same thing.

Humility, whether in fiances, marriage, and relationships is the key to get right answers. Everyone at one time or another needs someone to talk too. They need guidance to point them in the right direction. This is not a bad thing quite the contrary, it is in fact a very wise decision to make. Proverbs 3:13 says- Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding. 

 So when all else fails, never be to proud to call someone and talk a bit! You never know you may just get the answer you need. Proverbs 11:14-Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. I have always been told, that the only dumb question is the one not asked! We learn when we reach out!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Are you caught up in yesterdays?

Try being different today and do just the opposite of yesterday! You may not be able to change the past, but you have today to change your future. Don't waste it! Phil. 3:13-14-Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14-I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

If we want change in our lives we have to stop looking back over our shoulders. We need to move ahead and go after what awaits us. Sometimes we get stuck in the day. Paul wrote to the Philippian church to encourage them to find joy in the Lord. Not to get stuck on anything that may hold them back from receiving God's best. He also let them know he had not received it yet, but nothing was going to hold him back!

He had been through many trials himself yet kept a forward vision knowing that God had something better. That God never failed him and would not start now. Paul was excited about life ahead and could not help but encourage people to do the same. If you have no hope what does your future look like right now? If you do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life He wants to have the same relationship with you as He did Paul.

Paul had a hope that gave him a positive outlook on his future. His past could not hold him back. And he did not allow it to hold him back from seeing the future as a prize. If anyone would ask Paul the question. If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently? Paul would probably reply, I am too busy and excited at what is ahead to look back and waste my time on what could have been.

Are you caught up in to many yesterdays that you cannot see today all? If you are there is an answer, Jesus Christ. He wants to have a relationship with you that gives you hope and a confidence of whats ahead. He will take your past and turn it into something to live for! Jesus will take you and set you in a place where you will also say, looking back not a chance.

Try being different today and do just the opposite of yesterday! You may not be able to change the past, but you have today to change your future. Don't waste it! (Phil. 3:13-14). Turn to Jesus today if you have not, and turn back if you have looked away. Either way it points you to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Nice to know you are there.

For some people the best help is just knowing someone is available and willing to walk beside them quietly. Proverbs 18:24-A man who has friends must show himself friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. The last half of that verse has always spoken to me. It speaks of a friend who will be there even when no one else seems to be!

I ask myself often, am I that kind of friend? Am I at the very least available when someone needs me or am I  or am I tied up with my own needs? Sticking close is the key being available gives brings some comfort. People do not always need to have someone fix them but it does help when they know someone is there. They know that person will pray, will talk with them, but as importantly listen to them!

We cannot and do not always need the right words or the correct answers. We just need to be there lending an ear, giving a little time holding them up quietly. Sometimes just a quick phone call, a simple card sent in the mail is all they need to get them back in focus. I know that is not always the answer but they help. When a person knows they are not alone. When they know someone out there is at least available it brings value to their life.

A friend is not a friend just because they are at your house everyday! A friend is that person, when you least expect it shows up at just the right time. Sees the hurt in your face even when you feel it does not show. Hears the trembling in your voice and just says I am hear to listen how can I help. They are the friends that will walk with you through the trials of life showing their imperfections also.

As the saying goes, "Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend."

For some people the best help is just knowing someone is available and willing to walk beside them quietly.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A mirror reflection of God!

If you look for the acceptance of others before you accept yourself, you are missing the point! If you like what you see in the mirror, half the battle is over. If not, look again! I love reading the Bible passage that reminds me that I have been made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27-So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

When I take time to stop and reflect who I was made in the image of, it makes a difference how I see myself. I feel special that a loving God would take that time for me. So for me I feel like I need to take a good look at what I see each day. Do I see a reflection of God? Or do I walk away thinking and feeling I need the world's acceptance to make me feel special. 

If I need people to say, they like me when I know that is not possible, that is not fair to myself, or to them. That is why the mirror reflection is important. Knowing that I was created in God's image sure makes a difference to my day. And helps me and encourages me to reflect Him to others. That reflection is far different than what the world views reflection. The world says, in most cases, that God made you who are and you are alright.

Well that is not exactly true. We have been created in His image but we were not created to just live a life contrary to His word. Sin makes us unacceptable especially to ourselves. Sin brings out an ugliness or sides of us we do not like or care to look at. That is why we get caught up in what people think or how we feel about ourselves at the start of each day. 

To reflect God is to reflect change, a change that can only come with an intimate relationship with our creator. That is why we were created in the first place to have a relationship and to fellowship with God. But sin caused a separation and the reflection became dim. So that all we see is defeat, discouragement, self doubt, etc. But God wants to change all that in our lives He wants to reestablish that relationship so His reflection will once again shine fourth.   

Jesus came so that we could again love who we are, because we know who we were created to be like. Jesus came to give us the way back from sin. A way that would lead us back to the Father. A way that would set us free from sin and restore us, that we again would become a mirror reflection of God. If you look for the acceptance of others before you accept yourself, you are missing the point! If you like what you see in the mirror, half the battle is over. If not, look again!

Jesus said in John 8:31-32, 47- If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. 32-And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 47- He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God. Where are you now? If you do not see the reflection in the mirror that says, hey and sends you off in the dimness of defeat. Then turn to Jesus and see the reflection of who He created you to be, a mirror image of Him!