Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Hard Drive for Christians

I saw a woman in the library trying to use her flash drive. She had no cover for the head of it and when placed in the hard drive of the computer she found all of the information stored was gone. She pulled the travel disk (as it has been called) out to blow on the head and placed it back in the hard drive. To no avail, all of the information she painstakingly put into it had been lost. She went to seek assistance from the library attendant who came to where she was sitting. She gave him her flash drive and he asked, "where is the cover?" To wit, she replied, "oh, I lost that awhile ago, but anyway, can you help me get my resume from it? When I try to use it nothing comes up." He looked at her thoughtfully knowing what's going to happen but he went through the steps anyway for her to understand. Afterwards, having no success, he said, "you must keep this covered or dust will get into the head of it and then it will be ruined." He gave the piece back to her and left. She sat looking at the blank screen and the instrument that was no longer any good to her.

This is an analogy of how information has been received to live a life that is holy and acceptable unto God. We receive the information from ministries, our parents, counselors, and other influential people but instead of taking heed with what we have learned, we go about in our own way of doing things; as if we know better. As I tell my children, I am not out for their hurt but looking out for them only desiring the best for them. If I tell you something is going to burn you, I would think with that warning they wouldn't do it. But children don't always listen and at the end of all they have learned, there they sit enduring the pain of the punishment and trying to recover from the sting of it or recall the information they chose to neglect.

How could any of us look at the children of Israel going around that mountain and think we would never be in that situation - ever? We have done it and so did this woman in the analogy. Why would the manufacturer design the travel disk with a cover if it weren't necessary to use? Why would God send Jesus to shed His blood on the cross if it weren't necessary for us to use?

The devil is going to come to do his job - steal, kill, and destroy. If you don't stay covered under that blood (the anointing), you get what you get. In the analogy, she lost all of her information. Will you have to get to that point before hearing God? From a Christian perspective, the analogy speaks volumes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

That Doesn't Hurt

It is about 5 in the mroning (it could be earlier) and your eyes are barely open. You have a knowing to get up to pray and the longing to go back and slumber. Having full knowledge of who He is, you battle the flesh to get up and be obedient. You enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4 AMP) as you begin your prayers in the Spirit. Within the first 15 minutes, thoughts about your day and all that you have to do try to come. So while in prayer, why not start writing your to do list? How about getting a few minor household chores out of the way; its like two birds with one stone sort of a thing. Hey, that laundry isn't going to fold itself. Isn't it garbage day? Why not take it out to the curb while you are up doing stuff anyway? Are you still praying?

When I was a child, my parents taught us to pray just before bedtime. We knelt at the side of the bed with ourhands pressed together saying the same rehearsed rhyme that we said in those impressionable years. We thank God for everyone and loved people all the same. Feeling good about going to bed, oddly enough, after those prayers; we got a kiss from Mom and the lights were switched off for the night. No big deal, right?

Then as adults and returning back to church, many ministers have taught certain methods to pray as they understand scripture to be. I have heard to kneel and use the Word. I heard to sit with another chair facing you as if you are speaking to God. I heard to pray in the Spirit and do other things like multi-tasking. I heard that people literally get into a closet while others sit under large pieces of furniture. I suppose one could mimick anyone of those techniques based upon who was teaching and how their life has fared or do what seems just right for you.

Nit-picking through what got others out of their issues is a waste of time. I decided to do the multi-tasking thing because kneeling at the bed side was getting hard on the knees, my feet would go to sleep, and sometimes I would be waking up from that kneeling position wondering if I had finished praying or not. I deducted that I did and moved on with my day. Throughout my faith filled life, I made sure that my prayer time was anything but uncomfortable. If I kneeled it was on my bed and sometimes under covers. Most of the time I prayed while doing something else. If the phone rang, I answered it. If someone was at the door, I saw to it. I figured that I was getting things done and that should please God. Well, that was my reasoning and not godly thinking.

In my studies on the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 AMP), I came upon longsuffering and was stumped. The term in of itself seemed to contradict what I thought Jesus came to rid believers from. How can we suffer when He said He would not leave us without comfort (comfortless). Doesn't comfort and suffer oppose one another? And one must endure with suffering and periods of length (long)? I refused to receive that understanding of the Word. I had to be getting that wrong. I studied and defined that word and still I just didn't like what I got. So I casted the care on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7 AMP) and continued with my faith the way I understood and liked.

I cannot explain the strange things that has happened to me over the years. The battles of anxiety and frustrating issues are to numerable to mention. I prayed and prayed. I called prayer lines to have them pray for me too. I woke family members in the middle of the night to pray. Peace within my soul needed to be still. I read scriptures and I was quieted for a time, but then I was back on the prayer lines and waking folks up again. I didn't know what else to do. So I talked with God and asked where was I disobedient to receive this chastisement? I didn't hear anything for many days but I did gradually receive Peace again.

My multi-tasking prayer life continued the way it was. Sometimes I realized that when I kept still and focused on the specific prayer, the answer came sooner. I also noticed when I stayed still the release of the prayer wasn't an all day project.

Eventually, God brought me back to the longsuffering question. I believed when Jesus came and willingly allowed Himself to be beaten, tortured, and ridiculed for the sins of the world, true believers didn't need to go through that. Jesus was crucified on the cross unjustly. He had done nothing wrong; and still He went through the pain and suffering because He loved us so much. He did this so we wouldn't have to. He broke the laws of sin and death. We believe and so we receive ever lasting life. No pain. No suffering. It makes sense. It is a reason to rejoice. Thank you Jesus - right?

Then Paul went and wrote because Jesus suffered so do we. If we don't suffer, we aren't His (Romans 8:14-17 AMP). What?!!! Why does he write stuff like this? I tried to make sense of it and couldn't. Pain wasn't something I was willing to receive not after believing my latter will be greater and anticipating (Haggai 2:9 KJV) the abundant life Jesus said is mine.

So where is the clearing of this path? What is going to move this mountain (Mark 11:23 KJV)? Jesus didn't leave believers comfortless. We have the Holy Spirit and the maintenance of the Spirit of God is developing and cultivating the fruit thereof. Having been born in an evil nature (Romans 13:13 AMP) before receiving Christ, we developed many habits that needed to change. Some were easier than others. Some took diligence and with the decision to not to return in that mess, came the reward. The renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2 KJV) by faith is instantaneous. Walking in love in all you do must be taught for the willingness to do so can be easy. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning can give reason to be grouchy but understanding that someone did it for you makes the adjustment much easier.

Longsuffering is fruit that no one initially would like to cultivate. It sounds painful. Bowing at the knees to pray for as long as it takes with the tingling in the feet, creaking of the back, feeling like the circulation stopped in the arms and the occasional snooze in between to start the prayer all over again is a pittance compared to those who would not get up early to do so therefore; suffered through financially. Or those who complained about praying so long and went through a lost deal, having no transportation, fired from a job that was guaranteed, a failed marriage, peace of mind is troubled, or whatever you could be facing now.

No, we don't have to do what Jesus did. His ministry is unique of its own. Paul wrote the truth and none of that fruit from each of us is the harvest God looks for. Seriously, in comparison with what Jesus did, does your knees really hurt?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The Word says he who asks for Wisdom God gives to him liberally and upbraideth it not (James 1:5 KJV). Wisdom is far more precious than rubies (Proverbs 3:15 AMP). It is the principle thing we have with our faith by fearing God. With the way God sees things and Wisdom being what it is, what do we do with her once she has been found?We have seen and spoken to people that don't use the good sense God gave them. Should we take the time to give the Wisdom that God gave to us when we asked? And if we decide to do so, is God pleased?

An elderly man who is fascinated by the artwork that I do, comes to the office to where I am drawing and to ask to see the latest piece. He then shows me of the artwork he did years ago using acrylic paint and a solid piece of clear acrylic. He is talented. We began discussing various artworks of famous painters. I showed him somethings on the internet and how he could make money selling his pieces. When it meant for him to put forth some effort with his own talent, he stopped talking. He stopped asking to see pieces of my work. He would only peer over my shoulder and smile. I asked why wouldn't he do something so simple to use and having computer knowledge already? He explained how he retired from being so busy. He went through his mundane itinerary that we all do over the course of the day. I stopped trying to make him see what he refused to do. It was pointless. His excuses for not doing anything didn't seem worth while for me to make him change his mind.

God gives Wisdom to those who ask. We use it to further advance our lives in the abundance Jesus came to give. God is pleased with our prosperity (Psalm 35:27 AMP). When you can see where someone could be, is it hard for you to not say anything? With the love of God, I can't see how I could keep myself from not saying anything. Yet there does come a point where no matter what you say, the listener refuses to hear. He/she has their mind made up. You cannot force it down their throats.

Could this be relevant when witnessing to others? Of course, we would like to win souls for Christ. We wouldn't have anyone be lost. This is the wish God has as well (1 Timothy 2:4 AMP); however, wouldn't it be more beneficial all the way around that you be a good listener to His voice before forcing someone to listen to you? He orders the steps of a good man (Psalms 37:23 AMP). He can change the heart of a king (Proverbs 21:1 AMP). Your abilities are only limited through Christ. When you force your faith on someone else and they clearly aren't interested, you changed that love walk into your walk and that's evil no matter how good your intentions are.

Personally, with Christ as my personal Lord and Savior, when someone beckons me for the purpose of saving my soul, my immediate response is to roll my eyes. When the one speaking doesn't change his/her mind after seeing this, I know they are not listening to God. Why would God tell you to come to me and I already live, breath, and do for Him? When the outcome is annoyance, why persist? How is that a love relationship depicting God? Anyone could see that as stalking and it is not good; therefore, it is not God.

Do you see any value in pearls? Would you lay a string of pearls in a pig pen? A pig would attempt to eat the pearls but once finding them inedible, the pearls become a part of the dung-filled mud that makes his environment. Once covered in dung and mud, do the pigs care (Matthew 7:6 AMP)? Did they ever?

Would this be the same when going to church? If you know the pastor hears from God and the message he is called to preach is reminiscent of a message you heard not just a few months ago. God is telling you something. If Jesus prepared a table for you and what you received was a plate of strained baby food, would you ask why or continue to eat the baby food? Would baby food sustain you? How long would it be before you get hungry again? Infants are fed milk every 2 hours. Would milk sustain you? Would Wisdom be speaking for you to move on? Wouldn't it be to your benefit to seek His face to be placed in a church where the harvest is plentiful?

On the other hand, pastors cannot be afraid of the congregation growing to be sons and moving on to what God has called him/her to do. Pastor should know by now that God will fill the empty seats? It took faith to get the pastors where they are. Why use anything else when the ministry is in full operation?

The Word tells us to seek Wisdom early while we can. Would this mean that there will come a time where Wisdom will not be heard? Pearls have no value to someone who worries. If a problem is exacerbated with worry then the God who knew you before you were formed in the womb has been minimized if thought of at all. Worry is a euphemism for fear. When one instills fear, Wisdom cannot be found. For this reason, when witnessing,  the fire and brimstone message isn't good. God woes us with love. We use that same love with people. Wisdom cannot be found when a pastor worries that the collection plate is lighter than usual. He is the same God that paid the mortgage, why would He leave you in your time of need? The same God that fed you well in the ministry where you were saved. God will continue to lead, feed, and provide in the place He is sending you.

Keep the pearls God has given liberally. Know when to give those precious words and when not to. Recognize His voice and know when those precious words are given to you unless your preference is the mire of dung and mud.

Read It for Yourself!

To not know things in this day and age can prove to be detrimental for your health. We simply don't put our trust in anyone and everyone anymore. We should know better than that, not only because of what we have been taught but simply because of what we have said and done ourselves. For instance, I would have loved to take my children to Disneyland when they were little. We were saving every nickle and dime we could find. But as a young mother some years ago, I had to weigh purchasing diapers for the baby or fulfilling the idea I planted into the minds of my children. My now ex-husband and their father wasn't working and the pressure was on. Diapers, of course, won.

What sort of pressure would pastors be under when stepping to the pulpit to teach a lesson that hearers need to act upon? Have the bills been paid? Did someone sue the church and win the case? Are there any marital problems that might weaken the ministry? Are the staff that was hired by the pastor above reproach? Is scandal looming anywhere in the ministry? You wouldn't know and most ministers don't divulge that sort of information to their congregation.

Over the years I have heard thousands of sermons, messages, and prophecies. And while most of them I believed were anointed, coming straight from God, in those tender years of salvation I stumbled a few times believing all that I heard and not being a hearer only (James 1:22 AMP). Because of any number of things that could go on in a speaker's life, fear could cause the speaker to make mistakes; what the bible refers to as err (Isaiah 9:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:3 AMP). When this err is heard, the listener goes and acts upon it and then is in err as well (2 Timothy 4:3 AMP). This ripple effect can cause the very thing the pastor feared - the congregants leaving.

A prime example is a message I heard, "If You Take Care of God's House, He'll take Care of Yours." It sounds like a good deal seeing God is not a man that He should lie. So the listeners to this message gives financially believing their debt, burdens, and worry will be miraculously relieved. You know, believe to receive and you shall have. Well, it worked - for the pastor anyway. His bill can be paid. You, on the other hand, must stand on faith to receive. One, two, three, four, months had past and the pressure for your bills to be paid is insurmountable. You can't sleep because of it. Can you go to the pastor and preach his message back to him and get your bill paid? No? Why? What is he going to say? Put your faith to work? You did by giving, why won't he, now that you need? And there is the err that was initiated by fear the pastor or minister acted on.

What is your recourse? If you succumbed to a message laced in guilt or made you feel obligated or ashamed, ask God for forgiveness and repent. When the test comes again and that feeling isn't cheerful as God requires, speak the Word (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV). There is no fear in God (1 John 4:18 KJV). Jesus already paid the price (Romans 6:23 AMP); you are not obligated to no man. You are to owe no man anything but to love him (Romans 13:8 AMP). Understand this doesn't mean you should pilfer or negate your responsibilities with giving your tithes and offering; that money is holy and is actually not yours (Leviticus 27:30 AMP). Just know that as you must walk by faith so does that man or woman of God teaching the message. Let them also believe to receive without burdening the people with fears that should have been cast over on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).

That, being one example, because money seems to be a problem at times. Nevertheless, with any topic taught in church, you cannot put your trust in the one speaking. Yes, love him, pray for him, bless him, and by all means take notes so you can go and read the verses for yourself. There has been too many times where scripture was taken out of context, wording switched around to mean something else, or other folk tales are used instead of the Word (1 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:14 AMP). When phrases used that sound familiar to a group of people, they are more than likely to respond. That is why song lyrics are a common favorite to some speakers. Though praise and worship is made for the Lord's delight be watchful when you hear lyrics to make a message rhema (2 Peter 3:17; 2 Timothy 4:3-5 AMP).

With that message of God taking care of your house because you took care of His, you must remember that those kinds of deals God doesn't make. He provided first. He loved us first. He tells us to draw nigh to Him because He doesn't bombard us. Why would He change that for a message that seems to sound good? God changes not; for He is good. Man still has to get there (Ephesians 4:13 AMP). Can you now see why we put all of our trust in Him? When we do this, there is no trust left for man and Peace rules and reigns for the righteous (Isaiah 26:3 AMP).

Making A Vow For Life - Then Relinquishing It

What we should know, by now, is that God hates divorce. What may be the real question, especially during the time of offense and being away from the very one you vowed to be with for the rest of your life is getting on your nerves, is why does God hate the very thing that could set you free? Understand that it is only the truth that makes and sets anyone free. The truth can only be found in the Word; so let's go there to really and truly be delivered from that which binds you.

First, let's set the stage for those counselors and ministers who try to place a band aid on cancer. Like it or not when a couple comes for godly counsel one must look beyond the religious views of training and delve into what the couple is saying. When two people have contemplated divorce and are Christian, there has been 1 or all 3 things that have taken place:
1. There was no godly pre-marital counseling before the preparation of the ceremony.
2. Lust was involved, so rational and common sense were removed.
3. Divorce was not an impulse decision but something that has been fed by speaking it and thinking it whenever there was an intense argument.

It is already a given that selfishness is the foundation of the decision; reason being, it was the base by which the marriage was developed. Though everyone heard the beautiful words and mannerisms initially, God saw the hearts of them both and they were not stayed on Him. Therefore, the volatile disposition they have towards one another is suppressed for the sake of the counseling session and should be considered before stating a panacea verse that neither one is willing to understand or do based on their previous behavior.

The questions I would have for the both of them in separate sessions would be:
1. Has anyone prayed?
2. Have you crucified the flesh daily and how?
3. Define Love: first from the heart then from the Word.
4. Why is there a difference in the two definitions?

Then based on those answers and understanding (or lack thereof), the two would be brought together to compare notes. Their salvation in Christ Jesus would be a topic and how life was the decision for them both when entering into the commitment of Christianity. The question then would be if they would ever consider going back to their old ways (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP)? Their answers, even the pauses would register as being very important here. Those answers redirect the journey of the session. Whether the thought is:
- should I answer based on my belief?
- should I answer based on whether I have to stay married?
- should I answer to prove whether I love my spouse or not?
- is this some sort of trick?

The long and short of it is, the counseling of a marriage headed for divorce court cannot be about if he is loving her as Christ loves the church or is she reverencing her husband, It is obvious that the 2 babes in Christ don't have that understanding. So if the counselor/minister doesn't have the patience to get down to the brass tactics of salvation and the benefits of remaining married, if not for themselves then for those around them, the counselor then must flip it to discuss what the couple came to do - get a divorce.

There was a time where the mere mention of divorce scared me. It used to be because of the reminder of what my family went through when my parents decided to do it, but then the Word states that God hates it (Malachi 2:16 AMP). There is a list of things that God hates and we know not to do; yet divorce has become so common, the scariness of it now is, what is the punishment for going through with it anyway?

We know that God hates sin. We know that the wages of sin is death. So with God hating divorce, should we put divorce on the same scale as sin having the same effect? We see that studies have shown that with both parents working, divorce still has a financial drain on the income. The stress factors increase. The health issues men had before marriage return. Women increase in the workplace have shown through career choices that where men's health issues were women are now getting those same issues. She carries more of the load that she is not equipped for - nevertheless she does what she has to do according to standards that are not written in the Word. Look again at the Proverbs 31 woman. In comparison, we can now see that divorce does have the same sort of lacking effects on the separated individuals.

With this in mind, would there ever be a good reason for two Christians to divorce? The vow based on scripture states, what God has joined together let no man put asunder. If divorce is the answer with a couple, did God join them together? The Word says to not be unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14 AMP). Could the inequality have been discovered in the marriage? The Word says how can two walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3 KJV). The Word tells us that arguing doesn't promote righteousness (James 1:20 AMP). We know that righteousness is an element needed for Kingdom Life (Matthew 6:33 KJV). So in seeking those good things, realizing that a mistake has been made; would God still be in opposition of getting the divorce?

The Word tells us if the spouse asks to leave, then don't try to keep that from happening. It also says that the saved spouse should stay with the non-believer because it keeps the non-believer safe and the children clean (1 Corinthians 7:15 AMP). That last statement can be the turning point for some because the question of the life altering decision is for the benefit of the children - that is if the 2 adults aren't too self absorbed.

This blog doesn't promote divorce. What I am allowing the believer to see where those verses in the bible are and to use in prayer when making such a drastic decision. God allows the true believer to do as he/she pleases; however, the Word reminds us while all things are permissible, they are not all profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12 AMP). The struggle when deciding to divorce will be there, but all is not lost.