Thoughts

Thoughts

Our thought life is a part of our being that we must be in control of, instead of allowing it to control us. Many people do not realize, actions begin in our thoughts. If we have a poor opinion of ourselves, negative or sinful thoughts, we are in danger of turning down a harmful path. Pride and selfishness also begin in our thoughts when we elevate our wants,thought emoticon needs and opinions above those of others and or above God. These are some of the reasons we must take every thought captive. However, we must keep in mind, a great deal of good can come from our thoughts as well. Thinking about and meditating on the Lord is very positive and beneficial to us.

Have you caught yourself thinking about something and ask, where did that thought come from? If you are like most people, you have. The world intrudes on our lives in more ways than we realize. Education, philosophies, theories, false religions, entertainment (TV + Movies), government, opinions of family and friends, all of these and much more, bombard us with ideas that are contrary to God’s Word. It is not surprising to find ourselves thinking about some of it.

Satan can play with our thoughts too. I don’t believe he can read our minds, but he sure can plan a thought or whisper into our minds. That’s another reason we must take every thought captive. We are responsible for what we think. Therefore, if our thoughts do not line up with the Word of God, we must cast them aside.

Have you ever had an imaginary conversation? Have you rehearsed a discussion with a friend or family member? It’s okay to think about or to plan what we will say, but going over and over it may not be healthy. It is not uncommon for people to nurse and rehearse these exchanges to the point they take over reality. That is why two people in the same discussion can remember it differently. I would venture to say, it is because one of them went over and over the conversation to the point it evolved into something it wasn’t. We can’t assume we know what others are thinking and to rehearse in this way makes that assumption. Females have a greater problem in this area than men do. I used to struggle with this, in both positive and negative situations. I had to stop myself.

It takes discipline to control our thought life. It is a part of self-control we need to learn as Believers. We are called to be righteous and holy, just as Jesus is. That includes our thought life. Most sins begin with a thought.  I am sure someone contemplating an affair, planned a theft, or any other sin thought about it first. That is why it is important to take our thoughts captive and make them line up with God’s Word. Next time you catch yourself thinking about something unhealthy for your spiritual life, cast it aside. If you do this every time, the thoughts will come less often until they rarely happen.

We are entering a period in history where our faith is going to be tried unlike it has ever been before. We must stand blameless before an evil world. Since our walk begins in our thoughts, we must control them. We encourage you to examine this area of your spiritual life and make any adjustments that need to be made. In addition, Satan will use our thoughts to condemn us. We must remember, whom Christ has freed, are free indeed.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ

Passing the Baton

Every human being is born with an inner knowledge of God, yet each person has free will to accept that truth or not. God wanted his children to learn his truths from those who accepted and believed in him. He knew the importance of sharing God’s miracles, blessings, and instruction. He gave the task of passing the baton of education and understanding to the elder generation. In the earliest of times, God told parents and grandparents to teach the children. God did not want his children learning from the world or society where man’s philosophies abound.

Children are impressionable by nature. Their minds are empty slates. It is our job as parents to show them, at an early age, God’s love and teach them the foundations and Bible truths that rule our lives. As we instill truth into their tender hearts and establish the absolutes of God’s character and love, we help them see Jesus can be trusted. As with every person on the planet, our children have free will to choose to follow our Lord or not. We need to plant seeds of faith deep in their hearts so deep roots can be established before the world and society intrude and challenge God’s truths.

One of the problems is, the many (not all) public schools are indoctrination stations for the very young pulling them from the very foundation that established our nation and our lives. No longer is any faith taught, in fact, children are instructed in evolution, science and theories, much of which cannot be proved even when using their own methods of establishing facts. This causes confusion and distrust. Many teachers go on to tell their students people of faith are wrong, believe in fairy tales and lies. As a result, the United States at large is becoming more godless each day. To fill the vacuum left in the hearts of people, the world’s philosophies and false religions are making huge inroads in making converts.

We need to question and listen to our children about what they are learning in school. When they bring home false teaching, gently yet firmly make the correction; explaining that people in the world don’t believe as we do. We encourage parents to be active in the schools. Join the PTA, volunteer to help in your children’s classes. If you have the time, run for a position on the school board. If we are to take back our country, it begins with our children and the schools where they are being taught.

Next, we cannot be Sunday only Christians. We cannot leave the education of our children in the things of faith to others. Spend as much time as possible teaching your children about Jesus. Daily devotions and Bibles studies are important. Our faith is relational. Jesus is our Savior, and we walk with him day by day. It is not a dead religion. Our children need to see us walking out our faith. That is the best teacher. The mantel we pass to our children is even more important today than it has been in the past. It must include faith, Bible truth, and righteousness. Evil is growing at an alarming pace. We and our children need Jesus more today than at any time in history.

It is time for Believers in Jesus Christ to step up and speak out. We must stand for truth and righteousness without condemnation. We are not perfect. We are saved by grace and strive to do Jesus’ work on this earth. He never condemned anyone, even those caught in sin. We must follow his example. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Doing that is walking a fine line. True and faithful believers are up to the task. We can love sinners into the kingdom through love, kindness, and friendship.

These truths hit hard with the passing of a couple of elderly relatives recently. As the older generation dies, the baton is being passed to us. No one knows if we are the final generation. But whether we are or not, we must stand firm and tall in our faith, without wavering. Let’s share the truth of the gospel of Jesus, especially with our loved ones. Let God be true, and man’s philosophies lies. Finally, let us walk in love, kindness, and forgiveness; a shining example of a true Believer to the next generation.

Are you rooted in love/Jesus?

Are you rooted in love…rooted in Jesus?

Faith is a seed and it is planted in our heart when we hear the Word of God. As with all seeds, given time and water, they will take root. The tiny stock springs up. All gardeners know a gentle spray of water at regular intervals is needed at this stage in the plant’s development. Too much moisture will up root or drown the small seedling. Not enough will cause it to shrivel and die. The balance is critical to the health of the plant. As time goes on, fertilizer is added, food that will give the roots vigor to push deep into the ground. After much time and care, the plant bears fruit. This is the law of seed, time and harvest. It is a foundational truth in God’s Word…the Bible. It is true for us as believers in Jesus as well.

We hear the Word of God, the truth of Jesus Christ and his life, death, burial and resurrection. We understand our need for a Savior and accept Jesus as our Lord. We acknowledge God as the final authority in our life with his Word as our foundation. The seed of faith takes root in our heart. We hunger for the nurturing and life-giving water that comes from the Living Fountain. In the beginning, we receive the milk…the lighter things of God. We receive them with gladness and joy.

As time goes on, God begins to feed us the meat of his Word. The heavier things of faith, those things that conflict between God and the world. They challenge us to choose between God’s truth and man’s philosophies. This is where the roots either go deep into Jesus or skirt the surface.

Then the trials come and they will appear. We all have them in one form or another. Look at a mighty tree, what you see above ground is anchored by a root system below of equal size. But when the winds blow the tree whose roots are shallow topples and the one with roots that reach deep into the ground stands firm.

What kind of tree are you? Are you rooted deep into the love of Jesus? It is important to search your heart and allow your faith to establish its roots deep into our Lord. We will sometimes struggle with the hard truths of the Bible. When a loved one chooses to disregard God’s truth and go their own way…the world’s way. When tragedy strikes and we lose someone we care about to death or illness. When we wait on the Lord…and wait…and wait.

Jesus never promised a life without problems, trials, and persecution. In fact, he told us we would encounter all three and more. If your roots are shallow and just reach below the surface, you run the risk of toppling over when the storms come and the winds blow. Yet, when you are rooted deep into Jesus, you can and will stand firm against any tempest because Jesus holds us firm. He is the ground that holds us in place, he is our strength. Though the winds may blow and we may sway, we will remain standing.

Old messages can bring new insight.

How many times have you listened to a sermon or read an article with old messages? The first thing that goes through your mind is: ‘I’ve heard this before.’ Do you stop listening or reading because you think you know what’s going to be said? I challenge you to continue to listen, lots of old messages can bring new insight.
We limit God when we assume we know what the message is. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, but that doesn’t mean he can’t open your eyes of understanding and give you a fresh view of his truths. As we grow in our knowledge and understanding, God expands our perceptions. If we close him down, we do it at our own peril.
It is true that there is nothing new under the sun. However, there are always new pearls of wisdom we can glean from the Word. In addition, God speaks to each of us and maybe we understand something a bit differently than someone else. Where it is true we need to use our discernment when listening to anyone who speaks and we must make sure what they say lines up with the Word, different life experiences give distinctive perspectives, valuable information and insight and we can profit from this new information.
So next time you hear an old message, open your heart. You might expand your grasp and insight of the mysteries of God.

Who is John Galt?

Who is John Galt?

We watched ‘Atlas Shrugged’ written by Ayn Rand and published in 1957. Three movies were made from the book, with the third ‘Who is John Galt?’ the most recent. On this blog, we talk about preparing for hard times ahead each week. ‘Atlas Shrugged’ talks about some of the why.

Let me begin by saying, Ayn Rand was a non-believer, in fact she did not believe God exists at all. Where I disagree there is no God, many of her words have merit. She predicted the downfall of our country and the reasons. At the time her book was published, most people paid little attention to her words. After all, the book was fiction and how could anyone believe our country could fail? But Ayn Rand believed our government officials would grab more and more power, establish more laws and regulations, while buying votes with welfare programs that enslave people.

In Ms. Rand’s story, the government’s ideology is no man builds a business on his own. No invention belongs to the designer, ishould be turned over to the public and used for the common good. No man deserves to make more money than anyone else even if some are willing to work long hours and sacrifice to achieve their goals. No matter the years of education, people must be equal. We are a collective, and all should prosper from the work of others. They believe businessmen and women use public roads to move their goods, public utilities to power their factories and public education who teach those they hire. For this reason, the business owners owe their success to the government. Finally, the government takes over all major businesses, factories, railroads and transportation. As a result, the entrepreneurs and hard workers disappear, they move to a hidden community and establish their own community. The country falls into ruin through poor management, lack of initiative and innovation, and corruption. Even when things fall apart, the government will not admit free enterprise and commerce, along with the ability of each person to work to achieve their personal prosperity, is what keeps things running efficiently. Sound familiar?

John Galt’s belief was, we must work to achieve our goals. No one has our best interest at heart but us and our families. Each person must provide for themselves to the best of their ability. There are no free rides. We need government to provide infrastructure including roads, highways, and schools. It is also their job to establish international and interstate trade, along with furnishing protection for our nation.  After that, they need to step aside and allow the free enterprise system to work without hindrances. Government should be limited to the things our founders laid out for the government to provide through our taxes, nothing more.

We all know government has expanded their reach way beyond the original intentions of our Constitution. In doing so, they have spent us into high taxes and even higher debt. As a result, much of what Ms. Rand wrote has come or is coming true.

We all know there are abuses in any system. There will always be greedy and power-hungry men and women who trample on others. But that is true in every area of life. Business people have done some horrible things in the name of profit, but government is no better. We have corrupt politicians who pass legislation that enrich or profit them as well.

An article I read, complained that John Galt and his philosophy was not compassionate and empathetic, that he does not take into consideration natural disasters and people need help after experiencing a catastrophe. However, it is not the responsibility of government to fix or restore things after a tragedy hits. People need to save for emergencies or purchase insurance to take care of that kind of thing. But in worst case scenarios where there is no savings or insurance, Americans are very generous people and come to the aid of others in times of tragedy. People from all over the country go to help whenever hardships hit around the country providing time and money. We don’t need government to do it for us.

God is our provider, government is not. He supplies our needs, wants, and desires. He gives each of us talents and skills to provide for our families and share with our community. If we have widows, orphans and sick in our mist, we must help, not government…us. And though God established governments, He is our final authority. If our government asks us to violate our faith/beliefs, we must draw the line.

The dark days ahead will test our faith. There may come a day when we are told by government officials to disobey God or suffer the consequences. We must decide now, obey God and suffer for our faith or disobey and earn the praise of men. What will you do?

Search my Heart

Search my heart, Lord. Allow me to see all that you find displeasing within me. Help me see where I may have taken a wrong turn and set me on the right path.                   Cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me.               Allow your heart of love for all people to become one with mine that I may be a witness of your love and kindness to all I encounter.                                                                               I understand that the world hates you and they hate me as well. Help me to love my enemy.                                              I rejoice in you, Lord. I lift you high and place you above all things in my life. You are my life and my light.                           I thank you for all your blessings. I am sincerely grateful.       I love you Lord with all my heart.

I wanted to share this with you because this is something you need to do. Think about and talk to the Lord. You need to make your walk with Jesus personal. He is a person and enjoys his time with you. We run to him with our problems/concerns and we should. But a true friend, doesn’t just talk about the bad that happens in our life and never shares the good. Take time in your visits to talk about the good, the bad and the mundane. Remember to say thank you for all he does working in the background of your life.             As times become more difficult, we will need Jesus more and more. If you already have a solid relationship with him, you will be able to trust him to take care of things. But remember, he doesn’t always do things the way we think he should. His ways are not our ways. That’s where the trust comes in.

It’s Hard to Say Good Bye

It’s Hard to say Goodbye
Through the years, we have only a few loved ones who have died. Two more joined them this past week. After a death, it’s hard to say goodbye no matter who it is. As Believers, we know we will see them again. But grief is real, we love our family members or friends and we will miss them…greatly. Some we will miss more than others, but no matter who they are we don’t want a separation. It is selfish, but love doesn’t want a parting, even if it’s not forever.
In our times of grief, we must remember, Jesus is our hope. Believers should not grieve as the world does. Jesus promised that all who believe will be with him in paradise and his words are true. Our loved ones, who know and have accepted Him as Savior, are in heaven and we will see them again.
It is important to focus on the good times with our loved ones who have passed on before us. We have wonderful memories we need to draw on instead of the separation. My father-in-law wanted to see his wife one last time after her passing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible. I retrieved their wedding book and told him, he needed to remember her happy and filled with joy instead of sick and in pain. It is even more important to focus on the good times if the person who died has been ill for a long time.
Time will heal the deepest hurt as days, weeks, months and years pass. With profound love…a husband, wife, child or best friend…you’ll never get over it entirely, but God brings new things into our life that will help with the loss. Treasure your memories, they are God’s gift to us. Pictures and videos are great reminders of the love and good times you shared. When grieve pulls at you, get them down and take a look. We are blessed to live in a period where we have photos. Make use of them to help with your sorrow. Yet, we must go on with life. We cannot live in or dwell on the past. Just because someone we love has died and we feel sad, we cannot stop moving forward. Our life and purpose continues. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We still have work to do.
The days ahead will bring more death. In the normal passing of time, the older generation passes the mantel to the next one. But as the darkness increases, the death rate will climb. It is a reality I struggle with. We have to push those thoughts aside, or they can bring depression. We know evil is growing. Lawlessness, selfish ambition and pursuit of power to name a few. But regardless of the future, our hope is in Jesus. So when you’re having a hard time saying good-bye to a loved one who has died, say ‘see you later instead.’ Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will see us through until our physical death comes, then we too will live with Jesus forever.

Armor of God

The armor of God is an important protection for all Believers in Jesus Christ. Gird your waist with Truth. Breast Plate of Righteousness. Boots of the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace. The Shield of Faith. The Helmet of Salvation. The Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God). Prayer. Each piece is needed to create an effective armor. Since it is essential in our defense in our spiritual warfare, let’s take a look at each piece.

Gird your waist with truth. Wrap yourself with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let God be true and every man a liar. Believe God and if someone says anything that does not line up with His truth, discard it.

Breast Plate of Righteousness. We only reach a small measure of righteousness on our own, but when we put on the Breast Plate of Righteousness, we can take on Jesus’ attitudes, attributes, and actions as our own. Then we can walk in His holiness and do His work on the earth. It also protects us from sin by reminding us we belong to Jesus and need to walk in His righteousness.

Boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace. We can share the gospel with others and in doing so reveal that Jesus has prepared the way and has established peace between sinners and a Holy God. His sacrifice bridged the rift created by sin. Jesus made the way for us on the cross, and now we can have a relationship with our Father who is in Heaven…God.  This shields us from God’s wrath to come. Believers will not suffer God’s final judgment.

Shield of Faith. A shield is held in front of your body to guard your heart. The stronger your faith the more resilient you will be. The shield will protect you from the fiery darts of Satan. His entire goal is to shake your faith, to steal it if he can. After all, he came to steal, kill and destroy. He and his minions will use condemnation, guilt, fear…anything to weaken your resolve and cause you to stumble. The Shield of Faith will guard you from that and more.

Helmet of Salvation. A helmet is for protection of the head. It protects the brain/mind. Jesus saved us from the penalties of our sin; we are free from sin…free not to sin any longer. Not only does the helmet cover us with forgiveness, it shields our mind from worldly thinking and philosophies, bad thoughts and influences of Satan or outsiders.

The Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. To know the Bible is essential for our spiritual protection. There are many wolves in sheep’s clothing ready to pull us away from the truth. We must know God’s Word so that we can discern truth from distortions.  Besides, the Bible tells us to hide the Word in our hearts so we will not sin against our Holy God.

Prayer. Without God, we can do nothing. Prayer is essential to our success. We can’t say it enough, many do not receive because they do not ask. That’s not to say the answer is always what we want, but God loves us. He will act in our best interests. He knows the future and how things will turn out. I believe more times than not, unanswered prayer or a ‘no’ is an unknown blessing.

Each part of our armor will protect us against attacks in certain areas. But when worn together, we can not only defend ourselves and others, we can go on the offense to protect our brothers and sisters in the Lord. If every Believer, all over the world, wore their armor effectively, we would be a formidable force for good in this world. Unfortunately, many only wear the Helmet of Salvation. They have accepted Jesus but have not learned about Him and grown in His ways.  Believers must learn to love God and people, and serve both.

Having the Armor will not protect us from day-to-day struggles of life. We will still battle against all kinds of spiritual and some physical hassles. But it does shield and strengthen us. Rely on the Holy Spirit who lives within each Believer, stay focused on God, and we can prevail in any confrontation. The goal is to withstand the attacks with our faith intact.

We encourage you to read Ephesians 6:11+. To be effective in your race, put on the whole Armor of God. It is vital to every Believer and your walk with Jesus. Starting tomorrow as you dress for the day, consciously put on your armor.

Good morning, Lord. As I dress for the day, help me secure my armor. Gird my waist with your truth. Fasten the Breast Plate of Righteousness so that I may walk in your holiness. Shod my feet with the boots of the gospel of peace. May my actions share your love and truth. Help me hold the Shield of Faith securely protecting me from all Satan’s attacks. Cover me with the Helmet of Salvation. Protect my heart and mind from all outside influences. Help me swing the Sword of the Spirit with love and discernment. You are my Lord and Savior. Help me to be an effective ambassador of your love and peace. In your precious name, Amen.

Life is a Super Bowl

Snap! Defensive players are blocked by offensive players in their effort to get to the quarterback.  The ball is released and flies in a high arc toward the receiver. Just as the offensive player seizes the ball from the air, another defensive guy tackles the receiver. The hit causes the carrier’s teeth to rattle as he hits the ground with a thud and the ball flies from his arms. Everyone scrambles for the football. A defensive player snatches it with a triumphant shout and the players prepare for another play.

Ball players practice day after day, hour after hour to improve their skills as players. They memorize the movements of every player on their team and play game after game in an effort to reach the Super Bowl. They have no guarantee they will reach the coveted competition and many never do, but they race to the goal every chance they get.

This describes the spiritual life of a believer. Yet, instead of worrying whether we will achieve our goal, we can be certain of our win. Jesus is our assurance, he will carry us to victory. All we must do is flex our faith muscle and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, then we will spend eternity with God. However, with that decision, our real Super Bowl begins. Now we must play the game of life according to God’s rules and not our own. So here is our game plan.

Learn the playbook – The Bible. The better we learn, understand and apply the Word of God, the more effectively we can implement the strategies, the better we will perform in executing the moves required to deal with life and the trials it throws at us.

Put on the whole armor of God. Breast Plate of Righteousness, Boots of the preparation of the gospel of peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, the sword of the spirit (the Word of God). Ephesians 6:11+

Establish defensive plays  – 1. Fatih. Our faith in Jesus is the cornerstone of our playbook and needs to be our personal foundation also. Jesus can help us, guide and lead us, support and encourage us, protect and heal us, the list goes on and on. 2. Prayer. Talking to God and sharing our cares and concerns with him is extremely important. Prayer works. Many say, ‘God knows what I need so why do I have to pray?’ Because Jesus did and we need to also. Besides, if you don’t ask, you don’t receive. I do not understand all the whys, but I can testify that it works. 3. Become like Jesus. He is our Lord, we are his disciples. That means we are to become like him, imitate him.

Rely on the gifts of the Spirit – God gives each of us gifts to improve our lives and help others. We need to use these gifts. Love, encouragement, wisdom, understanding, and others. 1 Corinthians 12.

Our quarterback, Jesus, wins in the end. But the ball will change hands numerous times before that happens. As you play life’s Super Bowl, keep your eyes focused on Jesus and even with fumbles, interceptions and incomplete plays, we will win.

It’s Hard to See the Bad Guys Win

Are you like me, do you get tired of seeing the bad guys win? Growing up, in my small corner of the world, the good guys always won. Life was fun. We rode our bikes all around town and played outside till dark. Bad things happened to others, in the big cities or on TV. Of course, that was in the 60’s.

Today, it seems the bad guys win a lot more than the good guys. On TV, in the movies and in real life, evil continues to grow and escalate with no end in sight. The wicked grow bolder with each passing day. Jesus told us this would happen. The hearts of people would grow colder each day. Disrespect of elders. Mothers and fathers turning against children and vice versa. Love of the creation instead of the Creator. We can add charges of offence, due to political correctness, caused by innocent comments, beliefs or our unwillingness to conform to current worldviews. All of these and more have grown to a fevered pitch. All this is topped by the worship of other gods: nature, false religions, education, government, philosophies, wealth, power, position, idols. We even place loved ones above God in our hearts. Worst of all, love of one’s self, coupled with selfish ambition, pull the hearts and minds from Jesus.

We live in a world where both physical and spiritual battles will be hard-fought and though we know Jesus wins in the end, there will be many confrontations before he returns. Our spiritual battles may be the hardest. It is easier to deal with the people we can see who war against us. Believers need to prepare for the spiritual battles, many may be worse than we have ever endured before. As human enemies step up their attacks on Christians, so will Satan and his minions. They will bring on full assault against God’s people. Temptation and condemnation will be two of the biggest strikes. Search your heart and know your weaknesses. Ask Jesus to bolster your determination to stand against the trials. Be sure to ask your prayer and support partners to pray for you…prayer always helps.

Jesus preached love and mercy and we must reflect his love. However, dark days are coming and people will come against us with the intention to harm or kill, I do not believe we are simply supposed to roll over and die. We will need to use our discernment and decide if it is time to take a stand. Our survival will depend upon it. Instead of stepping back in love and mercy, we will be called to defend ourselves and our families. We must come to terms with this truth now. To hesitate will bring defeat before the first shot is fired.

Remember, battles are lost and won. The stronger you are going into them, the better you will be. Begin to exercise your spiritual muscles now, so you will be ready when the real fight begins.