and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stinkin’ Thinkin’
         At my first evangelical church I had a pastor who would talk about stinkin’ thinkin’.  What he meant was our tendency to think about or dwell on things that we shouldn’t.  This could mean dwelling on sinful thoughts.  This could mean worries, especially ones that may not even happen.  It could also be depressing or negative things that pull you down mentally or emotionally.

       As evening wore on I became prone to quick irritability and discontent.  When I pondered why it became so difficult to adjust my thinking, I considered how my day started.  I didn’t start with the Lord; I didn’t pray, worship, thank Him, or even say good morning.  I slothfully relaxed pondering things I knew I shouldn’t.  I watched tv, but didn’t bother reading the Word.  I played computer games, but didn’t once ask the Lord what He wanted me to do.  My choices caused stinkin’ thinkin’ which then caused mental and emotional turmoil.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Php. 4:8 
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Mt.  
…walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, …put off ...the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Eph. 4:17,22,23
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Rom. 12:2

       We are called out of the world- to be different then them.  They have reprobate minds because they reject God (Rom. ) but we are to be transformed by the renewing (making new after decay, destruction or depravation; reviving) of our mind.  This isn’t going to happen by wishful thinking, hoping without action, or just going to church on Sundays.  Our mind will only be renewed by reading and studying the Word, praying, worshipping, being in the Lord’s presence, in Christian fellowship, and hearing/ watching- Word based teaching and music.

       So the conclusion is: garbage in, garbage out.  I chose to feed on garbage today instead of healthy, solid food, with the result being unhealthy reactions.  As easy as it is to go back to the reprobate human nature that we started with I need to resolve to open up my Bible and read when my mind starts in with the stinkin’ thinkin’.

Lord, please help me to make the right choices.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Warning about Wealth

      We strive for the ever elusive financial freedom that we desire; to never ‘have to worry’ about money.  We spend most of our lives attempting to improve our financial situation to the detriment of our relationships- with God, our spouses, our children and other family and friends.  We waste our money on the dream of winning big.

       The truth, however, is a different matter.  Having more money doesn’t eliminate worry, it increases it.  Meanwhile, money and possessions are short term rewards which are temporal.  You cannot bring them into eternity.  And while you have them here, they rust, decay, break, get stolen, depreciate, get eaten (can you say taxes?).  Read these and be forewarned:

(unbelieving rich) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Jas. 5:1-3

But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Lk. 6:24 

(to all) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Mt. 6:19-21 

(corrupt and truth destitute men) supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: 1Tm. 6:5b-10a

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who Would You Have Been?

       Many followed Jesus, but few believed.  In His final hours, almost all abandoned the Lord.  He who had loved, taught and healed so many was left to suffer on His own.  If we are honest with ourselves, we could imagine the part we would have played if we were here in Jesus’ last hours.  Would we abandon Him like many of his followers? (John 6:66) Would we betray Him with a kiss? (Mt. 26:49) Would we join the crowds and shout out for the death penalty? (Mr. 15:13)

       Would we mock, or spit, or hit, or humiliate Him?  Would we beat, or whip, or pluck out His hair?  Would we watch in derision as His blood poured out on the street as He walked by carrying His heavy cross?  Would we hammer in the nails, cast lots for His robe, press the thorns around His head, or thrust a sword in His side?  Would we do nothing to help but wash our hands and walk away?  Which part is it that we would have played?

       Given my past, I imagine I would have been one of the Pharisees who judged, condemned and saw to it personally that the ‘job’ was done right.  From His capture in the park to His last breath on the cross, I would have wanted to make sure the man who challenged my perception of the truth was gone- for good- and for the good of all mankind.  (Pat self on back for a job well done. L )  Filled with self righteousness, hypocrisy and pride, I had ‘no need’ for salvation in my youth… and then when I was brought to my knees by life’s sorrows, I finally realized my need for a Savior.

       Only then I found hope- hope in a man who lived as I did in a fallen world; hope in the One who gave up everything to come as a baby, to show me how to live, and then gave up His life in a painful, humiliating way.  Hope in every drop of blood that He poured out for me; hope in the torture of the cross.  Real hope. 

       The blood and the cross may not be pretty; in fact they are gruesome, horrific, and unsightly, but I thank God for the blood that is able to cleanse me from my sin (1Jh 1:7)  and that there is power in the cross (1Cor. 1:18) unto salvation.  I thank the Lord that He never gave up on me and in fact, right there on the cross over 2000 years ago He said for me- and for you,

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Hate Being Sick

       Runny, stuffy nose, nasal backwash, phlegm, sinus pressure, sore throat, swallowing a basketball, and feeling like you’ve been run over by a Mack truck going 90 m/h down the highway: ah, it’s cold time again.  Actually, I typically avoid most colds, but it didn’t happen this time, so I guess I get to have a big ‘ol pity party for me!

         Makes me want to cuddle up under a warm, fuzzy blanket watching old comedies while drinking hot chocolate, eating warm rice pudding snoozing on and off.  Back to reality though.  Gotta wonder if Jesus ever got sick: colds, flu, childhood diseases and such?  After all, His body was human and in our fallen world.  What would it be like to think you once held the power to sustain all life, and now you are in a frail, weak (when sick), body in a fallen world?  It must be humiliating.

       As many issues as I have right now, I can only remember that, one day, there will be no more pain, sickness or disease for the curse will be NO MORE. (Rev. 22:3)  One day the Son will shine on my life forever.  Meanwhile, He brings warmth to my life better than any fuzzy blanket, makes me smile and laugh in His peace and joy every day, lets me drink of the water of life and feeds me the ‘warm’ living Word daily.  The Holy Spirit comforts me better than any chocolate or rice pudding can ever do.  Everything God has trumps everything the world has to offer.

Oh ya, and His healing is better than man’s medicine anyday!!!

Boo ya!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Significant Day

       Never had he witnessed so important an event as today.  He watched a very dangerous man be judged and put to death.  Though young, he was convinced this was the correct measure needed to be taken.  Many witnesses laid their coats at his feet so they could more easily throw the stones meant to kill the guilty man. (Ac. 7:58)  And so Saul agreed and/or took pleasure* in Stephen’s death. 

And Saul was consenting* unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church... As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Ac. 8:1-3 
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way (Christians), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  Ac. 9:1,2

       Saul/ Paul was a young Pharisee man (Ac. 23:6) passionate in his desire to strictly adhere to the law, so zealous (Gal. 1:14) for what he believed to be the truth that he sought out ways to eliminate the new teaching that challenged Judaism, even voting against the Christians. (Ac. 26:10) Then he heard Jesus (Ac. 9:3-19), was converted by the Truth (verified by a miracle) and was chosen by God to do His work. (v.15)  Paul received the Holy Spirit, was baptized, and sat under teaching for a while, then went out and preached Jesus Christ. (v. 20)

       Paul could have let his past prevent him from serving the Lord.  He could have lived bound by guilt and condemnation of his past actions.  I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it might have been to move forward, but Paul truly understood the forgiveness of his Savior and was able to press onward. (Php. 3:13,14)

       Paul’s was a most astonishing conversion, going from zealous persecutor of Christians, to persecuted preacher to Christians within a short time.  His passion against Christianity was transformed by God to passion for Christ, and Paul became one of the most well known apostles and prolific writers.  Though he lost his reputation as a strict, respected, well learned Pharisee he counted his old life as loss, garbage, or waste to be thrown out, when compared to knowing Jesus Christ. (Php. 3:8)

       Are we still allowing our past lives to hinder our journeys, leaving us bound in the shame of our forgiven sins, or stuck in the pride of our past accomplishments?  We must learn from Paul that our significance is not in our own deeds, but in the deeds of the Lord Jesus Christ in His work on the cross

       Let us all say as Paul did that we glory only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified (dead) to us and we unto the world. (Gal. 6:14)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Completely Satisfied

       I do not earn as much as Oprah, I am not as popular/ famous as Lady Gaga, I do not have the veto power of Obama, I am not known for beauty like J’Lo, I am not as influencial as Wael Ghonim, I have never started anything as world changing as Mark Zuckerberg, and I do not have an esteemed reputation like ‘mother Teresa’.  By this world’s standard, I am not considered successful by most; rather, I am a stay at home mom trying my best to help raise our kids in a world that is increasingly ungodly.

       None of this bothers me because it is likely I have one thing they may not.  I am completely satisfied in the True God- Creator of heaven and earth.  He satisfies my every need in ways I could not truly understand until this past few years.  While that does not mean I am content to stay in our relationship the way it is today (I am always desiring to move forward or improve), I am wholly satisfied with who He is, what He has done, what He has not done for me, and the life He desires for me to have (even when it’s intimidating).

       Maybe someday I’ll have lots of money, fame, power, good looks, or influence, or perhaps I’ll do something world changing and gain a reputation for… something good.  Truth is that I don’t really care about any of those things.  I am absolutely satisfied with God and as long as I am in His will for my life, that is the most important thing to me.  In the end, it is God’s judgment of my ‘success’ that matters most anyway.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Ps. 107:8,9 

Oh Lord, help me to see Your path for me and be bold enough to walk that way.