WAIT! What happened to “Common Sense for Uncommon People?”

So glad you asked!  I’ve been debating for some time about changing the name of my blog. What really triggered the change was my daily devotions with Oswald Chamber’s Devotional Bible.  Several entries have been against common sense, and it cinched the deal for me! While common sense is SO missing in our society, as born-again believers, we need to go BEYOND COMMON SENSE in our walk with God.  Common sense is essential in everyday choices; however, there are times when what we do makes NO sense, because we are walking in the steps of our Savior.  For example:

It makes no sense to leave a high-paying job to go into the ministry.

It makes no sense to head to the mission field with only 85% of your support.

It makes no sense to put your kids in a Christian school when the public schools are free and your budget is already tight.

The point is, it never makes sense to walk by faith!

So, welcome to “Beyond Common Sense.”  Same writer, same Lord, same desire to encourage believers in their walk with God–just a different name!

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A Divided House Cannot Stand

And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: Matthew 12:25

We typically think of this verse as referring to a home or family–literally, a house divided cannot stand.  Too often, we see the affects of a divided house: a husband and wife run in completely opposite directions until one of them, or even both decide that life would be better if lived apart. Rebellious children expertly divide the home, sowing seeds of discord by their attitudes and actions.  It is a divided house, and woe to them that are trying to function in such a situation.

This weekend the Lord showed me some other areas where life breaks down if it is divided.

You cannot “stand” if you are “divided” against yourself.  That may seem odd, but let me explain.  We are three-part beings, made up of body, soul, and spirit.  As born-again believers, life works best when we allow God’s Spirit to control our minds, which in turn, control or bodies, or fleshly actions.  But what happens when our flesh has a plan of its own?  The Spirit within says, “Read your Bible,” and your will says, “Read your Bible,” but your flesh says, “I want to stay in bed.”  Conflict–a divided “house.”  Suddenly, your life is out of sync, because the Spirit starts convicting your will while your flesh battles for its way, and you are divided against yourself.

You cannot “stand” when you are “divided” against God.   Last week, my computer went on the fritz.  I told myself not to crash and burn: God had allowed it.  I worked hard to get my mind and body under the control of the Spirit; however, when the report came back that it was my hard drive and they would have to “ghost” it, the cost quadrupled.  Still, I worked to maintain a united front. Three days later, the ghosting didn’t work, they would have to wipe it clean, and the cost crossed the two hundred dollar mark!  OR, I could save about a hundred dollars and do some of the work myself. After four failed attempts to communicate with the Dell recorded lady, I decided I needed to put the whole problem on hold and go do something successfully: vacuum out the car.  BUT, when I plugged in the vacuum, it made a hi-pitched squeal and had half the suction power.  That’s when the division happened.  I needed to blame someone.  I  wanted to blame my husband, but he was really innocent and so sympathetic–I had a hard time making him the scapegoat.  So, then it was obviously God’s fault.  After all, He knows my bank account.  He could have avoided this all from happening!

Division now reigned everywhere: my relationship with my spouse, my God and myself!  War was raging and battles were being fought on every front!  What to do?  I did something I’ve never done before.  Before reading my Bible, I scribbled all my woes in my journal in the form of a prayer.  Then I pleaded for God to help me . . .  and He did.  In His gracious ways, He fed me, healed my broken spirit, forgave me, and lead me on my way!

Satan wants to divide and conquer, and he’s an expert at it.  Jesus can restore, and He’s the Master of everything good.  We just need to allow Him to do so.  So, what happened with the computer?  I called the techie and said, “Fix it, please.”  I still don’t have it back, so there might be another post, :) but after making that call, the burden lifted.

 Just do it!  That may be the NIKE theme, but it’s a good one!  Just do what needs to be done, stop stewing, and get on with life!   I know it’s not always that easy, but speaking the truth in your heart and staying submissive to God are great division destroyers!  Satan will happily take just a toehold in any part of our lives, and who wants him to win? :)

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Will the Real Christian Please Stand Up

Knowing the ways of God is such a mystery to man.  We can read His precious Word, standing in awe of the very fact that He gave it to mankind! Can any other book make such a claim?  Did any other god give his people his written word, written by the very finger of God?

And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exodus 31:18

God speaks to us through His Word; however, He also directs our paths through various ways: another person’s words or actions, a dream, circumstances, nature. His Spirit dwells in believer’s hearts and also moves among us, (John 3:8) in ways we cannot see.

It is 4:45 A.M., not my usual waking hour!  I was awakened by a dream and thoughts of my teen years—thoughts I would just as soon forget.  Why did I dream them?  Where did these thoughts come from?  I certainly didn’t wish for them; however, God used them to remind me once again of my salvation.  I cannot give you an exact date of my salvation, only the details and approximate times. Once again, I took a moment to read the Gospel tract which I read so long ago alone in my bedroom, and what a joy it was to me–a blessed reminder of the best day of my life!

Today, the word “Christian” is proclaimed by so many, but I wonder how many “Christians” would find themselves in hell, if death knocked on their door this day.

Last week at the National Prayer Breakfast (February 5th), Darrell Waltrip gave a clear testimony of salvation. What a thrill to hear this man clearly testify:

  1. That his past had been filled with arrogance and self-seeking fame. Several times, he expressed his difficulty in even sharing these facts, ashamed of his actions.
  2. That there was a point in time when he surrendered his life to Jesus Christ
  3. That the testimony of his wife was a constant draw and conviction in his life
  4. That he is a changed man

I had never hear of Darrell Waltrip before last week—we’re really not into NASCAR; but after hearing him speak, listening to him openly share his heart, describing himself as he was and then watching a totally different man as he now is, I was once again challenged: Why are there so many Christians whose lives have not changed?

One possible answer: believing vs. receiving.  In my own life, I can look back and say, “That’s when it all changed.”  Before I was saved, I believed and went to church faithfully, but my life did not reflect Christ, it reflected me!

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,

even to them that believe on his name, John 1:12

I love this verse!  For years I missed it, but look how it reads. The ending phrase says it all: YOU CAN BELIEVE AND NOT RECEIVE.

If you have cancer, and your doctor has a miracle pill that has been proven to completely cure cancer—you can believe in that pill all you want, but until you put it in your mouth and swallow it, the cancer will kill you.

Receiving is an act of the will, it is a choice. It is an act of surrendering all to Jesus.  Anything else that I am clinging to must be dropped.  Our president says that he is a Christian by choice.  I’m not sure what that means, but I do know that you can’t embrace both Islam and Christianity. Many American Christians are just like the lost of other lands.  The missionary presents Christ and they accept Him freely, placing Him on their god shelf beside all their other gods.  It doesn’t work that way!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Jesus said it, not me.  If you have any doubts about your salvation, I’d urge you to read God’s Simple Plan of Salvation There are many tracts out there, but this one is dear to my heart because by reading it, I became a real Christian!

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Twenty-five Acts of Love

This Valentine’s Day, I honor my husband and his love for me.  We’ve been married for nearly thirty-four years, and there have been times that I doubted his love—not because he didn’t show it, but because of my actions during our dating years.  To cut to the chase—that’s exactly what I did—I chased him.  I often joke that it took a while, but he finally slowed down and I caught him!

Humor aside, it’s always better for the girl if she is chased; that way she knows that he really wanted her!  For years, that doubt lingered in the back of my mind no matter how much Tom showered me with his love.  I’m not exactly sure when the turning point came.  I don’t believe it was a sudden thing.  It’s like watching for a flower to appear.  We see the bud, we watch it get bigger, and then one day we look at it and it has opened its bloom!

Now the doubts are gone, and here are just a few spontaneous reasons whyI KNOW he loves me!

  1. He greets me every morning with a smile.
  2. He makes my breakfast and packs my lunch on the days that I need to substitute teach.
  3. He helps me around the house.
  4. He faithfully prays with me and for me.
  5. He reads the Bible to me.
  6. He takes me on dates and really makes them special.
  7. He makes me cards. (It’s part of his frugal way to really dread spending money on cards, and love him for it!:))
  8. He wants to spend time with me.
  9. He watches over my spiritual and physical well-being.
  10. He supports me in my writing adventure.
  11. He listens to me and takes my suggestions.
  12. He will make the effort to change when something is bothering me, if he feels it is of the Lord. (Do you know what I mean by that? In other words, there are times when I may not like something, but after prayer and consideration, we realize that its ME and not him!)
  13. He sharpens me, encouraging me to be my best for God.
  14. He does the finances and is preparing for our future.
  15. He sings with me.
  16. He plays games with me, even when I know he may not want to!
  17. He is patient with me when I’m emotional.
  18. He loves me when I’m unlovely.
  19. He has really works on “thinking no evil” about me and putting the best spin on my hard-to-understand actions!
  20. He gives his best at improving our relationship at every level.
  21. He works hard at his end of this partnership called marriage.
  22. He talks to me.
  23. He listens!! :)
  24. He’s not afraid to criticize me when he knows it is for my own good, even when, sad to say, he knows that I may not react the best!
  25. He always tries to look his best!

Dear reader, if you have a spouse, I challenge you to take the time to make your own list.  I’m not sure that there is anything apart from prayer and improving your own actions that you could do for your relationship!  Love, it comes in all shapes and sizes—embrace each one, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

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God’s Pet

128-2848_IMGWe have a pet—actually, it’s our son’s pet.  Pepper is a ten-year-old black Cocker Spaniel.  She is a cutie and a wonderful pet.  She never messes in the house.  She doesn’t get up on the furniture (unless we’re not watching!).  She LOVES to takes walks.  She’s never had any health problems, doesn’t eat much, loves people . . . she’s a great dog.

But she begs.  We don’t feed her scraps from the table . . . or I should say rarely do we feed her scraps—just an occasional pizza crust.  Her worst begging habits happen in the living room.  Now we do have one snack that we share: popcorn.  She would eat as much as I do!  She’s really good at catching it!

The problem is that she must not be able to discern between popcorn and anything else we’re eating, because if we are eating ANYTHING, she sits there looking at you with those big brown eyes and that cute little face, staring at you or the food!  It drives me crazy!!!  Rarely do I give in because I’d really like to break her of that habit.  If I tell her to go away—sharply—she will, and I feel like a big meanie!  If she only understood English!

Is this how I appear to God?  Am I always begging for this or that? Does He ever wish that I understood His language?

Prayer – we all understand what prayer is.  Perhaps we even use the acronym to help our prayers:

P—praise

R—repent

A—ask

Y—yield

But do we rush through the praising, like some ritual to a statue, so we can appease God and get to our requests?  Do we really understand God’s language?  Have we studied His Book enough to get a grasp of what it means to pray?

One of the best habits I have come across is to occasionally spend my whole prayer time praising and thanking God: praising Him for Who He is and thanking Him for what He does.  It takes great effort.  So many requests come crashing in, desires that I wish to beg Him for, but I push them aside and just praise Him.  The request can wait for another day!

Now for the positive picture that Pepper gives us: She is Miss Happy-Ending.  She is ALWAYS glad to see us.  (Well, maybe not at bath time!  She can slink slower than any dog I know!) It doesn’t matter if we’ve been away for five minutes or five days—the greeting is always the same!  “So glad to see you!”

She is a faithful friend.  When we were choosing her, the owner said that she would never be more than five feet away from us.  Boy, has that proven to be true!  As I am typing this, she is just on the other side of the coffee table, snoring away!

So faithful.  Always happy to see us. Am I like that to God?  Arg!  My heart shames me!  I want it to be so!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?

hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance…

Psalm 42:1,2,5

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Blinded by Fear

It was a forty-year-old Moses who left Egypt and became a shepherd at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  For the next forty years, he herded sheep for Jethro, the Midianite priest who became his father-in-law.  (By the way, Midian was a son of Abraham and Keturah, the woman that Abraham married after Sarah died!  Amazing!)

For forty years he lived on the back side of the desert.  Did he ever think of his exotic life in the Egyptian palace as the son of Pharaoh?  He was an educated man, a man accustomed to wealth and ease, a conquering hero…and a broken man.  Life crashed in around him when he discovered his true identity and tried to put life into a new box—a box in which he did not fit!  His life was now simple, perhaps even complete: He had a wife and two sons and a job where he could be successful.

Then came the call of God. As you read Exodus three and follow the conversation between God and Moses, it becomes clear that Moses has not yet understood this God—the God of the Hebrew slaves which he left.  At the burning bush God outlines His plan, taking four verses to do so, and Moses humbly replies, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 4:11) The next verse is amazing!  God says:

Certainly I will be with thee;and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee:When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

 

God has just told Moses that he would be successful in this venture; he would return to this mountain and serve God there!  It was a done deal, but that’s not what Moses heard.  His ears were tuned into all the past fears that he had brought with him out of the land of Egypt!

When Moses once again questions God as to His name, and God calls himself I AM THAT I AM, God once again outlines His plan, this time taking eight verses to do so!  He tells Moses exactly what will happen:

  1. Go to the elders and tell them I will visit them and have seen their affliction
  2. I will bring them out to the Promised Land
  3. They WILL listen to you
  4. The king of Egypt will NOT listen
  5. I WILL smite Egypt
  6. He WILL let you go
  7. The people will spoil Egypt

Can you imagine if the Lord laid some venture on your heart, and as you prayed about it, God spoke to you and told you exactly what was going to happen?  Yes, there would be some bumpy spots, but in the end you would be successful.  That’s exactly what God did for Moses and yet he continues to plead incompetence, even after his rod became a snake and his hand was eaten away with leprosy.

Where is the turning point? In verse fourteen, God is angry with Moses!  But He doesn’t’ dismiss Moses; instead, he tells him that Aaron will be his voice.

We’ve all been there—faithless.  Moses does not have faith in God because he is crippled with fear:

  1. Lord, they won’t believe me: the fear of man is probably the most crippling fear that stops us from being all that God KNOWS that we can be! There are one hundred forty-five Bible verses that contain the words fear not!  Moses didn’t have those words, but he went on to write twenty-five of them! We have them all, written by our heroes:  Joshua, Samuel, David, Nehemiah, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel Joel, Amos, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Luke, John, Paul, Peter and John! Perhaps a study on the phrase fear not would refocus our view.
  2. But I can’t _____ : You fill in the blank. In Moses’ case, he felt he couldn’t speak well.  God then reminds him that He is the One who makes the dumb, deaf, seeing and blind.  God gives us all that we need to do the job that He expects us to do.  It may have been a fact that Moses had these difficulties, and isn’t that just like God to give us a job that requires our greatest inadequacies, to strengthen our trust in Him as well as bring Him all the glory?

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;

and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised,

hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

1 Corinthians 1:27,28

 

  1. Send someone else: Moses feels so incompetent that he cannot hear all the promises of God. He finally asks God to send someone else.  We have no idea what Moses faced in Egypt.  We do know that Pharaoh wanted to kill him—that’s pretty serious!  Not many of us need to run for our lives!  To put it into today’s terms, Moses was suffering from a major victim mentality!

Perhaps the greatest blessing from this passage is this: Even though God knew that Moses would be successful, he gave Moses the comfort which he needed to get the job done—his brother!  God promises to never leave us or forsake us, even when we have run from Him.  He promises to equip us with His own power and strength; and like Moses, He often sends us exactly what we need to do the job.  Maybe it’s a friend or mentor; perhaps it’s the finances we need or the equipment necessary to finish the job.  Often those “packages of blessings” come in ways or forms that we don’t recognize or expect. They come wrapped in faith, and God’s fingerprints are all over them!

Remember, no matter the situation, God ALREADY KNOWS THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE OUTCOME!  Praise His Name!

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24

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When gods Die

Webster defines God in three ways:

  1.  the perfect and all-powerful spirit or being that is worshiped especially by Christians, Jews, and Muslims as the one who created and rules the universe
  2. a spirit or being that has great power, strength, knowledge, etc., and that can affect nature and the lives of people : one of various spirits or beings worshiped in some religions
  3. a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired

As Christians, we worship an eternal God; therefore, my title makes no sense: God cannot die.  He has always existed and will always exist–a doctrine which our finite minds cannot grasp, so we believe it by faith! I am not talking about our Almighty, Creator, Infinite God.

Door Number Two: a spirit or being that has great power… That can only be one “being” and that would be Satan.  Although he parades himself as a host of gods, all “small g” gods really are Satan. I am not talking about Satan.

Door Number Three: a person and especially a man who is greatly loved or admired.  The first person I thought of for this category was Elvis Presley. :(  Certainly, many worshiped him as a god and when he died, their lives were shattered.  It’s always difficult when gods die!  However, I’m not talking about man-gods either.  There are far more treacherous gods for us to face, and we face them every day of our lives! Let me give you an example:

This morning as I was choosing my cereal, a host of guidelines went into that choosing process: This one has wheat and my “Fast Metabolism Diet” described all the digestive difficulties of eating wheat.  Honeynut Cheerios?  Too many empty calories for a working day.  Crispex? Not enough fiber.  With a sigh, I realize that a god of mine is dying: the joy of eating!  Gone are the days of eating whatever I want–guilt-free!  Caution comes with old age, and we need to watch what we eat if we want to maintain any semblance of healthy living!

As I work in the local public school, I see so many changes.  Our district, like most districts across the nation, has had to tighten its belt which boils down to layoffs and school closings.  I believe our district has made it through, but things are different.

Another difference is that many of the teachers that were here when I started eight years ago are gone: many retired and some laid off.  There are a lot of new fresh YOUNG faces, and they hold the center of the stage!  We all move up a notch when that happens, and sometimes it’s hard to step aside and realize that middle-age has arrived!  Life isn’t free Friday nights and pick-up ball teams any more.  Instead, we’re driving the kids to practices, and running on the treadmill in the basement instead of running to the gym!  It’s a time issue.  It’s practical. It’s different!  And if “youthful living” was a god, life can spiral out of control when it dies.  These are just two examples of gods that die.  What do we do when that happens?

I pick Door Number One!  What a safe place: the God that doesn’t die! What a wonderful perspective He gives to this constantly changing life: He never changes!  Wow!  No wonder if feels so good just to rest in the arms of Jesus.  He holds us and says, “It’s okay if the other gods dies.  You know you shouldn’t have had other gods anyway–that command was given a long time ago!”

It’s actually a great day when gods die!  They’re gone!  They have no more control on our lives!  We are free!  And if you need help in this area, we have a god-Slayer ready to help! We just have to recognize those controlling gods in our lives and give God the green light to destroy them!  Sadly, I think we’re a lot like Philip:

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?  John 14:9
We don’t recognize God, and the world is constantly trying to “dumb-us-down” about Who God is and What He is like! He’s really big!
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! :)
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! :)
The mountains are His, the valleys are His, the stars are His handiwork too!
CLAP! CLAP! (Woohoo!)
My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s NOTHING my God cannot do!
CLAP! CLAP! :)
Maybe we just need to become children again and simplify things! Isn’t that what He tells us to do anyway?
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 13:33

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Remember the Children!

Four beautiful little girls, curly hair bouncing in the sunlight upon the plain: They are the daughters of a wealthy man, a righteous man, a man of high standing, a man who knows God.  They are Lot’s daughters, descendants of the chosen and blessed son of Noah: Seth. Born in the tents of Abraham among family and beloved servants, their childhood was protected and promising. In Genesis eleven, Lot leaves Ur of the Chaldees, and heads out with his grandfather, Terah and his uncle, Abram, to another place: Haran, in the land north of Canaan.  In the next chapter, he heads south with Abram, taking all their wealth with them.  God had prospered their way.   But by chapter thirteen, there is strife between the herdmen.(v. 8)

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.(Genesis 13:10)  A decision was made, Abram said they needed to part, not wanting to be a poor testimony to the people around them; and Lot made a agriculturally strategic move.  Certainly, God would continue to bless his way—he was the nephew of Abram, and God was with Abram! He wouldn’t be in the wicked cities, but in the plain.  Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)

It wouldn’t matter that the men of Sodom were wicked: He was a righteous man—he knew the ways of God and had taught them to his little girls… pitched his tent toward Sodom. How long was it until Lot sat in the gate of Sodom? (Genesis 19:1) Little by little, Lot’s family was influenced by their surroundings.  The girls made friends with the children, his wife swapped stories with the other women of Sodom at the community well. Lot was well respected and rose in affluence among the men of the city.  Were the men of Sodom any less wicked when Lot arrived than when the angels arrived?  Probably not; however, even wicked men can put their “best foot forward” and be civil.

Did Lot choose to overlook their wickedness and be tolerant of their lifestyle?  Did he preach to them?  Did he himself embrace the ways of the true God, or had he been more of a spectator?  The Bible calls him “just” (2 Peter 2:7) which would mean that he had a true understand of God and His righteous ways; however, something went desperately wrong… pitched his tent toward Sodom.

His beautiful daughters are now married to ungodly men who mock Lot when he warns them of God’s judgment.  Did his tolerance translate into hypocrisy in their eyes?  Whatever the case, it cost him the lives of his children.  His daughters died along with the wicked under the fierce judgment of God, whether they knew better or not.  All the influences of a righteous uncle during their childhood could not save them from the destruction brought on by their lifestyle choices and acquaintances. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Even Lot’s wife did not believe that the God of Abraham would truly judge her.  God’s command was simple, delivered directly by messengers from heaven!  She did not read about it in a letter from God: She heard the words spoken while standing in the very presence of heavenly citizens!  And yet, she turned.  Such a simple act, just a small thing… and pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Now, alone in a cave, the worst is yet to come for Lot.  His wife is gone, his married daughters and their husbands, possibly grandchildren are gone.  Was there an heir for him that was left in the city of Sodom?  We don’t know. .. and he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Where did his younger daughters learn about drunkenness?  Where did they learn about incest?  How did they come to such a wicked solution? If they had kept on the path of righteousness, it is very possible that one of their children would have been Isaac’s wife and an heir to all of God’s promises. After all, Abraham married his half-sister, and Rebekah was Nahor’s granddaughter, making Isaac her second cousin. The relationship would have been similar for Lot’s children!   …but he pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Abraham lived for one hundred, seventy-five years.  As far as we know, Lot lived for one hundred years.  He became the patriarch of two nations who were the enemies of God’s people, but even hundreds of years later, when God’s prophecies concerning Abraham’s descendants would finally become a reality, God remembered Lot…

And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession. ..And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. Deuteronomy 2:9, 19

What a life!  What a tragic story!  How bazaar!  Even though entire cities and plains are destroyed by fire and brimstone which rained down from heaven—the evidence still seen in that area today—God spared one man, his wife, and two daughters.  And even though the wife was destroyed and the daughters were immoral, God still remembered His promises!

The lessons for us today are many:

  1. Where have you pitched your tent?  This world and the god of this world are after our children, ready to devour them at every turn! Focus on God!  Make Him real in your life and show that reality to your children. Is there not a cause?  (1Samuel 17:29)
  2. Be careful of your tolerance. Choose carefully when you need to be a Daniel, standing alone FOR CHRIST.  That’s a difficult thing.  We just watched a student production of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.  It’s a satire about a town which holds a lottery every year where one person is chosen to be stoned.  The point is that we need to be careful that we are holding on to God’s Word, not man’s traditions.  Sometimes, the two may be difficult to discern; however, there is a God in heaven Who will ALWAYS lead you aright if you ASK Him to!  It is possible to be intolerant and still show the love of Christ!
  3. Believe! We serve an Awesome, Almighty, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Prayer-answering God of the Universe!  Is any thing too hard for the LORD? (Genesis 18:14)  He is the same God of Genesis!  He is still in charge!  He is still leading and directing even the lives of wicked men so that He may be glorified, and He wants to pour out His blessings on your life.  He is holy, and He requires the same of His children!
  4. Don’t believe a lie.  How often I’ve heard a parent of a grown, wayward child make excuses for their compromising example. They shake their heads and wonder where they went wrong, when the answer is often as plain as the nose on their faces!  They just refuse to see it and change….and he pitched his tent towards Sodom.

This is quite the harsh article, but I pray that it will stir a heart—maybe just one—who will take a second look at life and turn the tent!

Only one live, twill soon be past.

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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AWH…CHOO! Sniffle, Sniffle.

ID-100158158Well, for the past four days, I’ve laid around doing nothing.  Wish it could have been on the beach, but it was on the couch with a box of tissues, a bounding headache, and a fever.  Today is the first day that I can actually function!

No one likes to get sick.  We try not to be babies, but I find myself groaning and complaining to my dear husband.  I’m sure at times like these he wishes that his office was elsewhere!

Isn’t the human body amazing?  Why would a few raised degrees of body heat throw us off so much?  You’ll have to ask your doctor that one, but there is a lesson there for us!  :)  There is an enemy germ in me, which has thrown my body into attack mode.  It’s working hard to make me better, but in the meantime, simple operations seem impossible—even writing a blog!

That can happen in our spiritual “bodies” as well.  When we allow something to attack our spirit—a  confrontation which leaves our spirits torn, or an ungodly entertainment that soils our souls, an unexpected heartbreak which leaves our hearts shattered—everything goes into “fix-it” mode.  Our minds are clogged with unwanted thoughts; our hearts are clouded with unlovely attitudes, and until we are cleansed, life shuts down.

Sadly, there are times when we have allowed the “sickness” to go on for so long, that our spirit-bodies build a resistance to the Spirit’s wooing.  It’s as though there is this huge tough callous over an infected wound, and we don’t want to deal with it; and at times like these, God may need to get out the “big guns” to get our attention! Unlike an incurable disease, often “spiritual sickness” which was caused by wrong choices just need to be reversed into making right choices.

“You make that sound so simple.  You don’t understand. It’s complicated.”

Have you noticed that that is the popular phrase now?  Life is complicated.  What made it so complicated?  You’re not going to like this…SIN. :(  Talk to Eve if you want to know about a complicated situation and the devastating consequences of wrong choices!  But Eve did not die.  Yes, her life was never the same, and I’m sure there were many days when she said, “If only I hadn’t…”  But she did, and hopefully she learned from it and went living the life that God gave her in the way that God intended it to be lived.

When God stops us with sickness or difficult situations, we will always benefit by keeping still and looking up!  Take the time to pray.  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7) This verse was the first verse I ever remember memorizing.  It’s a dear, old friend with more benefits that a bowl of hot chicken soup!

And don’t forget Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God…  In a world that is moving at high gear 24/7, we would do well to stop and “have a little talk with Jesus.” (Just a side note: when we were in Israel, we saw neon signs in the business windows which flashed: 24/6!  They know how to “keep the Sabbath.”)

We often leave off the rest of the verse: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Oh, how that needs to be done in this age!  We exalt our God when we obey Him, live clean and holy lives before this sin-cursed world, and travel down life’s bumpy road with the joy of the Lord in our hearts and beaming from our faces!

…neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

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What am I doing here?

As a high school student, I remember walking to our lockers in the morning with my friend, and one of us would turn to the other and say, “What are we doing here?”  At the time, the answer was fairly simple for me: get an education and head to college.  I’m sure it was much the same for my friend even though she was heading for marriage instead of college.  Perhaps she had days when it seemed pointless to keep going just to get that piece of paper while wearing the funny hat.  She certainly didn’t need a diploma to get married, and as far as I know, she never had a career which required a diploma either; so I understand her question.

Don’t we all ask that same question at different times along life’s pathway?  What are we doing here?  Even as Christians, who have the Word to lighten our way, as well as a promised eternal destination, the question still lingers: What are we doing here?

Take a moment to think about life…

  1. We work: A job is a necessary part of living, providing for our needs and wants, and can be a source of great satisfaction.
  2. We marry: Many of us find our true loves and choose to share life with that one person.
  3. We have children: If the Lord is gracious in allowing us to have children, they become a huge part of our lives.
  4. We love God and try to serve Him: As  born-again believers, Jesus Christ becomes a part of our lives.

So maybe life looks like thispieChart_jpg (3)

Perhaps the percentages are different:One part might take up bigger chunks of time, and we could certainly include a lot more categories, but you get the idea.

On our quest for an answer, we may look at verses to help us to find the answer, like:

Romans 12:1,2  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

I once heard a missionary preach on this verse, and he put it like this: As you are going, teach and make disciples.  That statement gives us a clue, and we can build upon it every day of our lives, answering the question, “What am I doing here?”  At my job, think Christ!  In my home, remember Jesus!  At church, worship and focus on Jesus Christ!  He is the only One that can give meaning and purpose to life. So then, our chpieChart_jpg (1)art will look something like this:

God becomes the hub of our lives, affecting every part of it.  If we try to put God one piece of the pie, the rest of life falls apart!

Perhaps you’re asking, “But how do I do that?”  So glad you asked!  :) The answer is actually simple: fall in love with Jesus!  Remember when that certain someone filled your every waking moment?  He or she affected the way you ate and dressed, where you went, what you watched.  I remember following the Oakland A’s because a young man liked that team! Now, I don’t even know who they are!

However, falling in love with Jesus takes TIME!  Spend time with Him and you can’t help but love Him. Talk to Him, read His love letter, talk about Him, write down your thoughts about Him and you will find that He will be the hub of your life: the One that everything centers around!

The following verse gives us a glimpse at what it looks like to fall in love with something; sadly, this man was in love with his stuff! But as you read it, apply it to our relationship with Christ.

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. Luke 12: 18

and I said, I know what I will do, I will change my schedule and put time with my Savior first; and in my life, I will give every part to Him. (The Wanda Translation :) )

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