Tag Archives: honesty

Did You Get What You Paid For?

We’ve all done it–saved a few dollars only to find that the product wasn’t what we really wanted. The boots were a great buy, but the first time you wore them in rainy weather your feet got wet! Disappointment and frustration come on the scene, and we’re angry with ourselves for being a penny wise and a pound foolish, and angry with the company for a faulty product albeit an excellent sales pitch!

And what about religion? Do we get what we expected, or are we disappointed with some aspect of our “religion?” I hesitate to use the word “religion” because it can mean so many things. Merriam-Webster defines it as (1) the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2)  commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.

Service, worship, commitment, devotion–each word requires action on our part, and yet they can also involve others: a pastor, song leader or worship team, a building, other believers. We need to stop and ask ourselves whether our disappointments and frustrations are because of others or ourselves. For example:

You battle with your kids all morning to get them to church, and then you sit in the car waiting for hubby to get himself ready. By the time the car is moving, tempers are hot, kids are cranky, and somewhere along the way, the Spirit of God has been doused by the caustic atmosphere. You get there late–no parking! You rush the kids to their classes, receiving a look from their teachers which you read as, “Can’t you get here on time?” When you finally get to your class, you don’t hear a thing and wonder why the pastor/teacher can’t be more effective.

Is the problem with your kids, hubby, teacher, pastor…or you? We recently watched a program about Queen Elizabeth II. In one episode, her sister, Princess Margaret, was told that parliament would not approve her plans to marry a divorced man. As queen, her sister also presided over the Church of England and needed to make a choice: would she uphold the doctrine of the church or sanction the marriage. 

Princess Margaret was faced with a choice: lose title and country by marrying the man she loved or step away from the relationship. She chose the latter and did eventually marry, but that marriage ended in divorce.

This is not a condemnation of Princess Margaret.  The circumstances surrounding her life are only known completely by her. But to blame her sister, or her uncle for abdicating–forcing her father to be king, or the common people for their sympathies, or Peter Townsend for being so friendly… it only hardens the heart; and there is just one root that enjoys the dusty soil of a hardened heart–the root of bitterness. It grows unseen by the owner of the hard heart and may stay dormant for years, secretly growing beneath the surface, but its fruit will show eventually. Sadly, the Princess’ life was full is heartache, sickness, and sin.

When we are quick to blame others, we are in danger making Romans 6:12 a reality in our lives.”Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” We can blame others, but there is no remedy for a hard heart there.

Back to our “religious” disappointment. Check why the disappointment is there. It may be legitimate.  You may have a pastor who doesn’t preach the Word. It could be that your church carries false doctrine on the books. You may have a program that is business-oriented instead of Christ-oriented. If so, then ask the Lord for His leading. But if the problem is within your own heart, there’s only one way to fix that! Surrender to God’s Word.

John 10:27 says, “For my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

We have a wonderful Shepherd! Not all religions can say that! They demand so much and offer only lies! Our Shepherd KNOWS us. But this verse also sheds light on our part: Do we hear His voice? Going back to our late-to-church scenario, the question or challenge is: Can you lay aside all the frustration of a morning gone wild and surrender to the message from the less-than-perfect preacher? Can you put aside the cares and worries of the day and spend time alone with God… “my sheep hear my voice.”

And then there’s another admonition: “and they follow me.” Listening is never enough. Following is the key to routing out bitterness or whatever we are harboring which will hinder the work of the Holy Spirit.  As Martin Luther said, “Keep a short account with God!”

You get what you pay for.  Thankfully, we pay nothing for our salvation!  It’s been paid in full, and it is a perfect salvation offered by a perfect Savior.  His church is not perfect, but we can make our part as spot-free as is humanly possible! Then the question becomes, “Did Jesus get what He paid for?”

 

Losing Faith

bad-ol-putty-tad-creditsAs I type in this title, I cringe. Why would we ever lose faith in our awesome heavenly Father? He has done so much for us. But if I speak the truth in my heart, I have to admit that I have lost faith, even this week.  We want to sugarcoat it by calling our faithlessness confusion or disappointment, but sadly, it still boils down to a loss of faith. And what does it look like? Do these examples sound familiar:

We pray for the Lord to do something. We pray A LOT and for a long time and we feel really good about it, but the prayer goes unanswered, and we lose faith.  Is God listening?  Why would He not answer our prayers?  We reason that it’s not a selfish prayer; in fact, it’s a prayer for salvation or holiness in the life of someone we love, but it goes unanswered, and we doubt God: lost faith.

We choose to be submissive in a difficult area with our husbands, knowing that our actions will improve our relationship, but instead of seeing a more understanding mate, he’s more difficult than ever, and we lose faith.  We pour ourselves into our children and they make a decision like moving to South Dakota, oops! They make a decision which is not in our plans, and we wonder: God, are You there?

Confession time: As you can see, I’m still dealing with having my children and grandchildren halfway across the country! I don’t like it, but does that mean it is not God’s will? The real problem is that my hopes and dreams died. My son was supposed to be our assistant pastor (I guess we should have told him! :)) and take over our ministry while we sailed off into the sunset!  My grandchildren were supposed to grow up serving the Lord with their cousins AND live close to grandpa and grandma—that was my plan, but it wasn’t God’s plan.

Do I see what God sees?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

The answer is a very resounding NO!! God knows everything, sees everything, plans everything for our good and His glory… even when it hurts.

We plan, we work, we pray, but it ALL needs to rest on God’s plan, God’s power, and God’s answers.

And why does Satan fight us on the battlefield of faith?  Perhaps Matthew 25:21 will shed some light:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

We all want to hear, “Well done,” from our Master, or we should; and it is our faith, which is the catalyst, to make that happen. So, here’s a few things that I have learned to battle faithlessness:

  1. Know your enemy: Our enemy is tenaciously devious! He will stop at nothing to stop your work for God! Doubts (another word for faithlessness) weaken our ministries, homes, and testimonies, and Satan knows that! Be on guard, and…
  2. Know your weapon: I’m so glad that James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you is in the Bible. AWESOME! Do you see what this verse is saying? We have the only weapon to fight against our enemy, and it works! That’s why your pastor, Sunday school teacher, mentor, etc. press your to memorize Bible verses. they are your arsenal against the enemy. How big IS your arsenal? Quote the Word, sing His praises, and Satan WILL flee!
  3. Know your flesh: We all have weaknesses and Satan know each one, perhaps even better than we know ourselves! That’s because we are good at NOT speaking the truth in our hearts. Right now, I’m not looking at photo albums because my heart is raw, and I know it will take me down a path that is not helpful! Be on guard and remember that we are in a battle. Take your sword, soldier, and keep the faith!  You are NOT a wimp–you became a warrior the moment Jesus Christ entered your heart!  The battle’s on: Go! Fight! WIN! In Jesus’ name!

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:2

 

Seeing Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

BookCoverImage A MomentFor the next few days, I will try to entice you to get your FREE Kindle copy of A Moment in Time, by giving you several reasons why A Moment in Time may be a good book for you to read.  Honesty may not be the best policy in advertising, but it is my policy!  On April 18-22, A Moment in Time will be available FREE in Kindle form. 

I consider it a great responsibility every time I sit at my computer and pound on the keys. Whether it is for a post or a book, I truly consider it a calling of God, or I would not do it!  So, why should you even consider getting your copy of A Moment in Time? Let me share a corner of my heart concerning these books.

Recently, I talked with someone who had read my book, and the comment was made that the book hit too close to home.  This book was not just written to entertain. I write with a purpose, an overwhelming desire to teach, stretch, urge, grow, challenge, convict . . .  Life isn’t just about entertainment and happiness, so, consider the following:

Reason Number One: See Life Through the Eyes of a Troubled Girl

Carrie Spangler is a pastor’s daughter, but she is troubled by two major thoughts:

  • I was a mistake.
  • Am I really saved.

Perhaps one or both of those thoughts give you panic attacks about yourself or someone you love.  Carrie was not a “planned” pregnancy.  Her two older brothers are out of the house by the time Carrie enters junior high, and she rightly senses that her life is interfering with Pastor Spangler’s ambitions. Unfortunately, Pastor Spangler doesn’t handle the situation well.  Instead of dealing with those thoughts, he tries to override them with activity, not willing to face the truth about his little girl.

Honesty in the home is such a vital aspect of parenting.  When we push our true feelings aside instead of dealing with them Biblically, we have no idea how big the problem will get or the fallout that may occur.  “My daughter would never . . .”  What is your guarantee? If you are basing your security on anything but an honest relationship with Jesus Christ, beware!  Do you know your heart?  Are you speaking the truth there? Is your son or daughter speaking the truth as well?  Notice, I did not ask about their appearance or their actions.  I’ve seen “good” kids cover their true feelings because that’s the example they were shown; and I’ve seen “bad” kids display their actions simply because they are trying to get someone’s–anyone’s attention!

Is A Moment in Time a “how to” book on building relationship?  No, but as you read it, may it challenge you to look inside and take a “truth-test” concerning your walk with Jesus!

What is truth? John 18:38

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32