Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Social Media and The Good News


Many well-meaning Christians accidentally fall into the worldly media trap by unwittingly following the rules of "what is right."

This morning a post that included a scanned USA Today article about Tim Tebow caught my attention. Curious to see what it said, I read the article. Then, I started reading the comments section. Wow, talk about opposite positions! The posts that I read through were supportive, neutral, political, negative, critical, judgmental, emotional, and sarcastic. Self-identified Christians had written the largest percentage of posts and some had included scripture from the New Testament to support their position. It is sad to see Christians quote one or two verses of scripture, out of context, in an effort to give credence to a critical, judgmental, and negative point of view on a public platform. God wants his children to support each other - not put obstacles across the narrow path we are walking along, especially when we have a beam in our own eye. Christians cannot make this world conform to our standards by posting an argument or a critical evaluation, scripture included, in a public forum. This world does not belong to us; the prince of this world rules it. The prince of this world is cunning and tries to infect Christians with the desire to do "what is right." Many well-meaning Christians accidentally fall into the worldly media trap by unwittingly following the rules of "what is right." However, God does not operate according to the worldly rules of our present day society. He operates according to His law of life and peace.

People who do not know us should see The Spirit of God, who lives in us, shining out from our typed words when we post comments on social media sites.

God has a plan for each one of us because we are his heirs. He knows when each one of us is going to make a choice that leads us toward Him or away from Him. He justifies and glorifies those he calls to Him. How marvelous is that? Listen to the Holy Spirit within yourself and let Him fill your mind with peace and life. God and the Holy Spirit know each other and us intimately. Again, how marvelous is that? Tim Tebow is a Christian. The Christians who left comments about him are his brothers and sisters in Christ. Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, the Spirit of God lives in us and intercedes for us. Let the Spirit control your mind and heart and put to death the misdeeds of the body so that you can build up your brothers and sisters (in Christ) with whom you have contact. Contact evangelism is the practice of living a spirit-led, spirit-controlled life that bears fruit for our Father in heaven. People who do not know us should see The Spirit of God, who lives in us, shining out from our typed words when we post comments on social media sites.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Recovery from Strict Christian Parents

Two days ago, Bill and I were watching a program on television. The group of people who were on the show had overcome problems in life. As each person was singled out by the camera, a caption was shown telling where each individual was in life and where they had been. The problems that had been overcome were alcoholism, drug addiction, loss of a loved one and then, much to my shock, I saw "...Recovery from Strict Christian Parents."

 I have been unable to forget the image of the young man above the title, "...Recovery from Strict Christian Parents." What happened in his childhood home that made him feel that he had recovered from his parents' Christian life? The fleeting moment seems to be seared into my memory. What is the whole story behind the caption that thousands or millions of television viewers saw? Looking back into my own parenting past, I can honestly say that I didn't always set a Christ-like example. However, I did try to follow the relationship model that Jesus set for all of us.

 Jesus loves children and calls them to him. In Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; and Luke 18:15-17, the disciples rebuked those who had brought little children to Jesus so he could place his hands on them and pray for them. When Jesus heard this he was indignant and said," Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth; anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." So as we raise our children, who is the teacher? I learned to see the world with a child's eyes as I raised my daughters. I will never forget the lesson my four year old, Ashley, taught me one spring.

My mom and dad are gardeners. Every spring they plant and tend a small garden. My four year old was outside looking at Grandma and Grandpa's garden. When she walked up to Mom and me, she looked at Mom and said,"Mam-maw, I like your green flowers." Mom and I glanced at each other because we knew there weren't any green flowers in the garden. Mom looked at my daughter and said," Show me the flowers you were looking at." As I trailed along behind Mom and Ashley, I was puzzled, but curious. Ashley led us to the row of baby cabbage plants, pointed her finger at the plants, and said, "There Mam-maw, see? Pretty green flowers." The baby green cabbage plants did resemble irregular green stars against the dark, tilled soil of the garden. What a lesson in looking at the world through a child's eyes! Mom and I would never have learned this if one of us had said, "No there isn't. There aren't any green flowers in the garden. You're wrong, those are cabbage plants;" My mother also taught me a lesson in parenting by saying, "Show me."

Jesus told the disciples that if you want to receive the kingdom of God, you have to be like a child. Now that doesn't mean temper tantrums, selfishness, or the other behaviors parents have to deal with. He was talking about being trusting, loving, and seeing the world in a new way. Jesus wants us to have a trusting, loving relationship with our children. Further evidence of this is to be found in Ephesians 6:1-4. Children are to obey and honor their parents, BUT (capitalization is mine) parents aren't to exasperate their children. We are supposed to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord, with love.

Jesus loves us so much that he obediently allowed himself to be crucified on a cross for us - the ultimate Father and Son relationship. Scripture also shows me a grieving mother, watching her beaten, bleeding, and abused son struggle to carry a cross to the hilltop reserved for crucifixion of criminals. A son she knew to be innocent. A man who also had a sign associated with him that read, "This is Jesus, The King of the Jews"

Relationships are so tricky. I did the best I could as a parent, I'm sure Mary, and Joseph did their best as parents. What about the Christian parents of a young man who appeared on television with the caption"...Recovered from Strict Christian Parents"?


Monday, April 8, 2013

Fear of the Lord = Respect for the Lord

Somewhere in life, I developed a fear of God.
Where that was, I don't know. For me, Jesus was love, the Holy Spirit was my guidance counselor, but God was a different story. I just couldn't connect the Three into One and the word "fear" was immediately followed by a shiver of fear every time I read a scripture that talked about fear of the Lord.  Slowly,  I realized that my brain was translating fear into the following three phrases:
  • Fear = scared and shaking
  • Fear = punishment for being bad
  • Fear = sent to Hell for sin

 In 2009, I realized that this reaction was irrational and based on "false evidence that was appearing as real" (FEAR). Educating myself about the different definitions of "fear": was the first action I took.

  • Fear = Anxiety; solicitude; the cause or object which excites  apprehension.  OK, I knew THIS definition by heart and that was my problem. So I continued to read the other definitions.
  • Fear =  Reverence for God and his laws, which springs from a just view and love of the divine character.
  • Fear = Reverence; respect; due regard for rightful authority.
  • Fear = To reverence; to have reverential awe of ; to venerate
  • Fear = To have fear for or be solicitous concerning (rare)

Anxiety was definitely what I was feeling about that darn word, fear. However, not one definition contained the word punishment! Instead, I read about reverence and respect. Not just ordinary respect, but the highest degree of respect or veneration. Now I had some ammunition to use on my irrational reaction.

The resolution of my problem was simple. Every time I felt fear shoot through me when reading about fear of the Lord I followed these simple steps:
  1. Self talk:  When I felt apprehensive after reading "fear of the Lord" I would tell myself," Stop, it isn't that kind of fear. It's reverence and respect."
  2. Substitution: I would reread the verse and substitute the word reverence for fear.
  3. Persistence: I practiced steps one and two until I quit feeling fear!
It took time and patience to develop a new way of thinking, but today I am positive that God is a loving Father, Jesus is love, and the Holy Spirit loves me too. The connection of the Three as One took time, but it started with removing an irrational feeling that wasn't true.