Seeing Red

The following post is from a young lady whose blog I follow. She writes from the heart of a believer who has traveled a very difficult road with her Master.

This is a subject we should all be more cognizant of – especially men. God made man and woman – made them equal – made them different – for His express purposes. Pro-Creation, the making of a another human being created in the image of our Triune God, is, as she states so well, uniquely feminine. Yes, both husband and wife are required. But, the carrying of that innocent, vulnerable person until they are ready to live outside the womb – that responsibility falls to the woman. And women, since Creation, have masterfully and lovingly carried out that responsibility.

That innate desire of a woman to “mother” is to be celebrated – not berated.

BBB’s confession herein is heart-wrenching – but it is where life is – and our Master walks through this with her!

*sigh* This post is going to be difficult to write. The saying goes, never judge a person until you walk a mile in their shoes…or something like that. And I’ve learned over the years that as much as I hate those cliched little nuggets, they actually hold a lot of truth. Stand the test of […]

via Seeing RED  — BeautyBeyondBones

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Remember When?

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons.

Me and Aaron20003

Everyone’s life is a story that could, and maybe should be told. However, not everyone takes the time to review and learn from their life. Many believe life is like an uncontrolled roller coaster; you just take it as it comes with no concern as to where it has been. In reality, God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time. When we find that purpose, and pursue it, is when we will be most satisfied.

God has a purpose, planned out for us from before time.

“Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we, who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us, may be greatly encouraged.” [Hebrews 6:17-18 NIV]

I believe God gave us a memory for many reasons. Perhaps the most important, to a follower of the Master, is to recall each and every time He intervened in our lives in an ‘other than every day’ happening. We see this in the way He taught the ancient Jews to remember those special events. He did so in two ways.

One way was to have them build an altar at a geographical location where He had intervened to rescue them, or show them something new in their lives. A second way was that God set aside ‘Holy Days,’ annual celebrations designed to remember Him and something specific He did for them, e.g. Passover, Firstfruits, etc.

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” [Proverbs 16:9 NIV]

My wife and I can look back through the years and remember where God acted through certain extraordinary times or events, to take us into a deeper relationship with Him. We like to say we have built an altar there, at each of those points. One reason for that, we believe, is so that when we encounter something new that bodes of danger, uncertainty or fear, we can look to those altars, recall those previous times and events, and remember how God intervened in our life. Thus we will be reassured of His Trustworthiness to ‘”never leave us or forsake us.”

We know, we have complete assurance, that He will either

  1. walk with us through the new challenge,
  2. lift us out of the challenge, or
  3. take us home to be with Him.

Now that’s a win/win/win.

“. . . in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

I’m convinced it is vitally important we understand this fundamental tenet of how we pray!

praying-man

Quite often we will say something out of habit, or rote, or perceived obligation. When we do that, it is likely the statement is bereft of meaning. For example, when someone sneezes we will say, “Bless you!” Or, more rarely nowadays, “God bless you!” Do we really mean that? Are we thinking about God blessing that individual? Or, has it become a habit we feel compelled to do?

The following article, written by the late M. R. De Haan II, from Radio Bible Class fame, speaks to that problem, and addresses the very nature of what we say in the way we pray.


“. . . in Jesus name. Amen.”

             By M. R. De Haan II      Published in the RBC Digest®; Vol. 3, No. 11; February 1979

Thot: The words “for Christ’s sake” too often become a profanity in the curses of sinners – and in the prayers of saints.

Most Christians are familiar with the fact that the Scriptures tell us to pray in the name of Jesus. And they promise that if we do, the Father will give us everything we ask for. Therefore, along with so many other Christians, I close my prayers in the name of Christ.

But here is the problem. I don’t get everything I ask for. You don’t either, do you? Even though we tag our prayers with the Blessed Name, it doesn’t always work.

I don’t mean to be profane about this. Nor do I regret that I haven’t gotten everything I’ve asked for. To be sure, much of what I’ve wanted would not have been in my best interests – nor God’s. And it’s only because of His loving wisdom that He refused to grant my selfish, shortsighted desires.

If God cannot lie, then why doesn’t He keep His promise when I ask in His Son’s name?

But that doesn’t solve our problem. If God cannot lie, then why doesn’t He keep His promise when I ask in His Son’s name?

Answer: Praying in the name of Jesus doesn’t mean praying with the right “tag.” Neither does it mean twisting the Arm of the Almighty by appealing to the authority of His Son. Praying in the name of Jesus means praying in accordance with His character.

Reason: In biblical times the idea of a “name “ meant much more than it does today. It often was descriptive of the character and work of the person who bore it. In the case of Christ that was especially true. He is revealed to us as “the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Lord” speaks of His authority. “Jesus” describes Him as Savior. “Christ” as God’s anointed one – in other words, the person to whom God gave His Spirit in order to fulfill His assignment.

Significance: What does all this mean? It means that my prayers, to be in the name of Christ, should conform to the character behind these descriptive titles. They are to be in the spirit of rescue (Jesus), in the spirit of fulfilling God’s purpose (Christ) and in the awareness that my authority can only be an extension of His authority (Lord).

We therefore are to pray, as His representatives, “for His sake,” in His place, in His Spirit, and with His purpose. This means that we must assume His character and by so doing receive whatever we ask for.

This realization isn’t quite so appealing is it? It’s easier to try to use the name of Christ as some magical formula. But to do so would be to diminish the name of Jesus to an instrument of our own flesh. The Lord of Glory can’t let that happen – for our sake – not for His.


Prayer is at the very heart of Christianity

Prayer is at the very heart of Christianity; because Christianity is NOT a religion, but the way of life for a follower of Jesus.

Since many of us are committed to praying for our nation and the first 100 days of this new Administration (in addition to every other aspect of our life), I think it is vitally important we understand this fundamental tenet of how we pray

“Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, that there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction.” [1 Corinthians 1:10 HCSB]

Intentionality

God has already spoken many things to us. Our problem usually isn’t lack of a word from Him but a lack of putting into practice the things that He says.

Black-webbed tree frogs
Black-webbed tree frogs

“LORD, we show our trust in you by obeying your laws; our heart’s desire is to glorify your name. All night long I search for you; in the morning I earnestly seek for God. For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right.” Isaiah 26:8-9 NLT

Too often we wait to be mystically moved before we obey His word simply and unyieldingly. Implementing what God has said is the surest way to have an amazing year ahead.
Gary Wilkerson (January 2016)

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT

By Paul Van Dyke

MaryKay Corporation

COMMITMENT IS WHEN YOU HAVE INSPIRED YOURSELF INTO THE SISTERHOOD OR THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE UNASHAMED.

WHEN YOU POSSESS AN INNERMOST SPIRIT AND DESIRE.

WHEN YOUR DIE IS CAST; WHEN YOUR DECISION HAS BEEN MADE.

WHEN YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO STEP OVER THE LINE, STAND UP AND BE COUNTED AND BECOME A DISCIPLE OF THE DETERMINED.

WHEN YOU WON’T LOOK BACK, LET UP, SLOW DOWN, BACK AWAY OR BE STILL.

WHEN YOUR PAST HAS BEEN REDEEMED, WHEN YOUR PRESENT MAKES SENSE, WHEN YOUR FUTURE IS SECURE.

WHEN YOU’RE FINISHED AND DONE WITH LOW-LIVIN’, LIGHT WALKIN’, SMALL PLANNIN’, SMOOTH KNEES, DULLIN’ DREAMS, TAMED VISION, MUNDANE TALK, CHEAP GIVIN’ AND DWARFED GOALS.

WHEN YOU LIVE BY FAITH; WHEN YOU LEAN ON YOUR STRENGTHS; WHEN YOU WALK WITH CONFIDENCE; WHEN YOU’RE LIFTED BY PRAYER AND YOU’RE LABORED BY LOVE.

WHEN YOUR DIRECTION IS SET; WHEN YOUR GAIT IS FAST, YOUR GOAL IS REAL, YOUR ROAD IS ROUGH, YOUR WAY IS NARROW, YOUR COMPANIONS ARE FEW, BUT YOUR GUIDE IS RELIABLE AND YOUR MISSION IS CLEAR.

WHEN YOU CANNOT BE BOUGHT, COMPROMISED, DETERRED, LURED AWAY, TURNED BACK, DELUDED OR DELAYED.

WHEN YOU WILL NOT FLINCH IN THE FACE OF SACRIFICE OR PAUSE IN THE PRESENCE OF PROCRASTINATION.

WHEN YOU REFUSE TO NEGOTIATE AT THE TABLE OF FEAR, PONDER AT THE POOL OF POPULARITY OR MEANDER IN THE MAZE OF MEDIOCRITY.

WHEN YOU WON’T GIVE UP, LET UP, OR SHUT UP UNTIL YOU’VE STAVED UP, STORED UP, PRAYED UP AND PAID UP AND BECOME THE PERSON THAT GOD INTENDED YOU TO BE.

WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT, YOU BRING ABOUT.

WHEN YOU ARE COMMITTED, THAT’S WHEN YOU STAND OUT FROM MEDIOCRITY.

WHEN YOUR DESIRE DOMINATES YOUR DOUBTS, WHEN YOUR PERFORMANCE PRECEDES YOUR PROCRASTINATION AND WHEN YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE IS GREATER THAN YOUR PROBLEMS. . . .

                                  . . . . THAT’S WHEN YOU HAVE COMMITMENT!

The Genie in the Lamp

The story of Aladdin and the magic lamp is fascinating to adults and children alike. Aladdin, an impoverished young man, obtains a lamp and inadvertently (with his mother’s help) discovers that, living inside, is a genie. This genie appears when Aladdin calls (by rubbing the lamp) and has the power to grant wishes. This idea is appealing, not just to children, because it fulfills a basic human desire for something or someone outside ourselves with the capacity to meet needs or supply wants, without requiring anything of the one making the request. In the fable the genie remains in the lamp until summoned by Aladdin, at which time he is so pleased to be out of the lamp, he grants wishes.

I believe many people in the affluent cultures, primarily in the West, have misplaced their search for God with a desire for the “genie in the lamp.” Most people believe there is a God or some force out there somewhere, and they suspect it has supernatural powers. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Eccl. 3:11). They will pursue that source of power to seek relief when in trouble, to help them by meeting their needs and/or their wants “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” (Eph 4:19). They want that external ‘force’ to fulfill their wishes at their command.

In this type situation the seeker really would rather not have to develop a relationship with whomever or whatever the power is. They certainly believe it unfair to impose conditions. Therein lays the dilemma. For example, in the case of God, we can understand that He might want us to live a good life – but we want to define what that means. If I want to indulge certain of my physical desires, I don’t want there to be negative consequences. And I certainly do not want anyone (especially God) judging me for that indulgence. Voila! The “genie” satisfies that dilemma.

This idea has burst forth at various times in human history. Invariably, when a nation or a people prosper materially and experience safety within their borders, they will, over time, move to excess. The people will be numbed to corporate discipline, become mentally and physically soft and believe themselves justified to satisfy every physical desire in any way possible. If there is any recognition of a superior being, we want it to operate like the “genie in the lamp.”

At the heart of our desire for stuff we’re all just trying to fill a void in our lives. Humans are social at the core of our being. All too many are seeking to fulfill the desire for relationship through sexual satisfaction. Unfortunately, it is an insatiable hole when filled with anything other than our Creator. We have forgotten that in our distant past, in the beginning, God created us in His image. Relationship with Him is the only way to satisfy that void. At our core, if we were honest with ourselves, we would give up the tiring pursuit for this elusive genie to find a genuine Companion, who we know will never turn His back on us no matter our physical, emotional, mental or financial condition. The promise of the “genie in the lamp,” to give us whatever we desire with no strings attached, proves painfully inadequate at that point.

When Jesus walked the dusty roads of Israel, and He was moved by compassion to restore broken humanity, the people thronged to Him to witness miracles, or to have their physical or mental lives repaired. However, when Jesus’ teaching moved to that of the ‘cost’ of a relationship with Him, the idea that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, the throngs departed. “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him,” the Apostle John noted (John 6:66). Only a hearty few remained with Him beyond that.

Fortunately for us, the true, living God of Scripture actually desires a relationship with us. “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jer. 24:7). He will not force it, though. His love and His sovereign justice demand that we be given full freedom of choice. We get to choose. Isn’t that great! I can choose to reject Him. No strings attached. I get to keep my personal freedom, to be self-absorbed, selfish and self-directed, and pursue my “genie in the lamp.” I am free to do anything I want to do within the confines of societal rules, at least, that is, until I die. That part is consistent with our search for the “genie in the lamp.”

However, just as a loving father or mother will deny certain things their child desires because, in their maturity and wisdom, the parent knows it is not what is best for them at the time; so, a loving God tells us to deny our selfish desires. Whereas the “genie in the lamp” compels us to believe we can have it all, our wise God shows us, by the example of His Son that self-discipline leads to a fulfilled life. Everyone who has entered into a genuine relationship with Almighty God by way of His Son Jesus has found the requirements placed on that relationship to be well worth it. The “genie in the lamp” pales in comparison to the glory and splendor of Jesus, the One who chose to die for us, has risen, and offers us a personal relationship with God the Father. He promises Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5)

Isn’t that really what we all want?

New Year’s Resolution Blues

New Year’s Resolutions – why are we so persistent in making them? And why do so many lose the resolve so soon?

These questions are not exactly the great mysteries of the universe. But they do reflect on a much deeper issue that many are unwilling to face.

So – let’s think about how this usually goes down:

  • We recognize that something is not right, or is off-center, with our lives, our relationships or our bodies;
  • We think we have a fix on where we want or ought to be;
  • By some form of reasoning we develop a plan of action to affect the desired change; many times we even tell someone or set them up as accountability partners;
  • We buy something(s), or we join something, or we simply layout a schedule to accomplish our plan.

Why then, after all this, do the vast majority of people fail to see success in their Resolutions?

In the first place most of us fail to determine the root cause of the problem we want to fix. For example, one of the most common resolutions is to lose a certain amount of weight. So we decide to eat less, or eat differently, and maybe begin an exercise regimen. However, there is always a deeper reason a person over eats. It may be loneliness, or lack of self-esteem, or some other, less apparent, problem.

Let’s say a “career focused” dad resolves to spend more time with his wife and children in the New Year. However, if he does not address the real reason, this primary thing that has driven him from the family in the first place, he may kill himself trying to live out that resolution. He will simply be adding more stress as he seeks to squeeze time from a full schedule. Unless he realizes he is driven by another something, a desire for success, ego, money, power, etc, he will fail in this commitment, and potentially do more harm to the family or himself.

At this point we can say that this person has allowed something, some person, some desire or some goal to become so dominant in their life that it has control of them. We may want to call them something else, e.g. psychological problems, driven to success, desire for independence, and on and on. The reality, though, is that this one thing has become, as the Bible says, an idol.

An idol is nothing more than a “counterfeit god.”

A “counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.” (Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller). In our affluent, well-educated culture, we disavow the existence of ‘idols.’ We believe we each are the masters of our own destiny and can “fix” any issue.

“Whatever controls us is our lord. The person who seeks power is controlled by power. The person who seeks acceptance is controlled by the people he or she wants to please. We do not control ourselves. We are controlled by the lord of our lives.”(Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Pippert)

Our Creator, however, has an infinite, unconditional love for each of us. He knows us intimately because He created us. There is nothing that we can put into our lives, or that we can do, that can even come close to the wholeness He freely offers us through Jesus. He shows us The Way to replace all our worldly desires with a singular focus on Him. Followers of The Way have the Spirit of God resident, and He provides all that we really seek:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Good things that can be a pleasure in our lives, when they become idols, drive us to destruction. A piece of fine dark chocolate can bring great pleasure to most people. But an addiction to chocolate can be destructive to your body. Unfortunately, even many who claim Jesus as their Lord continue to battle these desires of this world. While our human nature (as well as the American creed of independence) fights the idea of humbling ourselves to anyone, we delude ourselves into believing those things which drive us are not idols. All the good things we seek come from God and are manifestly available to us – as long as they do not usurp the place of God in our lives.

“. . . yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. (I Corinthians 8:6)

So, to make your New Year’s Resolution something that brings about a positive change, for a better life, take some time to determine the base cause of the issue you’re concerned about. Honestly confront them. Then – consider the claims of Jesus. Submission to Him (peace with God) can bring about freedom from all the “idols” of the material world.