New Habits

When I think of something working from the inside-out, my mind turns to a microwave oven!  I know – weird, huh?  Hang in there with me, I’m making a point.

Those little micro waves begin cooking in the center of whatever is in there.  Just as a microwave heats your coffee or cooks your bacon…  God works on us!  Now you feel like a cup of coffee or a strip of bacon, don’t you?  LOL!  I doubt that God sees you that way.  Nah…  pretty sure He doesn’t.

God begins His work with His precious Holy Spirit – in the center of our being – our hearts and minds.  Renewal begins to take place.  We love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates.  We have to be careful to never hate people – but behaviors we can definitely hate and refuse to participate in.

Because the enemy of our soul is still working in our world – it’s possible to slip and fall.  Even those who belong to God are to some degree vulnerable.  Actually, it seems the more you are trying to work for the Lord, the more that ol’ devil whispers in your ear – and remember – he copies everything that God does.  He’s a copy-catter!  He will do anything to get you off-balance.

God wants us to thrive in this life.  He wants us to lean on Him and learn His ways.  Remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just Say No” – in her one woman drug campaign?  I was a young teen at the time and thought, “she didn’t go far enough.  You can’t just say no to drugs – you have to turn and say yes to Jesus!”  

There was a time when the 12-step program was centered around a faith and trust in God.  I think they tell you a “higher power” can be anything now – but it was originally all about God.  Lean on God instead of your addiction.  I’ve been through OA twice.  The second time, the leader explained the “higher power” as anything you place higher than yourself.  I wasn’t diggin’ on that, but I wasn’t the leader, so held my tongue.  I did – and yeah, it took a miracle.

Maybe your higher power is your cat…  but the only HIGHER POWER that you can always depend on to come through for you is Jesus Christ!  He will be by your side when temptations arise.

Let Jesus have your heart, soul, and mind…  let Him help you form some new habits – replacing your unhealthy and self-destructive habits.  🙂

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1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 ON 10/13

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No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Have you ever been tempted?  Well, yeah…  me too!  Have you ever been in the midst of temptation and prayed for God, who we know is faithful, to provide the way of escape from that temptation?  That is the prayer that keeps us from crossing the line from temptation to sin.

PRAYER IS A SHIELD FOR THE SOUL

It’s so important to keep this portion of Scripture tucked safely in your heart and keep it committed to memory.  We are going to be tempted…  no matter who we are or how close we think we are to God.  Maybe the temptation is to think you are beyond being tempted…  see what I’m saying?  It is a slippery slope when you start thinking you are above being tempted.  The enemy of your soul is on the prowl.  You may not be as easy to tempt…  but that sneaky snake devil is really good at what he does…  which brings me back to God’s way of escape.imagese5vkycvf

If you ask God to show you how to get away from temptation, He is faithful and will do it.  Keep in mind that we do have free will and have freedom to cross the line into sin.  If we decide to cross the line, it’s important to remember that sinning against God comes with a whole slew of consequences – and some of those consequences last for the rest of your life.  Sin really will take you further than you ever wanted to go – not in a good way.images-199

If you sin and if you find yourself dealing with the circumstances of your sin – don’t even think of blaming God for your situation.  He would have shown you the EXIT…  the way of escape… but you didn’t ask!  Sin is fun and exciting for a season – but nothing built on sin will ever thrive in the long run.  It will never be the best that God wanted you to have.  You settled for less than God’s best…  and you ended up unhappy and miserable.  You’re stuck – but you can’t blame God for it – you can only blame yourself.

leaning-on-the-rockOkay – that was the bad news – but there is good news.  If we do pray that God will show us His way of escape from temptation – before we cross the line and sin – He will!  We can walk out the door and pray that God will give us what He wants for us – which is undoubtedly much better because it’s His best – not what we think we need at the moment.imagesaag4a5m9As long as we’re in these human bodies, there will be temptations from the enemy of our souls…  and there will be trials now and again from God.  Just remember that the temptations are there to bring out the worst in us – to show how low we can go.  When God sends a trial it is meant to strengthen us and bring out the best in us – to show how high we can rise – or more to the point, how God can work in us, causing us to rise higher.  🙂

 

 

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF MY RELIGION!!!  Amen???  Well, how about KNOW WHAT YOUR BIBLE SAYS – for real.  It astonishes me to hear what folks think they’re quoting as Scripture…  when no, it’s really not.

 God helps those who help themselves.  – 1 Americanians 17:76

We’ve all heard this!  Shoot, my parents said that about as often as they said The Lord’s Prayer – well, maybe not as often, but I heard it a lot growing up.  It’s probably the most quoted saying that is attributed to God’s Holy Word – but guess what?  It’s not in there!

Spare the rod, spoil the child.  – 2 Abuse 19:50

I was spanked maybe once or twice in my life, but they were not beatings with a rod by any stretch of the imagination.  I used to tell my parents they “talked me to death” as a punishment.  It was effective, because I towed the line just to avoid that.  And, I was one of those kids who did NOT want to disappoint my parents.  I’d rather eat chalk than to disappoint my folks.  Nobody in the Bible ever told a parent to hit their kids!

Cleanliness is next to godliness.  – Obsessive Compulsive 20:14

OK, I’m sure God wants us to live above the fray and the dust bunnies; however, to obsess over it – ???  I’m guessing He just wants us to obsess over Him!  Praise Him, keep your mind on His precepts – His real precepts, not the ones made up by well-meaning folks with a fetish for housework.  Ugh…  that sounds like a problem for a therapist.  It’s a problem that I, thankfully, have never had.  Ask my husband.  No, wait – don’t ask him.  Bad idea.

Yea, verily, God wants you to be happy.  – Oprah 1:1

Sigh…  life as a Christian does not mean you are given lollipops and roses every day!  In fact, if we are to be followers of Christ, we are to take up our cross and follow Him.  God is not like SPA DAY…  and happiness is not our goal as a Christian.  God will most assuredly give us a deep settled PEACE and JOY if we give Him full control.  For control freaks, that’s very difficult – it’s not easy and should not be taken lightly.  It’s a battle of wills sometimes – and I’m speaking from personal experience.  There are days when I want to be in control, but I know that giving God the steering wheel is ultimately going to mean the outcome will be best for me.  He loves me and will not let anything overtake me.  I’ll cross over the waters and not drown because He loves me and won’t let me perish.  Happy?  No – it’s so much more than just happy.  Happiness is temporal and conditional.  Peace and joy regardless of circumstances of life…  now that’s what God wants for His children.  Don’t ever settle for happy when you can have so much more from God.

We’re all God’s children.  – Unity 13:13

Well…  we were all created by God.  I agree with that; however, we are only His child when we have come to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ.  Once we have accepted the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and know that He did all of this because we have transgressed and need to be forgiven and restored unto God – then and only then do we belong to God.  He doesn’t want anyone to perish, but He wants us to come to Him – of our own free will.  God gave us a free will because He did not want a relationship with robots, but with people.  He wants us to want to love Him.  He didn’t make us to have to love Him.  See the difference?

God will not give you more than you can handle.  – Optimist 10:10

This one sets my teeth on edge!  When I hear it, I want to scream, YES, YES sometimes He does give us more than we can handle!  I know they are thinking of 1 Corinthians 10:13 when they say it, but that is talking about TEMPTATION, not BURDENS!  Newsflash…  in this life I will have burdens, and there will be more burdens than I can handle by myself.  But here’s the good news…  I do not have to bear those burdens because I have a friend who carries all of them and gives me assurance that no matter what happens, He will be there with me and He is working all things for my good.  He’s making me stronger and increasing my faith every day.  It’s a good thing!  Life is not easy, but God is good!

Who started the rumor that there was an apple on that tree of life?  The Bible doesn’t say what the forbidden fruit was, but we sure found out what the consequences were for picking it, didn’t we?

And that little drummer boy at the stable where Jesus lay – who drove him to Bethlehem?  He wasn’t there.  There is no mention of a little boy with a drum standing beside Mary and Joseph and Jesus.  He wasn’t playing his best for Him…  per rum pa pum pum…  nope.  Sweet little Christmas song and nice thought, but totally fabricated story.

I was listening to Bill O’Reilly the other day.  He was talking about how sloppy journalism has gotten since technology came on the scene.  He said there is not thorough fact checking like there used to be.  They just get on the internet and assume everything they read is true.  It struck a chord with me.  How sloppy have we gotten as Christians in our study of God’s Word?  When was the last time you actually took your Bible (the actual Book, not your computer) out, dusted it off, and read from it?

We have so many voices talking in our heads these days – celebs claiming to be Christians with less than sage advice to give us.  When did we trade the words of King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, for the words of Oprah?

False prophets are everywhere these days.  I don’t know about you, but I want the real deal, and I’m not willing to settle for fake quotes that may or may not tickle my ears and make me happy happy… when I can have the meat of God’s Word – His sovereignty and His majesty and His TRUTH.  Have a great day in the Lord!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 ON 10/13

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No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  – 1 Corinthians 10:13

I think we get mixed up sometimes when we talk about trials and temptations.  In the spiritual realm, who is doing what???  Who’s on first, as it were… ???

A trial puts our faith and patience in action and yes, trials are from God to make us stronger.  If we were never given trials, we would be soft and sappy and we’d never know just how much God means to us.  Trials are not fun, but we know that God is faithful through them and that He will make a way for us.

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This verse speaks of temptations – and those are not from God.  The enemy of our soul brings temptations to us – it seems they are constantly in front of us.  Temptations come in so many ways and sometimes we don’t even recognize them for what they are – because let’s face it – the enemy of our soul is good at what he does.

If you’re sitting down – GET UP!!!  It’s time to do our exercises!  This will help your physical health, but it will help your spiritual health too!  🙂

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… and if the devil doesn’t like it, he can SIT ON A TACK…  OUCH!  Ah – I love that song, don’t you?

The devil is sneaky…  to put it mildly.  He offers solicitation to that which is evil, and hence Satan is called “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3).  He tempted Christ in this way in the wilderness.  That temptation was not internal, but by a real, active, subtle being.  Why did Jesus have to endure that temptation?  It was an act of obedience on His part.  I’m thankful it was recorded in the Bible because it shows me that no matter what ol’ split-hoof puts before me, with God’s help, through my Savior, Jesus Christ, I can overcome it.

Temptation is common to all, as this Scripture reminds us – other passages mention it as well (Daniel 12:10, Psalm 66:10, Luke 22:31 & 40, Hebrews 11:17, James 1:12 & 1 Peter 1:7).  Is it a big deal?  Ya think???  YES – temptation is a big deal and it is common to all.  We are human beings living on this earth and we will be tempted.  We’re not in trouble for being tempted – we’re in trouble when we submit to it and subsequently sin against God.

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Does God give us a pass on sin just because we are exposed to temptation every day?  The Apostle Paul would say, “Heaven forbid!”  No!  God’s people are to be on their watch against temptations.  We are told that if we resist the devil, he will flee.  If we tell Satan to leave in the Name of Christ Jesus…  he can’t stick around.

So while we will be tempted time and again…  there is a way of escape in the Name of Christ!  Speak HIS Name in the face of the enemy and He has to flee.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, I command you to leave now, devil!  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

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DADDY MAKE ME HIGHER

Today I’d like for us to consider the charge our Lord has given us when He established the family unit. The family is the most important thing we have, whether it consists of two people or twenty-two people! People who make vows and promises to each other to be a family for life are expected to keep those promises.

I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

A Christian family is the most precious group of people. God smiles on it and will help protect it if He is invited in the center. He will send His angels to surround it and bless it as only He can.

Fear God and obey HIS commands, for this is everyone’s duty. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

It is the duty of every family member to serve God in their everyday life. People have the mistaken idea that serving God is all about what you do within the church building. Serving God is as basic as your attitude toward siblings, or helping out around the house even if you don’t particularly want to.

I invite you to go over to You Tube and listen to a song by the Gaither Vocal Band called “Build an Ark” – it’s a catchy little tune and will have you dancing even if you don’t know how to dance.  It will stick with you, I promise.

If it’s your desire to build an “ark” for your family, it takes every family member’s dedication to God and to each other.

What does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

It won’t always be smooth sailing in the family unit, but in your family’s ark of safety you can be assured that your God is in charge and that brings a great sense of security and comfort to your heart! It’s a crazy world out there.

If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.  If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.  – Jim Rohn

All families have their set of troubles whether it be financial, medical or even relationship within or outside the family. These are all issues that God can and will help you overcome. There are also temptations from the enemy, but if you hand them over to God, He can help with those as well. 🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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FAITH

I miss Joyland.  If I had grandkids, I’d like to have it back so I could share some of my childhood memories with them.  It was a great place for a family to share.  There’s one ride I would not ride – and that’s that old wooden roller coaster!

Beyond the main part of Joyland was a picnic area; however, to get to that area, known as The Enchanted Forest,  we had to cross a bridge. It was not just a bridge, but it was a swinging bridge. Did I trust that bridge to hold me as I walked across it??? Um… NOPE!  I remember my daddy carrying me over that ol’ bridge because I’d stand there and scream and cry!  I was really scared of it!

Oh look – somebody went to the now abandoned Joyland amusement park and took some video – and tried to cross that old swinging bridge – let’s watch.

LOL – I wouldn’t cross that bridge back when it was in GOOD shape!  Most of that video made me cry – to see Joyland in shambles and abandoned just breaks my heart.  I have so many good memories of it.

But there is some very good news here. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the farthest thing from a flimsy swinging bridge made of wood planks and rope! I can say a resounding AMEN to that, can’t you?  Jesus will carry me across any old swinging bridge that I have to cross.

He is a pillar. He is the strongest, most powerful force in my life. If you do not know Him as your personal Savior, you can. He’s not exclusively mine. He died for everyone on planet earth. You can pray and ask Him into your heart and life. Just sincerely repent of your sin and ask Him to take charge of your life. I like having the Lord of the universe, the One who knows the past, present and future on my side!

I put my faith in Jesus Christ because He alone can be trusted to guide me in the right direction.

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. – Psalm 27:5

I mentioned to a friend of mine today that my heart is troubled by current events. Never in history have we heard so much about wars and rumors of war. We’ve not heard a peep from Russia for decades – now all of a sudden – BOOM… I’m reminded of the scripture that says the bear will come down from the north. I remember teachings from childhood. We are one day closer to eternity.  ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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FACE TEMPTATION
We face temptations daily – and that’s the bad news.  The good news is, we do NOT face temptations alone – or at least we don’t have to.  Temptation does not come from Christ, but from Satan.  When you read “fall into temptation” you automatically think it’s about what you do wrong – but it’s not necessarily limited to that.  It can refer to anything that puts our faith to the test, not just temptations to sin.

 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  – James 1:12-14

Some commentaries refer to the character of those who persevere as patient or constant.  You know how blunt I am.  My description of the Christian who perseveres through the trials and tribulations in life – is stubborn!  Oh, you know a stubborn Christian, don’t you?  Sometimes they make you crazy because they seem to be so immovable.

We know that the road is narrow and a crown of life is promised to us if we have the love of Christ reigning in our hearts.  If we truly love God, we will strive to endure in His name.  His love is perfect and if we have that same love along with stubborn determination and call on God’s Holy Spirit to guide us, we’ll have a crown to cast at Jesus’ feet one day in heaven.

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.  – Newt Gingrich

A mind that has single and prevailing regard to its spiritual and eternal interest, and that keeps steady in its purposes for God, will grow wise by afflictions, will continue fervent in devotion, and rise above trials and oppositions.

There’s something to be said for being a stubborn Christian.  Not like donkey stubborn because God is love.  Ready, set, GO!!!