Note those who cause divisions…

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18 NKJV

I remember when I had just made my commitment to life change through Christ. I had volunteered to help with a benefit at our small Baptist church.

There were many women hustling and bustling about. I was trying to find my fit and where I could help. I always want to help but am fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing so I generally stand back and wait for instructions.

There was one lady there who was assuming the role of leadership that I had a problem with. My flesh wanted to tell her how wrong she was and take it over myself. But I kept quiet, until a new friend came over to me.

I immediately began to spout off about what all I thought was wrong with the situation. She lovingly but sternly looked me in the eyes and said you are trying to cause division among the brethren. Gulp.

I received the message loud and clear. My old way of speech and actions had no place in the church or anywhere else for that matter. Those few words spoken to me that day made me realize how much I was going to have to rely on Christ to make me into the person he created to begin with.

I wish I could say that was the only time I ran my mouth when I shouldn’t have after that day. But I will say that I didn’t do it with the intent of throwing somebody under the bus. Over the years I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut especially in the body of believers.

What could have happened that day is that my friend could’ve responded with the same zeal for under mining a fellow sister in Christ. This could have led to all sorts of trouble that day. But thank God for her stepping in and diffusing the situation. I welcome that in my life at anytime. That is someone who truly loves you and cares about you and more importantly loves God and seeks to serve Him in every capacity.

The second area to address is false teaching. There are so many teaching the Word, study materials, study Bibles and Bible commentaries it can overwhelm me. So what’s a girl to believe? I am a bit naive most of the time so I have been guilty to believe what I hear and read without doing the research on it myself. I publicly apologize if I have said in these posts anything contrary to how God intended for the Scripture to be interpreted.

One of our pastors was quoted as saying, “If you have a question, always go back to the Greek.” So I bought a Hebrew Greek Key Word KJV study Bible. Friends, it opened my eyes to what I believe that God is saying to me. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it.

We can’t be found guilty of believing everything that comes our way. God is at work, it’s so true. But so is your enemy. How better to thwart God’s plans than to have you believe what isn’t true about His Word? Do the research yourself. God will speak to you through it and lead you to His heart on the matter. Don’t depend on what others say, depend on what God says.

The more you immerse yourself in the original meaning of the Word, the more likely you are to recognize heresies when you are presented with them. Just a few added/extracted words or innuendos can change the whole meaning. Be on guard!

I hope this helps someone out there as much as it has me. God loves us and is all about the truth. If you have found yourself believing everything you hear, He is waiting to for you to come to Him. He wants to help you understand his heart. If you feel you are causing division or have caused it, pray and ask God to redeem what has been lost or damaged. He will guide you onto the path of righteousness. My prayers are with you as always. May grace envelop your life today.

Photo credit: skoeber / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

 

The Blessing

God-Bless-You-Have-A-Grat-Week-m21

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

As many of us prepare to send our children off to school over the next few weeks, I pondered what I could bestow to mine other than the truck load we have gathered.  I pray for her every day but she doesn’t hear what I pray specifically. She does hear often, “I have prayed for you today.” I am so grateful whenever someone says that to me.

She doesn’t hear me implore with God about her safety, wisdom, and Godly friends. She has no idea how many times I have walked out in the driveway and put my hands on her car and prayed, mainly Psalm 91. She doesn’t know that she is in my thoughts every waking moment in her absence. She does know how much she is loved and missed. I send enough texts to let her know that! Probably too way many.

It’s so difficult for me because we have been so close. We are opposites so we get along very well. She gets me, unlike most. We talked throughout her days in high school. The only time she ever got her phone taken away was from talking to me! We talked all throughout last year. We texted a lot but face time was fun to meet new friends and help with tears from old ones.

This is her second year leaving but many firsts. First full time student on this campus. First year of her own apartment. The first time that I feel she will truly be gone from home. She wasn’t content with where she was last year so she was home most every weekend. Great for me! Not so much for her. I can’t accurately convey to you how elated I am for her right now! I think this will be such a positive change.

I have taught her how to cook and do her laundry. She knows how to iron, but I doubt that will happen! She was in a small very protected environment last year so we have talked to her about all of the dangers and the “what ifs” of life on a large campus. She knows the importance of being a part of a church body and we have spotted one on campus for her to try. She knows the power of prayer and I am confident that she will not stray from her faith. She is responsible and very capable of being successful this year.

When I think about a blessing, my mind automatically launches toward Jacob and Esau. That family blessing that had been passed down to Isaac was crucial for the future of Israel. Although Jacob deceived his father for the blessing that belonged to Esau, it was all a part of God’s divine plan. God honored Isaac’s blessing to Jacob even though it was initiated in a muddled fashion. I anticipate God to implement this blessing for my girl because He honors His Word and I feel it is also crucial for her future.

So I will send her off with this blessing. I love these verses, they are so comforting to me. How about you? Is there someone in your life that needs a blessing? How would it impact their lives? I can remember the times when others have said kind words to me and about me. I can remember the times that people have genuinely wished me well and been positive about my future. It impacted my life. I can also remember the opposite words. The ones said behind my back and to my face. Those have impacted my life as well.

What if you aren’t sending your child off for the first time alone? You can bless them for this school year, you can bless them in their marriage, you can bless them in their career, you can bless your grandchildren. Our pastor did a whole series on the blessing. Write it down, hand deliver it, read it to them. I imagine it will be a treasure kept close to them for the rest of their lives.

Give a blessing, be a blessing, and be willing to receive one. I think God is always giving but we hold our hands up and say, “Not now” to Him by our rebellious thoughts, actions and words. I wonder how many blessings that we have evaded? Please look for them live them out! God, the ultimate, supreme bestower of blessings, longs to be gracious to you.

I love you Madi. As you trust in the Lord you will find new strength. You will soar high on wings like eagles. You will run and not grow weary. You will walk and not grow faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

 

 

Speak Out! Don’t be silent!

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him,’Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.’ So Paul stayed there for the next year and a half, teaching the word of God. Acts 18:9-11

I dropped out of the news. Every time I turn it on, someone has shot someone else or other disasters are unfolding. I long for good news. Why is it rarely reported? I believe there are many good people on this planet doing good things for other people. What would happen if we would inflate those stories and air them 24 hours per day? Do you think just maybe it would encourage others to do the same? If we continually glorify these shooters and plaster their names and pictures everywhere, there will always be another one. Someone looking for that moment of fame even if it means they are dead when it airs.

Take a moment to think about this. Whose faces do you remember when you recall the horrific mass murders in our countries and around the world? I scarcely recall the victims, it’s the murderers that I see. The very ones who don’t need to be remembered. But what if friends, one person would have told those shooters about the love of God?

I think if we, as Christians, would have a louder voice, maybe these situations wouldn’t happen. Are we going and telling? One of our pastors said in service a few weeks ago that there are 29,000 lost people in a 3 mile radius around Highland Baptist Church.  3 miles. Why is this so? Our verse says to speak out and not be silent. So what keeps me silent, what keeps you silent? What are we preoccupied with, does it truly matter for eternity?

For those of you who don’t understand what “lost people” means it is simply someone who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Someone who has not been presented with the saving message of truth and grace. Someone who is trying so hard to live their life on their own but coming up short and having no real direction. Apart from Christ you are empty. Continually striving to fill that God-shaped vacuum in your heart. Stuffing it full of achievements, money, stuff and hopeless love. God is the true source of love and Jesus is our hope.

Paul was steadfast in his belief. So much so that he stayed on a full year and a half teaching the Word of God. I know that when I teach, I check my watch several times to make sure that I don’t go over my allotted time. Not so for Paul! What if we completely emptied ourselves and let the fullness of the Holy Spirit take over and teach and learn until everyone “gets it”? What if we had a fire in us that could only be quenched by sinners coming to know Jesus?

Would it impact our country? Would it impact our world? So often I have heard others say, “I am only one person, what can I do to make a difference?” I have told my class before that if you only tell one person today and that person tells 5 and those people tell 2 and one of those people tells 300 and 15 of those go and tell 500, the possibilities are endless! All because you chose to speak out to that person in the check out line, that person in the post office, that person in the church parking lot, your waiter/waitress and the list goes on and on…your own family for goodness sake.

Lysa Terkuerst recently talked about a guy she went to high school with. He was a jock, one everybody knew and loved. She classified herself as one not in the click. They met years later at a Christian conference both leaders in the faith. I will paraphrase what he said to her. He mentioned that all of the people he knew and all of the events he had been so popular in, that not one person EVER told him about Jesus. No one. Ever. There was his motivation to go and tell.

Christians, I am calling you out. The things that are happening in our country are our responsibility. If we band together with one voice and each one of us do our specific part that we have been called to, maybe some of this nonsense will subside. If I stop and ponder the state our country is in right now I cannot come up with a better word than nonsense (definition: senseless, foolish and absurd.)

I think that Christians know that Jesus is coming back but we have lost our sense of urgency about why we are here to begin with. To go and tell! To speak and not be silent! So what will you do today? Who will you tell? Just remember it was one person that preached a series of messages to Billy Graham about sin that transformed his life.  Look what happened from there…he has preached to 215 million people, not counting who he has ministered to in radio, television and written word. One person.Speak out and don’t be silent!