Power of the Thought

Our thoughts matter.

  • I’ve been doing much thought-searching lately. The deeper the dig goes, the more Scripture that is unfolded, the more revealing the revelation becomes…our thoughts are incredibly powerful. 
  • Sure, most of us would agree, this is no new grand discovery. But do we stop ourselves and take the time to think of the repercussions of even one thought we allow ourselves to dwell upon? Oh those ‘good’ ones are easy, but what about the ‘wrong’ ones we let slip out and then we justify by saying things like “We are having a bad day” or “I’m tired or stressed out right now.” Does this stand before our righteous and holy God? You know what excuses you use.

What we think, no, what we choose to dwell on will determine what we become. This is not “think happy thoughts and happy things will happen” but rather the holding captive thoughts that are toxic in form {ungodly} rather than focusing {which is a personal choice} our thoughts on God’s Truth and choosing to cling onto God’s Truth then live those Truths out which produce God-honoring-pleasing thoughts.

  • Today, why not begin to replace your toxic, sinful thoughts with the only Truth that can set you truly free and bring true freedom (John 8:32). 
  • What toxic thoughts negativity affect your life and relationships?
  • Choose to replace them with God’s Truth – it’s worth it! 

Truth about a Lie

“We lie not only when we contradict the truth, but also when we mislead someone’s thinking. We lie when we pretend things are fine, when in reality we are angry or unhappy. We lie when we hide a problem with drinking or Internet pornography or other sin, making excuses and throwing up smokescreens that cover our tracks.

We even lie to ourselves when we make something bad look acceptable, or even desirable….Our culture is adept at using the power of language to mislead and warp perceptions. We call teacher-student sexual relations “affairs” instead of abuse of power. We call the brutal killing of a woman “a crime of passion” as the perpetrator sobs, “I loved her so much.” Language is twisted to make our actions look less heinous, more acceptable. But the Bible warns us, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).

Lying is one of the most destructive things we can do when we’re confronted about something we’ve done wrong (Proverbs 26:18-19,28). I have witnessed marriage after marriage crumble because the person who has been challenged will not come clean through humble confession of the whole truth.”

  • The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick, page 34

My friends, regardless if you are married or single, young or old, a believer in Jesus Christ for decades or for just a few months — lies present in your relationships {whether you are the liar or you are being lied too} will bring destruction to all involved. Sin affects more than just yourself! The truth always comes out. To lie is to sin!

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin” (Proverbs 26:28).

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Proverbs 26:18-19)

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

 

 

 

Status quo?

What’s your quo? No really. What is it? Think about it.

Is it normal? Do your eyes see only the run of the mill reality of life? Maybe it is overwhelmed? Children? You fill in your life happenings.

We cannot serve two master (Matthew 6:24). Many of us understand this but in reality we fight it, because we want both. We want God and everything else. We want a full time God while we are part time or grow complancent. It doesn’t work.

I will be the very first person to raise my hand in agreement including myself with everyone else that we are not perfect creeters on this side of heaven, but we are gloriously  saved sinners! We are saved by grace through God’s incredible love for us that we should intensely strive to please our Lord in every area of our life — and therefore end up not living the status quo!

Eyesight Matters


This past week I read through a 5-day devotional on “Who Am I” — Our Identity in Christ. Though the author had made some very good points throughout the week, one was very faulted. At first it hit me softly. Truthfully, it kind of bugged me, but I really didn’t know why because it ‘sounded’ good. The more I thought — the more bugged I became, so finally I asked my husband what his thoughts were. Sure enough…it was biblically wrong.

We must be ever so careful that what we read is biblical. It doesn’t mean we need to stick our heads in the sand, but we need to make sure that what we are in-taking lines up with Scripture. Our mind, heart, soul should be saying to self, “If that’s what God said — that settles it!” Quiet frankly we don’t have to get it…because HE DOES, [that is not a requirement for obedience] and that [should be] okay with me!

Friends, it’s Monday. [HAPPY MONDAY!!!!!]  May you have a beautiful, GOD-centered, CHRIST-focused week. May you share what HE has done in YOU with at least one person this week — how can we not? God has done so much for us. Take a few moments and read Ephesians 1:3-14. Oh, how I have been soooooooooo utterly humbled, put in awe, sorrowed in my soul at seeing who I am, convicted and yet beyond words of thankfulness for being a child of God. I have fallen on my face this week [being honest here] confessions of sinful pride of wanting more, of my ‘ideals’ and my sin — and truthfully not being satisfied with the incredible grace of God itself, which I do not deserve — because if that is all I had, that would be MORE than enough!

I am full. I am bountiful. I got off the throne.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

{Graditude} God, Veterans, & USA

As we all know, this Monday will be Memorial Day. Many throughout the country have plans set or at least something in the making via plans — whether it is a parade, picnic, family gathering, or time spent doing nothing. Perhaps, maybe you are scheduled to work because you are a nurse or aid — whatever the case may be we all know that it is Memorial Day and the weekend is upon us.

I am reminded once again of our great country. Oh, I know we can easily find fault in it somewhere or in someone, but before we get sidetracked, let’s not — for we do indeed have much to be thankful for! Like our freedom!

  • Before I even continue any further, I would like to thank all of you who have either served our great USA in the past or today are actively serving. Though we may not personally know one another — in our home, your sacrifice (your families sacrifice) is not forgotten. We rejoice in our God-given freedom and know that freedom is NOT free, nor will it ever be. We thank YOU!
  • I think of those who gave their lives, WE REMEMBER; for you have not given in vain. Though your families grieve the most [which we grieve with them], in our home, we choose to remember and not forget we are free — our lives would be far different if it weren’t for brave men and women who didn’t serve this great country we call America! Thank you!
  • There is one other person I’d liked to thank…my Navy man. I am proud of my husband and his service to our country. He stands strong as a reminder. He is a truly a man of God. [super-incredibly-thankful for him!] Thank you! 

So the weekend is happening. Monday is fastly approaching. Whatever plans you may have — or not have, may I encourage you to STOP and take a few minutes to: 

1) Thank the Lord for your freedom. 

  • Seriously, you could be living in another country where let’s just say, things could be MUCH different! You are blessed!

2) Thank a veteran.

  • Whether it is at a parade, in a checkout line or at a gas station or your neighbor — thank a vet! Maybe invite one to your picnic!

3) Take time to pray for our country.

  • America needs our prayer.

  • America needs to keep God first.

  • Psalm 33:12-13 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”

  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”


Have a safe, memory-thankful-filled Memorial Day. 

the Armor of God: Prayer [Really???]

What is the armor of God and truthfully, do we really need it?

Have you ever wondered why we need to fight or for that matter ‘wear’ such spiritual garments? Why we must do this so-called fighting that quite frankly we do not even ‘see’ – or do we?

I believe we all would say that we have fought a battle or two in our life time whether it was with our kids, our in-laws, our parents, possibly our spouse, or maybe even God.

But one of the most troubling battles we face [more than we care to realize] are not the things that we ‘perceive’ with our five sense – but rather everything else that is unseen. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly wrestle here on earth and it’s directly related to the visible and invisible, but we must not forget that the invisible is REAL – much more than we care to reckon. So before we disregard its presence, let’s take a little look.

My Pastor, who is also my husband, said a few months ago in a Sunday morning worship service, “Remember who your REAL enemy is! It is not those sitting next to you here at church; it is not those who live in your home or extended family members; it is not the workplace, the store, that slow driver in front of you that is ‘making you late’; it is not people; it is not God – it is the DEVIL. Your real enemy is the devil!” [Pastor Richard Woodruff] We must remember who the real enemy is!

The devil (aka: satan – who is the great deceiver) wants you to ignore the spiritual reality behind your physical reality. Why? It is to his best interest and your greatest destruction; for he knows that as long as you are focused on what you physically ‘see’ with your eyes, he can continue his dirty deeds and run rampant underneath the surface. This only happens when we are personally distracted, unfocused, (mind, heart, spirit) on the things that do not matter most.

Isn’t that so wicked – oh wait a minute…he is wickedness, he is not our friend…he is the greatest deceiver! Following me, yet?!

My friends, it is not for us to live in fear over the devil, but rather live in wisdom, knowledge and understanding of who and what our enemy is and capable of – but more importantly resting in the power of knowing who our God is and who we are through Jesus Christ.

Remember we have already won the battle, but don’t live foolishly – the enemy may be invisible, but he is not fictional. He is present. Real. He wants to destroy you! He is persistent. Consistent.

Do not think for one moment that because you are a believer in Jesus Christ you have immunity; quite frankly you have a bulls-eye on your forehead. You are the target. Don’t allow this to scare you but rather remember WHO resides within you? GOD! This means you are fully loaded; fully empowered; 100% equipped, power-filled by the Father Himself [now if that doesn’t give you goosebumps] to defend anything and everything, even when we don’t understand — yet we trust. [what God-love. God-grace. God-comfort!]

So, how does one defend, reload, and stand strong?

  1. PRAY! [Yep] Pray! You may be laughing at me right now, but it is true. You may be thinking “how in the world does praying help you win the battle?” For starters, read Ephesians. Paul highlights one of the most important [yet most overlooked aspects] spiritual armor – PRAYER! Without communicating with God over the battles – you’re done! Without His inward strength coming through us from time spend in prayer and in His Word – you’re done! Prayer brings His plan. His vision. At times His purpose. We cannot do what He wants if we do not know what He requires. Communication! Paul esteemed prayer so critical to the victory over satan’s power in our lives/during these battles – maybe we should take note, just maybe! [what do you think?]
  2. Study out the armor of God – allow it to become you!
  3. You want to see personal victories – PRAY – for there is victory in spiritual warfare when prayer is practiced. Don’t be afraid of it – just do it!

    “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [19] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might [20] which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, [21] far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”

    Ephesians 1:18-21.

    God-Checks [ever so vital]

    How we ‘see’ God is critical.

    It is vital that we continually retain our mind & heart in a God-check so that we are not creating a manifestation of God [our own idea of who God is] but rather seeing who God actually is through His Word and by His character.

    Be in the Words of God. 

    God will not be ignored. He instructs us to worship and fear Him.

    Just a FEW verses…hope they are an encouragement to your soul. Have a sweet time looking up more! All verses are from the NASB (fyi).

    • Deut. 6:13 “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him…”
    • Deut. 8:6 “Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.”
    • Deut. 11:16 “Beware that your hearts are not deceived, and that you do not turn away and serve other gods and worship them.”
    • Deut. 13:4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
    • Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the Lord.”
    • Psalm 66:16 “Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.”
    • Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.”
    • Eccl. 8:13 “But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God.”
    • Isaiah 42:8 “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.”
    • Luke 4:8 “Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
    • Rev. 14:7 “…“Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

    GOD

    “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another,
    Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 42:8

    Is God Enough?

    So, I have been reading this book called Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It was part of a course requirement for my husband’s one doctoral class – it caught my eye. So when he finished reading the book, I asked him if I could borrow it. WOW…my heart!!!! Since reading the book my soul has been greatly rebuked and challenged yet encouraged in the greatness of who God is and how much He so desires me — and YOU!

    Today, I’d love to jot down for you a few excerpts from Mr. Chan’s book from pages 41-45 [please note that all bold words within quotation marks are from Crazy Love].

    My prayer for you is that through reading these thought provoking reminders they will both challenge and encourage your soul; make you honestly evaluate your own relationship with God; make you question who you ‘think’ God is – or realize if you have created your own idea of God and not truly see who God really is; and help bring your soul to the only place where it should go — bowed down; worshipping God because of who He is; because it belongs to Him, because of who I am – to be awe-struck just as I am.


    “When I am consumed by my problem – stressed out about life, mu family, and my job – I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God’s command to always rejoice. [Phil. 4:4]

    In other words, when consumed by my circumstances I say…that I have a “right” to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities…but in God’s eyes this thinking is wrong.

    WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives. [OUCH!!] 

    STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, out lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. [Double OUCH!!] 
    Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we have been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small indeed.

    First Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” So what does this mean? Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that’s seriously what it means.

    Maybe life’s pretty good for you right now, God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

    Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard. [Isn’t God Good!?] Like the psalmist who wrote, “I saw the prosperity of the wicked… Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure… When I tried to understand all this it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God” (Ps. 73:3; 13, 16-17).

    It is easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others’. But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.  

    To be brutally honest, it doesn’t really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory – whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-moth-old take a nap. The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His…World, His Gift.”


    “Many of us want a ‘religion’ but don’t want a ‘Christianity’ that touches our lives.” [Pastor Bob Loggans] “We want the world and Jesus too – it doesn’t work that way. We cannot have them both.” [Pastor Richard Woodruff]  I have such great pastors — so blessed & thankful!!

    Folks, we have got to decide!

    Is it Jesus or not?

    What is the point of my life? I already know the answer to that question for God has already told me in His Word. The real question is:

    WILL I OBEY?

    Joshua_24-15

    Blessings, In Christ I Am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}   

    C.S. Lewis & Joy {2}

    {Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing Author: Kevin Ott}

    When Joy Moves Us

    When Joy moves us, a new question may enter our minds:

    “How do I go about spending more time with God?”

    Fortunately, Jesus answered this question for us: Go to the secret place. We are to go into a room alone and close a door behind us. If we do not have a room at our disposal, we find a corner or place of separation that provides solitude, even if only a little.

    The next question follows:

    What do we do there?

    Jesus told us to go and pray. Volumes have been written about prayer, but all of it can be distilled into one simple principle:

    the prayer that happens in the secret place is meant to be a heart-to-heart encounter between you and your Abba Father and not an intellectual exercise.

    The secret place is where you bare your heart before God and pour every ounce of it at His feet ─ whether it be sorrow, gladness, thanksgiving, intercession, or all of it mixed together. In turn, God draws near and shelters you with His presence in the secret place.

    ✓ So…do you have one {a secret place}?

    ✓ Do you go there?

    ✓ Oh have you ever longed for this sweet place with God?

    ✓ Have you ever asked Him these very questions?

    ✓ Have you ever longed so intensely that you weren’t able to think of anything else but Him, His Word, and the time you so longed for?

    ✓ “It’s a force you cannot stop — for it comes from within and wants more, and to go and be there is pure joy!”

    ✓ So what’s stopping you? He is longing for you to come! GO!
     

     

     

    C.S. Lewis & Joy {1}

    {Lewis quotes and excerpts from Shadowlands and Songs of Light: An Journey into Joy and Healing} Author: Kevin Ott

    the Other-Worldly Joy

    In C.S. Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised by Joy, he tells of experiencing an other-worldly joy ─ a specific Joy that defies our modern understanding. This idea of Joy is not a satisfied desire but an unsatisfied desire ─ a deep longing for God, a hungry pursuit of God’s heart that never ends and is more satisfying than any earthly happiness.

    Lewis recalls three seemingly trivial and disconnected events with a common thread: he experienced a sudden, piercing pang of longing ─ a bittersweet ache and yearning for something far-off, other-worldly, and unnamed during each event.

    He would later recognize these sudden aches of longing: a deep spiritual hunger for God ─ not just for an intellectual knowledge of God, but for a real relationship with Him. These deep longings in Lewis’ life ─ these stabs of Joy ─ worked as flashing sign-markers pointing him down the path toward Christ.

    How to Act on This:

    True Joy, as Lewis presents it to us, is the ache for something beyond this world. The Holy Spirit uses this restlessness to awaken spiritual hunger. When little moments of life ─ like the way the light falls on a summer evening ─ stir you with a deep longing that’s hard to define, don’t look to earthly pursuits to fill the void. Instead, allow the ache to push you deeper into your relationship with God. Pursue Him. Allow that longing for Him to become the hottest fire in your heart.

    C. S. Lewis Quote of the Day, from Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life:

    “The reader who finds these three episodes [in which Joy occurred] of no interest need read this book no further, for in a sense the central story of my life is about nothing else.”

    Shadowlands and Songs of Light Quote of the Day:

    “Joy—that sharp, wonderful Stab of Longing—has a lithe, muscular lightness to it. It’s deft. It produces longing that weighs heavy on the heart, but it does so with precision and coordination…it dashes in with the agility of a hummingbird claiming its nectar from the flower, and then zips away. It pricks, then vanishes, leaving a wake of mystery and longing behind it.”

    Passage: Psalm 16:11

     

    Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

    My heart is in prayer over a speaking engagement I have been invited to speak at this coming May. Tonight, I was surfing the web and doing a bit of research over a few topics and came across this adorable idea (thought). It has grabbed my hearts attention and is intriguing my thoughts:

    “Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?”

    Now if any of you have planned a ladies’ tea or banquet, we usually focus your attention on those adorable dainty china teacups. Let’s face it — they are pure loveliness in your hands! (and the tea is good too!) We use the images of teacups from our invites to the décor; to crafts and door prizes. The possibilities are rather unless. Then you add the delicious food, laughter with sweet fellowship, then a devotional that challenges yet encourages your heart — bliss and loveliness all wrapped in one! I truly adore teacups.

    I also adore teapots, but they don’t get as much praise and attention as their counterparts do. This is why when I came across this little poem with its question, I stopped.

    I would love to share it with you now:


    Are you a Teacup or a Teapot?

    Characteristics of Teacups:
    Beautiful
    Delicate, yet strong
    Unique
    Offers relaxation and soothes the spirit
    Holds what is put into them with no outlet

    Characteristics of Teapots:
    Beautiful
    Delicate, yet strong
    Unique
    Offers relaxation and soothers the spirit
    Pours out what is put into it

    -author unknown-


    2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NASB) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

    When you compare a teacup and a teapot you will notice each have fine qualities as they sit as individuals, yet one holds onto what is put into it, while the other pours it out again.

    The question is asked: “Which would you rather be a Teacup or a Teapot?”

    If ‘tea’ is left inside, even in the most beautiful of loveliest teacups ever to be created, it will become old. Stagnant. Useless. So it is with us. If we hold onto blessings and choose not to pour out ourselves onto others because of the goodness of God in the land of the living (Ps 27:13), we too become old. Stagnant. Useless. Oh, we may remain beautiful on the outside, but what is on the inside becomes selfish and displeasing to our Lord.

    Like the teapot, it pours out what was poured in. So it is with us. If we pour ourselves and our blessings out over others we bring glory to our Lord and blessings to others, but we also will find our souls rejuvenated and revived. Funny how the Lord turns your ‘pouring’ full circle. How He chooses to refill you and bless your soul because you chose to pour out. When we go back to Him to refuel, He fills you once again with His Spirit, Word, His Love, and exactly what He knows you need — and even maybe what you need to give to someone else that you aren’t even aware of. What an encouragement!

    Isn’t God great!

    The Lord is the one who fills us each day. We cannot fill ourselves! We are unable.

    Be sure you are spending time in His Word daily and taking time to commune with God in prayer! Allow Him to encourage you, teach you, comfort you, challenge you, and strengthen you. As He is walking with you through your life and circumstances — share that God-love, God-wisdom and those God-blessings that He has filled you with others!

    Now I love both teacups and teapots. But I have been challenged and I hope that you have been too. Don’t be a teacup — Be a TEAPOT!

    Are you pouring it out or are you holding it all in?
    God has giving us so much. How can we NOT share it with those around us?

    God has forgiven us of everything! How can we not NOT share His love, forgiveness, the Cross and Resurrection with others?

    Make your own list — and keep adding to it — but make sure you SHARE it with others and be a beautiful blessing of a TEAPOT.

    Sincerely,

    In Christ I am SHE

    {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

    AMEN

    Blessings to you my friends!

    {HOPE} is Essential

    Hope is essential.

    Hope that is grounded in the Lord is a sure foundation.

    Here is a link (below) to an article written by my husband that I had to share.

    There is no other way to say it better. My heart has been stirred, challenged and encouraged. We pray together that it will be the same for you.

    Thank you my Love for being an instrument in the Master’s hand.

    I love you, Pastor Richard Woodruff.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hope-essential-richard-woodruff

     

    Offense: Ready or Not Here They Come {revised}

    Have you ever wondered why believers in Jesus Christ make living the Christian life harder than it needs to be?  I do.

    qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq


    Before you come to any conclusions that somehow I have a handle on it, I am just as guilty – for the same sinful flesh rears its ugly head within me as it does in anyone who does not daily walk with their Lord. If you are honest with yourself, you’d agree – because it has happened to you as well.

      I recently read a post (on a certain social media site) of an individual who was seriously contemplating leaving their church due to the stupidity of words from another human being. I know how sad, right? Or not?

    Before I continue let’s clarify an area of grave importance – there is never a time nor a place where the deed of gossip should be present in the heart or on the tongue of a believer; nor is it “fun” to those on the receiving end.  Therefore, if you are a believer and I mean –  a claimer of Christ as personal Lord and Savior – being a gossiper or listener of gossip ought never to be present in your life.

    Before the Throne of God, vitriolic words period are never tolerated nor should they live amongst one believer to another. It is just that simple. Gossip is sin. Sadly, this very act was what had happened to this dear soul in the post I read days ago.

    Gossip is SIN!

    Now that we have a clear understanding that gossip is both sinful and harmful to all those involved, I am baffled how those who claim Christ justify their choice of disobedience to God yet still claim their love to Him.  How can this be?

    Walk with me here for a moment or two as I explain:

    SCENE:  Gossip occurs. You get wind of it though the grapevine. You have a choice…

    Difference between information and transformation WOWYou react in becoming justified in your hurt. Your response reveals the treasure of your heart. The inward heart response lashes outwardly via the flesh and thus reaction take place – justification of self opts out of obedience to God.

    What has happened?

    An individual has chosen to turn and walk away from God due to the fallacies of others. 

    Does this even make any sense?

    Most of us would answer ‘NO!’ yet 9.99% of us have done this very thing at least once in our lifetime.

    This is where I question – Why?

    Why was I reading such a post from an individual I knew well?

    Why would we, as sons and daughter of God, who know that we are individually responsible and commanded to obey the Word of God choose to disobey?  Thinking of my friends post, if you are not familiar with it, in Hebrews it says that, “we are to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (10:25).  Is this not a God-command to be obeyed?

    Question:

    Is it ever justified to seriously contemplate leaving the church and take a break from God due to the stupidity of another?

    There is NO verse to claim for such a justification. It does not fit in accordance to the Scripture — GOD’S WORD, does it?

    Despite your or my personal view on accountability, responsibility, submission, and obedience (regardless of whether you are right or wrong – Scriptural or not), this you can be sure of – God said that you will stand before Him one day give an account (see the Revelation for starters) – that is a guarantee.  It is impossible for God to break His own Word.

    It is foolishness to think we could live so flipped over our God-given responsibility of walking in obedience by establishing our own self-justification by blaming others. This my friend is not spiritual maturity or strength but rather our own lack of spiritual backbone (it is spiritual weakness) – living in the FLESH can never respond in the SPIRIT…never!   

    You will never hear God say, “It’s okay to disobey my Word.”


     IT IS TIME TO TAKE ACTION

    {God-centered & Christ-focused}

         It is time we seriously rethink our own thinking, our position – and/or our reactions towards those who sin against us regardless of whatever offense it may be.  In the New Testament is clearly states that “when” those offenses come; not “if” they come. This can only happen if we are preparing beforehand.

    Living a carnal Christian life yet claiming our love for God is impossible.

    It brings no pleasure to God nor is biblical.

    {How do we handle sinful offenses?}


    Are we to genocide our obedience to God because of the sinfulness of others? I think not!

    • Why lay aside what we know is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE and except the lies from the pit of deception and allow our own sinful flesh over the One & Only true and Holy God?
    • In God’s gracious love and mercy He created us with an intellect – emotion – and will.  We are not robots. We are free to choose. If we choose to take the route of rejecting God – the very truth of God’s Word – and not live by faith on His promises through His Word, then we have chosen to reject our Lord. We live a carnal, cold to lukewarm life. The end result: we live in sin. We cannot say before God or others “We love God” when our actions and words tell or show Him otherwise.

    Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”  (see Luke 17)

    Matthew 18:15-21 “15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

    In handling an offense directed toward us, God has wonderfully prescribed the proper method in handling such issues.

    1. Be in prayerful consideration before you go to your offender. Be on your knees before your God. Plead with Him to change your heart first, then prepare your mouth to speak, your heart to be ready to resolve, and a willingness to forgive your offender. (Matthew 6:33; Jeremiah 33:3; Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 51; Psalm 56:3; and a thousand more verses to help, support, and encourage your soul.)
    2. Go to the individual that offended you alone in private first. If your safety is in question, please do not go alone. (Matthew 18)
    3. Do not “broadcast” your situation to others or try to create sympathy or a following from others. Is it okay to ask for counsel? YES – Godly counsel is the best but when you “broadcast” you are gossiping. Do not vent your issue to parties who are not involved.
    4. Be honest in your conversation; do not use anger to get your sought result. Allow God to be your vindicator. If your offender is defensive, your God given calmness and tone of voice with His peace will rule over the situation regardless of the outcome.
    5. Reconciliation is the goal. Stand firm in the Lord and His leading. Do not back down on reproving and/or rebuking the behavior or offense(s) that have occurred. Do not be offensive while doing so for this only fuels strife – this is where you will see your time in prayer rules and the power of God’s preparation in you is at work. God will empower you! Seek to gain the brother or sister (reconcile and restore the relationship) rather than to take revenge.
    6. Be aware of your own heart being oversensitive and/or insensitive on the part of the person. Do not over exaggerate or under exaggerate.  Tell the truth!

    To see first hand the wondering working HEALING power of God in you is indescribable. Don’t underestimate God in you! You are 100% indwelled with the power of the Holy Spirit!

    • Use this opportunity to seek to grow in spiritual maturity in Christ. Be prayerful and sensitive in how you approach. Be ready to respond and deal with each situation with meekness, God-boldness, reliance and humility in Christ. Be careful about how you treat one another especially when you know how it feels. Seek to treat others as you would wish to be treated – with kindness and respect.
    • Ask for God’s grace to develop the spiritual vision to see offenses coming and not be drawn into them; but rather have the wisdom and grace to handle them and bring Him glory through them. Remember to pray for God’s grace to discern how to respond in a godly way to each specific situations and to each specific person.

    The MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION:

    “What If?” the offender doesn’t take responsibility for their actions or ask you to forgiveness them – What should I do?

    If the problem remains unresolved, take one or two people with you as witnesses “that every word may be established.” The integrity of “objective” witnesses are important in this step. The key word here is “objective witnesses” – these folks will truly help you (for they will tell you when you are doing right or wrong and will help you in the situation you find yourself in with God’s Word). Don’t ask witnesses who only side with you – ask a person or persons whom you trust and that has a solid walk with God. You want people surrounding you that will help you spiritually!

    Always remember that the goal is not for you to win or get justice, but to “gain your brother or sister”, by reconciling the relationship.

    If the matter is still unresolved, then it must be taken to the church. Hopefully you have already sought the wise counsel of your Pastor. When you come to this stage, you cannot take the matter to the church without your Pastor’s knowledge or guidance in the situation. His wisdom and leadership in of great value and resource – tap into that God-given Shepherd resource! Your Pastor is also a great example of a “witness”.

    When the offence is of a nature that it requires this serious measure we must remember that the goal is still reconciliation (to “win the person” back to appropriate fellowship). Telling it to the church would involve taking the matter to spiritual leadership.

    Remember above all to stand firm on God Word and His promises. Come boldly to the Lord in prayer and seek His face!  See to the glory of God. 

    {Conclusion of the Matter}

    I happily report that a couple days later I read another post concerning the individual I spoke of in the beginning. It read of many thanks to those who commented and rejoiced in the outcome that had taken place for the gossiper (or slanderer) repented of what they had said and done then asked for forgiveness. My friend freely gave forgiveness back and the relationship/fellowship was restored. PRAISE THE LORD!!!

    Seeing the wondering working power of the LORD!  Can I hear an AMEN!

    In Christ I am SHE  {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered}

    the Warrior: Esther

    FOUR WARRIOR CHARACTERISTICS WE LEARN FROM ESTHER

    • Teachability – Our sweet Esther could have taken on the “I’m queen attitude” and done whatever she wanted, but instead she listened to the advice of Mordecai and in returned followed his wise instructions. Esther valued the wisdom of her kinsmen. Wise woman.
    • Patience – Although the book of Esther itself is rather short in our Bibles, it took place over the span of many years. Just the process alone to come before the King in hopes of possibly becoming the next queen, Esther went through a rather rigorous process which took over a year. Just think, a year of pampering and preparing just to be presented to the king. Esther had to remain steadfast, focused, careful and she followed what Mordecai and the Lord asked of her. After Esther is crowned Queen, we read of her patience even in the midst of her own personal turmoil over what was about to happen to her and her people. In the ultimate act of selflessness she prayerfully, patiently, carefully, in God’s time acts accordingly with precision in place and wording to bring to light the truth to help save her people.
    • Selflessness – Esther risked her own safety and security by approaching the king unsummoned. If he did not find favor in her and accept her, she could have been killed immediately yet in God’s strength Esther laid this aside willingly. With her security not resting in her position, beauty, or reputation, she was enabled to freely trust God’s plan for her life by giving her all.
    • Courage – Under Mordecai’s wisdom, Esther risked her life by keeping her nationality a secret; through faith in God she came before the king unsummoned; and preceded to ask all she did of the king with great strength and wisdom. We see immediately in the beginning of the book of Esther that King Xerxes had no problem dismissing Queen Vashti, so he could have easily removed or killed Esther along with her people when he had the chance but in God’s protection, he didn’t. Her courage and faith in God are what made her a true warrior!

    ps 46 5

    So what?

    As a believer, we deceive ourselves to think we live victorious when we do not seek the very author and giver of eternal life – the Savior, cleanser, the One who truly set free a soul, the heart changer, the One who can bless and protector, provider, the One who gives strength when we are weak, the healer (the list can go on – oh what mercy) there is ONLY ONE – God alone!  

    God cannot speak to those who are not feasting in His Word daily. God cannot help those who do not take His promises and act upon them in faith and DO them! Esther wasn’t about herself.

    Victorious living does not happen in a vacuum but through the wonder working power of Christ in a soul which makes it gloriously possible.

    You, like Esther can be a warrior, it must take a willing inward God-centered Christ-focused change to see any outward result. Esther’s teachable, moldable heart in her faith, trust and courage in God was her crowning jewel. How is your tiara?

     

    In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

    the Struggle is Real but so is GOD!

    Very honesty, my mind floods with where to begin.  I have longed to blog for the past several weeks yet haven’t had the ability to put thought into words due to the inward struggle of my heart.  My soul is in distress, migraines are intense, the struggle is real but so is GOD!!  

    If my flesh were speaking, it would “spill the beans” to proclaim the wrongs done towards us and make them right!  To herald the truth so the truth would be known.  To correct those individuals thus putting them in their rightful place and make them see the errors of their ways.

    Yes, this is pure flesh!  To be honest, I have thought about it but spiritually it is what I cannot do (Romans 12:19).

    For I know that wouldn’t be pleasing to my Lord nor would it be a testimony that I would long to represent for my Lord.  Nor would it be profitable or helpful for those involved – for their spiritual growth is at stake.  So, in the midst of my own distress, aching, and sorrow-filled heart I am choosing to stand in the shadow of my Almighty – to be redeemed one day, in His time, but for only one glory  —-> HIS!  

    The past year has been no picnic in the park for my family and I, but I speak personally here.  In my weak spirit, it trembles in fear, yet speaks in the midst of deep distress and intensely yearns with more passion than I can express to understand and grasp the knowledge with humbleness to grow before my Lord through this trial.  

    In God’s graciousness there have been blessings along this road for which I am truly and utterly thankful for.  Believe me, I have been keenly aware of these blessings for I have looked HARD – very hard for them.  They have been those  “diamonds in the ruff”  that have stood against the wiles of the devil, the wiles of man’s sinfulness, and even against my own sinful heart struggling from within. They have been God’s messages to me saying, “I love you” and “I know, I see” or “I understand, I am here” and “I know you don’t understand, but I am still in control…trust me” for these I rejoice over. 

    Another cherished blessing has been my precious family. In my weakness, they are compassion and strength. In my time of need, they are understanding and prayerful, wise and loving. I rise up and call them blessed!   

    We all have trials throughout our lifetime. We all have choices to make within those storms that are vital to our outcome. Edit

    I don’t know about you, but I for one want to learn the lesson the first time! No matter how hard the trial may be we must choose Christ over self (better or bitter).  God’s plan doesn’t hinge on my feelings.  God’s purposes are immovable because they rest on solid ground — because HE IS solid ground. For without God we are nothing.  Without Him we cannot live.  Regardless of mountaintop or valley, we are to be daily feasting on the Word. 

    I must say that choosing to believe the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13);  to devour God’s Word every second whether or not my soul or mind can consume it all or not during these difficult times…has been my lifesaver!

    I NEED GOD!  

    Everyday there is a choice we must make. There are actions and reactions that reveal our relationship with Christ and we cannot and should not let that go even when our hearts and minds are struggling to survive!

     

    In His beauty and love for His own, God takes us through places that we don’t understand to prepare us for places He has prepared for us.

    The Lord is so gracious to us.  For my God is good on the mountaintop as well as in the valley.  There is never not a place where He is not – where I am.

     

     

     

    it’s that simple

    quotes_creator_20170218_120756

    It is really that simple. We can argue all we want. Debate. Strategize. Ignore. Complain. Scientifically seek answers. Survey. Seek to change government for or against. But in the scope of eternity, it changes nothing.

    We are the creation. We have a Creator. It is impossible for what is fact to change no matter what anyone does or says.

    God is God. He is the Creator. Everything is the created.

    There is one response to this knowledge: REJECT or ACCEPT.

    It is that simple.

    Rejection: I choose me! Thus resulting in pretending to live this life as though I were in control and never seeing the fullness of life. Never!

    Acceptance: I choose God! Thus resulting in placing this life I have been given back into the hands that created it to begin with. For the Creator knows his creations best.

    John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

    John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

    Psalm 16:11 “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

    Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

    James 1:17 “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

    Matthew 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

    Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

    {and hundreds more verses we could post}

    • In Christ I am SHE {SAVED. HOPEFUL. EMPOWERED.}

    It’s Strange

    * It’s strange how twenty dollars seems like such a large amount when you donate it to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping.

    * It’s strange how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you’re watching a movie.

    * It’s strange that you can’t find words to say when you’re praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend.

    * It’s strange how difficult it is to read one chapter of the Bible, but how easy it is to read a popular novel.

    * It’s strange how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts, but they want to sit in the last row at Church.

    * It’s strange how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

    * It’s strange how difficult it is to learn a fact about God and share it with others, but it’s easy to repeat gossip.

    * It’s strange how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say, but we question the words in the Bible?

    – Author unknown

    Matthew 6:21