Category Archives: Christian

Taking Its Toll


I’ve been observing a lot of life events taking their toll on my friends and family members, and even myself lately. 
Sudden deaths, difficult goodbyes to those departing (not yet for eternity, but for places that seem an eternal distance away), scary medical diagnoses, job transitions, and more can really bring a person down.
Well wishes and hugs honestly only do so much for a person who has one, several, or maybe all of these hit them at once.
Many of those who follow Jesus begin to wonder where He is. Those who don’t follow Jesus may think that the luck of the universe is against them. Both may wonder if this life is even worth it in the end. 
Life has a lot of aspects that really do suck the hope out of any human being, no matter their beliefs. 
Some preachers say that if your life is hard and you aren’t financially blessed, you’re doing something wrong. They may blame your lack of faith in prayer, your lack of frequency in prayer, or a host of other possibilities.
Here’s the thing, though. God never promised an easy life for us on this earth, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way, through every kind of trial we face. God is faithful to His faithful, and He is faithful to the faithless. 
He won’t give us more than we can handle through His strength. As the saying goes,

“He Who brought you to it

Will see you through it.”

Find rest, weary soul. The burden is heavy, but Jesus carries our burdens with us, and His heart breaks with ours.

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What do they think?

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Worship from the heart is more desirable to God than religiousity and excessive rule keeping. God desires our heart rather than empty practices that mostly serve simply to keep up the appearance of holiness in front of other people.

 

 

Personally, I have watched several of my friends come away from appearance-centered cultures and into the freedom that Jesus brings those who love Him with a sincere heart. It’s such a beautiful change to watch!
If we had to impress God and other people with our own holiness, we would all be in trouble! The only one we need to be good enough for is God our Father, and we only do that through the righteousness of Jesus.
Less worry about what other people think and more focus on pleasing and honoring God out of our love for Him brings joy to our lives. We all forget this from time to time – I know I sometimes do!

 

 

Let’s remind one another and remind ourselves through frequent reading of the Word that our primary focus is to love God through our obedience and through recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Let us seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and not spend the majority of our time anxious about how religious we appear to other people. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.

Don’t be shocked!

Are you shocked by the love that is offered by Jesus and His disciples? His grace transcends the barriers between those who are visibly sinful and His perfection. He longs for fellowship with those who know they are unworthy. 
Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and dinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Perhaps if you find yourself shocked by His love for the unlovely, you must repent of a Pharisaical attitude. Jesus loves a truly repentant former Pharisee too. 

Excuses, Excuses

As a teacher, I often am responsible for correcting students during recess time, in order to keep them as safe as possible. While some climbing on the playground equipment is good and healthy and is to be encouraged, climbing on parts of the playground that are not designed for that purpose, and/or participating in certain forms of wrestling horseplay is dangerous and needs correction. 

Several students have apparently decided that they need daily reminders not to engage in unsafe play. Invariably, these same students always immediately interrupt the correction with some sort of excuse as to why they were engaged in this behavior, why they believe the playground rules that are posted on the wall don’t apply to them, or quickly put blame on another student. I grow tired of the daily excuses offered by students who know better.

How often do we who are believers give God excuses for our bad behaviors despite knowing what He commands us to do and not to do, even knowing that His commands are for our own benefit? 

Even the blessings He has prepared for us are pushed aside when we offer excuses for not listening to the Lord. There are consequences – sometimes immediate, sometimes in the future – for our excuses. “But they all alike began to make excuses…For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste My banquet.” (Luke 14:18,24)

Rather than offering excuses for why we would rather live life our own way instead of God’s way, let us realize that the Lord has our best interest at heart, and put His priorities ahead of our own. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Obedience brings true blessing.

In The Light

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My husband and I were talking about this concept before heading to church, then this passage was a part of the main sermon text today.

 
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” – 1 John 1:5-6

 
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Demons recognize Who Jesus is; the Devil himself quoted Scripture to Jesus. Quoting Scripture, whether in or out of context, doesn’t make you a Christian.

 
Being saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and following Him with a sincere, albeit imperfect, heart makes you a Christian.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:7-9

What Do You Do When Killers Are On The Loose?

If we didn’t realize this already, recent news events should show us that there are people out there who have evil intent and carefully plant to hurt and/or kill other human beings. Unfortunately, this world does harbor some psychopathic killers, some of whose actions are not discovered for years, even decades or longer. It’s good to have discernment and common sense so that we are more likely to make it through this life healthy and whole. However, we cannot live in fear. God is so much more powerful than any crazed, adrenaline-filled human. In fact, if you’re not in a right standing with God, the Bible warns that you should be very afraid:

“‘ I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him Who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!'” – Luke 12:4-5

Human violence to the body has nothing on the power of God against the soul! If, however, you are truly in a relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you can rest assured that this powerful God will protect you and not allow any evil to happen to you outside of His will.

“‘ Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.'”

He sets limits on what any evil force can do to a person who follows Him. Job’s story confirms this:

“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘ Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.'” – Job 2:6

Any evil/hardship brought our way is under the sovereign control of our mighty God. If God is for you, who can be against you? Trust that He can and will protect you from harm.

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?'” – Luke 12:22-26

We must rest in that and be alert to our surroundings while maintaining trust in God day-to-day. Let us not waste time worrying over what could happen, but rather focus on the mercy and grace and protection offered to us by God.

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Genuine Love

In a world of “fake nice” people, show genuine love and concern for others.
In Romans 12, we see that in order to be genuine in our love of others, we must:

  • Abhor/shun what is evil
  • Hold fast/tight to what is good
  • Show brotherly affection
  • Outdo others in honoring them
  • Be diligent in your zeal/passion
  • Be fervent/steadfast in spirit/soul
  • Serve the Lord
  • Rejoice in hope
  • Be patient in trials/hardship
  • Pray continually
  • Help others who have needs
  • Show hospitality

Romans 12:9-13

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”