Potholes of Negativity

I would venture to say that wherever you live, you have traveled down a road or two that has potholes.  Some roads are simply riddled with what seems like a million of little ones, and some road have “gigantor” size potholes….I mean like you feel like you left half of your engine in the road when you hit it!  If the roads you travel are ones that you encounter every day, you learn to navigate away from the big ones, and well, you just deal with the little ones.

Have you ever spent time with someone who is constantly complaining?  They are looking for advice, but never follow it? Someone who “stirs the pot” and brings up things that don’t really have any relation to anything you are discussing, but brings it up anyway?  Someone who is basically attracted to the potholes of negativity?  Or perhaps the more difficult question…have you ever been that “someone?”  Ouch!  I know I have..and it’s a struggle to stay positive sometimes.  But it’s so worth the effort.

I’m gonna cut to the chase real quick here ~ the Lord has no patience for negativity.  You can read just about any part of the Old Testament and find out the severe penalties that people (or tribes) had to suffer due to their negative attitude of unbelief.  When the Lord told them to do something, or to go to a certain place, they needed to be obedient…not participate in the fear or doubting hearts of a few.

Take a peek into chapter 14 of Numbers (verses 36-38), “So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land— those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.” (emphasis mine)

In the previous verses in Numbers 14, you can read the larger account of why those men lost their lives and why Joshua and Caleb’s lives were saved.  To boil it down, the men who died chose to not obey the Lord’s commands and denied God the opportunity to show the Israelite’s of that time, how truly powerful He was.  God had told them that He was giving them the lands of Canaan.  He promised them that HE would fight for them and that in all the battles Israel would fight, they would win every single one…that the 12 tribes would inherit the lands as promised.

But.

Fear.

Fear of the unknown.  Fear of uncharted lands.  Fear of strange people groups.  Fear of failure.  All of that fear turned to negativity.

Those men that riled up the people (and practically got Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb stoned to death) to such a degree, there was no other way for the Lord to take care of the situation, except by putting those men to death.  Their own negativity was so deep, not only did those select men lose their lives, future generations were affected.  Forty years worth of future generations.  FORTY!!  Long enough for the negativity and fear to leave the people so that the tribes who eventually entered the Promised Lands of Canaan, entered with trusting hearts.  Hearts that were focused on what the Lord says and able to hear God’s call on their life and move forward to live out the promises He’s given.

Thankfully, because of what Christ did on the cross for us and for the immense love He has for us, we are not under that same Old Testament law.  It does not mean that we are free to do and say what we like simply because we want to say it.  We are covered with God’s grace and mercy, and must conduct ourselves in such a way.  But there are those days when we stumble…when we hit one of those “potholes of negativity.”

Possibly, you’ve been on your road of those little potholes for so long that you don’t realize that you are bouncing along, and uncomfortably so.  It’s so easy to complain.  Complaining and stirring that proverbial pot actually takes very little effort.  It’s that moment when you should heed the warning my mother used to tell me,

“Just because that thought came into your mind, it doesn’t mean that it should come out of your mouth!”

Yep…you know what I mean…the off-handed remark to another mom in car-line about your kids’ teacher…the snarky comment to your co-worker about your boss…the veiled “prayer request” to a friend about another friend at church…your own dismay as you look in the mirror as you get ready to go to that party.  I’m sure you can think of many more examples of the kind of negative thinking which breed unhealthy actions.

HOWEVER….Today is the beautiful day my friend that you can get off that road!

Today, you can decide that you want to lift  your eyes and focus on what the heart of God wants for you.  How the Lord desires to share in sweet fellowship with you.  Will  you let Him fill in those potholes with the truth of His Word?  With the truth of who you are in Him?  Here’s a few verses to get you started on a smoother, more joyful path.

Romans 5:6-11, For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment,Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.(emphasis mine)

Romans 15:4-6, For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.”

I Peter 1:3-4, Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

Ephesians 2:8-10,For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

These verses are just a small taste of how good the Lord is and how much He loves us!  I encourage you today to check out more, as you dig deep into God’s word to find the treasures of His everlasting promises of our true identity in Him!

Oops! I almost forgot to mention again about those huge potholes that catch us off guard.  You know, those moments you have when life seems to be going pretty well and then out of nowhere ~ we forget to drive around the pothole that we see coming, and go head first!  Sometimes we are just rattled a bit and sometimes we pop a tire and careen out of control.

Having a relationship with Lord on a daily basis will help us to see those potholes BEFORE they arrive.  Oh, and they WILL arrive my friend!  But it’s how we deal with them.  God’s precious Word can assist us in navigating away from (or at least around) the people or situations that would at times cause us to lose control.  We do not have to be controlled by the potholes ~ we have a Lord and Savior we can ask each day (okay…some days I know its moment by moment!) to fill in those treacherous potholes with the truth of His Word…and He will do it!  One of the tremendous benefits of allowing God to fill in those potholes, is that we can share with others who are struggling with the same issues, and in doing so, we help them along in their journey with the Lord as He fills in theirs!  It’s a win-win situation for sure!!

So go now….and start paving a new path…one that is filled with God’s grace and mercy; and with the knowledge that you have been created for great things in the Kingdom of God!

Blessings,

René

Romans 15 verses 5 and 6

Advertisements

More than a hot cup of coffee

Sitting in a coffee shop, about to refill my cup for the second time (which I shouldn’t because that’ll make three cups today!) and I’m still wracking my brain for today’s blog.  I have my little “idea page” on my notes app, and the one that kept drawing me in was one I titled, “Hospitality is more than a hot cup of coffee.”  So, here we go!

What is true hospitality?  The dictionary definition states: “the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers; the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.”

I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise to any of you, but how many times do we miss the “strangers” part.  I will admit that an older woman was sitting in a booth across from me for quite some time.  Just sitting and staring at me.  It was really freaking me out.  She was talking to herself and then I realized she was trying to get my attention.  I finally turned and she asked me to buy her some food.  I told her I didn’t have any cash, so she boldly said, “Well, then you can just use your credit card.”  I’ll be honest, that irritated me.  I don’t like to admit that I have a hard time figuring out how to handle situations like this. I don’t like to admit either that I found it bothersome to me that I was being questioned for food inside a restaurant than I would have been had she been outside the restaurant.  I’m sure that for many of you, it wouldn’t have bothered you at all and you may have gotten up and ordered a meal for her.  As I was sitting here and thinking about all of this, I watched as she exited the booth and went up to a cashier and asked for a certain manager.  Turns out that she comes in almost everyday and asks for food.  But she only gets it if this particular manager is working.  Just now, I see that she is being served a fresh meal and hot cup of coffee. {I had decided on the title before this whole interaction began.}

She was gifted “more than a hot cup of coffee.”

Was it better coming from the restaurant; or would it have been better had it come from me?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that she is enjoying her meal tonight…appreciative I’m sure that her manager-friend is working tonight.

This is somewhat of an extreme case that we don’t encounter every day.  What about the person at our child’s school that is somewhat of a stranger, but not totally since we see them in car line just about everyday.  So when we see that mom or dad at the Parent Association meeting, or at Back to School night, or a sports event, how do we interact?  Do we walk boldly toward them and welcome them to the event, or do we skirt around the area where they are standing so we can escape what we only can assume will be awkward conversational small talk?

Or how about the new person at church? At our workplace? In our neighborhood?  Bottom line is that everyone wants to be seen and noticed.  There is a part of our heart that blooms with joy when we make eye contact with someone across the room, as they wave us over to where they are standing and invite us into conversation…into connection…into community.

I can’t remember where I heard this, but there was a statement made by someone who’d just come from a pastor’s conference.  They couldn’t believe that every single pastor’s wife said that their spiritual gift was hospitality.  They were actually irritated by it.  Really?  Do you want to have a pastor’s wife who doesn’t have the gift of hospitality?  Who doesn’t care about the congregation or what is going on?  Who doesn’t have a heart of service?  I bet not!

It doesn’t mean that they are Betty Crocker in the kitchen, walking around with an apron on, passing out fresh chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk.  And it doesn’t mean that it’s the only spiritual gifting that they have.  You can have more than one you know!  I have a few good friends who are wives of pastors, and they still have their own identity.  Yes, their husband chose to follow a calling to become a pastor; the wife didn’t necessarily choose the calling to be a “pastor’s wife.” However, knowing how God works, the Lord knew who those men would be choosing as their wife, and He made sure that that woman would have the companionable gifts to serve alongside her husband in their vocation.

To varying degrees, I would venture to say that most of us have the gift of hospitality.  Some can design a home, or at least a meal, that is worthy of “Martha Stewart” or “pinterest” (can I just say…..super glad that pinterest wasn’t around when my kids were little…..seriously….that website can bring on a lot of stress!) but if you can’t ~ so what!  And come on….Miss Martha pays a staff to help her out…give yourself some grace here!

Your words and your attitude DO speak louder than the actions themselves.  I’ve made plenty of meals, squished more people into our house than could fit, hosted birthday parties and holiday’s, written thank you cards, and decorated countless birthday cakes for my daughter’s ~ and although appreciated, what is remembered is how I made all of those people feel.  How did my home environment make them feel?  Did they feel rushed or hurried or like they were a burden?  Or did they feel comfortable and content?

One thing I’ve learned in my almost 26 years of marriage, my idea of hospitality looks a little different than my darling husband’s idea. That’s not a bad thing because I’m sure he’s more toned down approach has saved us a lot of money over the years!  But at the same time, he’s come to see the value in having a couple of small vases of flowers scattered around the house, the candles lit everywhere (and yes…even the bathroom!), the sink nice and sparkly clean, and all the rugs in the house freshly vacuumed.  It’s not that those things would truly make a HUGE difference to the guests we have in our home, but he knows it makes a HUGE difference to me in how I feel as the hostess.  I do not take for granted when someone thanks me for an evening “very much enjoyed.”  Hospitality isn’t about me providing a great evening ~ it’s about making our guests feel cherished, seen,and loved.

I also don’t take for granted the fact that our daughter’s love to have their friends over to our home.  That is a big “mom-compliment” let me tell you!  When one of said daughter’s asks us to house the mother of one of her current mentors to stay in our home, then I know that I’ve done something right!  And even with fresh flowers and candles lit, I will honestly say, that the pleasure truly was all mine.  This woman is an amazing woman who spoke such beautiful truth into my life, simply by sharing some of her life stories with me.  She’s lived a lot longer as a “mother to a missionary” than I have, and I cherished her words of wisdom and prayers for our family.  Missionary Mom…well, that’s a story for another time!

Let me encourage with the following passages I found on hospitality in the Bible:

Romans 12:12-14, Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

I Timothy 5:9-10, No widow should be placed on the official support list unless she is at least 60 years old, has been the wife of one husband, and is well known for good works—that is, if she has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to every good work.”

Hebrews 13:1-2, Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.”

I Peter 4:7-11, Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”

These are just a few verses that actually use a version of the word “hospitality” but there are so many scriptures that we can read about where the Lord directs us to have grace, kindness, perseverance, and joy in all that we do.  Whether it is in our workplace, in our home, volunteering in various environments, and yes….even driving down the freeway in Southern California ~ we are called be Christ-like in all that we do.  Romans 12 is so encouraging to me because we are “to pursue hospitality” ~ we don’t have to arrive and get it all perfect.  It is something to work toward, in all areas of our life. However, especially in the verses in I Peter above, our strength to serve with gracious humbleness does not come from our own self…it comes from the Lord as He provides it.  So that God is glorified in all we do.

Christ didn’t expect His disciples to serve Him while He sat ordering everyone around.  He was a servant of servants!  He cooked fish on an open fire on the beach for them!  He turned water into wine at a wedding and He fed the 5000! Talk about the gift of hospitality!

And if coffee had been “a thing” back in the early days of Jerusalem when Jesus walked the earth, I have no doubt that He would have invited people in, for MORE than a hot cup coffee!

Blessings,

Rene’

Image-1 (3)

 

 

Storytelling….

I love to tell the WHOLE story!  Much to the chagrin of the folks who love me and know me best, sometimes they get more information than they bargained for.  It’s just how my brain works.  It’s also how my heart works!  I want to talk about my day from beginning to end, and I will admit, sometimes in the midst of my telling, I remember that the beloved family member I’m talking to asked me a question and I still haven’t answered it. Then I have to stop and ask, “What was it that you asked me?”  At other times, (okay…MOST of the time!)  I know I’m giving a lot of detailed information, but I really feel that’s it’s all relevant to the question asked.  Again, my sweet family’s opinion may differ from mine.  But that’s okay!  However……Please tell me friends that I’m not alone here!  I find it very difficult to respond with a one sentence answer….I love the story!

In Psalm 107:1-3, King David writes, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.”

Yes!  These are my people!!  I realize this verse is basically talking about how people should share their testimony of how God encountered their lives and made a difference in their lives.  But seriously…sometimes I’m desperate to tell the story of how I found a parking place in a crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot; or how the drive on 5 freeways (to get just about anywhere!) was redeemed when the crazy driver didn’t crash into me like I thought they would. And dagnabit…sometimes I want to share the story of how I feel redeemed as a homemaker at the end of the day and regale my darling husband with my tales of finished laundry (yep…folded and put away!), a sparkling bleach cleaned kitchen sink, dusting & vacuuming the whole house, AND have a meal in the oven made from scratch!  Can I get an amen!!??!!

I’ve been doing a bible study with a few mom’s at the high school where my daughter attends.  These are precious women to me and I love sharing Monday mornings with them.  This semester, we’ve been going through the book of Acts.  We read through each chapter and answer just a few simple questions…but they really make you think.  We pick out one or two verses from that chapter and then observe how we see God’s truths in that verse, and then we think about how to apply what we’ve gleaned from that verse into our lives and then follow it up with prayer.  I’m discovering that part of the reason I’m loving reading the book of Acts this time is because it’s a DETAILED STORY!  I’m truly interested and captivated by the minutia of how Paul traveled, which path he took, why he took it, how he got to the next location, etc.  I’m fascinated as well because God decided that these details were worthy enough to be put into scripture for me (and YOU!) to read today!

In Acts 10:9-23, we read about a vision the Lord gave Peter.  It was a very specific and very deliberate word from God, telling Peter how he needed to be ready to accept anyone and anything who had been declared clean by God.  That it was not up to Peter to judge.  This was in preparation of being called to the home of a Gentile of the day(Cornelius), who requested Peter to come to his home and share the Gospel with him.  The Holy Spirit could have just as easily whispered to Peter’s heart, “When Cornelius’ servant comes to you and requests your presence, just go.”  Or the Holy Spirit could have waited until the request was made and said to Peter, “Yes…go here.”  But no! The Lord told Peter a story.

In Acts 11:1-18, Peter has now gone to the home of Cornelius (which by the way…when Peter met Cornelius, he told Peter a very long story of how an angel had appeared to him and told him to send for Peter).  Before the reconciliation through Jesus, it was not lawful for Jews and Gentiles to have community.  The Jews in Jerusalem (ch.11, vs. 1-3) criticized Peter for meeting with a Gentile in his home, for many Jews still didn’t believe that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well.  So what do we see now in Acts 11:4, “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:”

I totally love this!  And Peter did….he told the WHOLE story of his vision that the Lord gave him. And no one interrupted him.  No one bothered him.  No one told him to stop and “get to the point.”

The whole story IS the point!

In a nutshell, the Bible could just say: God made everything. Earth was perfect. Humans messed it up. Jesus came to earth to live, die, and rise again. Jesus’ resurrection made salvation possible. We are saved from eternal death. The end.

How boring would that “story” have been if that had been it!  I am beyond tickled that God wanted to tell us His beautiful story.

It is a story of creativity, grace, tragedy, unspeakable horror, indescribable miracles, mercy, reconciliation, and full restoration!  Because of God’s immense love for us, He wants us to know how very much we are wanted…how very much He wants to know us…how very much He wants a relationship with us.

And you know what ~ God wants you to tell YOUR STORY!

He has created  you to be unique and no one can tell your story except for you.  No one else can display the graces that God has bestowed on your life, like you can. No one can share with others how the great love of the Father has changed your life, like you will be able to.

Blessings to you as you embrace the story of your life.  

2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Strength and courage of the Lord be yours as you boldly share the story of your life!!

Blessings,

René

2 Corinthians 13 verse 11

 

Keeping an Open Mind…

Do you have an “open mind?”

What does that even mean?  That our minds should be a blank canvas?  An open space of which to fill with anything and everything? To be “free thinkers” so as to accept all activity as good according to what each individual desires?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, “Garbage in; Garbage Out”; or how about “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything.”  Both of those concepts come out of what we allow to enter our mind.  Our brain is a masterful creation ~ one that should be taken care of, and attended to, on a constant basis.

I Corinthians 2:15-16 (Amplified version) is very clear when it states, But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature].  For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].”

We are created in God’s image, therefore we have been given the ability to understand the things of Christ when we become Christians.  The reason that non-believers argue so vehemently against God’s Word is actually fairly simple…they don’t understand it.  They have not received salvation, thus they have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit helps us to discern the wisdom of the Lord and of scripture so that we can understand it.  Our brain, our mind, is connected to every part of our body ~ it is the command center for all information that comes in and goes out.  It is essential to keep our mind cultivated with the knowledge and truth of God and of His Word.

If you are wondering why it’s so important to keep our mind healthy, there are so many verses in scripture that encourage us in this manner.

There are over 200 verses with the word “mind” in it ~ here are just a few examples of how God sees the function of our mind ~ which is to love HIM first and foremost:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6,“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind.”

Romans 8:5-8, “For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.”

There are only three passages in scripture that I found which talk about having an “open mind”:

Proverbs 8:8-11,“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God); There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them. “They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind], And right to those who find knowledge and live by it. “Take my instruction rather than [seeking] silver, And take knowledge rather than choicest gold, “For wisdom is better than rubies; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”

Luke 24:44-49, Then He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”Then He opened their minds to [help them] understand the Scriptures, and said, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.””

Acts 17:10-12, The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they entered the Jewish synagogue. Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. As a result many of them became believers, together with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”

I hope you noticed that these passages listed above ONLY talked about having an open mind toward the Lord so that we can allow HIM to fill our mind with the truth of His Word.  And this is in order for us to be able to go out into our neighborhoods, work places, family, or into the world, to share the truth of what God’s Word says…to bring others to the saving grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.  Never in scripture does it tell us to have an open mind in terms of worldly knowledge and beliefs.

Let’s look at some of the warnings ~

2 Peter 3:15-18,And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

In reading the above passage, I’m reminded of sweet Christian mom who I knew a few years ago.  For months, I knew something was bothering her, but knew I couldn’t press her for a response.  Finally, the flood gates of heartache opened and she shared with me, and a few others, that her husband had begun a very quick dissent into the darkness of atheism.  They had once been a strong couple, committed to the Lord in their marriage and in the raising of their family. They were both very active in church and in serving the Lord.

Then one day, her husband came home with a book from a friend.  It was a scientific book that had explanations of earthly phenomenon’s, including events recorded in the Bible.  Her husband was a very logical man, and the more he studied this book, the less he studied the truth of God’s Word.  After 25+ years living as a devoted Christian, he gave it all up because he began to believe that scientifically, Jesus couldn’t have possibly been who He was or could have done the things He claims to have done in the Bible.  And if Jesus wasn’t true, then the Bible wasn’t true.  This process only took about 6 months (from what I can remember).

This woman was broken-hearted.  The man she loved, the father of her children, was now a completely different person.  Someone who suddenly didn’t love the Lord, believe in the Lord, didn’t go to church, and didn’t want to have anything to do with the Christian community.  Someone who began to demean her for continuing to live a life as a Christian, and for taking their children to church.

Week after week, we encouraged our friend to stand firm in her faith and to keep praying!  Our hearts were broken for her as she had to navigate these murky waters, watching her husband sink deeper and deeper into a life devoid of God.  He then began making ultimatums…it was either stay with him or stay with God.

About three months later, the very sad news came that she and her children would no longer be attending church.  Against much advice from her friends and pastor, she decided to appease her husband by reading the book that he’d first been given.  And then she read another one, and another one, and so on.  She had become so fearful of losing her husband, that she instead chose to deny her relationship with the Lord.  She had been a Christian for just about her whole life.  Now she would rather “make her own rules” and “live freely without religion” than stand firm in her faith…in what I still believe she knows deep down inside.

Within one years’ time, this couple who radiated God’s love in their service to the Christian community and within their family, completely and “logically” removed themselves from under the lordship of Christ.  I tell this story to illustrate how quickly Satan can work to destroy the mind that once knew the truth of God’s Word.  How is this possible?  Remember who Satan is…he was created as an Angel of Light, an Angel of Music.  He had a prominent place in Heaven.  But one day, he decided he wanted to be equals with God and began a battle of wills.  He was so influential that he caused a host of other angels to agree with him, and they were all eventually cast out of heaven….permanently.  This is how he knows how to manipulate the mind of others and trick them into thinking that God does not exist.

Romans 12:1-2 is a beautiful reminder of why we must be cautious of what we think about, and what we allow into our mind.  It says, Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”

How do we renew our mind?  That part is simple too actually…

Be. In. God’s. Word. Every. Day.

~ Every. ~ Day. ~

Blessings,

René

Romans 12 verse 2

**Addendum to today’s blog ~ I was remiss in ending the story I shared above how I did.  Their story is not over.  Prayer is STILL bigger than any lie and deception of Satan!  If you are struggling to regain your faith, or you know someone who has drifted (or run!) away from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, please don’t stop praying for them!  Prayer is the open door for God to work ~ He loves to have us partner with Him in His Kingdom work!  His Word will never return void!**

Isaiah 55:11 declares this truth ~ “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void(useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”