Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Plastic Promises vs. God’s Truths!

Today, Good Friday, I’m filled with the truths of God’s Word and with His promises.  All of the things that He promised to do, all of the things He said, “I will.,” He has done!  God is not a liar.  My Father does not play games or make me work for my reconciliation with Him.

As a society, we are constantly bombarded by a variety of advertising channels of all the promises that people and things, that assure us our life will be so much better if we “buy this ~ wear that ~ use this ~ vote for them ~ eat this” and on and on it goes.

Credit card slogans alone are absolutely filled with verbage that lull the customer into thinking their life will be made whole if they just have the credit card (or let’s be real here…multiple credit cards): Don’t Leave Home Without It. It pays to Discover. I own the high score. Is your debt to heavy to carry. It’s Everywhere You Want To Be. Live richly. The Card is Key. There are some things money can’t buy. What’s in your wallet?  All you need.*

Do you see the truth in these statements above?  The world says we will “have it all” when we put our trust in credit cards, debt, or in “keeping up with the Jones'”!  So backwards and we fall for it so easily!  In today’s writing, I actually want the truth of God’s Word to stand on its own, and speak to your heart, mind and soul today.  I don’t need to expound on the merits of scripture because there is nothing in God’s Word to defend.

If you disagree with His Word or you don’t like something He has put in written form through scripture, it doesn’t change the simple fact ~ It. Is. Truth.

Let’s compare scripture now to the above phrasing from these credit card slogans and be encouraged as to what God says is the truth!

Don’t Leave Home Without It. ~ Jesus, the Son of God, left His heavenly home to live among us here on earth.  He didn’t leave without taking His God-ship with Him.  He became fully man and fully God, in order to reconcile us back to Himself. John 14:26-28, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”

It pays to Discover. ~ When we take the time to discover who God is, we find that He is trustworthy! Proverbs 16:19-21, It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LordThe wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” And Lamentations 3:24-26, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

I own the high score. ~ There is no higher a price than can be attained as the one that Christ Jesus paid when He chose to sacrifice Himself for the sake of our salvation. I Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?  You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.”  And, Deuteronomy 26:18-19, Today the Lord has declared that you are His people, His treasured possession, just as He promised you, and that you are to keep all His commandments; and that He will set you high above all the nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor: and that you shall be a holy people [set apart and consecrated] to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.””

Is your debt too heavy to carry? ~ This is really a tagline used by a credit card company! Pardon my attitude here…but….DUH!!!  The person has incurred debt by purchasing items they feel compelled to own because “then they will be worth something” as our society feeds the void felt by so many that ‘stuff’ is necessary.  The promise this card company is touting is that you can transfer your heavy debt to their card which has lower fees.  Do you see the twisted lie here? That person will STILL be in debt!!  In terms of our relationship with the Lord, our debt of sin is way too heavy for us to carry.  We cannot ever come out from underneath this kind of debt on our own.  Only the Lord can carry that burden and remove it from us permanently.  Hebrews 9:27-28, And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment, so Christ, having been offered once and once for all to bear [as a burden] the sins of many, will appear a second time [when he returns to earth], not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who are eagerly and confidently waiting for Him.”

It’s Everywhere You Want To Be. ~ Every place that we are to go, in order to bring honor to the Lord, that is where we should want to be. The road isn’t promised to be easy, but His path for us brings life.  Psalms 119: 104-106, “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.” And, 2 Corinthians 2:14-15, “ But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;” 

Live richly. ~ The way to life a truly rich life is to place our life, and the control of our life, into the incredibly capable hands of the Lord.  He will always guide is in the way we should go. Proverbs 22:3-5, The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.”

The Card is key. ~ The only key we need to maintain our security, is found in the Lord.  He is Who He says He is!  Isaiah 33:5-6,The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the security and stability of your times, A treasure of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is your treasure.”

There are some things money can’t buy. ~ Romans 3:23-25,For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed.”               The salvation of our life has come at a great price.  One in which we could never afford.  Christ did not come for just one weekend, to die and rise again.  He LIVED a whole life on earth as God and man.  He came to show us how to live as He did.  How to care for and love others as He did.  He showed us how to love God the Father as He did.  Christ showed us how to worship the one true God. And then….he finished what He came to do in His earthly body.  He CHOSE to be betrayed by a friend ~ one of His disciples.** He CHOSE to be unjustly tried and convicted.  He CHOSE to be crucified because He KNEW that He was going to rise again and defeat death once and for all!  Can I get an AMEN people!!  You didn’t put Jesus on the cross as much as you cannot do anything to earn or deserve salvation.  It is His grace to us in that He loves us so very much, He planned and executed a perfect plan of redemption.  Isaiah 55:1-3, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.  Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

What’s in your wallet? ~ Let’s rephrase this a little by saying, ‘what’s in your heart?”  What is it that you are carrying with you everyday to remind you of the gracious life you live because of what Christ did for you?  Are you reading scripture everyday, meditating on it, and making an effort to keep it in your heart?  Do keep it at the forefront of your mind?  Our mind is constantly “on” and if we want to maintain some sense of sanity, everything we do and say needs to be filtered through the truth of God’s word!  I Samuel 12:23-25,As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.””               And Luke 12:28-30,If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.”

All you need. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22,Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”  Notice here that the above verse talks about how GOD is the one who helps us stand firm in Christ.  We do not have anything to do with that standing ~ except to come humbly before the Lord and ask Him to be the Lord of our life!  This doesn’t mean that we will never experience trials (that’ll be another blog for another time), but we are reminded of God’s goodness to us in Philippians 4:11-13, I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him[a] who strengthens me.” 

We can live a rich, abundant, grace-filled, and satisfied life because we have all we need in the Lord.  This life on earth is temporary, but that doesn’t mean that we simply float through life.  God has called us to be witnesses of His grace in our life to those around us.  Whether it’s smiling at random people in the grocery store (this is actually really fun…totally freaks people out!), sharing a meal with a friend going through a tough spot, handing a bottle of water out your car window to the homeless man on the corner, or sharing your testimony with someone about how God has saved your life.

Live fully in God’s truth ~ your debt has been paid ~ He will never leave your side & you will never be disappointed in a life lived for Christ!

Blessings,

René

Romans 3 verse 23-24

Research found in:

** You can read more about Jesus choosing Judas (His betrayer) in one of my earlier blogs entitled, “Jesus Chose Judas on Purpose.”

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Are you friends with Doubt?

It’s mid-December and we are in the midst of celebrating “the most wonderful of the year.”  At least that’s what the popular Christmas song says.  But for many, it is not.  For some, it is a time of sadness, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, angst, and a season filled with doubt.

You long for companionship, family, a loved one who’s passed away, financial stability.  You long to be happy and filled with joy.  But whatever the reason, the sense of doubt is easier to cling to than the reality of what the Lord wants for you.  I have seen so many in my life make the apparent choice to be friends with doubt.  I have watched myself fall into the same trap that doubt puts forth ~ and here’s the scary part ~ doubt will never let you down.  What’s that?  Come again?

When you cling to doubt and it becomes a dear friend, all of the negativity that comes with the feelings and attitude of doubt, will always be there to make you feel insecure, insignificant, unseen, unknown, alienated, and desolate.  Those are the promises that doubt carries with it.

Literally, this is what doubt is summed up to mean: to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe; to distrust; to fear; be apprehensive about; to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief; a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something; fear; dread.”

What part of that very enlightening definition makes us want to have doubt as our friend?  As our companion? Lies of the enemy my friend ~lies of the enemy!

Jesus knew that we would struggle with doubt and wrote about it a handful of times in His Word.  James 1:5-8 says this about how to deal with doubt,Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” 

Our Lord is constantly available to us and hears us when we call out to Him.  It may not always feel like we are being listened to, mainly because sometimes we aren’t willing to hear the answer He’s giving us, but He DOES hear us.  Every time!

The words in James chapter 1 are an incredible encouragement to me in that God instructs us to ask God for wisdom (in all things) no matter what the situation and He will not criticize us and He will give that needed wisdom to us generously.

Did you catch the part in there about what we have to do in order to get that generous wisdom?  Or what we owe Him for giving us what we ask for?  Nope?  Well good!  Because there isn’t anything we can do to earn it ~ we simply have to have faith in our asking.  Oh, I know, bringing up faith!  It’s so hard sometimes to have faith!!  And that’s what satan is counting on ~ if we give up on faith, then we welcome in doubt…which brings on fear, sadness, depression, indecisiveness, instability, etc.

Just like I don’t have to tell my lungs to take in air to help me breathe, or tell my blood which veins to flow through, or instruct seeds to grow ~ my faith in God’s love and grace has to be something that is a part of me; a part of my heart, mind, body, and soul.  And when I feel that my faith is waning….that is something I can ask the Lord to refresh in me.

If a child ever came up to you and asked you to teach them to become wise and trusting, would you laugh and turn away?  Absolutely not!  You would do whatever you could in that very moment to come alongside that little one, and encourage them in what they’d asked.  God the Father does the very same thing.  He is so excited to meet you right where you are and give you what you need.

He can give you peace that passes understanding.

He can give you joy overflowing ~ Philippians 4:7

He can shower you with mercy ~ Deuteronomy 4:31

He can lift away the sorrows of your heart ~ Isaiah 35:10

He can save your soul ~ Galatians 2:20

He can restore in you a clean heart ~ Psalm 51:10

He can reconcile you back to relationship with Him ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

…All because you ask…

So now I ask YOU ~ do you want to be friends with doubt any longer?  Or do you want to live in the freedom and peace that comes from knowing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ?

During this season of never-ending parties, family get-togethers, bell ringers, and carolers ~ remember that these are not what our focus should be centered on.  Cast off the distractions and the doubts that the enemy is trying to foist upon you! He only goal is that you miss the peace, the mercy, the joy, the reconciliation, and the love of the Son of God who came to bring us life…true life and joy with not a seed of doubt in the mix! 🙂

And just for fun ~ take a quick listen to this beautiful song by Bethel Music ~

Blessings,

René

James 1 verses 5-6

{All verses are from http://www.biblegateway.com}

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 4:31, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Isaiah 35:10, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

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

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-19, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Thanks in Giving

Today is the Monday before Thanksgiving ~ so appropriately, I thought I put down my thoughts about the subject with my own personal flavor.  Which means that I’m already imagining the table decor and myriad of tasty dishes that await my family and I in a few days.  Quite frankly, if all there was to eat was mashed potatoes with gravy, herbed stuffing, and homemade pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream ~ I would be completely happy!

At this time of year, much is written about Thanksgiving: being thankful, being grateful, having gratitude, etc.  If you are new to my blog, you’ll come to know that I love word studies; what words mean, and how to put them in perfect context as to what is being conveyed in a sentence or story.  To get started today…here’s a bit of basic definitions of words that I’ll be focusing on today.

Being ~ the fact of existing; existence

Having ~ to possess; own; hold for use; contain

Thankful ~ feeling or expressing gratitude; appreciative.

Grateful ~warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful:

Gratitude ~ the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful:

Thanksgiving ~ the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.

Giving ~ to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow:

Do you notice that all of these words are action oriented?  Whether it is physical actions or emotional/mental ones, that are all in movement; they are all in motion within or toward another person/entity.

 

We cannot be full of thankfulness and gratitude and be motionless and stagnant at the same time.  It is virtually impossible.

 

Colossians 3:17 has beautiful words to share with us ~ “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
This verse is clear and concise that no matter what we do or say, however we act and whatever we think about, in ALL of those things we are to be thankful to the Lord.  Are we to actually thank God for bad things that happen or difficult times in our life?  NO!  It means that we can choose to move through our life with an attitude of gratefulness and confidence, being alert to the power of God in our life. He will be walking alongside us in all things.  Some hard times in life last longer than others; sometimes years pass with a sense of darkness hovering over our life; and at times of difficulty it seems like it will never end.
How do we choose to live a life of thanksgiving when we feel utterly hopeless?  I’ll tell you one thing ~ you have to fight for it!  It is not easy to choose thankfulness and gratitude.  It is sometimes the most difficult time to choose to be joyful.  But I have lived long enough to know that when I begin to feel those daggers of doubt and fear to cloud my heart and my mind, I have a choice to make.  I can be gloomy, sad, feel sorry for myself, and decide that I’m not worth it.  OR…..I can ask the Lord to help me overcome those negative attitudes.  He can (and WILL) do just that!!  He won’t leave you lying in a puddle of sadness ~ He will scoop you up in His mighty arms and comfort you.
Better than any words I could choose…let these promises from God’s Word wash over your heart ~
Colossians 1: 9-14, 21-23:For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.”
This is why we can choose to be grateful.  We can have thanks as we give praise to the Lord for the fact that He has chosen us, to rescue us from true darkness and a life separated from Him.  In the midst of the bleak moments, we have the strength of the Holy Spirit inside of us to do the battle.  To wage the war against the mental and emotional attacks from satan, whose sole job is to make us believe that we are not worth Christs’ love.  To make us think that we have to work hard to do things, to live a certain way, in order for Christ to love us.  That when we sin and mess up, that we have lost hope of Christ really loving us.
Let me tell you friend ~ you cannot out-sin the abundant grace and forgiveness of our Heavenly Father.  You just can’t!
In the same way, you cannot be good enough or work hard enough to earn that grace.  You just can’t.
Psalm 98:1 “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.”
Did you see that?  HIS right hand and HIS holy arm.  
Not mine.  Not yours.
Only the Lord can provide salvation for us and He chose that for us BEFORE the creation of the world.  Before you were born, before I was born, before Adam and Eve committed the first sin ~ God put into a place a plan to have His Son Jesus live a sacrificial life and die on the cross, returning to the earth and graciously providing a way to be reconciled to God the Father.  His cross, for lack of a more imaginative idea, is the bridge connecting us back to the Lord.
We must be thankful at all times ~ no matter what ~ for the indescribably gift that is the salvation that the Lord offers freely!  (2 Corinthians 9:15)
We cannot pay for it ~ He already did!
We don’t put it on layaway and work it off ~ that only works at K-mart.
We cannot do one little thing to earn it ~ It is a gift!
What do you do with a gift?  What do you do when someone gives generously of their resources to you?  Do you pull out your wallet and offer to pay them back?  Do you make a list of what was given to you so that you can make sure and give that person a “better” gift the next time around? I really hope you don’t ~ because then you’ve missed the point.  A gift is not something earned.  A gift is chosen specifically for you from someone who loves you.  A gift is not something intended to be paid back. A gift is a reflection of the heart of a friend towards you.
I think my favorite word study definition from above is ~ Grateful: the Latin word grate or grātus means: pleasing. The other descriptive words “warmly” and “deeply” convey a cozy, peaceful, enjoyable place.  Like sitting by a warm fire drinking your favorite cup of tea and reading a good book.  Blissfully accepting the personal kindness someone has done to you ~ this is what it is to be grateful.  To have this attitude and live it out is what it is to have thanks in giving~ offering up to the Lord a song of thanksgiving for the gift of eternal life.
So this year, at this time of Thanksgiving, I want to encourage you to choose to be grateful; choose to be accepting of the gift that you cannot earn and that you don’t deserve.  Let Christ bestow on you the gift of salvation.  Living as a royal priesthood and as a child of the King, does not mean that all your problems will miraculously disappear.  God is not a genie!  But what it means is that you have the power of the Living God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, holding you up in those times of trouble.  He is your strength, He is your dignity, He is your friend, and He is your Army!  God bless you with His magnificent peace and with His never-ending grace.
Blessings,
  René
Colossians 3 verse 17

http://dictionary.reference.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com