Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jesus Hid Himself

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:58-59. ESV.)

If I look at this, as is, in a literal sense, "Jesus hid himself" from those who "picked up stones to throw at him". So, is it wrong for a believer to hide him/herself from someone if that individual means him/her harm? It was not time for Jesus to be judged...and stoning was not the method to be used. It was later, on a cross (of course). But back to my question. I say, "No! It is not erring at all!" Infact, it makes perfect sense, right? Who wants to get stoned, or beaten, or killed?

When David was told King Saul was out to murder him, David did not stick around. He fled and hid! So then, why do witnesses hesitate to intervene when they see someone is being bullied? Or when a child states he/she is being abused? Or when a spouse confides in others that he/she is being terrorized? Whether the issue is taking place in public, at school, in the workplace, or at home...there is a problem and perhaps "hiding him/herself" is not an easy task. Maybe separating him/herself from the situation is not within grasp. What then?

How many stories are there of children or spouses dying at the hands of someone they love? Too many! It is insanely frustrating to me! There are those who say, "Why didn't he/she get help?" "Why didn't he/she leave that person?" It could be he/she tried but was shut down and eventually gave up.

I say, it is okay to flee! It is alright to hide! If you place your trust in an individual and get shut down, do not give up! Try again, as many times as it takes to get help! Man cannot see your heart, does not know your circumstances, will not get it! Even those who love you dearly most likely will not empathize with you. Seek out a shelter or doctrinally sound pastor/ Christian counselor. If there is physical or emotional danger, go first, sort through it all after from a safe place. And, most importantly, trust in Jesus and stay in God's word! (God would NEVER lead your heart against His own word!)

The Hope of New Life - Romans 15:13

Jesus is The Creator - Colossians 1:16

Eternal Life - I John 5:20

Faithful and True - Revelation 19:11

Jesus is our Anchor - Hebrews 6:19

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pray for Those Who Abuse You

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18 ESV)

Wow, what a verse! I don't know about you, but when I read this, all the relationships in my life go screaming through my mind. "Perfect love casts out fear." Are there bonds that cause me "fear"? "Whoever fears has not been perfected in love." What does that mean? Should I not "fear" wickedness?

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:12-17 ESV)

Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6 ESV)

Or, should I "fear" God more than the evil in man? I figure, I am accountable for me. I can only "control" me. Though faced with those who may sin against me, I MUST not sin in return! As my dad says, "Two wrongs never make 'a right'." I may NEVER return evil for evil.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For whoever desires to love life and see good days,let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good;let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:9-12 ESV)

Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-19, 21 ESV)

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. (Luke 6:27, 28, 30 ESV)

What?! That irks me when someone takes my stuff! It is mine to give not someone else's to take, right?! What about what is good, and right, and just? I would gladly hand it over if asked!

"Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Romans 12:19 ESV)

Friday, February 22, 2013

False Doctrine: Stand Against the Schemes of the Devil

I was just reading a blog where the writer was addressing a church that claims Christ yet teaches to worship men (mainly the leaders of the church). When I put it this way, I'm sure many followers of Christ would say, "That's wrong!" But, when in the midst of such an organization, it is quite difficult to identify it for what it is. I travel a bit (less than many but more than most, I believe) and have attended quite a few congregations across the states. There were ones, I really enjoyed. And others that just did not feel right to me.

The toughest one for me was one I attended where the doctrine was sound but there was no grace. None. I was so focused on the teaching (which was correct, straight from the bible, verbatim) that I missed the part where people were getting hurt because they (and their children and spouses) were expected to be "perfect" (for lack of a better word). Individuals ran the risk of being "disciplined out of the church" for unbiblical behavior. I suppose it was more legalistic (like raising little Pharisees) than Christ like. Every little thing was pointed out and immediate correction strongly encouraged. It was brought to my attention my children did not sit quietly during service with their little hands folded in their lap, listening to the pastor. They fidgeted, whispered, drew, colored, did not stand up during singing, etc. It was not until I was no longer attending that I saw how judgmental and ridged I had also become, myself.

The second most challenging one was a chain of "churches", located all across the nation. I would seek them out each time I was on a trip. They were wonderful, truly! But corruption, at the highest level, came to light and that ended that.

Now, the place that caused the greatest discomfort in me was one where man was praised but it was so subtle at times, I had to pay very close attention to grasp it. Further, sound doctrine was mixed with false doctrine in such a way it all sounded correct at first...but there was a nagging (perhaps by the Holy Spirit) that something was not quite right. For example, during a message the pastor stated, "Our faith is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow." Did you catch that?! The TRUE verse is,

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12, 13 ESV)

He replaced THE WORD OF GOD with "our faith" hence taking glory from God and giving it to man! This is exactly why I feel memorizing scripture is important...not only to be able to retrieve it when needed but also to recognize when it has been changed!

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, (Ephesians 6:11, 13-17 ESV)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Being the Fool

As I sit here meditating on what I just read over at "I'd Laugh...But All This Happened to Me" blog, I feel relief, almost, that I am not the only one who has been deemed "foolish" because of my love for Christ!

I've been labeled "extreme" for reading my bible everyday. I've had hateful words (and threats) spoken toward me because of my beliefs, been called an ugly name for raising my children according to scripture, and laughed at (mocked and teased) because I do not wear a skimpy, "barely there" bikini swimsuit and because I have faith God exists. Oh yeah and someone once asked me (regarding God and the bible), "Why do you teach [your children] that crap?"

Why have certain individuals treated me this way? Because I love Jesus! What is so wrong with that?! I cannot even begin to wrap my head around it.

We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. (1 Corinthians 4:10 ESV)

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV)

For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. Your restoration is what we pray for. (2 Corinthians 13:9 ESV)

Birds of a Feather Flock Together?

Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33, 34 ESV)

This past weekend I was asked to attend a camping trip with the understanding it was going to be "family friendly". (I brought my young ones and invited a friend of mine and her family.) As things unfolded I realized that was not actually the case. The occurrences ranged from minors drinking alcohol to conversations "R" and "NC-17" in nature, to videos on a television (in the common area of camp) featuring topless women. I was thankful to have my friend there because
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV)
But I was also so embarrassed. This is a newer relationship and I did not want to give her and her family the impression I participate in such things! When the inappropriate behavior started, I took the children into the RV (recreational vehicle) for some family fun and my friend joined us. "Don't be embarrassed," she said. "We can only separate ourselves from the situation...which is what we did.". I will certainly think twice before accepting another invitation from this particular group.

Monday, February 11, 2013

No Chance to Repent, Though Sought With Tears

We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also. (2 Corinthians 6:3-13 ESV)

To me, this piece of scripture (in and of itself) touches my heart greatly and speaks volumes! I feel it relates the walk with Christ to phrases of which I can take hold and comprehend. Each time I read it the words sink deeper. "Great endurance" - the battle is long, tiring, and at times overwhelming. God's word describes it as a race...I can put it into terms of a kickboxing, grappling, or mixed martial arts bout. One gets winded, beaten, exhausted, yet it continues. There is only one winner.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV)

This vapor (James 4:14) of a life consists of "afflictions, hardships, calamities," "imprisonments"...(physically or perhaps oppressively like a master/slave type relationship), "labors, sleepless nights, hunger"...(either for food or lust like temptation of the flesh), yet we are called to live "by purity, knowledge" (of God), "patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love" (though this world is full of false love); "by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise."

All the while experiencing "treat[ment] as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything." Doesn't that just blow your hair back? Do you see your own life described here?!

An athlete has to train HARD and, likewise, we are called to be in God's word EVERYDAY! Others who drill and condition intensely are soldiers. In like manner, we are instructed to put on the full armor of God each day. Being a follower of Christ is thoroughly engaging, demanding of discipline and a great deal of effort, tough labour, and requires persistence. (And, of course, the Holy Spirit...which goes far beyond a "conscience"!).

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. (Hebrews 12:12-17 ESV)

(Photo Information.)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Ballerina Project: Fine Arts to Mixed Martial Arts

I am doing a series called "The Ballerina Project" over at my other blog "Transformation Fitness Challenge".

Sixteen years and two children later I find myself trading in my tights, point shoes, and tutus for boxing gloves, grappling gloves, shin guards and mouth guard.

Can an artist go from the elegant world of the fine, performing arts to the fighting sport of mixed martial arts? Please click here to continue reading.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

God of the Unhealthy

As I continue to sort through and re-evaluate my own life, I look closely at what is healthful and what is not...be it habits, relationships, lifestyle, etc. I desire to toss out that which is deemed "unhealthy" and embrace all that is "healthy"...not necessarily what makes me "happy" but rather, what is good for me, biblical, and glorifies God.

Jesus, during His ministry, healed multiple people...a variety of individuals with all kinds of "unhealthiness". Everything from an unclean demon, high fever, various diseases, leprosy, paralysis, and a withered hand to those "at the point of death", those who had died, an unclean spirit, a disabling spirit, and dropsy (edema).

Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means. (Luke 8:1-3 ESV)

I feel like I am one of those women (only I still pray for relief from my "thorn" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)). Infact, had I been alive when God walked the earth, I believe whole heartedly I would have done as these women did.

Jesus had a heart for those who had faith...those who said, "Just say the words and there will be healing." He may not have experienced this type of affliction of the flesh (and hence not empathise), but He did feel compassion! And THAT is what I covet, His grace, mercy, and tenderness...and removal of ALL things "unhealthy" in my vapor (James 4:14) of a life.

No Fear
"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! 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. (Luke 12:4-7 ESV)

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Slight Differences

A FANTASTIC post over at "Intentional Christian Living" I had to share!!!

Jesus is for Losers:
I think I saw this on a shirt somewhere. Now, some folks might take offense at this statement. But I think if you stop and let it sink in for a minute you’ll see what I mean. Matthew 9:11-13 says, “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners (Losers)?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick (Losers). But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Losers).”

Continue reading this post at http://learnchangegrow.wordpress.com/.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

God of the Betrayed

Jesus could write the book on this one! (And the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke do, in part.)

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke 22:47-53 ESV)

God knows the sting of betrayal. Though he was already aware the day was coming, I cannot imagine that lessened the blow much.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray [Jesus] to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd....[At the Passover dinner Jesus says,]But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!" And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. (Luke 22:3-6, 21-23 ESV. My note added.)

Here was a man who was one of the closest to Jesus...one of the twelve! Someone who looked the part and acted the roll but in his heart, was not. Have you ever come across a person like this? One who talks the talk and appears to walk the walk (no matter what the position i.e. friend, spouse, parent, boss, son/daughter, business partner, roommate, teacher, etc.) yet is not who he/she claims?

We are not without a God that has experienced such things, himself..."the power of darkness"! Judas meant it for evil but God used it for good, just as He does in our lives, still, today!

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good,... (Genesis 50:20 ESV)

(Photo Information.)

Do Not Waste Your Breath Explaining to a Fool

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool,
for he will despise the good sense of your words.

Apply your heart to instruction
and your ear to words of knowledge.

Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.

Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.

Hear, my son, and be wise,
and direct your heart in the way.

Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
(Proverbs 23:9, 12, 17-19, 23 ESV)

Monday, February 04, 2013

A Time to Be Born, and a Time to Die

I like the line in the movie "Hope Floats" that goes something like this, "Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad,..."

When a life ends, it causes me to pause for little bit (and generally re-evaluate my own life). Ten months ago, my beloved uncle died. Yesterday (Sunday, February 3rd), it was my sister-in-law. For each, a flood of emotions washed over me and I was left sorting through them...closely examining each one to decide which to keep and which to toss away. My sister-in-law was ALWAYS kind to me. I love her for that and her goodness toward my children. (I once heard the College Kid say this particular aunt is her favorite.)

There are some considerable things, to me, to take into account when I am grieving the loss of someone. Most importantly, is the question, "Will I get to spend an eternity with this person?"

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

For now, I have no answers. No responses for my questions. I am...restless.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9 ESV)

Friday, February 01, 2013

How to Deep Clean Your Home: Day Six

I do not know how Julie Powell blogged through 524 recipes. I am only on day six of my writing through cleaning my house and I have to admit, I am feeling a little burnt out...but I still have to finish downstairs and do all of upstairs. How do housekeeping services complete a home in hours rather than days? Maybe they cut corners (but I am really trying hard to resist that temptation!)...or are so efficient at it they are super quick?

This is my life, in this season...schooling my kiddos, maintaining my home, and caring for my family as best as I can. Man, I look so boring on paper.

As the day progresses I come to terms with it being another day like Monday and nothing is going to get done. I vacuum a curtain in the formal living room and discover yet another area of the carpet where the pug has soiled it. I look up ways to get the smell and stain out. Nothing too complex, white vinegar, water, baking soda, peroxide, and dish soap. The solution (up through the baking soda) worked in getting rid of the scent, now I just need to finish the second part of it for the yellowing.

No sooner do I finish with that do I find the pug has vomited (in two places) on the large shag area rug in the family room. At this point it is difficult for me to hide my frustration. This is the room in which I worked so hard on Tuesday. Further, there is plenty of laminate flooring on which he could have done this but for some reason he goes straight for the rug EVERY TIME he coughs, gags, etc. The hours fly by.

Before I know it, time is up for today. (Do I say that every day?) I take the kiddos to an extracurricular activity, run by the grocery store, make dinner, help hubs with the pool table (after it is put back together), and fit in cleaning the half bath from ceiling to floor.


I STILL have the formal rooms to finish, the entryway and hall downstairs, and all of upstairs. But, I'm tired now.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16, 17 ESV)

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