The Church Is Called To Be Churchy, So Deal With It

Terrific argument for churches to be real to who Jesus is and why we are here!

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Secret to Success

large__5844929080 The world has found nominal success through persistence and perseverance.

They trust in their own power, own understanding, their own ways.

The greatest basketball player is Michael Jordon. He didn’t just practice now and then or when he felt like it.

Michael Phelps who won all those gold medals and set new records didn’t just swim sometimes. They both practiced their sport continually until they became the best.

 

However, God has all the answers and enjoys the success of His people.

Ps 35:27-28

27 Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant.” 2 8 And my tongue shall declare Your righteousness And Your praise all day long.

The secret to true, everlasting, success is in the Lord. You are made in His image to reflect His glory and bring honor to Him. And He delights in you and in your prosperity.

The way to honor God and live an abundant life is to be persistent and intent every morning when you get out of bed to glorify God in your life. That doesn’t mean just sometimes pray or honor Him but to continually practice, be persistent and persevere daily in prayer.

It starts with recognizing Him and praying every day.

Thank Him for another day and for all the blessings. You can ask for things. But remember to ask God, “God what can I do for you today?” “Who do you want me to speak to today?” ”Who can I help today, serve today, or encourage today?” “How can I honor your Name today with my hands, my feet or my mouth?”

We are His servants and we serve where we are planted in our circle of influence. We lead from our position of honoring God in every aspect of our lives. And He will honor you. You will be blessed with blessings far above money, riches or fame.

Matt 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank you for all your blessings, love and mercy on my life. I thank you that I live another day to honor you in my daily activities. I ask for strength today to do your will. I ask you to lead me to hurting people that I can help. I ask you to give me words to speak to bring healing, joy or encouragement into someone’s life. I ask that you use me today as your hands, feet and mouthpiece to show your love. Let me lead people to you today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

UnComfortable Christianity?

is 61 1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1 (NIV Bible Hub)

I usually cry when I read this. My heart is so stirred for the hurting people both in the church and in the world. But being stirred is not enough.

What do I do?

Searching for people, books, blogs, etc that possibly put into words my inner turmoil has consumed my time lately.

The book Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity by Jen Hatmaker, put much of what is happening in my spirit, (or rather between me and The Holy Spirit) into perspective. book interrupted

 

First, as I read pg 14, I was shocked that someone else is having a similar experience. The question looming over my head lately is “Do I really love Jesus?” “If so, what does LOVE JESUS look like, act like, sound like?”

The institutionalized religion of Christianity has me somewhat bumfuzzled. I’ve been raised in it. I speak it’s language. I pray the prayers. I shake hands the right way. I know the nods. I know all the songs (old hymns and new worship). I am even “spirit filled” which means I raise my hands and move when I pray and sing too!

However, I can’t remember the last time I led a sinner to Christ. I feed the hungry “spiritually”. I’m a teacher, a prayer warrior, mentor…

We feed many people at our house in the name of fellowship but they can all feed themselves just fine. We enjoy their company.

I never took blankets to the homeless or visited prisoners.

The scripture “feed my sheep” is repeated in my spirit…

John 21:17  The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

A lightbulb came on in my head. I don’t get to choose which parts of the command I fulfill  in Isaiah 61, John 21:17, and …

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35

I don’t get to choose to do those acts of love and service that I want to do or like to do. I shouldn’t refuse to do some acts of service because I don’t like doing them and they make me feel uncomfortable.

In my life I chose teaching as the preferred method of “feeding the sheep” I even occasionally preach and desire to preach and teach more. My preferred method is not God’s desire for me…or so I am beginning to comprehend.

I must serve people that no one else wants to serve for starters.

I am uncomfortable in modern Christianity.

Are you willing to be uncomfortable with the status quo of institutionalized religion that has forgotten how to love the unloveble, the poor, the broken, the imperfect?

Mark 12:31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Who Is Jesus?

thCADDK0F2Four Views on who Jesus is from the Book of Mark

Truthfully, we all have ideas of who Jesus is to us. Each person has an understanding of some sort. But is that idea truly based on scripture? Could be tainted a little by any incorrect mindsets?

1. Is He too familiar?

His Family saw him as an embarrassment.

Mark 3:21 When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

I live in the Bible belt. Recently, a new youth pastor started at our church. While he was preaching he made a comment about speaking to several people around town and all of them saying “I’m a Christian”. He said everyone he talked to was a professing Christian. Yet he made this point “if everyone was a Christian in this town, the churches would be full”.

In another scripture Jesus said

57, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

As humans we have a tendency to give less reverence to those to whom we become very familiar. The profession of faith doesn’t have works behind it. Many people are knowledgeable about Jesus but have little faith because they only think they “know” Jesus.

The truth is that if you really know Jesus your life will change.

If you really love Jesus you will not be embarrassed to talk about him and serve him.

2. Does Jesus measure up to your religion?

The pharisees had a problem with Jesus. He turned all their religion on its head. All their rules and traditions were in direct conflict with Jesus’ actions.

They chose not to accept him. Instead they accused him, blamed him and ignored his warnings.

Do you choose tradition and religion over Jesus? Does any of your thoughts or actions cause you to pick and choose parts of Jesus’ teaching but not take all of it?

3. Is Jesus only a man?

When you choose to believe that Jesus was a man but also more than just a man your life will forever be affected. That is when true devotion begins and His words become life. And more than life because His directives, commandments and words have power. They are not just words of a man but of God. They are not suggestions. And if they are of God then we must believe them and do what He says.

We must understand that He is also deity. The one and only son of God that died for the sins of every person.

John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.…

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

We can’t pick and choose which words in the Bible we believe and live by we must equally believe and follow each one.

4. Does guilt cloud your view?

King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist. But King Herod never changed his ways and eventually beheaded John. He didn’t really want to do it. Read the story here.

Later, when King Herod heard about Jesus and all the miracles, he supposed it was John come back to life. He could not see who Jesus truly was and allow his life to be affected because of his guilt.

Many people don’t come to Jesus for similar reasons “I’m not good enough”, “When I get my life cleaned up then I will”, “I’ve done too many things to be forgiven”.

So who is He?

He died and came back to life. he did multitudes of miracles that could not be recorded there were so many. He is compassionate. He loves.

Jesus asked Peter “Who do you say I am?”

Peter responded “You are the Christ”.

That is way more than we understand from an American viewpoint.

That is saying so much. He is the Savior of the world. The son of God. The lamb of God. The Lion of Judah.

The centurion said “surely this is the Son of God”

At the transfiguration God said “This is my son. Listen to Him”.

 

Living by Faith Part 3-Doubt

covered bridgeNo one is above the effects of doubt. It happens to everyone.

It seems just as we are going strong in faith, boom, it happens-hit square in the eye with none other than doubt. You can beat yourself up for doubting or it can be a catapult to your faith to send you flying through to action. But that is just it, it’s a choice to get past doubt.

The same way you make a choice to get out of bed in the morning. The same way you choose to put on shoes. It’s a choice. You can let doubt sit there and weigh it out or you can move past doubt into action.

Legends of Faith Still Doubt

If you struggle with doubt you are in good company. Great faith and little faith can exist in the same person.

Elijah did. After he called down fire from heaven that completely lapped up the sacrifice and the water around the altar. He ran away from Jezebel afraid for his life.

1 Kings 19:3 And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” 

Peter did. After Jesus was taken, Peter denied knowing Jesus.

John 18:25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Just two examples of great men of faith who struggled with doubt. The key is to not let that be the end. Keep going. Keep praying. Keep moving past that bridge of doubt till you get to the other side.

Doubt wasn’t the end of the story

Acts 2:29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day.30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

Here Peter preached to thousands of people. In front of everyone including some of the people, I’m sure, heard him speaking about Jesus, even those that heard him deny knowing Jesus. His faith was strengthened and he made a decision to move on.

Don’t get down and out because you doubt. Consider doubt as a challenge to your faith that allows you to excerise your faith and make it stronger. Now you can make that choice to keep believing.

Why do we believe that God created the world with His Word but we struggle to believe His Word where it says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or “I am the head and not the tail” or that “I am blessed”.

It’s all true.

There is nothing in God’s word that is not true…including the part about what God will do for you, His love for you, what He will do through you or the work He has equipped you to do.

The question is…IS your faith in the faithful One? God is faithful. He does not change. He does not waver. When your faith may seem week remember WHO your faith is in.

Heavenly Father, thank you that your Word is true forever. Thank you that you are increasing the faith of those as they read this post. Thank you that you are revealing truth to their hearts and speaking wisdom to them in their current situation. Father, bless everyone that reads this post. Give them revelation of your presence and your amazing love. Touch the hearts of the people. You said ask for faith, we are asking for greater faith. We are asking for more of you in our lives. More of your presence and more of your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Living By Faith-Part 2

miracles still happenFaith does not ignore facts. Faith is a choice to believe that what God says is more true than any doctor report, financial statement, or emotion.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.

Faith faces the facts head on but still knows that God is on the throne and able and willing to meet every need. Believing is the stage after asking that we verbally declare our faith.

Believing is a choice. The key is – who is the subject of your belief. You believe everyday. When you sit in a chair you had faith the chair would hold you. When you flipped the light switch you had faith the light would turn on. The subject of your belief- who or what- you believe in is the key. I choose to put my faith in the one that created the universe and everything in it. I don’t place my faith in the stars but the one who created the stars.

Stages of Faith:

1. Asking

2. Believing

3. Doubt

4. Acting

2. Believe-

Sometimes this is the hard part. The more you read the Bible and hang out with other believers and hear testimonies of the great things God has done, your faith will be strengthened. You will find it easier to “believe”. I found that reading books about the life of missionaries is very helpful. In Part 1 I shared such a book by Huldah Buntain.

It’s time we take God out of the box we place Him in – we believe he can ONLY do this or that…only the things we can imagine or have heard. Start believing for great things. God is bigger than our imaginations.

Mark 9:23 (GW)  Jesus said to him, “As far as possibilities go, everything is possible for the person who believes.”

Mark 11:23-24 (GW)  I can guarantee this truth: This is what will be done for someone who doesn’t doubt but believes what he says will happen: He can say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it will be done for him. 24  That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours.

Faith is a choice just like love is a choice. You choose to believe. If you wait on emotions and feelings to catapult you into great faith you may never see miracles. But if you choose to believe and then begin to walk it out, you just released faith in your life.

Practical Application

1. Find scriptures in the Bible that speak to your situation. If you need healing find scriptures on that. If you need peace find scriptures on peace.

2. Place your name in that scripture and pray it over you (or a person or situation).

Psalms 103:2 Praise the Lord, my soul,and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,

Now make it personal….

Praise the Lord, my soul, I will not forget his benefits. Lord you forgive all my sin and heal my diseases.

I pray Psalms 91 over myself or my fiends or family all the time.

This is a powerful scripture (actually, all of them are)

9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”and you make the Most High your dwelling,10 no harm will overtake (me) you,no disaster will come near (my) your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning (me) you to guard (me) you in all (my) your ways; 12 they will lift (me) you up in their hands, so that (I) you will not strike (my) your foot against a stone. 13 (I) You will  tread on the lion and the cobra; (I) you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

(Psalms 41:3 is a good  scripture on healing also)

3. Pray scriptures over your situation as often as you think about it. When you worry or feel anxious, pray those scriptures. This is how you stand in faith…believing. This is how you combat fear, worry or anxiety. Keep renewing your mind in the Word of God by praying the scriptures.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the measure of faith. Guide me to scriptures that I need. Make your Word come alive to me and show me how to apply to my life. Give me wisdom how to apply your Word and live by it. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Living by Faith

Living by Faith

This is the beginning of a series on Faith. I find it hard sometimes to have faith. I know many of the bible verses on faith as a mustard seed. I know the ones about asking your Father in Heaven and He will give you good things. I even have a healthier view of Almighty God than I used to. He is my Heavenly Father who loves me, cherishes me, has a purpose and a plan for my life.

Somehow, all this knowledge doesn’t seem to help my faith. Sometimes my faith just seems to be hanging on by a thread. I think that He may do it for someone else but not for me. I think if I was better than maybe God would answer my prayers. I’m here to tell you those thoughts are not truth, they are lies from the enemy.

This first post will be a summary and talk about the first stage of faith.

Come back and read the rest of them. It has helped me and I hope it will help you in your walk of faith.

bookI read “Pathway to the Impossible” by Huldah Buntain (a missionary to Calcutta, India).

She told of miracle after miracle that she actually experienced.

This is a perfect example of expanding our perception of God and just how magnificent he is.

Read her story. Your faith will increase by hearing what God does. And know that what he will do for one he will do for another.

Have you ever thought about the stages of faith we go through?

Stages of Faith:

1. Asking

2. Believing

3. Doubt

4. Acting

Asking – 

  1.  Our first step in faith is to ask God in prayer. Your prayer does not have to be eloquent, long or wordy. Just talk to Him, he is your Heavenly Father. When you ask, ask expecting. Expectation is that “faith” part. Wrap every petition in expectation that He will hear. And He will answer. He will heal. He will save. He will help. Just ask.

Matthew 21:22 (AMP)  And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.

You can ask for more wisdom. Who doesn’t need that…

James 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

When you ask–think about your motives…

James 4:2 (AMP)  You are jealous and covet [what others have] and your desires go unfulfilled; [so] you become murderers. [To hate is to murder as far as your hearts are concerned.] You burn with envy and anger and are not able to obtain [the gratification, the contentment, and the happiness that you seek], so you fight and war. You do not have, because you do not ask.

James 4:3 (AMP)   [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.

Sometimes you need to be persistent. That shows a level of faith.

Matthew 7:7-8 (AMP)   Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
8  For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

And my favorite…

God is capable of more than we could ever think or imagine.( So expand your box that you put God in because he doesn’t fit there.)

Matthew 14:15When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”( http://biblehub.com/niv/matthew/14.htm )

Did you see what Jesus said? “you give them something to eat”

What Jesus? We only have enough to feed us, definitely not enough to feed thousands of people.

Can you imagine yourself as a disciple at that moment? That is a faith stretcher. I would be saying “Are you crazy? I think you’ve been in the heat too long!”

He challenges their way of thinking. As humans they were limited to human expectations. But God is unlimited. Jesus is teaching them a valuable lesson here.

This is a lesson we all need to learn. It’s a major shift in our thinking and expectation. It’s a process called “Paradigm Shift”. As Christians we need to have a major Paradigm Shift. We need to learn to think like Jesus.

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Can you agree with me that our thinking is limited and because of that we limit an awesome God with unlimited power?

If we begin to pray in faith believing in the awesome God, creator of the universe instead of praying in our limited power and understanding our faith increases right there!

Ask God to show you where you are limiting His power in your life. Just ask Him. He will be faithful to show you.

Heavenly Father, Thank you that your ways are not my ways. Thank you, that you are the creator of the universe, creator of my life and everything in the Earth and on the Earth. There is nothing created without you. Father, I ask that you will show me a glimpse of how big you really are. Show me where I limit you and where I place you in a box of human understanding. Help me and give me wisdom to understand better. Thank you, in Jesus name I pray! AMEN!

The Comparison Trap: Marriage

comparison 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Land of “Er”

“If I was pretty-er..”                   “If I was thin-er…”                         “If I was rich-er…”    

“If I had  more-er.”                   “If I was lucky-er..”                        “If I was smart-er..”

…I would be…Happy-er…Fun-er…Bett-er………..

I was recently listening to Andy Stanley. He preached a great lesson on the comparison trap and the Land of Er. While listening to this I realized there was a great connection for marriages. Read on as I share the connection and how your marriage can be healed.

Here’s a link to Andy Stanley’s messages: http://northpoint.org/messages/comparison-trap

Who do you compare yourself to?

Why do we compare ourselves to anyone?

Down deep inside is a part of us that needs to feel successful, accepted, and okay.

We just want to know we are OK. And how do we know we are OK? We compare ourselves to people around us that seem OK or not oK and we say “well I’m not as OK as that person, but I’m better than that person. So I am OK.” Because there is always someone better and always someone worse off.

And we compare everyone in our lives to other people too. We compare our children to everyone else’s children. “My children aren’t as smart as her kids.” “My children act better than her kids.” “My children can’t play sports like those kids.” “My son is…My daughter is…compared to….” “MY baby is prettier than all other babies!”

Who do the perfect parents compare their kids to?

Who does God compare you to? As his kid. He compares us to no one. He loves and accepts us just the way we are. You are not compared to sister so & so in the front pew. Your holiness or lack thereof or shortcomings are not compared to anyone.

When your child does something wrong you don’t love him less. When you correct him you do it for his own good. To help him live a better life as he grows up. You don’t expect him to know it all. You teach him and he develops good habits and such over time.

The Garden of Life

garden

I picture my life as a beautiful garden.

Each lesson that we learn is to pluck out the roots that cause the ugliness in our lives. Roots are being plucked out: Bitterness, unforgiveness, traumas, etc.

Think of your life as a garden. Do you want ugly weeds in your garden?

The light has to shine on it. Show that it’s there. Then we can deal with it with God’s help and healing.

We all want our Garden of Life to be beautiful-filled with joy, peace, love, patience, kindness, goodness, purity, beauty, etc.

So is there one more root that has to come out?

Comparison

 

Parable of the Talents (money bags)

Matthew 25:14

14“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,a each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.16The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28“ ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

  • 1.    Each servant was distributed his portion to care for. Entrusted “his wealth”

2.    Each servant had to answer for his actions.

3.    Only one servant placed blame.

           a.       He was called “wicked and lazy”.

           b.     Can we be that way sometimes in our marriage? It’s easier to complain and criticize and compare than to do something positive?

4. Suffer the Consequences

           a.  Not living the way God intended results in frustration, fear, and torment.

           b.  And results in no peace.

How does this apply to marriage?

1.    God entrusted one of his most precious treasures to us–our spouse. God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made. To love, honor and cherish. God’s Treasure.

2.    In the most holy bond on earth-husband and wife united as one.

3.    How we respond to what was “entrusted” is up to us. The blame is not on God if we feel we got a bad lot. We can’t say…if only my spouse was like ….. or…if only my spouse was this or that…

               a.    The 3rd servant blames the master for his actions. “If you had given me more I could have done more with it. I didn’t have the 5 or even the two.

                You gave me just one, how am  I to make that into something great?” With God all things are possible and maybe what you look at as a “bad lot” and less than ideal                   may be the best you could ever imagine if you changed your perspective. Sometimes it is our perspective that is off not God handing you a bad situation. Sometimes                its our own sin and mess ups we pay for. But even our own mess-ups can be made into something great if we fully rely on God to so something with it. 

4.    We compare our “lot” or “spouse” to others just like we do our house, car, job, money and our children.

            a.    We say “if my husband acted better I would act better” “If my wife was..” “If he acted like so & so…” “if wasn’t as lazy as…” or “if he would just do this …”

5.    Sometimes we contributed to the way our spouses respond to us through our own disrespect, dishonor, superiority, criticism.

Living in the Land of Comparison “ER” is dangerous. The grass is NEVER greener on the other side. That is a lie. 

How do we move out of the land of “Er”?

  1. Be thankful. Recognize that God gave you that husband. (and everything else you have). His precious treasure that he shares with you.
  2. Ask God to show you what you can learn with your spouse. There is always a lesson. God is developing something in you. Look for it. Learn it. Live it.

Peace will be found when you move out of the land of “Er”. That is what we seek. PEACE

The Christian life was never meant to be just a get out of Hell free card. Jesus didn’t just give his life for that. He gave his life so we could live free and abundantly. With peace and joy. In whatever situation it is.

Don’t just say “Oh, I can be thankful because my spouse could be a lot worse.”

Instead “I am thankful because my spouse is…” Be specific. If you can’t think of anything then because “he/she is loved by God and God will save him, renew him, etc.”

Don’t let the bitterness cause you to resent your marriage. Or cause you to blame God for everything wrong in your life or marriage.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I repent for not treasuring my spouse, for not honoring him/her in my thoughts and actions. I repent for every blame I have ever put on you Lord. Holy Spirit, help me to be thankful for my spouse. Help me to praise him for things he does. Help me to recognize the gift and talents you have put in him. I repent for any resentment I may have. I trust in you Sovereign God that you give good things to your children and you do good for us all our days. I trust that my spouse is your Best for me. I will start to look at him/her in that way. I am willing to learn from him/her the lessons you want to teach me. Holy Spirit, show me what you will have me to learn.

If he/she is not saved I ask you to open his eyes and show him/her your truth. Help him/her to walk in your ways. Turn his/her heart to you. You change the heart of a man from stone to flesh. Change it Lord. Send someone to him/her to minister. Help me be the light that will shine for you and point to your grace and mercy every day.

I pray blessings over my spouse. That he/she is strong in you, that he/she is highly favored. That he/she hears your voice and follows you. That you protect him/her everywhere he/she goes. 

How Satan Stole the Church

I listened to this podcast from Your Move with Andy Stanley. I enjoy his preaching and he is one of the few podcasts to which I subscribe.

I wrestled with the term “Christianity” recently. Actually, for over a year I have struggled with the definition or lack thereof.

Andy Stanley has a series right now on this. While listening to one particular podcast in this series called “Christianity: Quitters”, I realized something. I want to share with you this thought.

First, let’s give you some background on this subject.
Above is a link that is part of Andy’s introduction of his 30 minute podcast. He so eloquently describes an atheist turned Christian, turned non-Christian 10 years later. If you watch only this segment and stop you will miss the point.
(Maybe you were raised in church, maybe you don’t like church because of the people. I get it. And so does Andy Stanley. Watch or listen to his entire series on this subject if you are struggling with this same issue of the definition of Christianity.)

The term Christian is my issue. There is no definition of this term that is universal and agreed upon by all. It is one word that means different things to every person.
To some it means to act like Jesus Christ or to resemble him as much as possible.
To others it describes someone who attends church. To others it may mean someone who believes in Jesus. And yet, I do not have enough time or space on this page to list all the possible definitions I personally have discovered.
I get so confused with so many definitions of this one word. Even to the group that call themselves Christians they don’t agree on just one single definition.

Did you ever speak to someone that said “oh yeah, I’m a Christian”? But then your definition of that term did not match their actions. So you determined quietly within yourself that they are not really a Christian. And thus judged them as not the same as you. “I don’t know what he/she is but it’s not what “I” call a Christian!” And they may have said the same thing about you.

Andy made an interesting point. The term Christian was not even used by the early church. They called themselves disciples of Jesus Christ. The term Christian was actually a derogatory term used to describe Christ’s disciples of the early church.
Over time this term stuck and is a widely popular and most used term to describe people of the church. I live in the Bible Belt so it’s super common.

Here’s my profound thought! (It was Big deal to me)

Satan is the king of compromise. If he can’t get you to out-right break one of the Ten Commandments maybe he can blur the lines a bit. Let’s diffuse the label. Let’s take out all the meaning. Since the term Christianity can mean a wide variety of lifestyles, beliefs, and practices the term has no substance.
The term Christianity has no standard. We say the Bible is the Word of God and is the standard by which we all must live and be judged. But anyone referring to that term does not have to adhere to the standard of the Bible.
In fact, there’s much confusion in the church world even of what the standard is.

The term Jesus used was “disciple”. That carries a hefty weight. You can do all kinds of things in the name of Christianity but if you call yourself a disciple you are “locked” into a very specific, well defined description. It describes behavior. It describes thoughts.
Disciple: learner, pupil, follower.

John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


THIS is how you know you are a disciple.

If you want to make an impact on the world it will be because HOW you love. Not what you say you are.

1 John 5:2 NIV This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

If I do not SHOW love to everyone I cannot say that I am a “disciple” of Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 13:1 NLT If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I pray better than anyone else. If I can preach so well that all who listen are stirred to tears. If I can sing so that goose bumps go down your spine. If I am used in the gift of the Holy Spirit but I do not love I am no better than a clanging cymbal. I make no more impact on the world than a loud, short, annoying, forgotten noise.

Satan will try everything he can to cripple the Church from promoting the Kingdom of God. Anything he can do disable the Gospel.

How easy is it then to destroy the meaning of Christianity? Water it down. Take out the LOVE command. I can love my friends, love the people I hang out with. But don’t expect me to love those heathens. Or to love those that hurt me.

If we don’t love the way Christ loved then we cannot call ourselves a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is what “Christianity” is supposed to mean-Disciple of Jesus Christ. My life should resemble His. I should strive for the same standard by which Jesus lived.

It is time to take back the church. Take it back what God intended.

The author Andy speaks about in the clip above said “It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”

My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ does not resemble that description. Granted, not everyone that calls themselves a Christian behaves like that. However, it is too common to see hateful, judgmental, condemning behavior.

Join with me to pray that the church gets a new, full dose of LOVE the way Jesus lived it.

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