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Archive for the ‘Biblical’ Category

If it hasn’t happened to you, it will.

Hackers are on the rampage. FaceBook posts, emails, tweets are compromised. Safe “share” posts have lewd images hidden in them, or links that illegally access your profile. Banks, hospitals, even government entities are not immuned. It seems there is no firewall strong enough.

Our souls are not immuned to being hacked, either.  Call him what you will…the devil, the evil one, satan, the father of lies. He leans in and whispers into our brains –interrupting our thoughts and warping around blessings.

You aren’t strong enough to resist.  

You’ll never achieve that goal.

You don’t serve God’s favor.

God has walked away because He’s mad at you.

You’ll never get back in His good graces after this.

Everyone does it, it’s not so bad. 

The Bible is outdated. That verse doesn’t matter anymore in today’s world.

 

And the worst of all.…I’m a good Christian. Nothing big can tempt me.

C.S. Lewis said in his book, Mere Christianity, “A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”

….When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44b

This hacker know the places where our “firewall” is the weakest.  He knows what words to say that will crack our will and get to us emotionally. Then He wiggles in with a negative suggestion and clouds our positive viewpoint. Soon, like a virus, it begins to affect all of our thoughts and actions, even our prayers or desire to pray. Step by step, we become more and more vulnerable to his wiles. Trust me, as soon as you begin to do God’s will, this hacker will show up. Big time!  You got it wrong. God didn’t mean for you to take this on. That’s why this is so hard. You misunderstood.

Where is your firewall the most vulnerable?  How can you make sure your soul is “unhack-able”? Paul shared the algorithm two millennia ago: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer  (Romans 12:12).   Jesus used Scripture to keep Satan from seeping into his thoughts while he was in the wilderness being tested. (Matthew 4:1-11) Remaining joyful and counting your blessings no matter your feelings at the moment keeps your attitude up and running. (Philippians 4:6)

Prayer is the best defense against becoming compromised. Scripture is the best method to detect hacked messages, and a joy-filled attitude that knows without a doubt that God is faithful, true and loves you is the best way to have uninterrupted power.

 

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????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????One letter can make all the difference. Today, while playing Word with Friends, I noticed two words with total opposite meanings separated by one small letter – “R”.

Fiend   –  Friend.

What turns a fiend into a friend?  The “R” can stand for:

RESPECT – Show proper respect to everyoneI Peter 2:17a   When we begin to look at people as worthy of our attention instead of ignoring them, or worse shunning them, our attitude shifts 180 degrees.  Even if your political, religious or lifestyle choices are different than mine, you and I have one thing in common: we are human.We are precious in God’s eyes. We are created by a caring God and have a purpose.  We both share the same oxygen for a reason.

And Christ died on the cross for us equally.  I am no better than you and vice versa. Whether we may have made horrid mistakes in our lives or have lived a good, sheltered and honorable one without so much as a speeding ticket, we are both flawed by sin and are in need of a Savior.

RELATIONSHIP –  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5  It is hard to view another human being as a non-entity once we take the chance and begin a relationship. People are often friendlier in small towns because everyone knows each other, and are somewhat dependent on each other. In large metropolises, people become more anonymous. Neighbors may barely identify each other in a crowd, much less know each other’s name. People pass each other on the street without eye contact. They covet their private space. If you aren’t known by them, you are invisible. You are a faceless number. But not to our Lord. How many faceless people have passed by you today? How many did you make eye contact with and smile?

REGARD – So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  2 Corinthians 5:16  If I do not care about you, then I can’t call you a friend. But if I see you for the potential you can be, as Christ sees you, then suddenly your good points outweigh your flaws.  Not that I can change you, that’s God’s job. But I can change my attitude towards you. I can put on the spectacles of  godly love and see you differently than the world sees you.

When asked,  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

lay handsAn old hymn sings of what a friend we have in Jesus. He wants us to take the “r” into our world so we can respect, regard and then develop relationships with our fellow human beings for one purpose:  so we can lead others to another “r” – redemption. That way, we will become eternally friends.

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Road1

 

Jesus commanded us to Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20a)

Two things are required in order to “go” and spread the gospel.

Grace and Obedience.

The first is God’s gift, and the second is our response to that gift. Grace is the giving of something we could never earn. Through God’s grace, by the death of Jesus for our sins, we are made “worthy” to be his disciples. We obediently step out, believing God will bless our efforts in His perfect plan and timing.

The focus then shifts from our abilities to His capability.

So, go, my friend. It’s all right.  Whether it is next door or halfway around the world, the Holy Spirit goes with you.  Jesus promised that.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)

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Noel Coward once sang, “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. ” Any Texan can relate to that, especially July-September.  Shade is a rare and precious commodity. So, when I looked out the window after church and saw these grackles huddled under my car, I laughed. Then I paused and thought…hmmm? Am I that smart?

IMAG0514Four years ago when I felt called to start this blog, I told the Lord that He’d have to show me obvious evidences of Him in my day so I could relay it to others. He has been faithful to do that, and this day was no different. Those birds taught me a deep truth.

If I was a grackle, more than likely I’d be worried that small water puddle might dry up and I couldn’t get a drink. What if no juicy bugs crawled by for hours on end.  Shouldn’t I be out there pecking around for them? What if the car moved? Well, I might doze off and get caught under it’s wheel.

But you see, I think the birds live in the moment, and then the next, confident God will take care of them. Instinctively they seek shelter.

In Matthew 6:26-27, Jesus states:  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[?

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t plan for the future. That is being a good steward of our finances. However, there are times we all need to know when to just seek the shelter of the shade, that is God’s protection and love, and trust. Agreed?

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An author friend of mine, Anita Klumper, *took this photo.

anita klumper's hoolyhocks

I saw a godly message in it. If we stay within the boundaries God sets, we can grow high and bloom.

Decades ago, another author, a minister’s wife, wrote a little devotional book called Bloom Where You Are Planted. Hard to do. Our human nature wants us to sprawl, to go beyond the fence. But if we do, we will not grow correctly, will we? Like a tomato vine that needs training, we humans need boundaries. Today, free spirits of society whisper to  be self-orientated, follow your own path, dare to be different.

But, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, this is nothing new under the sun.  How much better to be under the boundaries of the Son! Our loving God wants us to grow correctly and safely, so His Word provides a fence for us. What is His fence?

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Deuteronomy 11:1.

Or as our Lord stated, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39

So, unlike the old cowboy song sung by Roy Rogers, Don’t Fence Me In, I pray the opposite. How about you?

 

 

* check out Anita's faith-based fiction on Amazon.com

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ID-100210229Jesus said,  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

Charles Stanley explains:  “The branch doesn’t make grapes; the sap does. In the same way, the Spirit flows through us, producing God’s love in us, so that we can pass it on to Him and others.”  http://bit.ly/2arv7z2

Want to be a sap? Then you need the Holy Spirit flowing through you. You must be the type of branch that is alive, healthy and strong. And you must be willing to be hollow,right? Hollowness pushes your agenda aside so God’s can flow.

You must be:

S -susceptible to His guidance, so you do not block His flow out of you into someone else.

Aavailable – to be used at any given moment to God’s glory

P penitent – until we have confessed our sins and received His mercy, we are not as open to seeing the mercilessness His Spirit want to produce through us. Our anger, prejudice or hurts may close us in and restrict the flow.

So, pray to be a sap. Then go with the flow.

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One letter can totally change things.  In a recent game of Words with Friends, I had two options. Spell prey or pray.  One letter difference, but oh, what a difference!

That got the grey cells activated…

falcon-1329991_640PREY – the E stands for EVIL. Scripture tells us Satan prowls around seeking his prey. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8   If you are the prey, you are helpless, hopeless, and vulnerable. Evil lurks and you cower, defenseless and weak with fear. Birds of prey seek out the ones least likely to resist. they intimidate and then swoop in.

 

PRAY – the A stands for Almighty. Instead of cowering in the face of evil ,if we pray God will prevail. He has conquered evil. He’ll provide us the spiritual (and perhaps physical) tools we need to fight it, or He will battle it for us. Psalm 62:2 says:  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  

Paul tells the people of Phillipi: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (4:6) 

When we pray, I envision an invisible dome of mercy and power over us. We are shielded from the effects of this world. Bad things will still happen because we live in a post-Eden place. However, God is with us. He will either give us the strength to battle it, remove us from it, or make good out of it.

And the cool thing? A comes before E in the alphabet. So why would we not choose the first letter over the fifth one down the line? When evil threatens the parameters of your life, remember God the Almighty comes first.

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