Monday, December 03, 2007

Did You Remember to Say Thank You?

Luk 17:11-19 (CEV)

On his way to Jerusalem, Jesus went along the border between Samaria and Galilee.

As he was going into a village, ten men with leprosy came toward him. They stood at a distance

and shouted, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"

Jesus looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." On their way they were healed.

When one of them discovered that he was healed, he came back, shouting praises to God.

He bowed down at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was from the country of Samaria.

Jesus asked, "Weren't ten men healed? Where are the other nine?

Why was this foreigner the only one who came back to thank God?"

Then Jesus told the man, "You may get up and go. Your faith has made you well."

Do you remember to say thank you to God when He blesses you? How about when He heals you of a sickness? What about when you get a new job or a raise or a promotion?

People are interesting. We'll want something for a long time- we've thought about it since the time we were a child, have vivid dreams about what we'll do once we get it and are impatient for it to show up in our lives. For example, you might want to get married. And you may have prayed diligently to God to send that perfect mate your way. You fasted, you prayed, you had other people pray for you and you waited. Finally, that man or woman arrives in your life! You date, get married, have a couple of kids and then you get bored. Or you get tired of the married life. Or you get tired of all the fights. Or you decide you didn't spend enough time dating. You go from thanking God for bringing your husband or wife into your life to asking for deliverance from your marital problems.

So you pray and fast about it. And you ask others to pray for you. And you wait. Until your spouse becomes incrementally better - where he wouldn't talk to you before, you two finally have a conversation. Where she wouldn't cook before, she finally tries her hand at a pot roast. Whatever the case is, things gradually get better. So gradually, that you fail to recognize - five or ten years down the line - that God answered your prayers. You were delivered from the difficulty you encountered earlier in your marriage. You two get along better than ever and you have become more mature and spiritually aware along the way. Did you remember to say thank you? Probably not.

People are interesting. We will wait for something for a long time. So long, in fact, that when it finally comes, we forget to say thank you. Half of gratitude is realizing what we have to be grateful for. If you have selective amnesia and can only recall bad things, you can't fully appreciate how far God has brought you. We forget the long days and nights we spent praying or fasting about something. We forget all the late night calls to our friends to pray for us. We forget being the first one in line at the church altar for weekly, daily or even hourly prayer.

Why do we forget? It's usually because of this: When things finally work out for us (and they usually do), the answer either comes in a form we don't expect or it takes more time than we expect it to. When one or both of those things happen, we fail to recognize the significance of what we are seeing. We don't see that we have been healed. We don't see that we received the answer to our prayers. If you asked for financial prosperity and it took you 10 years to land the job you really wanted, all you can see are the bills, the pain in the neck your co-workers are and how much your boss gets on your nerves. You've failed to see the blessings that God has brought into your life. You've failed to see that you received exactly what you asked God for. Then, you forget to thank Him.

I'm not saying your life is perfect. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement. I'm not suggesting you have the perfect husband or wife, the job you want or the car you feel entitled to have. But I am saying that if you are a child of God, He has brought many blessings to your life. He has given you much of what you asked for, even if it didn't happen the way you thought it should have or when you thought it should have. You should spend more time thanking God for what He has already given you than focused on what you still want. After all, if He's given you so much already, why wouldn't He be willing to give you more?

What have you forgotten to say thank you to God for today?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What's It Really All About?

I ponder this question a lot to myself, during my Bible study and my prayer sessions with God: What is this Christian walk really all about?

Why do we do it? Why is it so important for us to be close to God? What, really is the point?

Well, here it is in a nutshell: We become Christians to save ourselves from a life of sin and hell. After we commit our lives to God, we experience many things (both negative and positive) that go into shaping us into the strong men and women of God He would have us to be. Once we've become those people, He uses us to minister to other people.

That's pretty much it. Along that journey you are confronted with the two most important commandments: to love God with all your heart and to love others as you love yourself. You usually get to learn that in the formative stages of your Christian development. And you go through a lot of trials, tribulations and problematic situations designed specifically to teach you virtues like love, patience, longsuffering, humility, etc. Whatever your issue is, God has a remedy in the form of a situation especially tailored to effect maximum change in you.

But it is all for a purpose. We are meant to be in fellowship with God. We feel incomplete without His presence in our lives. As we develop our relationship with Him, He teaches us about love and expects us to share that love with other people. Once we have developed to a certain level in our spiritual walk (and that level is different for everybody), we should be helping another person in some form, shape or fashion. We are to use the gifts He has given us for the benefit of other people.

And that's what it's all about.

Don't believe me? Here are some scriptures for reference:

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.(KJV)

Jam 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.(KJV)

1Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.(KJV)

1 Corinthians 12:5-10 There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do. The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. (CEV)

And, here is a good one:
2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (KJV)

So what do you think it's really all about?

Monday, November 12, 2007

God's Thoughts of You

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

I think a lot about the above scripture. In this scripture, God is talking through the prophet Jeremiah to His people who have been captured in Babylon. They were not to be released for another 70 years and were losing hope, hurting and feeling lost and bereft without their God. In Jeremiah 29, Jeremiah offers advice and comfort to the Israelites and reminds them of these most important words of the Most High God - "I know the thoughts that I think toward you...thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you an expected end." What does that mean - an 'expected end'? The Contemporary English Version of the Bible translates this phrase to "a future of success." Isn't that amazing - God was promising the Israelites that they were in His thoughts and telling them He knew what the future held for them - success and, by association, spiritual and financial prosperity.

And that's what you can take away from this scripture today - that you too are in God's thoughts and He has an 'expected end' for you. He means good things and not evil towards you. He wants future prosperity and success for you. That you are not forgotten, overlooked or alone.

Just remember - God is thinking of you - right now - and His thoughts towards you are good.

God Bless

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Help - Time Crunch Overload!

One of my readers, Ms. Regina, asked me the following question:
why have you not posted since the end of August?

Well, Ms. Regina, I apologize for not having posted anything to my blog since August. The truth of the matter is that I attend school full-time (as well as work full-time) and that has taken a big chunk out of my previously free time (school has). Also, I've (finally!) started writing my first book, which will be completed some time next year. Oh - and did I mention I decided in a very brave moment to start training for a full marathon next year? I even ask myself - what were you thinking?

All of this, however, does not excuse the fact that I should have devoted more time to getting my blog posts together. I've finally integrated blog writing posts into my new schedule (am I the only Palm Pilot fanatic?), so I should be on track to post at least twice a month beginning this weekend. To help me with that, I've decided to let one of my other blogs go and focus on what's really important - this blog and my home christian ministry page. Last but not least, God seems to be sending my ministry in another direction, so I'm trying to stay on point with that. However, I really, really miss you guys and your comments, so I can't wait to get back on track so I can hear more of your thoughts and visit your blogs!

And, in that vein, here's something you all can help me with - does anyone have any good time management/organizational tips? I have this tendency to think that I can do it all and overschedule myself regularly. Do you suffer from this 'illness' as well? If so, how you handle it? Though I do not yet have children, I find my days filled with work, homework, working out, laundry, housecleaning (ugh!), social commitments, business travel, meetings, etc. Not to mention my internet surfing time, my gloriously obsessive reading habit, the time I spend catching up on all my favorite shows (especially anything on the History Channel), commute time, etc., etc.

All this is probably way more than you want to know about my life, but somehow I feel better sharing, so thanks for listening :)

So if any of you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!

Thanks in advance :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Art of Holiness

"For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy..." Lev 11:44

What does God mean when He asks us to be Holy? I only ask because, of late, it is a question that has occurred to me. Most Christians I know fall into one of two categories: they are either 'too holy' or 'not holy enough'.

The 'too holy' Christians quote scriptures any time you ask them for advice, wish everyone a 'blessed' day and talk about how 'blessed' they are, call on the name of the Lord loudly and regularly, send you 'Christian' emails, post Christian sayings on their desks and instruct Satan to 'get thee behind' whenever anything isn't going their way. The 'too holy' Christian often comes with a bad case of a holier-than-thou attitude, is very judgmental, strait-laced and morally uptight.

On the other hand, you'd be very hard to identify the 'not holy enough' Christian as a Christian at all - he or she curses regularly, drinks with the best of them, has one or two significant others, loudly and publicly discusses his or her love affairs and dresses and conducts himself or herself exactly like everybody else. If you are lucky enough to be driving down the right street at the right time on a Sunday morning, you might see this person sneaking guiltily into church service - which is probably the only indication he or she is a Christian (or, at the very least, a spiritual seeker).

Luckily, however, there is a third category of Christian believers. This type of Christan seems to actually have figured out what God meant when He asked us to be 'holy'. According to Strong's Concordance, the 'sanctify yourselves' in the above scripture means " be clean (ceremonially or morally): appoint, bid, consecrate, dedicate, defile, hallow....proclaim, purify..." And 'holy' means "sacred (ceremonially or morally)...(noun) an angel, a saint, a sanctuary..." When we think of 'holiness', we mostly think of the airs we put on to convince others we are truly living the Christian life. The third type of Christian actually is 'holy.' They consecrate (set themselves apart) in the service of God. They seek to please Him with their actions. They 'clean' themselves through regular prayer and repentance, seeking to absolve themselves of the sins that are committed by each of us every day.

This third category of Christian is 'sacred' to God - they live at a higher standard than the rest of us. They take God's commandments seriously and search their hearts regularly to see if their actions are in accordance with His Word. They are led and guided by the Holy Spirit and take heed to His admonishments to watch their language, guard their hearts, pray for others and take on the burdens of others. They don't necessarily visibly display their 'sainthood' by the wearing of specific garments or religious icons, but their actions, demeanor and speech reflect their deep moral convictions. They embody the very qualities of God. As Jesus said in John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." They are known by their love for God and by their love for other people. This is what it means to be holy.

Holiness is a state of being. Being holy means a lifelong commitment to purification, renewal and communion with God.

God asks that we be holy. It is only reasonable that we be obedient to His command.

God Bless.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hedge of Protection

Job 1:10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

You know how you are always expecting your mom to understand you best? How you expect your husband or wife to be faithful and loyal to you to the end? How you think your friends will always be in your corner and have your best interests at heart? Or how you expect your dad to be the first one out to help you change your tire when it goes flat?

Aren't we all just looking for that hedge of protection around us? For women, we usually dream we'll finally be 'safe' when we meet the man of our dreams, get married and have children. We picture the house on the hill, the pretty garden we will have and a loyal and faithful man who comes home at 6:00 pm on the dot, plays with the children and makes love to us in the privacy of our bedrooms.

For men, they usually find their safe haven in the things that they own or how many women they can pull. As long as they are making a good income, driving a fancy car and can talk some woman into going home with them, life is good.

But what if you don't have those things? What happens when your spouse is unfaithful, your car gets re-possessed or you no longer have a job? Where is your security then?

We all believe that somewhere, or with someone, we will find protection. We will find a place or assume an identity that conceals our childish fears of being alone or being unhappy. For those of us that are blessed with warm and loving relationships with our parents, we suffer untold agonies at their passing wondering, how will I go on?

Here is the sad and painful truth of it all: there is no safety, no security and no hedge of protection with anybody but God.

Let me say that again: There is no man, no woman, no mother or father who can shield you from the pains and fears of life. No one is going to come and rescue you to get you out of that rut, out of that chair, help you to lose 10 pounds or find the life of your dreams. It's all up to you.

We often pray and ask God to place a 'hedge of protection' around this person or that as they struggle or experience the problems that come with living this life. But I don't think we understand what that really means.

See, in the book of Job, Satan was unable to get close to Job because God had placed a 'hedge' around him. Strong's Concordance says that 'hedge' means

A primitive root; to entwine, that is, shut in (for formation, protection or restraint): - fence. (make an) hedge (up).

Do you get that? That hedge was to 'shut' Job in for his 'protection.' In no other place in the Bible does God use the hedge analogy to describe a relationship other than the one He has with his people. In other words, God has not promised you that your mother will be your hedge of protection. He has not promised you that your father will be your hedge of protection. He has not promised you that your husband, wife, son, daughter, pastor, friend or neighbor will be your hedge of protection. For that matter, He did not promise you that your job, your figure or your good looks would be your hedge of protection either.

The only true place of safety; the only true place of refuge is in God.

Reflect on this as you ponder the rest of your day:

Psa 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psa 27:2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

Psa 27:3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Psa 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

Psa 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Psa 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

God is your only Source of protection. In Him you will find refuge, peace and safety.

Today - I wish you protection in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Good Enough

As I was logging in my calories for the day, recording how much exercise I'd gotten this week and tracking my other various goals, I had to stop and wonder - how do you know when what you are doing (or who you are) is Good Enough?

Is it Good Enough to attend church once a week or does it only count if you go to Bible Study, too? Is it Good Enough to get the recommended 30 minutes per day of exercise, or are your efforts worth only if you are training for a 5K? Is it Good Enough if you are happily single or do you only get points if you are Happily Married?

What does being Good Enough mean to you?

For me, being Good Enough involves a plethora of goals, benchmarks and daily habits. I won't bore you with all the things that prop up my weary self-esteem, but suffice it to say they are many and varied. Nights are spent conducting post-mortems on my day - what did I accomplish today? How close am I to my goals? What can I do to improve for tomorrow? Days are spent playing catch-up - sure I'm spiritual, but Sister Girl down the street goes to church way more often than I do. I make good money at work, but the guy down the hall makes at least $5000 more than I do. Do more, I think. Work harder, I repeat. What you are doing is not.....Good....Enough!!!

Do you ever feel this way?

So, as often happens during my neural overloads, I calm down, clear my mind and go to God in prayer. And, as always, He directs my thoughts, helps me to see further and makes me realize (yet again) the utter futility of judging myself by the world's standards.

He reminded me that He sees value in me. He shows me that the things that are important to Him are not the same as what the world considers important. Sure, He plans for me to have blessings and financial prosperity, but that is not the focus. The point is to DO HIS WILL. And in that will I find my worth.

And, for the first time, I saw the hidden meaning in Psalms 139:14. "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." I always thought that David meant that he was physically well made, but I finally saw that it wasn't all physical at all: God had made David "fearfully and wonderfully" SPIRITUALLY. While we are busy trying to achieve things here in the corporeal world, God is judging us by the quality of our spirits. He made us in His unique, wonderful, majestic image - spiritually. Our physical beings were mostly an afterthought. When God created us in His own image, He did so spiritually first.

And God's idea of Good Enough? It starts with that beautiful, wonderful spirit He created in each of us. He wants us to be spiritually developed, which should overflow into the physical realm. God's idea of Good Enough is us utilizing what He has given us to do the things He has called us to do. And that's Good....Enough.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Self-Destructive Behavior

What is self-destructive behavior? According to, self-destructive behavior can be defined as:
...behavior in which one has a tendency to do harm to oneself, either as a direct or indirect result of their actions; frequently marked by impulse, but also includes chronic, injurious behaviors. (Click here for reference)

It seems counter-intuitive that we would want to hurt ourselves, but our addictions to drinking, taking drugs, cutting, overeating and sexual promiscuity make it clear this is not the case. I'm sure you have either engaged in self-destructive behavior or know someone who has.

Why do we do it? From a spiritual perspective, it is clear that we have been targeted by an enemy that is out to do us harm. And, sometimes, the best way he can harm us is through ourselves. The Bible says, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...(John 10:10)." We don't like to think of the demonic influences in this world, but they are real. If you belive in angels, you have to believe in their counter-force: demons.

The reason I mention this is because we tend to think that everything we think originates within ourselves. We think we are the captains of our own fates, shepherders of our own destinies and holders of the keys to the kingdoms. What's surprising to note, however, is the amount of influence Satan has over our thoughts and words. Jesus recognized Satan's influence when Peter berated him for talking about his upcoming crucifixion. The Bible says, "Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:22-23)" Isn't it interesting that Peter thought he was saying a good thing, but it turned out to be a sign of demonic influence?

So are many of our actions and thoughts. Satan uses our thoughts to influence us in what we think and how we behave. As noted above, the 'thief' wants to kill, steal (your destiny, your joy, etc.) and destroy you by whatever means possible. It's much easier when we already have negative thoughts and inclinations (due to childhood traumas, low self-esteem, depression, etc.), but he will also send his minions to throw a little more gloom on an already gloomy day. You know how you seem to get thoughts from nowhere, but seem to make so much sense when you're down? Like, you'll be feeling low, contemplating a donut or two or three (or at least I do!) when you'll hear a voice that says, "Go ahead, eat it. It doesn't matter what you put in your body. You're never going to lose weight anyway." Or you decide that you don't want to get out of bed and that voice comes again to agree with you, saying, "Going to work is pointless. You hate it there. Nobody likes you and you don't like them! Stay home, relax. Don't even bother to call in." Or, in the worst cases, when someone you loves does something you feel is injurious and you heed to that voice that says, "She doesn't really love you. If she loved you, she wouldn't treat you that way. Women can't be trusted. You should just leave her. But first tell her what you can't stand about her. Hurt her the way she is hurting you." And you find yourself telling your best friend/partner off without even realizing why you're doing it.

Sure, many of those voices probably developed as a result of your bad experiences, but Satan will definitely use those things to speed up your demise. If he can leave you hopeless, alone, isolate you or help you fall into depression, he is more than happy. And if you start to drink, start taking drugs, find someone else's life to ruin, cut yourself or start to contemplate suicide, he's even happier.

How do you combat the enemy's influence? The Bible is very clear about the protection God affords His people. It says (in Ephesians 6:10-18 (CEV)):
Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong.
Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil's tricks.

We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.

So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God's justice protect you like armor.

Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet.

Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Let God's saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God's message that comes from the Spirit.

Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people.

You have to stay close to God. Read His Word. Pray always. And allow His thoughts influence you and your behavior. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you and focus in on the positive affirmations and promises that God has for you. Don't allow Satan to influence you more than God. The Bible says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)" Satan does not have unlimited power - he is only as powerful as you allow him to be in your life. Finally, I leave you with the words of Jesus:
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Men: Make Your Valentine's Day Special!

Okay - I am admittedly not a big Valentine's Day fan. Mainly because I feel it has become too commercialized and more about what you get than celebrating your significant other.

But I'm always interested in opportunities to express love.

So, gentlemen, here is how to make your Valentine feel special all year long:

Call when you say you're going to.

Call just to say hello.

Tell her she's beautiful - for no reason.

Compliment her on what she's wearing.

Say what you mean - or don't say it.

Be honest, but not cruel.

Tell her what's on your mind (really).

Listen to her tell you what's on her mind.

And, finally - let her know that she is the only one. The one you love. The one you cherish. Make her feel special.

Simply put: love her all year round.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

How Does a Person Find God?

An anonymous reader posted this question the other day on this blog:

“I only have one question. How does a person find God? I admit I don'T attend Church like I should and I am ashamed to say that when I do I feel empty. I need some serious help.”

Here is my response:

Thank you for your question. I’m so glad you want to be closer to God!

Here’s what you should do:

Become a Christian

Are you a Christian? By that, I mean, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? In order to become a Christian, you must accept who Jesus is, what he has done for you and allow him to be the Lord of your life. The Bible says, in Romans 10:9, “So you will be saved, if you honestly say, "Jesus is Lord," and if you believe with all your heart that God raised him from death.” That means you accept that Jesus died on the cross for you so that all your sins might be forgiven. And you must believe that he was resurrected by God. (You can read more about this here). If you are ready to accept Jesus as your Savior and become a Christian, then please do so now. Or if you already are a Christian, trust that you are ready to begin a deeper relationship with God.


If you are a Christian (or have just become one), the next thing you need to do is spend time with God through prayer. You will never get to know God if you don’t spend time with Him. Just like you invest your time in your family, your friends or your significant other, a good relationship with God means spending time. Dont' make it too hard on yourself - just talk and be prepared to listen. Talk to Him about what’s going on in your life. Let God know what your concerns are - openly and honestly. And be prepared to hear Him 'speak.' And how does God speak? Read this posting - How to Hear From God - to get some insight. Make sure you make time in your life to hear from God.

Study the Bible

The Bible is a way for God to let us know what’s on His mind. It covers the early days when He interacted with His people (the Old Testament), lots of rules, laws and regulations and then goes on talk about Jesus Christ (the Gospels) and the work of Jesus's apostles (the rest of the New Testament). It’s interesting reading, to say the least. By reading the Bible, you will get a much better idea of who God is, what He expects from you and how He operates. As an added bonus, you will be able to hear from God much more easily - you now speak His 'language' so to speak. By reading the Bible, you have discovered what He wanted you to know about Him, His promises to you, His ways and how He communicates to human beings. It's also important to know the Bible, because it will form the foundation of your understanding. Everything that you hear, read or experience will now be compared to what the Bible says. In this way, you will be able to determine the truth for yourself. I can't emphasize enought how important it is that you obtain knowledge about the Bible for yourself. People can tell you anything, but once you know, then you’ll always know – for yourself! Read the Bible to understand God better, to be able to communicate with Him better and to be able to discover the truth in your own life.

Consider going to church.

You can learn a whole lot about God from prayer and study, but going to church should help you accelerate this process. The pastor should be able to help you understand the Bible in new ways. It’s always a good idea to learn from people who know more about God than you – and there will always be someone who knows more than all of us about the Bible. You would benefit from having a teacher or a spiritual guide and be under the leadership of a good, solid church where they teach you the Word (the Bible). Bypass all the fanfare and hoopla and look for a place where you feel at home and where you feel you know more when you left than when you arrived. That place is out there for you.

If you are absolutely opposed to attending church, there are a lot of good ministries and support groups online as well. I would still say, however, that going to a brick and mortar church would be a good idea because, in addition to learning more about God and the Bible, you would get to know other Believers better. You will (hopefully) get to know other Godly people and be able to share your thoughts, doubts and struggles with them. Other Believers can offer support, affirmation and love and these are all very, very important things to have as you learn what it means to lead a Godly life and try to live your life a better way.

Trust the Holy Spirit

I would advise you to trust the voice of the Holy Spirit throughout this process. The Holy Spirit's specific role is to lead and guide you in daily living. (Read more about the Holy Spirit here and here .) The Holy Spirit is not a 'presence', a 'feeling' or a 'thing' - He is a person! He is, as my pastor says, God with us. Which means He is the little voice we hear in our ear when we are steadfastly trying to do the wrong thing, telling us not to do it. Or the twinge in our conscience reminding us to be kind to others, to call our mothers or to spend more time with our kids. He is the one fillng you up with positive messages, trying to keep you on the right path and helping you in your studies as you grow in the Lord. And the good thing about the Holy Spirit is that the more you listen to Him, the more He speaks! He will help lead and guide you through many tough situations in life and comfort you when you are down. You will come to depend on Him as you never have been able to depend on a person before. A relationship with God (and His Holy Spirit) is truly a beautiful thing!

The best news of all is that as you seek God, He will be making Himself available to you! He loves it when we try to become closer to Him! Seek Him and you will find Him.....

I promise.

Please let me know how your journey goes (or if you have any other questions) and I will be praying for you every step of the way.

God Be With You

Related Posts:

How to Hear From God
Getting Closer to God

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Why It's Important to Believe...

In my last posting, I asked you what you believed. Now I want to talk about why it's important to believe. This won't be a warm and fuzzy version of why being a Christian is a good thing (I covered that in The Benefits of Loving God). This is not to say that there aren't a lot of positive benefits about being a Christian, however, there are also a lot of other very compelling reasons it's important to be a believer. Not to scare you or make you apprehensive, but:

The world is not becoming a better place. Every day, we see new evidence of 'man's inhumanity against man' - wars in all parts of the world, murder, genocide, drug use, and abusive behavior of all kinds. War is tearing up parts of Africa, sectarian violence is causing lives to be lost in Iraq. Our soldiers are losing their lives defending U.S. interests in other countries. North Korea and Iran are threatening the world with their nuclear weapons postures.

Not to mention other situations of growingconcern like the AIDS epidemic, famines and droughts and effects of greenhouse gases on our environment. In America, we have our own set of problems. Sure, we live in one of the most advanced countries in the world, but what has it brought us? A life of gluttony, overindulgence, soaring crime rates and a growing gap between the haves and have nots. The preliminary results of the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for January - June 2006 indicate that a whole, law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation reported an increase of 3.7 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to their attention in the first half of 2006 when compared to figures reported for the first six months of 2005. The violent crime category includes murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Natural disasters about. China Daily says, "Natural disasters last year took the heaviest toll on lives since 1998...Ministry of Civil Affairs figures show natural disasters, such as typhoons, floods, landslides, mud-flows, hailstorms and earthquakes, claimed 3,155 lives in 2006, a quarter more than the previous year." The International News reports, "Major cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad were in great danger of receiving earthquakes in the future..." And we can never forget the devastation caused by Hurricana Katrina.

Things are not getting better. And, with the confluence of all these events, I realize that many of the signs indicating we are nearing the end of our time here on earth are now present. The Bible is quite specific about what we are to expect during the end times. Matthew 24:6-14 says:

And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.

But all these things are the beginning of travail.

Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for my name's sake.

And then shall many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another.

And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray.

And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold.

But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.

You can't help but to see the similarities between those predictions and worldwide conditions today. And - contrary to popular belief - Christians are not blind or naive. We simply know the Truth - that being in the arms of a Loving God is the safest place to be. Bush can't guarantee our safety. Nor can our guns, our house alarms, our local police departments or the air bags in our car. David says it best in Psalms 23:4:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Safety can only be found with God.

And that is why it is important to believe.

Related Posts:

The Benefits of Loving God
The AIDS Virus is Killing the African-American Community
About the Sexual Revolution

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What Do You Believe?

So what do you believe about God?

Do you believe He is present and active in your day-to-day life?

Or do you see Him as a more distant Life Force or Guide?

Perhaps you don't believe in Him at all....

In any case, the reason I ask is that I am learning more and more about what people commonly believe about God. As a somewhat traditional Christian (I believe in a personal and active God, the Trinity and salvation offerred through the death of Jesus Christ), I was fairly shocked to discover most Americans who say they are Christians do not subscribe to traditional Christian beliefs. Let's take Deists for example. Deism is defined as follows:

Deism is a religious philosophy and movement that became prominent in England, France, and the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. Deists typically reject supernatural events (prophecy, miracles) and divine revelation prominent in organized religion, along with holy books and revealed religions that assert the existence of such things. Instead, deists hold that correct religious beliefs must be founded on human reason and observed features of the natural world, and that these sources reveal the existence of one God or supreme being.*

In other words, Deists believe that God exists, but don't believe that God interferes in the human experience through supernatural events or displays of His powers. Deists are closely aligned with Modernist thinkers who believe that the world can be discerned and understood through reason and logic.

Interesting, to say the least. However, noting the remarks made by friends, family and the like, I've come to the understanding that most people believe in God, but don't believe He is capable or desirous of intervening in human affairs. This thinking was particularly poignant around the time of 9/11. If God could truly do miracles, the thinking went, why didn't He save the passengers of the three planes that were taken over by the terrorists? Why didn't He miraculously save those who perished in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Why would He allow such tragedies to occur?

I can honestly say that I don't know. I do know, however, that people die in tragic circumstances around the world every day. The conflicts in Africa, the killing and sectarian violence that occur daily in Iraq, and the lives taken by the drug cartels in South America are good examples of such. It's just funny how many of us only began to question the powers of a Sovereign God when tragedy struck right here on our home turf. But that's a subject for another posting.

Today I am only interested in you. What do you believe about God?

I'm looking forward to hearing your responses!

Deism. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved January 02, 2007, from website:

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