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Archive for the ‘From My Heart’ Category

 

Matthew 12:25-26

25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?

How did the Church of America become so broken? How did we get to this place where we care more about our Sunday morning productions and many ministries than we do about truly loving each other? When did the Church become a business to be run? People are running from the Church in droves because we have become judgemental, cliquish and mean. Our pastors and church leaders have become selfish. If it isn’t done their way, then it isn’t done. If someone doesn’t agree with their way or their opinions then they are ostracized or defriended. Christianity has become a huge entertainment business and we have forgotten the ONE this whole business is centered around: JESUS! We are mean spirited. We run around gossiping, spreading rumors, tearing each other down and ignoring those we feel are somehow inferior to us. We stand behind our denominational lines and turn our noses up at everyone who doesn’t believe the way we do, because somehow we have gotten it into our heads that we are right and everyone else is wrong. Denominations are man made. WE have divided the church. WE have become so full of ourselves that WE fight against each other to have the biggest church buildings, the largest congregations (whether people are disciples or not doesn’t really matter, as long as they fill the pews), the grandest Sunday morning productions, the most ministries, etc. etc. The Church has become the vehicle to boost our egos. We think all of this is okay because we throw God in here and there. We teach Jesus, so isn’t that enough? Do we actually have to FOLLOW JESUS EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES? Isn’t giving a good biblical sermon enough?

WAKE UP CHURCH OF AMERICA!!!

We are creating broken hearts…broken spirits and if we don’t fix this NOW, this entire country will pay the price.

So, what is the solution?

A better question is:

WHERE IS THE LOVE?

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 John 3:16-18

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Colossians 3:12-14

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Mark 12:29-31

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Why aren’t we loving people to Jesus? Why are people leaving the Church in droves because they are being hurt inside the Church? We are not perfect. I know that. I certainly have done my fair share of hurting others, but Jesus expects us to love one another and not just other christians but EVERYONE! That’s how non-believers become believers…we LOVE them to Jesus. If we let go of our judgemental, selfish attitudes and started to love those in our congregations and our communities, we would unleash revival on America like we have never seen before. But, I don’t feel very loving.

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING!

LOVE IS ACTION!

GOD IS LOVE!

The more love you give, the more love you will be given. It starts with each christian, each pastor, each church leader, each congregation, in each city, in each county, in each state, to bring revival to a nation. It takes prayer, but it takes each of us being willing to obey Jesus and step out of our comfort zones and LOVE those around us. Reach out to the ones who are broken in some way by life. God will NOT answer our prayer for revival and spiritual awakening if we do not take action and start loving people to Jesus.

A REAL SPIRITUAL AWAKENING BEGINS WITH LOVE!

We CAN unite the Church of America.

We CAN bring God back to America:

It starts with you and it starts with me.

IT STARTS WITH LOVE!

GO OUT AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

 

 

 

 

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Where have you been?
I’ve looked for you for ever and a day
Where have you been?
I’m just not myself when you’re away

The above is the chorus of a hit 1980’s country song sung by Kathy Mattea. When I heard Where have you been? at work a few days ago, the chorus became more like a prayer:

Where are you, Lord?

I search and search and I still can’t find you.

Why have you left me?

I am deeply troubled without you.

My spirit longs for your presence.

Where are you, Lord?

Why have you abandoned me?

There are times when it seems that God has left me to navigate this world alone. I pray and pray, but it seems that God is just, gone. I feel alone. I feel like I have been left to handle my life issues alone. For years I cry out for relief from the oppression, but my prayers seem to fall on deaf ears. Does He hear me? Does He care? Does He know that the world seems to be crashing in around me? Does He care? I can’t do this alone. I am tired. I am weak. My source of strength has left me. My heart beat fades, until it beats no more.

My spirit cries out,

 I NEED YOU GOD!!!

I NEED YOU JESUS!!!

WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME???

In the stillness, I hear a whisper:

 I have not left you.

I love you.

You are my beloved child.

I am here.

I will never leave you

nor

forsake you.

My heart beats again. My spirit quickens with joy again. I am not alone. I cried out and He heard me. He wiped my tears gently. He whispered my name and calmed my fears. He loves me. I am alive, because He lives within me. I can conquer anything, because He is with me.

I’m just not myself when you’re away.

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As I read the events of the crucifixion of Jesus in John 19:1-30, I am overwhelmed by the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. These verses always have the same effect on me, a deep sense of gratitude for His love for me and a sense of sadness that I will never measure up to that level of sacrifice.

I was talking with my daughter, Cree, yesterday and she said something interesting. She said that when she and her co-workers talk about their families, she tells them that her mom is married to God. She tells them that I live for God and God alone. I have always felt called to religious life. I have always known that I was called to a deeper relationship with God. Maybe, that’s why my earthly marriage failed. I knew from early on that I had to live for God only. By giving myself wholly to God, maybe I can, in some small way repay Him for the enormous sacrifice He made for me. In my imperfect way, I am fully committed to Jesus, my Lord and Savior.

We can never love enough, do enough good deeds, or be good enough to get into heaven on our own. This is why Jesus died. Jesus died so that if we believe in Him and devote ourselves to living for him in this world that we will live with Him forever when this life is over. He wants our hearts. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to be one with Him, so that we can be His ambassadors in this world. He wants and expects nothing less than our everything. Doesn’t He deserve that for the sacrifice He made on the cross? I think He does. I am wholly devoted for life to being married to God.

This week I want you to read through John 19 and reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made so that you may live eternally with Him. What change can you make in your life to deepen your relationship with Jesus? What do you need to do to show that you are wholly committed to Jesus? How can you be an example of Jesus in this world?

Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life for us. He wants your everything and nothing less. How can you honor that request this week?

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Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

There have been times when I have felt frustrated at God’s “neglect” of answering a prayer that has been on my heart for some time. I feel that He does not hear me or simply does not care enough to answer. However, Neither one of those things is true. He wants us to be persistent in prayer.

He wants us to be like the persistent widow who went time and time again to the judge seeking justice against her adversary. I believe that she was desperate for justice, Desperate for an answer, and maybe even desperate for closure. But, the point is, she NEVER GAVE UP! She wore down that judge until he couldn’t take anymore and he gave her what she wanted. When I was 20, I applied at our local American Red Cross for a job to call people who had donated blood in the past to get them to donate again. The manager kept putting me off. I called every day or every other day for 3 or 4 weeks until he finally gave in. He finally gave me a job. He had told me that he thought I was too quiet for the job. I was there a year and there were a few months when I was the top recruiter. I needed a job and I wouldn’t give up. I wore him down. He knew that the only way he was going to get rid of me was to give me a job.

God wants us to be like that in our prayer time. The persistent widow was desperate for an answer. Are you desperate enough for justice that you bombard heaven day and night with your prayers? Are you desperate enough for an answer that you cry out to God with all of your heart? Are you desperate enough for closure that you leave God no other choice but to give you what you are praying for?  Don’t give up, even if it takes years for Him to answer. God’s timing is perfect. I don’t know why He takes as long as He does to answer some prayers. I don’t need to know. I just need to have the faith enough to keep praying and trust that He is at work in the situation. NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER QUIT PRAYING! The day you give up could be the day He planned on answering. God will answer and He will see that you get justice.

When Jesus returns, will He find you praying? Will He find faith in your prayer life? Will He find that you trust Him to answer no matter how long it takes? I hope I am that faithful. I don’t want to be the one who gives up right before the miracle. When Jesus returns, I want Him to find me faithful. Keep praying. Pray through, even if it takes 20 years before you get your miracle. Never Give Up! God will reward your persistence!

 

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Our calling

 

Matthew 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

The Purpose

I have lived my life wondering what my “purpose in life” is. I know I’m not alone in this. I think it is something most of us wonder about. It seems to be that ever elusive question, “What is the purpose of life?” I have spent years chasing my tail, running after this and that wondering if “it” was my purpose, only to be left discouraged and frustrated in the end.

So, What is our purpose in life? Our one purpose as humans is to have a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ. God does not want any to perish but to repent (2 Peter 3:9) and accept Jesus as the ONE and ONLY Savior.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior and make the decision to live for Him, we are given one further purpose: to make disciples. We read in Luke 19:10 that Jesus came to seek and save the lost and we are here for the same reason. We are here to share the Gospel of Jesus, make disciples, and teach new disciples to obey everything that Jesus commanded us. This is it. This is our purpose.

The Call

We now know what our purpose is. Next, we need to figure out how we are going to live that out in our daily lives. That is our call. Some people are called to full-time ministry and some people are called to secular jobs. We are all called to different types of work based on our spiritual gifts and skills. God has a place for each one of us. He calls us to different jobs and places so that ALL people will have a chance to hear the Word and accept Jesus as their Savior.

There are many times when God calls us to minister to others from our pain. If we have struggled with grief, poverty, a divorce, etc. God can call us from our pain and use that pain to bring others to Him. We have to be willing to let Him. We have to be willing to step outside of ourselves and trust God to take our pain and transform hearts through our obedience.

I also believe that our calling changes, as the seasons in our life change. As we grow and mature in Jesus, He calls us to different jobs and different places. What we were called to in our twenties, may not be what we are called to in our forties. Life has a way of changing us. And then there are those who have felt for a lifetime that they are working outside of their calling. That would be me. Working menial jobs, knowing that I was called to full-time ministry. Why would God give me this burning desire in my heart and never open a door to full-time ministry? I believe He is molding my character. He is teaching me to bloom where I am planted. Even if you work at McDonalds for now, allow God to use you to make disciples of those around you. You may be waiting (patiently or impatiently) for God to open a door to full-time ministry, but be faithful where you are now. Share the Gospel of Jesus where you are now and I guarantee that God will open the door in HIS timing. I know how hard it is. I’m still waiting. I faithfully write this blog. I love writing this blog. This is probably the one thing that gets me through the days I have to work. I try to be patient and I use the time to grow ever closer to my loving God, because I trust that one day He will open a door to full-time ministry with single moms.

We have ONE purpose: to make disciples. If you are living out your God-given calling, that is AWESOME! If you are working a job that you are merely existing at, waiting for that door to open, don’t give up! If you know what your calling is and are just waiting for an open door, use this waiting time to prepare yourself. Do your research on the field. Dig into the Word and pray, pray, pray. Don’t forget to use this time to make disciples where you are. Even if we aren’t living in our calling, God expects us to bloom where we are planted and that includes making disciples where we are.

When I start a blog post, I am never really sure where it is going to go. I start writing what God puts on my heart and let Him take over. Usually, what comes out teaches me more than anything. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes, because I now get what God has been trying to tell me. In my obedience I gain wisdom. Don’t you love how that works! I hope that in some small way, I have helped you gain perspective on why God does what He does. If you have any questions on your God-given call or need prayer to get through the waiting period, I am always here. fill out the contact form on my contact page or leave me a comment below. Just know that God has NOT abandoned you in this waiting time. He is simply molding you into the vessel He can use for something bigger. Be obedient in this time and He WILL open the door to your heart’s desire.

 

 

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grace

 

I am reminded in this holiday season of those who may be hurting. Christmas is a time that seems to bring our pain to the surface and there are those who don’t know how to deal with that pain, other than to hurt themselves. Broken hearts can feel like they will literally break in two. I know. I have been there. I know what pain feels like. You feel like you just can’t go on. The only way you feel you can cope is to hide in the bottom of a bottle of alcohol or stay lit up on drugs. Maybe, you feel like no one will ever accept you, so you hang out with people who lead you down the wrong road. Whether your pain is from childhood abuse or adult trauma, I get it. My heart has been ripped in two on more than one occasion and I have felt like going to sleep and never waking up.

I want you to know that God gives us the gift of grace. Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. God loves you, regardless of past mistakes or things that happened to you that were out of your control. If you have been abused, let it go. You were a victim and you have lived imprisoned in the shame for far to long. God loves you beyond what any words can express and He can heal your broken heart. Allow Him to start chipping away at that wall that you have built up around your heart and accept God’s gift of grace. God gives it freely, but you must accept it. It is your choice to accept God’s love and let that love wash over you and heal you. Accept the freedom from your past that only God can offer. LET GOD SET YOU FREE!

Don’t let the anger, bitterness, and shame keep you from living a life you were designed to live. You are one of a kind and you hold a very special place in God’s heart. Put down the bottle. Put down the drugs. Get away from those who are out to hurt you and surrender your pain to the one who truly loves you, God. Open up your heart and let go of the pain you have carried for so long. He is waiting. I know that God loves me and I am so glad that I let Him wash away the pain in my heart. I am loved. I am accepted. Not by the fleeting acceptance of people, but by God, who will never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:6). YOU are loved. YOU are accepted. Not by the fleeting acceptance of people, but by God, who will never leave you nor forsake you.

If you are feeling alone or simply need someone to pray with you, please contact me via my contact page. I would love to hear from you. I would love to pray with you. You are NOT alone, my friend. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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giving

 

I know that we are told that we are to tithe 10% of our income to the church. As Christians, we are bombarded with church leaders “reminding” us that it is our duty to tithe to the church. But, where do these tithes go? What does the church do with the money? Unfortunately, all too often, our tithes go into maintaining buildings, property, programs and salaries. Our tithes aren’t going where God intended them to go: to those in need.

The question is: Are we still under the law to tithe 10% or are we to follow the Holy Spirit and give as He leads? I am not saying that we are not to give. Jesus tells us to give generously. I just don’t believe that we are still under the law to tithe 10%.

The other question is: Are we required to give our tithes to the church?

The answer to the first question is in the following verses:

 

Galatians 5:18

18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Matthew 23:23

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

As Christians today, we are led by the Holy Spirit. We are not under the law, like the teachers of the law and Pharisees, in Matthew 23:23. We are to give as the Holy Spirit leads us to give. Be warned though, that the Holy Spirit often leads us to give more than 10%:

2 Corinthians 8:3

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 

They gave even beyond their ability. They gave entirely on their own. Yes, sometimes we are asked to give even more than we are able. Matthew 6:19-21 tells us:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I attended a church for several years and had questioned some of their practices. I had come to care about these people, but some of things being taught raised some red flags for me and what I believed to be biblical. I was sitting in our bi-monthly after service lunch and business meeting, when the subject turned to the church savings account and the amount $28,000. They were discussing a purchase or some such. They ultimately decided against the purchase so they could “store up their treasure” in case the roof leaked or the furnace gave out. Their decision was to keep saving for a rainy day. I was dismayed. $28,000 sitting in a bank account, being saved for a rainy day, when there were so many people in need that could have used some help. I attended another church right after they moved into their large, brand new church building. I was overwhelmed by the non-stop plea for money. The entire service was one giant commercial to support the church. I did not return.

My second question was: Are we required to give our tithes to the church?

I believe the following scriptures answer this question:

Matthew 19:21

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Acts 2:45

45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

Acts 4:32-37

32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need. 36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

I don’t believe we are under any obligation to give our tithes and offerings directly to the church. I don’t feel it is good stewardship of my money to give to maintain buildings, programs and to pay salaries, when Jesus made it clear that we were to give to those in need. I know that if church leaders actually read this post, I will hear about it, but God cares about people. The buildings could go up in flames tomorrow and what do you have left? You have people who still need to be cared for. Give to those in need. This is the most important thing.

These scriptures also, provide an answer for question number one. They tell us to sell our possessions and property to give to those in need. The early believers didn’t hold anything as their own. They gave as there was need, sharing EVERYTHING they had. They were not greedy. They were not selfish. They didn’t care about having the grandest church building or the most programs. The early believers cared about each other. They cared about everyone having enough. WOW! What a concept! Where is that spirit in the American church today? Unfortunately, almost non-existent.

If you are reading this post, I want you to feel the freedom from the guilt trip you may be under to tithe only to the church. I want you to be free from the guilt of having to tithe 10% and no less. Give as the Holy Spirit leads. What you give is between you and God and no one else. If the Spirit is leading you to tithe 10% to your church, then by all means, do so. I just know that there are many people who feel like I did. You aren’t sure what the truth is. I hope I’ve helped. If you still aren’t sure, do your own research. Dig into the truth, found only in the Bible. You can always contact me and we can search together. If you need prayer, I am always here to pray with you. My priority is that my readers know the truth of what the Bible says. You will ALWAYS find the truth here. That is my promise!  God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

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