Monday, January 24, 2011

I Might Make This A Daily Habit

I have been learning the last little while that praise is not a trivial thing, it is actually very important. There are many ways to demonstrate this truth as we see that God's pleasure is our reason for existance and that we are commanded to give thanks always.

I am STARTING to make this a habit by praising God in my blogs, I'm hoping it spreads to many areas of my life. I have also been enjoying singing and praising God in Church! And with a few friends, It isn't some optional thing that you should do once in a while or when something exceptionally awesome happens, praise should be your lifestyle! It is GOOD for us to praise God, read the book of Psalms! It talks about how good and pleasant it is, and it shows us what it entails.

My thought for today that I think may be helpful----

A lot of people get led astray into bad situations and confusing teachings because they are still looking and seeking for something that has actually already been found. I do not need to visit a special meeting necessarily, or read a new book, to find important, profound, life-changing, fulfilling truths! I can find my sustenance and spiritual health at home, by myself, on my knees, with the Bible. I don't need to look for a "2nd blessing" or an experience, or a vision---I have already received the blessing, I already have the Holy Spirit! I already have the presence of God, I already have the One who can provide my needs. I don't need to go seeking, He already found me, He provides!

We don't need "New" truths, we need faith and understanding in what has already been revealed. Jesus died for us, shed His blood, and rose again! In that, He provided ALL that we need. He provided forgiveness for sins, eternal life, Friendship, purpose, someone to go to in prayer, peace, the fruit of the Spirit and on and on! That is the good news. We have all we need. U dont need to have a vision, meditate, climb a mountain and meet a spiritual leader, put ashes on your head, sprinkle holy water, repeat the rosary, make a pilgrimage, give a gift, all you need is faith in the truth that has already been revealed-Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God.

God loves you, friend! Commit your ways to Him. Put your faith in Him. Love Him. Praise Him! Read His Word! God bless you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God has been Good to us

I can hear the words to an old hymn, and it sends chills down my spine, the words jump off the page of my Bible, the excitement builds when it's time to give testimonies or sing....I'm reading a book about spiritual truths and the illustrations leave me amazed...

And I know some people could hear the song, and just sit there, feeling numb, not sensing anything profound or important. Does this cause me to doubt the authenticity of my own experience? No. But it does make me sad. Very sad. And it makes me pray that all of us, myself included, could be more sensitive than ever to the voice of God's Spirit, and have our understanding of spiritual things opened. Who knows how many other blessings I have missed out on, just as I have seen others miss out. Wonderful things are around us, beautiful truths, things to be thankful for, profound lessons being taught, chances and opportunities to worship and edify, and many of them, we overlook completely.

Man, so much of it, I just don't quite understand, but even scratching the surface of it-the deep, spiritual truth of God's redemption-is awe-inspiring, and thrilling to the soul! I could sit and contemplate what He did for us on the cross for hours at a time, I could try to understand how He loves me, and knows me, and designed my life before I breathed my first breath for the next million years, and STILL not comprehend it all! The beauty of the universe, it's complexity, it's colors, it's patterns, the stars, light, time-I could spend a lifetime trying to understand, and not scratch the surface, and yet this CREATOR is GREATER than His incomprehensible creation! How amazing! How amazing God is!

First He gave me the gift of life, He lets my heart beat and no one can explain what keeps it moving,and He lets me take a deep breath and enjoy the air He has provided, but also, He allows me to experience spiritual life-to breath the very breath of God, to feel the wind of His Holy Spirit, to feel the peace of having my sins washed away in the Blood of Christ. Something, that many do not understand and have not experienced.

Even though I lose track of the most important spiritual truths and spend half the time worrying about the shallow things of this world, the fact is, I would rather have ONE moment of clarity and understanding in these spiritual mysteries than live a lifetime in purely physical prosperity. I am blessed, right now, far beyond what I could deserve or imagine on my own!

I have dreams, hopes, and desires for my life, nonetheless, right now, at this very moment, I already have so many things to be thankful for! I am blessed! I have been blessed! God has been good to me, and though God WANTS to do soooo much for you and fill you with such joy, if you're reading this right now, you too have ALREADY been blessed, as God has given you life, and breath and understanding, and an OPPORTUNITY, this VERY moment, to turn from your own ways, your sins, AND your self-righteousness, and trust completely in Jesus Christ the Saviour for forgiveness of sins, eternal life and Friendship and Unity with God Almighty! Jesus is the Son of God, the Saviour, the propitation, the sacrficie, the payment, for YOUR sins, ACCEPT His free gift and enter into a true relationship with the Eternal, Infinite, Kind, Loving, Wise, Almighty Triune God! What could be more exciting? Peace.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Love the Lord and the Lord Loves me! And if lovin the Lord is wrong, I dont wanna be right! LOL ;)

I have repeatedly tried to get it out just right, to get this "Off my chest" and I just can't seem to hit the nail on the head just so, I want to express my thanksgiving, my appreciation, I want to magnify God, and I can't find the words, but practice makes perfect and it can never hurt to try so here it goes again...

I don't have all the answers, I don't have it all figured out, but there arfe some thing I do know, really, there is ONE thing that I know, and that is that GOD IS Good! He is! Have you tasted and seen that the Lord is Good? I have! I have NEVER found the perfect Church, the perfect Pastor, the perfect family, the perfect example, the perfect friend, ther perfect 'religion,' the perfect Nation------But I HAVE found perfection. It isn't in the walls of your Church, it isn't in the love of your earthly family, it isn't in the knowledge of your education---it IS in CHRIST! I do not need a perfect Church, because I have a perfect Lord who uses our imperfections to help us grow, I do not need the perfect family because I have a Heavenly Father who knew me before I was conceived! I do not need a friend who never fails me, because my Best Friend can't fail! I don't need religion because I found God! I don't need your approval because I am accepted in His Beloved!

Have you been looking for a Church to save your soul? No wonder you're discouraged and upset, Church is a place to share your love for God with others, it's not meant to replace Him! Are you looking for fulfillment in your friends or lover and constantly being let down, betrayed, hurt? Understandable. You're asking a finite human being to help you with a problem that requires an Infinite Saviour to fulfill! There is only one answer, it is HIM! You and I, we are up and down, up and down, up and down, we can't count on anyone, not even ourselves. There is only One, Who is the same yesterday today and forever. There is only One who is Faithful. He is worthy of worship and praise. SO many human beings steal worship and praise, but are they worthy of it? Every politician or star that has ever been adored and admired is only a human, and can NEVER be worthy of the admiration so many give them. We make demi-gods out of celebrities, who are EXACTLY the same as us, they are not worthy of our adoration and worship---but is worshp wasted on Jesus Christ? No. Because He actually IS Worthy! He is worthy of ALL our praise, admiration, love, honor, respect, worship, gifts, trust, prayers, and devotion! No one else can compare to Him in Wisdom, sacrifical love, glory, Righteousness, Holiness, Beauty, Power, Compassion, Justice, and Wonder! It is high time that we give honor where honor is due!

To know Him is to love Him. Those who are baffled and bewildered by our Bible-thumping, it is because you've never met Him. He is not a statue on a cross, or a stained glass window, He is not a man in a robe who asks you to kiss his ring, He is not politician, He is not a celebrity, He is not a genie, or a santa clause, or some other cheap, fake caricature that we create to get what we want, He is the Almighty Creator, the One whose Mind conceived of our very existance, the one Who indeed said, "Let there be light" and there was light! And He is Light! And Truth! And Wisdom! And Life itself. HIS breath made Adam a living soul! His Word spoke the world into existance, His POWER holds the universe together! By HIM ...ALL things consist and in Him we move and have our Being! He knew YOU AND ME before we were born, He allows us to breathe, our hearts to beat, the sun to rise and give us light and heat and life! Without His mercy-where would the sun and the rain that give us food come from? If for one day He stopped the sun from faithfully rising and stopped the water cycles, we would all perish. So, even the lost of this earth are experiencing and benefiting from His grace and mercy every day!

I have experienced soooooooooooooo much religion in my life, but I have learned, repeatedly, to ignore religious muckety-muck and just know God. He is all that matters. If you run into some crazy lunatics who try to use the Bible or religious lingo to further their own agendas, don't sit there and get a bad taste in your mouth and then blame your own bad lifestyle on them---just shake it off and get ot know GOD for YOURSELF. NO ONE else can have a relationship with God for you, and no one else's behavior can be used as an excuse for your own walk.

I have been mistreated terribly in my life by reliigous lunatics, but ya know what? Who Cares! I do not let it effect me, as a matter of fact, I pity the people who treated me like trash, thinking they were serving God the whole time! What a sad awakening they may be in for if they don't repent! SO many peope walking around and strutting around acting like they know something about God, wouldn't know Jesus Christ if He walked up and shook their hand. Sadly, a lot of people that were once in authority over me, in the name of Christ, may not have even known the Lord themselves, NONETHELESS, EVERY Bible verse that they made me memorize as some form of punishment-worked to my advantage as I learned what the Bible was actually trying to teach me! So I THANK God for it!

I used to be soooo bitter about the Christian school I went to, because some of the people in authority were just plain old MEAN, even cruel. It made me so angry, I felt so victimized, but ya know what. I don't care anymore. And if any of them are sorry for their behavior, I forgive them. Did they do it JUST to hurt me? Who knows. Probably not. God will be the Judge, not me. I am done harboring that burden. I am letting it fall of my back and thanking God for anything that He used in that experience to teach me about Him and His Word.

More recently I have noticed that if you TRULY just follow what God reveals to you instead of religiosity, you WILL find MANY people from both sides of the aisle, will have a problem with you. Too BAd! The super strict, old school Baptists think I am liberal and the super liberal hippy-Christians think I am a legalist. But I couldn't care less these days. In the secular world, what is considered "Hip" or worldly as we would call it-is enforced thru peer-pressure, in the religious world, there are certain pseudo-religious rules and lingo and such that are also considered "Hip" and enforced by peer-pressure. Well, I REFUSE to exchange one form of peer pressure for another, so you will find that I am not going to be hip witht he secular or religiou world, and you will find that neither was Jesus. Jesus believed the law, yet the Pharisees hated Him. No one defended Him on the day of His crucifixion-not the religious or the secular, and it is the same with those today who follow after Jesus. You won't find yourself too popular in secular or religious, but WHO CARES!

The "High Priest" at the time condemned the TRUE HIGH PRIEST. And today, the same type of thing happens.

Christians spend so much time kissing up to each other and giving each other flattery and playing politics and using the right lingo---and if u don't use THEIR lingo they'll tell u ur talkin "Worldly" lol Well, God bless them and God bless their lingo, I don't have a problem with it, but I can't say I'm fluent in it either. I never could seem to master the pseudo-pious language or pray a flowery enough prayer, but it's all good, I think Jesus understands.

So, to rap it all up-if you don't know HIm, get to know Him-He is awesome and He loves you. If you do know Him, keep it ALL about Him, don't get rapped up in religious lingo, politics, gossip, or any of that. Go to CHurch for the right reasons, and don't be one of those people who depends on a Pastor to "Feed" you. Preaching is meant to enrich your diet, not to be the only time ya get into God's Word. If you spend time ALONE with God, you'll find that forty mins or so you are listening to your Pastor-you will get a lot more out of it. Peace.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back In the Saddle As They Say

You may have noticed, or you may not have cared, lol But I have toned it down quite a bit for quite some time on facebook and blogging because I got tired of always feeling like I have a bullseye drawn on my forehead. I can usually take it, but for some reason, the pressure of ppl talking about me, and judging me, and hating on me was bugging me. But, I can be nobody but me, folks. And there's no sense in hiding it either. This is who I am, and I can't change it so I'm just gonna go on being me, and if that just drives you batty-that is just not my problem! :)

I got tired of some fights. SO many fights aren't worth it. But when I have something I wanna say, that I believe, I'm going to say it!

And I know some folks, who've been in the same places and under the same instruction that I've been under over the years, that are so goofed up and forgotten their common sense, and somebody has got to speak up and say the truth, and that might as wel be me sometimes :)

We need to get our perspective back, some of us have been so eaten up with postmodern trash, that we don't even remember what it's like to THINK for OURSELVES! Just because we have tv, and computers, and facebook, and online news, doesn't mean that the 'media' is supposed to do our thinking FOR us. SO many people think the media IS reality, it isn't. So many people think what is on the screen is "More Real" than their actual lives. REALITY, is your LIFE, not what some talking head says in digital land.

SO many peope who once had level heads on their shoulders, are now under a spell, their minds are infected, and it is by many things. Some have traded in their common sense for some woman who now dominates their thinking, some have traded their common sense in for the approval of some college Professors, some have traded their good sense in for the approval of some bitter, gossiping group of trouble-making rabble-rousers. Whatever it is that caused it, so many people have just lost their good sense. And we need to get back to it! Get some perspective!

The best thing I can compare it to, is like someone being put under a spell. Lulled into complacency and confusion. When people start talking about not being so influenced by the media, etc. some folks think it's just silliness and paranoia, but so much of our time and energy has been forfeited to the system, to the entertainers, the social engineers, the so called journalists, the stars, etc, that all of the good, simple enjoyments of life are almost forgotten. And when somebody just talks and acts like a normal American, people look at u sideways like you're nuts

I'm thinking that in the next few blogs I write, I'm going to highlight some of the simple blessings of simple Christian living that may have been overlooked or neglected. I'd love to see your comments concerning each thing, Or even if you think of one to share, perhaps something that you personally remember enjoying when you were younger.....some of my favorite things that are part of the Christian American lifstyle are things like "Fellowship" We used to ALWAYS have a big crowd of people over to the house after Church, and we'd sit around and talk and laugh and tell stories, it was a regular occurence. I think that is done a lot less now by most than it used to be, but it is still a great time when we get the chance.

There are a lot of people making a lifestyle out of looking at the way some of us grew up, and making fun of it, critisizing it, and saying how superior we are now. lol But I think we had a better time actually BEING face to face than just putting up pseudo-pious and pretentious fb statuses.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

God is Good!

Sometimes I get a moment of clarity, where I realize some eternal, unchanging truths. Tonight, I had a moment :)

No matter what happens, God is good. Despite all the hopes and dreams that I have right now. I allready have led a life full of priveleges and things to be thankful for!

It does the heart good to look to God, to take a time out, to think about and talk about what HE is all about. Instead of praying about all my dreams and requests (which is fine to do), to just give a prayer of thanksgiving and acknowledgment of WHO God is! It's so hard to explain if you've never been there yet, but it's just like in the Psalms, when EVERYTHING that hath breath praises the Lord, when the trees and the waves and the rocks and the hills-praise the Lord, when the Heavenly Hosts praise the Lord, there is only one thought being considered-HIM. Not the situation, not how I feel, not where I'll end up, or how much money I make, or who likes me or dislikes me, not who is in office or power, not what year it is, what time it is, Just HIM, Eternal, Holy, Kind, Loving, Good, Just, Righteous, Merciful, Wise, Beautiful and Awesome! Never Changing! Faithful! And to think, that there is NOTHING that can change or threaten that truth, is a comfort beyond words. We may die or face sorrow, none of our dreams may come true, God forbid. But we WILL smile again, have eternal peace and contentment, satisfaction and joy, in Heaven! Sweet. And any of our dreams on this earth that do come true, and they often do, are a bonus! Which is pretty awesome!

Sometimes I have been afraid, or dissapointed, or depressed, even felt hopeless,..but ya know, every time, I've come out on the other side of it, as the Scripture says, Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning

That is the kind of thing I was thinking just now in my lucid moment :) God is good, all the time

And I get excited the more I think about Him. Especially because of the fact that I do not need to worry about Him changing or being fickle. I can't even depend on myself-I'm up and down so much, I'm glad He is not like us, It's awesome! Peace.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Old Time Stuff

I love reading old books. Some of the best books I have are my autiobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the personal letters of C. H. Spurgeon, the journal of David Brainerd, the memoirs of John Newton, and the Biography of D. L. Moody. Among others. One of the biggest things that I always get out of reading these books is less of a defeatist attitude and higher expectations out of myself. They give a fresh perspective. because, I see that in the old days, a lot of men held themselves to standards and did deeds that most of us wouldn't dream of even considering as reasonale or possible and yet somehow, they were able to do them! SO, if I think only according to the mentality of 2011 USA, I may never know certain joys and accomplishments that I may be able to achieve if I think a little more like Ben Franklin and a little less like Oprah lol

Today's mentality is mostly shallow. In a world, where technology seems to make the world full of new possibilities, people seem to think smaller and smaller and smaller, their world is smaller, their imaginations are smaller, their values and priorities are shallow as ever. And it is a strange atmosphere. I think of someone ingenious, like Benjamin Franklin, or someone with tireless passion and energy for the things of God, like D. L. Moody, and I'm willing to bet that the two of them would find much, much more to do and discover more possibilities, in today's day in age, with all the technology and opportunity than they even came up with in their own day! Just think how men changed the world, and caused a Revolution in the days of the press, and imagine how much they could have said and communicated with today's media! It's amazing to imagine!

I know not everyone has an ear to hear this one, but what I am basically getting at, is this, the old paths are the best paths, still! An old truism is an old truism for a reason, because it has withstood the test of time, and the ways of the old-fashioned and well-established are like that for a reason, theyre there because they're tried and true.

There's a lot of wisdom in the sayings of mom and dad and grammah and grandpa, and there's perfect wisdom in the Scripture verses you've read. We look for a new study, for what Oprah thinks, Ask Dr, Phil, Call Dr. Laura, lol read a new book, take a new pill, do a new experiment. I'm not saying to be romantic about the past and just think anything that's old must be good, but that which is old and tried and true, is worth knowing and practicing. And my biggest piece of advice to all readers is to read old books! Read David Brainerd, C. H. Spurgeon, George Mueller, Benjamin Franklin, John Newton, John Bunyan, and most importantly, the Bible. It will give you wisdom, that a lot of people today have simply forgotten about. We've all come under the postmodern spell of technology, entertainment and pop culture to the point where the simple things that life has to offer re neglected and all but forgotten. The wisest man that ever lived was Solomon, and he never had an ipod, or a pc, never read the New York Times, or went to an Ivy League College. Peace. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Shack Can Be A Mansion

I watched the Book of Eli. And Eli took this poor, post-apocalyptic girl and taught her how to "Pray, like old people used to do" SO here he is, here they are, in the midst of a world that has almost nothing, and he returns to this ancient, simple act of faith of praying for your meal, and he thanked God for this simple meal, and for the roof over his head---not a home, because it wasn't a home, it was just a shelter for the night. I think of the Apostle Paul, thanking God, from a prison cell,...I used to pat myself on the back and think I was reeal spiritual if I thanked God for my house, or for food or clothes etc. But then I realized that many ppl in the past, and even today in other places-are thankful and praising God just for any temporary shelter, or a warm night, or a small meal, or simply for their salvation. I never thought of myself as being spoiled. I'm not exactly rich by American standards, but the truth is, I am rich in many ways.  I have a lot to be thankful for, yet somehow, so many times, I lose my perspective. 

None of us are making as much as we did in the 90's anymore, I understand that. BUT, we gotta get some perspective too, its a few bucks, a few luxuries some of us dont have, big deal. We are still doing well, were still surviving, we got warm places to live, some food on our tables, freedom, etc. We are blessed!  

I know we have worries and concerns. I do, we all do. But so did Paul and all of God's servants. They didn't live 'carefree' lives, they had trials and troubles and persecution, constant tribulation But at the same time-they were thankful in all things. So, while I agree with most, who think we are most likely headed into perilous times, at the same time, I do not believe we should lose hope, or be in despair, or complain and be miserable. We have so much to be thankful for. We have so much to look forward to! We have a good God, who loves us and will never leave us. We have a country which affords us many great conveniences and physical luxuries. we have some money, I do not have my dream job, but I am thankful to have work, I want to find a better job, but I am glad to have a job and to not have to worry about surviving.

May God forgive me for taking so many blessings for granted, for complaining as I sit here with plenty while others are struggling to survive. I have so much to thank Him for!

I would rather have a place to live where people are nice, than live in a big mansion where people are discontent. I grew up in low-income apartments, we didnt have a lot of room in them or anything, but ya know, we were as happy as I can ever remember.

It is so hard to explain the simple joys of life to people who are shallow and eaten up inside by covetousness and materialism. 

Godliness with contentment is great gain. 

You know what would be sweet? Is if people just shared a little bit in the comments about how and what they are thankful about and just praised God! It's a good time! It's amazing what praising can do. Peace!