Ramblings of a Poet Has Been Published!

21 Aug

One of my articles was picked up by Keep The Heart e-magazine!

This Christian ladies magazine is a brand new publication. The article was found in their 3rd of 4 issues to be published this year.

Because it is so new, it is currently only an online magazine, but the author has an incredible offer!  If you subscribe now, you will only pay $8 for the whole year’s subscription!

That means, you will get the 3 past issues and the last one this coming November.

I sincerely urge you to subscribe! This magazine has deep, “meaty”, spiritual articles that keep my spirit full. I always learn at least ONE thing! Take advantage of such an amazing offer :) Buy it for friends and family members you think would benefit from such a publication.

The more subscribers, the more magazines Mrs. Francie Taylor can produce!

The Positive Effect

23 Jul

 positive-attidtue

The Positive Effect

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 

In our media-frenzied, social networking world today, hearts are open and vulnerable to the satanic attack of “depression”. I’m not talking about the real, chemically imbalanced disease that can affect some people, but more of an attitude that has plagued  millions.

Hollywood encourages us to turn within ourselves to find and release our “positive energy”. Psychologists force us to trudge through past hurts for a second chance to “fix” them.

God, however, offered us the entire Bible from which to draw refreshing encouragement — a bottomless well of promise and hope.

At one point in our lives we can all look back and see a time where we would have labeled ourselves as “depressed” or “unhappy”. Something in our life did not turn out the way we had hoped, or we experienced a great loss. Someone may have hurt us or we made a decision of regret. No matter the source of our pain, we had to make a single choice: to focus on the negative or focus on the positive.

It’s no secret that happy people are generally positive people. Most believe optimistic attitudes are a byproduct of one’s internal happiness, but that couldn’t be any more backwards. Happy people must consciously and continuously make the choice to be positive. Nothing in life will go our way 100% of the time. How we first respond to trials will mostly determine our attitudes about the situation. Choose to focus on the positive.

Why is choosing the positive outlook always so difficult? Well, pain hurts and our natural response is not a good reaction. Take the time to grieve, but don’t let it consume you. Choosing to let go and be happy doesn’t diminish any hurt or loss, but it will certainly make it more bearable and you will have a clear mind. Put your trust in the strength of the Holy Spirit and He will give you the power you need to move on.

Choosing to let go and be happy doesn’t diminish any hurt or loss

A few days after my 20th birthday, on Father‘s Day, my grandfather passed away. He and I were incredibly close, as he was with all of his grandchildren. He was the glue that held our families together; a tremendous leader who loved us all unconditionally. His passing hurt us deeply and, as a family, we were no longer a unit.

Death in any situation is never easy and it can destroy those left behind. If I had not had the power of the Holy Spirit within me to keep me focused on the good part of his life, I wouldn’t have ever moved on. I had to focus on the fact that he was rejoicing in Heaven with the God he loved so much. He was running those golden streets no longer in pain. Though it was not immediate, eventually I was able to let go.

I didn’t let go of him or his memory, but I let go of the hurt attached to him.

 “Oh give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34

God loves us so much he sent his Son to die for our sins. If He was willing to make that sacrifice for our eternal souls, don’t you think He cares about us while we are here on earth? Satan knows if he can keep us unhappy and focused on the negative, we will be rendered useless for the work of God. We won’t desire that wonderful relationship with our Creator. Satan will convince us that happiness will never be attainable. He will keep us miserable in the darkness.

Don’t be an easy target. I read the back of the Bible, and we know that Satan loses. I want to be on the winning side. It isn’t always easy, but a happy spirit is a choice we must make every day. Practice focusing on the good and experience the joy the “positive effect” will bring to your life.

How to Be a Good Dad

15 Jun

Dad and Fiona

Written by my own father, Rick Varnum

More about the author at the end

When I sit down to write a Father’s Day sermon, I’m torn between either preaching to the sons and daughters and how they should honor their father, or preaching directly to dads. When I was younger, it was much easier to preach to the children than to fathers simply because I felt I didn’t have a vast amount of experience as a dad. I was sure the older men would look at me and smirk, knowing that one day I’d see things differently.

But now that I’m old and have raised (yes, I know the word is “reared,” but nobody uses that word so get over it) my share of children, I look back and realize that I should have preached more to dads. The Biblical message to dads is pretty clear cut, and I don’t need a lot of space. God commands us to be good dads, and though I do see quite a few good dads out there, I’m saddened by how many men stink at Fatherhood.

Let’s be honest. This is a short piece about how to be a good dad, and we all know what we would like to see in a man who has that title. Here, let’s list a few:

We’d all like to see dads spend more time with their children, live moral lives, be good providers, be good role models, and be more responsible. I’m not going to harp on these because these are the easy ones. If a father can’t do the things that come naturally even to an unsaved man, how is he going to do the difficult stuff?

When my first child was born, no one had to tell me to be more responsible. As a matter of fact, a huge sense of Fatherhood came over me when I saw that mean old nurse trying to brush my newborn daughter’s hair, making my little girl cry.

At that moment I realized two things: 1) I was a Father, responsible for that little baby, and 2) that nurse unknowingly brushed elbows with death.

Most dads, whether a Christian or not, would, without hesitation, run into a burning house to rescue one of his children. Most of us would gladly give our lives to help a son or a daughter. I guess what I’m saying is, these natural manifestations of Fatherhood don’t really define us as a good dad.

So, what makes a good dad? Here it is: A good dad is a godly dad.

That’s basically it.

It’s a choice that needs to be made. It’s neither a natural phenomena, nor is it an inherited disposition. When you look closely at a man, and see him for who he is, you realize that the things that define him are really about the choices he has made, and, more importantly, the choices he is making right now. Is he gracious? Is he a slob? Is he kind? Is he thankless? Is he a good father?

When I’m dead and everyone’s sitting around talking about me, what is it that I want them to say about me? What do you want others to say about you? Whatever they talk about, unless it’s about how bald you were, it will probably be about your choices in life.

I want to be a godly dad. That means I have to make the choice to take God’s Word and to saturate my children in it.

Do we take the Bible and read it to our kids? (I know, a kid is baby goat, but look, you’re really getting on my nerves) Do we live it before them? Do our children (happy now?) see us make godly choices based on the Word of God?

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Dads, we are called to make the right choice. We are called by God Himself to take the Word of God and to represent it to our children. We are to see that they know it and they are to see that we live it.

So far, you may have failed in this. You may very well be a bad dad. This can change. Repent and make the choice to live life such that when you’re dead and everyone is talking about you, they’ll say, “He was a man of God. He was a good dad.”

Rick Varnum, a father to 9 daughters ranging in age from 6 to 25  years old, now lives in Montana as Pastor of Wibaux Bible Church. He successfully taught us the importance of working hard, keeping oil in our cars, a neatly mowed lawn, and fishing with weights instead of bobbers.

He is the example of a godly dad. He never lets us make mistakes without first giving us fair warning. He is giving, he is kind, he is humble. He always provided everything we ever needed, worked hard and never let us quit.

He is a man of God, and most certainly, a good dad.

Measure of Faith: Part 1

6 Jun

Measure of Faith Part 1

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

For we walk by faith, not by sight: 2 Corinthians 5:7

Back in 1 Samuel 7-8, the Israelites were asking for a king despite God’s assurance that He would take care of them. God never intended for His children to have an earthly king to reign over them. He wanted to be all that they needed. He just wanted them to trust Him and have a little faith. But we remember the story of Saul eventually being chosen as a king anyway, despite God’s warnings. He knew the troubles they would face when they put their faith in the hands of an imperfect man.

Their need for a king was the culmination of a deeper issue: a lack of faith in the power of God.

Why They Lost their Faith

It was a time of peace.

The Philistines had just restored Israel’s cities which they had previously taken over. There was a time of peace in the land and Samuel judged the country. He would travel from city to city to oversee them for a time. There were no troubles for the Israelites.

When all is quiet in our lives, we can often lose focus on the fact that we do need God. Adversity, as painful as it may be, often brings us closer to God because that is when we realize we are nothing without Him. Having a peaceful time in your life is a blessing! But don’t let yourself become too relaxed to the point where you forget that in any moment, a storm may arise. We need God always.

The failure of men.

Once Samuel felt he was too old to continue judging the people properly, he appointed younger men to do the job. These men were no longer following God. They did that which was right in their own eyes. This caused insecurity in the hearts of the people prompting them to ask Samuel to appoint a king. They needed that stability.

When we put our trust in the hands of men, we will always be disappointed. I have seen too many churches crumble after the sin of their Pastor. Maybe the Pastor didn’t even purposefully sin, but said something that hurt someones feelings. Many people today leave church and ultimately leave God because of the wickedness of someone else. Men are not perfect, but God is. Keep your eyes on Him and you will never be led astray.

Lack of faith shows when:

We no longer feel secure.

The Israelites looked at other countries with their kings and leaders and felt an overwhelming sense of insecurity and instability. They knew that if they were to be attacked again, their failing judges might not be strong enough to make a good decision. They wanted a steady leader to constantly assure them that he was watching over them. They wanted to trust in a man they could see instead of the power that God so many times before revealed to them.

The entire Christian life is based on Faith. If we can’t trust God enough to take care of us in our daily needs and trials, how can we accept that He will save us from eternal Hell?

“For we walk by faith, not by sight:” 2 Corinthians 5:7

We seek to fill our lives with stability.

Along with a king, the Israelites knew they would need to set up a kingdom with rules and guidelines. They looked to Samuel to provide them with a stable leader despite the negative side effects.

1 Samuel 8:12 “And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. 13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. 14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. 15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. 16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. 18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. 19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;”

How often do we look to fill our lives with stability? This can come in the form of possessions, close friends, big purchases like buying a home, car..etc; anything we feel we can rely on. Possessions take money and often times, we can get into debt just to have peace of mind. We become a slave to that debt which in turn causes other unnecessary problems. We rely on men’s opinions instead of listening to the God who created us. We fill our hearts and minds with everything except what we so desperately need.

We look for affirmation from the world.

I imagine the Israelites felt a little peer pressure from other countries to have a “standard” king. Who would ever let their country be run by a God in whom only a few believed? Can you imagine today’s society being run without a leader? I can’t say that I blame them for wanting a king.

Because we lack that stable assurance from God, we have to turn to the world’s standards — are we making enough money, do we have what we need, am I being the right kind of person..etc. All these worries run through our minds when really we just need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s ok if I don’t have the seemingly “needed” possessions the world tells me I do. God is in control of everything I have or don’t have.

He promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us. He asked, if He is willing to take care of a fallen sparrow, how much more, then, will He take care of us?

Take a look into your own life. Do you see areas where you are lacking faith? In the next half of this post, I will show you simple steps to maintain your faith, and rebuild it if you are found wanting.

Stay tuned for Measure of Faith: Part 2 — By Faith & Not by Sight

Cultivating Peace

23 May

Cultivating Peace JPEG

These past weeks’ events have been a huge reminder to me that Christians can have that blessed peace amidst troubles.

A member of our church recently lost his wife, leaving him to care for 2 young children. Another member lost her granddaughter, and yet another precious lady lost a dear friend.

As I watch these Christians survive this devastation, I cannot be anything but grateful that God has obviously given them peace. They are hurting, tremendously and undoubtedly, but they know God is in control. They have the comfort of God’s hands holding them as they cry.

If you are breathing, no doubt you have experienced a trial. God will grant peace when you need it, but if your life is not where it should be spiritually, don’t expect it. He outlines very clearly that we can always have peace in the good times and the bad.

I’m not saying that we must work for our blessings, but I understand that the condition of our spiritual hearts can often get in the way of them. Think of it in relation to your children. You always love them and want to give them everything you can. But sometimes, when they act in sin, you cannot give them blessings until you teach them in the way they should go.

How then, can we be sure our hearts are open to the blessing of Peace when we need it most? Philippians 4:4-6,9

Rejoice in the Lord always (verse 4)
We all know this one. “In everything give thanks. Rejoice even when it hurts.” You’ve heard it! But have you done it?

It is incredibly difficult to do when everything in you screams for you to sit down and wallow in the pain. It’s hard to rejoice when the blows of agony take away your breath. We can’t do it…alone.

In the simplest verse, Christ gives the command. He does not give stipulations or exceptions; simply, rejoice. In the same chapter He shows us that we can do ALL things through Christ. (verse 13)

The word “always” is interpreted to mean “every ‘when’ “. Even when…it hurts. Even when..you don’t want to. Even when…(you fill in the blank)

Let your moderation be known (verse 5)
A Christian’s behavior should exude Godliness — sweetness, meek, yielded. Not ostentatious or overbearing; not reaching to the extremes. (bigotry, hatefulness, tolerance of sin..etc)

The second half of that verse says “The Lord is at hand”. How will you want to be found when Christ returns?

Will you be a positive representation of Christ? Are you acting as He would act? Is Christ pleased or displeased?

Let your name be well-spoken among friends and strangers. Your influence rides on your testimony.

Be careful for nothing (verse 6)
In other words, don’t worry.

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, but empties today if its strength.

Worry and fear tell God you don’t trust Him. Satan knows if he can distract you with worry, you can’t be productive and you will not move forward out of your battle. Set your eyes on the Creator, your Heavenly Father, and REJOICE that He holds your life (and every detail) in His hands.

Do what you know (verse 9a )
As my Pastor put it, “Spiritual failure is not a lack of knowledge but a matter of the heart.”

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

You, as a Christian, know what you should do. We have the map of Truth yet we travel through life never consulting it, walking completely blind.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105

As I mentioned in last week’s post “Uprooted”, if we can’t follow God in the day-to-day, basic instructions, how will we follow Him during a huge storm? Study to show yourself approved — learn God’s truth and follow it.

You will have Peace — Verses 7 and 9b

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. …and the God of peace shall be with you.”

The Christian life is all about Faith. Faith to rejoice through the tears. Faith to trust His leading when you can’t see. Faith to follow His Words. Faith He will give a peace that passeth all understanding.

Aren’t the promises of God sweet?

Uprooted

17 May

Plant root systemimage by stockarch – stockarch.com

It’s the culmination of hard work, long nights, and ridiculous caffeine addictions. Students everywhere meticulously preparing for the day they hear their name called to receive their long-awaited reward. It’s graduation time!

Anyone who has graduated remembers the marked feeling of satisfaction as they realized they were finished. Well-wishers congratulate you with gifts and sweet notes of praise. Your parents embarrass you with tears and recall all-too-personal memories of you as a baby. And then it happens. The inevitable, always dreaded,

“What will you do now?”

High schoolers avoid answering because they aren’t always 100% certain. College students generally have some form of a plan, but most often are stricken with fears of failure and insecurity.

With so many options available today, it is easy to become overwhelmed. For Christian students, we’re always concerned with “finding God’s perfect will”. And you’ve heard it preached before: “Stay faithful in the day-to-day and God will show you the path to take.”

This concept is true, and also another blog post for later.

But when you have discovered God’s will for your career path, it can still be daunting.

That first leap of faith feels like trying to step over the grand canyon…with a blindfold…in torrential wind…and there’s no safety net.

Take it from someone who moved across the country with only 1 days notice. I had already registered to be a student at a Bible college in Tennessee.  I had a job waiting only for me to arrive and start working. I had a dorm room and roommates I was excited to meet. My bags were packed and in the car. All I had to do was simply drive the 4 hours to the college campus.

And God said, “Nope. Changing your plans.”

Super long story short, God decided, within 24 hours, to remove Chris and I from the backwoods of the deep South to the middle of the absolute desert: Lancaster, California.

It really is an amazing story of God’s perfect leading. I will eventually tell it another time, but the moral that we had to learn was: No matter what you’re doing, where you are, or what time of day (or night), be prepared to be uprooted.

God doesn’t uproot us to get a good laugh at our expense. He truly loves us and wants the complete and perfectly best scenario for our lives. Sometimes, though, moving us is necessary.

Naturally when I say “uprooted” we think plants. Plants hate being ripped out of their cozy flower beds and shoved into a wide open space outside in the cold. They get temperamental and, I believe, wilt out of spite. But it’s good for them!

Did you know that dividing and transplanting flowers in the fall time will help them to multiply and flourish in the spring?

Same with you, graduates. God has allowed to you complete your years of traditional schooling and is going to be moving you somewhere into the unknown. You will be in a new environment and it will be tempting to “wilt”.

Psalm 56:3 “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.”

Don’t fear change. The honest truth? It will hurt and it will be difficult. But never make life decisions based on what feels good. If you know God wants you to move away from home to a new city, state, or even a new country, do it! No one has ever died from change. There is no more peaceful, safer place than being in the center of God’s will.

Be thankful God loves you enough to do whatever it takes to make you grow stronger. Be flexible to to His direction.

And you know what? Chris and I survived the cross country adventure. We ended up exactly where we were needed most. Yes, I hated to leave my family, but I wouldn’t trade in God’s will to avoid homesickness.

The day after we submitted to God’s surprise change of direction, we actually did end up crossing the Grand Canyon :)

chris holly grand canyon

The Prodigal

10 May

A dear friend wrote and sent me an article she felt God pressing on her heart to share. I post this from my “anonymous” source, but please read. It’s a great reminder to all of us who are saved, especially to those of us who’ve been saved for a while.

Enjoy!

The Prodigal

The most important thing on this earth is your relationship with Jesus. It is the gauge to which everything in your life is measured. If you are in love with Him and who He is, you perceive the world around you in its proper perspective. Your health, your personal relationships, your church, your study and prayer time, your eating habits, your sleeping habits, your clothing, your choice of entertainment, will all be in alignment with God’s plan for you. He lovingly and gently guides each step you make and directs your thoughts to see the inside of His heart.

Some may say this is constrictive. That to be so intimately connected with the God of the universe would be to, in some way, give up your own rights and your ability to choose what you want for yourself. Or in other words,” I’d have to be good. I could never taste the darker side of life to try what is offered, or I could never have fun.”

My inner man struggled with this concept of “relationship”. I struggled for a long time because I didn’t understand what it meant. I already did what was expected of me. I think I loved most of the people I came across. I mentioned Jesus in everyday conversation. If someone wanted to know about Him, I didn’t hesitate to tell them all that I knew. I listened to great sermons and read good books. I sang in church and served wherever I was needed. I abhorred and refrained from sinful activities. I even kept myself away from those who participated in such activities, raising my eyebrows at their wickedness. However, deep down I still held to the idea that I was given some leeway if ever the need arose to indulge in some wild oat sowing. I mean that’s what forgiveness was for. Right? So, maybe I didn’t read my Bible EVERY day or prayed as often as I should have but… Yes, I loved Jesus. He and I were great friends.

In reality it was not a true relationship, but rather years of weak acquaintance. And it was all I knew.

The test came..as unexpectedly as a summer shower after days of heat..I fell down. I failed the test and I fell down..I couldn’t get up and I didn’t want to get up. I liked the dirt. It was cool and felt good under the weight of my rebellious conscience. For many months I lived to myself, in shame and loneliness. Loneliness, because no one knew or believed that I was capable of such rebellion. I pretended and I did not talk to God. I knew that He wouldn’t hear me. My heart was filled with iniquity. I tried to subconsciously fill the void by continuing my righteous doings. I wanted others to see I was still propped up. It was my imitation of goodness. During those moments alone when I had to confront the emptiness that was enveloping me, I would cry. Sometimes I would stomp my feet. Sometimes I would literally plug my ears and hide under the blankets of my despair. Often times seen with arms folded across my chest, lip jutting out in insolence. I wanted my way.

All the while my gentle Shepherd tugged at my soul, trying to pull me back with the crook of His finger. Whispering, “Come now, Love..Be mine forever. I love you so. Don’t leave Me”, He’d say. Ever blowing the wind of love across my furrowed brow. I’d hear His voice in a beautiful song, I’d see His face when I’d listen to my mother speak, I’d feel His presence when the Scriptures were read.

Then finally the soil of my heart, so hard and cracked and parched, finally began to feel those first small splashes of raindrops. Soon I felt His strong arm grab a hold of me. Then I could feel His chest as my shoulders were pulled tightly against Him and I could hear His breath as I moved in even closer. The glorious, comforting, beautiful breathing of my precious Savior, Jesus! His heartbeat loud and clear, giving me joy at His tender reception. He cried with me and told me of His love. I begged Him to receive me back to Himself and forgive my wickedness.

Oh How I love Him..because He did! He forgave me and then threw away the memory of my misdeeds. 

I walk closely beside Him today. A woman stronger and wiser to the wiles of the wicked one. Because my relationship with the One who died and paid for my sins is of utmost importance. Not one person and not one thing can dare to replicate what He and I share and what is offered to you, dear reader. Guard it closely and be not tempted to stray. For your heart is a needful thing that only our gracious God can satisfy.

My question for you is that if you have never sought out a relationship with Jesus.. Why not? Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking the dirt is good. Get up! Give him your whole heart. Stop pretending. Live fully and abundantly in the knowledge that He is with you because He cherishes YOU with HIS whole heart!

A Pawn in Satan’s Army

29 Apr

Pawn

I’ll be honest with you, I hate the feeling that I’m being used. Most people would agree that insincerity by friends, or even strangers, is insulting and shows that they don’t really care for you as a person. It has happened to all of us, too. We were befriended by those who just wanted to use us for our talents, money, listening ear, possessions, connections..etc. with no intent to stay once they were finished with us.

Satan works like this. He is the best sweet talker you will ever meet. Since the beginning of time he has manipulated us to do his bidding with no promise of a real reward. Why? Because he hates God that much.

Satan doesn’t care about us at all. He knows if he can turn us away from God in any way at all, God loses and Satan wins. That’s all he cares about.

Satan distracts the unsaved people from the Truth of Salvation, and unfortunately he is most successful when he uses Christians.

He uses false doctrines within Christianity

Subtlety is Satan’s best ploy in the battle for souls. In the Garden of Eden, he clearly showed his skill when tempting Eve. He won’t seek the strong Christians who are spiritually “in tune” with what God says is truth. He will search for the hurting ones, those who are struggling, or those who are merely distracted. He takes Truth and changes it ever so slightly and makes it sound so good and so believable. Human logic fails every time. Seek the Truth through prayer and study of the Bible. The Holy Spirit will speak if you will just listen.

He uses standards and convictions to divide Christians from each other

Matthew 12:25 “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:”

Satan is no dummy. God had him appointed as one of his top angels in heaven before his pride destroyed him. He knows what God thinks about the Christian walk. He will actually use God’s Word against us.

Everyone has their own standards for their lives, and each conviction will differ. God knows this about humans and wrote an entire section in the Bible about how we should deal with differences. (Romans 14)

Christians are notorious for fighting with each other on issues that will not matter in eternity. We gossip about how we think other pastors and churches should do things and we lose focus on our main job: Winning the lost. How can we be a good example to the unsaved when we bicker about opinions?

A smart soldier will create a diversion to hide his true intentions against the enemy.

He uses our own liberty and freedoms

This goes hand in hand with differing opinions on standards and convictions. Christians DO have liberty.

We have liberty from the bondage of sin, not the freedom to commit sin.

Satan understands the power of our redemption. We’ve been released from his grip and are now free agents to work out God’s plans. But pride is what got Satan in this mess and pride is what he uses against us. He makes us believe we are free to do as we please, to satisfy our flesh in the name of “Christian liberty” and uses that to become a stumbling block for not only other Christians, but unsaved people as well. (1 Corinthians 10)

If we aren’t any different from the world, how can our Light be bright enough to reveal God?

He will make us fall

In short, Satan will use whatever means possible to trip us up and cause us to lose our testimony. I know of many former Pastors who, in a single moment of weakness, surrendered to their fleshly desires and lost their influence forever. All it takes is one wrong word or action in front of an unsaved person to completely turn them away from Christ.

We must stay armed with the Truth. You don’t put your armor on once and forget about it. In a battle, you check your armor constantly for cracks and weak points to avoid being pierced.

Satan is always about, ready to use us as his pawns, willing to sacrifice us for his own gain. Stand ready and stay strong.

Don’t Become the Zebra

27 Mar

Zebra

Some days, really all you want to do is just stay at home and sit on your couch. You’re tired and emotionally drained and that can put you in a funk. Satan really likes these times in our life. He knows when we are susceptible to sinful thoughts or bad attitudes.He watches for these moments, ready to take action at the first sign of weakness. Basically, he is the hungry lion and we are the slow, little zebra. He’s ready to devour us.

We need to be “in tune” with ourselves. Not in a new-age, “be in tune with your inner chakra” sort of way, but we do need to learn how our own body reacts. Physically, we know when we are sick. We can just feel a cold coming, or predict our next migraine. Spiritually we get sick too and our physical and emotional beings do play a part.

Physical exhaustion can cause emotional crankiness that leads to hasty (and most often ungodly) spiritual decisions.

Learn what situations can set you off. Pray about them and ask God for guidance on how to properly deal with them. Take a “spiritual Tylenol”. Figure out the necessary preventative measures. This could mean more extensive Bible study and prayer, hiring a helper, or avoiding situations altogether.

Be aware of your limitations. If you are busy all the time, running around like a crazy person with your down-to-the-minute time budget and daily triple-shot venti latte, you probably shouldn’t become the Events Coordinator of the PTA  because a teacher thought you weren’t involved enough.

I recently left my second job. It wasn’t that I couldn’t handle two jobs. I’ve maintained two jobs since I was 16 years old. But my full-time work at our church was beginning to suffer due to my lack of availability. I had to prioritize my time. As much as I appreciated the extra income, God’s work won. I recognized the need for me to be fully devoted and physically well so I could be a better servant.

Letting go of tasks in which you are no longer successful is NOT admitting defeat; it’s being a smart steward of your resources. We can be exceptionally talented in one area, or mediocre at them all.

Be aware of your surroundings. Satan and his minions lurk behind every corner waiting for you to slip on the proverbial banana peel. The Bible says he roams the earth as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is not lazy. He doesn’t get tired. He is always hungry.

When you find yourself becoming envious of the vegetative state of comatose patients, put up your Shield. Take a rest, but don’t linger long. A moving zebra is not a captured zebra. God knows our limitations and He will protect us, but we must be proactive to stay inside the safe-zone. Becoming too complacent or lazy is very dangerous.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Purpose for Today

7 Mar

Touch a Life

“When friendship with the Lord becomes blurred, perhaps through the busyness of daily living, I find myself wandering through my days with no purpose. That’s not a good place to be.” – Marcie Varnum

God has placed my husband and I in an incredibly beautiful little town. It’s very historic and almost “Stepford”-ish. I mean, our Town Hall is on 123 Main Street, Pleasanton. This time of year is truly gorgeous and when I drive to work I can’t help but express my gratefulness to God.

One particular drive this week, I started praying for the day to start well and the strength to get everything finished. It was almost as if God asked me out loud, “What is your purpose for today?”

I didn’t really have an answer. I go to the office at our church, do my normal routine of graphics and brochure updates, emails..etc. I started to list my tasks as He said, “No. Whose life will change as a direct result of your actions today?” No answer. I didn’t even have a clue. I don’t really see too many people on a day when I’m not working my retail job.

I think He asked me this simply to stir my mind. What do I do in my every day life that serves an eternal purpose? The church can survive without bulletins or attendance sheets. No one really cares about how well I file music in the drawers. What is my purpose? Why did God give me THIS day to live? Why does He still have me around?

Every morning is a gift from God. He gives us the very breath we take and taps out our heartbeat every second. Why did He allow us to get up THIS morning? Whose life are you supposed to change today?

You may not think your everyday actions touch lives of anyone but maybe your boss, but you will never know this side of Heaven who you WILL influence today — either good or bad. Every small task could be leading up to a larger one. It could be something simple as a much-needed compliment to your co-worker that brightens their day. You could demonstrate a good attitude towards a situation in which most people would react negatively.

We are walking testimonies. Everything we do serves a greater purpose. Will you purpose every morning to strive to do God’s will, or will you choose to disobey His promptings?

Be sensitive to His leading; be still and hear His voice. You never know how greatly your actions will move the future.

Philippians 1:12 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;”

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