John 8:36 "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Wow…this week started off with a wonderful worship service that motivated me and caused me to think about my life. I know other folks, who would have benefited from that service, but this is not about them, it is about me.
In recent days, the controversy over whether we should support a local restaurant (Chick-Fil-A) that stands for the family unit as God designed it, and adheres to biblical values that this nation was established upon, has come into play. Those who disagree with their position may call it unjust and or politically incorrect. The enemy has twisted the message and made it a hate crime, implying it is about an "us and them" dispute, when frankly it is about God's Word. The CEO of the famous restaurant chain stood for what God calls holy. It matters not to the opposition that the constitution of this country states the same thing. Folks who are offended must not be loyal citizens, or they would think twice about their outburst---or would they? My answer to myself is a resounding “No!”
If being a Christian means that I am supposed to reservedly, and apprehensively, sit quietly beside the sidelines and silently root on our brothers and sisters so as not to create controversy or hurt someone’s feelings, then I want nothing to do with it. Call me brazen, blunt, boldface or whatever, but I will be in the frontlines today, as I have in the past days, and you will see me there tomorrow too. If you read scripture, plenty of followers of Christ, including Jesus himself wound up offending others with the truth. The truth does hurt when you are living a lie.
Last week, I met a lovely young lady as she served my friends and me at a local restaurant. I simply asked her if I could pray for her about anything. She said, “I’ll be right back.”
Upon returning, she squatted down next to me and whispered, “I am an ex-con of two months and I used drugs, and I have been clean, but I had a nightmare last night that I went back to prison. Will you please pray for me? When you asked if you could pray for me, my heart started beating so fast.”
Friends, if I would have sat there quietly, I might never have been able to reach out to that lovely young girl who needed Jesus so desperately.
I have had my fill of the “silent witness” attitudes that believers have strapped their personal convictions to. I am so glad that Jesus’ disciples were not silent witnesses, but obediently went out to speak the truth and to stand upon the Word of God. I rejoice that the man who preached boldly about the blood of Christ and his resurrection to me as a teenager, did not hide his Christianity under a bushel, but shared the Gospel Message that eventually led me to eternal life! Not one Christian today came to know the Lord through a silent witness, and it is ludicrous to think otherwise! Romans 10:17 says “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the WORD of God.” How will others hear if we never say anything beloved?
If you are standing free in Christ, then expect persecution, name calling, adversity and any other tool the enemy can conjure up to prevent you from fighting for what is honorable, holy, and true. You can make a decision to Stand Free or live the life of a Gutless Wonder. As for me and my house--the decision has been made. By the way--our crew will be at Chick-Fil-A this week on August 1st, mainly because I agree with standing up with those who stand up for Godly principles. If more people did, our country might not be as divided as it is today.
Isaiah 5: 20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
While authorities are still actively investigating the motive behind the Aurora, CO massacre that happened on Friday morning July 20th, those who call themselves Christians have admitted to the real source of the violence, and that is pure evil.
In a world where evil seems to mix so successfully among good, it is sometimes very difficult to differentiate between the two at first glance. This is especially true in the day where” evil is called good” and “good is called evil.”
Search nationwide and you will be hard set to find someone who has not heard about the tragic events of recent days. The problem with this picture is that when something good happens, it often takes weeks, months and even years for it to come to surface. Bad news travels faster than good news.
The shooter, James Holmes was described by his neighbor as a shy, well-mannered young man who actively attended a Presbyterian church. This alone should make any active and sincere believer disheartened. Once again, someone acting or putting on the façade that they are a believer or believe in God, and then committing such a heinous act afterward is particularly disturbing among the Body of Christ. Who can we trust? Who can we deem sincere in their faith? Is anyone who professes Christ openly or attending a church capable of such horror?
Don’t be duped my friends. Jesus warned us about the tares in the wheat and how both reside within the church. Matthew 13:25 says, “But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.” Jesus tells us clearly here in this popular parable that among the believers in the Body of Christ will be nonbelievers. Don’t think for one moment that just because someone is faithful in their church attendance, a respectable neighbor or a brilliant student that he/she beholds like convictions of a professing Christian. It just isn’t so, and it never will be.
My heart goes out to the victims of this tragic event, and I know that with God’s help that healing and hope will prevail, because good always prevails over evil, and God is GOOD!
Most of us have a place in which we go that helps enables us to rejuvenate, get refreshed and refocused. If not a place, then a person we can confide in to help us along life’s journey. As I look back in time throughout the bible, I realize many of the patriarchs of our faith had an "inspiration station.”
Moses would go up on Mount Sinai for days at a time to meet with God.
Just as in the day of Moses, God spoke with Joshua and led him step by step to victory. Joshua simply had to be obedient to every word God spoke to him. Upon obeying, God would give him more instruction.
Gideon received inspiration and guidance as he camped beside the spring of Harod.
Ruth was an inspiration to her mother –in– law Naomi because she refused to leave her. She stayed on after her own husband died and swore an oath never to abandon her.
A young boy named Samuel found inspiration in the middle of the night as God called out to him while he was sleeping.
Saul found comfort from demonic attack and inspiration when young David would come play his harp.
David spent so much time with God that he was inspired to write poems and songs we know as Psalms.
Jonah found his inspiration in the belly of a whale!
Mordecai was an inspiration to his niece Esther who he took in as his own daughter. Though she became Queen Esther, she never forgot Mordecai and obeyed every word he spoke.
Job inspired all those who knew him by never cursing God through the days of his great trials.
Peter found inspiration through the power of the Holy Spirit as God revealed to him who Jesus is. Peter proclaimed, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
John the Baptist was inspired in His mother’s womb as he felt the presence of Jesus – Gods’ Son while Mary came to visit Elizabeth. Scripture says he actually leaped in his mothers’ womb.
A woman with a blood issue uncovered her inspiration while kneeling down and touching the hem of Jesus garment. She was totally healed.
Where do you go or to whom do you listen to when in need
of inspiration? When I want to know what God is doing in my life, I read scripture, pray and search out other people who have been successful in hearing Gods voice. My husband is another excellent example of inspiration to me. He is led by the Spirit and often speaks encouraging words that bring rest to my soul. Next to Jesus, he is my best friend.
If you are lacking some inspiration or motivation in your life, it may be time to make a change. It might mean spending more time in God’s Word or camping out by a water side resort. Whatever it takes, do it. Jesus found inspiration and direction many times as he left to go off alone and pray. We see Him do this over and over again. He knew where His help came from.
“But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” Luke 5:1.
Some of you insist that praying is a total drag. That might be because you have never experienced God move in your prayers. But praying is not the only inspiration station in which you can go to. For some of you, it will be hunting, fishing, sewing, cooking, painting or listening to music. There are many channels in which to find inspiration. However, my desire is to be inspired to do things that are earth shaking and life changing. We’re not all made up that way. Many of us have dreams, but not such ambitious ones. God is the one who places those dreams in our hearts---and if He is capable of giving us dreams, He is more than capable to fulfill them!
Hebrews 10:25 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another even more as you see the day of the Lord coming nearer.
What is your life like on Monday-Saturday? Do you simply include your faith on Sundays only, or is it a part of your everyday life? Doing the impossible is the essence of our Christian faith. Are you acting out your faith responsibly? What are you doing when the spotlight is not shining on you?
Our faith is not to be on display for others to see only on the Sabbath day. It should be so engraved within every fabric of our being that others will never mistake us as anything less than a follower of Jesus Christ. I am not saying that I have lived a perfect and flawless life. But with ever intentional vein filled with His blood inside my body, my one primary goal is to live a life of no compromise and to shine the light of Christ into the darkest crevices around me. What I am saying is, that I am shining more of that light now, than ever before.
If David could take on the giant Goliath, and John could boldly proclaim the Good News in the desert, I also can do both when filled with His Presence in my life. I can report to combat, and I can point others to the cross effortlessly when His grace is allowed full reign within me. He expects no less, and it is the least that I can do for the ONE who delivered me from my torment, set my feet on solid ground, healed my iniquities, comforted my sorrows, loved me unconditionally and died that I might live forever!
It is easy for me to profess my love for Jesus when times are going well, but how about when things aren’t going as I expected? Ah…now this is where we begin to see our true character. Do we trust God when things seem to be hopeless or at a loss? Do we abandon our faith when other tangible means of provision dangle before us like a carrot before a hungry rabbit? Do we carelessly shove our faith aside during the weekdays for fear of persecution by peers and co-workers? After doing so, what have we left at the end of day that belongs to Christ?
In closing, when the spotlight is not shining on you, would others still see the same character and temperament that you portray on Sunday’s? As I travel this nation, I relentlessly must agree that the average person who calls themselves a Christian appears to have a dual personality. Is it any wonder why this generation questions the motives of the church?
As hubby and I were gone on vacation last week, I had an interesting encounter with a young man that has troubled me ever since. I was purchasing some items at a store when the young man behind the counter began to talk to me as he was handling my purchase. The conversation went to the fact that I was on vacation and that I was heading back home the same day. He asked where I was from, and I told him Texas.
His response was serious as he looked at me and said, “Oh, I’ve been there. I used to live in AZ.”
This young man was in his late teens and early adulthood. I asked, “Where in Texas have you visited?”
“I’ve been in New Mexico, Texas. That is in Texas isn’t it?”
Mind you, my mind was thinking one thing about his reply, and my heart a whole different thing. My heart was deeply saddened. I looked him in the face and gently said, “Sir, Texas is a state, and New Mexico is a state.”
He sheepishly replied, “Oh, well, I have been to Albuquerque.”
“Then you mean you have been to New Mexico, because Albuquerque is in NM.”
He laughed it off and apologized for not being up on information from individual states. When I left the store, I was disturbed thinking this is the next generation coming up who are to be our leaders. He is graduated, or near graduated from high school, and did not know the states.
I’m saying this to say, that there is a considerable deficit arising in this same generation regarding the Word of God. They do not know the bible, or the books of the bible. I see them every day, and my heart has the same response. When you speak to this generation, they are either totally ignorant about God, or have a spirit of religion on them that keeps them bound by the enemy.
How do you know the difference between a religious person, and one who has a relationship with Christ? Religion says, “Do, do, do,” but Jesus says, “It is finished!”
The only way that this generation is going to understand the value of a walk with Christ is to see it in us dear friends. Are we living blamelessly before others and sharing God’s hope with a lost a generation? The clock is ticking on America friends. Our apathy and political correctness have only dug us into a deeper hole. Instead of uniting us, it has caused a veritable divide.
Mark 3:25 says, "If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”
We cannot afford to be as ignorant about the states or the Word of God. Let us return to the God of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Let us remember the ONE to whom our allegiance stands. Lastly, let no man take away our right of sharing the truth of grace and salvation to a dying world.