Good Choices VS Evil Choices

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I have been questioning “good works” lately. Why is it so hard to do? I read in an e mail devotion that our good works are done out of our love for God because of what Jesus did for us. In the beginning of conversion this seems very easy while its new and fresh. But as years go by and we get further away from the experience it seems to get harder for some reason. God has helped me understand “how” to do the good works in my life in a simpler way. It’s all about choices.

We have it inside of us,  good and evil. It’s a choice. God has given us the ability to choose. This topic of choices has been coming up in my life lately. Every time we act on a good thought, it’s a good choice. When we act on evil thoughts, it’s a bad choice. If we want to live in unison with the Holy Spirit we will act on the good thoughts.

I watched a movie called Confessions of a Prodigal Son. It was about making choices in your life that correspond with the “character” you want to play in your story. Your life is your story. What character do you want to play? Your choices determine what character you will be.

Then I was watching a T.V. show with my daughter called Girl Meets World. It was focusing on good choices and evil choices. What we choose determines how our lives will be.

Last night in my Jesus Calling devotion for evening, it directed me to the scripture in Romans 8:6.  It reads, Now the mind of the flesh [ which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [ death comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the Holy Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. ( Joyce Meyer Everyday Bible AMP version) I read this and realized it goes with what has been coming up in my life about choice. If we choose fleshly thoughts it will lead to misery or even death but if we choose Holy Spirit led thoughts it will lead us to life and peace. My daughter’s teacher said yesterday, “If you just do what your suppose to do, you will be fine and everything will be good.” She meant following rules and directions in class but we can apply that to real life too. We need to stay vigilant and aware of the choices we are making in every moment. When a thought comes, decide whether it is good or evil. This is what the Bible means when it says take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5, We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ. It’s realizing or being aware of what choices we are making all through the day. The more good choices we make the better our lives will be and the better people we will become.

I wondered how to live according to the Spirit and God has shown me in the simplest way. Good thoughts lead to good works. Act on good thoughts which lead to a spirit filled life!

 

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God Heals

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The day before yesterday I made chicken and dumplings. As you know the sauce gets very hot when left in the pot. I was spooning out a helping into a bowl for my son when by accident I spooned it onto my hand holding the bowl instead of in the bowl. My mind was on worrisome things instead of being present in the moment. I dropped the bowl in the pot of chicken and dumplings and ran to the sink for cold water! I yelled to my daughter to look up what to do about a bad burn. She said to put ice cold water on it so I got my gallon of ice water from the refrigerator and kept pouring it on my hand. The palm of my hand around my little finger was bright red and felt like it was on fire! Literally, when my hand was out of the water it was like it was in a flame that got hotter and hotter. I couldn’t stand the pain for long. This went on for about 6 hours. I was wondering how I would sleep! Finally I felt like cleaning up the kitchen around nine o’clock. I had to put a rubber glove on my hand. I could feel the heat of the hot water still and it hurt bad. When I looked at my hand it was red and I could see little blisters starting to form. I was instantly taken back to when I was in 6th grade and I burned my hands playing with a lit candle on the kitchen table. I was lighting a paper towel not knowing it would go up in flames, FAST! I couldn’t put it down because there was a table cloth so I ran to the sink with it and my hands were in flames, so I knew what this felt like. When I was finished cleaning the kitchen I sat down in the family room with my husband and daughter. I had my hand wrapped in a cold cloth. I would periodically take it off only to feel the immense pain and I would put it back on. Well, around 10:30 pm I took it off and it didn’t hurt! I asked my daughter if she prayed for me and she said yes! She said she didn’t want to see me have to try and sleep like that and asked God to heal me! I told her thank you! I was able to sleep and when I woke up yesterday my hand looks normal! It looks like nothing happened! I have been so amazed by this! No blisters or anything! I wanted to testify that God does heal!

Faith is Inner Work

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We read in Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. If we truly believe in God we will seek Him and when we begin to know Him we have faith. Like our belief, faith will be tested though. Abraham’s faith was tested many times. It is a test God allows to show you how far you have grown in your faith. We won’t know the true depth of our faith until it’s tested. I have recently experienced this in my life.

I had earnestly been seeking the presence of God for months. Last April my husband and I decided to try once again to buy our first house. We had been trying for 10 years. We were very discouraged to say the least. This time when things were not looking good AGAIN, I decided to let it go. I told my husband that there are so many components to buying a house that it is impossible for us to know everything that it takes to get approved. I told him it’s up to God if we get a house. I stopped toiling over getting a house. My husband had the idea to ask our bank and two days later we were approved! We couldn’t believe it! They gave us an amount and said to find a house. We thought it was as simple as that. We found a house and then that opens another can of worms! It was a grueling 2 months before we actually got our house!

During this period God made Himself more visible to me than ever. My faith was put to the ultimate test. Unexpected costs came about once a week and God provided unexpected money every week. It was always the exact amount we needed. I related this period to riding a roller coaster. I hate roller coasters and I always close my eyes until the ride is over. I pictured myself holding Jesus’ hand while on this ride with my eyes closed until it was over. I left it all up to God. One day I was waiting for my son at school and God whispered something to me. He said,”Satan is like the big bad wolf, he wants to blow your house down but you have a foundation of rock, which is God’s Word, and he can’t touch you.” Satan tried to scare me into thinking I wasn’t getting the house many times but every time I put my faith in God it was miraculously taken care of. Even to the very end at closing, we didn’t need a dime! God provided the way. I knew that when God promises something He sees it through to the end and I stood on that promise. I wouldn’t do anything unless I was moved by the Holy Spirit.

Now that I have been here for 2 months, I  thought this faith test would be over. But things keep coming up and my faith in God keeps showing up! I’m learning that real faith is proven when you have nothing and you rely on God to show up with something. Faith is a working inside yourself. It isn’t easy either. I had the thought recently that a faith life is hard. I wouldn’t want it any other way though because a life without faith is a life without God. Trusting God to take the next step is scary. But every time I take a step without visible evidence and give it to God, He always comes through. This strengthens me. Just like in 2 Timothy 4:17, The Lord stood with me and strengthened me…

 

Can You Remember?

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I just watched a movie called Little Prince on Netflix. I was drawn to it because it said this little girl learned from the Little Prince how to see with her heart. This subject of seeing with your heart has been showing up a lot lately in my life. I keep reading it and even my daughter brought it up one day. She said we can’t see Jesus physically because we are blind. She went on to say that the only way we can “see” Him is with our heart. I read in a e mail devotion that our journey isn’t to find God, it’s to remove the blinders. I then read in Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts devotional where she prayed for God to open the eyes of her heart. She said this is a journey that must be Spirit-led every day. This is a prayer that must be said every day, all through the day because we will forget moment to moment. That’s what the movie Little Prince was about, not forgetting how to see with your heart.  Ann also mentioned the blind man in the Bible, when Jesus asked what He wanted the blind man said,”I want to see.” Ann said this same thing to God and I have too. I want to see God in my every day life. The way to do that is with my heart. In the movie this little girl’s mother wants her to be prepared for adulthood but in doing this the girl doesn’t get to be a child. The old man next door, he hasn’t forgotten and he teaches the girl how to remember. I had a dream a few years ago and all I could remember when I woke up was grace remembered. I couldn’t figure out the meaning and I have thought I figured it out but really I didn’t until recently. When I was doing my One Thousand Gifts devotional it clicked! Ann was talking about doxology. I didn’t know the meaning so I looked it up. It is a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God. A lack of doxology leads to evil acts. Ann said forgetting to thank God dismembers us but counting blessings literally re-members us to God. My dream means to remember God’s graces toward me. The old man taught the girl how to see with her heart through a story he wrote about the Little Prince. Ann is saying to see God with your heart you have to be thankful for His grace. The movie showed me that if I can see God and Jesus with my heart then I won’t ever feel alone. The world is an illusion. We have to break through it to see the real life hidden in Jesus. The biggest thing I remember about being a child would be the feeling of security in my parents. I never worried about shelter, food, clothes, my needs were met. I never thought of the future or cared about it. This is what God says He will do if we just trust in Him. He says He will take care of our needs and desires. He says not to worry about the future because only He knows the future. Even though we are “grown”up we need God. We have to remember Him to have peace. The childlike faith I had in my parents should be what I have for God. When we forget who God is and fail to praise Him this leads to worldly ways and the Bible warns us to not be conformed to this world. When we conform to the world we are like robots. God gave us the ability to “see” Him but we have to remember how.

Who Or What Is Your Idol?

This subject about having idols has been on my mind recently. Mostly because I don’t want to have any myself, but the Holy Spirit has pointed out some things to me. I was reading somewhere and I think it’s in Lisa Bevere’s new book coming out Without Rival, that an idol is anything you draw strength from other than God. Usually I heard idols described as whatever is in your heart before God. That definition isn’t as understandable as the first. When I read that definition it clicked for me because I actually had the thought recently that playing a game on face book gave me strength to then go and do my work. It serves as an “escape” for a little bit and you think your getting strength from that. So I realized that playing games is an idol.

I was drawn to a ride at Disney World recently called The Carousel of Progress. I rode it when I was small and always remembered it. I watched it on youtube and in doing that I was drawn to read about Walt Disney. I have heard that Disney is evil. The channel, the movies, the park. Walt Disney was abused as a child by his father and as an ‘”escape” he drew pictures. Then as he grew up his pictures came to life and then he made the theme parks. Snow White was the first motion picture. His “escapism” took over his life!

God never intended for us to “escape”life. The evil one, satan, is the one in control of this. For a long time I guess I have wanted an escape. First it was soap operas, magazines, T.V. shows, and now in this age GAMES! I feel church overlooks this addiction. Out of all the addictions this one is left out for some reason. I believe satan has us so deceived that the church doesn’t even see this as a problem. Games can be very addicting. I know because I have had the problem. They let you escape reality a little bit, they “work” your brain, they make you feel like you accomplished something when really you haven’t, they make you feel like somebody because you beat something or gained a level. All this is what the devil uses to distract us from God’s work that we should be doing in our life. Not only that but when you finally have to come back to reality, your out of sorts and you can’t remember what you really have to do.

Our strength comes from the Lord! Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Our “escape” should be in Christ! Our need is for Him anyway. When we start to feel overwhelmed Jesus said come to Me all who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest. Anxiety included! When anxious feelings come, begin thanking Jesus for all His graces and sing praises to God! We have to remember God’s grace past to receive God’s grace future! He wants us to boast in Him! Glorify Him! Tell people what He has done! I know from experience that talking about what God is doing in my life to my mom gives me strength. When you talk about the Lord, He is there. I read in my Bible about this. Malachi 3:16, Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

I believe we are so blinded that we forget God is present everywhere, every moment. He knows everything! This fight to remember God is with me, has been my focus lately. I was taking the trash out the other day and it came to me that I have to have confidence that He is walking beside me. Then I realized confidence is really faith. So I thought of the scripture about faith. Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Our faith should be in God. Idols are misplaced faith. 

I have also learned that “seeing” God is with my heart. I think we resort to “things” to fill us up because they are tangible. Something we can experience with our five senses, but we do have a spiritual side that connects us with God if we can just access it. It says in the Bible we can only worship God with spirit and truth. With our spirit and His truth. We have to learn to replace these “things” with God’s presence. Being in His presence will give you more energy and strength than you know what to do with! How I do this is through singing my favorite songs to Him, reading the Bible, studying scripture, writing, loving my family, doing what I know God has for me to do. Not only will you get your work done but you will have peace! Nothing compares to having peace! Then your able to have a sound mind and make right decisions. This is God’s will for you.

Live The Last Supper

The scripture is The Last Supper.

Ann says: Today, drink from the cup. Whatever God gives today, give thanks for it and drink it all down. The Eucharist , another name for the Lord’s Supper, comes from the Greek word that means “thanksgiving”. Today, live the Eucharist. Count your blessings, wake up to the feast that He has spread for you.

What I’m learning is, in living the Last Supper we are giving thanks to God for all His graces, all His love, all His holiness. Through Jesus, we can join the feast at the end of days. We can rejoice with Him like at the ending of a really good movie. What comes to my mind is Frodo in The Lord of The Rings when all the hard stuff was over and he saw all the people around him when he woke up. I picture heaven like that. Even though we aren’t there yet we can still have heaven on earth, experience God’s presence through the Eucharist ( thanksgiving).

It’s Not Good To be Alone

I learned a few years ago in the beginning of my relationship with Jesus, that all selfish thoughts, words and actions lead to sin. Jesus said all we have to do is love God and love others. I had a revelation about the scripture in John 12:24 almost a year ago.

John 12:24, 24 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest. 

I didn’t understand this for awhile but now I do. What I have observed about this scripture is if I sit and do nothing or only serve myself, I am alone. I have to die to self to produce a harvest. In other words, give myself away to others. This is what makes the circle complete. We have a relationship with Jesus then share His love that we receive with others and we are complete. If I go and serve Jesus and others, I bear fruit and bring in a harvest. Put Jesus first in my life and people second. Serve the people God has placed in my life. It isn’t complicated, just pay attention to who is in front of me.

I pray to not be selfish and for God to help me serve Him with my worship and to help me serve others. I pray to not have the ” what about me” mentality and to meditate on the Word and to be able to do the Word. I confess that I will not be alone! I will die to self and serve others to gain a harvest for His Kingdom!

Anger Is Disguised As Fear

The scripture is Matthew 5:21-26 and it’s talking about never to be angry with anyone because the judgement on anger is the same as the judgement on murder. Jesus says to make peace with everyone.

Ann Voskamp says: Today I will fast from wrath and anger because anger is often just the costume of fear.

 

This line “anger is often the costume of fear” stands out to me. I know in myself that I would get angry a lot when my kids were little because I feared whatever was happening. I didn’t want them to feel pain or sadness. I’ve always tried to prevent it. I would get angry when they got hurt, that may sound crazy and for a long time I tried to understand why that was happening. After I got saved I realized it wasn’t the kids that made me angry, it was the sin. This is the same for God toward us.  With my kids I see where I was in fear of them getting hurt when they were rough housing or playing outside. The fear drove me to anger when the inevitable happened. I was angry that they had to experience pain or sadness. But I learned that in order to appreciate the good and happy times we have to experience painful times. Even though seeing them hurt makes my heart hurt, it’s helping them. Ann said in her book The Greatest Gift, that God doesn’t allow a trial without a gift. God uses hard things to grow us up spiritually. He takes everything in our life and turns it into glory, His glory. Nothing is wasted in God’s Kingdom. God has a plan where the world will one day be without pain, suffering and sadness. I have yearned for this new world in my soul already and didn’t even know it until I had children of my own. So as long as I live I will strive to bring peace and goodness to the world and not anger and violence. Peace is kingdom living right here, right now.

Heaven Is Only Possible Through Jesus

My reading in the Mosaic Bible is about sin and how the world is so immune to it. He explains how sin is “missing the mark”. What mark you may ask? The mark is the moral standard for all humanity that comes from the holy character of God. We all fall short. Romans 3:23-24,  since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God,24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,

God’s glory, His holiness is a standard we can not live up to. But God has made a way through Jesus Christ for us to have peace with God. Jesus lived a sinless life, He didn’t miss the mark. He is our only avenue to get to God. We have to be sinless to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is impossible without Jesus. His righteousness is substituted for our sinfulness. He paid the price for us. All we have to do is receive this free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Bible references from Bible Gateway.

True Beauty Comes From The Heart

It’s so easy to get caught up in the worlds way and forget God’s way. This is the fight we wrestle with every day. Choosing God’s way. As Paul said we do what we don’t want to do. Romans 7:15-20, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. We know God only looks at the heart of a person. 1 Samuel 16:7,But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lordsees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So what I need to be concerned with in myself is determining whether my heart is clean, not if I look good physically. True beauty comes from within. If my heart is troubled or hard it shows on my face. If I have been spending time in the Word and in the presence of God it shows on my face. Just like when Moses glowed after receiving the 10 Commandments. Exodus 34:29-32,  When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32 Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. This is true beauty, when people see Jesus inside of us. 

 

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