Bless Who? Love Who?

Has anyone ever called you a name? Like, a really hurtful name? Whoever came up with that old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”, lied. Sometimes words do hurt. But often times, if we are mature enough, spiritually speaking; to deal with conflict- the hurtful words of others won’t offend us at all. That is, if we know how to deal with them. God’s word is full of wisdom and truth. We can be sure that if we follow His ways, we will be blessed and rewarded. Look at what Jesus had to say to us in Luke chapter six about dealing with conflict.

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

You have to understand something, Jesus stands for everything opposite that this world is. When this world says we should retaliate against the person who lashed out at us, they are wrong. Jesus says, “Bless them and pray for them”. Now, that doesn’t mean smart off to them, “I’m gonna pray for you!!” (Insert high and mighty Christian attitude here – cause I know Jesus and you don’t!! na na na na boo boo!!) To bless and pray means to sincerely, humble ourselves before the Lord on their behalf, and ask the Lord to draw them into fellowship with Him.

What if they are already “believers”? Pray. Pray. Pray.

When the world says fight, we should extend ourselves in peace. When the world says argue our point, because we have to have the last word…Wrong!  God will have the last word.  Believe it.

Verbal assaults reveal so much about the spiritual condition of one’s heart. Luke 6:45 says, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

Final Thought- When you speak, what is your heart revealing to those around you? Do your lips exalt Him and good things, or do they reveal a more serious, underlying heart condition?

Published in: on February 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm  Comments (1)  

The Old Ball And Chain

We all have a ball and chain.  Something ugly about us that we war against.  For some it might be an internal issue, for others external.  And when I say war against it, I mean we battle against this demon day in and day out.  We awake and it’s there and throughout our day we wrestle with it and at night, it is all but singing us to sleep.

My ball and chain for most of my teenage years and my entire adult life has been a battle of the bulge.  If I could have picked my addiction, I certainly would not have picked this one!  It is such an obvious one.  So here it is…”My name is Renae and I’m a foodaholic.”  This has been as expensive as any drug addiction out there when you consider the cost of clothes, the cost of diet plans, the cost of all the food I’ve shoveled (literally) into my mouth the last 15 or so years, it’s been quite expensive.  When you add in a sweet Italian husband (whose so Italian that sometimes I swear there is Ragu sauce running through his veins)  into the mix with the same addiction, the cost only doubles along with the troubles.  Don’t get me wrong, our marriage is full of bliss, blessing and lots of lovin’ but we’ve been “partners in crime” in packing on the pounds together!

What he and I have both realized is not only are our weights dangerously unhealthy, we’ve not been able to interact with our kids physically like we wanted but also and most importantly our bodies were not glorifying God in the way that He created us to be.  Now when you sit down and you read scriptures like Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”  Proverbs 13:25 “The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.”  Proverbs 23:20 “Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.” if you are like me, I realized this overeating wasn’t just a biological trait, it was S-I-N!  I know!  I know!  It’s not politically correct to call downfalls sin anymore, but that is exactly what gluttony is!  My eating habits were not pleasing God.  Period.  I was not and have not been presenting my body a living sacrifice.  Hello!  There it was in my face…scripture plain as day, “Renae you are not pleasing God.”  I couldn’t deny it any longer.  Maybe you are just like me and seeking to find freedom from your ball and chain, hopefully you will realize that the answers are in Gods word.  God desires to fill us, to satisfy us and to help us overcome.  We can cut the ball and chain loose but not by ourselves.

19 pounds ago I was introduced to an online bible study called “Setting Captives Free” it’s a site devoted to helping people overcome food, alcohol and drug addiction.  If you are being held captive by addiction and feel that you are stuck and won’t ever be free, that this is just who you are, don’t believe it!  There is freedom in Christ!  Now I must warn you, it’s not a “get skinny quick, praise the Lord” kind of program!  Its intense!  Its biblical and it was just what I needed.  It’s not a pill, powder or even a diet plan and there is no cost involved.  It is absolutely FREE.  Let me put it this way, Christ has already paid for it!

If we truly seek to be free, He will free us.  Amazing things happen when we submit willing hearts to Christ.  His word is powerful, it lifts us up, it heals, it corrects us when we are wrong, it encourages us.  2 Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I need God’s truth, I need his instruction, I need him to correct me and guide me, especially when it comes to my “ball and chain” but not just that, in this every day, hour to hour life that he has given me as well.

Lord, you set the captives free on Calvary more than 2000 years ago!  Thank you, Lord, that by your grace we are set free!  In Christs Name, Amen!

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 1:57 pm  Comments (3)  

Destructive Path of Deceit

Sir Walter Scott wrote “Oh the wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive” and that is true! Most of us have witnessed this in some form first hand. Whether its in relationships, our job, our families, our lifestyles and sometimes unfortunately we deal with it in our churches today. Hey, some of the biggest snakes I’ve met have sat next to me or behind me in the pew, Amen? Deceitfulness lurks everywhere and we’ve got to be on guard for it.

Let me see if I can break this down a little further. Deceit isn’t just someone lying to us, deceit can be us lying to ourselves. How can I deceive myself you ask? I’ll use myself as an example here. For years I’ve struggled with sinful eating habits. I would tell myself one of something wouldn’t hurt me, just a little more of that, a couple more spoonfuls of that, one more glass of this, etc. 20, 30, 40 lbs later, I regretted all those extra spoonfuls, bowls, cups, plates of food that in my heart I knew were too much but I deceived myself and ate it anyway. By the way, deception has a horrible aftertaste!!

What about you? Are you deceiving yourself? Maybe “deceiving” yourself to believe you can handle just one more store credit card? When you know the budget can’t possibly handle it. Are you “deceiving” yourself to believe that if you had a different husband/wife you’d be happy? When really you just need to work harder on the marriage your in now! What Scott said about deceit was true, when we begin to deceive whether it be someone else or ourselves we start weaving a web of lies and lies lead to destruction!

Let me give you something much better than literary quotes. Let me tell you what the Word of God says…”If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. I John Ch.1 Vs 8-10

In the verse above it’s very clear why it is so important that we confess our sins to God. Furthermore why God calls us to be honest with Him, ourselves and others. If we go through life day to day, saying and/or thinking we aren’t sinners, we’ve called Him a liar. God is not to be mocked, he is not a liar.

Final Thought: Are you deceiving yourself today? Are you deceiving others? If so what about? Confess it to God and remember HE is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. Be HONEST with God, with yourself and with others.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus! Our only way to the throne. Forgive us of our deceitfulness with others and with ourselves, cleanse us from all of our unrighteousness. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Published in: on September 25, 2009 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  

The Blessedness of Answered Prayer

Psalm 28:1-2 “To you I will cry, O Lord my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You are silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary. Psalm 30:1 I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

How many times have you prayed and gotten exactly what you asked Abba (our Heavenly father) for? If you are like me, I know I couldn’t possibly begin to sit down and count the blessings he has given to me, they are endless! Now, recall how many times you prayed for something and he didn’t answer. I’m reminded of the Garth Brooks classic song “Unanswered Prayers”…goes a little something like this…In the first verse he sings about how he and his wife go to a football game and they run into his high school sweetheart and he thinks back to how much he had longed to marry this girl many years before meeting his wife and that this was his prayer and then the chorus comes along and he sings “Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers! Remember when your talking to the man upstairs and just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” While Garth has a beautiful song here, he fails to mention one obvious thing, he got an answer…God said No.

How many times, have we gotten so upset with our heavenly father because he hasn’t answered our prayer, just exactly how we’ve asked? Or in the timing in which we’ve requested? Our human nature is to want “it” (that person, place or thing) right now! I’m reminded of the passage in Isaiah 55:8-9 that says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”. Abba knows whats best for us today, tomorrow, next month, next year, always. He sees into the future, we cannot. Our human eyes only see what we want to see.

We so long for that person, place or thing and sometimes he says Yes. We pray and say “Lord, bless me with a child!” and he gives you 19!!!!! (Shout out to the Duggar family!! God bless you!) We pray and say “Heavenly Father, I want to meet my soulmate, the one you made just for me and the next thing you know you’ve drank six pots of coffee with that person at Denny’s and five months later your married and the rest is history! (I love you Jon!) Other times, you pray and say “Lord I’d like to buy this house, the payments work into our budget and it’s perfect for our family!!! Please bless us with it!!” What you don’t know, but HE does, is that the company you work for is getting ready go bankrupt and shut its doors and you are going to lose your job and be unemployed and he sees this and doesn’t want you to struggle making those payments. He knows that right NOW just isn’t good timing and his answer is No. Yes is a blessing! Praise him!!! The answer of No is still a blessing. Don’t mistake that and forget to thank HIM or praise him in that too! Thank HIM for looking out for you!

A couple of years ago, my husband and I longed to relocate to another place, everything seemed perfect. We prayed and prayed and finally got our answer from God and it was No and we were devastated. Torn down, falling apart, on our faces crying out why, devastated! At the time we couldn’t see what God had planned but sitting here in Rocky Mount today, full of God’s spirit, maturing in faith, we see now why his answer then was No.

Final thought: Do you serve God with a thankful/praiseful heart? Regardless of whether he has answered Yes or No?

Abba Father, thank you for your many blessings, the yes’ and the no’s. Help us to always remember that your plan for us is perfect and you have our very best interests at heart. Bless us with the opportunities to wait patiently upon you. In Jesus name! Amen.

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm  Comments (3)  
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