Our Stuff, or His Stuff?

Our money is our money, right? And our stuff is our stuff!

That’s the understanding many of us had when we first walked into the kingdom of God. We had made a decision to lean into Jesus when he offered to give us a holy hug.  That hug smeared blood on our souls, and with it came liberty, freedom, acceptance, intimacy, and eternal love and protection. It was a great deal for us!

We were happy.

We felt fulfilled.

We immersed ourselves in the faith and took our place among those who cry out to the cross for redemption.

Our Father, upon seeing us at the end of the driveway had run to us, and at last we were home. It wasn’t until later we understood what being under God’s roof and a part of his family meant in its totality.

We were no longer our own. We had been bought at a price.

Today’s I’m thinking about the challenges that come with being marked for Christ. Eternal bliss is ours, yes, but it requires something of us.

Salvation is free, but deliverance costs us something…cost Jesus everything.

Today, I’m thinking about those who hold close what they ought to give away. Those lost in mysticism, materialism, narcissism and racism.  Pretty much any kind of “ism” that the world dishes out is going to be dangerous for us to have and to hold.  Instead, we need to make the decision to be “all in” with Jesus.

Whatever that means.

Whatever we have to forego.

Whatever we have to give up.

Whatever might change–we need to do it.

Don’t let anything hold you back from achieving fullness of grace, certainly not money.

Today, put your hands palm up and mean it.  Seek Truth, Freedom, and Liberty that issues from the throne room of God and be thankful.  Our Lord’s love is worth more than this world can ever give in fame, fortune, or fashion.  Don’t compromise or give your inheritance away like Esau did.  Run to God, even as He runs to you, and be truly satisfied.

…the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power. Acts 19:18-20

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21

 

 

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Shosholoza!

Shosholoza (show-sha-low-zah).

The word means “move fast, go forward, or keep moving quickly”.  It is a Zulu word, as I understand it, that teaches us to persevere with hope in our hearts and to keep on keeping on. 

What a wonderful message for Christ’s church.

This song was sung by South African miners who were tasked with the hard labor of growing their nation. They had to ride trains to get to the mine sites, which meant not only long days of grueling work in the hot African sun, but also a loneliness of soul as they were separated from their loved ones in order to provide for them food, clothing, and shelter to live.  I thought I would include a copy of the song with today’s post.  Imagine men singing this to their Mother Africa as they head out before the sun rises.  Close your eyes and listen to the rhythm. I promise, it has a soothing effect on the soul.

000shosho

What is it that causes you to persevere at this point in your life?

Conversely, what is it that wears you down?

What causes you to be stretched or challenged?

How can the concept of shosholoza help you to stay the course, remain faithful, and continue to dole out love, forgiveness, and concern even when you feel you’ve done every thing you can do to address a difficult problem and the well is still running dry?

How do we keep on keeping on when the trip is all up hill?

Jesus Christ is the answer.

We are hurt–Jesus heals.

We are struggling–Jesus offers us a place in His yoke of ease.

We are discouraged, and Jesus reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

He reminds us that we are beautiful to Him; stunning to the extent that He, himself, has proposed a marriage between we two.

Wow!

Today, focus on the good things of this world.

The trustworthy things.

The noble things.

The things that we might speak to as if they were when now they are not, believing that in Jesus all God’s promises to us are always and only YES!

Grab hold of hope and keep it securely in your grasp, remembering NOTHING is impossible for God, and no one can separate us from His love secured for us in Jesus Christ.  We stand redeemed, and that fact alone gives us eternal hope.

Shosholoza!  Keep moving forward.

Shosholoza!  Keep looking up!

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Scrutinized

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17

Encourage one another… 1 Thess 5:11

Think about it:  Is what you’re about to do something Jesus would proudly ascribe His name to?

That’s the question you have to ask yourself today.

It’s the question I have to ask myself every time I make plans to strike out into the world, or exercise my faith in the community of believers–and not just those believers inside the church walls. We are all living under a microscope these days.

Don’t believe me?

Listen to the news about the NSA in America.

Look at the cameras hanging from every street corner in London.

Pick up a gossip rag sometime.

Oh yeah, people are watching.  But even more than the human eyes that are on us day and night, we ought to be concerned about the heavenly eyes that are watching, taking notes, recording for Posterity what they see and commenting on the slop that sometimes describes our actions.

Yes, I said S.L.O.P.

000piggies

As in the gross concoction we used to feed the pigs down on the farm, a mish-mash of all the stuff the cook considered waste.

Ouch.

It’s scary to think of the repercussions that might be visited upon us were it not for the blood of Jesus covering us, but let’s not forget–that blood doesn’t come cheap.

Today, pray for goodness to fill your soul and light your way.

Pray for mercy to be the hallmark of everything you do.

Pray for Jesus to take action, if action is necessary (so you don’t need to).

Pray for grace to fill you, so that you’re not a burden to the world, but a blessing to the brotherhood and sisterhood of Saints that comprise your circle of influence.

Be a burden-carrier for another. Do what you can, when you can, to bring a greater degree of unity to the church of Jesus Christ universal.

I guarantee you that if you feed anger or bitterness, they will only grow stronger. Forgiveness and grace are the balm for the ages, and only they can take the sting of disappointment and anger away.

Today, be Jesus with skin on to another person.

Eyes are watching people, and angelic fingers are moving across the page with a pen dipped in Christ’s blood. Pray they only record good on your page–only good!

Prayer Changes Things!!!

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Make us truly wise

There are a few things that make us truly wise:

1. A Saving faith in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord of our lives.

2. A Holy Spirit guided ability to read and understand Scripture.

3. A healthy relationship with other God-led individuals.

4. A steady watch over our souls, making sure we check our excesses and cleave to God daily.

5. A desire to see others gain heaven as a result of our time here.

Let’s remember first and foremost our duty to others we know who are not born again, or who have walked away from the faith, the body, the Book, or the pledge to do all they can to winsomely walk through this world in fellowship with others, forgiving and encouraging all those who sin against them.

Isn’t forgiving what Papa God would have us do?

Isn’t it what He set us apart to do?

Isn’t reconciliation worth our every effort?

But who will lead the way?  Should we expect that from those without hope, or should we, the ones who have all hope in Jesus get the ball rolling?

I think you know the answer to that question.

If you are estranged from either Papa God or your neighbor today, through your own fault or theirs, please pray about what God would have you do to restore that which has gone askew. And please, please, never forget the importance of sacrificial and intercessory prayer in the operations of this world.

I’ve included the Apostle Paul’s words on the subject here today.  Please prayerfully read them and asking Papa to help guide and direct your efforts for him on this first day of April.

“He [God] has delivered us from such a deadly peril…

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. 2 Cor 1:10

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Epiphany…Change…Willingness

Last night I had an epiphany while driving and I wanted to share it.

my handsome hubby at the wheel

my handsome hubby at the wheel

Here’s what I realized:  Eliminating those things in life that bring me comfort–things that are not God–will most certainly lead me to turn to God for the comfort I seek, instead of those things.

Makes sense.

As of today, I’m applying this understanding to my food plan, and I’m taking action to eliminate those things that are comforting to me, in favor of a God who is the Father of Compassion and the God of all Comfort.

Coffee, bye-bye.

Chocolate covered almonds, see ya around.

Artificial sweeteners, we are going to have to part ways.

I’m on a quest and about to perform an experiment.  I’m eliminating comfort foods from my diet for one week.  We’ll see how it goes and if I can do it without lopping someone’s head off.

Bob, beware.

Matt, take cover.

BJ, it may get brutal on this end, so be careful.  ;)

Friends and family:  PRAY!!!

Of course, I’ve known for a long time that this principle about comfort worked with other aspects of my life, but I don’t think I have ever looked at my health and body size/weight before and made the connection.

What comfortable thing are you holding onto in life, instead of turning to God?

I’m also thinking about working with others to organize a 5K this summer.

Huge undertaking.

No experience.

Think it is a wonderful “idea”, but can it be done?

What goes into such an event?

Do you know anyone who has ever done such a thing? Have you ever organized a 5K?

Also, I’m fighting back against unwillingness today. I could use some prayer support for that. I know things need to change, but until today I was unwilling to do much about it. I’m open to the possibilities now, and hoping God will honor that by sending valuable insight my way.

I covet His intuitive thought.

How do you fight back against an unwilling spirit? What do you feel you could accomplish, if only you could get YOU to cooperate with a new agenda?

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Be a Billboard!!!

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:2-4

Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:2-4

Are you a living billboard for the Lord?

What are you doing every day to be that letter of recommendation for Jesus that you were designed to be?

Are you loving people unconditionally?

Are you forgiving those who sin against you?

Are you reaching out to God for strength to do those things that seem insurmountable for you?

Where in your life have you posted a message about Jesus that can be seen by others as they drive by your billboard at sixty-five miles an hour?

Today, be that living, breathing, walking, talking, loving, caring billboard for Christ that others may never see if you were not willing to display it.

Forgive as if your life depends on it.

Love as if the sun might not come up tomorrow otherwise.

Reach beyond yourself to embrace someone or something that will strengthen the kingdom of God in your corner of the world.

Be Jesus with skin on, to someone.

If you will, the whole world might be changed–forever! Think about it. Is the Lord’s arm too short? Are you too insignificant for Him to use you in big ways? Absolutely not.

Our God is a Mighty God and able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope to imagine, or dream to achieve, and all He needs to do it is your willingness.

Today, are you willing?

Will you be His billboard?

What keeps you from sharing Christ with others who need to hear how He’s changed your life?  What one thing could you do differently today, that when changed might alter the course of someone else’s journey?

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Living AS God’s Will

Then the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Genesis 18:17

When you are rightly related to God, it is a life of freedom and liberty and delight, you are God’s will, and all your common-sense decisions are His will for you unless He checks [you]. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 20

Who doesn’t want to know the mind of God?

Who wouldn’t want to be in on the secrets of the universe?

Who would turn away the Lord of Glory when He seeks to communicate with him or her, much as a friend communicates with an other that he loves?

Who, indeed?

When we are rightly related to God, our lives are lived in freedom, liberty, and delight, so that we are God’s will in this world, by virtue of His Holy Spirit living in us.

Think about that.

Today, are you living in freedom and liberty and delight regarding God?

Have you freely given Him every part of your life?

Do you ask Him about what you ought to do each day, or do you merely do what “feels” right at any given moment? Feelings can be unreliable narrators sometimes. Just sayin’.

As believers, we need to learn how to trust the guidance of our God and enjoy the freedom, liberty, and delight He brings to our lives.  And yes, I did say learn, because some of this stuff does not come naturally.  We struggle giving up self to have Jesus, but His promise and the answer to any question about his ability to remain with us and guide in and through us is always YES!  Yes, He does, and Yes, He will.

Today, be mindful that as you wear the name Christian, you are responsible for leading others to Christ: in word, in deed, and in prayer.

Be Jesus with skin on to someone today, won’t you?

To Him we live, freely blessing and freely blessed.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!

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