Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Year In Review

Another year about to end.  Another year about to begin.  The continuous push forward.

     Indeed, I definitely get the sense of moving forward this year.  Perhaps it is due to being a mother, who is constantly chasing after a lively li'l one.  Perhaps it is due to that extra strand of gray hair I see.  Or, simply, the need to purchase a new calendar.  Whichever it may be, forward it is!

     Forward, but, still desiring purpose.  More specifically, "What are we doing all the way away from any of our family?"  Trust me, Dear and I consistently discuss this very thing.

     To be honest with you, if you have not yet noticed, we simply do not have a concrete answer to that question.  Yet, as of now, we know that we are meant to be here:  not simply because we are here, but we have seen God show us so.

     What we do know, is that we want to be in God's perfect will for our lives.  What that looks like, is a good guess.  It seems that God has us in a "waiting mode."

     This year has seen us coming along in other areas of our lives, as we wait upon the Lord.  Waiting has not been the most pleasant for us.  Just like any child awaiting a treat, we are jumping up and down in our seats!  So, to either prime us, or hold us off for a bit (or, both), He has been giving us many opportunities to do other things.

     This year has seen us get to start our first real garden!  A friend from church came over to help us get it going, and it has been such a gift!  We still have so much to learn:  in the tending to plants, as well as proper preservation; yet, it is all a lesson we are thoroughly grateful to have!

     We have also been blessed with getting to see a few loved ones this year.  Since we live away from all our longtime friends and our family members, it can get a bit lonely at times.  However, having my sister come to meet her li'l nephew; a friend drive over from nearly 2,000 miles away; taking our first major road trip to visit a dear adopted mama; a dear couple stopping by for a few hours while on their vacation, has made the year that much brighter for us.

     Along the way, we have been blessed to have made some new friends.  Some of which, we found we had some uncanny connections.  We have experienced a great deal of kindnesses with our new relationships.  Always a delight to make good, godly, strengthening friendships! 

     Most of all, we are simply being a family.  We are very much enjoying this gift God has given us:  family.  It is a lot of work.  Oh, but the precious value of it far outweighs any burden it brings!

     It has been so delightful, to be able to be parents.  To have waited so long for this time of which we now enjoy...Oh, makes it all the more sweeter.  To walk, hand in hand with my beloved, as we seek to please our Father in Heaven in the rearing of this precious child...How does one describe such delight?

     Forward.  God definitely has us moving forward.  It is much better than stagnating, that is for sure.

     So, if I had to summarize all that I have noticed in this year for us, I would say:
  1.  "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatians 6:9
  2. "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."  2 Thessalonians 3:13
  3. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  2 Peter 1:5-8 

     I pray that we do a far cry better this coming year, than we have this past year.  Oh, it will be a lot of work.  The precious value of it far outweighs any of the burden involved, though!


      "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"  Philippians 1:6
 
 

     

   

    

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 December Day Book

For Today


Looking Out My Window:
 
...Is the still quietness of an early evening.
I Am Thinking:

...That I need to conquer this battle within me.

I Am Thankful:

...That through Christ, I can overcome!

One Of My Favorite Things:
...Is observing my li'l family.

I Am Creating:
...a home.

I Am Wearing:

...Jammies.

I Am Reading:

...Ezekiel & "Passionate Housewives Desperate For God"

I Am Hoping:

...For clarity in our purpose in this coming year.
 
I Am Learning:

...To not grow weary in well-doing.

In My Kitchen:
...Is a tidied-up table.
In My Garden:

...Our plants are growing!

Post Script:


Shared Quote:
 
'"I'd rather know my 'ABCs' in Heaven, than Greek and Hebrew in Hell." Sam Jones
 
A Moment From My Day:
"Clean Kitchen Sink" 2016 Copyright Molding Into A Lady




Closing Notes:
 
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:57-58

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How Do You Identify Yourself?

     Who are you?  Are you just the sum of your experiences?  Or, are your experiences just part of what makes you, you?

     I find myself contemplating those questions often.  I realize that I am ever-changing.  As I understand what it is the Lord desires from me, I seek to implement His will into my life.  Of course, I know that without His grace in the doing, I will fail in my obedience.  I grow as I learn.

     Many things that I learn are from my errors.  Some are in ignorance; some, willful.  Yet, I cannot help but notice that other lessons I have learned, have been not by what I have done, but rather what others have done:  in other words, by observation.

     Whether I observe from afar, or near, I desire to learn.  I think that is one of my driving forces:  always having a desire to learn.  I am not content in staying stagnant.  I am not content in being a mediocre version of myself.  I would like to see that I am improving.

     Though still relatively young, I can honestly say that I have quite a few experiences under my belt.  That is not to be a boastful statement, but rather a blunt one.  Many of those experiences, I know I would never have asked to have; but yet, I have them.

     For a long time, I identified myself by certain experiences in my life.  I did not know anything different.  I was young, and was walking through healing from a traumatic life.  Some folks understood, and sympathized.

     I became my trauma, if you will.  I really did not know how to identify beyond it.  Thus, any other bad experience only added to that identity.  Though I had been born again in Jesus Christ years prior, I had not yet learned all that it meant when it said I was a new creature in Him.  "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

     It has been well known that trauma can stunt a person, emotionally.  I know it to be true.  However, I also know that in Jesus Christ, I was able to get out of the mire:  becoming someone I never knew I could be.

     Through years of formal and informal counseling; being blessed with good, solid support structure; and, a heavy reliance upon my Good Father and Saviour Jesus Christ, I can say, with relief, joy, peace, and certainty:  what happened to me, does not define me.  I am not the sum of my experiences.

     THIS is what I am:  the blood-bought, precious daughter of God Almighty!  "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12-13

     It has taken me a long time to say that statement with confidence.  When those, who should be instilling it within you, instead remove any thought of any worth you may have, it is quite understandable to see how someone can truly see themselves only as worthless.  Add to it the abuse of Scripture, and you are easy fodder for the devil.

     Yet, I cannot thank God enough for His long-suffering love!  Not only did He save my soul, that was worth the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, but He has blessed me beyond measure!  Experiencing His stability in my life, His care, His integrity...Him...Oh, how blessed am I, indeed!

     Even now, I cannot help but be teary-eyed as I share my heart with you, in what the Lord has been doing in my life.  For so long, the devil has sought to rob me of the comfort afforded to me through Christ's sacrifice on my behalf.  For so long, I caved to the fiery darts being hurled at me, telling me so many vicious lies.  For so long, I played the victim.

     According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, there are two definitions for the term "victim."


VIC'TIM noun [Latin victima.]
1. A living being sacrificed to some deity, or in the performance of a religious rite; usually, some beast slain in sacrifice; but human beings have been slain by some nations, for the purpose of appeasing the wrath or conciliating the favor of some deity.
2. Something destroyed; something sacrificed in the pursuit of an object. How many persons have fallen victims to jealousy, to lust, to ambition! 

     I can honestly say that, yes, there were things in my life sacrificed in the pursuit of evil by those who did me harm.  However, I must stress, God overcame it all in my life!  He has been my Balm of Gilead, my Great Physician, my Good Father, my Comforter, my Best Friend, my High Tower, my Defender, and so much more.

 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Ephesians 6:10-18

     When great harm has befallen a person, it is of no surprise that they hurt.  To stay hurt, though, and never heal, causes a great festering wound that only becomes more putrid as the days and years progress.  It encourages and invites sin into that person's life.  How so?  Well sin is like an infection.  Just as an untreated wound will become worse over time, so does a person's soul.  Satan will hurl lie after lie, to keep a person groveling in the dust; never coming to the Light that can cleanse every stain.

     He is good at it, too.  Attacking a person's Achilles' heal, over and over again, ensures that they stay weak--immobile.  Yet, when you call out to the One who can rescue you from your enemy, you will no longer be immobile.  He will pick you up, heal you, and strengthen you!

     What about the bad things you have done?  That seems to only compound the problem.  Not only do you feel awful about the evil that has befallen you, by the hands of others, but also about how you, yourself, have become.  

     If you are born again, it can become a great source of debilitation.  There is an endless supply of scorners, looking for ammunition against you.  Plus, you have yourself with which to deal.  

     Feeling the guilt and shame of our sins can definitely be beneficial.  It implies morality.  It proves that your heart is not hardened.  What you do with those feelings of guilt and shame will be vitally important.

     If you allow it, it can produce the right actions:  coming before the Heavenly Father for forgiveness of those sins, as well as the grace to overcome them.  If there is anything else required, you will have the means by which to do so, as well as the desire.  If there are any long-standing consequences, you will have the grace to bear them.

"For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter."
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
     However, it can also cause you to hide.  Just like those before us, i.e. Adam and Eve, we try to cover it up and pretend it is not there.  Then, feeling the weight of it all, we just add more sin to our lives, figuring that we have already messed up, might as well keep going.

     That attitude destroys a person.  How can a Christian keep living for the Lord, if they do not deal with their sin?  They cannot.  Thus, Satan has won the battle.

"And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."
1 Corinthians 5:2
     We have heard the stories of people who miraculously stop using foul language, once being saved.  Others attest to the miracle of no longer desiring the drunk's bottle, the addict's drugs, or the smoker's cigarettes.  I do not disbelieve them.  I praise God with them for those miracles!  I believe God gives them that gift, giving them a head start in their walk with Him.

     However, one soon realizes that though our soul is redeemed, and a new creature, our flesh is not.  It is still corruptible, and bent to sin.  Oh, the war spoken of in Romans 7!  Seeking to ruin a Christian's testimony is what Satan desires.

     If he can get you to "play the victim," not only because of what has happened to you by others, but also of your own accord, oh boy, does he have a field day!  A good enemy is one who's inactive.  A bad one is the one coming at you.  So, what do you think he wants to do?

      We have a choice.  When we have the Holy Ghost, (and, if you have been born again, you have, without question, the Holy Ghost), you have the strength to overcome your experiences.  You have the ability to overcome your sins.  We have the choice to either yield to sin, or to God.

"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:12-14
     Once again, I can attest to the debilitating effect it has to not go to the Father when you have erred from His will.  I know the pain, and the disgusting feeling that overtakes you, when you wallow in sin; when you believe the lies being cast your way.  I know what it feels like to be a disappointment.

     Yet, I know the rejoicing and peace that comes in remembering my new life in Christ!  When I humbly seek the Father for forgiveness and grace in time of need, guess what?!  I am a blessed recipient of those very things!   

 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:6-10

     Yes, there may very well be humiliation.  Humble pie, though, never really hurt anyone.  If anything, I think it makes you more relatable to those who will need it, later on in life.  I cannot count the times I have been ministered unto by those I thought were relatively clean-nosed Christians, when I learned that they had struggled similarly to me.  The same has happened when the Lord has allowed my bad decisions, and the lessons subsequently learned, help another person who has struggled.

     So, no, we do not need to be the sum of our experiences.  What a sad way to live.  How can one truly enjoy the sweetness in Christ, if we never recognize His overcoming power?  

     Our experiences can, however, help make us who we are, today.  If we learn from our wrongdoings, our sins, and start living right, it definitely can bring forth good fruit.  If we learn from observing others' sins, and determining to avoid their pitfalls, again, it can bring forth good fruit.  

     If we choose to move past our past, and not wallow in it, it will do a world of good.  If we seek to use it to help, as God directs, (and, He will), oh, the beauty that comes from ashes!  If we choose to hold on to our identity in Christ, and not allow anyone rob us of that greatest of joys, we are victorious! 


"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 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. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."
1 John 1:1-2:6

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
1 John 4:4

"Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
1 John 5:1-15

Copyright 2016 Molding Into A Lady

   

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016 November Day Book

For Today


Looking Out My Window:

I can still see the lush foliage, deceptively spring-like during the autumn day.

I Am Thinking:

...Of how blessed I am to have my compassionate husband.

I Am Thankful:

...That God walks me through each step of my journey.

One Of My Favorite Things:

...Is a clean kitchen sink.

I Am Creating:

...Not much, at the moment.  However, many plans in this mind of mine!

I Am Wearing:

...Comfortable, homey clothes. :-)

I Am Reading:

...Well, getting ready to read "Passionate Housewives Desperate For God," again, as part of a Book Club/Study in which I'm involved.

I Am Hoping:

...For continued healing:  both in my soul, and body.

I Am Learning:

...Of the absolute necessity to lean upon the strong arms of my Saviour!

In My Kitchen:

Exciting new culinary adventures that include God-given, Dear-caught, venison!

In My Garden:

...Our first, real attempt at growing our food!  Everything is blessedly popping up as it should!

Board Room:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/263531015675708527/

Post Script:

Bandana Gramma Youtube Channel -- If you've not checked out her channel, do so now!  You won't be disappointed.  If you do, please let her know Miss Renee sent you her way!

Shared Quote:
'"You are no saint,' says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, I go to Him; other hope, I have none."  Charles Spurgeon 
A Moment From My Day:



Closing Notes:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

Friday, October 28, 2016

When Others Have Let You Down...

     You are discouraged.  You are surprised.  You would never have guessed them to do _________.

     However, is it sin in their life, that has you low?  Or, is it simply a difference in particulars...preferences...in which God has given liberty?  How would you even know the difference?  These are good questions to ask.

     Myself, I have found, particularly in my more immature days (*gasp!), being bothered by preferential/liberty differences.  Yes, that which is clearly described to be sin, e.g. fornication, did/does bother me; especially when committed by professing believers.  However, I , in ignorance, pride, and immaturity, became upset with those things that I thought were wrong.

     Having lived life as a rebellious child of God in my early twenties, I experienced the subsequent chastening of my Good Father.  I knowingly shamed Him.  Once corrected, humbled, and back on track, I became zealous for a holy life.  I wanted to insure avoidance of anything that would deter me from His ways.  I wanted to leave no stone unturned.

     I was very immature, but zealous.  I had a basic knowledge of what God desired, but had yet to become tempered.  During this time of tempering, I became very protective of my testimony.  Thus, the zeal.

     Not that being zealous for God and His ways are wrong.  However, overemphasizing works and standards is wrong; especially if your focus is skewed.  Mine was.

     In my desperate desire to not mistreat my Lord, I became imbalanced.  I focused too much on hem and neck lines, makeup, hair, places frequented, opinions of others, etc.  My focus turned to me, rather than GOD.

Image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
     Sadly, it also turned to others.  I took it upon myself to police others' behaviors, inwardly.  Oh, I am sure some realized it; way before I ever did.  My self-appointed spiritual policing probably slipped out a time or two.  Thankfully, if folks did notice, they were gracious enough to give God the room to mature me.

     There was not much grace on my part, in my heart.  What liberties God gave to us all, and enjoyed by fellow believers, could irk me.  I would pray about them, but never see a change.  Imagine that!  Yet, God was changing me.

     Over time, God has used many experiences, and chiefly, His word, to show me my error.  First, I was wrong to focus on myself.  I know that we are to be examining ourselves, to see if we be in the faith.  I know that we are to be examining ourselves by the light of God's word, to see if whatever we do/think/feel, is in line with His will.  However, just as I could not save my own soul; just as I could not overcome temptations on my own:  I could not live right, on my own.  I need/ed God!  Showing me that, yes, loving Him = obeying Him, standards (in and of themselves) do not equate to loving Him.  Standards, without the proper motivation and empowerment, are a drudgery and detrimental to one's spiritual growth.  It is one extreme of the spectrum.

     He also showed me that what may be a struggle for me, may not be a struggle for another; and, vice versa.  He showed me to be gracious with others:  all grow at a different pace, and have differing levels of understanding.  However, we can all bless each other, if allowed. 

     For example, some believe it is a sin to eat certain things; just as did the new Jewish converts to Christ, in the early church.  God did not condemn them for it, but rather told the mature Christians to forbear the weak ones:  if eating meat offended a brother/sister in Christ, do not eat meat around them.  However, He coupled that command with one for the weaker siblings:  do not command folks to abstain from eating meats.

     Some folks believe you must attend church meetings on a particular day.  Others see every day as set apart unto God.  God condemns neither party.  It is a matter of your freedom to worship Christ.

"Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  (2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.  (8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.  (15:1)  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  (5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (7)  Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God."
Romans 14:1-15:7  

     Another great matter of debate is clothing.  God says to be modest.  He does not give an exact description of what that looks like.  He does not say "Shop only for this outfit at this store," or "Make only this outfit, with this fabric." He says, be modest in our apparel.

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  (10)  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
1 Timothy 2:9-10 

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  (2)  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.  (3)  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  (4)  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.  (5)  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  (6)  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."
1 Peter 3:1-6  

     Yes, in the Old Testament, Levites were prescribed particular outfits with particular fabric and items, Exodus 28.  Yet, we are not Levites, and we are not under the Mosaic covenant.  We are in the New Testament of Jesus' blood, and one day will be getting new, incorruptible robes of white!

    Now, if you want to dress in robes, you have that liberty.  You just need to make it modest.  Oh, and not command others to dress exactly to your specifications.

     If you are needing and/or wanting some help, to discern matters of sin and matters of liberty, listen to sound Bible preachers and teachers--but, always compare what they say, with the Bible.  Get counsel from God-fearing folks.  Study God's word for yourself.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15

     Make sure that you are not ascribing someone's liberty as sin; or, your sin as liberty.  God is pretty clear, though.  Some things, yes, need to be studied more thoroughly than others.  God is not in the business of confusion, though.  If it is a sin, He will let you know. 

     As in the previous post, if it is sin, and not just a difference in preferences, be gracious.  Can you say, can I say, that we are approaching the matter with charity?  Or, are we trying to do the job that only the Holy Ghost can do?

     Convictions about something change, when your belief changes.  If you once believed that you had to do good works to be saved, you would have had a conviction about it.  If you once believed that wearing red was too flashy, you would have held a conviction about it.  Holding a conviction does not necessarily mean you are right:  it simply means that you are persuaded in your current belief.
    
     I would dare say that there was a time in your life when you once were convicted about something, of which you no longer ascribe yourself.  I know I can say it about myself.  We change.

     The important thing is allow God to be Lord, and not try to do it, yourself.  As a woman, I know the temptation to try to control, to be the boss; and, honestly, when you are bothered by how another's way of life, to the point that you are mentally calculating hem lines, you are trying to control them... From the inside.  Some folks have gotten to the point of trying to do so, outwardly, too:  just take a glance at some rules of the Amish, and you will see what I mean.

     God has created variety, as evidenced in nature.  It is all around us.  I have a friend, who has become an avid bird watcher, thanks to homeschooling.  She can attest to the Creator's love of variety, just amongst her observance of birds with her children!

     So it is with us.  There are different hair colors, skin colors, skills, clothing styles, foods... The list just continues.  The Russian Christian woman, who wears a floral scarf neatly tucking in her hair, as she prepares to worship God with other saints, is no more wrong for that covering, than the lady donning a hat to her local church in the States.  The lady in one of the African countries, who wears a festive robe, is no more wrong than the lady who wears the jean jumper.

     If it lines up with God's word:  be modest; yet, not with your preference, then, let it not bother you.  Rejoice, rather, in the complexity of God's beautiful design amongst us people!  Enjoy your sister's company that enjoys bacon with her eggs, or likes tofu.  Cast not a lowly eye upon the woman who shares the same Father, though she chooses a different color than you would.

     Let us have charity amongst ourselves, that others may know that, indeed, we are God's children.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  (2)  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  (3)  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  (4)  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  (5)  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  (6)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  (7)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  (8)  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  (9)  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  (10)  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  (11)  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  (12)  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  (13)  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
1 Corinthians 13

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Missed the first article in this series?  Click here to read it!
    

Thursday, September 22, 2016

When Others Disappoint You...

     You hear it in your conversations with your friends.  You start noticing it on social media.  Things have changed.  Or, at least, your perception of them has changed.

     They are no longer as they once were.  Maybe they have become more rigid in their demeanor.  Perhaps you have noticed them growing lax in standards they once held more strictly...That you both held in common.  You notice the way they "let their hair down;" in ways you never would have expected from them.  You see places they frequent, that you would never (at this time in your life, at least) attend.  You see them wear things that create concern to well up within you.

     You see that doctrines that they once defended, have been denounced by them.  You discover them visiting other churches, (vastly different than their previous one), that greatly astonish you.  You find that they give ear to other doctrines, which disturbs you.  It all disturbs you, frankly.

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     You are let down.  It hurts.  You even are angry, though you keep that to yourself... For the most part.  It is burdensome to you.

How have you been handling your burdens?

Are they getting the best of you?

May I kindly offer some encouragement, and advice?


     First, I want to preface this matter by saying, whenever we see absolutely irrefutable sin being committed by a professing sibling in Christ, it very well ought to bother us.  We are family.  Family is to watch over each other, seeking the benefit of every member.  "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Philippians 2:4

     Yet, even when we see blatant sin occurring in the lives of our fellow saints, what is the usual response?  Is it prayerfulness, or indignation?  Is it a concern for their spiritual well-being:  knowing that though to be chastened of the Lord is surety of His parental ownership of them, but it is very unpleasant?  Are you concerned for the effects upon other believers these sins may have?  Are you concerned for the Heavenly Father's name being blasphemed by their behavior?

     Are we sharing these things with our Lord?  Do we trust that He will fix the matter, if they indeed are His child?  Do we believe He has the power to overcome the sin that is so easily besetting them?

     If we have talked to Him about it, have you also approached your sinning sibling?  Have you cast the beam out of your own eye, whereby you may effectually aid your brother or sister in removing their speck? Matthew 7:1-5  Have you prepared your heart and mind, so that you become neither puffed up against them, or unaware of the danger of falling into the same sins as they have fallen?  Galatians 6:1-2

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     If you can honestly say that your heart and mind is right, that you have approached everything according to the will of the Lord, yet, the one for whom you are burdened has rejected correction, then, keep praying.  Really, that is all, and one of the most important things, you can do.  Depending on the matter, there may be other steps required, as seen in Matthew 18, or in 1 Corinthians 5.  

     As I see it, the primary way in which any of us can deal with disappointments, is praying to God.  He knows us, so well.  He knows if our hearts are right, or askew.  He knows how to mend, heal, guide, correct... For whichever party, or both, that needs it.

     Also, we need to avoid belittling the one (s) who has disappointed us.  I am reminding myself, here.  It is easy to think less of someone, when they do wrong in our sight. Remember, though, we are all but flesh; you may have, or will be, a disappointment to someone, someday.  How do you want to be treated, if and when that time comes for you? "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12

     How we treat each other, is a mark of our belonging to Christ, John 13:34-35.  We never ought to approve sin, Isaiah 5:20.  Yet, sin is a reality, in this life.  How we handle those inevitable disappointments, shows our Christian maturity and love.

     What, though, if it is not sin?  That, my dear sisters, is a topic for another day...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

REALLY Trusting God


     It is easy to take things for granted, is it not?  How often do we find ourselves assuming everything will continue as it currently is?  It is not until some trial comes, that we start realizing our shortcomings in these areas.

     When troubles come, it is natural to be fretful.  We worry about how to get out of our uncomfortable position.  Looking for the solution is usually our foremost thought.

     I speak from experience.  Recently, I have been enduring postpartum issues.  For those who have experienced the health woes accompanying the hormonal shifts postpartum, may understand me when I say:  it is not for wimps.

     However, I am a wimp.  I admit it.  I am a weaker vessel, just as the Lord says in the Bible.  I find no shame in accepting this fact; rather, there is much relief in not trying to portray myself as anything other than what I am.

     Thus, my weakness.  I had no control over my body.  It would not function like I wanted:  which would be perfectly.  Yet, that day will not come, until the Lord comes. 

     Resting, light/moderate exercise, and proper eating were the doctor's orders, literally.  Oh, and to know I was not crazy...And, to stop obsessing over my situation.


     It was hard, though!  Did they not understand?  Yes.  Did they not care?  Yes.  He even prayed for my family and me! 

     I, ultimately, and most necessarily, needed to trust God.  Moment by moment became my motto.  There is an hymn along those lines, that became a great source of comfort to me.

     I knew that my body needed rest.  I needed help.  I needed to lean upon others, just to help me get through regular, menial tasks.  I was on the receiving end of service, and it was uncomfortable.

     I had, as so many do, grown accustomed to "doing it myself." To allow someone to assist me, showed my vulnerability:  that I was weak, and could not do it all, myself.  However, that is exactly what God wanted me to acknowledge. 

     Dear jumped into action.  He served our family in ways that, normally, I did.  He saw my needs, and by God's grace, sought to meet it.  He did it all, without a fuss.  The vows:  "...In sickness and in health, for rich or for poor..." took on a whole new depth.

     Others, who knew, offered their services.  One, in particular, was just a phone call away... Many phone calls, to be exact!  She had gone through very similar circumstances.  Knowing I had someone so close at hand; who knew exactly what I was enduring; and, when I was struggling to make it through the next few minutes, was a Godsend.

     I was so full of care and unrest.  Though Dear, and others, were quick and consistent to point me to Christ, I had to be the one to rest in Him.  They could not rest for me.  However, they did intercede in prayer, for me.

     It was a daily, and many times moment by moment, task.  Hormones, stress, fear, satanic attacks, all played a part in me not casting my cares upon my Saviour.  God, His love, His word, and prayer, were all  instrumental in me leaving my burdens with Him.

     I had to rest in GodI was not ever really in controlEvery breath I take, every beat of my heart, is because God allows it to happenCould I not trust Him to get me through this difficulty?...Even if it would not go the way I wantedWas I willing to die to selfWas I willing to release my grip on my dreams, my hopes, my desires, and submit to whatever God wanted to do with/through me?

     That was the predominant battle, for me.  Yes, the physical issues were no small matter, and were quite unpleasant.  However, like anything, there is always something from which one may learn in any given situation.  For me, since I had much time to muse upon my lot, I sought to see whatever it was I needed to learn during this time.

     Relationships that had been estranged, were mended.  Put into a position of great physical weakness, I began to see other areas wherein I was weak.  So, using this as an opportunity to make things right, that is exactly what I, and Dear, endeavored to do.

     Learning to submit to God's will for my life, even if it meant suffering in ways I never would have chosen, was a big lesson for me.  It is, daily.  This time in my life, though, made such a large impact in my very soul, that I do not think I will soon  forget it (that is my prayer!). 

     As I started seeing healing take place (by the way, it is still a process I am undergoing, but, it is much easier, so far), I started picking up in my daily tasks.  What I took for granted:  washing dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the floors, cooking, etc...I found myself thanking God for the ability to do them. 

     I could not just jump right back in, though.  It was gradual.  Yet, for each time I was able to once again run the vacuum, or put away our clothes, I was grateful.  I was grateful for our provisions that necessitated my stewardship of them.  I was grateful for the family I have that needed my care.
 
     Ultimately, I was, and still am, grateful for God being my strength.  I cannot even fathom trying to manage these troubles, without Him!  It causes me to shudder at the very thought!

     My encouragement to my sisters in the Lord would be:  trust Him.  I mean, really trust Him.  Especially when things are not going your way.

     I cannot say what that trust would look like, for you.  Each person, each situation, is obviously different.  I may experience a different trial, and trusting Him will look different than this go 'round.  However, I know I have gained strengths from this time, that will equip me for today, and tomorrow.  The same is for you, if you allow God to have His way with you.

     A verse of Scripture that was of great comfort to me, that I would like to share with you:

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Quick "Hello!"

     I thought it would be nice to quickly come on here and say "Hello!"  I know I have been quiet over here, for a little while, (though, I am still active on my Facebook page...So, if you would like to stay in touch, please come say "Hello!" yourself!).  I do not know how frequent I will be back to my blog, but, it is a desire of mine to get back "in action."

     You may be wondering why so quiet over here?  Well, I have been dealing with some normal motherhood issues.  So, taking care of my family and myself has been of a larger priority these days.  I appreciate all those who have been, and would graciously continue to, keep me and my family in prayers.

     I hope everyone's summer has been nice!  I know I have been grateful for a lovely summer!  Lots of blue skies, chirping birds, ever-loving-to-learn child, a hard-working husband, here-and-there thunderstorms, and fresh fruit, to name a few! 

     I also have been noticeably growing in the Lord; noticeably, I say, because I actually am noticing some of the growth!  Ahh, let patience have her perfect work in you...Do not necessarily pray for patience; but, when trials come to perfect patience in you...Just lean on the Lord, and let patience do its work. 

And with that note, I will bid you adieu!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"A God Who's For Us," By Charles Lawson

     Maybe it is due to the nature of my life these days.   Maybe it will always affect me thus.  However, I do not recall having a message so minister to my soul this morning:  I just kept sobbing.  I could listen to it, every day.

     Those who know me intimately well, may understand why this message so touched my soul.  Yet, I know that I am certainly not the only one to be benefited by such a blessed sermon!  I also know it may minister to another, in a completely different fashion.  Well, here it is, for your great benefit:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why I Stopped Attending Church

     Many times in my relationship with Christ, I have failed Him.  If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know this fact about me--I do not hide it.   Well, one area wherein I failed Him, was when I stopped going to church.



     Oh, at the time, I had my reasons.  Other than being out of town and unable to get to one, or, being ill, the reasons I had were inexcusable.  Yet, I stayed away, nonetheless.

     So often, in my immaturity, I was back and forth in attendance.  There would be long stretches, where I saw myself being faithful to meet often with the saints.  However, every time I started dabbling with sin; every time I made unbelievers my closest source of friendships... My walk with God became weaker:  thus, my time with church less and less, until I just...stopped.

     One day, by God's grace, I did not want to go back and forth in attending church services.  I did not want to stay an immature Christian!  Why?  Simply put:  As a blood-washed soul, I knew it was where He wanted me to be.  I knew I was weak in this area, by making many an excuse to not attend.  Yet, the sweetness of walking closely with the Lord, and His people, far outweighed the temporary gratifications of the flesh.

     Church is where a believer can grow.  Yes, we need to spend time with the Lord, daily:  praying to Him, reading and studying the Bible, listening to Christ-exalting music, and the like.  However, God wants us to be meeting together:  to encourage each other; to provoke one another to love and good works; to edify one another; to reach the lost together; to use our gifts for God's glory, and the benefit of others; to learn, from God-ordained teachers and preachers; etc.

     Just like God wants the Christian meeting with other Christians, Satan wants to alienate us from each other.  I can see that fact, looking back upon my short time as a Christian. 

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." 
(Ephesians 4:11-32)


     He used temptations, lies, fears... Whatever he could, to keep me from being at the church meetings.  Sadly, I succumbed.

I stopped going to church, because:

1.) I feared man.  I wanted to avoid any uncomfortable confrontations, due to unresolved conflict (s).  I, also, was afraid of any emotional hurt occurring, again, as I had experienced in the past.

"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe." 
(Proverbs 29:25)


2.) I cared more about indulging my sinful pleasures, than dying to self.

"Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." 
(Romans 8:12-13)

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." 
(Ephesians 4:22-24)

3.) I wanted to "fit in" with unbelievers.  When I started esteeming the opinions of those people who cared nothing for my God of weightier importance, than the heart of my Saviour, I put myself in a dangerous position.  Wanting them to like me, it did not take long before my God-honoring lifestyle started disappearing; being replaced with a carnal, self-indulgent one.

"Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." 
(1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." 
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)


4.) I believed the lies that told me I should just stay down in the mire; that my church would get tired of seeing me back and forth in my attendance; that I had messed up too much to be of any good use; that no one would notice my absence, because no one really cared... 

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 
(1 Peter 1:13-16)

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 
(1 Peter 5:8-9)


5.) I began enjoying sin's pleasurable season, more than the sweet, sweet fellowship with the Lord, and His people. 

"Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;" 
(Hebrews 11:25)

6.) I allowed my embarrassment keep me from those who cared for my Christian testimony.  When dear Christian folks I knew, lovingly confronted me, I was so ashamed.  Rather than straighten myself out, by repenting and allowing God to guide me, I kept hiding in a hole.  

"I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you." 
(1 Corinthians 4:14)

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." 
(Galatians 6:1-2)

7.) I surrounded myself with people I knew would not help me follow the Lord.  God wants us to be kind to all, but to be surrounded by fellow believers, who will help us keep our focus on Christ.

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." 
(Hebrews 10:24-25)

8.) I did not keep good, open, regular communication with the Lord.  I neglected prayer and reading my Bible.  I always started my Bible reading with such great intentions.  However, once I got into the "so-and-so begat..." portions, it was easier to lay aside my Bible, for something more "interesting." It would be years before I really read through the Bible, and realized all the wonderful material awaiting me!

"And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.
(Luke 4:4)

"Pray without ceasing." 
(1 Thessalonians 5:17)

9.) I did not purge out the leaven in my life, but rather, foolishly held onto it.  Since I neglected personal Bible reading and study, I was my own spiritual discernment.  Of course, once the flesh got a taste for some "new" sin, it did not want to let go of it.

"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." 
(Romans 7:14-25)

"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 
(1 Corinthians 9:27)


     Now, some of these things were gradual, and overlapped each other.  This list is not in chronological order, either.  Though there were moments where I repented, sought God and His grace, and saw victories over these issues, these are some of the major, key areas of problems, that I see were instrumental in keeping me from church.

     Why am I sharing all this stuff with you?  Well, I know, all too well, the dangers when we neglect meeting with the saints.  It is not because the church is wherein lies our salvation.  It is not because we earn extra points with God, by having a good attendance record.

     It is because we will find strength, as we worship the Lord with other blood-bought Christians.  It is because we will find strength, as we listen to Holy Spirit-filled preaching and teaching.  It is because we will find strength, as we share burdens for/with one another, before our gracious and merciful Saviour.  It is because we will find strength, when our spirits are low, in the encouragement of fellow believers.

      It is where we find contentment, when we are able to utilize the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to us.  It is where we find courage, to be ambassadors for Christ.  It is where we can find a reprieve, when we are bombarded by the world.

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 
(1 Corinthians 12-13)

     I see many, many professing Christians, going down the same detrimental path I once walked; and, if I be not circumspect, will go down, once again.  Oh, how my heart aches, aches, for them!  How we must pray, pray, and pray some more for them!  How we must speak, charitably, to them, about this matter!

     Maybe some who profess to know Christ, do not really know Him.  How much more in earnest ought we to pray!  They may be fooled into thinking they are saved, when they still are a child of the devil.  Therefore, their indifference to the Lord, and absence from the church fellowship, is of no surprise.  It is a sad, sad case; one that needs much prayer!

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." 
(Matthew 7:21-23)

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
(John 6:29)

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." 
(1 John 2:19)


     Sister, if you are reading this article, and have been going wayward, why is it?  Is it because you are saved, but, like many of us, have yielded to sin, rather than Christ?  Are you believing the Satanic lies being hurled your way?  Do you believe, as I once did, that you might as well stay defeated?

      Please, do not continue!  God will gladly be gracious and merciful unto you!  Go to Him with true, godly repentance.  Share your heart with Him.  Allow Him to help you!  Then, move forward.  Get back into church--a good, Bible-believing, Bible-teaching, Bible-preaching, church.  Keep your nose in the word--even if it be at the end of your day, and only one small passage--Be fed!  Do not forget to pray:  share your heart, most importantly the parts you do not like--He is more than capable of handling it!

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." 
(1 Peter 5:6-11)

    
    
    
     
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