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Called to a Higher Standard

RepentCross

Real love calls for repentance. Real love will tell you the truth; you are going to stand before a Holy God.

Real love will press in. God does love you, come to Him as you are, but you can not stay there. The blood of Jesus washes you clean.

Repentance is not an insincere apology.

Repentance is owning your sin, through confession, being broken before the Lord and turning away from sin.

We don’t accidently sin. We make a choice.

scoldingWhen we were kids our mothers would ask us, “If your friends jump off a bridge, are you going to too?”

We can not act like, or do what, the rest of the world is doing. We are called to a higher standard, a Holy standard.

If you fall, repent and get back up.

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 John 1:9

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Apologetics, Not Apologies

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I am not intimidated, nor ashamed, to share my faith in Jesus Christ. While it is foolishness to the perishing, the man who is wise in his own eyes, it is life to those of us who have put our trust in Jesus.

There are some who are afraid to share there faith, but fear has no place in the rejuvenated heart of a believer.

The attack on Christianity has been turned up a few degrees. We are being flanked from all sides, politics, schools, and Hollywood, but even more so on the personal front, in our homes, relationships, and churches. We are at a crossroad where we must choose a side. There is no place for lukewarm Christians. It is time to get off the fence.

Some may justify their silence by saying, “Faith is a personal matter.”

Our faith in Jesus Christ was never meant to be kept a secret. If it were to be hush-hush then Jesus would have never told us to go into all the world and make disciples. We are not illegitimate children or mistresses. We belong to God, through Jesus, we are His children, His Bride.

No person volunteers to have their chest cut open for heart surgery unless they understood they needed surgery to live. Only then would they submit to a surgeons knife for a life saving operation. But, how would this person know they needed a new heart unless a doctor told them?

But how will people call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher (messenger)? Romans 10:14

I do not get offended when someone attacks my faith. I do not fear their rejection; I fear for their soul.

We can not force anyone to accept Christ, salvation is a free gift and a person must choose. It is Holy Spirit who calls us to Him, it is our responsibility to open our mouth. We are not God’s lawyers, we are His witness to His saving grace.

Always be ready to give a [logical] defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance [elicited by faith] that is within you, yet [do it] with gentleness and respect.  1 Peter 3:15-16 

Let us get out of our comfort zones and throw away our excuses and purpose to live our faith out loud and to walk worthy of the calling.

Stay in the Word and in prayer. You do not have to be afraid of what you should say, His Spirit will bring it all back to remembrance to you, but you can’t remember what you have not  known. So read your Bible daily, meditate on His Word day and night.

When they bring you before the synagogues and the magistrates and the authorities, do not be worried about how you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say;  for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”  Luke 12:11-12

The world is getting darker and now is our opportunity to shine bright.

Be Free & Stay Free

Count it all JOY

Does it ever feel like things are not going the way you think they should? I mean, you are trying to do everything right and be a person of integrity, but it seems the Godless people are flourishing?

Yea, I had a few minutes pity party for myself today.

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It only took a minute for me to remember…

“If the world hates you [and it does], know that it has hated Me before it hated you.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love [you as] its own and would treat you with affection. But you are not of the world [you no longer belong to it], but I have chosen you out of the world. And because of this the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the reminder.

 

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Be Free & Stay Free 

End Time Bullies

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There was a boy who was being bullied. Everyday the neighborhood kids would taunt and tease him. And everyday the little boy would come home with bruises and tears.

There was one particular bully who seemed like a giant in the boy’s eyes. He was the meanest bully of them all. Now this giant of a bully would incite the other children to throw rocks at the boy, push him down, and call him names. He would spread lies about the little boy and no one would question if the lies were true; even the most outrageous lies.

The boy tried to ignore the bullying and be nice to the bullies, for he thought if he were nice to them then maybe they would like him and stop terrorizing him. So the boy would offer gifts to them. But the bullies took his gifts, scoffed at him, pushed him down, then demanded more gifts. No matter how nice he was, or how many he gifts he gave them, it was never enough.

Soon the little boy stopped going outside. He stayed in his room, scared, sad, and alone.

His father, wanting to help his young son, enrolled him in self defense classes.

“Son, I don’t want you to go around looking for fights, because the fights will come to you.” The father said. “But I don’t want you to be afraid or defenseless to stand your ground. When you stand strong, most bullies will run away. Sometimes you will come across a giant of a bully and you will have to rise up and face him.”

In the class the little boy met other boys and they became friends. As he grew in courage and wisdom he no longer felt defenseless.

It wasn’t too long after,  the little boy had to put into practice what he learned. One day the boy rounded a corner and came face to face with the giant of a bully and his gang.

“Get out of my way!” The giant of a bully demanded.

But the little boy stood his ground.

“Are you deaf? I said get out of the way!” The bully sneered with a shove to the boy.

Yet, the little boy held his ground.

“Are you blind, too?” The bully mocked. “Can’t you see my gang with me? You are out numbered!”

Still the boy did not back down.

The bully’s gang began to get nervous at the newfound boldness of the little boy. Some joined in with jeering the boy and some ran away.

Soon other children started to gather and stood beside the boy. Even though the bully continued to scream threats, the boy and his friends were not intimidated. With each threat the bully uttered, the boy and his friends took a step forward, pushing the bully back.

The little boy was no longer afraid to stand his ground, even if it meant bumps and bruises. If he had stayed hidden alone he would have never known there were other kids who would stand beside him to face the bullies down and send them running. He could stand  and not give up any ground. He could advance and take the bully’s ground from him. He just had to be courageous and put into practice all he had learned.

In many ways we are like this little boy. We are bullied everyday. Though it may not be a bully in the form of boy on the street throwing rocks at us, but the adversary we face is very real.

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The Bible says our adversary is the devil and he is very sneaky and stealth in his attack. Sometimes his attack is so blatant we doubt we are seeing what we are seeing. He knows our weak spots and he aims to hit it hard. When his frontal attacks don’t work he tries to come in through the backdoor to disqualify us; through temptations, attacking our marriages and our family, our finances, our health. He will use people, things, our past, and our minds against us. He is a dirty fighter.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 

1 Peter 5:8-10

He will hit, hit, hit us until we are too weary to even fight back. His fancy foot work exhausts us and we just want to get out of the fight and go to sleep. But, my friends, this is not the time to sleep. Edmund-Burke-Quote-The-only-thing-necessary-for-the-triumph-of

Jesus knew the battle we are in. He warned us, if the world hates you, remember it hated Him first. “Listen carefully: I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves [have no self-serving agenda]”. Matthew 10:16

It is difficult, I get it, to not feel the suffocating presence of evil around us. Ten years ago we would have never imagined the blatant attacks against our Christian faith as we are experiencing. We must remember it is a spiritual war and the attack is against Christ, His Truth, and His elect. It is a battle for souls.

When the world seems to want to hurry up and get to hell, we must put on our battle clothes and fight! We don’t fight like the world. Their battle plan is to destroy, wreak havoc, create confusion and chaos. The world uses intimidation tactics.

The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,  being ready to punish every act of disobedience, when your own obedience [as a church] is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

I don’t know about you, but I will admit that sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I get angry and I want to lash out and just slap some sense in people. Even in writing this post I had to delete some of what I wrote (well… because it was me talking and being very carnal).  It is difficult to not get caught up in the politics of the world. Sin abounds, but His grace, my friends, His grace abounds even more.

How did Jesus turn the world upside down? His love! He spoke the truth and it stepped on people’s toes. He knew His purpose, He knew He was going to the cross, He even knew who was going to betray Him, yet He loved. He was bold and not afraid of “popular opinion,” because only Truth is able to set the captives free.

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The early church were revolutionaries! They were imprisoned, stoned to death, crucified, beheaded, and scattered. Yet, they didn’t take to the streets and burn the cities down. They didn’t go on a smear tactic campaign.  They continued in Christ and boldly proclaimed the Gospel message.

For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy,  but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense],  but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort]. 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

I ask God, how can I make a difference? I feel inadequate. I feel outnumbered.

I (and you) make a difference with Christ in us. He has already equip us with all we need to be victorious! We have His Holy Spirit. We can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens us! He is not setting us up for failures. He is for us!

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Just look at your own calling, believers; not many [of you were considered] wise according to human standards, not many powerful or influential, not many of high and noble birth.  But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty].  God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are,  so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God.  But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin], so then, as it is written [in Scripture], “He who boasts and glories, let him boast and glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

What are we to do? 

First, we get on our knees before Him:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

We seek Him:

In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. -Proverbs 3:6

We ask: 

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. Philippians 4:6

We listen and obey: 

If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.  But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. James 1 

Remember the boy in the story? He did not stand against the bullies alone.

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We must come together, as true followers of Christ, in one mind, unity, encourage and pray for each other. We must stand in agreement. Remain in battle formation, watching out for each other, covering each others blind spot, and remember each other always in our prayers. Because it is not about us, it is about souls and His glory! If we truly love Him, then we love each other and we will be about His business in sharing His love and His truth to a lost and dying world. Live a life worthy of the calling, do not compromise, do not fear, and do not back down. Stand!

This is how I fight my battles!

Be Free & Stay Free

It’s in the DNA

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My fathers side of the family is recognized by “the chin.” Most of my cousins have inherited this feature, including myself.

When my children were babies they looked like their father. As they grew they developed some of my features; big eyes and dimples. Mostly, they took on my mannerisms, no doubt because of my influence of them. (Insert smile here)

I am known to my friends by my laugh. When I was young I was called giggles. Sometimes my giggle would get me into trouble, I just couldn’t help it, to stifle my giggle I would look like I was having a seizure with my body shaking trying to keep the laugh inside. My family calls my laugh a cackle. My “cackle” was usually heard before I entered a room.

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When my oldest daughter left home I would worry if I prepared her for life. Even though she is a responsible young woman, a mom still worries. To my delight I received a call from her one day.

“Oh no!” She said. “I inherited your cackle.”

She was in school and when she rounded a corner a friend told her she knew it was here coming down the hall because of her laugh. Of course we both got a cackle out of this.

I have told my kids that no matter where I am they will always have a home to come home to. My kids are grown now and spread out, but no zip code will ever change the fact that they are my children. They carry my DNA, they are mine.

This is the same for God’s family. Because of the blood of Jesus Christ, we have His DNA, we are His.

As we grow and mature in our walk with Jesus we begin to look more like Him; we take on His characteristics. The more time we spend with Him, the more we know Him, then the more our thoughts begin to reflect His.

You ever see couples who have been married for a long time? They begin to look alike, right.

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I lived many years in NYC, so there are certain words I say differently than my husband who grew up in the mid-west. Just the other day he caught himself saying something and he sounded just like me. I found this funnier than he did, I think. But, there are some things he does that I have noticed I have picked up, too. This is what intimacy, spending time together, and knowing each other does. You become one.

This is the intimacy our Abba Father desires us to have with Him. After all, we are the Bride of Christ and He is coming for us soon for the wedding feast. What a celebration that will be! Until then, our courtship with Him, through the Holy Spirit, seals us. He loves us, cares for us, provides for us, laughs with us, cries with us, He knows or every thought.

Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];

You understand my thought from afar. 
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him; to be so intimate and hidden in Him that the world no longer sees us, but sees Him. As we receive His love, we reciprocate by loving others. We become His heart extended to a world that truly needs Him. We become His light in a world that is fumbling around in the dark.

There is no shame or fear in Jesus. Let us be the city on a hill, shining the beacon of Truth and Salvation. If you have Jesus then you carry His DNA. Let people see Him before they see you.

By this they will know we are His.

Be Free & Stay Free

What’s Goin’ On?

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I have really been burdened lately, sometimes to the point where an anxiety attack threatens me. This is when I have to sit down, breathe, and remind myself of 1 John 4:4.

Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].

I told my husband last night that I feel like the darkness in this world is rising up for its last stand. I read the news, look at social media, listen to people, and I feel evil around me. Thankfully my husband is the voice of reason and he knows the Lord; he reminded me that these things must happen. The Bible says it will happen and it will get worse.

But there is no need to panic or be afraid. Because…

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We are under such a spiritual attack and it is increasing. Do you see it? Do you recognize it? No, you are not imagining things and it is not just because “people are crazy!”

It is happening everywhere; in our homes, our schools, our government, Hollywood, and most disturbing is in the church.

Political Correctness has sucked many Christians into it’s black hole.  Too many are picking and choosing what truth they want to believe. They are not rightly dividing the Word. They hold a form of outward godliness (religion), although they have denied it’s power (for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith). 

Clearly these people do not know the word of God. So I have to ask, do they read the Bible? Do YOU read the Bible?

I could go on and on, but you probably see it in your feeds too.

Lately I have been feeling like I am in a fog. I have been feeling so lethargic, tired, for no reason. I have been struggling to concentrate and I have been feeling the enemy’s arrows flying at me.  It is like the lion is standing outside my door.  Sure sign of a spiritual attack!

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Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

This is no time to slumber! Jesus told His disciples what to look for as a sign of His return and the signs are here. We must be about the Father’s business!  Are you His? Then you have a purpose, a calling, and He has equip you with all you need to fulfill the call.

Do not get sidetracked. Recognize the attack and take your stand.

Will you stand with me? To the glory of God.

But you, beloved, build yourselves up on [the foundation of] your most holy faith [continually progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], pray in the Holy Spirit, and keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously and looking forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ [which will bring you] to eternal life.  And have mercy on some, who are doubting;  save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy but with fear, loathing even the clothing spotted and polluted by their shameless immoral freedom.

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

-Jude 20-25

Be Free & Stay Free

No More Self Loathing

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We know God forgives us, because He says if we repent, He forgives us of our sins.

We even forgive others (with His help).

Yet…

We struggle to forgive ourselves.

Living in regret and shame keeps us in bondage. This is not God’s will for us.

We start getting ahead and then that ol’ lying devil comes and reminds us of all of our failures, our past sins, bad choices, and the people we have hurt along the way. Our minds get filled with “if only I’s…”

My friend, please hear me when I say this…

God is BIGGER! He knows where you have been. He knows how you have been hurt and who you have hurt. He knows, He knows, He knows… But that did not stop Him from redeeming you! It does not stop Him from loving you! It does not cause Him to reject you!

Are you tormented by your past? Is your heart still breaking for those you have hurt? My dear friend, His Holy Spirit is able to do far more than anything you could ever do. Do you not know He cares for you AND those you care for?

You can not back track. Nothing you can do can change where you have been.  But, if you  forgive yourself, make restitution if you have to, but do not be bound any longer to the past… if you will do this, then you will be free and healed.

You are not the same person you were before. You are a new creation! You are redeemed! You are His now!

Call on Jesus, my friend. Cry out to Him. Give it to Him. Open your mouth and your heart and just lay it all down at His feet and trust Him to work it out.

Be Free & Stay Free