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

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Anger Management 101

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Offense! It’s everywhere! We are a society offended by everything and everyone AND we want everyone to know about it.

It’s the ol’ adage ‘misery loves company’. It is almost like someone placed an advertisement looking for miserable people and they show up by the busloads. (Oh, sorry, wrong post. Hope that didn’t offend you.)

But, seriously folks, who really wants to be miserable and angry all the time?

I am going to be bold and say that I don’t think most people even know why they are angry.

625-00840114Have you ever had an argument with someone and by the time it was over you couldn’t even remember what you were mad about in the first place? It started with an offense and then the next thing you know it was an all out battle of wills.

Not a fun place to be in, is it?

 

Do you know what the Bible says about this?

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;  for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.                 -James 1:19-20

Wrath is when we are so angry and resentful that we want someone to pay for our emotions. When we allow our anger to become wrath we have placed ourselves on a throne as judge and we beat the perceived offender with our gavel until we are satisfied that vengeance has been served. This is also known as sin. Ouch!

I confess I have been guilty of this. It is not a good feeling; especially as a Christian. I mean, as a Christian, we are never to get angry, right? Wrong! The sin is not in feeling angry; the sin is if we choose to act out the aggression of the anger.

Be angry and do not sin… Ephesians 4:26-32 But, this does not give us license to be angry at just anything or anyone. No! We are to be angry at injustice. And even then we are not to act like people who have no sense! Or better yet, we are not to act like people who have no God.

Not every offense against us should lead to anger. Jesus warned us we would be offended. He said the offense would come Matthew 18:7. He also so that we would have trouble, but we are not to fret and worry, because He has already overcome the world John 16:33.

So, you see, it’s not a new thing. You are not the first and only person to have ever been offended. Offense is all around us. But, the closer you walk with Jesus, the more intimate you are in your relationship with Him, you will begin to see who the real enemy is and I will give you a hint; it’s not your spouse, your children, your neighbor, or the guy who cut you off on the highway.

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 5:8-9

My friend, put on the armour of God and choose your battles wisely. With all your might and obedience, follow the Holy Spirit and walk in peace. Take captive your thoughts and meditate on His truth.

The next time someone walks in with a stick of dynamite, refuse to light the fuse; instead be a light in this dark world, because we are His Ambassadors.

And remember… the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God, you are royalty, chosen by God, let us all walk worthy of the calling.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

 

Lily of the Valley

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I am sitting at my laptop and wanting to write a post to inspire and encourage. You ever have those moments where your thoughts are being so consumed with the love of God and you want to share it? Such love can not be contained.

I can not put my thoughts into a single coherent post, but I know there is someone out there who just needs to be reminded how much He loves you.

I submit this to you and I hope as you listen to this, you allow yourself to meditate on our One Hope and Redeemer and Lover of our souls.

 God [in His eternal plan] chose to make known to them how great for the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in and among you, the hope and guarantee of [realizing the] glory.

Colossians 1:27

Be Free & Stay Free

Does God Know You?

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There are many who claim they know God. Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 7  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

How do you know if you love Him? Jesus saidIf anyone [really] loves Me, he will keep My word (teaching); and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our dwelling place with him.  One who does not [really] love Me does not keep My words. And the word (teaching) which you hear is not Mine, but is the Father’s who sent Me.”

We are known by love. Do you love? Does His heart beat in you? Do you care for the widows and the orphans?  Do you love even when they hate you? Can you lay yourself down for the sake of the Gospel? Are you burdened for souls? When you look at people, do you see them as souls, someone Jesus thought worthy of dying for? Are you more concerned about being right, rather than loving someone? With all the knowledge we think we have, if we do not have love, we have NOTHING.

I ask you, does God know you?

But if anyone loves God [with awe-filled reverence, obedience and gratitude], he is known by Him [as His very own and is greatly loved]. 1 Corinthians 8:3

I plead with you, do nothing else until you know God knows you and then Go and introduce Him to others through your love. Let every good word and deed point others to Him, the Christ in you.

Be Free & Stay Free

How To Get Unstuck

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Do you ever feel like you are stuck? You know, for every two steps forward you take a step back and you feel like no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead, as if you are stuck in waste high mud?

Do you ever feel so bogged down by anxiety and uncertainty, and you find yourself in a position you just don’t want to be in and you don’t know how to free yourself from it? And to make it worse… you are trying to trust God through it all and He just feels distant, then you begin to doubt your own faith?  It’s like you have Jobs friends in your head telling you why you are going through what you are going through.

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Hey, Job, it must be your fault! Maybe you don’t have enough faith!

Imagine, in one day Job lost everything. Then to add insult to injury he was covered in boils. His friends sat with him, not having any explanation as to why this was happening, they decided it must be some sin he committed and he was being punished. Then along comes his wife, being as comforting as his friends, she tells him to just curse God and die. Wow!  Poor Job. He was having a very bad day. And you thought you had it rough?

And God called Job a blameless and upright man. Still, in mans eyes, he lost everything.

That’s the way it is, right? When we are going through it, it is difficult to see the end in sight. As we are being stripped away of what we hold dear, it hurts, and it is confusing. Our emotions run the gambit as we try to hide and we rationalize. Then when nothing makes sense we start to place blame; on others, ourselves, God.

Certainly there has to be a reason for all this! Right?

Remember, you are never stuck with God.

So, what do you do when you are in the valley of uncertainty and everything and everyone seems to be against you? When your strength has crumbled and it is all you can do to even pray, what do you do?

I read an interesting article about how to get out of quicksand and I saw some spiritual parallels to it.

  1. Drop everything! Let go of the excess baggage. Sometimes we take on too much because we do not know how to set boundaries. We say yes to everything because we are programmed to believe that is what “good Christians” do.  Sometimes just because something is good, doesn’t it mean it’s good for you. You can get so busy doing so many good things, you miss out on the good thing He has for you.
  2. Get Away, step back. Jesus set the example with His constant communion with the Father. It is hard to hear Him when there are so many distractions. Get away from the noise and quiet yourself.
  3. Get horizontal. Humble yourself before the Lord and follow the example in Psalm 139: 23-24: Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
    Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there ispsalm_139_23-24-white-800x800 any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

When you ask God to search your heart, He will. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Be still and listen… His voice is sometimes a whisper and it is His desire to lead you.

What is He showing you? Is there confession and repentance needed?  Is it something from your past, maybe a hidden and forgotten injury?  Is He calling you back to your first love with Him.

Rest. Just like in quicksand, the more you struggle the more likely you will be to stay stuck and possibly sink. Breathe! The more of Him you breathe in, the more bouyant you will be. Trust Him, He will not let you sink. No matter what is going on around you, or the storm clouds hovering over head, He speaks to the storm and He says, “Peace, be still.” Don’t go by what your natural eye sees. Let your faith arise.

Beloved, your steps are ordered by Him. He directs your path. He goes before you and He makes those crooked places straight. He is the voice that whispers, go this way.

I remember a particular time I was going through… stuff. Everything was stripped away from me, all of my comforts, and I felt so alone. My emotions were on a perpetual roller coaster ride. To be honest, a lot of what I was going through was stuff I brought on myself through disobedience. Instead of trusting His faithfulness and provision, I tried (and failed) to fix my mess myself. Ugh! Not a pretty place to be in. I could keep the facade up for only so long before He allowed me to come to the end of myself. What looked like complete abandonment was actually Him calling me up. He lets us come to the end to get our attention. It was at this time He spoke to me and Romans 8:28-29 had a brand new meaning to me.

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.  For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

Pay attention to the word ALL. He said ALL things. So, what does that mean? It means the things we have created and the things others have done to us. ALL things! I knew with repentance of my disobedience (SIN) and forgiveness, even the mess I created was not too great for Him. His forgiveness and love is greater than any sin. I had not and could not sink so low He could not reach me with His strong arm. It is His mercy and grace that even this should become a part of my testimony and would work for my good and to His glory! This is the love of our Father!

My friend, no matter what that mountain is you are facing. No matter how deep the pit is that you are in. Echo the words of Job and say, “Though You slay me, I will trust You.”

He delights in you. There is no need to try to hide from Him, because you can’t. Even if you make your bed in hell, He is there. (Click Here )

As I am writing this I am listening to this song and I want to share it with you.

 

Be Free & Stay Free

 

1 Corinthian 13 & Marriage

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Don’t break her spirit

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. And if I have the gift of prophecy [and speak a new message from God to the people], and understand all mysteries, and [possess] all knowledge; and if I have all [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love [reaching out to others], I am nothing. If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.  It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; 

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Don’t dishonor him

it does not take into account a wrong endured.  It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail].  Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

 

Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].

 

But as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for the gift of special knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [for our knowledge is fragmentary and incomplete].  But when that which is complete and perfect comes, that which is incomplete and partial will pass away. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.  For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God].

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And now there remain: faith [abiding trust in God and His promises], hope [confident expectation of eternal salvation], love [unselfish love for others growing out of God’s love for me], these three [the choicest graces]; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

That Was Then, This Is Now

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It is true, there is not one person who ever lived who was perfect, except Jesus. Even though He was tempted in every way we are tempted, He did not sin.

So, the good news is… because He was without sin and died and rose again for us, having paid the penalty for our sins, He reconciled us to the Father.

When you are in Christ, there is no condemnation. As far as the east is from the west He separated us from our sins.

Sometimes the enemy wants to remind us of our past. He will take the voice of those closest to us and sometimes he will even speak in our own voice. By listening to this condemning voice we can be hindered and weighed down with guilt and shame. We may even start to believe we are not worthy of Gods great love and forgiveness towards us.

Remember this, Gods love for us is greater than any sin we have committed. Once we have confessed and repented He is faithful and true to forgive. He is not waiting for you to mess up so He can throw it back in your face again. He has something so much greater for you and it is His desire you let go of the past and trust and believe Him.

Who you were is not who you are.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2 Corinthians 5:17

So the next time the accuser comes knocking on your door, do not even bother answering it. When those voices rise up in your ear and your mind, shut them off. Take control of your thoughts and remind yourself…

That was then, this is now.

You have a bright eternal future before you. Refuse to let it be stolen from you by the lying deceiver. God is greater!

Be Free & Stay Free