If We Are The Body

love

The other day I overheard a conversation between two women. It actually broke my heart to hear what was being said.

The conversation went something like this:

“I quit going to church, I love Jesus, but I quit going to church because I am too lonely. I tried different churches, but no one will talk to me. I need friends. I have tried introducing myself, I spoke to the pastors, I tried to joining groups, but no one seems to want to know me. I know if they would take a couple minutes to get to know me they would like me, no one can even talk to me for 15 minutes. My counselor told me it is because they do not want to know me. Sometimes I get so lonely, I need friends, but I can’t take being rejected in church anymore.”

What is wrong with this picture?

I understood what she was saying, because I have felt it too. I am sure most of us have felt it. This ought not to be…especially in His church.

People are turning to the world for their answers and the world offers false hope, temporary fixes.

I read an article a while back about gangs recruiting the youth. It said the main lure for youth to joining gangs is to have a sense of belonging, a community, a family. Many of the youth that join gangs come from broken homes, they do not have a father figure in the home. Even though it is dangerous to be in a gang, to them it was better and more safe than being alone. Not only does membership in a gang give you a sense of community, it also offers protection.

I want to sound an alarm to the church. Wake up, wake up!

It was not that long ago when the headlines read the rise of depression is rising, even in the church. People are taking their own lives, families are being torn apart, addictions are wreaking havoc in lives, more people are choosing to shack up than marry, the world has crept into the church to weaken the church, yet the world remains strong.

The world is like a gang, recruiting souls. Oh, church, when will we wake up and see? When will we love as the Father loves? When will we be about the Fathers business as Jesus was? Are we really too busy we can’t take 15 minutes to talk to someone and let them know someone cares? Are our homes such a monument that we can’t even invite someone in to dine with us? Are we that selfish we can’t give of our resources to advance the Kingdom and to be the face of Christ to the world and to each other?

Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? Romans 2:4

If we say we are His we must have His love in us. We must not have a form of Godliness and deny the power.

Jesus said, “By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” John 13:35

Again…  And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

I believe Jesus made it pretty clear what we are to do if we are His followers. We are to love. To deny a brother or sister is to abandon them. No one in the body of Christ should ever feel alone, isolated, abandoned. Also, how will people ever believe God loves them when His own Body doesn’t?

Pity the person who falls down and has no one to help him back up.

Loneliness and isolation leads to depression, hopelessness. Please, be aware of the people God has placed around you. You have the answer within you, share it. Be His arms, His legs, His mouth.

You must purpose to love people, to reach out to people, or it will not happen. The world will keep you so busy and distracted and all of the “I will do it tomorrow” will never happen.

Look around you, there are hurting people. There are people who are ready to throw in the towel. Be the one who stands up and gives them one more reason to try again.

True religion is not found in your wallet, or in a church pew, or in 101 church activities… it is found through love. It is found caring for the orphans and widows, visiting people in the time of their distress.

I like a quote I once heard… “Preach the Gospel ALWAYS and sometimes use words.”

Come, Sing With Me

Let us sing songs… let us stop magnifying the problem…let us sing songs to the glory of the Lamb

When He steps on the scene everything changes. Lives are changed, hearts are changed, souls are healed, hearts are mended.

I pray as you listen to this song you will enter into true worship of the Living God…

Whatever you are facing, no matter how big the mountain, no sin is too big, come to Him

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Wolves Aren’t Good Pets

What  I am about to tell you is a true story…

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After careful consideration and planning, my little girl and I adopted a dog from the animal shelter. We were ready for the responsibility and my travel had slowed down.

We made the trip to the animal shelter and saw the most beautiful dog. He was well behaved and he was the only dog who didn’t bark like crazy. My daughter fell in love with him instantly. I told her we would go home and think about this over night and then come back. There was much to consider adopting this dog. He was big, had lots of hair (which meant there would be lots of shedding), and would need extra walks and exercise. Not too mention all the food he would eat.

The next day we go back to the shelter and we take him out for a walk. Yes, I fell in love with him, too! OK, this is our dog, he will be a part of our family. We adopt him, micro chip him, get his shots, buy the toys, the leash, the food, and crate. My daughter named him Mordecai, Mordy for short.

Mordy was the perfect dog! He was so well behaved, not one accident in the house,  he walked nicely with us on the leash, he was affectionate, he followed us around the house, and he NEVER barked.  Because I am a single mom, Mordy also brought with him a sense of security;  after all, who would break into a house with a dog this big?!

Everyone commented on how beautiful he was. He walked so proud. He held his head high.

But no matter where we went, people would ask me the same question.  Comments about his beauty were followed by, “Is he a wolf?”

“No, he is a husky mix.” I would answer, because that is what the papers said.

The day came for Mordy to get the snip. You know, the snip male dogs get. Poor boy. I drop him at the vet and in a few hours I go back to pick him up.

“Surgery went well,” the vet tech told me. Then she asked me the question… “Do you know what kind of dog you have?”

“Yea, he is a husky mix.”

“No.” She tells me. “He is a wolf.”

Gads! I got a dog and it turns out to be a wolf. Everyone saw it but me. This began to explain a lot.

After the honeymoon period, Mordy’s wolf side started to show. You see, in a wolf pack there is only one alpha. In my home Mordy viewed me as the alpha.  He went from the best dog ever, to a wolf challenging my position as alpha. It became quite intimidating, let me tell ya.

What I viewed as a well behaved dog, was actually a wolf in waiting. He never barked, because wolves don’t bark. He could have never been the watchdog protector, because he would assume the alpha (uh, that would be me), would take care of any intruder. He would go back and forth, one minute the best gentle dog, and then the next minute a wild wolf. It was unnerving sleeping with one eye open.

I was sad when I had to find Mordy a new home. He is now with a man who knows how to handle wolves.

I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. Wolves do not make good family members. They are to be in the wild. You can not tame a wolf.

I also learned another lesson. Sometimes people are like wolves. The Bible warns us about wolves in sheeps clothing. I met a few wolves. And I think I have learned how to spot them.

You may not recognize them at first. Because, like Mordy, they are very attractive at first. They are on their best behavior. They are well behaved, gentle, and do whatever it takes to get into your home. They will lull you into a false sense of security.

Then their true nature will start to show, it will be subtle at first, and you will think things like, “Maybe he is having a bad day?” or “Maybe I am not giving him enough attention?”

Then he will watch for your vulnerabilities. He will challenge you. He will bite you right in the backside. Not only will you begin to feel “not safe” with him, you will not be safe period!  Because it is not in his interest to protect you. Remember, he wants to dominate you, because that is what wolves do.

He will begin to shed his beautiful coat, leaving a mess for you to clean up, and he will no longer be attractive. It starts little by little, at first you will doubt what you are seeing. After all, he was so beautiful, how did he get so ugly? Remember the walks you used to enjoy?  Forget that!  Because he doesn’t want to walk with you anymore;  now he just wants to pull you into the oncoming traffic.

wolf

This is how to protect yourself from being deceived into bringing a wolf into your home.

1. Listen to the people closest to you. If they cry wolf, you just might have a wolf.

2. Don’t fall for the pretty coat. Eventually he will shed the coat. What’s underneath is what is important. To be more clear, the Bible says it like this, you will know them by their fruit. Look for the fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

3. A wolf will not protect you!  If he doesn’t have your best interest,  if he is self-centered, if it’s always about him… then you may have a wolf.

4. If he is not genuine, is short tempered, lacks self control, and you don’t trust him to not bite you in the backside…

RUN!!!  You have a wolf!

Be Free & Stay Free

Fighting the Enemy

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The devil is not all knowing, but he is very clever. He is a trickster, a deceiver, the father of all lies. He knows how to get under your skin and make you feel defeated. But, you are not defeated! He doesn’t care if you are a Christian, he just doesn’t want you to be effective. He knows if you fall for his attack you will not be bold in your faith and your witness. He just wants to plant a little seed of doubt.

So, how do we fight the attacks of the enemy? Submit to God and resist him! If you resist him, he will flee. The battle is not yours, you are called to stand firm and resist the devil; no matter what manifestation his attack takes.

1. Prayer. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:18

2. Fellowship. Where two or three are gathered together because they are His, He is in the midst of them.

3. Read the Bible. You must know His Word. The Word of God is full of power, sharper than any two edged sword. Hebrews 4:12

4. Confession. If we confess our sins to Him He is faithful and just to forgive. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins to each other we will be healed. The devil likes secrets. Jesus brings light. Confession and repentance will silence the devil because then he will have nothing on you.

5. Love. Perfect love cast out fear. If you are walking in love, knowing who you are and Who He is and who you are in Him, you will have no need to fear. Do not return evil with evil, but return it with good. Let Him love through you.

Finally, do not forget to suit up.

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – Ephesians 6:11-18

Be Free & Stay Free

When Church Hurts

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 19:11

 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice

James 3:16

 Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.

Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

I open this post with three verses that we should read and take to heart.

Many people have fallen away from fellowship with other believers because of an offense. Quite possibly they left the church because their feelings got hurt, they were offended. As followers of Christ we know the world will hate us, because the world hated Jesus. It would seem the world has infiltrated the church and before we point fingers, we must ask ourselves; “Am I part of the problem?” Are we agents of reconciliation or are we sewing discord?

There is a reason we are not to forsake the gathering of the saints and we are to come together in fellowship. We need each other for support. We cannot stand alone. Fellowship with other believers strengthen us, encourages us and holds us accountable. Without this, we are vulnerable to the world. Remember, we are in this world, not of this world.

Some wounds are real and I do not want to ignore this, but often breaking of fellowship happens because of something petty. Rather than confront the person who has offended, in love, (see Matthew 18:15-17) some choose to walk away and say the church is full of hypocrites and I will never go back into that place. Then they brood over the offense and it becomes poison; not only to themselves, but to anyone who listens while they air the offense. This causes division.

I would have to wonder who we are really following. Are we following man or are we following God? Yes, hurts are real; Jesus knows this and He can heal the hurt. Man will let you down, Jesus never will. I am not suggesting that you stay where you are not welcome. I am suggesting to stay within the body that loves and follows Christ. You need the body and the body needs you. Do not retreat, do not hide.

The days are drawing short and His return is close. Be ready.

Be Free & Stay Free