If I could change One Thing…

One-Thing1

If you could go back in time and change one thing, have one do-over, what would it be? Have you ever wondered?

I had several answers when I first thought about this question. My mind quickly recalled times when I said yes when I should have said no, or said no when I should have said yes, yada yada. My answers always involved someone else.

A lesson I am learning and trying to practice (God help me), is to  stop pointing fingers, getting my feelings hurt, and shrinking back from the only person I can change… me.

In a spirit of thankfulness, I am reminded of Romans 8:28, and I have to thank God that He is true to His word. Instead of walking in regret I can hold my head up and learn from the past and not carry it into the future (or the present).

While it may be true that the past has formed us into who we are today, truer still is His grace and forgiveness can turn all the ashes into beauty, if we let Him. Healing and deliverance is found only through Him.

One thing I have learned, is to ask for help.

I have created many a mess by not asking for help. Pride and fear kept me silent.  I was drowning with a smile on my face and the whole time I was saying, “I’m good, I’m fine, I got this under control.”

Dec-2015-A-Drowning-Art-FINAL-v2

Here’s the thing about lessons; they are learned as an after affect, and sometimes experience can be an unforgiving tutor.

I think about the prodigal son and if he would have asked for help sooner, maybe he would have never had to be a connoisseur of pig slop.

There is safety in numbers. We are to surround ourselves with other Christian believers. The Father, who sent His Son to reconcile us to Him, is a Father of intimate relationship.  Since He has gone through such great effort to restore us into fellowship with Him, we can trust and believe that relationship with His body is important. We were not created to be an island unto ourselves. We are not wounded animals to go off into isolation and die by ourselves. We were created in His image and likeness to be in communion with Him, through Him, and with others.

As I walk this out, and sometimes I may stumble, I am learning I am only responsible for myself, my own actions, and before my actions turn into reactions, ask for help.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you, feel free to leave a comment below.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

 

Advertisements

Revive Cold Hearts

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:12

Jesus told us what the signs will be of His return. He gave a word of caution when He told His disciples what will come to pass before His return. He said, when these things happen, be ready, because His return will soon be following.

He did not say things would be easier and everyone will be at peace before His return. He describes persecution, hatred, fear, coldness… We know these things must come to pass, and even now we can see it unfolding before our eyes.

One thing in particular standing out to me is this… hearts growing cold.

There are some who will preach do not forsake the gathering of the saints to get you through the church doors. I, for one, do not believe this is what Hebrews 10:24-25 means.

Paul clearly admonishes us to come together to warn, urge, and encourage one another, especially as the day of His return approaches. Is this happening in the “church institution” today?

Have you ever been in a room full of people and still feel alone? Have you ever tasted loneliness? Have you ever been through a struggle and just needed someone to come alongside you and tell you it will be OK? Or how about this… do you have a secret sin you struggle with and you need someone to hold you accountable, to lead you into restoration?

Proverbs 27:6 says, faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

What is a friend? A friend is someone who loves you enough to be honest with you. A friend cares about your well being and if they see you heading to a cliff they will stop you. A friend is invested in your well being.

I am going to speak for myself, I don’t dare speak for any other, though I suspect I am not alone this. I have been in churches, surrounded by people, heard some good sermons (and some not so good), and felt alone. I have walked into churches unnoticed and have left unnoticed. There have been times I have thought, I could have stayed home and watched TD Jakes on the internet and received more encouragement and fellowship than I did sitting in a full church on a pew.

We are responsible to work out our own salvation. But we should not be alone. Nor should we neglect others.

We were created in the image of God. Our God is the God of relationship. Intimate relationships. As His Body, we should be representing Him through relationships.

I ask myself, how do peoples hearts grow cold? How does someone who loves the Lord have a cold heart? How is this possible?

Have we, as a body, become so busy we cannot even truly fellowship with other believers? Do we do “our time” on Sunday mornings and then spend the rest of the week living selfishly for ourselves? How many times has someone reached out to us and said “I need a friend” and we pat them on the back, say be well, and send them on their way?

What could possibly be so important we cannot take time for one another?

Of course, we all have responsibilities that require our attention, work, family, etc.. But in the hustle of busyness have we forsaken each other?  Loneliness and depression should not exist in the body.

What is fellowship? Anytime we come together, to lift His Name, encourage one another, confess to one another, pray for each other, break bread and share with each other, this IS the gathering Paul tells us to not forsake. It is in this environment we grow, we are strengthened, and we are challenged.

I consider Christians in other countries that are truly persecuted for their faith, even to the point of death. They are true Christians. You better believe they will gather with other believers because they need each other.

Yet, here in the US our persecution is subtle, and it is not to physical death (though I argue it may be to a spiritual death). We battle complacency, business, selfishness. Our hearts are growing cold. Can we say we love God and yet, neglect His body?

There is power in unity. A chord of three strands is not easily broken.

Do you know how gangs are formed? Do you know why we are losing so many young people to gang activity? One word, COMMUNITY. Everyone has a need to belong, to be accepted. Awake church! We have within us the answer to what they seek. We have the cure to the disease that is killing the world. We are the light, let us shine.

Oh, God, revive us. Awaken Your church from the slumber of complacency and business. Set our hearts on fire so we may not be cold any longer. Call Your five fold ministry to step into their position, bring forth order within the church. Forgive us, God, for not loving as we have been called to love. Give us Your heart of flesh. Heal us, oh God.

Hold On & Keep Believing

Jesus-is-coming-back-soon-500x270

It seems the whole world has gone mad, doesn’t it?

Scripture is unfolding right before our eyes.  Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Be careful that no one misleads you [deceiving you and leading you into error]. For many will come in (on the strength of) My name []appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish].Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

Do NOT be afraid. If you are a believer in Christ, though these troubled days must come, we have a promise. So hold on, do not lose heart, keep the faith. He is our refuge, hide in Him.

Read the whole chapter of Matthew 24 for encouragement. He told us this would happen, He is still in control. He has you and He will not let go.

“I Believe”

Thinking bout the world looking at the nation
Suicide, genocide, homicide
Three words come to mind
Times are changing, yeah!
No more rumors they’re wars going on
Twisted doctors, scientist making clones
Economy got some backs against the wall
People dying for no reason at all
People of God don’t even read their Bibles
There’s no faith no trust in the word
But everybody seems to be quoting scripture
It’s just another word they heard
Pastors leaving pulpits cause they’re tired
It’s all based on how we feel
Overheard two people speaking the other day
One said that God’s not real but

[Chorus:]
I’m just one ah them ole people who’s got to hold on
Sometimes I can’t see but I still believe
He’s taking care of me, oh oh oh
I’m just one ah them ole people God’s got a hold on
And I believe, I believe, yeah!
I believe I believe, yeah!

So I choose to look on the brighter side
In spite, of all the negativity I’m surrounded by
No it ain’t perfect but that’s alright
Cause His hand is on me
It’s keeping me alive
So many disappointments
So much I don’t understand
So much I don’t have answers for
That’s what makes me trust You more
In a world that’s always changing
Everything’s rearranging
But no matter what’s going on
Ima be standing, Ima be holding on
Your truth, their truth, my truth
Your god, my God, our view
All I know is one thing nowadays
Is we all need hope we all need faith

[Chorus:]
I’m just one ah them ole people who’s got to hold on
Sometimes I can’t see but I still believe
He’s taking care of me, yes He is
I’m just one ah them ole people God’s got a hold on
Don’t You let go of me, Lord please
I believe, I believe

[Chorus:]
I’m just one ah them ole people who’s got to hold on
Sometimes I can’t see but I still believe
He’s taking care of me, yes He is oh oh oh
I’m just one ah them ole people God’s got a hold on
I believe I believe
I believe I believe

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.”