Holy week has passed by. After the celebrations of Easter, it’s several months until Christmas. How does a Christian keep the Jesus cupspirit alive during that time?

One way is to be an example of your faith.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:1, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. We must have our minds set on the treasures of Heaven. The more we focus on our rewards of our Father, the better example we can be for others. Too many times we focus on what the world sees as important, not God.

There are several ways you can show others your calling in the Lord without having to preach.

1.  The first way to show your faith is through your actions. Do you tell your children to not tell lies yet when your mother-in-law invites you to dinner, you claim to have plans when you don’t? Do you gossip about others? Do you stick your nose up at someone less fortunate like that homeless man sitting across the street? If you do any of the following, you’re actions are not that of the Lord.

2.  How do you speak to others? Do you berate and yell, or are your words those of teaching and kindness? Don’t expect your co-workers to follow your God if you constantly bicker or complain.

3.  What does your lifestyle say about your faith? Do you truly believe the word of God or do you consider it ancient when it comes to how you want to live your life? Some people forget that fornication is a sin. The world has gotten so use to sex outside of Pewmarriage that waiting until the wedding night seems absurd. Yet that’s what God wants you to do.

4.  What do your clothes say about your belief in God? Do you walk around in tight shirts showing cleavage? Or do you dress somewhat modest? It’s hard to find clothing these days that cover, yet if Christians didn’t buy the slinky styles they wouldn’t be in the stores.

5.  Do you spend time with God? It’s easy to sit in church and shout “Amen”, but when you get home, do you read your Bible in front of your family? Do you show them you are trying to change from a good Christian to a better Christian? Give your children enough courage to read their Bibles without concern for being ostracized. Too many kids follow the crowd and if the crowd is not doing what is right, your children might follow the wrong path.

Others will consider your actions before they consider your words.

Too many people can’t wait to see you fall as a Christian, including family members. After all, they know you better than Tearoutsiders. Don’t give them a reason to point a finger.

Keeping Jesus in our hearts is the best way to keep the celebration of the Lord alive every day whether there’s a holiday to remind us or not. Our minds should always be focused on celebrating what the Lord has done for us.

How do you show others that Jesus is in your life? Please share. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Some days, it feels like it takes all your power just to get out of bed in the morning. Another Monday rolls around, and you groan at the alarm clock when it rings.

funeralDuring most days we hit a dip in the road that might trip us up, but not enough to devastate us. Then something comes along that throws us into a dark canyon. We aren’t sure we can make it through. The death of a loved one, the end of a marriage, or a crippling illness can make life not seem worthwhile. These situations can do more than cause you pause, they can downright knock the wind of you.

However, we have to persevere. The best way to do that is with God’s help. He is always with us. Hebrews 4:16 reads, Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. His strength can get us through anything.

The past week, we’ve had terrible tragedies in this country. A four-year-old died when a car crashed into her daycare. There was a terrible accident in California when a large truck crossed the median and hit a bus killing ten people. And here in Jacksonville a semi smashed into a couple of vehicles, including a school bus, killing two.

We don’t know why God allows these things to occur. I like to think he needs some extra angels to help out in Heaven. No matter the reason, Jesus is there to go through such tragedies with you. He has never left your side.Cast Anxiety on Him

Hold on to the Lord and His word. Remember you are never alone.

And for those who lost a loved one over the past week, I pray for your healing. At times like this, a kind word is nice, but prayer might be a better way to help someone through the situation. We all need to hold onto God’s word in order to get through. And falling down on your face to Him shows that you have faith He can heal you.

The Lord’s hand is readily available anytime you need to take hold of it. And His arms will engulf you with love. And resting in God might give you enough strength to start to climb out of that valley and back to the top of that mountain.

 

Commercials scream it. You think it. And your self-esteem suffers for it. What is this powerful thing that has such control over the human mind? It’s the will to compare ourselves to others. We want to be thin like that starlet. Have no wrinkles like that modelmodel. Or enough money to buy beautiful clothing like the woman seated in the next pew over in church.

We don’t think we’re pretty enough, thin enough, or if we just had __________, we’d be happier. We compare ourselves to cartoon characters on the cover of magazines, and then starve ourselves to try to look like something that doesn’t exist. We go into debt to buy that name brand so others will think we’re more important. We don’t speak up in Bible study because we can’t spout verses like other women in the class.

This constant state of comparing ourselves to others can lead to depression, unhealthy habits, and a lack of joy. God doesn’t want us to compare ourselves to others. We are to be happy with what He has blessed us with. By comparing ourselves to someone else, we are in essence telling God we are not happy with what He has given us.

We are living in the world, not His word.

As Christians, we should be content with what God has given us. It’s not about what the world says we should have or look like, it’s the blessings God has put on us. Philippians 4:11-13 states, I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the Shoessecret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

There are so many in the world who suffer with far less than what we have. Do you know most people in Haiti have no shoes? And when they get a pair, they are worn for protection of their feet, not as a decoration. Open your closet door. How many pair of shoes do you have?

We are blessed in so many ways. God even sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. By comparing yourself and your circumstances to others, you are telling God that He got it wrong. He messed up by not giving you more money, not giving you curly hair, making you a boy instead of a girl.

God doesn’t make mistakes. The reason we compare ourselves to others is because we’re not happy with our circumstances. We are too busy looking at what others have and not looking at God. Volunteer in a homeless shelter or a burn ward. If that doesn’t make you fall down on your knees thanking God, nothing will.Homeless

It’s time we focused more on caring for others and less on what we lack in the way of “stuff”. Too many of us have a list of wants yet are in need of very little. Thank God for all those blessings such as food, shelter, good friends, and shoes to protect our feet.

 

Not everyone in the world is so lucky.

Too many people are afraid to show their faith in this politically correct world. We “um” and “ug” when anyone says something against our beliefs. The last thing we want is to offend anyone. Yet, a lot of non-believers don’t have that problem. They’ll get in the face of a Christian; tell us we’re homophobic, simpleminded, etc., without even knowing us. They scream tolerance, yet have little of their own.intolerance

Too often we find people who only have tolerance for a belief if it’s their view. They say there should be equality, but only if it’s equality for themselves, not people opposing their views. And the media is a prime example of this type of hypocrisy. We no longer have “fair and balanced” news coverage. We have opinions which try to sway our ideals.

So how do we keep up our courage and face the wrath of people who scream tolerance but really aren’t? One way is to read the Bible so you have ways to argue against non-believers. Joshua 1:8 reads, This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. The more you know about God, the stronger your faith will be, and the more you can fight the “good” fight if need be. You must have that self-assurance when Satan brings others against you. And God’s word is the best way to build that confidence.

Another way is to watch videos of those who are not afraid to show their true beliefs. I love it when I see a kid speak out about preachingGod or Jesus, especially when it’s real. You can tell when they actually believe what their saying by the confidence they exude. Some kids are nervous, they trip over their tongues, things most insecure people do when talking before people. Those are the kids that I’m almost sure Mom or Dad put up to do the speaking of the parents’ opinion.

However, every once in a while a kid comes along who stands her ground with great information and you can tell it’s real. One of those young ladies I came across this past week in a 2009 video. Then twelve-year-old Lia Mills is a pro-life gal who says things that blew me away. My favorite line is “Do we only call them human if they’re wanted?”

That is very strong and hits you between the eyes. The best part, it’s true. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out below. This girl is wonderful, bright, and very articulate with her words.

http://viralvita.com/video/this-speech-on-abortion-by-a-12-year-old-left-her-pro-choice-teacher-and-half-the-internet-speechles

Having the courage to stand tall in your beliefs when you know others might try to shoot you down is not easy for anyone. But Jesus wants us to stand tall for Him. If we’re afraid to shout out the name of the Lord, then why should He say our name when we come before God?

Read your Bible, watch other confident people when it comes to faith, and you will build more knowledge so if you’re attacked, you can fight back. In the words of Sir Frances Bacon, “Knowledge is Power”.knowledge

And in this case, it can build confidence to stand up to those hypocrites who hate more than tolerate.

 

 

 

airplaneWe’ve all been intrigued with the disappearance of Flight 370 the past couple of weeks. Conspiracy theorists have abounded.  Did it land on an unknown island? Did it disintegrate? Maybe it was sucked into a black hole. Someone I know even thinks Pakistan diverted the plane and killed all the passengers.

No matter our theories, or our interest, one very important thing seems to have been lost in all the news and media stories. There are people involved. Not just on the plane, but left behind. Family members who have lost a loved one.

We have a tendency to dehumanize these type of situations to make ourselves feel better. After all, who wants to consider the terror these passengers might have gone through before the end? It’s easier to just think of it as a plane, a thing, and not a bunch of people on a plane. And no entity is worse at this than the media.

It’s all about getting the scoop. Being the first one to get it right. Basically, to guess and hope it pans out. Our media has forgotten there are those who are living a nightmare. And the sad part, once the plane is found, the friendnewss’ and family member’s pain will not be ending. And with the media attention, there will be no mourning in private.

God never wants us to forget there are people with real feelings involved in these sad situations. James 5:16 reads, Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Our prayers can help heal those who are hurting.

We need to pray for a quick resolution. Three weeks is too long to not know what occurred. We also need to pray that all the family members of those on this missing plane feel God’s arms around them, comforting them, holding them up when they need help. We need to keep focused on the fact there are people involved. It’s not just about a missing plane.

And pray for the media. Pray for compassion instead of guessing. And when your news station comes forward with speculation, instead of news, turn the show off. Pray for people of wisdom to return to the leadership of our media. I understand it’s a business, but when it comes down to it, the news is no longer the news. It’s just another form of entertainment.

compassionWe, as Christians, need to keep focused on one another. We must never lose touch with the fact there is a lot of pain involved when a tragedy like this occurs. That should be at the forefront of our minds. Whether we are the people watching, or the people putting on the news.

 

I love when a pastor says something that makes you think. It’s always something that brings you closer to God. Last week, mine said “the more we point a finger at others, the less faith we have.”

Wow! That’s deep. And true. It’s easy to blame others for their mistakes, yet taking a good look at ourselves and changing is hard.Morals

Just look around. How many Christians have blamed the homosexual community for destroying the morals of this country? Doesn’t it have more to do with Christians not living Christian lives? If you claim to believe in Jesus, yet live like He doesn’t really matter, what is that teaching your children?

We need to ask God to show us where we are lacking in our faith. Have Him show us where we need to do more in order to get a closer relationship with Him and to prove to others that Jesus is real. We need to live like we believe there are consequences for our sins.

The Bible says we should be in this world, but not of this world. Romans 12:2 states, And do not be conforbooksmed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. That means don’t read books that aren’t appropriate, don’t watch television shows that aren’t morally sound, and don’t hang out in businesses you shouldn’t.

It’s time we stop making excuses.

We need to stop blaming others for what is going wrong in our homes, our cities, and our country. We need to look in a mirror. There is only one group of people who is destroying the churches and this world. Christians.

Don’t blame poor people for getting government assistance when there’s a megachurch on every corner. It should be the job of the church to support and help the poor. If they’d do it, the government wouldn’t have to be involved. I just read where a minister of a large church wrote a book then had his church pay over $200,000.00 to order his books just so he’d bpoore number one on the NY Times Bestseller list. That’s telling the teens in his church that it’s okay to cheat. Earning something on merit doesn’t matter. Think how many people could have been fed with that money instead.

We need to pray and ask where it is we are not following God. He will be more than happy to show us. Only then can we walk the walk we are expected to as Christians.

Unless we start pointing fingers at ourselves, the morals of the country will only get worse. And until we trust God to show us where we need to improve, our faith will remain stagnant.

 

Daylight savings time. That is when we spring ahead. I don’t think we should have to spring ahead until it actually warms up, but that’s a different issue than the one I’m discussing this week. I’m talking about that lost hour. We lose Daylight Savings timeone hour of sleep. One whole hour in a day. And we all complain about it.

Yet, we don’t grumble about losing an hour of our lives when we sit around and watch television all evening. That’s usually a waste of more than one hour. And how much time do you spend on social media?

Even without losing an hour a day, we complain that there is not enough time to get things done. However, deep inside, we know it’s more about poor time management? Ephesians 5:15-16 reads, Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Nothing will suck away our time more than lack of priorities. We will see everything we have to do, get discouraged, and end up not getting any of it done. There are ways to prioritize to get at least some things accomplished. The best way is to give yourself a list of five things to finish before the end of the day. This works at the office or home. You will feel great scratching off each of these items as you go along. I usually choose two large projects and three smaothersll.

Losing an hour one day a year is nothing. It’s when we waste hours everyday that is tragic. We need to focus on others, work, and God every day. And any minute you spend with Jesus is not a waste of time.

We need to stop spending time on things that don’t matter. I’m amazed by how many items one person will repost on Facebook in the course of a day. These are the same people who say they don’t have enough time to get things done. Here’s a thought – turn off your computer. Imagine how much you could accomplish if you just turned off all electronics for one hour a week. No computer. No phone. No television. You’ll recoup that hour you lost to Daylight Savings Time in one day.

I know people hate the time change. They prefer getting that extra hour. So if Daylight Savings Time drags you down because you lose some sleep, go to bed a half-hour earlier on Saturday, then another half hour on Sunday. There, yawnyou’ve caught up. And eventually your body will adjust also.

And look on the bright side. Daylight Savings Time means spring is coming. Maybe that will mean warmer weather and no more snow for those up north. I’d be more than happy to lose an hour if it means we finally get over this long, cold winter. Don’t you agree?

What percentage of your time do you give God each day? Twenty percent? Ten percent? Less? With our busy schedules, we’re lutimecky to do the ten percent.

But God wants more than ten percent; He wants all of our time. He wants our thoughts and actions to be His. In everything we do, we should do it with a heart of Jesus. Definitely a lot easier said than done. So how exactly do we accomplish this?

Pray when you first get up. Spend time with God, even if it’s only a short prayer to get focused on who is in charge of your day.

On the way to work, spend time with Him. Listen to Christian music or turn off all the noise and just talk to Him. What better way to get closer than to have a conversation every day while stuck in traffic. Imagine how much bettetrafficr your ride will be.

When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded in Matthew 22:37-40 with “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” We should always put God first in everything we do, and use the words of Jesus with everyone you meet. Consider their feelings before your own.

While doing your work, convince yourself you are doing it for the Lord. A great scripture for this is 1 Corinthians 10:31, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

When you speak to others, do they see your God as a God of kindness or one of condemnation? Show them your God is one of grace and forgiveness.  All our words should whisper “I am a Christian,” but our actions should shout it.

walking deadWe will go out of our way to make sure we don’t miss the latest episode of “The Walking Dead”, but we don’t take such care with our time with God. If we would look forward to reading our Bibles as much as we do watching our favorite show, our lives would be so much better. There’d be rest, joy, and love surrounding us.

By focusing more on God, our days will improve, and so will our relationships with others. And by showing others how we put God first in good times and bad, we will teach them just how important He is to have in our lives. Maybe then, they’d want Him too.

The Twilight Zone has always been one of my favorite television programs. Nothing’s ever been done like it before, nothing since. However, when you’re living it, that’s not so fun. My landline went out on Friday. Two hours after I Twilightreported it, the police arrived at my door. It seems my phone line, which wasn’t working, had been dialing 9-1-1.  The police couldn’t reach me, so they came by to check on me. Talk about weird.

I think strange stuff like this and the arora borealis occur just so God can prove He’s still in charge. Too many scientists try to explain away things and take God out of the equation. Then something unique happens and the brainiacs have to come up with some new word or slogan to give it a reason. Polar vortex comes to mind.

For years, we heard about global warming. That worked well until the first cold winter came along. Then everyone wondered where the warming part was. The scientists explained all this cold was due to global warming.

Now I’m not saying that we should be polluting this earth like we have been. In fact, we should take care of what God arorahas given us, not just the earth, but our bodies as well. I’m just saying we need to stop coming up with man-made reasons and realize just maybe there is a higher being involved.

I’ve always wondered about the ape-to-man stuff the anthropologists suggest. Maybe it’s all a big hoax perpetrated by Satan to get us not to believe in God. I wouldn’t be surprised. The devil is sneaky that way. He gets us to doubt our faith by giving us a different idol to believe in. In this case, evolution.

But God wants us to believe in Him. He wants us to have faith that He is the one true God. Hebrews 11:1 reads,  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Just because we don’t see God, doesn’t mean He isn’t there. I don’t see oxygen, but I know I need it to breathe. Just the same, I don’t see God, but I know I need Him in order to get through my day.

butterflyThe next time something out of the ordinary happens in your life, whether it just be a butterfly who slams into your face (yep, it’s happened) or a truly weird Twilight Zone episode, remember, it’s God in charge. Man cannot always explain away the strange stuff. But faith in God can.

I’ve been down sick all weekend, so I posted a repeat of my August 12, 2013 blog.

 

Where’s Jesus?

A child dies. An illness occurs. A loved one walks away. These are just a couple of the devastating occurrences in our lives.

When times are hard, we often ask ourselves, where is Jesus while I’m going through this? Jesus has been right beside you your whole life. Deuteronomy says, The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave Jesusyou nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

How does God show that He is with us at all times?

When you went to that party and drove home drunk, He kept you safe;

When a car went through a stop sign and you weren’t hit, He went in front of you;

When you turned your back on God, He walked beside you whispering His word in your ear;

When you weren’t sure if you could pass that test, He placed His hand on your shoulder;

When you did a job well done, He patted you on the back;

When you were lonely, He sat beside you and spoke to you;

Jesus sitting      And when you felt like the world ripped your heart out, He held you in His arms.

These are just some of the ways God shows His love for you. Think back to all the times you’ve heard about a car accident on your route to work. If you should have been in that area at the time, but the baby acted up, that was God keeping you safe.

No matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, God has been there with you, through the good and the bad. No one loves you more. You can’t fathom how wide and deep His love is for you. The best way His love can be measured is from the outstretched arms belonging to His son.

What is the best experience you’ve ever had of knowing God was with you? Please share it with us. We’d love to help you celebrate His gift of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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