The GREATEST GIFT That Was Ever Given
HIS Name is JESUS
Over 2,000 years ago God sent His Son into the world that we might be saved and not condemned. On the profession of our FAITH we are accepted into His Family and become children of God. The Child in the manger has been recognized as The Traditional Christmas scene down through the ages. It is much more than a tradition it is a True story! As you Celebrate Christmas with your family, friends and loved ones with your plethora of family Traditions; I would like to take a few minutes to share “The Chronicle of Our Lord and Savior!”
“FOR unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you; BLESSED are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob FOREVER. And of His kingdom there will be no end…….
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there was in the same country shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, and angel of the Lord said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is CHRIST the LORD. And this will be the sign to you : You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger. And suddenly there was an angel a multitude of the heavenly host PRAISING GOD and saying; GLORY to God in the highest, And on earth PEACE , GOODWILL toward men!
So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when then they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and PRAISING GOD for ALL the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb…
This is the greatest event that ever happened in the history of the world! So much so that a choir of Angels sang and the sky was lit with a brilliant STAR! “JESUS is the Bright and Morning Star” He wants to Light your heart and give you purpose and meaning in your life! CHRISTMAS IS WHEN WE CELEBRATE “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JESUS! Jesus lived an amazing sinless life to conquer sin in the flesh for us! So we would not be condemned but saved. He was crucified a shameful death on the CROSS, died for us and then after three days in the grave HE arose victoriously with ALL power! When you accept Him into your heart you become God’s child and His precious Holy Spirit comes to live within you and your body becomes a Temple. You are then given the gift of Eternal Life! Jesus then becomes your Messiah, Savior and Lord! Jesus is the GREATEST GIFT that was ever given! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! Have a wonderfully, MARVELOUSLY Blessed MERRY CHRISTMAS and a JOYFULLY Blessed NEW YEAR!!! “GLORY TO GOD in the HIGHEST and on earth PEACE to men on whom HIS FAVOR rests….” (St. Luke }
Listen to “I Give You Jesus”
Where Does God Dwell?
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. We in America have a freedom that you just don’t find in the rest of the world. We have freedom of speech, freedom to vote, freedom to live and go where and when we please. But most importantly we have the freedom to worship. There are many types of worship services but there is only one true God. The only way to worship Him is in spirit and truth. On a recent trip to Athens Greece and Istanbul Turkey I was able to see some of the world’s most exquisite architecture. Turkey is a country that is 95% Moslem. In Turkey there is the renowned Haggia Sophia Cathedral. It was built for the Christian community to reflect the beauty that Solomon’s Temple once beheld. In spite of its elaborate intricate handiwork full of gold mosaic tiles, marble and brick walls, it is now a museum. It also contains various artifacts derived from Greek mythology and its continence is a shadow of it’s once intended purpose. Ironically across from it is the beautiful Sultanahmet mosque. Its known as the Blue mosque due to an extravagant array of blue mosaic tiles. Adorned with its intricate splendor and statueous marble columns and stained glass windows. It is scrupulously maintained and it is a place of worship for the Moslem community. Turkey is full of ornately designed mosques and Mohammed is whom they worship.
Words cannot express my gratitude to God for the things my eyes have beheld. The scriptures continuously came to my mind as I walked through the Haggia Sophia. “God does not dwell in a temple made by hands”. “That God is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle.” There is absolutely no doubt in my mind to the unmerited grace the Lord has bestowed upon us.
The one thing the tour guide who was of Moslem decent (in Turkey along with our guide we were required to have a Turkish guide as well) said that stuck with me was “why would a powerful God allow His Temple to turn into a museum?” My point is God is so gracious and kind that He allows us so much freedom. He even gives us the freedom to choose who or what we want to worship. When I lift up Holy Hands, to Him and Him only my heart is eternally grateful. It is by His grace and His grace alone are we saved. God is truly worthy of all the PRAISE!
In Turkey is the city of Ephesus. There are miles and miles of ruins. Original artifacts, columns etc. and remains to testify to the fact Ephesus existed. To this day approximately only 10% of it has been uncovered. It is still currently under excavation. Primitive hand tools are used in order to preserve whatever archeological finds are uncovered. Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to the church at Ephesus. Just look at God! Despite the fact Turkey is a Moslem country Ephesus remains a monument to Christians of God’s eternal presence, grace and mercy. My most invigorating moments were spent in Athens Greece. We walked up the steep incline to the Acropolis saturated with aged columns made of marble. The Parthenon and majestic ruins were filled with slippery marble laden paths.
The highlight of our trip was when I observed my husband climb “Mars Hill”. In a foreign country one must be cautious. After my husband determined that it was safe I too climbed the hill and we both joyously praised GOD! This is the infamous Mars Hill that the Apostle Paul speaks about in the book of Acts give you a marvelous panoramic view. When we first approached Mars Hill there was a woman preaching. I found this to be quite interesting because years before when I was called to ministry a woman being a minister was not readily accepted. This was confirmation just how good GOD truly is. I was sure of the call on my life to minister but I was also very sure that I did not have to be restricted to the doctrines of a denomination but to the “Word of God!” Acts tells us “And it will come to pass in the last days saith God I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Paul spoke concerning an altar with an inscription representing the unknown god on Mars Hill. That unknown God is the God I love, worship and adore. The only true and living God. The GREAT “I AM!” Mars Hill today is in a magnificent open place. High above Athens for all to see. (I will forever cherish what it felt like sitting there and praising God for all He has done!) It’s walls and canopy are the blue firmament that God Himself spoke into existence through the Word. That Word is Jesus Christ wrapped in flesh. Who sacrificed His life for the sins of the entire world!
The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of God. Glory! Glory! His truth is marching on!
“The earth truly is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof the world and them that dwell therein.” There is not a place that can be built that can contain the fullness of His majestic awesomeness. The early church had no building they met in homes. We have dedicated our home to be a place where God’s way prevails. The heart of each of His Children is where His true Church abides. There is nothing wrong with a church made by hands. But the focal point should not be a hierarchy laden with cliques, clichés, how do we pay our bills programs and solemn auxiliaries; a mere shadow of what God originally intended.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” We should praise Him in song, word and deeds. We are not saved by works. But our works display our faith. Our main focus should be to cultivate and environment where God receives the preeminence. It is God’s Word and His power that will draw men and change their lives when we spread His Gospel. Whether it be via T.V., radio, internet, song or the spoken word. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!
The “Nobody’s Perfect” Club
The longer I live the more I realize how utterly important it is to develop an intimate personal relationship with the Lord. I am told that when a teller is trained in the banking industry they are taught how to recognize the authenticity of currency. Therefore whenever a counterfeit bill is passed they are able to recognize it.
Things do not always look as they appear.
We live in a real world that is full of systems of deception. Many things have been created to distract us from the genuine purpose of life. As a believer our purpose is or should be to glorify God. Without the Holy Spirit as your navigator you will get towed right along. This deception has further infiltrated His Church. It beckons those who are willing to make excuses for their shortcomings, to excuse self-gratification as a mere attribute to mankind’s imperfections. To immorally satisfy the carnal appetite to all who are willing to submit to the well “Nobody’s Perfect Club.” It teach you although “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” He doesn’t really know how to bless His children. Because he intends for them to stay dependent on anything and everybody until they leave this world. Although they don’t believe blessings are just material, spiritual growth and development is optional. I warn you this will only enslave you to a life dependent upon sin.
We really miss the point. You see God doesn’t force us to embrace His Word. He allows us to choose. Christianity is supposed to be an everyday lifestyle. Instead many often choose to justify a life were sin abounds. This gives unlimited privileges in the “Nobody’s Perfect Club.”
The “Nobody’s Perfect Club” allows easy access to unlimited excuses. It has a plethora of earthly benefits. You can live any way you want, say anything you want, little or no study required. Listening to an occasional sermon or lecture may be required to help you with attendance kudos. Listening not really required just as long as you say amen when it gets too quiet. Just make sure you do all the social actitivities inside and out side of the Church you enjoy. O by the wall just some any kind of way you are comfortable. Afterall what does it matter since no one is perfect. You may even receive a B.A. (born again) if you don’t rock the boat. That gives you a license to indulge yourself. After all “nobody’s perfect.”
LORD HELP US!
One caution, you may be persecuted or covertly disfellowshipped if you decide to “study to show thyself approved unto God…” Please if you have accepted “Christ as your personal Savior” allow Him to work in your life. Allow Him to activate His Holy Spirit within your daily life. Leet Him make ivaluable spiritual deposits to your eternal account that yields a harvest of blessings. If you have not accepted Him “accept Him NOW.” Ask Him into your life this very moment. It will be a journey like no other. If you have grown slack in your commitment (to His principles activated in your life) recommit!
God created us to live a life pleasing in His sight. Life is not a movie and Church is not a scene. Although it’s full of actors, it’s serious business. God really does know. Please bear with me. You see I have been in church all my life. But I still can’t quite grasp why many really don’t believe. God really does hear all and see all every where in this world He created. If we did it would eliminate a lot of the charades. You see “seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness” will really add all you need in this life. What do you mean? The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew really contains a wealth of knowledge. Jesus discusses a multiplicity of issues. Those same issues are prevalent today.
Keep in mind when you really make up your mind to live for the Lord much spiritual warfare will rise up against you. Much of it comes from those who should know you better. It also comes from “spiritul wickedness in high places” Don’t be alarmed but instead TRUST GOD! You see everyday really is a GIFT from the LORD. NO one can make a day but HIM. Absolutely nothing comes our way that the LORD is not aware of. I assure you that GOD is more than able to keep you! FAITH is the key! It is very important to KNOW GOD & HIS WORD for yourself. “TRUST in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge HIM and HE WILL make your path straight!” Proverbs 3
Personal spiritual training is important. This way whenever or wherever you gather together with the rest of His CHurch you will be better prepared. I recommend spending time in the Word of God daily. Not in a religious wrote way. But seeking to discover the infinite treasure of the Lord’s Spiritual Wisdom. It is the only Living Word given to man. It is “A Lamp unto our feet and a Light unto our Path!” Psalm 119 We are accountable to God for our actions. It is important to know that He will never direct us to do anything that goes against His Word!
We are living in some interesting times when some of everything is going. Nothing is not longer sacred to many. Ask God to daily enlighten you and open your spiritual eyes.
Taking time to develop an ongoing up close and personal relationship with the LORD is the most important thing that you can ever do! “Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth & The Life.” He came to earth to restore us and extinguish the enmity that satan placed between God and man. His Holy Spirit is available 24/7 to help us. The WORD of God contains invaluable instructions. It gives marvelous examples to help us from falling prey to non-biblical half true teachings. It even tells us how “Jesus’ blood can cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
God does not have to manipulate anyone. He allows us the freedom to choose. You can live your life however you want. but know that there are consequences for our choices. You can live the way of the world or God’s way.
The majority in the church is you and Jesus. If you don’t stand for Jesus you will fall for anything. His WORD will equip you to know truth from error. His Holy Spirit will sharpen your discernment! Remember that bank currency I talked about. Don’t seek the approval of man over the approval of God. God knows were we are coming from. It is important to take God’s Word seriously. He will equip you to do whatever it is that He has created you to do. Always remember it is a “Walk of Faith”
Jesus stresses the importance of God’s way being the best way. Don’t allow anyone to make withdrawals from your spiritual account. (By the way nobody is perfect! ) Don’t use excuses, rather embrace self discipline. Draw closer to the Lord because you never know what a day may bring. But you can strive for the perfection in the Lord. LIVE TO PLEASE GOD! He wants to manifest and multiply the Fruit of His Spirit within us. He also wants us to be aware and daily grow in His Marvelous Grace! He teaches us in HIS WORD! “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.“ Matthew 5 God would not tell us to do something that He would not Help us to do.
“May He give you the desire of your heart, and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when we re victorious and will lift our banners in the Name of our God.
May the Lord grant all you requests. Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed He answers him from His holy Heaven with the POWER of His Right Hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but WE TRUST in the NAME of the LORD our GOD…” PSALM 20
BLESS HIS HOLY NAME!
Jesus gave His Life so we could live victoriously in Him. The power of His blood yields spiritual dividends for those who call and trust Him as Savior and Lord. O what’s a wonderful Savior? He can help us from the power of sin reigning within our lives. Don’t relinquish spiritual deposits only God can provide, for membership in the “Nobody’s Perfect Club”.
PRAYER FOR MARRIAGE RESTORATION”
Give Up “Me-ness” for “We-ness”
Marriage is ordained by God! It was meant to be a Covenant relationship sanctioned by a Covenant God! A Covenant is a sacred vow witnessed by God! For Christians it is the most solemn agreement that one can make between a man and woman! A Covenant requires sacrifice it represents the merging of two lives. The “two becoming one.” This does not mean one gives up their own personal identity. Two strong hearts join together as One! They cleave together not out of neediness, but because of an undying Love & Commitment and the desire to have a loving complimenting companion!
Many marriages are dissolving for a plethora of reasons! Many are and have been “unequally yoked” from the very beginning. Many have embraced worldly concepts and the idea of “what is good for me” takes precedent. Many have allowed manipulation and deception to embed itself in the relationship that only smothers intimacy! Many have behaved so repulsively towards one another that respect and sensitivity have been cast into the sea of unforgiveness! Many have allowed domestic violence and abuse! Many are bound by compulsion and ambivalence that only serves to vamp the very life out of one another… Instead of building a healthy home environment. They build a marital nest of confusion, pain and unhappiness. Marriage was never meant to be a competition of wills nor a degrading of one another’s character. Divorce comes about because of the hardness of the heart. Divorce is leaving many casualties!
Life presents many challenges as well as Celebrations! Marriage is about learning how to commit to someone who you can learn to be transparent with. To build and share an ongoing growing, loving, lasting mutually satisfying physical, emotional and spiritual relationship. To nurture, one another and give each other healthy space as well. To have one another’s best interest at heart. To celebrate and encourage each other through the challenges that life presents from time to time. To together live your lives to please God an allow him to use you to spread that love to others! Just think how life would be if this was really the case! God really has a marvelous workable plan for marriage! Instead, God’s design for marriage is constantly being pushed to the background! Too many instead embrace infidelity and alternative sexual relationships…..
If you are at a place in life and you know that your marriage is not all that it is meant to be… Or if you are having an affair either emotional or physical … Or if you never really thought about the vows you made or the seriousness of marriage…. Or if you have let anything and everyone come between you… Know it will not just get better on its own. Marriage like anything else of value takes work! You must do something , don’t continue to live in a mystic haze of unhappiness! Repent! Which simply means to CHANGE it! Keep in mind you can only change yourself! Think about it! Had you ever really thought about God knows what’s up? You are not fooling Him! Start by giving the courtesy that you extend to your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, lover, strangers or whoever to the one who you supposedly committed to Love, Honor, Trust and……
Again and I think it is worth repeating that divorce comes about because the hardening of the heart. Here is what the WORD of God says: “And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said , “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And JESUS answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote this precept. But from the beginning of the Creation, GOD made them male and female . For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh; so they are not longer two, but one flesh. There fore what GOD has joined together, let Not man separate…” Mark 10
Take some time and really think about where you are going in your marriage? Have you taken a detour? Pray this prayer or pray your own prayer if you are seeking restoration for your marriage! It is your heart that the Lord is concerned with. Not how you make things appear to others. Embrace the powerfulness of TRUTH! It is here you will discover the TRUE LOVE that can only come from being connected to God! Life is precious! You can never ever really be happy when you jump from relationship to relationship without dissolving the former conflict. It just builds up and gains momentum and at some point those issues will appear again. Give yourself the gift of breaking the cycle of dysfunctional and sometimes generational unhappy relationships. It’s never too late! Commence to commit to discover and learn healthier relational dynamics then implement them in your marriage NOW! Pledge to committing to the building of a lasting, secure, committed, satisfying, realistic, rewarding, marriage where Love, Respect and mutual concern take the helm. And let “Jesus take the Wheel!” Begin to give up “Me-ness for We-ness!
We first want Thank to say You for being our God and our Father! We Thank You Lord, that we have You to come to at anytime, anywhere and in any and every situation. Lord we Thank You for Your precious Son Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life that we may live life to its fullest. Lord, we come in the name of Jesus asking that you would open the pathway for healing for ________ (name of spouse and his wife ( husband) and restore their marriage. As your servant Lord I come realizing that you know what the needs are here. Without saying Lord you alone know what is going on, and all that has ever happened!
Lord, I pray that you will allow healing and reconciliation to take place. That whatever hurts or disappointments they have experienced can be mended through the power of your undying eternal Love. We realize Father that they cannot change anything that has happened. But, they can go forth together keeping, renewing and once again honoring their vows. Father we realize that much spiritual warfare is about them. We realize that it wants to divide and separate them. We ask Lord that they invite you into the messiness to bring about order! Lord we realize that ALL of your promises are true. We ask that you endow them with the necessary strength and wisdom to endure.
Father we ask that you would knit their hearts closely together and allow nothing else to come between them. Lord we ask that they both take personal inventory, repent and seek forgiveness for any wrong doing. We pray that they extend love and patience to one another and that the lines of communication, sensitivity as well as understanding are once again opened. We ask that you will allow all the pain, hurt and disappointment to begin to subside. Lord we ask that forgiveness is welcomed by each of them. Lord we ask that you would allow your JOY to flow once again from heart to heart between them. Father we ask that you direct them as they seek you first in building trust, transparency and intimacy. Father we pray peace over their household. Lord we Thank You for being who You are and we realize that all the power, honor and glory belongs to You now and forever, and for this we give you the PRAISE. In the WONDERFUL name of JESUS ….…
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What does it take to be a Strong Woman ?
Within the context of the Bible there are many women who lived exemplary lives under strenuous conditions. They exude an excellent strength that allowed them to still keep their femininity enact yet be quite forceful. They continued to grow spiritually and make their mark in the world. With God you can become a godly woman at any point in your life it is never too late! For example; Miriam worked faithfully along side of her brothers Moses and Aaron. Rahab a harlot; gave up her promiscuous life to help the spies of peace and all that was in her household were saved! Esther through driven tenacity her perseverance under insurmountable odds saved her people. Deborah a wise judge, who the people came to for direction, led men into battle and helped to victoriously win that battle. Jael, in fact actually defeated Sisera the commander of that army. It was the women who remained at the cross when Jesus was crucified and it was the women who were the first to bring the “Good News” that Jesus had risen and was alive!
In order to know God personally a woman must have an ongoing relationship with Him! This involves commitment to His Word as well as times of stillness and solitude. Occasionally flicking through the pages of the Bible and pulling out a scripture or two will not do. You need to take time to develop your relationship! This will spare you much heartache! God knows right where you are; and He Loves you! One must commit to develop quiet time with Him in order to contemplate and digest His Word and apply it to your life. It is at this time, as a woman you are able to develop a keen sense of who you are in Christ and then commit to living by the Truth of His Word. Yes, we live in the world and are to interact, socialize and fellowship with one another. But in order to grow in His wisdom, grace and knowledge you must learn spiritual boundaries!
Being a strong godly woman is inclusive of many things. It takes a strong woman to organize and efficiently run a household or a business. To create an environment that is inclusive of spiritual development, positive healthy family dynamics and fun and enjoyable activities for the family, friends or workers to engage in and enjoy! There is a vast array of pursuits for a woman nowadays. Many have too often put aside God and conformed to the world’s ways. You cannot change anything that has happened. But you can begin to go forward with the Lord now! No matter how old you are God has a place and a plan for you! Many ask can a woman do it all or have it all? Hmmm That all depends. What do you mean by ALL! With God you have everything you will ever need. HE will provide a path for you to do the things He has in His will for you. One must surrender to Him! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Each of us have been created with varying temperaments, all of us having both strengths and weaknesses. Spiritual growth naturally happens as you abide in Him! He has given us an inner Guide, His precious Holy Spirit! What is so wonderful about God, He says: “My Grace is sufficient for you, for MY strength is made perfect in weakness.”
What really is important in life is when the day is over and the stillness of night is upon you, are you content? Do you feel that you are moving towards fulfilling your life’s destination? We all are quite different, what works for one may not work for another. But God’s principles apply to all of us! Have you experienced the JOY that only comes from knowing the Lord! Yes, you love your spouse, family, friends and….. But as a women of God you praise, worship and adore the Lord as well “ He gets Center priority!” God has a void in all of us only He can fill! You can become “like a tree that is planted by the rivers,” you can stand strong when you are rooted in Him! Bad things do happen to good people! But, you are able to go through with Him and help others to go through as well. Persecutions, trials and tribulations are a part of life. They stretch us! But, one can be of good cheer! There comes a Peace from knowing that Jesus has overcome the world for us!
Traveling is a wonderful experience that can expose you to different lifestyles and cultures. It will help to broaden your perspective and give you valuable insight. Realizing that everywhere you go God is with you, you become more aware of and appreciate His marvelous handiwork all about you! Today, one can travel and communicate all over the world and never leave their home or office. Our world is going through many transitions. “The grass is not always greener on the other side.” True security and significance can really only be found in the Lord! Commit to being the same person you are at Church at home, school and at work. Begin to be real with God! Everything you will every want or need is possible through Him! You do not have to become dull or uninteresting or give up having fun. Quite the contrary! You can age gracefully always striving to be the “BEST YOU,” No one can be a better you than you! God has created each one of us with a plan and purpose in mind. It is a choice to pursue it His way, do your own thing or the world’s way!
At some point you may need to perhaps take time and get away from it all. It is important from time to time to take a personal inventory to see just where you are in your walk with the Lord! You can also just set aside some quiet time “To BE STILL and KNOW” and do so as well! Ask yourself? Are you growing spiritually? Are you bogged down by the pressures of life? Are you consumed with everyone else’s life and don’t have one of your own? Have you simply gotten into a ritualistic rut? Are you on a fast track that is taking you to a destination that someone else wants you on or designed for you?
Are you faithfully keeping the embers burning in your marriage? Singles are you staying close to the Lord until …? Are you at peace or are you constantly stressed? Are you being the “Best You?” I realize that there are many things going on in life. It can be overwhelming with all the “stuff” going on about us in the world! To some degree we all have been impacted. But you have to make a point to not let it get you down. Nor to just roll along and let life happen. If it has or before it does, change your focus. Shift your focus to God give Him His place in your life! Don’t let life just pass you by and not find some time to enjoy it. God our Father, Creator and Maker really does have it all under His control!
Spending quality time with God will help point you in the right direction. It will do wonders for your prayer life. Prayer is not always verbal. Praying without ceasing is a cognizant state of mind, of God’s Omnipresence. Prayer is communicating with God, prayer involves listening! Pray for your spouse! Pray for your children, family and friends! Pray for your desired future spouse? Pray for our government and this world! As a woman of God eternal life is an absolute certainty. “For It is by grace you have been saved, through FAITH and this is not of yourselves. It is a GIFT from GOD not of works.” Ephesians 2 The Word of God has power to strengthen and renew your mind. Knowing, believing and implementing His Word daily in your life is key. Your emotions and actions CAN be transformed by the power of His precious Holy Spirit! God does have a purpose and plan for you! With God at your side you can be a Loving, Strong woman of God. This is a lifelong process and we are “forever becoming!”
Do You Have A Healthy Worship Environment?
When you leave church do you feel convicted, inspired and encouraged to grow spiritually? Do you feel that your intimate personal relationship with God is growing? Do you have a desire to create a home, living and work environment where God’s principles are practiced daily? Do you desire to know God through His word? Have you truly accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Is the Holy Spirit active in your everyday life? Do you really embrace repentance? Or do you subscribe to the “nobody’s perfect syndrome” and excuse any faulty behavior under the guise of unconditional love? After taking a sincere personal inventory of your own life can you say you are truly growing spiritually? Or have you really just conformed so you could be accepted? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty”. Godly liberty does not sanction anything that goes against His principles. Neither does it make you conform to legalistic rules, concepts or beliefs. God always gives us the freedom to choose. Of course, you must be aware that there are consequences for whatever choices you make. God is a God of balance. A liberal healthy spiritual environment teaches you that God is sovereign and points you to His Word. It is in the Word of God you will find multiple examples and solutions for day to day living.
In contrast, in an unhealthy church environment the right of the individual to choose is greatly diminished. Instead you are encouraged to conform. Unity means to agree not to rock the boat. Asserting yourself and exercising what you believe is discouraged. Instead of strengthening family relationships an alliance to leadership is encouraged. Leadership then dictates and controls how you should think, live and give. Your pastor often becomes your voice of God and the only one to interpret the Word of God. The sermon is usually directed to someone who is not conforming. Once you have truly experienced someone who will prayerfully meditate on God’s Word and consecrates themselves for worship you will see a significant difference. Telling the truth of God’s Word rather than trying to manipulate people to do things their way is the desired goal. They really don’t have a hidden agenda. The message is for the giver as well as the receiver. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God. This is also how you can recognize if you have experienced an abusive worship environment? When you leave an unhealthy church environment you are usually trying to figure out what member was he talking about today?
If you are regularly worshipping in a healthy church you really know when you are truly growing spiritually. You are not just lead by your emotions and compulsively respond in the flesh when situations arise. When you embrace the Truth of God’s Word you are not derailed by the many obstacles life brings. You not only attend a healthy church but during the week you desire to continue to aggressively apply His Word to your life. In contrast in an unhealthy church there often are moral double standards. You are one way on Sunday and live differently Monday – Saturday. Praise & worship is just a channel you turn to on Sundays. The pastor usually is the only one with authority and does not welcome comments or an opinion that differs from his. Any outside speakers are prepped and are given a preliminary screening and encouraged to “back him up” with their comments. All too often leadership tolerates and sanctions immorality. They have an agreement with one another rather than honor Godly principles. Their weaknesses and flaws are again excused, kept under cover and fall under the guise of “nobody is perfect.” Those who oppose are put under a microscope and labeled unloving or negative. Sexual misconduct is merely given a slap on the wrist. If you look closely beyond the surface you will find that this type of environment encourages codependency and quite often members experience mental anguish as well as breakdowns and various continued addictions. Tithing, giving and regular attendance exempts you from undesirable consequences when you are a part of the group regardless of your behavior. It guarantees that you will be given unconditional support. Your dedication to the system demonstrates that you are supportive and have a teachable spirit but do you really? Disagreeing with the pastor means you are disagreeing with God? In an unhealthy worship environment the pastor is accountable to an inner board of hand selected “yes men and women.” Rather than serve God they serve their system. They often serve the pastor rather than carry out the true commission of the Church.
Today it is still very important to be prayerful and seek Godly direction. Just about anything goes today. God really does have a solution. God really does want you to live victoriously. Did you know that you can believe all the right things and be quite wrong? God really can deliver you from whatever? On the other hand He can and will keep you from falling! God truly is deserving of all the praise! When you read the Word of God you will find that Jesus spent a significant amount of time talking to the established church as well as reaching out to the lost. Jesus and His disciples were not readily embraced because they did not subscribe to or adhere to their legalistic approach. The seven churches mentioned in Revelations actually did exist. Notice they all lacked in some area. Did you know the rules and regulations of the law were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross? If you carefully, slowly and prayerfully read Hebrews it will give you a better understanding of God’s Grace and Favor. Grace and Favor are gifts from God. Did you know that when you accept Jesus Christ that your body becomes a Temple? His Holy Spirit resides within. you. God said, “I will put my laws in your mind and write then in your heart.” God wants you to have a personal intimate relationship with Him. He already knows you and everything about you. He knows everything! He wants and desires you to know Him and the “power of His Resurrection.” He also wants you to have a healthy worship environment. He does not want you to be a spiritual yoyo. God has all power! He can even turn an unhealthy worship environment into a place where His Spirit is truly welcomed. Repentance is key. This will allow you to start anew and become open and willing to be led by His precious Holy Spirit!
Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection really means something! He made atonement for all the sins of the world. That in itself is reason to praise Him! True worshippers worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The children of Israel wandered for forty years in the desert because they were disobedient. Their hearts were hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and they did not even realize it. We must combine the Gospel with faith. Nothing is hidden from God. When you truly know Him you can approach His throne of grace with confidence. Not in yourself but in Him. When you have a relationship with Him you can be patient. You know and realize that He will take care of you in any and every situation. Your desire is to please Him and have His will done in your life. Abraham received the promise by faith. God cannot lie. You can depend on His promises! Hope and trust in God will be an anchor for your soul. You know by faith He will impart His grace to you and help you in time of need. Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
The true tabernacle is not made by man. Christ is the mediator of a new covenant. We have been declared righteous. We have been made Holy because Jesus sacrificed His life for us. His body is now the curtain that covers us. His blood has cleansing power! We must learn to draw near to God through faith and a sincere heart. Always know God knows your heart. God wants you to set aside anything that hinders your spiritual growth. God will discipline you for your good so that you may share in His holiness. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Check out Hebrews the 11th chapter to find out what faith in God did for them! God is good and is so deserving of our sincere praise. Give Him a continual sacrifice of true honorable praise! Not “tinkling cymbals sounding brass” there is a difference. God really does want you to experience a healthy worship environment! God can and will equip you with whatever you need to do His will. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” To God be the Glory!