Abba Father

Abba Father…  In my heart I believe there is no sweeter cry we can voice to our Heavenly Father.  The Word says the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him.  (2 Chronicles 16:9)  Jesus was my savior quite a while before I realized how very important I was to God.  If you digest this verse, it can be a life changer and a game changer.  Sometimes early life experiences make it hard to believe in the pure, never-changing, love of God.  Those who had bad experiences with an earthly father generally have a hard time overcoming those ideals toward our Heavenly Father.  I have heard wounded souls try to replace the Father figure with a motherly figure.  While it is true that Holy Spirit is our Comforter, it is never sound doctrine to replace the Father with a mother.  Abba Father certainly understands our wounds and His heart breaks when ours does, but there is healing for any wound we may have experienced.  Rather than shut out the Father image, we need to go to Him and express our struggles and ask for healing.  After all, He already knows what is in our hearts.  The word says He searches our hearts.  (Jeremiah 17:10)

It is important to believe God is for you and that He cares about your every circumstance.  No matter what trials and tribulations are going on in your life, remember He is a good, good Father.  See your circumstances as if Abba Father is waiting on you to cry out to Him.  Know that He promises to show Himself strong.  Never blame Him for causing your troubles.  Instead, remember where your help comes from!  (Psalm 121:1)  ABBA FATHER!

Radical Remnant or Mediocre Majority?

By looking around, I would think that the Christian population would have a much larger, much louder voice than appearances and circumstances seem to show.  The world appears to be like a runaway train that has jumped the tracks and is careening down a steep bluff to a rock canyon below.  The Bible says in the last days men will call evil good and good evil.  I cannot help but think we are living in those times.  For example, I see many supposedly Christian believers who live together and have illegitimate children together who appear to think they are right with God.  This amazes me.  That is just one example-the one that came to mind the quickest but there are many others.  I am not just picking on those who fornicate.  How about the whole “Walking Dead” craze, the “Pokemon” craze and the “Twilight” series?  There are many church-goers who delve into this evil along with the atheists and agnostics.   There seems to be a common thread that if someone in the church is partaking, then it must be okay.  NOTHING could be further from the truth!  The church world has watered the Word to an almost unrecognizable state.  A real wakeup call can be found in Revelation 21:6-8.  I won’t share the list here but we should all read and refresh ourselves regularly with the Word.  Keep your heart tender toward the things of God, and remember we are in this world but are not supposed to be of the world.  Meaning, we are light that is to shine in dark places.  We aren’t to darken ourselves like the world does. I would suggest if “everyone” is doing something and thinks it’s great, we, as Believers, might want to consider if the opposite is what we should be doing.  When in doubt, go to the handbook.  God thought of everything when He had it written.

In a pamphlet for Europeans titled “Information to Those Who Would Remove to America,” 1754, Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Atheism is unknown there; Infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an Atheist or an Infidel. And the Divine Being seems … pleased to favor the whole country.”

The America the early settlers enjoyed and the America we know today are shockingly different.  Amazing how things could change so dramatically in 262 years.  Until recently, people worked hard and didn’t have time to partake in so many extracurricular activities.  I believe God loves it when we enjoy ourselves and take that day of Sabbath rest he initiated at the creation of the world.  When did we become a society that needed to be so highly entertained?  Furthermore, I would suggest that, if so many people didn’t accept government assistance for food and shelter, there would be far less backbiting and gossip because society would be busy. Not only that, food prices would go down.  Anything the government subsidizes goes up in price. Our country has turned from a group of fearless trailblazers strong in their faith in God to a socialistic, soon-to-be communistic society of weak, entitlement-minded individuals who are unable to care for themselves.  The mediocre majority is alive and well.

My Bible says “NARROW is the path.”  This admonition is not meant to be a hindrance but, rather, is designed by a loving God to keep His children safe.

Where are you, Radical Remant?  I know you are out there.  Pick up your Bibles, align yourselves with the Word, and speak out for what is right.  Don’t fight against anything.  Rather, lead by example and show others how to walk the narrow path.  Show them it is never a boring path but a path filled with surprises and God encounters.

Prisoner or Captive

The more I know God, the more in awe I am at the depth of love and mercy He has for me.  The more I know God, the more trust I can place in him.

The Bible mentions both prisoners and captives.  (Galatians 3:22, Luke 4:18, Isaiah 61:1)  What is the difference in freeing prisoners and setting captives free?  The spiritual answer actually lies in the natural meaning.  A prisoner is generally behind bars because of some wrong act that he or she committed.  A captive is someone being held against his or her will because of a wrong act committed against them by another.  We can often end up spiritually “behind bars” for both of these reasons.  Regardless of how we end up behind bars, it often seems insurmountable to be free.  Both prisoners and captives feel unworthy and/or unable to free themselves.  How true this is!  Only God can set the prisoners and captives free.  In Psalm 40, David proclaims that God drew him up from a horrible pit and set his feet upon a rock.  David was familiar with being both a prisoner and a captive.  David always knew where his help came from in times of trouble.  He understood the heart of his Father.  (Psalm 121)

God loves you so much that He does not want you to live your life as either a captive or a prisoner.  Cry out to Him for deliverance!  He is mighty to save!  Freedom is a walk, a journey filled with wonder and joy.  Your Father in heaven desires you to take this journey with Him into a free life.  After all, He sent His Son to die for you, so you can be free.  Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!  (John 8:36)

Giving and Receiving Shalom Peace

There isn’t much peace in the world today.  I am not talking about wars and rumors of wars, which is certainly in the forefront of every nation right now.  I am talking about the peace that Jesus said He gave us, personally.  The peace we are to wear and give to others.

Never in history have there been so many distractions so readily available, all at our fingertips and encapsulated in our smart phones, tablets and laptops.  Adults, not children, are having accidents while trying to catch themselves a Pokémon!  I’ll speak out about Pokémon in my next blog.

I am guilty of allowing myself to be distracted every day.  Not all distractions and life situations can be helped, but a great deal of the time it’s a matter of focus.  This morning, for example, I picked up my smart phone to read the Bible verse of the day and checked my email first.  I caught myself and didn’t move on to Pinterest or something else but that has happened too.

Email, Pinterest and other social media are not bad, it is simply that it is far too easy to allow them to come before spending time with our Father.  Without Him, there is no peace.  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  Jehovah Shalom.  He told his disciples when they went out to minister to give that peace away to whomever they were staying with, and if it was not a fit place for the peace to reside, it would return to them.  (Matthew 10:12-14)  I have pondered that for years.

How is my peace a tangible thing to give away and take back?  I believe it is the anointing of God resting on me.  Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at baptism, as we are upon salvation.  (Luke 4:1, John 14:17) but He had a separate anointing of the Spirit after the wilderness experience.  (Luke 4:14)  He performed no miracles before this time.  This anointing Jesus received allowed Him to say “Follow Me” to 12 grown men and they walked away from their lives to do so.

The Holy Spirit is in us but also rests on us like a dove on our shoulder.  If you have a gentle bird traveling on your shoulder you will be mindful to take care not to knock it off or injure it in your daily activities.  You will feed and care for it daily, and see to its well-being.  The Holy Spirit travels with us, outwardly, in a similar fashion.  His precious presence is with us, anointing us to do great things for the Kingdom, as long as we do not try to take Him somewhere He cannot go with us.  As part of the Godhead, He is Holy.  You must take in the Word and His peace daily to sustain Him.  If you treat Him well and are mindful of His presence ON you, you possess a presence about you people react to.  That peace you have resting on you is then available for you to extend to others.  If they choose not to take it from you, it comes back to land gently on your shoulder.

This analogy has helped me “keep up” with the Holy Spirit in my daily walk.  It is a daily challenge to not allow distractions to keep me from extending Him to others I meet along the way.  Join me in taking a bit of time each day to turn off your phones, TVs and other distractions and spend time in the presence of the One who gave it all for us to have Peace.  He is waiting patiently for you.  Shalom!

LAND OF THE FREE AND HOME OF THE BRAVE?

This 4th of July caused me to reflect more on the freedoms we have and perceived freedoms than any other Independence Holiday.  Always in the past, and certainly this holiday as well, I pray for the men and women who sacrificed their lives that we can live free from oppression.  We can never repay that kind of sacrifice and we must continue to give them the tribute they deserve.  My question is this:  How free are we really in today’s America? We are free to come and go as we please, for the biggest part.  Free to buy homes, open new businesses, choose whom we will marry and how many children we can have.  In some countries, these rights are not readily available.

What about religious freedom?  The religious freedom our forefathers were passionate about.  The ‘separation of church and state’ that is misquoted and misused today; even by our government leaders who should have our Constitution committed to memory before they are allowed to make decisions for our country.  Make no mistake, there are many religious freedoms in America today but they aren’t the ones our country was founded on and the ones that made our country great.  I reflected on some of the religious freedoms that are abounding in our ‘one nation under God’ today.  There is freedom to worship satan, allah and buddha, just to name a few.  Many worship idols without much notice.  We have the idols of money, movie stars, rock stars, sports figures, large collections of ‘stuff’, cars, etc.  Please understand, I am not against success or people who excel in their chosen fields.  Anything we revere more than God is an idol; that is what I am talking about.  We can even talk about God without much squawk from the left wing.  It’s Jesus who isn’t politically correct.  The same Jesus who died for our sins and sacrificed his own life so we might live the freest life imaginable is pretty effectively being shut down in America.  Those who aligned their lives with the teaching of the Bible used to be respected and esteemed.  No longer is this the case.  In fact, teachers who speak about Jesus have found themselves without a job and in court.  Many businesses who would not pay into a healthcare system that funds murdering unborn children have had to defend themselves in court.  Clerks who will not issue homosexuals a marriage license and ministers who will not marry homosexuals have been jailed and sued.  There are muslim mosques, buddhist temples and temples for satanic worship all over our precious country.  Yes, there are churches on every corner too.  The trouble is, Christians are the quietest group in America.  Therefore, when someone stands up for Biblical Truth and standards it makes waves and causes an uprise of indignation among those other groups.  The ‘politically correct’ of America.

This is not the first time in history Christians have been in minority.  Not the first time Christians have been persecuted.  We are supposed to learn from the past but it seems like we never do.  Whole empires have fallen because of the very acts we are allowing in America today.  As I reflected on what, as individuals, we can do, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came to my mind.  (Daniel chapter 3).  Daniel himself came to mind also.  (Daniel chapter 6)  They all kept their faith and refused to bow to idols.  They did not adapt the idol worshipping behavior that was mandated.  They didn’t make waves (although we are sometimes called to do that too) but their steadfast belief in God drew attention to them anyway.  It landed them in a fire and in the lion’s den.  God saved them but they weren’t particularly worried about the end result.  They thought it was worth it.  James 1:2 tells us to count it all joy.

The IRS has jailed several men of faith in recent years.  It seems to be the government strong arm against the right wing.

I went to the school board recently in Houston County because a teacher went far beyond the scope of teaching the lies of evolution to inject her own religious beliefs that we evolved from fish to her class, one of which included my granddaughter.  Our complaint was pretty much dismissed as the way the world is now, and some assurances they spoke with the teacher.   The board ended it with that but I am not at all sure I am finished.  In prayer about it now, looking for direction.  David always asked the Lord before he went to battle, after all.

The disciples proclaimed the name of Jesus in prison and out.  They were threatened, beaten and stoned.  Sawed in half, crucified upside down and tortured.  They counted it all joy.  Now we are the disciples and apostles.  We have sat idly by while the right to proclaim the name of Jesus has been taken away.  We think we have been persecuted but really we have become soft.  We live in fear to speak out against behavior the Bible called an abomination and allow idol worship to invade our lives.

Rest assured, I am not attempting to incite hate.  That isn’t God’s way.  Jesus came to show us the heart of the Father.  Jesus spoke against behaviors that were sinful but showed great compassion and love for people.  If we use that model we can lead people caught up in wrong behavior or worshipping something other than the True God to the grace and knowledge of the One who died for them.

What is freedom?  True freedom comes only from Jesus.  Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!  Let’s stand steadfast in our worship of Him and allow Him to handle the persecution, should it come our way.  Let’s seek out the lost and tell them about Jesus.  Let’s take back our country until it is the land of the free our forefathers intended.  Let’s make America the home of the brave by not being intimidated by the ‘politically correct’ Nebuchadnezzar of our day.  God Bless America once again!

Did You Fight For Your Salvation?

Coming to the knowledge of the saving grace of the cross is a miracle.  It is a free gift, handed to your undeserving soul.  This gift comes wrapped with the blood of the One who died to give it to you.  The gift of grace extends far, far beyond salvation.  Every detail of the crucifixion is filled with significance.  Jesus wore a crown of thorns and was mocked wearing a purple robe of royalty so you could belong to God’s kingdom.  He became poor so you could be rich.  He was betrayed so you could belong to the One who will never leave you nor forsake you.  He was bruised and beaten so you can walk in divine healing.  The thorns on the crown pierced his head so you can claim a healed mind.

We understand salvation is a gift we cannot earn and, yet, once saved we begin to fight to achieve the other benefits of grace.  We fight to ‘clean ourselves up’ and look like we are wearing appropriate Christian garments.  If there is a lack in your life or a struggle to overcome a stronghold or addiction, know that our precious Savior died to free you from a life of struggle.  Search the Word that applies to your situation and pray!  Take the gift of grace to cover that area of your life and allow God to work.  Replace your own striving and working with an honest admission of powerlessness.  This opens the heavens for God to work on your behalf.  Jesus said His burden is easy and His yoke is light.  Believe God’s grace is sufficient.  You are an overcomer by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony!

Tares and Wheat

 

Jesus often spoke in parables that should have been easily understood but often weren’t.  The parable of the wheat and the tares (weeds) came to mind this morning as I was gardening.  I planted several varieties of vegetables a week or so ago.  Because of time constraints, it has been a few years since I gardened.  So I am waiting for those seeds to break the surface of the ground with great anticipation.  In the meantime, the weed seeds appear to be well watered and vibrant.  There are tiny plants springing up literally everywhere.  I would love to get out the weeds right now but I cannot.  If I were to till the soil I may uproot the vegetable seedling that have not emerged yet.  Also, it is very hard to tell the plants apart when they are so tiny.  I run the risk of pulling up my vegetables seedlings by mistake.  It is best to give the plants some time and it will be evident which are vegetables and which are weeds.  I can safely till the ground a bit to rid the weeds then, without accidentally ruining my vegetables.

Jesus was making the point that weeds (troublemakers, gossips, those who profess to believe in Him for their own agenda, etc.) grow in every garden (church).  It is our job to tend the garden and nuture it.  He promises to take care of the weeds Himself when the time is right and the church is ready for harvest.  We don’t know the weeds from the good plants.  God says He knows our hearts but we don’t have that ability.

Let’s nurture each other and lift each other up.  If we don’t, we run the risk of pulling up a baby Christian who may just not look like they will at maturity.  Life is a growing process and we all mature at different times and seasons.  God promises to take care of the rest if we will just do our part.