Is there ink on your hands?

CHICK NOT APPROVED

Everywhere I turn there seems to be a stamp of approval on sin. It matters not that its saved or unsaved people with the ink on their hands. Our society is such that we’re reliving history as if to say to God, “We believe the end result will be better.” Ha! The phrase History repeats itself is so very cliché and so very true.

Romans 1:24-32 mops the floor with that theory and “should” put every Christian on guard who wants to say that God has changed the rules of what’s right and wrong.

24-28

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

Between the rainbow images, Katelyn “I use to be Bruce” Jenner and the constant barrage of anti-straight messages being sent to America my mind is overwhelmed and my heart is broken for the state of our nation. It’s like I went to sleep and woke up in a different world, or a nightmare. Even so… my world didn’t change because as the song says, “This World is not My Home!” I serve a God, His Name is Jesus, and He doesn’t change with the times. He is time.

Sandwiched in between what the world says is okay and what God says is okay is a group of believers, (or so they profess, and it’s not I that am their judge) who have put their stamp of approval on sin and proclaim that they believe that God is okay with it. Newsbreak… God didn’t make that announcement.

Read verse 29-32 with me today and discover what God says it:

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

God gave the rundown of transgressions and then He said. “Who knowing the judgement of God,” – they knew it was wrong yet still said it was okay. “that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  If we read the Word of God we cannot help but understand how serious God is taking the sins of America and yet… we not only partake in the sin, but enjoy it ourselves.

That is the scripture that really caught my eye this morning regarding the people who are “enjoying” telling those who are living in sin that it’s okay, God says they’re fine. No you’re not okay. God never changed His mind. And the Christians who are putting their words in the place of God’s are going to stand before a very upset Savior one day and with the direction of this world it may be soon.

It’s never my intent to offend or upset. And nobody loves loving people any more than I do. I love helping hurting people. But as Christians we do not help hurting people by telling them a lie. God did not say to ridicule, ostracize or abuse anyone in sin. He said to love them and tell them the truth.

The truth is clearly spoken in the Word of God. It’s not up for debate, I don’t care what some liberal preacher tells you, God didn’t change His mind. Read it for yourself. This blog wasn’t written for the sinner, it was written for the saint who’s messing up the sinner. Stop it. Repent from your acceptance of a lie and tell them the truth. Do it with love. Take the rainbow off your Facebook profile and put it back in the book where it is a Covenant that God would never wipe us off the face of the earth again. A covenant for which we should be extremely grateful right now… because we deserve it.

Are you Prepared?

chick pondering

It’s been a busy week for me. Who am I kidding? It’s been a busy life! Every day just seems to get away from me from the crack of dawn until I lay my head on the pillow at night. I try to pack so much in and get so little of it actually accomplished. And if I’m honest, God is pushed back again and again, until the day is done and as I lay my head on that pillow, my heart aches because I’ve not spent time in His presence.

So this morning, on His day, I’m preparing by pitching my tent and preparing a place…

1 Chronicles 15

1And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent.

Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.

And David gathered all Israel together to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the Lord unto his place, which he had prepared for it.

The ark contained sacred items such as the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments, scrolls of the Law, manna, and the rod of Aaron. It was always kept inside a tent until Solomon’s temple was built. When it was being moved, the ark was covered with the cloth pieces that were used to make the tabernacle, so the ark was never visible to anyone other than the priests who cared for it. Old Testament times, Old Testament Ways. Today we no longer worship that way as a body of believers, the Covenant got a new home in the heart of the believers, but it still takes due diligence to care for it.

The tent that David pitched wasn’t a permanent dwelling; that came when Solomon built the Temple. And much like David’s tent, our heart, where the Covenant dwells is temporary. We’re waiting for the day that we can be in that permanent dwelling with God Himself. Oh glory… I long for that this morning! But until then I long to feel His presence in the temporal place; but I don’t think it’s just going to “happen.” I need to prepare my heart through the Word of God, praying for the Holy Spirit to do a work in me before I go into the house of God so that when I hear His word the ground in my heart is plowed soil and ready receive His seeds of wisdom.

I need to pray for the Preacher! David said that none ought to carry the ark but the Levites. We have men in place this morning who are carrying the very Word of God much like the Levites did. They are chosen men and God has given them the task of carrying the Word of God to us so that we might be prepared for the world  before us that desires to devour us as a lion and sift us as wheat. I need to hear that word today! So I’m lifting my Pastor to the Lord this morning and preparing the way for his words. Have you done so likewise? Please… do yourself the favor.

I’m gonna gather! I love the Christian fellowship I have in my church. I gathered with many of them on a church outing yesterday, and it was a fabulous day! But not the same as today… Nothing like gathering in His house in one mind and one accord and waiting for the Holy Spirit to show up in that place and bless the stockings off of us!!!! That’s what I’m talking about today. Are you prepared?… join with me in preparing your place. I’m going to pray for you right now and help you prepare.

I got you started… now go! It’s your turn.

Faith for the Fight

chick for Trevor

In a split second their lives were forever changed. A local fifteen year old boy enjoying hunting in the hills of West Virginia, a rite of passage for our youth, suddenly found himself on the ground, paralyzed from a fall from his tree stand. Local paramedics and Fire Department crews were called to the scene and he was transported to the hospital where he remains today. He’s undergone surgery, setbacks, moves forward and likely frustration (although I’ve heard of none). Our small community has rallied around the family with prayers and financial support because his story has touched us deep within our souls. It’s an advantage of living where everyone may not know your name, but they likely know someone in your family.

Trevor Lynch is not able to go to school, but he’s learning about faith for the fight and he’s teaching us a few things we either didn’t know or have forgotten. The days following his fall he was scheduled for surgery and his friends and family gathered around him to encourage him but it was Trevor who did the encouraging as he prayed for the doctors before heading to the operating room. Can you imagine that at the age of 15? He’s constantly concerned about the folks back home, asking visitors to make sure everyone knows he’s okay. He’s a fifteen year old warrior in my mind and this morning brought me to the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 6, verse 12, to reflect on what I too stand in need of: “Faith for the Fight.”

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

It’s a praiseworthy fight

The good fight of faith and one worthy of praise for Travis. It’s been humbling to see Travis’ spirit through all of this tragedy. His parents encourage him and he’s anxious to see what God does with his life while he assures us that God is going to use him to do something awesome and I don’t doubt it! Such spiritual maturity in a young man. He could use your prayers, but not your pity. He’s hedged in for the battle that lies before him and he is a worthy adversary for Satan. I’ll bet Satan knows his room number and knocks on his door daily trying to thwart his progress.

When Paul wrote the letters to Timothy he encouraged him with the reminder that his battle was worthwhile. We all need the reminder every day that living for Jesus is worthy battle and one every believer must fight. Our degrees of battle are determined by God and He no doubt chose Travis for his heart of a lion. Some days I don’t have much more than the heart of a kitten; I’m ready to throw in the towel and we haven’t even got into the heat of the battle. But what I realize is when the battle gets full raging, God grants me the grace needed, but it’s up to me to come up with the praise. Our praise is like shovels of hot coal heaped onto Satan’s head preparing him for his future in Hell. It’s a reminder to him that God’s creation recognizes His omnipotence and purpose for our lives and the coals get that much hotter when Satan strikes a blow and God uses it for His glory!

It’s a planned fight

whereunto thou art also called

Trevor believes, and we believe with him, that God’s purpose in this fight will be revealed. Although I usually spend most of my time whining, I have yet to go through a battle that in the end I did not see God’s divine hand doing some amazing work in me. How  else  would  I have known how strong I was if  God did not allow some pressure to be put on me occasionally.  The pressure is usually a steering tool to get me onto a path and on a journey that had it not been for the heartache, I’d never have been on.

It’s a public fight

I often times wish it wasn’t. But as Paul told Timothy “he had professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Trevor’s family and friends update Trevor’s condition on a Facebook page titled “Love and Support for Trevor Lynch.But it has been the words of Trevor that come trailing back to our community from visitors that encourage us in our own walk with Christ. Trevor’s journey is very public. When talking about what God’s plans were for his life Trevor announced that perhaps he’d be a preacher. He’s already preached more with his words of testimony than many preachers in America do in the pulpit on Sunday.

Please do pray for Trevor and if you can send him a word of encouragement. His battle is long but I am assured this morning that he is up for the fight.

Are you?

The evolving of arrogance into stupidity

chick pondering

Why does the scientific world continue to shock me with their ignorance? Not all of them, just the ones who say “stupid stuff.” I know that I’m not the brightest crayon in the box… I’ve never professed that to be the case. But I do know that God is real, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and all that is; a fact that doesn’t take a scientific mind to conclude but rather takes the arrogance and self-importance of a mind to deny. This point was proven in an article published yesterday on evolutionnews.org with the following statement.

“Although we think that scientific evidence does not support neo-Darwinism, quality science education necessitates teaching students the strengths and weaknesses of evolution. As a result, Discovery Institute would never support removing evolution from the curriculum.”

This statement was prompted by the news that an Indian newspaper, the Deccan Herald, reported that India’s southwestern state of Karnataka was calling for the removal of evolution from school textbooks:

Branding Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution as unscientific, the Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (Kusma) is in the works to move the Union and State governments to remove it from school textbooks.

“Very shortly, the administrators and I will be calling a press conference to address the need to shelve Darwin’s theory of evolution from our school text books. We will be requesting both the Union and State Governments to make necessary changes to our textbooks,” said K V Dhananjay, legal counsel, Kusma.

So let me get this straight… It’s better to teach children a lie as a theory, than admit that you were wrong.

You really should read the entire article for yourself. My quoting of parts and pieces leaves much of their story out. Like the fact that they said

“Although we think the evidence points to design, and it is fine if non-public schools want to discuss it, evolution is a widely held and historically significant theory. It is a matter of basic scientific literacy for students to understand the full range of scientific views on evolutionary theory.”

Is this not the equivalency of saying… “We know that an apple comes from an apple tree, but if a child wants to look at the possibility it began as an oak, we think that’s good science.”

A quote and fact worthy of repeating and believing:

Genesis 1

 In the beginning God created…

Aforementioned article: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/10/the_evolution_c100031.html

You can’t hold hands and skip with the world and take a stand

chick hold hands with world

The story of Esther is one of my favorites in the Bible, though I have many, but this morning it is not my favorite character of Esther that I seem to be drawn to in my hour of need from the Lord. It’s her uncle Mordecai; a devout Jew who stood his ground and raised another generation (Queen Esther) to do likewise.

In rebellious arrogance the government of the day had ordered the people, Jew and non-Jew to bow down before their presence, but Mordecai refused. Oh, this sent Haman, who had just received a promotion above the princes into a snit! He tattled to the King who desired to keep his evil minions happy, and at Haman’s plotting the King ordered the Jews destroyed and placed a hefty bounty upon their heads.

Esther 3:8-10  ~ And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people; neither keep they the king’s laws: therefore it is not for the king’s profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they may be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy.

I’ve always been a little weird, but God made me diverse (different) from the day of salvation. He spoke clearly to my heart “I have saved you for such a time as this;” which happens to be a quote from Esther 4:14. God called me out of the world but into the world, which didn’t seem the least bit odd at the time. I no longer desired what the world thought was important, but the world was important to me because I wanted to see them saved. So that was and is my mission. Another early verse that God gifted me with was 1 Peter 2:9 ~ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was different. I was also brought to a church with the motto “Discover the Difference,” believing that there should be a difference between us and the world.

But twenty years later I find myself struggling with the world which vies for my attention like never before. Going full time ministry was not an easy decision, it meant giving up “things” and most of all it meant giving up control. I no longer bring an income into my home and many of the things that my income provided must now be provided by God or not at all which may be His will. It put my faith to the test and put new distractions in my path. I not only have more time to devote to God, I have more time that can be devoted to worldly things too and it’s been a real struggle. The things I struggle with the world says are fine. They don’t even look at it as an issue for Christians because it’s not wrong… but it’s not what God called me to do. I struggle with job opportunities, music and notions that draw my mind away from Christ. So this morning when I read of Mordecai’s conviction in the face of death my heart was pricked because what God is asking me to do is nothing in comparison. But I can also see the similarities of the government we serve and that which Mordecai faced. The arrogance of American administration for the cause of anti-God groups and religions is very much in competition with Haman.

Mordecai’s stand was an example for his niece, a generation which stood in prayer and determination to make a difference and protect the people of God. I feel no different this morning as I’m about to go to church and teach teens. For such a time is this I’ve been called to be different so that I may make a difference.

You can’t hold hands and skip with the world and take a stand

3 Habits of the Heart to grow in Faith

chick pondering

See a need, fill a need

Galatians 6:10
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The world is certainly filled with people in need, and so is the church house. The bible is clear that it is the responsibility believers (who God has empowered with ability) to fulfill the needs of certain people. Now… the sad part of this story is, there are people who take advantage of good hearted Christianity and cause us to question whether or not we are lending a hand or enabling someone who could have taken care of it themselves. I could tell you dozens of stories from my own church of less that reputable people staging themselves for assistance. But that’s where spiritual discernment comes in. A twenty year old begging at the door of the church may need help with diapers for her baby, but she also needs help learning to provide for her family and most importantly needs the Lord in her life. A hand out should always be a hand up. I have more concern over the needs of the elderly. Most of which will never darken the door of a church, will not ask for a hand out or a hand up but will suffer silently because that’s how their generation was raised. As a church we’re instructed to take care of the elderly… and to teach the young. Make it a habit to be aware of the elderly who cross your path.

Look more within than without

James 1:22-24 ~ But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

If I spent as much time preening myself spiritually as I do physically I’d be a much better woman of God. A post it note strategically placed that reads “Who were you today?” where you see it often would serve us well. Did you help or hinder. Show love or hate. Did any see Christ, or only you?

Give More, Take Less

Matthew 10:8 ~ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

What has God gifted you with? Money, time, talent? Likely all three if truth be told but assuredly He has gifted you with the power of the Holy Spirit if you are saved. If every day we made it a habit to give something away, imagine the blessings that we’d receive each day from God. Are you in the medical field… what a gift to stop by and check on an elderly person who will feel loved and honored that a person of your stature thought enough to stop by. Child of God… you have His Word, give it to someone today in some form. Have a few dollars in your pocket, or a cake mix in your cabinet? Why not share some food with a person living alone who never takes the time to cook.

These are not notions that we think of as  habits. Because they take a conscious effort to make something happen. Making something happen regularly is what we call a habit. It’s how Christ lived His life… what a novel idea! Is three too much pressure? Try just one!

21 Ways to Have A Healthy, Happy Day

chick romans 12

First and foremost, get out your Bible and trust only in its Word. Everyone else could be wrong. Including and especially me. I’m the Jesus Chick… not Jesus. As I laid in bed  this morning, I opened the Bible app on my phone and began reading Romans 12; I then bounced out of bed like I’d already had coffee and hurried down the hall to write my thoughts on what God had shown me in His word. If only you and I would take heed and hang on to every breath of His word like a school girl crush we’d be so much better off!

Romans 12

1          I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

It’s only reasonable, when given any thought at all, that we serve God with our entire body. He’s the Creator and Maker of the universe and specifically you and I. He holds our very breath in His hands and has the power to speak life and blessings into existence. Our bodies: everything we put into our mind and body should be holy and acceptable. God is looking through your eyes… what does He see. What did you feed on spiritually (if anything at all) and physically that was going to help you have a healthy, happy day?

2          And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God

God desires us to prove that He is Who He says He is. He’s challenging us to be spiritually and physically prepared for this day by ingesting His Word and foods that you’d serve to Him if He sat at your table. Or on the couch… as in the case of myself this morning while eating Special K Fruit & Yogurt. Would God have approved… oh I thinks so! Possibly not of my breakfast yesterday.

3          For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

It’s a common colloquialism in West Virginia to hear someone way say “they got above their raisin”, meaning they forgot where they came from. While putting life into perspective today, I only need to look out my window at the autumn colors of West Virginia and I am reminded that this is the season of life that I’m in. It causes me to get serious about what I need to accomplish today for the sake of eternity. As a child of God, He has gifted me with this day… what am I going to do with it?

4-8        For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

What gifts did God give us? Don’t say that He didn’t give you any… because if you do you’re a fibber and in serious trouble. You possibly are comparing your gifts to someone else’s (I speak from experience on that one); but God said that we are many in the body of Christ, but our gifts differ according to the grace we are given. God did not give me the grace of a dancer but He gave me the gift of music so that I might play and someone could dance a jig. That for me is life in perspective… use what He gave you, don’t wish for anothers.

9-10     Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Dissimulation. Ironically another word for it that is so fitting in this season of West Virginia is “camouflage.” You’ll find few homes in West Virginia without several pieces of camo apparel hanging in their closet. While concealing yourself in the forest is great for deer hunting, it’s a terrible idea when hunting souls for Christ. Our love should be visible to everyone we meet. How’s that working for you? Keep away from things that drag you down and cling to the things that encourage you… the paths you cross today need to see a happy, healthy you!

11        Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Whatever your job is, do it well. If you’re a secretary, serve God there. If you’re a stay at home mom, serve God there. If you’re retired…. Well… you get the picture.

12        Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Be happy. Troubles come, pray and go on.

13        Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.

See a need, fill a need. That’s God’s way and if it’s done with the spirit of Christ’s giving the blessing received in returned is like a little dose Christmas every day of the year.1

14        Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

I’m quickly reminded when I get ready to lash out at someone that I am responsible for Christ hanging on the cross. If I allow myself to soak in that thought there’s no way I can sulk about anything.

15        Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

The world needs to know that Christians can identify with what they’re facing today. We need to celebrate with the people in our lives, and when they struggle we need to be there too. Don’t just be a sunny day saint!

16        Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Rich, poor, beggar, drug addict, Sunday School Teacher, Preacher, Doctor, Lawyer, Factory Worker or unemployed; we all come to the cross the same way. We have nothing to present but the bodies we were given, naked and unworthy. Humbling …

17        Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

I won’t say it easy, but  God says it necessary. Even if you’re wronged, do right

18        If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Bite your tongue, put your hands in your pockets, walk away, count to ten or do whatever else you can to keep the peace. Only, with God’s stamp of approval is it okay to get huffy. Make sure it’s God’s stamp…

19-21   Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,      give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

God WILL take care of it. Smile, walk away and believe it.

And there you have it. Twenty one verses of healthy and happy

Purple Lizards and Christ’s Return

chick watchThere was a time when I sang in another Bluegrass band that one of our most requested songs was “Matthew 24”. A song about the coming of the Lord and our need to be ready. Oh it was a beloved song, but the message in reality is not readily accepted. Nobody wants to hear about the return of Jesus Christ, and yet they do. I know… sounds like either a riddle or a bluegrass song. Perhaps I’ll write it! If there’s time. The blood moons got several people excited and ready for a major spiritual event. But what if that event was a major spiritual non-event.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 says But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

This verse always causes me to roll my eyes when the predictors start giving dates of the Lord’s return. What part of Matthew 24:36 do they not understand when it says But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” God said simply to “Watch.” In verse 42 of that same book, and so that’s what I’ve been doing. Watching…

I’ve watched:

  • As many have professed to be God (Matthew 24:5)
  • As there have been wars and rumors of wars (24:6)
  • Nations have risen against nations (24:7)
  • Pestilences (diseases) have come (24:7)
  • Famines have come (24:7)
  • Earthquakes have occurred (24:7)
  • As Christians are killed and hated by all nations (24:9)
  • Many are offended (24:10)
  • False prophets deceive man (24:11)
  • Iniquity abounds (24:12)
  • Many wax cold (24:12)
  • The gospel is preached to all nations (24:14)

Yes, I may roll my eyes at the predictors, but I’m not fool enough not to watch.

Verse 42 says Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

Before I put the last dot on this blog… Christ could return. And that brings joy to my heart until I read  the end of verse 43 ~ But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

That brought new definition to “Broken Homes” for me. And it breaks my heart to think that many of the people that I know and love, and who love me in return, won’t take heed. I might as well be telling them that there’s a purple lizard is taking over the planet; because for them the return of Jesus sounds just as crazy. And lest they take heed, their homes will be broken eternally.

Did it happen on the night of the blood moon? Nope. But it will happen. Look at those bullet points of Matthew 24 and tell me which one has not occurred. The “non-events” are precursors to “The” event. Don’t watch the predictors… watch the skies.

What to do when we differ

chick pondering

Fights in the faith, contention in the church pews, mayhem in the ministry…they make me nauseous. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been involved in confrontation with someone else in the ministry. I do not have enough fingers and toes in the whole family, including cousins (and there are many) to tell you the times I have bitten my tongue off to keep from saying hurtful  things, or walked away rather than battle it out. That’s not because I’m all “holy and happy”, but rather the fact that I’ll avoid conflict at every opportunity because I hate it so much. So as I’ve been in a study of Barnabas and Paul, their friendly fallout caught my attention.

Acts 15:39

And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;

Here were two friends in the faith who had worked side by side, fought the fight of good faith, ministered to one another and now stood toe to toe in disagreement about the direction of their ministry. Not the color of the carpet, who’s in charge of what committee, or why Susie Seat Saver wasn’t selected for the choir special. This contention was over Barnabas desiring to use Mark in the ministry, and Paul’s determination not to because of Mark’s prior record of failure. It wasn’t a tiff, it was a sharp contention according to scripture that caused them to part company. It’s also an unfished story in the Bible, leaving us to wonder if the fence was ever mended between these two men of God.

That bothered me; even though there’s little I could do about. It did however cause me to re-visit some past “parting of company” of my own which was ironic because Paul and Barnabas’s parting was over their decision to revisit the churches they had planted and encourage those ministries. That trip didn’t happen as planned but other trips did. Paul went on his second missionary journey teamed with Silas and Barnabas and Mark went their way. The unity was still there, but the uniformity had gone. They didn’t do it the way they always had. It doesn’t say in the scripture that anyone else was brought into their argument to take sides, but rather focus’ on the fact that their division was an expansion of the ministry not a separation. I’m inclined to believe from Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:11 that there was no animosity betwixt them when he wrote to Timothy, Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul had obviously forgiven Mark for his discrepancy leading me to believe that Paul and Barnabas either patched it up or agreed to disagree. Both Paul and Barnabas continued on in unity of the original mission. As I reflected on this today it was a reminder to me to mind my own ministry. In the case of disagreements which may come and its okay, move on. Don’t dwell on the negative, but love one another and preach Jesus!

Our goal is to see souls saved. Satan’s job is to thwart that any cost.  I don’t want to be a pawn in his hand causing someone’s eye to focus on me instead of the Master.

We are without excuse

#WithoutExcuse

We’re without excuse. I look about me this morning and I’m grateful for the “raisin’ up” I had in the hills of West Virginia. This is where God placed me and by His grace I was placed in the hands of two wonderful Holy Spirit filled parents. But were I not, I’d still be without excuse. And though I was, that still did not guarantee me to become who I am; a child of God. We all get to grace the same way, by accepting what Christ did; not by being born into a certain family. The world is so full of excuses. This morning I’ve had my eyeballs full…

  • The World says: “So and so made me who I am.”
    • No, “so and so” may have hurt you, but you decided who you are.”
  • The world says: “All religions lead to Heaven.”
    • No religion is just the practice of a learned behavior, Heaven comes from a relationship with Christ. Side note: If you have a relationship with someone, you’re pretty close.
  • The world says: “We control our destiny.”
    • Only so far as God allows. So technically you don’t.
  • The world says: “There is no God.”
    • Those who say that are without excuse because we’ve been raised better.

Gene and Violet Hardway raised me, but God raised me up.

Amos 2:11-13 says

And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord. But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.

It is God who put me in a higher place that I may have the privilege of sharing the gospel. Not because I am great, but because I am His. A privilege afforded anyone who accepts the holiness, sacrifice and will of God. He has a purpose for you just as He had a purpose for Israel, and still does. But they rejected Him. Here God tells them I raised up your sons for prophets. God selected and set into place men of God to shine the light to Israel but they chose to ignore it; continually falling back into the ways of the world until disaster struck and then they’d call on God.  But there came a day when God had been rejected one too many times. (His eyeballs eventually got full too I guess.)

Is America there? God raised up prophets and of those He set aside the Nazarite men, many in the prime of their life vowed themselves to the service of God to the extreme, and today we have as those as well. Sure, there are those in the ministry who do not walk the walk they profess, but there are those who do. They’re not perfect, no man is, but they live what they preach. America is without excuse. I speak collectively. I’m an American, but my country is not here, my homeland awaits on the other side of Jordan.

I understand Amos’ frustration at Israel. That’s how I feel about the arrogant lot of people in my face every day. Those who justify their immoral behavior because of how they were raised or treated. I am truthfully sorry for your heartache… but you’re without excuse. Someone else may have hurt you, but Christ, the Creator of all the earth,  loved you enough to die for you and longs to be in a relationship with you through the Holy Spirit and you have hurt and turned your back on Him. He who is your perfect friend and Father. You are without excuse.

The trash talkers of the waves tell the world that all religions are right. Tell me any other than Christianity who’s God died for them.  None. Tell me any other religion that has the moral standards that every human being in their soul knows is right. None but Christianity. Tell me any other that puts themselves in the role of a servant to a heathen nation that rejects them so they might be saved. None but Christian. … Yes… I’m with Amos!

Our destiny is written in the scripture of old. It’s done. Or in Christ’s words, “It is finished.” The only thing we control is self-will; God has the power at any time to stop the world from spinning and throw us into space. Dwell on that thought for a second. God has put the evidence of Himself through His creation before us and He sent messengers to tell the world of His desire to be our Father. I am one.

Amos prophesied that when judgement came, and it would, it would feel like a cart bogged down with weight to the point it couldn’t move. How many in America feel like that today? I love America… but I do not love what she has become. I love her people… but I’m not fool enough to think that God won’t wipe that arrogance off of their faces through judgement so harsh I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.   Saved and unsaved we are without excuse.

There’s no excuse for rejecting Christ.

There’s no excuse for not telling someone about Him.