Saturday, October 30, 2010


What is the foundation of Christianity?
The Royal Part 2

Death of a Church

A new minister in a small Oklahoma town spent the first four days desperately calling on the membership, begging them to come to his first services . . . He failed.

He placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that as the church was dead, it was his duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon, the notice said.

Morbidly curious the whole town turned out. In front of the pulpit, they saw a high coffin, smothered in flowers. The minister read the obituary and delivered a eulogy; he then invited his congregation to step forward and pay their respects to the dearly beloved who had departed.

The long line filed by. Each mourner peeped into the coffin and then turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. For in the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror. Everyone saw himself.

"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25 NIV)

By: Anonymous

Friday, October 29, 2010

More Dangerous Than Ever...

You are walking along, minding your own business when...oh, look at that cute dog. Where is the owner? You don't want to leave it wandering around aimlessly, so... being the good person you are you decide to add another boarder to your home until you can find the owner. You choose to give him a name...after you realize it is a "him" of course. Let's see. He's a shy little guy. How about "Bashy" since that is easier to say than "Bashful"? You are not aware that this pup has rabies. You can, however, see that a wash is in order. Okay, let's face it. You want to be a good Samaritan to this dog, so the little guy gets a "makeover"... courtesy of "you". Everybody falls in love with this cute, cuddly canine. There is only one problem. You see, when he was a scruffy stray a person might have noticed that something was a little off. An experienced eye would see his skittishness. Could that behavior be normal? If a dog catcher was called he would have verified that the dog had rabies.

Rabies is a disease caused by a virus that can affect the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) of any kind of mammal, including humans.

It's not always easy to detect rabies, since infected animals spread the disease through their saliva or brain matter. (Yuk) People may be exposed to rabies when they are bitten by an infected wild or domestic animal. Fortunately for us, because of widespread animal vaccination programs, people in North America aren't exposed very often to rabies; it's more common in developing nations.

Signs of rabies in animals may include having excessive saliva or sometimes foaming at the mouth, paralysis, or behavioral changes in your pet (such as shyness when the pet was friendly) or no fear of humans in a wild animal.

A rabies infection in humans begins with vague symptoms such as fever, cough, or sore throat followed in several days by more serious and rapidly progressing symptoms such as restlessness, hallucinations, and seizures. The final stage is coma and death.

Rabies is nearly always fatal if not treated before the appearance of symptoms.

Now that this little guy has been "cleaned up" on the outside, it will be much more difficult to detect a problem...and because of that, he is...

More Dangerous Than Ever...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christian Chameleons

Seems like a lot of good pastors enjoy the "Discovery Channel" or "Animal Kingdom"... things along those lines. I have to admit, I can understand why they enjoy it so much. There are so many analogies that can be drawn from interesting facts of life.

Take the chameleon. I always thought the main reason a chameleon changed color was to protect itself-via-camouflage. Well, there are many countless varieties of those cute little lizards... some of which many people would say were not so cute and not that little. Personally, I think they are cute. But, hey, that's me. Important random note: I love that little green gecko on the commercials. You know - the one with an accent? Sorry. I digress...

Back to chameleons. The word is out that scientist are re-assessing their original belief that the species primarily changed color for protection reasons. I want you to know I was shocked when I heard that. Anyway, scientist have now come to the conclusion that our lizard friends actually change their color in response to light exposure and temperature, as well as to express their mood.
Even emotions and attraction of a mate can induce the color changes. It is also a way to communicate. Oh! And did I tell you that the change of appearance can occur in only 20 seconds?!

What does this have to do with Christians? I was just thinking it was interesting to note that when a Christian lives in God's Light... his appearance or demeanor, transforms him. When surroundings or circumstances "heat up" - change takes place again. When we let our emotions take over... "Control-Shift". Just looking at Christians - or any "transparent" person is like looking at a mood ring. Our appearance changes as our body language takes over. And the change can be very quick. It looks like all of us have the tendency to allow ourselves to become...

Christian Chameleons

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We've Got A Problem Houston...

It's like this. Here we all are, going about our business and thinking we are okay. Then, circumstances get difficult if not impossible... and after a period of "stress out" time, anger gets the best of us. It could take the form of depression, passive aggressiveness, or even blatant anger at the world. Perhaps you yell at the person you love most - because you know they'll "take" it. Regardless, it becomes apparent to all - including yourself - that "loving others" is not something you are embracing at the moment.

People are watching us; expecting us to be "perfect" because we are Christians. I hate it when that happens. Yes, I know. "Hate" is a strong word. Well, I feel strongly about this. The fact of the matter is that literally all people who have asked Jesus to be the Lord of their lives are people. Yes, you heard me make that amazingly profound statement. I'll say it again. They are people. Human beings that have a body of flesh and blood. You see, though we have died to sin...sin hasn't died in us. When we became Christians, it didn't automatically turn us into supersaints. Wherever did people get that idea, anyway? Aarrgghh!!!

The fact of the matter is, at the time we decided to believe in Jesus and follow Him, we were adopted into His family. God immediately acknowledged a special change in us - but only He could see it. He saw our salvation and our lives in the future. He is not bound by time, so He knew what we would become. He knew our hurts. Our hearts. Our pains. Our past. He knew and knows things about us that we don't remember about ourselves.

But as far as every day life goes, sin is alive and well. We are surrounded by it just as much as anyone. Sin is still around. No, it doesn't have to have dominion over us anymore - but chances are good that it will take a while to "weed out". Bottom line? Well, until we learn and grow it will look to the rest of the world that...

We've Got A Problem Houston.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't Borg Me...

Are you letting God's Word have an affect on your identity? "No!" you cry out ... "my identity is mine and nobody is going to take it from me!"

Calm down there, partner. I need to remind you that God created you to be you... unique from every other person who has ever lived. He didn't create you to be exactly who you are just so He could turn you into a Christian clone. Believe me, if you see any "clone-like" people... it is their own doing - not God's. God wants you to be you. He just wants you to be the best you, you can be.

Will you acknowledge that some things or people in life are potentially good or bad influences? Yes? It is good to let God's Word have an affect on you. What affects you affects your identity...but it doesn't negate your uniqueness. Your special, individual you-ness. Let me repeat for emphasis: God created you to be you... a unique individual who is different from any other human who ever lived. He designed you that way. He wants you to be you!

Let me ask you another question. Is it possible to be you... and have an identity that is separate from your personality? For example. You are probably an American. You have an American identity. Perhaps you equate your identity with your profession: a nurse, doctor or writer, for example. You've heard of people who wear different "hats"? In a way, I suppose, they have different identities... but they are the same unique person they were created to be.

It's understandable why so many people have an "identity crisis" when they do wear so many different hats. But to identify with the One who created us? The One who wants us to be us? The One who created us to be human beings as opposed to human doings?

Identifying yourself with something or someone, does not necessitate an identity crisis...especially if who you identify with is the One who created your identity in the first place! Fear not... identifying yourself with Christ is not going to turn you into the "Borg"! You've heard the expression, "Don't bore me." I say...

"Don't Borg me!"

Monday, October 25, 2010

Somethin to Chew On...

Let's see. Last time we spoke I told you I would tell you what "Working God" looked like in my life. For most people, "working God" would imply some sort of manipulation on our parts. We may not even be aware of it. (If I pray enough, God will do this. If I give enough He will bless me, etc.) As for me, I would like to tell you about three groups of people that I see in this it relates to spirituality, including mine. (And no, this is not the beginning of a joke).

1) There are those that don't know God. Or perhaps they believe in some sort of God, but they can't accept Jesus as God. I would say the majority of the world's population falls into this category. I'm not trying to be patronizing or anything... I just see that as a reality, that's all.

2) Those who believe in God and fit Him into their schedule. The beginning of their journey usually starts with going to church on Sunday. It evolves into Sunday and a Bible Study. As they mature they might start praying more often. Perhaps include a mid-week Bible Study. Maybe they will incorporate daily journaling as time goes by. They're on a roll now! Prayer meetings and fasting are tapped in to. The point is: God gets scheduled into their daily lives more easily now - if they haven't abandoned ship already. As you read this you may be wincing because you are indignant. Perhaps that is because it sounds like I am describing you. The fact is, I am describing myself at this stage in my life. I've known for a couple of years now, that something was wrong. This is not what God had in mind for His children. I know it. But it is a start. A good start... but it isn't the "end all" of Christianity by a long shot. You see, to people who don't really understand true biblical Christianity, Christians are simply a group of religious people on a spiritual power trip. And you know what? More often than not - they're right. If you haven't jumped ship you are very possibly like a "saved" Pharisee. Someone who is "Working God". (That is not to say that God is not at work in people that are "working God").

3)The people who believe in Jesus - but don't fit Him into their schedule. Alas, not as many people fall into this category. No, these people don't fit Jesus into their schedule...their lives. Jesus is their life. All the time. Every moment of every day. He is the air they breathe - and it isn't just a song. It's reality. Pure reality. These people have chosen to allow God to continue working in matter how difficult it may have been. They are usually unsung hero's.

But is it really humanly possible to continually incorporate God's love into our lives and be a witness of His love and power in all the ups and downs that we experience every day? Well, it was true for Paul. He experienced incredibly difficult hardships. Yet he, himself, said "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain". But the truly amazing thing about Paul and that statement is that he didn't wish to die so that he could escape this world of pain and torment. No. He only wanted to be closer to Christ. Wow. No. I'm not there yet.

So, I said I would tell you what "working God" looked like in my life. As much as I hate admitting it, the latter part of #2 is where I am at this stage...hoping that someday I'll be in the third category.

I discovered that the number three stands for "that which is solid, real, substantial and complete". Hmmm...somethin to chew on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Are you "working God" or letting God work in you?

I think, a lot of times, people try to "work" God... instead of letting Him "work" in them. You know, like when people try to "work" the system? I hate that. In the long run, it only hurts. Not only the individual, but eventually groups of people, communities and even societies are affected. But that is for another day. Right now, I want to ask you a question.

Are you working God or letting God work in you? Hey, think about it. I'm serious. I believe a majority of Christians are more focused on "working God" than letting Him work in them. Why do I say that? Well, let me ask you another question. Do you have to be in control of situations? No? Is that why you get terribly upset when things don't go your way? The fact of the matter is: most of us want to be in control of our lives.

To live this life is both extremely easy and incredibly difficult at the same time. Why? I believe the main reason is because we can't let go. To acknowledge God as our creator is - in our estimation - our way of doing God a big favor. I've got news for you. He doesn't need any favors from us. However, He would like to love us and knows that if we completely trusted Him and actually believed and incorporated His promises into our daily lives, well - life would fall into the "extremely easy" category.

The hard part of living in this world isn't due so much to life circumstances, as much as it is our difficulty in letting God work in us as He works through us. Instead, we "work God" as we attempt to bring Him down to our level.

What does that look like for you? I'll tell you what it looks like for me on Monday.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It Just Ain't Natural!

The truth is... life will oftentimes require us to do something that isn't in us to do, naturally. Are consequences always bad? No, of course not. However, in order to experience consequences that we want, well, we usually have to pay for it in some way. But can we? Some people will suggest self-sacrifice. Perhaps a willingness to love the unlovely. What about forgiving those who wrong you?

Those are all good points and are things that we can even "do"...for a while. If you are in a really good frame of mind and are emotionally in high gear, chances are good that you will be able to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps"...and "get crackin". Sigh... yes, you who know me well- recognize that sigh, don't you?

So what point am I trying to make? My point is simply that I don't have the strength to continue applying all those good things that were mentioned in the first paragraph. I can only "self-sacrifice" for so long. My love for people is strong, but sometimes I just don't 'have it in me'. And forgiving? Well, I'm supposed to... but where do I get the strength? Let's see, doesn't the Bible say we should basically always be in forgiveness mode? Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, it refers to those very good traits as the Fruits of the Spirit...not the fruits of man.

Bottom line is: I can't do it in my own strength, indefinitely. But the Holy Spirit in me can... and He will direct me to people or into circumstances that will help me when He chooses. The Holy Spirit can do these things because it is natural for Him to be, well, Supernatural. But for us...

It Just Ain't Natural!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Truth or Consequences?

Did any of you watch that game show? Gee, it is so difficult for me to remember. I suppose I vaguely have some distant memories of repeats. I am only 25, after all. Just kidding. What I do remember of the show, however, is that is was fun. Basically, people had to answer a question truthfully or experience consequences that were rather entertaining for the viewer. Unfortunately for us "real world people" we have had to experience, more than likely, the fact that consequences in real life aren't always very fun. We'll talk more about that later.

Suffice it to say, we know that we'll experience consequences if we don't acknowledge the truth in our lives. But what is the truth? Well, Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

You see, Jesus is either who He said He is, or He is a liar or lunatic. Either you believe Him or you don't. Sorry, but good men don't lie. Oh, and please don't elevate Him to the level of a prophet. Unless, of course, you think it's natural for prophets to lie and call themselves the Creator of the Universe.

Jesus Christ is often referred to as "The Rock". Well...

You can't throw a rock in a pond without causing ripples. The Rock is the Truth. The ripples are the consequences. So what do we really want in our lives?

Truth... or consequences?

The Whiner Diner

Yeah, I confess. Sometimes I would just like to go someplace and eat and eat. Comfort food. I would call the restaurant the "Whiner Diner". The only problem is that nobody really wants to listen to you whine. Sigh. I know it doesn't do any good to complain. Does anybody out there ever feel like me? I mean, I know I could talk to God... but sometimes I want to talk to someone with skin. Someone I can see. I hate constantly telling my woes to my husband... and I'm sure he hates hearing my sad stories. Hey, I'm just a little tired of it myself. So. Since there is nobody to talk to, I'll talk to this blog.

Well, I've had "frozen shoulder" for about 6 months now. It's painful, the mobility of my arm has decreased greatly, I've been told it could take up to 3 years to "get better". Sigh... exercise might speed up the healing process... but I'm getting so tired of having to be self-disciplined constantly. What else? Oh. I just got a poison oak rash. I'm very allergic to it. Simple things never help, which is why I stopped all hiking about 15 years ago. The smoke from a campfire will carry with it the fumes of poison oak and it's all over for me. Finally, after 15 years I had the audacity to go camping for one day and night... and now I have poison oak. What else? Well, my neck is constantly hurting. I keep loosing hair (I'm feeling like a dog with a major shedding problem), I gained 26 pounds in 3 months and can't seem to loose it... in spite of the fact that I eat meager meals. (Please don't tell me to eat lots of small meals. I know that.) Consequently, I can only fit into one pair of jeans now - and they are uncomfortably tight. Whine, whine, whine. Those are just at the forefront of my mind at the moment. The skin cancer on my face was removed almost two years ago... with the exception of continual scar tissue that decided to take up permanent residence of the left side of my face. Joy.

Alas, I think I should close the "Whiner Diner"...not for lack of business, as I'm sure many people would come... at least once. They may not want to come back, however, since the thing that most people want would be missing. What is that? People who would listen. Compassionate people who care about others more than themselves.

Hmmm... maybe you and I should become one of those people? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pricey Perspective...

Who ever heard of a "pricey perspective?" What's that supposed to mean, anyway? Well... think about it. I bet you'll come to the same realization that I did. I mean, we all have different perspectives. Different ways of looking at things, right? Unfortunately, many times our perspective or view of a situation can be faulty... and therefore "pricey", because it cost us our peace of mind, if nothing else. So what are the reasons we have different perspectives?

I'll share a few ideas I thought of, but I welcome your thoughts. I am, after all, just one person.

First of all, I (for example) don't have just one perspective. I have many different perspectives at different times, for different reasons. So what are they?

1) Personality type. Okay, that's a big one. Like it or not, we are all very unique. There are various ways of "branding" personalities, but my favorites are... well, how about if I talk about that in another blog? For now, we will just acknowledge that we have different personalities that come into play when we view situations.

2) Circumstances. Don't tell me that doesn't affect your perspective! (Ex: Got up on the wrong side of the bed; got a bonus at work; somebody complimented and encouraged you;etc.etc.)

3) Physical Problems. You're in ill. Maybe it's "that time of the month". Perhaps you have PMS (Hormone fluctuations), maybe you have chemical imbalances that the doctor has diagnosed. The list goes on...

4) Faith. When you believe in Christ and He accepts you into His family (and He accepts anyone who asks) your perspective changes when your focus stays on Christ. It makes a world of difference. What was horrible can become bearable and even good when we refocus our perspective and remember God's perspective. "And He causes all things to work together for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

We all have perspectives, but they don't have to be pricey!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Witness: The Living Martyr

Okay, okay... you think I'm going to talk about people who live like victims. Nope. How about, instead of having you guess what I'm going to say, I just tell you? Isn't that just a great idea?
I thought you'd think so. Well, I suppose I could start out by telling you that the martyr thought did cross my mind when I wished I could die. But, I must say, that's not really martyrdom. That's just wanting to escape pain and hoping that death would bring relief. Been there, done that. Well, obviously I didn't complete the process or I wouldn't be here right now. Anyway. We were talking about martyrs.

I always thought a true martyr was someone who died for their faith. Did you know that the Greek word for martyr is actually, "witness"? Yeah. Witness. Technically and originally, the process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of a person, although that was oftentimes the result. As time passed and more and more people died for their faith, the word "martyr" was equated with a person who endured suffering and/or death on account of the witness they held for their religious belief.

But think about it. In the original Greek form, the word simply meant: Witness. My question for myself and for you is, "Are we martyrs, right now?" "Are we witnesses for our faith?" We can be, but do we choose to be a...

Witness: A Living Martyr

Monday, October 4, 2010

Action or Reaction?

A few days ago, we were talking about reaction. I asked you to think about what that might be for you. Some people react by drinking, doing drugs or acting out in some other negative way. For me, I realized my "reaction" took a different form. Repression of my emotions and withdrawal from the world were two of my reactions. For the most part I was not even aware that I was doing that.

So I have a question. As a Christian, aren't I a new creation in Christ? Of course. That doesn't mean that I am no longer affected by sin in this world. We all are, whether we want to believe it or not.

So. Life happens. We react. What next? Well, first we acknowledge that we reacted in the first place and understand what form that reaction took. Hey, if you can do that... you've won half the battle. But what about the other half?

Let's recap. Life happens. We react. We acknowledge that reaction. According to Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr.John Townsend, in their book "Boundaries"... once you have acknowledged that reaction, you are freed up to be pro-active. At last your actions can become positive.

Reactive victims are known for their negative view of themselves and others—they complain that others are against them or have taken away their rights. Proactive people don't demand rights, they live them, but they communicate their needs and desires with love and faith. The ultimate expression of power is love; it is not the ability to express power, but to choose to restrain it.

Your action as a proactive person results in the ability to love others as be able to die to self and not return evil for evil. In this state of mind I no longer live negatively, reacting to life as a victim.

Will it come back? Most likely. But now it is easier for me to identify when I am "reacting". And what do we prefer?

Action or Reaction?