It’s 10 AM … does God know where you are?


Made you think about it though.  Of course He does.  As Christians we know this, but do we act like we KNOW this?   Sometimes I believe we are in a “hide and seek” mode with the Lord.  We “hide” in our everyday life and “seek” Him only in our “wants”.  Our actions basically say He’s not there, or we lost Him, or we don’t know where He is in relationship to our everyday circumstances.  Then along comes something serious … too big for us to handle alone … and we start seeking.  “God where are you?  I need you NOW!”

Kind of a sad state of affairs isn’t it?  But, it is what we live and so, consequentially, it is a subliminal lesson we teach our children.   Think about the children you have in your home or have raised.  You are all in the house, you know you are all in the house and the comfort for the kids is knowing you are there IF they need you.  The kids don’t come to ask your advise on getting dressed, or help with homework, or which friends to pick, etc.   You probably would like for them to, you want that kind of relationship.  But, when they need money?  When they need a ride?  Here they come.  Sometimes it is when “he hit me” and they need judgement on another?   Stop and think about the big picture within this little picture.  He is in “our house”, He lives in us … yet, we do not seek guidance and wisdom until we ‘need money’, ‘need the car’, ‘dealings with someone’…. ahhh, the light bulb just turn on?

God knows where you are and what your needs are at any second of the day.  He’s always there for you to lean on … are you leaning on Him, or do you just run to Him in “need”.  Is it really a “need” or is it a “want”?   We are not promised our ‘wants’.

Psalm 23:1 KJV saysThe Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  I prefer the HSCB translation which reads, “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.”    I also like the NLT version, “The Lord is my shepherd;  I have all that I need.”

Maybe today you just need to stop and listen and lean.  God knows where you are, He’s waiting on you to realize where He is.

“No Fault Insurance”


In early 1970 comedian Flip Wilson’s debuted his famous skit  “The devil* Made Me Do It”.

“___ made me do it”

It was funny but, in a sad way so true.   When we are doing something wrong we blame the devil*.  It’s human nature to blame “the other guy”; your kids do it all the time don’t they?  Where do you think they get it?  Kids learn from us initially.  Oh, sometimes they learn it at school, off the TV or from the videos.  But, it boils down to they learn it from you.  Even if you do not do it, if you do not stop them from doing something wrong, then you have taught them wrong.

It is sad that so many are living in sin when we have the manual on how not to sin in hundreds of languages all over the world.  The Bible tells us who sins, what is sin and what the consequences of sin are.  Blame it on your upbringing?  Blame it on genetics?  Blame it on the devil?

Here is how I explain sin.  My family has a history of alcoholism in previous generations.  My father, the youngest of eight children, watched all of his elder siblings drink themselves to death.  Between the ages of 10-12 years of age, I attended so many funerals of my father’s siblings and offspring … all related to alcohol.  My father never drank.  It was obvious there was a genetic tendency to alcoholism.  My dad chose NOT to give into that tendency and he never allowed alcohol in our home.  He raised us all knowing we had that tendency as a possibility.  My oldest brother chose to ignore dad’s teachings and has ruined his life with alcohol (as well as his family’s lives).  When we choose to disobey, we choose to sin; we choose the consequences.  Sadly, we inflict those consequences on all those around us; family and even innocent bystanders (drunk drivers ruin innocent lives daily and walk away unscathed).  So, who is to blame?  God?  Certainly not.  Genetics … bad home live … poor environment … the bottom line is, it is your choice.  Why would anyone choose to be a drunk, ruin their life, be mocked, hated and shunned?  Bottom line, because they choose to, no one makes them, they choose their life.  I chose never to taste alcohol, never to allow it in my life.  My choice.  I am not perfect.  I have other sins I have to choose not to do as well.  I have an all powerful God to strengthen me and help me with my choices.  I cannot do it in my own strength.  I have to choose to sin; only I can choose to stop sinning.  One step leads to the next but, the first step is always your choice, make it.  Once you make that first step, get help if you need it.  Sometimes people need help and there are wonderful organizations, support groups, doctors, etc. out there to help.  But it takes your choice to take the first step to stop sinning.

WHO SINS?: Romans 3:23(NASB)for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”  1 John 1:8 (KJV)If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

WHAT IS SIN?: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11(ESV) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.    1Timothy 1:8-16(ESV) 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 12 I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He judged me faithful, appointing me to His service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.

WHY IS IT SIN?:Isaiah 59:1-2 (HCSB) “Indeed, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, and His ear is not too deaf to hear.
But your iniquities have built barriers between you and your God, and your sins have made Him hide His face from you
so that He does not listen.”

HOW CAN WE BE SAVED FROM SIN?: 1 Peter 2:24 (NASB) “…and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” Romans 10:9(HCSB)If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 2 Peter 3:9 (HCSB) “The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.”  John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

All sin separates us from God.  There are no ‘worse’ sins, my sin makes me as big a sinner as the next person, although some sins have more consequences here on earth.  If you sin, you chose to sin; you choose to be separated from God.  You, and you alone, choose your consequences here on earth… and ultimately in eternity.  Don’t blame “the other guy, you’re upbringing, etc.”, you have a choice.

*devil, satan – I know people capitalize the “S” or “D” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

“Imagine a life with no worries ….”


That’s what the billboard reads as I drive to work.  I cannot remember the product.

The song lyrics read, “don’t worry, be happy (whistling)”.

Worry … it’s a sin. (I actually wrote a post, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” , two years ago that handles that topic.) The truth is, life is hard and there is no way to not worry … in our own strength.  Imagine a life with no worries?  No product can produce that in your life; no service can produce that in your life.  The only way to lift worries is to lay your concerns before our Almighty Father in Heaven.

Matthew 11:28 (NTL) “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Worry is a sin, it means you are not trusting God.  In the wee hours of the morning Corrie Ten Boom stood before us with Billy Graham by her side.  My brother and I were volunteers for the crusade and we were helping type up the cards for counseling of all that had come forward that night at the Crusade meetings.  We were all tired.  My brother and I had come from the hospital prior to the meetings.  Our father was in the hospital having had a lung removed from lung cancer.  My world was shaking as my earthly father lay struck down.  I had always relied on him.  I needed to learn to rely on my Heavenly Father, who cannot be shaken or brought down.    Corrie Ten Boom told us about ‘not worrying’.  I was 18 years old.  My world was collapsing, but here was a woman who had been through way worse telling me, “don’t worry”.   She said, (and I have never forgotten):

“If it is too small to pray about, it is too small to worry about.” Corrie Ten Boom

A worrier will begat a worrier …. if you want your children and loved ones to lean on Christ, they have to see you leaning on Him; “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms”.

Don’t worry, be happy?  Yes, you can ” … Safe and Secure From All Alarms”!

Psalm 55:22 (NASB) “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”

Pick Your Battles!


Is that what God is asking parents to do?  Pick the battles?  Are not all battles HIS?  Which means the victor is decided, so why not fight the battle?  So by picking your battles are you not just really choosing which ones not to fight?  Really?  Leaving them for satan* to claim without a struggle?  Hey, it is your child, not somebody else … certainly not satan’s* (although I have heard parents say their child is the spawn of satan* in jest.  Sad, right?)

Acts 9:1-21 ~  God turned Saul into Paul.  Saul saw Jesus …  Paul praised Jesus.  Jesus brings change.  There is no child that cannot be made into a child of God by Jesus.  Show them Jesus in you.   Be careful what they see, hear and say.  It is a parent’s job; not the churches, not the schools.  They can only reinforce.  If God made you a mother or a father, then be the parent.   PARENTS decide.  You do not lord over them, however, you set the parameters, the borders in which they live their lives.   You cannot ‘pick’ battles.   They are all battles that God has won. If something they are doing is really bothering you then sit them down and tell them what it is, why it is wrong and why it is not going to be allowed.   Don’t wave it off because you don’t want to ‘fight that battle’.  Realize that the thing that is bothering you is the Holy Spirit telling you to be the parent.

Let me give you a couple of recent examples:

 Mom comes into store and asks for some HipHop/Rap artists.   She says she doesn’t know what to do.  She hates the music, cannot understand it and doesn’t want it in their home.  She says she hopes the words are okay, it’s hard to understand and is so loud.  Then she says, “What are you to do? You have to pick your battles.”

Another mother walks in with her preteen and teen daughters.  Mini-shorts would be longer on these girls.  Cheeky is an understatement.   She sees the eyes of women around her and sighs, “What’s a mom to do? At least I know where they are.  You have to pick your battles”.

Neither of these are picking battles, nor are they parenting.  They simply do not want confrontation.  The truth is, if Jesus is not seen in their child, they have handed the battle over, that Jesus has already won, to satan*.   If the Message cannot be discerned in the music, if it cannot be understood, then it is just noise.   If the appearance is not modest, if it implies you are anything but a Christian, then it is not for your darlings.

You do NOT pick your battles.  You can choose what IS a battle.  Let me assure you, the Holy Spirit will let you know where to draw the line.  Ignoring it is NOT PICKING YOUR BATTLES.   Where problems arise is when parents never set boundaries.  When they are little you teach them to dress as Christians.  That does not mean they are in long robes, unfashionable, etc.  It means, you teach them their Christian character must show through the clothes.  When my girls were toddlers I would lay out clothes for the day from which they could choose.  They did not pick pj’s to wear to church (as I have seen done) simply because those were not within the boundaries for that day.  When they were old enough to help choose the clothes they wanted to wear, I would scout out the store if possible before hand.  If not, as we walked through I would point out areas they could choose from.  When they started wearing makeup they were taught that if someone says, “nice eye makeup, love the eyeliner,  or nice lipstick, ….”  instead of, “you look nice”, then they had on too much of the item.

In other words, making something stand out overwhelms the total person.  They never wore words on their backsides.  Never understood why parents would want everyone walking by to stare at their daughters backside.  Just think about it.  Seriously?  And cleavage?  Seriously?  The current fashions include showing your boxers, your bras, …. seriously?  THOSE ARE BATTLES.  God holds you responsible for your child’s testimony.  There is no way that people are looking at your child and thinking wow look at that testimony for Christ.  If their appearance causes lust, you are responsible before God.  Women and their daughters baring shoulders, thighs, anything that would cause a man to stumble in church just blows my mind.   How are they going to stand before God and say, “I was just picking my battles.  They were in church weren’t they?”

It is your job to teach your son and daughter to walk, talk and look Godly, not worldly.  They can be very fashionable within parameters set by His word.  They do not need to be social outcasts.  Parents that succumb to their kids dress wishes, music wishes, curfew wishes have long ago allowed the child to be the parent.  Taking back your role as parent will not be pretty, battles never are.  Jesus won that battle, ask Him how to proceed.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 (NASB) “that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”

Ephesians 4:1-2 (HCSB) “Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, acceptingone another in love…”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Overwhelmed?


Task too big?  Job got you down?  House a wreck?  Kids out of control?   Arrrrggggghhhhhhh!   Right?  Wrong.

So I woke up … EARLY (on my off day no doubt.)  You know when you have plans how you just wake up early, even when you did not have to for several hours?  This day was no different, I had plans.   The goal?  Major cleaning.  Ever wake up tired, unable to face the task or the day ahead?  That was this morning.  But, this time as I lay there I started talking with the Lord.

“Lord.  You know I am tired.  You know I am out of remission (I am having a bout with my Lupus), worn down … my get up and go, got up and went.”    And in the quietness of my heart I heard Him say, “I never get overwhelmed, tired, down, out of control.  Leave it to me.”  And so I said, “Lord, I do not want to be discouraged by the overwhelming tasks ahead, but facts are facts.  I am tired just thinking about it, doomed before I start.  Please give me the strength,Lord,  the “uumph” I need to tackle everything.”

I got up, had my devotions and ate my breakfast.  Then I began.  Three loads of laundry:  Darks, whites, permanent press.  I turned and saw a task I needed to handle.  I did it.  Then another one, and I did it … and so on.  By noon I had done so much and I was not tired.  All of a sudden I realized I had not seen it with “overwhelmed eyes”.  I did not see the “big picture”, only small tasks I could accomplish one by one.  I saw as He sees, little bits and pieces.  They make up a big picture, but He sees the details.  Unlike Him, we need to look at the small bits and pieces of the problem, tasks, job, cleaning  …. you get the idea. God can handle looking at the whole thing and not be overwhelmed, that is why we place it in His hands.  When we look at the total picture we just get discouraged.

Remember:

Philippians 4:13 (HCSB) “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
 

Allow God to break whatever your “it” is down into manageable portions … let Him delve out those portions instead of taking on the whole by yourself.

Never quite good ’nuff …. never.


So get over it … you are never going to be good enough in your own eyes … for yourself, for your family or especially for God.  But, that’s okay.  So get over it … now.

… and get over it!

God doesn’t love you because you are going to be perfect in Heaven.  He does not love you because you are getting better every day, or as L’Oreal says, “you’re worth it”.  Get over ‘self’ and telling God your sorry you are not being the child of God He expects.

“I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to surrender all my rights and demands, and cease from every self-effort. I must leave myself completely alone in His hands, and then I can begin to pour my life out in the priestly work of intercession. There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not just beginning to save us— He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Do not let satan* lie to you and convince you cannot do something because you are not good enough.  Do not consume prayer time everyday telling God how worthless you are and how sorry you are that you are not being a better Christian. There is a time for that, repentance … but, it is not a crutch for not praying for others or doing the work He calls you to do.  Spend your prayer time in intercession for others and God will complete His work in you.  I will not go into how the Bible directs us to pray (you can read that blog at “Now I Lay Me”.)

Remember, God made you, He saved you. Now move on and do not be stagnant.

“I know the One I have believed in and am persuaded that He is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12b HCSB
 

Self pity, self-doubt … anything that begins with ‘self’, is going to get you off course.  It keeps you from claiming His power.  If you don’t, then you will raise children who do not understand His power.  Do not fall into satan’s* trap of lies.  God loves you just as you are.  Claim His love, His power and step out in faith.  Otherwise you sit and sour.  At the risk of repeating myself (but, it bears repeating), re-read “JUST DO IT”  if you need too.

Philippians 4:13 (NASB)I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

“Teacher’s Pet”


You either have been or knew someone that was “the teacher’s pet”.  

They even made a movie about it once upon a time.  Favorite, we all want to be one.  We all have one, not just teacher’s.

In the Bible, “pets” or favorites, caused many problems.  Genesis 25 relates what happens when parents play favorites as did Isaac and Rebekah.  In Matthew 20 we read of a mother in verse 21 that says, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”  She wanted her sons given favor over the others.

“Pets”, favorites, going to the same people over and over.  The teacher does it, the parent does it, the employer does it, the choir director, the pastor, the ….. EVERYONE.  We all have favorites.  Sometimes when we repeatedly go to the same people we bypass more deserving people, hurting them; and we shortcut God’s ministry by not giving Him the opportunity to bless through others.

We all can set aside our preferences and allow God to use everyone He will.  As a parent, you can bless your children by going to the one “least likely”.   Even if you have only one child, you can set aside yourself or spouse by allowing God to use them.  Tap into the strength of others, not your usual “go to” people.  That may be a child, a student, an employee, someone in your church.   Do not ignore the “inkling” to ask someone to do something by thinking through it and convincing yourself you could do it better, or someone else could do it better.  God loves to use those we deem weaker vessels, perfect for the job in His eyes.

Validate others, even if you could do it better yourself.   You may be surprised to find the result far exceeds anything that could have resulted from you or others.   Moses was called out as a leader (Exodus 4) and asked for Aaron’s help doubting what God could do in him, the weak vessel.  How often do we shortcut God and make a hindrance to His work.

Today, if God gives you the opportunity, let Him take someone you view ordinary and make them extraordinary.