What is missing?

What is missing?


I am reading, hearing and seeing more and more topical sermons, studies and programs on why so many are not attending church. They all have lists, numbers, statistical findings on…. excuses.

  • There are long time church members staying home.
  • Families bouncing from church to church.
  • Young people discouraged and looking elsewhere, even the world.
  • Visitors that don’t return. All searching, hungry, looking.

Why? I have not found the answer in any list I have seen. That is because the lists are based on excuses. The writers all focus on excuses, not the reason. The reason hits too close to home. Many of them are the cause. There is only One reason. He is missing.

This is not new. John wrote of churches in His day that were found lacking, where He was missing. Only two were positive, Smyrna and Philadelphia…. 28-1/2% of the churches in his day were found faithful.

Sadly, too many of our churches in America today are becoming more like the other 71-1/2% written about in Revelation. This is the message John needed churches to hear and why God had it recorded. It is how churches are held to accountability. Many churches are a combination of more than one of the ones John wrote to; how tragic.

  1. Rev 2:1-7 Ephesus churches that have forsaken God as their first love
  2. Rev 2:12-17 Pergamum churches that need to repent
  3. Rev 2:18-29 Thyatira churches with false teachers/teachings
  4. Rev 3:1-6 Sardis churches have fallen asleep, simply exist, there is no visible life
  5. Rev 3:14-22 Laodicea churches that are luke warm, fence straddlers, tolerate sin to keep peace

If only the flocks had shepherds (pastors, teachers, leaders) that pointed to The Great Shepherd and led in Worship.

People are looking for worship. Only worship fills that nagging empty void. It was a place in us created by God for communion with Him, and Him alone. And the void that was created by the fall of man can ONLY be filled by restoration of communion with God. Consecrated, sanctified and humbled by the great I AM, we can approach with our hearts now humble and reverent in worship of Him. That is the hunger everyone is yearning to be sated.

There is a time and place for praise and rejoicing for all He has done. But, only after we have worshiped who He IS, the Great I AM, can we know how to praise Him fully. How can you adequately praise someOne you don’t know who He is? You must truly, reverently and in all humbleness, bow your heart before Him. El Shaddai, El Elyon…. Lord God Almighty, The Most High God.

We have a generation that feels they have worshipped God because they have “praised” Him. Through all the good feelings and emotional highs, the theatrics, lightings, gesturing and posturing they leave service fulfilled. It lasts until they get to the restaurant and everyone starts grumbling. Diluted by the world being brought in to God’s house, most have never been in a House of Worship. They will try and recharge themselves throughout the week by putting on praise songs, motivational speakers, and try to shout, clap and dance. Yet they feel empty shortly there after. They do not know how to worship the Great I AM, so their praise is as unfulfilling. They put the proverbial cart before the horse and find no success in moving towards God. Time and place, Ecclesiastes 3.

Families move from church to church searching trying different programs. Youth become delusion and leave. The elderly become more and more hungry for real worship they once knew. There is one reason – no place to Worship, no reverence, no humbling, no teaching of El Shaddai, El Elyon. All the praising of what He has done can never replace who He is, the Great I Am.

Old Time Religion


The Great Awakenings, revivals and growth of His Church through the eons has been when churches worshipped the Almighty God. When the word Awesome was reserved only for Him, we worshipped Who He IS, The Author and Finisher of our faith; The Alpha and Omega. 
When churches taught God’s Word and truths without adding to or taking away, His Church grew. When His Church teaches what Jesus said, and not fret over what He did not, His Church grows. Too many churches complicate the simple truth of His Word. Theological study is wonderful until we see it as how Biblically intellectual we are. 
Back to The Bible, back to His truths. No fanfare, entertainment value or performance needed. The Revivals all over the world today are happening where His gospel is delivered in Word and music. No distractions, No repetitive needed. After all, they can get that every day by turning on a TV, walking in a crowd, or using a computer. 

The world is hunget for Truth, His. Why are we distracting them? Why do we allow churches to become stumbling blocks?
We can not entertain them into His Truth. They have a hunger, let us not give them cake. We, nor the churches, are here to replace the work of The Holy Spirit. We are here to deliver His message. Simple Truth, His: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King. 

What did Jesus say? Matthew 18:1-7 NASB

“1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”

As we come together each week to worship, let us come humbly, as a child, ready to listen and be taught by The Holy Spirit. Be still and know. ~ RBG

Peace Like A River


thPeace is sought everywhere.  No matter the continent or country, people are looking for peace.  Of course, there are those that destroy peace, but most want to find some sort of common ground and get along.  According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:

peace  noun \ˈpēs\ (1) a state in which there is no war or fighting  (2) an agreement to end a war (3) a period of time when there is no war or fighting
The Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology  says:

The Meaning of Peace. In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife.

Some want peace in their personal lives, between family members like siblings, etc.  Others want peace at their school, or job.  Maybe peace is needed in a church or neighborhood.  No matter what kind of peace, it all starts with you.

First, and most importantly, you must have the Prince of Peace in your life, or all your efforts will be futile.

Secondly, you have to daily seek peace.  Sometimes it may even be a moment by moment, standing on His promises to get you through the situation.

Finally, you need to understand there’s a reason we say “Peace like a River”.  Not a lake, or the ocean … a river. That thought struck me this past week.  I did a little research on what the Bible says.

Isaiah 66:12a NASB “For thus says the LORD, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;”…

Isaiah 48:14 NASB “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

A lake is a body of water, mostly still.  The ocean goes in and out against the shore.  But, a river, a river takes a journey.  Life is a journey, peace is a journey.  Daily going forward, putting the day before behind you.  God always says it just right doesn’t He?

He will be with you on your journey, and His peace is there for you.  There are many verses in the Bible about peace.

John 14:1 NASB  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.

John 14:27  NASB  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

THIS ONE SHOULD GET YOU UP SHOUTING PTL AND PTA: (That’s Southernese for “Praise the Lord” and “Pass the Ammunition”.  ‘Cause we know when you win one battle, another is just around the corner and you need to reload the ammunition.  But, we also know, HE HAS ALREADY WON THE WAR at Calvary!)

John 16:33 NASB  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 20:19  NASB “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the  doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

John 20:21 NASB “Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

John 20:26  NASB “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Philippians 4:7  NASB “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:15  NASB “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

May your life this year be peace like a river; a journey moving you forward.

HOPE is a verb!


HOPE – According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
2: archaic : trust
transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

EasterNot to worry, I am not giving you an English lesson today.  But, note where the WORLD places what Christian’s think of the word HOPE … in 2nd.  It is NOT archaic for our HOPE to be TRUST nor is it secondary TO TRUST IN OUR HOPE WITH EXPECTANCY AND CONFIDENCE.

If your HOPE this Easter season is faltering and wavering. If you are giving in to circumstances of life, than you need to look towards The Cross and seek His Face, allowing the Holy Spirit to renew your HOPE!

Sing unto The Lord:

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
Refrain:
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.
2 When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in ev’ry high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. [Refrain]
3 His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay. [Refrain]
4 When He shall come with trumpet sound, O may I then in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” Edward Mote 1834

Easter, you have your proof.  Now stand on His promises, our HOPE – Jesus.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (NASB)3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in Heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Despite your circumstances, your LIFE, live in the Proof, Standing on the HOPE!

Colossians 3:23 (HCSB)23Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically,as something done for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

 

RENEW YOUR HOPE: Read His Word

Hebrews 6:11  “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your HOPE sure.”

Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 11:1  “Now faith is being sure of what we HOPE for and certain of what we do not see.”

1 Peter 1:13  “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your HOPE fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

RBGreenDesigns.com 2020

It’s 5 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 do not 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 is 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

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” 

The HSCB translation reads, “The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.”   

NLT translation reads, “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 is waiting on you to realize where He is.

Renee’ Green Copyright 2012

RBGreenDesigns.com 2020

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.

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.