Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Avoid Temptation

What kind of friends do you keep? We all have “close friends”, “good friends” and “acquaintances”. Who do you really spend your time with?

We have TV, movies, radios, books and electronic devices that stream directly into our lives. Some days it feels like no matter what I look at, hear or read it contains information that I am pretty sure God would not approve of.

If you stay at home you may be tempted to have the TV on during the day. TV can be your best friend. Nothing wrong with that, but what are you watching? Are you filing your mind with good things, or worldly things? I enjoy TV, probably too much. If I get caught up in something good, I can spend hours in front of the TV. There is nothing really wrong with that, unless it is not wholesome and I’m not neglecting my duties in the home and family.

1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character”

Paul is writing a letter to the Corinthians and warning them about believing false prophets and what evil it can bring to them. My belief is that if God has lead Paul to write about it, then maybe I should listen and see how I can adapt the information to my life. What Paul is talking about pertains to everyone no matter how old you are.

If I spend my time watching TV, reading books or associating with people that are “of the world” then I need to be very careful. Worldly morals will slowly creep into my life before I become aware. It will be subtle at first, and then it will become an everyday occurrence. Before long I will no longer be putting Christ first in my life. My language will slip occasionally, or I will repeat something I heard or saw in a movie. I might think to myself, well it isn’t that bad, and listen further, or read further in the book instead of just walking away.

There is a saying, “there is nothing new under the sun”. I like this saying because it is true. Just like when our children come home from school singing a little song that we used to sing when we were their ages and we know we didn’t teach it to them. As they grow we realize they are facing the exact same challenges we did, they are just covered in different wrapping paper. Just as Paul spoke to the brethren back in Corinth, he speaks to us today.

Normally this subject is related to our young people, especially teens. They are so desperate for the approval of their peers that sometimes their thinking gets clouded. However, I find that everyone faces this during their life continually no matter what age they are, it seems to go in phases. Paul tells us how to deal with this problem.

1 Corinthians 15:58 

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain”

Instead of watching that show, movie or read the book that is questionable, do something for the Lord. Pray, write a card of encouragement, call someone and talk to them. I bet we will find others facing the same challenges as we do.

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeing whom he may devour.

Satan is real and he is out there looking for those that follow Christ. Always be on the lookout for his works.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's Back to School!

It’s back to school time for most children. Depending on how you look at it as a parent, it can be good and exciting, expensive, or sad.

The kids are going back to school, here are some thoughts:
  • Getting out from under your feet.
  • I’m going to miss having them with me each day.
  • Schedules get more hectic. 

  • The Holidays are here, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • How much does the back pack cost?
  • New shoes, clothes and all the required lists of supplies.
  • Worried if your child will make friends in school.
  • Worried your teenager will make the wrong kind of friends in school.
  • The first day of school for kindergartners or preschool.
  • Lunches to fix, breakfasts to plan, hopefully a sit down dinner
  • Ballet, dance, cheer leading, gymnastics, soccer, football, yearbooks, clubs
Are you tired yet? Maybe within the next day or two you will have your first cup of coffee in silence after a busy noisy summer. No matter how you look at it, the time has come.

For me, and I don’t have children in school, it is still the time of year to set some new schedules for myself. Somehow even if you don’t have children, the new school year affects you, especially if you get caught in a car pool line.

Unfortunately in today’s world we worry about a lot of other things too. Some of them not pleasant at all:
  • School shootings
  • Abductions
  • Bullying
So how are we going to handle this mixture of happy times and worry? There is only one answer, prayer. As parents, grandparents, teachers, aunts and uncles we prepare our children the best we can to handle all the situations that they may be faced with during their next step in life. Then we need to let go, let God handle the rest.

Prayer is the only way we can bring calm to our lives and not worry ourselves sick about life. I am a worrier, my husband says I live in fear, and I guess I do. If there is a dark side to a situation I can see it. That doesn’t mean I’m negative, it just means I can see the dark side. So what do I do when that dark side is showing itself to me? I pray. I pray that I am wrong and the darkness I see never happens.

As the new school year begins, I suggest we pray, and pray very diligently. Pray for the children, their safety, for them to have open minds and protection. Pray for the schools and their teachers and staff.

Prayer will make this year a great year for the children. Let’s use what tools God has provided to us.

Please pray.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

I Want Faith Like That

I was reading a blog post from PROVERBS 31 and thought is was worth sharing. Enjoy.

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

I couldn’t wait for the chance to have lunch with her. Not to eat or talk, but to listen.

After watching her for a while, I knew this woman from my Bible study group was different. She radiated the power of God, seemed overwhelmed with His joy and consumed with His peace.
Not just occasionally … always.

It was obvious she heard God’s voice clearly. Her interaction with Him was relational and refreshing. She consistently saw evidence of His activity in the rhythms of her life.

God’s Word was alive to her — because He was alive to her.
Maybe you’ve known one or two of those women yourself: She prays and believes. Expects then sees. Asks and then receives. She’s not easily discouraged or paralyzed by fear and insecurity, and she has a laundry list of very practical experiences with God to prove it.

I had to know how she got to this point in her life, so I pressed my friend for details on her walk with the Lord and what made it so vibrant, fresh and alive.

The secret she shared with me that day over salad and sweet tea is the exact same one I want to reveal to you. It can all be summed up in one tiny, but very critical, power-filled word: FAITH.

"Priscilla," she said. "Be a woman of faith — not just a woman who talks faith — and you’ll never regret it."

Faith is one of the most overused, yet underutilized, expressions in Christian circles. Which is completely backward, because talking about faith is not the same as having it. The true meaning of faith is plain and simple: Faith is an action. In fact, action is the thing that makes faith, well, faith.

By definition, faith is not talking about, thinking about or even celebrating God’s truth. It is the process of adapting your behavior, your decisions and ultimately, your whole lifestyle so it aligns with what God has asked you to do — without needing to see the evidence it will all work out in the end.
My father and pastor, Dr. Tony Evans, puts it like this, "Faith is acting like it is so, even when it is not so, so that it might be so, simply because God said so."

My friend told me that, as far as she could tell, what enhanced her experience with God was that she was willing and committed to translate her beliefs to active faith — acting on the promises and directives of God, not merely talking about them.

It could be a seemingly small thing like giving a gift to a stranger or being the first to mend fences with a friend. Or something larger, like moving from one state to another — her commitment to identify and follow the Lord’s leading in her heart was the key that not only unlocked the door to spiritual vibrancy, but also kept her from falling prey to the enemy’s attacks to distract, dissuade and discourage her.

Was it always easy? No.

But over time, she said she learned to trust God enough to move forward at His Word. And what an amazing life of adventure with the Lord has followed!

I left that meal with a full tummy and a full heart, wanting to have a life that mirrored hers.