Thursday, November 17, 2011

Infectious Joy!

Can joy ever be an infectious virus with no known cure- an infection that draws the lost and hurting to a Savior who wants to fill them with His joy and also renews the discouraged Believer? Can we as a broken sinful people ever hope to be so full of joy that we could be that vessel. That Patient Zero?

The Bible states that our joy can be made full in Him when we abide in Him (John 15:11). The Greek word used for "made full " is pleroo which means: to render full, i.e. to complete. Its further definition is even more enlightening: to fill to the top; so that nothing shall be wanting, to full measure, fill to the brim, to receive fulfilment. God wants us to be in perfect unity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in order to experience the same joy They experience as They abide in eachother as One. Christ said that since His joy is in us that our joy will be made full. I am not saying we are God or could ever be God. We are still that broken, sinful people in need of salvation and renewal. But we do have the ability to live lifes in victory through His joy. Our joy is found in Him, in His Word, in His commands, in His people, in His Holy Spirit. As our character grows and we reflect Him, regardless of our circumstances, our joy becomes infectious.

I want Christ to make my joy pleroo. When I imagine what that looks like I am forced to think outside of the box of the natural. I have to look outside of myself and the mundane. I am forced to think of the amazing! I have to focus on Jesus Christ and His promises and of my eternal home with Him in Heaven. Now if that doesn't get your "joyful" juices flowing! So let's be JoyFULL together! Let's be that Infection of the Holy Spirit! Let's share our experience, Strength and Hope who is our Messiah!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hello God- You there?

Do you ever feel like God is just not quite all the way there? Like you are on the outside of His plan looking in and just can't quite get there? Or maybe you know He's there but feel like you are not?  That describes me lately.

It's not that I don't know He is real and that He is involved in my life. I know all that- I have experienced it first hand but, sometimes I am just not on the inside of the "God circle". I hate it!  What have I done to get there? I know it's not God's problem. So here comes the evaluation of my spiritual state - the good, the bad and the ugly.

First, am I doing the basics? Reading my Bible, praying daily, confessing known sin, worshipping in all circumstances and gathering with other believers. Usually I can see that one of these disciplines have slipped. But what if I check them all off?  What if I am doing all these things but its still Dry Gulch City?  Am I just a loser? Has God had enough of me? Get behind me Satan! No way! So now what?

Well, I have learned that life is life and sometimes it is just a plain desert. It's like driving through Oregon really. You leave the beautiful coastline and you drive over that awesome coast range to reach a lush valley. You want to rest there and soak in the green fields with their rich bounty but you see those majestic Cascades and you have a destination to arrive at so you keep moving. You go over those mountains and you find an almost immediate change in the terrain with sage brush and dry grass. Its different but just as striking. However, it's a desert. A place that can be unforgiving and scary if you are not prepared. You persevere and drive on towards your final destination and slowly the trees change, the grasses get a little greener and the animals seem friendlier. All this time the desert seemed endless but you knew that if you kept on going and didn't quit it would get greener.  I don't know about you but I love to visit the desert country if I am well stocked in the vitals. I would hate to be stuck out there unprepared and vulnerable.

I guess that is the difference between my deserts of old and my new deserts today. When I reach my dry spells I am better prepared. I am doing my disciplines and I don't quit  - I am prepared and not as vulnerable to the wiles of the Enemy.  That's not to say I have it down. I still have a lot to learn but what I do have is a faithful God that has given me all I need to be prepared to follow His road map through mountain ranges, lush valleys and dry deserts. I will get to my final destination and it will be Heaven and I will be more like my Savior and less like myself! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jesus Christ - Our Messiah - Has Risen!

As Spring approaches, creation begins to show us how to cry "Hallelujah!" to our Creator! The flowers bloom, the birds sing, the breezes turn warmer and the sun shines a little more often.  It is a glorious time! How divine that God set it up that His Son would show all His glory at that same time of year.

Jesus Christ died a horrific death on the cross as a final sacrifice for our sins. His death, His blood on that cross, paid our debt so that we could live in Heaven forever with Him. As Christ shared the Passover meal with His disciples, He paints an amazing picture of salvation through blood and freedom for the captives. Just as the Israelites were prisoners in Egypt, we are prisoners held captive by our sin. Just as God provided Israel protection from the Spirit of Death on Passover through the spilling of a spotless, unbroken lamb's blood; so we are provided that same gift- death has no sting- because of Christ's blood shed for us. No bone was broken, no sin ever committed- He was/is the perfect Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What an incredible gift! A mind blowing free gift!

Who is this amazing Savior? This Redeemer who loves His people even when they rebel and reject The One who created them? This is OUR God! This is our Passover Lamb. He is our Messiah! He is risen from the dead and He is LORD!

This Easter, this Resurrection Sunday, we are able to celebrate the fulfillment of the Passover through Christ's death and resurrection. We get to share with all those hungry, Spirit-starved people about the freedom that Christ has given each one of us! By His power and His Holy Spirit we can show His passion for His people through our love for His people! We have been given an incredible undeserved gift! We have the Holy Spirit residing in us - a power that defeats ALL sin, ALL pain, ALL bondage! How can we not share that freedom with this enslaved world? It is selfish, self-absorbed and disobedient to keep this miracle to ourselves.

This Passover and Resurrection Sunday we have the opportunity to share the Good News to the lost (they are dying to hear about and experience this Furious Love). These are special days where we can encourage the Believer to keep the faith and continue to follow where the Holy Spirit leads. Yes, all days should be used for this- it is our job as Believers to share Messiah and His love with the world- but on these days, during this season, people expect it. The Enemy will do anything to stop us from praying to, sharing about, loving through and obeying our King but we are more than overcomers and we can do all things through Him who strengthens us. We can because Christ did it all on the cross and rose from the dead to prove it to us.

I'm feeling a serious "Hallelujah!" coming on. Knowing that I serve THE Risen Lord, that I am redeemed in spite of my failures, knowing that He loves me more than I will ever comprehend on this planet. Wow! Now, guess what? He feels the same way about you too! Say Hallelujah with me and go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ, The Messiah, has risen from the dead for you and me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enlightment Beyond the Confines of Scripture

Enlightenment beyond the confines of Scripture. These words buzz in my ear. I can't seem to shake them out. They are like that annoying mosquito that you keep swatting at but it never really goes away. We hear them from those "enlightened" prophets that espouse to "know" more than the average religious schmuck, from the world that has many "ways" to a god and heaven and from those who don't like the alternative.  Well, is this true? Is there "enlightenment" beyond what Jehovah and Messiah have inspired in Scripture? Can we know "more"? Does scripture really mean what we think, or are told, it means?

There are many buzz words that are batted around; many truths, many paths, freedom from judgement, spirituality vs religion. So, I decided to become "enlightened". I googled "many paths" and this is what I found in a nut shell:

            *All people should be allowed to walk their own path without control or judgement
            *Paths change and grow
            *You must open your mind to the limitless possibilities of your full potential and what the Universe is waiting to tell you
            *Everything you need to know is within yourself - you just need to let go and listen
            *If it feels good- go with it, allow yourself (the inner you) to flow
            *It doesn't matter what others think- this is Your path
            *Awakenings will occur when you reach a certain level in your spiritual development
            *There is no right or wrong and it varies from person to person
            *Heaven is what we create here and beyond
            *Hell is not a real place- it is a state of mind

This certainly sounds "enlightened".  If you listen to many folks in the spotlight (Oprah, Dr. Oz and even some Christian leaders) you will hear many of these same ideas. These basic tenants can be found throughout the Universalist's Creed- although they go by many names. I was raised singing a song called I am Good to Me.  When I met my husband he sang a song with the same tune called the Johnny Appleseed song.
My song:                                                                           
          I am good to me                                                            
          And so I thank myself                                                  
          For giving me the opportunity                                      
          To be myself and feel so free                                       
          Oh I am good to me                                                      
I was taught that I am the center of the universe and that my happiness was the priority. I was to help others because it felt good and that was the way that the Universe spoke to us- through our feelings. I was the one who controlled my destiny by my thought life and what I put out in the Universe was what I would receive.  True freedom was to be at one with the Universe and allow others to find their own path as they saw fit. All paths lead to the same Awakening.

This way of living is pointless. It is void of meaning, significance and direction. It teaches selfishness. it teaches you to rely on feelings instead of a constant set of absolutes to guide your behavior. Its reasoning is circular.  Its premise is that we are born basically good and that our initial desire is to do good. That it is the opposite of the observable evidence of human nature. How long do you have to watch a child before you realize that their first instinct is not concerned with the greater good?

Why should enlightenment stay within the confines of Scripture? Because, unlike an impersonal Universe, Jehovah (a very personal Creator) inspired the Scriptures to teach the opposite. The Scriptures were created to rid us of the chains of selfishness and embrace a yolk of righteousness. Scripture is NEVER about self it is ALWAYS about Him. It is NEVER about slavery but ALWAYS about freedom. It is NEVER about feeling good it is ALWAYS about doing good regardless of how we feel. It is NEVER about being me it is ALWAYS about becoming more like Him. Within these confines is true freedom.

Finally, I wanted to look up the Greek of John 14:6. I have heard many say that Christ never claimed to be the Only Way and that John 14:6 is misunderstood. So, let us look at how the Greeks translated this verse from the Hebrew.
                  I am the way (way is a verb that means a properly travelled way like a path) and the truth (truth is a noun that means in reality, in fact, the truth) and the life (life is a noun that means life); no one (no one means no one, not one) comes (comes is a verb that means to come) to the Father (Father is a masculine noun which means Father God) but through (through is a preposition that denotes an act of going through) me. In short, it means exactly what it says.

Jehovah is purposeful in His choice of words. He has a very personal message for each of us. His Way is the only Way and His Way is the best Way. I have lived on both sides and the joy I experience within the confines of Scripture is sustainable and immeasurable. It agrees with the natural and produces the supernatural. Messiah said that His yoke was easy and His burden was light. Messiah never lies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Furious Love

As usual, something always comes up and keeps me from writing. Lately, it's been LIFE. Our youngest is now a year old and our oldest has turned 21! We have celebrated 3 of our kids birthdays in the last 3 months and have 3 more next 2 months. In addition, we are still homeschooling, helping with church's youth group, and I coupon full-time. (Which means I have way too much fun shopping while spending very little money)!

God has been working in our family as well. Praise the LORD! He is refining me as a wife and mother. Teaching me how far I am from His likeness. Wow, really? Well, I am sure grateful that He is gracious and merciful!

I have seen His hand working on my heart and softening it towards my husband (more on that in a later post) and fellow humans. That might sound weird but compassion and mercy are like last on my character traits list. I tend to shy away from"caring". Safer that way, I guess.  But it is VERY ineffective when one is called to LOVE like Christ. He NEVER did not care. He loved so furiously that he gave up ALL He was for those He loved. He redeemed the worst and loved the least.

Can I say that about my love? NO. Do I want to say that? (tentatively she answers) Yes.  I know in my head that that kind of Love frees the prisoner and unbinds the captive and my heart wants to go there-  but it's scary! I am so grateful to Him for loving me like that - grateful seems so pathetic of a word- I am though. However, does He really expect me to love like that too? I mean He can do it because He is the Creator, the Abba, the Ha-Shem (the Name). I am just unrighteous and unholy me. Can I really do that? Has He really called me to Love like that?

He tells us that "they will know us by our love". Not our human love but our Godly love. A Love that transcend our flesh and cuts right to the heart and soul. That Love is what saves, redeems and frees. That is the kind of furious Love that we have been given and that we are supposed to freely give. I can do none of this without His Holy Spirit. I am incapable of loving even the most lovable without Him. I must submit to His authority and allow Him to change me. To break me. To refine me. I must desire His way. His will above my own agenda; above my own "plans". His plans are perfect even when I don't get it. His way is best even when it makes no sense in the natural. His Love is perfect!

17In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.
    18There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love's complete perfection].
    19We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4: 17-19 (Amplified Bible)
We love Him, because He first loved us. I have to camp on that one for a while.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Couponing? Love it!

Rite Aid! Made $.33!

Walgreens! Out of Pocket $.29!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Home Economics 101

Wow!!! Life can be crazy busy. My new addiction, I mean endeavor, is couponing. You would think that I would have already been doing this with 8 children but my idea of couponing and what I am learning now are totally different. I LOVE, LOVE this couponing adventure. I am already saving around 50% on our groceries and household supplies while still developing a stockpile. Our goal is to have a 3-6 month stockpile in our garage to "shop" from daily. So far, we are on track.

It has been an education for sure. It is a new lingo with a new mindset. It is a lot of work up front but once everything is in place it will require less time. It is so much fun to ring up my purchases and then watch the total drop dramatically. What is super cool is that I can teach my kids this frugal lifestyle and it is painless. Actually, it is a pleasure. Pretty cool to shop and not dread the cash register total.

So, I think I will name this subject Home Economics 101. :) Stay tuned for more updates on deals I have learned about and how I scored them.

Thanks, of course, to Jesus for pointing the way on how to be a good steward with what He has blessed us with and how to share it with others.