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Monday, September 26, 2011

Temporary vs. Eternal

I was listening to the story of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) the poor man who died and went to Heaven, while the rich man went to hell.  (The rich man did not go to hell because he was rich, but because while living, he rejected Christ’s offer of salvation. When he died, it was too late.)  One pastor has said this story is true and not a parable because names are used, whereas in contrast, if Jesus says “a certain man” or such, then that is a parable.  Anyway, the point I want to make is that no matter how bad I (we) feel on a particular day, it is rare that it is "only dogs to lick one's sores" bad.  He only had the dogs to lick his sores and the visual I get helps me to know-- THAT is bad off! There are times when we suffer, but we must remind ourselves that Lazarus eventually received an eternal reward that more than made up for his situation on earth.  Final thought: My pastor (Danny – Calvary Chapel / St. Pete) is fond of saying: “We are not humans having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience.” Our spiritual experience in the presence of God will last forever! Amen!

Monday, September 12, 2011

To have & to hold, from this day forward....

Short bit of marital advice:  I pray that I’ve impressed upon my daughters (and other single women desiring to marry) about the importance of marrying someone who is on the same *page* they are on (Spiritually), who believes as they do (Doctrinally), and who has the same goals as they do (Practically) – *NOT JUST* someone who likes the same things they like (doesn’t go deep enough to ensure success) or does things the same way they do (one or the other person might be in need of improvement).  Take it from someone who has been married for a decade.  10 years is not very long in comparison to some of my still happily married family members and friends, but it’s long enough to say something. My marriage is not perfect and I am willing to speak out of its imperfection and pray for God to continue to cover both of our shortcomings with His grace.  Finally, I’m not a marriage expert; however I do have an insightful spiritual gift with a reason for having it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's not You...It's me...

Dr. Stanley gave a very enlightening message that says: We are responsible for a slow down in our blessings.  We are not waiting for God, He is waiting for us.  God cannot go against His laws (reaping & sowing).  That is really thought-provoking and should be remembered the next time I try to complain...

I recently shared with someone very close to me that when I became saved, I didn't fully grasp that I *belonged to* Christ, not only in the way that He takes care of me but in a way that means I am owned by Him.  Paul (Romans 1:1) said upfront that he was a bondservant.  My pastor explained that a bondservant is a servant who has met his obligations to his master, but out of love and devotion, has his ear pierced with an awl and vows to stay with his master.  It's the perfect picture of the best relationship to have with the Lord.

Dr. Stanley further said: We must give complete control to God. He will not fight us for it.  The good that God has in store for us doesn't always mean "easy", but will be a challenge.  This is how he grows us up in life.  That being said, you would think that I would be the grownest, most mature believer there is,,,but no,,,I have stubborn ways.  Lastly, Dr. Stanley shares: our circumstances might be painful and/or difficult, but they WILL drive us to Him.  That same day, Dr. Michael Yuseff said: God commands us to stop drinking milk and grow up!

Well Yes Sir! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Misuse of Spiritual Gifts

I gained a lot by hearing Stephen Rummage (Bell Shoals Baptist) teach on the misuse of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12).  He gave examples of the gifts, the purpose of the gifts and how they might be misused.  I got a lot out of this message because, of course, I’ve done it!  But the Lord is helping me to rectify that situation as we speak!  I didn’t get to write them all but the few I got are:

Prophecy –used to tell God’s truth. Misuse: not telling people the truth about God’s Word (bending & twisting it) and becoming judgmental of others because you receive revelations about them.

Ministry – used to show God’s love to people. Misuse: “Loving” people to gain benefits for yourself by the use of flattery.

Exhortation – used to lift people up. Misuse: People-pleasing.

I confess, I’ve misused my gifts and then blamed the errors I’ve made on my background and on my problems.  I now realized that I must depend on the Lord to equip and train me to use my spiritual gifts in the proper way, so that I will not be defined by my background and past problems.  In fact, it’s already done! (Ephesians 2:10) The Lord does this so that we are able to walk in the newness of life, the life that HE IS. (John 14:6- I am the Life)

Hallelujah for The Life!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Just one of those days…

Have you ever have one of those mornings? When the day just starts off weird(ly) and you can recognize that you are under some sort of attack?  Well I recently experienced just that! It was no picnic, let me tell you!  The day before the morning of weirdness, I heard a message taught on “the renewal of one’s mind” (Romans 12:2).  To me, the weird morning was exactly the right time to (with the help of the Holy Spirit) begin putting the principles I am learning into practice.  

To “renew my mind” on this particular day, meant that I needed to reject the negative attitude, the one I could feel forming (in my mind/heart) as my day began to slide downhill.  This was made possible by asking for the Lord’s help (prayer). My emotions were still down, but after praying, my mind knew better. Soon, my feelings caught up with that knowledge.  Our feelings and emotions have a definite purpose, but don’t be controlled by them, instead, control feelings and emotions with the knowledge of the Truth.

Later on the same day, when I became able view the situation objectively, it was revealed to me that I had been habitually putting up mental defense mechanisms whenever things went or go awry.  Normally, I’d be upset almost all day, after such a strange day’s beginning, but I now know that in such cases, the Holy Spirit intervenes for me (Romans 8:27).  In the midst of this, I also remembered times when things have happened and I knew my baby girl would become upset and during such times, I have prayed for her.  This parent-child intervention is a picture of how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. We know it's true! Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Hebrews 7:25)…now THAT’S love!

So Dear Reader, don’t give up! Instead, decide this day to, *Renew Your Mind*. Commit to thinking & reacting differently from (the flesh) the way you normally do.

Be Blessed!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Christian Talk Radio - Part 2

Before I continue to discuss the teachers I find very inspiring, I'd like to mention a recent, tragic event.  A few days ago, a well-known pastor from Apopka died suddenly, at a fairly young age, (40s) in New York.  His death has been made very public and also has been scandalized.  I did not study his teachings, nor did I know much about his ministry before he died.  My prayers are to the Lord for comfort and strength in the upcoming days for his wife and children.

His death and the gossip reminds me to remind readers about keeping our preachers/teachers/ministers and pastors and their families lifted up before the Lord in prayer.  The enemy really rejoices when one of our teachers is brought down, because it affects the body of Christ in a negative way and gives unbelievers yet another excuse to persecute believers.  We lift up our teachers, church leaders and their families before You, Lord!

***************************************
The last two ministries I wanted to highlight are:

Messianic Perspectives 9:30 am - 9:45 am    1110   (http://www.cjfm.org/) - This program is one of the highlights of my morning! The teachers alternate, but my favorite one is Gary Hedrick.  He is very knowledgable and presents knowledge in an extremely digestible way.  Essentially, Messianic Perspectives is a fellowship of Jews who accept & believe that Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Messiah a.k.a. Jesus the Christ) is the Messiah.  Therefore, they trust Christ alone for salvation.  They are known as Messianic Jews (as opposed to other Jews who at this point in time, do not believe that the promised Messiah has come - please continue to pray for the opening of their eyes).  The teachers on Messianic Perspectives instruct in the Word from their Jewish perspective and from it, believe me, you learn a GREAT DEAL. I could go on and on about this program. (Check out their website!)

Hope for the Heart with June Hunt (http://www.hopefortheheart.org/) - This program may have gone off daytime air because I have not been able to locate it at the regular time.  There is also an extended version of this program called "Hope in the Night" which plays from about 11pm until past midnight.  The "Hope for the Heart" daytime radio program addresses a variety of problematic personal issues and other strongholds that people face such as: drug abuse, low self-esteem, sexual abuse, and anger to name a few.  On the  "Hope in the Night" night program, June takes phone calls from people who struggle, prays with them and walks them through a brief counseling session, reminding them of God's many encouraging promises and teaching how they can be set free from them.

I know that God is equipping other competent brothers and sisters worldwide.  So if there are certain teachers who’s teachings aid you in this life’s journey, please feel free to leave their name and information.

If you can't listen to these teachers through these stations, check them out online, pray for these ministries, support them with prayer and/or pick up some resources (many are no cost!); You'll be blessed!

Until next time...

Numbers 6:24-26
 24 “‘“The LORD bless you
   and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
   and give you peace.”’



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Christian Talk Radio - Part 1

I learn many valuable lessons while listening to Christian Talk Radio.  Here in the Tampa Bay Area, I primarily listen to AM 570 & AM 1110 on weekdays, while at work.  As with all of the sources we encounter, we must remember God's Word:

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.  (from BibleGateway.org).

This is very true when one is exposed to a variety of teachers.  For example, I have in the past, started listening to a teacher, then they say something that I know is not Biblically correct, so I move on.  In this entry, I would like to identify 3 of 5 teachers/ministries whom I have found that deliver Biblically sound teaching.  In addition, these teachers inspire much of my journaling and blogging.  They are:

8 am - 8:30 am    570     Pastor Danny Hodges "The Living Word". Pastor Danny is the pastor of my church home: Calvary Chapel (www.calvarystp.org).  Calvary Chapels (found in Florida & California that I know of) teach through the entire Bible, verse-by-verse, on an ongoing basis.  Like his teaching, Pastor Danny is down to earth, very practical and teaches from the word in a refreshing way and adeptly applies the teaching to life today.

8:30 am - 9:15 am     570    Dr. David Jeremiah (www.davidjeremiah.org) is a wholesome, old school-type teacher.  Yet he too teaches from the Bible in a modern way and on many relevant topics.

9:15 am - 9:30 am     570     Pastor Stephen Rummage of Bell Shoals Baptist Church.  His program is called “Moving Forward”.  Pastor Rummage has a wonderful sense of humor and delivers part of his message in that manner. Bell Shoals is located in Brandon, which is not too far from here…perhaps I'll visit there someday!

I know that God is equipping competent brothers and sisters worldwide.  So if there are certain teachers whose teachings aid you in this life’s journey, please feel free to leave their name and information.

If you can't listen to these teachers through these stations, check them out online. :)

You'll be blessed by them!

Part 2 - up next time!