Halloween

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (AMP) Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may      be.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NIV)  reject every kind of evil.

This message is for me as much as anyone else.

I always struggle with our national “holiday” of Halloween.  It seems like every year it gets bigger and bigger.  I wonder if this is a reflection of the spiritual climate of our nation.  Very SCARY when you think about it (pun intended).  If we follow the Bible literally (and I know that it many areas I (we) don’t),  we would stay away from celebrating Halloween just because it celebrates evil.  

I also realize that many people just think of Halloween as a fun holiday.  They like it because they feel that it doesn’t have any ‘religious’ connections.  Of course originally it was a pagan holiday (meaning a part of idol worship) .  At one point early Christians decided to ‘clean it up’ and turn around the negative meanings behind it.  But those arguments don’t really change what Halloween celebrates; black cats, witches, mummies, magic, and every other form of evil that is in movies, books, etc…  We are a culture obsessed with the ‘dark side’.  I work in a library and our most popular items are horror movies and vampire books, starting with items for the youngest children.  What are we ‘feeding’ our brains with?

I have been reading Jeremiah and Lamentations in my daily readings and reading about how long the Lord warned the nation of Israel to stop worshiping idols and turn the Lord but they didn’t listen.  Eventually judgement and punishment came to the nation of Israel and lasted for 70 years.  I wonder about our nation, founded on prayer and based on Bible principles, how far we have turned from that foundation.  We (all) need to repent and turn from our idols (whatever form they are in) and worship the Lord, pray for our nation to be saved.

 

Advertisements

What is Faith?

Hebrews 11:1  

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  NEW KING JAMES VERSION

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

  NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

  AMPLIFIED BIBLE 

Faith seems like a hard concept but we operate in faith all of the time.  I found myself thinking about faith this morning and how we tend to ‘spiritualize’ (I don’t know if this is a real word but I’m using it anyway) faith and how it operates.

Every time someone ‘sees’ a plan in their mind for anything they are operating by faith for that plan to come to pass.  When an artists starts to paint a picture that they don’t see with their physical eyes they are seeing the picture ‘by faith’ until it is on the canvas.  When an architect ‘sees’ an idea for a building he operates by faith until that building is built, the same is true for a fashion designer or actually any area of creativity.  Just think of the person who carved Mount Rushmore, it took a lot of faith (and patience) to believe that what he hoped for would come to pass.

We use faith throughout our days, every time we do anything that ‘hope for’ but at the time of doing it can’t actually ‘see’.

We need to keep hold of this idea when we are believing for spiritual things.  If you are believing for healing, ‘see’ yourself healed.  Imagine in your mind you doing what you have not been able to do.   If you are believing for a person to know Jesus as their personal savior, ‘see’ that person in church or praying or whatever you are believing for them.  The same is true for believing for a person to be free from addictions, ‘see’ them free.  If you are believing for finances, ‘see’ yourself debt-free.

Fear is the opposite of faith and operates in the same way negatively.  Fear is believing what we do not see will come to pass.  It is (unfortunately) very easy to operate in fear.  If you are afraid of something you are believing something that isn’t currently happening will happen.  An example would be if a person is afraid of heights, they are afraid that if they go up high they will fall and hurt themselves.  Fear can be based on something that has happened in the past or not.  In areas where you have fear, you will need to use faith to overcome the fear.

Just remember the as long as the Bible promises something you can have faith for it, just make sure to mix your faith with love and patience, then start expecting to see the answer.

 

Caring for your spirit, mind and body

1 Timothy 4:8  (AMP)  For physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come.

Philippians 4:13  Version (NIV)  I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

A few years ago I decided to find an exercise program that I actually liked doing.  For most of my adult life I have exercised in one way or another.  I always made myself do it.  I emphasize made because I did not like exercising and rarely enjoyed it.  I exercised because I knew it was good for me.  I am a fairly disciplined person and I have always found that if I know something is good for me I can make myself do it.  But I realized that I really, really didn’t enjoy exercising.  I also realized that if I wanted to live a long and healthy life I need to take care of myself.  I know that I should eat a certain way, exercise and feed my mind and spirit with the things that benefit me and don’t work against me.  I am more likely to do these things if I have a plan and make it part of my daily routine.

I decided to try stretching exercises.  Some people like yoga or other things but I felt this would work best for me.  I had started distance walking about that time and found that if I stretched before walking it felt much better.  I checked out some Library books on stretching and found one with pictures that I thought would work well for me.  I copied the pictures of the stretching exercise plan and made a poster board with them.  Then I decided on a time to set aside for stretching Monday thru Friday.  I find that my weekend schedule get changed a lot and that I am more inclined to stick with a plan Mon-Fri if I take the weekend off.  I try to add extra fitness activities on the weekends like biking or longer walks.  Stretching feels good to me so I don’t dread exercise anymore.  After doing the stretching program I added some extra exercises and hand weights to help me with my problem areas.  I also try to get in some type of aerobic exercise each day.

My routine in the morning is to get up early, ready my daily bible plan and pray, exercise while watching my favorite Bible teachers and then start getting ready for the day.  If I stay with this routine I find that I am so much more prepared for what the day brings.  And the bonus is that I feel better.  Win, Win.

I am a reader.  I read something(s) all the time.  I really like to read fiction but so that I am reading things that will actually (feed my mind) benefit me I (make myself sometimes) read non-fiction things like Christian magazines, biographies and other books that deal with spiritual topics.  I find this type of reading inspires me.  I also try to be selective in my fiction reading so that I am reading things that edify me.  This is harder for me that it may sound, I am a Librarian and so I find books all the time that I would enjoy reading but aren’t necessarily good for my spirit and soul.

What works for me might not work for you but you can find your own plan for feeding your spirit, mind and body.  It will bless your days and help to keep you “fit” in all areas of your life so that when the unexpected comes along you will be better able to stand in faith and come through victorious.

Amazing Grace

I have just spent time reviewing my notes and scriptures for tomorrow’s Bible study.  We are talking about Salvation.  The Bible tells us that NOW is the time for salvation.  We aren’t supposed to put it off, accept God’s offer right now.  (2 Corinthians 6:2)

We read that Salvation affects the whole earth.  All creation and we ourselves, our bodies wait and yearn to be delivered from the corruption of this world.  If this is hard to understand just think of aging, disease, filth, hunger and decay.   (Romans 8:21-23)

Best of all is WHY salvation?  We have a God who loved us SO much that He was willing to sacrifice everything, His most precious son to save all of us.  How can we ever reject that much love?  I have a hard time even comprehending Someone who would love me (us) enough to die for me (us), especially when I didn’t even recognize the gift that had been given.  (John 3:16)

If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior, ask Him to come into your heart and give you the new life and Salvation that He freely offers.  It’s not too late, “…TODAY is the day of Salvation.”  (John 3:1-18, Romans 3:23, 1:16, 5:8, 6:23)

Come join us at Clabber Girl Restaurant tomorrow at 7:30 am to hear more about this.  

Rejoice

Psalm 16:9  (AMP) 

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety,

2 Corinthians 6:10 (AMP)

As grieved and mourning, yet [we are] always rejoicing; as poor [ourselves, yet] bestowing riches on many; as having nothing, and [yet in reality] possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP) 

Finally, brethren, farewell (rejoice)! Be strengthened (perfected, completed, made what you ought to be); be encouraged and consoled and comforted; be of the same [agreeable] mind one with another; live in peace, and [then] the God of love [Who is the Source of affection, goodwill, love, and benevolence toward men] and the Author and Promoter of peace will be with you.

Websters 1828-1911 Dictionary:  Rejoice – To feel joy; to experience gladness in a high degree; to have pleasurable satisfaction; to be delighted. O, rejoice beyond a common joy.”

REJOICE!

When we read these passages how can we be down and out?  In looking up scripture which included rejoice, rejoicing and/or rejoicing I found that throughout the Bible we are reminded to REJOICE!  No matter what the situation or circumstance.  Rejoice when things are good, rejoice when things are bad.  By keeping our focus on the Lord we can have great joy and rejoice always.

Philippians 4:4  (NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

Trusting in the hard times

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (AMP)
11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.
13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Reading the word here i realized that verses 11-13 were not just talking bout God having a plan for us but he has a plan even when it may seem like the worst of times . First he tells the us to work for peace and prosperity for Babylon (the enemy) and pray for the “evil” city. Next He tells us that we should marry, have children and plant fruit trees. In other words live life, go about the regular day to day things but always be looking and expecting the Lord’s appearance in your life.

The lord also says that they should not listen to “prophets” who give them messages they ‘want’to hear.
We have to be very careful at times when we really want something. We can ignore what god is saying and listen to lies because they sound good to us and fit into what we want to hear.
We are told in 1 John 4:1 that we should “…test the spirits to discover whether they proceed from god”. Don’t let yourself be deceived, trust the Holy Spirit to guide you.

Although this message is a harsh one, god promises that he has a plan for his people, good plans to give a future and hope. We have to remember, even when times are hard and we have to be patient in waiting for god’s promises that he has better things for us than we could ever come up with ourselves.