Archive for July, 2014

FLAT BROKE & IN THE RED!!! Part 1

Antilia, Mumbai, India  This picture is of a twenty-seven story, 400,000-square foot home in India.  It is said to be worth nearly $1 billion, and Forbes.com has it listed as the most expensive residence in the world.  Imagine a little Lego-loving boy who sees a picture of this towering home and becomes enthralled with it.  He decides that he will begin saving a penny a day so that when he is a grown up, he can buy it.  But even in his teen and adult years, he continues to only save one penny a day.  It would take him roughly 273, 972,603 years to save up enough pennies at that rate.  One day the man, who was now in his 60’s, bumped into an older gentleman.  They struck up a conversation.  The gentleman asked the man what his life goal was, and he told him about the pennies and the home he was saving up for.  He admitted that he still only had 21, 170 pennies saved for the home.  Just $211.70.  He could see now that he was running out of time, and that he may not ever realize this childhood dream.  But the old man told him to meet him in that same place in a month, at the exact same time.  If he did, the old man would give him every penny he needed to buy the billion dollar home, no strings attached.  Stunned, the man went on his way.

Over the 30 days the man mulled the whole thing over and over in his mind.  Did that all really happen?  Was this old man someone he could actually trust?  Was it some sort of scam?  Should he even bother wasting his time to go meet the man who probably wasn’t there anyway?

The deadline finally came.  The man looked at his watch, still undecided.  If he was going to go, he needed to leave in 5 minutes.  The seconds ticked by.  Then a minute, and two.  The man walked to his car and began to drive, still thinking he may be the biggest fool ever.  But something inside told him he had to go.  Something inside pushed him along.  He had to take the chance.  He had to know.  He pulled to a stop at the location where he had talked to the old gentleman a month before, and there he was.  The old man was actually there, and held in his hand a large bag.  The man could not believe his eyes when he looked inside and saw piles of $100 bills.  He thanked the gentleman profusely, then headed straight to off to make his coveted purchase.

Now we all know that this kind of thing would never happen in real life.  A child may begin saving pennies, but would eventually grow to understand that saving only a penny a day just wouldn’t cut it.  And when has there been a benevolent old gentleman who has given away a billion dollars to a total stranger for free?  There have certainly been tremendous acts of kindness recorded, but this would be a bit over the top.

The thing is, this story is true!  Well, sort of.  You see, every single human being to ever live, who lives now, or who ever will live, begins this life flat broke and in the red…morally.  Our bank accounts of righteousness are empty.  No matter how many good deeds we do, they will be just like putting pennies in a jar.  Jesus said in John 14:2 – “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”  There is a real mansion to be had by each one of us.  But saving pennies in a jar will never add up to enough.  Fortunately there is someone in the real world who, just like the old gentleman, has offered to pay the entire cost of the mansion, no strings attached.  Hard to believe isn’t it?  But it is true!  While we cannot possibly save up enough pennies of righteousness, He has offered to give us the entire amount of righteousness out of His own pocket.  The only stipulation is that we have to come to Him to receive it.  Jesus already paid for your mansion when He died on the cross.  Since He is 100% righteous, and then some, He has plenty of righteousness to give.  And He has offered to fill your account with His righteousness.  If you chose to accept His gift, His righteousness will be forever yours.  And one day you will be able to live in the mansion that He has prepared for you.  He is waiting, bag of righteousness in hand.  Won’t you come to Him and accept His free gift?

If you are ready to accept the free gift from Jesus, all you need to do is talk to Him, in your heart or with your mouth.  Admit to Him that you see that you are a sinner and that all your good deeds will not be enough to get you to the mansion in Heaven.  Ask Jesus for His forgiveness and the free gift of His righteousness.  Then thank Him because He promises that when you accept His salvation, He will give it to you.  Please send me a note if you are ready to make this step, or seek out someone you know who already knows Jesus.  And may God bless you!

Brothers and Sisters, if you are reading this and you know someone who might just click with this post, please share it with them.

Satan’s Bag of Tricks

When Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he deployed his full bag of tricks.  And aren’t we glad that we have written record of it?!  It’s like being given the secret attack plans, in writing, of our greatest enemy while on the field of battle.  Wait, it is exactly that.  Since we know all of Satan’s moves, we can watch for them and have our guard up.  Can you see him pacing the floor every time someone reads Genesis 3?  “Drat!  Foiled again!”  (Yah, right!  I’m sure he is that tame!  Not!!)

Well, let’s take a look at what is in Satan’s bag of tricks, shall we?  Let’s start with chapter 3,verse 1.  “Now the serpent….”  Satan has power to be reckoned with.  He changed his form into something that was non-threatening.  Just as the beautiful Autumn Crocus flower causes cardiac arrest, Satan can appear beautiful, but his poison is deadly.

Number 2 in the bag of tricks is also in verse 1.  Satan asks Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?'”  Did you see that?  He said “every.”  Just like my 8 year old insinuates that I don’t love him because I make him eat the healthy supper I have made for him, and don’t let him eat the junk food he would prefer.  Satan insinuates that God does not love Eve.  If He truly loved her, then He would let her eat from whatever tree she wanted to.  Tricky, tricky!  And how easily we tend to fall for that one!  The minute something goes wrong, or doesn’t go like we planned, what do we do?  We doubt the love of God.  And what is more true than His love?  Not a blessed thing!  Anyone who would sacrifice the life of His only Son for you, loves you.  That is pretty hard to overlook.

Trick number 3 – Genesis 3:4.  Satan flat out lies.  He denies the truth of God’s word when he says, “You will not surely die.”  Just a case in point…where is Eve now?  Dead.  Satan does not always twist to deceive.  He does not always manipulate the truth so that it is still partially true.  Often he just plain old, flat out lies.  He is, after all, the father of lies (John 8:44).  Be on your guard.  Know God’s word so that you know His truth, and will see a lie from Satan from miles away.

Remember the poisonous apple from The Sleeping Beauty?  Oh I remember it!  The apple the witch offered to the princess was beautiful!  It was red and shiny, perfectly formed.  It easily must have been the most desirable apple from all the trees…but it was laced with poison!  As the wicked witch (disguised as a sweet old lady…sound familiar?) held it out before her, the princess could not resist.  Perhaps she wasn’t even hungry before that.  But when she say that gorgeous apple, she wanted it.  She took it, and ate it.  Satan’s 4th trick is just that.  Chapter 3:5 – “…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”  A fruit that would make Eve like God.  “Oooo, pretty!  I must have it!!”  Satan causes sin to appear beautiful, fun, desirable, then dangles it in front of our faces.  We begin to believe that it is exactly what we have always wanted to do, so we do it.  We say it, we take it, we whatever.  Know what God says is sin.  Stay in constant contact with the Holy Spirit through prayer, so that you will hear Him when He warns you that the shiny, red apple is poisoned!

Here’s a sneaky one.  Watch carefully for trick number 5, because Satan very craftily uses it to malign the character, and holiness of God…thereby removing His godliness!  Genesis 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Key words?  “For God knows.”  Can you hear the snide snake hiss those words out?  His implication?   “God knows if you eat this, you will be just like Him, and He can’t have that.  He wants all the knowledge to be His.  He wants all the power for Himself.  He is selfish and jealous, and won’t share.”  Satan led Eve to question the goodness, the holiness, of God.  In a world filled with tragedy and strife, how easy is it for Satan today to plant these same seeds of doubt!  See Leviticus 19:2, Isaiah 6:3, 1 Peter 1:5, Revelation 3:7, and Revelation 15:4 for verification of God’s holiness.

When in a battle, know your enemy.  But also know your ally.  Remember that you are on the side of right, and God fights for you against an enemy who’s defeat is imminent.  Don’t let Satan’s wiles trick you into crossing enemy lines.  Be on guard!  Wear your armor!  Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

How Does a Christian Find Contentment?

You know those people who are just happy, bubbly all-the-time people?  Yah.  That is not me.  I tend to be an even-keel kind of person.  Conservative with my emotions, you might say…except when I am twirked, especially at my boys.  Then you are likely to see some downright fireworks!  Not really something to be proud of, but I am a sinful human.  And I do recognize that as an area I need to work on.  Anyway!

I can also tend to ride on the edge of depression.  I know.  I bet you never would guess that by reading any of my previous posts.  But it is true.  For some reason the contentment that Paul speaks of in Philippians tends to elude me.  I am not really a covetous person.  I don’t very often look at what other people have and think, oh, I have got to have that!  I am pretty content with what I have.  I don’t have a fancy house, car, boat, camper, etc., etc.  And I am totally okay with that.  I think my lack of contentment tends to be more situational.  My garden isn’t doing as well as I’d like.  My boys don’t behave as well as I would like (probably not alone on that one).  My job is not as enthralling as some people’s (shhh, don’t tell my boss!).  Those types of things.  So I live my life just a tad on the down side.  I can laugh and have a good time.  I love to tell a good story that can get a laugh out of someone.  But most of the time, I really am just ho-hum.

I realized this morning that more than mild depression, what I am really guilty of is not being content with where God has placed me in life.  I needed to confess my lack of contentment.  But then I thought, how do become content?  I went to the place that has the answers, and wouldn’t you know it, I found it…the answer to being content.  Check it out.  It is easy peasy!

Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV) – Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content [here come the “states”…see the colon]:  I know how to be abased [humbled], and I know how to abound [be honored].  Everywhere and in all good things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both abound [have plenty] and to suffer need.  [Here it is.]  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me [even be content, no matter what].

Here is the breakdown of the paragraph.  This is what I have learned…to be content.  These are the situations in which I am content…humbled or honored, hungry or full, wealthy or poor.  This is HOW I am content…through the strength that Christ gives to me.

How can we find contentment?  Easy.  Ask Christ for the strength to be content in all things.  That’s it.  Then enjoy the peace and fullness of life that God intends for us to have.

walking on the narrow path.

walking on the narrow path with Jesus

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