I Didn’t Promise You A Rose Garden

Who remembers this song?

Life is not fair and it life is not easy but life is good. God gave to each of us life, love, mercy and forgiveness. For too long we have lived with a myth, that once you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior life will get easier. It is a better life but He tells us that the world will hate us. We are not hated because of ourselves but because Jesus is in us.

John 15:18-27 (NKJV) The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’[a]

The Coming Rejection

26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Footnotes:

  1. John 15:25 Psalm 69:4
New King James Version (NKJV) Jesus did not promise us a rose garden but He did go to prepare a place for us, and He did promise to come back for us.

Here are some promises God has made to us

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Romans 8: 38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

There are so many more promises God has given to us. He is faithful and true.

Looking for Love

Looking For Love

We all want to find love. Fairy tales and romance novels fill our heads with fictitious stories of unrealistic love. Harlequin novels and other romance companies have profited off of women who seek love and romance. I think of the song, ’Looking for love in all the wrong places’, and think how true this title is.

Both men and women want to be loved. We try over and over again to find love and some do, but too many of us do not. Failed relationships and marriages ending in divorce are proof that the love we say we find is not lasting or true. We confuse lust with love, and sex which was designed by God for husband and wives has long since been forgotten. I would say in this day in age it would be rare to find a couple who are getting married to both be virgins if either are.

Is it because we are not worthy of being loved? It is more likely that because of our own self worth that we accept what we believe is love or settle for less than true love because we don’t want to grow old alone, or feel obligated to marry. We try to fill the emptiness inside of ourselves with people, possessions, or work and titles, to name just a few things. Yet we fail in finding true love because we are in fact looking for love in all the wrong places.For the only true love is found in Jesus. He loves us perfectly, for He loves us more than His own life.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

A love that is patient and kind. Merciful and forgiving. It holds no grudge or record of your wrongs.  1 Corinthians 13 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because even though I have not achieved this kind of love I know it is real and I strive to love like this more and more each day. Loving without expectation or demands. I am perfectly loved not because I am perfect but because that He is perfect in all things.Look to the One who gave His life for you, as you are. Who has loved you and will always love you. He never fails you, and will never lie to you or cheat on you. He will never abandon you.His love give you life. Passion and lust fade and die but His True Love is eternal.

Need A Hero?

Look around the world today and you know there is no way we are going to make it without a hero. We have all the fictional heroes that you can imagine. Marvel and DC comics, and mythology has given us a long list to choose from. Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wonderwoman, Supergirl, Thor, and Hercules to name a few.

The problem with all of these characters is they can’t save you. They are not real. They are creations of someone imagination. We all see the need for help, and the danger and violence that consumes this world.Unfortunately most of us do not see the True Hero. The One and Only Savior Jesus Christ. It is sad, that many would rather believe in a work of fiction than a real living God. We live in a fallen and broken world created by our sin then we turn in anger and blame the One who loves us so much He sent His Son to pay the price of our wrong doings, our sins. There is only One true God and there is only One way to the Father. Jesus is the real hero and He is coming back! Get ready because you won’t know the time, but you don’t want to be like the lazy virgins who missed the Groom. Don’t turn to the world for your help. Hold out for the One Who gave His life for you.

John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Isaiah 43:11 – I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Savior.

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

 

 

Good Parent Good Child?

God is The Good Father, we are His children. Does this mean we are good? A good parent does not mean the child will be good, and a good child does not alway have a good parent. We become who we are by the choices we make every day. I chose to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior. His forgiveness was always there for me but until I received Him it was not a part of me.

Just because someone buys you a gift, it does not become yours until you accept it. A man and woman do not become husband and wife until they chose each other and get married. I see parents blamed for their children’s behavior  when they have done everything they could to be good to their children. Environment and genetics become other reasons for a person’s life going down the wrong path, saying if they had been raised in a better home, in a better neighborhood and were the right race they would not have become criminals. I have known people who had terrible and abusive childhoods who grew up to be some of the most loving and caring people I will ever know. I also know people who had a good childhood who turned into selfish and uncaring people, who do what they please at the cost of others.

Now think about Rahab who was a prostitute and an Amorite. She helped the spies and was received into God’s family and became a part of Jesus’s bloodline. Then Ruth a Moabite and daughter in-law of Naomi. She left not only her land but denied her gods and accepted Naomi’s God, the True God to be her own. She loved Naomi and followed her willingly even when she was released by Naomi, she refused to leave Naomi. She became the mother of Obed who is the father of David. She too became a part of the bloodline of Jesus. Here are two women whose beginnings were not good but whose lives transformed by their choice to accept God as the Only True God.

Look at Saul the first King of Israel. He was anointed by Samuel and chosen by God. He turned his heart against God and began disobeying God eventually losing the anointing of God and losing his crown. Before Saul there was the first son of Adam and Eve, Cain. He offered a sacrifice of what he wanted and not what was desired by God. He then killed his brother Abel.

Hebrews 11:31 – By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

Joshua 2:1-24 – And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.   (Read More…)

James 2:25 – Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way?

Joshua 6:17 – And the city shall be accursed, [even] it, and all that [are] therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that [are] with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

The book of Ruth

1 Samuel 16 – 2 Samuel 10

Genesis chapter 4

So do not let your past dictate your future. God is the Good Father. He loves you so much He sent His Son to pay the price to redeem you and forgive you. The choice is yours. An eternal life with Him or a mere existence that will come to an end.

John 3:16 (KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

Seeing What You Want To See

If you want to see the beauty that is around you, you will see beauty. If you want to see the ugliness of this world you will see ugly. Yet if you really want to see the truth, then you will see both. This world around you has both love and hate, beauty and ugliness. Yet this world is temporary, and for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are pilgrims only traveling through it.

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1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV) 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

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Psalm 146:8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;

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Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

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Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

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Art by Julie Sheppard

2 Corinthians 3:16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

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Art by Julie Sheppard

I have always been drawn to eyes, both in people and in art. I have learned two people even when looking at the same thing see differently. We see what we are looking for, even when we are not sure what it is that we want. Broken, hurt, and angry people will more likely see darkness and devastation. The ones who only see roses and rainbows can be the ones who cannot handle the pain of this world and they choose to deny the ugliness but only fool themselves. Then there are those whose eyes have been open. They have suffered, and been hurt and abused. They have had great loss in their life but through the brokenness of their life they found the Truth in Jesus. He gives us the ability to see the truth and to beauty even in a broken world.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love does not…#4

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

1 Corinthians 13:4 (GNT) Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4 (NASB) Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

Parade (noun) 5. An ostentatious show; an exhibition: make a parade of one’s talents.

(verb) 4. To behave so as to attract attention; show off.

  1. (tr)to exhibit or flaunt: he was parading his medals.

Ostentatious (ˌɒstɛnˈteɪʃəs) adj

Characterized by pretentious, showy, or vulgar display

  1. Characterized bypretentious show in an attempt to impress others.
  2. Intended toattract notice: ostentatious charity.

Conceited (kənˈsiːtɪd) adj1. Having a high or exaggerated opinion of oneself or one’s accomplishments

conceited – characteristic of false pride; having an exaggerated sense of self-importance; “a conceited fool”; “an attitude of self-conceited arrogance”; “an egotistical disregard of others”;”so swollen by victory that he was unfit for normal duty”; “growing ever more swollen-headed and arbitrary”; “vain about her clothes”

self-conceitedswollenswollen-headedvainegotisticegotistical

proud – feeling self-respect or pleasure in something by which you measure your self-worth; or being a reason for pride; “proud parents”; “proud of his accomplishments”; “a proud moment”; “proud to serve his country”; “a proud name”; “proud princes”

Conceited  adjective self-importantvainarrogant, stuck up (informal)cockynarcissisticpuffed upegotistical,overweeningimmodestvaingloriousswollen-headedbigheaded (informal), full of yourself, too big for your bootsor breeches I thought him conceited and arrogant.
modesthumbleunassumingself-effacing

Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002

Conceited adjective

  1. Thinkingtoo highly of oneself:   egoisticegoisticalegotisticegotisticalnarcissisticvainvainglorious.

Informal: bigheadedstuck-upswellheaded.

  1. Undulypreoccupied with one’s own appearance:

narcissisticvain.

Boast  (bəʊst) vb 

  1. (intr;sometimes foll by of or about) to speak in exaggerated or excessively proud terms of one’s possessions,skills, or superior qualities; brag
  2. (tr)to possess (something to be proud of): the city boasts a fine cathedral.

n3. a bragging statement 4. a possession, attribute, attainment, etc, that is or may be bragged about

Synonyms: boast1, brag, crow2, vaunt
These verbs all mean to speak with pride, often excessive pride, about oneself or something related to oneself. Boastis the most general: “We confide [that is, have confidence] in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that ofothers, without fearing it” (Thomas Jefferson).
Brag implies exaggerated claims and often an air of insolent superiority: He bragged about his grades. Crow stressesexultation and often loud rejoicing: No candidate should crow until the votes have been counted. Vaunt suggestsostentatiousness and lofty extravagance of expression: “He did not vaunt of his new dignity, but I understood he washighly pleased with it” (James Boswell).

Brag  (bræɡ) vb, brags, bragging or bragged

to speak of (one’s own achievements, possessions, etc) arrogantly and boastfully

n 1. boastful talk or behavior, or an instance of this 2. something boasted of: his brag was his new car.

  1. abraggart; boaster

ar·ro·gant   (ăr′ə-gənt) adj.

  1. Havingor displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance. 2. Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one’s superiority toward others: an arrogant contempt for theweak.

[Middle English arrogaunt, from Old French, from Latin arrogāns, arrogant-, present participle of arrogāre, toarrogate; see arrogate.]

ar′ro·gant·ly adv. Synonyms: arrogant, haughty, disdainful, supercilious
These adjectives mean characterized by an inflated ego and disdain for what one considers inferior. One who isarrogant is overbearingly proud and demands excessive power or consideration: an arrogant and pompous professor,unpopular with students and colleagues alike. Haughty suggests superiority, as by reason of high status: “Her laughwas satirical, and so was the habitual expression of her arched and haughty lip” (Charlotte Brontë).
Disdainful emphasizes scorn or contempt: “Nor [let] grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, / The short and simpleannals of the poor” (Thomas Gray).
Supercilious implies haughty disdain and aloofness: “Failure would confirm the critics who called him supercilious forfollowing his own methods and not theirs” (Neal Bascomb).

Proud  (praʊd) adj

  1. (follby: of, an infinitive, or a clause) pleased or satisfied, as with oneself, one’s possessions, achievements, etc,or with another person, his or her achievements, qualities, etc
  2. feelinghonoured or gratified by or as if by some distinction
  3. havingan inordinately high opinion of oneself; arrogant or haughty

Definitions from  http://www.thefreedictionary.com

Why are so many definitions included with this lesson? They are listed for clarity. So you can see and understand what these words mean in their context. Taking a shovel and digging in deep. Getting to the core and getting past the surface. The word Love has been used so carelessly and without meaning, I want to get to the truth about love. People say they love chocolate, hamburgers, cake, etc… in the same manner as they say I love you. They have become empty and meaningless words. We confuse love with lust and passion. Why do we use the word lovers for the people we have had sex with? This makes me think of Tina Turner’s song, ‘What’s love got to do with it’. What does love have to do with sex, or any materialistic, physical thing? Nothing. To be honest most of us don’t even love ourselves and do not even realize this. Yet the love God has for us, and gave to us through His Son Jesus is true and filled with life, joy, hope, and truth. Yet how do we learn to understand this kind of love? We dive into His Word. Jesus is the Word made flesh. In this lesson I used parallel versions and definitions(more definitions can be found at http://www.thefreedictionary.com)  to learn what was really being said in this verse and the two last words of this verse(more actually if you look at the different versions) parade itself/ puffed up: conceited or proud; boast/proud: brag/arrogant. These are things that love is not. It is not about itself or what it can get. It is a real, living, and growing life that gives more than it seeks for itself. I have learned one thing about myself, and that is that I have so much to learn about love and I do not think I am alone. I hope you want to learn too.

Is love about what you want or can get?

Have you ever behaved in a rude or arrogant matter?

Have you sought attention because of a need to feel loved?

Do you have moments where you behave like you are better than those around you?

Do you ever think your sin is not as bad as another?

 

1 Corinthians 13 has been a lifeline for me for the last five years. It has helped me learn how to deal with tragedies and loss without turning headlong into a self destructive lifestyle. Understanding, that because terrible things have happened, that this does not mean that He does not love me. He knows and feels my pain. I have also learned that if someone hurts me, I do not have to hurt them back, and this does not make me a doormat. I continue to desire to learn and understand what His love is so that I can share this love with others. This is lesson 4 and more will come. I hope and pray that you will share what you know about love and any insights you can give to helps us all grow in His love.

Do We Choose To Be Ignorant?

Is life easier for the ignorant, and the oblivious? Do we choose to be oblivious or ignorant so that we do not have to change, but at the same time expect others to change to suit our wants and needs? Does being ignorant give us a hall pass through life? I can claim ‘I didn’t know’, but does this mean that I am not accountable when I do something that is wrong and harmful, or if I hurt someone, including myself?

What does it mean to be ignorant?

ignorant – Simple Definition of ignorant

  • : lacking knowledge or information

  • : resulting from or showing a lack of knowledge

Source: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary

Full Definition of ignorant

  1. 1adestitute of knowledge or education <an ignorant society>; also:  lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified <parents ignorant of modern mathematics>b:  resulting from or showing lack of knowledge or intelligence <ignorant errors>

  2. 2:unaware, uninformed

ignorantly – adverb

ignorantness – noun

 

What the Bible says about ignorance.

Ephesians 4:18  being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart;

1 Peter 1:14  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
Job 21:14  “They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Your ways.

Romans 1:28  And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,