Love your enemies

Matthew 5:43-48, and again in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus is teaching us to love our enemies. We can say the words ‘I love you’, without meaning what we say. We can say it as easily as saying “Hello”, or ‘Goodbye’. We are being polite, but we are not truly caring about the other person. Now this is where it is going to get harder, ‘Love your enemy, bless those who persecute and you’. I have tried over and over again in this area and failed miserably, so what I am writing is for myself and anyone else who struggles with this.
I have been thinking a lot about Jonah lately. He was a man God used to save the people of Nineveh. Yet he did so unwillingly. He tried to run from His purpose of giving the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. To say that he did not like them is being kind. He wanted them to be condemned for how they lived. He had passed judgment on them and thought they deserved what was coming to them. So he ran in the other direction, and ended up in the belly of a whale, that spit him up on the shore of Nineveh. He told the people to repent for God’s judgment was at hand, and they did. This did not make Jonah happy though. He sat outside the city angry and wanting to die. Even though the people had repented and God showed mercy, Jonah had no love or mercy for the peopl of Nineveh.
How many times have we turned and gone another direction because we did not like what a person or group was living without taken the time to give the message of God’s love, and the price Jesus paid to show us how much He loves us? Yes there are those who we have shared God’s Word and love with who rejected what we had to say and even turned against us. Yet how many people do we reject? We don’t like how they dress, talk, live or their beliefs’. Is this a spirit of humility? Are we so much better than we can turn our backs on them?
There are people in my life currently that I have a hard time dealing with, from their behavior and vulgar language to their hateful attitude and I must admit that even though I have been polite, I have wanted to take a gallon of Dawn dish soap and a toilet brush to their mouth. this is not a loving attitude and I know it. I also have had people in my life that I have shared the Word of God with and His love who are members of a church who have not only rejected me but cursed me and slandered my name while living in adultery. Do I forgive the one who is attacking me personally and yet judge the other because they do not attend church? Or should I love them as Jesus loves them. It is not up to me or you to change how they live, but to introduce them to the only true love that can transform their lives as He is continuing to mold us into His image.

 

Do You Listen? / June 18, 2019

(In this post I have included the original post, but as I read it again I heard God speak to me and tell me that it was unfinished. So The bold print is from the original.)
When your children do not listen to you and disobey you do you get upset? Of course you do. I do not know of any parents that does not care when their child does something wrong. As a parent you have rules you expect your children to follow those rules. There are the things you want them to do, and the things you do not want them to do. When they break your rules you discipline them. So why is it that when God tells us to do something or not do something we like to argue with Him, or we go ahead and do the thing He has told us not to do? He is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children. As we want our children to listen to us we need to listen to God our Father and not argue with Him and do what we know pleases Him. We are not to talk back or tell Him what to do. We do not tolerate this with our own children, so why is it that we think we can do this with God? 

Growing up, talking back to any adult was not allowed, and you definitely did not talk back to my father, unless you wanted a beating. Yet are there times when we do this with God, our Heavenly Father? Do we make demands and tell Him what to do? I think we have become spoiled children at times. We have used prayer as a one-way street, with a list of demands and wants. A combination of a shopping list and a to do list.

When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He had included, ‘Thy will be done’ in His example of how to pray, and what we today call the ‘Lord’s prayer’ (Matthew 3:9-13). Later while praying in Gethsemane, He again said in prayer, ‘Not my will but Thine be done’. In both instances, Jesus the Son of God does not make demands but prayed for the will of God to be done.

It is not our own will that we should be seeking but His. How can we know His will? Let us not only hear what He tells us, but listen. Remember that prayer is communicating with God. He is not your personal genie granting you what ever you wish, He is our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from you, but He also wants for you to listen to what He has to say. He is not your ATM machine where you put your membership card in so you can take something out. Stop for a moment and give Him your time and attention. Listen to His voice.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John 10:27-28 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Mark 4:24 ESV And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; (2) keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; (3) bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

Right Relations / thoughts on Abandoned and Rejected/ 5/19/2019

When I was 5 years old, my parents divorced. My father got custody of me and my brother. I grew up thinking that my mother had left me behind. It was an abusive marriage, and I was left with her abuser to be abused myself. I felt abandoned. I was lied to for most of my life about my mother and how my father got custody. I was made to believe that she left me by her own choice. That she was selfish and only cared about partying and sex. She was in my life, and I saw her often but I still felt abandoned. As I got older and started living a very self destructive life. I loved and hated her. I loved her because she was my mother. I hated her because I thought she had abandoned me to be raised by her abuser. It was not until the year before she died that I learned the truth. She had not abandoned me, but had to make a choice that no mother should ever had to make. I have shared my testimony on my arrest and trials, so I will not go into all those details. Yet that was what it took for her to share what had been done to her. It was one of the most painful conversations that I have had. Yet it brought us both healing, and understanding. I learned that she had not abandoned me, but had done what she had to, so that she could be in my life, even though she knew what kind of man my father was.

I have had a problem with relationships, for many reasons. Growing up thinking that I had been abandoned, had also caused me to feel rejected. I still struggle with feeling unwanted. I don’t feel like I fit in. So how can I feel close to an unseen God?  My Heavenly Father. Being lied to and feeling abandoned and rejected, how can I trust Him?

First I have to realize that He is not a man. He is God. In other religions the god requires sacrifice from their subjects. With God, my Heavenly Father, He sacrificed His own Son, to forgive us, and to adopt us, making us His children and not just mere worshippers. Yet even being called His child, with my history with my own parents is still having an affect on how I am able to relate to others. Including my Heavenly Father. How can I trust that He wants me and that He has chosen me. I know I don’t deserve His love, that I have committed many sins. Yet in spite of all that I have done wrong, His love is perfect and He loves me perfectly. He will never leave or forsake me or you.

Read Deuteronomy 31:6&8

Hebrews 13:5-6

Psalm 27:10, 38:21, 71:9

Thought for the day / April 13, 2019 / Star Wars

Star Wars - Episode IV - A New Hope - Mini Print F

I still remember the first time I watched the movie Star Wars. I was a child dressed in my pajamas with my parents at the Winnetka Drive-In theater in Chatsworth, California, in 1977. It has been quite a long time, and that old drive-in is now Pacific Winnetka 21 multiplex. I was only 8 years old then and now I am 49 and the making of Star Wars movies is still happening. The line, ‘Luke I am your father’, has not been forgotten. Even those who had not yet been born when the first movie came out know this line. The battle between good and evil, light and darkness. Darth Vader, and evil menacing character, who had once been good and was also Luke’s father.
I know these are not faith-based movies, but you can see some parallels. Darth Vader had once been good, but turned to the dark side. Lucifer had been and angel who turned against God and turned a third of the angels against god as well. Lucifer became Satan. The battle between good and evil had begun and God cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven.
Now we must choose on which side we will fight. There is no Switzerland in this war, no neutral territory. When God wrote to the church of Laodecia, He told them they were neither hot or cold but luke warm and He would spit them out. Elijah said choose you this day who you will serve, God or Baal.
Ephesians tells us our battle is not one of flesh and blood, but is spiritual and we are to put on our armor daily. Why daily? The war is a daily one. From taking our thoughts captive and submitting God. Resisting the Devil and submitting to God. These are our choices. Not making a choice is still making a choice. We are to fight the good fight. This fight is not going out and getting into some fist fight, but fighting for the sake of righteousness. So on whose side will you be fighting?

Thought for the day March 30, 2019

Not sure why the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11 ) keeps coming to me and the various insights I get each time. My thought today is on what the guest had to say about the wine. That normally wine at other weddings at this point in the celebrations would have not have been the best. Meaning it would either be of lesser quality or you could say watered down.  Today as I look upon this passage, I am thinking that how many of us have watered down our faith. We are called Christians, read our Bibles, and go to church. We even serve and take part of various ministries. We believe in the name of Jesus and that He is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer, but have our hearts grown weak? Are we merely going through the motions, watering down the Word of God. We dismiss one part or another saying that it is not for today. Yet I can’t stop thinking about the fact that Jesus is the Word of God, and that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. So why is it so easy to fall into believing we can dismiss any part of His Word, because we don’t like or agree with it? We compromise, or turn a blind eye because we hide behind not wanting to judge. I understand this because there is much written about judgment. Like in the same way you judge, you will be judged ( Matthew 7:2). Jesus also said ‘How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?’ (Matthew 7:5) We cannot ignore His instruction about our behaviors just because of fear of judging others or being judged. Jesus made it clear that if we love Him we will keep His commands Adding one, that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Jesus did not do away with God’s commands. Which are found in Exodus and Deuteronomy. The fact they are written in two books of the Bible tells me their importance. Jesus even told us to look with lust in our eye is equal to adultery, and that hatred is equal to murder. Yet, many of us our guilty of one or more of these things, and instead of receiving God’s correction we make excuses, and claim His grace while continuing doing the things we know we need to stop. Read His commandments and we can find in one are or another we have compromised. Yes I have been called a legalist, yet I know that I am guilty of what I am talking about and that if I continue doing the things I know are wrong are agree with others saying it is okay to overlook a sin then I am not being faithful to Him. We live in this world but we are not to conform to it, but be transformed by His Word. Submit to God and resist the devil. To me this means turn from my own ways of doing things or what others say that I am to do and do as His Word tells me. If I don’t understand something He says then dig deeper into His Word and pray for understanding, He will give it to me. His ways are not ours and His thoughts are not ours. So if I want the full strength of His promises and provisions I cannot water down and compromise His Word in my life, even if others disagree with me.

Thought for the day / What do you do when you have done everything that you can?

Thought for the day / What do you do when you have done everything that you can?

What do you do when you have done everything you can do? I have not been able to write for a while and even today typing this message is hurting me a lot, but the inspiration to share what my current state is teaching me is stronger than the pain. For over a month now I have been in so much pain I have barely been able to make it to work, but that is all I have been able to do. I hate missing fellowship with my church River of Life Christian Center, they may not be my natural family but they are my spiritual family. The hugs and love and words of encouragement, I really miss. I am thankful that I do not have to miss the messages because I can watch them online which feed me God’s word, but it is not the same as being there with them. Nick and Alissa my pastor and his wife are wonderful and have come by to check on me as well as my prayer team leader and friend Diane. Yet I want to be able to do more than barely work. I want to spend time with my spiritual family.  (If you don’t have a church you should come by, and if you are not in the area check us out online https://www.facebook.com/riveroflifeoverflowing/ )

I only work 20 to 30 hours a week and after cleaning and preparing meals for others but I come home and I cannot care for myself because my body can’t do more. Each week my pain level has increased, one more body are is going out on me. As I said in the beginning of this the pain in my hands is terrible and every stroke on the key board is like knives and electric pain from my fingers up through my arms and neck, which is increasing my headache.

I live alone so this makes things more difficult because there is only me, and then on Monday my phone was shut off, leaving me feeling even more cut off and isolated, thank God I still have internet. I also battle depression, so things have really been piling up. Do I blame God? Definitely not! He did not cause the damage to my body, my abusers are responsible for my physical pain, even the abuse has been over for a while now, the damage done is done. Do I believe God can heal me? Yes I do! Just because the physical healing has not manifested, I know I am healed. It is in God’s hands.

Yet frustration over circumstances and pain leaves me stressed over taking care of my basic necessities.  My church helps but I cannot expect them to pay for everything. I work even though my body screams at me it is in pain, so I have done everything I can to take care of my bills, my health, and my stated of mind. I know when people ask if I have done this or that and I have done it all, I am not frustrated with them, but the fact that instead in spite of doing everything I can and I am getting worse instead of better. It makes no logical sense.  I trade putting heat and ice on my back and neck.  I do the stretches I am supposed to do. I do breathing exercises, etc… and most important I pray and read or listen to His Word. I am finally taking a day off from work which I probably should have done sooner, but didn’t because of bills have to get paid and mine is the only income and yes I tithe.

Does my frustration mean I have lost faith? No. I have done everything that  I possibly can, yet I have still come up short. A quick side lesson from this is no matter how hard you work, you cannot earn salvation, it is a gift from God, paid for by Jesus.

So what do I do now that I have done everything I can and I still fall short of meeting my basic needs?  I wait and trust God is in control. What did Jesus say when He was in the boat and his disciples were afraid of the storm? – Matthew 8:26a ‘Your faith is so small! Why are you so afraid?’ There He was sleeping peacefully on a boat that was getting rocked by the storm and would have slept peacefully through the entire storm had the disciple in their fear woke Him up. Yes a storm may be all around me but He is in the boat with me. Now I do know this in my mind it is getting this message listened to by my body that is the challenge. Yes I am frustrated because of what  I can’t do right now. I am however thankful that God is compassionate and understanding and just because I don’t feel good right now it does not change who He is or our relationship. So now that I  have done everything that I can? For now I will rest and I know He is for me. He is the Good Father. I will trust in Him with my whole heart and lean not on my own understanding.

 

 

An Old T.V. Show And A Thought 3/10/19

Watching an old episode of the T.V. show ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’ in which the son, Jonathan had won a writing contest. His piece being titled friends and patriots. After he wins, the Captain tells him that he missed a some facts so Jonathan rewrites his report. When he reads it publicly, the audience gets so upset that Jonathan does not get to finish reading. The arguments go from that he did not read his original paper, to that he is not american. No one listens to what he wrote in its’ entirety. Close minded and looking for something they disliked and disagreed with, they stopped listening.
This made me think. How many times do we tune out, and stop listening because something we are listening to or reading is not what we like or agree with. We do not finish listening or reading. We will even interrupt and be disruptive keeping others from hearing what is being said, or written.
I think we can sometimes treat our bibles in the same manner. We come across a passage that is unpleasant and I have been told that is no longer important because it is Old Testament and was done away with. The problem with that is Jesus is the Word and leaving any part out would be leaving a part of Him out. Many stay away from Revelation because they don’t think it pertains to them, and it is too scary. However it does begin with that it is a blessing.
We want to take the good parts and leave the painful parts out. We want beauty as we see it, and we refuse to listen to anything unpleasant or disagreeable. Yet if you read through the entire Bible from beginning to end you get the whole picture. A picture designed and created by The One True Loving and Living God, our Creator.
Right now we only know in part, and see in part, and look through a mirror dimly, but the day will come when will see and we will know. For now let us stop long enough to listen and not form any opinion until you have heard all that is being said, without verbal or mental interruption. Let us not add nor take away. Let us finish what has begun.