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Thursday, February 28, 2013

We Exploit One Another

lately, i have been thinking a lot about my role as a consumer. I have been taking a lot at some of the things that I consume and asking questions like, "did someone or something have to suffer so that I can be more comfortable?

The other day I was thinking about the fashion and beauty industry. I read that we spend billions of dollars every year trying to make ourselves look better. We spend gigantic sums of money rearranging and slicing off our body parts so that we can feel beautiful and accepted. We pay large sums of money to have ourselves filled with chemicals and augmented so that we reach, what we think, is a certain level of "perfection." If only we could grasp thehow much Christ loves us, then we wouldn't feel the constant need to change ourselves.

Yesterday, I watched a video that haunted me. I didn't realize what I was watching until it started playing. The video revealed the horrific reality of animal abuse in China.

I watched animals being literally skinned alive, writhing in pain. Once skinned, I saw them tossed into a pile of bloody bodies, some still struggling to survive.

I saw how cats and dogs are carried in crates. The crates are thrown off of huge trucks, and the bones of the animals break as a result of the impact. They are left to suffer so that we can purchase furs and trinkets.

I remember years ago watching the movie Blood Diamond. The movie drew attention to the diamond industry. Diamonds are rare and beautiful, and because of greed, they have started wars and resulted in bloodshed and mass casualties. People saw wealth in them and justified killing and murder as a means of "bettering" themselves.

so, what point am I trying to make? Truthfully, I'm not criticizing people who undergo plastic surgery.
But why do we feel the need to change ourselves?

 I once had a problem with an eating disorder but now I see so much of of our obession with our appearance  , as a combination of vanity and, in a lot of cases, the cry of those who simply desperately want to be loved and will spend any amount of money necessary to achieve that end.  If only we could grasp that beauty will fade, but love is eternal.  If only we could love and accept one another instead of creating impossbile and ridulous standards, then we would understand that, in the eyes of Christ, we are measured, not by our ability to achieve or become something greater, but, something less.
 "Consider others as better than yourselves" Christ whispers..

Sadly, it's all messed up.

The world is all messed up. If we took care of one another like we should, then, perhaps we wouldn't see such waste.

In all of the above topics, we can see so much waste. Finanical waste. (think of the millions that could be clothed and fed on the money we spend on our vanity)

We can see how life is wasted and animals are humiliated and tormented for no other purpose than so we can "look good."

We forget that cotton can do the same job as fur, but our need to keep up with Joneses has become more important than the life of a living creature.

Yesterday, as I was thinking of all these things, I came to a conclusion.

 It is in our human nature, to exploit one another.  We do it everyday. Sometimes, it is on a very small scale. For instance, when we find a wallet and fail to return it even though we know who it belongs to based on the information inside. We exploit others when we lie to them for personal gain. We exploit others when we lie to them, at all. We tell them that aren't worth the truth, and we hurt them in our selfishness. We exploit others in our words.

We exploit others when accept a paycheck but fail to do an adequate job out of our desire to be lazy.  I once heard a quote, and it rings true.

"People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in chaos is because things are being loved and people are being used."

I have recently been writing and God has been showing me how many people are exploited in church settings, but I had the sudden realization that exploitation is not a function of religion. Nor, is it a function of a church. Exploitation is simply a part of our own human nature.
It is who we are without Christ.

It isn't a recent invention. It's been with us since the world began. We have seen it in the face of slavery where we sliced open the backs of other humans to labor so that we might be rich. We can see it in our nation's history when we forced a peaceful people off of their land so that we might profit. We forced the Indians to walk a Trail of Tears, leaving thousands of dead bodies and wailing mothers grieving over thier dead sons and daughters..  so that we could have more room for our own endeavors. We showed that we valued land and property over human life.
We valued territory over fellowship with strangers. dissension over peace. chaos over love.

I love our the freedom of my nation, and I honor those who protect it..and even though I HATE war,  I will pray for our troops,but my kingdom is not of this world. I love people of ALL nations . and my allegience in this life is to God and His Son, my family and those I love, and the orphans, widow, and poor that we are Called to defend. ..they are reason that I sit behind this keyboard. They are the reason that I write. Christ said that He would defend the poor, the helpless, the needy, and the orphan.. they are the ones who are the most exploited. Tonight, I write for them. the ones who are often the faceless target of our own selfish motives and greed.
We exploit over 27 million people a year in the sex trade industry. Our needs have become so great that we traffic human beings and use them any way we please, and sometimes they are sold for a mere fifteen dollars. We pour billions of dollars into the pornography industry. And if we aren't part of the solution, then are we, essentially, a part of the problem?

When porn is purchased, for instance, is that a way of only feeding the machine especially since many of the same victims who are exploited are featured in films for our own selfish entertainment.

Then there's the Mutter Musuem. The Mutter Museum is a famous museum in Philadelphia. It features real human bodies on display. I learned from a friend that bodies of those on display are often "John Does," people who died and are nameless. They are often very poor or homeless people from Asia. Instead, of giving them a proper burial, we put them in poses, pay a fee, and gawk at them for our own entertainment. Of course, it's all in the name science, so it's "justified." but in my mind, it is a sickening tribute to everything that is wrong with the world.

Instead of loving people, we use them...we do all we can to make a profit. Note that there aren't any rich people on display at the Mutter museum, only those who were humiliated in life, and are, once again, humiliated by having their bodies exposed and open to the world so that we can learn something.
Isn't it ironic that despite centuries of learning and education, we are still ultimatly the same, and in some ways, no better than we were before? when will we discover that when we have found PERfect Love, then we have essentially found everything..and that when we have found Love, then we understand God?

Then, there is the Holocost. Millions of Jews were slaughtered and their dead bodies used to sell products. Their skins were used to make lamps, and their hair was inserted into pillows. i shiver when I think of the piles of dead bodies and immense human suffering because one man deemed them an inferior race. When will we learn not to trust in man, but to lean on God for wisdom and understanding?

I read an article the other day about the food industry. The food industry has done research to find what chemicals will cause us to be addicted to certain foods. They want us addicted to food that is harming our bodies for no other purpose than to obtain the mighty dollar and personal gain and greed. I read an article that says that Coke advertises more heavily to the poor. Is it because the poor tend to be less educated and less aware of the long term health effects of drinking their products? Yes, and all for the dollar. I also read that most of the products that claim to contain blueberries, don't even contain real blueberries. What they contain is a mixture of dye and high fructose corn syrup. What is the reason behind false and deceptive advertising? There is only one answer. It is because we live in a world where cash is king. Things are loved and people are used, instead of the other way around.

This is what we have become. This is what we have always been. We exploit others when we take advantage of them in any way, shape, or form.

I guess the purpose of this post is to ask the question: What is the cost of what we do? What is the cost of what we fail to do? What is the cost of the things that we buy? The things that we watch?
who are we exploiting? what waste have we incurred at the cost of innocent life?
are we in a postition to abuse power? how many people have we hurt? is there a better way? do we hurt others in our waste by saying that our toys and luxuries are more important than their need to be fed and clothed?  Lord, help me not to be wasteful! Teach me stewardship!

A few more thoughts:

Power tends to corrupt. It tends to lead to greed. And greed often leads us into atrocities, like wars.

The thing that I love about Christ is that when He came to earth, the people were expecting a great king. They expected Him to have kingdoms, and servants. They probably half expected Him use His power for greatness. But Christ came as a servant to teach us the upside down economics of the Kingdom of the God.. He showed us the one who is willing to lower Himself, is the one who is the greatest in Heaven.
He came to teach us humility by sacrificing His very life and dying a sinners death upon a Cross, so that we might gain eternal life through His innocent Bloodshed.
It is through Him, that we learn that is not more power, more money, (contrary to today's church teachings) that we need..but more of Himself. We need humility, considering others as Better than ourselves and NOT the other way around.

And it is in and through Him that we can see that none of the reasons that we hurt one another even matter. Nothing is worth the cost of hurting another human living being. Not money. Not power. Nothing.

Christ came to show us that there are forces that long to destroy us, but He came that we might have life and have it in abundance. Does this mean an abundance of wealth?

No, it means He came to teach us that a full life is a life of sacrifice and there is beauty to be found in the the giving up.. in the laying down of a life, so that we can learn the meaning of FREEDOM. and  that freedom comes, not through sin, but through service to one another and loving one another with great depth and treating one another with great dignity... even and especially the least of these...the ones we often exploit...

all too often, i hear the cry of the lost. they refuse a relationship with Christ because they have been exploited for money in a church or they turn on their televisons, only to see men in business suits, selling miracles and salvation for a cost...
Exploitation is not a function of Christ. It is not who He was.

IT is what happens when walk in the flesh. It is a function of greed and selfish ambition. It is a function of envy and lustful pleasures. 

Here's a question that I would like to throw out and correct me if I am wrong..
I often see very wealthy pastors begging for money. Money is not evil in itself, but, if we are forsaking the needs of those around us in order to appeal to our own comfort, then are we just as guilty? When we buy the million dollar mansion or the outrageous new fountain for the foyer, are we walking in selfish ambition? or envy because we want to compete with the church down the street? Is this representative of self denial or the taking up of a Cross?

Christ said we fulfull the law when we bear one another's burdens..  Jesus wants us to take care of one another...not exploit one another.

one final thought and this is the most important one:

Pssst.. hey you. sitting behind your computer screen or your iphone or whatever....

Jesus loves you. He longs to take you in and show you the upside down nature of love. He longs to lavish His love upon you. He longs to take away the sins of the world and wash them in something pure and clean and good and white. He longs to take away the pain that you are feeling, and give you something new. He sees you.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

Jesus will not exploit and he can change you so that you will not ever want to exploit others...

Christ said that the fruits of the flesh are obvious. They are sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, and drunkeness, to name a few..

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

for when you start to unravel

Yesterday took a turn for the worst. Truthfully, I had been having a good day, but then, some "unexpected developments" truly caused me to unravel.
Do you know what I learned through all of this..? When circumstances around us unravel, we are faced with a true test of our character.
When things are fine and smooth, it is easy to be kind, BUT, when things go south, it's hard.
Yesterday, I fought back some things that have been bothering me for weeks. I cried. I tried not to let my emotions get the best of me. I let a few things slip out of mouth that should'nt have.

The truth is that I am a very sensitive person, and sometimes I expect the people around me to be kind. I really don't ask for much. At least I don't think I do..
Anyhow, yesterday, after the wheels were set in motion by a particular event, my mind kept reeling and replaying all of the negative and hurtful things that someone said to me over the course of the past few weeks.

The other day it was brought to my attention that this someone called my three year old an "idiot." I'm sure it was a "joke" and "harmless" Truthfully, I wasn't even supposed to know that these words were spoken..but, as it turns out, they were.
All I can say is that I am hurt. I will never understand why people vie for unkindness when eternity stares them in the face.
I started thinking about how it can take years and years to build relationships, and it is the goal of the enemy to tear them down in a single sentence. An unkind word. A haughty look.
The enemy uses us to work against one another, and when we are ugly to one another, every demon in hell cheers for the life he has hurt and the trust he has destroyed.

I remember something that my grandmother told me years ago. She and her mother had a huge fight. She was angry. I don't think they were on speaking terms. Truthfully, I guess the reason for the fight doesn't matter. some time after, her mom was riding in a car with some friends. They had passed an intersection and her mom was killed. My grandmother told me never to be angry with the people you love because you never know which day will be their last.

I agree with my grandmother, but I have to admit.. There are days when I feel as if I am always the one extending the olive branch.

Negative words, I have found, cause us to focus inward. When someone is rude, our first reaction is to nurse our wounds. and it seems that while we are tending our own hurts and bleeding hearts, our Light is misdirected.
How can we focus on Christ and on others when we are swimming in a sea of words?

I keep thinking of the verse that says that hearing the word and doing what it like building your house upon the rock. When the storm comes, the windows may rattle, the words may seek to tear down, but, if the foundation is strong, the house is unscathed. It may have a few scratches, but it emerges strong and stately.. from having won a battle with the wind.

I guess the purpose of this post is to let people know that the most beautiful promise of falling is that sometimes, it is only an illusion. Sometimes, you have merely closed your eyes from the sound of the waves, and when you open them back up, you are still in the exact same place that you were before..only this time, you have learned to look up.

I guess the best advice I can give anyone today is to simply learn to let things go..
When people are mean and angry towards  you..when they hurt you with their mouth, simply close your eyes and walk away. Say a prayer for them because, in the end, we should long to see everyone standing firmly, untouched by waves.

One more thought: One of the fruits of the Spirit is self control. If we can't control the words that we are speaking to others, perhaps that is like the engine light coming on in a car.. It is an indicator that perhaps we aren't as spiritually strong as we think. Yesterday, was a test. I need work..but I'm glad I know the Potter. Lord, make me a willing clay. Sometimes bending and breaking is the hardest thing, but something that shifts our gaze toward the Maker Himself.
Remember these words..

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to Find Your Life

the other day, I kept thinking of all that we do in the name of Christianity. How much of what we are doing is truly Spirit led?
How much is excess and waste? For instance, and I mean to offend no one.. but can anyone really see Jesus going to get a theology degree? or spending thousands of dollars flying from conference to conference? or passing around a collection plate so that a new fountain can be put in church courtyard?

sigh.. I truly don't mean to offend anyone. I'm sure that there has been knowlege from theology degrees that have helped someone in some way or another. I'm sure that the information that you have received at one of the thousands of conferences you have attended all across the globe, have benefited you in some way, shape, or form..perhaps, what you have learned has even trickled down to someone else..

I guess the point that I am trying to make is that Jesus never needed to do any of these things. What would he have to say about the billions of dollars that we waste every year in the name of Christianity..all the while, while we ignore the needs of suffering people. suffering children. suffering anyone, for that matter.

I truthfully have no one in mind as I write this..I have no particular religion in mind..i just simply want others to see how the life of Jesus seemed so different than the way He is often represented.

Before Jesus began His ministry, he didn't need to obtain a degree. He didn't rally for support. He simply laid down His will and gave Himself wholly to His Father. He went to the desert, and while He was there..He learned hunger. He learned thirst. He was tormented and tempted by demons. Jesus learned humility long before He ever marched to the Cross. Jesus became Humility so that we would have a clear example of the very nature of Love. I started thinking..Jesus could have gone anywhere. Why did He choose the harshest environment known to man? He puposely chose to give up every creature comfort so that he could could suffer for 40 days and nights without food, nor drink, nor companionship. Why?
 Perhaps, He knew that the will of the Father was to lead Him to the Cross, and the desert was a way to prepare for a life of total surrender and self sacrifice.

When He emerged from the desert, we can see compassion for sinners. We can see anger at hypocracy. We can see wisdom. We can see power. We can look into His life and see beauty and ultimately, we can find an example.

I guess the entire purpose of this post, is to say...that, in order to find Jesus, you don't always have to spend the thousands of dollars. Sometimes, you can find Him in the desert.

Be willing to lay your life down..He says that when you do, you find it.. are you willing to walk in the desert? are you willing to walk to narrow path that leads to life?

The Bible talks about being led by the Spirit. Haven't we yet learned that the Spirit will always take us down the same path of Jesus, the way of love, and self sacrifice..ultimately, the way of the Cross.
Can't people see how a lot of today's teachings lead us away from that?
More on that later.

Matthew 10:39

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? - from Luke

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. Romans 8: 13-14

i want to squeeze you to....

The other day I was reading a article about the findings of a particular study. The subject matter of the research was rather strange. A scientist set out to find why we say things like, "I want to squeeze you to death." She was trying to figure out why we would say something so violent to the people that we love.  The study mentioned something about our violent tendencies and used all kinds of jargon to prove a probably already preconceived notion.
Truthfully, it sounded like a huge waste of money...but, as I was driving home, I started thinking.. "Why do we say things like that? And the answer struck me as rather beautiful..
Perhaps, when we love something so much, we simply want to hold onto it for all time and never let it go..

Hey boys, I love.. and I want to squeeze you..,,,ok..maybe it does sound a little violent.. :)

Helping others in Modern Day Slavery and Child Exploitation

The other day I was talking to a friend about child exploitation and modern day slavery. She is deeply involved in this, and it often weighs heavily on her heart. . I asked her the question, " How would one even begin to combat something so huge? I started thinking about how defeating something so big and prevalent seems almost impossible. Where would one even begin? It seems like a lost battle when you don't know who is facing this kind of thing or even what they look like. I read that this is an epidemic and millions of people are involved.

A few nights after this conversation, I had a dream.
I dreamt that I was sent overseas to combat child exploitation and slavery. In the dream, I felt as if God had sent me to a particular area.  He told me that I was going to meet a few people who were deeply involved in these atrocities. He showed me that I was going to meet a victim and a perpetrator, but in the dream, He ordered me to be kind to everyone I met, regardless of what role they played.

In the next part of the dream, I remember meeting the victim. I couldn't tell if I was meeting a boy or a girl. The victim was very small, with short hair, and frail. I remember wanting to love on this person and nurture the wounds inflicted by another human being.

Then, I met the perpetrator. I remembered God's instructions to be kind, so no matter how much I hated what he did, I followed God's orders.

In the next part of the dream, the man is crying. He had not known or understood the language of kindness and it affected him deeply.
I could see that he was suddenly very sorry for the things that he had done, and he asked me what he should do. I told them that he should take the matter to his Father.

In the next part of the dream, the man is kneeling before his Father. He is weeping. Surrounding him were dozens of women that he had hurt. His repentance led him to aplogize to the women who had severely wounded both mentally and physically over the course of his life.

Then, the man approaches me again.. I have gone to my Father, now what should I do?
I told him that he had apologized to the women he had hurt, but what about the children that he had hurt?

The man begins to weep again. Then, God gave me a message for him. His sins would be forgiven so long as he never, ever touched or harmed another human soul.

  I once heard and wrote that kindess has ripples. We truly never know just how far reaching our love can be.
The truth is that some people are hard to love. Some have done unimaginable things...but we have a choice. The world is filled with darkness and hatred. We can choose to throw that hatred right back because yes, some  truly deserve it..
We can heed the verse that says that "God's kindness leads us to repentance."
I hate the phrase, "I hope he/she burns in Hell." It is a phrase generally spoken by those who have no concept of hell or what it holds.( I can tell you based on my experiences with the demonic, that is something that I would not wish on my worst enemy.)

 It is sometimes a phrase spoken by those who are hurt..or by those who are out to condemn the world.
THE Bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Bible also says that when we are hurt, we can cast every care upon Him, and He will bear our burden. He hears us in all our pain, and He wants to bring us to a  place where we are no longer bound in our hurt and anger and our bitterness toward the things that life sometimes brings.

on a similar note,

The other day I was having a conversation about the death penalty. I told someone that I didn't really believe in the captial punishment.
Man's law is the law of justice, and it is often admistered unfairly. Man is often harsh. I also believe in God's justice, but I am enamored by His mercy. It is His attribute that enamours me the most.

God's law is the law of grace, and that is one thing that the judicial sys. does not take into consideration. The death penalty starts with murderers, but what if someone decided that it should be administered to drug addicts and thieves? Did you know that adulterers were once stoned to death? What if the death penalty extended to those who disagreed with a certain way of thinking or to the self righteous? What if someone like Hitler, who hated people based upon their  race, took over the world and killed whomever he pleased, at will?
Do you get my drift? Man's laws are imperfect.

I don't like the death penalty because I don't believe that we should ever repay evil for evil. The Bible says to "overcome every evil with good"
There are too many laws, and not enough love.
There is little mercy.
That is why our world looks so dark.
Truthfully, I will never understand why some people do what they do...but i do know that it is rooted in hatred. I think I was there for a short time. I remember hating people because I had been desperately hurt by them, but I am glad that Christ came and showed me mercy. Now, I simply want to give it back to as many people as I can...for the short time that I am  here...

I am going to post a few links to sites that may be of use in helping to combat modern day slavery. Take them into consideration, and please, don't forsake kindness. It can be far reaching, and you never know whose faces will see its effects. Maybe it will be a little face, with short hair, and a frail body..

and thanks JeriSue W. for recommending these links :)

here are a few good posts by my friend, Stephanie.

One final thought: I was just outside and verse came to mind : Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Christ never called us to exact our revenge. He never called us toward hatred. Instead, He is just. He rewards us based on what we have done, and gives eternal life to those who believe in Him.  If we have shown mercy, then we will receive mercy. He is just. He is fair. He simply calls us to leave the judging to Him, and tells us to love one another.

from Galatians, chapter 5 -The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." - From John

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to walk on water and not fall

Last night I had a very strange dream. I dreamt that I was in some sort of amusement park.. I can't really say where I was, only that I was being led to an enclosed body of water by a woman wearing khacki shorts. She brough me to a ladder that led to a huge pool. The pool resembled a large body of water. It was moving like a torrential sea, but I could see clearly defined borders. In the next part of the dream, I was standing on a platform getting ready to jump into the water..
I could hear Jesus saying, " take a step of faith, and you can walk on the water. "
I then looked and saw Him standing on top of the water. He had His hand out to me. In the next part of the dream, I felt an immense security and peace as I was in the arms of Jesus. I was standing on the water, but it was because I wrapped in His arms.
Do you ever have dreams where you wake up as if you are holding something? Well, I think in this dream, that I must have had my arms clenched in an embrace..
It was one of those dreams where I felt as if Jesus was literally right there.

Truthfully, I have no idea if God gave me this dream, and yet I feel as if He did. He wants us to know that He will catch us when we take a leap of faith into the water. Some of us have taken leaps into the ocean. Some of us may be wading in little pools.. some of us, might think we are in an ocean, but we are only in a really small contained little pond. Wherever, we are, He will catch us, but we have to have the faith and courage to set our feet upon the ocean if he is going to catch us.

So how do we walk on water and not fall?
The answer is simple..we trust that God is right there waiting to catch us with His arms wide open.

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

"faith is taking the first step, even when you can't see the whole staircase" -martin luther king, jr.
What is your ocean? what are afraid of stepping into? Is it ministry? reaching out to others? adoption? Is it simply speaking about your faith to others? writing?
Whatever it is, jump..If this is God's will for your life, then you have to know that He will catch you when and that when your feet hit the water, you will fall into an embrace

Does Jesus care what we wear to church?

Yesterday, I wrote a post entitled, "a critical spirit." I briefly touched upon the subject of church appropriate attire.
I have heard it said that, in some churches, there is an unspoken dress code. I vaguely recall hearing a message when I was very young about how we should always wear our finest clothes to church.
Throughout the course, of my life, there is one thing I have always noticed. Women in ministry often tend to look good.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with looking good. There is nothing wrong with putting on your Sunday best if you feel that you are honoring God.

I'll be honest. I don't like to dress up. I don't have many dress clothes. I am at home in jeans and t shirts. I work shift work and drive a forklift. I can clean up nicely, but, I truly don't have a lot of clothes at this point in life. I have outgrown some and I have given away a lot of the nicer things in my closet to people who would wear it and appreciate it more than I do.

Yesterday, I asked Jesus if He cared if we dressed up for church. DO you know what verse He gave me? There is a story in the Bible where Jesus is dining with the Pharisees. They noticed that one of the disciples didn't wash his hands. Now, keep in mind that this was  probably considered to be highly offensive and unclean. It was looked down upon by the self righteous Pharisees.

Jesus then told them that it was not what is on the outside that counts, but cleanliness on the inside.

I think it is great and fine if we want to play dressup at church. I can understand the correlation between dressing very nice and reverance and tradition.

 My only concern is for the people who have felt disregared and made to feel ashamed because their Sunday finest is only tattered rags.
Not everyone can afford to dress to the nines, and anyone shaming them into making them feel as if they must, is missing the point entirely.
I also think that it is important to be more than Sunday Christians. It seems to me that Christ would be more honored and revered if we honored him daily and in all that we do, rather than feeling as if we have to prove ourselves by putting on gold jewelry and loafers.
Yesterday, I asked Jesus a very serious question.

I told Him that if He wanted I would go and spend a few thousand dollars on a new wardrobe. I told him that I would get my nails done, buy really nice shoes, and do whatever it takes to look like everyone else..

I told Him that I was willing to buy myself a lot of stuff if that is what it takes..
I'm pretty sure that He told me not to bother. You see, when God directs us to give, nine times out of ten, it will not be self directed.

I guess I am typing this message to anyone who has ever felt left out or condenmed for not having a great wardrobe to wear to church. I am also writing this based on a convsation that I had in the not too distant past. I spoke with a hurting young man who was seeking and trying to find answers in life. I could tell that he had a thirst for Jesus..However, he had been to a church service and received some very haughty looks for a few tattoos that he had on his arms. Keep in mind, his tattoos weren't of naked women or anything offensive.. But, apparently, his simply having them and daring to leave them uncovered caused a few eyes to roll. He said that he felt very uncomfortable, and will never set foot inside that church again.  He said that he did attend another service where he felt accepted, tattoos and all... These peope were able to love him for who he was, and the tattoos didn't bother them. Wasn't that one thing that defined Christ? His ability to look beyond anything social or physical, and simply accept anyone who was willing to run into His arms?
IF you aren't doing the same, then you aren't acting like Christ.

TO those that silently judge others around you based on what they wear... If you don't like someone's attire, if you think that they dress poorly, and you turn up your nose at their tattered rags..
The Bible says we fulfill the Law of Christ when we bear one another's burden..
so, wouldn't it be Christlike if, in all our your excess, you offered to meet some of their needs. In a loving and generous spirit..

and, I didn't really address the subject of modesty here, but I think it is important to dress modestly so that you won't present yourself as a tempation to other believers.
Mark 7: 5-8

So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’[a]
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward — arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel —   rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 NKJV
“.. in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”

Sunday, February 24, 2013

a critical spirit

well, it's Sunday morning and I'm missing church..again. Truthfully, we woke up with an hour to get ready. It should've been enough time. But, my oldest son stepped in kitty litter, and by the time he washed his feet and cleaned out the tub, it seemed that too much time had gone by..
We got a cat yesterday. I didn't plan for the time that we would have to feed her, and care for her before leaving...and then there's the fact of shift work and how my biological clock is messed up..but that is still no excuse.. and the cat kept crawling into bed with me..everytime I would drift to sleep, she would jump on me..until, I finally had to put her out and shut the door.. So, busy, crazy morning.

when I finally caught my breath, I looked in the mirror only to notice that my hair looked oily and it was time for a bath.
By that time, I knew that I was fighting a lost battle.
I thought that maybe I could just be late, and then I remembered a sermon I heard years ago about how we displease God when we show up to church late..
and, then, by the time I remembered that message,,,, .I simply got angry.

I was angry at the kids for shuffling their feet in the mornings and having to yell to get them to hurry along.
I was angry at the idea that we have to "dress to the nines" in order to feel accepted at some of our churches. I am glad that the church I attend doesn't tell us this, but I have heard this message preached before..
I am angry for all of the people who have felt criticized and unaccepted because someone has told them that they are unacceptable to God simply for the way that they dress or because they have shown up late..
I started thinking of the meme that says, "Church is not where you go, but how you live." Of course, I started thinking of how a lot of people who sit in churches are extraordinarily critical.
They will judge you and condemn you for not showing up or making it on time, and seemingly forget one of the most important verses in the Bible.

"We fulfill the Law of Christ when we bear one another's burden,"
So, next time, instead of criticizing the people who don't show up or talking about the people who don't honor God in their dress,
Why don't you offer to buy them some nice clothes? Or find out why they are late and offer to help them out?
To me, that seems a little more fair and a little more Christlike..

It's time we begin to think and act more like Christ. If we find ourselves being critical towards someone, we have to realize that the problem might lie more within us than in anyone else. How many people have we alienated by our own condemnation?
While the Bible says to rebuke and exort, all rebuking should be done in a spirit of love. Otherwise, we are just a critical spirit showing people an unloving Jesus.

on more note.. I don't want people to think I attend a critical, unloving church. In fact, many people at our church accept me with open arms. I think this morning I was being self critical and just angry at the fact that there are those who will judge and condemn without taking time to learn all of the facts. or even those who measure your relationship with God, by how many services you attend rather than how much you have given up for God.
I have heard of people attending their church their entire lives, and still not really getting the message and harboring hatred in their hearts.
anyhow, today is Sunday. I missed church. I love Jesus with all of my heart. And we fulfill His Law when we bear one another's burden's.

Am I implying that church is not important?
But I hold to the fact that Christ lives in us..He works through us..the  people are the church. We should not forsake the assembly, but who is to say that we can't assemble at a food kitchen or a nursing home? just food for thought
Let me know your thoughts! :)
I guess this message is for the people who sometimes miss church..not because you don't love Jesus, but because you have kids with shuffling feet and you are afraid to be late because you wonder what everyone else might think..
and I guess this message is for those who don't have the nicest clothes, and feel as if you will be judged by the people wearing high dollar outfits.
If that is you, then I just want to remind you that Christ longs for your heart. I don't really think he cares what you wear , or the fact that you sometimes can't seem to get it together, so much as he wants your heart.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Things no one wants to talk about or hear: Financial meltdown scenarios, the AntiChrist, New World Order, Mark of the Beast type of stuff

Tonight, I'm writing something that might seem a bit atypical and different than what you are accustomed to reading here.

It's actually a little gut wrenching and somewhat frightening, but my purpose in writing is not to cause alarm.
First of all, I am, by no means, a doomsday prepper. I feel that if bad things come my way..if the economy collapses or war breaks out, I feel, with all of my heart, that God will take care of me.
However, certain things, as of late, have raised some serious questions in my mind.

Last night, a friend sent me an alarming email. My friend is someone who is very well versed and experinced in the stock market. The link warned of an inevitable finanical collapse that will occur when America loses foreign investors, such as China. When this happens, according to the link, gas prices will skyrocket. In turn, food prices will go up dramatically. Many people will be faced with hunger as the government will no longer be able to supply food and benefits. Mass chaos will ensue. Home invasions. Looting. Violence of mass proportions.

The other day I read that the government ordered over 450 million rounds of hollow point ammunition. I read that this type is ammo has one purpose. To kill people. Imagine people running throught the streets and the only way to stop the chaos is to kill.  Is the government expecting some sort of financial crisis and prepping in advance for mass pandemonium?

I also watched a YouTube videos that prove that Fema is setting up mass concentration camps and have ordered millions of coffins.  I am going to post links to these things at the bottom of this post.

Tonight, my friend, sent another video.  The video spoke of something called the "Glass-Segal" Act. I'm not 100 percent sure what this entails, but it involves the banking system. The a man in the video spoke of what will happen when the economy fails. He said that another bailout is impossible and when the finanical crisis occurs, the government will erase the old monetary system and replace it with a completely new system. He warns that the new system will benefit only the rich and society and everyone else will be left starving.

I try not to put a lot of  trust in doomday and naysay warnings. I don't doubt that there are conspiracy theories and I don't doubt that the economic situation is dire. However, I find that I do myself a service when I don't worry about things. However, I can't help but wonder if all of this is pointing toward the direction of a type of New World Order. What would happen if our current system fails? The only logical explanation would be to start over.
The Bible talks about a monetary system in which people will be required to take a number on their hands or foreheads. The Bible says that numbers, when added together, will equal to 666, also known as the mark of the Beast.
Many speculate that people will be identified through microchips, and the Bible states that those who do not take the mark will not be able to buy or sell anything.
The Bible says that those who take the mark will die a spiritual death and they will belong to the AntiChrist.

Now, for one instant, imagine that economy does collapse. Chaos ensues, People starve. Then, a man arises with great power and seems to have all of the answers and is able to bring hope to the people.
He may even appear as a type of Christ figure. The other day I made a YouTube video about counterfeit healings and false signs and wonders..Imagine for a moment, that this man can even use demonic powers to heal people.
Well, I think you know where I am going with this..
To deny that these things will occur is to deny the Bible. I have seen the  Truth of God's Word and I can't toss this out simply because it sounds absolutely crazy to some people.
I truly believe that the stage is set for these things to occur. It is simply a waiting game.

One thing that the Bible states is that in the last days, there will be chaos and mass persecutions. There are many who believe that Christians will not have to face such things. Then, there are some that believe that Christians will face persecution. Here's the thing..Christians are persecuted every single day in countries that have no tolerance for Jesus. Everyday people are killed, slaughtered, and gunned down simply because they profess Jesus Christ as their savior. The key is to not live and fear and feel that we are except from persecution simply because we live in the United States.

Anyhow, I suppose the purpose of this entire post is simply to warn people to get their hearts and their homes right before God. Today could be our last. We could die in an accident on our way home from our jobs, or we face could inevitably face the consequences of a global economic meltdown.

Anyhow, I am posting some links and videos. Please don't fear. God prospers us when we share. It's something that He showed me in the not too distant past.. whatever comes our way, He will walk us through it , so long as our lights shine bright.   -This is the link that talks about a finanical crisis. My friend in the stockmarket isn't promoting a product, but feels as if he has been shown the same thing. He also say the numbers prove that this will happen.
The above articles talk about the 450 million rounds of ammo. Keep in mind, I am not trying to make any kind of political statment. I don't like politics. I am simply questioning why all of this is necessary and wondering if the goverment has ordered these rounds for prep. for mass choas if a financial crisis were to doesn't hurt to ask questions...keep that in mind before you judge

The following video is about  the mass coffins (millions) ordered by FEMA.  Are they in prep for something specific? Are they for those who would resist a type of New World Order? Once again, just a few questions..

The following video details mass concentration camps and gravesites being built by FEMA

The following video started off as boring, but if it is true, then it is something that everyone should watch. It is about the Glass Segal Act and how, if the economy collapses a bailout would be impossible, and a new system would have to be erected. This new system would favor mass genocide.
I know it sounds strange, and I'm sure the Jews would have thought mass genocide sounded foreign years before Hitler. Below is a link that leads to the video.

Many Christians believe that they have been shown that bad things are coming. This video is entitled, Rejoice, there is no other way to survive what is coming. I've heard many people prophesy very similar things over the course of the past few years.. but also with a promise that God's power will be evident.

This post is about gun control. Are Christians expected to respond with deadly force? Not wanting to step on any toes, but this video makes sense to me.

My YouTube video about false healings, the Bible says the AntiChrist will be able to perform "signs and wonders." Also, check out my video on false signs and wonders.

Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

This article speaks of the millions of persecuted Christians around the world.

Paul Washer, a missionary, says that Persecution is coming to America

Matthew 24

New International Version (NIV)

The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times

24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Day and Hour Unknown

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thousands of Babels

The other day I was reading the biblical account of the story of tower of Babel.  At one time, people spoke the same language. They settled in an area and decided to use their skills to build a huge tower. Thier goal and purpose was to build a tower that stretched into the heavens and reached into heaven itself. So, they set out to build the tower of Babel. The story goes on to say that God was not pleased. He scattered them and confused their languages so that no one could understand one another.

I have to be honest, at first, I was confused by the story. I couldn't help but ask the question, "Why would God do something like this?"

So, I asked Him to show me and help me to understand.

During the course of the next few days, I received a book called "Revolution in World Missions" written by a man by the name of K.P. Yohannan

K.P is the founder of Gospel for Asia. In his book, he speaks of his first trip to America. He had spent his entire life in a country where poverty is extreme. He knew the taste of human suffering and hunger. He was in awe at the amount of waste and wealth that he witnessed.

In his book, he describes how he had spoken at a church and was greatly pleased at the love offering he received because the amount of money would go very far in his native country. However, he was amazed that the same church spent more on a single meal than he received during his stay.

He was stunned that on one street corner he would see a huge church structure that cost millions of dollars and directly across the street, there would be yet another church costing close to the same. He noted how very few are preaching the gospel in his homeland and how a single church could be built for a very small amount of money, and contrasted it to the fact that we are spending billions of dollars erecting huge buildings on every corner. He noted the amount of money that was spent on Christian entertainment- the shops, the bookstores, the trinkets, the junk and he couldn't help but think of the suffering back home.

As I was reading this, I felt Christ speak to me..about the Tower of Babel. That is what we are doing today. We are split wide open by denominationalism and many of huge churches are nothing more than symbols of pride. We are building Towers of Babel, falsely believing that we are reaching Heaven, but, in essence, we are only the formidable purveyors of confusion.  We may speak the same language, but we are not in one accord. We have become wasteful, and we can only wonder how angry God must be at our own inventions.

I can't help but think of the men who set out to build the huge tower of Babel.
They, falsely believed that they were doing good, and even believed that their efforts would reach Heaven..Perhaps, they thought they were pleasing God..but, in essence, all they were really doing was building a huge structure of pride. They were devoting their entire lives, including their time and resources to the building. Is that what we are doing when we essentially ignore the needs of the broken and the poor begging at our feet, the K.P Yohannan's of the world, looking for mercy but only finding confusion? What kind of Jesus are we showing them when we ignore their needs and cater to our own? 

This entire post reminds me of an article I read in the not too distant past by a man by the name of Doug Perry.

Doug wrote an article called Bread and Circuses. Certain governments once tried to rule the people and they suceeded by distracting them by filling them with food and providing them with entertainment. The mentality was, that if the people were fat and laughing, then they wouldn't have time to see what was really going on around them.
Doug noticed that many of our churches are feeding us with bread and circus routines. We miss the needs of the poor, the suffering, and the hungry, when we are busy filling our mouths with fellowship and attending church for entertainment. Here's the is worth reading.. and please try nto to take offense.. the goal of the article is to get people to see deeper into what we are doing.

 Before you get angry or offended (which is not my intention) please note that I am not against churches..I am simply against the amount of waste and inefficency and I can see that what many of us are doing is building our own little "stairways to heaven" that often lead nowhere.  I truly feel as if Christ is calling us out of our comfort zones, to extend beyond our borders, and reach into the lives of those who truly need Him. Perhaps, He is calling some of us to look outward.. to the street corners and to the houses of the neighbors we have probably never even met.. to the nursing homes, and food banks..

Here is some interesting thoughts that I copied from :

Genesis 11:1-9

The Tower of Babel - Story Summary:

Up until this point in the Bible, the whole world had one language - one common speech for all people. The people of the earth became skilled in construction and decided to build a city with a tower that would reach to heaven. By building the tower they wanted to make a name for themselves and also prevent their city from being scattered.
God came to see their city and the tower they were building. He perceived their intentions, and in His infinite wisdom, He knew this "stairway to heaven" would only lead the people away from God. He noted the powerful force within their unity of purpose. As a result, God confused their language, causing them to speak different languages so they would not understand each other. By doing this, God thwarted their plans. He also scattered the people of the city all over the face of the earth.

Points of Interest from the Story:

• When God speaks in this story, He uses the phrase, "let us go," referencing the trinity.

• Some scholars believe that this marks the point in history where God divided the earth into separate continents.
• God says in Genesis 11:6, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them." (NIV) God realizes that when people are unified in purpose they can accomplish impossible feats, both noble and ignoble. This is why unity in the body of Christ is so important.
• To build, the people used brick instead of stone and tar instead of mortar. They used "man-made" materials, instead of more durable "God-made" materials. The people were building a monument to themselves, to call attention to their own abilities and achievements, instead of giving glory to God.