The Minimalist.

I have to admit, I love our minimalist life. I feel free of the world and it’s traps. I can’t stand the frivolity of the way some Christians live; we are at war with the devil himself and we clamor for more clutter.

My husband and I, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, have shorn down our life and lifestyle to accommodate our Christian walk. Now some would say that it’s a bit extreme, mostly because way too many Christians still want their one foot in the world. I mean, is it really necessary to have that $500 Coach purse? Did you have to get leather seats in the new car? Just how necessary is the mid-life-crisis Harley? How does anyone NEED a 3000 sqft home unless you’re a Duggar?

This world in which we live allows us – wants us – to go into a debt abyss to have things that others have…not just Christians, ESPECIALLY Christians. We are much more malleable to the government if we have a lot of debt. A lot of believers think that God will provide for their ‘stuff’ – and He will provide….to our NEEDS. We need food, we need clothing, we need shelter. We do not need ‘stuff’.

While having coffee with my husband, we discussed whether Christians should live a lavish lifestyle, whether in or out of debt. My first thought was if this lavishness glorifies God – I don’t think it can. We are to be a light to the world, not a lighting concept: “v14 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. v15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. v16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” Matthew 5:14-16.

There is a great peace that comes with having less. We are unencumbered with ‘things’ that have no room in a Christian’s life. By choice we have one vehicle; by choice we do not have cable television. By choice we have a home that is reasonable rather than getting one big enough to store more stuff AND still rent a storage unit to store the rest of it. By choice we choose to have less so we can have more with Christ.

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Matthew 8:18-20

Give much? While it is true that God does supply the needs of His people, this is a specific promise that those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ will never suffer lack. God gives us a lot of latitude to do His Will as well as just enough to mess it up. We are OBLIGATED to be the good steward that God wants us to be. He can put money in your bucket OR put a hole in the bottom of it.

And to summarize, 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work…”

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 30

As I wrap up this 30 Days of Parenting Prayer, I am inundated with so many emotions…most of which I brought up during these 30 days. If there is one thing that I can’t say enough [well, maybe two] is that we are parents to our kids forever. They were our children since the beginning of time [Jeremiah 1:5] and will be even into Eternity. The second is that prayer should be the FIRST thing we do, not as a last ditch effort to save the day.

Being a parent is has been the one thing that people take for granted as if it’s a right rather than the privilege that it is. I am PRIVILEGED to be their mother, whether they give a darn or not. It is I that has to answer to God for being their mother, it is I that will ultimately bear the day when I have to answer to God for my parenting.

We take advantage of the system by allowing our own dreams supersede those of our kids; once we do that, we fail. When you hear “You’re pregnant!”, your private, comfortable life is over and a new life is about to embark. We are but vessels, not God.

Secular/worldly feminism has no room in motherhood, but a God-intended feminist does. It’s true: there is such a thing as a God-intended Feminist. She was profiled in the Bible, Proverbs 31. She wasn’t perfect, in fact Bathsheba FAILED…but she was used mightily by God and was blessed to be the intended mother to Solomon.

Bad women do not have to be bad mothers. In other words, I have failed, you have failed…but through the Grace of God we are given chance after chance after chance to do it right. God knows our kids depend on us so He is quite willing to help us to be better. And, IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE A BETTER PARENT.

v17 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; v18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” 1Peter 3:17-18

Pray for BALANCE. It’s been a great 30 days of reflection but I certainly see how I can do better, even after all these years. God Bless you all.

30 DAY PARENTING PRAYER CHALLENGE: Day 15

How I wish my kids really knew the Joy of the Lord. They, like most people, believe it’s happiness that brings joy. While happiness is very short lived, joy is for every minute of every day. Joy is a lifestyle, if you are a born-again believer.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Matthew 13:44

I cannot imagine my life without the Lord. He is my field, my Joy.

But that always wasn’t so. I got saved at 40 years old, well after I had my children. I believe this is why my children have their worldly woes; they were raised by a worldly mom that knew no more than what the world taught…just like they are today.

Trying to undo the past is pretty much impossible. This is what I am trying to teach our adult kids, from our own attempts at trying to rule the world rather than obeying God. Our results were pretty bleak, just like theirs.

What I cannot understand is why our adult kids would rather do what we used to do and expect optimum results rather than seeing how we live for the Lord now. Certainly we do not have tons of possessions or a huge home, but that is by design and being obedient; learning financial stewardship was FREEING. Christians don’t have ‘need’ of things…we need Jesus Christ, our Joy.

My prayer [at 4am this morning!] is that our kids and your kids will understand and live by Jesus and His incredible ministry rather than chasing 30 pieces of silver. This is ‘Holy Week’, the last earthly week of the life of Jesus. He did so much for us and I wish our children the deep Joy we have in Him for them.

God Bless you all today ~ the new blanket of snow on the ground this morning is like a brand new blanket of renewal to me. Have a great day!

Wednesday Night Bible Study: QUESTIONABLE THINGS.

What is the ‘questionable thing’? I’ve always said if you have to ask, you ought NOT to do ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Somehow, it’s not that easy for some of my Christian brothers and sisters. Much like parents telling you to be a good example to your little brothers and sisters, we have to be a better example…a better Christian to those that are weak or struggling:

“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.” 1Corinthians 8:9

At church last night, my husband touched on the first 3 points in this series. Truly, this is a great teaching for those that need and should reference their Bible and notes often in order to continue in their walk with the Lord. As Christians, we are not equal in our personal walk with anyone else. We are all individuals and set with a separate path and will from God, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations”, [Jeremiah 1:5].

What ARE the questionable things? Everyone has wondered if a particular thing is sin such as drinking alcohol or types of television shows or movies. We are bombarded by the outside world constantly with messages that tell us that EVERYTHING is good and okay. What is okay? What isn’t? What does God say?

1. Are you willing to do what is right when you KNOW the will of God? Simply, most Christians know the will of God regarding sin…DON’T SIN! Seems easy enough, but I think that we look for permission from other Christians rather than asking God. “Is she wearing a short skirt in church? COOL….then I can too!” or “He watches R rated movies so I can too!” As simplistic as that sounds, or even childlike, still every Christian struggles because they see OTHER Christians sinning or living in a worldly way. Consider these scripture references:

  • Romans 12:2; “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Retrain your mind to not want the questionable thing that is besetting you. Don’t be your own worst enemy, be the Christian you want others to see you as.
  • John 7:17; “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” Do we know His will? Have you asked Him?
  • James 4:17; “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Most often we KNOW the answer, we want confirmation. Go to the Word, God will let you know, I promise.

2. Does this questionable thing agree with what the scripture says? While I see things very black and white and somewhat analytical, many Christians do not and they seek real answers in real time. The Word of God is for today, tomorrow and all time! Consider these scripture references:

  • 2Peter 1:19-20; “v19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; v20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” In other words, God speaks to us and gives us revelation such as understanding certain verses in the way He meant them. ‘There is nothing new under the sun’ [Ecc 1:9], there is no NEW revelation, rather what God gives you may be new to you, it cannot go against scripture EVER or it is in direct violation of His Word. He is the God that changes NOT [Mal 3:6].
  • Deuteronomy 29:29; “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” What God wants us to know HE will reveal. While we will know everything as we step foot into Heaven, but while we are still here we have to trust God and have Faith in HIM, not ourselves or others.
  • Romans 10:17; “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” FAITH. Simple childlike FAITH. God will never tell you to smoke. God will never tell you to wear revealing clothing. God will never steer you into false doctrine. Ever.
  • 2Timothy 3:16; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” ALL scripture is given; not some of it or part of it…ALL OF IT. Scripture is for our DAILY walk, not just on Sundays.

3. Have you PRAYED about the questionable thing? Isn’t that a novel idea. We wonder why our lives are surrounded by grief, fear and sin? If you think your heels are too high, then they probably are. If you think a movie with sex and violence might be wrong to watch, then it probably is. Consider these scripture references:

  • Mark 11:24; “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  When you asked Jesus into your life, you prayed…then you believed AND received! Pray about everything and you’ll have no questions about the questionable things.
  • Philippians 4:6; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” EVERYTHING. If we pray for and about everything, our lives will change! When I pray I HAVE PEACE. When I forget to pray, I am not in the will of God. God gave us Jesus and the Holy Spirit and real tools to use for our everyday walk: Prayer and the Bible….all free to use all the time. No excuses!
  • James 4:23; “v2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. v3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Ahhhhh there it is! WHAT are you asking for? Permission to DO the questionable thing? Or are you asking for discernment?
  • 1Thessalonians 5:17; “Pray without ceasing.” Don’t. Stop. Praying. Ever.
  • Matthew 7:7-8; “v7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. v8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Ask, seek and knock…God will reveal to you what you pray about.

A new creature in Christ has MANY questions and needs answers about the BIG things and the little things. But one thing I ask you to keep in mind is understanding the difference in ‘belief’ and ‘truth’. I can believe all day long that the sky is green but the truth is that it is blue. The questionable things are what we believe, not necessarily what is truth. God has never made a way for anyone to sin, not even a little bit. Contrary to what the world ‘believes’, the Christian is expected to know the truth of His Holy Word, not half-truths or outright lies. He has created us to be in fellowship with Him, not the world or He would have never given His Son Jesus as our propitiation for what we deserved.

Temptation is an evil thing; the questionable thing may just be what Satan uses to tempt you to do something to come back into his will and stray from God. Satan uses the little things to distract us while he works to keep us from a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

In other words, Trust God. His is that small, still voice.

The Resistant Christian

If I gave you a brand new car, would you accept it? Or, if you found a car on the side of the road with the keys in it, would you look to see if anyone can see you and take it?

In the new car scenario, a person that was handed the keys of the brand new car would ask if there are any strings attached, but the car on the side of the road is almost always taken swiftly…essentially stolen. Most people want to be the one that accepts the new car and says ‘Thank You’ but that is hardly ever the case; they know they do not deserve this brand new car and feel suspicious for doing nothing and guilty for accepting this free gift.

People want what they think is the easy ‘no strings’ way of having something for nothing…the car on the side of the road waiting to be stolen.

Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

People are calling themselves Christians having done nothing to actually ‘become’ a Christian, effectually stealing the car on the side of the road when they could have accepted Christ as Savior and had that brand new car for having just accepted it.

Take the stolen car back to who it belongs and accept the keys to the brand new car…I promise you that this new car will take you to where you need to go – ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Rom 3:23).

Are you ready for a real heart change? Are you tired of driving the stolen car?

Accept the keys – ask Jesus into your heart, ‘But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.’

What’s in YOUR house?

Joshua 7:1, ‘But the children of Israel committed a
trespass regarding the accursed things,
for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of
Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the LORD burned against the
children of Israel.’

I got saved December of 2001 and backslid soon after. The reasons
why are obvious: My house was NOT clean. Not only did I continue an alcoholic
relationship but I never physically cleaned my house.

After nearly 3 years of perverse drinking and the lifestyle
that accompanies it, I felt the Lord around me again. God was trying to draw me
out and I finally decided to clean house. I was winding down a backslidden
season of my life and I was getting ready to take responsibility of a Christian
life.

God knows me…He knew I needed a helpmate to get me where I needed
to be in Him, a man I later married. But one day I took a good look around my
home and I remembered something that my sister told me – the day she got rid of
the ‘evil’ in her house. At that time I didn’t realize how spiritual that was. But
that day in my home I saw evil everywhere and it was time to clean house.

It’s amazing how much garbage a person accumulates. I looked
in closets, in drawers, in cabinets, in my storage locker, my space at work…I had
no idea how much of the world I had around me. I threw it all away, I sold none
of it. It was my opinion that giving or selling my sin was SIN. I even threw
away glasses that reminded me of being in a bar! EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!

It was freeing to see it all in a dumpster. I hated how the
world sucked me in but I loved how the Lord made me see with my spiritual eyes
what was like a noose around my neck if I didn’t let it all go. Now, I do not
own any secular music, swim suits, shorts, or even sandals. Do I believe that
everyone has to ‘work out their own salvation with fear and trembling’? Yes,
BUT justifying sin around you because you think its harmless is very DANGEROUS.

Like Joshua, I heard the Lord tell me that there was sin in
my house and that it had to be gotten rid of to keep my way with the Lord pure
and not sullied by the world and its demons. There are many Christians that don’t
believe it’s necessary to do purge their house because they’re such strong
Christians…nothing can be further from the truth.

The Entitled Christian

I earned it, I deserve it, what about me; mine mine mine. If this is true, then there would be no need for God.

“Therefore come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”

Being of the world separates us from God.

People have this misconception that all is theirs whenever they want it, at their fingertips. The Bible does not teach that Christians are entitled to worldly goods and pursuits, but Christians are just as guilty of feeling as entitled. Christians absently believe that God is there to make their life easier with bigger homes and better cars when the opposite is true: We are to have no need of the world; we are called to be separate from it – ALL OF IT.

God gave us what is most precious to Him and we give Him a wish-list.

Before coming to Christ, we were all doomed to a fiery eternal Hell. Our love of goods and things – entitlement – brought us all to need the world, not God. God gave us a part of Himself, Jesus Christ, to be our savior that we would not see Hell if we would just let the world go and believe on Him. How did Christians get to the point of not needing God anymore?

 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The world in which we live has set us up to fail. Christians need to get that: We have been set up to fail. The devil sets his traps as soon as you separate yourself from what is his – the world and your belief of entitlement to it. The devil knows what bits and pieces of the world that tempts you from a godly life and ministry.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

When you hear a bird outside in 13 degree weather happily chirping, you realize that God has taken care of that bird even in the harshest of conditions. Our entitlement of things to make us happy is not of God; He provides for our needs, not our lusts.

The forgiving Christian

Our roadblock from getting complete victory in our Christian life is our inability to forgive. I do not believe in psychology (man being God) but I do know that not being able to forgive does open up the Christian to things of the world. How can that be? When a Christian feels they don’t have to forgive, it opens up a thought process that leads a Christian to think of worldly things such as vengeance and hate.

Christians choose to ‘walk’ in unforgiveness instead of pardoning the transgressor. If a Christian were to look inward they would see that unforgiveness starts in their own heart. We are very good at pointing fingers at those that have done wrong to us but we can’t seem to forgive ourselves. If you can’t forgive yourself, how can you forgive another?

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

At Calvary, YOU were pardoned for YOUR transgressions, no one else’s.

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.”

Forgiveness is part of the unselfishness of the Believer. I have better days than others just like everyone else. But I notice my stinkin’ thinkin’ gets worse toward others that have transgressed against me when I am not studying and praying like I should.

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”

Being Christ-like is tough, I know. Forgiving AND pardoning the transgressor is harder. But it is what we are all called to do. And learn to forgive yourself; Jesus forgave you so why do you hold it against yourself when He doesn’t?

Forgive. It will set you free.

The New Christian Mom

Or, Your mom is just as screwed up as my mom.

Men are men, agreed? Absolutely. In the church today, there is a new species of Christians; particularly the women. I see daughters of women in church that are dressed like the common tripe of the world; clothes way to tight, push-up bras, cleavage exposed, a lot of makeup, 3 inch heels, short skirts – and these are the 13 and 14 year old girls. Their mothers aren’t the least bit phased by the men that leer at their minor daughters not just because they are under the impression that Christian men would not do such a thing but because they also dress for attention.

Can you call yourself a Christian when you actively seek the things of the world?

Christian girls pose for photos that are posted online for EVERYONE to see. They are half-dressed and smiling. Well, I am here to tell you that as a married woman, I do not appreciate these teenagers dressing to tempt men, not boys…..but men. And I hold their mothers accountable because they know better. These girls are attracted to the things of the world and will eventually follow the world and its lusts.

Men are men. Agreed.

To be fair, I will tell you that I, too, ran around half-dressed looking for attention as an unsaved teenager. My mother thought I might attract a rich husband that way. But what I attracted was alcohol and men twice my age. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the world was not my friend but an enemy lurking to take my eternal soul.

Your church-going Christian mother is just as screwed up as my non-Christian mother. The only difference, Christian mom, is that you should know where the church ends and the world begins.

Abortion has a face.

You can call it choice all you want but in the end abortion has a face. Is that face yours? It was mine.

Since Roe v. Wade, over 50 million children have died due to abortion, surgical abortions only…that’s a lot of hurting women in the world and in the Church. Over 35% of post abortive women are classified as Christian. I always thought it was bad enough that secular women would choose to abort, but Christian women?

We have preconceived notions that only really bad women would choose to kill their unborn child but the world catches up with all of us when we rely on anything or anyone else but Jesus Christ.

We have to put Jesus first in everything and take all of our requests to the altar and not the secular world…no matter how much that guy says says he loves you.