Sunday, September 25, 2016

What I Know vs. What I Feel

The one thing that all mankind have in common is relationships and conflict.
1. your relationship with God (or lack of one)
2. your relationship with others (or lack of one)
3. your relationship with yourself (or lack of one)

This really is the center of all that we do.  It determines the success of our environment; our homes, our churches, our work places, our business transactions, our get-togethers, and more. We are a people of strong emotions, opinions, and passions.  The problem is that we allow these "feelings" to rule and dictate our day to day interacting with people.

This is the one area we are allowing satan (the ruler of this world for the time being) to have victory. This can change if we start focusing on the difference of what we KNOW vs. what we FEEL.  Our feelings are not a bad thing.  Remember that we were created in His image.  He made us with a soul (a unique personality) that have real emotions.  His word affirms this in Ecclesiastes 3:4
"a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." 
But these "feelings" cannot have control of our spirit man.  Our "feelings" and our "personality" is what the word refers to as our flesh.  We cannot live by, react, or be controlled by our feelings.  We must stay focused and true to what we KNOW:
Romans 8:8
"Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God."

Galatians 5:17
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want."

Galatians 6:8
"Whoever sows to please their flesh, from flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the spirit will reap eternal life."

Romans 8:13
"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live"

John 3:6
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit."
My way brings toxins and destruction and God's way brings life and peace. 

HOW? HOW? HOW............IS THIS POSSIBLE? (this is me talking louder) Doesn't the Word even give us a way out on this one and tell us it may not be possible?
Romans 12:18
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Did you catch that? It says, "as far as it depends on you."  So, that tells me you need to be responsible for you and your spirit man and leave the rest up to God.  You have to really empty your flesh everyday before God and fill yourself up with His nature.  You have to daily be intentional to apply His greatest commandments:
1. LOVE GOD (with heart, soul, and mind)

No where in that commandment does it say focus on yourself, but that is the problem.  WE DO.  We become offended, we disagree, we do things differently, we have little understanding of another's point of view or position. 

You have to know that we all have different personalities with strengths and weaknesses.  You cannot change other people.....that is God's job.  And this might be a BIG NEWSFLASH for some of you....all personalities were not created the same.  Let's not overlook that God needs all kinds of personalities to get the jobs done.  He is giving us opportunities to love and serve people of all kinds, in all places, in all ways.

 I have a naturally quiet spirit and I shouldn't try to change to be like anyone else.  Has God challenged and stretched me over the years? Yes!  My husband, on the other hand, just naturally draws people to him.  He makes it all look so easy.....grrrr! With that being said, our job is to just be the greatest influence we can try to be, while remaining in His likeness.   I love what John Maxwell said in his book Be a People Person, "What's the key to relating to others? It's putting yourself in someone else's place instead of putting them in their place."

We make the most elementary teaching in Christianity the most difficult to apply.  When you spend time in God's word (not a devotional....that's just a bonus), in prayer, in worship, and meditation you are taking on the likeness of Him.  Your spirit is giving birth to His spirit.  But when we spend time in front of the T.V, on our phone, on social media, at our kids games, with our hobbies, at the gym, with our friends....and no or little time with God, then you give birth to the flesh.  Everything is dictated by what you feel.

When I look at God's word and how relationships looked for Christ and his disciples, I don't read about conflict.  I see many things that showed that there could have been (authority, positions, disloyalty,) but the bible keeps our focus on the mission at hand.....on what we know.....verses what we feel.

Standing on what I know,
The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, September 18, 2016

What can be shaken....will be

No one can prepare anyone for the rug to be pulled from under you.  When sudden impact happens, when death comes, divorce, disease, broken friendship, adultery, unexpected financial hardship, lies, cultural based decisions that affect your family, the result is that it shakes you!

When you are shaken, the symptoms in your body are operating at a dangerous level.  Your heart is racing, you are shaking, you are crying, you are speechless, you are angry, you are sad, you are numb. 

Most look to God.  Some question God.  Some get made at God. Some get mad at themselves.  Some pull inward and get depressed while others pull upward for strength but no matter how you decide to deal with doesn't change the fact that it happened and now things are different. 

No matter why it happened....God allowed it.  Trust me, this is one that no human being can understand but I can tell you this, even when I don't understand, I still trust God and His love for me. 
When I think about my childhood, and the things that happened to me as a nine year old, I used to get so mad.  I held that inside for so long that it messed me up and I couldn't understand how an innocent child (who had no voice) could become a victim to dirty old men.  But then, I found God and now I know how much He loves me and how that had to hurt him.  I understand that sin happens in this world but God promises in His word that "He will work all things according to His good to those who love Him". (Romans 8:28)

His word talks about being shaken.  It refers to this in two areas: removal of worldly views and thinking and being rooted and grounded in Him.

I would highly encourage you to read Hebrews 12 and 13. It's all so relevant, but for this post I will refer to chapter 12: 26-28
" At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more, I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words, 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is created things- so that what cannot be shaken may remain."

Our circumstances, our tragedy, and even our human body can be altered....BUT OUR FAITH? Our faith is the one thing that should and must remain.  But how is that possible when we just described the physical and emotional levels that your body demonstrates?

It's possible friend when you let the dust settle, take a breath, and look to the Holy Spirit within you for peace.  That peace is already in you if you have accepted Christ, it's just you taking ownership to put it in working order. Is that natural? Well, absolutely not! If it was natural we wouldn't look to Him.  We are a selfish people who naturally look to ourselves first.  We have to train ourselves to die to ourselves and let Him be our Lord.....we are not the Lord of our lives (and if you are, I can probably guess how that's working for you). 

So is this even possible to not be shaken?  Let's answer that with His word:
Psalm 16:8 "I keep my eyes always on the Lord, With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 62:6 " Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 125:1 "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever."

Now let's not forget that being shaken isn't always a bad may feel like a bad thing but the Lord may be doing some serious teaching and life-changing in your soul.  He may wake up those who have been asleep , He may be strengthening your faith where it hasn't been in working order, or He may be allowing you to rely on the Holy Spirit to give peace and comfort where the things and people of this world cannot offer.  Who knows? You may never know OR you may learn through the process of being shaken.  Either way....HE IS LORD. He loves us, has plans and purposes for us, and most importantly wants to spend eternity with those who believe in Him. 

Let's not let this world "shake" us but allow God's word and prayer to be the one thing that moves us:
"After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."

We will not be people who are devastated by being shaken! We will take a breath, look up for His strength, peace, and guidance.....and move forward. 

The Mrs. Pastor

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Object Lesson

We live in a world that has so much goodness but also selfishness.  We serve a God that is so loving that He guides our steps but does not dictate them.

I shouldn't let it frustrate me, but I do, that people want to live with no expectation from God (the one who created them) and yet get mad at Him that he is not "controlling or taking care" of their issue.

In Mark chapter 11, the week before He was to be crucified on a cross for all mankind, He was still thinking of us and not himself.  Let's remember He was still flesh. He was hungry, He was tired, and He carried a huge responsibility to teach the people all that He could before leaving this earth in human form. 

He saw a fig tree that was producing no fruit.... and He cursed it.  He saw that it wasn't doing what it was created to do and went as far to say it was just taking up soil. (Luke 13:6-8)  He also saw the greed, deceit, and injustice of what people were doing to distract people in prayer in his temple. He showed great anger and spoke straight, bold, and even turned some tables.  A side note.... He had already addressed this same issue months before with these people and here we are again.  This anger was toward sin not over a personal insult or petty issue (that's a message in itself).

These two objects were His way to teach the people they were outwardly fruitless (the tree with no fruit).  There life was created with purpose to produce fruit for others.  They were inwardly corrupt (the temple that had merchants taking advantage of people and distracting the people that came to pray).   They were allowing things inside that brought greed, deceit, and darkness.

The final object lesson was about prayer and faith.  He used objects that seem "impossible" to man's eyes.  The idea of bringing a dead tree back to life and moving a mountain.(Mark 11: 20-25)

The lesson in all three of these is that GOD HAS EXPECTATIONS for our lives. He wasn't saying, "Hey, live like you want, be your own God, and then come to me and get whatever you want".  I mean, even the biggest idiot on the planet could see that would be destructive. Would we parent that way? NO!
" Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11: 22-24

But lets be educated here.  God has expectations.
1. You need to believe in Him
2. Your heart needs to be aligned with his (not praying with selfish motives)
 3. your request should be for the good of the Kingdom.

These are very difficult for the seasoned believer let alone for someone new in Christ.  Let me use this simple example that you might understand:

If you were struggling with your weight.....and at some point in your life you lost a lot of weight and you became a different person.  You were consumed with YOU.  Everything revolved around YOUR workout, what YOU were going to eat, and all your thoughts were on food, exercise, and YOU.  Is that for the good of the Kingdom?  Is that aligned with His heart?  BUT if you cry out to the Lord and ask for his help, guidance, and self-discipline to be healthier so that you might have more energy to do things for His purpose......Now we are aligned with His heart and for the good of His Kingdom.

Let's be good students and learn from these object lessons!

For the good of the Kingdom,
The Mrs. Pastor