October 17, 2017

tuesday-text-v2

Thought to share: your mind is constantly in motion, racing from one thing to the next. You’re always processing information and problem solving. This does not produce rest, give you peace or fill you with hope. Instead it creates stress, exhausting you both mentally and physically. You will only find rest as you fix your thoughts on ME. Learn how to keep ME in the center of your thoughts, regardless of what you’re thinking on, and I will help you navigate through every thought, giving you peace and filling you with hope in the process.

Isaiah 26:3 (NLT) You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!
Psalm 62:5 (NIV) Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hopes comes from Him. 
Advertisements

October 10, 2017

tuesday-text-v2

Thought to share: Grace is your word for the day. You have MY unmerited favor. You’ll never have to earn MY love. I love you because you exist. I used MY power and authority to rescue you. And now MY power and authority fills your life. You are surrounded by MY grace. MY strength empowers you. Now walk in MY grace. Extend MY grace. Love everyone in your path simply because they exist. Never require them to earn it. Use MY power and authority to rescue the lost. Take MY strength and support those around you. MY grace at work in you is not just for you, but should work through you to touch others.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (Amp) For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].
2Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT) Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

October 3, 2013

tuesday-text-v2

Thought to share: Don’t waste your time arguing, debating and finger pointing. Maximize your time by loving. Be MY hands and feet, extended in love. Display MY heart. Give MY love at every opportunity, because it’s MY love that changes the world.

Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT) Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

John 13:34-35 (NLT) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Romans 12:9 (NLT) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them.

It’s a touchy subject.

Ok. I’m about to wade into the fray. I don’t want to offend anyone, but, I’ve just got to talk about this for a minute. If you’re a follower of Jesus, I hope you won’t shut me down. I hope you’ll read to the end.

As a follower of Jesus, I am very uncomfortable with Halloween. I told you it was touchy.

Forget the history and origin of this event. I’m not sure what I can and can’t believe about this anymore. I just want to look at Halloween today. What does Halloween look like today?

Everywhere I look, I see skeletons, zombies, corpses, headless beings, mummies and ghosts – images of death. Haunted houses – houses inhabited by spirits of the dead. Rotting flesh. Dripping, smeared blood. Gory. Morbid. Macabre. The more gruesome, the better.

I also see characters of darkness in Halloween. Witches, warlocks, sorcerers, voodoo doctors and dolls, demons/fallen angels, fortune-tellers and mediums, vampires, grim reapers, satan, lucifer and devil are the roles we like to play at Halloween. We have costumes of these for both adults and children. (I won’t even get into the sexualized nature of Halloween or adult costumes. And, dare I say, even some children’s costumes have hints of sexuality.)

You also see the tools of Halloween. Knives. Meat cleavers. Machetes. Axes. Chainsaws. Rope. Scythes. Through the skull. In the heart. From the back. Sticking out of an eye. Around the neck. Carried in costume as one who uses these items as instruments of torture and death. All used to invoke terror.

And, speaking of terror, it’s the emotion of Halloween. How scary can we make it? How gross can it be? We want to frighten children and adults alike. We want to horrify, shock and terrify.

We dress our bodies in it. Paint and cover our faces with it. Decorate our homes with it. Cover our yards in it. Wrap the walls of our schools with it. Decorate our businesses in it. And – I’m heartbroken to say – we even garnish our churches with it. (yes, spider webs, ghosts and the like decorate children’s areas.)

What has happened to us as Believers, followers of Jesus, children of God? How have we come to the place that we are comfortable with this in our homes? Churches? With the whole idea?

If you are not in relationship with Abba through Jesus, I totally get why this would be normal. What’s not to like about dressing up, having a party and eating candy. It seems fun. Seems harmless. A nice diversion from everyday life.

But, as Believers, our perspective should be different. First Thessalonians 5:5 (NLT) says as followers of Jesus, we…are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. We are children of Light because Jesus is the Light of the World. (John 8:12) And, Ephesians 5:11 (NLT) tells us to Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t see any “Light” in Halloween. I can’t see the fingerprints of God in this. I can’t see Jesus, the Light of the world, anywhere in all that.

What I do see is the glorification of death, the enemy of humanity, the one Jesus gave His life to conquer (1Corinthians 15:55-57). And, once our enemy was defeated, Colossians 1:13 (NLT) tells us that Abba rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son,…. So, if death had to be defeated for us, and we had to be rescued from darkness, why do we want to go back there, and play with our enemy in his kingdom, even if for just a few hours?

I don’t see any Light in the characters of Halloween either. I listed some of them above; witches, warlocks, fortune-tellers, mediums, sorcerers, demons, etc. Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV) says that The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 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.

As followers of Jesus, this passage tells us to avoid witchcraft and sorcery. So, why would we want to pretend we are those things – even for just a day? Why would we want to identify with/as something the Bible tells us to leave alone?

And, just think about it for a moment: as followers of Jesus, would we celebrate a day to promote sexual immorality and impurity? Would we condone a day for debauchery – extreme indulgence in sensual pleasures, usually involving sex, and/or mind altering substances? Would we approve a day that promotes hatred? Or fits of rage? Drunkenness? Certainly not. So, why are we ok with a day that features and encourages witchcraft and all its accessories?

Now, I can hear many of you say: “But, that stuff is not real. There aren’t real witches or warlocks. Or voodoo doctors. There’s not a real devil. he’s just symbolic or mythological creature created by religion to intimidate Christians. (yes, there are professing Christians who believe this) And, as for fortune-tellers, horoscopes and mediums, they are just entertainment. Gimmicks to amuse us. That stuff is make-believe. Fantasy. Imaginary.”

Really? Then, why would the Bible tell us to avoid it? If it’s not real, doesn’t affect us, harm us or create issues in our lives, why would the Bible tell us to stay away from it. Why would the Bible say that involvement in something imaginary will keep us from the Kingdom of God? It must be real if the Bible is addressing it. It must be real if it will keep us from the Kingdom.

The action of Halloween is murder. That sounds so harsh, doesn’t it? But, that’s what all the knives, hatchets and chainsaws are for. No one is trimming trees or cutting meat. They are used as instruments of death. How could we as followers of Jesus ever be comfortable with that idea? At the risk of sounding prudish, there’s no humor or fun in the idea of murder. Murder is horrible, devastating and heart-breaking. Ask anyone who’s had a loved one stolen from them. It’s amazing how hysterical society can be with violent video games, guns and bullying, but turns a blind eye to cleavers lodged in a chest or knife in the skull.

And, the goal of Halloween is fear – evoking fear. But, the problem here is fear is not an emotion. Terror, horror, anxiety, fright, distress – those are emotions. But, fear – that’s a spirit. (2Timothy 1:7) I do believe in spirits and I don’t think they are the remains of those who have died. Spirits are demonic forces with an agenda to steal, kill and destroy us. (John 10:10) And, the way fear steals from us is through terror. It paralyzes peace. Robs us of sleep through nightmares. It steals joy and produces the emotions of terror, horror, anxiety, freight and distress in us.

Fear does not come from God. First John 4:16 tells us that God is love and vs 18 says love has no fear.…. The word fear in the original Greek is phobos and it means terror, alarm, panic. God does not have or cause terror, alarm or panic. In fact, the rest of vs18 says ….perfect love expels all fear. Fear cannot co-exist with Him.

Jesus is not in the center of fear-based activity. He isn’t even on the fringes.  So, if Jesus isn’t in the center of something, as followers of Jesus, why would we want to be involved?

And, as we participate in fear based events, could it be possible that we open the door for fear to operate in our life? For other demonic forces to harass us as well? Could participation in this darkness open the door for witchcraft to operate in our life, creating chaos? It’s something to think about.

I’m not suggesting that dressing up as Robin Hood, a cow or a clown is evil. (though, some would disagree with the clown part). I’m not saying that having a costume party is wrong. I’m not insinuating that a costume party on October 31st will send you to hell. I’m not even saying that carved pumpkins are from the devil.

What I am saying is this: any activity, event or “day” that glorifies death, contains characters of darkness, makes light of murder and promotes fear can NOT be good for the spiritual health of a follower of Jesus. It is the opposite of everything Jesus is.

While I don’t think it is the intention of any follower of Jesus to do something that will damage their relationship with Him or damage their spiritual health, could it be that we’ve been negligent to investigate what we’re participating in? Have we taken society’s perspective and assumed it was ok for us as children of Light? Have we just followed the crowd?

I know this is a touchy subject for so many followers of Jesus. We are easily offended by the idea that Halloween is wrong. That witches exist and satan is real. But, if you are a follower of Jesus and have been participating in Halloween, can I challenge you to set aside our opinions and experiences and ask Jesus what He thinks about Halloween? Ask Him how He feels about our participation in it? Ask Him if it’s healthy for us? Our families? Our children?

And then, listen. Honestly listen.

By now, you obviously know my position of this subject. But, I’ll share what I discovered when I asked Him the question: 1Thessalonians 5:22(NLT) Stay away from every kind of evil. And when I look at Halloween, I saw (and still see) evil – dark, wicked, malicious, foul, nefarious, sinful.

 

NOTE: When I write, I always use lower case letters for the enemy’s name and the pronouns that refer to him – even if it’s the beginning of a sentence. I can’t bring myself to dignify his existence with a capital letter.

September 26, 2017

tuesday-text-v2

Thought to share: I think you are amazing and I AM so please with you. MY thoughts of you are as numerous as the sands on the shore, filled with love, kindness and favor. Reject the idea I AM angry or disappointed with you. MY heart overflows with love for you. Look at ME and see how much I love you.

John 3:16-17 (NLT) For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world , but to save the world through Him.
Psalm 139:17-18 (NLT) How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!

September 19, 2017

tuesday-text-v2

Thought to share: when I AM at the center of your life, there is balance. When you are at the center, there is chaos. When others are at the center, your world tilts on its axis. When things are at the center, there is confusion. Your world spins out of control when anyone, or anything but ME is your center. I AM the only One enough to hold it all together. I AM the only One who can establish and maintain order, so that you live in peace and stability. Place ME at the center of you and let your life flow from ME.

Colossians 1:17 (NLT) He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.
Romans 11:36 (Amp) For from Him [all things originate] and through Him [all things live and exist] and to Him are all things [directed]. To Him be glory and honor forever! Amen.
Colossians 3:17 (Amp) Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

It happened one Sunday in Jackson, TN

I think the most sobering words in the Bible have to be the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 (NLT)‘Not everyone who calls out to Me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’

I remember the day this passage gripped my heart. I was 21 years old, sitting in a Sunday morning service at Northside Assembly of God in Jackson, Tennessee listening to a teenager tell of her experiences on a recent mission trip. At some point, she shared this verse, and it shook me. This was not the first time I had heard this verse. However, that day, the impact was so great, it was as if I was hearing it for the first time.

The words “Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter” reverberated within my soul. Grief enveloped me as I wondered if Jesus would say to me: I never knew you.

Having been raised in church, I thought I had this thing figured out. My Christian credentials were quite impressive. I won’t bore you with those details, but I had prayed the sinner’s prayer. Been baptized (multiple times). I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Went to revivals and special services. I was involved. I volunteered. I was connected. But, somehow in my 21 years of church attendance, involvement and connection, I had missed the heart of Christianity – intimacy.

That might sound odd to you. It did to me at first. But the more I explored this verse, the more I realized Christianity was not about following the rules. Initially, that’s what I thought and it was how I lived my life – always trying to follow the rules. But, this verse opened my eyes to the reality that God desires intimacy.

In verse 23, Jesus says I never knew you. The word knew is the Greek word ginóskó. I bring this up because the New Testament was written in Greek. So, for clarity, it’s important to know and understand the original word so that we can understand the original intent. If we don’t do this, we could easily misunderstand the intent or context of a Scripture or passage.

The word ginóskó means to know, come to know, get knowledge of, understand, perceive. It is also the Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. This word implies more than an awareness of; it indicates intimate knowledge of.

Ginóskó is the same word found in Luke 1 when the angel appears to Mary to announce that she would conceive and give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. In verse 34, Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.The word virgin is the word ginóskó. In other words, Mary is asking how could conception be possible since she had never been intimate with a man. She is saying: since a man has never had access to that part of me, how could I possibly be pregnant?

So, in Matthew 7:23, when Jesus says I never knew you, He is saying I was not intimate with you. I did not know your heart. I did not have access to every part of you.

Christianity is not about formulas and rituals where we live by rote and routine. It’s not about doing things for God. Jesus makes this clear in verse 22 when He says: On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’  There will be people who say; I did a lot of things at church. I did a lot of things on Your behalf Jesus. And His reply will be; Yes, you did a lot of things, but you were never intimate with Me. You were a worker, not a lover.

Christianity is about being with Jesus. Intimacy. It’s about allowing Him into every part of our lives. We’re not trying to keep up appearances with Him, do things perfectly so we’ll impress Him, or follow any rules. We are developing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. We are continually giving Him complete access to every part of us. No walls. No closed doors. Complete transparency. Total availability. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is restricted.

And, as we share our heart with Him, He then shares His heart with us. He tells us His desires, plans and what’s in His mind. We get to see what He sees. Hear what He hears. Feel what He feels. That’s how we know what His will is. Knowing God’s will comes from intimacy with Him. It is not an exchange of facts and data. It is a transfer of heart to heart. And, because we’ve seen His heart and we are intimate with Him, doing His will becomes our passion.

As we are intimate with Him, we then do things with Him – not for Him.  From the being comes the doing.

I will never forget that Sunday morning in Jackson, Tennessee. I am so thankful Holy Spirit thundered this verse in my heart and awoke me from my slumber. It changed the course of my life. It changed everything about me. And now, at the end of my life I am confident He will say to me – Hello Kim. I know you.