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The first line of the first post from each month of 2009. Done divinely by David. We’ll see how mine goes.
January: Another new year, and time once again to look at our attitudes and habits.
February: There doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground when it comes to speaking in tongues.
March: Now that my Tony has turned into a large, loud, smelly tom cat it’s time to visit the vet.
April: I think faith often starts in childhood.
May: I haven’t forgotten or abandoned you guys, and I’m not really missing, just quiet.
June: When someone says “God” what image comes to mind?
July: I’ve been playing with my new digital camera lately.
August: Reading her ad, she realized the dress had survived the past twelve years better than she had.
September: You big dummy, why didn’t you let us know you were hurting?
October: Sorry it’s been so long. I found this stupid farming game on Face Book… (forgive me, but I am sooooo bored) …well that and dozens of relatives.
November: This, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is how we make God smile.
December: She was somewhere between thirteen and fifteen years old, and she never used a computer, talked on the phone, or rode in a car.
Hmm, it’s been quite a year.
Just wondering… We hardly hear about hell anymore in the Christian Church. It’s unfashionable, uncomfortable, un-politically correct. It’s fine and well to teach the other major doctrines of the Church. They’re good and solid.
-“God is love” 1 John 4:8
-We should love God. “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind “ Mark 12:30
-God loves us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
-Of course we should teach that Jesus died for our sins. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” John 4:9, 10
-It’s also good to teach people they need to read their Bibles. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
-It’s both needful and wonderful to teach people how to live the Christian life well and successfully. (I’ll spare you the several hundred Scriptures covering that one.)
-And the big one, of course, we should be teaching people how to be saved! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31
It’s all good, all necessary, all must be taught. But…why aren’t we teaching about hell?
-How can God be love and still send people to hell?
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
-What did Jesus save us from, when he died for our sins?
The Bible says it’s better lop off your own body parts than to wind up in hell! Matthew 18:9, Mark 9:43, 45, 47
Luke’s description of the rich man in hell might give one pause. “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16:23, 24
-Mathew lets us know this is no place for a party. “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Mathew 25:30
-So does John. “and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night,” Revelation 14:10,11
It’s no wonder there are so many “luke-warm” Christians in the world today. How can we be truly grateful to Jesus Christ if we don’t know what it is He saved us from? Won’t we love our God, that much more, of we really understand and take to heart the horrible fate He spared us? What effect would that have on our obedience to Him? Wouldn’t we be more likely to share the Gospel, if we really believed in the future of those we love, who are unsaved? If we allowed the awful truth to move us, could we stand the thought of even one person being lost?
It’s easier not to think about hell. It’s much nicer to teach on the Love of God, and leave out the hard stuff. It’s certainly less controversial, and many Churches wouldn’t stand for such teaching. Makes this preacher think maybe the Apostles and possibly Jesus, Himself wouldn’t be too welcome in those Churches. They taught the hard stuff.
If we want true revival, if we want to see Christians on fire for God, and working the harvest with all their hearts, we have to start teaching the hard stuff. We’re going to have to teach hell.
This is a Christmas repost from 2007. I thought about updating and dusting it off, but decided to let it stand, as is.
She was somewhere between thirteen and fifteen years old, and she never used a computer, talked on the phone, or rode in a car. TV would have seemed like witchcraft to her, and an airplane would have inspired sheer terror. She was a sweet, simple, country girl, from a poor working family, who probably never owned more than two dresses or one pair of shoes at a time.
For her, a formal education would have been impractical and out of reach. She learned from her mother how to cook, clean, care for children, and run a home. That was her lot in life and she was content with it. She had won the love of a good man, with a tender heart, and was looking forward to becoming his wife.
She lived during a time when speaking with angels wasn’t unheard of, and wasn’t as likely to get one locked away as it is today. And an angel told this simple, virgin, country girl she was going to have a child, not just any child, but the only begotten Son of God.
No one believed her, at first, but two thousand years later people, who don’t believe any part of the old story, know her name. She is honored in song, and remembered in films. Many of us wonder if we could have borne such a heavy responsibility.
Never think that God can’t use you, because of your lack of education or speaking skills.
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
Never think your past life will hinder His use of you.
2 Corinthians 12:9 ”… for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Never be afraid to step out on faith.
Galatians 3:26 ”For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
God can and will use you, if your heart is willing.
This is actually a letter to my Pastor, but someone out there needs to read it. In it I’ve worked through the emotional side of my recent accident, which left me more shaken than I ever would have believed it could.
This time last year I had just been promoted and received a large raise. My boss almost gushed when she did my review, saying that I was good for moral. Doug nearly had more work than he could handle. We were both still very active in our old church, and looking forward to what the future would bring, despite some pretty serious problems. We kept hearing about the economy taking a nose dive, but we weren’t feeling much of a pinch. Funny how much difference a year makes.
After the first of the year, my boss told me if I wouldn’t open my availability and start working Wednesday nights and Sundays my hours would be cut. I told her to do what she had to do, and tried not to worry. About the same time Doug started getting fewer hours at work too, so we cut a few luxuries (read: We ate out less.) and went on. Things were getting worse at church too, prompting me to ask, “Is it possible to be tempted into not living out God’s will for one’s life by being given nearly everything one has ever wanted in a good, godly church?” My trusted friends gave me the truthful, but painful, answer. On January 22, we made the decision to leave Faith Baptist Church.
I think we knew then that we were headed for Aurora. Doug’s mother is so happy here. Pastor was such a wonderful change from what we were used to. Gentle, accepting and secure, he made us feel immediately welcome, which I hadn’t felt in quite some time. Rick and his wife asked us to lunch, and we told him our unhappy story. When he didn’t freak or act like I had committed some great sin, by filling in as temporary pastor at Faith, I knew we were home. We started to heal. We thought we’d been tested and made it through. We had no idea the testing had just begun.
June first, Doug was laid off. Fortunately his unemployment went through without a hitch, but that still cut his pay in half. I started making up my cut hours by staying whenever I could, so we were falling a little behind, but still not really hurting. July and August passed without work for him, but honestly I was enjoying having him home for a while. We were a bit behind though, so I made an arrangement with the mortgage company, and it looked like we’d be able to catch up. Then on September fourteenth, I broke my ankle.
It was such a stupid accident. Who falls off their own porch? Wish I could say that I was being a good employee and wanting to get to work on time, but the truth is I left a little early, in a good mood, because I’d be able to stop at 7-11 for a coffee and sandwich. Tired and careless, I missed the bottom step and went down hard. I actually heard the bones snap, but thankfully didn’t feel it. Of course, it just had to be raining.
The first sight of that ankle scared the daylights out of me. They are not suppose to bend like that! Panic set in, and I began to scream for Doug. There I am laying in three inches of water, getting rained on, screaming my head off, and he can’t hear me, because of the rain. This went on for twenty minutes, before I decided to drag myself to the car and honk the horn. I think I asked God for the strength. That’s when I remembered my cell phone was in my pocket, and called Doug.
It didn’t occur to me until a couple of days ago, that my cell phone shouldn’t have worked. It’s a cheap tracfone. It was in my pants pocket, and I was soaked to the skin. It should have been soaked and useless, but when I pulled it out it was bone dry and worked like it was new. It still shows no sign of water damage, though I used it in the rain. The very thought floors me. Maybe it’s because I can actually hold a miracle in my hand. It can’t be explained away as luck or coincidence. It simply should not have worked.
At the hospital they tried to set it twice, but decided it would take surgery to do the job. God was working then too. The surgeon they contacted usually deals with children and sports injuries, but it took someone with his skill to put Humpty back together again. The one hour surgery turned into three, because the end of the bone on the outside kept slipping into the joint, keeping it from seating properly.
Doug’s mother may never understand how much comfort she gave me, when she prayed, before my second surgery. There was no fear, just acceptance of whatever God had in store. I think it was actually easier for me than it was for her and Doug, because they had to wait it out, while I slept through it, as once again a one hour surgery turned into four, because the damage was worse than they originally thought.
I’ve always been a little impatient with wounded and sick people, who let it slow them down. I was always the one who kept on going, like the energizer bunny, no matter what else happened. If this has taught me nothing else, it’s taught me compassion. There is no way Doug can pick up my rather ample frame. Dragging oneself across the porch and through the front door, because you can’t get up the steps, will take a person down a peg or two, as will being forced to depend on someone else for literally everything.
A week to the day after my accident, we called the ambulance again, for Doug. He had to spend two nights in the hospital and have a surgery of his own. Thank God his mother was able to be there for him.
Naturally, while Doug was in the hospital, I had a doctors appointment. Once again it was his mom to the rescue, but she couldn’t get me on or off the deck either. God was there and working again. I went outside early determined to get off the deck, before she got there, so she wouldn’t worry about me hurting myself. As I stood there wondering how to manage such a feat, the trash truck drove by and then stopped. The driver walked up and asked if I needed help, and helped me lower myself to the edge of the deck. Problem solved. When his mother brought me back home, we still had the problem of getting me back in the house. A young man stopped and helped lift me to a rolling desk chair I used to get across the porch and back into the house. “God bless you.” were his parting words. He had sent me another angel.
For two months Doug and I were the neighborhood entertainment, him breaking my fall at the edge of the deck to leave, and my fanny walking back across the deck and into the house at first, then later as we both got stronger him helping me into my rolling chair. By the time we didn’t have to do it anymore we had it down to a science.
God has been hard at work during our trials. With neither of us able to work we should be hurting financially. We certainly aren’t rolling in it, but we’re not going to lose anything or have to sit in the dark. You wouldn’t think having a mortgage arrangement broken because the mail took fifteen days to get your payment there would be a blessing, but it worked out to a better arrangement for us, and weirdly we’ve been able to make the payments. I had two years of sick pay saved up, and a bonus just before the accident, which caught up all our bills, and both our cars had just been paid off. Now, even though I can’t work, my second anniversary with the company just passed, so there is vacation and personal time credited, which will get us through. Things don’t just fall into place that way without a little divine help. You would think all this would strengthen my trust in God, which it did, but it didn’t solve the problem of my broken heart.
I wasn’t just taken down a peg. I was floored, knocked in the dirt, broken. I didn’t ask, “Why me?”, but “Why can’t I handle this?” People go through worse things everyday. They lose love ones, get cancer, have heart attacks, and have much worse accidents. Why was my heart so hurt? Why did the sight of those pins sticking out of my leg hurt my feelings so much? Why was I so scared? I finally looked to the right person for the answers.
One night lying in bed, with the way my ankle looked that morning and the sight of those pins sticking out of it haunting me, I asked Jesus how He stood it, not the physical pain of what He went through, before the cross, though that had to have been tremendous, but the emotional pain He had to have felt. I poured out all of my hurt and fear to Him that night, and realized that, for me, this was a huge thing, and I didn’t have to feel bad for being hurt. There was a lesson to be learned here. It was time to find it.
A shepherd kept his sheep safe by keeping them together and close to him. Sometimes a lamb would take it into his head to wander from the herd. When a lamb made a habit of wandering, the shepherd would pick him up and break his leg. It wasn’t done to be mean, but it caused that lamb to rely totally on the shepherd as it healed. From then on the lamb stayed close and safe. Understand, I don’t think God broke my ankle, but if He did, then it needed done. I do believe however, that he can use my circumstances to me teach a lesson.
Life and ministry at Faith Baptist were hard. It’s not easy when your pastor thinks your a usurper, and tells you from the pulpit that God won’t use you. It’s rough when he threatens to run you out the door from the same pulpit. It’s hard when you buy into the lie that a church won’t grow unless it’s right with God. I let it push me down, and away from God’s plan for me. I wandered from His side, but He never moved from mine.
I surrender to the ministry of His Word. I don’t know exactly what He has in mind, but I know He uses women like Beth Moore, so He can and will use me. No more excuses. I’m a woman, big deal, so was Deborah. I surrender.
People need to know God can work a miracle with a cell phone. They need to know He can forgive and use anyone. They need to know He won’t walk away from them. They need to know He loves them.
I surrender. Please pray for me.
I’m going to spare you the view of the left side. Ick.
For the next six weeks I get to play with a new toy and crutches, for as long as I need them.
Oh well, at least I can get up the stairs on the deck now.
This, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is how we make God smile.
I’m not messing with it, because there’s nothing I can add.
First let me make it clear that I’m not particularly fond of Halloween, but I have no high, lofty, righteous reasons for it. Maybe it’s because I’m not fond of spiders, skulls, or blood, or because I don’t believe in living mummies, vampires, or ghosts. (I said ghosts not spirits. Don’t even get me started on that. We’ll be here all day.) It could be a safety issue. If my grandkids want candy, I’ll buy it for them. Truth is, it’s probably just that I’m getting old.
That said, I want to talk about an article a friend pointed out to me today, which I find very troubling. The woman who wrote The Danger of Celebrating Halloween is described as, “a sought after conference speaker and preacher”. I don’t know her and have never heard her preach, but based on this article I do wish she would educate herself on the topics she chooses to tackle.
The thing that troubles me most about this article is the constant reference to witches, as if satan worship and witchcraft are interchangeable. I’ve known a few witches in my time, even practiced as one for a short period. I never worshiped satan, and they don’t either.
It also troubles me that she claims, with no proof, that Halloween candy is cursed. Exactly how is this happening? I work at a big WalMart, and have never seen people cursing the candy. Are the miniatures being cursed at the factory in Pennsylvania? Are people cursing the trucks as they roll by? What the heck is a “time released” curse, anyway. It sounds like a frightening catch phrase to me.
Those of us who refuse to take her word on these things are called “lukewarm” Christians. We are ignoring the dangers of this “dark night”, and that just pops my cork. What we don’t need in the world is more public “shooting of our own wounded”. What we don’t need in the world is more judgmental, self-righteous, know-it-all “Christians”. To loosely quote a another friend we do not need Christians “who are so cocky they would presume to advise the Apostles”. What we need is a little more love and understanding, and a lot less fear!
Kimberly, if you ever chance to read this, please understand I’m not angry at you but at the mess we all sometimes make of our own doctrine. And when I’m done with this I’m going to sit down and pray for both of us, my sister in Christ. I can promise you one thing, no demon will ever mistake this Christian for an occult worshiper.
Sorry it’s been so long. I found this stupid farming game on Face Book… (forgive me, but I am sooooo bored) …well that and dozens of relatives.
I saw the Dr. Wednesday, and he’s happy with my progress. I am recovering nicely and getting my strength back, but I get to be a paper weight for four more weeks, because I’m still not allowed to put any weight on it.
The “gas cap” is for my bone growth stimulator.
Our household has taken a number of hits the past few months:
1) June 1st Doug got laid off, and hasn’t been able to find work.
2) Before that we’d both had our hours cut.
3) In July Doug tried a job that didn’t work out, but delayed his unemployment by several weeks.
4) I had to call the mortgage company and make a new arrangement to pay our late payments.
5) The 14th of this month I fell off the porch and broke my ankle.
6) For some reason it took 15 days for our mailed payment to reach the mortgage company, causing us to default on our payment arrangement.
7) On the 21st, Doug started to hemorrhage and had to be taken, by ambulance, to the hospital.
8 ) The 23rd he had surgery to remove 2 polyps and a couple of hemorrhoids.
9) I spent 4 hours in surgery yesterday. It seems my ankle was actually shattered.
Yes, the storms have hit pretty danged hard around here, especially the last couple of weeks, but…
… since Doug’s lay-off, we’ve been able to get a lot done around the house.
… his unemployment cleared just in time to make a larger than normal mortgage payment.
… he was here when I fell, and was able to stay home to care for me.
… the default on our payment arrangement, worked out to a better arrangement for us.
… Doug has had problems before, and now we know that it isn’t cancer, and he shouldn’t have anymore problems.
… he was home the night of the 23rd, and is doing very well.
… the doctor was able to put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again, and my ankle should be fine. I will, however set off the metal detector at the airport from now on.
There have been other blessings as well:
a) Thanks to a bonus and sick pay, I was saving, our bills are caught up until the 11th of November.
b) Both our cars are paid off.
c) My insurance will cover most of the bill for my ankle, because it was an emergency.
d) We’ve discovered we enjoy each others company, even in trying circumstances.
So, I will choose to praise Him in this storm, and thank Him for the blessings our hard times have brought to our home and relationship.
2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Psalm 56:4 “In God (I will praise His word),In God I have put my trust; I will not fear…”
… yup, I messed up good, and…
…looks like I’ll be taking some time off work.
Thank God for my wonderful husband, who is caring for me, and bought me a rolling desk chair, so I can get around a bit.