Lessons learned for the Christian life.

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

    1 John 2:4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

   I spent decades of my life knowing about and believing in God but that didn't make me any better off than a demon (James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.) The Word of God is crystal clear, there are a lot of folks walking around believing in God, even ministering in His name, that do not know Him (Matthew 7:21 “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. 22 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.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.) 

   The words "know" and "knew" (underlined above) are the same words in the original Greek. They both mean to be familiar with, understand, acknowledge,(Louw-Nida) or, describes a close acquaintance with someone (Strong's Greek 1097) 

   I walked around for twenty-some years saying that I was a Christian (worst of all believing it) but I had absolutely no close acquaintance with God. God never knew me and I didn't know Him because I had chosen to obey Angie, instead of God. 

   There are two commands that Jesus gave us to obey; love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27, Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus personified these 2 commands and we are to do the same if we really, honestly want to know God. The important thing to consider is that we absolutely cannot live our lives as Jesus did, not in our own strength. That drives home the meaning of these verses, you can't be a Christian, unless you have God. Knowing, believing and serving God mean nothing without a relationship with Him.

   Dear Lord,
Please forgive me for all of my thoughts, words and actions that were not honoring to You. I am turning from those things and focusing on following You. Forgive me for  loving other things more than you. I know that ever person, activity or possession that I value more than you becomes my god. I am choosing today to put you first, to love you above all others and with everything I have. Please fill me with your Spirit to guide and strengthen me. I know that you love me far beyond my own hearts capabilities to love, change my heart so that I can love you more. Make my desires yours. Thank you!
In Jesus name, Amen.


I Can't Take Anymore!!!

    1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

   We have all heard it, and chances are that you have said it too. "God will never put more on you than you can handle." The problem is that the Bible doesn't say that. It isn't in there. What the Bible does tell us is that we will not be tempted beyond our ability to to overcome. That means that we will never be at a point where we simply have to sin because we are not strong enough to say "NO".

   The fact is that life gets hard, being a Christian does  not spare us from that, and it may actually increase what we have to endure. Early Christians were persecuted and tortured. Job lost absolutely everything, his wife, children, friends, possessions. Jeremiah cursed the day he was born. Elijah asked that God take away his life and these are just a few examples!

   So what do we do now? Now that we know that God very well may put more on us that we can stand? What do we do when it happens to us? What do we tell our friends and family when it happens to them? We follow the example of Paul in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (New Living Translation)8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. 11 And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.

  Merciful Lord,
Forgive me for believing that I could ever make it through these times on my own. You are loving and faithful. Thank you for coming to my rescue. Remind me to turn to you always and in every circumstance. 
In Jesus name,


Put Me In Coach !

   Romans 12:6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

    In the church, just as in the world, there are "doers" and there are "watchers". I believe that it is God's intention that all believers get into the game. Every member of a body of believers has a purpose that is specific to them, and that no other member of the body can do like they can. Ever single one of you has a God given gift that is just for you. He has given you an ability to do something, so that you will do something!

   I have spent a little over 2 years in ministry in the church. At first I just focused on music, that is a gift and a passion that God had given me. Then other positions presented themselves, they weren't necessarily areas that I was gifted in but they were jobs that needed to be done. I found that taking on responsibilities that were not in my area of giftedness  only took time and energy away from my calling. I was getting burned out because gifted members of our church body were staying on the sidelines instead of getting into the action. 

   I have to wonder if God is pleased when we come into His church just to warm a pew. It isn't about showing up, it is about being obedient. So get off the bench, Christian, you have work to do.

Take a free Spiritual Gift Test HERE 

Please forgive me for just showing up. I am amazed that you always know which gift to give to each person. Thank you for giving me the gifts I need to serve you.  Give me the desire to do the work that you have planned for me.
In Jesus name,

More Than Words

   I taught a group of about 10 kids last week about prayer. Church kids all know what prayer is. We do it before the offering, we do it at the end of the service, we do it before we eat and before bed. I started to wonder if there were any adults out there with the same mindset. That prayer is just something you do at certain times of day, just because.

   I asked the kids about their very best friend, the one they loved and shared all their stuff with. Then I asked if they ever talked to their friend, and if so, how often. I asked them if they thought their friend would still be their best friend if they never talked to them again, or worse, if the friend only talked to them if they wanted to borrow something.

   When we give our lives to Christ, He should become the most important person in our life, our best friend and confidant. As the kids in my class all noticed, you have to talk to your friends constantly in order to feel close to them. Prayer isn't asking for help or things we want and need. It is intimate communication between 2 people who love each other.

   If you are feeling a distance from God, or if you are unsure of where He is leading you or what He wants you to do, I have a secret for you and it will blow your mind....... talk to Him. The Bible tells us to devote ourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2) and never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That doesn't mean that you go to God with your laundry list of what you want Him to do for you, what kind of friend does that? Be respectful, remember who you are speaking with.

   My dad ( loves acrostics, and he often shares C.A.T.S. to help others with their prayer life.

C= confess, ask for forgiveness for the sins you have committed, and turn away from them
A= adore, praise God for who He is
T- thank, show gratitude for shelter, food, health, family, finances, answered prayer........
S= supply, ask God to provide for your needs, ask for guidance

   Remember that there is nothing that you can tell God that He doesn't already know, but He still wants to hear from you and make sure to leave time while you pray to be quiet and listen for His replies. 

I am humbled to come before you. You are mighty and holy God and I praise you. Forgive me for ever neglecting to communicate with you, forgive me, Lord, for the things I do to displease you. Thank you for your presence, thank you being faithful and merciful. I thank you for the gift of salvation, for my family, my health, and for loving me. I am asking that you would continue to draw me closer to You, guide my steps, give me understanding when I read Your word. 
in Jesus name,

Drinking Poison

   Matthew 6:14-15  If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    One of  the hardest things I have ever had to do was forgive someone who didn't ask for it. I think it is easier for me  to forgive if the forgive-ee is at least sorry for what they did. I mean, when they are sorry, we sort of win, right?

   When we refuse to forgive someone who we believe has wronged us it begins to compound into animosity and bitterness. Unforgiveness leads to a grudge, and holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. It is only going to make you feel worse, and perhaps worst of all, the other person won't feel a thing. Let's be honest here, we really just want them to feel bad about hurting us, don't we?

   Being the bigger person is never easy, rarely well received but always the the right choice. The Bible is clear that the consequence for withholding forgiveness from others is that we will not be forgiven by God. I sit here and think about that last statement, is there really anything in this world that someone could do to me, that would be worth me having to stand before the throne and not be covered by the forgiveness given to me. Forgiveness that I didn't deserve or earn, but that was freely given.

   Colossians 3:13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 

    Mark 11:25-26  But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. But if you refuse to forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.

Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for forgiving me. Help me to forgive others. 

  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

   We base much of our self worth on our appearance. If we look good we feel good. I don't think there is anything wrong with looking our best, until it threatens to cause another believer to stumble(Romans 14:13,21). Women especially need to be mindful of what we are flaunting. Our Christian brothers need only look at us with lust to be considered guilty of adultery(Matthew 5:28).

   This was one of the first issues that I was convicted of when I became a Christian. At that time I didn't own a lot of clothes that "covered the girls". I understand that it is a little more work to go into a store and try to find clothes that cover your body because "sexy" is in, but you can still be beautiful without showing to the world the things that God intended to only be seen by your husband.

   Modesty is not an outdated idea that we do not need to adhere to because every other woman on the planet is "showing what she's workin' with". That is exactly one of the reasons we must practice modesty.  The "rules" of the world are not for us. We must hold ourselves to a higher standard, we are called to be holy, because God is holy.

   Next time you find yourself in the clothing store, take a few extra minutes to stop by the dressing room when you find something that looks decent on the hanger. When you try it on ask yourself these things;

1. Would my father have let me out of the house wearing this?
2. Would my Father view me as a holy woman wearing this?
3. Could I cause my brother to stumble by wearing this?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, keep looking :)

I Get By With A Lil Help From My Friends

   Friendship is no doubt one of the most treasured relationships that  women have. This starts at a very early age. My 7 year old niece and my 6 year old daughter have declared themselves BFFL's  <which I am told means Best Friends For Life>  This same little niece was completely heartbroken last week when my older daughter, told her that she had been BFF X'd <or X'd for short> <facepalm, I am so proud <sarcasm>> As you can imagine my niece was devastated.

  Our friends can bring us so much joy, and at the same time unimaginable pain, because we grant them unrestricted access to our hearts, our secrets, every part of us. There is always the possibility of being hurt or being the hurt-er when you bring people into your life and your heart. We are not perfect, our friends aren't perfect so there are bound to be misunderstandings along the way.

   I would love to say that I have a lot of friends, and that everybody likes me. I am just not one of those people that allows many people to get that close. My BFFL's include my mother, sister and sister-in-law. About 2 years ago I met a woman that has become so dear to me. We have become close over the last year, and she is such a blessing.

   Julia is one of those ladies that attract others to her. She is so strong, beautiful, determined, and probably the funniest person I have ever met and she can sing to boot! Our love of music brought us closer when we both served on the praise team at our church.  Julia inspires me and I thank God for her.

   Friendship is a tremendous gift. Count yourself blessed if you have just one good friend that you can share your life, your struggles, your tears and your joy with and while you are sharing all of that, do not neglect to share your faith with your friends, you are responsible for them.

Be the sort of friend you want to have.

Dear Lord,
Thank you for bringing ladies into my life that challenge me to be a better Christian, mother, wife and friend.  Forgive me for not always being the friend they deserve and help me to be a better friend at every opportunity I am given. I pray that you would bless my friends, keep them safe and draw them closer to you. 

Have You Forgotten Who You Are?

   I am going to send this one out particularly to women, but the message is just as true for men. I am choosing the ladies because I know that we spend way to much time acting like what we aren't - instead of being who we are in Christ.

Exodus 20:16
You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
Leviticus 19:16a
Do not go about spreading slander among your people.
Proverbs 11:9a, 12-13
9 With their words, the godless destroy their friends,
12 It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor;
 a sensible person keeps quiet.
13 A gossip goes around telling secrets,
but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

Matthew 12:36
36 And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.

   Angry, Vengeful and Argumentative-
Psalm 37:8 
Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
Proverbs 20:3
Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
only fools insist on quarreling.
Proverbs 29:22
An angry person starts fights;
a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
Ecclesiastes 7:9
Control your temper,
for anger labels you a fool.
Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

   In the movie The Princess Diaries, after Mia discovers that she is a long lost heir to a royal family and next in line for the throne of Genovia, the first thing she does is undertake a complete make-over, and I am not just talking hair and nails. She is taught how to sit like a lady, address people who speak to her  and carry herself in public. We would expect no less from a princess, am I right? No one wants to be around a spoiled little snot who always gets their way and doesn't know how to treat people.
   Why do we require any less of ourselves? Ladies, we are Heirs of Christ! You are daughters of the King! We are one with the Lord in spirit, we are the body of Christ. How is it possible to be a part of Christ's own body, and  a temple for His Spirit and still be so unmercifully cruel to each other.
   We are chosen and appointed to bear fruit, which is hard to do when we are throwing it at one another. It is time we start behaving in a manner that is pleasing to our Lord. We are chosen of God, holy and dearly loved, children of light, gracious and respectful, new creations who act justly and love mercy.
   We don't  have to prove ourselves, we just have to be the women that God created us to be. 

   Almighty Father,
Forgive me please for allowing myself to take part in these things I am ashamed that I have dishonored you by gossiping, holding grudges, and knocking my sisters in Christ down instead of lifting them up.  I do not want to be the spoiled little snot who doesn't know how to treat people. Help me to be the woman that you want me to be. Give me the strength to stop before I say or do anything that will hurt someone else.

Put Your Listening Ears On

   I spent the first 2 years of my Christian life leading a music ministry. In the beginning I thought that this would be my life's calling. It surprised and confused me when the joy I had once felt in the ministry was quickly replaced with dread and frustration. I ignored the desire to move on for about a year, I just put my nose to the ground and plowed through, thinking that if I could just keep going that I would get my joy back and everything would be hunkydorey.

   Yeah, that didn't happen, the harder I pushed through the worse I felt. There were other circumstances that aided in my lack of joy at the time, but it all boiled down to God having other plans for me. It hadn't occurred to me that God could/would change His mind about what He wanted me to do with my life. I thought I had it all figured out, maybe that was my first mistake.

   It took me a few weeks to get a grip on my emotions and sincerely seek God and His direction, but once I did, there was no mistaking that He was on the move and I had to get into gear. I could have saved myself countless hours of hurt if I had only sought God when I first felt my spirit become unsettled.
James 1:5-8 says5 If you need wisdom -- if you want to know what God wants you to do -- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 They can't make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.

Dear Lord,
Forgive me for ignoring Your voice, I may not hear you in words but Father my heart knows when You are speaking to me. Help me to listen.
I love you,

Telling God "NO"

   I am reading through the Bible this year and today, January 20, 2011 has me right smack in the middle of Egypt with Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh.

   Telling God "No", let's face it, is never a good idea. Moses did it at the beginning of Exodus, first by saying that he wasn't good enough to appear before Pharaoh. Then Moses said that even if he did what God asked him to do, the Israelites wouldn't believe him, because he didn't know what name to call God and  he didn't think the Israelites would believe that he had met with God. Moses finally just said, you know what, I can't do this, talk to the King of Egypt, or to the Israelite people, because I stutter when I talk. Many people can recognize this story, and that God provided for each of these excuses that Moses gave. I think a lot of Christians forget the fact that soon after this encounter, God was going to kill Moses, he was only spared because of a sacrifice that his wife made, Exodus 4:24-26.

   Pharaoh made these same lapses in good sense when he refused to let God's people, the Israelite's, leave Egypt to worship God in the wilderness. At first his answer was a flat out "NO". Then he agreed to let God's people go, only to change his mind once the plagues had been removed. These plagues had gotten so bad that he agreed to let the men go, but not the livestock women and children, it wasn't until all of the first born of Egypt had been killed, including those in Pharaohs own house, that Pharaoh obeyed God and let Israel go.

   Christians today can be just as stubborn as Pharaoh and Moses. I have had feelings of inadequacy that have prevented me from doing something that God had led me to do. I have flat out said "NO" because I just didn't want to do it. I have tried to appease God by doing it half-way. God didn't try to kill me over it, but I can honestly tell you that I could feel a distance between God and myself until I made it right. I never felt happy, fulfilled and the fullness of God's blessings until I obeyed, and did it His way.

Forgive me for being so enamored with my plans and my ideas that I refused to do your will. Thank you for your patience mercy and grace that I do not deserve. I love you Lord, help me to follow you. Strengthen me to do what is right. Give me the wisdom and knowledge to know your will when you present it to me. Fill me with your Spirit and love so that I have an abundance to show to others.
In Jesus name,