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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Even IKEA knows humans like comfort. How creative are you at avoiding discomfort?


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Do You See Red When Your Comfort is Compromised?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the spiritual aspect of discomfort, especially when I find myself dripping with sweat in the Cambodian heat, or when I am running low on money,  or maybe even when I can’t find something decent to watch on Netflix.  It’s funny (and wonderful) when I run across a scripture that puts an exclamation mark on my thoughts.

Even IKEA knows humans like comfort. How creative are you at avoiding discomfort?

I believe the majority of each person’s day on earth  is spent in pursuit of comfort…the avoidance of discomfort.   Do you agree?  Babies come into the world howling for comfort.  “I’m wet, I’m hungry, I’m cold, I’m in pain.”  Adults are just as bad.  We like to vocalize our discomfort too.   Did you know that IKEA takes a yearly survey to ask people around the world this question, “What makes a better life at home?” (you can find this information here) In 2018 these were the five results that appeared over and over again:

  • PRIVACY
  • SECURITY
  • COMFORT
  • OWNERSHIP
  • BELONGING

In scripture there is a famous story that illustrates the fact that Jesus requires His followers to step away from comfort in order to prove faith.  Jesus asked the rich young ruler to, “Follow me.”

What He really meant was…

Follow me everyday, every hour, every minute, every second.

Follow me and leave everyone you love behind you, even if they don’t understand.

Follow me with no house, no bed, no pillow.

Follow me and be hungry, hot, cold, and wet.

Follow me with one set of clothing, no soap, and lots of bugs.

Follow me and be cursed, beaten, and tempted constantly.

Oh, and sell everything you own and give it to the poor.

The scripture says that the young man sadly walked away.  (read the story here) It wasn’t just money that Jesus commanded him to leave behind.  His mind saw the reality of discipleship, and he was overcome with fear of a future with Jesus.

But there was a different reaction by the apostles when they were given the same invitation by Jesus to, “Follow me.”  Unlike the rich young ruler, these apostles didn’t care about the deficits they might be facing.  They joyfully stepped out of life as they knew it, into an adventure of a lifetime,  Jesus.

Can you apply a modern day example for your life here?  What is He asking you to do that makes you uncomfortable?  I know there is something, because scripture says Jesus continually asks His followers to deny themselves.

He’s standing at your door and knocking.  Not pounding.  Not yelling.   He’s just knocking and knocking and knocking and knocking…for as long as it takes for you to open the door.  Then the most exciting thing will happen y’all.  Scripture says He will come into your house and eat with you as a friends.  Meals are where we linger, where bonds are made.  Meals are sharing of nourishment, soul and body.  Will you be uncomfortable?  Probably.  Will you cry?  Most likely.  Will He require much?  Yes, He always does.   Will He abandon you when you take a beating?  Never.  Will His love make all the difference?  For sure.

Even IKEA knows humans like comfort.  How creative are you at avoiding discomfort?

This life of following Jesus is hard.  To me though, every bump along the way has seemed like a paper cut compared to the deep, spiritual mentoring I have received from Him. But beware!  The enemy will do everything in  his power to keep your hand off of the doorknob.  If fear presses you to bolt the door, then you will stay comfortable, but sadness will overtake you.  Just like the rich young ruler in this story.  It won’t matter though, Jesus will keep knocking. I love that about Him.

Lord, I pray over the person who reads this post and knows in her heart that Jesus is asking her to step up or step out.  Fill her with courage to move forward with You.

These have been comments on the Words of Jesus in Matthew 19:16-22

Blessings, Alice

The picture used is our Cambodia front doors with flowers from the garden in the foreground.

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There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.


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Why do you want to go to Heaven?

Why do you want to go to heaven?

Is it to see someone that you miss desperately?

Is is to escape something terrible?

Is it to get relief from pain?

Is it to avoid hell?  (yes, there is a hell)

There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.

These are all legitimate desires, but not one is spiritual.  Self-preservation and self-gratification are favorite ways for the enemy to tempt the one looking too closely in the mirror.  One juicy bite of pride in the garden long ago caused the Father to leave. The God of the universe, who was once seen by two pair of eyes, is now referred to as invisible.   I wonder if Eve, after all the punishments were announced,  I wonder if she missed her intimate life with God?  Did she long to hear His footsteps in the garden?  Was the worse consequence she received that day, the separation from her Creator?

That’s all God wants of us ya’ll.  He wants us to long to see Him.  To anticipate a reunion. To love Him more than that special person you miss.

I have personally had heaven issues in the past, one of the reason for this post.  I artfully hid this secret from my inner self.  The fact that Jesus was in heaven was just secondary to the reason I really wanted to go.   Thankfully the Holy Spirit specializes in wake up calls.

So exactly what did my repentance look like?

Honesty came first.  I didn’t love God as He commanded…with all my heart, my soul, my mind and my strength.  I was a halfhearted lover.  And y’all, that’s never good for a relationship.  (I wrote a post about that here) Next I admitted to myself that I was helpless in knowing how to drum up this kind of passion in my love for God.  Finally,  I turned to the Holy Spirit for help.  He helped me change my behavior toward God.  And let me note here, the behavior came first, the fervor came later… a miracle performed by my friend the Holy Spirit.  I began drinking in scripture, praying with purpose,  making time for solitary praise and meditation, and I started talking about Jesus to everyone…just as if I couldn’t live without Him.  Soon I discovered I couldn’t.

There are a whole lot of ways to answer this question, just make sure yours is the right one. Mine wasn't.

Now… HIS face is the first one I want to see when I step out of my earthly body.

In my imagination,   this is what heaven looks like to me.  Upon my arrival, those I love are close but not in the forefront.  They are to the side eagerly anticipating  the moment I catch the first glimpse of the One who died for me.  My eyes are locked on Jesus as my mother and father take my hands.  Together we worship Him, joining our voices as a family united in our joy.  He is the center of our attention.  As it was in the beginning.

Blessings, Alice

Picture:  taken on my 2018 trip to Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park, Colorado.

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Loving God has been a problem for me in the past, so if you find yourself at odds with your Maker, this is the post for you.


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How to be Sure You Really Love God

Loving God has been a problem for me in the past, so if you find yourself at odds with your Maker, this is the post for you.

I believe that every human hides truths about themselves from themselves. The younger me was dedicated to scripture and to Jesus, but when I searched the deep hidden places of my soul, I admitted to myself that I loved my family more than Jesus.  The greatest command, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”   just seemed out of reach.

Loving God has been a problem for me in the past, so if you find yourself at odds with your Maker, this is the post for you.

The solution for me?  I did something extremely simple.  I just asked the Father to help me.  And He did.

So how can you be sure you really love God?  Take a look at the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, commonly used in weddings and such.  Go deeper with me, and make these verses about your relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

LOVE IS PATIENT

Do I smile while  I wait for Him to move?

LOVE IS KIND

Am I kind in my thoughts and words toward God when trouble comes and stays awhile?

IT DOES NOT ENVY

Am I jealous of the relationship God has with other of His children?  Do I compare their blessings to mine ?

IT DOES NOT BOAST

Do I take credit for God’s accomplishments in my life?

IT IS NOT PROUD

Do I limit my time with Him because it’s inconvenient?

IT DOES NOT DISHONOR OTHERS

Do I say God’s name in a careless way?

IT IS NOT SELF-SEEKING

Do I forget to say, “Thy will be done.” when I pray?

IT IS NOT EASILY ANGERED

How do I react when He doesn’t give me what I want?

IT KEEPS NO RECORD OF WRONGS

Do I make a list of the times life just doesn’t seem fair for me?

LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH

Do I rejoice in the promises of scripture even when culture calls the Word a fairy tale?

IT ALWAYS PROTECTS

Will I take a blow for Jesus?

ALWAYS TRUSTS

Is my default TRUST even when I am confused?

ALWAYS HOPES

Do I actively look forward to the day we will be face to face forever?

ALWAYS PERSEVERES

Do I keep running toward Him even though I sometimes have moments of doubt?

LOVE NEVER FAILS

Will love bring me to my final breath?

Does your Love checklist look less than perfect?  Mine too.  His ask Him to help y’all.

Click here for a  PDF of this love checklist in case you want to post it on your mirror or tuck it in the pages of your Bible.

Blessing, Alice

The pictures used in this post were taken in Houston of a church across the street from Minute Maid stadium.  My husband and I were on our way to an Astros game when we were stopped by the traffic light.  I rolled down the window and took these pictures.  I later enhanced them with PicMonkey photo editor.  It was a cloudy day and the steeple looked so cool against that stormy sky.

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Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.


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It Didn’t Happen

Have you had something moderately bad happen to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse?  I originally had these thoughts in my former blog, 365 Days of Praising.  At that time My son-in-law had been mildly injured by a wire stretched between two trees.  The danger went unnoticed in the darkening evening.  Afterward, the family realized that a few cuts compared to something worse was worth exclaiming over.   I think those little moments pass us by without much notice on our part.  We dust ourselves off and keep on living, not giving the gift much thought.  I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

Go deeper by contemplating the  ultimate rescue and the things that didn’t happen when Jesus made the decision to sacrifice. Jesus deliberately made choices that set forgiveness of sins in motion.  

Jesus didn’t give into temptation in Gethsemane.

He didn’t run from prolonged suffering.  

He didn’t call His army of angels.

He didn’t use His power against humiliation.

He didn’t reject the nails. 

He didn’t go against His Father’s will. 

He didn’t hate the sinner that separated Him from God.

He didn’t hold a grudge against the Apostles for leaving Him.

He didn’t give into the devil.

He didn’t escape that final breath. 

He didn’t stay in the grave. 

“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT

Have you had something moderately bad happens to you, but once the shock of it is over, you realize it could have been much worse. I am guilty of forgetting to praise Him about these fleeting moments of rescue.

  Blessings, Alice

I took this background picture when visiting a very ornate church building in Little Rock, Arkansas during one of my sister’s doctorate ceremonies before her graduation.

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There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.


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Two Ways to Bear a Burden

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

Without God

Bearing burdens without God includes lots of fear, stress, anxiety, and plenty of self-pity.  Burdens are heavy y’all.  It’s like the earth’s  gravity has increased and each movement is cumbersome and toiling.  My heart is heavy, my soul is heavy, and I get so tired.  Tired.  Wondering if the heaviness of what I am carrying will squish me right into the earth.  When my youngest son was hit by a Mack type Truck while riding a motorcycle in Cambodia, I was beside myself with fear.  God spared his life.  He survived with a broken pelvis and dented up arm.  But then the fever came.  Sitting in a developing 3rd world hospital was scary enough, but waiting for the fever to break caused me to just about come undone.

It doesn’t have to be a dramatic accident that causes us to lose it.  It could be the day to day living in an oppressive situation or the unending absence of an unanswered prayer.  It’s times like these when the enemy loves to lie to God’s children.   I can’t begin to understand God’s will, and why some things happen, but I do know that in life,  God requires us to go through hard times.  It may be for a  moment, or it may be for a season, but some things are just required.

There are two ways to bear a burden:  with God and without God...and I hate to say it but I am experienced in both ways.

With God

My advice for bearing burdens with God, comes from the direct experience of failure.  Wallowing in my fear, I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten so far from God.  I took these measures to reset my faith.  First, I decided to admit my need for help to people who could remind me of scripture and pray over me.  I also found comfort in the promises found in the Word and in the declarations of God’s character…a sure way to fight the lies from the devil.    Sometimes I would fall asleep quoting particularly relevant verses over and over.   I also took deep spiritual comfort in the idea of sharing in Christ’s suffering.  Another way I fought my way to peace was to be grateful.  I made a list and used it when I prayed.  Finally, I admitted to myself that I had a problem with trust.  I begged Jesus to show me how to say “Not my will but Yours.”  (links to scriptures are included)

I love what Oswald Chambers said about burdens:

“Roll thy burden upon the Lord”– you have been bearing it all; deliberately put one end on the shoulders of God…Commit to God “that which He hath given thee”; not fling it off, but put it over onto Him and yourself with it, and the burden is lightened by the sense of companionship.

There have been time when I have been so distraught that words can’t be formed.  Those final days when my mother lay suffering with ALS were a nightmare….a perfect moment to turn to the Comforter.  Pray to the Holy Spirit ya’ll.  Tell Him to take your groans before the Lord…and He will.

Blessings, Alice

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