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

Bible Journaling has become a part of my private worship time with God. This is what the Holy Spirit brought to mind as I worked on Matthew 28:18-20...it was the word GO. It's time to MOVE y'all.


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It’s Hard to Make the Bed if Someone is Still Sleeping in it.

This title is an exact quote of what I said to my husband the other day when he slept late.  I thought it would be perfect for this post.  🙂

Bible Journaling has become a part of my  private worship time with God.  It gives me a moment to really focus in on the scripture I am illustrating…to closely listen to God speak as I lovingly caress the Word of God with my pencils and pens.

Bible Journaling has become a part of my private worship time with God. This is what the Holy Spirit brought to mind as I worked on Matthew 28:18-20...it was the word GO. It's time to MOVE y'all.

This is what the Holy Spirit brought to mind as I worked on Matthew 28:18-20…it was the word GO.  It’s time to get out of the bed you sleeper.  Put your feet on the floor.  Splash the sleep from your eyes and GO!    If not to the world, then at least to your world.  It’s time to MOVE y’all.

Bible Journaling has become a part of my private worship time with God. This is what the Holy Spirit brought to mind as I worked on Matthew 28:18-20...it was the word GO. It's time to MOVE y'all.

This is one reason I write… to encourage movement among the church, physically and spiritually.  It is hard to GO when your body and your mind is overweight and sluggish from poor eating choices, and from lack of exercise.   Inactivity causes thoughts of sleep.  Why even bother making the bed?

Let Jesus energize you O sleeper.  Awake and Go. Baptize and Teach.

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I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.


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Curb Shopping at Christmas

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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I have been feeling a bit Scrooge-ish lately and haven’t been able to put my finger on the problem until I found myself curb shopping in my neighbor’s trash last week.   It’s excess y’all.  We are a people who can put our excess to the curb without a thought…most of the time to make room for more.   Tis the season of excess.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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In stark contrast, I have observed a different kind of curb shopping taking place in Cambodia, my future home.  I have seen a man hand-cutting a certain kind of grass in the front of businesses in order to  feed his ox.  I have seen an older woman pulling a cart, stopping at every trash heap looking for cardboard to sell.  I have seen beggars sitting on curbs, and girls with baskets hoping someone will buy their boiled snails.  My daughter observed a tiny girl, perhaps six, struggling with a buggy much bigger than her, going from house to house searching for cans to recycle.  A daily struggle to survive for some.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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Back here in Texas, I have a gorgeous tree, I have spent lots of money on gifts,  I watch the holiday shows, I attend parties,  I meet up with family, I eat scrumptious food…all in excess.  I celebrate in a cheery little bubble that floats high above Bethlehem.   Sometimes I glance down lovingly at the manger as I float through the holidays, but to be honest, I am trapped in cultural distractions that steal my focus.  The cultural noise of excess drowns out His holy birth.  I have put Jesus to the curb while making room for meaningless diversions.   My Scrooge-ish mood feels a little like guilt.

So this year I will line up behind the wise men with my gift for the baby Jesus.   I will bow before Him and ask Him to make me more like Him.  To open my eyes to suffering.  To warm my heart to the helpless.  To cleanse my desire for material possessions and replace it with a desire to love Him more.  To fill me.  Then I will be ready to serve.   I don’t have much to give, but I do have me.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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+Closeup picture of my Christmas tree

++Picture of the treasure I found on the side of the road

+++Picture taken in Cambodia during the water festival

++++Picture taken of the Christmas decorations outside The Woodlands Pavilion.  We were on our way to a concert by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.

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Just because your house burns down doesn't mean you are abandoned by God. He is mysterious and His plans are always at work. My whole family learned a powerful lesson about Acts 17 the year my sister's house caught fire.


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When Finding a Lost Sheep Means Your House Burns Down

Just because your house burns down doesn't mean you are abandoned by God. He is mysterious and His plans are always at work. My whole family learned a powerful lesson about Acts 17 the year my sister's house caught fire.

I have two  missionary friends who have suddenly found themselves with no options left to them.  From circumstances beyond their control, they have had to return to the states.  Each one only served in the field for a few months.   Prayerful dedication to spreading the Word had prompted their initial decision to serve.  Months and years of preparation was at stake.  What happens when God says, “Change of plans, my child.”  What happens when God moves you?  When He changes your location? Your job?  Your church? Sends you to a hospital room?   When the move is inevitable but YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO GO!  What do you do?

You go.

This prompts me to remember  the time my sister’s house burned down.  She was forced to move…to relocate.  I can’t wait to tell you this story.

It was an insatiable thirst and restless dreaming that saved her life.  She woke up in the middle of the night for a glass of water and heard the fire crackling downstairs, woke her family, called the fire department, and then stood across the street watching the fire and water take all of her material possessions.

I want to pause in my story to unfold a scripture for you.  My sister’s story is Acts 17:26-27 lived out in the flesh.

God began by making one man, and from him he made all the different people who live everywhere in the world. He decided exactly when and where they would live.

 God wanted people to look for him, and perhaps in searching all around for him, they would find him. But he is not far from any of us

I love the word “exactly” in the Easy to Read Version.  It shows the meticulous detail God takes in our location and relocation.  In my sister’s story, the relocation was to a certain God-picked rental house while construction on the burned house began.  Coincidence?  Not according to this verse.

Okay y’all, this is my favorite part.  As the title suggests, there was a sheep to be found. His family lived next door to the rental house.  The man next door was suffering with liver disease  and unbeknownst to him did not have long to live.  He was a skeptic at first, full of hard questions. But my brother-in-law and sister led him to Jesus, and he was baptized in the hospital just days before he died.  He left behind a wife who had also committed her life to Jesus.   She continued to study the scriptures with rejoicing because of the salvation that had come to their household.

Here is the moral to the story.  The shepherd will do anything to get to a lost sheep.

ANYTHING.

Putting us in the right place at the right time is one of God’s specialties.  I love verse 27  from the  New English Translation, stating God’s motivation for deciding where and when we will live.

…so that they would search for God and perhaps grope around for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

The word “grope” is such a visual word.  It reminds me of a classic scenario in the movies.  You know the one where the very near-sighted guy trips and his glasses are knocked off.  We, as the audience, can see where they have fallen, just out of reach.  All the while the blinded character is groping, groping, knowing there is danger, but unable to see…  All it takes is for someone who can see, to nudge the glasses into the path of the searching fingers.

Spiritually, all it takes is for SOMEONE who can see, to nudge the glasses into the path of the searching fingers.  That Someone is God, nudging you, the glasses, into the path of the one groping.  Be the glasses y’all.

Just because your house burns down doesn't mean you are abandoned by God. He is mysterious and His plans are always at work. My whole family learned a powerful lesson about Acts 17 the year my sister's house caught fire.

 

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Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.


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How the Saved can Rise Above Fear-mongering

Jesus and Culture:  November 2015 Paris Bombing–March 2016 Turkey and Brussels Bombing

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil?  There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly.  Do you find yourself worried and afraid?  Are your children asking questions?  Are even the saved full of dread and fear?  The most prudent thing to do in times like these y’all, is return to scripture.

Think truth.  Most anxiety comes from concocting unfavorable futuristic scenarios in your head.  Believe me, I know about this one y’all.   The frequent “What if…this,”  and What if….that.” ALL LIES!  We must take control of all our false thoughts and focus on truth. Do this with scripture.

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

 

Pray truth.  Scripture tells you how.

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

Believe truth.  Even though you may feel that evil is closing in on the Christian community, with the political scene being more and more intolerant and Muslim extremists gleefully  extinguishing life…even though you feel this way (I feel this way) it is all as it should be.  Such things will happen in the last days.   Click here for reminder.   And here.  So my question to myself lately is this…Shouldn’t I be scanning the skies every day in these troubled times…calling up to the One on the throne, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)  I am going to try that.

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

Speak truth. Your voice needs to be louder than the timid squeaks of fear echoing around the country.  Someone in your immediate circle needs to hear scripture right now, maybe your children.

Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

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See another of my posts related to this topic:  Five Ways to Protect Against the Surprise of Evil

matthew 613

My top post is this one about my beautiful mother, maybe it will help you too.

5 spiritual lessons

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There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.


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If I am so Thankful, Then Why do I Feel so Guilty?

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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Someone I love went into the military right after high school.  He was strong, agile, and emotionally fit for basic training.  One night while he was on guard duty, a fellow soldier passed by him on the way to the restroom, but never came back out.  He hung himself.  So my loved one, the new recruit, barely wet behind the ears,  had to recover the body as part of his guard duty job.  What emotions might a person be thinking as he performed this grim task?  There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart.

Thankful for the pregnancy, guilt over the friend who can’t conceive.

Thankful for health, guilt over the one with cancer.

Thankful for wealth, guilt over those in poverty.

Thankful for a great marriage, guilt over the one suffering with divorce

Thankful for the awesome job, guilt over the one out of work.

Thankful for coming out of the military in one piece, guilt over the dead and injured.

Look y’all,  guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this. Real guilt comes from sin.  If you are a Christian, all guilt has been paid at the cross.   This misplaced guilt comes from pride.  PRIDE.  From somehow thinking that your blessings in the face of such suffering is wrong, a mistake, maybe even sinful.  Essentially it is a feeling of mistrust in your Creator.

This is trust…

 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Romans 8:18-19

So how can you be thankful for your blessings and not feel guilty?    Put God back on the throne and bow your knee to His will.  Trust that we are all on a different path with Jesus and that each is individualized, made perfect for that particular person, a path that may include suffering.   Stop comparing.  Change that guilt to compassion, mercy, and love for others.  Serve them, wash their feet.  And then throw your head back with great joy and be thankful for every gift He has given you.

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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What you are really longing for is Heaven y’all.  The place where all tears are washed away.  Where there will no longer be any curse,  Where we will all have new perfect bodies.  Where we will see the face of God.   (see Revelation 21)

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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Pictures:  + Yellowstone National Park, ++a state park in Texas, +++sunset on the family ranch in Montana

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