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

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.

i love 2

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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Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.


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Five Ways to Protect Against the Surprise of Evil

 

I will come right out and say it, Evil is scary. My good friend and her family live in another country.  Evil surprised her last week, really dark forces kind of evil that involved the love of money and guns.  The bad guys were foiled by the good guys and all ended well, but afterwards the breeze of that narrow escape blows across the heart, and chills the soul.

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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If you read my blog about the day my father was murdered you will know that I have experience with evil surprises.  Look y’all, you can’t just go around in panic mode, waiting for something bad to happen.  Looking around every corner, bracing yourself for the bogyman to startle you  That’s called anxiety, and you were not meant to live like that.  God wants you full of His peace.

To be honest y’all, I struggle with this one.  Here are five ways scripture tells us to protect from the surprise of evil.


Pray.

Christ showed His disciples how to pray in Matthew 6.

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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This one line from the Lord’s prayer is a weapon against the unseen forces that swoop in to kill you daily.  And yes, you are being stalked.  You are prey.  Walking alone without the deliverer is not smart. He is the one who fights, He is the one who protects, He is the one who yanks you out of the way when the attack comes.  Deliver me from the evil one in the name of Jesus.


Be Alert.

Alertness is different than nervousness.  Alertness suggests being aware of your surroundings.   Watching, listening…ready to snap into Spiritual action when you hear the lion leap.  And he will leap.

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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Use Your Sword.

We are only given one offensive weapon in the armor Paul describes in Ephesians 6.  The sword of God’s word.  The scriptures.  The very thing Jesus used against Satan when He was being tempted.  He whipped out His Sword and made quick work of the enemy.

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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Gather an Army.

In a battle, wouldn’t you rather face the enemy with a whole bunch of people wielding swords, carrying shields, and lifting their voices in a war shout?  Cultivate your companions.  Diligently search for people who are dedicated to Jesus.  Y’all, this is me being blunt…Friends who never even say Jesus’ name out loud around you are useless in a battle.  I’m just saying…

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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Speak out loud to the enemy in the name of Jesus.

Do you believe Satan can read your mind?  I don’t.   Force him to hear the name of Jesus spoken out loud.  Subject him to the power of the Holy Spirit pushing Him back as you breathe out the word of God, as you tell him to leave you alone.

Usually evil surprises us in the worst possible way so it is a good idea to be prepared with these five ways of protection...with free printable bookmark.

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Five Ways to Protect Against the Surprise of Evil Bookmark PDF

Pictures:  +taken in a Cambodia museum where prisoners of Pol Pot were housed and tortured, ++I posterized a sunset and discovered all these cool layers, +++a walk in a Texas woods looking up through the trees.  The original picture is full of greens and blues and is anything but ominous, ++++a really cool gate I found on a visit to Key West that I tinted green, +++++I posterized these purple flowers that I found on a walk with my sister in Little Rock.    I use PicMonkey free graphics with my pictures.

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Thoughts from a rainy Texas highway. You see, on the highway, floods will deceive. They will hide danger. They will draw you in. They will call to you.


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Turn Around, Don’t Drown

I wrote this blog in 2016 and it seems appropriate to re-post it since my state is currently suffering from the remnants of another hurricane, Harvey.

In my part of Texas we are suffering from steady rains…remnants of Hurricane Patricia with another southern system joining it from the Gulf of Mexico, and a front hitting us from the north.   I flew into Houston last night on a bumpy flight, and was welcomed by this rainy weather.  On my two hour drive home, we noticed highway signs flashing warnings to “Turn around, don’t drown” if roads became flooded.  You see, on the highway, floods will deceive.  They will hide danger.  They will draw you in.  They will call to you.  This is getting spiritual y’all. In your rush to get to the other side you might become careless, thinking to yourself that you can handle it, all the while inching closer to being swept away.

Wait!  WAIT!  W-A-I-T!

Don’t get swept away by anxiety, by fear, by longing, by sorrow.  Wait on the Lord, He will rescue you.

Thoughts from a rainy Texas highway. You see, on the highway, floods will deceive. They will hide danger. They will draw you in. They will call to you.

i love 2

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