STOP DIGGING

STOP DIGGING!

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

 

“A stone may have been lying at the bottom of her riverbed for 10 million years,
but if you pluck it out and set it in the sun, in five minutes it is dry.”

 

 

“If you take a dry stone from the bank and switch it in the water for just two seconds, put it down to dry again, then a moment after, you will not be able to tell the difference between the two stones. The one that was wet for millions of years is just as dry now as the stone that was only wet for a few seconds.” Tolly Burkan

 

 

 

The point? Your future does not reflect your past. No matter how long you have been telling your story and living stuck in the bondage of your status quo, once you set an intention to make a shift into a new level of living, the quality of your life can change forever.

 

 

A life that has been newly found has exactly the same dynamic energy as someone who has been living that life for decades. The moment you start expressing your newfound life, you bring new life to everyone and everything you touch. To coin an old phrase, you can hold a candle to anyone! If you are holding a candle, a hundred people can lineup with unlit candles, place theirs in your flame, and walk away with a flame of their own. And even after you have given that much of yourself, your flame is not diminished.

 

 

Let your light shine; it will illumine your way out of the dark hole of your problem.

 

 

The first rule about holes: If you are in one – stop digging!

 

 

We have tried to do things alone and it has not worked. What we need, “Is spiritual guts! Spiritual G U T S means, – Going up to Spirit!” Stop digging!

 

 

Based on the Greek Orthodox spelling of Crist, the only difference between crisis and Christ is – is the letter T. The T stands for TRUST. So, stop digging.

 

 

We are here to find freedom in God. Freedom is a state of being without thought or restraint of bondage, limitation or repression, or digging ourselves into a hole. Freedom is having a sense of complete well-being. It is a result of living our life according to God’s Truth.

 

 

Freedom is about learning to live Christianity, to make it real in our day-to-day living. We make it real when we make the decision, and choose, to commit to live in the way of Christ  and can stop digging..

 

 

 

When we make that commitment, we start moving on our spiritual path, in that we begin to make conscious choices. That is what life is about-not being a victim any longer, and not allowing outside pressures to break us down, or to cave in on us. It is about living in the moment and making conscious choices that allow us to change. It’s about making that choice NOT to dig in any deeper.

 

 

In that change, we begin to know that there is only one Presence and one Power of God, and that we can be one with God.

“For to us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

 

 

And Freedom is about choice. We can choose to dig or to fly – to trust regardless of the human propensity to feel the need to be secure (even in our victimization). Helen Keller said, “It is mostly superstition. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either an exciting adventure or nothing.”

 

 

 

Yes! I want my life to be an exciting adventure, forgetting, for a moment, that an exciting adventure is not usually very comfortable. Yet, I still make that choice in trust, in trust of our Lord. We want our lives to be an exciting adventure because that is what we are about-learning that we are an expression and the creation of God.

 

 

 

One woman said, “This reminded me of a time when our son was taking skydiving lessons. He came into the pastor’s office (I was there also) and was so excited about it. He was going out the next morning, and he started explaining to us what he was going to do and how he was going to do it when he jumped out of this airplane. I could hear and feel the fear in his voice. Yet, it was about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. That was an exciting adventure.”

 

 

 

We do have that choice. We can choose to try to stay in that very safe space. Yet, trying to avoid danger is no safer than outright exposure, as Helen Keller said. It is about courage. God will give you the courage courage!

 

 

 

It is also about giving up the idea that something bad is going to happen. We go along in this life so often thinking that if we do this, or that, something bad might happen. We need to just give up the idea that something bad is going to happen, OR we start looking for consistency and comfort based on fear.

 

 

Do you know what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about consistency? He said, “Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  What it is really about is living in the past. If we are trying to be consistent, we are looking back to the past. But the past is nothing more than history. We are trying to duplicate that history, and we are not participating in that exciting adventure of present life.

 

 

In the exciting adventure, it is time to make choices – to make that choice to experience the courage, love, and discomfort, if that is what it takes, to really participate in this adventure called life.

 

 

We can make the choice to either be out in the world OR try to avoid danger. I invite you to make the choice to commit to being who you really, truly are.

 

 

Commitment is so important. Without that, we cannot move forward. We must be about making a commitment. And what are we making a commitment to???    We are making a commitment to God – a commitment to live in that Presence and knowingness

 

 

Make the commitment, even though your knees may be shaking. God, instead of fear, will take over. There is only one Presence and one Power of God in your life. You make the commitment in this moment to live in that God truth. Choose, from this moment forward, to not allow anxiety or fear to be any part of your life, only God’s protection.

 

 

Go on with your life. How is this commitment able to be so strong in you? It is through prayer – having a rich prayer life, produces a rich spiritual life. Those of us who participate in the Spiritual Family Prayer room  –  http://thespiritualfamily.chatango.com –  know about the power and the results from prayer.

 

 

Jesus said, “All of these things I do, you will do, and more.” What that says to you is that the very first thing He always did WAS PRAY.

 

 

Make it a commitment to pray.

 

When you sit down to pray you ARE connected with God. You are connected,
because God is connected with you. It is about intent. It is about relationship, your relationship with your BEST FRIEND – God.

 

 

There may have been times when you have sat down to pray and you have felt that nothing was happening. Yet, it is about the intent. If your intent is to pray, you are praying.

 

 

Arnold Patton says everything in life is about intent, and that we need to have a clear intent to have our life work perfectly.

 

 

So how does prayer make you free? It is about being in prayer and knowing and understanding that you are with God every moment that you are created by Love in love. You find the truth that sets you free; freedom is that connection and understanding that you are not alone.

 

 

In Genesis, it states we are created in the image and after the likeness
of God.

 

 

In First John, our Bible states, God is love. If that is true, and I choose to believe that both those statements are true, then you and I are also love. We discover this and reaffirm it through prayer. The steps Jesus gave us about prayer were to go to your room, go to that innermost chamber (the recesses of your mind), shut your door, and pray to your Father, in secret.

 

 

Shutting the door can also be a metaphor for shutting out all those concerns we have. If you are in the innermost chamber of your mind and heart, with the door shut, talking to God, you cannot think about your concerns or your problems.

 

 

Think about God because God really is the answer to everything you are seeking. If you think about God, if your intent is to sit down in prayer and think about God, you cannot concentrate on any outer concerns. As you let it all go to God in prayer, all of those outer concerns seem to just take care of themselves.

 

 

You cannot know all the details. God told us the details were none of our business. Your business is to just be there in that prayer presence. Then you will realize how free you really are, to let God take care of all those details. Our Lord wants us to put down the shovel, put our hands together and pray and then trust Him to give us the guidance and the courage to make these choices we are free to make.  Stop digging.

 

 

When you are praying to God in secret, you are asking God to change your life, and allow your life to work. You will notice I said “allow.” Allow God to work in and through you. You give God a chance to move through you, and recognize and acknowledge that there is just one Presence and one Power of good and love in your life.

 

 

You affirm through prayer: “Thank You, God, for my life. Thank You, God, for guiding me, directing me, and protecting me. And most of all, thank You, God, for reminding me that I am created in love by love to be love.”

 

 

Through that prayer, you become aware that God’s love supports you and each of us in life.

 

 

In closing, I would like to share with you a few quotes that really are about freedom and the one Presence and one Power. It exeplifies the knowing that there is only one Presence and one Power, and no matter what else is showing up, or whatever other emotions or thoughts are being created, we can always turn back, know, and live in that center of peace.

 

 

Maya Angelou stated in it her poem: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”   Maya Angelou knows it; Brother Lawrence knew it;  St. Theresa of Avila knew it.

 

 

Author Joel Goldsmith states it this way: “True freedom is in the joyous song of life sung when we find peace within.”

 

 

We can have that peace no matter what else is going on in our lives because, everything that is showing up is about taking us to God and finding out who and what we are–as God’s child.

 

 

So, no matter what our circumstances are, when our souls are free through that activity of the presence of the Christ, we are free indeed.

 

 

You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free John 8:32.

 

 

 

 

God bless you all!

I’M A MOVIN’ ON

Do you remember the song that went like this:   “There’s an old ache feel a-rollin’ down the tracks that says your lovin’ daddy ain’t comin’ back. I’m movin’ on?”

 

 

 

Each of us has the opportunity to move on. Sometimes we feel we must relocate because of economic conditions, or when old doors close. When you get that feeling of moving on, know that with God’s help, it is always moving onto new opportunities, new experiences, and something good coming into your new life. So, when we move on, let’s always know that we can always move onto something better with God’s help.

 

 

 

I see it as putting on a new set of tires and rolling around the country, in a whole new way. So, if someone says, “I’m going to retire,” say “I’m going to re—tire; put on a new set of tires and experience life in a whole new way.”

 

 

 

One day, I picked up the comics and saw something a strip related to prayer.
This family in the comic section of the newspaper has a mother speaking to her little boy. She is saying, “Winkey, don’t forget to say your prayers so you will go to heaven.”

 

 

 

Winkey looks at his mother and says, “What do I have to say to get to go to Disneyland?”

 

 

 

Maybe you want to go to an entirely different place in your life—something new for you that is going to move you into a whole new experience where you can find new good in your life. Perhaps you want to move on into a new state of spirituality where you may experience new health of body and peace of mind. Perhaps you may want to move into a new place where you are filled with happiness and the joy of living. Perhaps you are desiring a new state of prosperity and good, that would give you security and fill your life with soul satisfaction.

 

 

 

We all have to move into that spiritual awareness of God that will take away fear and bring us Divine good.

 

 

 

Sometimes, we think we are too old to do something new, but with God, we can say in total truth–I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm as I spring forth with a mighty faith to do the work that ought to be done by me.

 

 

 

Always be ready to move on into a new experience and a new spiritual awareness. Be ever-ready to experience life in a whole new way.

 

 

 

You are not alone.

 

 

 

For God will give God’s angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalms 91:11

 

 

 

If you are troubled about anything or any condition, ask yourself “Who is in charge?”

 

 

 

If we had only our human powers to rely upon, if everything depended upon us alone, we would have reason to feel anxious and worried. But who is in charge? Let us remind ourselves that God is in charge of our lives, our directions, and our future.

 

 

 

If you look around or you see that every appearance is distressing, if you are faced with a situation that you do not know how to meet or handle, say to yourself, “God is in charge.”

 

 

 

Let us give thanks continually that God is at work in the situation and everything involving our lives, and that God can be relied upon to bring about right answers and good solutions.

 

 

 

What we cannot do – God is powerful enough to do. Let us trust God to guide us, to bless us midst of current difficulties, and to reveal to us the ways of our highest good.

 

 

 

Sometimes, if you are like me, you do not always experience that zeal and enthusiasm. We sometimes have a little bit of a down time during difficulties. When life’s challenges are facing us, we wonder, “Can I move on? Can I do it again? Can I get to where I want to go? Can I do what I want to do? Can I experience all I want to experience?”

 

 

 

We might be experiencing something seemingly blocking our way when we try to move along down that road.  Interstate traffic construction is a lot like the blocks that occur inside us. We may find that we are blocked by what I like to call “orange barrel disease.” Do you know what “orange barrel disease” is? Have you noticed all those orange barrels that pop up on the highway to get you to slow down or stop? How often are those orange barrels right in your way?

 

 

 

I think, sometimes, that is what happens in our lives–a little orange barrel or something is blocking our way. Something is creating a detour and hindering us from going where WE WANT TO GO.

 

 

 

So, sometimes, when we want to move onto a new experience in life, a new state of health, happiness, wholeness, or whatever it is we desire, we find out that things are blocking our way. But when we find ourselves there, we have to know that there is always a way, and this way will be shown to us by God.

 

 

 

Jesus Christ had to face many roadblocks in His life and many experiences which were of the lesser good. But He always knew the truth. He knew He could experience the full blessings of God if he used the key to moving on. He spoke to this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:7-8) where He said, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

 

 

 

This is a powerful statement. It says ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened. Then He says that everyone who asks has received, everyone who has sought has found, and everyone who has knocked has had things open to them.

 

 

 

But this always occurs according to our spiritual consciousness. We have been asking, we have been seeking, we have been knocking, and the doors have opened and the good has come to us, according to the power of God.   God’s law says that the thoughts we are holding in our mind produce  those thoughts that are in our world.

 

 

 

Maybe we have been knocking on the wrong door for too long, ignoring doors that are now open. We have to realize that we do have the power to change things and move on into a whole new state of spirituality.

 

 

 

Life is energy and God has given us the power to direct that energy through our thinking.  And, God has given us the power to direct that energy through our thinking.
Right thinking is the clue.

 

 

 

There was a cartoon of Frank & Ernest. Frank is in a room with two big computers. He is busy nailing a poster on the wall that says “THINK.”

 

 

 

One computer turns to another and says, “See, they have to remind themselves constantly.”

 

 

 

We do. We have to remind ourselves, constantly, to think–not just to go along with the thought processes we have been involved with, but, all of a sudden, to think, rethink, and find out what is going on in our lives.

 

 

 

 

And like a computer, we too, have to reboot.

 

 

 

God gives you the power to rethink those thoughts, to eliminate those which are no longer productive, and to rethink the power of health and life into your body through prayer.

 

 

 

You begin to rethink the whole idea of wholeness in our prayers. You begin to rethink your whole mission in life, because you dare to rethink, to think in a different way, and to not accept the old outdated ways of thinking; you move on into a state of spiritual wholeness that will bless your entire lifetime.

 

 

 

 

John 8:12 states, “He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

 

 

 

Pray for an intelligent approach to your problems. Pray for spiritual insight, intuition and understanding that lift you up out of your problems.   Pray for the ability to see your way. Pray for clear shining of God’s light to illumine you, to shine through you, to show you with clarity God’s higher way.

 

 

 

Pray for success in your efforts leading to lasting security and happiness. Pray for physical well-being, and motivation to not sit still.   Pray for something more in your life which only God can give. Pray for inner-revelation of truth, for an inner-quickening of the flame of God’s Spirit.

 

 

Pray that your life will be constructive, productive, and worthwhile. Pray that your life will show forth God’s Spirit, that it may be filled with God’s love, that it may be a life wholly dedicated to God’s truth, only in tune with God’s marvelous will.

 

 

 

 

We have free-will from God. Each one of us has to recognize that we are living in a state of consciousness that is determining whether we have lifetime health and happiness, or whether we have sickness or poverty. It is due in part because we live in a state of mind. The state of mind we live in determines exactly what is going to be produced in our lives over the long-term.

 

 

 

If we do not like the state of mind we are living in, we can move out. We can rethink. We can get away. We can change. We do not have to stay there. We are not stuck where we are.

 

 

 

Jesus urged us to move into a new state, and that new state is going to produce a whole new experience in health, happiness, wholeness, and life for us. We feel that. We know that. We are rethinking our whole way in our journey through life.

 

 

 

We need to discover that we can find a more satisfying and more rewarding life if we will begin to follow the admonition of Jesus Christ when He said, “Ask, seek, and knock.”

 

 

 

So what do you have to do if you are going to move on and experience a whole new state of spiritual awareness? The first thing you have to do is to ask. When you ask, you need to ask in a state of prayer consciousness of knowing that it is yours by Divine right. This is so important. You have to ask in a time of prayer, a time of sitting in the silence of prayer.

 

 

 

In Isaiah 30:15, we find, “For thus said the Lord God, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’”

 

 

 

We begin in prayer by trusting the Spirit of God to reveal to us, through us, and from all around us what we need to know; the direction our life should be taking.

 

 

 

Ask for God’s guidance; ask for God’s help. That is the first thing you always have to do. Ask in the spiritual consciousness of knowing that your good will be provided by God, that the direction will be given from God, that you will know what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.

 

 

 

Seek God’s guidance on how to seek your desire and what to do in preparation for it. You will be Divinely guided. God will guide you, directly, or will send special people to guide your way. You do not know who is going to tell you. You do not know who is going to pop up and give you the right information. You do not know what book is going to fall off the shelf or what is going to fall into your hands. You just have to know that the guidance will come; if you really seeking it, you will find it.

 

 

 

The next step is to knock. So you have to knock over some of the orange barrels (if you will); those concerns, to break through old human fears.   As you do that, you get rid of a lot of things. You have to not only get rid of a lot of material things which block your way, but also those mental emotional states of human consciousness which also block your way.

 

 

 

You go to God, first, and then to humans as God directs. No matter whether it is a move you are making in your outer life or a move you are making inside, as a shift in thinking, you have to begin to ask, you have to begin to seek, and you have to begin to knock. And when you do that, you will then find that things begin to open for you. Your answers will come, and they will always come in unexpected channels–in ways that you have not really thought they would come.

 

 

 

Life’s punishment for non-movement is stagnation

 

 

 

So, the next time someone asks you, “What’s going on in your life?” you can tell them, “With God’s help, I’m moving on to something wonderful. I’m moving on to something new and glorious.”  When you know that truth for yourself, you will move onto it very quickly.

 

 

 

Let us pray:  Lord, help me to move the orange barrels that block my path to the truth and success of learning God’s Word.    Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Entering the Narrow Gate.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”   Matthew 7:13-21

 

Narrow gate, difficult path

It’s easy to understand the meaning of “narrow gate.”.   “A narrow gate is harder to pass through than one that is wide, and only a few people can go through a narrow gate at once. In saying “difficult is the way which leads to life,” Jesus was explaining how hard being a Christian really is.

 

“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.bibletstudytools.com).

 

 

 

They are many illustrations in this message of Jesus, but with a common theme of dedication, choice, and the need to live a way of life that promotes love in action. That includes our own sense of ourselves and our flaws, and our willingness to cast out that  part of our character that needs to go. This is through a process of discipline, growth and change – and surpassing even that to a more compassionate person rather than that of a more worldly notion of justice –  to a person who is merciful and  tolerant and patient. Not an easy task! But His words here indicate that the choice IS ours.

 

 

 

 

A misconception is that we must begin by knocking ourselves down, criticizing ourselves and dissecting our flaws. Jesus came not to knock down humanity but to build it up. We begin to work on ourselves in the spiritually effective ways of loving ourselves, instead of hating ourselves.

 

 

 

 

When we have the proper relationship with ourselves, then we can have wonderful relationships with others.

 

 

 

Mark 12:30,31 states, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these.

 

 

 

We can only the love another to the degree that we love ourselves.

 

 

 

God is love; we are created by love, in love, to express love. We are a child of God and a child of love. It is a responsibility of each one of us as we mature in our spirituality to express unconditional love. This is active worship in us. I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but we are co-creating this service together. It is IN God’s love.

 

 

 

When we focus our energy on the person who is speaking and join in that prayerful consciousness, something greater than both comes out. That is what I pray we will do everyday.  Focus on God’s love in becoming a part of the whole.

 

 

 

Have you noticed how wonderfully peaceful our lives can be in one moment, and then in the next second something happens that disturbs us and all of a sudden we are very much into our humanity of nervousness and fearful thinking.

 

 

 

There are stages of growth in relationships. Mastering them is the Ph.D.of spirituality. There is no judgment of good or bad about what stage we may identify with as we go through this lesson today. We simply identify where we are.

 

 

 

The word “co-dependency” is a buzz-word which came about a several years ago.
It has to do with describing a dependency relationship. A co-dependent relationship is when I depend on another person for my worth, to make me feel better, to tell me I’m okay. We do all kinds of things in order to get what we want from the other person.

 

 

 

How much more important it is to be dependent on God. Human dependency, for the most part, is quite unconscious. It is not usually deliberately done, even though there have been those times when we certainly have done it consciously. What we need to realize fully that God is with us all the time. We lose our need to have control over others, to feel powerful ourselves, when we know our oneness with God.

 

 

 

With the hand we were dealt, we can either use it as a way to keep on doing things the way we have always done them, or we can use it as the very stepping stone into the kingdom of heaven beginning right here on earth. The choice is always ours.

 

 

 

Let’s allow it to simply be a stage of growth that has come to pass, and let it pass.

 

 

 

Now here is an example of what we may have done in the past or may still be doing. Eventually, we notice something that we didn’t before; we notice there is something about this person that bothers us, but we decide not to say anything because it doesn’t bother us that much. After a while, we see something else that is a little like the last relationship we had. After a while we think, “I thought I got rid of that difficulty the last time, but here he/she is again with a different face.”

 

 

 

We say to ourselves, “Why is this happening to me again?” It comes to the point,
however, that we come up with the unfortunate recognition that THE COMMON
DEMONINATOR is us. We are the ones who are going to have to do something
different if there is going to be any kind of change in our relationship so it will be something we call healthy.

 

 

 

An independent time is not really a stage of growth. It is more of a step sideways. An independent is often just a co-dependent who is single. When we get tired of going back from co-dependent to independent, when we have been in that pattern long enough, we say “There’s got to be a better way.”

 

 

 

I believe that a relationship can offer us the very key (the narrow gate) to the kingdom of God that we all say we are seeking, – to the kingdom of power, wisdom, understanding, harmony, and peace. But this is not without a price. Here is the cost:

 

 

 

First love yourself as God loves you; then love others from that point of spiritual awareness. You can’t really experience something that isn’t already within you; you must experience that love of and for yourself.

 

 

 

It begins with a willingness to love and accept ourselves just the way we are. Are we willing to look at ourself with all our wonderfulness and all our less-than wonderfulness, with all our mistake-making, and all of the negative traits that are a part of our humanity, and then love and accept all those things about “you just the way you are?”

 

 

 

Until we accept it, we are stuck with it. Until we are okay with where we are, we cannot move higher. It is our very acceptance that allows us to change the things we need to change in life. We need to look at ourselves openly and honestly-and that means opening our hearts to ourselves and seeing what we see, not judging it, but being gentle with ourselves-and pour out the love of God that we are toward our own humanity.

 

 

 

The greatest power in all the universe is God’s love coming through YOU. It seems like we have a tendency to want to love everyone BUT US. In fact, we’re so busy fixing, changing, and loving everyone else that we sometimes neglect the fact that we exist. What we really are doing is trying to compensate for the whole world by not allowing the love of God within us to be expressed toward ourselves.

 

 

 

Ask God to teach you how to love yourself.

 

 

 

You will have to accept the fact that what you knew about unconditional love was
simply not enough. You knew what you knew, but it wasn’t enough. This is an open door to the presence of God. This is an open door through which God rushes in to give us the next step we are to take in consciousness (whatever that might be) at a level we can understand perfectly.

 

 

 

But it isn’t just prayer, or meditation, or forgiveness that is required of us; there is another part. What do we do when the emotions are running high? What do we do when everything is falling apart, we’re feeling unworthy, rejected, and depressed, and all sorts of negative things are going on?

 

 

 

God is in the midst of our very being. Every cloud contains a silver lining (trite saying but true). The power that is in the midst of fear.. is that not God? Could it be the calming voice of God saying, “It’s time to go higher?” Could it be the voice of God saying, “Let’s move up because you are now ready for your next level of understanding, consciousness, and wisdom?”  Are you  ready to go through that “narrow gate?”

 

 

 

Say, “Okay, God. Let’s go forward. I’m ready to move out of the darkness into Your light.”

 

 

 

That means we can’t shut-down. That means that the fear (or whatever it is we are experiencing) is going to be the very catalyst that is going to get us moving through this. Or we can do the same thing we may have always done – use it as the millstone and keep the status quo so we don’t have to change at all. We can repeat the same pattern with predictability, we can say once again, “Why is this happening to me again?”

 

 

 

It takes courage. But we have the courage from God. We have the strength from God. We have  wisdom from God. Are we willing to use it to move forward through what we have to face?

 

 

 

It’s like giving birth to a child. It hurts a lot when it comes through, but when the temporary pain is gone it, is the most wonderful thing of all. When we walk through our own fears, it’s the same way. When we walk through them instead of shutting down, we experience the presence of God because just on the other side we are removing the curtain, between the limited, the painful, the misunderstandings, into the light of clarity, joy, understanding, and love.

 

 

 

When we can unconditionally honor and love ourselves just the way we are – and that doesn’t mean to stay there – this allows us to change towards the better. We are no longer wasting our energy by judging and wishing things were different. We’re using ALL the God-given energy now to move on through it and go higher in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Until we can unconditionally love ourselves, until we can have a relationship with ourselves, it is impossible to have a full relationship with someone else. It will never be safe.

 

 

 

 

In an inter-dependent relationship, we come together as two whole people-not as two halves trying to make a whole. We come together, not because we need to, but because we want to share something. The joy of a relationship that is inter-dependent is that we come together to create something which hasn’t been created before. Now this relationship can be between a man and woman or two friends or any two people who have moved into this phase.  I have a friend in the Dallas area whom I feel is a wonderful friend, and I view us as having an inter-dependent relationship that I cherish.

 

 

 

Jesus said, “When two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” We cannot know the power and the presence of Christ until we are willing to love fully, beginning with ourselves, and then reaching out to others.

 

 

 

We come together as two whole people, and then we create something greater than ourselves. Through our combined energy, we bring forth the presence of the Christ in a dimension we have never experienced by ourselves. This is our purpose.

 

 

 

Our souls are ready for this. It isn’t by chance that you are sitting here. This is a Divine appointment. You’ve chosen the narrow gate, and it is time. It has nothing to do with age. It has to do with a willingness to know God, to know and experience God’s love, to know yourself, to honor your humanity, and to step out and say, “I’m willing to be counted as one that loves fully.”

 

 

 

Each and every one of us is going to make a difference in this world. Everything we do becomes a light that shines out to other souls. There are a whole lot of people in this world who are waiting for you, and for me, to get our act together.

 

 

 

Let’s accept the challenge of change, of knowing ourselves, of loving humanity-to know the love of God IN ourselves and extend it to all people everywhere. The love of God must come through you, as you.

 

 

 

God bless you and me!

 

 

 

Why Are You Weeping?

The Way, The Truth, and The Light

1

 

A man called upon God in a time of great danger. He shouted out, “Oh God, help me!”

 

 

 

We have all done that. We have wanted God’s help, and we have prayed that God would be there, AND GOD WAS. That is one of the reasons you are reading this today, you are here to celebrate. Yes, celebrate – God was there with you when you called out.

 

 

 

In 1937 a twelve-car passenger train was speeding along in eastern Missouri. On board were hundreds of happy children on their way to an Easter church picnic. The sky was absolutely cloudless when the excursion began, but it wasn’t long before they ran into a severe thunderstorm. The heavy downpour caused the engineer some concern, so he slowed down to thirty-five miles an hour. As the train rounded a curve, the man saw that the switch just ahead had been left wide open. He jammed on the brakes, but he was sure they faced certain disaster.

 

 

 

 

“Stick with it!” he shouted to the fireman. “Hundreds of children are on board.” “I intend to!” came the reply. Then the fireman, who was a Christian, cried, “O God, please help us!” But these words were drowned out in that moment by a thunderclap as a bolt of lightning came down from the heavens and struck right in front of the train.

 

 

 

 

The next thing they knew, they were safely past the danger point. After the train stopped, they wondered HOW they had gotten past the danger point.
When they walked back, to their amazement, they saw that the lightning had closed the switch. This kept them, on that Easter morning, from being sent onto a spur which would have caused certain derailment, resulting that Easter morning would have been filled with horror and grief instead of the joy Easter represents,.

 

 

 

 

Many times in our lives the same thing has happened. It might not have been as
dramatic as a lightning bolt coming from the sky. It might have been a silent help
within you. But you know that you in some fashion were lifted out of that tomb of death.
You thought you were a goner; maybe physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially – whatever way – you thought nothing could save you. All of a sudden you were saved. You walked back, maybe in your memory, just to see what happened. Then you praised God like we are praising God on this Easter morning.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ taught that God is always at hand – not far off, but a God that is with you;
accessible. Jesus’ God, and our God, is a God of answered prayer; a God where so-called miracles become commonplace.

 

 

 

 

I would like to read to you a place in the Bible where Jesus summarized His teachings –
John 12:44-50. “Whoever believes in me believes not in me, but in Him who sent me, and whoever sees me sees Him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

 

 

 

 

Jesus Christ foretold His death and resurrection, but no one believed Him. No one fully
caught the significance of what He was saying or what He was trying so hard to
convey to those who followed Him.

 

 

 

 

Now, 2,000 years later, we still stand at the foot of the hill at the foot of the Cross. We watch the man Jesus dying in the afternoon and carried away into the tomb. And we hear Him saying still: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (KJV).

 

 

 

 

Now it is the third day, the first day of the week. It cannot be said any better than John brings it to us so, please, allow me to share with you the miraculous story of Easter morning:

 

 

 

[“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the ].Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”  John 20:1-10

 

 

 

Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

 

 

 

Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw
and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.”

 

 

 

Two disciples run to the tomb. These two disciples have great meaning for your life
today. Peter spiritually represents faith and John represents love. But notice what happens here. Love always precedes faith; it always goes ahead, and it does so in your life also, as you overcome the obstacles in your life.

 

 

 

If you are on some track (or rut) and you feel that derailment is a certainty, and you feel
there is no way out, allow your love to go ahead of you, followed by faith inside of you. You will then have courage.

 

 

 

Mary Magdalene, the soul who found faith and love, is now not afraid. And with love
and faith, we too can face anything.

 

 

 

You remember, the two disciples ran on their way to their homes, [11-18  ]“but Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one
at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you
weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him. When she said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.”

 

 

 

The reason she did not know it was Jesus was because she was crying (almost uncontrollably); she couldn’t see. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

 

 
This is one of the happiest questions Jesus ever asked. I think it sums up Christianity. So many times we weep and we are overcome with our fear and doubts. God comes to us and says, “Hey, I’m right here. Why are you weeping? What are you looking for? I’m right here with you now – your help in every need.”

 

 

 

When she didn’t recognize Him, Jesus simply said, “Mary!” She turned and said to him
in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

 

 

Jesus was raised from the dead. He overcame death in the body. The resurrection is the lifting up of the whole – spirit, soul, and body. The resurrection lifts up all the faculties – Divine Mind, and this renewal of the mind makes a complete transformation of the body so that every function works in Divine order and every cell becomes incorruptible and immortal.

 

 

 

 

Truly, this was the death of death in the death of Jesus Christ. Since then, the world has debated this wonder. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? But the wonder is not that He rose, the wonder is that the world could believe that it could keep Him in the tomb.

 

 

 

 

The “silent witness” for us this morning is the empty tomb. The truth is that the world cannot keep truth in the tomb. Not any truth. Not even the least truth. It never has been able to and it never will be able to.

 

 

 

The world can’t keep beauty in the tomb. The world can’t keep life in the tomb. The world can’t keep good in the tomb. The world can’t keep love in the tomb.

 

 

 

The world has mocked, stoned, poisoned, crucified, hanged, burned, and set truth before firing squads. It has buried truth and turned away, washing its hands in relief that it has gotten rid of truth so simply. But truth has never stayed in the tomb.

 

 

 

Even as they crucified Jesus, He was at work in people’s hearts. And He still is! The wonder is not that Jesus rose. The wonder is that the world was able to keep Him in the tomb even for three days.

 

 

 

The story of the resurrection of Jesus is the truest story that has ever been told. It is the essence of truth because it is the essence of life. The cross was not the end. If there is a crucifixion, there is also a resurrection. The shadow of the cross cannot obscure the light of Easter morning. We can fix our gaze on the death and the dying, on trouble, evil and imperfection, but this not the whole view. Life is whole, and to be understood, it must be seen whole.

 

 

 

Believing not in the truthis is like believing that the sun has stopped shining because at the moment we happen to be in darkness. The long day’s journey is not into the night. Though we move through 10,000 nights, the journey is and always has been toward a brighter day. The setting sun is but the other side of the rising sun. On the other side of the crucifixion is the resurrection.

 

 

 

We cannot see the full circle of the stars shining forever round the Throne of God – we glimpse them only as they pass before us one by one. Nevertheless, even from this partial view, seeing things moment by moment and little by little, we see that if there is darkness, there is also light. It is as if we climb a mountain. Sometimes to reach the peak we have to go down into a valley. But when we emerge, we are closer to the peak.

 

 

 

Life does not go backward. Life goes forward. Life is like Napoleon’s drummer boy. It does not know how to beat retreat. Its bugles, ever blowing requiem, sound for the living and are a call to life. When the winding of the horn has died away upon the air and pulses only in our heart, we lift our eyes to green endeavors.

 

 

 

Life does not move toward death. It moves toward more life. It turns death into life. It turns inanimate matter into life. It turns lesser forms of life into higher forms of life. It invents. It evolves. It shapes itself into new and ever more various creatures, with greater capacities for living. It moves from brute to human and from human to greatness. Even now the life-force is inside each one of you, pressing to outstrip itself, to surpass and overtop all that it has done so far.

 

 

 

There is brutality in the world, but it is love that is still growing. There is ignorance, but it is intelligence that is still growing. There is pain, but it is joy and the capacity for joy that is growing. There is resistance, but it is our power for constructive action that is growing. It is not the evil that grows; it is the good. Along the way, as we walk our path, stand many crosses where we often crucify the best and highest in ourselves. Yet we still keep coming and becoming. – (Written by James Dillet Freeman)

 

 

 

I want to share with you Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”

 

 

 

Jesus said what He did we shall do also and greater words than these shall we do. What are we becoming? We are becoming the perfect person who knows her or his oneness with God, no matter how bad the track ahead looks, we have God with us and we’re not alone.

 

 

 

I believe that we all can feel the perfection that is within us. This is why we all feel uneasy, frustrated, guilty and that we fall a bit short because we all feel, as Christians, we were made for perfection. This is why we long, strive, hope, and keep on. This is why we don’t let facts or failings keep us from rising up and starting out again. The perfection is inside of us.

 

 

 

Many times we have heard the perfection in us urge us, “Live!” Many times it has invited us, “Love!” Many times it has pressed us to keep faith through some Gethsemane we were facing ourselves. And many times, for thirty pieces of silver, we have kissed this perfection inside of ourselves and betrayed it. But perfection inside of us says in perfect love, “Though you slay me, yet I shall never die. Though I were dead, yet shall I live.”

 

 

 

And there it is again – to trouble us with dreams and longings; to get us not to give up even before what seems to be impossible; to stir us to believe we can do better even when we of our human eyes cannot see how; to give us heart to make yet one more try; always to make us dissatisfied with our lesser self; to let us never settle for less than perfection.

 

 

 

The urge to bring forth perfection beats in us like a winged bird against bars. My friends, who forged the bars? God did not. Who keeps us inside of them? God does not. We are made for living, not dying. For rising up, for going forward, for truth, for love and for joy.

 

 

 

The silent witness shouts loudly to us of overcoming power in the face of unbelievable, seemingly impossible circumstances. Jesus Christ’s message is that we, too, are made in the Divine image. Neither cross nor tomb can keep us from our good. We follow The Christ who is Perfection, Let us all come forth. Jesus Christ Has Risen Today!!

 

 

God bless you, Happy Easter!

Passion – The Passion – Your Passion – My Passion

 

John 12: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

 

 

And so it begins!

 
We begin Holy Week today (Sunday) as Jesus rides the donkey into Jerusalem, surrounded by his disciples and others who love Him and even bystanders who are just curious who this strange man is. Riding in through the gates of a city on a donkey symbolizes that the person comes in peace and love. The opposite would be a rider on a giant steed with armor and weapons. This is Jesus in triumph, but triumph of sacrifice, sacrifice for you and for me. That is how great God’s love for us is. That is what His Passion is all about.

 

 

Every year as we approach this week, I ponder on the word THE PASSION. That is The Passion of Christ; that week of jubilation, then degradation, then finally crucifixion and then joyous resurrection. It is the absolute gambit of emotion – the alpha and the omega, the full circle of emotion. And what is it about this week that we name it Passion Week? This is the week that God’s passion for us is culminated in a display of perfect love – the passion of His toward us.

 

 

But what is Passion throughout the Holy Bible and how does it relate to God – how does it relate to us?

 
Passion means fervor, ardor, zeal, delight. From the very first page through the very last, the Bible seems to demonstrate one relentless passion… that is, the Father’s passion to see those whom He has created walk in intimacy with Him. In Jeremiah 31:3 the Lord speaks to the people of Israel saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love… and I have drawn you in loving-kindness.” This verse is so beautiful not only because it reveals the depth of the Father’s love toward us but also because it demonstrates God’s passion to draw us into His presence.

 

 

 

Even when the hearts of the Israelites had turned from God, the Lord said, in Isaiah 65:1, “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name I said, “Here I am, here I am!”   The Lord’s unyielding pursuit, to draw His people into an intimate, loving relationship, is as true today as it has ever been before. You see, it is and has always been God’s deepest desire that you and I walk in the garden with Him in intimacy just as Adam and Eve had once walked with Him in the Garden of Eden.

 

 

 

The Scripture says that the Father has counted the very hairs on our head. We often don’t realize, because this verse is so familiar, the degree to which this demonstrates how intimately the Lord is involved in our lives. We just have no idea of the effect we have on God. David’s son, Solomon, tries to portray this in the Song of Solomon where the bridegroom, who, in this passionate allegory, perhaps representing Jesus, says, “You have stolen my heart, you have stolen my heart.”

 

 

 

For many of us, however, this is difficult to accept… that our Christian life is not as much about our seeking an encounter with the Lord but rather, God seeking an encounter with us  (that God anxiously looks forward to every authentic moment spent with you).  Think of it… Each and every moment in Heaven, the Lord is receiving perfect praise and worship from throngs of angelic worshipers. Yet, when the Lord heard that first note coming from your lips, He, without hesitation, left that beautiful worship of heaven to receive your praise and to interact with you… to be with you. That is what Scripture means when it says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people.

 

 

 

I repeat for emphasis, it is and has always been God’s desire for us to walk in the garden with Him, in intimacy, just the way Adam and Eve once had. And so, in loving kindness, the Lord draws us to himself. I love to search scriptures for those verses where God calls us to himself. Like in Isaiah where the Lord spoke to Israel saying, “Come, let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them whiter than snow” or when our Jesus said, “Come, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

 

 

 

So, what do we need to do to really create and celebrate daily that intimacy? Just open your eyes and your mouth and ask Him to be with you, to walk with you, to stay with you. Show him your passion, your passion. God wants that intimacy with you… he doesn’t want the forms of the faith… he wants you. Jesus didn’t endure the Cross of Calvary so that we could fulfill some religious duties or follow some religious ritual. He doesn’t really care which door you walk into to worship, just so you walk in. He doesn’t care if you are Charismatic, Evangelical, Liturgical…. Whatever you feel comfortable with; whatever draws you closer to Him is what He wants. Everyone is different and He knows that.

 

 

 

Oh, how He loves you. He wants you, your love. He wants your passion.

 

 

That is His Passion.

 

 

Walk with Jesus as He rides the donkey through the gates of Jerusalem.

 

Temptation

Temptation…..Is it Real???

 

Please read with me: Luke 4: 1 – 13: 

Luke 4:1-13 (NKJV)

Satan Tempts Jesus

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.  And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” 

13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

 

 

Someone once said, “I wouldn’t be tempted if temptation wasn’t so tempting.” Sam Levenson said, “Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we’ll find it.” Flip Wilson said, “The devil made me do it the first time, but ever since then I’ve been doing it on my own.” Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything but temptation.” We all deal with temptation. If we don’t face temptation, we should CHECK OUR PULSE.

 

 

 

It seems that temptation seems to find us, often at inopportune times. We can be in a shower, eating dinner, talking to a friend. It doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives – temptation is always lurking in the background if not in the foreground, right in front of our faces. And Temptations come in a variety of forms. It can come through the newspaper, television, a friend talking to us, in our dreams, even in our prayers.
Jesus, as the Son of God, faced temptation. If he faced it, how can we expect to avoid it?   Well, we can’t avoid it. It’s not a matter of avoiding all temptation. It’s a matter of overcoming it and then defeating it.

 

 

 

So, let’s discuss for a moment, the reality, the art of “Overcoming Temptation.”
Unlike Oscar Wilde’s quote, “I can resist anything but temptation,” we can overcome temptation. One thing we can do, and I want you to always remember this – REFUSE to be sucked in. We don’t have to let the devil push us around. Jesus didn’t back down, when he was tempted.

 

 

 

Martin Luther said, “You cannot keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.” Tempting thoughts will come; and go. LET them go. Just like the birds flying over your head. If they try to land, swoosh them away. It may not be easy but it is definitely possible. All it takes is the power you DO possess already to swoosh, swoosh. I make this sound funny, but it is meant in all seriousness. You do have the power; and that power comes from above – no not the birds, GOD.

 

 

 

Temptation is really a compliment. It means that you are living for God and headed in the right direction. Satan has a contract out on you. Remember that fact, and hold your head up high. Be proud that Satan has his eye on you. It means you are doing something right.

 

 

 

So now, RECOGNIZE your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

 

 

 

Know where your weakness is, and prepare that area. Figure out the patterns and times in which you are most tempted and brace yourself for those times. Jesus was tempted to turn the stones into bread because he was hungry. When are you hungry and for what are you hungry? Find the answer to that and you can be prepared for those times. When does that time hit you the most often, where? What are you doing when you feel the weakest? Take a deep breath, say a quick prayer and walk away or turn away. But you will need help so..

 

 

REQUEST God’s help.

 

 
Psalm 50:15 says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

 

 
This is the most important thing in overcoming temptation. We cannot merely use our willpower or courage. The temptation is stronger than we are, but God is stronger than the temptation.  Jesus used the Word of God to refute his temptation.   “Temptations keep us dependent upon God.”

 

 

 

Now let’s see what happens next – Well, now we begin Defeating temptation.
We may feel overpowered by temptation. This is not something we can do on our own. This is with the help of God. There are four things we can do to help defeat temptation. Again, with God’s help.

 

 

 

REFOCUS your attention on something else.   The Bible doesn’t tell us to resist temptation. It doesn’t tell us to just give in either.  Dwelling on the temptation will only make it more tempting. When we try to think about not thinking about it, we drive it deeper into our mind. It’s like trying to think you’re not hungry.  Diverting your attention is a much more effective way of dealing with temptation than fighting it.   We should occupy ourselves with godly things. Jesus refocused his attention on God by going to scripture.

 

 

 

REVEAL your struggle to a godly friend or support group.   You don’t have to tell the whole world. But you should be able to tell someone whom you trust. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says in so many words, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”   It would appear that Jesus shared this episode with someone at some point in time. He was alone in the wilderness. For us mere mortals, spiritual friendships and groups are so important. Reach out.

 

 

 

RESIST the devil.   James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
Don’t just stand there and let the devil punch you. He can’t make you do anything, contrary to Flip Wilson’s assertion. He can only suggest. Don’t argue with the devil. He’s a better arguer. Jesus didn’t say, “I’m not hungry.” Of course he was hungry. He had been without food for 40 days.

 

 

 

REALIZE your vulnerability.   No one is exempt from temptation. We all have vulnerabilities.   We have to watch out what we do and where we go. Recovering alcoholics are often counseled to stay away from places that promote and serve alcoholic beverages.   Jesus’ temptations were to use his God-given power for selfish motives: food, power, and protection. He was tempted to dazzle people. The devil is not all knowing. He goes back to where we were weak in the past. Shore up those areas. Develop those areas in your life where you feel you could be stronger.

 

 

 

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Are you battling temptation today? Turn it over to God. You can’t do it on your own. You must ask for God’s help.
Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus was “tempted as we are, yet without sin.” We have power EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE SIN; THANKS BE TO CHRIST. Now is the time to use that power. Now is the perfect time, right now to strengthen it, tone it, develop it.
You are here for a reason; it doesn’t matter what the reason, Each of you yielded to temptation and ended up in “blue.”  Now, get ready to wear yellow, pink, green, red again. Use your time here where you can focus and become strong. Now is the time. There is no better time. So begin right at this moment in time. Ask God to come into your life right now and stay with you, helping you to become strong, strong enough to Just say NO!”

 

 

 

REMEMBER THESE WORDS:
RECOGNIZE
REQUEST
REFOCUS
REVEAL
REFOCUS – again and again
RESIST
REALIZE.

 

 

 

These are the steps for overcoming and defeating the temptations that try to influence our activities, our beliefs, our attitudes, our very lives.

 

 

You have the power; Use it.

 

 

 

Please join me in prayer: Lord, it is only through Your love and assistance and You walking beside me that I can overcome temptation. During this Lenten season and always, I ask you to stand by me and help me to stay focused on the Good…on the Fruits. And help me to always stay far from evil. Amen

Hugging Jesus

 

Psalm: 86: 1-10, 16-17
Gen. 21: 8-21
Romans 6: lb-11
Matt. 10:24-39
Hugging Jesus”
Matthew 10:24-39 (NIV)

 
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

 

 
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[a] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

 

 
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven……………………. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

 

 
It’s the beginning of baseball season with try outs and lots of practice in Florida and other warm locations. So as the All American pastime and for you baseball fans (Paul is a great fan, but I won’t say which team – ha ha), here is a story that can apply to our scripture for this week.

 

 
“In 1990, centerfielder Brett Butler left the San Francisco Giants as a free agent. He was loved in San Francisco, and rightly so. He was a great player. But the best offer came from the L.A. Dodgers – their cross state rivals. Early in the season, when the two teams met, Butler was the center of attention. He was well loved by his former team, and they were playing at their ball park in San Francisco. When the line ups were being announced and the players introduced, the crowd roared as Butler, their former player was announced. The people still loved him, even in a Dodger uniform. Perhaps they felt he was still a Giant at heart.

 

 

Brett Butler did something interesting at that point. When he heard the response of the crowd, he walked up to his new manager, Tommy Lasorda, and hugged him, in front of the thousands of Giants fans that filled the stadium. Instantaneously, the cheers began to turn to boos and insults. After the game, he was asked by the press why he did that. Brett Butler replied, “It turned a page in my career. I’m an L.A. Dodger now; I’m not a Giant. That just kind of solidified it.” I wanted them to know I’m a Dodger.” ”

 
Wow!

 
We Christians need to “hug Jesus;” and we need to do so in front of our family, colleagues, friends, and just acquaintances. They/We need to make it absolutely and positively apparent exactly Who we belong to. Brett Butler stepped out and showed the world who he now belonged to. As such, we also can be a Brett, showing the world to whom we belong. And showing all that we are NOT like before we became saved – everything has changed and changed for the better.   Have you been a Christian openly for a long time?

 

 

 

Matthew 10:32 – – “If anyone acknowledges Me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before My Father in heaven. But if anyone denies Me here on earth, I will deny that person before My Father in heaven.”

 

 
Mark 12:30“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul,    all your mind, and all your strength.”

 

 
I often wonder where I “fit in” and encourage each of you to think that also. Where am I in the realm of these scripture lessons?

 

 

 

Do you remember when Wilbur Reese once wrote sarcastically, “I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please,  not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a German or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”

 

 
Reese did NOT want to even consider the thought of total commitment; he wanted to stay in control of his life, doing what he liked; but at the same time he wanted the benefit of a relationship with God which, of course, included heaven….but total commitment, totally following Christ by picking up his cross and following Him….. he didn’t think so…..too much to sacrifice. He wanted to create a boundary where he could live his way of life and have a promise of eternal life also Jesus compares a true believer to one who has gone all the way with the Truth. As we discussed previously and at great length, he compares it to the “buying the pearl of great price.” That story is found in Matthew 13:46. Reese was the type who wanted the pearl but wanted it at a bargain basement price that would not cost him any sacrifice.

 

 

 

Matthew 16:24,25“Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition (deny yourself), shoulder your cross (die to yourself), and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life.'”

 

 
Where in the above scripture and elsewhere did Jesus tell us that we did not need him for – or better yet, that He did not want to own and control?

 

 
I wonder how many of us are a bit like Reese and put Christ and our life in Christ to the side because we are not willing to give all. our life in Christ, “Christian is part of who I am, but it’s not WHO I am – we think.” Wrong.

 

 
Christ tells us in the scripture that we are to deny ourselves, but our tendency is to deny Christ – at least to deny Him total control.

 

 
Are we afraid of being rejected or laughed at? Are we afraid that we will miss something? Do we think we need to keep our options open just in case?.

 

 

 

I used to be embarrassed in restaurants when someone would want to pray before eating, a friend told me. Then I realized that it was God who put that food in front of me to enjoy. It was God who created my life to embrace. It was God who wanted me to become His child and who sent His only Son to die for our sins.. The least I could do is ask His blessing on the food He presented to me for nourishment and enjoyment. It had never dawned on me at the time I was worrying about what people would think of me – what God would think. Of all the opinions about me or you in this world, the ONLY one that counts is the opinion of GOD. No other; absolutely no other.

 

 

 

Once we become a strong and “sold out” Christian, life changes and extremely so, Our allegiance and loyalties change and priorities are vastly different, “Your love has changed. Life as you know it has changed! It is important to make that life public. Because when the world thinks that “nothing has really changed,” some bad things happen. When a disciple of Jesus tries to live as a closet Christian, something is very wrong.” cic

 

 

 

So, hold up the cross and hug Jesus as hard as you can. Proclaim His love to any and all. Always try your best to get God to acknowledge you and think highly of you. That is all that counts.

 

 
– 1 Corinthians 1:18“I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize this message as the very power of God.”

 

 
Alrighty then -1 am admitting that I am weak when I come to Christ. I am broken. And my faith in Christ does bring me peace. I am a troubled soul without it. I need to hug Jesus with all that is within me.

 

 
Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.”

 

 
Be proud of being “found out” for who you are in Christ, not fearful. Grab His hand and et him hug and hold you.

 

 
Matthew 10:28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill you. They can only kill
your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

 

 

Mark 8:38“If a person is ashamed of Me and My message in these adulterous and sinful days, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in the glory of my Father with the holy angels.”

 

 

Authentic fellowship is critical to fostering this kind of life. If we really go public with our faith, we’ll need the encouragement and relationships that we find here. Reach out and proclaim the Good News. Let everyone know that you know and trust and depend on Jesus as your Savior.

 

 

 
God, through Christ, is reconciling you (hugging you) to Him. Are you hugging back?