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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ultimate Patience

Have you ever found yourself in a position in which you have to exercise a level of patience that you may not be otherwise accustomed to?  For example, maybe you are waiting for a medical test result, or maybe you are waiting to hear back from a potential employer about a new job opportunity.  There are two different scenarios in life in which we find ourselves waiting; those situations in which to some extent we have control and those situations in which we don't.

So what do I mean by this?  Well, let's say you want to buy a new item and you tell yourself you want to be responsible and only pay cash .  Maybe a month goes by and you get tired of having to wait to save the money so you whip out the charge card and make the purchase.  In this case, you had some level of control over the outcome.  The only factors that influenced the outcome was a lack of will power, patience and commitment to your initial goal.

The second scenario involves a situation in which you have no control or options to speed up the outcome.  In the case of waiting for medical test results, you are at the mercy of the person processing the results.  Sure you could call the doctor's office every day and politely demand a status update, but too much prompting may have quite the opposite effect you were hoping for.

Many times in our walk with Christ, patience is a lesson we have to learn in order to surrender control of our lives so that the He can begin a new work in us.  A scriptural buzz phrase commonly incorporated during times in which we are in a state of wait is, "It will happen in God's time, not in my time."  This is the believer acknowledging personal submission to Christ and that God knows better than we as to what is in our best interests.  Patience is the beginning of building a trusting relationship between us and God.

The other day I was thinking about just how long ago it was that Christ suffered on the cross for our sins.   At approximately the year 33AD Jesus said "It is finished!"  Over two thousand years later and Jesus still patiently awaits the hour in which His father will initiate His return to gather His elect.  Jesus suffered such agony and humiliation in front of all those who loved and hated Him and now He continues to wait patiently for hearts and lives to surrender to Him.  I don't know about you, but so far, it is my opinion that Jesus has exhibited the Ultimate Patience!  I would have been wondering, just like the Martyrs in heaven in the book of revelation 6:10-11 when my death would be vindicated.  The martyrs asked "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

Because of free will, which God so graciously gave us, Jesus waits and waits and waits for us to make a decision to choose Him over all else.  For some, Jesus may have to wait longer than others, and for still others, there may never come a time in which they come to know Jesus due to their rejection of His promises and truth.

As a follower of Christ our most important mission is to learn to wait for our Savior's return.  If Christ has had to wait all this time to reap the full glory of His work on the cross, who are we to complain about having to wait for anything?  Why do we get caught up in the lies, promises and riches of this world, when if we would just be patient and wait, we could experience something far greater than anything ever hoped for?  ETERNAL SALVATION


2 Peter 3:15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation...

Aren't we so blessed to have a patient God that teaches us this same quality so that we can persevere and endure all things to carry on His work until we can be united in Heaven!

Be Blessed, 

Rebecca




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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Word of God Speak...

There is an incredible initiative taking place to alter the word of God, but you can bet God has something to say about this and His words are very clear.  We are given specific warning in the Old Testament to not add or subtract from God's word (Deuteronomy 4:2).  This very statement is repeated in the New Testament in Revelation 22:18-19, "I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.  And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book." 

I have heard some people say that since Jesus completed the work on the cross, we are no longer bound by the laws of the Old Testament.  On the flip side, some do not believe that Jesus is the true Messiah so the entire New Testament is excluded from their belief system.

I am so glad God covered this very important principle in both the Old and New Testament so that no argument could be made for or against altering the word of God. 

The bible is the divinely inspired word of God.  As a Christian, having a personal everyday relationship with Jesus Christ, I have some understanding of how the books in the bible were written and recorded.  Everyday that I begin a new topic for this blog, I ask the Lord to please give me guidance and direction to write His words not my own.  Of course I am not perfect and at times I'm sure my frustration with the current state of the world may creep in.  Nonetheless, when topic ideas randomly pop into my head, I seek God's direction and truly believe with His help, His voice ends up on paper, not mine.

This is the same concept that occurred as God's disciples and apostles poured out their hearts to all who would listen.  It was the power of God's Holy Spirit that provided the unadulterated truth, the words of divine inspiration that were spoken in boldness to reach any that would give a listening ear.  God continues to speak through His people just as He has done from the beginning of time, but whether we are listening, accepting, and obedient to act is another question.  The disciples had an incredible job to complete.  God wanted His word spread to all the nations and it was His Holy Spirit providing the guidance to begin this great sequence of events. 

In this same fashion, all throughout our lives, God attempts to connect with our hearts to make known the truths of His word.  The Lord wants us to heed His call and turn our lives over to Him.  When we accept the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we are now ready to respond to the continuous nudges to further our relationship with Jesus Christ.  As this relationship strengthens a transformation takes place that convicts our hearts to live contrary to our old sinful ways.  God begins to reveal His truth and we change our behavior to live according to His word. 

What is happening in today's world, is an attempt to change the definition of sin so that man can live a life without a spirit of conviction or obedience.  What used to be deemed sinful, is now becoming culturally acceptable and in some cases even glorified.  God knew this day would come.  In fact, history has repeated itself so many times, God must be scratching His head wondering when His people are ever going to learn.  My faith tells me every word in the bible is true, therefore altering it will have consequences.  As believers in Christ, we must be bold in being salt and light to this world.  If we do not take a stand and intervene in these attempts to alter the inspired word of God, what will we say on judgement day?

I love the words to the song "Word of God Speak" by Mercy Me which I have copied below. 

"Word of God speak, would you pour down like rain, washing my eyes to see your majesty, to be still and know that you're in this place, please let me stay and rest in your holiness, word of God speak."

I pray the multitudes will begin to hear and heed God's voice, that His words will pour down like rain, that our hearts will hear what he has to say.  God's word is truth and this truth sets us free.  Allowing God's word to be altered will only bring about more confusion, strife and division.  Jesus will have to return to set the record straight once again. 

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca- 

Ephesians 3:4-5  In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.       

"Word of God Speak" by Mercy Me

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spiritual Junk Food

 I have a great love for chocolate.  In fact, there are times when I truly feel like I am having chocolate withdrawal symptoms.  I not only like chocolate, but also fried foods and desserts.  I call these things "junk food."

Remember your parents trying to sway your bad eating habits by saying, "You are what you eat." They of course were referring to the way you look and feel when you overindulge in unhealthy eating habits.  Having a poor diet can lead to acne, obesity, depression, lethargy, tiredness, illness... and the list goes on and on.  I know all these things, but I just can't help getting my daily fix of at least one chocolate morsel or dessert a day.

When I was younger, this craving was much worse, but now I have matured some.  I can limit my exposure to junk foods and somewhat control my cravings with a new way of thinking.  I want to be healthy, but this does not always mean that I make the best decisions in regard to my diet.  The bible states in 1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own;"  This being said, it is our job to monitor what we put into our bodies so that we can be ready with vibrant health to complete whatever task God calls us to. 

What we feed our bodies is significant, but perhaps more importantly is what we feed our minds.  It is easy to get sidetracked by the things of this world that draw us away from Christ's teachings.

2 Corinthians 11:3 says, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." 

In today's culture, we are bombarded with constant messages that to be significant you must be the best, have the best, conform, and worry about no consequences along the way.  These worldly beliefs are quite contrary to the teachings of Jesus.  In fact, this is why we now have what is known as a Biblical world view versus a Secular world view.  This is also the reason why this blog is titled "Reaching Beyond the World."  It is intended for people to seek what God has to say about their lives, instead of making decisions based on the influences of the world. 

Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ask yourself this question, "Do you know the difference between God's view and the ones of this world?  If not, are you willing to find out?"

Culture today, tells us, "If it feels good, just do it!"  As a result of this philosophy, we now have more problems with addictive and unhealthy behaviors than at any other time in our history.  More programs are created everyday to help address issues as result of this type of thinking.  We are bankrupting our country because of irresponsible and ungodly behaviors leading to dire consequences.

 If we do not stay plugged into God's word, we run the risk of allowing spiritual junk food to change our hearts and minds to the ways of the world, instead of following the ways of Christ.  In the book of Mark, we hear the same message being preached back in the day when Jesus walked the earth.  He states, "You have let go the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.  You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own tradition!"

Seek God's word for your life and filter the rest.  Freedom from worries and addictions will fade away as you discover the healing that comes from knowing the truth.

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca-

Monday, April 23, 2012

God Restores...

Throughout biblical history, we learn of the falling away of God's chosen people. Their idol worship and desires to be like other nations and peoples of the world greatly grieved God's heart.  The people of Israel had been set apart as Holy and yet their sinful nature brought continued consequences to their land and livelihood. 

In Ezekiel chapter 20 we begin to learn of God's judgement and plan of restoration for His people.  He tells them, just as I have scattered you among the nations, I will surely bring you back and show myself Holy among you in the sight of the nations.  "Then you will know that I am the Lord when I deal with you for my name's sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices..." (Ezekiel 20:44 NIV). 

Doesn't this sound a little like our daily lives.  How many times do we fall away from God, become complacent in our beliefs, take for granted our blessings and let the standards of the world creep into our daily actions and decisions?  However, we are never without hope!  God, for his own name sake, as indicated above, stands ready to restore, repair and heal those things in our lives that will bring testimony to others around us who may not know Him.

We selfishly think that life is about us, but God sends a clear message that life is about Him.  Over 300 prophecies have been fulfilled in the bible and yet there are still skeptics.  This is not a problem to God.  He has things all worked out to show Himself holy to those who refuse to believe.  The beauty of God's natures lies in his willingness to use His people to complete His works.  How blessed our we to be deemed worthy to be used by God?  There is a lot more going on in life then just our day to day whims to satisfy our own selfish desires.  God wants to use us to demonstrate His glory to the world.  Did you even know this was a possibility in your life?  Jesus healed the blind, the lame and the sick.  He cast out demons, brought new hope to a dying world and helped change the hearts of those living in bondage to sin.  God is present today just as He has always been. 

Are there areas in your life that could use a little restoration, repair or healing?  Have you been seeking help through the ways of the world (self help books, dependency on drugs and alcohol, unhealthy relationships, etc...) instead of seeking Him?  Unleash God's power in your life and allow Him to work through you!  Nothing is too great for God to overcome.

Psalm 23:3  "He restores my soul.  He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His Names Sake!"

Today's Prayer:  Lord, help me to put aside my own selfish desires for how I wish my life would go and open my eyes to the plans you have to use me.  Lord, I am just a speck in this world, but in your eyes I am significant and worthy.  I know I have not made myself available to you, but you promise restoration for those who seek you.  I ask you today, to show me your presence and path in my life so that I may be a vessel for the world to witness your great name and holiness!

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca-

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hope in our President or Hope in Christ

In 2008 President Obama ran his campaign based on a slogan referring to "Hope and Change."  As a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles, I am still trying to figure out why people are putting more hope in our president than in our God.  Colossians 2 verses 8 and 10 states, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ...and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.  He is the head over every power and authority."

Our country is facing problems of exponential form and yet we are relying on the decisions of one man to bring about change and reform.  Last time I checked President Obama was not parting seas or moving mountains.  In fact, his constant attempts at destroying human life, creating more division, increasing the threat of national security, destroying our financial infrastructure, disassembling our constitutional rights, as well as contributing to the breakdown of traditional family values are almost too much for me take on a daily basis.

I find comfort in scripture that reminds me of who truly is in charge of this country.  I believe President Obama was allowed his authority from God because Romans 13:1 tells us the authorities that exist have been established by God.  However, I do not believe President Obama was placed in this position to get our country back on track.  I believe God is using this presidency to open the eyes of His people to the continuous erosion of their religious freedoms and constitutional rights.  As we sleep in the safety and security of our own homes, continuous executive decisions are stompling over our congress which was supposedly created by "We the People!" Mathew 12:25 tells us, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand."  These are God's words!  How can we expect our country to remain united if our government is constantly striving to enforce tolerance as an attempt to remove religious freedoms and break down our constitution.  It is only a matter of time before civil unrest is the result of these clashing ideologies.

The 10 commandments serve a very important component in managing unlawful behavior.  Without a moral foundation, society would live in chaos.  God is not the author of confusion.  We are told in 1 Corinthians 14:33, God is a God of peace.  Why do we acknowledge the 10 Commandments as necessary to maintain moral order and then blindly elect people who make laws contrary to their purpose?  Exodus 18:21 gives us instructions to select capable men from all the people -- men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain -- and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.  President Obama, as well as politicians, are pursuing legislative gains for their own goals, not Gods.

Proverbs 6:16-19 states, "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes (pride), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.  I am not our president's judge and I am not sinless, but I expect better from a leader for our nation!  The primary concern I have is his lack of policies to protect the unborn, and secondary the pride he demonstrates in believing he can pass policies contrary to the people's desires.  He does not have the support of his congress, but is continually attempting to bully them into submitting to his sole authority.  Proverbs 11:14 tells us a lack of guidance will lead to the fall of a nation, but many advisers make victory sure.

Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!"  The only way this country and all others will find peace is through a following of Christ and His teachings.  Look at the history of the world and it's rise and fall of it's leaders, kings and authorities.  Righteous, God fearing leaders have prospered, worked toward peace and maintained their positions of authority.  Leaders with ill intent, God has allowed to reign for a time, only to show his sovereignty in removing them from their position to a state of humility.

If President Obama as well as our government political leaders, do not soon seek God's authority, wisdom and knowledge in leading this country, we are surely doomed to fail.  The hope and change we can expect for our nation can only come from Christ as indicated in...

Isaiah 9:6-7 "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign on David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and FOREVER."

As the 2012 election draws near, I urge you to be wise in choosing a candidate that will seek the heart of God.  Acts 5:29 tells us to obey God over human beings.  Please use these principles to help our country get back on track.  People don't seem to like the word "repent," but it is time and it is necessary for God to hear our prayers.

SEEK CHRIST FOR HOPE AND CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE...READ GOD'S WORD AND HE WILL DIRECT YOU!  

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca-        
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Do You Claim the Title Christian, or Live a Life of One?

I have been a born again Christian for the last four years.  During this time, my eyes have been opened to observing those around me who claim to be Christian, but have not yet embraced the culture surrounding such beliefs.  A couple posts back, I spoke of the concept of being "luke-warm." Jesus used this term to describe people who live a life accepting some of His ways and principles, but reject others based on their personal preference.  Abortion is an excellent topic to portray such an example.

As a Christian, you should be pro-life with NO exceptions because God values life.  He did after all create life, but probably never expected man to think it his right to destroy it.  There is a good majority of Christians, however, that uphold the fence sitting position on this issue and it looks something like this.  "Well, I am pro-life except in the instance of rape, incest, potential deformity, or the mother's life is in jeopardy."  My own personal opinion:  If the doctor told me I had a choice to preserve my life or my child's, I would without hesitation choose my child's life.  Being a mother has taught me unconditional love and this love drives me to choose my child's opportunities over my own.  This is the same love God demonstrated for His children by sending His one and only Son to be a sacrifice, so that we could experience the fullness of life our Father had intended for us. Now back to our topic...

Christianity is not just a word that describes the single element of your belief in God.  It is a whole culture of beliefs rooted in the truths of God's Holy Bible.  Anyone can say "Yes, I believe in God," but do they bear any fruit to support this belief?  Bearing fruit is easily defined as those changes you make in your life to reflect the love of Christ to others.  What do you do, how do you act, and what do you say that leads people to the conclusion that you have a love for Christ and therefore a love of others?  Being a follower of Christ must encompass a transformation in which friends, family, your children and co-workers notice a distinct difference in your behavior, words and actions.  Without this transformation, where would God's glory be in the whole process of the resurrection.  The beauty behind the transformation is the credit God receives for being able to take us from broken sinful creatures to restored and blameless before Him.  These incredible transformations are only possible by the power and Holy presence of God working in our lives through His Holy Spirit.  This seems like a mouth full, but it is best summed up by the following scripture:  Luke 6:45 "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  What you say flows from what is in your heart."

One of the first steps to living life as a born-again Christian is accepting Christ as your personal Savior and acknowledging His work completed on the cross.  Next is your admission of being a sinner, asking Christ for His forgiveness, and finally asking Him to show you truths in which to live your new life by.  

I am always surprised by those who claim to be Christians, yet the words that flow from their lips continue to be so contrary to the Lord's teachings.  God does have a lot to say about how our words not only impact the lives of others, but how they reflect the depth of our walk with Him.  Ephesians 4:29 states, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  If you believe the bible and it's instructions and that we should live our lives accordingly, then please read the following additional scriptures to support the idea that we must clean up our mouths from cursing, criticism, gossipping, name calling, judgement and accusing. These types of behaviors do not support the spread of the gospel in advancing God's kingdom, and therefore fuel the fire for the enemy to work among us through the process of division.

(Ecclesiastes 10:12, Mathew 12:34, Romans 14:19, Romans 15:2, Ephesians 5:4, Colossians 3:8, Colossians 4:6, and 1 Thessalonians 5:11).
 
One of the first ways God began to use His Holy Spirit to transform the lives of me and my husband was to help expose the filth of our mouths.  As we look back today, we cannot believe some of the language we hear coming from the mouths of others that have children absorbing their words.  This was the first clear evidence in which our coworkers, family, friends and child began to notice a great change in our lives.  This first element of change was only the first step taken up a tall mountain to many others that would follow.  As we continue to climb toward the peak, our Almighty God grows our powerful life changing testimony to help witness to others.  Once again the beauty lies in the author of the change, not the one reading the book.

I will now ask the question again, "Do you claim the title of Christian, or do you live the life of one?"

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca-

      
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Can You Hear Jesus?

If you live in the country and have ever taken walks on a windy day on an open country road, you may have been surprised at the noise level traveling one way, yet experienced complete calm on the journey back.

Yesterday this very experience was brought to my attention. Traveling down the road, I was fighting the wind and had to keep looking back to check for cars because the noise in my ears was so loud.  There was no way for me to hear any cars coming. Drivers on my road are not always the most responsible and with people always so distracted, you have to be careful not to get hit by someone texting while driving.

On the return trip, I was overwhelmed with a different experience and yet it was the same walk. The wind was now at my back, but I hardly noticed. There was complete peace and quiet in my ears and I had no trouble at all hearing oncoming traffic. This experience reminded me of our journey through life.

God's presence is all around us and yet His voice seems to be drowned out by all of the latest media and technology that keeps us connected to His world, but not to Him. Life can become so noisy and this is the way the enemy likes it.  As long as you are not connected to God, you run the risk of Satan subtly taking over and stealing your time.

Think about your schedule from morning to night and how busy life has become. It is so easy to jump on facebook and get caught up in story after story. Yes, we use social media to stay connected to friends and family and that's great, but how much time everyday do we set aside for our Creator?  God asks us to seek Him first and foremost in all things. There seems to be a discrepancy in our 24 hour day of how much time we devote to Him versus other less important tasks. Indeed I am guilty of this too. Every day I have to make it a priority to commune with God either through His word or through prayer. On days when I get caught up in my list of "to do's" all I have to do is remember the story or Mary and Martha.

In Luke 10:40 we read of Jesus visiting the house of Martha and her sister Mary. Martha busied herself with all of the preparations to make sure Jesus would have a comfortable time in her home, while Mary sat at Jesus feet listening to His word. Martha asks the Lord, "Don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me!" Look at the exclamation mark here. Martha is adamant that Jesus do something about Mary's laissez-faire attitude.

Jesus responds, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Too many times in life we let fear, stress, worry and doubt hinder our daily functioning. When these emotions creep in, we take over and try to conquer our stresses by doing more stuff. Sometimes this effort has the opposite effect and increases our emotions to an even greater level. 

Have you ever had a project you were working on and seemed overwhelmed?  Did you frantically try to get organized by prioritizing, budgeting and delegating tasks in the hope you would make some headway and feel less stress? Jesus calls us to do something different! He wants us to learn to lean on Him for direction. Mathew 11:28 states "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The answers to life's questions and problems all lie with Him.

Start every day and every task with a prayer to Jesus. Taking my walk yesterday made me aware of one thing. Life is a journey with two paths. The first leads to sin and death and the other leads to peace and rest. If you don't know Jesus, you cannot possibly understand the peace and rest that comes as a result of this relationship.

Prayer for today: Lord, let me not get caught up in the spoils of life, but to seek you first and foremost. Trust me with your wisdom and understanding to conquer today's tasks. Lord, help me to be more like Mary absorbing your word to give me strength during the challenging times of my day. I need your love and guidance, but most of all I need to know you and the desires of your heart for my life.

Be Blessed

-Rebecca-

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

As for me in my household, we will serve the Lord!

The book of Joshua is an amazing demonstration of God's power and faithfulness to those who love and serve Him.  As successor to Moses, Joshua took his role very seriously.  He exhibited total confidence in the Lord and honored Him by implicitly following His instructions. 

Five times throughout the book of Joshua, the Lord encourages Him "Be strong and be courageous!"  In turn Joshua builds his people up with the same message. 

Question:  "Where do you get your strength and courage from when facing life's obstacles?"  Do you know HIM? 

These words were not requests, they were definitive instructions "Be Strong and Be Courageous!"  Just as Moses, Joshua had quite the task laid before him.  Except there was one primary difference in the journey of their character building.  Moses constantly had to deal with the complaining spirits of an untrusting people, but Joshua had the people's total trust and obedience.  In either case, God demonstrated His awesome power under both leaders by supplying abundantly and supernaturally for his people's needs. 

Joshua was very serious about following the instructions of His Lord.  He tolerated nothing outside of 100% loyalty.  Only once do we read of a man, Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah going against Joshua's instructions from the Lord.  Following battle, Achan took some of the enemies plunder and concealed it.  When Joshua finds out that his Lord is angered due to someones disobedience, he tears his clothes and falls face down in despair.  The Lord tells Joshua the guilty must be stoned and indeed he does not hesitate in finding the culprit and inflicting punishment.  The Lord once again finds favor with Joshua and he continues his calling to lead his people in astounding victories over 31 kings and their territories.  WOW!

Joshua was not a man to be reckoned with.  He possessed uncompromising principles of moral integrity passed down from his Lord.  When the Lord told Joshua "Be strong and courageous, do not get discouraged and do not fear," he didn't.  Joshua knew the hand of God was on him because of his love coupled with fear for obeying His laws.  Joshua had a great attitude of submission to authority.  Perhaps this made him such a great leader.  Some say you cannot be a good leader until you have first mastered being lead.  This would definitely be the case in terms of God choosing Joshua for the special task of defeating all the land surrounding Israel. 

There are several themes occurring in the book of Joshua and submission to authority is just one.  Joshua had such a great love for His God and he wanted his people to continue to reap the benefits of God's blessings for serving Him.  He warned them time and time again, to stay away from the gods of the foreigners and to not be influenced by those cultures who did not serve his God. 

Joshua demonstrated fairness and bold confidence.  I love his final statements to his people.  Joshua reminds them all what the Lord had done on their behalf.  He tells them they can choose whom they will serve, But as for me in my household, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15 NIV). 

Where is this boldness today?  The United States could learn an incredible lesson from the book of Joshua.  It clearly demonstrates God's protection over a people who serve Him with unwavering certainty. We have fallen away from living by so many of God's principles that it is no wonder our country, as well as many others in the world, are now in trouble. 

The relationship between God and Joshua was about mutual trust.  God knew his plans would be carried out and there was no argument or complaining.  In chapter 10 verses 12-14, we are told Joshua makes a request of the Lord for the sun and moon to stand still until the nation avenged itself on its enemies.  Verse 14 states there has NEVER been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.  This was a supernatural occurrence that was man's idea not Gods, and yet God listened and responded.  God loved the leadership of Joshua and in return showed His great pleasure by honoring this request.  Joshua could have become errogant and full of pride in claiming this act as his own, but he didn't.  He continued to hold God in reverence in a central position in His life.  Should we not give God the same honor today?  God loves to pour out His blessings on His people that follow Him.

God clearly gave us His 10 commandments to be followed to the letter.  Moses upheld this covenant and Joshua continued to carry on the responsibility.  Joshua urged his people in his final request 23:6 "Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left."  Isn't this the same as our instructions in Psalm 32:8-10 (NIV) where we are told by God, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.  Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.  Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him."

Does this not sum up the relationship between Joshua and God and the events that took place, as well as the reasons why.  Joshua demonstrated no need for a bit and bridle.  God spoke and Joshua responded.  Where are we in our own lives when we hear God's promptings to act?  Do we offer up swift unwavering trust and faith for our Lord to guide our steps, or do we draw back away from the Lord because we do not demonstrate the wisdom He has laid out for us in His good book?

When Jesus first came and told His disciples "Come and follow me," they dropped what they were doing, left everything and followed Him.  One disciple requested that he first be allowed to bury his deceased father.  Mathew 8:21 (NIV).  Jesus response was, "Follow me , and let the dead bury their own dead."  I can only assume that Jesus must have known his disciple's father was spiritually dead.  With this being said, we must examine ourselves to determine where we prioritize Christ's position in our own lives. 

There is a concept used in Revelation 3:15-16 which states, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth." 

Wishy washy is disgusting to God.  He states "I am about to spit you out of my mouth."  This is referring to the "fence sitters."  Make a stand!  Either you are for God and His biblical truths, or you are against Him, but don't live your life by some of His standards and reject the others because it isn't convenient for you.  Joshua was about giving God All the glory.  He knew he was nothing without God.  Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, then who can be against us? No One! There is no one mightier! Joshua knew this and he claimed the promises of God as his own!  When God was angered by Achan's disobedience, Joshua's primary concern was "What then will you do for your own great name?"  Joshua knew God was demonstrating His mighty power and authority through his peoples victories over their enemies.  He did not want their enemies to have any reason to deny God or be boastful about their own victory in essence saying "Where is your God now?"

Victory in life awaits you, battles are to be won in His name!  Choose today, as for you in your house, who will you serve? 

Be Blessed

-Rebecca-




     
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Who do you say I am?

In Mark 8:29 Jesus stands before His disciples and addresses Peter and asks him "Who do you say I am?"  Peter responds "You are the Christ."  Peter demonstrates no hesitation in his response to Jesus.  I wonder when we stand in Judgement before Jesus, who He will say we are?  Do you think He will know you?

Throughout the bible, we are given moral instruction and guidelines to live by so that when we stand before the Lord, we can give an account.  In the book of 1 Peter, Christians are reminded to live for the will of God.   Peter discusses the lives we are to leave behind because we have been transformed by Christ.  In Chapter 4 verses 5 and 6, twice we are reminded of being ready to stand to give an account. Peter states Christ will judge the living and the dead and that this is the reason the gospel was preached...so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

As you reflect on your life at this moment, are you living in your fleshly body still struggling with lies, addiction, greed, selfishness, adultery, lust, irresponsible decision making, cursing, boasting, abusing, gossiping, etc... or are you living a righteous life with Christ at the helm leading and guiding your spirit to experience His fullness?  If you have to think about this, chances are you have some work to do. 

Peter did not hesitate in his response to Christ and neither should we.  Being confident with who you are in Christ is necessary to stand before Him blameless at the time of judgement.  Jesus made our journey to His kingdom simple.  He did all the work on the cross so that we would have a way to share eternal life with Him.  All we have to do is admit our sin, ask forgiveness, and acknowledge Christ as our Savior. 

Often times, I place scripture in my writings.  Today I am going to list them in the hopes that you will seek God's truth in His word.  Christ will reveal Himself to you as you begin to develop a relationship with Him.  Who do you say He is and who are you to Him?  You are His beloved and He is waiting to extend you His peace, rest and freedom.  Seek Him Today!

Hebrews 10:17
Colossians 1:14
Acts 10:43
1 John 1:9    

Be Blessed

-Rebecca-

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Embracing God's Word

My son asked me the other day what my favorite book was.  My immediate response in my head was "The Bible," but I knew we was looking for an answer that involved fiction.  I thought for moment, which seemed like 10 minutes of silence, before I realized I had not hardly read any books since I first became devoted to God's word in 2008.  I finally spoke the words out loud "The Bible" and of course my son responded, "No, I mean a book like a novel."  Again, I began to explain the Bible as a novel with excellent twists, turns, suspense and supernatural stories.  He was not going to be satisfied until I gave him a secular public school answer, so I gave him a few authors who's work I had enjoyed in the past, but haven't picked up since.

I am what many would call a "Baby Christian" and admittedly I am, but I have an insatiable desire to be in God's word all the time.

Just about a year ago, I was laid off from my job.  I had much independence and could plan my day accordingly.  I was a hard worker and typically completed my work ahead of schedule and began a new project.  On my way to work, I listened to Christian talk radio.  I was inspired by real life stories, testimonies and scripture verses that applied to my own life.  I began carrying my New Living Translation (The One Year Bible) with me to work everyday.  This bible was important to me because it was gifted to me by a coworker.  I always felt reading the bible would be overwhelming, but when my friend gave me this bible with daily scriptures, it was just what I needed to get started.  The beauty of this story is God knew it too.

Anyway, I digress.  Sometimes while I was at work I would be thinking about the topic on the morning Christian talk radio show and I would open my bible to read the daily scriptures.  God began to help me see deeper meaning in His word and parables to show me things in my life that needed addressing.  The problem was once I began to read, I could not put the book away.  Remember I was at work!  I once heard someone refer to the Bible as God's very own love story to each of us.  This made so much sense to me and I finally understood why the Bible was referred to as the "Living Word of God."

I fell in love so much so with God's love story for my life that I began praying for God to give me more time in my day to help me manage my schedule better.  I really had a desire to write a book giving God the glory for all of these wonderful insights he was filling my heart and mind with.  Funny thing, I was laid off and the office was closed.  It seems now I have all the time in the world to devote to God's word.  Lots of laughs because God does have a sense of humor.  I asked for more time and he answered my prayer with less work.  I asked for inspiration to write a book and He gave me the idea to start this blog.  See, God Is In EVERYTHING!  We are made in God's image and we have humor, so it is only logical that humor came from God as well.

It saddens me to know that some call themselves Christians, yet never pick up God's beautiful Love Story for their life.  Anyone and everyone who reads the word of God's Holy Bible will receive a message specific to their life, directly from God's guiding Holy Spirit.  I hear people say they are waiting for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, yet they have taken no initiative to commune with God through His word.  Communication implies a give and take exchange of words or actions.  It is not one-sided.  Why do we expect God to do all the work?  We as Christians need to stop being lazy, stop rationalizing our behaviors, and stop making excuses for all the reasons why we don't have time to read God's word.  Does God ever say He does not have time to hear our prayers; that He is too busy, or too tired, or too stressed to respond?  I may be a "Baby Christian," but I clearly understand what it means to honor God's first commandment to love Him with my whole heart, soul and mind.  You cannot honor this commandment and avoid fellowship with Him through the reading of His divine instructions.  You cannot honor this command and not love God's people.  You cannot honor this command and not love to worship Him.  You cannot honor this command and not raise your hands in homage or submit to your knees with a humble heart when you acknowledge the work completed on the cross for you and I.  I will say it again, "Love God with your whole heart, soul and mind!"  What does this look like in your life?

God is on my mind constantly.  When I am driving, I am praying.  When I am in the shower, I am talking with my Lord.  When I wake up I ask for strength and direction to do God's will.  Before I go to bed, I am reading scripture to hear from the Holy Spirit to post another blog with the desire to bless others.  When a problem arises, I seek the Lord's help.  When something good happens, I praise God for His blessing.  God sees enough tragedy and human error day after day.  I am sure it is refreshing for Him to hear from His people in regard to all aspects of their lives.  As I wrote yesterday, God is in everything, whether you want to admit it or not.

In the book of Mathew chapter 26 verse 41 Jesus addresses His disciples when His heart is heavy with what He must soon face.  He has gone away to pray and He asks His disciples to do the same on His behalf.  When He returns after just an hour He finds His disciples asleep.  Jesus tells them to watch and pray and further states the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Sometimes, we attend a retreat or hear a beautiful testimony and it inspires our spirit to want to make changes in our lives.  When it comes right down to taking action, however, we become lazy and let our new found passion fall by the wayside.  This is the same thing that happens when we don't stay committed to reading God's word.  It becomes easier to fall back into complacency and old habits that don't help us grow in the Lord.  Evaluate your walk with the Lord today.  If you are not receiving a fresh daily perspective on God's plans for your life, perhaps you are neglecting your fellowship with God through prayer or the reading of His word.  Time is short and God is EVERYTHING.  Embrace His word today and everyday and I promise you a renewal and new perspective on life.

Be Blessed,

-Rebecca-


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

GOD IS...

Everyday I walk my dogs and spend this time in communion with God.  I am utterly amazed by His creation.  I think of things like the process of cell division, photosynthesis, solar and lunar cycles, plate tectonics, tornadoes, gravity, space and the list goes on and on.  I am by no means above average intelligence, but I stand amazed by those who can deny a Creator behind all these systems that make our world thrive with His creative  presence.  God is an architectural genius!  He is particular, practical, precise, concise, complex, prestigious, paramount, prudent and PRESENT IN ALL THINGS!


God is the author of design.  Think of the way in which our eyes work so that we can see.  Think of the combination of little bone like structures in our ears that all work together so that we can hear.  Think of our heart being an animate object and yet it can feel to help us express emotions.  The human body is absolutely amazing in all of it's functions and yet was created from a single cell purposefully planted by God.  How does one deny God and explain away His existence?


I can't think of one single thing in life that makes sense without God in it.  Scientists spend their whole lives trying to explain theories that are unexplainable.  I think this is the way God prefers it.  Without a true and thorough explanation, people have no choice but to throw their hands in the air and say, "It must be God!"


John 1:3 sums it up best, "Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men."  


Believing God's word requires a step of  faith.  Take that step today and be blessed.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 states ALL scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training the righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  God is calling you today to believe He is who He says He is.  Life will begin to make sense when you begin to believe.  All those things in life that you simply didn't have answers to will come to have meaning and purpose.  


GOD IS EVERYTHING AND SO MUCH MORE.  He is waiting for your heart to acknowledge Him, accept Him, and answer His call for your life.  Will you respond?


Be blessed


-Rebecca-

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why Should We Praise During Suffering?

What sets God's chosen people apart from those that have not yet come to know Him?  One very clear example is the demonstration of character through trials of suffering.  Romans 8:20 tells us, "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."  Seems like a mouthful right?

Very simply, God subjects all of His creation to trials in the hopes that His people will be refined through them.  God wants us to experience a life of freedom and peace.  These conditions can only be accomplished through a process of transformation. 

In our human fleshly state, we are sinners.  Once we accept Christ to rule in our lives, we are now submitting to God's authority to clean us up and make us Holy in His image.  Sometimes in order to purge the darkest areas of sin in our lives, God teaches us through suffering.  No, it is not always fun, and yes, we do not at all understand why suffering has to take place.  Some may even question, "If God loves me so much, then why is He doing this to me?"  As a believer, it is only when we take to heart and believe a few other principles of God's truths that we can revel in glory knowing God has complete control and absolutely knows what He is doing.

God wants us to be certain He will never give us more than we can handle and will always provide an open door as an opportunity to escape temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13); He is always working all things together for our good because He loves us (Romans 8:28 NIV), and during times when we have no strength to overcome, God will lift us up by His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10) which is far greater than we could ever muster on our own.  By holding onto these truths, God wants us to bring Him glory through our trials.  He uses us as an example to others to show His love, faithfulness, patience, kindness, availability, and sovereign presence. 

In the book of James, we are told to consider our trials pure joy (James 1: 2-4) because in doing so, we are acknowledging the work that Christ is trying to complete in us.  We are being prepared for something far greater and beyond our understanding.  If we are to die to our flesh each day so that we can become more perfect in Christ, then this means trusting that our suffering and afflictions have purpose in serving Him.

One of the greatest ways we can demonstrate Christ's love through our suffering is through humble speech.  With the just recent celebration of Christ's resurrection, we are reminded that Jesus suffered incredible pain and agony without a negative comment.  Everything He did was to pay honor and show obedience to His heavenly Father's plan.  Jesus showed the ultimate sign of submission without complaining, cursing, mocking, rationalizing, or blaming others for His circumstances. 

I would like to be so bold as to challenge everyone today to ask God to give you strength during your trials.  To trust and believe that His strength is already yours and to praise God for loving you enough to show you the areas in your life that need refined so that we can enjoy peace in Him.  Drawing closer to God always involves prayer, repentance and thanksgiving.  Do these today, hold onto the promises of His word, and see if He doesn't provide an abundance of knowledge, understanding, patience, spiritual growth and blessings throughout your trials.  Don't give up because through His love we must build perseverance,  endurance and patience to serve and glorify His name so that others may come to know Him. 

-Rebecca-   

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Has Risen!

Thank you Jesus for the gift of this very special day.  Who would we be without you?  Lord we give you thanks and praise for the work you completed on the cross.  We are a people who are not worthy, but your love is so abundant and far reaching that you could not help but put forth yourself as a blood sacrifice.  When my thoughts focus on the pain and suffering you endured just a short time ago, I am humbled beyond comprehension.  Who else could have taken the ridicule, denial, rejection, physical, emotional and spiritual pain?  No one but you Lord.  You promised you would rise and you did!  For what promise have you ever declared and not seen it through to the end?  I can only imagine the unexplainable joy felt by those who deeply loved and lost you.  Their hope, as well as all who did not believe unto you, was restored.  Only your death and resurrection holds the key to our freedom to live.  No longer are we bound by our sin and death.  Thank you for making a way to share our lives with you, here on earth, as well as in your heavenly kingdom. 

Lord, I pray for those who do not know you.  I pray for those who do not see or understand the significance of this day.  Lord, you are sovereign, you are Holy and your word says that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that you are Lord!  How could we as a people do anything but bow to our Savior. 

Lord, let every word and action today from your people be in holy reverence to you.  Purge our hearts from sin so that we can come to know you in such an intimate way that we can see your presence, hear your voice, and feel your heart within us.  Lord whatever trial we face, we acknowledge you are in it and we give you thanks and praise for using the trials in our lives to draw us closer to you.  Let our faith grow to perfection in your name, Jesus. 

Happy Resurrection Day!

-Rebecca-

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Was Socialism in God's Plan?

In the book of Deuteronomy Moses is reminding the Israelites, before their entrance into the Promised Land, of their responsibilities to keep God's laws.  One of these laws clearly laid out the foundation of taking care of the poor.  I can't help but wonder today which politicians are truly seeking God's guidance in getting our country back on track by referring to His laws for help.

One of our greatest ways of acknowledging and giving thanks to our Lord is to love Him with our whole heart, soul and mind.  From this God says we will reap His blessings.  In exchange for those blessings, God asks us to bless those who do not have, because He has blessed us.  God is showing us a trickle down theory of distributing wealth through a voluntary basis because He knows the hearts of His people.  God demonstrates His love for us, calls us to love Him, and in return tells us to love others as He has, which means to give to others as he has generously given to us.  At some point we have to take ownership of the fact that if it wasn't for God's generous blessings, we would be included in the class of the "have not's," therefore, we should give thanks and be generous as God has shown himself to be.

This model is quite contrary to the model of Socialism.  Socialism involves an entity working to control the distribution of wealth.  This idea takes away from God's original plan in that the "heart" of giving is no longer involved.  In fact, this type of redistribution can only lead to resentment, unfairness, and corruption of the governing entity.  This also puts government at the top of the food chain leaving little room for God in the hierarchical equation because government is working to take His place.

Deuteronomy15:4-11 (NLT) explains very simply "there should be no poor among you if you follow my principles of giving."  Moses tells God's people, "You will lend money to many nations but will never need to borrow."  Of course this was in reference to Israel, but God's promises covered his people from beginning to end.  The fact that we are having to borrow like crazy to keep our economy afloat should speak volumes. We have clearly gone away from utilizing God's principles to make decisions concerning our country's finances. God knows the poor will always exist and this was stated in verse 11, but he tells His people not to be hard-hearted or tightfisted, but to instead be generous and to lend to the poor whatever they should need.  God says, do this and you will be blessed.

I can't even image going to bed hungry, yet children and adults all over the world do.  I can't imagine not having clean water to drink, but many must travel several miles to retrieve their daily portion.  I can't imagine not having blankets and pillows to cover up with when cold, but stone floors are sometimes the only amenity to those who have not.

God sees His people going everyday without.  He waits in quiet contemplation for His people to put into motion the act of giving; to feed the hungry and cloth the naked.  Imagine if everyone lovingly embraced the commandment of love thy neighbor as thy self, no one would go without.

Socialism is man's intervention for a new cultural belief that people are no longer generous and caring toward one another.  In the book of Mathew chapter 16 verse 18 Jesus is talking to Peter and He states "Upon this rock I will build by church, and all the powers of hell (Hades) will not conquer it.  The people are God's church and as long as they walk with the Lord and stay in His word, God will bless them and in return give them a generous heart to bless others.  This dynamic within the church will never be destroyed in God's kingdom because He states so.  I am uncertain if you can truly call yourself a Christian and not have a tender heart toward giving to those less fortunate than yourself.

In every act of God, you can bet Satan is not far behind plotting ways to diminish God's glory.  In today's world, with rising prices concerning the everyday cost of living, Satan continues to work his plan in the hopes of creating fear in God's people regarding their future financial stability.  As people experience tougher times, this fear has caused a decrease in giving.  When God's people pull back from their efforts of giving, they are sending a clear message to God that they do not trust Him during the tough times.  Friends, we are leaving a gap for the government to step in and take control of our giving efforts.  God is sovereign and our blessings will continue to be abundant if we just stick to His plan.  Don't get caught up in the lies and promises of Socialism.  Instead, seek the Lord and let Him direct your giving.  Wouldn't you would want a brother or sister to provide to you in your time of need?  Remember, giving involves time, talents and treasures.  Use your natural gifts to bless others and God will take care of the rest.  This is the true spirit of our Lord at work; our government can never come close.

-Rebecca-

Sunday, April 1, 2012

God is Love

In 1 John 4:16-21We learn "God is love... and there should be no fear in love."  John tells us that perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment and the one who fears is not made perfect in love.  It only makes sense that fear should naturally creep up within us when we are living contrary to the life God has planned for us.

God gave us 10 simple instructions for living.  For some reason, Satan has been hard at work to create deception in the hearts and minds of people as to what really constitutes the breaking of God’s laws.  Not only is there no longer a healthy fear of consequences that accompany sin, but there are heightened attempts to do away with God’s existence all together.  In addition, what used to be called sin is now behavior accompanied by a whole slew of rationalizations for why it is not.


So what does God have to say about this?   Let’s review the book of Ephesians starting with Chapter 5.  We are told to imitate God in everything we do because we are His dear children.  Next we are told to live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.  He loved us and now we are called to love Him and to love others as He loved us.  In chapter 3, we are given specific instructions of sins to avoid:  “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.  For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person-such a man is an idolater-has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” 


The next verse is pivotal, “Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey Him.  Don’t participate in the things these people do.  For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.  SO LIVE AS PEOPLE OF LIGHT!”  (I can’t help but continue with the instructions from this scripture).  Verse 10, “Carefully determine what please the Lord.  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness, instead, expose them.  It is shameful to even talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.  But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.”


Living in God’s love, exposes sin and drives it out of our lives.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our transgressions are made known so that we can clean up our lives.  By God’s grace, we also begin to develop a new discernment regarding Satan’s evil attempts to distort sin as acceptable so that we will not be fooled into making rationalizations for behaviors displeasing to the Lord.  God says He will take care of those who attempt to fool His people into believing sin is actually righteous. 


Look at the changes in the world today.  The legalization of abortion and the act of no longer honoring the union of marriage are two of the greatest lies put forth by Satan.  His goals to convince God’s people that choice is more important than God’s will, abortion is not murder, and sex outside of marriage is somehow excused or exempt from God’s wrath, will not go unnoticed.   All three demonstrate a people that have strayed from living under God’s love and protection.  Instead we live fearful under the natural consequences that exist in living apart from the Lord.


God’s perfect plan for our lives was simple:  Live and abide by His laws and reap the benefits and blessings of His love, forgiveness and grace.  Outside of this are those who choose to live contrary to His ways and instead live a life in fear, unrest and consequences brought about by their own doing.  Refer back and read paragraph one.  Reflect on the current state of your life.  Are you living in peace and rest brought about by Christ’s perfect love for your life or are you living in fear of daily consequences brought about by Satan’s lies convincing you that your sin is not really sin?  God covered every action by man in His holy word.  He clearly defined behaviors as pleasing or displeasing to His sight.  It is now up to you to ask Jesus to expose any hidden sins in your life so that you can enjoy rest and peace in Him. 

-Rebecca-