“Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” -1 John 2:6
As I hear songs of the season playing on my radio and see Christmas lights going up on my neighbor’s homes, I remember a special Christmas Eve that I shared with Hour of Power viewers in the Holy Land in 1999. I was 18 years old. There were 500 people, Hour of Power viewers from all over the world all sitting on a hill above Bethlehem. It was nighttime in Shepherd’s Field, and the city of Bethlehem below was sparkling. As we sang beloved Christmas songs, we held these little lamps, and it was amazing. I stood up front with my grandpa. It was lightly raining, but when the service started, the rain ended. It was as if God stopped the rain and it was just beautiful.
Bethlehem was so beautiful and nice back then, but it doesn’t exist like that anymore. I went back to Bethlehem a number of years later and it had a wall around it now that Hamas was in control. All sorts of awful things have happened there since.
I remember when I went back to Bethlehem for a fourth time, I spoke to a man who said, “Bethlehem used to be mostly Christian, about 90%. Now, most of the Christians have left, fleeing for their lives.” This is still fresh in my mind because of everything that’s happening in Israel, even today. We’re praying for the peace of Israel and Palestine. And this is what I want you to walk away with:
The man said, “In Bethlehem, it’s Christmas every day. Not because Bethlehem is Christmas town, but because we believe that Jesus is born in the hearts of Christians in every moment. The ones of us that are left, the Christians that are still here support each other and love each other. I know that I see Jesus in my kids, I see Jesus in my neighbor, I see Jesus in my parents. Because of that, it gives me the strength to endure anything. I will never leave Bethlehem because I believe that Jesus is here with me in the physical bodies of other believers. That means that Christmas happens every day right here.” Christmas is every day.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I want to live every day as if it were Christmas. Each day I will worship you and your sacrifice through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Reflection: How could you celebrate Christmas, not just through this Christmas season, but every day?
“Public schools should provide students with as many community service opportunities as possible and not engage in unconstitutional discrimination,” says senior legal counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The American Humanist Association is incorrect that neutrality toward religion requires schools to discriminate against beneficial programs simply because they are run by Christians. That is not neutrality but targeted religious discrimination forbidden by the First Amendment.”
East Point Academy offers a variety of humanitarian community service programs, including Operation Christmas Child (OCC), in which students can voluntarily participate throughout the year. OCC is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization that works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver gifts to needy children around the world. OCC has provided gifts to more than 100 million impoverished boys and girls in more than 130 countries.
The Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains that “there is nothing illegal about a public school providing students an opportunity to put together a box of gifts for impoverished children throughout the world just because the toy drive is sponsored by a religious organization.” Also, the letter states that the academy “has taken no actions that promote any religious aspect of OCC. It simply offers OCC as an optional opportunity for students to engage in humanitarian aid to needy children.”
The letter also encourages the academy to “demonstrate to its students and to its wider audience that the correct response to being wrongfully accused of violating the law is to take a stand, rather than acquiesce to the accuser’s unreasonable demands.”
“It’s shameful for groups like the American Humanist Association to attack charity events that provide impoverished children with Christmas gifts they wouldn’t otherwise receive,” adds senior legal counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope that East Point Academy will decide to provide OCC as an optional humanitarian service program for years to come.”
Geri Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life, offers insight on her life and why she wrote the book.
Q. What inspired you to write The Emotionally Healthy Woman?
A. It wasn’t so much a “what” as a “who.” I would never have written the book without my husband, Pete. He’s the writer in our family, and, after I began to articulate the eight “I Quits” that are the basis of the book, he was the one who said I had a book in me. The Emotionally Healthy Woman reflects our effort as a team from beginning to end.
It reflects what we both discovered on this missing aspect of spiritual formation. In addition, I have been blessed with a wonderful extended family who has given me a tremendous legacy for which I am eternally grateful. Without that legacy, I never would have had what it takes to quit living a life that was damaging to my soul.
Q. Speaking of quitting, you actually walked into your husband’s office and announced that you were quitting the church that he pastored! That must have taken amazing strength and determination. How did you ever summon the courage to take such a bold and unconventional step?
A. It was certainly no small decision and it didn’t happen overnight. I had been making feeble attempts to get him to pay attention to what was going on with me for years. I wanted him to see how tired I was and how frustrated.
Eventually, I reached the bottom and arrived at that place where I was so miserable I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me. I just wanted out. There is an old saying that a person who has nothing left to lose becomes the most powerful person on earth. I had become that person.
Q. The subtitle of your book is Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life. Could you give us a brief glimpse of what those eight things are?
A. Certainly. Quit being afraid of what others think. Quit lying to yourself and others. Quit dying to the wrong things. Quit denying anger, sadness and fear. Quit blaming. Quit over functioning. Quit faulty thinking. And, lastly, quit living someone else’s life.
Virginia Satir once observed that most of us live inhuman lives because we try to live by unhuman rules. The purpose of these eight “Quits” is to allow us to drop those unhuman rules and start living by God’s real rules, not the ones we’ve mistakingly assumed He wants us to live, not by, but up to. By quitting these eight practices, we open the door to allow God in so that He can begin doing a mighty work in our lives.
Q. One of the quits you mention is the need to quit lying. Christians don’t normally think of themselves as liars. Could you elaborate a little on what you mean by that?
A. Of course we don’t think of ourselves as liars because lying is so deeply ingrained in our culture we rarely notice it. But we actually lie all of the time. We lie with our words. We lie with our bodies. We lie with our smiles and we lie with our silence. And we think nothing about any of it because everybody else does it, too.
Here’s an example of what I mean: A neighbor asks you to take care of their dog while they go on vacation. You hate the dog because it barks all the time and keeps you up at night and the last thing you want to do is tend to its needs. But helping your neighbor is the “Christian thing to do,” so you plant a fake smile on your face and say, “Of course. We’d love to.”
You’ve just lied and, in all likelihood, it never once registered in your mind that you were lying, or, if it did, you considered it a “little white lie” and thereby legitimized it. But the truth is that God’s beautiful plan has always been for us to live in truth. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The degree to which we become willing to live in truth becomes the degree to which we live in freedom.
It really is simple. And, for most of us, that first step means we have to stop lying to ourselves. I warn you, though, in the beginning, when you quit the lying, it will feel like death, but it’s the good kind of death because it leads to resurrection and life. When you quit lying, it will ignite your spirituality, remove false layers and reveal the true self God has planted within you. By God’s grace you will become one of the freest people on earth.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Geri Scazzerois a popular conference speaker for church leaders, married couples and women’s groups. A master teacher and trainer, she also serves on the staff of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens, New York City, a position she has held for 25 years. Her newest book is The Emotionally Healthy Woman.
“Honey, if you would just plan fun things for us to do,then I would spend more time with you.”
“If you would spend more time with me, then I wouldn’t be so cranky.”
“If you weren’t so cranky, then I would plan fun things for us to do.”
And around and around it goes. The endless cycle seen above is what I’ve come to call the “If, Then” marriage cycle. All too often, we find ourselves saying to our spouses, “If you would just do this, then I would do that.” It’s conditional love, which is really not love at all because true love is unconditional.
To save you and your spouse from becoming trapped in the “If, Then” marriage cycle, here are three truths to remember:
1. Love is not 50/50; it’s 100/100. Giving half the effort to your marriage will never cut it. Having the mindset that once you do your part, it’s up to your spouse to do the rest doesn’t work well in marriage. It’s important that both husband and wife are each giving 100 percent of themselves to the relationship.
2. Love sacrificially, not superficially. There will be times when you are tired and don’t want to do the dishes or help the kids with homework or are too busy to leave your spouse an encouraging note on the counter. But love is about making sacrifices. So break the “If, Then” marriage cycle by loving your spouse through practical, daily, sacrificial actions.
3. Love is not a transaction; it’s an action. It’s vital for both husband and wife to change their mindset from what they can get to what they can give. So try giving of your time, your thoughts or your talents without the expectation of getting something back. Do it simply because you love your spouse, not because you want a favor in return.
What are some “if, then” challenges that you and your spouse struggle with, and how do you move past those struggles? Please leave a comment below.
Twenty-two years of war between North and South Sudan ended when southerners gained independence in July 2011.
But fighting in disputed areas of Sudan has continued as Khartoum attempts to control and Islamize non-Arabs by waging jihad on regions like Sudan’s Nuba Mountains.
A prominent Sudanese bishop is in Washington this week asking Americans to help alleviate the suffering.
Macram Gassis, bishop of Sudan’s El-Obeid Diocese, said Christians and others in the Nubas are still suffering at the hands of the Islamist regime.
“They are on the cross in a special way because bombing is daily, the Khartoum government has sealed all the entrances into the Nuba Mountains,” Gassis explained. “So, there is no food, no medicine, no fuel, no nothing.”
Not far from the Nuba Mountains, near the border between Sudan and South Sudan, is the disputed region of Abiye. During recent referendum, the people of Abiye voted to join South Sudan, something Sudan has rejected in the past.
“Khartoum is finding it difficult to give up Abiye because Abiye is floating on oil,” Gassis said.
The people of Abiye belong to the Dinka tribe, the dominant tribe of South Sudan. Many of them are Christians.
But the people of the Nubas and Abiye aren’t the only groups under attack. Christians still residing in Khartoum and elsewhere in the north are experiencing persecution.
“Southerners are not looked at favorably,” Gassis said. “They tell them, ‘You are foreigners, you are unwanted here, why don’t you go back to your country?’ There is pressure not to get any more missionary personnel form the outside. We don’t have the possibilities of building churches now anymore in northern Sudan.”
Bishop Gassis is asking Americans to pray for the Sudanese people–especially those in the Nubas, Khartoum, and Abiye.
He also urged Christians to take action.
“Prayers without action are dead prayers,” Gassis insisted.
Click here to learn more about Bishop Gassis and his work in Sudan.
Last week I sat next to James on a flight from St. Louis to Denver. As we talked, the subject turned to spirituality and religion.
I confessed that I was a preacher, and he confessed he was an atheist. What unfolded on the rest of the flight was a deep, thought-provocative, laughter-laced gospel conversation.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of engaging many atheists like James in various settings. I’ve discovered five helpful tips when sharing the gospel with someone who claims to not believe in God.
1. Don’t be shocked, and do ask tons of questions. Some atheists like to shock Christians with the fact that they don’t believe in God. This brand of atheist pulls the pin on the “There is no God”grenade and drops it in the middle of the conversation, expecting Christians to run for cover.
Don’t be phased. As a matter of fact, start asking questions about their atheism. Find out what they mean by atheism (some are agnostics but call themselves atheists). Ask questions about their background. Were they raised in church? Do they have any Christian friends? Where were they educated about atheism?
And remember that, as you ask questions, your goal is not to trap them but to understand them. Find out areas where you agree. Just like Paul found common ground with the Athenians when he discovered an altar to the “Unknown God,” we can find common ground in a mutual rejection of legalistic religion, a passion for science and reason and, usually, an overall positive view of the historic Jesus.
Although James spoke somewhat negatively of religion, he spoke well of Jesus. While he didn’t view Jesus as the Son of God, he did perceive him as an enlightened soul. At the minimum, that was something I could build on in making my own case for Christ.
2. Listen deeply for the real “why.” Often atheists have a reason (other than “reason”) for becoming atheists. Listen for it. Sometimes it’s anger over losing a loved one. Other times it’s that they were hurt by the church in some way. But often there’s a “why” behind the lie they are embracing.
In John 4, Jesus masterfully attacked the why behind the lie the woman at the well was embracing. She was not an atheist but a hedonist who thought that satisfaction could be found if she finally found the right guy. But Jesus offers her living water to satisfy her deepest needs and, finally, her thirst was fully quenched.
James shared with me about his upbringing in England and his regular attendance at the Church of England. He told me about how his wife had left him and how he could only see his kids every other weekend. James shared how he reads at least a book a week and how he loses himself in novels.
As he shared, I couldn’t quite nail down why he was an atheist, but I could sense that he was a lonely man. My heart went out to him, and I think he could sense my sympathy.
3. Connect relationally. Atheists are real people with real feelings. They laugh, cry, talk and connect like anyone else. I think that too many times, Christians treat atheists as objects and not people.
James and I joked together as we sparred each other. I listened to him, and he listened to me. Bottom line is that I like James. He is an interesting guy with an interesting story.
We should heed Paul’s reminder to Timothy about how to deal with those who disagree with us theologically:
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:23-26, NIV).
4. Assume that, down deep inside, they do believe in God. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who genuinely rejects the existence of God. Sure, I’ve met many who have claimed God’s existence to be a lie, but I’m convinced that, down deep inside, they really do believe there’s a God.
Why do I believe that? Because Scripture makes it clear in Romans 1:18-21 that there are no real atheists:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
They may try to suppress their belief in God, but sooner or later in the discussion, atheists say something like, “Well, if God is so good, then why does He allow … ?” This is the point in the conversation where they have “forgotten” their atheism and revealed some of their challenges with not the reality of God but the nature of God.
When you assume that an atheist does really believe in the existence of God, it gives you the freedom not to have to prove God’s existence but to share God’s story. You can be sure that, down deep inside, the gospel is churning in the soul of the atheist.
5. Frame the gospel as a love story (that just happens to be true). When I shared the gospel with James, I wasn’t trying to prove God’s existence. I was simply sharing the story of God’s love. I said something like, “James, at the core of Christianity is a love story. Jesus put it this way: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but has everlasting life.’”
I could tell James was intrigued by this view. He listened respectfully and asked thoughtful questions.
Yes, I dipped into some apologetics at this point (C.S. Lewis’ Lord, lunatic or liar argument, teleological argument, etc.), but only after I had framed the gospel as a love story. In the words of my friend Bill Jack, too many times too many Christians use apologetics as a sledgehammer instead of a crowbar to pry open closed minds. As a result, the conversation turns argumentative instead of respectful.
James and I had a respectful conversation where I heard him and he heard the Good News of Jesus. My job is not to lead him to Jesus but to “set forth the truth plainly” and let the Spirit of God take it from there.
James didn’t say the sinner’s prayer when the plane pulled up to the gate after landing. But I believe that somewhere between Denver and St. Louis, the Spirit of God nudged him closer to Jesus. It is my prayer that, in God’s perfect time, he will cross the line of faith and receive Jesus as his Savior.
Let’s love the atheists we encounter as we humbly and gently introduce them to the God who loves them even more.
Written by Greg Stier
Greg Stier is a husband, a father, a preacher, an author, a twitchy revolutionary and a fanatic for Jesus. He’s the president of Dare 2 Share Ministries which has led thousands of students to Jesus and equipped thousands more to reach their world with the gospel. He blogs at GregStier.org.
The plight of Christians around the world was discussed in a three-hour debate at the Houses of Parliament in London Tuesday.
Members of the House of Commons were told that the persecution of Christians is increasing, that one Christian is killed about every 11 minutes around the world, and that Christianity is the “most persecuted religion globally.”
A long list of countries in which life as a Christian is most difficult was discussed, including Syria, North Korea, Eritrea, Nigeria, Iraq and Egypt.
MPJim Shannon said the persecution of Christians is “the biggest story in the world that has never been told.”
He said that although the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are many countries in which these rights are not given.
Shannon alleged that 200 million Christians will be persecuted for their faith this year, while he said that 500 million live in “dangerous neighborhoods.”
He added that in Syria Christians are “caught between opposing sides in the conflict,” and mentioned the “specific targeting” of Christian-dominated locations, such as Sadad and Maaloula.
MP Sammy Wilson said that in Syria, “50,000 Christians have been cleared from the city of Homs,” while in Sudan 2 million Christians were killed by the regime over a 30-year period.
He added: “Within the last month, hundreds of people, from Nigeria to Eritrea to Kazakhstan to China, have been arrested and put in prison simply because of their faith, and when they go into prison they are denied due process. They are denied access to lawyers. They are sometimes even denied knowledge of the charges facing them. They can languish in prison for a long time and in horrible conditions. … This is not only happening in Muslim countries. From Morocco to Pakistan, Christians in Muslim countries are under threat, but it happens elsewhere too.”
The recent comments of Baroness Warsi at a lecture in Washington were echoed, including her assertion that “the parts of the world where Christianity first spread is now seeing large sections of the Christian community leaving, and those that are remaining feeling persecuted.”
MP Nigel Dodds said that the “persecution of Christians is not new,” but that it is “staggering” how many Christians are killed today.
In Iraq, he noted the words of Canon Andrew White, who had said that Christians are “frightened even to walk to church because they might come under attack. All the churches are targets. … We used to have 1.5 million Christians, now we have probably only 200,000 left. … There are more Iraqi Christians in Chicago than there are here.”
Sir Edward Leigh said the remaining number of Christians in Iraq was likely to be closer to 600,000, but that this was still a shocking figure and that “things have become much worse since the invasion.”
MP Rehman Chishti said: “I come from a Muslim background, and my father was an imam. … I know it is absolutely right and proper to have a debate on the subject.” He called the persecution “completely and utterly unacceptable” and “a very sad state of affairs.”
He also quoted his “good friend” the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali: “He told me that the persecution of Christians was taking place in more than 130 of the 190 countries in the world at the moment.”
During the debate, the oppression experienced by Christians in China and Malaysia were also highlighted and outlined. As the British Prime Minister is currently in China, MP David Rutley raised the issue of the sizable Christian community in China, and asked about the potential establishment of a deeper inter-faith dialogue to engage the Chinese authorities with Christian groups.
Meanwhile, a U.K.-based organization has claimed that the number of countries posing an extreme risk to the human rights of their populations has risen by 70 percent in the past five years.
Risk analysis company Maplecroft, which researched 197 countries for its annual Human Rights Risk Atlas 2014, says that since 2008 the number has risen steeply from 20 to 34, predominantly comprised of countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Under the veil of “taking a stand” for our values, I fear we are letting loose all kinds of dishonoring, uncharitable speech. We need to stop.
The Cause of Frustration
I understand the frustration of conservative Christians who sense that the values we once shared with the dominant culture are slipping away. Things have changed. We’ve gone from being the moral majority to a minority – and sometimes we feel beleaguered. We come across examples of social ostracism or we hear about the legal challenges Christians face when they fail to compromise. It’s frustrating to watch the brokenness of Washington, D.C, as politicians in both parties seem more concerned about their prospects for reelection than the people they represent.
Evangelicals are having to learn how to be a distinct minority – people who must make a case for our values in the public square rather than simply assuming others share our views. We will soon be known for beliefs that are out of step with contemporary society. So be it. The Church has been in this situation many times before.
The question before us is this: Will we be known for honor?
The Apostle Peter’s letter was written to “exiles,” believers facing persecution far greater than any of us Americans have ever seen. These Christians were living under a tyrannical government far worse than any bureaucrat in a D.C. office. Yet Peter instructed believers to live honorably among others (1 Peter 2:11-17). The “others” refer to those who are not “in Christ.”
The word “conduct” appears thirteen times in the Bible, and eight of those times are in Peter’s letters. It’s safe to say, Peter cared about how our conduct was viewed by outsiders.
Now, the fact that Peter says we should live honorably among others means we must indeed be among the lost. Some evangelicals, weary of partisan bickering and political posturing from their Christian friends, are ready to throw up their hands and avoid political engagement altogether. I understand that sentiment, but failing to be present or involved in any meaningful sense in a democratic republic would be to forfeit the stewardship we’ve been given. There is no retreat here.
The question is not if but how we will be involved. It’s a change of posture, not political persuasion.
“Being exiles does not mean being cynical. It does not mean being indifferent or uninvolved. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps. And the light of the world does not withdraw, saying “good riddance” to godless darkness. It labors to illuminate. But not dominate.”
Slander Shouldn’t Stick
We also ought to live and speak in such a way that slander is untrue and charges of hypocrisy don’t stick.
When people claim that pro-lifers are only concerned about the unborn, and not little children or hurting mothers, we ought to be able to say, “Not true” and have the care of thousands of Christians behind us to prove it. Our good works ought to silence the ignorance of people who would slander us in foolishness (1 Peter 2:15).
But here’s where it gets hard. We are to honor everyone, Peter said. Even the emperor (1 Peter 2:17). Yes, the bloodthirsty, sexual maniac on Caesar’s throne must receive honor from Christians suffering under the thumb of a dictatorship.
Please don’t tell me Obama is worse than Nero.
Paul backs Peter up, telling us to outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10).
The Honor Filter
So, instead of just putting up internet filters so we can control what comes into our computers, perhaps we should put up an “honor filter” that will help us control what goes out of our computers. Consider what questions an “honor filter” we could ask of our Facebook and Twitter statuses.
Is my point of view offered with respect to those who disagree?
Do I assume the best of those who are my political opponents?
Does it look like I am raging against injustice or against people made in God’s image?
Am I showing honor when reviled or slandered?
For the Christian, it’s not about winning a culture war. We win through how we engage our neighbors. Our honor should be on full display… even on Facebook.
Be encouraged by this true story of a grandmother’s faith and hope reborn. While witnessing God‘s faithfulness throughout her daughter’s difficult pregnancy, Jenny reclaims the joy she once knew years ago.
This account is one of our featured testimonies from you, the members and visitors of this site. Each story reveals a life transformed by Christian faith. If your relationship with God has made a significant difference in your life, we would like to hear about it. Submit your testimony, by filling out this Submission Form.
Jen’s Joy – From Depression to Joyous Hope
I am a 47-year-old wife, mother and grandmother. I was raised primarily Baptist in doctrine, however, I attended Pentecostal churches on occasion with my grandmother.
My parents were both musically inclined and decided to form a family gospel group. I think I was 8-years-old at the time. Many of my Saturday afternoons were spent in front of a piano learning my “part,” as Mom put it. I didn’t realize at that young age how much church and music would impact my life.
I received Christ as my Savior at the age of 15 in a small Baptist church in Georgia. It was during this time that a few of us formed a gospel quartet and began singing in local churches. Within in a few years we were traveling around the southeast singing in churches, civic centers and other venues. I remember that although we had a good time in fellowship with others in the Lord, our ministry in song was most important to us and we took this ministry seriously.
We always closed church concerts with an invitational song, and as the spirit moved, many people came to receive salvation during this time. I know the Lord’s Spirit works in many ways. Matthew 18 says, “Where two or three are gathered together, there He is in the midst.”
Our quartet lasted for about 8 years, but eventually we drifted apart as some members got married and started families. It is hard to travel with a baby. I continued attending church faithfully with my husband. It was during my 20′s, as a new wife and Mom that I started feeling stress and found that I had trouble coping with some of life’s situations. My faith became weak.
I started drifting slowly away from God. Marital problems finally led to a divorce. I was away from God’s will for about 20 years, living a life of sin. Over time I fell into a deep depressionand began to feel that hope was gone. I did things that Christians should not do, and I was in a backslidden condition. God never left me, I left God. He convicted my heart at times, but I didn’t heed His call. I leaned to my own understanding and my own will.
Last year, my oldest daughter was pregnant and experiencing complications. She couldn’t eat due to stress and spasms of the esophagus. She drank nutritional shakes and took vitamins, but we were on pins and needles as she lost a total of 37 pounds. During this time of concern for my daughter, I began to reflect on my past. I realized that life is short and that we are not in control of everything that happens in our lives.
The baby wasn’t expected to make it past the 8th month, according to her obstetrician. But miraculously, he made it full-term. I was with my daughter in the operating room as they performed the cesarean section. The doctors delivered a precious little healthy baby boy. From that day on my faith in God began to grow. There was no doubt in my mind that God let this baby be born healthy, even when the situation looked bleak. I know medical science has an explanation, but all of my praise went to God, and my thanks to the doctors for their expertise in caring for my daughter.
This past January, my daughter was having thyroid problems along with other personal problems. I started to pray to God for help. It was at that moment that He filled me with a deep sense of warmth, joy and peace that I could not express in words. I believe this was the filling of His Holy Spirit. My burdens left me and I placed my daughter’s situation in God’s hands.
I continued to pray and ask God for forgiveness for being away from His will for so long. Ever since that time, I have been filled with a sense of peace, and now I have a keen desire to praise Him, to worship Him and to let others know about Him. I have had a problem with depression on a daily basis in the past, but now I start each day in prayer and in God’s Word. He fills me with hope for the days ahead. I know I will face troubles, illness and other adversities, but I don’t plan to let go of God’s hand ever again, no matter what comes my way.
It is my prayer that all who are hurt, or lost, and don’t know where to turn in life, will turn to God and find their purpose in life. I believe we all have a purpose and that we are divinely and uniquely created by God. I believe it begins by faith when we receive salvation through Jesus Christ.
I hope to start back in the music ministry soon. Until then, I am doing things for a needy family in my local town, helping take care of my grand baby, and trying to focus on God’s will for my life.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word application as “the act of putting to a special use or purpose.”
Every day I read the Bible. Every day I pray. But not every day do I act like a Christian. Why?
It’s because we forget to become doers of the Word. The Bible is very clear that if you and I don’t become doers of the Word, we are like the man who looks in the mirror and forgets what we look like after we walk away.
James 1:22-25 says, “But prove yourselves doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
All the knowledge of the Bible and all the sermons in the world will not make you a good Christian unless you actually apply what you know and what you hear to your walk. For example: Love your neighbor. If you don’t know or get to know you neighbor, how can you love them?
Another example: The Lord’s Prayer says, “Forgive us as we have forgiven our debtors.” Is that a prayer we really want to pray? Lord, forgive just like those I forgive? Would God actually forgive you if that were the case? Have you really forgiven others? If not, watch out what you pray for.
Are you and I really applying the words of God to our life? Or are we just going through the motions? The dictionary says application means “the act of putting to a special use or purpose.” For what special use are you using God’s Word? Is it for knowledge? That’s not too special.
God wants us to share His Word. He wants us to apply what we learn and hear to our lives, our families’ lives and to each person we come in contact with.
So I ask you: Are you a forgetful hearer or an effectual doer of God’s Word? There is a difference.