Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Ultimate Gift


The Ultimate Gift


It didn’t just dawn on me. In a way, I guess I’ve realized it all along, but never in this way. Isn’t it like that sometimes? We notice little things throughout life here and there, then one day they all kind of come together and there’s a larger realization. That is what I’m talking about here.

We come into this world a gift. We are a gift to our parents, our families, our friends, even to the world. Everything we experience from the moment we are born is a gift. As infants, most are gifted with the initial constant watchful care and unconditional love of a mother and father. Then, as we grow up, life brings many, many gifts our way. Sometimes we view these gifts as good, bad or ugly, but they are still gifts.

Everything we encounter in life seems to have some kind of purpose. With the benefit of many years behind us, we look at life differently. We realize that each situation we’ve dealt with has helped us in some way.There are some that refuse to see and hear, and therefore they cannot learn and grow. Some may even become bitter, resentful and hard, but there are purposes we encounter in life that are also gifts.

The weak may actually be the strong, and the strong may be the weak. It’s just in how we view it. For example, it isn’t easy to be ridiculed, made fun of, taken for granted. It takes a strong person to allow it, realizing that the problem is not with them, but with the other person. The strong may perpetrate sorrow, anger and hurt to others and believe they are the strong ones. It’s harder to receive than to give – and the weak become the strong when they receive the hurt with grace. All of these lessons are gifted to us.

There is a narrow road to travel. It’s a difficult road, full of potholes, crazy turns, some ridiculously steep hills, and down slopes. But this road enriches you and makes you whole. It teaches you the lessons that life was meant to teach. It causes you to see, hear and grow. This too is a gift.

Often we overlook the small gifts. For example, we can take for granted the laughter of a child, the smell of a rose, the touch of a hand-- to name a few. We rarely appreciate bad things. Yet they are there to teach us also. Sometimes someone treats us, or someone we love with hard hearts. This teaches us patience and the realization that we have probably done the same in the past, and has developed a desire in us to do better next time.

Some of you will say that some are born into a dire situation—how can you call that a gift? Some things are hard to understand; such as the child born into a world of disease and starvation. This is a result of the greed that exists in this world. There truly is enough for everyone, it’s just that some people hoard it and expend other’s lives in return for more pleasantries of their own. This is why we have wars – but this was never the intention when life was given. The intention was the gift of love. For everyone!

There are some things that seem unnatural. For example, death – even though death is a fact of life. If you can receive it, death is actually the entrance into a spiritual life. Though our bodies die, our spirits live on. We were made to live forever, yet the life we now experience determines our outcome after death. So we must recognize this gift for what it truly is; an entrance into another, more perfect life.

More importantly, we must recognize the Giver of the gift of life!

Every breath you take, He has given, every move you make, He has known beforehand. There is nothing that takes Him by surprise. There is no reason to hide. He knows you. He loves you anyway, unconditionally- which is a miracle in itself.

All He requires is that you recognize and accept the Giver as the Ultimate Gift, that you learn the lessons on the way through life, and repent of anything that was borne short of love.

Carmen

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Living On Purpose

I sit in the quiet of my living room contemplating whether I should put some Christmas music on.

But there’s something in the quiet.

The treadmill of activities for the last 3 months furiously spiral in my mind, but as I watch...they come to a stop -- in slow motion.

Ahhhh...

I take a breath...

It’s good to stop.

It’s good to stop and reflect on what’s happening --

Because if you keep on going, you'll soon wonder how you got where you are!

Life can be lived on a tailwind

or

Life can be lived on purpose!

The tailwind of life whips you back and forth so that you cannot see clearly.

and you will lose sight.

You will forget what’s important, and live for the day.

And there's so much more to life.


 Here's what God says is important in Isaiah 42: 1-9

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on him,
and he will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out,
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth.
In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”

This is what God the LORD says—
the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it,
who gives breath to its people,

and life to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you
to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,

to open eyes that are blind,
to free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not yield my glory to another
or my praise to idols.

See, the former things have taken place,
and new things I declare;
before they spring into being
I announce them to you.”

Carmen

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happiness, Resilience, and Well Being

People’s resilience through tough times always amazes me!  Although here in the West, we do so much better than a lot of other parts of the world, it seems that our freedoms are no longer free. We have no control over our money, often only receiving what’s left after the government and various other agencies take what they deem is rightfully theirs. Then on what we finally do get, we’re taxed again! It seems that prices are going up all the time, but wages are not. Any way you look at it, it’s a lot tougher now than it used to be. 

It’s easy to let that get you down. It’s easy to feel like giving up...but what would be the point in that?

I’m so encouraged that things truly do come-- to pass. Even more encouraging is the fact that todays’ hardship may be tomorrow’s blessing. Odd as it sounds, I see it all the time. It’s the promise that God has our back and that he’ll turn that thing that has you down, into a blessing (when you love Him and are called according to His purposes). In fact, He’s so merciful, He will do this for those who don’t know Him sometimes as well. He’s a gracious God!!

Life isn’t easy! When I get down, sometimes it may take a while to come around, but when I do, I finally get into His Word, and it makes me want to.....

SING!

Like these guys....

Note how some of the people in the crowd scowl, and are almost uncomfortable with this display at first, until they relax and take it all in. 

Then they’re looking for their cameras...because, after all, they can get many more smiles out of that moment later on. 

Remember to keep the good memories close to your hearts and minds, and the bad ones far away. Just like the good ones continue to make you smile, the bad ones will continue to tear you down.

In closing, do you want a recipe for happiness, resilience and well-being? Here it is...

"Whatever things are good, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, or of good report...if there be any virtue, if there be any praise...think on these things!!"

I'm humbled that you've taken the time to read this post! Thank you!

Have a wonderful week!

Carmen

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A New Christianity

In recent years, a falling away has taken place.  During this time I've read many articles written by various Pastors suggesting that the falling away spoken of in the Bible was evident by the droves of people leaving the church. Personally though, I wondered if the falling away spoken of in the Bible was actually a watering down of the gospel by the church. After all, it is the truth of the gospel that draws them in.

Many of you have probably noticed user friendly tactics employed to lure people into many of our churches. Usually this comprises of a plan that draws people in and makes them feel comfortable and welcome. On the outset this is not a bad thing, as long as you’re teaching them the Gospel.

 Unfortunately, many of these strategies involve some kind of compromise at the expense of truth. The problem with this is that you get people who don’t know the Word, haven’t repented of anything, and think they will receive God’s blessing while continuing on in their old, unchanged lifestyles.

There are many new doctrines out there which are supposedly christian...but are they Scriptural? We rely on our Pastors, our Reverends or our Priests to tell us what the Bible says. Even though the Bible says that we have no need that anyone should teach us because we have the Holy Spirit who will teach us all we need to know. Do we know our Bibles? Can we tell the difference?

Sadly, I believe that for most people, the answer to the above questions is...no.

I guess this is why so many people are falling for the deceptions that are rampant today. One of the most subtle is the Emergent Church doctrine.  They are the proverbial wolf in sheeps' clothing, as they come in the guise of Christianity, using Christian speak and promoting Christian doctrine in their statements of faith. However, what they teach is something completely different. It’s subtle, it’s attractive, and it’s convincing. In an effort to make the church more ‘real,’ Emergents are turning away from a belief in absolutes (modernism), and embracing postmodernism (no absolutes). There is a great danger in this kind of teaching, since the Gospel is an absolute.  Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. Scripturally, there is no other alternative.

However, Emergents see doctrine as bad because it causes division. They oppose a rigid belief system and feel we must be accepting of other doctrines.  Yet, to do this is to betray the Gospel! When we are absolute in our stand as Christians, it is viewed as spiritual pride. Under the guise of humility, they tell us we must have an open mind and question our beliefs. I can agree that it’s good to question our beliefs, as long as the standard we base this on is the Bible.

Emergents may be pure in their efforts to be ‘real’ in their doctrine, however, their methods are extremely dangerous. Our churches are dying because they are not holding tight enough to the Scriptures and are veering away from the Word of God while embracing doctrines of men (2 Tim 3:10-17). We are told to tell people the truth so that they might be saved, which is not what the Emergent Church seems to promote.

Perhaps the Church needs something old, not something new! 
It needs the Gospel, not the doctrine of men!
If we want to fill our churches with real Christians, we must give them real Truth!

“Contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)."

 Thank you for stopping by today!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Emergent Church

I'm hoping to get something posted on the Emergent Church and its' doctrine soon. I've been studying eschatology for many years, and see this as fitting right into the scenario the Bible speaks of.

Occultist Alice Bailey actually predestined this emergent church, calling it the "Re-generation of the church" It's a very dangerous 'wolves in sheep's clothing' doctrine that we all need to be aware of.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out a couple of good resources on the topic.

Crosstalk Blog

Lighthouse Trails

Have a good weekend everyone!

Carmen

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trusting Through the Valleys

I don't know how the people of this world survive life without the encouragement found in the Bible. It is the only thing that really helps me.

For over 20 years I have suffered quietly with a painful medical issue. The doctors kept thinking it was something else and would treat it for that, but instead of getting better it was getting worse. It got to the point that I was in so much pain, I could not sit or move without terrible discomfort. It wasn't a continuous thing, but when it came it stayed for months at a time before it would mysteriously stop.

It was one of these days that I sat with the Bible and read the words of Jeremiah 15:18

"Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will you indeed be to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail and are uncertain?"

Ah...someone who related. Someone who spoke out the very words I had thought myself. Where was God in all of this? Why did I have to suffer with this incredibly painful issue for so long? Why could the doctors not figure out what it was? My eyes filled with tears as I read on.

"Therefore, thus says the Lord (to Jeremiah): If you return (and give up this mistaken tone of distrust and despair), then I will give you again a settled place of quiet and safety, and you will be My minister; and if you separate the precious from the vile (cleansing your own heart from unworthy and unwarranted suspicions concerning God's faithfulness), you shall be my mouthpiece. (But do not yield to them.) Let them return to you--not you to (the people)."

I love the Amplified Bible because it puts in brackets what you find in a Concordance. It was a settling word for me. I had formed thoughts of distrust and despair, and I had wondered about God's faithfulness. This might as well have been me God was talking to.

It was enough to get me on track, and shortly afterwards my condition was diagnosed. It was something completely different than the doctors thought, and it was easily treated. What a relief!!!

Lately, although I've been very busy, I've been depressed. Life is not what I thought it would be, and it's been getting harder and harder. Again I began to question God. Where are you? Have you left me? Again I found encouragement in the Word of God. This was spoken to Israel, but since I am a christian I felt it could have been spoken to me.

Isaiah 43 "Fear not, for I have redeemed you (ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives); I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor till the flame kindle upon you..."

This is the Word that settled me today, and I am seeing some blue skies of hope through those clouds of depression. It's going to be a good day!

Thanks for your company on my journey!

Carmen

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Israel's Hope For Peace

I am constantly amazed at the stubborn hope that Israel displays for peace despite the constant threats and unwarranted attacks against her. This country, one of the smallest in the world, has the most misunderstood history, and the most maligned history by those who seek to destroy her.

When I found this video, I decided to post it on my blog. I hope you'll watch it all the way through.



If you're interested in Israel's current situation, check out the The Israel Connection  blog which has some excellent information, and a news feed overview.

Thank you for visiting today!

Carmen

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Satisfied Life


Life can be hard!

People strive for whatever they feel will satisfy and they are willing to work very hard to get it. I watch them walk by with empty eyes, frowns on their faces, hurried steps. They have no time to look around them. They are focused on their needs and wants, because it is in these that they hope to find happiness and satisfaction.

I watched a portion of Home Makeover last night. They featured a family of seven people living in a house that was ready to crumble around them. They used paper plates to eat on because their kitchen cabinets could not hold the weight of regular plates. The support joists under their home were crumbling from termite damage. Their children shared one bedroom between five kids with two bunk beds. They had one bedroom closet between them.

Regardless of these things, the parents were infectious! They were the epitome of joy! They aimed to make their own home a happy one; teaching their children the happiness of family. They helped people with marriage problems in their spare time. They had very little, yet they laughed at their problems and wore a smile in the worst of situations. Really, it was what it was, but they made the best of it!

It made me realize that it isn't in receiving that we find true happiness. It is in choosing to be content and by helping others out, in loving and laughing without boundaries and in being thankful.

We forget to be thankful for what we have because we're so focused on the 'more' that's out there.

The strange irony of life is that satisfaction does not always come from receiving; the one with the most toys doesn't actually win because it is never enough. There are always bigger and better toys. It's a never ending cycle.

True satisfaction comes from giving! It may just be a smile, a hug, a cup of water, but it could mean everything to someone, and that will make both of you happy. Perhaps it's a gift of money or of time--whatever it is, it will bring happiness, though you're giving it away.

Our example in Christ is one of giving without boundaries. His life in exchange for ours. Not because we deserved it, but because He loves us. He exemplified joy and thanksgiving.

Maybe it's not so much about things...but more about how we see things, and how we treat others.

Just pondering...

1 Timothy 6:9-11

Thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Light to our Paths

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I know these last few posts have been hard.  I want to write about the things that challenge me because I think that they probably challenge you too. All of us would rather hear the good, the easy and the encouraging words, but if that’s all we heard, we would be missing half the story. Life gives us the good, the bad and the ugly.

Scripture is the same, because it deals with the lives of mankind from the view of a God who loves us and wants the best for us. He must point out who we truly are so that we realize our need for Him.
I found myself reading in Matthew again today.

Chapter 15 begins with a challenge from the Scribes and the Pharisees. They question the fact that the disciples do not practise the rules handed down from their ancestors.  Jesus makes it very clear that their rules are mere pious traditions which are often in direct conflict with the Word of God. He reminds them of the words of Isaiah;

“These people draw near Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me.” 15:8

I would prefer to think that God is thinking of the unsaved here...but that thought is quickly squashed in the next verse.

Uselessly do they worship Me.” Uh oh!

There are so many things that cloud my thoughts and affect my priorities and take me on a detour. It’s so easy to be led off track--even by those who are religious guides (pastors) and teachers. Jesus makes a statement that has become a familiar phrase even today.  “And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a ditch.” We are responsible to know what the truth is ourselves.

Then Jesus gathers them together—such comforting words!

He tells them:

“It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles him.”
 “But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles him. For out of the heart come evil thoughts such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech.”

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Did you notice those last few?  False witnessing ? That can be as minor as leaving out or changing a small detail!

Slander? That would be insults, libel, smearing, defaming, complimenting...complimenting! Think about that one!

What about irreverent speech? That could be considered cheeky, mocking, impertinent, rude, impudent, flippant, bold and disrespectful according to my Thesaurus.  Ouch! I think we’ve all been guilty of that!

The problem is that it reveals our heart conditions, and thus who we are! Our hearts come out through our mouths, and the words we speak reveal who we truly are. Once again, God is not mocked. He knows us, but do we know ourselves?

Are our lives a reflection of the latest tradition to come down the pike (no smoking, no dancing, no dating—not that those things are good or bad, just that they do not affect our salvation), or is the Word of God, with the important truths it points out, a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths?

But hey, don’t believe everything I say! Go check it out for yourselves! 
I do appreciate your visits, especially through these difficult posts! Blessings!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If This Gospel is True...2

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I’m told that video games are very addictive. I won’t allow myself to get into them because I know I’ll be in trouble if I do, and this is the case with many people. They play virtual games for hours on end waging battles, building gardens, and even having virtual relationships via an avatar. It’s as if we’re living in an artificial matrix. I use this as an example, but it’s true on so many levels these days.

The thing is, we’ve lost touch with and become sedated from the battle that’s going on around us and in some cases, within us. It’s blinded us to reality.

There are almost 7 billion (6.7) people on this speck we call Earth. Out of those almost 7 billion, 1/3 claim to be Christians. Some of these make this claim because it’s socially or politically acceptable or beneficial. Which means then that this 1/3, may unfortunately be even less. In any case, that still leaves over 4 billion people that are spiritually lost to Christ.

Did you hear what I said?

Have you grasped the reality of their eternity?

I was reading Matthew 9:36 today. Honestly, Jesus amazes me.  It says there that when he saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion (the yearning of the inmost soul for the objects of sympathy).  These crowds were spiritually fainting, starving, broken and cast down individuals who were not comforted by the legalistic, loveless, controlling religion around them. They were sheep without a shepherd, and Jesus was moved with deep pity and sympathy at their plight.

Why?

Because He knew the eternal reality they would face if they stayed in this condition. He realized the unending starkness and suffering of their eternal separation.

He knew.

The cost.

He felt their suffering and described them as harassed, helpless, downcast, and destitute.
What did Jesus do with these people? He touched them. He touched without hesitation, even those who were diseased and unsanitary. He demonstrated His love.

Love involves touching.

We can only have this kind of compassion if Christ is in us. If, when we see sin, instead of disgust, compassion rises within us, and we reach out in love...and we tell them the truth.

We cannot ignore the crowds.  There are supernatural battles at work all around us, and the workers are few. What does Jesus recommend we do? Pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out workers that will fight the very real battle--that rages on even as you are reading this post. 

This is just a little more of what I've been pondering this last while. I'm sure there'll be more coming.
Thanks for visiting! I do appreciate your time and your comments!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If This Gospel is True...

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I’m not going to lie...I’ve had some struggles lately. I’ve asked a lot of questions and spent a lot of time wondering. Is this unusual for someone who has been a Christian since 1978? It seemed so simple back then, but I can’t help but wonder now.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not questioning my faith. I am questioning what I believe—or perhaps, how much of the Bible I believe. Because, you see...if I don’t believe all of it, I really can’t believe any of it.

There are many ‘difficult’ passages in the Bible. These are things that I, and perhaps you, ‘gloss over’ to deal with another time.  I’d rather read all the nice things about how much Jesus loves me; about how He’s there for me; about how He’ll never leave or forsake me. Those are the kind of things that we all love to read and meditate on.

But there’s more.

I’ve been truly challenged lately. Here’s a big one I’ve been dealing with:
If we all become like Jesus, the Bible says that the world will hate us!  This tells me that the danger of our lives increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ. The more we become like Him, the more people will treat us like they treated Him. I believe that amounts to rejection, scourging, hatred, even death.

Here in the west, we practise a comfortable Christianity. It is a philosophy of church based on how we can best mimic the world in order to appeal to it. Does anyone else see anything wrong with that?

What does the Bible actually teach?

What do you think it means to be a Christian?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hidden Message in Genesis!!

Well, it's been a while! It has just been so terribly busy. Sometimes life just takes over and demands all your time. In amidst general life, holidays and visitors, I just have not had much time to write. I hope you haven't all given up on me. Things will get back to normal by September!

The weather here has finally come around. This morning I got up, opened all the windows....then I closed all the windows and turned on the air conditioning. Yep...it's THAT hot here! The forecast is for 36 degrees fahrenheit!

Anyway, I just found a short video that I want to share with you here. I will break it down below the video if you want to write it down somewhere. Have a look.......



Genesis 5:1-21 The Genealogy from Adam to Noah

Adam = Man
Seth = Appointed
Enosh = Mortal
Cainan = Sorrow
Mahalalel = The blessed God
Jared = Shall come down
Enoch = Teaching
Methuselah = His death shall bring
Lamech = the despairing
Noah = Comfort, rest

Here is the message it speaks to us:

Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God shall come down teaching, (and) His death shall bring the despairing comfort.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!!

Hope your day is a bit cooler than mine is going to be!!
Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Free Hugs

Hello!

A friend sent me this video and I want to share it with all of you in Blogland. Also, Happy Canada Day to all you Canadians out there!



Thank you for visiting and consider yourself hugged! :))
Carmen

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays

I'm a day late, but I  wanted to post my "Then Sings My Soul Saturdays" anyway. 

This song really speaks to me. In a day when it's so easy to get caught up in worldly things, I am impressed with those who are in the midst of fame and glory, and can still keep their feet on solid ground. The heart is heard through music. Enjoy this video!



Thanks for visiting!
Carmen

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Whole Lot of Blind Faith?

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My father-in-law told me a story from many years back regarding one of his teachers at bible school. That particular day they were studying the end times and he touched upon the two witnesses in Revelation. The passage is found in Revelation 11:3-13
As he spoke to them he made something very clear (my rendition of how it went):

“The bible says that the beast shall kill them, and their dead bodies shall lie in the street and the whole world shall see their dead bodies for three and a half days. I know it isn’t possible today, but God will make it happen. Now, I don’t know how God is going to do this, but the Word of God says that the whole world will see them, and so therefore I believe that the whole world will see them!"
Sounds like a whole lot of blind faith to me!!

Oh! But....wait....
Fast forward about 55-60 years, and -- welcome to cyber space!
That’s right, it’s possible TODAY!

For the first time in known history, it is possible for the whole world to see these two witnesses lying dead for three and a half days in the streets of the city. The whole world will rejoice because these two witnesses have brought so much torment to those who dwell on the earth. They will send each other gifts in celebration!

These two witnesses are the second of the three ‘woes’ that come upon the earth in the last days. The only thing I find disturbing about this passage is that the whole world hates them. Why?  Because of the words they preach, the power they wield (over weather, water, plaques) and because any that oppose them die in a ball of fire. Wow!  These two are invincible until God allows them to be killed. Yet amazingly, God calls them back to life three and a half days later, and they instantly go to be with Him, having fulfilled their calling. 

There are so many instances where the Bible has proven the common sense of mankind wrong. I choose to believe God's Word! How about you?

Revelation 11:3-13 KJV
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 
These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie inthe street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 
And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. and they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.  
And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and thier enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

 Thank you for visiting!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Works of Faith: The Sheep and the Goats

                                                                        http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/

Have you ever watched someone while they didn’t realize you were watching them? Often, we are privy to seeing the actual person behind the facade they choose to reveal.  Now before you think I’m pointing fingers, the fact is we all do it. We all want to put our best face forward and perhaps there’s nothing wrong with that -- most of the time. We all have to get along; we all have good days and bad days, and that’s okay -- as long as our bad days don’t reveal the person whom we are most of the time.

So it is - and this is the difference, between the sheep and the goats. First a few observations:

1. The distinction here isn't between sheep and wolves.
2. Both the sheep and the goats believe they are doing what's right.
3. Both are surprised by the Lords words.
4. Neither are given a change to speak, at this point their fates have been decided.
5. Their outcomes are dependent on their works of faith or love.

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By the reaction of the sheep, it seems they have no immediate knowledge of ever doing the right thing. They have done it out of a heart of love. They have responded to the needs that were presented to them because something needed to be done, and they had the ability to do it. They heard the cries of the hungry, the lonely, the poor and those needing help, and they acted upon that. No big deal. This is why, with a surprised look, they sincerely ask, ‘Lord, when?’

The goats are even more surprised at the Lords words. Aren’t these the very things they had been doing?(I hear the echo of another scripture verse...”but Lord, did we not drive out demons in your name, did we not heal the sick in your name?” ) Had they been so busy doing what was right in their own eyes that they passed alongside the man lying in the street needing help. Had they ignored the beggar, the prisoner, and the poor man because they were too busy doing the ‘Lords’ work? Yet these reply in honesty when they ask, ‘Lord, when?’

Selah!

Deeds done for the eyes of men (they already have their reward), or deeds done for private satisfaction or merely to ‘win the prize’ are in the same category. This is what the Lord meant when he said, ‘Let not your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’  If we are truly living the christian life, we are living a life of love out of concern and appreciation, not to get something in return.

Godly good deeds are an automatic response of a heart indwelt by Jesus Christ. Good deeds that are contrived to make one look good, or those done in the hopes of receiving a reward are not done out of love.

The test comes through our instinctive unplanned response through works of a faith in the living God.
 I have often told you that much of my writing is looking inward. Am I truly living in a loving response to those around me? Am I filling the needs around me that I am able to fill? Am I truly reflecting Christ?  

Thank you for visiting!         
Until next time..

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Works of Faith: The Sheep and the Goats

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 Most people would agree that the church is at an important junction right now. The times we live in are amazing times. Knowledge has increased, and with that we are becoming aware of a sinister undertow at work. The news of natural disasters seem to intensify with each passing year. There are wars, rumours of impending wars, and a world that is focused on a tiny speck of land with increasing hatred and intolerance. Then there’s the church in contrast to that. Or is it? Even the church is affected by the world we live in, though it should be the other way around.

My husband and I run a small home based audio visual company on the side. A lot of our customers are churches. We sell projectors and large screens which they use to project the words of songs, scriptures, and sometimes to play videos. I think it’s wonderful that we have this type of technology available to us. My only concern is that it has made us lazy. There are so many versions of the bible available today, that people will put down their bibles opting to rely on what’s on the screen.  In short, many people don’t check up on the content of what they’re told.

This may be the downfall of the individual christian today! On my facebook profile, under religious views mine specifies ‘read your bible’ and I mean that with a passion!  We have a responsibility to know that what we believe is the truth! There is ONE mediator between God and man—the Lord Jesus Christ.  Anyone else that pops in between there is to be treated as a man with an opinion. Please, read your bibles and see if it is so!

To get back to the church-- I’m not referring to the church as a whole but am specifically referring to the individuals which make up the church; the sheep and the goats. Have you ever wondered about the portion in Matthew that speaks of the two? I sure have. It’s one of those passages that keeps rolling around in my head.

 What does it mean?

I believe it is a test of the works of faith, and a crucial test--a deciding factor. This is a passage we don’t want to glean over. It is too important.

However, this post is long enough for today, so I will be back in a couple of days with the rest of this post.

The works of faith; the sheep and the goats. Matthew 25:31-46

Thanks for visiting, and please check back!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Dainty Morsel


We all love a tasty morsel, don’t we?  I know I do because I love good food, but that’s not the kind of morsel I’m talking about today. When this kind of morsel is put in front of us, we should want to cover it with a napkin and throw it out.

I always considered it a form of friendly fire because it involves people we know-- but I was wrong. It’s more like collateral damage, because it isn’t directed at a real enemy. However, its damage can be deadly and its wound can be almost impossible to cure - hanging on like a bad odour!

The answer to ‘Who Am I’ is...

Gosssssip!

Dorothy was the closest when she mentioned the tongue (in the comments). However, gossip is so much more than words. Our body language can be used as a vehicle for gossip. Any knowing look, wink, shrug, even a sigh can imply a negative message. Proverbs 6:12-14

 We need to be so careful.

A brother offended is harder to win back than a fortified city. We all know how this story goes. First it was someone laughing a lot and having fun, then before you know it the story has morphed, and finally he was drunk and behaving badly. It is a body blow to the innocent. Proverbs 26:22

The victim of an untrue statement can become distrustful and eventually pull away. It creates an untrusting community that internalizes their struggles, refusing to open their hearts to each other. No wonder God hates gossip! (Proverbs 6:19) He ranked it right along with fornication, adultery and murder! Ezekiel 22:9-12

Receiving and believing gossip is just as bad as repeating it.  In Psalm 15: 2,3  we are told to speak the truth in our hearts. Recognize gossip as something which is misconstrued, having been chewed on and added to; a poison which we have to avoid at all cost!

 If you have something against your brother, go tell him/her!  If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, take someone (you both respect) along with you, and deal with it ( Leviticus 19:16-18). If you don’t do this, you will end up hating your brother in your heart, and you will gossip about him.
Gossip comes about through unforgiveness, but when you cover a transgression by forgiving, it is an act of love (Proverbs 17:9). Unfortunately, it seems we usually choose to repeat a matter...all the while ‘glossing over’ our own shortcomings. Perhaps it is because we are so guilty ourselves, that we pull a man down hoping to look just a little better. Psalm 64:3,4

The right thing to do is to abstain from every appearance of sin. This does not necessarily mean that we don’t do things which look like they’re sinful, but it means that whenever we hear of sin we should nullify it by covering and forgiving it. Not by repeating it, and especially not by glorifying it in some way!

Remember – we all have a dark side that requires His grace in our lives. None of us is exempt.. not one. We all say things we shouldn’t. We all do things we shouldn’t. We are not so different from the next guy.

A couple of cautions:
1. Gossip is never done out of spiritual concern for someone. You don’t need to know the details in order to pray for Gods will in their lives.
2.  Gossip backfires. “Debate your case with your neighbour and do not disclose the secret to another; lest he who hears it expose your shame, and your reputation be ruined.” Proverbs 25:9,10
If you still really want to partake in a tasty morsel...here's a piece of cake! ;)


Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely or of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things!
Philippians 4:8

Thanks again for visiting! If you have a moment, I love reading your comments!

Carmen

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Am I ?

I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cruel and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted, the more I am believed. I flourish at every level of society. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I'm nobody's friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and ruin marriages. I destroy careers and cause heartache and sleepless nights. I wreck churches and separate Christians. I spawn suspicion and generate grief, make innocent people cry on their pillows. Even my name hisses.

Who Am I ?

By: Charles Kimball, Preaching Now

In the next few days I will reveal the answer along with a write up on it.

Thank you again for visiting! I really love your comments and appreciate the time you take reading my long-winded posts. Thank you!

Carmen

To see the answer, check out "A Dainty Morsel"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dedicated Ignorance



History serves to show us the frailty of a humanity that is prone to cycles of failure. The books of the bible show us the same lessons, but on a more personal level, through the lives of its subjects.

We think we can control our thoughts, our anger and our lusts; but if we are honest with ourselves we realize that is not true. Instead we go through this continual cycle of messing up. Have you ever wondered why we repeat this cycle so faithfully?

Judges 21:25 sums it up nicely. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Most people really do want to do what’s right, but when we do what's right in our own eyes, it seems we still mess up! Not because we want to, but because we don't see clearly.

It is called dedicated ignorance.

Over the years I’ve read up on the New Age Movement, The Emergent Church, The Secret, etc. I’ve studied some of the conspiracy theories concerning our governments and 9/11. I’ve looked at the United Nations, Islam, the New World Order, the Illuminati, etc.  What’s interesting is that we're moving at breakneck speed only to crash into many of the things the bible says will come to pass! Not only in politics, economics and the environment, but in religion too! We are moving towards a global religion, and some are already on the bandwagon!

How do you unite all the religions of the world? In a nutshell, you tell them God is in them and therefore they are little gods. Since they are all little gods and part of the whole, they can unite into one Global Religion.

Hmmm....does this ‘ye shall be as gods’ sound familiar to anyone at all?

Then they’re told that since they are little gods, they can just live positively and believe-- and it’ll happen! Wow! Who wouldn’t want some of that? They are the constructors of their own lives. 

How do we avoid dedicated ignorance? By exposing ourselves to God’s truth!

Before I stayed home to care for my children, I was a banker. Every day hundreds of thousands of dollars passed through my hands, and so it was important to know the difference between real money and fake money. The only way to tell at that time (now they have little machines that do it for them), was to know all the details of the real bills. FYI, the real bill is always better than the counterfeit. A trained eye can tell the difference. 

How will we know the delusion when it’s in front of us? They are powerful people, they are dedicated to their task, and someday they may ask you to be dedicated to yours. Can you stand and will you know the difference?

If you aren’t already, now is the time to get familiar with God’s Word. Don’t just skim the surface, but really dig in and get to know it. It’ll give you wisdom, understanding, and eventually a clear picture!

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 1 Timothy 4:1

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does Life Seem Meaningless?

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Are you doing all the right things and saying all the right words, and yet you feel empty? Have you prayed and prayed and still walk away feeling like you’ve only just prayed a list of “things”?

 I think it is so easy to get into a rut. This life isn’t meant to be a mechanical list of do’s and don’ts. We are much more complicated and multifaceted than that, and we will never find fulfillment in merely doing things.

Life is about relationship.

Without relationship, we slowly die. I am reminded of a story I heard a while ago about an infants’ orphanage in a third world country. The babies were taken care of as needed, but were not cuddled or played with. These children did not develop properly because they were not loved and had no relationship. They merely existed.

We were made to be loved and have relationship...and the same thing happens to us without it. We merely exist.

It’s time to take care of yourself!  This is not a “take care of number one” post, it is a “take care that you do not neglect the very thing you need for life” post.

Let’s start with those sheets of prayer requests and lay them down. That’s right...put them away for now. Now, go before God and just take time to praise Him for as long as you want. Praise Him in word or song, and bask in His presence; truly enjoy the relationship. Then talk to Him about all the things in life that are dear to your heart, like you’re sharing them with a close friend, and remember to thank Him for everything. Do this every day until your joy returns and you feel a sense of restoration.  Keep this up and add in any prayer requests He lays on your heart as time goes on. Life will begin to have a sense of fullness again. Your prayer time will be a time of growing relationship and mutual concern for others.

Fretting about a prayer list is the same as fretting about anything in life. It’s futile. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t have prayer lists...but don’t allow it to become a redundant routine. Remember what’s really important. If you don’t have a vibrant relationship, how can you fervently pray for others?  Without relationship, we’ve missed the key that opens the door to a life of joy and meaning.


Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted in me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. Phil 4:6
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name. Psalm 100:4

Praise Him for his mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Psalm 150:2

 Thanks to all for stopping by and have a wonderful day!

Carmen

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Testing of our Faith

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The testing of our faith comes when we least expect it. It comes when we are searching hard and think we are making progress. Worse yet, it often comes from the people we least expect it from. That is what has recently happened to me.

It'll come through those we love, those we thought were stronger than us, those we respect, and those whom we know are smarter than us. It doesn't only come from those who oppose us.

Testing catches us unaware as we try to ascertain what is happening. Worst of all, it makes us doubt.
We may doubt for a moment, a day or a lifetime, but testing will make us re-evaluate what we believe.

This is the nature of a test.  It is meant to make you stop and think. The purpose in it is to see what manner of person you are. It is to show you where you are in this walk.

Are  you ready to give an answer?
Who will you turn to?
What is the strength of your faith?
Where will this lead you?

Testing also gives you direction as you come face to face with your weaknesses. It will cause you to consider what you believe and why. Testing, in fact, can make us stronger.

How will you hold up under testing when talking to a New Atheist Scientist or a New Age advocate?  How about those in the Emergent Churches, or those who have embraced Christian Mysticism...do we even know what those things are? Sometimes the fire is supposedly “friendly” fire.  We must be ready.

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life's Ponderings



Life’s been strange lately. It wasn’t just the lack of snow this winter, or the lack of extreme cold temperatures. That was odd for Kamloops, but nice for a change. Then, this morning we suddenly got a flurry of snow. It didn’t stay long and can hardly even be considered 'real' snow due to the fact it didn't even stick to the ground.

Right now I can hear the wind howling. I just peeked out my window from my perch up on the hill and saw a huge dustbowl where the town center of Kamloops is nestled amongst the hills. I’ve decided not to take my much needed walk after all. A mouthful of dust just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve opted for a coffee instead.

This is semi-arid country after all and the Thompson Rivers are quite low and dry in spots. 
I’ve been feeling a bit dry lately too. My passion is strong, but subdued...if that’s even possible. Maybe it’s a sign of a quiet maturity. I hope it is. I find myself contemplating so many things in greater depth. Things that I used to accept as fact are now up for reconsideration. Perhaps I’ve been too quick to accept what I’ve been told in the past. What does the Bible really say?

At the same time doors are opening, but not the kind of doors you may think of. They are showing me things that I don’t know what to do with. Things I cannot change; things that must be. It amazes me how God has outlined it all beforehand, and often we still miss it until it is upon us.

In the midst of this there’s a peculiar peace, unlike the wind still howling outside my window. Yet, all is well. God is sovereign. My trust lies in Him even amidst the storms of life. I’ve been clinging onto my Bible a little closer these days. It keeps me on a straight and narrow pathway.

Yes, it’s good to ponder.

Thanks for visiting my little corner of the web.