Thinking again, sorry but…….

It’s New Years eve. Most of the Holiday Hoopla is over. That’s good news.

Holidays are supposed to be a time of family, joy, togetherness, which in some ways it is. Then there is the hurriedness, the shopping, which gift for whomever, wrapping, stress, being careful not to offend the easily offended, so we smile a lot. Tolerate the noise and confusion, which at a much younger age was part of the fun. These days, the wiser, elder days as they are called, not so much.`

Writing out cards (even to the people we see every day and will see at the festivities, Do you understand why we do that?) We lug around car loads of gifts, we put up all matter of decorations, inside, outside, just to take them down again. Grocery shopping,( not to be confused with the gift shopping), preparing, cleaning, cooking, serving, eating, wrapping, wasting, singing, sharing, snapping pictures. And then it’s done. Meanwhile……

This is the thinking part….for me, a Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother I wish for things not so mundane, not just the traditional or obligatory matters incorporated into these Holidays. I thought of the drinking, the eagerness of it. I thought of Jesus at the wedding, making wine out of water. No one it seems gave a thought about it, where it came from and why is never mentioned. The wedding guests were there by invitation. Probably most of the village, neighborhood or town was invited, back in the day.

The Drinking of anything takes no preparation, anyone can do it, if a liquid is available. We are born ready willing and able to suck it right down. At any time in almost any place. God said every thirsty one is welcome. Only one requirement is needed, we must be thirsty. Even if the thirst is of greed, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, sinner tired or the weary, are invited to come to drink. What a gift.! Irrespective of persons God calls us to drink of Him, with Him. We invite friends, family, colleagues to our Holiday celebrations, . He also invites us, we need an invitation to attend, to drink of Him. His call, His invitation is the act of truly being thirsty.

I looked around at my family this year and wondered if any there were thirsty? Really thirsty for more than what was made available by our host. I know a few had drank of Him, truly, but I care about those younger not yet thirsty. How do we get thirsty? We have a built-in need for water, we are actually made up of a lot of water. Pretty clever of our creator, right? However, that is one of the first places our evil nemesis distorted.

person wearing guys fawkes mask watching flame

Advertisements for an abundance of thirst quenchers invade our spaces daily. Temporary thirst quenchers with no effect on the soul. Our souls as I look around and listen are very dehydrated, sick even. Where is the teaching, the advertising for the souls thirst quencher? It is to be taught us by our parents, early on, modeled for us every day, what this thirst inside us feels like, the thirstiness that can not be quenched except by Jesus, Our Lord God. The culture of today runs from it, and they seek refreshing in all the wrong places. With beverages that increase

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the dehydration. Our culture, even at the Holidays have seriously dehydrated, nauseous, souls. Sadly those who need it are of the mind set that they are not welcome. Their china, tea cups are cracked or broken, ashamed of the poverty in their souls. Who taught that? A depraved dehydrated lost culture is who.

person pouring beer on clear cup

There are no requirements, no BYOB, just thirst. Are you thirsty? You need no golden cup, no fine china, to convey the water to the thirsty, The mouth of poverty is welcome to stoop down and drink of the life giving stream.Blistered, dried cracked, leprous and filthy lips may touch the stream of divine love and not pollute the stream, but rather be healed, purified by it.

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Poverty need not keep us from Him

Our Redeemer lives, He loves us, and he calls out to us saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. ” Our sinfulness, our dehydrated souls are not barriers to the invitation to believe in Jesus. Come be purified. Quench the deep thirst of body and soul.

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John 3:16

Temptation v Test

In our current culture there are battles surrounding us. Simple conversations can set us off into ugly arguments. Society it seems is over energized. The world has gone wonky.

I have lived a goodly number of years and never have I felt the tension being so tightly wound that you can feel the coming explosion in the air. The unwinding has to take place. We feel it coming on the wind.

God has warned us (His Children) to be on our toes when this attitude begins to overtake the world and begins its ascent to a fever pitch. Satisfaction is difficult to find. Cynicism, doubt, mistrust, is wearying us all.

2 Tim.3:1-5 ” But, understand this, that in the last days there will come times of great difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying it’s power. Avoid such people.” Luke 12:53, “They will be divided, father against son,and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law”. You get the idea. Holiday get togethers will be anything but a picnic! ‘Mathew 24:7, tells us,” For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places”. It’s already all the news carries, Countries, groups of them, cities even neighborhoods, we are being warned of as being unsafe.

Christians are forewarned in the Word of God
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One would think that Christians would be armored up and at the ready, right? Well a good many are but it seems very many are not. Are they just weak, uninformed? No, all true believers have the Holy Spirit living in them. Teaching, leading, reminding, rebuking. To stay in sin for any length of time will become too uncomfortable for us. Then there are those who are followers but not committed, so have not the Holy Spirit. They want the things of God and heaven but just not now. Followers feel safe but they are not. They are being deluded by false prophets, teachers, preachers. Sadly. And it is said, “they went out from us, but they were not of us. for if they had been of us, they would have no doubt continued with us. But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not of us”1Jn 2:19

At that last day, Jesus will separate the wheat from the tares. All Whose name is written in the book of life, and those whose name is not. They will be separated, ” as the sheep on His right and the goats on His left.” by Jesus. Mathew 25:33

I fear that many do not understand the differences between being tempted and those who are being tested. They are not the same. Don’t be fooled, they are not even close. This is no time in history to be confused about this.

person wearing guys fawkes mask watching flame
TheTempter Undisguised

Temptation comes from sin. The sin that already lives in us. The sin that Satan wants to use against you and me and the Church. God has nothing whatsoever to do with temptation, except He guarantees you will have a way out of it, so you do not have to succumb to it! If you do succumb it’s because you wanted to. End of story, full stop. I know, I have been there, it is not good.

Temptation also per the Word of God can lead to death! The devil is allowed to tempt us and to use our feelings to do it. That’s why we should never trust our feelings to guide us. Back the experience, the temptation, up against God’s word. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you away from it. Ask God for strength, He will give it.

Temptation causes ruin, starts with a feeling often, an enticement to sin and evil. We are urged to misuse the gifts that God gave us. Not for good but for our pleasure. There are three ways for us to fight temptation, the first one I believe is IMMEDIATELY deal with it. Don’t give it time to grasp, grow or get a hold of your thoughts or feelings. Do not act on it. No. But 2ndly be RUTHLESS with getting rid of it. God tells us if our hand tempts us by reaching out or touching cut it off, or gouge out the eye that looks at it. To me that’s dealing with temptation, strongly, ruthlessly. Our souls are at stake!. Thirdly we must deal with them CONSISTENTLY. When Satan realizes were on to him and won’t win he will move on. At least for a while. For God’s children temptations are right at the top of Satans list of trying to shut us down. The devil doesn’t care much about those that are not God’s, now or ever. He already has them and just has to keep them from getting with God’s Chosen ones. Keep them away from truth and keep them wanting to believe the lie.

board chalk chalkboard exam

Testing however does come from God, and He only tests His own. God does not chastise or develop other children only His own. So if you have been rebuked, chastised by God consider it a blessing. We are to learn from testing, to grow, to become more Christlike. Develop integrity, character. To bring glory to God.

I have found that the longer I walk with God the greater, yes even more difficult the tests become, and the greater the blessing, if and when I get it right. He stays with us as we are tested, The Holy Spirit gives us direction all along the way. If we stumble or fall along the way, as soon as we confess it, (not because He doesn’t already know) but to show that we know! We acknowledge confess and are forgiven. We try again. And again, growing more into the people for Heaven.

Frankly knowing this and knowing how near we are to Christ coming back I expect we will be chased after all the more. The good news is God has said He will hang unto us, He told His father none would slip from His hand. He also said He will finish the good work He started in us! Count on it, I take it to my bank in God’s book.

So take heed my dear Brothers and Sisters, stay strong, stay in touch , run the race with all your heart……

two smiling women wearing yellow and green shirts

Encouraging each other, we run with confidence…….In Him who promises to never leave us or forsake us. .See you at the end of the race……..God Bless

Art Thou Converted?

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Such was the free Grace of God to me. That though corruption has worked strongly in my soul, yet I can recall very early movings of The Blessed Spirit upon my heart. Often I had early convictions of sin and some persons made it their business to tease me.

Mathew 19:14 Jesus said, Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom belongs to such as these.

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Matthew 7:21-23 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

From what Jesus said it is possible to stand in this wonderful place and preach or teach His Gospel – And yet still be lost. It is possible to be a great missionary who – confronting devil possessed people – can cast out devils – and yet still be lost. You could run an orphanage, or go on missions, and minister to those in need – and still be lost. You can pastor a mega-church or a mini-church, or lead the worship services, or serve in the choir, and still be lost. The danger of wolves being in sheeps clothing is real. We must and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit now living within us discern the truth. ‘Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.’ 1John 4:1 Our excellent news is that Our Lord promised not to lose any of His Children, given to Him by The Father. We will not fall out or be plucked out of His hands. We need to be wary at all times. For instance there is a false thought encircling the church by more than a few members that misleads them into thinking that responding to an altar call or answering an invitation saved them. When we meet Jesus on that last day He may ask us how we know we are saved? Any answer starting with well I did this or that, any answer with I starting it is a problem. Our choosing Him is an answer to His call, He died for our sins, if not yours He did mine. I know that my sins put Christ on that cross. If there was not any other person who sinned, “we know we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,”” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we may be saved.”

We accept the gift understanding all of it, even our answering is from God’s call first.. Planned since the beginning of time. ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Baptism does not save. Rather it bears witness to already believing.

I was six when I was Baptized. At Cross Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. I remember it well, I took it to heart. I felt so special to God, but with questions. Why did my God Parents get to speak on my behalf, to answer the Pastors questions and not me? I was right there! I believe in Jesus why didn’t anyone ask me? So I told them anyway, “Yes I do” I spoke out and everyone around me said “shhhh”.

Note that this verse in Galatians clearly the word Believes comes first. Believing not just in Christ, but Believing Christ. Christ as God, What He says, expects and gives. Christ as your personal Savior, Believing you personally are a sinner, Believing you personally need saving! When faith in Christ takes hold Repentance will naturally follow. We will bare witness to Him. We all try at various times to change, give up our bad habits, turn from our sins. At least those sins we already know of. But we fail. Over and again with good intentions, yet we fail.

Several years after my Baptism while reading my Bible and teaching Sunday school when I could, more questions began to haunt me. The Lutheran Church I had been raised in couldn’t answer them for me. My pastor would sit and talk about these with me for long periods of time without being able to answer them with a biblical backup. The question I asked during my Baptism was one of them. Why do they teach that without Baptism you can’t be saved? How can a stand person in know how the child will eventually believe, turn out? How many actual God Parents are Godly and will keep the vow they are making before God? The thief on the cross didn’t get baptized. Baptism is extremely important but thinking it saves any of us is wrong. There is not one instance of infant baptism found in the Bible. Dedications yes for infants and small children but that is not the same thing. It is an apple in an orange grove. Baptism should take place when we are old enough (even a child, old enough who can express their faith) to understand it’s important meaning. It is a sacrament after all, which to me means God takes it seriously. We should heed this as well. When God tells us to believe and be baptized, I don’t read anything wishy-washy or anything maybe suggested about it.. He said Do it. To have faith, even if as small as a mustard seed is a great gift. Somewhere that seed was planted in our heart, then watered, weeded and is now just sprouting. Faith like that of a child is the absolute best kind of faith.

Whole family baptism actually started in the 1700s. Some family members baptized were children, babies, so others spoke for them. That does not make it Biblical, it also won’t save you. It’s putting the horse before that cart. According to George Whitfield a great man of God, Baptizing of infants was first made aware to him during his days preaching in the coal mining towns in and around London while working with the Wesley Bros. Also, King Constantine, quite a believer thought it was a good idea to increase the church numbers this way.

That it may be a convenience for some was stated but again I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible. Remember however, I am no great theological scholar. I let my conscience/Spirit be my guide.

WE as believers need to hear Gods call, understand His word and answer for ourselves. A few other weighty questions were a part of the reason my family and I left that Church and found a strict Bible believing teaching non-denominational church group to join. This is not to say that Lutherans or other mainline denominations are not wonderful, believers. They certainly led me to the point of faith, wonder and choice. Being Lutheran did not lose me. God knows His from before their birth. Even though they do not preach on being born again which created a conundrum for me when I was born again. Mainly I didn’t know exactly what was happening to me but I loved whatever it was. Ecstasy, joy I certainly couldn’t shushhh up anymore. I realized what was happening to me from the Bible itself and a Presbyterian Pastor and a Baptist both speaking on the Christian radio. I asked questions of anyone who might know about Jesus and never stopped. Exactly as Jesus teaches He will find us and call us out from anywhere and everywhere. I was actually on a Jesuit retreat when I heard the call of all places. Being silent, listening and responding to Gods teachings. How diverse is that. I can say easily no religion saved me. Purely Jesus.

The New Birth is required. Jn3:3, “Truly truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. “ We need a new heart, or we end up believing like Satan and his followers. They all know Jesus exists, they know all about Him and the Bible. But they do not submit to Jesus nor to the Bible. They certainly don’t follow it, quite to the contrary. The carnal world finds the things of God foolish. Their eyes are blinded to spiritual things nor can they hear them, the unbeliever is dead spiritually speaking. Only God can awaken the Spirit through Faith, by His Grace.

Jn 10:27 “My Sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”Jn10:15 “..even as the Father knows me and I know The Father, and I lay down My life for the sheep.”

Gifts are given to us all for many occasions but do not belong to the recipient until they were received and opened.

We follow Him by His Word, by His example, especially upon conversion. I have yet to meet another convert who does not know when they were converted. Undergoing a heart transplant is hard to miss. The transformation begins and grows in us until the Lord sends for us to be with Him forever. Making us more like Him. Just as in most families there is a resemblance, a trait or characteristic that automatically links you to your parents and family. The same is true of our Father, making us more like Him that there should come a time when all who know us will know of our Christian heritage. Even though we are adopted our mannerisms, habits desires will become more like our new family in Christ. If it doesn’t something is wrong. Have people noticed a change in you? For example, several years after my conversion my husband and I were having a conversation. One of those chats most couples wish they didn’t need. A comment he made to me at that time struck me in the heart. He had been relaying some of my faults that he was unhappy with, as I had been also. When he said that he missed the woman he married. That I was not her, and that I had changed a lot! I rejoiced, he thought I had slipped a gear or two. He had not yet been converted and was still looking through the fogged up lens with eyes adorned by scales. His ears were still closed to spiritual things. We spoke well into the evening and at a point I offered him the opportunity to leave our marriage. I showed him in the Bible where it gives an unbeliever that option. I also pointed out that as long as he stayed he was benefiting from sanctification. That was the evening of his spiritual ground being furrowed (again) and the seed being planted. He opted to stay. We spent just short of 35 years together. My change took place in the third year of our marriage. He went home to be with the Lord a believer!

There are times of failing for all believers, we will slip and even fall for a while. We are indeed a work in progress, but we won’t be comfortable being away from our Father and church family for any significant amount of time. We will come back in deep repentance and faith, calling Abba Father. Sooner than later. A beautiful work progressing. Bearing witness to Christ because we can’t not.