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People are not fish and we don't bait them.


photo used by permission johnnyberg on rgbstock.com
I recently read a short article on evangelism that began like this...

If you want to be a successful fisherman, you don't look for the most comfortable spot on the lake. Instead, you go to where the fish are, and you make it as easy and attractive as possible for the fish to swallow your hook.
Since we are called to be "fishers of men," I get the fishing analogy and I agree with not just looking for a place that's comfortable.  Sometimes we have to go into the dark and uncomfortable situations in order to share Christ's gospel with those who don't know him.

They lost me, however when they suggest that we make it "as easy and attractive as possible for the fish to swallow the hook." First, I don't like thinking of people as fish to be baited, then hooked and second, I'm not sure that we should make it as easy and attractive as possible for people to receive Christ.  I don't see that in the Bible..not from Jesus and not from the disciples.  They didn't water down the message just to make it attractive.

In fact, Jesus was often so forthright with the cost of following him that many people turned away and I don't read anywhere that he chased after them trying to make the gospel more palatable.

I'm not saying that we need to be rude or pushy.  We don't need to make it difficult to understand what it means to follow Christ.  But we do owe it to people to respect them enough to help them make a fully informed decision to follow Jesus.  Too many churches and Christians mislead people by telling them that once they accept Jesus as Lord, their lives will be just hunky-dory.  When trouble hits, and it always hits, new believers think that God should jump right in and fix everything for them.

He never promised that.  Truth is, Jesus said "...in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, because I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)

He also warned people to count the cost of following him in Luke 14:25-33.


So, let's be careful to do what it says in 2 Timothy 2:15..."Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth."


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God Longs to Re-Connect with You


I miss my family.

Just a small portion of my family in Ohio
 Sixteen years ago, I moved from Ohio to Arizona to be near my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, leaving behind many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins that I love dearly.  While I love sharing the lives of the ones I love here, I miss my great big wonderful family in Ohio. They're crazy...in the most fun way you can imagine.  They're loud and loving and loyal. There's always someone ready to share a meal, go shopping, listen to your troubles or get together for a fun evening of playing games or a backyard bbq.  I miss them.

I haven't been able to go home for a visit for 10 years. I long to see the faces I love, to hug them, to catch up with all that's going on in their lives.

Today I found this verse in the book of James 4:5
 "...do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?"
...and I found myself amazed that God longs for time spent with us. He planted his Spirit with is at the point of our salvation so that we would be able to share sweet communion with Him. Through the Spirit, God communicates with us, he comforts us, leads us, reveals more of himself to us, but it's not a one-way street. The Spirit also conveys to God, our great love for him, the Spirit helps us pray when we don't know how to pray. the Spirit communicates the deepest cry of our hearts to the Father.

On those days when we get too busy to spend some Quiet Time with God in prayer and in the Word, God jealously longs to connect with us through the Spirit that he planted in us. Jealousy - now that's a word that I don't readily associate with God, but that's just what the verse says. What would God have to be jealous about, concerning me?  

The verses just before verse 5 tell us that when we get too distracted by the world and all it has to offer - when we get too busy to sit with God - when other things occupy our thoughts and heart, he gets jealous. Jealousy doesn't occur without love. God loves us. He longs to spend time with his children and when that doesn't happen - He misses his family.

When was the last time you sat with God? 
Do you have a regular appointment to meet with Him?  

Remember, God's Spirit dwells in your if you belong to Him and God longs to connect with you through the Spirit.  You are dearly loved, to the point of making God jealous when other things become more important to you than he is.

Spend some time with Him today - reconnect your heart to His. He's longing for you.


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Out of the Rocking Chair and Back in the Game


Ready for my next big adventure with God.
photo by lusi, rgbstock.com
Everybody's dealing with something. Chronic illness or disease, aging body, depleted energy, on-going pain...something. Me? I'm dealing with all of those things, and I've got to admit that 10 years of dealing with this had pretty much put me on the sidelines of life. I found myself spending more and more time in the house. I withdrew from a lot of my activities and had made up my mind to just sort-of coast through the rest of my days, but today I realized that God is not okay with that plan.  He led me directly to this passage of scripture this morning...

"So we do not give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day.  We have small troubles for a while now, but they are helping us gain an eternal glory that is much greater than the troubles.  We set our eyes not on what we see but on what we cannot see. What we see will last only a short time, but what we cannot see will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I can't give up!  I woke up this morning and I'm still breathing, so God isn't finished with me yet. There's more to my story, more that He wants me to accomplish here. More people to love. A difference I can make. He wants to do more here, and he wants to do it through me.

Yes, I'm tired, but if I lean on Him, he will give me strength for each day...not just to "make it through," but to face the day with energetic, anticipation of the adventure we're on together.

The enemy just about neutralized me. His plan was to plant me in my rocking chair for the rest of my days, whining about my condition, but I refuse to give in!  Anything I am suffering here on earth will quickly fade away when my days are over. Until then, you'll find me doing everything I can with every moment I have left to be fully engaged in this phase of my journey.

What we see and experience on this side of eternity will last only for a short time, but  what we cannot see from this side (Heaven and the souls that will be there because we allowed God to use us) will last forever. The promise of a joy-filled, pain-free forever far outweighs this temporary suffering.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for this wake-up call. For the reminder that it's not over until it's over and that each day you will refresh me for the next leg of the journey. Thank you for your promise to walk each step of the way with me. Lead on, Lord. I'm ready.
 
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Sweet Jesus Peace




One of the first albums I bought after coming to Christ in 1977 was Lady by Reba Rambo and I wore that cassette tape out! (Dating myself here.)

I recently found the whole album on YouTube and have been playing those songs for days. One, in particular soothes my heart every time I hear it. The title is Sweet Jesus Peace and starts like this...

 

WHAT DO YOU SING WHEN YOUR WORLD’S DRAPED IN SADNESS
AND THERE’S NO MUSIC IN YOUR SONG
HOW DO YOU SMILE WHEN YOUR HEART’S LOST ITS GLADNESS
AND THE SOUND OF LAUGHTER IS ALL GONE


WHEN ALL THOUGHTS INSIDE YOUR MIND
LIKE A CIRCLE KEEP A-SPINNING ROUND
WHEN ALL THE FRIENDS YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD
SUDDENLY THEY’VE LET YOU DOWN


WHERE DO YOU GO


I KNOW A HAVEN INSIDE YOUR MIND
A COOL, RUSHING RIVER
REFRESHING NEW WINE
IT CAN SPLASH THOUGH THE CANYONS
LIKE THE WAVES ON THE SEA


THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT
THIS SWEET JESUS PEACE


Haven't we all been there? When life and your thoughts have you in such a whirlwind of turmoil that the harder you fight to break out of the storm, the more you are sucked under.  I've learned the secret to finding peace and it's not in trying to break out of the turmoil, it's going deep. Deep within your own spirit to the place where God dwells. Connecting with the Holy Spirit, who lives inside you. It's whispering His name and listening for his whispered response.  It's feeling that sweet, Jesus peace, flowing in and pushing the turmoil aside.

Have you discovered it?

Here's a link to the song. It's an oldie, but the message is timeless.




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Upward Falling


I heard a song this morning (Touch the Sky by Hillsong United) and these words grabbed my attention...
photo courtesy lusi on rgbstock.com

Upward falling
Spirit soaring
I touch the sky when
my knees hit the ground.

This is what prayer does for me.  When I'm bogged down by life, by the evening news of horrendous things mankind is doing to each other. When I hear a friend is hurting or moving away. When the doctor says something I didn't want to hear. When someone I love is heading down a path that can only lead to destruction.

When I feel my spirit tanking, my knees hit the ground and after a while, I'm falling...UPWARD. 

My spirit soars above the quagmire into the realm of faith and the assurance that God is there. God makes a difference. Praying for others changes things. Not instantly, but definitely. I am lifted up, when I am on my knees.

The situation may not have changed, but God has changed something in me so that when I rise, I am no longer bogged down. I am walking on clouds of faith and trust in God, who is good, who is for me and who is with me in all circumstances.


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Will Satan be in Heaven with You?


 "I'm going to Heaven."

"How do you know?"

"Because I believe in God and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God."

"That's great, but that doesn't mean you're going to Heaven."


"You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder." James 2:19
Satan believes in God. Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God. Do you believe that Satan will be in Heaven?

It's not enough to believe in (acknowledge) God's existence. You must "believe" in the biblical sense of the word.

The Greek word used in the Bible for "believe" is "pisteuĆ³".

pisteuĆ³ - to rely on, cling to, trust in, commit to

It's intimacy with, not just head knowledge.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?
Are you relying on Him?
Clinging to Him? 
Trusting in Him?
Committed to Him?

Romans 10:9 says...

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

The word "Lord" means master, owner...
He calls the shots.
Everything is done to His liking.
His is in charge, not me.
I do things His way.

Is Jesus LORD of your life?

Do you dare to really believe?

How do you become a child of God?

The Bible answers that question clearly...

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—John 1:12
Two things - You must believe that Jesus is God and receive Him as LORD.

If you have never done that and you would like to become a Christ follower - a child of God, forgiven and going to Heaven, then take a moment right now to pray. Confess your sins and your need for a savior. Ask God to forgive you. Ask Jesus to be LORD over all your life.

If you did that - you have not stepped into the most incredible relationship of your life. I would love to hear about your decision. Please leave a comment below.


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When the Holy Spirit is Stirring


Is it just me, or is there a stirring of the Spirit in the body of Christ, right now?

I sense it. Like something just under the surface, something not quite clear in the fog. I know it's Him. It's a foreshadowing of something to come. God whispering, "Pay attention, daughter, I'm getting ready to move and I want you to be ready to move with me."

The feeling I'm feeling brings to mind this verse...
 "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  1 Corinthian 13:12
I strain to understand, to know what He is telling me, but as always, this is a walk of faith, so even if I don't fully grasp, I trust that as I hold tightly to His hand and keep my ears and eyes wide open, when the time is right, He will reveal to me, my part.

I'm standing by, Lord.



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