December 31, 2012 15:50 PM
How can we find our value in a bargain basement world? For God’s people, the answer is simple. We can’t. Why? Because the world’s value system and God’s value system are completely different. The world values physical beauty, wealth, success while God values holiness, integrity, honesty, faithfulness and the like. And if we focus on what the world values it often causes us to devalue ourselves. It’s easy to feel we’re not important. Not in the grand scheme of things, anyway. And thus we can feel insignificant.
That’s when we need to redirect our focus from the things of the world to the things of God. When seen in this light, the world offers little. Look at their take on physical beauty. Their standards are so artificial that few can match them. And this has reaped a harvest of suffering. 1% of all American female adolescents have anorexia—that’s 1 out of 100 girls between the ages of 10-25 who are starving themselves; 2 to 3 out of 100 suffer from bulimia; and 20% of all these girls/women will die prematurely from complications related to their disorders. Proverbs 11:22 tells us that “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. While Proverbs 31:30 says, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
Even worldly success, accomplishments and riches can be meaningless, and often comes with a great price. 41% of 1st marriages end in divorce and, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, there are close to 13 million latchkey children in the US; children who are left unsupervised while their parents work. 1 Corinthians 3:19 tells us that “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” When you see the above statistics, it really brings that scripture home.
As Christians we need to be careful that we don’t buy into the world’s value system. God’s word tells us in Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The world wants to conform us, but God wants to transform us. And 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that our treasure is in earthen vessels, and that treasure is God Himself, His Holy Spirit, who resides in us. Pontius Pilot asked the crowd to choose between Jesus and Barabbas, and the crowd chose Barabbas. The world will always choose its own. And since Christians are not of this world, the world will never value us. And if we apply the world’s standards to ourselves, we won’t value ourselves either. So we must look to God for our worth, and let His criteria determine our value.
And God does indeed value us. Why? Certainly not because of our physical beauty or our abilities, or our wealth or success. But because we are made in the image and likeness of God. Because we have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus. Because we are the very temple of God. And He loves us so greatly. And that love is unconditional, intense and everlasting. It will not—never never never be revoked. He tells us this over and over again in scripture. And here’s what the Bible calls us: joint heirs with Christ—Roman 8:17; heirs of promise—Hebrews 6:17; heirs of the kingdom—James 2:5; heirs of salvation—Hebrews 1:14; more than conquerors—Romans 8:37; a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people—1 Peter 2:9. Not only that but God knows the number of hairs on our heads. And before we were born, He called us by name.
What else could we possibly want or need?
As the New Year approaches, let’s move forward in the Lord. Let’s do what the Apostle Paul did in Philippians 3:13-14 “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Let’s begin the New Year by forgetting the mistakes of the past and focus on Jesus. Let’s allow Him to draw us into a deeper love relationship with Him and show us our worth and His great love for us so that we can move into this new season with confidence and soul peace.
Happy New Year. May 2013 be the best, the happiest, the most meaningful year ever!
Until next time,
October 8, 2012 12:19 PM
My blogs have been following Jesus’ footsteps, but I will pause this series whenever I feel compelled to write on another topic, as I do today.
Who has not heard of the sad events in Libya where US Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others were killed in cold blood by Muslim extremists? But make no mistake, it wasn’t only sad for America but for all democratic countries that have embassies around the world, for it signals no one is safe in places where Muslims can take to the streets and rampage and destroy and kill at will for some perceived or trumped up offense against their religion. In truth, they need no offense, real or perceived, for the goal of the agitators, like the Muslim Brotherhood and their countless offshoots, is world domination, a Muslim caliphate. It hates the western world and all democracies, and is determined to bring them down. But surely there are moderate Muslims who want a less repressive society? Yes. But they are not the ones carrying the guns or explosives and killing anyone who disagrees with them.
But the thing that increased my sadness over the Libya tragedy was President Obama’s and the US State Department’s official handling of the matter. Over and over and over again we saw them apologize for some obscure film trailer that I’m sure very few of the Muslim rioters even saw, and thus provided an excuse for their wanton murder and destruction.
On the other hand, where are the apologies from Muslim leaders for the countless Christians slaughtered every day in Muslim lands around the world? Where is the outrage? Or even the official free-world protestations? Thousands of Christians are being butchered in Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Somalia. Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, wholeheartedly supports their official motto, “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Quran is Our Law. Jihad is Our Way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” So just forget about democracy there.
Also consider these events: In March of 2012 the WND or World Net Daily reported on Muslims announcing their plan to “eradicate” Christianity. In May of 2012 it reported the slaughter of hundreds of Christians in Nigeria. In July the BBC News reported on how 15 were killed when Muslims attacked a church in Garissa, Kenya. In August WND reported that Muslim extremists were crucifying Christians as well as their own people who they believe to be Western sympathizers or who protested their radical actions. Egyptian Muslims were also kidnapping Coptic Christian women and selling them into slavery. And then in September, during the so-called protesting of the “film,” thousands of Pakistani radical Muslims, carrying kerosene and rifles, attacked a Christian church, tired to kill its pastor and his family, desecrated the alter, destroyed Bibles, then burned down the church and some surrounding buildings. Yet aside from Libya’s interim President, Mohammed el-Megarif, I’ve not heard even a hint of an apology from any Muslim leader for all the ongoing atrocities perpetuated by Muslims against Christians.
“Eradication” of Christians, crucifixions, murders, kidnappings, destruction of churches and Christian businesses—it’s all happening NOW. And I ask again, “where is the outrage?”
It’s time for the free world to wake up while it’s still free.
Until next time,
September 3, 2012 11:30 AM
I’ve been feeling stressed lately while trying to finish a project and keep my other commitments on track. And when that happens I begin functioning like a car with an empty gas tank. Knowing the past several months were going to be hectic, I made it a point to keep my prayer time and Bible reading and church attendance on par, and not bump them in order to compensate for my schedule. But even that didn’t work. And when that happens I know I need to employ my tried and tested stress relievers—things like “soaking” in my favorite praise and worship tapes, reading the Psalms, or just sitting quietly before the Lord and “listening.” They never fail.
We can’t always keep stress out of our lives, but we can manage it. And nothing manages it more effectively than spending quality time with the Lord in our own unique way.
Today is “Labor Day” in American, a time to rest from our work. What better time to reconnect with God in a special way? Even so, we don’t have to wait for a holiday or a designated date. We can do it whenever needed. And in this high-stressed world, that means far more often than we sometimes realize.
Until next time,
August 20, 2012 16:58 PM
Last week I went with my daughter and grandchildren to a place that provided opportunities for interaction with aquatic animals. It was amazing! We snorkeled in waters filled with stingrays—whose tail barbs had been filed down, large beautiful colored fish, and schools of smaller fish where we could closely observe how they moved in straight formation then turned direction in an instant. The crowning adventure, however, was actually swimming with a dolphin. I cannot describe the thrill of interacting with these marvelous animals. And the entire adventure left me in awe of God’s generosity. How diverse and awesome His creatures are! And His creation is so vast, so diversified even a lifetime isn’t enough to really study and enjoy it all.
It says so much about God, for doesn’t every creation reflect its creator? This carries over to man, as well, for it is man who is made in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:27). And man’s diversity of personality and ability surely reflects God’s own marvelous diverse nature. It shows us God is anything but boring.
We should revel in the marvelous cornucopia that is mankind, and value each life. Among us are inventors, painters, aviators, laborers, soldiers, bakers, teachers, homemakers, nurses, construction workers, doctors, etc., etc., but each one shows a small facet of what God is like; His creativity, His compassion, His strength, His varied interests, and we need to celebrate that. I’m not talking about religion here or about embracing one another’s religious beliefs. No, there is only one Savior and His name is Jesus. What I am talking about is that we are all part of the amazing family of man, all God’s creation, and just on that bases alone we should respect, value and appreciate one another.
Until next time,
August 13, 2012 6:31 AM
Have you heard this one? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in addition to telling everyone he plans to wipe Israel off the face of the map, is, for the first time, telling his people to prepare for war—which he claims will be within the next 24 months—and to prepare for the end times. This doesn’t surprise me. But what does, is how few people are actually taking him seriously. They just don’t believe the guy. Is this history repeating itself? Wasn’t there a man named Adolph Hitler who not so long ago tried to conquer the world after ranting and raving about it for years? And wasn’t his ranting and raving ignored by most of the free world until it was too late? Then look what happened.
Personally, I’m weary of political correctness, that mindset that refuses to call a thing by its name. We need to start speaking the truth in love. What good is political correctness in the face of a world that might soon be in flames? It’s time to face the facts. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is serious. Why do I say that? Because, though he’s obviously a madman, he’s a religious madman, a deeply religious madman, and totally convinced he has been commissioned by Allah to bring forth the return of the Muslim Messiah, Mahdi, who supposedly will rule a globally Islamic-controlled world, and who, interestingly enough, resembles the Antichrist of Revelation. But first Ahmadinejad must annihilate Israel and bring chaos to the world (read war and destruction), and both of these he’s more than willing to do. The thing about religious zealots, no matter how misguided, is that they are sincere, and no amount of polite détente has the slightest chance of changing their minds. So if anyone thinks that Ahmadinejad will suddenly change his course just because a handful of heads of state congregate in a pleasantly furnished air-conditioned room, and smile and make-nice as they throw out a few half-hearted threats of more sanctions, you can forget about it.
“But what can we do?” you might ask. We can prepare. Get our spiritual house in order; and while we’re at it, our financial one as well, because when this happens it could change the face of the world by starting a cataclysmic chain of nuclear wars. Does this sound farfetched? I hope not. Does it sound like scare tactics? I hope not. But what I hope it does is show that the time for pussyfooting is over. We, as Christians, need to open our eyes and really see what is happening in the world, and then prepare ourselves so we can help others when the time comes.
We must also choose sides. Israel is already hated. And whether Israel strikes Iran before they can further harden their nuclear facilities or whether Iran strikes them first in the next 24 months, it is sure to start a serious Middle East conflict for which Israel will undoubtedly receive the lion’s share of the world’s scorn. And we, Christians, need to stand up and be counted on their behalf. God clearly promised Abraham, the patriarch of Israel, that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him (Genesis 12:3). Let me say this as clearly as I can: anti-Semitism, whether in the Church or out, is demonically inspired. It is not Godly, but a malevolent force that has been trying to destroy the people of Israel for centuries. It would serve us well to remember that the Jews are the covenant people of God, the very bloodline of the Son of Man. So will the Church stand when the time comes? Or will it do what it did so often when that other madman tried to set up his Third Reich?
I only pray the former.
Until next time,
August 6, 2012 11:59 AM
Summer is nearly half over. And before we know it, another one will bite the dust, swallowed by hectic schedules, work loads, and busyness. But I remember a time when summers were long, lazy days full of rest, wonderment, exploration and fun; a time of rejuvenation of spirit, mind and body when one could read, reconnect with friends and nature, rest and . . . think. Of course I was a young girl then and a lot has changed. There doesn’t seem to be time for lazy summers anymore. Little time to rest, explore or even for much reflection and thinking. Current life speed is “fast forward.” And it’s taking a toll on our health, our relationships, and even our creativity.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” It talks about a time to plant and to harvest, a time to cry and laugh, etc. But could we not add, “a time to work and a time to rest?” Ecclesiastes speaks of rhythm and balance, and the natural flow of things. And when that flow is broken something is sure to suffer. Is that why heart disease, cancer and a dozen other major illnesses are on the rise? I think it’s one reason.
But now as an adult and a doer, it’s not always easy for me to enjoy lazy summers. It seems too decadent somehow, too wasteful, too unproductive. Even my extended vacations always had a purpose and mission. New lands needed to be explored, historical sites visited. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of them, as well as all the countless mini trips I’ve taken with my family. But the truth is, some of the best times I’ve had were right in my own back yard, while I was smeared with sun block and holding a frosty glass of ice tea and listening to the squeals of my children at play, and now my grandchildren, or reading a good book, or just enjoying the feel of the sun on a warm summer afternoon.
I think there’s something magical about lazy summer days, days given to us by God for the purpose of enjoying His many blessings as well as for reconnecting with Him. Times for reflection, prayer and rest. I must admit I’ve squandered most of the first half of this summer but I hope to do better in the next half, and carve out quiet times to do all of the above, knowing it won’t be wasted because God is not only a God of action, He is also a God of balance and order and rest.
Until next week,
June 11, 2012 13:33 PM
Last week my grandchildren had a sleepover at my house and oh, what fun we had! My grandson and granddaughter are computer savvy, own their own DS, and have several Wii games, but it was pool volleyball, the board game Sorry, Disney movies, and pencil drawings that filled our days, reminding me that “simple” is still best. It’s a good reminder, too, in this fast-paced-consumer-world where the new, the improved, the latest is so coveted.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m losing this race to keep up with technology. It seems to change weekly. That’s why days like I had with my grandchildren are so precious. It reminds me that quality of life is still found in people, not things; in moments shared not knowledge gained; in making memories with those you love.
Since this blog is about simplicity, I’ll keep it simple, too, and end by saying find something low-tech to do tonight, something that doesn’t cost money and requires no gadgets, something like watching a sunset or just taking a walk with someone you love. I think you, too, will agree that more often than not, simple really is best.
Until next week,
May 28, 2012 12:02 PM
Today, Americans celebrate Memorial Day, a time to remember all our fighting men and women killed in war. It’s a day that speaks of courage and sacrifice, a humbling reminder that so much of what we enjoy has been procured at great cost. It’s also a stark contrast to the lack of courage and sacrifice displayed by those who fill the halls of our government, as well as the many governments around the world.
It is this lack of courage that has pushed us to the brink of a financial cliff, has pushed countries like Greece and others to near insolvency. If our leaders and theirs had the courage to make the necessary unpopular decisions when it mattered, we would not be so close to the edge of disaster. And if our leaders and theirs had made the necessary sacrifices, even if it meant not being reelected, things would be different now. When leaders and those in authority continuously pander, do the easy, the expedient, and follow their own self-interests instead of what is right or best for their nations, then it’s only a matter of time before calamity strikes.
What a lesson our leaders can learn for our fallen heroes; those men and women who gave everything for the greater good; men and women who understood the meaning of courage and sacrifice!
Happy Memorial Day
Until next week,
April 16, 2012 10:27 AM
Rarely have I been so blown away by a series of CDs (seven in all) as I was after listening to Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger; so blown away, in fact, that I’d like to take my blog space this week and talk a bit about it. The CDs I got from sidroth.org, and while Amazon doesn’t carry them, they do carry Cahn’s book by the same title plus his, The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment which, together, should cover most of the material found in the CDs.
In essence, The Harbinger is a warning to America and deals with events from 9/11 to the present. It talks about the Nine Omens of Judgment, and let me tell you, it’s a stunner. Cahn takes you step by step, citing events and quotes from notable people to illustrate how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is firmly in control. Cahn also gives a stunning preview of what lies in store for America if we don’t change course.
If you never read another book or listen to anther CD, I strongly suggest you read/listen to this one.
Until next week,
January 8, 2012 11:37 AM
Temporarily suspending blog due to family illness. Looking forward to reconnecting with you in the near future.
Love and blessings to all,