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The Question We Should Ask Ourselves –

Years ago when I was working at a juvenile prison for boys I learned the practical value of asking the right questions. A child psychologist said that if you want to teach boys you walk with them and ask them questions. The quality of the questions will influence the quality and quantity of the answers.  Clearly Socrates knew this secret. So I started walking with the inmates as often as possible and I saw results.

The question we must ask ourselves when we have not moved forward with God as well as in life.
The question we must ask ourselves when we have not moved forward with God as well as in life.

   (Girls apparently work better with          direct information but I haven’t                tested that out.)

    So let’s take a walk. Your life as a              believer is in the mud, or a state of         boredom.  You’ve been doing the             same thing for years. And you are not     closer to God – maybe farther away.         Years ago there was a question going       around.

“If God seems far away ask yourself who moved?”

Perhaps a better question would be, why have you not changed? The Christian religion is about change.  (If we presented Jesus as a change agent maybe we’d have fewer interested people.)

The secret of success is change

God said, “I am the Lord. I change not.” Malachi 3:6. What this means is, if you want to come into the presence of the Lord, you must change.  That process is given in the Bible.

2 Peter Chapter 1 presents a game plan for change.  And Peter, who lived through humiliating change, is the right person to encourage us, and give us a series of goals.

For this reason make every effort to add virtue to your faith; and to your virtue, knowledge; and to your knowledge, self-control; and to your self-control, patient endurance; and to your patient endurance, godliness; and to your godliness, brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness, love. For if these things reside in you and abound, they ensure that you will neither be useless nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But the one who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted because he has forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. (MEV)

Faith, which God provided you at birth. Unto each is given a “measure of faith.”

  1. Virtue
  2. Knowledge
  3. Self-Control
  4. Patient Endurance
  5. Godliness
  6. Brotherly Kindness
  7. Love

God is not expecting us to do everything at once.  You start with faith, in the case of Christians, faith in the written word of God, which describes virtue, then knowledge then self-control.  How many of us start at self-control or knowledge but then we are ahead of the list. So many believers will ask a counselor or their pastor, or even themselves, “What does God want me to do?”

Here is a chance to pull out Peter’s list and apply the list to the problem. Is this an issue where you apply discipline or patience, are you being tested in your character or your concern for others, are you to step back and watch God do it, or enter into the situation? The question as you walk with God is always, not what would Jesus do, but what would Jesus have me do?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus guide us all in your plan for our life. We have so many tasks, so busy lives, so much to burden us we forget what we are all about. Gently remind us each day that we have God’s Holy Do List to guide us as we raise children and answer to our leaders and family. Help us also not to be hyper over the results.  We thank you for giving us a lifetime to prepare for the rest of our eternal journey, In the name of Yeshua. Amen.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

The Multiverse of the Individual

The once popular notion that ontogeny recapitulated phylogeny, which claimed that embryos can predict future development, is no more scientifically valid but I see an interesting application of this to how we understand Jesus from the most basic “I never heard of Him” to the Kingdom-active life of a completely committed believer.cropped-picture-of-jesus.jpg

God’s people began ignorant

The apostles (disciples) were, just as we are, completely ignorant about who Jesus was, and what his program and purpose on earth might be.  They started out believing, because they were part and parcel of his activities, that he was a nice man with special God-given powers.  When he died they scattered not because they were disloyal but because they thought he was like other men, the way any person who recognizes that his hero is dead and he needs to find another hero, another leader.

A dead Jesus is better than a living one

In the USA we have a relatively easy method of replacing our President.  If one dies in office the vice-president is right there to take the oath. But no one was replacing Jesus.  His apostles, who had been taught the whole gospel without realizing it, had to absorb the following days of revelation and information to put together where they were now in the divine plan.  They were, in fact, more fully empowered than Jesus.

Each individual starts out with nothing

But I am getting ahead of myself.  The ontogeny part of this equation is that every human being must start at zero in order to understand who Jesus is and why He came, in addition to discerning the call and plan he has for our individual lives.  In this respect we are better off now than those people who knew Jesus in the flesh.

A small child may be taught about Jesus and still not know a thing.  He/she must continue down the path of seeing him as first a famous man, then a religious leader, then as a prophet, a healer, a savior.  Each of these levels requires a ginning up of new  faith.  The just not only live by faith; their faith must incrementally increase with every new belief and every new challenge in life.

I had no Christian home (we believed in Biblical morals) but seeing Jesus as a savior, much less my savior was impossible as a teen.  Because of my very unhappy childhood I thought God was a nice idea for someone else.  I could not picture that any God would let me live like this.

But as I changed and grew as an adult I started asking questions.  I had a fist full of bad answers but I sifted them out and in time saw a better picture; God was actually preparing me for the world I live in now, surrounded by liars and destructive forces, but living protected by Him  I am still learning today and that generates much of my writing.  This is no doubt part of your story too.

The just do not merely live by faith; they create a life by faith.

That means that everyone on the face of the planet is at a different point.  How can we then come into the “unity of the faith?”

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Clearly not all men will be able to reach that unity.  Jesus must have a point where He can use the unity that is available.  He saw a need for no more than 12 disciples, and even one of them was a dud.  If Jesus will bring the Kingdom to earth as He has promised, He must be prepared to do it with a critical mass of a number we cannot now see.  That should not discourage us, but remind us that we can study to show ourselves approved by Him and available to be used for His Glory in the Coming Kingdom.

His plan for us has not changed….a world wide Kingdom where He alone calls the tune and millions, maybe billions of souls are brought into fellowship with Him.  Our temporary distress, a world gone mad, should not discourage us.  He said every word He spoke would come to pass.

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

And we can be a part of it – or not.  The choice to be a believer, regardless of the level, is our choice. Without this we live in an isolated unreal multiverse of our own.

#Apologetics #GodsWord #ChristianNonfiction #BibliosBlood #Faith #HolySpirit #Christ #truth #endtimes #thewarriordifference #ChristianTwitterCommunity #NationalYouthOnline #JesusMyRighteousness #Jesus #FreeWill #ChristianPhilosophy

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

If you want to be a Change Agent, let me recommend this group which seeks to turn around fatherless boys.

https://cfdreamcenter.org/about

Obama’s Children’s Crusade – compare 1212 A.D.

The Children’s Crusades were endorsed by the failing Roman Catholic Church to boost its sorry ratings. The black plague was raging for over a century in various places. Nearly 25% of Europe and in some places even higher percentages died in spite of pricey priestly prayers.

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/06/obamas_childrens_crusade_comments.html

Enter Obama’s failing presidency with every age and voter group, even blacks, and he needs something to boost his image. Just like the Children’s Crusade debacle, it’s all backfired. The sacrificial lambs are now languishing in barracks with scabies and TB. Drug dealers may be evil but they’re not stupid, entering with machine guns along with hundreds of pounds of drugs so far confiscated thanks to an aggressive Texas governor’s National Guard.

In 1212 many of the kid-crusaders died on ships, worked to death or starved, or kept as slaves for the sex trade. Ugly business then as now. Americans may have endorsed abortion but they still don’t like people killing live humans or using them as pawns in a deadly political scheme.

You wondered if history repeats itself?

Jesus has a Sense of Humor

My old friend Kirby said when she sat down for her Bible and prayer time she always asked Jesus to join her. One day He said, “I would if I had a place to sit.” Kirby was not much of a housekeeper and every chair and table was covered with books, clothes, and papers. After that she always cleared off a chair for him, although it got stuffed up with junk between times.

A teenager once reported that she cried to Jesus after she got the baptism in the Holy Spirit and spoke her tongues.  The leaders asked her to leave her church. “Don’t worry, honey” Jesus replied,” They don’t want me there either.”

Several years ago one of my best friends died. It was not a surprise but it was still a loss. I sat on the corner of the bed and said, I could be in heaven with Jackie singing gospel songs and having a good time. Then I heard quickly but audibly, “Don’t be in such a rush!”

Most people don’t know a Jesus as a person like that. Stuffed shirts such as the leaders of the Temple could not know God personally because they were too focused on serving God, on what they were doing and their own opinions. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, they treated either with contempt or fear. But the guys at Oktoberfest got along with Him just fine. Jesus doesn’t fold at the sight of a glass of beer.

Being real about oneself is the 1st step to intimacy with the Lord. Yes, He is Lord, and yes He died for us, and yes, He is coming again in great power. But for now, He also said, I call you friends.

John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends.

That is the Jesus we need to know, and how He wants to know us.

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If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.

#JesusasFriend

What is Faithfulness

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Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Bobby’s mother spent a month that summer buying clothes and talking to him excitedly about the first day of school. He had a smart little blazer, a new Batman lunch box and a drink container and lots of goodies in the backpack. The day finally came. Mother took him to school.

The following morning at 6 a.m. she awakened him for school.

“What,” he said, “not again?”

Yes, Bobby again and again and again. That is what discipline and faithfulness are. The life of faith is doing it every day. You mean I must study the Bible every day? And pray every day? every week?

Right. Salvation is not an event but a walk from the beginning to the end. Of course there are ups and downs, days we think we can’t possibly be a Christian or that the whole thing is impossible. But faith grows as it is exercised like a muscle that gets stronger. Someday believing will not be so hard or demanding.

It is called the bread of life for a reason.

Prayer: Lord, teach me to be faithful and patient with myself when I falter so I can stay the course in life.

January 1, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

We prepare New Year’s resolutions  when it is cold and dark, when we are forced to stay indoors.  The frenetic lifestyle of summer, the business of fall and the growth of spring do not fit in with a blanket of white snow on which to write one’s plan.  That clean sheet says the past is not to intrude into today or tomorrow.  As the song from Frozen says, we must let it go. God wants us to keep our eyes forward, in hope and anticipation.

2019 will be filled with changes. We see thorough the future’s dark glass, covered with both doubt and expectation.  The anarchy in our streets says we have a country to save. We also have the next generation to lead back to stability and hope. We have promises to keep, forgiveness to share.

There is no better New Year’s resolution than that – to follow God’s personal plan, and to keep those promises we made to ourselves, to God and to our country.

When You are the Answer to Someone’s Prayer

One of the surprising and satisfying things when you obey God is finding out that you have obeyed by faith (that is without knowing why you were doing this) and the results are beyond what you imagined.

Several decades ago I was washing my laundry at a local self-serve machine.  It was a dull, boring Saturday, a place I had never used before. Only one woman and her teenage son were in the laundromat. He was acting strangely; she was casting ugly glances at him and sharp threats. He sat nervously and silently in a chair most of the time.

I felt the scene was unnatural. As a person who was badly abused as a child I recognized that his behavior as a teenager was abnormal. Boys especially are all over the place, eating snax, reading magazines, bouncing balls outside on the pavement – but none of that. He never smiled; she never smiled. For a moment I saw myself being controlled in every public situation by a hostile parent.  So I wrote down the license plate of the little hatchback out front.

When  arrived home I wrote a letter to the Department of Social Services local office, Child Protective Agency.  I knew someone there but I had not seen her for years.  I told her I suspected this boy was abused; it made me uncomfortable.  I mailed the letter but including the license plate.  I had never seen this woman or her son, nor did I ever again. I thought nothing about it.

Several years passed and I was attending a Chamber of Commerce event when  I spotted my old acquaintance.  I asked her about my now long forgotten letter. Her answer startled me.

She said, “We removed the boy from the home and gave custody to the father.  The mother was livid thinking her Ex had promoted this whole thing. Your letter confirmed what the father had been telling me. But we could tell her it was a total stranger.”

I thought to myself how happy I was they had not pitched out my letter as just a nosy old grandmother.  But even more importantly this father as well as the son had wanted a new custody arrangement but could not catch the mother in the act.  My letter did the job.  I could never be identified by any of the participants.  The prayers of one very unhappy child and his father had been answered simply because I did what I believed to be right. God had stepped in.

That is how God uses obedience. He is not obligated to tell us why we do what we do. After all, faith is NOT knowing; obedience is doing anyway when you don’t have a clear reason.

God wants more than anything for us to be coworkers with him in the reformation of a good and happy world.  The old song, Trust and Obey, means so much more when you see obedience not as a test, but as a life’s work.

Trying to Be Something You are Not

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Billy Graham is one of the top 10 most important people of the 20th century. He had a unique role and accomplished what he set out to do. And he has many copycats.

My seminary professor told us to listen to the evangelists trying to be another Billy.  They even faked his southern accent.  Maybe that is good training but it can’t substitute for what God has called you to be.  God is not looking for carbon copies of anyone or anything, a fact we can verify in our un-copy-able DNA.

Young girls want to be movie starts or famous singers, swathed in furs and diamonds. But the story of fame is a difficult burden. Boys want to be high paid sports stars with a pricey car and a gaggle of groupy-girls.

The “beautiful” people are surrounded by insincere hangers-on hoping to bask in their fame. Money buys opportunity but many famous people are never told the awful truth about their bad behavior or attitude. Just because you have a lot of money does not mean you should be buying cocaine. And erelong you are trapped, thinking the money that bought you in can also buy you out. It won’t!

The happiest people are those who know who they are and what they are supposed to be doing. Older people usually get to this point and their calm and self-confidence helps their grandchildren.

Everyone call a plan for his/her life.

Jeremiah 29:11 I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

Everyone has gifts and a calling.

Romans 11:29 (The Message) God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty—never canceled, never rescinded.

Your gifts match your calling. And God will train you for the work.  Maybe you thought all those music lessons would send you to an early grave, but lo and behold, hours of concentration on another language (reading music is a language unto itself) now you need that discipline even though you never touched the piano after age 15. That job you had working for an idiot and being paid next to nothing taught you patience and to keep your mouth shut, a skill you find you need very badly now. All those camping trips with Dad, hating the flies and mosquitoes and falling in the lake as a child have made your work now in forest management easier and actually, fun.

At one time children thought religious work always meant the church. Today moderns know that God uses his people in every corner of the world and in every profession and job. Coming to the realization that you are in the center of God’s will as a secular worker opens up a brand new view of yourself.  Happy people are those who are fulfilled in their own call, not in someone else’s.

God said this: I am the Lord. I change not. (Malachi 3:6)

What this means is that you change in order to come into His presence.  If you are uncomfortable in your own skin, talk to him.

We’ll Make a New Christmas

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This may not be your story, but there are many out there, adults who have such painful memories of Christmas Past that they have nothing to do with the holiday. One year they will paint a bookcase if the weather is right.  Or do a thorough housecleaning just so they are busy on Christmas day.  Or a movie. No elegant dinner with family for them.

This year we are gathering a few of them here for Christmas dinner. We decided that instead of bracing ourselves for a onslaught of memories of drunken parties, beatings from dad, a last minute divorce or death in the family, an only child with few friends and  a family far away, we are going to start on our new collection of memories.  We may be old now, but it is not our fault that Jesus’ Birth is contaminated by people in our past who had little or no regard for the King of Kings.

One woman left high school without getting her diploma to escape a man who had a fight when ever he was home – any day of the year. One man lost his family of four children when his wife disappeared with them over 15 years ago. A third buried her daughter 20 years ago of a drug overdose; now her granddaughter is on meth somewhere.  Who knows where, and pregnant again.

We could make this a Pity Party with glasses of Whine. But not this year. We jacked up the fireplace because there is snow still on the ground, everyone is bringing a special dish, – sliced ham, horseradish-cranberry sauce, and a special orange marmalade dip for the diabetic, creamed spinach with a hash browned potato casserole, English cucumbers in sour cream, mayo and sweetened apple cider vinegar and a giant rum cake. There will be little gifts for everyone and carols playing on the computer’s online radio. We’ll have a quart of cocoa.

We’ll talk about how wonderful next year is going to be.  No point in bringing up the past. Because as you know, God is all about the future.  He told us to be preparing for the Kingdom of God. This life is brief. And one day we will all look back and thank God he helped us shake off the works of darkness that haunted our lives.

We will make a new Christmas with new people.

 

My Funniest Gospel Story – devotional

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Years ago I heard this true story and go back to it many times because it shows that God has a sense of humor even in the worst times. Remember He is not caught off guard by any situation we get into.

The pastor at Almighty God Assemblies of God Church was working late on Sunday night at the office and decided to call home to tell is wife he was on his way soon. But the phone rang repeatedly with no answer. Thinking she must be in the shower he just closed the office and left. When he got home his wife said she’d heard no ring from him and they forgot about it.

Monday morning at the crack of dawn there was a man on the steps of the church with this story to tell. He had been in his apartment with a gun on his lap planning suicide Sunday night.

As a final ditch attempt  he said, “God, if you are really there, let me know and I won’t go through with this.”

Then the phone rang. He looked at the Caller ID – It said Almighty God. 

Frozen with fear the man stayed awake all night. Then he checked on the church address and ended up at the pastor’s office to hear a word of hope.

There are several things about this story that stand out. First, God is able to mess up phone lines when He needs to. We don’t consider how God can get around man’s opinions, his technology, his people, his church, his nations, even the bad ones. The Bible repeatedly says, He is Able. We allow our doctrines to hamper what He can do or will do.

Second, the man had to respond.  He could have looked at the Caller ID and thought, well, a phone call doesn’t count.  Sometimes our negativity is so thick we are unable to respond when we have the chance. It clouds our mind. This man realized something otherworldly had happened.

Third, and this is perhaps the most important lesson, I cannot prove it but somewhere, someone had prayed for this man.  Perhaps a family member, a coworker, even a person on a bus might have seen this man and thought, “He looks depressed and hopeless. He needs God.”

So, add a person you don’t know to your prayer list – the cashier at the Food Lion, the person in the next cubicle that you do not know, or the guy who is panhandling with a sign, “Will work for food.”  It doesn’t matter that he probably needs drugs too. Your job as a believer is prayer. That is a Christmas present you can give anyone.

With prayer you can be ‘Almighty God’ in your town too.

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