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Archive for January, 2013

Aside

Sickness and Looking to God’s Promises

prayers-spiritual-healing-NA/PRAYER

I really feel myself being prompted to type this, so take heed. Recently I found myself questioning God. I asked my husband “Why doesn’t God fix this situation? I have prayed. What am I doing wrong?” Lately, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I have family members sick with diseases and I know that God has healed a countless number of people. I have read stories about families that could not explain how their loved one was healed of a disease that should have taken their life, but didn’t. All they could say was “God! God did it!” So why is it not happening for my loved one? Often times we as Christian’s will say

“Maybe it’s not God’s will.”

The defeated response, as my father calls it. Mind you, God does have a will. However, I have recently been reminded of something that we as Christians forget….God’s PROMISES! I had been feeling very down and a lady in a Bible study group I attend said “Look to his promises.” God said that if we asked, he would do it. So long as we have faith.How many times have you prayed for someone, yet doubted your own prayer? I have to say that I have MANY times doubted my prayer. Like Peter, we as Christian’s sink.

“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Being a Christian in a world full of evil is not an easy task. It’s easy to skate by as a Christian reading our Bibles….attending church and doing good works. However, where we lack is in our ability to reach out to the needy in pure faith. It’s easy to give someone money or food. However, it’s not easy to believe that God is going to heal someone with sickness. If God has called us in his word to do something, why then would he not come through? God says in his own word

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

That is God’s promise to us. It is not God that is the problem. It is our lack of faith in his promises. It is our forgetfulness of his promises! Let us not be weaklings in Christ. In a world filled with evil, we must be strong warriors. We must use everything we have been equipped with…ESPECIALLY FAITH! If we as Christian’s don’t have faith in God’s word, than how can we expect others to? Jesus brought many people to him by healing the sick and performing miracles. He said the a prayer of faith shall heal the sick, so let’s get on it Christian’s. Let’s get out there and make our prayers count for something. It’s not enough to say “God loves you.” You need to show people his love! You are his vessel.  Let God use you to help others. That is our purpose, is it not? If your goal in life is to truly bring others to Christ, than spread his love through your actions. Don’t doubt God. Look to his promises. Say “God, I know you are faithful and true. You said if I believed, you would make it happen. So I’m trusting you to do that.” Remember, you don’t need to remind God of his promises. The reminder is for you.

 

Amen….

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Where I found God

I was just reading an article titled “How do I know the Bible is True.” Basically, the writer’s child had asked her a few tough questions concerning the Bible and her faith. The writer then goes on to explain how we as Christian’s can deal with this situation when it arises. It lead me to think of the time in my life when I realized that what I believed was more than something written in a book. Yes, there was a moment when I discerned for myself that I didn’t believe in Jesus Christ simply because it was something my parents “taught me.”

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Often times Christian’s are labeled based on the denomination of the church they attend. However, a preacher at a church I attended said it best; “Just call me a Christian.” he said. I feel the same. Christians do not have “rituals.” We do not pray towards a certain direction, although I hope my prayers always go straight up, lol. In fact, we can pray at any time during the day because we know that God has not designated a specific time for prayer. He does not have to pencil us in. We have something that is so special with our God that it sets Christianity apart from all other religions. We have an actual RELATIONSHIP with the God we serve; much like a father and child.

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So getting back to the moment when I realized God was not a spaghetti monster in the sky. As a child, I attended a Baptist church. During the services, the preacher would ask if anyone had prayer requests. Now, this was not the type of church where one would just sit in their seat and pray quietly. The person being prayed for would come to the front of the church and a group of elders would lay hands on that person and pray. So in this case, the person happened to be a girl named Casey. She was a few years older than me. Casey’s hearing had went out in one of her ears. I watched as people laid hands on Casey and in unison, prayed for her. After they finished, one of the men who had prayed leaned down and started whispering in the ear that was afflicted. I saw her shaking her head yes. “She can hear!” he said. Unbelievable! I thought to myself.

So many people can look at that incident and say “Well, she could have faked it.” They are right. She very well could have. However, that was only one incident in which I saw the power of God work for someone else. I haven’t yet explained how his power has worked in my own life. There was a time in my life when I felt very far from God. My husband had joined the military and I had become extremely depressed due to us being deployed far away from our home state and family. We did not start off well financially. I guess I expected that military life would help alleviate our financial burdens. However, in the beginning of our marriage, we didn’t pay attention to details . So it got to the point that our bank account was constantly being overdrawn. We didn’t realize there were so many hidden fees involved with having an account. So here we are with a fat little toddler baby, scraping by to make it. My husband was being sent to Florida for a training. I remember the discussion we had before him leaving. He was supposed to bring money for food, however, if he took the money than myself and our daughter would go without. I remember him saying that he wouldn’t eat. I had so much anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want my husband to not eat. So he left for the trip and I just spent a lot of time crying. I didn’t know what to do. There was hardly any money in the bank account. I decided to watch a little television. I don’t know what drew me to the 700 Club. I always thought of that show as something my grandmother would watch. It had never been my cup of tea. However, there I sat, watching intently. There is a portion of the show where the speakers just pray for people. I remember breaking down and just praying along with them. I was so desperate. There was nothing left for me to do, so what could a prayer hurt? Well, it didn’t hurt me any. In fact, it was EXACTLY what I needed to do.I was completely broken. At that point in my life, I wasn’t sure if God heard my prayers, but I was going to give it a shot anyway.

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I can’t remember if it was the same day, or the next, but at some point I felt compelled to check my bank account. I often checked my balance by phone. So I called to check it and there was money! I had no clue where it had come from. To this day, I don’t know. At that point, I don’t even think I cared where it came from because this meant we were ok. My husband called from Florida to check in and I remember telling him “You can eat. We have money.” I was so happy. I still get tears in my eyes just thinking back to that moment because I knew it was God. Before the prayer, nothing! After the prayer, something! Not only that, but Nick and I received help after that with organizing our bills. We were put in touch with a financial counselor and everything just started to fall into place. Why God? We didn’t deserve it. The truth is, none of us deserve it. Once you realize that you don’t deserve God’s grace, that is when you receive it. James 4:6 says

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”Image

 

 

So that was a moment in which God worked in my life. That is only one of many. However, that was a very defining moment, because it was the first moment in my adult life where I really recognized that the same God that had healed the little girls hearing at my church, could heal my broken spirit. It was the first moment in my adult life where I knew he heard my prayers. How many people can say that they prayed and something happened because of it? I can.

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So for me, it’s not hard to answer the questions about why I believe in God. Or why I am a Christian rather than any other “religion” in the world. I have seen numerous times the question posed “How do you know your religion is the right one?” I know because I see results. It’s not because I have been brainwashed into believing something that my parents before me believed as most insinuate. It’s not because I’m delusional and just haven’t been open to what others believe. It’s because God himself reached down into the trenches and pulled me out. Not because of my love for him, but because of his love for me. I am a daughter of the King of the most high! I am not perfect and never will be. However, he loves me anyway.

My children will ask the tough questions. I don’t want my children to be a part of a “religion.” I don’t want them believing something just because I believe it. God doesn’t want that either. He wants my children to have the same experience I had. He wants to show his love and mercy for them. So parent’s, do not worry about questions your children may ask. Have faith. At some point in your life, God showed up when you needed him. Unless your children are a different species, they will most likely have troublesome times in their lives as well. There will come a time when they need something more than what you can give them. There is where they will find God.

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“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

 

 

Confused Christians

I was speaking with my father the other day and I mentioned to him that I felt like Christians today were confused. What do I mean by that? Well, we are not on the same page. We are confused about the approach to take with others. We are confused about what is right and wrong. So what does the Bible say about confusion? Let’s check!

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches 1 Corinthians 14:33″

Right there, the Bible says that confusion is not of God. He is clear in his word. It’s not God that creates the confusion, but his adversary.  Satan!  However, we as Christians fall prey to God’s enemy because we fail to  shield with the weapon that we have been provided . Yes, God gave us a weapon. The Bible! Rather than reading the Bible and taking it as a whole, we allow outsiders to pick out parts and distort the true meaning of what is being said. We believe people who have no relationship with Christ. Whose goal is to disprove what we believe in favor of what they desire to be the truth. Why do we do that? Why do we allow our view of God to be determined by people who have no view of God or a distorted one? First of all,can someone determine what a book is about by reading one line in it? For instance, there is a verse in the New Testament that if taken as literally as it sounds, could be viewed as canabalism.

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” John 6:56

Is Jesus asking people to literally eat of his flesh and drink of his blood? Absolutely not! Jesus refers to himself as the “bread of life.” He wants people to soak up what he is saying to them so that they may have eternal life.In other words, his ways. There is a deeper meaning to that verse that Chrisians understand. However, what tends to happen is a non-christian with an objective to find fault in the word will cherry pick that verse out and tell people “The Bible says to eat flesh. I wont follow something that tells people to eat flesh!” Someone will hear them and say “Those Christians are disgusting. How can they be a part of something that tells people to eat flesh?” Then it is the game of telephone. No one is actually going in and looking for the true meaning. They are searching for something to discredit and reaffirm what THEY believe. The fact of the matter is, people want to live in their sin. They are constantly finding excuses to do so. So much so that they will exploit and remain ignorant to the true meaning of the word, rather than to research it for themselves. I cannot tell you how many posts I have read on social networking sites that mock the Bible. What I see though is not truth. I see verses of the Bible taken completely out of context. I would say that the portion of the Bible exploited the most would be the chapter Leviticus. In the book of Exodus, God gave Moses 10 commandments for his people. Why did he give them commandments? Because these were the things that would cause his people harm. Stealing, killing, infidelity, wanting what others have, worshipping false God’s. How can worshipping a false God be harmful you might ask. Well, false God’s do not hear your prayers. They are man made objects. God hears your prayers. He can do something. He can deliver people from their troubles if they allow him. So praying to something that cannot deliver you can be harmful. He gave these commandments to set “HIS” people apart from those who served his adversary, Satan. What happens when someone is murdered or cheated on, stolen from? Destruction! Interesting, because the Bible says that

“The thief (SATAN) comes to steal and kill and DESTROY.” John 10:10

So anything that destroys must stem from none other than “the theif.” So God created these laws and asked his people to abide by them so that they would not be destroyed. There’s that word again. However, we also see in Exodus that God’s people rebelled. When you live outside of God’s will, there are consequences. However, know that living outside of his will is a choice that YOU have made. Even so, God still created ways for us to be forgiven of our sins starting in the Old Testament. He asked for sacrifices and did not accept those that were done shipshod (half-hearted). If he said the sacrifice was to be a goat, it had to be one without blemish. So people will look at that and say “Well, God asked for sacrifices of goats then, but he doesn’t now. So let’s disregard that part of the Bible” They missed it! It is true that God does not ask us to sacrifice goats. Why? Because when his son Jesus came to earth, he died to cover our sins so that we would no longer have to sacrifice animals. Jesus IS the sacrifice. During his life on earth, he was without blemish just as the goats/lambs sacrificed in the Old Testament. So instead of sacrificing a goat every time we sin, God had Jesus come to cover ALL sins as long as you repent of the sin. That is all he asks us to do is apologize and turn away from the sin. So the principle still stands that we needed a sacrifice. God’s love for us is so grand that he does not want to see any of us destroyed. So he made things a little easier for us. He never said “You can go ahead and do whatever you want now.” No! He recognized that we struggle with sin. He recognized that we needed his grace and gave it to us through a Savior. So no, we do not disregard the Old Testament. We look and see WHY God asked his people to do those things. In many cases, he asked them to do things that would set them apart from followers of evil.
In conclusion, if you look through the Bible unbiased, you will find the answers you are looking for. IF and only if you are searching for the truth. If not, than you will do like many others and cherry pick the answer that suits what you want to believe is true.

So getting back to the “confusion.” Stop relying on what others says to determine your views. Read what the Bible says. Do your own unbiased research. Don’t just take my word for it, but find out on your own. If you really believe something to be right, than what harm could research do? On the contrary, if it proves you are wrong, than just consider that a new light is shining in a once dark area of your life. The saying that not everyone can be right rings true. However, someone IS right. Find out if that someone is you. My preacher at church said something that really struck a cord with me. He said to “Remember that not everyone is as seasoned in their walk as others.” He also reminded me that I might be the person who is not seasoned. I might be the person who needs corrected. Allow it! Allow others to correct you. Yes we all want to be right, but sometimes we’re just not! Let God correct you using your brother. We are all working towards the same goal here. Don’t let “correction” divide us. It’s Biblical.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2