Just Do It!

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I Samuel 10:6-7 (NIV), “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

Samuel tells Saul all of this after anointing him as the first King of Israel. Good advice. The Spirit of the Lord has come powerfully into us, for those of us who have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. How much more should we “do whatever our hands find to do?” God is with us. He has given us His power. What can stop us?

Colossians 3:23 (NLT), “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

Ephesians 6:7-8 (NAS), “With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it. If you are walking through your Church, or work, parking lot and there is garbage on the ground, pick it up. If you see that the garbage needs emptying, take it out. If you are entering the grocery store and there are others behind you, hold the door. Whatever your hand finds to do, not evil, not hurtful, harmful things, but helpful, beneficial things, do them. Notice that we are doing those things for the Lord. So maybe you haven’t been doing those things, especially at work, thinking that it wasn’t part of your job description. Do it anyway. Maybe you stopped doing those things because you never got a “thank you” or any recognition. God noticed.

That paycheck isn’t a gift from your boss, you earned it. However, it is a gift from God, the check, the job, the energy and wisdom to do the work. Those are all gifts. Be thankful, and show your appreciation by working hard. Be a good example. Show the world the work ethic of God. He doesn’t do shoddy work, He doesn’t “kill time” waiting for the whistle. He doesn’t have to be reminded to do His task. He isn’t late, He always shows up, and He keeps a good attitude. We are His kids, shouldn’t we behave like our Father.

Matthew 5:13-16 (Aramaic Bible in Plain English), “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will it be salted? It is good for nothing except to be thrown outside and to be trodden upon by people. You are the light of the world. You cannot hide a city that has been built upon a mountain. And they do not light a lamp and set it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all those who are in the house. Thus your light will shine before the children of men that they may see your good works, and may glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”

Seasons of Life

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I am about halfway through a good book. I love to read, fiction mostly, but I make sure I read at least one non-fiction a month. When I started to do the internet thing to promote myself as a writer, I stumbled upon a writer, Jeff Goins. He was full of good writing advice and encouragement. I downloaded several of his free “Manifesto’s” and liked his style. So when he offered his latest non-fiction book as a pre-order I jumped at the chance. I just now got around to reading it. The title is “The In-Between-Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.” The book is great and it isn’t just about writing. Everyone should read it, especially those just out of college. It has me thinking.

My husband and I are (hopefully) coming up on an early retirement. We’ve worked hard for years. His first job at 13 and mine at 15. We have dairy-farmed together, made shake blokes, and logged, separately we have managed book stores, worked in factories, deli’s, taught school, worked in daycares, a hospital and remodeled 13 homes, just to name a few. My husband works harder than most men I know. He has worked most of that time with the results of a broken back at age 17, which resulted in crushed and missing vertebrae, as well as several fused. In the last 6 years he has had to surgeries due to a work related injury, one on his neck and one on his shoulder. He still works, hard, sometimes 60 hours a week in a factory. So we are looking forward to retirement. He’s a few years from 60 and I’ll be 50 next year, in today’s workforce that would be an early retirement.

Two years ago we took a trip to Georgia in February (our coldest month). We came back with a plan to sell our home and move south. We listed the house and started surfing the net for houses and business in the area, talked about it and got excited. Then a friend of mine who said she hated for us to move said, “Couldn’t you buy a house there for the winter and still stay here the rest of the year?” My reply, “Short of a miracle, we could never afford two houses.” But she got me thinking… (Thanks Sara). My husband for years joked around about selling everything and living in a camper, traveling like a gypsy. I always grouched and crabbed and reminded him how much I moved around as a kid, not to mention the 14 housed we have lived in since our marriage (which included several states). But after my conversation with my friend, and with some modifications, it wasn’t sounding so bad.

Now we are still showing our house, believing God is working in this less than perfect housing market. We still surf the net, but now we are looking at diesel motor homes with a slide out, a bedroom and a bathroom. We have family in Kentucky, and Tennessee, a daughter in Arkansas, a son 200 miles away (in Wisconsin), a daughter a few blocks away who can’t wait to get to someplace warmer, and our parents and siblings are in Washington state. We just got back from a 16 day trip to Washington to visit our parents and siblings. We hope to travel so that we can spend time with them all, and to see the parts of the U.S. that we haven’t so far in our travels.

So what does all of this have to do with Jeff’s book? We have been looking forward impatiently to retirement so much, that we have neglected the good things in our waiting time. My husband’s job is getting harder on his body, the sub zero temps and the long winters aren’t fun anymore. We miss our far away families in a way that we didn’t when we had kids at home. So “The In-Between” has reminded me of the importance of enjoying where you are now. Not that I’d completely forgotten, I just have been spending more time daydreaming about my future than looking for the blessings in my now. Jeff says in his book, “Maybe, I thought, God is less concerned with exactly what I am doing and more concerned with who I am becoming.” I have only recently started writing and have had some discouragements in the amount of sales. We are coming up on another winter and want to be out of here. But God has a plan. He wants us to continue to grow and stretch, and that happens just as much, if not more, in the waiting times, than in the active times.

When God’s chosen people were taken captive by Babylon, God told them it would be 70 years before He would begin to bring them back to Jerusalem. Now that is waiting. He also told them to build houses, take wives, and plant vineyards. He knew that they needed to be productive and provided for during their waiting time (Jeremiah). So are you waiting for something, a spouse, a great job, a vocation, calling or ministry? Are you impatient and spend more time in the future than in the now? Take Jeff’s advice and embrace the waiting. You’ll be blessed and way less stressed.

By the way, if you want to check out Jeff’s blog, here is the link.
http://goinswriter.com/build-popular-blog/

Living Beyond the Cross: Part One

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We tend to set up camp at the cross, when that was never the Father’s intention. We have come to the cross to confess our sin, accepting Jesus’ atonement…and then stayed there. Some even worship the cross. We have to go beyond the cross. The work of the cross is finished. How do I know that? Because Jesus said, “it is finished!” If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t have said it. Notice he didn’t say, “it is being finished”, “the work of the cross is continual,” no he said FINISHED. Period. We respect and reverence what Jesus did there, the price he paid, the blood he shed there, but we can’t live there, can’t stay there. We have to move past. Jesus said that he was the door-we don’t stand in doors, we go through. Jesus was the door to the Father.
So what’s on the other side of the cross? The cross is the door to the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is on the other side-the throne room. Jesus sits on that throne; he isn’t hanging on a cross. The cross couldn’t hold him, hell and the grave couldn’t hold him. He was destined, before the foundation of the world to sit on that throne. We are seated there with him, those of us who have accepted the finished work of the cross (Ephesians 2:5). Who sits on a throne? A king. Who has authority in that Kingdom? The king. The King of Kings sits on his throne in Heaven ruling his Kingdom and what does he call us? “Kings and Priests” (Revelations 5:10). What is the job of a king? To rule and reign, to use their authority to prosper the Kingdom.
I am learning-and trying to walk in this authority. It isn’t something new to me. Our Senior Pastor always talks about “A King, a Kingdom and a Royal Family.” But the word says that “Faith comes by hearing, and continuing to hear, the Word of God.” So sometimes we have to hear it over and over to get it from our heads into our hearts. Faith never takes place in our heads, always in our hearts. What our heads can’t comprehend our heart can believe. We don’t have to understand it all, just believe it all. Even the little Revelation I have received on this subject, I sometimes forget. I go back to the cross…habit, and to be honest I love to remember the love of the cross. Through some classes last week on healing and the Kingdom, some of those wrong thinking patterns were broken. So some of what I am sharing is from those classes. I hope it frees you up the way it has me.
Jesus didn’t “plead the blood”. He never said, “By the stripes on my back you are healed.” He didn’t ask his Father to heal. He prayed often, frequently all through the night, but he didn’t pray for God to heal. He hadn’t shed his blood; the cross was still in his future. But that didn’t stop him from doing his Father’s work. He healed the sick, cast out demons, cleansed lepers the list is endless. He did all of this as a man, not God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s will, motivated by their love, he did these mighty works. He knew his position, knew who he was. He didn’t let the fact that he was here as a man stop him. He knew who his Father was and that all power and authority came from the Father. “I only do what I see my Father do, I only say what he says.” He continually told the Religious people of the day that his power came from the Father.
Now, he did die, hang on that cross, shed his blood, went to Hell, took the Keys, stripped Satan of his power, and was resurrected. All of that is true, and wonderful! But he also ascended into heaven where he sits on his Throne of Power and Authority. Before he left he told us to do what he did. He told us to preach. Preach what? The cross? No the Kingdom. The Kingdom is the love of the Father that wants to see his children blessed, set free, stand and walk in their authority. To be on the offensive not just defend. Take territory; don’t just try to protect the little we have. He wants his family to grow! He told us to heal the sick. We do it, through the Holy Spirit working in us. Cast out demons. Not pray them out, cast them out. Tell them to leave. They have no authority. You do.
I know some religious toes have been stepped on and some sacred cows slaughtered. But religion stinks! It’s a set of do’s and don’ts that can only dictate how to behave. It never changes a heart. Relationship with the Father, now that changes our hearts and life’s. Now we do his work out of love for him. I swallowed hard at least a dozen times over the course of this class. I kept hearing this word ‘but’ in my head. Look at it this way, the cross, the beatings, the stripes and the blood, they were all to get us to the Throne of Grace. Important, necessary and wonderful? Yes, of course. The cross was the means to an end. The work of the cross tells us ‘how’ we got in the family of God, ‘why’ we are able to be healed, delivered and saved. ‘Why’ we have our authority. It the reason we can say to the sick, “be healed,” say to those in bondage to sin and the devil, “be free.” His stripes did heal us. His blood did cleanse us. So we are healed and clean. We don’t have to ask God to do these things, they are done. Accept it. Live like its true!
When we keep going back to the cross, it’s as if we crucify him again. Wasn’t once enough? God’s word tells us it was “once for all.” Just think about that for a minute…
Can you hear him calling you from the Throne of Grace?
So maybe you screwed up yesterday, you fell away, stumbled into some old sin…so what? There is Grace in the Throne room of God. Turn from the sin. That’s all repentance is, really. It’s already under that blood. It’s already been forgiven. When we live in the Kingdom, we become his ambassadors. We find that we don’t mess up as often, we stumble less. We are, like Jesus, only doing what the Father said and saying what he told us to say. We are part of that Royal Family sharing the goodness of the King. Who wouldn’t want to come out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light with us? If you are one of those who declare themselves “a sinner saved by Grace,” stop it! God said not to call unclean the things he has made clean. Jesus’ blood cleansed us; we are clean, no more sinners but saints, Sons no longer servants. God said, he never lies.

More tomorrow…

What Does God Want?

Really, what does He want? You could ask dozens of people and get dozens of different answers. Those answers would range from- obedience, praise and worship, money (tithes and offerings), time, energy, loyalty, attention, commitment, and the list could go on. All of those things are true, but doesn’t that make God sound like some ego-maniacal, dictator who lounges on a throne demanding attention and glory? Who wants that for a Father?
Simply put, God wants you. I know cliché. But He wants your heart. He asks all of those other things from you because those things benefit us. Let’s break this down a little. God doesn’t need your money, but He asks us to give 10% (tithe for the running of the Church and the support of the staff) and offerings (to help others), because He knows that “if we give, it will be given back to us”. (Luke 6:38). Also when we give to God, He promises to “Open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing” (Mal 3:10). God wants us to praise Him because praise “stills the enemy and the avenger” (Ps 8:2), it makes Satan shut up and stops his actions against us. He asks us to work because He works with us (I Cor. 3:9). He doesn’t sit while we work, in fact “He works while we wait.” We work because the Church toilets need cleaning, those little noses in nursery need wiped. Those things bring us together as a family.
God is love! He doesn’t just possess, show, or talk about love, He is love. It is the very nature of God (I John 4:7). That’s why He loves everyone. He loves the drug addict, the prostitute, the serial killer, the child molester, everyone! But don’t be deceived they are not His children, or part of His family. His children are the ones who have surrendered their lives to Him. Those are the ones he promises to take care of. Because He is love and He wants all to be His children, He asks us to work together with Him to build His family. He doesn’t want this love to remain one sided. What does it benefit them if He loves them, but they never experience love for Him? Those others who have Satan as their father (and they don’t even know it), they need to be reached. They need to know God’s love. How can they be reached if we aren’t co-laboring with Christ.
Our ‘work’ for God, those things all mentioned in the first paragraph, and any other thing God may have asked of us, should come out of our love for God. If they are coming out a sense of obligation, duty or fear, the motivation is wrong. Even worse if they are coming out of self-righteousness and pride, it’s going to be harmful to you instead of helpful. What motivates your work? It’s easy to “grow weary in well doing” (Gal. 6:9) if we have the wrong attitude. I know I’ve been there. I’ve screamed in my head, “What do you want from me!” on more than one occasion. I had allowed the thoughts to take root in my heart that I was doing so much for him already, but that somehow that wasn’t enough, that He was demanding more. That I was lacking. Those are just a bunch of ugly lies, God doesn’t demand, we have a choice. At my worst moments of fear, illness, weakness and depression, God patiently reminded me that He loved me, that He wasn’t asking for a slave (being forced), but that He wanted a daughter who served from a heart of thankfulness and love. I had gone back to Egypt (slavery) when He wanted me in the Promised Land (a place of rest, provision and peace).
God showed His love for us through the ugliness and the shame on the cross. Jesus not only poured out His life’s blood on that tree, but also His great love and longing for us. When we know Him, (not know about Him with our reasoning mind, but know Him intimately in our hearts), we understand what He wants. He wants a relationship with Him, two way conversations, and fellowship. He wants us to spend time with Him, not in work or service but in relationship. Get these pictures in your head. First think about how you feel when your child obediently cleans their room, to the best of their ability. Now think of your little one sitting on your lap, with each of their little hands on either side of your face, looking into your eyes, and saying “I love you”. Which one touches you more?
Sure their room needs cleaned and we have to teach them responsibility, it’s for their own good after all (sounding familiar?), but first we want their love. The Church needs cleaned, bills need paid, and the lost need reached. But first and most importantly we need to accept God’s love for us, and love Him back, build a better relationship with Him. We don’t do that by work, but by sitting in His lap. All of those other things will get done and with the right motivation. Sounds easier, freer, and way more fun!
“Yes I have loved you with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” Jeremiah 31:3

Book Review for “Chapter 29 Revisited”-Non Fiction

“Chapter 29 Revisited: The amazing true story of what happens when a typical American housewife meets Jesus!” by Jean Coleman is a wonderful inspirational testimony of one woman’s birth into the kingdom. I enjoyed this book. Jean Coleman writes in a simple way that is easy to grasp and you can tell she is excited about her subject. She shares several moving stories from her own life, calling it the 29th book of Acts, then challenges to write our own 29th chapter. I give this book 5 stars. This book is appropriate for pre-teens on up.

http://www.amazon.com/Chapter-29-Revisited-American-housewife/dp/1479140007/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371566723&sr=1-1&keywords=chapter+29+revisited

Keep Walking

Luke 13:31-34 “The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!”
The Pharisees had been trying to trap Him into saying something they could call Him on. They had just berated Him for healing a woman on the Sabbath, and now they are “warning” Him not to go into Jerusalem, saying that Herod would kill Him. (They didn’t want Him there, too many people to see His undeniable proofs of who He was). But it was Jesus’ response that pierced my heart today. “Tell that fox, I am working at my Father’s business! And I will be perfected.” Perfected sounds great right! He is talking about His death. Then He goes on to say, “I have to go to Jerusalem because prophets don’t die outside of that great city, and I am not there yet, so I will walk, and walk and just keep walking until I get to the cross.” Is He bitter? No, He cries out for Jerusalem in His love. They have spurned His love. What is He thinking about on the way to the city that will cry out for His blood. He is thinking of His End and His Love, and how in death He will be Perfected! He intends to keep working and walking until He arrives. Until He can say, “It is finished!” So when we are feeling overwhelmed, beat up, beat down. When we feel like giving up, or the end is just too far away, or maybe not what we had planned. What do we do? We work and we walk. Cast out devils, cure the sick, do what God has called you to do. Keep on the path! God knows the end. In the end, (if we keep working and walking) is PERFECTION!