Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ugly Poster Children

"In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."

When you think of church, do you think of being beaten up and cussed out? 


As a result, I wanted nothing to do with it. If Christians were in the church and THIS was what the church was turning out, then I wanted nothing to do with church or Christianity.

I avoided going whenever I could.

  I did not know that those church bullies were just UPC's (Ugly  Poster Children)  for Christianity. How was I, as a lost person, to know all Christians were not like that? 

Just to think that their ugly behavior could have caused me to miss Heaven is a sobering thought.

 O don't think that's being melodramatic. How is anyone to know Christ is real if no one loves and lives like He is?

Because of verbal and physical abuse from the UPC's at two churches, I had to be bribed by free ice cream to give church another try. When I got there, the people were kind, friendly,  and accepting. They made me want to return. I became a Christian, and the whole course of my life changed. Their actions had an impact on my hearing and believing Christ's love was more than just religious talk.

   Maybe you haven't thrown any punches or cussed anyone at church. Do  you welcome strangers who come to your church, or do you assume it is somebody else's responsibility?

Do you do the minimal "hello and a handshake" or do you engage them the way you would a guest in your home? 

 Ladies, the Ugly Poster Children are running people away from the church and Christianity.  Please let's determine to be part of the solution, not the problem. 

Let's let our light shine and decrease the UPC population. 

Talk About It: What ways can you let your light shine toward visitors at your church? 

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Devil's Playbook

Be of sober spirit. Your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
I know someone who can't stand you.
Since you gave your heart to Jesus, this someone knows he can't mess with your eternity. All he has left  is your life here and now. In your enemy's efforts to steal, kill, and destroy, he uses intimidators, abusers, and oppressors in your life. You know who they are. And you know who this enemy is, don't you?
The good news is that your Heavenly Father knows who they are too, and in His Word He has given you strategies to overcome every scheme.
From various places in God's Word,  I came up with what I call  the top 5 methods the enemy uses to knock you down and keep you there. Imagine your enemy is having a meeting with the abusers and intimidators  in your life.  On a big screen, he has the following excerpts from his playbook. This meeting is about you. Listen as he reads:
  1. Get into her head and make her give up. Discourage her, and she will become like a puppet on a string. Control is everything!
  1. Play up her weaknesses and don't mention her strengths. This takes persistence  so stay on it!
  1. Lie to her. No lie is too terrible to tell if it will get you what you want.  Rewrite her past so that everything is her fault. You can even tell her God says things about her that aren't really true.  No lie is off limits!
  1. Keep her away from anything and anyone that could help her. Paint those helpers in a bad light or simply make her so afraid, she won't even try to get help.
  1. Pressure her! Play on her emotions, insist on immediate decisions. Never give her time to think things through or to consult wise and dependable friends for advice. Overreact about the slightest mistake so she lives in constant fear and uncertainty. This tears away at her confidence in her ability to make good decisions.
Do you recognize any of these tactics at work in your life?
Daughter of God, how are you going to overcome all of that?
 You are not to be ignorant of the enemy's schemes (2 Cor. 2:11). You need to know who you are in Christ if you are going to win. If you have gotten away from spending daily time reading God's word, please get back to it. It's your daily battle-plan meeting with God and your only hope of standing firm in the face of everything in the devil's playbook.
Talk About It: Look at that list again. What Scriptures would you place beside each one to counteract Satan's plans to bring you down?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Frog In Your Pocket

"In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33
Mama had bought me a pink polyester suit. It sounds ugly now, but a pink polyester suit with pretty flowers embroidered   on the  front pocket was a delight to a fourth grade girl back then. I remember my excitement at wearing my new outfit and the special curls my mother put in my hair to make me look extra cute.
At school, students had to wait  in the parking lot for the doors to open, so we amused ourselves to pass the time. That day, the boys discovered a frog and started tossing him around like a an egg in an egg-toss. Grossed out at the thought of even seeing a frog, I kept my distance. Somehow the air-born frog   landed in the pocket of my new suit!
 EEEK! I was horrified! I panted in disgust as one of the boys reached into my pocket to retrieve the frog. Grateful when the bell rang and the doors opened, I recall processing what happened. Why did such a thing happen to me? What had I done wrong to deserve having that frog fall in my direction? It sounds silly now, but don't we still ask God the same kinds of questions when hard times seem to have hand-picked us?
I offer three truths to encourage you.
First off, why does a bad thing happening to us have to mean we did something wrong? God has told us that bad stuff is part of life for everyone (Job 5:7).
Second, if you are a Christian, your pocket is extra big  for catching trouble because Jesus in you automatically puts you on Satan's radar. Peter admonished us to not behave as if something strange were happening to us when we undergo trials(1 Peter 4:12). It's part of being in the Family.
Third, (and this is the best part) Jesus warned us that troubles would come, and in the next breath He reassured  us (can't you hear the love in His voice?) that we can be of good cheer because He has power over the whole arena where the battle is happening.
So what is the frog in your pocket?
Financial, marital, or health problems? Stress at work, at home, or at church?
 Whatever it is, resist the urge to think it's not fair and shouldn't be happening to you. Choose instead to take hold of Jesus who is in this trouble with you. He's got you and your frog in His pocket!  Is there any better or safer place to be?
Talk About It: Which of the three truths do you most need to keep in mind when difficult times come?
To subscribe to this blog, please visit the website and fill in your email address in the designated box to the right.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Stubborn Sin Update

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. James 1:14

Back in January, I shared that I had a stubborn sin I wanted to finally gain victory over in 2014. I was doing so well and was excited at what I was learning (well, relearning) about gaining victory over a sin that has plagued me for years. I began crying out to God in earnest to help me whenever the temptation grew intense.  Remembering His promise to always provide a way of escape, I realized the escape hatch has always been there, I just didn’t want to take it. This time I took it, and it felt good to win for a change. Yaay Me, and thank you Jesus!

But then I fell. 

Enter guilt sprinkled with a little depression.

Know what I learned? I had locked all the doors to my temptation, but I left a window open. See, I didn’t realize it, but I had a loophole in my heart I didn’t know was there. It read something like, “It’s wrong, wrong, wrong to EVER give in to this temptation… unless… you are especially down or tired or hungry or angry or (fill in your loophole).”  Looking back, I see how the Tempter whispered, “Hey, these are special circumstances. Nobody would blame you for taking the edge off just this once. “  Because I had left that tiny window open, sin slithered in.

Friends, we’ve got to lock all the windows, plug up any air holes, and bolt every door. We must have a made-up mind. By God’s grace, my heart is now air-tight. No more excuses.

What about you? How are you faring in your battle against your toughest sin? What have you discovered in your journey? I’d love to hear from you.