No Greater Love

Have you ever sacrificed your own desires for someone because you loved them more than yourself? That certainly expressed true love, right?  Well, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and I would like to comment on the Greatest Act of Love ever accomplished for us; John 3:16.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Have you ever wondered what went through Christ’s mind as He was scourged, spat on, beaten and ridiculed as a scapegoat for our sin?

Did our Lord ever question why He was doing this?

  • Wonder why He was sacrificing His life for someone who tortured and murdered sweet children?
  • The one who stole funds from that Christian charity for personal use?
  • Or that serial rapist a judge let go, only to do it again?

True, but Christ died for all sinners, even those who simply lied, stole pencils from the office or whose golden idol was gluttony.

Every one of us is guilty of sin before the Lord.

Aren’t you grateful that Jesus didn’t disobey God’s Will in Gethsemane to avoid unfathomable pain and suffering? He knew the future. He knew people would not accept him or even worse become apathetic. They would curse in his name, ignore his commands, laugh as others worshipped him and yet he still sacrificed his life for them as well.

What tremendous love it  must have taken to go to the Cross!

Personally I believe while Christ suffered,  my face along with the billions of faces for whom He became an offering for, came into view. As He was suffering, He focused all his attention, mental powers and love on that future victorious day when Ellie, Martha, John, Bob (or whomever) accepted Him as their personal Savior. “Come onto me . . .”  and it was worth the cost. Praise God for that!

Now the question is, how do we show appreciation for His incredibly loving sacrifice? What would you sacrifice for love? Would you give up gluttony for Christ? Is something as miniscule as reducing unhealthy foods to become a stronger testimony worth His sacrifice? Silly question, right? But will you? Please don’t sell your godly testimony, as Essau did, for a mess of material pottage here on earth.

When life becomes difficult and we face our own challenges in the future, remain focused on what is really important in life: Eternity, not on the way we look but how we have honored our inner Temple of the Holy Spirit for God’s Glory.

Focus on becoming a New Creation for Christ based on 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Satan wants nothing more than to destroy God’s temple on earth, which are His believers.  There are many enemies who hope to sideline you from that goal with temptations of drugs, alcohol, smoking and even food.

But God remains by our side, even during our most stressful situations.

Isaiah 41: 10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Sometimes our “old memory chains” bind us mentally or emotionally to the past. Break free from bondage and live an abundant life in Christ! I urge you to personally accept Jesus’s incredible Valentine gift:  Freedom in Christ .


Where’s Christmas . . .???

The other day I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project I was working on. It could have been anything, an ornament, a Christmas card, even a figurine.

First I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but two sets of Christmas cards with no manger scene on them. Next I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.

A few days later I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny or T.J. Maxx.

Undoubtedly, I thought, Christian-run Hobby Lobby would carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.

Finally I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix and cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)

Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!

Then I thought, I can certainly find Christmas at church.  Absolutely I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)

Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our many  congregation’s generous donations, I found it. Eureka!

THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT:  Christmas is about blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy to others!

As Jesus left his heavenly home, to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends, as well as the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges and laughter that we do.  He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness and selfish behavior. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”   (John 3:16)

Christmas is all about giving unselfishly from one’s heart, as Jesus did as well.  Merry Christmas everyone – Always Remember the Reason for the Season.


Change Your Mind Before You Change Your Body

Six years ago I took the “KLOVE Challenge.” It urged us, as Christians, to listen to only KLOVE radio for thirty days and see how it would change our life for the better. Now up until then I had listened mostly to Country, Oldies and Soft Rock stations.  However at the end of the thirty day challenge, I realized I not only thought differently, but seemed happier and more content. So I continued until it seemed I was only listening to good quality music with an uplifting message. It began to change my life for the better.

As time went along, I found myself editing what television programs I watched and what books I read too. It’s amazing how much smutty TV our children are subjected to! Then it becomes influential. So is it any wonder why our youth today have potty mouths, no boundaries and show disrespect for authority? What’s the children’s Christian song which begins, “O, Be careful little eyes what you see . . .”

The same can be said about everything in our lives which becomes habitual. Therefore strive for a healthier mindset.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”   (Colossians 3:17)

A positive mindset even changes our nutritional habits!

When I worked in the corporate world, I considered myself “too important” to stop for lunch. If I did eat lunch, it was a fast food burger with fries and a shake. I woofed that down in ten minutes and rushed back to work.

Since I wasn’t consuming anything of quality, I was stressed out and sick quite a lot. It wasn’t until I left the fast-paced world of public relations and pursued a counseling degree that I began to slow down and consume more nutritious food. As time went on, I realized how invigorated and healthier I felt. Eureka! I thought, I’ve found the answer!!! Why doesn’t everyone know this?

As a curious person, I began to pursue more classes on psychology, physiology, biology, anatomy, a Biblical worldview . . . and I was hooked into Christian nutritional counseling. Science was proving how wonderfully designed by God we are! My greatest goal became encouraging others to change their diet and lifestyle sensibly, so they could see how much more energetic and vibrant they could feel also.

As time went on, the similarity between Christianity and nutritional applications became clear. And  like Salvation, I couldn’t make a difference until someone desired and recognized how and what needed changing. More times than not someone had to reach bottom before that determination kicked in. Usually a serious health issue or doctor’s warning did it.

Leaving old lifestyle habits behind and becoming a new creation is necessary! However, a pastor can preach Biblical Truth until he’s blue in the face, but until someone accepts that personally, there is no noticeable difference in a life.

Regarding nutrition, no suffering necessary! God gave us a bounty of wonderful choices to select from. He doesn’t expect us to eat unappetizing, tasteless food any more than He expects us to read only the Bible or watch only religious stations.  I had a friend who only read the Bible. No other books. I guess that’s commendable but there’s a world of Christian authors to pursue as well as great reads like To Kill a Mockingbird. So nutritionally speaking, having an occasional fried food isn’t terrible, but every day???  Use discretion and common sense. We should strive to honor Him in all we do, watch and say.

The Best Present Ever

the-christ-child-birth“He it is who remembered us in our lowly circumstances, for his gracious love is everlasting—” (Psalm 136:23)

When I was a child we didn’t have a lot of material items. We lived in a dilapidated old farm house with no indoor plumbing. Until our father installed a bathroom and plumbing, we had to use a pump to draw water and use the outhouse. But choosing to remember the good, it did have a charming pot belly stove in the dining room and a fireplace in the living room.

One day, just before Christmas, the fireplace caught fire and we lost most if not all our presents that year. We were grateful our home didn’t burn to the ground but what did survive smelled like smoke.

One night as we were returning home, there was a note attached to our front door. It told us to walk around to the side of our house and lift up the storm door. There, lo and behold, we found it filled with gifts of warm clothes, quilts, food, stuffed animals and other toys! I can’t remember who gave us those gifts but decades later, it was the memory of finding those precious gifts that meant the most to me.

At that time, we could have sent the presents back, but did we? No, wouldn’t we be fools to do so? So we embraced those gifts as a true love offering from someone who cared and wanted to brighten up our holiday, allowing us to forget the sorrow of our past.

I am not poor anymore and have accumulated much over my lifetime. But sometimes I wonder how many materialistic items do I need in life? In the year 2000, after deciding to become fulltime RV’ers, we sold almost everything we owned. I looked over all those items and thought, it’s just stuff. (Basically the only items we kept were memories in a 5×7 storage unit.)

How much “stuff” do you need? Most items will fade or be given away and all this eventually will turn to dust. But memories should last forever. That memory warmed my soul and turned a tragedy into a kindness I never forgot.

This Christmas Season I urge you to enjoy all the true Joy which God wants us to possess. But please don’t get so caught up in the frivolity of the gift-giving and “who got what” that we forget the True Meaning of the Season.

“”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

God gave us the best present of all; one which will never fade away. He gave His Only Son that we may believe and accept God’s Gift of Eternal Life. But not all will accept and believe. Some will be foolish, rejecting a very special gift which is far greater than any we received after our chimney fire. I look forward to an eternity thanking God for the Best Gift of All! Accept God’s Precious Gift today and experience True Joy.

A Choice Between Nebuchadnezzar and Jezebel – Oh Goodie

Tomorrow is Election Day. Soon this painfully long spiteful political season will be over. Can I hear an “Amen?”

It seems we only have two possibilities even if several lesser candidates would be a better choice. With 322 million residents in the United States, many are wondering, is this the best we can do? Oh how the public is fretting over this election!

Wake up America! I don’t place my trust in government, I place it in my LORD and Savior. No matter what, God is in control! In Him I will place my trust! As it states in Psalm 118:6, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” and as Paul stated, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) Although I’d unafraid of dying, I’d rather not nebuchadnezzarbecome Soylent Green. (It’s a futuristic movie where old people become food because the economy fails.)

No matter who wins, every one of our candidates is a flawed one. (Same as us, so let’s not get too judgmental.)

One candidate acts like Nebuchadnezzar and the other as King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. Don’t know who these people are? Never heard of them? Check out Daniel 4 in the Bible and 1 Kings 16:31; 18:4-19; 19:1, 2; 21:5-25.

In Daniel 4: 28-37, we find Nebuchadnezzar, the pompous King of Assyria who conquered the Israelites. Now he had a huuuuggge ego. One day as he gazed out over his vast kingdom, he pompously proclaimed how impressed he was with this Empire which he had built. Due to Nebuchadnezzar’s incredible arrogance, God immediately drove him from his kingdom. He lived  in madness outside his beautiful Babylonian city living literally as a beast in the field for seven years, until he humbled himself and gave God the glory. God restored him when he gave honor and worship to the One True God. God is in control!

King Ahab’s wicked wife Queen Jezebel on the other hand, let nothing get in her way while winning thejezebels-death crown. Diabolical, she ruled over her weak husband and recklessly destroyed anyone who got in her way, including family members. She lusted after control and would do anything to achieve it. She was determined to destroy all God’s prophets to retain it and worship idols. Power was her idol. In 2 Kings 9: 30-37, she met a gruesome death when members of her own court threw her out of a window and her flesh was eaten by dogs. Again God is in control!

Remember the saying, anyone who doesn’t remember the past is doomed to repeat it? Well here we go again. We should always respect the office and authority but only have one God. These are dark days but I know who rules the future and it is no candidate.

Please vote with a Spiritual lens and trust the Lord.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15)



The Joy of Obeying Our Master

For a while our 6-month-old Cavashon puppy must have thought his name was “No-NCJ at six monthso” because he got into so much trouble due to his curious mind. Poor little guy, he tries so hard to make us proud of him; he’s such a sweet dog. However, if we didn’t train him correctly he’d become an uncontrollable dog; (like unruly kids we who are never given boundaries.)

Our puppy wants to please us. He takes joy in hearing “Good boy!” (Or perhaps he’s thinking, “Yeah sure lady . . . just give me that treat.”)

It takes a lot of training and energy to learn something right. Just like our children, “we must train up a puppy in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” (paraphrasing Proverbs 22:6.) A well-mannered dog is a pleasure to be around, similarly to lovely children.

This got me thinking about the correlation between boundaries in a dog’s world and those within Christianity and food. What if we all did what was right in our own eyes; no boundaries? (Judges 21:25) The world is leaning greatly in that direction, isn’t it? Just look at what is acceptable behavior today which wasn’t even 50 years ago.

When I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I attended a very legalistic church. As an opinionated teenager, I constantly heard “no-no’s” too: “Don’t wear makeup.” “You can’t wear skirts that short!” “Movies are forbidden!” “Modern music is the devil’s voice” “Dancing is upright fornication!” But I heard no sermons on the Joy in the Lord. My goodness, no wonder I rebelled in college – I was finally free – no boundaries!

We live under Grace today. God gives us the right to choose how we live and would never legally restrict us or hold anything back. Regardless, He wants us to choose to obey Him out of love and gratitude. After all, Christ sacrificed ALL on the cross for us – is that asking too much?

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that when you offer yourselves as obedient slaves, you are slaves to the one you obey, whether you are slaves to sin leading to death, or to obedience leading to righteousness?…   (Romans 6:14-16)

As for our nutritional habits, we should strive to live healthy lives because we want to please our Lord and Savior, not because we have to. Scripture states that under grace, anything is fine in moderation. (1 Corinthians 10:23.) Is it too much of a sacrifice to eat only four Hershey Kisses (25 calories each) instead of the entire bag? Consume 6 ounces of sirloin instead of half a cow? Who is your Master, food or God?

Regarding our puppy, it’ll take time to master our commands. We don’t expect him to be perfect. And as Christians, we’ll never be perfect either, so strive for excellence and obedience. As far as our eating habits go, try to master cravings, don’t allow them to rule over you. God doesn’t restrict your culinary pleasures; you can consume bacon and French fries, but why would you eat them everyday if they destroy your personal temple of the Holy Spirit? You wouldn’t think of throwing trash on the floor of a sacred site in Jerusalem, why trash your bodily temple?

I look forward to my own “Good Girl” approval when God lovingly looks at me and says, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”   (Matthew 25:23)   That would mean more than Chocolate!!!

Pulling Those Pesky Spiritual Weeds!

In my last post I expounded upon how easily sin can spread like flowering weeds throughout our lives. Pretty to look at but deadly to Spiritual growth. We’re aware that sin is destructive and shouldn’t flower in a Christ-filled life but how do we rid ourselves of them?pulling weeds

We must recognize that sin’s unhealthy habits drag us down, destroying our Christian testimony. I hate to admit when I was younger, someone asked me once, “If you’re a Christian why do you do such bad things in your life?”  I had no answer except a flippant, “Well Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” I don’t know why God is so patient with me but I’m grateful!

“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”  (1 Corinthians 13:11)  NLT

When it comes to sin we can’t be kind, even allowing a little bit of it to grow in our Spiritual garden.  This means going along with injustice, being peer pressured or overlooking sin in our friends lives. “Bad company corrupts good character.”  (1 Corinthians 15:33) Yes it’s true that sometimes we can win others by displaying good Christian character amidst challenging social situations. But more times then not, those “weeds” overpower us and we fall into sin rather than allow our testimony to thrive. Scripture urges us to flee youthful lusts, (2 Timothy 2:22) not dabble in it.

It’s similar to obtaining a healthier lifestyle. Every sin has consequences. If you always consume fattening, chemically laden foods you’ll risk diabetes, strokes, heart disease and cancers. Risk? Do you feel “lucky?” I’d prefer not play Russian Roulette with my life but rather trust God to keep me healthy because I want to honor that vibrant life gift He has given me.

Until one gets strong enough to withstand the temptation of donuts and sugary carbs, we shouldn’t go into a donut shop! Or attend a Buffet if you’re a curious person and consume a little of everything the tables offer. Nine times out of ten we will fall to the “Feast of The Eyes!”

“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16) NLT

So we need to overcome the weeds in our Spiritual garden by first recognizing that they are even there. And how do we do that?  Well, how do we feel after we’ve done something totally against our godly beliefs? Pretty bad right? If not, maybe we better question if we really are God’s child for apathy is the opposite of love. If we love someone we truly want to please them, not cause them pain.

What about toxic relationships? Following a raucous, sinful crowd is being like a sheep who plunges to his death because he followed the leader over a cliff. Sheep are dumb animals! You shouldn’t be! As painful as it is to say goodbye to a close but unrepentant friend, if they are dragging you into a pit, for your own safety, let go and fervently pray for them.

And the best advice: don’t allow temptation to grow in the first place! If you prevent pesky weeds from growing, you won’t have to pull them later. Use the best Spiritual Weed Killer there is: Scripture! Cultivate appropriate Bible verses deep inside your mind and soul and it will absolutely act as weed preventer!