Ghosting… To be Ghostlike or Jesuslike that is the question?

Ghosting… To be Ghostlike or Jesuslike that is the question?

There is a relatively new term going around called “Ghosting”.  I was listening to the radio the other day and there was an announcer, taking a poll asking “Have you ever ghosted someone? “ So I looked up what this word met because obviously from the way it was being used it was not what I thought of when I hear the term “Ghost”.  One definition given said it is

1.) The act of disappearing on your friends without notice.

2.) Cancelling plans with little or no notice.

Another said…..

“The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just “get the hint” and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject’s maturity and communication skills. Many attempts to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it, in fact, proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.”

One of the most popular answers on this show was, many people canceled plans at the last-minute without thinking anything about it. The commentator talked about how people commit to an event or a time to go somewhere with someone, then at the last-minute if a better offer comes up they don’t think anything about canceling the original plans and going with the new offer if it is something they would rather do than the original commitment.  

I was a little taken back by this newly found verbiage I mean, I remember when a person’s word met something and when you made a commitment you stuck with that commitment whether you had a better offer come up later or not. You weren’t just moved by the wind and whatever felt good. A person did what they said because your word was your bond.

This got me thinking about some conversations I had with my daughter over the years. I can’t tell you how many times we talked about this. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a conversation. Maybe it was more like a yelling match. I would go to her room to wake her up and she would scream “ NO! I don’t want to get up!” To which I would holler back at her, as I walk down the hall. “ I don’t really care what you want, this isn’t about you! Sometimes in this life you just have to do things you don’t want to do and getting up is one of those things” Or the conversation might go like this. “ Life isn’t about you Amy so do what you are supposed to do and get up”  I promise you if I said one of those phrases to her once I said it 10,000 times. I think our mornings started out like that at about age 5, and continued, almost until the day she moved out. But the funniest part of that story is, now when I hear her tell the children she is working with the same thing. It makes me think, “Well, maybe she did get it?”

I think there is another term that needs to be considered these days,  it is called “dying to yourself”, the Bible calls it “denying yourself”.  See the very essence of our relationship with God requires us to give up our will and follow what He wants us to do. We must deny ourselves if we are going to be a follower of God.  Jesus tells His disciples several times that they must deny themselves.  Matthew 16:24-25 “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Christ tells us, that there are going to be times we have to do things we don’t want to do. When that friend calls needing help but you would rather sit at home or when we would rather stay at home instead of getting up and going to church on Sunday Mornings.  These things are important because they are things that we have to choose to do. We choose to go help that friend because it is an opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet. We choose to get up out of that warm comfy bed because we know, if we go, we will learn more about our walk with God and possibly be able to encourage someone else with their walk as well. If there is no other reason we do it, we do it, because we know that God’s word says “Forsake not the assemblies of yourselves…….” Hebrews 10:25. So when we know what we ought to do then, we need to do it no matter how much we don’t feel like it. Because God’s word also says in James “ He that knows to do good and doesn’t do it, then to him it is sin” Yep! My kids heard that scripture a lot too. In fact, it might have been the one they learned before John 3:16

We are never more like Christ than when we choose to do something we don’t want to do, simply because we know it is right to do.

See there is no request that can be made to us, greater than the request that was made to Jesus when God, His Father, asked Him to give up His life in Heaven and go to earth to die for a bunch of sinners that would despise Him, and hate Him than spit on Him while He hung naked on a cross for them. So they could have eternal life.

So, until someone asks you to do that, you haven’t been asked to do too much. I don’t know about you, but I sure am glad Jesus didn’t ghost on us that day, He went to the cross. Because without Him sacrificing Himself for us we would not have the blessed hope of eternal life.

So next time, you get a better offer to do something, or you decide, you just “don’t want” to be in a relationship anymore and you are getting ready to bail on your commitments.  Maybe you need to think about the man who gave His life for you and if you claim to know Him then make sure you are representing Him well and make sure you aren’t Ghosting while you are on duty serving Him because serving Him is a 24/7/365  commitment. God has never ghosted on us, so should we really be doing it to others? What will you be today, a Ghost or Jesus?

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God and the NFL – What’s really going on?

God and the NFL – What’s really going on?

Well, if you aren’t living under a rock you are aware that there has been some controversy in the NFL. I won’t comment on my opinion on this particular situation now, but of course, this isn’t the only controversy going on in America right now  either, if it is not the “Cotton at Hobby Lobby” then it is “What day the world will come to an end” everyone has an opinion and everyone is ready to give it. Never have I seen such a society of offense. It seems at times a person can’t even sneeze right without someone getting offended. (and  I am fully aware someone will probably be offended by this article as well)

I think the problem is, we are all way too worried about what we don’t need to worry about. Because we have forgotten what God has told us. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12

See satan has us so busy fighting each other we are no longer fighting him.  If he can keep us distracted with racism, or correcting predictions of things God said that we are never supposed to know anyway, then we won’t be loving our friends, let alone our enemies. We have forgotten the greatest commandment and that is “…love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”John 13:34-35 (NIV)

My daughter is taking a world religion class and recently she called to tell me the teacher failed to use a capital “G” for God, which not only is it proper English to capitalize a proper noun, but I was raised it is also proper to capitalize any pronoun referring to our Lord and Savior. When my daughter called she commented ” It must be a Pentecostal thing” To which I replied “No, it is a generational thing” See, I feel we now live in a society that we have not only lost respect for our country but we have lost respect for God Himself and that is the real problem.  We aren’t teaching our children to love God and honor Him in the proper ways anymore.

Our problem isn’t what one man says or does, our problem is we have forgotten what God says and that is “To love one another, and this is how they will know you are my disciples.” But the real reason we can’t love others like God loves us is that we don’t really realize how much God loves us. Even some who have been raised in the church were raised as if God was up there in heaven with a big hammer, just waiting for us to make a mistake so He could pounce on us. So, in return, we give that same judgment to others. Then there are those who have become a consumer Christians, who claim to know God but only uses the church as a social gathering or a place to for funerals and weddings. There is no real desire to seek God and to learn more about Him, they have bought the fire insurance to keep them out of hell and that is all they are interested in. So when you are not totally in love with God, you can’t totally understand just how much God loves you and if you can’t comprehend how much God loves you then, how can you love like He loves?

A hard concept I have come to realize is we no longer live in the Christian Country that our forefathers planned for. We are becoming the pagan nation that the men in the bible times lived in. Where all manner of sin was permissible and acceptable.  But the bible warned us of days like this, and it tells us “Now when these things begin to occur, stand tall and lift up your heads [in joy], because [suffering ends as] your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28 AMP.  The question is, who is the redemption for? Well, it is for those who follow God’s greatest commandment and that is “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”John 13:34-35N (NIV) Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Texas says it better than I can, ” If you want to know if you have been born again, ask yourself:”When did I change direction?” 

See because there is coming a day when the bible says, “That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, ……..and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Philippians. 2:10-11 & Romans 14:11. So, let me encourage you today, No, I am really pleading with you. Let’s be the example that God has called us to be of love and forgiveness, let’s put aside our will and our ways, our causes may be good and you might have every right to be upset, but what does God say? Is really what you are protesting going to change by the action you choose or is it just causing more drama and frustration for those around you?

I have often thought, if God would just wave His hand over the universe and command us all to love then there would not be these issues. But God doesn’t because He want’s us to choose, that is part of the dieing to our will and following His. He gives us a choice. The question is what will you choose today? I wonder instead of having a day where all the country boycotted or protested something, we call a day for everyone to put aside their differences and love like He has loved us what a difference that would make?

So let me encourage you today if you don’t know this loving God that I have talked about. Let me introduce you to Him. His name is Jesus, He is the creator of the universe and He thinks you are His most fabulous creation He made. He loves you so much He gave His own life for you and would do again if you were the only one on earth. Let me encourage you to find a bible believing church and get involved. Begin having a quiet time with Him every day. because He is cant wait to spend time with you. He wrote you a letter called the bible He would like you to read.  He loves you with an everlasting love and hopes you will have the same feelings for Him and those around you. Let’s go out this week and be that love that somebody needs.

 

 

L

You don’t trust who you don’t know!

In the bible, there is a story about a man named Job. Most of the time when we think about Job we think about the guy who lost everything but his wife. God described Job as a fair and upright man. In fact, in the beginning of this story, there is a conversation between satan and God.

God asks satan “What have you been doing?” and satan replies ” roaming about on the earth”. This reminded me of the Scripture where God warns us to, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

As the story goes on God is telling satan what an amazing guy Job is and says ” Have you considered my servant Job”, Satan tells God that He thinks if God would remove his protection from Job and his family he doesn’t think Job would be such a devoted follower.  It was almost as if satan issued God a challenge. God trusted Job so much, He says, go ahead do whatever you want, you just can’t kill him. Read the book of Job for more details.

 

Job isn’t the only one God trusted, In Numbers, we see God so angry that He comes down in a cloud and calls Miriam and Aaron out of their tent because they were talking bad about Moses.  He informs them that Moses is the one I trust! (Numbers 12:7)  This story reminds me of a friend coming to defend his friend who he sees is being picked on, and I have to say, if you are gonna have a best friend. God is the one to have, I  mean picture it, God is up in heaven listening to Miriam and Aaron complain and gossip about Moses and it makes Him so mad He comes down out of heaven in a cloud and calls these guys out of their tent to basically tell them to leave His friend alone! Because He trusts Moses! 

We all often wonder if we can trust God, but time after time here in the bible we see that God talks about trusting.

Did you ever ask yourself if God can trust you? Can He trust you that if your world falls apart and you lose everything, you will still serve Him like He did Job?  Can He trust you like He did Moses to speak to you face to face and allow you to see His shadow?

Or are you like Simon Peter where God told Him in Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan desires to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, you will strengthen your fellow believers.

I am not much of a farmer, but I know that if someone says, they want to sift me as wheat. That isn’t a good thing. Satan wants to take us out. But Jesus says here He prayed for Simon. Does Jesus have to pray for you, that you won’t fail?

God, has warned us over and over again in the bible, that trouble will come, and satan is after us. So why are we so surprised with trouble comes our way. In John 16:33 He tells us ” These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

He says here “In Me, you will have peace”  and “In the world, you will have tribulation” God wants us to focus on Him because the more we focus on Him the more we will trust Him and the more we trust Him the more He can trust us. God wants to trust us so much that when satan temps us He will know that you will stand against satan,  and you won’t be tempted by his tricks.

You know it is hard to trust someone you don’t know. I mean if you are attending a big event in a giant arena, in a city where you don’t know anyone and you decide to sit down next to a stranger, you aren’t going to ask that stranger to hold your purse or wallet while you go to the bathroom. No! especially if all your money is in it. The bottom line is we don’t trust people we don’t know.

God talks about not knowing someone. In the book of Matthew, He tells us that not everyone that calls Him Lord will enter heaven. There are people who when they stand before Him will say “Didn’t I cast demons out in your name? Didn’t I prophesy in your name? Didn’t I do many wonders in your name?” And God is gonna look at them as say “ I never knew you; depart from Me,” Matt 7:23. 

See in the same way God wants to trust you,  He wants to be your friend because you don’t trust a stranger, So can God trust you today?  Don’t just say you know Him. Don’t just claim to be His friend. If you haven’t been to church in a month if you haven’t read His bible and spend time with Him if you aren’t doing your best to live a life that He would be pleased with?  Because all these things are how we get to know Him.  Oh! no one is perfect, but let’s strive to be a person that God can trust. Because you don’t trust, who you don’t know? So, do you really know God?

 

 

 

 

Living By Faith

If you know Jeff and me very well, you know we love a good deal and we have tried to teach our frugal-ness to our children. It isn’t uncommon for me to go shopping for clothing or home decor and after going through the check out my receipt usually reads something like, “Total cost $80 and you save over $300.” I think my best deal, was the one time I bought a coat that normally cost over $200 for $2 from Macy’s.

Many people have asked me, how do you save so much money? To which I reply “I shop the clearance rack.” I typically don’t go shopping with a list when I am shopping for clothes etc. I simply go to the store and search for the clearance signs. Now, let me clarify here, the best deals are at the higher end stores, the ones that I would never even think of buying anything from at regular price because I know I couldn’t afford them. But I don’t let their high-end reputation intimidate me. Once I find the clearance rack which is usually at the back of the store,  I search them to see what is on it that will fit me and what I like,  out of those I decide what is the better deal,  then I decide what I can’t live without, from there I decide how much I want to spend and head to the check out. Because I have some pretty good solid basics in my wardrobe I can usually always mix and match it with something I already have at home. This kind of shopping also requires me to think ahead of what I will need in the next season because I am typically buying a year in advance.

This has pretty much been my shopping lifestyle as long as I can remember. I realized at an early age from my parents who were pastors also, that typically you don’t have an unlimited budget so you need to be as good of steward with what God has given you as possible.

This has even carried over into a lot of our grocery shopping. Our meals are usually planned around what is on sale at the store. Often times my husband will come home from the grocery store with several bags full of sale, reduced or discounted items. Then I have to come up with meals out of it. I guess you could say my kitchen is a constant live “Chopped” T.V. cooking show. We give a whole new meaning to the term ” Living By Faith”.

But, It has recently come to my attention (call me naive)  Apparently, this is just the opposite of what most people do. It is my understanding that some people actually go to the store with the intention of buying certain pieces of clothing etc. and have to purchase those things at whatever price the store is selling it for that day, which is usually full price.

This got me thinking, I believe shopping habits are a lot like life and it is up to us if we choose to live by faith or not. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying if you don’t shop like this you are not living by faith. But I would like to compare the two.

I mean, How often do we expect certain things out of life? How often do we come to God with our list of things we need and expect Him to deliver no matter what the cost?  The truth is more often He gives us what He wants us to have and more often what He gives us, doesn’t turn out to be exactly what we had on our list anyway?

All too often we have these expectations for God to meet and when He doesn’t do it the way we expect. We get anxious and begin to worry because it obviously can’t be right if it doesn’t go the way we expected.  We want something for this exact moment but God sees the bigger picture for what we need for our future.

Satan wants us to be intimidated and walk in fear when things rise above our understanding. Just like those high-end stores, some people won’t even consider going into the store, simply because they think they could never afford anything in it. But the fact is I go into those stores for 2 reasons. #1 Because I want to see what the regular price of these items are in case I see them at a second-hand store to assure I get a great price and #2 I want to overcome my own fear and self-intimidation by going in. Because granted sometimes it can be intimidating but I refuse to be intimidated and we need to refuse to be intimidated when we don’t understand what God’s plan is.

Just like God sometimes makes us wait for what we want, most stores put the best deals at the back, we sometimes have to wait to completely see what God’s plan is and how it will work in ours. I have noticed, the cheaper stores put their sale items right in the front, sometimes they even sit them outside on the side walk, why? Well, I think because it is just that cheap, and it doesn’t have any real value. In the same way, sometimes the first thing that we see isn’t always the best for us so we have to trust God to bring us what we need.

Sometimes we have to stand up for what we believe and that isn’t always easy, sometimes we have to wait for the right spouse instead of taking the first person that comes along or wait till next year to buy that tractor because we are determined to be good stewards of what God has given us.  If our faith is solid and standing on Christ than we can trust that I might not get what is on my list now but we know that God will provide what we need when He knows we need it.

It is at these times I believe God is saying “Trust me”,  Don’t come “Expecting Your Way” but come “Accepting My Will”. Because after all, there is nothing that comes to us that hasn’t gone through God. Accepting whatever comes your way. We can trust Him to give us what we need and give us the strength to do what we have to do to get through it.

See I believe that living by faith is a lifestyle we choose. Just like I have chosen my shopping lifestyle. We choose what we will do when we don’t get the things on our list.  Now I am not saying quit your job stay home and just trust God to pay your bills. No! But what I am saying is all too often we get focused on our plans for how something should work out and when it doesn’t we begin to walk in fear and anxiety when we need to realize that we have a Heavenly Father that created us and loves us with an everlasting love. (Jer 31:3)

He tells us in Jeremiah 29: 11 I know the plans I have for you, and they are for good and not to harm. So if we say we really trust God and we say we believe His word. Then we can trust that He will give His best to us and although it may not be what we expected. We know He loves us enough to assure He will give us everything we need.

God loves us so much we can trust Him, that we are not getting His leftovers at a reduced cost. No! God paid the ultimate cost for you. He gave His life for you and because of that He wants nothing but the best for you, so we don’t have to worry when things come our way that wasn’t on our list. All we need to do is rest in Him. This week lets not allow the things that don’t go the way we planned worry us or make us anxious. Let’s trust Him, and what His word says in Romans 8:28. He works all things together for our good…..

 

 

 

Daddy’s Girl

When I was a teenager my daddy was the pastor in a small Mississippi community where we lived. I was raised with strict rules not to drink alcohol. But of course I had some friends that did drink and in my effort to try to be in the cool crowd I wanted to hang out with them. But I had a quandary. See, I didn’t want to hurt my daddy. I loved my daddy more than anything and I respected him. Because I loved him I wanted to honor his reputation in the community and if the Pastor’s daughter of the Assembly of God Church would of been seen underage drinking or worst yet been arrested, that would of just killed him and his reputation. But…… I also wanted to be cool, So I devised a plan of how I could save my daddy’s reputation and still be cool.

See,  I knew my friends would hang out in front of the arcade in the small town I went to school in (9 miles away from where I lived) For those of you that don’t know what an arcade is, it is a building full of video games, foosball machines and pool tables. They were much more popular in the 80’s before Nintendo and X Boxes came to our homes. As a teenager the Arcade was the place to hang out, and meet up with friends. Today we just know the Arcade as a place, maybe in a room at the Movie Theater or the Pizza Parlor.

Since the Arcade was the place to be, after I got my drivers license I would drive the 9 miles over to the next town where the arcade was and would hang out with my friends,  now not all of my friends drank in fact my best friends didn’t.  But, I wanted more, As many schools, towns, and even work places are today there were clicks in my school there was a pecking order and I wanted to move up in the pecking order and it seemed to me at the time to do that I needed to drink, but how could I do that and not break my dads heart. I knew it would kill him if I ever took a drink and I respected my dad to much to want to hurt him. So I devised a plan.

See I knew that the I.B.C Root-beer bottle looked an awful lot like the beer bottles my friends carried around. So I figured I could just pick up a bottle of I.B.C Root-beer on my way to the Arcade, I mean after all we usually got something to drink before going over there anyway, and if I just happen to have that bottle in my hand and hid the label with my hand when I walked up to my friends drinking, maybe just maybe this new crowd would accept me. So I did, and I felt pretty good until one of my other friends who didn’t drink and knowing the horror it would be to my family if I did drink, walked up to me in shock and asked “Alesa, are you drinking?” As I looked innocently at her and said, yea, Root-beer!

I couldn’t help but remember this story this  past week because it was my daddy’s birthday and even though he has spent the last 28 years celebrating his birthday in heaven, what I remembered most about him is that I loved and respected him so much, I never wanted to do anything that would hurt him. This got me thinking how many of us feel like that about our Heavenly Father?

Do we love our Heavenly Father so much that we don’t want to do anything to hurt him. Now the truth is, if my daddy had seen the compromised I made that day.  Even pretending to drink but acting like it was just an accident when it was really a conscious decision to disobey,would of been a terribly disappointed in me.

I don’t think he even knew about this story before he died but I still remember it because I think it was one of the times that I consciously choose to disobey. But how many times have we blow off something that God’s word says not to do just because we wanted to. How many times do we just ignore what we have been taught is right just because it isn’t convenient for us. Because we want more and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. How do you think your Heavenly Father feels about that? I guess I can relate to my Heavenly Father because I had an amazing daddy. He was my rock, my provider, my protector, He loved me with an everlasting love and there was absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do for him. Why, because all that He had done for me. See my daddy didn’t have to love me, he didn’t even have to take care of me. But he choose to, see I am adopted. So He didn’t have to love me.

You know what? You have been adopted too! If you choose to follow after Christ the bible says that you are adopted into His family. In Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) the bible tells us God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Now, I don’t know about you but after all Christ as done for me I don’t want to disappoint Him either. So, I don’t live the life I live striving each day to please Him (and yes there are still plenty of times I mess up) because I don’t want to go to Hell. No, I live this life to please Him because of the gratitude I feel toward Him.

The same kind of gratitude I felt for my earthly father. Because of what my daddy had done for me I knew He loved me and trusted me. He disciplined me too. plenty of times.  But I knew when my earthly father did it, it was because He loved me and wanted the best for me. When my earthly father told me to not to walk across the street before looking both ways. It wasn’t because he didn’t want me to cross the street it is because he wanted to protect me. That is the same thing with God’s word, When He tells us not to do something in it He is telling us because He loves us and wants to protect us. 

So this week Let’s seek to please our Heavenly Father, Let’s consciously choose to please Him, Remember if He tells us no about something,  it is because He loves, not because He wants to harm us.

Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

Minimalist or Selfishness, That is the Question?

 As I was unloading the dishwasher the other day I looked at the probably 30 or more forks, knives and spoons I have. I recalled the 4 -9×13 casserole dishes up in my cabinet,  and the 5 or so iron skillets I have on my stove, then I recalled some recent conversations I have had over the last several months.
For some people, they seem to think having 4 plates, 4 sets of silverware and 1 skillet and 1 casserole dish for a family of 4 is enough. I have literately known people who think, if they have more then 1 skillet and one pot it is to much. People like that confuse me.
Maybe it is the fact that, I was raised in a ministers home where we had to always be ready for guest, or maybe it was just the generation but when I was growing up, if we were looking for a home, one of the first things my parents looked for was “is there a guest room” and if there wasn’t how could we make room if company came, so we could entertain. I mean we now are living more in a minimalists society where it is cool to live with less and the smaller the house the better. But, that really has me wondering, is less best?
I mean if you limit the amount of plates you have in your cabinet doesn’t that limit the amount of guest you can have over, and if you only have 1 skillet and 1 pot how many people can you really cook for? If you have a tiny house that can only sleep 2 people how do you have family or over night guest over? When we limit ourselves of the ability to entertain others we begin to isolate ourselves.
I don’t see anywhere in the bible where Christ isolated himself from others on a regular basis. His life was centered around community and fellowship. The feeding of the 5,000 for instance. What would of happened if Christ would of said. Oh! That is way to many people, I don’t want be around that many people. Most theologians believe that He lived with Lazarus and his sisters when He wasn’t on the road ministering. Then, remember the time He left his family to go hang out in the temple and teach. The bible even talks about the fact that He was accused of being a drunkard and glutton because He was always hanging out with people who ate and drank. (Matt 11:19)
The bible talks about hospitality in several different places. It reminds us in Hebrew 13:2, Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. It also tells us to “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” in 1 Peter 4:9.
See to me, all this minimalist stuff portrays its self, as a way to gain control and be happier. Now don’t get me wrong. I think you need to live within your means, but having some extra silverware or pots and pans never broke anyone. But limiting yourself on who you can help and give a meal to is just selfishness. I believe that minimalist stuff is simply a mask in most cases for us to be selfish. Now, I am sure this isn’t the case for everyone one and I understand for some this is an opportunity to live debt free so you can do more for others, Which is great if that is really the case. But for many it is simply a curtain to disguises our selfishness of having to entertain others. For some it is a way to try to conform to what everyone else is doing.
But there is another trick that satan likes to use on those of us who are blessed enough to have a big enough house with more than 4  forks & plates for our family of 4.  Satan has us convinced we are to busy to entertain guests in our home and fellowship with others. Often satan wants to distract us by keeping us busy.  We are all to often so focused on our own survival of working so hard to pay our bills we don’t make time to even consider socializing with others.
There is a saying that says “Isolation Brings Devastation” Doctors confirm that ” When a person experiences too much solitude or feels socially isolated from others, he or she may develop feelings of loneliness, social anxiety, helplessness, or depression, among others.” (goodtherapy.com) Proverbs 18:1 tells us “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;..”
So who’s desire are you seeking today? Are you living a life that reflects Christ’s life? Are you entertaining others in your home?  Who is in your sphere of influence? Have you isolated yourself to a select few or worst yet, none at all?
I hope this week you won’t just continue to do the same old thing you have been doing for years.  I hope you will reach out to those around you that, you normally wouldn’t reach out to. So your life, like Christ’s will reflect a since of community and fellowship. Ask yourself today, Who have I shown Christ love to recently? What have I been willing to sacrifice for others, because Christ sacrificed everything for me. Remember we can sacrifice a little (at least) for others because Christ gave His ALL for us. I sure am glad Christ wasn’t a minimalist with His love or else you or I might not be here today. So let’s show His love to all!

A Passionate Pursuit! ( God…. I don’t want to die a Bachelor)

Originally written May 1, 2017
He was 16 yrs old and scared to death he might die a bachelor as his mentor and 80 some year old friend who he affectionately called Brother Toby was.
Brother Toby was a man in the church my husband grew up in, he was a bachelor all his life. My husband Jeff had looked up to him all his life and suddenly at the ripe old age of 16 my husband decides there is 1 thing for sure he does not want to follow Brother Toby’s footsteps in and that is, He doesn’t want to be a bachelor.
So the story I’ve been told is Jeff begin to pray ” Oh, Lord Please don’t let me be a bachelor! “.  It just so happened that Jeff’s home church was without a pastor and Jeff”s dad was the head deacon at the time and therefore, he had all the resume’s of prospective pastors. So, Jeff decides what better wife to have than a preachers daughter and since Jeff was on the hunt, because in his mind, time was a wasting. Jeff decides to sneak into his fathers office and search the family pictures sent with the pastoral resumes to find the pastor with the daughter that Jeff had decided he would marry. It just so happened my father had submitted his resume to the church and I am told, that Jeff narrowed the pictures of the preachers daughter’s down from the top 10, to 5 to, 3 and then you guessed it…… me!
To make a long story short, I guess you could say the rest is History! There were several sets of circumstances but my father ultimately became the pastor and 4 yrs later Jeff and I were married at the ripe old ages 17 and 20.
Jeff was determined that I was going to be his wife, and apparently God was in favor of that because of the circumstances that followed.
You know, this got me thinking……..
What separates those of us who are just attending church and those of us who are being the church? Jeff could of been the typical teenage boy who dated several different girls and refused to look for any kind of real commitment at such a young age. But Jeff was on a mission, He had a what I would call a “God given desire” that he would not let anyone or anything distract him from. The fact is when Jeff heard a group of boys from the church talking about trying to pursue me, he step right up and told them “She is mine, so don’t even bother” (and we hadn’t even met yet!) He often jokingly but rightly tells everyone that he and God are a lot alike, the both loved me first.
See Jeff was determined there was nothing casual about his persecute of me.  I think that’s what makes the difference from those attending church and those being the church. Just attending the church, is like casual dating with no expectations of commitment. Being the church is the expectation that God wants to speak to me so He can speak through me. There is an expectation of a commitment and a calling beyond ourselves when we ARE the church. If we are only attending the church we simply check it off our list, like knots on our belt in a dating relationship. We walk out the door after completing our weekly or sometimes semi or less weekly routine.  It is like you are saying “I have come and done my religious duty every Sunday and I am done” (ie going and sitting in a pew, then going home to wait to do it all over again whenever the next time that it is convenient)
Being the church is like an all in relationship, it is living a life of faith everyday expecting God to speak to you, so you can share Him with others. It was not uncommon for Jeff to claim his stake in our relationship before we had even met, the very first Sunday my father spoke at his home church. Jeff made it clear under no uncertain terms that he liked me. As my father shook hands with the people as they walked out the front door of the church. Jeff boldly proclaims before my father that ” You are gonna get this church if I have anything to do with it” When my father replies ” Oh yeah? Why?”Jeff confidently responds ” Because of your beautiful daughter” then he turned and walked away. It left my father speechless because I was only 13 yrs old at the time and still playing with barbie dolls.
If we are going to be the church, if we are going to follow in the abundant life God has called us to live. We need to approach it like an all out committed relationship, and in this day and age where, committed relationships are hard to come by. Let me challenge you to give Jesus your all. Like nothing you have ever loved before because He loves you like no one has ever loved you before.God wants to be your friend, He cares about every aspect of your life. In the book of Jeremiah, God tells His people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”See, He is in a committed relationship with you so much that He gave His life for you. (Which is what we just celebrated a few weeks ago) The question is, How committed are we to Him? Do we use Him like a vending machine and just call on Him when we need something or do we sincerely desire to know Him, are we committed to what His word says, we should do and are we so in captivated in His love for us that our gratitude towards Him pours out of us in the way we live our life?
Let me tell you today, that if you have only been an attender of church instead, of being the church. It is not to late. He is waiting right now with His arms out stretched. He so wants to spend more time with you and He, like my husband Jeff has never given up, even when I was not interested and totally unattracted to Jeff. Jeff never stopped loving me, he never stopped pursuing me and was waiting with open arms when I was ready. Christ is waiting on you today. There is more to this walk with Christ then just attending church and checking it off our list of things to do for the week.1 Cor. 3:16  tells us, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  God wants to speak to you, so He can speak through you, We have a mission to share His love and life with others, but if we don’t really know Him, if we are not passionately pursuing Him. Then we aren’t being the Church, we are simply filling a pew. Go be the Church this week! Because God is passionately pursuing you.