Posted by: Kimberly | Sat Aug 10, 2019

The Light of Godliness

How much do we truly identify with our new nature as Christians vs the natural conditions we face on this Earth? Jesus said we would face trials and tribulations. There’s no getting around them, but do we identify with them more than we identify with who we are in Christ? Do we allow them to be our excuse or our cop-out for bad behavior when we should use restraint or allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into better behavior?

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Matthew 5:47-48 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Downstream

Jesus is our best example of how to treat others, think of him when he was being beaten and scourged, he didn’t lash out. Not that we should take illness as our lot, we shouldn’t, because he paid the price for us, but while we are enduring, we should remain humble. He is our refuge and healer.

I know Christians who face serious illnesses with Grace and mercy. If you were to meet them for the first time, you would never know how ill they are. I’ve even known friends who were dying of cancer and never uttered a word to others about their condition, except when they were in horrific pain. Otherwise, they kept a cheerful attitude facing the world with dignity and never complained. Then I’ve known others who cry over the smallest paper cut as if they needed great attention and care, leading others to think they were the ones dying with their dramatization. And some who scream or are short fused with their family when they feel the slightest twinges of problems, or scream at them when they did nothing wrong. Who in these instances are allowing the light of godliness to shine through?

2 Peter 1:5-9 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

I’m not saying we should hide our feelings, but we shouldn’t use our conditions for ill behavior. For instance, if you’ve had a bad day at work or driving home in traffic, do you take it out on your family when you get home? That isn’t godliness. It’s allowing your circumstances to control your outlook and ruin other people’s days, when they weren’t the cause of your situation. If you feel ill, should you snap at those around you? Should you bark orders and expect others to wait on you hand and foot? No, and they shouldn’t feel obligated to do so either. They may feel sorry for your condition, but it isn’t their fault that you have the medical or emotional condition you have. I’ve known families that cater to one person with an illness because they play a guilt trip on others for their lot in life, making everyone in the family wait on them hand and foot. By the same token, I’ve known family members who ignore family members who seem to have one illness or problem after another. Neither attitude is right. There should be a balance; a give and take. The one who seems to keep having medical issues certainly never asked for them and needs understanding and compassion. They need acknowledgement from their family, not a ‘sweep it under the rug’ as if it doesn’t exist. Certainly, we have a hope that any illness or calamity will be healed by the blood of Jesus, but in the meantime, show them you care without making their condition a reason for them to act out. Obviously, some conditions may limit them from physical abilities they’ve had before, but it shouldn’t limit the one suffering the ability to show kindness, mercy, and grace. In fact, if anything, it should do the opposite and make them more compassionate and tenderhearted towards others. Sadly, that isn’t always the case and many lash out in anger.

James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

When I see this in Christian brothers and sisters I want to say, “Get over yourself! Who is your source?! What are you drawing on? What makes you entitled to special favors and treating others poorly?!” I’m not saying I’ve never been grouchy when I feel ill, I have and normally I catch it and apologize quickly to anyone I’ve said any harsh words to, but I don’t live there. I’m talking about people who live in that state and wear it like a badge. You are not defined by whatever “fill in the blank” condition you have, you are defined by God and who he created you to be! You are his righteousness and his holy ones, act like it and treat others how you want to be treated. You are not this disease, this condition, this illness, this whatever. You were created in the image of God…. Think about that… Created in the Image of God…

Ultimately, if we are Christians, we will grow and have the fruit of the Spirit, which does not burden others or put upon them or put forth angry words or speak harshly. What are the fruits of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

Posted by: Kimberly | Tue Jul 30, 2019

The Greatest Love

What is the greatest love? It is Jesus’ death on the cross and his willingness to give up his life so that we might live more abundantly. He didn’t want us to go on in the same life we’d been living.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. -Jesus John 13:34

Ephesians 5:25-33 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

If we follow his humble example… let’s think of how that scenario plays out. If we are to live like he lived and love like he loved, that’s a tall order! Think how he didn’t condemn sinners – (the woman at the well, the woman the people wanted to stone, and others) but he didn’t party with them or hang out, he was working, living set apart*, he was there to deliver, to minister, not to participate, much like a physician administers a cure, Jesus did the same.  He had the cure, the purest love, with no conditions, except that the person turn from sin. Even when they don’t, he still loves them and is there for them/us when they/we do. Yet he does condemn sin. Jesus doesn’t look down on the ‘scourge’ of the earth, as some might call the unfortunate or the lowliest people, he forgave their sins, and he healed them. He looked beyond their frailties and saw their potential. He looks beyond our faults and sees us as he created us, in his perfect image.

His image covers our faults, our sins, our shortcomings, our inabilities to do things the way others want, our inability to love deeply or to show love freely to others. He sees himself instead of us, because he sees us covered by his blood, not the way we look without his transformative power. That’s what his blood will do, it will wash away all our impurities. It’s good for us to remember that his blood washes our lives clean and makes us look as pure as he is. He loves all of us – the church. Have you thought of how unkempt the church is? Have you looked around and seen the mess many are in and how needy? They were during Jesus’ time also, just different people and different circumstances. So don’t think he has given us an impossible task, because with God all things are possible. He wouldn’t give us anything he couldn’t do. But in our human selves, apart from God, most of us fall short, and we must go back to his reminder, to love each other as he has loved us, with his greatest love. We must Allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, our words, and our actions towards others, then we may also show the greatest love. But it is only by submitting weekly, daily, and hourly to the Holy Spirt and let him be in in control of our thoughts and attitude to share the greatest life and love.

 

*set apart: He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given the highest place of honor in heaven. – Hebrews 7:26

Posted by: Kimberly | Tue May 7, 2019

The Best Friend…

Sometimes life has unexpected turns. The ‘wrong’ person is elected to office. We feel abandoned by those we thought would be there for us. A person we counted on as a friend, betrays us. Does this story sound familiar? Does it sound like yours? It might be, but I’m thinking of someone in history. A person that everyone thought would be a political rescuer, but then he was taken away, because those in power thought he was a fake and his best friends betrayed and abandoned him.

I know some people who have felt upset their candidate didn’t win the last presidential election, but there are others that feel theirs did. Is either one wrong? No, they just have different perspectives. I’m not going to choose one or make this political either, so don’t hold your breath. God can use any man or woman to get the outcome he wants. What he needs are people praying for those in leadership.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

I have been betrayed by friends, and it hurts to the core. I had one friend of over a decade, who insisted I said something I didn’t. She wouldn’t listen to anything contrary to what she perceived, even though our conversation was in writing. How do you convince someone who puts words in your mouth that you never said, but what they think? When they’re accusing you of words in their mind, without any credibility? You don’t, because they’re operating out of a stubborn mindset that has turned against you.

So how do you handle the hurt they’ve caused you? “Let it go and let God” is the best advice I can offer. You never know why they treated you the way they did or what they might be dealing with internally, or in their private lives. They may be struggling with sin or hurt you can’t imagine. So let God heal and/or judge them and move on.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44

Perhaps you’ve been or feel abandoned by your spouse, your parents, or a friend. I’m sorry for your hurt, but I know someone who can heal that hurt. It’s time to make friends with the best friend a person can have — Jesus. When I was single, several years ago, I moved to a new town. I had a very deep relationship with Jesus, he was and still is my best friend. I had a man ask me, who wanted to date me, “What are you looking for in a man?” I told him, “I’m not looking for a man, I have the only man I need in my life, his name is Jesus.” I wasn’t joking either. When we get to really know Jesus as a close personal friend, he becomes our everything. All the names you hear him described as, he is! He is our friend who sticks closer than a brother. He will never leave us, he told us that in his word and if you believe his word, then you should believe that he is always available. How is that for friendship?!

Hebrews 13:5 For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

touch hands

So, who in history has experienced all of these things and far greater heartache than we have? Jesus! The same Jesus who will never leave us, has been betrayed! He has been abandoned by his friends, he may have felt abandoned by his Father for a second, even though he knew his purpose. And though he was the King of Kings, (an unelected office) the religious leaders were too caught up in their own money scheming and greed to see him as the Messiah standing right before them! Would you recognize him today? I know we all think we would. The disciples were with him all the time and still had a problem recognizing him. We all think we are so dedicated in our hearts that we would never deny him like Peter did, or betray him like Judas for 30 pieces of Silver, or doubt him like Thomas, or not know him walking along the road to Emmaus, or mistake him for a gardener like Mary Magdalene did after he had risen? Would any of them be us? Or would we mistake him as a stranger?

What do we put before Jesus? Have we betrayed him by not believing in some part of his word? Parts that we aren’t quite comfortable with or don’t understand? Have we abandoned him by not spending time with him? Ouch! Got me there. Have we not made him the leader of our lives? Have we looked to religious leaders and political leaders as our saviors instead?

I pray that you make Jesus your leader and your best friend today. You won’t feel betrayed or abandoned or let down. Let him lead you as it says in Matthew:

Matthew 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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