Monday, January 25, 2010

Knowing God's Comfort (devotional from Life Today)


Know His Comfort

by Ruth Graham


“For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will

shower us with his comfort through Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:5)


Ruth Graham explores God's comfort in her book Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There

One day, my daughter, Noelle, called asking if I could keep my then-two-year-old granddaughter for part of the afternoon. My desk was stacked high with mail and my email inbox was full, but Noelle assured me that Virginia Ruth would probably nap the whole time. I quickly agreed. I would just put my granddaughter down for a nap and go back to what I needed to do.

When Noelle arrived, she broke the news that she had left both “bear” and “blanket” at home. I knew this would pose some difficulty, but I didn’t realize the seriousness of our situation until I tried putting Virginia Ruth down for her nap. She wanted “bear” and “blanket.” Trying to be innovative, I showed her the monkey that was left over from my son Graham’s childhood, thinking it would substitute for “bear.” She looked horrified when she saw it. Then I offered her a baby blanket that belonged to Noelle. Her big, blue eyes filled with tears and she moaned, “Nooo…” I reached for an old doll, hoping that would comfort her. Her wail grew more intense. I felt helpless. Finally, I scooped my granddaughter up and held her close. I sat down with her as she snuggled and nestled her little blond head on my shoulder. Soon she was breathing heavily and sleeping sweetly.

My granddaughter would take no substitute for her bear and blanket, but so often we try to substitute something else for God’s comfort. God certainly uses relationships and the things of this life to comfort us. The problem comes when we look to our comforts to stop the pain. True comfort doesn’t stop the pain. It makes the situation bearable. It gets us through. We are human – we want the pain to stop. And yet, sometimes, pain is what opens the door to experiencing God’s comfort. It is when we are desperate that He steps in and touches us in unusual ways. He wants to cradle us, rock us, and soothe us.

We need comfort in a host of situations, experiences and emotional states, but there is a difference between needing comfort and what I call “coming undone.” We can come undone in our greatest moments of loss, failure, betrayal or fear. We are unable to find relief. When you are undone, you have exhausted your ability to get comfort from anything around you. People can’t comfort you. None of the familiar comforts work anymore. There’s nowhere to turn. No letup. You’re just undone.

When you are undone, it is as if you have been thrown out of the boat. You can’t touch the bottom, see the shore, or even get a hold of the boat itself. You feel alone and desperate. You can’t see what is ahead, nor can you reach back for what is behind you. You are at a complete loss. You are exhausted physically, emotionally and spiritually. And yet the waves keep hitting you, one after another. You are tired. You can’t battle it anymore. You have none of your own resources left. The problem has taken over, and you can’t focus on the Lord. He is out of focus; everything is out of focus. All you know is the problem. And it is overwhelming.

“Undone” is not a place God wants us to stay. His goal is to comfort us in our brokenness and then lead us out of it. But you do have an enemy committed to keeping you undone. He will use whatever means necessary to shut you down and convince you that you will never function and never be whole again. The enemy wants you to believe that undone is the new normal.

Jesus enlightens Peter about the enemy’s plan against him as they are sitting at the Passover meal. To his headstrong, passionate, willful disciple, Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.” (Luke 22:31) That’s what the enemy wants to do – sift us, fragment us, take us apart. When Peter is older, long after Jesus has been crucified and resurrected, the seasoned disciple-turned-leader advises the early church with a similar warning: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Satan knows our failures and weaknesses. He knows our fears and the areas in which we find ourselves insufficient. The Bible calls him “the accuser” (Revelation 12:10) Some of his diabolical words will sound familiar to you:

“Nothing will ever change.”

“No one will ever love you.”

“You can’t possibly do that.”

“You’re inadequate for this – you’ll never pull it off.”

“You’ve blown it again.”

“You’ll always be a failure.”

“You’re destined for mediocrity.”

“Your hopes and dreams will never come to pass.”

“God can’t use you anymore. You’ve made too many mistakes.”

These are the kinds of words the enemy sows into our minds and hearts, but Jesus calls Satan “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) We don’t have to believe what the enemy says about us. We have the Word of God, which tells us what God says about us. Someone far greater than the enemy is living in our hearts and fighting on our side. (1 John 4:4)

God does not create our ruins. The Bible says, “The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins.” (Isaiah 51:3, emphasis added) God sees us floundering in that water. And He is looking at us with compassion. The verse from Isaiah goes on to say, “He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.”

Undone is never the final chapter with God. He promises comfort. He promises restoration. He promises joy and gladness. Thanksgiving. The sound of singing. No matter what the enemy says or does, we can know God’s comfort in our ruins. God will make our ruins opportunities to woo us with His love.

This Week

Where are you in need of comfort? Write down the areas in which you feel “undone.” Draw near to God and ask Him to meet you in the place of your pain.

Prayer

“God, I hurt, but I believe Your promise to comfort and restore me. I give you my pain and invite you to heal my heart. Please help me to know Your deep comfort. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


Adapted from Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There by Ruth Graham

© 2009, Ruth Graham. Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Clean living


Having lunch today at home and was so reminded of some of God's truths in the process.  I just had to share them.

I was watching "Everyday Italian" on the cooking network a week or so ago.  She showed how to make Italian fast food.  She showed how to do veggies in a way similar to tempura (Italian style), she made fish and a spinach salad.  The salad is what is on my mind.  It was so simple.  You zest the outside of lemon, then squeeze out the juice, add olive oil, wisk it and pour it over your spinach.  (I added a little salt and pepper)  That evening, I made the entire dinner and it was great.  Everyone enjoyed it, including one of my daughter's friends. 

The reason I share this, I had some salad leftover from this weekend.  I grabbed a lemon and made the dressing mentioned above.  Had a pack of pink salmon, almonds and feta.  I just had the best lunch.  I began to walk my dog following the lunch and that is when the truth became clearer to me.  Strange the number of revelations I get when My dog, Myself and MY GOD all go on a walk.

The minute I walked out the door, I began my conversation with God.  I said WOW I feel clean and fresh and yet amazingly satisfied.  The sense or awareness of this truth came clear in that this is how our mind works as well.  If we expose our minds to healthy thoughts, thinking on those things which are pure, holy, of good report; things that are edifying, we will feel clean and fresh in our minds.  Conversely, if we decide to expose ourselves to depravity, evil, sinful things and think on / dwell on these things, we WILL corrupt our mind.

So set your minds on things above.  We are called to live here as ambassadors of Christ. We represent the Lord.  We are the glory of God in bodily form.  If you have accepted Christ as your savior, He bought you by the price of his blood and death on the cross.  Dwell on that thought, and allow that to penetrate into your mind and heart.  IF you have accepted Christ, you no longer are your own to do as you please.  You are NO LONGER free to act in the manner in which seems right to you or the world.  Repent means to change even your way of thinking, and allow your mind to become the mind of Christ. According to 1 Cor 2:16, we have the mind of Christ. 

The definition of the Greek word for repent used in the New Testament is to change one's mind, i.e. to repent, to change one's mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one's past sins
 
Strangely, repent in the old Testament means the following:
to be sorry, console oneself, regret, comfort, be comforted, be moved to pity, have compassion, suffer grief,

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The transcript from Life Today


Watched Life Today program this morning and what Beth Moore the speaker taught about was so awesome, I had to find a way to share this.  If you would like to see the actual video, go to http://www.lifetoday.org/site/PageServer?pagename=tel_USCalendar_Jan10 or watch it on one of the local Christian stations in your area today.  She is on the show each Wed.  Or you can see a quick donload on the home page at http://www.lifetoday.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage

Week 1   12/30/'09

Beth: "Why aren't you happy?" I want you to just lock in on this for a minute. This is when I wish so much that I was looking at every single person on the other side of that screen, just face-to-face, just the two of us for just a couple of minutes because I wonder, there is going to be a lot of people out there and a lot of people in here who really do have relatively speaking, nobody's life is easy, but you really do have a lot of the things that you pictured wanting along the way. Maybe you pictured that you'd have -- all we wanted growing up was like a cute little house. Not really looking for a kingdom mansion, we were just looking for a cute little house that we loved that was home to us. And maybe you thought, maybe I'm not picturing a perfect life but I hope I would have a spouse and I would hope I have a couple of children. Some of you have what you thought when you were a child you always wanted. I have women write me all of the time that say, "Listen, I have a loving husband and I can't figure out why I'm not happy." Anybody know what I'm talking about? Anybody got what you thought you were after and are you still thinking, how come I can't get happy? It's because we thought that thing was going to completely cut it for us. We can let that thing do what it does and be a joy to us but the moment that we place the pressure on it to really just measure up to what we have placed our hope that we have placed in it, we have set ourselves up for an emotional vacuum. It happens over and over again. When was the last time somebody said, "Why aren't you happy? You've got everything! You've got everything!" What pressure are we putting on what we've got? Because somehow we're trying to make our everything our everything and it is not and it's never going to be. Growing in wholeness emotionally is coming to that reality that this is not going to cut it. I've got to have Jesus. I want this, this is a blessing to me, I love this! But it is what it is. When I was a little girl all I could imagine ever being and it never occurred to me I would ever even really have a professional life, I really wasn't looking for that, I just wanted to raise children; I wanted to be a Mommy in the worst way. So many things had been like such a shock to me. My first daughter came along and it was like, this is everything I thought it was going to be. But boy, you start putting that kind of pressure on something that weighs seven pounds, you're about to have a problem. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I didn't even share her with Keith because I just knew one of us was going to drop her and I thought maybe it would less likely be me. We were both so incredibly young. Didn't have a clue what we were doing. I sort of set my sights on this little thing right here and most of the time when she was little, I just flat out played with her because it was like I have what I've always been looking for only she grew up.



[Laughter]



And then she had this delightful -- God knowing my personality, knew exactly what I needed. And then I get this second child who would have made James Dobson cry his eyes out.



[Laughter]



And started every day of our lives when she was three years old asking me if I was going to boss her today.



[Laughter]



-- A whole different ball game. Now I have no greater human joy in this world than just hanging out with those girls. That is the biggest blast to me. I love my daughters so much but they've got their own things going. I'll never forget the very first time I saw -- you know how we doodle all of the time and especially girls in middle school do that. And my girls, when they were little they would write all over stuff, "I love mom!" Then I'll never forget the first couple of times you start seeing, "I love so-and-so" and it is a guy! You're like, "I don't even know so-and-so! I'm calling so-and-so's mother is what I'm doing!" You know what I'm saying? Because we want to be their everything -- their everything. My granddaughter is just obsessed with her mother. My oldest grandson, he just loves his mother to pieces but he is his daddy's boy. When she gets this little girl and this little girls looks at her -- I say, "Amanda, you are Miss Universe to her." She can't get enough of her. Everywhere she goes, every time you look at her, she is just looking for her mother and she is just grinning ear to ear. She loves her! Be very tempting to think, she has cut it for me! Only then she is going to walk down the aisle with her daddy and he is going to dare to give her away!



[Laughter]



It changes -- life changes. We can't hang on to any of this -- enjoy that moment but it is not going to stay, it cannot -- it cannot! I want to show you something very interesting here because Elkanah was not the only one that could not comprehend what she was going through. I want to pick back up in the text now. We're in First Samuel chapter one, picking up in verse nine.



Now notice that she hasn't answered any of the questions, "Why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you so downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons?" And she is like trying to hold herself together here.



There is something I want to say to you today because there has got to come a time when if you realize that you are totally under oppression to your own emotions and all of us have been there at one time or another, if that's you right now, there comes a time when you have got to get up -- get up -- get up! When you can look around you and you see that you are putting pressure on your closest loved ones to try to somehow help you get satisfied emotionally and that's exactly what she is doing. Like fix this! Someone fix this! And she realized right then, it is not going to happen here. He doesn't get it and nobody in the world loves me more than him and he doesn't get it! There comes a time when you better get up -- you better get up. You can't keep -- you've heard this saying over and over again, I'm going to say it again, we can't keep doing the same thing the same way and we just keep expecting something different to happen. It is time to do something different! I'm not saying with someone different, these are families here, but it is time to do something different within that same framework.



What she is doing is she is taking out the vow call the Nazarite vow in the book of numbers, you can look it up for yourself; it is very, very interesting. It was a voluntary vow. Most of the time people took the vow for themselves. There are a couple of exceptions to this and Hannah is one of them where they determine in the midst -- it was not one of those vows that unplugged you from people; it was kind of a vow of dedication in the midst of much activity. So they would grow their hair out long and they would take no wine, nothing that would have any kind of influence. They were strictly to be influenced by God himself and there were all sorts of strange things to it. They also could not be around a dead body. They could not touch a dead body. Now Hannah calls upon the vow for her son, if God will give her the son and Samson's parents did exactly the same thing. So these are exceptions. Other than that it was a voluntary vow. There is this wonderful time where we're told in the narrative about the Apostle Paul that he left a particular place and that he got a haircut. You're thinking why in the world did the word just tell us that Paul got a haircut? Why do we care? Because it is telling us he had taken the Nazarite vow. He was in Corinth at the time, he knew he was going to be around tons of people doing all sorts of public things that a Hebrew man would never have dreamed of seeing, that there would be very, very open sexual perversity, it was part of the temple worship. He knew he was going to see things that his eyes had never even imagined. And in order to be sanctified in the midst of that, he had taken on this temporary vow. So that tells you a little bit about it. She is imposing that upon an unborn child, a child that has not been conceived. So this is the vow she is making to God in verse 12. Okay, are you getting this with me? So Eli is staring at her and so there she is, she is praying in her heart but her lips are moving. In other words, like she is not praying out loud. It is very interesting; I found it in my research for this lesson that silent prayer was almost unheard of in practice in the Jewish world at that time. That they had often very prescribed prayers but that prayer was said -- it was always auditory, always said out loud. So this was kind of a new thing right here. I love that we find it in the context with a woman. It says she is praying in her heart but her lips are moving, and he is watching her and he is finding it very troubling and disturbing.



I don't know about you but it is always such a surprise to me to find beer in the Word of God.



[Laughter]



That word, "wine" I kind of -- but beer, somehow, I don't know -- just a long neck -- I never can picture it.



[Laughter]



I always try to find a way to not have to read that part of it. It is not that I just -- it just seems so out of place. Somehow it is like for beer to be -- but anyways, she has not had a beer. I just need you to know right now, Hannah did not stop by the Stop and Go and grab her a beer on the way to the temple that day.



[Laughter]



Okay, case in point. Remember what our second point was?



We saw in Elkanah but you would hope that people that is as deeply spiritual as you would get it! Right? Right? Have you ever just kind of had a display of the spirit? Perhaps like grabbing the banner and running through your sanctuary during a really high time of praise and worship? I don't know what the practices are at your church, but it could be all sorts of things, but then later someone that you thought would totally get why you did what you did, maybe you just felt like God was telling you, go lay on the floor right at the altar, just go lay on it face down -- just go lay on it in front of everybody and you're thinking, everybody totally got it. And then afterwards, somebody says to you, "What in the world was that?" It is very disconcerting because you thought they would get it. And you realize along the way even your spiritual cohorts don't get you. So it is very unsettling. At this point she realizes, you know what? I'm really alone here. I'm really alone here. It doesn't mean without relationship -- it just means when it all comes down, I've got something happening that only God is going to get -- only God is going to get. Listen, there is no more important juncture in our lives than that, when we come to that place. But if we just stay there and just think, well, God is the only one that gets me, we're no healthier than we were. That this next thing has got to take place and that's when we look at three and four. Three is this, we'll see kind of the negative side of it, and then four the negative side of it:





We can take this one to the emotional bank. At times of our lives when we most need to pour out, we have the strongest tendency to pour something in. I want you to think this through for a moment with me because the thing about it is, Eli had seen a lot. Eli, as a rule, was dead on. The tendency was there and we all know that it is. He was wrong about Hannah but he was right about most people because when we most need to pour something out, that's when we most have the tendency in our humanity to stuff something in, whether it is food, whether it is drink, whether it is activity, whether it is images or pornography, we've got something inside of us that we're afraid is going to surface -- am I telling anybody the truth here today? We'll have something that we know that we're just trying to hold down, hold that down. We're scared to death of that part of us and so what we'll do instead of bringing that thing straight to the throne of Jesus and pouring that thing out right there and bringing every bit of it clean before him and going, "This is what is in here." And let him turn the light on in that closet and tend to us, we will pour on top of it, just when we most need to pour out. That's when we have the tendency to pour in. Look -- look at the next time you have a tendency to any kind of excess. What is it that you're stuffing? What is it that I'm stuffing? What are we trying not to have to deal with? What part of ourselves is it that we do not want to see and certainly, do not want anybody else to see it. You've got something you need to pour out. What is it we're pouring in on top of it? Because this is it, spiritually speaking. We binge to keep from purging. We binge on something because there is something else that needs purging and we don't want to do it so we keep that down and we keep putting stuff on top of it. The next activity after the next activity, the next responsibility after the next responsibility, the next work out, the next run, the next meal -- whatever it may be, we're just putting it on top of it. Keep it down. At all costs, keep that thing down. Is that speaking to anybody today? Here's what happens, we get to point number four. Four is this -- we know we're on our way to spiritual wholeness through our healthier emotions when number four:



When we can learn, this is going to be optimum health for us emotionally speaking, when we get to where we will pour every single one of those emotions, no matter how toxic, out right before God freely. Next time we're tempted to pour in what is it that we need to pour out? Can we find ourselves a posture to do that? I'm going to tell you something, most of the time I can do it silently but most of the time I need me a place. I'm a demonstrative person, I need me a place where I can shut the door and get all the way down on the floor. I can remember one time in our other office building, we had maintenance people and I normally kept my office door locked. I do not know why it was unlocked but I'll never forget that I had gotten up from my desk because I was working on a Bible study and God was so speaking to me personally about an issue that I was having that I was nearly overwhelmed. I thought just get up and get down. That's my thing, it's not everybody's thing to do a physical demonstration like that but I got up from my desk and I laid flat out on the floor and I was just telling him all this stuff, and I looked up and there was a maintenance man in there with me. I was so humiliated; I did not know what to do. But my pursuit was to pour out what was toxic in my emotions before the throne of grace and to know that somehow that became a drink offering to him. This is all my bitterness. Let me tell you something, he sanctifies that. When he touches it, when he touches it, it begins to heal. To pour them out freely -- I've got to tell you something, this is kind of another lesson all of its own, but here's something God has been talking to me recently about. We have to -- when something has gone awry and life is not coming through for us like we had planned for it to or like we want it to. When something has gone awry, when the family is not like we want it and we kind of feel like we've gotten a bad deal on something, there are two extremes that we can go to with all the negative things that we feel. One extreme is repression. Repression is just when we don't do anything with it whatsoever. Keep it in -- keep it in. The ones of us most prone to repression are going to be the ones that very often are the most spiritual. Either that or you were raised by a very emotionally -- I say this with all due respect -- a very emotionally constipated people.



[Laughter]



I think that still is a good medical term that ought not trip us up too badly. But some of you, like you never ever saw a parent even get tears in their eyes about anything. No one ever just put their arms around you and told you how much they loved you. So you got that. So that keeps you kind of frozen up, whatever it might be: repression. Then there is rebellion. Now these are our two extremes we can go to when life isn't going like we want it to. We can either repress what we're feeling or we can just go into all-out rebellion -- all-out rebellion and I don't even have to describe to you what that looks like. I want you, if you're taking that down and you're doing those arrows like that, I want you to put down an arrow from each one and this one, I believe you can as well take to the emotional bank. Repression will make you sick -- it will make you sick! Listen, we've got to do something with all those feelings. They need out. They need expression. They're in there for expression. We're either going to fly off on somebody or we're going to find a safe place to bring them to God. It is our unbelief that keeps us from doing it because we're not really positive he is there. We feel kind of stupid. Some of you are still convinced you have an imaginary friend you're dealing with here. This is God. He listens to every single word you're saying and he knows every single bit of your emotional upheaval. So repression will make you sick but make no mistake, rebellion will make you stupid.



[Laughter]



Anybody? Rebellion will make you flat out stupid. So we can either repress or we can rebel and that's when family -- my marriage is not going like I want it to so we spin out into an affair, or this or that or pornography or whatever it is going to be, and that can take a whole lot of forms and a whole lot of different situations. Rebellion will make you stupid; repression will make you sick.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Internal exercise for the day



Here is a little exercise today to work out the internal YOU. 

Try thinking of taking control of your life. 
Look at life as a gift to be enjoyed. 
Stop seeing yourself as a victim of circumstances or other people, ect.

We can control our attitude and even make choices that lead to our own happiness. 

Take responsiblity for your own state.  Always take responsiblity for your own sin. 

Happiness truly is a choice.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Balance


Where is it we are out of balance.

Did you know you can be out of balance in good things as much as bad things?  If we are out of balance in good things, that can still be unhealthy.  For example, you can exercise too much.  If you exercise too much, the results are strains, sprains, tears or repetitive injuries.  Did you know that if you are sedentary (not very active) and overweight, you are probably less healthy than an exercising smoker?   Technology is good and adds possible benefits to our lives if done in moderation.  However, the TEXTER who is driving down the road is actually more impaired while texting than a drunk driver.  (There are actual test done to prove this)   If you sit and read for too long, your eyes will deteriorate more rapidly.  Eye doctors will tell you that you should take breaks and exercise your eyes.  You exercise the eyes by taking time to look away from your reading and focus on distant objects periodically.  

Let's take time today to look at our lives to see if we are living in balance.  Take time with your friends, family, and definitely God; but also make time for yourself.  All of this seems impossible with our busy lives, but I tell you that if you find you are too busy to be balanced, you make your own schedule.  NO ONE else does.  If you find you are in a season of busyness, pray and ask God to help you prioritize your life and tell you what needs to stay and what needs to go.  If you are too busy to be balanced, then you are trying to do too much.  Make sure to take time to rest REGULARLY.  It isn't just a suggestion in the Bible because it is a good idea, it is there as a COMMAND because without it, we become USELESS.

I tell you these things because I desire for each of us to be the best we can be, to enjoy our lives and to be a good representative for God  in the world.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Devotion from James Robison

I wanted to share a devotion I read this morning.  I was going to summarize, but as I tried to do so, I found that there was NO way I could.  it was all so good and profound.  Hope you have the time today to read and chew on this one.  I believe it goes along wonderfully with so much that I talk about in this blog.  Both in the physical realm and the spiritual realm.



Your Body, His Temple


by James Robison



"For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be

their God, and they will be my people.'" (2 Corinthians 6:16)



Whenever Christians talk about health and wellness, we invariably quote 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.” The implied message is, “Take care of your health, because God lives in you!”



That’s a valid message, but when we really examine the text of Paul’s letter, we discover something more foundational to the topic of health. In fact, until we truly understand and implement this particular Biblical principle, we will not be able to consistently practice the practical and beneficial advice presented in the new series, “The True You.” Once this deeper truth enters your spirit, you will be able to align your mind so that you can bring your body under control.



The context of the passage actually encompasses a discussion about marriage. Paul is drawing a parallel between the husband-wife relationship and our devotion to Jesus Christ.



“Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?” he asks. Then he shocks his readers with a blunt question. “Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute?”



By now, Paul has the attention of his audience. Unfortunately, his question is just as relevant to today’s reader as it was back then! “Never!” he continues, “And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, ‘The two are united into one.’ But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.”



Here, Paul takes his discussion to a spiritual level. He’s talking about sexual purity, but he’s also elevating it to spiritual purity. He also echoes the prophet Jeremiah, who said to Israel, “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you...you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.”1



Again, God’s messenger uses the image of prostitution to illustrate the unfaithfulness of His people. Paul and Jeremiah are not only condemning sexual immorality, but also spiritual immorality. It is in this context that the letter to the Corinthians continues:



“Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” Then Paul asks that question that we often associate with health and wellness. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”2



This is an issue much bigger than weight loss or physical training. The temple was the place where God’s presence dwelled. He didn’t call our bodies the “hotel of the Holy Spirit,” where He checks in after 3:00pm and checks out before noon the next day. He called it the temple – that holy place where God’s presence resides permanently. It’s the place where God manifests and reveals Himself to a lost and dying people. In a world where nearly everyone is under the control of other influences, the temple is the place where God is fully in control – your spirit and the indwelling Holy Spirit are united as one.



That is why it is so revolting and foul when believers fall under the control of anything else other than the Spirit of God. Like the faithful husband who flees the voice of a temptress, the faithful Christian must flee the seduction of any spirit other than God’s. We must never be under the control of any fleshly appetite, because we are a temple of the Holy Spirit! Remember, the enemy seeks to use our God-given natural appetites as a point of attack in order to lead us into bondage.



One of the most common invading forces in His temple is the simple lust for food. Imagine how different our lives could be if we hungered for God as much as we hunger for our next meal! I believe this is one reason God introduced the concept of fasting. When we deny our body to build our spirit, it changes our perspective and realigns our priorities. Remember the manna from heaven that God provided His people in the desert? It spoiled during the night. They had to rely on God every single day in order to sustain their strength and energy.



This is a recurring, foundational truth throughout the Bible. We must be one with God through daily unity with Him. There is no such thing as part-time marriage or part-time Christianity. If you’re not fully committed, you’re not really in a healthy relationship. You can’t bring prostitutes into a legitimate marriage and you can’t bring other gods into the temple.



So as you hear the wonderful truths and encouraging advice from our experts on health and wellness, you must first examine the spiritual side of “the true you” before you can successfully address the physical side. God wants us to prosper in our physical health as we prosper in our spiritual health. We can and should care for this temporary housing we call a “body,” but we must first start by giving our all to care for His eternal purposes and truth. As your concerned family and friend, we are offering you inspiration, direction and encouragement for your journey and care of your body - His temple.


This Week

Look to the new year as a new emphasis on the Holy Spirit's presense in your life. Commit yourself -- body, mind and spirit -- to being His temple.


Prayer

"Lord, I give myself wholly to You. Take charge of every part of me so that I may glorify You in every way. In Jesus name, amen."


1 Jeremiah 2:19-20, NIV

2 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, NIV

Being transformed into the image of Christ


Been thinking ...  AGAIN and really pondering this thing that we call Christianity.

Seems that if we are Christian, we understand that we cannot save ourselves.  We understand that we need a savior for eternal life.  YET, we seem to think that once we are saved it is up to us to conform ourselves.  We think it not only of ourselves, but we expect it of  others. 

Sad to think that the joy is in allowing God to do the work in us.  "The joy of the Lord is my strength."  It is for His glory NOT ours.

Do we not know that that there is no good thing that dwells in us. (that is in our flesh)  Do we not know that it is Christ in us, and us living in the fullness of the spirit that transforms us into His image.  That is what brings God glory.  God does not receive glory in us trying to be good for Him.   SIN is merely an indication of where we need God's help in our life.  SIN is not to condemn us for there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ.  We are still powerless over sin in and of ourselves.  Oh, there are those with a stronger will power than others.  There are those whose pride determines they will not be caught up in sin.  However, pride puffs up and God opposes the prideful.  Pride says I can and will overcome the sin in my life.  So am I saying that you should stay in your sin, by all means NO!  I am saying that sin tells us that we need to confess and ask God to forgive us.  We need to repent, which simply means "Stop it", "turn away from it".  But we need God's help to turn from our sin.  We are powerless to do it in our flesh.  ( If we are the lucky ones, we will be in this group)  However, for the strong willed among us who determine to CONFORM themselves in order to be in relationship with God, the road is harder for them.  God never asked us to clean up to be with Him.  He asked us to walk with Him daily and as a result, we would be clean.  See the difference?

Yes there are things we need to do.  Let's do what we can do.  We can worship God.  We can praise Him.  If you don't feel like it, ask God to help you and do it anyway.  Yes we need to go about doing good.  We need to think on those things which are good, pure, holy, etc.  We need to allow no unwholesome talk to proceed out of our mouths.  We are to forgive as we have been forgiven.  We are to love not only the lovely but also the unlovely, and so many other things. We need to allow God to perfect us in the image of Christ instead of trying to do it ourselvesI promise there in lies the joy and peace of Christ.  We would be a lot less frustrated.  However, as you are being about your Father's business of doing good, etc., if you find you are coming up short, ASK God for help.  These revelations come not to condemn you but to call you to go before the Father and surrender it to Him.   He helps you in your willingness and desire to change, and then you are transformed, and HE gets the glory.  Hallelujah!

Now that is freedom in Christ right there!  He loves us and has a plan for our lives.  Let's work with Him and stop opposing Him with our pride or self loathing.  Let's determine today that we are going to stop trying to be good for God, and allow Him to make us truly good, truly Christ to a lost world.  Can I get any amens out there on this?