A.W. Tozer Sermon – Heart Knowledge vs. Head Knowledge

Tozer Rocks! From a fellow blogger

Christian Praise and Worship in Sermons and Songs

A.W. Tozer playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=66987CD6E419E258

A.W. Tozer Sermon – Heart Knowledge vs. Head Knowledge

1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Sermons by A.W. Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963)

Because A.W. Tozer lived in the presence of God he saw clearly and he spoke as a prophet to the church. He sought for God’s honor with the zeal of Elijah and mourned with Jeremiah at the apostasy of God’s people. But he was not a prophet of despair. His writings are messages of concern. They expose the weaknesses of the church and denounce compromise. They warn and exhort. But they are messages of hope as well, for God is always there, ever faithful to restore and to fulfill His Word to those who hear and obey.

Shortly…

View original post 721 more words

Advertisements

Put Yo’ Handz Up!

ninasantamaria via creationswap.com

ninasantamaria via creationswap.com

1776_1600x1200[1]

Tonya Cristener via creationswap.com

Tonya Cristener via creationswap.com

???????????????????????????????????????

MattGruber via creationswap.com

MattGruber via creationswap.com

AlmaniDeveraux via Creationswap.com

AlmaniDeveraux via Creationswap.com

kevincarden via creationswap.com

kevincarden via creationswap.com

wagnerdaniel via creationswap.com

wagnerdaniel via creationswap.com

Hand2

6878269-ziemlich-junges-madchen-schreien-mit-freude-von-raps-blumen-umgeben[1]

1256142556Pt5O1o[1]

RichardGuntherviawww.Christart.com

RichardGuntherviawww.Christart.com

kevincarden via creationswap.com

kevincarden via creationswap.com

14363553-hands-holding-a-jesus-word-sphere-on-white-background[1]

scottyardleyviawww.Christart.com

scottyardleyviawww.Christart.com

i-will-take-away-all-the-pain-you-have[1]

TravisSilva via creationswap.com

TravisSilva via creationswap.com

C28 Christian images.com

C28 Christian images.com

RichardGuntherviawww.Christart.com

RichardGuntherviawww.Christart.com

DanielR via creationswap.com

DanielR via creationswap.com

TravisSilva via creationswap.com

TravisSilva via creationswap.com

18619353-girl-praising-the-lord[1]

LyndaBonfante via creationswap.com

LyndaBonfante via creationswap.com

5046867-two-hands-are-praising-the-holy-lord[1]

tumblr_lm2meoAt5x1qabe2lo1_500[1]

Praisegirl[1]

MarianTrinidad via creationswap.com

MarianTrinidad via creationswap.com

prz004[1]

722796-enlightened-praise--a-child-raises-his-hands-in-praise[1]

2corinthians3_18[1]

7270405-silhouettes-of-children-at-the-cross-of-jesus-christ[1]

???????????????????????????????????????

Jesus in hands[1]

I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah Psalm 143:6

So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4

Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord! Psalm 134:2

OXYGEN VOLUME 13

The Bird on Pixy Sticks!

Did you know that the Lord actually is pleased when we notice even the smallest of things in His creation? Did you know that it brings Him great joy when we pause, take a moment to ponder such things, appreciate them for what they are, and then praise Him for all of it?

It’s true. He tells us so in the Bible. And I stink at doing this! I can do it with people a lot of the time, but in my immediate “environment” I tend to overlook such things. I tune them out. I’m a distracted little child of God, I am! And this is an area that I think He might want to work on in me. (Ya think?)

My husband, however, is very good at this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s because he works outside, so his awareness of such things is heightened. Maybe it’s because he values and appreciates the things that are right in front of us and I don’t. And maybe it’s because he is far better at tuning out the distracting stuff that doesn’t matter, and tuning in to the stuff that does. I imagine upon meeting the Lord, this will be just one of the many crowns my blessed husband will be receiving from Him ~ the crown for praising God for all His creation and for the little things in life ~ And that is cool.

For many reasons, I think this is an attribute and a discipline to be admired, and one that the Lord particularly values in His children. I think of the story of Mary and Martha, where Mary spends her time at the feet of Jesus, instead of being distracted by all there is to do.

I suppose you can probably guess right now which one is the Martha in this family. Sheesh.

We were walking into the gym the other day and I was, of course, distracted with deep thoughts and the big issues of our culture and world. I was sorting through about ten of these all at once in my heart and mind. Processing, praying, processing again, assimilating, praying, sorting, analyzing, praying – you get the picture. This is how my brain and heart work, and I realize the Lord values this too. God values both Mary and Martha.

But Martha does have a lot to learn from Mary and from Jesus, doesn’t she? And I am thankful the Lord has shown me the areas in which I need to grow.

As we were walking into the gym and I was “making the transition” in my own little mind as to what I needed to focus upon next as we entered those doors, my husband, all of a sudden, starts whistling – really, really loudly.

It got my attention, for sure. I was actually irritated at first. (Big surprise, I know) 🙂

Then I heard it. That thing that I hadn’t even noticed at all, really, until my husband started whistling.

It was a bird, right by the door of the gym and it was singing and whistling LIKE CRAZY!I mean, this bird was going nuts! It was like a bird on pixy sticks. It was like a bird on steroids. It was a very vocal little bird with a very big, big voice!

And, what does my husband do?

He stops whistling and then says, “That bird is really happy.”

And then he just keeps on walking. Just matter-of-fact. Notices the bird. Whistles back to it. Tells me it’s really happy. And then keeps on going about his day.

bird

This may be one of those things where “you had to be there” to see the humor and awesomeness of it all, but I started cracking up! In fact, I was so entertained by this, that I stopped in my tracks and emailed myself (yep) so I’d remember to write a blog post about it later. Ha Ha.

I was laughing for several reasons…

1 – The bird really was going bonkers and it was funny to listen to it.

2 – My husband actually “talked back” to the bird with his own whistling.

3 – The statement my husband made, in his “good ol’ boy, John-Wayne-type” voice was hilarious. He has a really low voice, so to hear him say “that bird is really happy” – well, you probably have to be there, but the only way I can paint the picture for you is to imagine someone like Orson Wells or Morgan Freeman saying that. With no smile on their face whasoever. Just…saying it. Matter of fact. And then walking on.

4 – I am truly lost in space, yo and this entertains me when I look at myself in these situations from the outside in.

5 – As I am experiencing this surreal thing, I am stopping in the middle of it all to email myself.

6 – I am still laughing right now, because I am making this list about why I thought it was funny. That is funny all by itself.

Organization through the random – I have deep, deep problems!

Anyway, I thought I’d share that with you and hope it gives you a good little giggle today.

bird2

If you are more like me, you probably realize we can’t fully change our own intricate thought patterns. But God can ~ when and where they need to be changed ~ and He will…… if we submit to Him.  For now, I don’t believe I am called to be an entirely different way but I could stand to let go a lot more, couldn’t I?

And, there are times we just need to brain dump, you know? There are times we just need to listen to the little birds of the world and their whistling little songs, and appreciate it for what it is – a gift from the Lord.

I do this best when I am writing or when I am running, because through both of these things I do connect with God differently than when I am doing anything else.

However even then, there are distractions going on, aren’t there? The sound of my fingers on the keyboard, background noise, the sound of the treadmill, or music in my ear, or people walking by. The weather outside, the pace I am keeping while running, the pictures I am thinking about inserting into this blog post after it is written. It goes on and on and on….the little ticker tape in my head.

I could stand to go to the hiking trails once a week or so and just make myself walk around and listen. I may need to do just that tomorrow. I can’t do it like hubby – no way, man. I would have to focus upon not focusing. But I can stop and I can listen – in my own little way and with God’s help. It’s about the heart behind it, isn’t it? It’s about doing such things the Lord thinks are good for us in the way that we are able to do them, as His children.

No two children are exactly alike. I think the Lord appreciates that and made us that way too.

How about you? Do you notice the lovely day to day? Do you look for the beauty in things even in the midst of all the distractions of this world? And do you take a moment to stop and thank the Lord for these wonderful gifts? Have you found your own way to notice the lovely and be the child that God created you to be all at the same time?

Sometimes, it’s the smaller things that seem to be more true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise-inducing, than many other things I spend my thought life on. I just don’t always notice it until someone else points it out to me. This is definitely an area I need my eyes wide opened in – but God knows that too, and I have no question that He is going to help me with this.

Besides that, what I am very grateful for is that the Lord has placed people like my husband in my life to help me to do just that. I appreciate my husband for many things – he truly is a gift from God. But this area is one in which I have to really emphasize in importance, because it is this type of attribute in a person that often goes unnoticed in our world today.

So today, I challenge and encourage you all, just as I do for myself: Don’t try to completely change the way you tend to notice the lovely if you are already doing so. Just try to make sure it is a high priority in your lives. If it isn’t, ask God to help you to change that. If it is, then celebrate it!

Maybe you can whistle like a bird on pixy sticks while you do so!

bird3

Think on These Things

Whatsoever things are true,

Whatsoever things are honorable,

Whatsoever things are just,

Whatsoever things are pure,

Whatsoever things are lovely,

Whatsoever things are of good report;

If there be any virtue,

And if there be any praise,

Think on these things.

Philippians 4:8

They’re Married!

8413196065_fb484f0a2f_n[1]

Thoughts on Discerning Truth…………………

Feeling Good doesn’t always mean Love……………

Legal doesn’t always mean Moral……………..

Visibility doesn’t always mean Truth………….

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  1 John 4:1 ESV

Grace[1]

Thoughts on Grace…………………

God’s Grace is intended for Everyone………….

So is His Love and His Mercy……………….

We are to love everyone even when the truth is ugly………….

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:4-9 NIV

grace-of-truth1[1]

Thoughts on these two things together…………..

Jesus doesn’t display one without the other……………

Is it possible we might be able to do the same?

I think so…………..

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

goldcrosswhite[1]

You Are I Am

Published on May 21, 2012
~Lyrics~

You Are I AM – MercyMe
I’ve been the one to shake with fear
And wonder if You’re even here
I’ve been the one to doubt Your love
I’ve told myself You’re not enough
I’ve been the one to try and say
I’ll overcome by my own strength
I’ve been the one to fall apart
And start to question who You are

You’re the One who conquers giants
You’re the One who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You’re the One who walks through fire
You take the orphan’s hand
You are the One Messiah
You are I AM

I’ve been the one held down in chains
Beneath the weight of all my shame
I’ve been the one to believe
That where I am, You cannot reach

The veil is torn
And now I live
With the Spirit inside
With the same One
The very same One
Who brought the Son back to life!

Hallelujah, He lives in me!

Peace

Awesome post from a fellow blogger!

ursafewithme

peace

1Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.

Are you feeling rushed, pushed, frightened, or confused? This not of God.

Godsvoice

God offers the peace that passes all understanding. God is the still small voice. Jesus calmed the winds and the waves. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. Go to God who has promised all these things to those who believe. Trust Him to do all that He has said He would. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

View original post

Hmmmm….This may be important to Jesus!

Jesus emphasizes love, and one of the major  avenues through which I see Him asking us to show our love is through edifying one another – especially those who are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Now, before you get a bit concerned, allow me to say this: I realize the importance of the Great Commission and our honor and privilege, along with the absolute command, to go out and spread the gospel of Christ to others who don’t know Him; so that they too, might believe upon Him.

However, I am a firm believer in the fact that Jesus values working from the inside out.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to
those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10

See that word there? ESPECIALLY.

Sometimes, I feel that we can get so caught up in trying to reach the lost, that we forsake our own family. Not just our earthly families, either, but our entire family in Christ. This, in a way, can be an idol of sorts…focusing in on only those who are lost to Jesus while forsaking the body of believers in the process.

I know I have been guilty of it. And the Lord has really helped me with that through this blogging endeavor.  What He leads me to share is for everyone, Christian or not – but primarily, it is intended to edify fellow believers in Christ.

Yes, it too, can become an idol if I am not careful – anything can. I cannot let it come before my relationship with Him, or my own earthly family. But I can tell you now, that it, along with those I interact with in my own fellowship at church, is right there at the top of my list of priorities (until, or unless God leads me otherwise).

God has made that very clear to me! And the cool thing, is that through this blog, the Lord has offered me more ways to share the gospel with both believers and non-believers than I ever could have imagined.

God does awesome things in the most unexpected places.

Walk_in_nature[1]

Another way I see God teaching me is in helping me to see that edification means a lot of different things. Yes, it entails encouraging others, but it is not limited to just that. I must say, that I do see that we sometimes are good about admonishing one another, challenging one another, even praying for one another – but when it comes to truly and genuinely encouraging and praising one another, I feel we often fall short.

Who do I mean by “we?” Pretty much everyone. But, I am focusing today on those of us who follow after Christ. “We” Christians.

This is something that is very close to my heart. And I have been led to study and pray more and more about what God shares with us in the scriptures about edification of the church; our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

In particular, I tend to see that our culture is pretty caught up in only seeking after what “feels good”, regardless of whether or not it is right or wrong. We have to be cautious about that, because along with love, we are to seek truth and righteousness. One without the other – well, it causes a lot of problems, doesn’t it?

But, sometimes I think that in the endeavor not to feed into that whole feel-good focus, we, as Christians, hold back our praise of one another concerning who we are in Christ, the spiritual gifts that He has given us and our obedience and diligence in using them, or just plain encouraging each other.

In other words, so as not to feed into the tendency towards “self”, we practically shut one another out and hold out on each other. I truly don’t believe that is what Jesus wants for us.

So we really do need, as Christians, to study edification a lot if you ask me, and then ask God to help us to live it out just as He asks of us.

How are we to be reinforced in who we are in Christ Jesus as a body of believers if we don’t build one another up? I know that we should be solid enough in our own walk with the Lord to be able to not worry about what others think of us (individually) but Jesus tells us to do this for one another! He must have good reason for that, don’t you think?

No, I don’t believe it is all about getting caught up in needing one another’s approval and praise for the wrong reasons – I really don’t. I think this is something the enemy uses to keep us from taking care of Christ’s family.

So, i’s not just one thing without the other – edification. It’s not just encouraging people, while holding back when the time comes to come alongside them, in love, and speak the truth or offer correction so as to help one another to grow. And it’s not about teaching, correction, admonition, exhortation, without adding in our uplifting praise for others as they walk out their faith and use their awesome God-given gifts.

It’s not truth without love, and it’s not love without truth. And both entail action, not just word and thought.

Edification of the church is HUGE for Jesus. And, He tells us to make this our priority even more as we sense that the time of His return is drawing near. But even in day to day life alone, it is emphasized all throughout scripture as being extremely vital to healthy spiritual lives and a healthy bride of Christ as His church, here on earth.

I think we’d do well to take care of Christ’s bride and family, don’t you?

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are
doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

“And the same is true for you. Since you are so eager to have the special
abilities the Spirit gives, seek those that will strengthen the whole church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12 NLT

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things
wherewith one may edify another.” Romans 14:19 NIV

1317047000triiWK[1]

I took the liberty of seeking to find the different things that describe edification in our own English language as well. These cannot replace what Christ has to say to us in the scriptures, but do help us to wrap our minds around all of the many facets of what true edification entails.

Edification:

  • To build up
  • To encourage
  • To help grow
  • To enable or equip
  • To comfort
  • To make strong
  • To encourage
  • To restore
  • To nurture
  • To enlighten
  • To uplift
  • To instruct
  • To guide
  • To help improve
  • To teach
  • To establish
  • To inspire
  • To enrich
  • To lift
  • To regenerate
  • To restore
  • To transform
  • To illuminate
  • To brighten
  • To ennoble
  • To renew
  • To build, build, build.

Kind of fitting how Jesus chose, amongst other things, to be a carpenter when He walked this soil we are walking upon, eh? He took time to fellowship with others. He made time to invest in His people. He built them up and made them feel special – because of who they were in HIM and as part of the family of God!

By the way – this is a far cry from “feeding someone’s ego.”

detsfhdgj[2]

It’s about building. That takes action.  That takes commitment. That takes perseverance, planning, and even creativity. And no – it doesn’t come easy – but it is sooooo very important.

Do we build up, or do we tear down? Do we start to build, and then stop mid-stream, or leave the project unfinished? Or do we just slap stuff together with no heart behind the whole thing and call it good?

Are we afraid that God is not big enough to take care of each individual’s pride or ego issues and bring glory to Himself anyway if we dare to build another brother or sister in Christ up with encouragement and praise and they become prideful and arrogant? I would venture to say that if that happens, it is due to a heart issue within that individual, not due to the fact that they received “too much encouragement and praise” from a fellow believer in Christ. Honestly, I think that if we hold out on each other, that is one of the things that can cause one to seek the love, comfort, and peace and encouragement that the “world” offers – so, if anything, our holding back may be the very thing that leads someone astray.

So, are we to use that as an excuse to hold out on them – hiding behind our endeavor to glorify Him, and Him alone, so as not to feed into other people’s egos? Or are we going to do what God asks us to do and edify one another and then leave the rest to Him?

Yes,  I would say that we, the body of believers and followers of Jesus, are a big part of Him.

We, the church, are the bride of Christ!!! We are His beloved!

I think He wants for us to cherish His bride, don’t you? This is a major way that we actually DO give all the glory to God!

 “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in
perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members
of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ
dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and
as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to
God.” Colossians 3:14-16

Again, this is not just limited to words – it entails action.  But I see that so often in today’s world, we even withhold the words, let alone back them up with sincere and consistent actions.

It’s about the heart, the mindset, the mission, the disposition, the perspective, the attitude, the commitment in Christ that we have to continually build up the church.

It’s about true love and obedience….to HIM.

~ The bride of Christ

~ The children of our Father in heaven.

~ “The chosen people, Royal priesthood, holy nation a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9)

Yes, we are not to think of ourselves more highly than we should. But we do need to help to remind one another of just who we are in Christ Jesus!

Let’s celebrate this out there in the world, friends! Let’s make it a point to love on others, starting with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s reach out, go all out, and give out all that we tend to withhold in the name of Jesus!

And then, to HIM, be all the glory!

Religious_wallpapers_567[1]

Say it Loud

JESUS – MIGHTY GOD!!!

GLORIOUS SAVIOR!!!!

WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”  Mark 8: 36-38

jesusreignssml[1]

The coming catechism of the church of Secular Humanism

Very good! Something to think about.

A Heapin' Plate of Conservative Politics & Religion

By Tom Quiner

DownloadedFileThe State is about to compel you to change your religion.

The establishment of a state religion is quickly taking place before your eyes. Forced conversions are rapidly under way, and they are targeting your children.

They are spreading across the nation.

Massachusetts is leading the way in the imposition of this religion, Secular Humanism. The state has already run Catholic Charities out of the business of adoptions. Formerly the largest provider of adoption services in the state, Massachusetts told them that unless they change their religious beliefs to those of Secular Humanism by adopting to same-sex couples, they had to get out of the business.

In other words, Massachusetts put their state religion ahead of the well-being of children, a common trait of this religion that views creation as a disease.

Now the Massachusetts Board of Education is expanding their reach directly into the schools, targeting…

View original post 619 more words

Depression and the Christian ~ A Personal Testimony

A great and inspirational testimony about depression – yes, even Christians can suffer from clinical depression!

*SOUNDINGS

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

aThe youngest son of Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” has committed suicide, the evangelical pastor said in a letter to members of his church on Saturday. Matthew Warren, the youngest son of Warren and his wife Kay, died after a long struggle with mental illness, according to the statement from Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif. The church asked for “everyone to join us in praying for the entire Warren family” on Saturday. “At 27 years of age, Matthew was an incredibly kind, gentle and compassionate young man whose sweet spirit was encouragement and comfort to many,” Saddleback Church said in the statement. “Unfortunately, he also suffered from mental illness resulting in deep depression and suicidal thoughts.”

…Warren wrote about his son’s death in an emotional letter to his church, calling his son “an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man.” “No words can express…

View original post 1,670 more words

In, With, and Through

460-1024-x-768[1]

To love completely, we need God’s help, because, by nature, we are not love. But He most definitely is.

“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

As this week gets kicked off, let’s try to remember the importance of abiding in Christ as we seek to do everything in love, with love, and through love.

This (abiding) comes through prayer, time spent in the Word, fellowship with other believers, and daily surrender, trust, and exercising of our faith in HIM.

As we abide in Christ, we then know Him more, and we will become more like Him. And this enables us to love the way that He does.

“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

312-1024-x-768[1]

Loving In, Loving With, and Loving Through

Abide in Love
Bless with Love
Commiserate through Love

Deliver in Love
Empathize with Love
Faith-Build through Love

Give in Love
Help with Love
Influence through Love

Journey in Love
Kindness with Love
Learn through Love

Meek in Love
Nudge with Love
Obey through Love

Peace in Love
Quietly with Love
Redeemed through Love

Sacrifice in Love
Teach with Love
Understand through Love

Victorious in Love
Willing with Love
X-treme through Love

Yearning in Love
Zealous with Love…..

In, With, and Through – He is Love

This week, may we continue to abide in Him, and look to Him, and in turn, love like Him.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:1-10, ESV)

ipad_wallpaper_1john_4_8[1]

Peace Out?

Kristen Huntley via www.creationswap.com

Kristen Huntley via http://www.creationswap.com

Today was one of those days, man.

W.O.W.

It seemed that nothing I did was good.

At all.

Every new screw-up that occurred, (and there were lots and lots of them today), I prayed and then did what I thought, at the time, was my best, to bring about peace.

Peace for others around me. Peace for me.

Just peace, man.

And it seemed like I just made it worse. That seems to be a little theme in my life this last week, by the way.

Finally, by the evening, I was just exhausted from all of it.

Maybe you had a day like that today too?

As I listened to our teaching in our service at church this evening, the following verse came to mind….

“The God of peace will  soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:20

We can try our best when we have days like this – days where we go to the Lord, ask for His help, power, guidance, and love – to bring about peace, but sometimes, we just have to wait for it – for our Savior to crush the head of that peace-hating enemy of ours!

Other days, the Lord helps us to take the right steps to be peacemakers and we are successful right away.

But when we aren’t able to create peace, all we can do, is continue to look up to Him, pray, and do our best until peace comes back to us. Maybe there is a reason that the Lord wants things to be left a bit uncomfortable for a bit – sometimes He does that for our own growth, you know.

As the scripture above says, our Lord is a God of peace, and truly, He has already overcome. But He has His own timing for things too – and we must always remember that. Sometimes, true peace comes from learning out of trials and difficulties and sin and mistakes.

I was reminded just now of yet another scripture that may reassure you if you, like myself, are ending the day not feeling a total sense of peace yet washing over you in your present situation or circumstances.

It serves as a comfort and a reminder of the fact that even in the midst of things that don’t feel peaceful, HIS peace is still always there with and for us……………..

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

I’m going to bed tonight clinging to this word from the Lord!

The world tells us that until we feel peace through and through, we don’t have peace. And that is a lie if we are saved by the blood of Jesus!!!!!

So tonight, even though there are still a few things going on in which it feels to me like peace is “out” of the picture, I also know that I have His peace, I have His joy, and I have His love.

I hope you know that too, friends.

Maybe tomorrow will be a “peace in” kind of day?  Maybe tomorrow, we can remember, even when things are rocky all around us, that peace within – the Jesus kind of peace cannot ever be taken away.

And neither can the triumph.

Daniel Sauceda via www.creationswap.com

Daniel Sauceda via http://www.creationswap.com

All Shook Up

I thought about not writing this post today, lest you see how selfish I can be in my little heart sometimes. But I have to do it, because God is nudging me to!

See, whenever discussing financial stress, I feel badly, as I very well probably should!  The reason for this is that I realize, that the kind of “money issues” that my family and I experience, would be akin to a lifestyle of royalty for a lot of other people in our world!

But, matters of the heart are what they are and sin likes to creep in there, doesn’t it?

You know how when we were young kids, if we wasted food, our moms would say “there are starving children in this world, so be grateful for your food and stop wasting?” Yes. there are. And yes, we knew that after being reminded of it for the 1000th time. But we still just wanted what we wanted.

Well, the same thing can happen to our hearts as adults. And it happened to me today.

MP900382683[1]

Today, I went to do our taxes.

Sniff.

It’s going to be okay.

Sniff Sniff.

No, seriously though. I am just still a little shocked right now, but I know God’s got this.

Sniff.

I am actually laughing now. Hee Hee.

But I was crying earlier.

See, until about a month ago, when we decided for me to quit my very well-paying, very financially lucrative, night job that I had been doing for about ten years, we were sitting very pretty financially. After seeking after God’s will for our lives, and praying a lot, we were able to finally make that decision to give up that job with clarity – and we knew it meant less money, honey!

We weren’t financially “rich” by the standards of this spoiled nation when I worked that job, but we also didn’t want for much of anything. We always had enough to cover the bills, plenty to give where we felt led to give, enough for the extras the kids needed for school and activities, and even could go out to eat from time to time.

This was actually a nice feeling since we had struggled for about the first 15 years of our marriage, living paycheck to paycheck.  We appreciated even having a paycheck at all, and still do. But I must admit, these last five years have been nice.

Since leaving that good job behind, WONDERFUL things that attest to the Lord’s provision, grace, and greatness have since happened. That is another blog post that I plan to write fairly soon.

And the money part? We haven’t really been stressing about that either, because we still had some savings (an absolute luxury, I know!), my husband still has his good job, and I do have a little bit of income coming in from my small, part time job to help a bit.

But we knew we were getting close to that time in which things were going to get pretty crunched soon.  And we weren’t worried about it. Like I said, God has helped us to line some things up job-wise for me, that will begin to help pretty soon. We figured if needed, we can use that savings money to get us by if necessary until my new income kicks in to help us out.

Then this happened……The tax visit.

Crunch time has arrived!

Yes, today we were thrown a curve ball at the tax office and that had me shaking in my boots for a few minutes. Because, just like that, the little emergency fund we had is going to be depleted.

I knew what I should be thinking and feeling: “Oh, thank you Jesus for providing us with the funds needed to take care of this totally unexpected situation!”

Instead, I found myself thinking this: “But God! I thought you had it all worked out to where we could use that money, if needed, to get by until my other part time job started in a couple of weeks?”

What a little booger I am!

No, we weren’t expecting this, and didn’t realize it was going to work out this way this tax season. In fact, it had something to do with the fact that my daughter turning 17 caused us to not get some type of credit that we usually always got, which ended up making us owe more money! For some reason, we had no idea this was coming up this  year. (Probably my dumb old brain fog)

For just a fleeting moment, I reverted back to being the old Annie. The anxiety-ridden, shaking-inside, Annie. The selfish, concerned with herself, person who knows there are starving  people in our world, but is still worried about her little financial setback, Annie.

Yeh. That one.

Remnants of her are still there, you know. She is still very alive, in fact. Yes, she still haunts us on planet earth, friends – in the flesh. But because of Jesus, her heart has changed. And she knows she is to trust Him with everything she is and with all that she has yet to become. She knows she is to think of others, count her blessings, and keep looking up, so as to have HIS perspective on life. But those little remnants, started shaking things up a bit today.

And momentarily? Inside? Well, it got a bit dark and ugly.

So, Annie got all shook up for a brief moment, and then said a big prayer asking the Lord to remind her that she and her family stand upon the strongest foundation that there is and asking for Him to change the focus from money and false senses of security and selfishness to one that is fixed upon HIM!

But in that brief tremor-like moment, right before the prayer, THIS is what I think I must have looked like to the poor lady who had to deliver the news to me today.

Christian Desktop Wallpapers-1280-x-1024[1]

But see that wonderful word from the Lord right next to that cute little guy’s face? That is the truth, friends.

And when I got home, to deliver the bad news to my husband, all I could say was what had been ringing through my heart and head over and over again since I said the prayer:

“Well, it’s time to put our money where our mouth is, honey.”

Yep. It is.

Sure, we gave up the big paycheck. Yes, we gave up the great insurance benefits when we decided I would quit that other job. And we even had prepared our hearts to deplete the savings, which we know we are blessed to even have, and which we know belong to Him anyway! (Annie just didn’t think it was going to happen so fast.)

So I guess I wasn’t really fully prepared for that, now was I? I guess Annie really hadn’t fully surrendered that money to the Lord, now had she? Aha!

Isn’t it funny how when we ask the Lord to search every crevice of our hearts, usually there is not a lack of darkness to be found that He can then draw out for us? Aren’t you glad He is so faithful?

And my family and I – we have so much more now.  We just don’t have the money that we thought we had. And we still live better than what – 98% of the world? Getting to enjoy the blessings of following after the Lord and yielding to His will is far more valuable than that “financial security” could ever be.

Not having a nest egg forces us to fly – and that is pretty cool if you ask me.

It makes me ill to think about how very spoiled rotten I was in that moment of stress earlier today. Absolutely ill!

Know something that’s even a harder truth to face than that?

It’s this: That I know, I will continue to battle with this – I will continue to feel uncomfortable for a while because I have been so very spoiled. I will continue to slip into the selfish thought process about money from time to time. But I also have no question at all that we will become all the stronger in the Lord, even through these small battles of the flesh.

We’ve had this discussion, you know – my husband and I with the Lord…..more than once. We have considered the fact that we may not get to keep a lot of “things” now that we are making these life changes to follow more fervently after the Lord and His will in our lives. He may let us keep our house, or we may have to change that down the road. We may be able to pay for college, or maybe not. The money for our kids to go on their mission trip with the church may be able to be raised, or maybe it won’t.

We just don’t know yet. But we know He is going to get us through it all and take us where He wants to take us. That we do know.

When we temporarily shake inside out of fear, or some other kind of fleshly sin or thing of self, we can turn back to Him – look up again – gain His perspective, and realize that He has our backs, He understands us, and only He can give us peace.

Yes, God shakes things up too, and has the right to do so in any way that He pleases. But in the Almighty’s case, He knows exactly what He’s doing.

goldcrosswhite[1]

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life.” Matthew 6:25-34

Someone

1corinthians10_24[1]
“I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary.” Charles Spurgeon

I’ll bet if we looked around today, we would be able to find someone who needs to be cheered up, someone who needs a shoulder to cry on, someone to celebrate with, or maybe someone who just a little bit of understanding.

I’ll bet we can find that someone within one hour of waking up.

I’ll also bet that it won’t take X-Ray Vision to find them.

All it will take is for us to open our eyes and look.

Then, we just need to open our hearts to that someone. That part takes a little work.

Maybe we can ask Jesus to help us out with that today.

Maybe, He will find us even more than one “someone.”

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Acts 20:25

goldcrosswhite[1]

It’s not Rocket Science!

You don’t have to be a genius to understand where to find true light. It’s just a matter of where you’re looking for it.

Jesus is the only source of true light! He’s not of this world, but He is the light of it!

Stay Golden in Jesus today, and every day!

goldcrosswhite[1]

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Git Da’Junk Out – A Rap Song

dancing-69989_640[1]

Yeh, woke up dis mornin’
Opened up m’ eyes ta see
Coffee brew ‘a goin’
Hip n’ happy as can be.
Took me a big ol’ sip
‘Twas freezin’ cold ya see
Wasn’t righteous indignation, yo
‘A comin’ outta me!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
JESUS!
Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
My Savior,  My God!

giraffe-62023_640[1]

Movin’ ‘long a lil’ bit
Imma Feelin’ good, bro
Time ta get m’ groceries
Coughin’ up some dough
Aisle upon the aisles
Sayin’ “have a rad day”
Met wit’ nasty faces
Just a comin’ my way!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
Jesus!
Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
My Savior! My God!

music-32071_640[1]

Loadin’ stuff up in da car
Feelin’ low, a bunch o’ sighs
Gonna raise da’ bar
Keep m’ spirits soarin’ high
Traffic jam’d up heavy, yo
All da’ cars  back’d up
Guys are shoutin’, screamin’
Move on over, bro, whatzup?

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
Jesus!
Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
My Savior My God!

music-33821_640[1]

Feelin’ heavy laden, man
Prayin for affection
Knowin’ I’m forgiven
And again changin’ direction
Start to do some cleanin’
And the toilet overflows
Start to yell out, screamin’
I’m so glad my Jesus knows!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out…..
Jesus!
Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out…..
Break it down wit’ me now!

computer-32859_640[1]

Redeemer
Forgiven
My Savior
Heart driven
My Father
The Cleanser
Faithful
Forgiven!
Clean me
Purify
Empty me
Fill me up inside
Savior, oh help me
Burn right through
Less o’ me
And more of you!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh,
Get da junk out…..
Jesus!
Get da junk out…
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out…
My Savior, My God!

computer-25126_640[1]

My Jesus
You are power
Living water
A love shower
Yeh, break Me
And mold me
Build my heart
And hold me!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out….
Jesus!

music-28196_640[1]

Captivated
Inundated
Encapsulated
Motivated
Divinity
Authority
Victory
Almighty!
Sacrificing
Servanthood
Sanctifying
Understood
Yahweh
Jeshua
The Great I AM
Yeh, Abba!

Get da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Get da junk out
Jesus…
Keep da junk out
Yeh, Yeh
Keep da junk out
My Savior, My God!

And Dat’s all.

ChadMadden via www.creationswap.com

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

goldcrosswhite[1]

© Anne Birkelo, Eyes Wide Open – ambirkelo.wordpress.com 2013-2014

*Lyrics still being placed to music – music link will be posted when available.

Sometimes You Gotta Stretch

I have always really liked giraffes. There’s just something so beautiful about their deep, dark eyes, and their graceful, long necks.

Me, personally? I have a pretty messed up neck. It’s a genetic thing I inherited from my father. It’s been this way since I can remember. It always feels compressed, needs to be stretched and cracked constantly, and sitting and working at a computer doesn’t do it any good either. But, it’s still a neck, and I am glad to have one that works – even though it’s not like a giraffe’s.

I supposed it’s easier for a giraffe to hear things – standing tall above all the noise and commotion of this world. I suppose it may be easier for them to see too. But I don’t think that we are as limited as we think we are sometimes in searching for glimpses of God. And we can hear Him from within if we quiet ourselves long enough to do so.

When I am struggling to hear His voice, or to look up to Jesus, I think of a giraffe. We may not have the physical advantages that they do, but we can be like them as we tune into Jesus.

We just may have to stretch a little.

459-1024-x-768[1]

 

I say we ditch Facebook and make a Gracebook!!!!

Simon via Pixabay

Simon via Pixabay

This is a long story today, but if you use any kind of social media to communicate with others, including email, I think it will be worth your while to read it.

So….I have quite a few Facebook friends ~ Not 800 or anything like that, but about 200 or so. A few are friends by association, sure. But most of the people I have ‘friended” on Facebook are truly people I interact with frequently, or have known well over the years (good buddies from high school, some friends from college, and people I have worked with in the past or presently).

However, you know how these things work, I am sure. You see all kinds of garbage out there, (mostly, from friends of your friends) no matter what you do. But for me, I believe, that as Christians, we are told to go where the people are – and, well…..the people are on Facebook – so it makes sense to use that method of communication to love other people as best we can. We are also told though, that when things get to a certain point, we are to “dust off our feet” and move on. Now, just hear me out on this one……

Here is NOT what my point is today in this post:

  • I am NOT going to bash Facebook. Like anything else, things can be used for good and they can be abused as well. It is not Facebook’s fault that nasty things happen on there. It is people who choose that.

“The tongue has the power of life and death.” Proverbs 18:21 (Um, and Yes! Speaking by letting your fingers do the talking counts)

BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

We can go on and on about how social media is a substitute for the real thing – it’s true. It’s not TRUE connectivity and relationship most of the time. But it is something.

Fact is, no one is connecting anymore in a real way a lot of the time. This is the way that it is in our “advanced” world, isn’t it? I avoided it as long as possible, hanging onto the hope that the few of us out there that wanted to stick to true relationship – (you know – the kind where you actually have to interact with the person AFTER you have opened your mouth?) could make that still be a core part of our world. But, alas – it just is not that way any longer. People are creatures of convenience – and that’s that. Not everybody, but you get the drift.

So, aside from my immediate world – my own family, our church, friends and co-workers, basically, our every-day circle, Facebook and social media is how I connect with people. I have accepted that, although it’s not my preference. Neither are a lot of things these days.

But, with the help of Jesus, and great friends like you, I have found that there is a way to connect on Facebook, this blog, and other types of social media. And a lot of it is very valuable. I can talk to people I might not get to see otherwise, share love and  edification with people I may never have the chance to meet in person, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ while making good friends all at the same time.

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

But today I want to share something with you about the down side of social media, and how the Lord is faithful to use even that to make us all the stronger!

I am disturbed by the fact that we don’t always do our best to make social media a place of goodness for one another. For me, “goodness” doesn’t always mean happy. It can be learning something new, sharing in others sorrows as well as their concerns or trials, or just plain staying somewhat connected with other people.

But there need to be boundaries in anything that we do, don’t there? I mean, things like respect, care, concern? Why do those things need to be tossed out the window so often?.

And why do we think it has to stay the way that it is? Why can’t we just decide that we are going to use it to build one another up and truly learn from one another, even when we have different opinions? Why does it have to be about tearing one another down so very often? Or about edificaton of the self, rather than others?

Sometimes, I just think it should be called “InyourFacebook” instead – what, with all the slings and arrows we find spewed out all  over the place there at times.

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/Badumching

wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/Badumching

Last week was sooo hard for me on Facebook. I decided to jump into a thread to make an attempt at some love and positivity – a thread that had gotten really ugly by the time I prayerfully stepped into it. It was one of those debates about a controversial issue, which I almost always steer clear of – but I really felt the Lord telling me to try to share some love with these folks I found here.

Friends, I have seen some nasty threads on Facebook before, but this one took the cake. At the end of the day, honestly, I just provided them with more fuel to allow it to get uglier and uglier and uglier. It was an absolute HATE thread.

The irony in it all, was that I actually jumped in to try and say that maybe we are all missing the point – that just possibly, could it be, that instead of figuring out why this side or that side doesn’t agree, or bash one side versus the other side on the issue, maybe we should focus on what is really important here and love one another in spite of the fact that many of us are going to have differing opinions or hold to different values at times. And I really did say it in a very kind, soft, way! Whooo Weeee!

It did not go well. AT ALL. For a moment, I really had to wonder if I missed the virtual  memo announcing that this day was Hatebook day? THIS is how my attempt at throwing them some love was NOT received!

nicholas raymond via Stockvault

nicholas raymond via Stockvault

Let me tell you now….my suggestion to turn it to love was met back with the greatest level of hostility I think that I have ever experienced, or even witnesed online. It got so bad, friends, that I actually felt like I had to literally remove myself from the thread and delete my comments entirely, as I felt my security and privacy were starting to be threatened. I truly believe, that if I would have been face to face with these people, they may have harmed me physically. That was not my greatest concern, but it was one, for sure.

FOR SAYING WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Of course, through the process, I was point blank asked where I stood on the issue (of course).  I did tell them “No, I don’t agree, but that’s not why I stepped into this thread today”. Over and over again, I tried to go RIGHT back to my point – that the issue here was to be loving of one another in spite of the fact that they may think one way, while others think another. It was not to be accepted. It was not even to be considered!

THAT, is where, by the world’s standards, I went wrong. To even suggest to these folks that I didn’t share the same opinion, even though I tried to share love ~ well, it didn’t matter. I was virtually slaughtered at that point. Because they weren’t looking for love. They were looking for someone else to agree and join the hate club.

Word were put in my mouth. EVEN with my comments right there, for everyone to see, several people were saying that “so you are saying ______” when I didn’t even come close to that at all!

merelize via Stockvault

merelize via Stockvault

I was told that I should **&!! off and “toddle my little Christian ___” off. They only knew I was Christian, because I said, when asked point blank to share where I stood on the “issue” that “No, I don’t agree, because I am a Christian, but I think we should still love one another.”

That was IT! I said nothing about sin,  judgement, condemnation – quite the opposite. But knowing I was a Christian? Well, that was just too much for these folks.

The rest, I won’t even share with you. But it was U-G-L-Y. So ugly that I actually felt sick to my stomach. I may be a nice girl, but I do have a pretty thick skin. It was bad. But mostly, I was deeply disturbed because I was beyond flabbergasted. And then I felt soooo truly and deeply sorry for these folks that I actually started weeping.

At one point, I even asked “how can you make this a bad thing, what I am saying?”

No answer. Just hate coming back 10 fold. Even when the Lord told me to sit and just read, remain quiet, I still kept receiving the zingers of hate. It was surreal.

Zhappy via Stockvault

Zhappy via Stockvault

So, why do I share all of this? I want to share what all came out of this for me in my spiritual growth. I hope to encourage you, especially if you are a Christian who is finding it more and more difficult to love others who hate you.

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the
end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 NIV

I believe we are to stand firm not only for what we believe as Christian, but even more so in love. When I look to the cross, that is what I see in Jesus. He spoke the truth, but at a certain point, stopped talking. But He kept on loving. Through every slash, every punch, every thorn, every whip, every nail, every mockery, through death. To the end. And then, He rose up again and now lives with His father in heaven for all eternity. Just as we shall get to do one day, if we are Christians. With the King!

Friends, the honest truth is, as my brother shared – many people don’t really care about our “love”. They translate “love” into whether or not we are on their “side”. And that is flawed thinking. That is sad thinking. That is the thought process that a world without Christ in the center of it operates under.

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

And I cried a river of tears over that.

I agonized over this situation, while it was happening and after for several days. In all reality, I am still somewhat upset (emotionally) about it. I am sad for them, not for me. This blog post is the last I am going to be talking about this. Because it’s time for me to completely leave it behind me. But the Lord has placed it upon  my heart to share with you first, so I am doing just that.

I couldn’t dust off my heart, friends. I kept going to the Lord in prayer, and asking Him to take it from me. Then, I realized, He is trying to grow my heart for those who are lost and desolate. He wants to soften my heart even more.

Maybe we are to physically dust off our feet at times, but our hearts are still to be broken. Maybe it is because, after something like this happens, when we next encounter a lost or hateful group of people, we will be able to try again – to love them like Christ does. And His strength is made so very perfect  in our weakness – in what can sometimes look like our “failures.” Our failures are His successes – one way or another, He will reign supreme!

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect
in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so
that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

ianL via Stockvault

ianL via Stockvault

You know, if Christ IS love, then it makes sense that Christians would be hated for speaking, or even trying to show some love. Even before these people on Facebook knew I was a Christian, when I first commented, “hey, maybe we should love one another, it seems like that would do some good here”, I was attacked. I was told I was “hiding behind  love”.

I speak the truth, as I am sure many of you do, in love, and when the Spirit leads me to, regarding where I stand on certain issues. But I also do so in His timing as He so leads me! We are to be salt and light in this world. That means the platter of stuff we are to serve up is to be made up primarily of grace and sprinkled with salt, not covered in it.

I think the Spirit does a perfect  job of telling me when to speak my thoughts about sin, or where I stand on issues as a Christian, and when to hold that back, and just love on people. But last week showed me clearly, that we are escalating into a time in which that will no longer be enough for many folks – showing love and care and concern, I mean. In fact, it may be enough for one thing and one thing only: to, at the very least, “virtually” crucify us.

But remember………….

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds
of evil against you because of me.” Matthew 5:11

blessedspin[1]

And sometimes, others will be blessed out of what God does through us too.

God IS love. Anything to do with God will be hated, so love will be hated. So will we for speaking it, showing it, being it, or even hinting at it. Anything to do with it will eventually be hated. At least, the real kind of love, that is.

I know this sounds like a bummer of a post and maybe it is. These are dark times, friends. But it is the reality of this world and the times in which we are living.

However, our ultimate destiny really is not here if we are followers after Christ. We have to live here right now, true. We endure many difficulties, trials, sufferings and blessings here, yes. But we are blessed beyond measure. Now, and for all eternity! If we have accepted Christ as our Savior and Lord.

If you have not accepted the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus, won’t you do so today? He is the only light in this world that is real and true, friends. He can wash away all sin! And what we have in Him goes way beyond this world! (See John 3:16)

spinantisin[1]

For most of you that subscribe to this blog, you are already a fellow Christian, so I do want to share one last thing.

The most difficult thing for me last week in reference to myself (my own selfish feelings for me, not for them) was the fact that when all was said and done, I felt the Spirit of the Lord telling me clearly that I would have to literally remove my comments from that venomous thread. I knew with no question, that if I did so, that my friend who started the thread (who had gone to bed while her other friends were slaughtering away) would come in the next morning and see these people’s comments and assume I was preaching sin and condemnation.

THAT was very hard for me.

And exactly what I predicted did happen. I had sent my friend a message explaining what I said, and what I was trying to make a point about and why I had to remove my comments. She, of course, told me she felt I removed them because “I knew my arguement was invalid.” She then posted her own comments on the thread, directed at me, and put words into my mouth that were nowhere near to what I had said.

So be it.

Pixabay

Pixabay

There was never any “arguement”. None whatsoever. I hadn’t even stated my case for how my beliefs should be held as true or right in their eyes.  I hadn’t condemned them for their thoughts, views, or feelings either.  In fact, I had gone way out of the way to make sure they knew it wasn’t for me to judge, and that my whole point was about being loving.

But the Lord asked me to turn that over to Him – utterly and completely. I still don’t fully understand why, but He did. And I am still working on that.

I actually had sat right here that night, at this very computer, tears streaming down my face, along with my wise and mature daughter as we agonized over whether or not to remove my comments from that ugly thread. It took me an hour, just staring at it to make the decison. Nothing I said brought me any shame – but even being associated with it made my stomach turn.

Friends, please understand I share none of this to be some  kind of martyr in your eyes – it is quite the opposite, actually. I stand in awe today of my own inadequacy as a soldier in Christ, shielded in love; because I got utterly slaughtered – ha ha!

But the Holy Spirit did not fail me, and with this, I wish to encourage you!

Godis2[1]

It came down to this:

  • Remove my comments and allow her to think (assume), upon reading all the trash, words that were put into my mouth, false accusations, cuss outs, trashing of Christ and the bible, and threats toward me, (in all of her other friends’ comments that had surrounded mine) that I was  preaching judgment and  condemnation.
  • Leave my comments and hope that she sees that I was trying to be loving, yet risk being unable to dust off my feet, which the Lord was clearly urging me to do at this point.

Then I heard the whisper:

Anne, did anyone else care about your loving message in that thread? Did they still falsely accuse you for speaking love in my name? Did they still threaten you, trash me, and not only refuse to accept that maybe you had a good point, but virtually kill you with their words? WITH your comments in there, for all to read and see, did they still do so?  This is part of following after me with all your heart, mind, body, soul. I will take care of you and the rest. You need to leave these people behind for now.

nicolas raymond via Stockvault

nicolas raymond via Stockvault

I realized right then that it was about being so sad for these people, but also about my own surrender and obedience. It was about leaving these people behind me completely and dusting off my feet. It was about allowing God to soften my heart, while thickening up my skin. And I have to let my old “friend” think what she is going to think. Not only that, I had to remove her from my Facebook entirely.

That sucked rocks, by the way. Dirty, dirty rocks!

I think the most important thing I wish to share today, is that sometimes, although we are called to love one another as Christ loves us, people are not always going to accept that love. We are still to try, and still to forgive, but He does tell us to move on if this happens. We can do both – we can move on and still have pure hearts – as long as we forgive and stay in prayer, and continue to seek after the Lord and those who are lost, we are living as He asks us to live!

And that’s where I want to be. I pray that you do too.

“And when you go into a household, greet it.  13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city! Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:12-16

I have moved on physically and literally, but my heart is still a little dusty. I am sad, because I may be the only Chrisitan that was in her world, for all I know. I struggled and struggled with this decision, because that “friend” of mine – well, she really needs Jesus. See, she says she “believes in God”, but if she is a Christian, she is being seriously attacked right now. And honestly, I seriously have my doubts. All I can do, is pray for her now. And God knows her heart. I will probably never get to know this side of heaven. And that’s okay, because the One who matters? He knows. Will you pray for my friend?

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

Another flash: I did what the Lord led me to do and now the rest is up to Him!

Oh yah. (Why do we do this sometimes?) D.U.H.

It has taken  me a while to get to the point of my title, but here it is: I don’t know about you guys, but I really work very hard to use my Facebook to glorify God and build others up. But through all this, He showed me that I can show grace through Facebook in new and innovative ways I hadn’t even thought of before this. Honestly, I thought I had tapped all the options out. I share edifying messages, ask for prayer requests, comment on things that are important to my friends. I thought that was about it as far as options for edification through social media was concerned.

But it’s not. We, as a community of believers, can edify one another through Facebook too, just as we do on this blog. And people will watch – intently. It may make them sick sometimes – but they will watch.

geralt via Pixabay

geralt via Pixabay

I think we should make Facebook become a Gracebook. Specifically, personally, relationally. Sure, it’s great to share verses, and messages and  images of Christ on there, we need to keep doing that! But we need to step up and show folks that Christians are actually real people who can be NICE to each OTHER.

On my Facebook page the other day, I actually suggested we have a Gracebook day on Monday. Hardly anyone responded.

So…if you wish to, please find me on Facebook and “friend” me. Maybe, eventually, we can try to have at least one “Gracebook” day if enough of us join in. On this blog site, you can find the blog’s facebook page, but please look me up (just Anne) and friend me personally too. I would be honored and privileged to have you as my friend on Facebook as well as through our blogging community.

You can find me under Anne Basile Birkelo – here’s a shortcut to my page where you can see my name in the upper left corner – https://www.facebook.com/#!/

brankin62 via Pixabay

brankin62 via Pixabay

Keep loving one another, friends. And keep searching for ways to speak the truth, show the love, and pour on the grace (with just a bit of salt here and there as the Lord so leads).

Be Blessed today, and remember: Christ is Alive – as much today as He was the day He left that tomb! And He is coming back – hopefully soon.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage
one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

DFnatureawed via Stockvault

DFnatureawed via Stockvault