Aliens on Earth

There are people who claim that Jesus was an alien being from another planet. You might be surprised to hear me say that they are at least partially correct. Jesus was – and is – an alien in this world, and on top of that, as Christ-followers, we are – we should be – as well. When we follow Him, our lives are supposed to be a reflection of Him so that non-believers can see how beautiful it can be to have that Love and Mercy and Grace. Many times, we really are the only Bible that person might ever see!

Too much pressure for you? As Americans living in the U.S., we aren’t recipients of the physical persecution (although we seem to be headed there) endured by Christians in many countries. In fact, especially in the middle of the so-called “Bible Belt”, many Christians have a hard time imagining physical persecution ever happening here. Friends, we are much closer to it becoming a reality than we want to accept. I believe that Peter was addressing us, Christian Americans in 2019, as much as he was when writing to Christians living outside of Rome in the first century after Christ.

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles [non-Christians], so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” – 1 PETER 2:11‭-‬12 NASB

In the above letter, Peter refers to the “earthly lusts” we are to avoid, and Paul expounds on them in this letter to the Galations:

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – GALATIANS 5:19‭-‬21 NASB

These are the things, the attitudes and actions, we need to avoid as followers of Christ Jesus. What kind of testimony is it when a professed Christian business acts in a dishonest manner? When a prominent Christian is caught cheating on their spouse, or lying, or drunk? And all those other things like these? Oh, we are fallible, and we are sinners, and we are held to a higher standard because of our profession of faith. I am chief among the sinners and the hypocrites! All I can do is publicly confess* and ask GOD for forgiveness, which I have done – and will continue to do. (*The exception is when your confession will cause harm to another. Then you should confess privately to another Christian whom you trust.) When we choose Jesus, we choose a higher moral ground. That means we have further to fall when we sin, and we make a bigger mess when we fall. I know. I’ve made some big messes!

Thank You, JESUS, for Your Saving Grace, Your Forgiveness and Mercy! Bless us as we make our poor attempts at following You. Amen.

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC

Honor – and Ruin: NOT PC
Define hon·ornoun
  1. high respect; great esteem. “His portrait hangs in the place of honor”
  2. adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct. “I must as a matter of honor avoid any taint of dishonesty”

What has happened to honor? Aren’t we supposed to honor our government officials – if not the person, then the office? That’s how I was raised…. Unfortunately, politicians are making such a laughing stock of their positions and their office, and straying so far from our constitution and our laws, it’s becoming more and more difficult. So many think they are above the law. They can hold a position, an ideology, that they present as what we the people need – but it doesn’t apply to them.

I “should be” grateful that they want to oversee and control my life, providing me with what they think I need. Since when is that even remotely okay? I live in America. The United States of America. We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Some of my ancestors migrated here in the 1800’s and early 1900’s – and some were born here. We (almost) all have ancestors who came here to escape poverty and/or lack of freedom, and they came legally as immigrants. Some came as indentured servants, and some came as slaves – of all colors. When my ancestors arrived, they did several things: find jobs (not welfare), and learned the common – English – language.

Some became well-off financially, and some struggled, but I believe that regardless of their financial circumstances, they came and stayed because of the freedom afforded them. Freedom of speech, freedom to protect themselves instead of having to rely on the police or a police-state. Freedom to move around the country without governmental restrictions. These are all reasons that I choose to stay and protect my country.

You see, true immigrants don’t move to another country to make into a mirror of where they come from. We don’t move from one community to another in order to change it to what is familiar. We move so that we can find like-minded people whose ideas and beliefs mesh with our own.

Why do people come to America today? The majority, the ones who do it legally, do it because of the promise of freedom. They leave their country of origin because of oppression; because they believe they can have a better life here. They learn English and they find work.

I believe that we the people had better get a grip! Honor isn’t being taught in our homes or our schools, and it isn’t even up to our schools! We aren’t teaching our kids to honor their parents or other adults. We aren’t teaching them to honor our country, or our Constitution. We aren’t teaching them the principles this country was founded on – freedom and honor.

Without those, we are ruined.

Is Your Heart Circumcised?

What? Is my heart ….. ???

“Moreover the LORD your GOD will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your GOD with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” – Deuteronomy 30:6 NASB

I had to puzzle over this statement. What could it possibly mean to have your heart circumcised? We understand the word “circumcision” to mean the practice of cutting a male’s foreskin, and in some cultures, it is a practice that is also performed on women. I had to go to the origin of the word to gain some understanding.

Middle English: from Old French circonciser, or from Latin circumcis- ‘cut around’, from the verb circumcidere, from circum ‘around, about’ + caedere ‘to cut’.

Based on this explanation of the word, it makes sense to me. To “cut around our hearts” is to release them from the preconceived notions we have about the LORD; to free them so that we can welcome His Sovereignity in our lives, and open them fully to be able to love Him with our whole heart and being.

Is your heart circumcised? Do you want it to be? Think about what JESUS said:

“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” – Matthew 22:37‭ NIV

Image and Related post at: https://http://www.sapphirethroneministries.wordpress.com

Find more scriptures regarding the circumcision of the heart https://http://www.openbible.info/topics/circumcision_of_the_heart

It’s That Time, Again

“My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance ….. ” – James 1:2‭-‬3 NRSV

Tomorrow, we vote. At least, I hope and pray we all do! Do we vote our conscience, do we vote party-line, do we vote the politically correct way – or do we skip it altogether because we don’t like the choices? I think that for the followers of CHRIST it has become a battle to know the ‘right’ way to vote. Negative political ads flourish on television and social media, every candidate trying to destroy their opponent’s credibility. Often, it comes down to picking the lesser of the two evils as presented. These are indeed times of trial for us. We cannot, unfortunately, take anyone at their word. It’s a definite challenge to “consider it [ALL] joy,” when it appears to be more of a time to weep.

I know who I will vote for. I have done the research, I have spoken with candidates when possible, I have talked with friends who might know the candidate, and I have prayed. Read the rest of these verses from James:

“…. because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask GOD, Who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the LORD.” – James 1:2‭-‬8 NRSV

I admit to being frightened by so much of the current rhetoric and hate being spewed out across all of the media. The reality is that these United States are being dragged into an exceedingly liberal, socialist time. Regard for Christians is falling rapidly as we embrace diversity in everything, including religion (except Christianity!), and especially the religion of “ME.” Selfishness abounds and is rampant in our so-called heroes of the day. The honor and respect for patriots, our armed forces, and our leaders is rapidly waning as Hollywood and pro-athletes and liberal politicians take over.

What can I as an individual do? Pray. Vote. Most of all, I must bow to GOD’s superior Will, realizing that it may not be what I see as the best for my country….. but that doesn’t mean I will just lie down and let my country go to hell in a handbasket! No matter what happens tomorrow, or in the next election, or the next, I know this without a doubt: GOD WILL PREVAIL IN THE END. There will be much tribulation, and many trials, for CHRIST-followers before our LORD returns, including the rise to power by the Liberal Socialism being touted as the answer to those trials. [Side note: L.S. is NOT the answer! Only JESUS.]

Don’t lay down, and don’t be complacent. Listen to Carrollton sing “Made For This” from their album “Made For This.” Ask GOD, and ask in Faith, never doubting. In the end, Satan loses. How do I know? Because my LORD promises the defeat and destruction of all of the Enemy’s handiwork. (Read the “back” of the Book, Revelations.) Amen!

In My Defense

“GOD Blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the Crown of LIFE that GOD has promised to those who love Him.“- James 1:12 NLT (Note that it does NOT say “GOD helps those who help themselves.”)

Even though James thought he was writing to his contemporaries; fellow Jews who had been scattered throughout the known world, GOD’s message for him was to be sent through the ages. What James says looks eerily like it was written specifically for us today. For a person of true integrity, when he or she stands before the Great White Throne, waiting to be judged by Almighty GOD, there shouldn’t be many secrets hiding in their heart’s ‘closet’….. However, the outwardly righteous man, or the public presentation of integrity by a woman, could very well be hiding a closet stuffed to bursting with things that are secret and that they don’t want to reveal in the perfect Light coming from the throne. GOD sees past the facade we put up to fool other humans – and it is never a pretty sight.

Integrity defined: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; the state of being whole and undivided.” – from Google Dictionary

Jesus warns His followers, then and now:

“The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the LIGHT, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you Whom to fear. Fear GOD, Who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.” – Luke 12:2‭-‬5 NLT

Remember the story of David and Bathsheba? This man, who has been declared to be a ‘man of GOD’s own heart’, was an adulterer and he had her husband murdered in order to cover his transgression. A ‘man of GOD’s own heart’, who tried to cover his secrets and hide them from the ALMIGHTY, ALL-SEEING GOD. Do you recall how well his secrets remained hidden? Not long. Days, weeks, maybe a few months, but it all came to the light – and the consequence of those sins was that their son, their firstborn, died.

“The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” – Luke 12:2 NLT

Could our LORD make it any more clear? Whatever the secret, it will be brought out into the Light. Now is the time to open your heart’s door and allow the HOLY SPIRIT clean out the cobwebs; to open all of those secret places in your mind so that He can do a thorough cleaning. He wants us to be sparkling clean when we stand in front of the Judge, but He will not force us to unlock all those doors. The more you keep them closed up and locked up, JESUS’s death and resurrection can’t completely cover our secret sins.

Are you holding them closed and living your life looking back at them, so you won’t ‘forget’ how bad it/you were? GOD is a gentleman and won’t force us to open the door(s) in this life – but ultimately, when we stand in the box to be judged, those locks will pop open and everything will be revealed. Won’t it be good to not have any secrets to bring to the Light? I encourage you to unlock them and let the Holy Spirit do a clean sweep, right now, today! Listen to Steve and Annie Chapman sing “The Secret Place.” Even now, after hearing it for almost 30 years, it brings tears of joy to my heart. (You’ll have to Google it, or go to YouTube)

Open the door to your secret place. That’s when you find true Hope and Healing – the ONLY Way, through JESUS.


Photo credit: heartafterjesus.blogspot.com

Only JESUS Is Enough

“And they laughed at Him [JESUS], knowing that she was dead. But He took her by the hand and called out, “Child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and she got up at once. Then He directed them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astounded; but he ordered them to tell no one what had happened.” – Luke 8:53‭-‬56 NRSV

“Once when JESUS was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, He asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; but others, Elijah; and still others, that one of the ancient prophets has arisen.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The MESSIAH of GOD.” Those who are ashamed of Me and of My words, of them the SON of MAN will be ashamed when He comes in His Glory and the GLORY of the FATHER and of the holy angels.” – Luke 9:18‭-‬20‭, ‬26 NRSV

I see a major recurring theme around JESUS and His ministry. He never does anything for the glory or recognition of it. When He heals someone, He invariably says something to the effect of “Go, and tell no one.” Looking at the big televangelists, it’s all about showmanship and ratings and money – bigger and better. That’s not the Way of JESUS. Personally, I want to be like Billy Sunday or Billy Graham or Bill (‘Billy’) Henry. Not the crowds that gathered to hear them speak, and I’m pretty sure they would each scoff at being described as eloquent or charismatic; instead, they were humble and gave all Glory to GOD. There are countless other preachers and teachers, past and present, who display the humility CHRIST shows. The song “Only JESUS ” by Casting Crowns is one I believe all Christians could use as a theme song. In an interview with frontman Mark Hall by TheChristianBeat.org, he said: “There’s much talk these days about legacy. How do we want to be remembered? The more I think about it the more I’m reminded that anything in me that’s worth remembering are the things that Jesus has worked on, and is still working on in me. On my own I have nothing to offer the world, but Jesus does – so don’t mind me. Jesus is the only name to remember.

When I die, it doesn’t matter if people remember my name, but my prayer is that they will remember me as ‘that woman who loved JESUS.” When He returns in His Glory, I pray that I have shown that I was not ashamed of Him, so that He will not be ashamed of me. Like Mark Hall of Casting Crowns says, so do I, On my own I have nothing to offer the world, but Jesus does – so don’t mind me. Jesus is the only name to remember.

AMEN!

Oh, BAM!

My devotion this morning was based on this verse:

“He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect.” – 1 Timothy 3:4 NIV

The writer went on to talk about how men are so macho when it comes to sports and athletics, and who pride themselves on their hard work and achievements, are absolute wimps when it comes to leading their families spiritually. I can testify to the truthfulness of this concept in my own experiences. Most recently, I had a good friend who talked a lot about his involvement with his church and how his life revolved his church (we were in different states). We made the decision to become a couple, and he moved several hundred miles to be close to me. After about a month of attending different churches, he decided that none of them were the right ‘fit’, and he quit going. He quit praying at meals; refused to join me in any Bible study or Christ-centered activity. He ‘didn’t need it, he had his own, private relationship with GOD.’ He was very proud of his work and his achievements, but trying to bring GOD back into the relationship was at a dead end. As much as it hurt me, the relationship – and the 20 year friendship – ended after 2 years with him walking out with no warning.

I would love to have a companion to do life with, but GOD has shown me that it must be a man with a strong spiritual life, a man who demands respect – not with words, but with actions. Not a wimp, not self-righteous, or pompous; not wrapped up in being ‘religious’, but loving GOD and loving – and living – life. No phonies, no wimps need apply. Until (and if) GOD sees fit to put this man in my life, I must be content with Him.

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.” – Job 40:4 NIV

Yes, I am unworthy of any blessings, but my LORD has bestowed many on may despite my lack. Whether I end up alone for the rest of my life, or He sends me a companion, I pray that I remain strong and steadfast in my love and praise for my GOD.