If Jesus Were On Facebook

Lets imagine for a moment  Jesus, walking the earth today, and doing His ministry.  Imagine if He had a Facebook page to keep up with all His friends and followers. How many “friends” do you suppose He would have? How many do you think He would keep if He published some of His sermons and parables on His page? How many people do you think He would offend? How many would un-friend Him as soon as He said something that was not politically correct or didn’t go along with the culture of the day? Would you? Would you be embarrassed if your friends or family were upset with you because you “liked” something He said?

Interesting to think about isn’t it? Most of us who are on Facebook have at one time or another had someone un-friend or disown us over an opinion we may have shared or a story we shared that they didn’t agree with.  I can just imagine how people might respond if they were to read Jesus’s words.  

Imagine if Jesus were to post on His page what He said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me”, imagine the outcry. The media outlets that would start howling in protest as to “who does He think He is”? “Does He think He’s better than all these other religions who say every path leads to God?” With how quickly news passes from person to person and continent to continent  He would soon be vilified around the world and held up to scorn.

That’s just one example.  We could go through the gospels and somewhere, someone would find something to take offence about with much of what He had to say.  Never mind if He were to start quoting from the Old Testament.  He’d be getting death threats for sure.

We know the people and leaders of His own time tried to kill Him because of His teachings.  Because of who He said He was, because He didn’t fit the mold of what they thought He should be like. Because they were afraid people would follow Him. Because He told the truth and exposed some for what they were. People of His time didn’t like that He told the truth.  People of our times aren’t always too happy to hear His truths either.  

Obviously Jesus doesn’t have a Facebook page.  But we do still have the same opportunity every day to either “like” and stand for Jesus and His Word or deny them. Remember Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels.  But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels.”

It’s easy to be a closet Christian.  We don’t really offend friends or co-workers if they know we go to church every week but we don’t bother them by speaking about our faith.  Or we never voice our opinion if we hear someone bashing other Christians.  How do we act if we see companies and countries and states go against the Word of God? Do we stand with Christians who are persecuted for their faith? Or do we stay silent or pretend to agree?

What about our Facebook page?  Or what ever social media you may be on?  If Jesus were our friend on Facebook what would we do? Would we post the same stories knowing that He might be reading them? (Hint, He sees them anyway). Would we make the same comments and give the same responses as we do now? Would we “hide” Him so no one could see Him on our page? Or would we share His Words with others and stand with Him?

Something to think about.

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From Grief to Great Joy

I was thinking this morning about how Jesus’s followers must have felt on that day so many years ago when Jesus was crucified.  Many of them had followed Him for three years.  They walked with Him, they served with Him; they believed in Him.  They saw miracles. Now all of a sudden everything had changed and nothing was happening the way they thought it would.

First there came that night when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and Judas came to betray Him, and He was given over to the Chief priests. They watched as He was mocked and beaten.  Even though there was no wrong found in Him, He was tried and scourged then handed over to be crucified. 

What an awful day as they watched, many from a distance, as Jesus was hung on the cross.  That same man that they had followed, and I daresay loved.  The one they thought would deliver their people. Maybe they hoped for a last minute miracle.  Perhaps they hoped Jesus would be able to deliver Himself and come off the cross. I don’t know what they thought. But I can’t imagine watching someone you care about go through the things Jesus went through that day. And then just like that He was dead.

Can you imagine the grief and sadness?  For those three days they must have felt so lost.  Like sheep without a shepherd.  I can imagine them being afraid. Thinking perhaps they might be next.  Or maybe thinking what are we supposed to do now?  We gave up everything we had to follow Jesus, and now He’s gone.  Where should we go? 

But then came Sunday. Hallelujah the day everything changed.  The reports began to come in of those who had seen Jesus.  First to the women at the tomb.  Then those on the road to Emmaus.  Then the disciples themselves. Could it be?  Dare they believe?

 It makes me think of part of Psalm 30:5 “weeping may endure for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. Oh what a glorious morning that must have been.  

  Can you imagine their joy that day? We still celebrate that great joy.  Jesus was dead but now is alive! Jesus gave His all for us. He gave His life that we may have everlasting life with Him.  He took our sicknesses and bore our diseases so we do not have to carry them.  (Isaiah 53:4-5) He defeated death. All these things He did for us.  Three short days that changed things forever.

Lets remember as we gather with friends and family to celebrate Resurrection Sunday who and what we are celebrating.  Praise Him and thank Him for His great love and all He has done for us.  May you have a blessed day and always carry that joy with you.

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The Road Less Traveled

I am definitely a road less traveled kind of gal.  Give me a dirt road over a freeway any day and I’d be happy. I much prefer peace and quiet and nature over large crowds and busy places. I know some folks prefer city life with the constant buzz of things going on and something to do at all hours of the night or day. That does not sound at all inviting to me. Give me a cozy chair, a book and a beautiful view and I’m happy.  Oh, and a cup of coffee would be nice too.

We are all on a journey.  The thing we need to remember, is that your road is not my road, and my road, is not your road. Just because I’m walking in a different direction doesn’t mean its wrong. None of us can see into the future to know where the twists and turns will lead us, but we can trust as we walk by faith, that we are on the right road for us. 

One thing I have found to be true, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t a struggle sometimes, is we will never be truly happy as long as we are trying to walk on a path that is not ours to walk. We all have those times when our journey is not going the way we think it should go or it’s not the way we thought it would be. Those are the times it can be so easy to look at others lives and compare them to our own.

Teddy Roosevelt had some wise words when he said “comparison is the thief of joy”. When we spend our time looking at what we perceive to be better in others lives, we miss out on the joy in our own lives. We only see the public part of others lives. We may look at those with big ministries or maybe famous musicians and we might think that everything in their lives must be perfect. But everyone has struggles in their life.  They might be dealing with problems that you or I would never feel equipped to handle.  

In our journeys we also have seasons. Some are exciting, some are challenging. Sometimes we might be in a quiet season where maybe we are raising our kids, or taking care of an elderly family member. During those times it can be easy to think that the Lord has forgotten us.  That He is not going to use us, and life will go on like that forever.  Well, that’s a lie!  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us “ For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.”

Often it’s in those quiet yet sometimes frustrating times we don’t see that the Lord is molding us, and preparing us for the next season of our life. Or for our new assignment with Him. When we learn to enjoy every stage of our journey we see that there are lessons to be learned during each of these times.  Trust me, usually its better if we learn them the first time so we don’t have to go back and do it again and again!

When we place our lives in the Lord’s hands and trust Him and give Him permission to change us and to use us, He will.  But it will be in His time and in His way, when He knows we are ready.  He may take our lives in a direction we had never even dreamed of.  But if we are being obedient and walking in the will of the Lord we can trust it will be better than we could ever imagine.  

Just remember. Follow the Lord, not the crowd. He’s the one who knows the direction we should be headed.

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Lawns and Relationships

Odd title, I know.  Facebook popped up a memory of something I had posted seven years ago comparing lawns to relationships. Since it still made sense to me, I thought I would repeat it here, though in an extended form!  

Have you ever thought that relationships are like lawns?  If you want to have a good one, both need regular care.  

If you have know you have grubs in your lawn yet you ignore them, and do nothing about it, your lawn can eventually die. If  weeds are taking over your lawn and you do nothing about it, eventually they will choke out any good grass that’s left.  Then, all you are left with is an ugly patch of dirt full of weeds and maybe some crab grass.  

In our relationships, if we let things grow that don’t belong, like anger, unforgiveness, resentment or distrust we would have a similar result. Even though you might still have a relationship with that person, it would no longer be a healthy, growing relationship. And it sure wouldn’t be an example of the kind of relationships God wants us to have and enjoy.

Maybe you’re the kind of person that hates yard work so you think, I really don’t want to do the work on my lawn; I’m just going to move to greener pastures. Well, guess what?  Unless you learn what you need to do at the first sign of trouble, and deal with it, eventually no matter how many times you move you will still end up with the same ugly lawn.  You’ll get the same results. You haven’t learned anything.

How many times have we seen people in a relationship, and rather than doing the work and trying to make things better, they decide to move on.  Sometimes, people may take offence if something is said or done to them that they don’t like.  Or, they might not get their own way.  So they leave friendships and families, spouses or churches or jobs. Perhaps they try and start over somewhere else.  The thing is unless we learn to do the work and find out where things are going wrong, we will keep getting the same results.  Its like the old saying; everywhere you go, there you are.  

If you’ve had to take care of a lawn before you know certain times of the year it can really keep you busy.  You have to nurture and feed it and take care of pests.  Then, of course, there’s the mowing! It’s not like you can mow it once in the spring and then its done till the next year!  

Close relationships also need to be maintained and cared for.  With your lawn even though it might be dormant in the winter months, for it to really flourish when spring comes, we do the work in the fall to  prepare the grass for the winter. We fertilize, we rake and remove dead leaves so they don’t kill the grass.

Relationships need to be nourished also.  If we want our relationships to flourish we need to be willing to work at them and value them. Spend time together, or talk on the phone, or write. Be willing to listen to the other person even if you don’t always agree. Encourage them. Pray for them.  Pray together. Love them unconditionally even when its hard. We need to realize if we are in relationship with someone, we aren’t the only person who matters.

Our relationships and the way we handle them are so much more important than the time we spend on our lawns, or how clean our house is, or what we accomplish at work.  Let’s make an effort to give them the attention they deserve.

All this talk of lawns I think I’ll go do some mowing!

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The Only Thing To Fear…

Is fear itself.  That quote spoken by Franklin D. Roosevelt can be so true! Fear is our enemy and the moment we give it any place in our lives, or give in to it even just a little, the effects can be almost immediate. That line was the only one that I had ever heard from that speech.  Added with the rest of it below it really makes the point.  Unreasoning, unjustified terror.  I’m sure most of us have had that at one point or another to some degree.  I know I have. Have you?

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We know where fear comes from. And we know its not from the Lord.  When we read 2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified version, we see that the Lord has given us quite the opposite of fear.  “ For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].”  

If we were to sit and count all the scriptures in the Bible dealing with fear it would easily be over 100. The whole gamut from fear itself, to fear not, be not afraid, be strong and of good courage, to let not your heart be troubled.  That’s quite a lot of admonitions telling us to not give place to fear. 

It would be nice to think that fear can’t bother us anymore wouldn’t it?  Maybe for some of you that would be true.  I’m sorry to say that that is not always true for me.  

The other day I posted a blog where I talked about not believing the lies of the enemy, using the sword of the Spirit and not getting distracted by the plots and plans of the enemy. It was good advice right? Hmm. Perhaps I should have practiced that more.

I had three situations come up in the space of an hour the other day.  Three opportunities to give in to fear. These were all family situations. Many of you know how that can be. That can be the button the enemy uses the most to throw us off.  Do you sometimes find it’s easier to stand in faith, not letting fear in, when you are doing it for someone else, or for a big situation like trusting the Lord with our country? I know I do. So when this happened, without thinking, I opened the door to fear, and within no time I had lost my joy, lost my peace and found myself getting all upset. Although, I have to say, at least this time I did keep my mouth shut, and didn’t make it worse by talking about it! Sometimes the worst thing we can do when we are in that place, is to call up a bunch of friends just to rehearse our fears.  

The sad thing was, nothing had even happened in any of those situations. I was just thinking about what “could happen”.  It was like FDR said.  Unreasoning, unjustified terror. And I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker.

As I was thinking this morning about how I had been distracted, the picture that came to me was that of a matador. We can be just like that bull. He could easily take out those coming against him with one swish of his head. Instead, he’s distracted by that brightly colored cloth being waved in front of him. That’s what he’s looking at. He doesn’t see the big picture of what’s really going on. The same can be true with us when we are distracted by looking at the “what if’s”  or the “it might happen’s” instead of focusing on what’s really going on.  

When we take our eyes off of the distractions and put them on Jesus then we can easily win the battle against fear. As I looked at those issues the next morning, in the light of day I saw them differently. Fears.  False-evidence-appearing-real. Then I realized that what they really were was an opportunity to do what I should have done in the first place.  Pray, decree and believe.  Trust God.  

I love Psalm 34:4  “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” If we would just learn to seek Him first, before we give in to any fears, think of how much heartache we could save ourselves.  

I would guess that most days that we are on this earth we will have opportunities to either walk by faith or to give in to fear.  So then, the only question is, which will we choose?

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Open Your Eyes

 Why is it we hear so much doom and gloom? Why do we see so much Eeyore like, woe is me, hand wringing? We need to open our eyes and see what the Lord is doing.  And has already done.  There are miracles and wonders of God taking place each and every day right alongside all the bad things we see.  But the focus is generally put on all the bad going on.  We see it on TV, we read about it online and we discuss it endlessly with others.  

As Christians, who are we to come into agreement with darkness?  Every time we open our mouths and repeat something, or agree with someone who is speaking curses over our country we are siding with darkness.  I’m speaking of America but its the same for any country you may be in.  

This is God’s country.  And its our country. How dare we or anyone else curse it?  Do we not want it to be better than the way it is right now?  Why then are we not speaking those things that be not as though they are?  Why do we listen to (and some agree with) those who say America is in a downward spiral and is done for?  Yes, there is a whole lot of bad stuff going on out there.  But since when has murmuring, complaining, whining or speaking curses ever done anything to make it better?  

Have we forgotten whose we are are and who we serve?  Why would we agree with those who speak lies? Are they God? Did they form this country and its destiny? Do they  know the future?  Or do they think the Lord will tolerate evil forever?  Galatians 6:7 says “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”   

Personally, I don’t believe any of those lies of the enemy to be true. No matter what it looks like. Yes, there are a lot of people in this world and even in this country, who would love nothing better than for America to fold its hands, give up and be done.  That should make us really angry.  Righteously angry.  Should we not take a stand for what belongs to us? 

We serve a mighty God with whom NOTHING is impossible. N-O-T-H-I-N-G! Do you suppose when the Israelite’s were marching around Jericho those inside figured the walls would just fall down?  Do you think they were worried about a bunch of people walking around the walls silently doing nothing?  I’m sure they never would have guessed that with one mighty shout, walls would come tumbling down.  That same God has not left.  He still has a plan and He is still watching over His Word to perform it.  

 Yes, we’ve been through some dark days. John 16:33 tells us “ These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” God is not finished with us yet.  He’s waiting on us to do what we are called to do.  

We have the most powerful weapon known to man.  The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.  When God’s people are joined together speaking His Word over a situation, and speaking life and blessings over our towns, cities and country there is no force that could ever defeat us.  

The Lord’s plans for us are always good.  He has things for His people in this country and around the world to accomplish.  We need to become the mighty army He has called us to be.  We need to rise up, take our place and stop focusing so much on all the distractions the enemy tries to throw in front of us.  

It kind of reminds me of the Wizard of Oz.  You have that “great and powerful Oz” everyone is so intimidated by. They think he’s big and powerful and scary.  Then the curtain gets pulled back and he’s just this little man. Exactly as the enemy tries to do to us.  He tries to frighten us and make us think he’s powerful and he’s winning. As if. The enemy has already been defeated and he knows it.  The Bible tells us we are more than conquerors. We’re the head and not the tail, above and not beneath.  We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  

Don’t speak death.  Speak life, speak blessings, speak peace, speak unity, speak prosperity.  Let your mouth be used for good and not evil.  Pray for our leaders.  Pray for our country.  And most importantly, thank God for blessing us with this country.

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Everyday Can Be A Lesson

Why does it sometimes take us so long to remember to ask the Lord for help? Or is it just me?  The other night I was trying to put a new song I had downloaded onto my iPod.  The computer was telling me there were issues with the iPod and I needed to scan it.  OK, that doesn’t sound bad. Scan away.  Then, it told me there were problems found that needed to be fixed, did I want to fix them?  I thought sure, why not.  

Well, next thing I know it had deleted every single song from my iPod.  It was empty. Several hundred songs erased.  In seconds. To make a long story short, try as I might I couldn’t get my playlist back on there. The only option it gave me was to let them choose the music to add to my iPod.  They did but then my Christmas music was all mixed in with my other music. Can I tell you I was more than frustrated spending all that time trying to just get my music back the way I had it.   I loudly expressed my displeasure with iTunes and with Apple in general!

Fast forward to the next afternoon.  I thought to myself, OK, what do I have to lose?  I will go up and try one more time to  get it right.  As I was walking to the computer I found myself starting to mutter and call the iPod names before I had even started.  Suddenly, I realized what I was doing.  I stopped right then and there, said a  prayer and asked the Holy Spirit to help me and give me wisdom as to how to fix this problem.  And guess what? It took a few try’s but I got it!   Thank You Lord!

You may be thinking that with all that goes on in our lives and in this world my little issue was not an earth-shattering problem. And you’d be right, it wasn’t.  But it was important to me.  I love my music.  When I’m out in the kitchen cooking or cleaning I have my praise music on.  When something’s bothering me; I put my music on.  The Lord is so good.  He cares about us even in the seemingly small details of our lives.  I often wonder if He is sitting there just waiting for me to ask Him for His help.  Ask for His wisdom.  Take my problems to Him, whatever they may be, before I try and fix them myself.  

I love Psalm 46:1 ” God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Ever-present.  Always there. So why do I sometimes forget to turn to Him first?  Or to open my mouth and ask for His help.  To speak His Word over the situations in my life and other’s.  To speak life and blessing’s not curses.  

I have found that when the Lord does help me like that it does make it easier to remember to go to Him first the next time.  It helps to further build that trusting relationship between us.  And of course I always tell Him how very grateful I am for all He does.  mercy

I’m also thankful to the Lord that He is patient with me even when He has to keep reminding me of the same lessons.   I started this blog yesterday after fixing my iPod. Then  today I had a guy and his son come over to take a piece of furniture out of my upstairs.  I did remember my lesson and I prayed beforehand and prayed for their safety while they were lifting.  I prayed they would have wisdom to be able to figure out how to get it around the corner at the bottom of the stairs. Yet, after a while when they were still having problems I found myself in the kitchen mumbling and murmuring and calling that piece of furniture names.  I had remembered part of the lesson from the day before but; once again I had to repent for my words and lack of faith.  Praise God He still loves me enough to  keep giving me those gentle reminders!

Oh, just in case you’re wondering, they did finally take the whole thing apart and got it down the stairs.  As to the iPod and iTunes….well, hopefully it will keep working because I still find it to be one of the most user unfriendly programs I have encountered!  Speaking kindly about them might be a lesson for another day!