Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Stay On The Straight Path

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. –Proverbs 3:5-6

We live in a complex world, replete with complex choices. On any given day, we are bombarded with messages and information, so many details that discerning the truth takes time, patience and knowledge we often don’t possess. Like a stone being polished by running water, we sometimes let ourselves be molded by the thoughts of this world without realizing the implications that has on our relationship with God.

Submission can be hard. In this country, we pride ourselves on our independence, on our ability to take care of ourselves against even tremendous odds. But the truth of the matter is acting as if we alone control our fate makes us a slave to a world that thrives on chaos. If I control what happens to me, I have to be on top of all the details that make up my life all the time. I have to come up with contingency plans for factors I can conceive and even be prepared for calamities my finite mind has no way to perceive. Refusing to submit is an exhausting way to live.

Making my own choices comes with other hazards. My human mind is too often influenced by my human heart, the great deceiver.  My heart, no matter my best efforts, will always ultimately love me more than anyone else, no matter how hard I try to make it act differently. How else do people convince themselves it is okay to stray in an unhappy marriage or drink to excess when they are blue, or any of the other myriad mistakes we make when we are most fallibly human?

God loves humility. He honors those who live in full knowing of His omnipotence. I love this verse from Proverbs because it reminds me that I should not be trying to manipulate the world according to what I think should happen. Because the Holy Spirit lives in me, I can depend on God’s guidance as long as I ask Him for it.

This verse also reminds me that I need to fill my mind with God’s messages and not the messages of this world. In His Word, God gives us insight into what is right and wrong. He shows us the value of loving Him first and doing our best to love others as much as we love ourselves. He proves to us that His peace surpasses anything this material world has to offer.

When I fully realize that God will make the best out of anything that happens to me, when I fully embrace Jesus’ admonition to only think about today, which has enough worries of its own, no twists and turns of this crazy world can truly phase me. All I have to do is call out to Jesus and trust in God’s promises to see me through.

God keeps His promises, even if His timetable is nothing like my own. Abraham learned this lesson the hard way, waiting decades for God to even give him a son when God had promised to make Abraham a great nation. Israel wandered the desert for forty years before finally reaching the Promised Land. From the time Nehemiah was written to the arrival of the true Messiah, almost 400 years of silence passed.

The world has enough perils without making more for ourselves. That’s what makes following God and sticking to a straight path even more important. This promise that humbling myself and acknowledging God’s supremacy will help me find the straight path in this life is a comfort when it feels like the world is against me, when troubles are abundant and my hope is bleak. Humbling myself to God’s will each day is the most important thing I can do because it allows me to trust in His power to help me stay on the straight, narrow path that leads to redemption.

In Christ,
Ramona

 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Verses I am Glad I have Read

Verses I’m Glad I’ve Read: Make God Your King

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.–Judges 21:25

This is one of those verses that I love, not because of the verse in and of itself, but because of the story it represents.

If you read the book of Judges, you’ll see that upheaval and uncertainty mark this period in the life of Israel. Coups, political intrigue, victories and defeat make for a life that is only consistent in its uncertainty. Over and over again, Israel finds prosperity when it chooses to believe in God and utter defeat when it falls away from following Him. Without making God their True King, Israel makes the mistake of doing what is right in its own eyes.

When we choose to live according to what we think is right instead of closely following what God has shown us to be right, we make ourselves vulnerable to consequences we often don’t even see. Our lives, like those of Israel, exist in a state of constant flux without the calming, constant influence of a loving God.

I am convinced that we live without a king most days without even realizing that’s what we are doing. If you asked us point blank, I am sure we would tell you that God is sovereign in our lives. But our actions, which are much more concrete than our thoughts, prove otherwise.

Here is a case in point to consider. Apparently, one of the latest fads (perhaps fueled by social media) is to do a photo shoot after the wedding day in which the bride “trashes” her dress. This practice is so popular that is has its own hashtag #trashthedress. Search the term on Facebook, and you’ll be bombarded with photos and videos with smiling brides ruining a symbol that has obviously lost all meaning.

A wedding dress should symbolize part of a sacred contract between several parties, parties which include God. Standing in a sacred space, a man and a woman make a covenant with God to form a bond that puts God in the center of a relationship that not only binds the man and woman together, but also creates a union between two different families. The woman’s dress, white to signify her purity, also signifies the sacredness of the vow the man and woman are making with their Holy God, their forever King.

The happy brides following a trend and trashing their wedding dresses aren’t thinking about the message that sends to the world concerning the symbol of this sacred vow. But, they are letting their own sense of right guide them instead of God’s sense of right. Would you post pictures of yourself trashing your baptism clothes? What’s the difference?

No wonder we live in a world where marriages splinter regularly. By forgetting God is our King, we’ve also forgotten that marriage vows are meant to last a lifetime, as sacred as the covenant we have with God and Jesus, the covenant that allows the Holy Spirit to dwell in us as long as we believe.

So, how do we make God our King each and every day? It begins by humbling ourselves daily, acknowledging that we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to make the right choices each day. We need to know His Word so that we understand God’s standards for right and wrong.

If we find ourselves doing things the way the rest of the world does them, we should step back and consider our path, for God’s ways are not like man’s. Jesus tells us that the path to His Kingdom is narrow, not wide. If your choices are generally easy, almost no choices as all, then chances are you have strayed from that narrow path in which God is King.

We live in a busy world, but don’t let busy-ness get in the way of making choices influenced by God as your King. Taking the time to humble yourself and your mind before God is time worth taking. Most importantly, it is time God will reward with the peace of mind God alone can provide.

In Christ,
Ramona

 

 

Posted in Christian Living, Faith, Love

God Doesn’t Need To Be Politically Correct

I AM

When Abraham asked God, Who are you?, the Maker of the Universe answered, Is. 

In the prophecy of the final days, He describes Himself: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8).

How would you describe yourself?  Would you do it by your occupation?  Your age?  Your physical description?  Your personality traits?  By the company you keep?  By the things you have or have not accomplished during your time on this planet?

God knows how to describe you.  As the Creator of everything, He is the only One who can see straight to our true hearts.  The Psalmist says it this way: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?  and why art thou disquieted within me?  hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Ps. 43:5).

In one of the famous lines from the TV classic, The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby tells his television son, Theo, “I brought you into this world, and I’ll take you out.”  God could do that.  In fact, there are countless examples in the Old Testament where God’s patience wore thin and His vengeance was wrought against a people who had been given every chance to believe and still persisted in worshiping other gods, in sinning, in denying God’s omnipotence.  Think Sodom and Gomorrah.

Paul assures us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  Jesus warns us to remove the moat from our own eyes before worrying about the speck in others’ (Matthew 7:3).  We are all guilty of something.

So, what do you plan to do about it?

Jesus held the world to a standard of perfection because He Himself was perfect.  He threw the money changers out of the temple, but He also allowed Himself to be flogged and crucified by the authorities as a sacrifice for my sake as well as yours.  Jesus said things that were true and cut to the heart, but He said them with love, and He promised peace.  All He required was our surrender to Him.

So, what do you plan to do about it?

In today’s world, what if we tried speaking God’s truth in love with an end goal of peace in mind?  What if we didn’t worry about what other people thought about us as long as we knew that God was at the core of our actions?  What if we could be sure that our pride had nothing to do with what we had to say, in other words, that our eyes were clear of moats?

Paul describes Jesus,

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience: And patience, experience: and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:2-5).

In a world that grows increasingly hostile to truths based on God’s word and not modern, “enlightened”  ideas, where what feels good seems more popular than what is good, I am convinced that Christians need to strive to wear the armor of God.  Barbara Mandrell had a song when I was a kid–I Was Country, When Country Wasn’t Cool.  In America today, we are facing an environment where being Christian is no longer cool.  Our children are encouraged to do more than dress in certain clothes, and expressing an opinion on the wrong side of the political landscape could literally lead to dire consequences.

So, what do you plan to do about it?

The peace of God, a peace that transcends understanding, is the kind of peace that can whisper in a whirlwind and be heard.  To follow the example of Christ is not to condemn with hatred in our hearts, but to love others enough to gently lead them in the narrow way to God.  But first, we have to be sure that our own walk is being made as Christ holds our hands.  And that means prayer, introspection, fellowship, and study in His word.

In the coming days, your faith may be tested.  You may no longer have the luxury of practicing your faith in a bubble.  You may have to step out and say things that don’t make you popular with people but keep you on the narrow path that is the walk with God to eternal life.  It is God’s place to judge, but it is our place to spread the good Word of the grace that can mean salvation for anyone who is willing to believe.

So, what do you plan to do about it?

God doesn’t need to be politically correct.  He IS.  In God, there are no politics, only a kind of truth that sees the heart and does not waver.  The Bible speaks of peace as the blessing of God.  This peace is our ultimate gift on this earth, not happiness or shiny cars or pretty jewelry or the right clothes.  This peace does not waver in the face of opposition or hardship.  It is constant because it relies solely on God, and He never wavers.

So, what do you plan to do about it?

Go in peace and love that only God provides, and know what you plan to do about a world full of darkness for which you have been chosen to shine His light.