Your church needs you…even if you don’t go to church. God has a church out there for you, and they are suffering from a you-sized-hole right now. You could be the one who helps out with the kids….the one who writes notes to encourage the pastor…the one who always remembers to bring food for the food pantry…the one who always welcomes new people with a warm handshake…the crazy one. I’m not sure which one you are, but you are an important puzzle piece in the kingdom of God.
You may have a very good reason not to go to church. A church may have hurt you in the past. I’m sure you did not deserve that, but it’s time to forgive and find a new church. Maybe you have to work Sundays. What if you told your boss you have decided to get serious about church attendance and request Sundays off? Or you could visit a church on Wednesday evenings.
Keep trying new churches until you feel certain God has placed you there, but rest assured that God is placing you somewhere. Church is for every believer. We need to pray for one another and encourage one another in God. We can do more together than separately. What? You don’t know God? You belong in church too. God’s house is a great place to be introduced.
Seriously, what is your sign? You probably know without looking it up, don’t you? Astrology has become part of culture. Some look to it for hints about the future and for guidance. In today’s society, we can read our horoscope just about anywhere. If someone is really desperate, they can hire a roadside psychic. It is easy to think we can make better decisions for ourselves if we know the future, but I want to challenge that way of thinking.
Life is what happens to us when we are making other plans. It’s a famous quote first noted in Reader’s Digest 1957, but it has been repeated in multiple variations in songs and movies. Think about it. What great parts of your life happened to you unintentionally? In general, it is not good for us to know the future. If there is something we need to know, God can communicate it to us since he is the only one to clearly and perfectly see the future. If we need guidance, wouldn’t it be best to ask the Lord?
Sometimes you may not sense a clear answer and feel lost, but you can trust God for peace and to ask him to show you the steps. If you still feel lost after a time, then talk to a Christian friend. Another person with the same Holy Spirit in them that is inside you can draw out some deeply hidden God spoke to your heart and confirm what you think you have heard.
A close relationship with God will put you on the right steps for your best happiness in God’s perfect will for your life. If you have never committed your life to Christ, you are on a path away from God and may be feeling despair. It is never too late to turn that around. Give God the reigns of your life by accepting Christ into your heart and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit inside you.
Do you have a little Buddha statue in your home for good luck? Let’s talk straight. If that little statue is bringing you any luck (good or bad), then it is more than a statue. We both know statues are made from cement or other common materials. They have no power in and of themselves. If your statue is endowed with power, then it has a source and God is not it. How can I be sure?
Buddha’s claim is contradictory to Jesus’ claim. The ancient man called Buddha claimed to know a different way than Jesus. Yet Jesus specifically said, “I am the way.” He did not say one of many ways. He said “the way.” Millions of people have adopted Buddhism as their religion instead of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. Buddhism and all of its ways are in opposition to Christianity.
What about you? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If yes, then stop advertising a false way. Stop trying to gain fortune outside of God’s will. Toss out the statue. Pray to God for the blessings you want in your life. If that is what is best for you, our powerful God will delight in bestowing the blessing and provision you want in your life because He loves you.
Do you kinda believe in Jesus but also sort of think reincarnation is a possibility? When you think it through, the combination of the two belief systems is simply incompatible. Let’s look at both belief systems.
In reincarnation, humans are granted multiple chances to obtain a type of perfection. In this belief system, people work at achieving the right attitude and actions.
Now, let’s look at Christianity as it is presented in the Bible. Mankind is not expected to achieve perfection. Instead, a person must recognize and accept Jesus as the sinless Son of God and his or her Savior. With this act of humility, the person is granted a perfect standing before God as a gift. Then the Holy Spirit lives alongside of their soul to influence him or her to make the right choices and attitudes.
Do you see how the two cannot be reconciled? Either perfection is earned or it is a gift. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, then let go of your false beliefs in reincarnation. Put your full TRUST in Jesus Christ to make you presentable before a perfect God. Even with unlimited lifetimes, I guarantee you will never be able to achieve the kind of perfection that our holy and glorious God is worthy of. Jesus is the only one who can do that.
I know what you say. Christians are obsessed with the death of Jesus. You ask why. You admit he suffered a painful death, but people have suffered harsher deaths. Well there are several valid reasons Christians feel so strongly about Christ’s death.
1. Jesus was innocent. Innocent men have been imprisoned many years for crimes, and then those same men were freed when DNA evidence vindicated them. This stirs such a sense of injustice in you, doesn’t it? Consider the injustice of capital punishment on Jesus, the man who never sinned.
2. Jesus was the son of God. A community is disheartened when anyone from a community is killed, but consider how much more the community reacts when someone of great importance has been murdered. Like President Abraham Lincoln or President John F. Kennedy? Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Jesus was way more important than those men. He was the most important person in born in all of creation.
3. Jesus is beloved. Death brings about sadness for everyone, but no life event brings about more pain or stress than losing a loved one. Christians are in a deep personal relationship with Jesus. Even though we recognize Jesus has risen from the death, it still brings such great grief to remember his suffering and death.
It may be difficult for nonChristians to understand how Christians can be in a personal relationship with a man who died over 2,000 years ago, but it should be perplexing enough to ask yourself if there is something to this Jesus Christ. Could you get to know him personally like a brother or a friend? It is possible if only you ask for it in prayer. Give it a try right now. You have nothing to lose.
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh….” —Galatians 5:17
When I was a young girl, I dreamed of getting married and having children. As I grew into my teen and young adult years, that dream faded. A new dream of an accomplished career emerged. I felt fulfilled by intimate relationships without marriage and no longer wanted children. Then I became a Christian, and the Holy Spirit birthed in me a desire for His will for my life.
I felt the Spirit redirect my life focus. God wanted me to remove the career from the lofty place it held in my heart and allow that original dream of marriage and children to re-enter. This was not an automatic shift in my heart! I was in conflict with God, but I prayed that the Holy Spirit would change me. I prayed for God to send me a husband and for a desire for children. Years later, my prayers were answered. I am currently happily married with two wonderful teenagers, and I could not imagine life without them. I should also mention that God has given me a distinguished career as well, but it is so much less important than my family. Now it seems hard for me to understand how I ever prioritized career so high in my life before Christ. God is good and knows our innermost desires. He delights in giving us good gifts. Our greatest joy will be found in His path for our lives.
“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” —Revelation 2:4
Before I was saved, I could hear absolutely nothing spiritual at all. After I was saved, my ears were opened—not only to the Lord, but also to other spiritual entities. Sometimes I heard angels; other times I heard demons. At least twice, I am fairly sure I heard directly from Satan. It seems like it would be easy to know the difference, but discernment of the spirits was not a gift of mine. I tried very hard to listen to the Lord and tune the others out.
Then things changed after I met up with an old friend. She also had spiritual ears, and I tried to be open minded about the angels she said she could hear over the next year or so. During this time, the Lord spoke to me clearly and repeated the Bible reference “Revelation 2:4.” I would flip there, read it, and feel confused why He said I had forsaken my love for Him. He said it so often that I no longer had to flip there because I had memorized it.
Over time, my friend and I drifted apart. I realized the love I had forsaken Him for were these meaningless voices of angels. (Who even knows if they were angels?) I returned to asking only for the Lord to help me, praying to the Lord only, and for the Holy Spirit to help me discern His voice. There is no other entity on earth that can help anywhere near as much as my powerful one and only God. Praise be to Him!
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,
but one who has insight draws them out.” —Proverbs 20:5
Once I had a dream that I was in heaven. I could not see anything besides light, but I could sense the Lord was standing there with me. I could also sense that we were not alone. There was a long table with important men (like elders) sitting behind it looking at me. I did not have to speak, but the Lord instantly perceived what I asked of Him. I begged to stay there with Him with intense emotion. My soul was filled with such desperation to be with Him! I did not even feel ashamed to beg like that in front of those important people. He said that I was not done yet. Then I woke up.
For many years, I pondered it in my heart. It was really frustrating to be aware I had not fulfilled my purpose on Earth without knowing what it was! Today, I do not stress about it. I do not think it is one thing. It is many things. It is to be my mother’s and father’s daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece, to become a wife and mother, an aunt, a neighbor, a friend, to write poetry about Jesus and love Him while I am here. I have enjoyed all of my days. When God feels I am done, He will take me home to be with Him. He is worth the wait.
“…Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” —1 Kings 19:11-12
In the year 2000, I was faced with a decision to continue living in Atlanta or move to St. Louis. What was I to do? I prayed and asked and prayed. I had heard the Lord audibly multiple times, but the only thing I could perceive in this situation was my uncontrollable anxious thoughts. What I would have given to hear God’s answer! Was it yes or no? Finally, I decided to move to St. Louis.
After my big move, things changed dramatically for me. My love life and career options had been stagnant in Atlanta. Within a few years in St. Louis, I had married, was raising my first child, and had been hired by the company that eventually led to an advantageous position. Although I had moved away from my mother in Atlanta, I had the opportunity to renew my relationship with my father in St. Louis. (It was especially rewarding since he passed away a couple of years later.) God did not speak to me with a booming voice, yet somehow He moved my heart to make the right choice. God is my victory!
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”—Psalm 118:24
I feel most alive when most people drift off to sleep in their beds. When it is time to wake up in the morning, all I want to do is SLEEP! I normally press the snooze button on my alarm clock four or five times before dragging myself out of bed—sometimes crashing into a wall on the way to the light switch. Without an alarm, I usually sleep until at least 10:00 a.m. That is why the Lord’s request caused me such distress.
One night, I felt like the Lord was telling me not to set my alarm. I reminded the Lord that I had something important to do very early in the morning. Then I set my alarm. A feeling of conviction came over me and made me feel so guilty that I turned it off. Then the Lord impressed on me that He would wake me up on time. Warily, I drifted off to sleep. The next thing I remembered, the phone was ringing. I glanced at the clock. It was the exact moment I needed to wake up that morning. I felt like rejoicing when I answered the phone. My mother had called to talk about something insignificant thing, but it really made my day. God is good.