How are your listening skills?

Matthew chapter 5: 3-`2: This is known as the Beatitudes.  Beatitudes means: a state of almost bliss. (Latin)  You will have bliss in these conditions.  I remember as a very young child hearing these.  We were very poor sometimes go hungry poor.  I heard only the poor part.  I heard blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  I thought to myself Yippee When I die I get to be with Jesus. I get to live in a mansion, and have plenty to eat and never be hungry.  While all this is true, The Bible says No more pain, No more suffering (Revelations 21:4); it states poor in spirit. Even though I know Jesus has prepared a place, and he lives in me, I do not think that I have ever been poor in spirit. God gave me the spirit of a lion.  Although there was a period of my life that he allowed me to experience unimaginable fear, we are talking Adrian Monk type fear, it was so I could understand what it feels like to face constant fear.  For most of my life, I have had a Spirit of a lion.  It has enabled me to do things like be a Major’s driver and drive in blackout conditions down the side of a hill.  That is just how it is sometimes; we hear what we want to hear. We do not always listen to the nuances of a conversation. Try it sometimes, just listening and absorbing every single word. It is HARD. I mean to sit and listen to every single word someone is saying takes practice.  Maybe it is easier for some than it is for me. My mind is always racing. I tend to think of more than one thing at once. Some things are automatic such as cooking a meal.  I have been doing it for so long it is automatic. Even now as I am writing to you, I am having a hard time not being distracted by the rain outside.  This means that I have had to teach myself, actually force myself listen actively.   With reading and listening to the word of God, the Holy Spirit is such a wonderful asset.  When I read the word, the Holy Spirit will whisper did you see that or did you hear what was just said?  I have to replay the   tape in my head.  Then the little light goes on and I think OH!  However, when I was a little girl, if I had of heard the word Spirit; I might not be the Christian Lion that I am today. That is the other amazing thing about the Holy Spirit, he gets you to hear what you need to hear.

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.Blessed are the merciful,  for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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How to use your Lie-A-Scope

As you might think a Lie-A-Scope gives you discernment to detect lies. It would be a cool device to have, but I would not use it listening to politics during a campaign. I am afraid this would cause you to hear a constant buzz from your Lie-A-Scope.

Psalms 63: It says honor God, earnestly seek him and the mouth of liars will be silenced.  As I was writing this, I was thinking wouldn’t it be neat if you could differentiate between truth and lies? God can.  He knows the difference between the truth and a lie, even a little white lie.  There are some lies which are obvious to us. And James chapter one tells us if we pray for wisdom without doubt, it will be given to us. With wisdom, we are better equipped to discern lies. I think that there are days that if I had a “lie-a-scope”, it would be sounding constantly, especially if I turn on the news. But we can through time, through learning to hear God more, have our own lie-a-scope.  It is called wisdom brought to us by having Jesus live inside us. So go out and hone those Lie-a-scopes and learn to hear God better through reading the word. P.S. Not advisable to over use your Lie-a-scope during a presidential campaign or any time speaking with a politician you do not personally know.

You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Those who want to kill me will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.
10 They will be given over to the sword
and become food for jackals.

11 But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God will glory in him,
while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

 

Stay focused on the Victories

Psalms 92:4-15:  It says the wicked spring up like grass but they will be scattered like grass. I do not know about you.  But sometimes I feel as if the evil of this world is winning. Do not listen to the news, it will deceive you. Focus on Jesus, because believe it or not we do win.  We may be downtrodden in this life. But there is forever. The enemies of the Lord will perish. Those who trust in the Lord will bear fruit in old age. Just stay focused on Jesus. Don’t bend to the left or the right. Sometimes when you watch the news, you see a glimpse of evil, sometimes you see evil is defeated. Who cares, it is your own life which is important. Pay attention to you, pray for the rest. But if those times that evil is defeated, help you stay focused, then use those stories.  Because believe me, there are days, which sometimes stretch into weeks that it is hard to focus on the fact that the victory is the Lords. He is the creator and He wins. What you have to do is use every trick, or advantage to stay focused on Jesus. Victories over evil in the news, on social media, read the Bible, listen to Christian music. Use every trick to deny the lies of the evil one.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;
I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
How great are your works, Lord,
how profound your thoughts!
Senseless people do not know,
fools do not understand,
that though the wicked spring up like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they will be destroyed forever.

But you, Lord, are forever exalted.

For surely your enemies, Lord,
surely your enemies will perish;
all evildoers will be scattered.
10 You have exalted my horn, like that of a wild ox;
fine oils have been poured on me.
11 My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries;
my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

 

If you don’t ask, you can’t recieve

Acts 9: 32-43:  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter and the other disciples traveled and told the truth about Jesus. They visited and healed the sick.  I have heard the question “Why doesn’t Jesus heal us today?”  He does it states that by his stripes, we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (KJV) So do we not find healing because of lack of faith, because of our sins, our unrepentant mind, or is it God just does not care?  Remember that the hairs on your head are numbered Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30.  God cares, I do not understand why some receive healing and others do not.  I do know that there are victories to be found in every ill wrought on us by the evil one. Sometimes it takes years to find the silver lining. Sometimes we see the silver lining immediately.  (The silver lining being good coming from the bad). It does after all state that God uses all for good. Romans 8:28.  Even when the worse things happen such as death of a loved one, God works it.  Last year a young teen from our church had a tragic death.  The good that came? Our youth group started to grow.  I know his family has found comfort in this fact. Does it take away all their pain? No probably not, they were crying on graduation Sunday.  Other holidays, are difficult. I am sure the birthday will be or was extremely difficult. But this young man belonged to God.  When he died God took him to be with him. Does that play into God healing some and not others? Maybe.  The point is he does heal; we would be foolish if we did not ask for healing. Just because so and so was not healed, does not mean that God will not heal you or your loved one. I still do not have an answer why some are not healed, but I do know that those that do not ask cannot receive. Matthew 7:7.  Oh and here is a catch, maybe the healing comes from seeking the right medical help.

32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”

39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.”She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. 41 He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. 42 This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

 

How much do we listen?

James 1: 19-20, 1 Corinthians 12: 25:  Quick to listen, how often I wish I had listened more quickly. Have you ever been in one of those conversations with someone who likes talk but rarely listens?  Sometimes that has been me.  And it is rather crazy because I want to know about the things in other people’s life.  I really do.  I want to pray for and with other people. The problem is I tend to think that people are as truly interested in me as I am in them.  I have learned that most people are not that willing to share.  Even with all the social media, people have this thing against sharing one on one. I am fascinated how someone can show me all their vacation pictures online, but would you do it in person? Who has the time to show each person individually?  This is something else that amazes me about social media, if they post it on-line, then they must be willing to talk about it if you see them face to face.  For example I recently saw a prayer request online.  Then about two days later I saw the person who made the post and asked them about their situation. We are not real close, so they seemed shocked that I knew or even cared. Here is the difference, I take 1 Corinthians 12: 25 seriously. Where I fail is the listening to others part. Recently, an acquaintance asked me how I was doing, I told her, but I did not ask the return question. Then there is the difference between an acquaintance and someone that knows me well. They know to follow with how they are doing. They know that I am genuinely interested in them. That I will pray for them. Just the other day, I ran into someone that I used to speak with more frequently. My social skills became apparent. Because this person knows that I am lacking in this area and just started in on her life after asking me pointed questions about mine. It made me acutely aware of how seldom I ask that important question: How you are doing. I look but fail on the execution. But how else are people supposed to know that I want to hear how they are doing in person, not just read it online. Because the truth is when it comes right down to it, the person to person is so vital to being a Christian. Life in this world is difficult we are not meant to do it alone.  Just one request, please remember I don’t fail to care, I fail to ask. Help me as I work on this and tell me about you. Because I really do care.

1 Corinthians:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

James:

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Walking in the Light= Community

1John 1:5: when we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another. The definition of fellowship is friendly association with someone who shares your interests. But just the use of the word fellowship in the text indicates that we are not meant to go it alone. We are meant to have other Christians walking beside us. We are meant to have friends with whom we can share life struggles. We are meant to have people who get along together, that form bonds with us. We need this.  There is a verse that comes to mind from Ecclesiastics 4:9-12: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  We all know there is one that will attack us constantly. This is especially true when we are about to make spiritual break through, or if we are about to do something for the Kingdom of God. We need people praying for us daily. We need someone there to keep us in check. We need someone there to share our joy. The most fun part of community is sharing the joy. When you are able to talk about a victory, then everyone celebrates with you. When there is something difficult then everyone is praying with you. When we are doing something out of the will of God, we have friends who gently show us the way. When we are walking in the Light, there is a whole host of people walking with us. It is up to us to take the time to find that few to walk closely with us.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him, there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

 

Which is better a house or home

James 4: 1-3:  Which is more important the house or the home you build inside the house.  Which is more important the camper or the experiences you have inside the camper? There is a clever commercial it says “own the experience”.  We are not here to accumulate stuff. We are here to tell the world about Jesus. Verse 17: 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. What exactly does that mean?  It means that if you know there is something you should do and you do not do it, then you are sinning. Sometimes, I think Oh wouldn’t it be nice…. Then I see a single mother with a sign that says:  single mother needs food.  She is not asking for money or anything for herself, she is asking for food. Not knowing her situation, I divide the money I was going to spend on my groceries, you know maybe buy some nice steaks for the BBQ. I use some of the money to buy some food that can be eaten as it is. That food tends to cost more than the steak. It is less filling, and it is not healthy. But I do not know are they living in the van that is parked nearby with two children quietly playing?  I believe so, because she keeps looking into it. Is there a family member that gives them a bed?  Does she have the ability to cook food?  I do not know so I shop on the premises that she is unable to cook. Maybe they are living in a tent. Who knows.  During the depression many families lived in a tent. My father-in-law, was lucky, his father worked for the railroad and they lived in a box car.  It could have been a tent. They could have stood in soup lines. However to me, the idea of living in a box car, something without windows, sounds awful. I would rather the tent. Where am I going with this?  It is better to live in a tent with Jesus in your family’s life than to live in a mansion with constant quarrels, with more concern as to having the best game station and a couch that is not falling apart. Besides for eternity, there is a mansion. Which is better the short time on earth, or ETERNITY?

1What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Do Haters really have to Hate?

James 2: 1-10:  Everyday, there is a new protest “Black lives Matter”.  This is a rather disappointing twist in the world. It had absolutely nothing to do with one race, or ones sexual orientation, or whether someone is a convict or whatever is used to distinguish one person from another. In the eyes of the Lord; this makes no difference. In this passage James warns about showing favoritism, we call it prejudice. We should not choose to whom we show Jesus. Instead we are to trust the Holy Spirit to guide us to those people we are to help. We are called to share God with the world. Mark 16: 15: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. If you remember the woman at the well was a “cursed Samaritan”.  Someone who according to Jewish law, Note this says Jewish law, not God’s law, Jesus should not have spoken to her. Yet he did. Samaritans were considered unclean. Jesus should have not even entered this village, yet he did, he went towards the village. There were other ways to get to His destination.  It is the story of the Good Samaritan for a reason.  It was the Samaritan who helped a stranger who was injured on the side of the road.  What I am asking if you are supporting one of these hate groups, no matter what hate group it is, I am asking that you step back and think about how God perceives these groups. Reading James; and studying Jesus’ behavior, we can see that these groups are not Biblical. They promote prejudice and hate. I am sure we can all agree that Hate is the opposite of God.

1My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

 

Do you feel REJECTED?

1 Peter 2: 4-10: Do you feel rejected?  Then you are in good company.  Jesus was also rejected.  The problem comes in when we allow this rejected feeling to control our lives.  We have given the enemy ammo to use against us. This is when we have to find the root of the problem.  See the things that make us feel bad about ourselves, is the enemies ammo against us. This is where the helmet of Salvation comes into place we have to use it to protect our minds.  Sometimes the problem lies deep in our thought process. It is something that happened which made a big impact on us. It changed our thought process. We have to allow our Salvation through the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus counselor to change our thought patterns.  From I am rejected, unworthy to I am accepted and chosen.  You are part of a Holy Priesthood. Now let us go back to the rejected feeling and rooting out the problem. Our thought processes are ingrained by our past experiences. Think of it just like the stump that was never properly removed.  The tree – it will start looking like a bush will start growing even after the tree is cut down.   It is because we did not actually destroy the root of the problem.  Once we realize what actually causes the problem. The one the enemy uses to attack us. Think of what happened that the enemy is using against you. Then you remind yourself God has forgiven you.  Look for God in the situation, and then most important forgive yourself. It is okay that you have been feeling this way all this time over this incident because you did not realize you were giving Satan ammunition to use against you.  Or fuel for the fire. The last step is to have a conversation with God, telling him the experiences, telling him where you see that he was protecting you. Then you tell the Lord to help you retain your through process to the Positive.  You tell yourself that you are a child of the King, and as a child of the King, that is no longer important because you have been set free.  It will take a bit of time, depending on how long you have thought yourself unworthy, unloved, rejected.  But in time, your thought pattern will be re-routed and then the enemy has one less thing to bring up against you and make you feel bad about yourself.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house  to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”

and, “A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 

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