Words, We All Have Them!

We, on these spaces, have a unique opportunity to share the love of Christ with all who will listen.  We may not always get it right in the way that we say it but I believe if we trust His Word and the truth of it and then stand on it…it will show through our words without condemnation to others.  It is a fine line, especially when we broach subjects that are so close to our hearts.  Sin is devastating to all who are touched by it…I can certainly testify to that in my life. 
I have chosen not to share the intimate details of my testimony in such an open forum but have shared privately with a few bloggerville friends. And that was with the leading of the Holy Spirit. I am not afraid of telling my testimony that I must be careful of when and where that is done for Christ’s glory, not for mine. 
It has been important for me to be able to share with others what God is doing in my heart and life.  My Heavenly Father has me in a place where I do not have a huge social life, I am a single mother, working full time and trying with what little time I have left at the end of the day to invest in my children’s’ lives.  So there is little time for me to get out!  Smile So this is just one way for me to connect…
 
I have recently read some blogs and the comments going back and forth…and I could very well see both points, not because I thought they were wrong or right per say but because they were spoken by people who look out into the world, see the news (however reliable that may be) and form opinions of the hurt, pain and confusion that is caused by someone else’s sin. 
We all are passionate about one idea or another because of where we come from, the experiences we have had in our lives and the roads we have had to travel.  Spiritually, we may be in different places in our walks with Jesus or some may not even have a relationship with Him, therefore giving opinions with an entirely different perspective. 
 
It is so easy for us to sit and read a blog and then automatically assume we know where the other’s heart is. While our words may give us a small peek into the lives of who we really are it does not show the whole picture. And sometimes the part we don’t see is the most important part of who we are…. 
 
I have, myself written things that seem so self-focused that after I posted it I wonder if maybe I am being narcissistic in my “point of view”.  I write things about myself and where my heart is because
 
    (1) it helps me think out loud and really look at what I am thinking or feeling in comparison to His Word. Some of those things can be very painful but I would rather share that in view of His Word and let Him use it to maybe turn others towards Him. And it does not hurt to have some feedback or encouragement…and accountability in what I say.
 
    (2) my opinion about other people’s sin is really better left for me to keep to myself unless asked.  There are many things in the news that make me very angry and there are times I would love to vent my feelings and emotions but for me, I feel that it would do more harm than good for me to unload all that onto another.  It does not bother me for others to be able to do that….that is our privilege on these spaces.
I think the thing that we all must remember is no matter what we think or how passionate we are about a subject, we must at all times, consider how our words affect others.  The Bible says…

 

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18:21

There have been many speakers who can inspire the masses by their eloquent speeches and then those who incite riots by the hatred and fear in their words.  And every one of them speaking knew what their intentions were when they got up to speak.  I believe we all want to have our say.  Something in us needs to speak out against injustice, unfairness, and sin. And the intentions we have in doing so often come from a place in our hearts that no one really knows is there until we speak.

We are so inundated with information coming at us from all directions, Television, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, and Internet, that we could not possibly take it all in…so we pick and choose our medium, our subject and even how much of the details we want to take in. And then we have to process it and then we need to discuss it.  I think (and this is my opinion) that our need to discuss comes from wanting to be validated.  We want others to know what we think is important, what hurts us, what inspires us and most of all what moves us to action.

If we can bring it out in the open, so to speak, then we can somehow relieve the anxiety in our souls.  The unrest that lies within us.  We can feel better about having made the connection between the just or unjust, right or wrong and truth or lies. Bottom line is “we all fall short of the glory of God” and we, who believe in a righteous and Holy God will never be at peace on earth..we are sojourners passing through on our way to a place where none of this dialogue will matter in eternity!

Grace to you all

Shell


 

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A Special Birthday

Today would have been my sister’s 43rd birthday.  She passed away a year ago September 17th.  So many thoughts are going through my head right now.  So many birthdays we missed spending together because I lived abroad.  We would call each other and sing "Happy Birthday" to each other.  She wouldn’t even say hi…she would just start singing, then she would say "Whatcha doin’?".  She always said that.  In this year since her death I have found myself thinking so much of her life and what she left.  The small things we don’t think of until someone is gone and your missing them.  She smiled in every picture she ever took…I noticed that after putting together all the pictures for her memorial video.  I did not find one that she was not smiling.  She wanted everyone to be happy… she loved her family and was always wanting to make things fun!  She is probably is celebrating her birthday in heaven!
 
Anyway Dani, here you go…
 
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Dani, Happy Birthday to you!!!
 
 

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Back to the Cross, on my knees!

“On my knees”  I love that song…it is so worshipful.  The words, the melody the heart bowed down before God.  These last few days I have struggled with making a choice.  A choice that does not come easy….yes it is about obedience…it always is.  There was never any doubt about which choice to make it was the heart-ache in making the choice.  Not my will but thine.  God has been so faithful to me.  He has protected me, provided for me and blessed me beyond words.  And yet I still find my heart wanting so much more than it is ready to receive. 
The choice has to do with purity.  Purity in my heart and mind.  For the last month that has been what God is dealing with me on.  He has shown me remarkable mercy and patience.  He has given me clarity.  I don’t have to question God on whether He is right or not, just question whether my discernment is right. 
Many do not understand why I make such a big deal out of this choosing.  They don’t understand being obedient to God or allowing Him to glorify Himself through my words and actions.  To them it is senseless (folly), I should just go out and find happiness, whatever that may be in their view.  This choice isn’t even about sacrifice…it is about obedience.  By being obedient I do not sacrifice anything, I just choose to obey, and in that choice is love…love for a God who loved me first.  Loved me so much He died for me.  On the Cross!  So here I am again back at the cross, on my knees. And I don’t want to be any other place!

Grace to you all today!

Shell

The Ultimate Gift

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Love always means sacrifice.  
We sometimes want the splendor and the glory of offering
ourselves without the sacrifice of commitment.
 
“Charity (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
There is a lot written about love and giving, especially in the secular world where those two actions can be minimized to something that comes from the heart…as Christians, we know that our hearts are sinful so how could something good ever come from that point?  I made an attempt in my last blog to discuss the act of giving but after reading it again, through someone else’s eyes…it really was not very clear.  We have to be careful in the words we choose when testifying to God’s wisdom and His great love that He bestows on each one of His believers.  And it is a great responsibility to witness to those who do not know of Him and His Word.
I start with a quote from Elizabeth Elliot who is an author and wonderful woman of God.  She has written many wonderful books that have blessed my heart and helped me to walk with my Savior.  I love what she says in regards to love itself.  This is the worlds way of loving.  I think, even believers, love this way because they do not truly know what God’s kind of love is on the most intimate level.  A level, David, a man after God’s own heart, knew very well according to the Old Testament accounts.
Christ’s love made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross.   (Romans 12 – excellent passage on this) He himself said no greater love than a man lay down his life for another.  In that same line of thought, it was also the ultimate gift. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. What did He require from us?  There is a paradox here for us to consider…to gain life we must lose our life and Jesus was our ultimate example.  His gift, free and clear…
God told the Children of Isreal in the Old Testament what was required of them…

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?  Deuteronomy 10:12

And in the New Testament, Jesus himself used the scripture to restate the commandment.  This is the first commandment.  So it must have been very, very important to God for us to give back to Him by choosing to join ourselves with Him, identify with Him….

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  Luke 10:27

When we choose Christ as our Savior, we are saying, I will follow you, keep your commandments, give everything I have and all that is within me, including my thoughts.  That should be our gift to Him. Freely given with no thought of anything in return.

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Shades of Love

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.   1 Corinthians 13:3

Giving to another can sometimes be so very difficult. Especially if we give expecting something in return.  Many times the simple act of giving is for selfish reasons.  Look at me…what I gave!  Or we give hoping that we will get something back.  It doesn’t always have to be materialistic, the giving, it can be emotional.   We often think that giving is something that is done out of the goodness of the heart when in actuality it is really out of the mind.  Because the reasons we give start with our thoughts.  When does the giving become an act of goodness or better yet an act of love?  What would be considered sacrificial giving?

Sacrificial giving, where the mind and the heart meet to bestow a gift on another soul without any thought as to what the result will be.  What does it matter to the world that the ultimate sacrificial gift was given by God?  There have been many on our planet earth who have given their lives for a cause or so that others may live.  So what was it about God’s sacrifice that should compel us to give in a like manner.

We know that God, created all things.  He created man in his own image.  He created something inside of us that has the need to  give, the need to love, to need to surrender to something beyond ourselves.  He himself came to earth in the form of a man as an example to us, to give himself for the salvation of humanity. What keeps us from giving in such a way?  Sin in our flesh.  We struggle with this day in and day out in small little ways. But God also created something else inside of us….a free will, a free will to choose.  He didn’t want robots, he wanted fellowship, He wanted us to love Him freely.  He wanted us to choose it for ourselves.  In choosing to fellowship we choose to give to Him our love.

That love becomes many shades of one color.  Because He created each one of His children, though unique, in His image. They become one color of His image. 

 

Pink, Magenta, Rose, Burgundy…….

God’s Picture

Sometimes I wonder how people get by without knowing God. How they get through the day never giving Him a second thought.  It would be impossible for me to go a whole day let alone 5 minutes wondering how God is viewing my life.  Is He pleased, is He amused or is He waiting on a response from me?  Lately, I have been so aware of His presence, maybe it is because He has me in the loneliest of places.  Even with a house full of family.  I love them so much but often feel like an outsider to their lives.  Like I am looking at a photograph I took of them and I am no where in the photo…only God sees the picture with me in it!  Ever thought of that? 

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For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1 Corinthians 13:12

 

Charity is much to be preferred to the gifts on which the Corinthians prided themselves. From its longer continuance. It is a grace, lasting as eternity. The present state is a state of childhood, the future that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! Thus shall we think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven. All things are dark and confused

now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only, that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us. To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, to faith and hope. Faith fixes on the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying

on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But there, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! how much surpassing the best below! God is love, 1Jo 4:8, 16.

Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face, there charity is in its greatest height; there only will it be perfected.

commentary taken from BibleGateway.com on this particular verse