A Prayer For The Church

Father God, I do not stop giving You thanks for Your People…

I pray that each one of us would be rooted and grounded in Your love; that we would know that love, which surpasses knowing; and that we would be filled up to all the fullness that belongs to You. May we have power together with all the saints to love one another more and more every day – to love our children, our spouses, our family members, neighbors, co-workers, and friends the way that You love us.  I ask that You, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, would give every single one of us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Your Son Jesus and His Spirit that lives within us.  Would You enlighten the eyes of our hearts that we might know the hope to which You have called us, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and the immeasurable greatness of Your power toward us when we believe. Grant us strength and conviction to partner together with Your Spirit living in us and to make every effort to grow in our relationship with You and with one another. I Praise You for the faith of your people, for their great love for You, and their love and good will toward Your Church. I ask that You fill us with the knowledge of Your will according to the wisdom that Your Spirit gives. May we all live lives worthy of your calling. May we please You in every possible way. May we bear fruit in every good work, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might. As we love, may we exhibit great endurance and patience toward one another. Remind us to always be grateful, full of joy, and thanksgiving for You, our Heavenly Father, for You are worthy of our praise.  Yes You Are! In The Powerful Name of Jesus. Amen and Amen.

(prayers combined from Ephesians 3:14-19,  Ephesians 1:15-19, Colossians 1:9-12)

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BECAUSE GOD SAID SO…

Dear Christian… I wonder, have you been able to convince yourself that the positive things that the Bible declares over you are 100% true about you right now?  Things like:

  • Holy and Blameless
  • Dearly Beloved
  • Created in His Image and Likeness
  • The Righteousness of God in Christ
  • More Than a Conqueror

These are not just nice words written on antiquated pieces of paper to help you “feel” better about yourself, are they? These things, Beloved, are 100% true about you 100% of the time.  Not just when you are being “good” or when you are on an upswing in your Christian life.  These things are true about you because GOD SAID SO and what He says stands!

Try this one on for size.  Gods Word says….  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  (1 Cor 12:15-18 emphasis added)

So basically what God is saying is that each one of us has been created the way we are because of why we are.  He planned it that way.  We each have a specific purpose and a function within His body, and I can no more say to you that we have no need of you as you can say to me, that I don’t fit in.  But can I be totally honest with you?  From the time I was a brand new baby Christian to this very day, I have struggled to buy in to that particular concept.  When you are someone like me, let me just say, it’s not always easy. Quaint descriptive phrases like loud-mouth, gregarious, irreverent, and grand-stander are just a few of the ways I have described myself to myself. Endlessly commiserating that I am just not enough of this or I am way too much of that. Can I get a witness?  Ughhhhhh!

The truth is, when I first became a Christian I thought that the ultimate goal for me was to not BE ME at all.  But, that’s like asking a bolt of lightning to stay trapped in a firefly or the waves of the sea to stay back from the shore.  It is just NOT going to happen.  So what’s a girl to do?

I’m so grateful to HIM that I have learned to trust that who I am, is who I am supposed to be.  That He took careful consideration when He designed me and that there is great purpose behind the way I am and behind my strategic placement within His body.  I don’t have to question why I was born into this particular family at that particular time; or why I am only 5 foot 3 with thin stringy hair, or why I love to sing but can’t sing like Whitney Houston, and for goodness sake, why there is no volume control on Sandy. It’s not there, trust me, my precious husband has looked.

Seriously Beloved, I am so grateful that I have come to understand over the years that I can trust the God who created me to be me and that when I complain and commiserate about what HE made I thumb my nose at the Great I Am… the Ancient of Days… The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Where was I when He laid the foundations of the earth, when He created the pathways in the ocean, when He placed the stars in the sky?  The truth is, I can trust Him and so can you.  Let’s stop resisting and start reclaiming our place in Him… because He placed us where we are… because we are fearfully and wonderfully made…because He Said So!

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How is Your Self Talk These Days?

How is your self talk lately?

Whether you realize it or not, you are more than likely arguing with God in your own internal narrative (that is the dialogue you have about yourself that plays over and over in your mind) about who you are, what you can do, and whether or not He really loves you.  How do I know that?  Because that same old, worn-out, tired, washed-up, broken-record plays over and over in my mind as well.  “Who do you think you are?”  “You can’t do that!”   “You’re not good enough”  “God is not happy with you right now”  “No one cares what you have to say“.  “Just give up…. better yet…. don’t even try“.

Ughhhhhhh.  I am so tired of beating myself up.  Who needs enemies when I have my own self-deprecating, insecure, knock-down-drag-out-fight going on inside of my own thin skinned skull.  Seriously.  Whose side am I on?

According to God’s Word – Jesus is literally standing in the throne room of God advocating for me (1 John 2:1).  And instead of championing with Him, I am presenting an endless litany of malicious accusations against myself.  Does this make sense to anyone other than me?  What am I doing?  Am I on the defense team or am I my own prosecuting attorney?    Seriously, who needs enemies when we have our own scathing talking points?

When I really think about it, I wouldn’t want to be my own friend.  As a matter a fact I wouldn’t want to be a friend with anyone who says the things about me that I say about myself.  Those would be fighting words for sure and yet there I go perfectly comfortable with my own mind-numbing, self-incriminating, abusive self-talk.  This doesn’t make logical sense.

Every time I get together with a new group of believers to go through the 70 Day Challenge (that is the You Are Potential Bible Study curriculum) I am humbled and frustrated by the seemingly universal experience of  self-discrimination.  We are so hard on ourselves.  We have our own predetermined internal prejudices about who we are and who we aren’t.  The truth is we don’t know who we really are in Christ and candidly we don’t believe what God has to say about us either.

Correction… we do believe in what God has to say about others… it’s what he has to say about us that we really struggle to believe.  But that’s not faith… is it?

I am reminded of how many times Jesus turned to His disciples and said… “Oh you of little faith...” (Mat 6:30; 8:36; 16:8).  It’s almost like he’s saying “Seriously, what’s up.  Do you still not believe me?”

That’s how I feel every time I confront my own internal narrative.  I guess I just don’t really believe and honestly… that’s not acceptable to me and it shouldn’t be acceptable to you either.  When are we going to stand up against ourselves and say enough is enough already?  When are we going to get out of our own way… stop blocking our own progress… and limiting our own potential?  We were created for more than this and I for one want to learn to align myself with my-new-self to advocate for myself with the One who is currently advocating for me – Christ Jesus.

The Bible says, “We have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.” (1 John 2:1 NLT)

BlueLetterBible.com, says the Greek word for advocate is  paraklētos, which literally means “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, a counsel for defense”

If Jesus is pleading my case before the Father, then what on earth am I doing?

Just Keeping it Real…

Sandy

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A Transitional Social State????

Don’t get me started. Or do. Either way read on at your won risk.  Don’t blame me if you get to the end of this post with your blood pressure rising and your spirit all torqued-up.  Click away my friend – just click away. There is nothing to see here.

I am frustrated… totally. I feel like I have landed on some far away planet in a distant galaxy where right is wrong and up in really down. Or I’ve gotten stuck in some LSD laced made-for-TV episode of Bram Stokers Alyce in Wonderville?

Seriously? Can someone tell me where the heck I am (FYI – that’s a rhetorical question for those of you living in Rio Linda).

What is going on in America?

When I was a kid (don’t you just love when you’re finally old enough to say that?) When I was a kid my teachers proudly taught me the amazing history of this greatest nation on God’s Green Earth and I grew to love her.  Not that I wasn’t taught about the atrocities of slavery (who can forget the movie Roots) or the plight of the Native Americans or the sweatshops that fueled much of the industrial revolution.  These are all stains on the fabric of our combined humanity.  But they are not the substance of our nations heart nor the full content of her character.

Seriously… I am so sick of revisionist historians, our so called “enlightened elitist academicians“, painting our forefathers as greedy bigoted racist homophobic pigs.  That from a country who gave us the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, The Wright Brothers, Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, Stephen Foster, Rosa Parks, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley, Walt Disney, and Ted Nugent (okay – so I had to throw Ted in there for good measure).  But seriously…what’s going on in the minds of our misguided brethren on the left?  Why the bash America hate fest drip-drip-dripping from the faucet of every left-leaning institution in the United States of America?

If the agenda weren’t so obvious it would be, well, obvious.  They don’t even try to hide it any more. Can you say socialism?

SO·CIAL·ISM – ˈsōSHəˌlizəm  (noun)
  1. a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.   ie:  The government should “own” what we produce and “they” should decide how it is distributed.
  2.  in Marxist theory – a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism

According to Websters Dictionary socialism is defined this  way:

  1. a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.    ie: we are no longer free agents – the government is our baby sitter and our master. Can you say the former Soviet Union?

Reminder: Marxist theory submits that socialism is a “transitional social state” right before the “overthrow of capitalism” and the implementation of communism.  A “transitional social state“?  Oh – so that’s what he meant by change!

The government is going to give you FREE health care – FREE cell phones – FREE college – and FREE… what?  Everything? And where is all this money going to come from, in order for the “government” to be able to give you all this FREE stuff?  Oh that’s right all the big fat rich wall street guys – they are going to pay for it.  But how are they going to pay for it when the system that is going to take it from them is the same system that will hinder them from getting it in the first place.  Oh, I guess we haven’t thought that far down the road yet.

I am frustrated… frustrated to live in a country where people – any people – think its okay to take what belongs to someone else so that someone else can have it for FREE?  Nothing is free.  The freedom we enjoy today wasn’t free.  Not as Americans and certainly not as Christians.  One of the most transformative revelations I have ever had is that I am responsible for the ME that I am becoming.  Even as the world tried to slap her politically correct label on me – I was not going to wear it.  Jesus paid an awfully high price so that I could be FREE from that and quiet frankly, the “victim label” just wasn’t going to stick with all His precious blood all over me.  One of them had to go – the label or the blood.  I couldn’t bear both.  Praise His Holy Name!

I learned early on that I really can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13) and I learned to be grateful.  Grateful for all that I had – even though all that I had was more often than not, barely enough to get by.  Jesus showed me a better way.  The way to life and life to the full.  NOT to slavery and bondage and victimization.  God’s Word showed me that it wasn’t “The Man” who was oppressing me.  The only person with the power to oppress me and to hold me back was ME.  Period.  And so began a long hard journey away from despair and poverty toward abundance and peace. Thank God I didn’t give up.  Thank God that I was willing to work and struggle and Believe.  To have the audacity of faith in a God who didn’t need me to rely on anyone else.  To believe that HE had given me everything I needed and that if I would partner together with Him and make every effort – the sky was the limit (see 2 Peter 1). Man am I grateful that I took Him at His Word.

The bottom line is this, American Christian, there is no FREEDOM without liberty and we can’t have liberty when we sacrifice it on the alter of getting what we want for free!

LIBERTY – [lib-er-tee]
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

We can not be free from control and at the same time hand control over to the government.  Are we that…. that… well, you know!

Don’t get me started….

Keeping It Real… Sandy

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When, not if, I Fail…

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Nothing weighs heavier on the heart of a true Follower of Christ than the “F-word“……. Failure!

Can God really forgive me…even after I did that?

Can I really be restored…even after I lost my way?

Will my marriage survive…even after I failed my spouse?

I have felt it too.  The weight of it bearing down on my thought life – the shame of it quenching my prayer life – the pain of it provoking me – accusing me – lying to me.  It lied to David too.  After he saw her bathing on the roof-top.  After he sent for her.  After he tried to cover it up.  After he was found out.  After he faced his own “F-ailures” David cried out to the Lord:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me…. (Psalm 51:1-3) 

David understood the power and the pain of his own sin and shame.  So did Peter… and Paul… Jonah… and Rahab… Abraham… and Sarah… Thomas…. Moses…. Sandy…. and…._______.  Aren’t you grateful today that in spite of your own personal “F-ailures” that The Word of the Lord has come to set you free… to forgive you… to heal you… to restore you… and to cleanse you!  David knew what it meant to feel the crushing weight of his own failures, but Thank God he also knew the One in whom he had placed his trust was willing and able to restore and renew him…

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  (Psalm 51:10-12)

I am thanking God today that all of my Failures are covered by the blood of His Forgiveness.

Redemption, Restoration, Hope, and Salvation are In JESUS!

He’s Renewing Me Everyday…

Sandy

 

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