Tag Archive | christianity

Own a “Corona”

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The word “corona” can be translated into many languages as the word for crown.  Society regularly places invisible crowns on world leaders, athletes, and those in the entertainment industry.

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have placed new crowns on the heads of doctors, nurses, EMTs, and all in the medical profession–and rightfully so.  Today I saw a meme on Facebook lauding truck drivers and supermarket employees–yes. We are so thankful for them, as well.  Teachers, too, have been coronated for their amazing adaptability from classroom educators to on-line facilitators.  Finally, parents of school-aged children, who never intended to stay home to educate their children, while working from home and trying to balance it all, have earned their crowns through social media.

What about you?  Did you get your crown?  While we see the extraordinary efforts of others during the current pandemic, feelings of inadequacy can plague others.
Who, you ask?

  • The unemployed (before Coronavirus)
  • The unemployed (because of Coronavirus)
  • The elderly
  • The homemakers without young children

I will admit the last bullet point is my current situation!  In my own family, I have a husband who works from home in the transportation industry, a son working in the fast food circuit, and a daughter who just took on a position in a supermarket.  All of these are considered “essential services”.  My kids have also transitioned their college courses to online and have no need for this stay-at-home, former homeschool mom’s help!

Do you feel like everyone around you is making a difference?  Do you feel like you’re in limbo?

In good times and in bad, we all have a part to play–even if it’s not obvious.  Ask yourself these questions if you feel like you are doing nothing important:

  • Have I prayed for the sick, the doctors, the first responders, the essential personnel?
  • Have I stayed home as much as I can to prevent the spread?
  • Have I surveyed the stores for current situations of rations and shared that info with others; or, fed my family creatively, using what was on hand?

If you’ve prayed, stayed, or surveyed, you have made an extremely valuable contribution to the cause!  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:12:

“There is one body, but it has many parts.  But all its parts make up one body.”

E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E is needed for the body of Christ.

In verses 18-20 of the same chapter of 1 Corinthians, we are reminded that God’s got us right where He wants us.  We all can’t have the same functions and purposes.  We need to work together, as one body, doing our unique jobs.

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

I suggest you read this whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 12.  It will give you peace in knowing you are essential.  Maybe your essential service is to help, support, love, and pray for those in “essential services”!

Now, do me a favor.  Think of one thing you have done for another during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Acknowledge it.  Tilt your head down.  Feel that big, beautiful crown being placed on your head.  Hold your head up high.  Congratulations!  You are now the worthy owner of your very own “corona”!

May God bless you and keep you healthy!

What? Me Worry?

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God knows I like things in 3s…especially confirmations of His voice.  Lately I’ve been asking Him to let me know what I should do about a worrisome situation that’s been heavy on my heart.  Today, I saw a Facebook post by “Time Warp Wife” of Miss Clara, the prayer warrior in the film War Room.

“You need to plead with God to do what only He can do, and then you need to get out of the way and let Him do it.”

Confirmation #1.

Then, my friend Audrey posted a meme with these appropriate words:

“Lord, if it’s not Your will let it slip through my grasp and give me the peace not to worry about it.”

That was confirmation #2!

Finally, because God knows I need to either be hit over the head with a board or encounter something three times to know it’s His voice and not my own thoughts, I opened my Bible, hoping I would randomly turn to a page that had a third confirming verse.  I turned to the book of Ezra.  I don’t remember ever reading Ezra!  I scanned the page that included the end of Chapter 4 and most of Chapter 5.  It contained letters to kings.  Nothing stood out to me until I decided to look where my finger naturally (or perhaps in this case supernaturally) rested on the page.  And there it was!  The verse I needed to see:

“Now issue an order to these men to stop work, so that this city will not be rebuilt until I so order.” (Ezra 4:21)

Yay!  I get it now, God!  I’ve been trying to come up with the perfect course of action on the matter weighing me down. I considered leaving the situation alone, but I always try to fix things myself.  Some things cannot be fixed by our best efforts.  Sometimes, only God can set the wheels into motion.

So, going forward, here is my new action plan:

— I will PRAY and then move out of God’s way

— I will RELEASE worry and not take responsibility for fixing everyone and everything

— I will STOP working on the situation and wait for God to do what He will

We humans forget how small we are and how great God is!  Our Father is the powerful almighty One, who knows all things–past, present, and future.  He understands the game of life:  the players, their strategies, and exactly where the chips will fall.  Our mere mortal minds cannot perceive this.  We think in the now, plus a few years.  He thinks eternally.  Knowing that, it’s ridiculous to think we can change things outside our control, or worry about them.  However, to Him we can pray.  We can pause.  We can praise.

Stress and worry are exhausting.  Go on vacation from it.  Let God refresh you by allowing Him to carry your burdens.  And the next time a difficult situation occurs, you can truly say, “What? Me worry?  No!”

Asking for Miracles

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“But if I were you, I would appeal to God; I would lay my cause before him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.”
(Job 5:8-9) 

If you have a seemingly impossible situation–debt you can’t imagine ever getting out of, a health condition your doctor can’t figure out, a relationship that seems cannot be repaired–ASK FOR A MIRACLE! Make your request not to “The Universe”, but to GOD! I think most people don’t think to ask specifically for a miracle in their lives. They might pray that they will feel a little better or that they can pay the bills just this month, but that’s not asking for a miracle. Go whole hog! Ask for God to fix it all. Believe that He can. Then, thank Him when it comes.
 
All through the Bible, we see examples of God’s miracles. Often, only the New Testament miracles of Jesus come to mind (turning water into wine, the raising of Lazarus from the dead). After Jesus’ death and resurrection, His apostles were given miraculous healing powers. Even Paul, former Christian Killer, was able to heal and raise people from the dead! All this was possible only by proclaiming the name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Also, when reading the Old Testament, God performed miracle after miracle. How else could the Red Sea part or manna come from heaven, or the sun stand still for Joshua…because he asked for a miracle.
 
“There was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.”  (Joshua 10:14)
 
Do you have a need that seems impossible? Do be afraid to ask for a miracle for yourself! Pray to the One who can make it happen. Have faith. Believe. God loves you!
 

Who? Me? Read the Bible?

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Inspired by Matthew 11

“I don’t get it.  I read the words, but they don’t make sense.  I’ll never be a Bible scholar!”

Frustration can easily set in for a Bible newbie.  Often we start out reading the good book in order, beginning with Genesis.  Not too bad.  We understand creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah.  Then, we start getting into Abraham sacrificing his only son Isaac on the altar and start questioning:  Why would God ask him to do such a thing?  We eventually find out it was a test of faith for Isaac.  As we get deeper and further into the Bible, it can all seem like a lot to process.  It’s hard to get over the “thees” and “thys” if we’re reading the King James version.  Often, we just give up.  We don’t feel like we were God’s intended audience or maybe He wrote it for smarter people to interpret for us.

Nothing could be further from the truth!  Look at Matthew chapter 11.

“At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Matthew 11:25-26)

See, Jesus explained that God has made things clear to regular people–not just those with a Divinity degree.  Sometimes, when we have that “childlike faith”, we simply understand.  If it still feels as clear as mud, try another version of the Bible for a while; or, cross-reference versions.  You don’t have to buy all of them–at least buy one hard-copy version that you love.  Then, mark it up!  Underline, write in the margins, make your own notes.  You can go to websites like Bible Gateway to see verses in all versions.

The Bible version I use in my blog is the NIV or New International Version.  Some people say the King James Bible is the most accurate, but I don’t have time to have to work through the Old English.  Other readers favor the Amplified Bible or The Message.  These versions include expanded text and easier language.  Just to give you an example of how those Bibles present the above verse, Matthew 11:25-26:

King James Version
“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

Amplified Bible
“At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth[I openly and joyfully acknowledge Your great wisdom], that You have hidden these things [these spiritual truths] from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants [to new believers, to those seeking God’s will and purpose].  Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.”

The Message
“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: “Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that’s the way you like to work.”

When you keep reading through the Bible, you will see connections and words echoed in the Old Testament and New.  Remember that story about Abraham and Isaac?  When Isaac asked Abraham where the lamb was for the burnt offering, “Abraham answered, “God Himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:8)  Doesn’t that sound like what God did for us?  He provided Jesus, the lamb of God, as a sacrifice, to save us from death. That sentiment is echoed many times throughout the Bible.  Every time you come upon it, you will feel like you are “getting it”.

God will make His meaning clear to you.  Keep reading the Bible! The more you do, the more He’ll reveal to you.  The Bible is spiritual milk.  It will feed you and help you grow as a believer.  Don’t be intimidated.

 

 

2 Things We Don’t Speak Of…But Should

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Inspired by Matthew 10

There are two things a person should never speak of:  religion and politics.

Many Christian people subscribe to this personal philosophy.  I don’t.  To find out why, just crack your Bible open to Matthew, chapter 10.

Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

God wants us to talk about Him (the religion part).  Yes, this is uncomfortable for many to do.  We come up with a lot of excuses:

— “I don’t want to impose my religion or my God on anyone.”
— “What if I’m known as a “Holy Roller” or “Jesus Freak”?
— “That’s personal.”

When we share the gospel, we are not forcing our faith on others.  Instead, we are giving them a chance to hear about our Father.  Next, we testify how He has worked in our lives and the lives of others we know.  Then,  we allow the individual to decide if they would like to learn more.  You are a walking advertisement for God.  You aren’t selling religion–you’re helping to save souls.

Holy Roller.  Jesus Freak.  If someone calls you that, say “Thank you,” and mean it!  We should wear those titles with even more pride than “Packers Fan” or “Stay-At-Home Mom” or “Honor Roll Student”.  Since we are to find our identity in Christ, those titles are fitting!

Sharing religion is personal.  Yes.  When we talk about our experiences with Him, it is.  However, God is not just our own Father.  He is everyone’s Daddy–even the people who don’t know about Him!  We can’t be selfish.  We need to share Him like we shared our earthly fathers with our siblings.

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Elf”.  Believe it or not, Buddy the Elf gives us a good, albeit, awkward, example of a testimony on how he found his father and his love for him.  Remember the part when Buddy’s father asks him perform his singing telegram?  Here’s what he “sang”:

“I’m… I’m here with my dad. And we never met. And he wants me to sing him a song. And, um, I was adopted. But you didn’t know I was born. So I’m here now. I found you, Daddy. And guess what? I love you. I love you. I love you!”
(Elf, 2003)

Christians, God wants us to talk about Him, but it doesn’t have to be in a singing telegram.  He also wants us to talk about politics.  We don’t have to specifically mention political parties or candidates’ names, but we absolutely must express how we feel about issues, especially those pertaining to abortion, marriage, and religious freedom.  Write and call our government representatives regarding their votes on these issues.  Enlighten those running for office how we feel about these hot topics.  Also, we should feel an obligation to inform our fellow Christians of where these candidates stand on the issues, so they can make informed voting decisions.

Talk about religion and politics.  They’re not taboo.  It’s what God commands us to do.  If we recognize Him in this life, He will recognize us in the next!  Wear your “Hello! My Name Is Christian” sticker with honor!


Elf. (2003). [film] Directed by J. Favreau. (USA): New Line Cinema.

satan is Smiling

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Inspired by Matthew 8

Two girls
from Bartow, Florida,
11 and 12 years young,
conspired to kill innocent schoolmates
in the bathroom,
drink their blood,
and then, 
kill themselves.
To school they brought kitchen knives,
a knife sharpener,
a pizza cutter,
scissors,
a goblet.
A robocall from school alerted a parent her child was not at school.
She was.
Thus began the search for the girl.
She and her friend were in the bathroom…
waiting.
Ready to carry out their plot.
Ready to kill.
Ready to die.
For satan.

 

This is not the plot of a teen horror flick.  Sadly, on Tuesday, this narrative was carried out in live action.  Praise the Lord, the police found the girls before they could harm anyone or themselves.  How could something as sinister as this even come about?  When I was their age, I was sitting by the radio, waiting for my favorite Duran Duran song to come on the radio so I could hit “Play” and “Record” simultaneously on my stereo!  I was playing Mad Libs with friends.  Cheerleading and practicing back walkovers on my grassy front yard.  Riding bikes to friends’ houses.  Fighting with my older sisters to use our shared phone.  Today’s children do not share such a wholesome youth.

Were these girls demon-possessed?  It is very possible.  Media accounts detail some interesting facts in their story:

  • They devised their plan after watching horror films;
  • They searched the internet for ways to kill with a knife, while blood-letting quickly;
  • They believed their murders (sins) would get them into hell;
  • They scrawled violent song lyrics on their murder map;
  • They Snapchatted clues about the planned murdering spree.

I believe there are dark forces in this world.  They want your blood, but they want your childrens’ even more.  The hook comes from music, movies, and social media.  Oh, and you know the über-cool teen store Hot Topic?  They now sell Blackcraft brand clothing.  Dress your darlings in Baphomet, pentagrams, and “Lucipurr”!  If my child came home with a hoodie that read “Unholy”, I would have to perform my own unholy ritual of burning it!

All teens and pre-teens will say, “I don’t get affected by this stuff.”  I pray they don’t.  Maybe the parents of these young murder plotters heard that line, too.  We need to be proactive as parents and know what they are listening to, watching, and buying.  We need to teach them the Word.  And we 100% need to FROG–Fully Rely On God.  We must pray to Him specifically that our children will not get involved with the dark arts.  Innocent colored stones to create a certain feeling can quickly become a hex on someone.  Pray without ceasing for your children’s protection from possession.

Scared yet?  Never fear.  In Jesus, there is always hope.  Evil can still be cast out.  Spiritual scars can be healed by the Lord.  Matthew chapter 8 contains a lot of healing of the people:  physical and spiritual.  Jesus drove out demons–on more than one occasion.  “When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.” (Matthew 8:16)  Jesus even healed possessed men and put their demons into swine. (Matthew 28-34)

If you don’t believe Matthew, you can read what Mark had to report about Jesus casting out demons.   Here’s Mark 1:25.  “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.”

There’s also Mark 32-34:  “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.”

The Gospel of Luke also contains references to Jesus’ healing of the demonically-possessed, and there are many examples of this in the Old Testament, as well. But what about the modern age, today?  Does this still happen?  Yes.  The Catholic Church continues to train priests in exorcism.  That alone tells you satan is still seeking souls to snatch; and, demons are being driven out.

Fight him.  Pray.  Read the Bible.  Fill your eyes and ears with good things and discard the bad things.  Grow your faith and cultivate it in your kids.  Speak life over your children, so death cannot take root.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
(1 Peter 5:8-9)

 

The Progression of Prayer

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Inspired by Matthew 6

God is great,
God is good.
Let us thank Him
for our food. Amen.

Remember this little prayer?  Maybe you recited it as a child or you are teaching it to your toddler now.  It’s a simple prayer with good bones.  Let’s examine:

God is great,
God is good.
(Give praise to God)
Let us thank Him
for our food.  Amen.
(Give thanks to God)

This is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.  This is how all prayers should begin.  We tell God what we think of Him and then we thank Him for being the provider of everything:  food, family, freedom, anything!  Being a child’s prayer, it is adequate.

As we become more mature in the faith, our simple prayer must also evolve to something with a little more meat and meaning.  Jesus helps us to expand on our prayer in Matthew chapter 6.  This is the perfect model of prayer, the “Our Father”.  People of all Christian denominations learn this prayer when they are young.  We recite it, but do we ever think about the meaning of it all?  Let’s break this down, too.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
(Praise Him)
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
(Recognize His power)
Give us today our daily bread.
(Thank Him for what we have and ask Him for what we need)
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Ask Him to forgive us of sin and help us be forgiving to others)
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
(Ask Him to help us avoid future sin)

We can recite the “Our Father” prayer, placing emphasis on key words; but what if we used it as a blueprint?  We have a customized prayer to God!  We all have different qualities we admire about God.  He has manifested Himself in different ways to each of us.  Certainly, we have unique requests and distinct reasons for thanking Him.  Shouldn’t each of our prayers to Him be original?  I would imagine God Our Father would relish prayers that are as diverse as His children.

Once we become comfortable praying the way Jesus modeled, we can progress to praying with other people and journaling our prayers.  God wants us to grow and not remain stagnant in our relationship with Him.  Prayer is the way we can speak with Him.  The more we do it, the closer we will be with Him.