Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Finding God's Comfort In Chaos!

Last  month my husband had a very scary health crisis! Praise God he survived it and is now doing well.  But it is at times like this that I like to reflect on the events that transpired and what I learned. Things that would help me prepare and cope better when  the next crisis comes along...and you know there will be another one, don't you?

Man born of a woman is of a few days, and full of trouble.
(Job 14:1)

I must say things happened so quickly that I didn't have time to panic.  I was too busy praying and taking care of the immediate to give into the emotions that come so naturally at times like these.  I give no credit to my flesh however for it was only the steady, unrelenting grace of God that gave me the wherewithal to keep moving through the dismal prognosis and the wait for critical tests results...His COMFORT during CHAOS!

That's what I'd like to share with you today. How to find God's comfort in these turbulent and confusing times.  My chaos is not like yours, so I'm not about to weigh in or judge you on how you're handling it.  But this, I can assure you:

 There is peace in the midst of the storm.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The night is always darkest just before dawn.

These might seem trite and mundane to you when you're going through, but that's only if you don't have the promises of God to back them up! I did, along with lots of Prayer Warriors who kept those promises fresh in my mind!

To Find Comfort in Chaos...

--REFUSE TO PANIC.
 It is when you panic that you make foolish and costly mistakes. Slow down,  Pray purposely, Gather the facts and move from there.   My husband fell ill hundreds of miles from home. After arriving at my doorstep I took one look at him and my first thought was to immediately call an ambulance for the less than five minute drive to the hospital. Although I realize that minutes are important in an emergency, my husband had just survived a four hour car drive. My God kept him four hours, He would surely keep him four more minutes! I drove him to the E.R. (Isaiah 26:3 - Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trust in you.)

--UTILIZE YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM.
Call a Friend.  No not the ditzy one that always folds under pressure, but a praying one that has proven to be calm, reassuring and will help you think through things clearly and logically.  One thing that I learned last year with my son's hospitalization is that you need someone there to make sure that you're hearing exactly what the doctors are saying regarding your loved one.  When under stress there is a tendency to forget or misread key information needed for making decisions about future care. Read everything and make sure you understand it before signing consents.  If possible don't sign anything if you are in an agitated state! (Proverbs 18:24b - but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.)

--REMAIN HOPEFUL. 
 Physicians only practice medicine. God is the One Who heals! Hospitals are scary places. Medical professionals are trained to present the worst case scenarios along with promising outcomes. This protects them from malpractice and misdiagnosis should things turn negative.  Don't dwell on negative prognoses! To do so puts you in a place emotionally that moves God out of the picture.  In my case, the specialist was quick to tell me that they lose people every day from the illness my husband had.  He even gave me the percentages of deaths.  I chose to think on the percentage of those that survived! I had no fear!  (Philippians 4:8 - Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.)

--TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. 
In chaotic times self preservation may or may not be the first thing on your mind! Minus any narcissistic motives... it should be!  To handle chaos you must be at your best.  You need to eat, hydrate, sleep and move to keep your body fit and your mind alert. Things are not normal and you may have to perform in ways unfamiliar and uncomfortable to keep things going. You can't do that exhausted. 

As my husband recovered in ICU, I was offered pillows, blankets and a recliner should I choose to spend the night.  I appreciated but declined the offer.  I slept every night in my own bed, undisturbed by hallway noises, two hour vital sign checks, and the constant beeping and whirring of machines.  I was only a few minutes away should I be needed and I could offer no more care than what was being given by trained caregivers. Truly, there are times when you need to be there to assure maximum standard of care is given but neglecting yourself will come back to "bite" you once your loved one is home.  Believe me I needed all the energy I could muster to take care of his needs, run the errands, and provide post hospital care without additional support. (Prov. 3:7-8 - Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear God and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.) (Psalm 121:4 - Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.)

--DO NOT NEGLECT PRAYER AND DEVOTION
This may be last on the list but of utmost importance.  In times of crisis keeping your spiritual disciplines: prayer, bible reading, scripture memorization/ meditation and worship service (if possible) is what will hold you together when everything else if falling apart! I love this quote by Charles H. Spurgeon, "Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscle of the Omnipotent."  (I Thess. 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.)


SO UNTIL NEXT TIME...BE COMFORTED IN YOUR CHAOS!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Forgive and FORGET?...NOT!!

"Be kind to one another...
forgiving one another as God
in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:32)
This week I'm tackling a rather difficult step in a Christian's Walk of Faith...the act of forgiveness! In our hearts we know we should forgive.  The bible certainly enforces the idea. And good upstanding church folks will tell you in a minute, when offended,  just forgive and forget! But is it as easy as all that? Speaking from experience, I've found that to forgive is a lot more complicated than one would have you think, even when doing so biblically!

With that being said, before going any further let's see how the bible defines forgiveness in its multifaceted ways:
Forgiveness means to release, dismiss, pardon, set free, send away or to let go.  

Here's the crux of the matter: Forgiveness IS A COMMAND (Ephesians 4:32) and God wouldn't tell us to do it if it wasn't possible! To do so is  far more an act of surrendering than mere fear of  consequences coming from disobedience.  Matthew 6:15 clearly states that  If we want God to forgive our offenses we have to forgive the offenses of others!  Now that's a sobering thought!

In no way am I suggesting that after reading this post, forgiveness will come easy the next time you're offended.  What I do hope to clear up are a few lies about forgiveness that may be slowing up the process.  And believe me it is often over a period of time given spiritual revelation and supernatural intervention that we will be led to the peace and freedom true forgiveness brings!
  • LIE # 1 - Forgiveness softens or rids you of the pain! It is true that in the act of forgiveness the one offended receives many benefits.  More so than the perpetrator that you have released.  But that doesn't mean that you won't still feel hurt for awhile. Some wounds are superficial and we can move past them quickly.  Others cut deep and heal more slowly.  They may never seem to heal.  Yet God promises that eventually they will.  Psalms 147:3 says God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. We must persevere until He does.
  • LIE # 2 - Forgiveness means you will forget what happened!  Short of a lobotomy or  medical disease that takes away your memory, it is impossible to forget offenses.  Even when one is able to induce mental blocks, the right stimuli will often bring them back.  That's why the old adage: forgive and forget just doesn't work!  What gives Christians the ability to walk in the freedom of righteousness and fulfill God's command to treat our offender well is God's  enabling grace. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything you may have an abundance for every good. deed. Others may wonder how you can treat those who have hurt you with kindness and compassion.  You may even be accused of being a fool.  But you and I know it is the supernatural grace of God.  
  • LIE # 3 - Forgiveness brings relationships back to their former status!  This myth is very important to understand. Even after forgiveness, trust takes time to be restored... if ever! Forgiveness does not guarantee an automatic "do over."  It doesn't mean that the relationship will go back to its former level of intimacy or vibrancy.   Sometimes the damage has been so severe that reconciliation is not possible. In the case of unrepentant physical abuse or destructive behaviors a relationship shouldn't even be considered!  This does not mean that you should withhold forgiveness or give up hope. Just know as someone once said.  Forgiveness is solo, reconciliation is a partnership--it takes the cooperation and work of two individuals.  Galatians 6:7 reminds the perpetrator: Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever man sows that he will also reap. Luke 17:3 reminds the offended: Take heed to yourself, if your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Loss is a natural consequence of sinful behavior. Loss of fellowship for a time but then often loss of a valuable relationship.
  • LIE # 4 - Forgiveness does not has quantifications or limits! This one takes a bit more explanation. Just a subtle misunderstanding of the biblical principle can throw us off.  It is in the Bible passages of Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:3-4 and then Matthew 12:31-32 that there appears to be a conflict.  There is not!   Jesus responds to His disciples in the first two passages concerning limitations that Rabbis set to forgive offenders. They taught three times was adequate.  Peter was being generous saying seven times but Jesus teaches here that compassionate love sets no limits at all. He follows this up with a profound parable. Many deduce from reading this that forgiveness is unconditional and limitless. NOT SO!  God forgives personal sin yet He requires a condition. We must confess it with the implication of repentance and then He is faithful (I John 1:9).  He forgives national sin but humbling and turning away from wickedness must be done  (2 Chronicles 7:14). Christians enjoy the privilege of  forgiveness but only because of the shed blood of Christ was required.  Jesus had to die! See  Ephesians 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22.  Now let's examine Matthew 12:31-32 in which Christ flat out says that  anyone speaking against the Son of Man will be forgiven but he that speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven! This is known as the unpardonable sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit!  It would take a whole blog to explain the context of this verse but be assured this sin cannot be committed today!  The only sin that is not forgiven is rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior!   
  • LIE # 5 - You have to FEEL like forgiving before you do it! When it comes to obeying God feelings has no place in it! Our emotions makes us like God in that we can feel deeply both love and the offense, but like everything else since the Fall of Man, our emotions must be renewed and sanctified! Often we think we haven't forgiven our offender because it still hurts or we are seeking to relate to them in the same way as before the offense.  There's just not the warm and fuzzy that was there before.  But if you are able to treat them as Christ would treat them in every situation, then you have forgiven!  We forgive not because our emotions dictate it but simply because it brings God glory and helps us to grow in His image. 2 Peter 3:18 says: But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory both now and forever, Amen 
SHARE THIS TODAY WITH SOMEONE WHO MAY BE STRUGGLING WITH
THE SPIRIT OF UNFORGIVENESS! BUT KEEP IT HANDY FOR YOURSELF,  CHRIST TELLS US AS SAINTS WE CAN EXPECT TO BE OFFENDED!
 (2 Corinthians 12: 10)
UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

MOVING from "IF" to....DONE!!!

"If you have faith the
size of a mustard seed..."
(Matt. 17:20 KJV)
"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, if turnips were watches, I'd wear one by my side!" So goes the little nursery rhyme you may recall from your youth.  All of us have indulged in a little wishful thinking from time to time, but aren't we getting a little old for that now?

While studying a recent Sunday school lesson, I came across a passage of scripture that opened my eyes to this little word... "if"(Luke 17:1-6).  Christ was teaching His disciples vital principles on forgiveness.  In just a few verses of the translation I was reading He used the word "if" five times. Serious bible students will tell you that when a word is repeated in a bible text, you need to pay close attention. I did!

The word, "if" is used 1,595 times in 1,420 different verses of the  popular King James translation of the bible. This says that it's a pretty important word for Christians.  Don't you agree?  For being such a tiny word, only two letters, it sure packs a wallop in its various meanings!

For example "if" can denote something conditional as in bible promises we saints are  eager to claim: "IF you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer" (Matt. 21:22). Or "IF you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple" (John 8:31).  We glibly quote these scriptures  confident we'll get what we want without being intentional about doing our part... accepting with joy whatever the Lord chooses to do in the matter?

Many times we see "if" used to express regret in stressful or emotional situations:
"Martha said to Jesus, 'Lord, IF you had been here my brother would not have died" (John 11:21).
Even Jesus in His humanity felt these pangs when He wept over Jerusalem over their stubbornness: "IF you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes" (Luke 19:42).  The word "if,"along with its cousins: "shoulda, woulda, coulda," has creeped too frequently into our conversations and life.  A change in faith and attitude is now in order!

We are probably most familiar with "if" in situations suggesting hope.  The bible gives us many examples of those as well: Before brash and impulsive Peter stepped out of the boat, he paused long enough to say these words: "Lord, IF it's you, command me to come to you on the water" (Matthew 14:28).  We are encouraged by Jesus when He says: "I am the door: by me IF any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9).  Embolden in our walk and ministry by Paul who preaches:  "Therefore, IF any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Truly this tiny word "if" can put us on a path of faith or doom us to self-inflicting failure! It can be prohibitive, as a warning to keep us from harm or spur us on to greatness! It's all in how you choose to use it!  Will you limit its potency by ignoring critical conditions?  Sink into self-pity and settle for the ordinary. Or cling to a hope that guarantees success if you do it God's way!

It may help in your decision-making to remember this quote:  Doubt kills more dreams than failure!  Putting it in a different light, a fellow women's ministry leader and dear sister reminded us this week at the Grace Place, that life is too short to live with regrets!

Christians must embrace the teachings of one of the most powerful verses in the bible to fulfill the GOD-POTENTIAL  in your life:

 "IF you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for YOU! (Matthew 17:20)


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

POLITICS AND RELIGION: Becoming Strange Bedfellows!!

It's been said that money, politics, and religion should never be discussed in polite conversation!  I don't want to be rude but I've just got to say something about what's happening in our country today! I'm appalled, saddened, and quite frankly confused!

A confession is needed here:  Since the 2016  U.S. Presidential Elections, I've tried hard to not get emotionally embroiled in the fall-out of Donald Trump's rise to the highest office of our land! Between the lies, constant media reporting of Talking Heads, and the president's insane comments and twitter rages... I just can't take it!  I do have to tell you that God has heard plenty from me concerning it all.  

Perhaps like me (a Bible reading and believing Christian) you find yourself asking this question:  How can many Conservative Evangelicals actively and vocally support Trump's political base? 

 I took a break from escapism to do some research.  Here's what a few prominent and influential Christian Evangelicals  are saying about the current administration.  People like Tony Perkins, head of The Family Research Council; Robert Jeffress, Southern Baptist Pastor and  member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board; Rev. Franklin Graham and his sister, Evangelist Ann Graham Lotz (a woman I've long-admired); Rev. David Jeremiah and many others have offered these responses:
  • Tony Perkins, regarding the president's alleged sexual affair and cover-up with Stormy Daniels: "He gets a  'Mulligan' (do over) if its true.  Evangelical conservatives are willing to overlook Trump's past behavior so long as he delivers for them on policy."
  • Robert Jeffress: "Evangelicals knew they weren't voting for an 'altar boy' when they cast their ballots in 2016. We supported him because of his policies and his strong leadership."
  • Franklin Graham: "We certainly don't hold him up as the pastor of this country, and he's not. But I appreciate the fact that the president does have a concern to protect Christians-whether it's here at home or around the world-and I appreciate the fact the he protects religious liberty and freedom."
  • Ann Graham Lotz (on recent 700 Club airing and summarized as follows): I am encouraged by the current leadership of this president.  His polices have been astoundingly supportive of Christian values.  Yes, there are issues in the way he expresses himself but he's in a dangerous position. I believe the enemies of Christ are trying to tear him apart. My applause and prayers are with him.
I want to be perfectly clear.  I am in no way demeaning any of the above.  If they are really Christians they are my brothers and sisters and I am commanded to love them (I John 3:14-16; Rom. 12:18).  They have the right to vote for whomever they choose but somewhere there is confusion either about what the Bible really says or their views on what Makes America Great Again!  

Yes, Trump has been on the right side of the Bible in the area of: Pro-life, Religious Freedom, His stance on Israel and his role as a leader to protect this country from invading forces.  Although admittedly he and congress would be wise to introduce "prayer" in their strategy for developing a fair and humane immigration policy. 

But here is where I think Some and I have to keep saying Some, because All Conservative Evangelicals have not been sipping,  Trump's Kool-aid, are misinterpreting the heart of scripture:

-- Trump is president because God wanted him there...not because Republicans put him there.  So don't think that any political party can wield the necessary power of transforming the sin condition of America through legislation and/or policy!  Only prayer, the undiluted truth of God's Word, and a desire for Repentance will do that (2 Chronicles 7:14)

-- We can never say that the personal morality of a nation's leader doesn't matter as long as his policies are in the right place!  I voted for Clinton the first time around but did not the second because of moral reasons.  I voted for Obama both times but have been grossly disappointed in his back-peddling on key moral issues I probably would not vote for him again.  Both of these presidents had policies that helped African-Americans and poor people in general socially but none of those policies made for  a more righteous nation.....They Didn't Make America Great!  

Proverbs 14:34 says:  Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people!  
  • Why aren't we praying for Donald Trump's soul rather than his politics?
  • Why have we been reluctant to  call out sin in the White House, the House of Representatives, and even the Church House? If Christians are radically and racially  divisive over important issues how can we influence others? A house divided cannot stand (Mark 3:25)
  • Where are the Witnesses of Acts 1:8?  Our commission is to go out into our Jerusalem (homes), Judea (Communities), and Samaria (Nations)  preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but when the World  (the unsaved brown people from other countries) comes to our doorstep we turn them away! Opting to allow only those to enter that we deem deserving!

Now is the time to obey God with a true Christian heart 
 and Kick Biased Politics and False Religiosity Out of Our Beds!
Pray Children Pray that when Jesus comes 
we'll be on the right side of both!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, June 11, 2018

DANCING FOR MY FATHER!

Though my father and mother
forsake me, the Lord will
receive me. (Psalm 27:10)
I never really liked my father!  That's not something I'm comfortable admitting even after all these years.  You see I never had much of a relationship with him.  He and my mom separated when I was five years old and even though we lived in the same town only ten minutes away from each other, any effort to see me was always on my part.

He's been dead thirty-six years and you would think that by now I'd be over any Daddy issues lingering about.  Yet, it is at times like this, days before the celebration of Father's Day, that I get a bit nostalgic. Desiring to know if only in memory, what it felt like to be loved by a real father.

I've always wanted to be a Daddy's girl! You, know what I mean? I wanted to be the little girl in that iconic picture standing on top of her father's shoes as he holds her close for the first grown up dance of her life!  Perhaps even putting on a solo dance performance to impress and please him.  Leaping and twirling elegantly with little girl curls and swirls  just for him!

I always wanted to be spoiled and made to feel special.
 Protected and cared for in a way that only a father can make you feel!  And although I never experienced this from my biological father, I have this and much more from my heavenly Father!  You see, even todayHe writes precious letters to me in His Word and tells me such beautiful things:

For this is what the LORD Almighty says:  After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you--for whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8)

<>When I am fretful, discouraged and fearful that I've disappointed Him too greatly, I don't fear punishment as with an earthly Dad.  I'm comforted by these words:

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you:
in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) 

<>I may have felt abandoned by my biological father and spent countless hours wondering if he really cared anything about me at all, but I never doubt my true Father when He tells me:

See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
(Isaiah 49:16)

<>Earthly fathers sometimes make promises that they never keep.  They are either too busy or too thoughtless to give you the love you desire, but not my Heavenly Father, who assures me:

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jeremiah 31:3)

An African proverb goes like this: "When the music changes so does the dance!"  The sweet music of a godly earthly father may have long stopped playing in your life but that doesn't mean that the dance is over:



Come with Me!  Lift Your Hands to the Heavens!
Dance for Your HEAVENLY Father!
He is Worthy to Be Praised!!!



[This blog post is dedicated to women everywhere who may have had fathers
 who neglected, abandoned, physically, or sexually abused them. You are precious
in the eyes of your heavenly Father and He is waiting to heal every wound!]



UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

THE POWER OF FAMILY Series: The Church!

"Upon this rock I will build my
church and the gates of hell shall

 not prevail against it."
Matt. 16:18 (KJV)
In every war no matter how strong the army, you always need an ally.  For the Christian family that ally is the church! The Ecclesia, the Bible calls it -- a called out body of Believers to come alongside you to help you know God and grow you up in His Word.

Every family needs some place to heal, to rejoice, to gain strength and courage to keep fighting for peace, justice and righteousness! The Lord Who supplies every need has provided us such a place (Philippians 1:19).   So are you surprised that the Enemy of Christ is targeting this fortress for attack?  I'm not!

In earlier posts, I mentioned how ruthless and shrewdly the Devil, our enemy works!  He is thoughtful, strategic, and lethal in his attacks to put a wedge between husband and wives. Once he has destroyed this unity, the vulnerable children become the next target.  He tries to confuse our minds, with modern day rhetoric that teaches empowerment is in possessions, status, and personal fulfillment.

He inflames the passions of our flesh to seek pleasure (wherever and with whomever it may be found) over commitment to God's truth.   Every area of our lives is an attempt to infiltrate us with his lies (John 8:44) and he uses the world's culture to justify every move.  The mind, the flesh, and the world. These are his favorite and most successful combat zones.  But one battle ground that  he will never conquer is the True Church of Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18)!  Still that doesn't mean he won't keep trying to disillusion and keep families away!  Look at some his lies:

­čĹ┐Churches are filled with Hypocrites!

Are there hypocrites in the church?  You darn betcha!... Are they
Christians?...No!  The beauty of our church is that everyone is welcome to come, hear the truth of God's word and repent of their sins.  It is not God's will that anyone perish (I Timothy 2:4). There all kinds of people who come to church and some even join.  That is God's act of grace for hurting people (Matthew 11:28-30).  It is not until seekers get to church and study God's word that they understand that we are all a work in progress!  Not one single person in the church has reached perfection but the true Christian holds to the promise that one day our imperfect lives will become so (Romans 7:21-25; Phil. 1:6).

­čĹ┐All Preachers are Pimps and Prosperity Seekers!

At one time in our Black American experience, preachers were the most upstanding and respected people in the community.  They were the most revered if not the most educated because of their knowledge of God's word. This is what made them significant among the masses!  Did you miss that I did not say they were the most prosperous? They weren't!  Genuine preachers and pastors, like true Christians are defamed by the antics of false ones! And these are the ones that get media attention! This is no different than in the early church.  See what the Apostle Peter wrote in the first century:

1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; (2Peter 2:1-4)

You don't have to worry about preachers who are not what they appear to be, just be discerning of where you place your family in worship and fellowship. Choosing not to attend church is a win-win for the Enemy. He keeps you from contributing your support to the good ones and allows the unfaithful ones to grow in their influence (Hebrews 10:24-25; 13:17).

­čĹ┐Christians are Haters and Out of Touch with Society!

I don't know one true Christian who is unaware of the good or the evil residing in our world today!
How could we miss it?  In some we ways we may seem like an old relic desiring the simple and less chaotic modes of living, but Haters we're not!  It is our peculiarity that actually makes us who we are (I Peter 2:9).  People have been seeking special knowledge and enlightenment for centuries.  They've wondered how we came to be and what lies beyond the known. But most of all they want to know where they fit in! As Christians we have the answer and it's in God's word! We hold the truth and that's why our words, our lifestyles, our prayers and encouragement and  most of all our love for others compels us to speak out!  Even though we are misunderstood and persecuted when we do so (I Peter 3:15) 



The Church is not something you go to,
 its a family you belong to.

 As a Family, we need to learn to equip ourselves to battle Satan and his lies.  It is in the Truth of God's word where we find our power.  It is in Unity that our strength is magnified, and it is the Church that we find the courage to continue to fight for it all!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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Monday, April 30, 2018

THE POWER OF FAMILY Series: Our Children!

Children are a heritage from
the LORD, offspring a reward
from Him. ( Ps. 127:3)
Satan hates women! Let's take the lid off a well-kept secret.  The devil reserves a special hatred for women. We know he hates all mankind.  but he has a particular animosity against women...

Satan does not like the fact that women can have children. 
He hates our ability to reproduce...  

When we do conceive, he will try to devour our children before they are born.  After they are born, he will do all he can to make the children we have ineffective against him.  He will use our children to cause us some of our greatest pain.  If he does not succeed there he will persecute us as women just because we bring children into the world. (Excerpts from book: Chosen Vessels: Women of Color Keys To Change by Rebecca Florence Osaigbovo, DaBar Services, Detroit, MI)


In a previous blog I stated that our enemy, Satan is doing everything possible to destroy the family (John10:10).  Why? Because godly families are a powerful threat to him and his minions and on earth they reflect the glorious image of the Godhead! Thus, he strategically targets first, the husband and wife to scheme upon and then moves on to the children!

You don't have to be a bible scholar to see that the Devil is trying to take our children out! Physically, Mentally, and Spiritually!  What is most devastating to me is to watch the ways he is turning them away from the Truth of God's Word and toward the insidious darkness of self-destruction!  (Prov. 14:12 -There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death).  

In most of the conversations I've had concerning this sad commentary, fingers immediately point toward the parents!  True, many children are suffering from poor parenting skills and a culture that reinforces, even glorifies, their irresponsibility and spiritual neglect.  But can you blame a house that falls down for its leaky roof, rotten beams, or broken windows?  These are structural things that can be easily repaired.  But what can you do with a  faulty foundation?  Unless it is fixed no cosmetic work you do on or around the surface will last!

I believe that's what psychologists, politicians, and even some misguided social scientists have been trying to do.  Do a Makeover of the family without addressing the crumbling or in some cases non-existent foundation.  Our children deserve better and there's enough blame to go around for everyone!!  Let's look at some tools needed to offset the damage:

Quality Time with Your Children  - Deuteronomy 6:6-8 
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
Children today are pacified with electronics and entertainment. These have become baby-sitters for tired, overworked, and sometimes selfish parents.  But what children really want is time with  with their mothers and fathers!  Time not "doing" but just "being" with them.  They want to feel that you are listening to them, care about them, actually want to be with them. 

The greatest life lessons producing godly living is not necessarily taught in church, but in the home.  As the above scripture says, powerful tools for living are sharpened as you talk, and walk with them.  During a meal shared or at bedtime.  Children need quite and calmness in their life! Our culture overstimulates them.  Parents need time to train, discipline, and model God's best for them. A good parent knows that there is a time to Shut the World out...and Let God In!

Communicating in the Language of Love! - I Corinthians 13:1
13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Would it surprise you to know that some children rarely hear a positive word from their parents?  We must learn how to communicate wisely with our children.  Adjusting not only our tone but choosing the right words in the right way to make what we say count! 

Gary Chapman, author of the renown, Five Love Languages, has expanded his principles to help parents teach children how to properly give and receive love.  One, I've already mentioned - Quality Time.  The next two, Acts of Service and Gifts are intuitive.  But, the ones I think relate well to the topic of communication are Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch.  Proverbs 18:21 says that Death and life is in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. 

Children generally believe what their parents tell them, until we show them different! If we tell them they are smart, valuable, and loved, then demonstrate it with consistency they will hold onto that image of themselves.  However, the same is true for the opposite.  Belonging, Love, and Esteem rank high on Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory.  The Bible ranks it high too!  Subsequent verses in I Corinthians 13 tell us that faith, hope, and love is important to the growth to any person but the greatest of the three is love! (vs. 13)
21 
Shaping their Spirituality - Proverbs 22:6, 2 Timothy 3:5; Ephesians 6:4, Deut. 6:6-9
Here are a few practical ways you can lay a strong foundation of healthy spirituality in your children's life:
--Pray, not just for them, but with them - communicating our hearts to our heavenly Father is one of the most personal, intimate, and beneficial things we can do while here on earth.

--Challenge them to read and memorize God's Word - This will help them understand more about God's lavish love for them.

--Model forgiveness - By all means, hold your children accountable for their actions. 
(Reprint from EMBC bible study: Strengthening Parents and Children Relationship, October 24, 2007)
Summary:  The Bible is the Antidote for Satan's Poisonous Arrows Destroying Families
  • The answer to divorce, infidelity, and same-sex marriage is respecting and honoring God's design for marriage.
  • The answer to the gang affiliations, gun violence, and mind altering cults is Quality Time empowering children for success (Bible reading and study, instituting boundaries, and showing unconditional love.)
  • The answer to promiscuity and unwed pregnancy is Affirmation of your child's worth that teaches them that their body is a precious gift to be treasured and preserved for marriage 
  • The answer to drug use and pornography is embodying for non-Christians the biblical definition of love, intimacy, and God-ordained expressions for experiencing pleasure.
YOU'VE THOUGHT ABOUT IT...NOW LET'S DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...

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The Power of Family Series Continues: Target Three: Our Church!