I wish I were good! But at least I am saved!!

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Lately, in my life, I have been hearing a lot of people describe themselves or others as “good” people. I understand that people may evaluate their lives (or others’ lives) based on the amount of time a friend may volunteer, or money a family member gives to charity, or how many people someone may touch in a positive manner. However, it says in James 2:10 that even one little mistake in keeping God’s law renders a person a total failure at keeping God’s law. There is no partial credit in salvation. You are either saved by Jesus’ sacrifice (and nothing good you have to offer) or you are a good person standing on your own merits.

There are a lot of references in scripture to us humans being dead in our transgressions before accepting Christ. We are born sinful and remain sinful until we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Good people are not saved people until they make this decision. So the next time someone says they are a good person, you can say that you wish you were too. What a great topic starter!

What’s the difference between a good person and a saved person…

“GOOD” PEOPLE:

Rely on what they think of themselves as a rationale for feeling good about their lives

Justify their worth by the good they have done, and the bad they have not done

Cannot understand why bad things happen to them

Don’t feel that they have done anything bad enough to necessitate being redeemed

Compare themselves against others’ in society and feel that society approves of them

SAVED PEOPLE:

Have come to terms with their fallen nature and know they fall short of God’s standards (Romans 3:23)

Accept they are separated from God as a result of their sin – and have hope in Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross as their only means to eternal life

Feel grateful to God for what He’s done for them (John 3:16)

Understand why bad things happen (we live in a fallen world) and understand that God can make something beautiful out of it (Romans 8:28)

In His service,

Michelle :)

 

13 Reasons Why Not

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13 Reasons Why Not

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”   Matthew 10:16

I don’t know about you, but I need reminders from God to stay pure. I don’t want what my eyes see to travel down to my heart, and pollute it. And I don’t want this – a pure heart – just for me, I want it for you too!!

A parent asked me (knowing I work with young adults) what I thought of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. I told her I don’t even want to check it out because I know I will be negatively affected by the suicide scene for years to come. How do I know that? Because I still have graphic scenes from movies I saw decades ago in my mind.

Do you think what you see doesn’t affect you, read these quotes:

“Whether the violence is real, reenacted based on real events, or fiction, when you witness cruelty and empathize with the victim, you experience the trauma vicariously . That’s why witnesses to violence are considered victims too. It is especially traumatizing to witness cruelty when you are powerless to prevent it”. (Davis, 2013)

“Children and adolescents are also especially vulnerable [to disturbing images] because they typically do not have the broad world view or self-soothing skills necessary to cope with the distress induced by witnessing violence and cruelty. And they may not get the support they need from adults.” (Davis, 2013)

Images and words can get inside our mind easily. Have you ever caught yourself humming a jingle from a t.v. commercial you saw? Or singing lyrics to a song that you didn’t even know you knew? Sisters – let’s treat our bodies as the Holy temple they are and strive to stay pure!

Michelle

Davis, Dr. Deborah. “Protect Your Brain from Images of Violence and Cruelty.” Psychology Today. December 22, 2013.

The tongue is more than a muscle!!

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“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”                    Proverbs 18:21

God has been impressing on me the incredible, awesome power that the tongue holds to change lives (for better or worse!). We sometimes are scared to share our faith or “speak the truth” because we desperately want the love we have for others to come across and we’re not sure it is going to. So we don’t say anything (and fail to glorify God).

Throughout the Bible, God says “do not be afraid”, so why do we fear…really. God also says He is going to give us the words we should say. Again, why do we fear? Physically, the tongue is a muscle, but spiritually it is a mighty tool to be used to praise the LORD and to demonstrate God’s unconditional love to each other. Our tongue can bring healing into the lives of people we know and don’t know (Proverbs 12:18).

We have all said things we regret, but don’t let that be a black smudge that Satan uses against you to cause you to back away from saying a kind word at the appointed time. If we put God’s Word in our hearts, and continually renew our mind, we will be more prepared when the opportunities arise, to cheerfully speak an encouraging word, or when called, to humbly and gently speak a rebuke. We also need to pray to be made ready for situations, so we are careful not to miss them because we are distracted, upset, mad, or focused on ourselves.

How can we do this? It is simple actually. Luke 6:45b says that “For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” If we are right with God, pursuing His will, attending a Bible believing church, and sitting in His presence (amongst many other things), our hearts are guaranteed to be filled to some capacity with His unfailing love. When we open our mouths, and use our tongues, we are more likely to say something life-giving versus something that wounds. Take heart my dear sisters! We CAN do this – they WILL know us by our love.

Michelle

First things first for the new year

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Happy New Year 2017!

What a great time of year to celebrate the Lord’s faithfulness in our lives and invite Him into our 2017 plans!!  Each year when I get a new calendar, I wait to write in it. I like to take time and pray over my upcoming year. I pray that the events, meetings, and activities on my calendar reflect God’s will for my life. I do this because I used to fill my days with pointless activities that were meant to reflect my attachment to the world (and void of any eternal value). Now, I ask myself how I can make a real difference – how I can be intentional about telling someone about Jesus – or at a minimum, showing Jesus’ love to someone else just by my actions. J

I have written down a few verses below that may help you welcome in the New Year! God’s best for you in 2017!

Michelle

Psalm 95:1-2

Psalm 100:1-3

Romans 15:13

Jeremiah 29:11

Happy Thanksgiving!! Verses on being thankful!

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I am so grateful to God for who He is, and how He has cared for each one of us this last year. I have put together 5 scripture verses for us to recite, meditate on, and even memorize this season where ever you are sister!! Happy Thanksgiving!

“…Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever.”     Psalm 106:1

“We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks, for your name is near…”  Psalm 75:1

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name…” Psalm 100:4

“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”  Psalm 7:17

“…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Michelle

Are you a good news person?

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“I have got great news!” Don’t you love hearing those words? I know I do. There seem to be two types of people in this world; those who usually have good news to share and those who generally have bad news to share. This is not to say that “good news” people don’t have sad news to share once in awhile, but they are able to see God’s hand in what is going on and bounce back. “Bad news” people are full of self-pity and blame, and cannot see what God may be doing in the big picture. Each time you talk to them, life sounds so bleak.

When Christ’s birth was being announced it was good news:

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” Luke 2:10

And when Jesus started preaching around age 30, He had lots of good new to share: the poor were blessed, the kingdom of God belonged to the children, and he was never going to forsake us!!

Consider today how you can become a good news person!

Hands and Feet of Christ

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Have you ever thought about the exact words Jesus used when he called his disciples into ministry? He didn’t say: “watch me, emulate me, copy me, study me, mimic me, or be me”. Instead, Jesus said “Follow me”.

That clearly says only one thing to me…get up and get moving! Being a disciple of Jesus doesn’t allow us the fortune of sitting around or sitting around shooting the breeze with our friends. Even when Isaiah was called by God into ministry in Isaiah Chapter 6, he told God “Here am I, send me”. And lastly Jonah was asked by God to go to Nineveh and speak. Working for God means being on your feet and serving. Begin praying today that God would both lead you where to serve and give you the strength to serve. Blessings!

Michelle

Building life God’s Way

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Plumb line (def): a cord with a lead bob attached to one end, used to determine perpendicularity, the depth of water, etc.

Dictionary.com  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/plumb-line?s=t

A plumb line was used when erecting a building as the standard to which all vertical construction beams were to be measured. This kept any of walls from slanting to the right or the left – everything was sure to be straight up and down. This was an essential piece of equipment because it kept the walls from being poorly made and causing the building to collapse.

I like to think of this visual whenever I feel that I am straying from God. His Word says not to go to the right or the left, but to stay strong, stand firm in the Lord, and to stay on the narrow path. God cares about direction – about the direction you are going every day. We have to go back to His standard of measurement to see if we are living according to His ways. When we are tempted to let our own judgment be the standard, it may last for awhile, but whatever we are “building” whether a relationship or a job, will eventually collapse.

Thank God that He has given us the tools we need to see if we are living according to His Word. His standards are clearly written in His Word and His Spirit gives us the strength to follow Jesus. May the Lord guide us today, may He go before us, and also be our rear guard (Isaiah 52:12). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

In Him,

Michelle

Waiting on God

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What are you waiting on right now? Is there something in your life that you are waiting on God to beautifully orchestrate? Many of God’s great people had to wait on Him for years for their foretold futures to actually unfold. Noah waited 120 years for the flood to come while he built the ark. Abraham waited 25 years to have his son, Isaac. And of course, Jesus waited 33 years to become the Savior of the world. So why would God tell someone what He planned to do so long before it happened? And what are we supposed to do while we wait?

I am going to propose some possible ideas:

  1. There was (and is!) work to be done.

Noah needed to build the ark to save his family before the flood. Imagine gathering, cutting, and shaping all of that wood. And then finding the animals – and each sex on top of that! I hope he had a good network of people. Noah’s Linked-In profile would have read “Ship Builder, Zoologist, and Crazy Follower of God.”

  1. For humans to learn what God’s timing is like.

Since I became a Christian, I really have had to learn this lesson. I once prayed for someone for 12 years before I saw any answers to my prayers. But boy-o-boy…did God answer them! Humans like to think we are in control, but when answers to prayers and prophesies don’t come quick, we really learn who is in control.

  1. God wants us to learn to be prayerful and grateful.

Our true personalities show when we are asked to wait. We start to feel pressed on all sides and impatient. We want to start demanding, but we cannot. We want to start yelling, but we respect God too much to do that either. Our only choice becomes humility and we begin praying and offering our thanks for what God has done and what He will do. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, we will have learned to pray that God’s will be done.

  1. To begin to accept and even enjoy our current circumstances.

Paul said he was content no matter what. Psalm 23 says not to “be in want”. When we are able to surrender our wish list, we can finally be at peace.

  1. God wants to prepare us for our future.

God is always ready. He wants His people to be ready as well when new blessings arrive and when new tasks are assigned. Our faith gets stretched and we see our Faithful Father once again, come through. With Him, there is always victory in Christ.

Blessings!

Michelle

Be Still and Know

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“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10 – what a great verse! How wonderful to know that God will be exalted in His own time and on His own terms.  The beginning of the verse is one I quote often to myself in difficult times: Be still, Be still, Be still and God will take care of things. Is there any area in your life in which you need to “Be still and know” in?

I think God wants you to be still and know that He loves you and everything is going to be okay. God has a great plan for your life and He wants you to affect many people for His kingdom. You are going to be happy and do anything you want to do! In this season of believing, believe that!!