Doesn’t God Want Me to be Happy?

Doesn’t God Want Me to be Happy?

Ravi Zacharias, this century’s indisputable leading Christian apologist, said in a video recently that the greatest lie mankind believes today is that unbridled pleasure is the means to the greatest happiness. As I listened to him, I realized that believing lies (particularly that lie) produces the world’s most rabidly anti-Christian beliefs.

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Why is that?

Let’s back up a minute and see why people so eagerly believe this particular lie.

Zacharias told the story of a journalist asking Tiger Woods during the time of his great discretion, “How could you lie to so many people for so long?” Putting aside the obvious irony here, Woods’ answer was eye opening. He said, “Because I lied to myself first.”

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If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any amount of time, you know that my go-to solution to most problems is allowing Christ to shine His light on them. Exposing anything to His light will accomplish one of three things. It cleanses, or heals, or dissolves. Anything from the enemy dissolves when exposed to His light, exactly like when you turn on a light in a dark room. Suddenly what seemed true in the dark is shown for what it truly is in the light.

We often tell ourselves lies. It’s not always the enemy’s thoughts we’re listening to so much as it is our aligning our own thoughts with his.

Eden (as in the garden of Eden) means pleasure, and God placed Adam and Eve there. Didn’t they have unbridled pleasure? Didn’t God want them to be happy?

Let’s look more closely at that idea.

In the beginning, Adam and Eve had perfect pleasure. They had perfect, immortal bodies, they had each other, they had a pristine universe, and they had God’s fellowship. But their pleasure had limits. They could enjoy the bounty of their perfect lives so long as they did not do one thing: eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So why weren’t they happy with what they had?

Enter the serpent.

That wily snake knew something Eve didn’t know. He knew that disobeying God in this single command would bring down the whole of humanity, even those not yet born. But that’s not what he told the woman. Oh, no! He said that eating the forbidden fruit would give her unbridled pleasure.  The serpent said that she would be just like God, implying that God was holding something back from her.

Debate abounds on whether or not Adam knew better and chose the approval of Eve over the approval of God. I tend to think that is so. He stood by and did nothing when she listened to the serpent, yet the Bible tells us in unequivocal terms that he was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:13).

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Genesis 3:6 tells us the story: So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

Since he wasn’t deceived, we can’t blame the devil for Adam’s sin. Notice that it was HIS sin that brought humanity to its knees. And that’s where we need to stay, figuratively speaking, on our knees before our Great God.

Eve, on the other hand, thought the snake was telling her the truth. It sounded like it could be true. It certainly looked like it could be true. And she was sure it would taste as wonderful as it looked. That’s what gets us, every time we align our thoughts with the devil’s suggestions. We look for the bits of truth in his lies and ignore the flaming red flags trying to get our attention.

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Eve’s sin was the exact same sin as Adam’s. She willfully chose to disobey God. Her being deceived by Satan does NOT in any way mitigate her sin before God. She knew that He had said they were not to eat of the fruit from that tree, but she aligned her thoughts with the devil’s because she liked his outcome better than God’s.  Her Maker had said that in the day that they ate of that fruit, they would surely die (Genesis 2:17). Trying to make Eve less culpable because she wasn’t there when God told Adam not to eat of it is not an excuse. Either God told her or Adam did, because she told the snake. She knew the rules.

Adam and Eve both sinned equally by disobeying God. Even if Eve didn’t know why she shouldn’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she did know God had said not to. That should have been enough.

But the devil came in with a “mixed truth” statement. He told her that when she ate of the fruit, that “your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” That much is true. But he also said she would not die, and that was a blatant lie.

It’s good to remember that a partial truth is a total lie. Click To Tweet

Satan always holds out on the entire truth. He didn’t tell her that the good and evil she would know would condemn her, just as God had said it would.

So she aligned her thoughts with the serpent’s, and then she acted upon them. And things went downhill from there.

Eve was under the impression that embracing the serpent’s “version of the truth” would make her happy. It would give her complete fulfillment and ultimate pleasure. In this case, aligning her thoughts with the enemy’s was devastating, not only to her and her husband, but because all of their future children would bow down to Satan’s hand.

So, as to the question “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”

The answer is a resounding yes! He wants you to be ridiculously happy and filled to overflowing in joy. But true, everlasting happiness doesn’t come through getting our own way. We need God’s way.

To wrap it up, let’s look at 2 more things.

First, Satan wants you to believe his lies so you will never be happy. He wants to destroy you body, soul, and mind.

Second, the Dictionary of Bible Themes defines happiness as “a state of pleasure or joy experienced both by people and by God.” He wants you to experience His happiness and joy and He has given you an eternity to enjoy it with Him.

Even if you have to drag them kicking and screaming into the light of God’s presence, submit your thoughts to the purifying Light and let it cleanse you, heal you, and make you happy. Only in His presence is there fulness of joy!

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

52 Reasons Not to Fear

52 Reasons Not to Fear

We live in a terrifying world.

In fact, we live in a world gone so wrong that it would be easy to agree with the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland who said everyone in Wonderland was mad.

Things seem to be falling apart around us. From terrorist attacks like 9/11 to school shootings, life in America seems more dangerous by the day. Turn on any news channel, pick up a newspaper, or read a blog post and you’re sure to find madmen running amok.

My daughter and her family are moving today from a leased apartment because in the seven months they have lived there, they’ve

experienced shootings twice. The first time was a blazing gun battle in the parking lot outside her window. It was witnessed by two of her three children. The second was just last night. A drive-by shooting left TEN bullet holes in the apartment next to theirs. Had the shooter aimed at her apartment instead, their son would be dead today.

Their oldest daughter (she’ll be seventeen in about a month) was so traumatized by the first incident that she was afraid to go to school. Afraid to eat in the cafeteria, because so many kids congregate there that it would be the logical place for a bad person with a gun to start shooting. She kept to herself in the library.

 “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here.

From a purely personal viewpoint, when your frame of reference involves school shootings and the city you live in has the dubious distinction to have a murder rate of 12.5 per 100,000, you can easily get paralyzed by fear. So while we have to be aware of the violence around us, it is the extraordinary person who can be relaxed inside.

Are you that one?

Public Domain Image

Photo courtesy of Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash

I am. That’s because I have the assurance that nothing is going to happen to me that my God does not allow. And not even the bullet fired at me close range can take my life one second before God calls me home.

How did I gain such peace in the midst of turmoil? By hiding God’s word in my heart. In Psalm 119 the writer tells God he has hidden His word in his heart so that he wouldn’t sin against God. But there are other benefits to knowing Scripture.

One such benefit is relegating fear to hell where it belongs.

That’s why I wrote a devotional about how to speak to the devil when he fills your mind with fearful thoughts.

It’s a weekly devotional and contains 52 reasons why you do not have to be afraid even though life around you seems really dangerous. Since you’re reading this blog, it is reasonable to assume you live in a modern country with access to a Bible. If you don’t have one, contact me and I’ll be sure to get one in your hands.

Meanwhile, enjoy the free devotional download!

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5 Biblical Reasons to Honor Our Small Group Members

5 Biblical Reasons to Honor Our Small Group Members

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I got a phone call from a dear friend this morning, and I’m sure that God was listening in and guiding our conversation, because we both came away with new lessons for each of our unique situations. She just had heart surgery; I lead a small group.

“Wait,” you say. “How are these the same?”

Well, obviously, they’re not. What was the same, though, was that God cares about both situations. She and I are sisters from the same Abba Father, and you know what? He doesn’t play favorites!

I’m actually not going to discuss what God had for her in this conversation; that’s hers to share or not. But I am going to show you how

she met my need in the moment, even as she dealt with the aftermath of her surgery.

Let me tell you the scenario and then show you how shining the Light of Christ on it taught me lessons God had for me today.

I lead two small groups in my church. One has a messianic focus and one is a creative group. The last meeting to end the creative group for the summer came, and I had anticipated a small party and sharing the results of what we had done over the last five weeks. I had emailed all the members and asked them to consider bringing some goodies to share and to be sure to bring their project with them so we could all see our progress.

But when everybody showed up, no one had brought anything to share and no one had done a single thing with what we had been learning about for better than a month. Swallowing my disappointment, I simply welcomed everyone and we began to share our week. (In both of my groups, I always start off by allowing everyone to tell us how things are going, what they are doing, and enjoying treats, drinks, and lots of laughter. But I’m the one who provides the snacks and beverages, every time.) I guess I had groomed them to expect me to do it all. And why wouldn’t they? I doubt that I ever even one time asked someone else to contribute (although one dear lady in my other group brought something twice, unasked). 

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You know, I tried to forbid the disappointment and it wouldn’t obey the “delete” button. So I sent it to my “examine later” cubby in my brain so I could continue my group without letting the emotion of the moment affect me.

During the course of the group time, one of the participants continually talked over everyone else. Her attitude made people feel as though what they were contributing was insignificant and she was the authority—on everything. At one point, she actually stood up and left the room because another member wanted to show a You Tube video she didn’t agree with.

The poor lady trying to show the video got up, suddenly “remembered” she needed to be at home right then, and walked out the door. Shortly thereafter, the meeting ended and everybody left.

“What just happened, Lord?” I asked. He chose to answer me by shining His light through the gentle words of my friend who called me this morning. Here’s what I learned.

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“Romans 12:9-10 says: Love must be sincere. . . Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

1. Love one another.

My gracious friend reminded me that before everything else, love. Perhaps I had lost sight of the fact that I had started this group to give women a place to create something that would glorify God. That it was through His great love that we were
being drawn together and if nothing else got done, loving each other was worth the time we spent in each other’s company. When you gather people together, Christians or not, there are bound to be conflicts. The plain fact is, we don’t always like each other’s style. But to honor each other as Christ asks us to, we must allow enough room for each person to grow in their own way. Some of us are daisies, some are roses, and some are mighty oaks. But we all flourish under the same sun. Can I look at that sister who always rubs me the wrong way and realize that she, too, is made in the image of God? That to dishonor her is to dishonor God Himself? Am I content to be quiet when she says something I don’t agree with, or is it impossible for me to not give my opinion? Maybe my opinion is right, and maybe it’s not, but it isn’t always necessary to voice either way. I could just quietly watch God growing her according to His agenda and timing for her, because He is doing the same with me.
“Romans 12:11-12 says: Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

2. Honor each other in prayer.

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My sweet, gracious friend asked me, “Have you prayed for them?” I had prayed for them, but perhaps my prayers could have been more along the lines of “what does she need, Lord?” instead of what would cause the group the least problems. According to God, our zeal—our fervency—is what makes prayers powerful. God is not the quick-fix-man. Snapping out a general prayer for your group members reminds me of the scene in The Sound of Music where Maria remembers who it was she forgot to pray for among the many children and quickly says, “And God bless Hans.”

I don’t want my prayer time to become a ritual. I want to know God’s heart when I pray. In fact, each day I approach Him by saying, “God, please draw me to Your heart. What is on Your heart that You want me to pray for today?” If you pray what’s on His heart, you will definitely be praying according to His will. Pray with zeal, and you release His power in the situation. If you don’t know what words to say, pray a scripture or give the Holy Spirit access to your voice and pray in the Spirit.

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“Romans 12:13 says: Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

3. Let others participate more.

My main spiritual gift is teaching. Frankly, I lack somewhat in the hospitality area, although I enjoy sharing my home with others. My friend reminded me that allowing others to participate by bringing food was an easy way to share “ownership” of the group. Even better, she suggested that

during the first meeting, I choose someone to keep notes, not like minutes of a meeting, but so that a recap could be sent out to make sure we’re all on the same page. Parameters should be set, such as start and end times, what will happen during that time, and so that I have an easy way to get people back on track if things start off down a rabbit trail. For my situation, if anyone wants to stay afterward and discuss things, that’s fine with me.

Letting other members of the group share their gifts actually fills a need in them. Everybody needs a place to share what God has gifted them with.

Taking on all the responsibility myself was neither honoring to my group members, nor to myself. And you know what? I already knew this. Satan, though, is able to cause blind spots that we don’t see until something goes awry and we wonder why.

Most of the members of this group had been in other groups with me and we had developed a very relaxed manner together. But new people had different expectations, and since this was not a Bible study but a creative class, I should have made the expectations clearer.

“Romans 12:15 says: Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ”

4. Sharing our hearts.

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Honor others by allowing them to share their hearts. But make it an absolute rule that what happens in group stays in group. Don’t share their stories with anyone they have not specifically told you to share with. (It is so very easy for gossip to be passed off as “I’m telling you this as a point of prayer.” Unless you have been given permission, believe me, girl: it’s gossip.)

An honorable person does not gossip. Don’t allow your members to dishonor others by sharing others’ “prayer needs” unless you know it is okay with the one being prayed for, either.

Honoring others means that what they think, say, and do in your presence is kept private unless they want it shared. All members of the group should understand this and be honoring in what they decide to share, too. Remember, you can’t unsay it!

Photo courtesy of Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

“Romans 12:16 says: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

5. Live in harmony with each other.

Have you ever listened to the Gaither group sing? They harmonize so well it makes my soul tingle! At one time I was part of a church choir and sang alto. I love making harmony
with all the other voices.

When we live in harmony, we are like a choir of angels to God, who sees us making beautiful music together. Harmony takes more than a single voice. You can’t have harmony if everyone is a soprano. You need the other tones to blend together to make your special brand of worship rise to the heavens.

Yes, I said worship.

Because when all is said and done, our lives are acts of worship that we offer to God. Perhaps you think you can’t sing, but your life poured out in honoring others is a symphony that our Savior loves to hear.

The Nature of Compromise—Taming Dragons Series Part 1

The Nature of Compromise—Taming Dragons Series Part 1

About the Series

I firmly believe that Jesus is returning soon. All I have to do is look around and see the actualization of what Paul warned us about in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 that says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” Look up with hope, for He has promised us:  “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Nature of Dragons

When I was a child, I would watch “Our Gang” with great delight. Those of you who are too young to have seen the TV show can still relate to the scene I describe. Two little boys are sitting in a wagon to which they have harnessed a pet goat. Ingenious as these little guys are, they have rigged a long pole to dangle a carrot in front of the goat. When they lower the carrot, the goat goes forward, always and forever to be deprived of his reward. To stop, all they need do is just raise the carrot above the goat’s eye level and—out of sight, out of mind—the animal immediately stops. We tend to think stupid goat, until we realize that we who have considered ourselves sheep sometimes look an awful lot like the goat. Why is that?

Dragons dangle carrots, too.

The chief Dragon has spent millennia studying the behavior of human beings. And it’s his long study that enables him to hitch us to a wagon. Then, without even realizing it, we are following after a goal we never intended to pursue, and our minds are so caught up in it that we don’t even recognize the motivation that drives us. And, beloved, you are no different than the rest of us!

Let’s look at the nature of the dragon. First, it is ever and always a liar (we’ll get to that in Chapter Four). Then, it is corrupt through and through. The nature of the dragon is such that camouflage is, as it were, the skin in which it lives. These things are important to know if we hope to avoid entrapment.

 

John the beloved disciple gives us perhaps the most vivid description. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be  set free for a short time” (Revelation 20:2-3, emphasis mine). According to John’s vision, all doubt about the dragon’s identity is removed. And his purpose—to deceive the nations—is also plainly revealed. Deception may well be the most significant aspect of the dragon’s nature. His first encounter with man was to lie about God, and this is still his modus operandi today.
Few would argue with me when I say that our nation is in a downward moral swing. Click To Tweet We have churches today that cater to the itching ears of people all over the country. This is a prophesied event linked to the end times. 2 Timothy 4:3 says: “For the time will come when 
men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (emphasis mine).

There is a movement among the churches called ecumenism, which is to bring all religions together so that all may worship together. The problems with that are legion, and many books have been written on the subject. Suffice it to say that there can be no coming together because there is only one God, the God of Christ, who is Christ Himself. All other so-called gods are false, lies from the pit of hell, and what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? Or how can dark remain with light (2 Corinthians 6:14)?

Marriage has been redefined to include same-sex couples, denying that the reason for marriage is not so that the world will recognize the union of two people, but that children might be holy (1 Corinthians 7:14). God established the order in Genesis, saying “For this reason shall a man leave his mother and a woman her home, and the two shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, emphasis mine).

Things which are evil are called good, and things which are good are called evil (Isaiah 5:20). The Ten Commandments are removed from public view, Bible reading in public is not tolerated (not to mention speaking the name of Christ), and children are taught the fundamentals of Islam in so-called world religion classes while Christianity is minimized or eliminated altogether, despite its importance in the development of the West.

America did not slide into moral decay all at once, just as tooth decay happens slowly, over time. Did you know that sugar doesn’t cause decay in your teeth? Well, actually, that might be splitting hairs. [bctt tweet=”The human mouth is filled with microorganisms; so filled, in fact, that they outnumber the billions of people on the earth.” username=”suziwollman”]

Since bacteria are organisms just like we are, they consume “food” and excrete  “waste.” (Yes, I know that the analogy is disgusting; nevertheless, stick with me here.)

Tooth decay is more properly called demineralization. When acid (the waste the bacteria form) is allowed to remain on the teeth, a “hole” in the wall of the enamel begins to form. Immediately. Although we can’t actually sterilize our mouths, we can resist the decay process by not allowing the bacteria to form colonies. Limiting the amount of time that sugars remain in our mouths and cleaning promptly and thoroughly after consuming sugars and starches can keep the bacteria from doing their work.

Lesser Poland St. Catherine of Siena

Here’s how this analogy relates to our study of compromise. You can easily see that if you could eliminate all traces of sugars and starches you consume, bacteria—although they would still be present—would have minimal impact on your teeth. Demonic spirits, like bacteria, live with us and will have greater or lesser impact on our lives depending on how we choose to combat them. (Please notice that I did not say they live in you. I believe that if we could actually see the demons at work around us, we would have a bad time of it not to panic. You may have seen movies where the demons [or gargoyles, or whatever] are visible 
and the panic that ensues!) This is, of course, an oversimplification of the problem, but it will suffice for our purposes.
I’ve often used the nature of objects to explain holiness. If you hold a piece of paper over a burning flame, the flame will consume the paper. Why is that? Because it is the nature of paper and fire to behave this way. Even if the flame and the paper “wanted” to be together, it would not be possible without changing the nature of one or the other. God is said to be a 

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consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is holy; we are unholy (until we belong to Christ). Uncovered as we are without Christ, we could not enter the Holy of Holies, where God dwells, without being utterly consumed, because holiness consumes unholiness. Holiness is an absolute, and thus cannot change. However, our fallen nature can be changed if we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin (that which makes us unholy), and ask God to make Jesus’ righteousness our own. At the moment of conversion, we die to our old nature and are reborn with a whole new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Something very real takes place here, not something symbolic. For the holiness of God is a very real thing, and if the salvation experience were only symbolic, we would still be consumed in God’s presence. Symbolic salvation would have little value for eternity.

Continued next week…

Would You Like To Know How To Become A Christian?

4 Ways to Deny God

4 Ways to Deny God

How many ways do you deny your Savior?

Have you denied the God who sent His only Son to save you? There are several ways that the Scriptures specifically warn against denying God—are we guilty of them? Let’s look at them, one by one, and examine our hearts in the perfect Light of Christ, who is the Word of God.

“Titus 1:16:  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.”

 

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You deny God when you say you are a Christian but don’t act like one.

Jesus called the people when He was on the earth “an adulterous and sinful generation.” They were not worse than any generation before or since, except for one thing: He walked among them and they refused to recognize Him. He came to set them free from sin, and they did not acknowledge Him.

Acknowledging Jesus meant many things, but chief among them was that each person was a sinner in need of a Savior. The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious rulers and teachers. They had the word of God, which they read religiously. That means that every day they sat in the Synagogue, speaking and arguing about what the Scriptures meant. They were so concerned about the letter of the law that they completely missed the Spirit of the law, even when He stood up and spoke before them.

At one point, Jesus called them foolish. He told them that they were so careful to wash the outside of the cups they drank from, not caring that they were filthy inside with greed and wickedness. He said they were guilty not only because they did these things, but because they also prevented people who wanted to know God from doing so.

 

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Can you imagine how angry they were when this Jesus, this carpenter, spoke to them in this manner? How dare He! They considered themselves holier than anyone else, and they lorded this self-righteousness over other people.

What do we think we do when we pass judgment on someone else because they are not meeting God’s standards of holiness? Do we think we are?

 

“Luke 18:10-13: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”

One of the worst ways we can deny our God is by denying we need to be saved. Even if we know, somewhere deep inside, that we are sinners just like everyone else, if we act in such a way that people  say we have a “holier than thou” attitude, we are denying that we need a Savior.

Even worse is that we are presenting what it means to be a Christ-follower in a bad light so that we are actually turning people away from Him. Like the religious hypocrites of Jesus’ day, we not only don’t go in ourselves, but we prevent others from going in.

So the next time you feel like cutting someone off in traffic while your fish bumper sticker says you’re a Christian, ask yourself if you are not like the Pharisee who thought he was better than the tax collector.

“1 John 2:22 says: Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”

Denying that Jesus is who He says He is.

Jesus once asked His disciples who the people said He was. They responded that some thought He was a prophet, John the Baptist, or Elijah. But when He asked them who they said He was, Peter answered “You are the Messiah.” Jesus told him that God Himself had revealed that to Peter.

The word messiah means anointed one. In the Old Testament, people were anointed with oil as a symbol of being set apart and consecrated for God’s purposes, imbued with the Holy Spirit’s authority and power. God promised the Jews that He would send an ultimate Messiah and confirmed His word with over 300 Scriptures about the coming Savior.

“Daniel 9:2—Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.”
But who did Jesus Himself say He was?  He said that He was God in John 20:28-29. In that Scripture, “Doubting Thomas” sees Him alive for the first time and calls Him “my Lord and my God.” Jesus does not rebuke Thomas, but acknowledges that He is God by telling Thomas that those who have not seen yet still believe are blessed.

In John 8:58, Jesus tells the rabbis that “before Abraham was, I AM.” That was a name reserved only for God Himself, and the Jewish leaders tore their robes and then tried to kill Jesus.

In Matthew 26, Jesus tells the high priest while He is under oath that He is the Son of God, the Christ (Christ is the Greek word for Messiah).

He also declared that He and the Father were one.

People who say Jesus was a good man, a great teacher, a prophet, or anything other than God Himself are denying Him. He will not share His glory with anyone, and whoever makes Him less than He said He is is called “antichrist.” God sent Jesus to be the Savior of the world, and He did not provide any other way for us to be saved.

So if you talk to someone who tries to tell you that Jesus is less than God Almighty, that person is denying Him. The result is that when he stand before God, Jesus will deny him.

“2 Timothy 1:8 says: Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.”

Being ashamed of the Gospel

Some people would rather others not know that they are Christians. They do not stand up for Jesus when His name is maligned. They don’t necessarily say anything against Him, but neither do they open their mouths to protest, either. They’re the ones who are quiet when an inappropriate joke is told in the office, or who listen to the gossip about someone else who isn’t even present to defend themselves.

The people who daily interact with this person would be surprised to learn that she believes in Jesus, because she never opens her mouth to say anything good about God, even if she never actually says anything bad, either. She’s ashamed to admit that she is a sinner. She doesn’t even acknowledge that there is even such a thing as sin.

Jesus says plainly in Mark 8:38 that if we are ashamed of Him in the midst of a perverse generation, He will be ashamed of us before His Father when He returns in glory.

 

Committing Peter’s sin

“Matthew 26:73-74: A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.’  Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man!’

Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If we think we’re doing pretty well up to this point—we aren’t hypocrites, we tell others who Jesus really is, and we’re happy to spread the Gospel—we need to open our hearts a little wider to that all-revealing Light. Because this next one is an insidious one.

Maybe you think we’ve already covered this one. But what Peter did—denying Christ—most of us do many times every day. How?

We listen to the lies of Satan in our minds, accepting and agreeing with what he says instead of agreeing with what we KNOW Jesus has said. Those worrying little thoughts, those niggling little lies that tell us we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough… they’re from Satan, not our Lord and Savior.

Aligning our thoughts with Satan’s thoughts is saying that we don’t know who Jesus is.

Because if we do know who He is, why do we not believe Him?

This is the worst one, in my opinion, because we hardly ever notice it, yet it prevents us from being effective in God’s plan. When we accept the lies of Satan, we turn over our power and authority to the enemy of our God and the one who desires to destroy our souls.

So the next time you’re tempted to listen to the thoughts you know are not from God, drag them into the circle of God’s Light. Because in that circle, everything made of darkness dissolves.

Make a Tote Bag with a Special Message!

Make a Tote Bag with a Special Message!

These two images show my “Life in the Light” tote in my shop, so if you don’t have time to make one, you can always buy one there!

Everybody needs tote bags. Because everybody has stuff. This tutorial will show you how to make one exactly like you want! (While I was making this one, my husband came in, saw what I was up to, and asked for a custom-sized one for himself. I love it when he gets what I’m doing!)

Although I carry a “Life in the Light” tote bag in my shop, making one of your very own with my motto on it or anything else you want to say is very easy. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to design and create your very own so that you will have a one-of-a-kind tote you’ll be proud to take with you everywhere you go!

You can watch a video of the process here, or you can download the free pdf here.

Download Here

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Binding and Loosing from a Messianic Perspective

Binding and Loosing from a Messianic Perspective

Photo courtesy of Diego on Unsplash

Authority of Binding and Loosing

The church for years (since 1960) has embraced the Charismatic movement which was begun officially by “Father” Dennis Bennett of St. Mark’s Episcopal parish in Van Nuys, California. Included in this revival movement were the gifts of the Holy Spirit as enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11. These nine gifts are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecies, discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues. None of them includes “binding and loosing.”

So what did Jesus mean when He told His disciples that they would have the power to bind and loose?

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18 NIV).”

For many in the church today and stemming back to 1960, it referred to power over spiritual activity here on earth and in heaven.

Jesus did say that the demons were subject to His disciples in His name, as evidenced in this scripture.

Luke 10:17 says: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Notice two things about this scripture. First, it applied to seventy two disciples sent out, not just to the twelve in His inner circle. What He gave to them, He also has given to us.

Second, the demons were subject in Jesus’ name, NOT in any power the disciples had. This is a privilege of true believers who carry the Spirit of God in their hearts. Remember what happened when an unbeliever tried to use Jesus’ name to cast out demons?

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?’ And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:13-16 NIV).”

Casting demons out of people is something that every believer should be able to do in Jesus’ name. It is only His name that the demons respect, not the words we speak from our own thoughts or even our hearts. Remember that even Michael the archangel did not accuse Satan directly.

Jude 1:9 tells us:“But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”

So is that what Jesus meant?

Were we to bind and loose spirits on earth and in heaven?

If you take a Scripture in context, you have to look at who’s speaking, who’s being spoken to, how they would have understood the words spoken, and in what setting all this speaking happened.

Remembering that this was a Jewish Messiah speaking to Jewish disciples, it makes the most sense to look at it from a Jewish perspective, does it not?

In the context of teaching His disciples, this scripture is not talking about authority to bind and loose evil spirits. Why on earth would they ever loose an evil spirit? Or for what reason would an angel be bound?

Jesus was discussing the sin in the church right before this verse.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector (Matthew 18:15-17 NIV).”

Photo courtesy of Blake Campbell on Unsplash

At the time, rabbis decided issues of Jewish law. The power vested in them through the Torah allowed them to “bind” or “loose” a specific action. The Hebrew word לֶאֱסוֹר (translated bind) means to forbid, and מוּתָר (translated loose) means to permit. These terms in the original Greek are translated the same way, with δήσητε (you shall bind) meaning to obligate, compel or bind and λύσητε (you shall loose) meaning to free, unchain, release, or loose. These were legal terms that the Hebrew disciples would have fully understood. These kinds of “bindings” and “loosings” show up thousands of times in the Jewish scriptures and rabbinic writings. The 

passage below illustrates exactly what Jesus was describing.

“If one sage declared something as bound, he should not ask another sage who might declare it loosed. If two sages are both present and one rules something unclean and the other rules it clean, if one binds and the other looses, then if one of them is superior to the other in learning and number of disciples, follow his ruling, otherwise, follow the stricter view. (b.Avodah Zarah 7a).”

That was then. But Jesus uses the future tense when He says whatever they bind on earth will be bound on heaven, and whatever they loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

So what was He talking about, exactly?

Jesus was referring to the era when He will reign on earth as Elohim, HaMelech (God the King) and He will at that time give the keys of the Kingdom to His twelve disciples along with the authority to bind and loose. In other words, they will rule with Him.

“Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28 NIV).”

But His words also had an immediate context as well, as did most of what Jesus taught. In the time of the Apostles, they had the authority to make decisions as judges concerning judicial matters of the newborn church. Following Jesus’ teaching, they used their authority whenever and wherever it was needed.

“But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard (Acts 4:17-20 NIV).”

The Apostles also exercised that authority when some Jews were telling the Gentiles that they had to follow the Mosaic Law and  be circumcised. They “loosed” them from the yoke of the whole Torah even though it continued to apply to unsaved Jews. Nevertheless, they “bound” them in certain restrictions.

“The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing.  It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:  You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell (Acts 15:23-29 NIV).”

So were they abolishing the law?

Absolutely not. This binding and loosing did not extend to nullifying the commands God had spoken, nor did it authorize them to make new commandments. Jews were still bound to the laws as God had given them, until they became believers in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah). Even after coming to faith, Jewish believers in Messiah continued following the Torah commandments.

Do some Messianic Jews today observe the old law?

Once again, you need a Jewish perspective on the law. The Torah was not given as a burden. It is a cherished gift from God that shows Jews how to live a life pleasing to God.  Of course, the law also provides punishment for disobedience. So when a Jewish believer in Christ celebrates the Feasts or rests on the Sabbath, he does not think he is garnering favor with God. He knows he is already beloved of God. Instead, he is worshipping God with his entire life.

“So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good (Romans 7:12 NIV).”

Since Paul recognized that the law was good, we should understand that we are not bound by the law of the Torah so that it is a burden, but in thankfulness for the immense gift bestowed upon us by a gracious God, we are loosed to delight in the law and celebrate the Torah and God’s appointed times, whether you are Jew or Gentile!

Photo courtesy of Amos Bar-Zeev on Unsplash

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Scripture Canvas Tutorial

Scripture Canvas Tutorial

This “He is Risen” canvas was a gift to my daughter-in-law on Passover this year.

If you’re like me,

you have probably seen (and maybe drooled over) scriptures in beautiful fonts that maybe you’ve saved to your Pinterest account, but wish you could hang on your wall. Well, now you can. And I’m going to show you how in this tutorial.

What you’ll need:

A stretched canvas
A cutting machine (mine is a Silhouette® Curio)
Vinyl
A weeding tool
Paint in one or two colors
A stenciling brush
A favorite font (or two) — or —
A .pdf, .jpg, or .sfg file of the scripture you want to use
This tutorial assumes you already know how to use your cutting machine and can import images or install fonts if you need to. (These links lead to Silhouette tutorials.)

Step one

If you are using a font on your cutting machine, type in your chosen scripture. Don’t worry about the placement, because you can adjust it on your canvas once you’ve cut it out. I didn’t want to type the scripture in Silhouette, so I did it in Photoshop®. You can also  manipulate the placement of words on your cutting machine; I just like to use Photoshop because I can adjust letter spacing more precisely. Once you’ve decided how you want the words to work, it’s on to Step Two. Again, don’t worry about placement of the words.

This shows the .jpg in Photoshop.

Here’s the text, imported into Silhouette, and traced, ready to be cut.

Step Two

If you have used a program besides your cutting machine software, you’ll need to save the file according to the file type your machine will read. I used Photoshop, so I saved mine as a .jpg. Import the file into your program and trace the image (or whatever your machine requires).

Step Three

Cut the file in vinyl.

Step Four

Now comes the tedious part. Carefully remove the words (or letters) with a weeding tool that allows you to get under the vinyl easily. I use a dental pick that I found at a hardware store sale.  Be especially careful around thin strokes as they can easily break. Also, don’t let the vinyl stick to your fingers, either. Try to keep as light a touch as possible as you transfer the vinyl to the canvas.

When I made the “He is Risen” canvas, this is the tool I used for weeding. But today, I can’t find that tool! (Does anyone else misplace things as often as I do?) So I used an X-acto knife. Worked just as well!

Step Five

This is the point at which you arrange the words in the way you find pleasing. If you lay the vinyl down gently, you can easily reposition it until you are happy with the layout. At this point, I decided I wanted something to span the canvas between the words. So I went in to my Silhouette Library and found a fern I liked. I duplicated it and flipped the copy so they’d be mirror images. After cutting it in vinyl, I added it to the canvas.

This one isn’t exactly a scripture, but more an assignment of a godly attribute to a favorite teacher. The words in Hebrew say “Faithful Teacher.”

Step Six

Burnish the letters down well so that paint will not get underneath in the next step. A credit card is perfect for this task.

Step Seven

You may decide to use a single color of paint or more than one. I have decided on two colors that complement each other. Pour a small amount of paint in a shallow dish. Dip your stencil brush in the paint and pounce it on a paper towel to remove some of the paint. You want the brush to be damp but not wet. Pounce the paint over the letters, letting the brush get kind of dry before you load it again.

If you are using more than one color and you don’t want them to mix, let the first color completely dry before adding another one. You can pounce the paint just around the edges of the letters to create an outline or you can fill in the entire canvas. Each method returns an attractive result. In this example, I pounced a soft yellow color all over the canvas and over the type and the fern leaves I added to the middle. When it is dry, I will use metallic bronze to outline the letters, which will end up being white on a mottled background.

You may want to completely paint the canvas one color before you lay your vinyl down so that the letters will be a color.

Here you can see the yellow paint covering the vinyl.

Both colors have been added to the canvas.

Step Eight

Once the paint has completely dried, carefully remove the vinyl letters from the canvas. If you are very careful, you can transfer them to the backing paper they came from or use a page protector sleeve to save them for another use. I generally end up destroying mine (oh, well!). Note that the font I used was really too thin. A thicker font would have given a better result, as in the He is Risen canvas.

This is the finished canvas for my teacher.

Now you have your favorite scripture in white (or another color if you painted the canvas first) on the background you created with your brush.

To show you how it looks with only one color and white for the background, here is the canvas that I gifted my daughter-in-law with for hosting our Messianic Passover in her home.

This is the finished “He is Risen” canvas.

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Do You Suffer From Spiritual Light Sensitivity?

Do You Suffer From Spiritual Light Sensitivity?

For weeks now, I have been struggling with light sensitivity.

Yes, I have very blue eyes and a bad habit of squinting against the light instead of putting on my sunglasses. Some days, I feel like I need them even indoors!

My doctor tells me that most people in Texas—where I live—have vitamin D3 deficiency. That’s crazy, when we know that only sunlight produces that vitamin in our bodies. You can get small amounts from eating things like mushrooms, but not nearly as much as your body needs. With the abundance of sunlight in Texas, you’d think we’d be the least likely people to develop this deficiency.

A study at Stanford

In a recent study at Stanford University, researchers found that women who spend at least 30-45 minutes in the sun everyday live longer and have less frequent breast cancers. Yet we’ve been told over and again to avoid the sun! And so we ask, what are we to do? (I’ll come back to that in a minute.)

Of even graver concern is the lack of spiritual light.

If avoiding the sun can cause physical problems in our bodies, imagine how avoiding God’s light can affect our spirits!

Consider the case of the New Testament Apostle Paul. Even though he wrote most of the New Testament, he had not always been a champion of the faith. Indeed, he had letters from the religious authorities to put in jail those who were following the Way. He was on the road to Damascus to do just that when something startling happened.

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do (Acts9:3-6).”

Blinded by the light, his whole sense of who he was and who God was, was challenged. He had to be led into the city because he was totally blind.

But blind to what?

Saul was the young Pharisee who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the first Christian martyr. He was passionate for what he saw as the only way to worship God. But the Pharisees had put so many stumbling blocks in the way of the faithful that no one could be assured of not offending them.

However, God was offended by the Pharisees!

He knew that no one could follow the law perfectly. Not even pious Saul. So He enacted the solution He had prepared even before the beginning of time itself. He sent Jesus into the world, to live the life we should have lived. He did that perfectly. Then, He took on himself the penalty for every sin ever committed, past, present and even future. He paid the penalty and bought our freedom and forgiveness.

 

He became the light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).

 

When Jesus showed people the way, those who believed Him still struggled with believing. At one point, the boldest Apostle in the group, Simon Peter, denied he even knew Jesus.

Much later, when the beloved apostle, John, wrote in his letters, he made it abundantly clear who the light is.

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:5-9).

This may be my favorite verse in the whole Bible. I love the light, because that’s where Jesus is.

But it is definitely not always easy.

I suffer from chronic depression. If you think Christians shouldn’t have depression, then you must also think they shouldn’t have diabetes, or heart disease, or any of a plethora of illnesses that are a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, until Jesus returns and make all things new, we live in a fallen and decaying world. One day soon, He will return and restore everything to the way He made it in the beginning, before the fall. (For more information on being a Christian with mental illness, see Amy Simpson’s Blog. You can also read my testimony about depression here.)

We have a worthy adversary—the devil. The word tells us that

he goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8.).”

Do you know what that means? It means he is LOUD! He is ROARING his message of lies to us. But he is also a liar from the beginning and the father of lies (John 8:44).

The enemy roars his lies.

In our ears, in the mirror, in our jobs and our families and even in our churches. That is why it is crucial that we stay in the light. When the light is shining, nothing is hidden. If we believe the lies the enemy roars at us (I’m unloveable; I’m a failure; I’m not pretty; I can’t do anything right.) then we are committing Peter’s sin.

We’re denying that we know Jesus Christ.

I’ve just come through one of the worst depressive episodes I’ve ever experienced. I tried walking backwards in the light, but all I saw were the shadows that I, myself, was casting. I heard the enemy’s lies, and I listened. Fortunately, I have people around me who saw what was happening and rushed to my aid.

Now I’m wearing an elastic band around my wrist. It says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Even though it’s a good reminder, that’s not why I’m wearing it. Every time I hear the enemy’s lies in my mind, I snap that plastic band. Then I counter the lie with the truth of Jesus. I am loved. I am succeeding in my adventure with God. I’m beautiful because God says I am. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

One day soon I’m going to publish my testimony on this website. It’s kind of long, so it will be on a page of its own and you’ll never have to look there if you don’t want to. It isn’t a pretty story, but it is a story of victory!

So how do we balance our need for light?

In the physical, we need 30-45 minutes in the sun every day to produce enough vitamin D3. But NEVER without sunscreen! And I know it’s hot and we would rather sit in the air-conditioned room than walk around the block in the heat of the day. But doing something good for yourself means you’re doing something good for the people you love, too.

And what about spiritually?

Fully live your Life in the Light!

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How to Choose the Right Bible for You

How to Choose the Right Bible for You

How to choose the right Bible for you.

It seems to me that with the advent of global shopping online, the brick and mortar Christian bookstores where I worked and learned the difference between Bibles have gone the way of the dinosaur. Sure, there are loads of choices on the internet, many more, in fact, than any local bookstore or chain could carry. And it also seems like the sheer number of Bibles in new and exciting categories is growing by the day. So what do you do when you want a new Bible but aren’t sure where to turn? Well, for my friends, I have developed a method for you to weigh all the options available to you. Just click on the image to the right!

What’s the difference between not just translations, but types of Bibles? Is a Reference Bible better than a Study Bible? What qualifies as a Journaling Bible? And aren’t there specialty Bibles for just about every interest and need? Yes, there are, and what I’ve tried to do for you is put it all in a chart to help you make the choice that’s right for you.

But first, some definitions.

Concerning translations, there are actually 3 types you might come across. Verbal Equivalence Bibles (aka Formal Equivalence Bibles) means that the translators have opted to translate word for word. If it is strictly adhered to, it can make reading a bit awkward because there are no strict equivalent words for some Hebrew and Greek words.

The second type is Dynamic Equivalence (aka Functional Equivalence) Bibles. In this translation method, the translator has attempted to convey thought for thought instead of strict word for word. Neither one of these methods is fool-proof, but they are still remarkably accurate when compared to the original manuscripts.

The third type is a Paraphrase, which is not strictly a translation at all. This type takes the meaning of the Scriptures and tries to put it in simple, everyday language. Many people use a Paraphrase Bible for reading, but switch to an actual translation for studying.

More definitions

In addition to the different translations, there are different types of Bibles as well. The three most commonly read are the Study Bible, which includes study helps and commentaries to try to make the passages clearer; the Reference Bible, which has a column either in the center or along the edge that list other references to the same topic; and there is a growing demand for Journaling Bibles as more people embrace journaling in their Bibles instead of in a separate notebook. And then there are Specialty Bibles that include things like Men’s Bibles, Women’s or Kids’ Bibles, Bibles focusing on architecture, or the work of the Holy Spirit, or even just Topical Bibles.

I’ve tried to give you a good sampling of some of the most popular Bibles; obviously, this post would stretch on to eternity if I tried to cover them all.

I hope the resource is helpful for you the next time you decide to purchase a new one for yourself or as a gift for someone else. The most important thing to remember is that time spent in God’s word is edifying to your spirit and God actually says it is “food for the soul.” Remember, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4, KJV).

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The Nature of Compromise—Taming Dragons Series Part 1

Taming Dragons: The Crisis of Compromise

HOORAY! My book has launched!

I’m so excited to offer you my newest book, Taming Dragons, The Crisis of Compromise! It is a seven week Bible study that uses scripture to show how insanely the church has slipped into compromise, and just how insidious the devil’s schemes are to distract us from what Christ commissioned us to do before he went to sit at His Father’s side. Each chapter takes a look at the dragons we’re trying to tame instead of utterly destroy in our lives. Genesis 4:7 warns us that “sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Making “pets” of dragons is compromise.

We’ve tried making pets out of our sins, and the results are becoming more distressing by the day. The dragon’s beauty and song mesmerize even the elect as we join right in with the idol worship of the secular society we live in. But God tells us to come out and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17).

Not everybody will welcome this book.

Because people are very attached to their pets, even when the danger of those pets is very present and very real, many would rather continue on in their sin than confront it face-to-face and demand that it be gone.

Taming Dragons is available as an ebook (available on the iBookstore or by clicking here) or as a printed publication so anyone who wants to read it has a way to do so.

The question is: Are you brave enough to confront your own dragons?

Click on the image to be taken to Amazon to purchase this book today!

From the back cover:

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How to Plan Your Blogging Goals 90 Days at a Time

How to Plan Your Blogging Goals 90 Days at a Time

Why plan your blogging goals?

You want to honor Christ in your blogging, right? You want your readers to come back again and again, too. Right again?
If your blog is more like an online journal and the people who read it are just friends and family, planning your goals is probably not necessary. But if you want to reach a larger audience and keep them coming back to read your blog, planning your blogging goals is a must.

Blogging can take over your life.

But it doesn’t have to. Like anything you do, planning is key to success. One of my favorite quotes comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”

Planning your blogging goals helps you reach your destination.

However, in today’s world, things change at the speed of, well, technology. And to have a successful blog, you really need to keep up. It can be overwhelming.

That’s why I created this FREE 90-Day Blog Planning Tool!

Without planning, I feel:

  • Unprepared
  • Overcommitted
  • Less productive

That’s why I plan 90 days at a time.

I don’t go into great detail in planning my blogging goals. A 90-day goal might be “grow traffic to 10,000 readers.” After that, planning posts that will interest my readers comes next.

Planning is not writing.

I want to know what I’m going to write about, but in the planning stage, I don’t actually write the post. That comes later.

 

Value-added content

Now that I have an editorial plan for the next 90 days, I’m going to think about what I can offer my readers that will align with the blog. A free checklist? A photo? Tips about how to accomplish something? I like to have a free resource available for download on lots of my posts. (Remember the movie Field of Dreams? “If  you build it, he will come” is true for blogging, too.)

Social media, too.

How will I get the word out? I utilize pins, posts and tweets to let people know what I’m doing and how they can benefit from it. So putting in when you plan to use social media is an integral part of the overall plan. Again, don’t create the pins, posts and tweets—plan them.

Tasks.

The final part of my planning involves listing tasks. If you are using my free planning tool, you have 13 weekly pages to list those tasks and schedule them in.

Scheduling your workload is freeing.

I take one day every three months to plan the next 90 days. Then I only have to look at my plan to know what I need to accomplish each week. It frees my mind up to concentrate on creating really great content that will draw people in and give them what they need.

After all, that’s what my blog is all about. How about yours?

Go ahead! Download your FREE 90-Day Blog Goal Planning Tool!

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