Ephesians 4:11-16 ESV And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, …
I am in the process of installing a small section of fence in my yard to keep my new puppy, a big lab, in my back yard. After making a few calls I quickly discovered that the cost to install a small fence to keep her out of my flower bed is very expensive so I decided to check out DIY fences.
It made me wonder what DIY Christianity would look like. If there was a Pinterest board or a website for it I think it would look a little like this.
- Read the Bible for yourself. No need to have a Pastor teach you anything. I am smart enough to read it and understand it on my own.
- Going to church isn’t important. Who needs to GO to church. I can pick one I like on TV. I can pick 3 or 4 different ones and watch them anytime I want to, while in my pj’s or cleaning house.
- Bible Studies aren’t necessary. I can buy all kind of Christian book about anything and do my own study. There is no reason to get dressed, take extra time away from my already busy schedule to meet with people to read and talk about a book together. Study on a book of the Bible…well refer to number 1.
- Church Events are an inconvenience – My schedule is already busy. I clean house, cut grass, grocery shop, do laundry and home maintenance all day on Saturday. Sunday is my day to rest and I am too tired after working all week to add anything else to my schedule.
- If I do go to church I don’t commit to just one. I prefer to visit other churches to keep it interesting – The good news is if I don’t go to the same church each week then I won’t get bored with the same people, same music, or the same preacher. I won’t be ask to volunteer and I won’t feel like I have to tithe since I don’t use their stuff every week.
Ok so maybe this DIY Christianity is real. I think there are a lot of Christians that fall into DIY Christianity but that is not what God intended for us. The scripture today says that he has equipped the saints to teach us and help us grow. Without going to the same church and sitting under one pastors teaching it is hard to Christians to grow. Bouncing around and not being committed to a body of believers in a church building allows you to be blown to and fro, which is not of God either. Find a good church and get involved. If you are trying DIY Christianity, try the real thing. It is better than anything you can do on your own. I PROMISE!
Proverbs 31:28 says Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her
Aha. I knew I would get you to read post after reading the title. I hope my post today will take the pressure off of you to be the perfect mother by telling you that there is no perfect mother, no not one.
When I am in my car, preaching is on the radio. This morning I heard one small statement from a preacher before reaching my destination that has rolled around in my mind all day. The pastor said, “You will never be the mother your children think you should be.”
Since I did not hear the full teaching I tried to break down what this statement might have meant. If he was referencing a teenage child, I get it. They want you to be like the COOL parents who don’t have rules or curfews for their kids. A toddler or small child doesn’t like it when their mothers say no. What about an adult child? Could he have meant an adult child would look back over their years at home and pick apart the good and bad parenting skills of their mom and dad? Would parents ever measure up to their adult child’s expectations of how they should have been raised?
After mulling this over all day, I began to reflect on my children’s life and how I impacted them as a mother. I can tell you that I messed up allot, mostly on my first born. She was our guinea pig. None of them came with an owners manual so we had to figure it out on our own. Then when number two came along, I thought I knew exactly what to do and then I had boy and boy was he different. Again no owners manual. Number three came along and I decided who needed an owners manual, this one had to be perfect. Threes a charm right? Again no owners manual.
Although I was not a perfect mother and although I made mistakes I tried my best to be a good Christian mother. Below are a few scriptures that I tried to live by as I raised my children. Remember I said tried and remember I also said I messed up allot.
- Gentleness: Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
- A Teacher: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 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.
- A Trainer: Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
- A Disciplinarian: Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
- Forgiving: Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
- Love My Husband: Titus 2:4-5 … and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
- A Prayer Warrior: Luke 18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
- Trust In The Lord: Psalms 9:10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
- Taught them Work Ethic: Proverbs 31:17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
- Mama Bear: Ok so this one isn’t in the bible, however Psalms 127:3 says Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
After I compare myself to the scriptures I tried to live by, I think I was an ok mom. My kids call me, check on me, send me cards, buy me presents, come to visit and tell me they love me. I am one blessed mama who is not perfect but who is perfectly loved. Read the scripture s every day and try to do what you can to follow them. You will be or you are a great mom. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Happy Mothers Day!
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
I recently watched a new Hulu documentary called “Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie.” Here is a quick overview of the movie: Over the years Mattel had seen a decline in Barbie sales. The design team discuss how the slim and trim Barbie of yesterday was no longer relevant and was in need of a body make-over. In most of the video the team struggles as they design the new plumper, shorter, taller and blacker barbies that will launch in January of 2016. They believe this change will be the answer to increasing Barbies sales.
I immediately thought about today’s focus scripture and the following scriptures as well.
John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
And lastly, Genesis1:31 And God saw that everything that He had made, and behold it was very good.
I grew up playing with Barbies and so did my daughter. Barbie did not make me or my daughter feel bad about ourselves. As a matter of fact we are both very confident women. To me, Barbie was a doll and nothing more. Barbie was the next step up for a little girl when she was too old to play with baby dolls, so it was sign of growing up.
As I listened to the documentary I could not believe how people thought a small doll like Barbie was causing so much identity trauma in our young girls. Just this weekend, my grand daughter was telling me and her grandfather about a girl in her 4th grade class who had changed her name to a boys name, wore boy clothes and was taking hormone shots to become a boy. Earlier in the day, I had watched two tv shows, both which had men kissing men and women kissing women. BUT Barbie is causing issues right??!!
The Scriptures says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Our children need to realize that God created billions of individuals yet gave each one his or her own look, strengths, personality and potential. We can live in confidence that God doesn’t make junk and that every one of us is a unique masterpiece of His creative genius. Not everyone is going to believe this way. As Christians we do. It is our responsibility to insure we teach our christian children to believe this as well. I have always heard a quote, “If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.”
My personal opinion, is that our young people do have a lot of identity trauma they are dealing with it, however, it is not coming from a small doll called Barbie. It is coming from a world and people who were once perfect and now are not. If we want our little children to be all that God created them to be, we must tell them over and over again about God and His plan for them. Read Deuteronomy 11:18-19. We have to be in the world to provide hope and encouragement but not of the world. We are just ambassadors here for a short while.
The Book of Galatians is written by the Apostle Paul to the Galatian churches. In chapter one and chapter 2:1-10 Paul is telling everyone who he is, why he has authority to speak to them, how he was chosen by Christ and how the other apostles had accepted him.
Chapter 2 verses 11-21 Paul confronts Peter about what he was doing wrong. Peter was telling the Gentile Christians that they had to behave and follow the customs of the Jews Christians in order to be saved. Paul said that was not biblical and he told Peter that he was a hypocrite. When Peter was alone with uncircumcised christians, the Gentiles, he would eat with them but when other Jewish Christians were around he would not eat with them. Jewish law stated that Jews were not to eat with those who were not circumcised. Paul ask Peter “Since you are a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions?”
This scripture made me think of Spider-Man a fictional superhero appearing in the early 1960’s American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Spider-Man series broke ground by featuring Peter Parker, a high school student behind Spider-Man’s secret identity. Peter was self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness as Peter Parker, while Spider-Man was the exact opposite.
Peter became Spider-Man as a result of a bite from a radioactive spider that triggered mutations in Peter Parker’s body, granting him superpowers. In the original Lee-Ditko stories, Spider-Man had the ability to cling to walls, superhuman strength, a sixth sense (“spider-sense”) that alerted him to danger, perfect balance and equilibrium, as well as superhuman speed and agility. The character was originally conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as intellectually gifted, but later writers have depicted his intellect at genius level. Academically brilliant, Parker has expertise in the fields of applied science, chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, mathematics and mechanics. With his talents, he sews his own costume to conceal his identity, and he constructed many devices that complemented his powers, most notably mechanical web-shooters to help navigate and trap his enemies along with a spider-signal as an flashlight and a warning beacon to criminals.
Once we are saved, we have supernatural powers, just like Peter, AKA Spider-Man but even bigger and better powers. Our “spider-sense” is the Holy Spirit. In Mark chapter 9 the Apostles tell Jesus about a man they saw healing someone. The disciples were upset and complained to Jesus because this man was not a disciple. Jesus tells them to stop complaining because you don’t have to be in the inner circle to perform miracles, you just have to perform the miracle in Jesus name.
Many Christians are living a Peter Parker life self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness when the Bible says we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). To put it in Spider-Man lingo, we have been bitten by the Holy Ghost Spider. With that bite came the power to do things in Christ name and to perform the greatest miracle, the miracle of leading others to salvation with a promise of eternity in heaven.
In the Spider-Man movie Peter does not want everyone to know who he was so he created a mask and added tools to expand his abilities, i.e. the web. Peter Parker wanted to live two lives just like Peter in todays scripture. Peter Parker protected his identity with his mask, and Peter in the scripture hid is identity by changing who he was based on who he was with.
God created you to be you. He tells us in the scripture how we should dress, act, talk, raise our children, treat our family, treat others, fellowship with other believers, obey our pastors and elders and so much more. He didn’t create us to look alike, act alike, talk alike or even love alike. For example He tells us to love our neighbors, but he doesn’t give us specifics of what love looks like in action. I may love my neighbor by cooking or grocery shopping for them. You may love your neighbor by house setting their pet while they are on vacation. But the instruction to love our neighbor is the same instruction for both of us.
I challenge you today to take off the mask you may be wearing as a Christian and use the power that is within you. Maybe you are not wearing a mask but you are not living a christian life all the time. As a Christian you are not self-obsessed with rejection, inadequacy, and loneliness because with Christ you can do all things and you are a new creature. Old habits are hard to break but you can break them with Christ help. You can do all things with Christ who give you strength. So ask Him to help you be that new person He says you can be. Stop acting like you are not saved when you are with those who are not saved. As a matter of fact let your light shine.
Like Peter Parker, Christians must learn that “with great power there must also come great responsibility.” Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Commit to be YOU starting today!! I believe in you! You an do it!!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I grew up in a generation where most of my neighbors were family and so were my best friends. The one thing about family, in my generation, was that family was forever. In-laws were called family not in-laws and Sunday dinner at Grandma’s and family reunions took place regularly. Adults were called Aunt’s and Uncles and everyone was called granny, regardless of how old or young they were. The older women gave their opinion to their grown daughters and daughter-n-laws on raising children, marriage, cooking and cleaning and no one got mad or at least didn’t show it.
In my youth, I saw very little fighting between the adults and when it did happen, they were right back at Granny’s house the next Sunday for dinner with the rest of the family. All was forgiven and everyone was back to normal. Why? Because family was important. Cousins were our best friends, outside of school, because they were who we saw the most and played with all the time. The younger Aunts and Uncles were more like our older cooler friends who steered us in the right direction than the adults they represented.
Today, so many people do not have the luxury of growing up with family near by. Granny’s are called a number of different things and Aunts, Uncles and even mom and dads are called by their first name. Cousins aren’t best friends because they rarely see each other due to distance and busy schedules AND there is no Sunday dinner at Granny’s house for most families.
I work at a local pregnancy center where I am blessed to meet so many couples, both young and old. Many who come through the center are in a crisis, but no all. When we ask if they attend church or know the Lord, the amount who say no is staggering. There are a variety of reasons given for not attending church, from un-belief to I used to believe/go to church, but don’t anymore.
We always find a way to share the gospel with those who will give us permission to do so. Many of our patients are alone in our town. Transplants. No Granny’s. No Aunt’s. No Cousins. And for some, No friends. This scripture comes to my mind so often.
You see life is hard. Would you agree? We all have ups and we all have downs. The Bible says we will have trouble in this world, John 16:33. God is always with us so we are really never alone, but God knew from the beginning that man needed another human with him. Genesis 2:18 ESV Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” It is not any different today. We all need someone.
Now listen, my lady friends. I know that some of you have been burned by other women so you don’t trust them. I know that some of you don’t have those cousins, aunts, moms or granny’s nearby to be there to advise you in troubled times. So as hard as it may be, I encourage you to find a Christian woman friend that you can lean on. I say Christian friend because you and she and the Lord make three.
Friends may not stick around forever like our family, however a true friend for any amount of time is a blessing from God. Don’t look at it as you can’t trust women. Look at it as God has taken your friendship with that person to it’s height and He is moving you on to a new level of friendship with someone new. I am speaking from experience as I have been hurt, stabbed in the back, turned on, spit on, lied about and gossiped on by some of those who were once my best friends. My hurt, and maybe yours too, was a double whammy because my best friends were Christians. Each time I was in disbelief that God allowed it to happened. In my past, I have sworn to never have best friends again in order avoid the complications that comes with them.
BUT, I am here to say that you do not need to be alone, nor do I. If you have friends, hurt is going to be inevitable but God will always be there to help you get through the hurt and restore your faith in friendship. A local church is a great place to find friends and support. In those churches you will find imperfect people who are tying to be the best Christians they can be. They are not perfect but they love the perfect one, Jesus Christ. If you don’t have a local church come visit mine, The Body Church, in Rock Hill, SC. Ask other people what church they attend. Visit every Sunday until you find one that feels like a family. Church is more than a check off box. If you find a good one, church is about Christ and family, church family.
My prayer for you today is that you find that best friend that you can stick to closer than a brother and you that you both invite Christ to be your best friend too. I will end with this quote from Joyce Meyers,
Don’t waste your time being upset about something you can’t change. Begin again and do it better this time.
I wanted to kick start your week with scripture only for encouragement. Sometimes no expounding is necessary.
Short and Sweet
2 Peter 1:4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
Isaiah 40: 31 But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Jeremiah 29:11 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
So what scripture encourages you the most that may not be listed above? It was so hard to stop but these are just a few to get you kickstarted today.
Philippians 3:7-9a NLT – I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.
Some of you may be offended that I used anything similar to our Presidents words in todays title. If you are offended then be sure to read yesterdays post then come back and read today’s post. LOL. Seriously, I have had this scripture and this title on my mind for days now.
Did you know that Rock Hill has a population of 69,103 residents and is the 5th largest city in South Carolina? Did you know that there were 8051 churches in SC as of the most current statistics? That’s a lot of churches. A lot of people who attend church. If you dig deep into the statistics you can see the number of people in our city who go to church, what they believe about God and what required to be a Christian. Ultimately, the statistics show that there are a lot of people who do not go to church and/or are not saved in our city.
The scripture says everything is worthless when compared to knowing Christ. EVERYTHING. If we want to make Jesus Great Again we, the Christians have to believe He is great. Our actions and our words must show that He is great. Things that are important to us take priority in our lives. The important things are in our conversations and we make time for them. I can assure you every one that knows me and spends any time talking to me knows that my grandkids are important to me. I talk about them every chance I get. I rearrange my work and personal life for them. I take their phone calls and/or face time calls. I go to their special events and love to celebrate them on birthdays and holidays. My grandchildren are great!
This scripture also says “For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Ladies, there is nothing as important than Christ and our relationship with him. As a young mother and new wife I struggled with this thought. The love we have for our family, especially our own flesh and blood, is indescribable. I used to think it was unimaginable to love someone more than them. But as I have grown older I realized that God loves them more than me. Really. Hard to believe, because I love them all so much.
If we want to make America Great Again, we have to make Jesus Great Again. He is great right? Do you show it? Are you saying it? These are not questions for you to necessarily answer in this post but to internalize. We live in a time where there is much brokenness in our world. Jesus is the answer. I believe it. I have seen the miracles of families restored, marriages saved, bodies healed, forgiveness given, and entry to heaven granted by those accepting Christ as their savior. He is the greatest and He deserves our praise, our worship and He deserves to be number one in our lives.
The great news is that if you do not know Jesus you can come to know Him today. If you do know Him and you are not sharing the good news, you can decide to do it beginning right now. Ladies, we can make a difference in this world and we start in our homes. As an old saying goes, “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Making Jesus Great Again begins with one person. That person spreads it to their home, their work, their friends, their family and their churches. You can do it. I believe in you! Lets make Jesus Great Again!!