Christian, women

Should We Argue With An Atheist?

Have you ever discussed the Gospel with an atheist? Has another blogger ever attacked you for praising Jesus?

I’ve been in a long conversation, with an avowed atheist. It all started when he commented on my post, “Why What You Believe Matters”. This person is very hostile toward Christians and he is hostile to the Gospel. He writes a blog that condemns Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In my naivity, I thought I could talk sense into this person.

I mentioned this to my 86 year-old father, and do you know what he said? “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.”

I hadn’t even thought of that! I was only thinking, “How can I help this person? This is so sad.” My heart ached for him.

Although I had heard Matthew 7:6 many times, I looked up the verse in my Bible and started trying to figure out what Jesus meant. After searching this out, I came to the conclusion that Jesus really was saying (in my own words), “This won’t help them. It will only hurt you.”

It was difficult for me to accept this teaching, even if Jesus did say it. I kept looking for a different interpretation. I thought I must be misunderstanding the verse. I kept thinking I needed to say more, pray more.

It took quite a bit of prayer and study to feel confident that I understood Matthew 7:6 correctly. The King James Version says,

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

You have to admit, that’s rather harsh! What does Jesus mean? No matter which translation you read, it clearly says the same thing! I never had a problem with this verse before, but now that it applied to me personally, in real life, it wasn’t easy to accept. The NIV says,

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 NIV Read full chapter Matthew 7:6 in all English translations

Next, I decided to check commentary from Christian writers I trusted. Here’s what they said:

BibleRef.com To be called a dog or a pig was a great insult in Jesus’ culture. Still, He does not hesitate to compare those who reject Him as Israel’s Messiah to dogs and pigs. Crucially, though, His purpose is not to degrade anyone. The emphasis is not on other people, but on God’s people. This verse is a warning to Christians: don’t waste time or invite harassment from those who are obviously hostile.

GotQuestions.org In His sermon, Jesus uses dogs and pigs as representative of those who would ridicule, reject, and blaspheme the gospel once it is presented to them. We are not to expose the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have no other purpose than to trample it and return to their own evil ways. Repeatedly sharing the gospel with someone who continually scoffs and ridicules Christ is like casting pearls before swine.

The command not to cast your pearls before swine does not mean we refrain from preaching the gospel. Jesus Himself ate with and taught sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:10). In essence, the instruction in Matthew 7:6 is the same that Jesus gave to His apostles when He said, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town” (Matthew 10:14). We are to share the gospel, but, when it becomes apparent that the gospel is not welcome, we are to move on. We are responsible to share the good news; we are not responsible for people’s response to the good news. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls, and some people don’t appreciate what Christ has done for them. Our job is not to force conversions or cram the gospel down people’s throats; there’s no sense in preaching the value of pearls to swine. Jesus’ instruction to His apostles on how to handle rejection was to simply go elsewhere. There are other people who need to hear the gospel, and they are ready to hear it.

John MacArthur: “When people not only reject the gospel, but insist on mocking and reviling it, we are not to waste God’s holy Word and the precious pearls of His truth in a futile and frustrating attempt to win them. We are to leave them to the Lord, trusting that somehow His Spirit can penetrate their hearts-as He apparently did with some of those who at first rejected the preaching of Paul and the other apostles-or leaving them to the just judgment of God.”

********************

It’s not just that you are wasting your time. It is harmful to you. Let’s look at the verse one more time.

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

This is exactly what happened. I explained the love of God and the Good News of the Gospel. He denigrated the Bible, slandered Jesus, and called me names. Jesus clearly teaches us how to deal with it. I have cut off discussion with this person and in the future I will not engage with an openly hostile atheist.

If you have been through a similar experience, I hope this look at Matthew 7:6 will help you, as it did me. Have you encountered this in your ministry? What did you do? If you believe I have misinterpreted these words of Jesus, I welcome correction.

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Tiffany Anthony on Unsplash

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Christian, women

Why What You Believe Matters

What you believe will dramatically affect your life forever and those around you, too. As human beings, we like to go along with the crowd and just get along with everyone. We tend to believe what the people around us believe and that can be good, or bad.

Take, for example, a student who is surrounded by highly intelligent professors who are atheists. He might become an atheist, too. Why? Because intelligence is impressive and subconsciously he thinks that to believe in God would make him look less intelligent, so he doesn’t even search out the truth. Instead, he believes what is most comfortable.

In the same way, Christians might believe what those around them believe, even when it isn’t Biblically correct.

Why? Because religious beliefs that conform to cultural norms make life easier. In the Apostle Paul’s day, Judaism pressured Christians to conform to the law. Today, political correctness pressures us to conform to secular thought.

For example, some say, “I believe people of all faiths worship the same God.”

That sounds nice, and is very ecumenical, but it isn’t true. And truth is important because people’s eternity depends on it.

Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Another example is abortion. Being pro-life is unpopular in many circles. (Just ask a politician.) To say, “I think it’s a woman’s choice” may get you off the hook. It’s the easy way out. But is it true? If we don’t do it, but we condone it, are we still innocent?

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psalm 139:13&15 NLT

There are preachers today who teach false doctrines and many people follow them. The Bible warns us over and over about it. (If you don’t believe me, search the Scriptures for yourself.) My intention is not to tell you what is false and what is true, but to highlight the need to carefully and prayerfully examine what we hear to see if it’s true.

The Apostle Paul chided the Church at Corinth:

“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.  I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”   I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.” 2 Corinthians 11:3-6

Paul insinuates that these false teachers were trained speakers. (Probably very entertaining and popular!) Are we drawn to a preacher by his charisma and personality?

Loving the truth is vital to living a life that brings glory to God. Therefore the importance of studying God’s Word and knowing it well cannot be overstated. If we serve a “Jesus” that we have designed to fit our wants and needs, one who serves our purposes and selfish ambitions, that is idolatry. That is another “Jesus”, not the one who said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to human greed, would I blindly accept it?

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to my pride and self-interests, would I blindly accept it?

If a “Jesus” was preached that appealed to my fleshly desires, would I blindly accept it?

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:13-15

The more I study God’s Word, the more I understand that this life is but a whisper. It’s not about me, it’s about the Savior. My purpose is to bring glory to God. The message is simple. It’s not about new revelations and hidden symbolic meanings to make our life here on Earth free of trials and hardships. Jesus sumed up the message of God’s Word like this:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (and) Love your neighbor as yourself.Mark 12:28-31

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

With Love,

Cindy

My Journey Unscripted

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

What Easter Means To Me

Easter reminds me that because Jesus paid the penalty for my sins, I am free from guilt and shame. Have you ever felt such deep guilt that you couldn’t get over it? Most people probably haven’t done anything terrible enough to bring on that kind of deep shame.

For those who have, love for Jesus runs very deep because it changes your life in a very tangible way. It can’t be explained to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Maybe you could imagine what it would be like when you hear the hymn, Amazing Grace, written by John Newton, a slave ship captain who experienced God’s merciful forgiveness.

Another example is a woman known only as “the sinful woman” found in Luke 7:36-50

This woman came to see Jesus while he dined with some religious leaders. The passage only tells us the bare bones of the story, but we can imagine what might have taken place. I have often wondered, what she was doing at the party?

“But it was acceptable in Jesus’ day for people to come to a party to watch and listen to the conversation. They were not allowed to eat, but they could observe. She was not interested in eating.” (Never Thirsty Ministry)

She was interested in seeing and hearing Jesus.

I have no idea what Jesus and the Pharisees talked about. Maybe Jesus talked about forgiveness of sins. Maybe, as she listened, she believed He was the Christ and she experienced the joy of receiving forgiveness.

Maybe Jesus quoted Old Testament Scriptures such as Isaiah 1:18.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Maybe He quoted Psalm 103:12.

“… as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

And maybe, He looked right in her eyes as he did, not at the Pharisees, but only at her, and maybe that is why she cried so hard that she could actually wash His feet with her tears.

Verse 44 tells us that Jesus turned toward the woman and said to Simon, 

“… her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Imagine how she felt, knowing He was talking about her.

She probably thought no one would pay any attention to her that evening. But Jesus looked right at her and spoke the words she longed to hear:

Her many sins have been forgiven.”

Easter means forgiveness and cleansing to me. Anyone carrying around guilt can be set free from that heavy load, just like I was. Only believe.


Luke 7:36-50 Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[c] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

What does Easter mean to you?

With Love, Cindy

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

What Kind of Worshiper Am I?

Those bad Pharisees! I can’t believe how stubborn they were! I’m glad I’m not like one of them!

We tend to see the faults in others before we see our own. Isn’t that true? I’m pretty sure that’s called pride. So as we examine what the Bible says about worship, let us look inward, at our hearts.

Jesus talked about two kinds of worshippers – “true worshipers” and those who “worship me in vain.” Do we really understand the difference? Let Jesus explain.

To the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said,

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23-24 NIV

But when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He said,

“You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
 They worship me in vain;” Matthew 15:6-9 

The Greek word translated “worship” in the first passage is proskuneo. It means to prostrate oneself in worship, to reverence, to adore. To lie prostrate implies total surrender.

The Pharisees put on a show of reverence, but were not totally surrendered to God. It is interesting to note that Jesus did not use the same word for worship in Matthew 15:9. He used the word sebomai, which means to revere. There is a big difference. The Pharisees honored God, but they were not surrendered to His will. Their hearts were somewhere else.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1 NLT

Let us examine our hearts. What kind of worshipper am I? Is my worship pleasing to God? Am I surrendered to His will? Or, do I worship Him in vain? Do I give Him reverence, but cling stubbornly to my own will? Do I worry more about how I appear on the outside, or the condition of my heart?

Am I totally surrendered to Jesus?

“If we will only surrender ourselves utterly to the Lord, and will trust Him perfectly, we shall find our souls “mounting up with wings as eagles” to the “heavenly places” in Christ Jesus, where earthly annoyances or sorrows have no power to disturb us.”

– Hannah Whitall Smith

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog  

1st Photo by NATHAN MULLET on Unsplash

2nd Photo by Rachel Pfuetzner on Unsplash

Christian

GPS to the Small Door

Imagine you are sitting in church, listening to your pastor’s message, and he says,

“By the way, a lot of people around here aren’t going to Heaven!” (Everybody perks up and starts to pay attention.)

He continues, “The door to heaven is pretty small. So, many people are going to go through the wrong door. In fact, only a few people will find the right door, only a few.”

The people are thinking, “What? Is that really true?”

He continues, “You better make sure you are studying your Bible or you won’t find the small door. Instead, you’ll follow the crowd through the big door. Some of you tend to do what sounds good, instead of carefully studying your Bible.” (People start to fidget because they don’t have time to read their Bibles. They’re really busy!)

The pastor exclaims, “Now that big door is not only the wrong door, it is the door that, once opened, will take you down a big, wide road that looks like a good road, but it isn’t! It leads to devastation and disaster!” (This isn’t what the people want to hear. They think he is too negative.)

He ends by saying, “Make sure you find the small door. Like I said, study your Bible. It is the GPS to the small door.”

Will the people start studying their Bibles, or will they dismiss the pastor’s warning?

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14  

That is an intriguing statement, made by our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus and the Apostles gave us many warnings in the New Testament. We would do well to know what they are. We mustn’t only read and study the promises. We must read and study all of God’s Word.

Do you know what God’s warnings are?  Several are listed in my post, Don’t Follow the Crowd. https://realchristianwomen.blog/2019/02/18/dont-follow-the-crowd/

With Love, 

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

All Scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

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Christian

A Shepherd’s Perspective on Psalm 23

“I have concluded based on my years of experience that sheep are stupid. Not just stupid but mind-numbingly stupid— sometimes I wonder how they manage to breath and eat.” Glenn Brunkow, Rancher¹

Somehow that quote from Brunkow gives me comfort. God wants to lead us, feed us, and guide us. Our responsibility is to just obey.

*********

I’m re-reading a fascinating book by Phillip Keller called A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.² Keller was a shepherd for years and explains many things about sheep that most people don’t know.

The book is eye-opening and provides a deeper understanding of our relationship with the Lord, the Great Shepherd. It’s no accident he calls us His sheep!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23 KJV

The shepherd watches over his sheep day and night. They cannot take care of themselves, and they get into all kinds of trouble. They will drink polluted water, wander off and be attacked by a wild animals, get stuck in the same fence repeatedly, etc.

“He who watches over you will not slumber;” Psalm 121:3

Sheep are fearful, timid, and skittish. A rabbit hopping by suddenly can send them into a panic. But they calm down when the shepherd walks into view and they are comforted. So many times in my life, when I was in a panic, the Lord has comforted me and calmed my fears. That’s when I wonder how people who don’t know Him get through tough times.

We do “not want” because Jesus is always with us, in good times and in bad.  Our joy and peace comes from His presence in our life, not in what we have or the way life goes. We are content to be led by Him, doing His will.

One thing I found interesting is the fact that like humans, some sheep refuse to follow the shepherd and instead do their own thing. (Ouch!)

This can result in lots of serious problems for the sheep, problems they would have never experienced – if only they had followed the shepherd. (I think this parallel is pretty obvious!)

Keller tells how he would lead his sheep to a clean, clear stream and a stubborn ewe would go off and drink from a polluted, parasite-infested puddle instead. Isn’t that what some people do? We choose the unclean ways of the world instead of the ways of God.

“Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.  By this he meant the Spirit,” John 7:37-38 NIV

A good shepherd provides good forage for the sheep, lush green vegetation, so that the sheep can have plenty to eat, grow, and thrive. However, some sheep will wander off and eat from barren, dry brush instead. Many times, we prefer to feed on the barren ground of the world around us instead of the peace and comfort that comes from dwelling in His Word and His presence.

The final parallel I want to share is the most extraordinary. Sheep must have plenty of pure clean water. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to lead them to a lush green field heavy with morning dew.

The sheep can keep fit and hydrated for months just by grazing right before dawn when the field is heavy with dew. The sheep feed heavily and are most content at this time of day. A good shepherd will make sure his sheep have this opportunity to drink in the “still waters” of dew.

“In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word.” (Keller)

These are just a few of the many insights from A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me great comfort to know that I don’t have to be smart to thrive. I need only to follow Jesus, the Great Shepherd.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 NIV

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 NIV

“If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14 NIV

With Love, 

Cindy

This is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹https://www.agupdate.com/midwestmessenger/opinion/columnists/glenn_brunkow/the-questionable-intelligence-of-sheep/article_69540f07-7577-5559-bfde-a31ea95acc0c.html

²ISBN 0-310-26790-0 available on Amazon

Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

Christian

Be Still and Know That I Am God

I’m a To-Do List,  planner, scheduled-day kind of person. I didn’t realize how much until recently.

It was early in the morning, about 6:00, when I let my dog, Bella, out the back door. Sunny skies, a gentle breeze, and the sweet sound of birds singing greeted me. I sat down on my little black bench to enjoy it for a minute.

I already had coffee in hand, so I drank it outside instead of hurrying into my office. Suddenly, a hummingbird darted past and paused to drink from the bright pink Hibiscus bloom peaking out from my neighbor’s balcony.

A baby bunny hopped out of the cornfield and looked around. A striking red cardinal flew to my bird feeder and looked me right in the eye. “Are you going to put any seed in this feeder or what?” he seemed to say.

A bright yellow Monarch fluttered by. It was like God had orchestrated his creation to entertain me. I couldn’t leave my seat.

After a while, this Scripture came to me, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

I sat peacefully, obediently, enjoying the beauty right outside my door. My brain stopped buzzing around like it was on fire.

Then, God reminded me that His plan is never what a person thinks it will be. Abraham didn’t know that Sarah would give him a son in her old age. Jacob didn’t know he would have to work twenty years for Laban before he could leave with Rachel. And Joseph could never imagined that God’s plan would land him in prison. But all these things were part of God’s plan!

If these men of God were like me, they would have been thinking that it was all their fault that things were working out so badly. But God’s will was being accomplished through ordinary, imperfect men – in spite of their flaws.

I learned something important that day. Sometimes I just need to slow down, quiet my brain, and observe God’s creation. It reminds me that He is God. And I might hear that still, small voice.

“And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

(Re-posted from July, 2018)

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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reblogged from archives

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Christian

A True Story You Won’t Forget

Once there was a very popular preacher. So many people crowded into his church services, the church had to be enlarged. He frequently preached at other churches, as is often the case with popular ministers.

The preacher wrote beautiful Christian songs, that were also popular with churchgoers.  Soon be began a series of weekly prayer meetings in addition to regular services.

What made this preacher so special? I believe it was his life journey.

All the experiences in our past have shaped us into the person we are today. This preacher, at one time, was a vile sinner, cruel and having a hardened heart; a man without compassion or mercy.

Is it possible for such a person to have a complete turnaround? Can a hardened sinner become a saint? Can a depraved evildoer become a man (or woman) of God?

Ask the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair,  anointing them with costly perfume. When an indignant Pharisee questioned Jesus about allowing this sinful woman (probably a prostitute) to touch him, Jesus said this:

 “I tell you that her many sins are forgiven, so she showed great love. But the person who is forgiven only a little will love only a little.” Luke 7:47

Read the full story HERE.

Have you guessed the identity of the preacher, yet? You won’t find him on YouTube or TV. He was born in 1725.

Before he gave his life to Christ, he was the captain of slave ships. I can only imagine the horror of such ships, but it is well documented that slave ships provided such wretched accommodations that many men, women, and children died before arriving at their intended destination. In the words of a former slave, Olaudah Equiano, “The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying rendered the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable.”

Who was this forgiven reprobate turned preacher-songwriter?

His name is John Newton and he wrote these famous words:  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

This celebrated hymn touches my soul because I know that what God’s grace and mercy did for John Newton, He did for me.

As you listen to Amazing Grace, thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. The more we have been forgiven, the more we love Him. That’s what Jesus said.

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18 KJV

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” Titus 3:5 NIV

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

Story reposted from January 2019

RealChristianWomen.blog

Photo by Tomas Jasovsky on Unsplash

From Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton by Al Rogers

Christian

When God Feels Far Away

Recently, I felt like my faith was losing steam. My zeal and enthusiasm for God was draining away, kind of like a car leaking oil. You can put in more oil, but it keeps leaking out.

Satan was putting doubts in my mind, even if only briefly.

I couldn’t feel God. I didn’t feel like praying. I didn’t even feel like going to church. I didn’t feel like reading my Bible. I just wanted to watch Madam Secretary, play games on my Ipad, and eat.

But instead, I did pray ( although without emotion). I did go to church. I did read my Bible. And I continued to write my blog. I went through the motions, all the while Satan whispered lies in my ear. At the time, I was ashamed because I thought they were my thoughts!

But Jesus said, “When (Satan) lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 .

But then God . . .

Then, in church, we sang, Jesus Draw Me Nearer by Keith Getty. As I sang the words, I knew God was explaining things to me.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart’s testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

God was testing my heart! I realized that God was making me stronger. If I lost all emotion, all feeling and joy, would I still pray? Would I still read His Word? Would I still serve Him?

Yes, Lord. I will. Let me pass the test. Make my heart pure. Make me strong.

Did God let Satan test me? I think He did. Once I realized that I was in a test, I became strong because I knew those thoughts of doubt were lies from Satan. I knew God wanted to make me stronger.

So next time your joy disappears, it seems like God is far away, or something happens that you don’t understand – maybe you’re taking the same test I just took. Maybe God is making you stronger!

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4 MSG

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” Proverbs 17:3 NIV

Jesus Draw Me Nearer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOVGChMsPsg&list=RDq3N9VNe7Jto&index=2

With Love, 

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Unsplash

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Christian

Life Is Not All Fun

Somehow our expectation is that we should have no problems and life should always be smooth sailing. But life is not all fun.

Have you ever felt like you were at the end of your rope? Stressed out, tired, irritable?

I ‘ve been under a great deal of stress over the last year, and especially over the last 3 months. It’s as though the devil has thrown everything he’s got at me.

I have to wonder, “WHY?” Is my Heavenly Father disciplining me as a father disciplines his child? Has Satan outwitted me in some way? Is God pruning the branches?

If God is teaching me, what am I supposed to learn from this? As I always do, I looked for answers in God’s Word. Here’s what I found.

What Does God Say About Trials?

They make us strong, able to endure whatever comes our way.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 ESV

Steadfast: dependable, unwavering, implies a sureness and continuousness that may be depended upon.

After we are afflicted, we can be used by God to comfort others.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

Suffering builds Godly character.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Romans 5:3-4 

God Is With Us

The other day, Jen Life Beyond #Blessed commented on my re-post from May 5, Ruffled Feathers and Unanswered Prayers by Mitch Teemley. She said, “I, too, often focus on Philippians 4 and praying as Paul instructs. One thing I’ve found particularly helpful is going back to verse 5. Our very ability to be anxious for nothing is grounded in God’s nearness. Focusing on the gift of His presence in any and every circumstance sometimes makes all the difference.” 

When I read Jen’s comment, I knew what God was teaching me. I am supposed to remember that He is always with me, in everything – He is with me! Simple, yet profound, and for me at least, sometimes easy to forget.

When we’re at the end of our rope, do we stop and think, the Lord is with me? From now on, when I’m stressed out, frustrated, or afraid, I will remember that God Himself taught me that I am never alone. He is with me.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 ESV

“If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:10 ESV

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23: ESV

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23 ESV

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 ESV

Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7 AMPC

Lord, May your nearness be my greatest treasure.

With Love,

Cindy

This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

P.S. This post first appeared in May, 2019, but seems more appropriate now than ever.

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