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.]

“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”.)

With Love, 

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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

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Where Has God Asked You to Love?

My job (and ministry) is in a middle school. You know, where kids know how to push your buttons and are exercising their desire to rebel against authority.

Maybe God hasn’t put anyone “hard to love” in your life, but I bet He has. I only know that what God has asked me to to do isn’t easy and even though I am willing – I keep failing over and over.

What is our mission?

It is to love!

Sometimes I wonder why He has called me to love those “not easy to love”. I’m not good at it! I lose my temper. I get angry. I lecture. I utter those horrible teacher words, “I’m done!”

The kind of love God expects us to show to others is not a feeling. It is an action. It can be very hard to show agape love. Where is your mission field? Do you sometimes find it difficult to show love to people there?

Over 20 years ago, God showed me something that I will never forget. At the time, I was very involved in women’s ministry, but I became increasingly disturbed by some of the teaching in my church. I asked God to show me where my focus should be.

I asked Him to show me the main idea of the New Testament. I felt like my focus was on the wrong things. In desperation, I read the New Testament through three times in a row.

In a notebook, I kept track of how often various subjects were discussed, such as hope, faith, prosperity, love, spiritual warfare, etc.

I discovered that love was the most frequently taught subject by far! There was no doubt about it. God was showing me, through my crisis, that love, agape love, was very important to Him and my focus should be there.

I began an in depth study on agape love, looking for every Biblical reference. I studied Greek and Hebrew definitions. I wrote. I read. I studied.

love is patient2I Corinthians 13:4-8

I can’t do it in my own strength. God must do it through me. Every day, I must pray for God’s power to dwell in me. Once we realize that we can’t do it ourselves, we have passed Lesson 1.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)

Lesson 2: Let our day begin with prayer. “Father, Show the Savior’s love through me today. Teach me to love.” And pray for them. Ask God to help you see the good things about them, not just what they do wrong.

Lesson 3: Study God’s Word about love and be changed. Start with I Corinthians 13. Meditate on it. Study it. How does it apply to my life?

“Love is patient.”  I Corinthians 13:4a

(I don’t know about you, but I need to meditate on these 3 words for at least a week!)

The Greek word for patient is makrothumeo. It means “slow to anger”.

“Being slow to anger does not mean that one does not care, but rather that he has his emotions under control.” (Detzler)

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22)

According to Vine’s Bible Dictionary, “Patience is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate.”

Webster defines patience as “enduring … trouble with composure and without complaining; refusing to be provoked …”

Note: I wrote this post about a year ago, but I find myself once again needing His strength and His grace to do the very thing He has asked me to do – love those God has put in my path – and show them God’s unconditional love.

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

realchristianwomen.blog 

Christian

Lord, Teach Me to Pray

Two years ago, I had no idea I was going to write a blog. I had no idea my daughter would lead worship in my church. I had no idea God was getting ready to change my life.

But God had His plan working all along, even though I was completely unaware of what He was doing! He already knew these things would happen. I have prayed frequently and asked God to do many things, but I haven’t always seen the answers I hoped for. Finally, I asked Jesus to teach me to pray.

I learned I was right to ask Jesus to teach me how to pray. He has already taught me something new! Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…: Matthew 6:9-10 NIV

What does that have to do with effectual prayer? Everything! Because, I don’t need to go to God with a list of things for Him to do. What do the words mean “hallowed be your name”? Hallowed means: honored as holy, blessed, greatly revered, respected, honored and worshiped.

Let’s think about that for a minute. When we go to the Father in prayer, let us worship Him. Let us adore Him and recognize the character of our God. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise.

Then Jesus said, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” 

God has shown me that the key to effectual prayer is not about me. It’s not about my ability to pray. It’s about Him! I’ve been too focused on myself instead of on Him!  

Let Jesus teach us to pray. Let us worship the Father. Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving and praise. Then, let us pray for His will to be done in our life, in our church, in our city, and all over the world. He has a plan that is better than all we can ask or imagine! 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” Ephesians 3:20 NIV

The words of the hymn are true, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” But, let us have a new and deeper revelation of His greatness and love. Let us revere and love Him as we should. We can find words to praise Him throughout the Psalms! Here are just a few key verses:

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him… that you care for him?” Psalm 8:1-4 NIV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord who is worthy of praise….” Psalm 18:1-3a NIV

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God.” Psalm 25:1-2a NIV

“Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep…. How priceless is your unfailing love!” Psalm 36:5-7 NIV

Ask Jesus to teach you to pray!

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

 

 

 

Bible

How To Relieve Stress AND Boost Your Mental & Physical Health

Did you know that LAUGHTER has emotional and physical health benefits? It relieves stress, improves your mood, eases anxiety, and more!

I tend to be very serious and analytical, but I am learning more and more how important it is to laugh every day. At the end, I will share some of the sources I go to when I need to laugh. 

First, check out these research findings from Harvard Medical School and HealthGuide.Org.

Physical health benefits of laughter

  • Boosts immunity
  • Lowers stress hormones
  • Decreases pain
  • Relaxes your muscles
  • Prevents heart disease

Mental health benefits of laughter

  • Adds joy and zest to life
  • Eases anxiety and tension
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens resilience

The Bible says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” Proverbs 17:22 KJV

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, …” Galatians 5:22

“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’.” Psalm 126:2

Laugh a Little!   

  • If you’re a teacher, like me, or a parent, you will laugh out loud at Elementary School Principal Gerry Brooks. Click here to visit his YouTube channel. 
  • You can laugh while you learn God’s Word with Bible Teacher Beth Moore. This is one of my favorites. 

I pray that your day be filled with laughter and joy.

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

realchristianwomen.blog 

Bible, Christian

What’s In YOUR Closet?

I spotted a girl in a strange looking outfit. (Kids have some crazy ideas about fashion in middle school.) From across the cafeteria, I tried to see what kind of shirt she was wearing, but couldn’t make out the words. It was something I’d never seen before.

I gazed out at the students as they ate their lunch. They were laughing loudly, talking loudly and having fun. Eventually, I made my way to the other side of the cafeteria. She was a beautiful girl, but my heart sank like lead when I saw what was written on her shirt. It said “Valvoline”.

She wore a wrinkled plaid skirt with the discarded shirt of someone who serviced cars at an instant oil change center. Heart-sick, I looked around at the other girls. Many wore Seaside Beach tee shirts, college team tees, Under Armour, and other designer clothes. The contrast shocked me.

What would it be like to go to Middle School wearing a Valvoline work shirt because that was all you had to wear? Not cool! 

And in middle school – the supreme goal is: be cool!

I thought about my own children, grown now, but never having to do without – well, anything! I thought, “Why have I been so blessed?” God answered my question.

” From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

It made me think. I definitely fall in the “been given much” group. That means God demands a lot from me and He asks much more from me than from others.

I can’t help everyone. I know that. But I can listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit. That is my responsibility as a Christian.

We must all take an account of our lives.  Do our children have to wear cast-aside Valvoline shirts to school?  Probably not.

I don’t know what God might ask me to do next, but when He asks I’ll remember the Valvoline Girl, and I won’t be able to ignore the still small voice asking me to help.

What does God’s Word say about it?

“But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him?” 1 John 3:17 AMP

“Blessed is he who has regard for the weak;” Psalm 41:1

“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lordand he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

“… we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 NIV

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'” Matthew 25:35-40

With Love, 

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This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

realchristianwomen.blog 

 

Christian

How To Get Through Tough Times

I paced the floor clutching unpaid bills.  Over and over, I thanked God for His promise, declaring out loud: “My God will meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”¹  

Thirty years ago, we had three young children, and times were tough. Those were the days when I wouldn’t dream of buying boneless chicken breast when I could buy the whole chicken cheaper and cut it up myself! Eating at McDonald’s was too expensive. I didn’t have money for gas, but then I didn’t have a car! 

During those difficult times, it wasn’t easy to believe God’s promises, but in faith I thanked God anyway. We made it through and God showed Himself faithful over and over again. God met our needs, and He will meet yours, too!

I’m thankful for those days because God showed me His faithfulness with a front row view. These are a few of the Scriptures that brought me closer to Him in my time of need.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 NIV

“And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 19 NIV

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26 NIV

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 8:10 NIV

“In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” Psalm 86:7 NIV

“‘Because he loves me’, says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble.'” Psalm 91: 14-15a NIV

“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114 NIV

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹Philippians 4: 19

Christian

Worry Is Like a Rocking Chair

Corrie Ten Boom was a prisoner and survivor of Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. If anyone ever had a reason to worry, it was her. Because they hid Jews in their home during WWII, Corrie, her sister, and their elderly father were imprisoned in “the deepest hell that man can create”.¹ Following are some quotes on worry from Corrie.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. It does not enable us to escape evil. It makes us unfit to face evil when it comes. It is the interest you pay on trouble before it comes.”

“Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy but does not bring you farther.”

Corrie Ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place, had a profound effect on me as a young adult. Her faith and trust in Jesus Christ will encourage you through any trial you may find yourself in today.

Corrie lived her life, before and after Ravensbruck, serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Philippians 4:6-7 AMP

With Love, 

AA55AA1F-EA36-49A9-92BE-41FD67348618

This is My Journey Unscripted.

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

realchristianwomen.blog 

¹Corrie ten Boom

1st Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash