Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The High Road

 
 
 


Isaiah 35:8 “A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray.”

 

How many times do we dig maps out on a trip? Or grab our phone or GPS to search for the best possible route? What kind of criteria do you use? Which ones determine the “best” way? Shortest, fastest, most convenient? Cheapest or less-traffic? What motives drive your decisions? What is your goal?

Not hard questions but to reach your destination, they must be addressed, unless you already know the way.

The Christian walk is reflected in much the same way. How do you prepare for the journey? What do you use to judge the best possible way to execute your life? How do your motivations impact your life and is the goal really that important? After all, Jesus already died for all of our sins, right?

Well, let’s look at it…

How does a person prepare for a Christian journey? Well, the most important factor is the Lord God. Are you saved?

Isaiah 35:4 “Say to those who are fearful-hearted, "Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.”

 

Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

 

You are? Great! He’s done the first part, now it’s time for you to do the next bit. You may notice soon that the things of this world just don’t fit anymore. Kind of like when you grow out of old clothes when you’re young. Things are the wrong style, or a little too tight. Whatever the case may be, you start to notice you need to change but can’t figure out exactly how. Where do you find the answers? Which way is the right direction?

2 Samuel 22:31As for God, His way is perfect; The Word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”

 

Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 

That’s right. The answers are in the Word, the Bible. It will give you what you need to answer all your questions. Read it, study it, meditate on it, and memorize it. Let the Lord reveal His will to you through the pages. If you haven’t already done so, find a study or discipleship group to further your Biblical and spiritual knowledge to help your walk grow. Get to know Him. Learn how to talk to Him and pray. After all, He loves you.

As a Christian matures, it’s amazing what propels them along the journey. In the beginning, it’s knowledge and joy. As the relationship with God progresses and hardships come, crossroads are approached, weaknesses challenged, and temptations faced. With the strength of the Lord, all can be conquered and the journey continued with learned lessons.

 

Psalm 37:39 “But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble.”

 

So, what’s the goal of the journey? I mean, the goal of any trip is to get to the destination right? In this case, Jesus has already paid the price for us so what should the goal for the Christian walk even be? Be good? Don’t sin? Why should we even bother?

 

Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

 

Take the journey on the high road and live the Life. Experience the joy of the Lord, the peace of His nature and the strength of His mighty hand. Learn to dwell in His Spirit even in the turbulent, rocky times and above all, spread the Word. Give someone in this world a fighting chance. He’s waiting.

 

In Christ,

 

Renee

 

 

 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pardon Me, O Lord


 

Isaiah 55:7 “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”
What is forsaking the wicked one’s way? Or an unrighteous thought? Why would I need mercy? Or God forbid, a pardon? Surely, I’m not that bad. I mean, really…I don’t even drink alcohol or smoke. Isaiah? This is OLD TESTAMENT stuff. The Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore, right? I’m a born-again Christian, so isn’t the New Testament more important?
 
Questions, questions, questions… Where, oh where, are the answers? Don’t worry. God may have high expectations from His children but He’ll never fail us. Our manual is His Word.
 
Here is a quick guide to the above questions and where to find the answers in the Manual (NKJV).

1: The Wicked Way:
Ezekiel 33:19
Ezekiel 3:18

2: Unrighteousness:
            John 7:18
            Romans 1:18
            1 Corinthians 6:9

3: Mercy:
            Psalm 37:21
            Psalm 85:7
            James 2:13
 
4: Pardon:
            Jeremiah 33:8
            Nehemiah 9:17
            Isaiah 55:7
            John 20:31

The answers can be found in various places throughout Scripture. As I’ve grown in my Christian walk, I’ve discovered one thing about God’s Word. It’s the same.
Now, I’m not talking about translations. NIV, NASB, KJV, NKJV… I can get lost in all the acronyms. Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic… No way, not me! I’m not a theologian, I’m a writer.
I’ve learned to read the Bible as a whole. If I hear something, I don’t run to a book on a shelf to confirm it. I refer to Scripture and yes, that means the Old Testament, too.  
The Old Testament proclaims God’s nature. Powerful, just, loving, pure, honest, and holy are a few traits on display throughout its pages. It also shows God’s wrath on occasion as well. Remember Jonah? What about Sodom and Gomorrah? Or the Great Flood?  
The Book of Matthew is the start of something new, though. At least, that’s what a lot of people think. After all, the new covenant usually means the old way is gone, right? Well, yes and no.
The New Testament is amazing! It’s the story of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Yes, the old way is no longer necessary because Christ was the atonement for all of our sins, past, present and future. Yes, we don’t need a high priest to make our petitions to the Father since the Holy Spirit is within us, whispering our needs to Him every minute. A person’s transformed and the things of this world seem rather small in comparison to the mighty wonders of God.
The New Testament isn’t a solo book. Without the Old Testament, the view of God’s nature is incomplete. God is loving. He wants to bring all to Him but a valuable lesson lies within the pages of the older book. One that must never be forgotten. God is holy, mankind isn’t. An enormous gap separates the two. This fact will never change. Not for fancy doctrine manipulation or wishful thinking.
Check the Manual out. It’ll give you the answers you need to figure out which way to go.
 
Galatians 2:20-21 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.  I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."
 
In Christ,
 
Renee


Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Veteran: Our Nation's Hero

 
 
He stands alone, his green jacket blowing in the wind. The crowd mills around him and he wonders if he will ever fit in again. He hasn’t slept since his return and his body aches with buried pain. Remembering his wife’s desperate expression the night before, he throws his shoulders back and moves toward the clinic entrance.
 
How many soldiers live through this same scenario upon their return from service? What about the ones that don’t make it this far?
 
World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan are just some areas of conflict that our men and women in uniform have served and sacrificed to preserve our liberty. Many others exist. When the call of duty is sounded, the response is immediate. They leave to serve, and return, so many times, broken.
 
Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines: the force of the nation arises when needed. National Guard, Reserves, Coast Guard, and PHS Commissioned Corps stand ready to assist. This is the militia who volunteers and flexes America’s muscle around the world. These are our veterans, our heroes.
 
It’s November 11. Veteran’s Day.
 
Today is a day to remember. We recall the soldiers who fell in battle. The ones with no casket to drape a flag. The prisoners who suffered and died serving their country, never seeing their homeland. It is a day to remember the fallen veteran.
 
It’s a day to honor. Today, we praise the soldiers for their service, past and present. Even the ones with a few issues, here and there. Like the prisoner who suffered atrocity and still fights those same battles every single day. Or the soldier who hasn’t slept since he came back to country. It’s a day to honor the heroic veteran.
 
How do we do it? How do we remember our fallen heroes? How do we honor our men and women in uniform, past or present?
 
Have you ever heard of the VFW? It stands for Veterans of Foreign Wars. It’s a way to remember veterans and honor those lives through a very special organization. Find a charity of your choice! There are many memorials to the veterans around the nation. Find one and contribute.
 
How do you honor the veterans that you may see today? Or tomorrow? Have you thought of buying him or her a meal? Anonymously, just leave a thank you note. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. Who knows, you may actually be serving one or two. Think outside the box. I know you’ll think of something.
 
Veteran’s Day is a special day. It is a day that should be written on our calendars and in our hearts to remember all year. After all, our freedom comes at a price and that price is paid by the veteran, our nation’s hero.
 
In Christ,
 
Renee
 
Psalm 56:13 “For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?”

Disclaimer: Characters and incidents depicted in this blog are products of the writer's imagination, or are used in a fictitious situation. Any resemblances to actual events, locations, organizations, incidents or persons, alive or dead, are coincidental.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Power in the Pen

 
 
The political season rages across the nation. After all, Election Day is tomorrow. You can’t turn on the television without being waylaid with a commentary or a poll. What does it all mean? In the end, does it even matter if you vote? I mean, if you DON’T live in Ohio? What does all this have to do with your Christian walk anyway?
For some, this year will be the first time they ever cast a ballot. For others, it may be the last. For many, 2012 is just another year of bickering politicians who fill their airwaves with rhetoric.
Tomorrow, the citizens of this great nation wield a great power. They walk into the voting booths across this nation. They don’t carry swords or guns but instead they’re armed with a pen.
The voter decides the next President and Vice-President. He keeps or replaces Congressional leaders with a mark. She selects her law enforcement, her judges, and impacts her children’s future. It all starts with the stroke of a pen.
As a Christian, I believe God calls his children to represent Him in every way. This country offers one powerful way to show the world who lies within us. That’s right! VOTE! Spread the Word!
This country is unique. The founding fathers fled religious persecution to establish a land exempt from religious tyranny. However, the roots of this great nation can still be found on our currency, in our Pledge of Allegiance, Oaths of Duty, and the refrains of our National Anthem.
Just as God’s name rings in America, so it should in the ear of every Christian on Election Day. As you walk into your booth, grip that pen as tight as you would a sword because the power it wields is amazing!
 
In Christ,
 
        
Renee
 
 
Isaiah 45:13 “I have raised him up in righteousness, And I will direct all his ways; He shall build My city And let My exiles go free, Not for price nor reward," Says the LORD of hosts.”