Rise and Shine

When I wake my children up in the mornings, I have been known to say, “Rise and shine.”  Of course, the phrase is nothing new.  For years, it has been used to get people out of the bed.

There is another wake-up call going out to the church in America.  When I reference the church, I am not talking about a building.  I am referring to people in America who have accepted Jesus as Savior.  The wake-up call that is going out is from the Holy Spirit warning the American church, and I will extend this as far the church in the Western part of the world, to get up and be at the ready.

The Night is Far Spent

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Image via Pixabay by jclk8888.

Romans 3:12-14 echo and confirm the call that the Holy Spirit is sending out to God’s people.  The first portion of verse 12 states that the night is far spent, meaning the time for sleeping is over.  The church, as a whole, has been asleep spiritually for quite some time.  While morals are rapidly decaying and America is sinking like the Titanic, God’s people are trying to find a way to blend in with the culture because they do not want to stand out.  This is a mistake.

There is not one scripture in the Bible in which we are commanded to blend in.  I am not suggesting that we make ourselves completely conspicuous by screaming at people with which we disagree, but I am declaring that God’s people need to lose the politically correct mentally, especially when that mentality is not biblically correct.

If you take issue with my words, then it is time for you to go to the Lord and ask Him to renew you.  Ask Him to light a fire in you that will make you bold as He wants you to be.  Boldness and love can go hand in hand.  You can disagree with wrong doing and remain in love.  1 Corinthians 13:6 says that love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.  In other words, love speaks out when someone needs help.  Our nation needs help!  We are divided over politics as immorality becomes more brazen.

The Day Is at Hand

After stating that the night is far spent, the passage goes on to say that the day is at hand.  The word “day” can have several meanings depending upon the context.  In the Bible, when the words “the day” is used, it is commonly referring to the coming of Christ or judgment.  Although no one knows the exact timing of the Lord’s return, there are signs we can look for.  The decaying morals of our culture is one of those signs.  There are many others, but I do not have time to go into those right now.

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What I find interesting is that “the day” refers to judgment in some cases.  There is a final judgment after the return of Christ, but often there are judgments that people and nations reap on the basis of what they have sown.  The day is at hand means that you and I no longer have time to fuss and argue over petty issues.  We need to spend that time in prayer and fasting for our nation and for the church in America.  We need revival.  We need to demonstrate the love of God.  People need to know that they have hope, and Jesus Christ alone is that hope. They will not know there is hope if you and I are too busy trying to blend in.  We have to stand out.  We need to rise and shine, taking our place in the body of Christ.

Wake up, people of God!  Wake up, church!  It is time to rise and shine.  It is time to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Finally, let that light shine.

Winner from the Drawing

The winner in the drawing for the NASB Ultrathin, Burgundy, Bonded Leather, Reference Bible is Lisa Ellis.  Congratulations, Lisa!  Bible Giveway 1

From time to time, I will be doing giveaways of Bibles, Bible studies, and other Christian resources so stay tuned.  Thank you for following “To Live is Christ”.  I hope to have a regular blog post later today.Bible Giveway 5

Is it What We Are For or Against?

Do not take the title of this blog post out of balance.  I understand that it is necessary to stand against evil.  I just want to make sure that I am not always standing against something but standing for something as well.  Often, Christianity is frowned upon because Christians often talk about what is wrong and name only the list of acts that are sins.

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Image via Pixabay by jclk8888.

Of course, the issue of sin is to be taken seriously and dealt with rather than swept under the rug; however, it is important to be reminded that none of us can overcome the power of sin in our own strength.  If we could do that, then, Christ would not have had to come and suffer and die for us.

You Will Know Them By Their Fruit

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Image Via Pixabay by bknis.

In Matthew 7:16, Jesus stated that both false prophets would be recognized by their fruits.  Those who are genuine will be recognized the same way, so, it is important to know what types of fruit we should be looking for.  Galatians 5:22-23 explains what the fruit of the Spirit is.  In other words, if a person has the Holy Spirit dwelling in her, there are certain characteristics that will eventually manifest.  These are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Instead of always speaking out against hate, I should speak out for love.  When depression comes, I should speak up for joy.  I should seek out peace when strife comes instead of simply speaking against strife.  Does this make sense?

Although God deals with sin, it is important to remember that He also deals with us according to our righteousness.  In ourselves, there is no righteousness, but when we accept Christ, He is our righteousness.  Salvation is instant, but sanctification is a process.  When Christ is in me, He will begin to help me cultivate the fruit that is the evidence of the Holy Spirit being in me.

Are You Only ‘Against’ or Are You ‘For’?

With all that was just stated, I come back to my first statement:  Is it what you are for or what you are against?  Do you stand for righteousness, or do you simply stand against what you deem to be sinful?  It is important to give thought to this because if you only stand against what is sin without pointing people to the hope that is in Christ, then, you are in danger of developing self-righteousness.  That type of righteousness is no righteousness at all.

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Image Via Pixabay by skeeze.

When we speak out against the things that break God’s heart, it is also in the heart of God to point people to the solution.  The solution is always Jesus.  If we only point out sin, but fail to point out the way to righteousness, then our ministries have failed.

There are times when it is important to show righteous indignation, but there are also times when nothing but love will help.  Displaying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is what will make a difference.  People will take notice of that fruit which will bring glory to Jesus.  They will notice because it is something different from what they have seen before.

How about you?  Are you only talking about what you are against, or, are you letting others know what you stand for?

Erratic Emotions

Emotions are a natural part of our human makeup.  People, particularly women, can experience a variety of emotions in one day.  From elation to depression, our emotions can take us on a wild roller coaster ride through life if we do not find ways to manage them.

Types of Emotions

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Although human beings can experience a wide variety of feelings, some of the most basic types of emotions are happiness, sadness, pride, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, excitement, shame, and embarrassment.  The Bible even speaks of people’s various feelings.  Scripture never promotes suppressing emotions and refusing to deal with them, but we must learn to control them with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is seen as a positive emotion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being happy.  The problem comes when I expect other people to do for me what only God can do.  What I am about to state is certainly not popular, but the Lord never promised that we would always be happy.  He did, however, promise that we could have joy.

What is the difference between joy and happiness?  Although the two words are used interchangeably, happiness often depends upon circumstances while joy goes much deeper.  The joy we experience from God is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  In other words, joy is the result of having the Holy Spirit (given to us at salvation).  Happiness can only take me so far, but joy gets me through all circumstances, good or bad.

Fear and anger are considered to be negative emotions.  A healthy fear, such as being afraid to walk out in front of a moving vehicle, is not negative.  It is needful, but a terrifying fear, such as always fearing the future, is not of God.  In fact, His word teaches us to overcome such fears (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18).  Anger is not always negative. There are times when we need to have anger in order to act; however, anger that is not dealt with properly is dangerous and leads to other sins.  Anger is another emotion that the Bible teaches us to control (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26-27, and Proverbs 29:11)

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Image Via Pexels by Kat Jayne

Emotions Out of Control

I must admit that I have days when I am easily angered, or, my feelings are hurt very easily.  Sometimes, there can be physical explanations such as lack of sleep or hormonal imbalance.  Other times, out-of-control emotions can be a symptom of something that is lacking spiritually.

Earlier, I stated that people often expect others in their lives to make them happy.  I have made the mistake of placing responsibility for my emotional well-being in the hands of my husband, children, friends, or family.  I am certainly not saying that the people in my life do not want me to be happy, but I am saying that it is not their responsibility to manage my emotions.  The responsibility is mine, and the only way I can assume it is to go to God for emotional healing when my feelings seem to be wreaking havoc.

Once you let others off the hook for your emotional stability, and you give this to the Lord, you will begin to see more balanced emotions displayed.  The things that used to irritate you or hurt your feelings will not have as much power over you.

Godly Response

When negative emotions arise, as they often do, you should not suppress them; however, you should not give full vent to them either.  First, go to the Lord in prayer about them.  He is neither surprised nor perplexed by your emotions. Next, find a trusted friend with which to speak.  Ask other believers for prayer.

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Most of all, you need to spend time with God on a daily basis, both in prayer and in His word.  I realize I sound bossy, but, trust me, I have had loads of experience in the emotional realm.  Unfortunately, I have given full vent to my emotions which have never brought about good results.  Thankfully, there are also times I take them to God and ask for His intervention.  The latter choice is always best.

As I mentioned earlier, happiness is a wonderful emotion, but if I believe I must always be on an emotional high, I will eventually bottom out to depression.  Emotions must be stabilized and balanced so as to avoid either extreme on the pendulum swing.  I am not suggesting that managing emotions is an easy feat.  I know better, but I also know that nothing is impossible with God.  He gives us grace for all areas of our lives, including our feelings.

Why I Need Jesus

Everyone needs Jesus.  It does not matter if you are a good person with impeccable morals.  Why do you need Him if you are good?  Even at your best, you are not perfect.  Neither am I.  There is no way that we could live by every word in the Word without Jesus.

The Way, The Truth, The Life

No Confidence in the Flesh 2Although it is politically incorrect to say so, Jesus is the only way to God the Father.  There is no other way.  Of course, there will be people who say you can get to God and heaven by your own merit, or, by finding another way.  The fact is, the Bible says something different.

John 14:6 declares Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to God except through Him.  In John 10:1, Jesus said the following:  “Amen, amen I tell you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber (TLV).”  Jesus is the door, so to speak, and you can only enter by Him.  If you attempt to go another way, you will not make it in.

There is no desire for me to sound self righteous or facetious, but I have to tell the truth.  As for me, I would go no other way.  Jesus has been everything I have ever needed.  He saved me.  He has healed me physically and emotionally.  He has delivered me from dangerous habits.  He has set me free from myself (at times, I can be my own worst enemy).

I Need Him

I need Jesus because I have a tendency to wander off in dangerous directions when I go on my own.  When I attempt to live without Jesus, I am mean, hateful, and cruel.  My life falls apart when I attempt to put anything before Him.

As a wife, mother, daughter, church leader, teacher, family member, and friend, I need Jesus to make those relationships work.  In Christ, I can do all things. Without Him, I can do nothing.  That is why I need Him.belief featured image

After the birth of my youngest child, I nearly suffered a nervous breakdown.  Not only was my body in limbo, but my heart and mind were too.  My sister and only sibling had passed away unexpectedly about three weeks before my daughter was born.  The reality of the loss began to hit shortly after my daughter’s birth.  Had it not been for Jesus, I would have lost my mind.  He kept me sane.  He helped me to see what He had given me (husband, children, family).  He walked with me through grief.

When I fell into seasons of sin, He drew me back where I needed to be.  Sometimes, He had to get tough as I am very stubborn.  He never gave up on me.  That is why I need Him.

You need Him too.  No matter how good you are, your goodness is not enough to have eternal life.  You must accept the fact that He went to the cross and died for you, then rose on the third day defeating death.  When you accept Him and acknowledge your need for Him, peace and joy come in abundance.  No Confidence in the Flesh 2

 

Occupy

In Luke 19, Jesus told a parable that served as an illustration of His second coming.  Verse 13 leaves a firm command that says “occupy until I come.”  The parable was a story of a man who left to go on a trip, leaving his servants in charge.  They were to take care of his personal money matters until he returned.  One servant failed to do what had been asked of him.  The results were anything but positive.

The Second Coming

Occupy until I come, Luke 19_13As Christians, we hear often about being prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ.  Although it is a soon coming reality, we miss an important part of what Jesus was saying in the parable.  He will return, but he wants us to occupy until he comes.  The word occupy in this particular text comes from a word that is speaking of an action similar to a military occupation.  In other words, we are not expected to sit idly by while looking for the Lord’s return.  We have work to do, action to take.

While we are waiting, we have life.  The life we have is by the grace of God, so, we should be living that life in a manner pleasing to Him.  Not only should we do our best in all our undertakings, but we should also point people to Jesus Christ.  Our job is not to be idle or careless, but we should be living lives obedient to the Holy Spirit, then, when He returns, we will not be caught by surprise.

What Should You Do?

The theme of my blog comes from Philippians 1:21 which states that to live is Christ and to die is gain.  When God calls us home, it will be gain.  In the meantime, to live is Christ.  Living my life is pleasing to Christ.  Even when it is mundane and appears to be of no significance, it pleases Christ for me to live to glorify Him.

When you demonstrate His love to others through acts of charity or mercy, it brings glory to Him.  Think about it.  You have at least one opportunity on a daily basis to demonstrate forgiveness.  There are opportunities on a daily basis to bring glory to Christ through the way you live.  Behold, I come quickly, Rev. 22_12

The phrase “to live is Christ” does not indicate a life that is perfect, nor does it indicate a perfect person.  You and I will make mistakes.  When we do, we should repent, then move on.  When those who do not know Christ see us repent of wrong doing and move on, it will speak volumes about the love of Christ.

While we are waiting on Christ to return, we do not have time to get into disputes over various end-time beliefs.  Trust me, I have my own views concerning how it will all take place.  We should spend our time spreading the good news of salvation.  We should live to make a small difference in the life of another person.  It is important that we occupy because Jesus might return during your lifetime or mine, but if He does not physically return, the time will come when He calls us home.  Either way, we need to occupy while we are here.

Free Bible Study

I have a free study to the Book of Jude that it available for download.  When you download the study, you will be asked to provide your email address.  I am the only one who will have your email address. I will not give it to anyone else.

The PDF’s and videos to an online Bible course I did are available for a very low cost.  Check it out at the links below.

https://341637.e-junkie.com/product/1596177/A-Study-Guide%3A–Jude

https://341637.e-junkie.com/?_source=admin

Stepping Out

What keeps people from stepping out and fulfilling a calling God has placed on their lives?  The answer is usually a very simple one:  FEAR!  Although the answer is quite simple, dealing with the problem can become complicated.

 

What Holds You Back

 

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Image via Google by nuDesign LLC.

Not only can fear hold you back from what you truly desire to do, or that to which God has called you, but procrastination is a stumbling block on the path to breaking out of the norm.  Fear is often the root of procrastination, however, lack of the organization of time is another source.

Stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing God’s calling on your life takes time and involves rearranging one’s schedule.  Thankfully, God is patient and understanding, but the problem is that you miss so much fulfillment when you procrastinate or allow fear to keep you from what God has for you.

Take small steps toward your goals. After all, Rome was not built in a day.  If you are called to teach, begin studying the Word and conducting small Bible studies in your home or church.  As the Holy Spirit opens doors, you can increase the amount of your teaching.  If your calling is to speak words of knowledge and wisdom to other, simply start speaking encouragement to people.  You will see your gift manifesting and growing more prevalent.

 

Just Do It

 

“Just do it” sounds simple in theory, doesn’t it?  However, when overcoming fear and procrastination that has controlled you for months, maybe even years, you will find that it can seem overwhelming. Just remember that “seem” is the key word.  Our minds can cause many things to seem more difficult than they really are.

Most of all, it is vital to remember that you have Christ—Christ in you, the hope of glory.  If God called you for the task, He will give you just what you need to complete it.  Often, He waits until the very moment you are operating in your gift to give you the tools you need.  Why does He operate in that manner?  He is building faith and trust in you.  He wants you to truly know that He can be trusted completely with every aspect of your life and every calling and gift you have.  Boldness can replace fear.  Efficiency can replace procrastination.   Complete surrender to the Holy Spirit is what brings these desired results, and not only that, surrender brings joy and relief!

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Image via Google by Living in the Light

Begin today by asking the Lord to direct you with rearranging your schedule and eliminating those time-wasters so you can begin operating to your fullest potential for the glory of God.  Perhaps you simply need to make adjustments concerning social media time or television time.  I did not say you had to totally eliminate everything relaxing, just make some adjustments.  However, there might be activities the Holy Spirit leads you to eliminate.  He will guide you, and you will have peace about the changes.

 

What do you believe God has called you to do in life?  Would you be willing to take small steps toward the goal?  Will you allow the Holy Spirit to replace fear with boldness, and efficiency with procrastination?

Bibles for Journaling

Journaling Bibles are becoming quite popular among Bible readers.  The side columns that can be used as a space for journaling, note-taking, or artistic expression are a must-have for some.  Like other Bibles, Journaling Bibles come in different sizes, font sizes, and types of covers.

Hard-Cover Bibles

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Image Via Google by The Jim Baker Show Store

The Modern English Version from Charisma House Publishers comes in a hard-back version.  The Promises of God Journaling Bible is a beautiful, hard-back book with exquisite design and illustrations.  There are side columns for journaling or note-taking as well as pages that can be colored, for those on the artistic side, and lined pages with no text for either scenario.

Thomas Nelson produces a hard-back journaling Bible (New King James Version) with large print which is a plus because the print is small in many Journaling Bibles.  The gorgeous hard-cover in this Bible is mixed with a cloth floral pattern.  Due to the large print, this Bible is larger in size than others.

Crossway, the publishers of the English Standard Version, has several choices of Journaling Bibles.  They have hard-covered Bibles that are black yet I have seen some readers decorate these Bibles with their own artistic style.  The plain black cover matters little to those who simply use it for note-taking.

 

Imitation Leather

 

Once again, Crossway does an excellent job with the ESV Journaling Bibles that are imitation leather.  Although the print is small, these Bibles are put together well and will, most likely, last a lifetime.  One of the ESV Journaling Bibles I own is brown, imitation leather, with drawings of leaves stenciled into the cover.

NKJV Journaling Bible
Image Via Google by Amazon

Thomas Nelson comes through again with a King James Version Journaling Bible that is brown imitation leather with cream-colored cloth with gold designs serving as the front cover.  Like the ESV mentioned before, the print is small, but the Bible is beautiful with lines in the side columns.

Zondervan, the publisher of the New International Version, has several gorgeous Journaling Bibles.  One of them has a beautiful, brown, soft-leather (imitation) edition that is eye-catching.  They have a variety of other colors as well.  Some are imitation leather while others are genuine.

 

Others

Tyndale House, publisher of the New Living Translation, is not without its share of Journaling Bibles.  Like Crossway, they have an edition that is a hard-back and black in color.  They also have produced a blue-green Journaling Bible called Inspire Bible NLT: The Bible for Creative Journaling.

 

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Image Via Google by Creative Coloring Blog

Like so many products these days, there is no lack of choice in the types of Bibles a person can purchase with relative ease.  Even if you are neither artistic nor a fan of Bible Journaling, the lined side margins of these Bibles are great place to put your study notes.  The love for the Word of God is what matters above all.

 

What about you?  Do you use Journaling Bibles or Study Bibles?  What are some of the translations you read?