Where Is Jesus? He’s In My Heart!
Some people are saying that America was never a Christian nation. Some are saying that it used to be, but is not now. And others are insisting that it still is. I can’t honestly and accurately say what is (or was) in anyone else’s heart or mind but my own. I guess it doesn’t really matter what anyone calls this country. I personally, am a Christian.
The word Christian means to follow Christ, to be Christ-like. It was first used (Acts 11:26) in Antioch (not as the English word we use now) to describe the people that were following the teachings of Jesus Christ and trying to live their lives according to the examples He had given. More accurately, it described the people that had received the Spirit of The Holy Ghost and had given their lives completely to Him. It did not mean to simply believe in Jesus, for even Satan believed, but I’m pretty sure he would not be called a Christian.
In any case, the core nature of being a Christian is not about being in a group where everyone agrees with or goes along with everyone else about all things. It is more about a personal relationship with Christ in our own heart. God made us all individuals, each one of us is unique. In being unique, we are not going to agree with each other on everything. But as Christians, we are all subject to His instructions (the Bible) in loving one another and how we are supposed to work together for His glory.
The Bible says in Romans 12:3-5, “3 For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. 4 For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, 5 So we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another].” (Amplified translation)
In this context we are being instructed to work together for the common goal of what is good for us all, with each contributing his or her own unique gift or talent, but moving in the same direction as a whole in God’s will.
Not including our past history or how this nation was founded, the current percentage of the population claiming to be Christians in America is 73%. (Wikipedia) So I have to wonder, if we are doing what we are supposed to as a whole (living under God’s leadership), how is it that we have allowed so many of (man’s) laws to be passed that are essentially “escorting God right out of our lives”? If the majority of this nation is declaring that we are Christians, why are we condoning these laws with our silence? God’s Word is pretty clear about homosexuality, murder, theft, etc. Yet we continue to allow our own government to pass laws to the contrary, just so long as they call it by a different name or don’t bother us with it.
As an individual with only one voice, I cannot change much. But as a population of 73% of the American public, when we stand together, we can change a lot of things. That is to say, if we stand together and take action. The Bible commands believers in Psalm 94:16 to RISE UP and STAND UP for God against evildoers.
I am not suggesting that we try to force anyone to become a Christian. That is not our business, it’s God’s. What I am saying is that by being too silent and ignoring the direction our politicians and government have taken and the laws they have passed under the pressure of a small minority group, we are allowing the moral fabric of our nation to be destroyed.
Our children are growing up confused and unbalanced. In their hearts they may feel something of a basic sense of what is right or wrong, but they see the examples of what is being allowed or being pushed as “normal and acceptable behavior” plastered all around them. Even in a lot of the Christian homes there is compromising and excusing, instead of truth and obedience.
And then we cry out in wonder at the insanity of a brutal beating of an elderly man for a few dollars. We scream in outrage at the raping and beating of a young teenage girl. And we ask why in the shooting of innocent children. Why would or how could anyone do such horrible things? The answer is simple, because of evil.
It’s not about passing more laws to take people’s guns away. (Cain didn’t use a gun to kill Able.) It’s not about passing laws to allow people to carry guns either. In fact, it’s not really about passing any laws at all. We were already given Ten Laws a long, long time ago, and if those laws were actually observed, there wouldn’t be any other laws needed.
The problem is we can’t obey those laws without God’s help. That is why Jesus came. He lived to teach and show us how to live. Then He died, rose up again, and ascended back up to Heaven to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). It is only with His precious gift that we have the means to live in obedience of His Word.
But what good can His Word do if no one sees it, hears it, or experiences it’s power around them? We need God and His Word to be the center of our lives, because without Him, evil overcomes.
It is not my desire or intention to judge anyone else for what they believe or not, or for what they do. It is just my belief that as a Christian and an American, it is my right and responsibility to stand up for what I believe in, and to live my life accordingly. I believe in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave”. I believe in “the right to keep and bear arms”. I believe in “one nation, under God”. I believe in “God shed His grace on thee”. I believe in “thou shalt have no other gods before me”. I believe in “For God so loved the world…” I believe in “love one another, as I have loved you”. I believe in repentance, being baptized and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. And I believe in “…as for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”.
I will live my life and teach my children as Jesus leads me. I will vote as Jesus leads me. I will speak as Jesus leads me. And I will love others, as Jesus leads me. Will you?
My prayer today is that hearts and minds are opened to Jesus’ gift, that eyes will see the truth, and that the people of this country and all around the world will know His great love for us all. May peace and joy surround you, and God bless. – Amber
A Happy and Blessed New Year
I want to wish all of you a very happy and blessed 2013! I pray that this new year brings a renewed joy and peace to your hearts, that your spirits are filled a burning passion for Jesus that shines bright, and that His great love overflows from you to everyone around you!
Over the past few weeks I have been spending some thinking about my priorities and my schedule. Life seemed to be getting filled with many frustrations of not being able to accomplish all of the tasks on my lists. I realized that I was spending too much time on unnecessary things, and not enough time on the things that really matter.
My first priority is God. Although I had made the decision for making Him my number one a long time ago, lately there had been so many other things in my life that I felt like I was rushing through my time with the Lord, to hurry up to get onto other things. This is not right, this is not treating Him with the honor and respect that He deserves!
This was also the situation for me with my family and friends. I was telling myself that I had to wait until all of the other things on my list of “to do’s” needed to be done first, and then I would have time to spend with my loved ones. The problem with that is my “to do” lists never seemed to get completed, or if they did, I was too tired to do anything else. And some of my relationships have ended up suffering for it. This is not right either.
In retrospect, I have always tried to be a responsible person, taking care of business and getting the job done. However, it was always my decisions and goals that I was working on. I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ for the first half of my life, and seeking His guidance on what to do with my life has been a difficult thing for me to learn. Being raised with an independent personality, I was used to directing my own path, and I couldn’t figure out why things didn’t work out the way I planned. It wasn’t until I learned that I am not in control, that I even began to seek His counsel.
For the past couple of years, I have been feeling the Lord directing me in my heart toward certain endeavors. But I was trying to figure out how to follow His directions and mine at the same time. It was a hard realization to finally figure out that I can’t do both. But it was an easy enough choice to decide who to follow, especially with my established track record. My ways did not work outside of His plans for me.
And so I have spent a lot of time praying for His guidance, asking Him to reveal to me what He wants for me and from me. This was how the subject of my priorities came up. In addition to God now, my greatest passions have always been my family and friends, animals, and writing. There are many other things that I care about and enjoy, but these are the areas that Jesus wants my main focus. When I realized that I had been spending more time on things other than these four priorities, it made sense that this was where the majority of my frustration was coming from.
This past two weeks I had slowed down my hectic schedule and began spending more time with my son, just to enjoy his company. And I spent more time in prayer and reading the bible. I discovered that our time in church was also far more enriching to my spirit and my joy was returning. I also made time to spend with some of our friends, and with our pets. Even though some of my tasks did not get completed, I felt a renewed sense of joy that I have not felt in a while.
One particular thing that had been heavy on my heart was my family. Most all of my family lives far away, and it’s been many years since I’ve visited with them. Money and time have always been an issue, which in itself has caused a lot of stress. But a few nights ago, I was feeling a strong desire in wanting to see my family. I went onto the internet and looked up the specials on airfare and found a 65% discount available. I checked my savings account and found that I could actually do this! There may be some things that will have to be sacrificed for now, but my family is worth it! So I will be taking 3 weeks off in February to spend with some people that are very dear to me.
After making the reservations, the excitement in me has grown and created more energy than I have felt in years! God is leading me into a new direction, showing me the importance of letting Him have total control, and the precious peace and joy that comes from it. And I have a renewed spirit for my writing as well. My writing has always come from my heart, but lately it had started to feel more like an obligation or another task that needed doing. And it felt like I had to force the words out, one at a time, instead of letting it flow like water. But the enjoyment of it has returned, and I look forward to my time putting the words down again.
I can’t say exactly what all this new year will bring, but I can say there is a positive outlook to it. I am expecting good things, even though I know that it may not all be good. I am expecting joy and peace, even though I know there may be times of chaos. I am expecting many blessings, because I know God is good, all the time. He has already blessed me in more ways than I count, and I have learned that the greatest blessing of all is love! Jesus loves me! HE LOVES ME!!! What more could I possibly ask for? And yet, He gives me so much more! A family and friends that I love very much, the awesome beauty that surrounds me, a home that keeps me safe and comfortable, a Pastor with a heart for truth, a church where I know His Spirit flows, a mind that can form words and a desire to share them, comfort in times of trials, strength when I am weak, courage when I am afraid…the list goes on forever!
I know every day of my life is another chance for learning something new. Each day brings new opportunities and blessings. I have a new excitement in my heart, to see what wonders God will bring each day, and knowing that no matter what, He is always with me!
I am thankful for everything God has done and is doing for me. And I am thankful for the opportunity to share it with everyone. I pray that this new year will be filled with many good things for all of you, and I pray that many more souls will come to Him that saves!
God bless, and Happy New Year!
And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.
(1 Samuel 15:22-23)
King Saul had disobeyed God and he lost God’s favor. Saul disobeyed God’s instructions because he was captivated by his own ambition and desires. When confronted by Samuel, Saul only gave excuses. He did part of what God had told him to, but he was not willing to be fully obedient. And God rejected him.
How many times are we like Saul? Maybe we find ourselves doing part of what God’s Word says to us, but not quite finishing the job of obedience. It is often our pride and our desire for accomplishment that leads us to hide behind half-truths and excuses. The instruction is clear . . . let the obedience be complete. As Samuel noted, the Lord delights more in obeying His voice than in all the burnt offerings we can give.
Father, thank You for Your Words of Truth! Guide me, and give me the faith & strength I need to obey You in all circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.