Thursday, December 7, 2017

A facet of my heart

Hello everyone!

Awhile ago I was reading in Luke. I came across a passage that speaks just to a concern I've had for a long time.   Here is the passage from the 21st chapter:

"Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 'As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.'
'Teacher,' they asked, 'when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?'
He replied: 'Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, "I am he," and, "The time is near." Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.'
Then He said to them: 'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.
'But before all this, they will seize and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kinds and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.' " vs 5-19

"'There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.' 
He told them this parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 
"'Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life. and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.' " vs 25-36

Just as the parable of the fig tree Christ was talking about in the passage, the times are ripe. We see the vile wickedness of the world around us constantly. It is sickening. It is worsening. Do you not agree?
My deep, deep concern is, are we ready?
Did you read through that whole passage? Did you read what Jesus, the Son of God, spoke of? Did you read how people will come and try to deceive us and draw us away by claiming to be God, or His divine prophets and messengers? I have no doubt that these deceivers will be very convincing and cunning, too.
Will we be able to discern that these convincing people are deceivers? Or will we be too ignorant and unprepared that we allow ourselves to be drawn away and deceived?

Did you read how there will be wars and uprisings and famines and earthquakes and plagues?
Will we be prepared enough to understand that these things must happen and God will provide for us and conquer in the end? Or will we let ourselves be driven away or ruled by fear and uncertainty?

Did you read how they will seize us and persecute us? This is the core of my concern. Dear friends, will we be ready to stand in the face of persecution and defend the Name of our Lord and Savior, without fear and wavering? When God's word is torn from our hands will we have it in our hearts?? When we are faced with death, will we be prepared enough, strong enough in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ, rooted enough in the comfort and strength and hope of His word, to stand without fear? To stand without backing down? To stand without giving way when we are tortured? Will we be ready?

Jesus says that if we are not ready, that day will come upon us like a trap. I feel like this trap is about to spring! Are you ready? Am I ready? 

If you live in America, you have the immense blessing to be able to read and study God's word in comfort. You have the immense blessing to have the Bible translated into your own language with millions of copies and different versions of God's word right at your fingertips. You have the immense blessing to be able to own a Bible yourself and not have the fear looming over you that it will be taken away, that you will be thrown into jail, that you will even be put to death if you are found with it.

Yet, even with this immense privilege and blessing of circumstances, I wouldn't be surprised if American believers know the words of their God the least of all believers. Most American believers take God's word for granted. Yet imagine the day when the Bible is snatched from your fingers. Imagine the day when it is deemed illegal to own or read it. Imagine the day when you are taken from your home and thrown into prison for Jesus' sake, and your Bible striped from your hands. Where will you be? Will that be a stab to your faith? Will you feel lost and as if you are floundering in the sea because you don't know what to do, you don't have the comfort of God's word, you don't remember quite what His commands and promises are?
Imagine sitting in your deepest, darkest, most trying time without the hope and comfort of God's word. God's word is our foundation. He is our rock, our fortress, our high tower. He is our anchor in the storm. He is our comfort. He is our strength. He is our joy. If suddenly His  words are torn from our hands, will we only have a hazy remembrance of what He says to us, in the very thick of our greatest raging storm?  Will we only have a muddied view of His words of strength when we are being pulled down in the miry clay?

We will not be without God. David says in the 139th Psalm, "If I descend to Sheol, even there your hand will lead me, and your right hand will guide me." We will not be without God in our wildest storm, though we may lack His word. We will not be without prayer, because the veil of the Holy of Holies has been torn and at any time, in any place, we may come before God's Throne of Grace, and plead with Him and speak with Him and worship Him.
But if we do not have His words hidden in our hearts, if we do not have our lives so deeply rooted and grounded in Him, it will be a much, much greater struggle. It would be like having only half of an anchor, or seeking refuge in a broken down fortress. The word of God is a flaming, two-edged sword. The word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. The word of God is able to make us wise unto salvation. We read and study the word of God that we might not sin against Him. God's word directs our footsteps. God's word gives light and understanding, even to those who are 'simple', or ignorant. God's word is the Bread of Life.

This is only a tiny portion of the value of God's word. Yet if we are left without it, what will we do?

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7

But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore, be you also ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:43-44

Dear friends, I do not believe this generation is ready to face persecution. I do not believe this generation is grounded in their faith, in the word of God, enough to withstand a raging storm without suffering terribly. I do not believe this generation is rooted enough in the word of God to withstand strong winds without suffering terribly. I do not believe this generation is founded enough on the word of God to be able to stand when earthquakes try to shake us without suffering terribly.
  It is my deep passion that we be prepared, grounded, rooted, founded, and steadfast on God's words of Life, having them hidden deep in our hearts where no one can tear them away from us, though men burn every Bible in the world. 

I fail miserably, desperately, at this. I procrastinate. I flounder. I choose worldly pleasures over the study of God's word. I do pray. I ask the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen me in His might, to ground me in His word, to prepare me for what He will bring me through, to help me hide His word in my heart that I might not sin against Him. Please join me!

Where there is God's word, there is spiritual warfare. The enemy is ready and waiting to distract us and drag us away by the lusts of the world, the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. I struggle with not feeding my flesh, as every single Christian does. Please, let us pray and find our strength in God. Let us be aware of our enemy the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and let us be on guard against his wiles. Let us put on the armor of God, and be ready to fight in His strength, back to back, shoulder to shoulder, for one another, for the lost souls, in protection of our own soul. Please, let us take time to read God's word thoroughly, to seek out His truths and promises and warnings and laws for ourselves. Please, let us memorize and meditate on God's word and hide it in our heart so that it may be with us wherever we go, whenever we need it. There is so much and so little time! Please, let us be prepared. Let us be alert. Let us be sober-minded. Let us be watchful in our prayers. Let us seek the Lord when He may be found. Let us start today.

Jewels <3

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Going into battle hungry: A lesson

The Story:
Saul had never known such anxiety as he was feeling right now. Fresh in his mind were the events of his sin against God--how he had sacrificed the offering without the priest because of his impatience. More poignant in his mind was Samuel's pronunciation of doom on him. "You have done a foolish thing," he had said. "You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom of Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after His own heart and has appointed him ruler of His people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." Saul's regret was not over his sin, but over the fact that God would establish someone in his place. He vividly remembered the raids that the Philistines had brought against him and the Israelites in the time following his sinful action, until they had no swords left-only his son Jonathan and himself still carried a spear and swords. The fresh air under this pomegranate tree did nothing to encourage him, and his body guard of six-hundred men--including the priest's grandson--did little to give him a sense of security. He knew he was at the mercy of the Philistines. That was why he had commanded all of the Israelites to fast until he had avenged himself on his enemies. Perhaps if they fasted, God would have mercy and save him from his enemies.

Saul's heart lept in fear as footsteps pounded on the dusty path.
"The lookouts come, your majesty!" the surrounding men cried out to him. He could sense the uncertainty in their voices, too. The seconds that passed were long as he awaited the news. Was it good, or bad? He could only imagine the worst. The situation seemed so hopeless, yet he couldn't help but harbor some hope in his heart.

The lookouts came up, panting with excitement. The excitement translated into their voices as they told how the Philistines seemed to be in a panic, an unprecedented confusion so vast that it shook the ground. Their only explanation was perhaps some of the Israelite soldiers had secretly led an attack. "Muster the forces and see who has left us," they cried.
Saul sent a messenger at top speed to rally the troops. It wasn't long before they were gathered and accounted for. Jonathan! Jonathan was the one missing--and so was his armor-bearer!
Saul turned to Ahijah, the grandson of Eli the high priest.
"Bring the ark of God," he ordered. He would not be going into battle without it. But even as he was talking, the confusion of the Philistine camp became greater. "Withdraw your hand," he said instead. It was too great an opportunity. Then he assembled the troops who already showed hope and excitement, and ordered them to advance on the Philistines.

As they charged upon their adversaries they found the Philistines fighting each other in their utter confusion. It was too good to be true! As time went on, Israelites who had deserted the army began to appear and join their brothers in the battle, making their force greater. They pursued the Philistines who fled before them, exhilaration pulsing through the veins of every man as he wielded his weapon in defense of his wives and children. They steadily gained ground and began to enter the woods in their pursuit. The day was half gone by the time they traversed those woods, and the stomachs of the men were feeling their oath to Saul. Jonathan, Saul's son was in the heat of the battle. His excursion with his armor bearer this morning had used some of his energy and he began to feel the effects. Suddenly a man ahead of him stumbled. The man quickly picked himself up and looked back to see what had caused him to fall. A beehive! A large, fallen beehive! The hunger that tore at that man's stomach was almost unbearable. The honey that oozed from the comb nearly melted his tastebuds and other soldiers began to pause and look hungrily at that golden sweetness. They would have immediately pounced on it, but for the fact that they could hear fresh in their minds the oath they had taken to not eat anything until sundown. They knew the consequences of breaking an oath.  Jonathan ran up and paused to see what interested them. He saw the beehive and cried out in joy as he quickly approached it. Sticking the end of his staff hungrily into the comb, he brought it to his mouth and ate. The honey satisfied and refreshed him immediately--he could feel his energy returning with haste. As he ate, however, the men cried out in fear.
"No, Jonathan!" they cried. "Your father bound the army under a strict oath, saying, 'Cursed be anyone who eats food today!' That is why the men are faint."

Indignation filled Jonathan's heart. He had been away when his father had ordered the men to take the oath, and had not known about it. "My father has made trouble for the country," he said. "See how my eyes brightened when I tasted a little of this honey. How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?"

But men from other sections of the army were passing them in hot pursuit of enemy men, and they joined in again. Jonathan was much revived and ran and wielded his sword and spear with greater energy and efficiency than before, but the lack of food was telling on his fellow soldiers. After they had pursued the Philistines from Mikmash to Ahijalon, the men were exhausted. They fell upon the Philistine camp and slaughtered animals right there, eating raw meat because of their ravenous hunger.

Someone came up to Saul. "Look, the men are sinning against the LORD by eating meat that has blood in it!" the man said.

Remembering his former sin that had cost him dearly, Saul would not take the risk of angering the LORD God again. Perhaps he could even appease God now.
"You have broken faith," he said to the man who had spoken. "Roll a large stone over here at once." The stone was rolled to him, and then he said, "Go out among the men and tell them, 'Each of you bring me your cattle and sheep, and slaughter them here and eat them. Do not sin against the LORD by eating meat with blood still in it.'"

So everyone brought their ox that night and slaughtered it there. Then Saul built an altar to the LORD; it was the first time he had done this.


So. In this true story, Saul, king of Israel had commanded his Israelite men not to eat until sundown, because he wanted victory over his enemies. I don't know for sure if he was asking his men to fast before God so that God would perhaps have mercy on him, or if Saul wanted them to fast to show dedication and loyalty. Either way, they took an oath that they would not eat until sundown. First of all, is this a very good idea? If Saul wants victory over his enemies, is it a positive thing to not eat anything before the intense exercise that will ensue? As we see, this is NOT a good idea! Jonathan, who had not been there when his father made the men swear, regained his energy because he ate, and had more success than his fellow soldiers.

The Sin:
This was a wrong thing for Saul to do, for three reasons. First, he was making the men suffer for his sin. It was his sin in the first place, his sin of sacrificing the offering without priest Samuel merely because he was impatient and thought he could do it (guys, God is holy. Only the consecrated priests were supposed to sacrifice the offerings on behalf of the people), that had caused God to remove His blessing from Saul--which included in a large part, God's blessing over battles. When God's blessing was over an Israelite battle, I don't think there is one instance where they weren't successful. By making the men fast, Saul was either trying to win back God's approval, or secure his success by enforcing loyalty and dedication.
The second reason, is that the Philistines weren't just Saul's enemies. They were God's enemies, too, because of their sin. By making the Israelite soldiers fast, Saul's men weren't able to destroy the enemies of, not only their king, but God, as fully as they should have. You saw it in Jonathan's words, "How much better it would have been if the men had eaten today some of the plunder they took from their enemies. Would not the slaughter of the Philistines have been even greater?"
The third reason Saul was wrong to make the men go without food, was that he caused them to sin before God. God had commanded them not to eat meat with the blood still in it--we can find this in His covenant with Noah, in Genesis 9:4, as well as in Deuteronomy 12:16.  Yet the Israelite soldiers, because of the oath Saul had commanded them to take, were ravenous with hunger to the end that they sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, by killing Philistine livestock and eating the meat with the blood still in it.

The Lesson:
What can we learn from this historical event? Let's apply the story to our own lives. We ALL have battles, don't we? For Christians it may be the battle against our flesh, or it may be the battle of a trial, physical or spiritual. We see in this story that the men who went into battle hungry, didn't have nearly so much success as they could have. Their energy failed them, they weren't fit to fight, they weren't prepared to fight their battle with the greatest level of success.  You know where I'm going with this, don't you? Do you, as a Christian, ever go into a battle hungry? Do you ever encounter spiritual conflict, when your spiritual belly is empty? When your plate of spiritual meat and potatoes still sits untouched on your bookshelf? Yes! I have. When you go through that battle, do you find it a struggle to keep your head above water? It's kind of difficult to be eating in preparation for the battle, while you are fighting the battle, no? Don't you always realize that you really should be 'doing your homework' before the test? You would be so much more ready and equipped to fight this battle, right? 

So, here is our lesson for today: Don't go into battle hungry. Be eating the spiritual food of God's word before the battle He takes you through, so that you will be prepared, and be equipped to wield your sword with energy and success. That doesn't mean you don't eat during your battle. You can see how Jonathan stopped to eat honey in the middle of the battle and it reenergized him for the rest of it. We don't eat and eat and eat, and then stop for a few weeks at a time, and then do it again. We eat, and we need to eat, consistently in order to, not only get strength, but keep up our strength. So please, let us not starve ourselves until we find it too late, and we are in the midst of a battle on an empty stomach. Let us together, feed ourselves consistently on God's word and prayer, so that we might have greater success for His glory in our battles!

Congratulations if you made it all the way through this post! Do you have any thoughts on this subject? Did you like the semi-retelling of 1 Samuel 14? Let me know in the comments below <3

I hope you have a great week!
Jewels <3

*The story section of this post is a re-telling, or dramatization, of the Biblical event found in 1 Samuel 14. As a human author, I am subject to error, although God's word is inerrant.*

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Secret Slipper Author Interview!

Howdy there, folks!

Today I have here, Miss Amanda Tero, author of the newly released book, The Secret Slipper. This book just released on Thursday, the 25th, but I've had the wonderful opportunity to advance read it. It is Ms. Tero's best work yet, in my opinion!  I can tell that she has improved in her writing, and I am SO amazed at how God gave her the plot line of The Secret Slipper! Like whaaat.....?? How did she think of that?? I guess it had to be God's ultimate, genius, wisdom :D  I am so close to being done with the book--it's taken me longer because of business and a big art project, but once I'm done, be looking for my review of it on Amazon :D

Well, would you like me to get on to the interview now? Okay, okay! Here you are:

What was your favorite part about writing The Secret Slipper? 
My favorite part was probably the initial first-draft writing process. It is always exciting to watch the ideas form!
Oh, yes, for sure!

Which part was the most difficult? 
That would be the rewrites. ;) Particularly Raoul’s story. For some reason, I just couldn’t figure out how to make his story interesting. Thanks to some of my first readers and friends who helped me brainstorm. A lot.
Uh-huh. I haven't got to that stage in any of my works yet, but I can imagine that would be tough. You did a great job with his story! 

Which character was your favorite to write about and why? 
I really liked a lot of my character cast in “The Secret Slipper.” Jolin is probably my most favorite, but then Dumphey and Zuzene and Lia and Raoul…oh and Noel. I even liked Bioti. They were all fun to write because they were all different.

Are any of the characters modeled after you or people you know, in some way? 
Not directly, for this novella. I feel like most of my characters are some way indirectly influenced by the people that I know.
Same with me :D

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book? 
There are a few main lessons in this book: completely trust in God no matter what situation and what’s at stake, and realizing that God has created us in His wisdom and has a purpose for the things He allows in our lives. 

What is the best piece of writing advice that you have received as an author?
Every great book was once an awful first draft.
YES! I have learned not to edit before a book or piece of writing is finished, or else I'll get frustrated and put it down. I guess that's pretty much the essence of your advice, no?

What inspired you to write The Secret Slipper?
I had finished  "Befriending the Beast" (a spin-off of Beauty and the Beast) as a stand-alone when an author friend asked, "Hey, have you ever considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?" And that is exactly where the inspiration started. I prayed about it, and the Lord supplied the full story.

Thank you so much, Amanda! It was fun to read your answers :)

And now, folks, for the fun stuff. Ms. Tero is offering a Giveaway of both Befriending the Beast, book one of Tales of Faith (but not at all necessary reading in order to understand The Secret Slipper; Befriending the Beast just ties in a very slight bit), and The Secret Slipper!

Be sure to check that out.  And 1 paper set-ooh, fabulous! :D I have really enjoyed The Secret Slipper and I hope you will too, once you get and read it--of course you will get and read it, won't you? ;)

Oh, perhaps you would like to know a bit about the book, too, eh? 

About the Book
Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn't even know is searching for her?

And you can buy it here: 
Purchase Link

Or you can:                                        Get “Befriending the Beast”

                                                                   About the Author
Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels. If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Connect with Amanda

Excited yet? Well, I'll let you get on to the rest of the blogs and checking out the book for yerself :) (yes, I know I said yerself)  Let me just finish with a quote--or two:

Okay, now you can go.  After you see who else is blogging about The Secret Slipper this week.

May 25, 2017
Amanda @ With a Joyful Noise | Release Day, Giveaway
Leila @ Leila Tualla's Bookshelf | Spotlight
Faith @ Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections | Review, Giveaway
Leona @ Great Books for God's Girls | Review, Interview

May 26
Emily @ Zerina Blossom’s Books | Interview
Kendra @ Knitted By God's Plan (Spotlight) and O'Scarlett Reviews (Review) | Spotlight, Review
Alicia @ A Brighter Destiny | Review, Giveaway

May 27
Anika @ This Journey Called Life | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Katie @ His Princess Warrior | Review, Giveaway
Sarah @ The Destiny of One | Spotlight
Heather @ Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Spotlight, Interview, Giveaway

May 29
Kate @ Once Upon an Ordinary | Review, Interview
Sarah @ Penumbra Reviews | Review
Dary @ Peculiar Miss Darcy | Character Interview
Julia @ My Joyful Journey with Jesus | Interview

May 30
Kenzi @ Honey Rock Hills | Review, Giveaway
Anita @ Christian Author: A.M. Heath  | Review
Judith @ JudithWNicholson  | Interview

May 31
Jesseca @ Whimsical Writings for His glory  | Spotlight, Review
Raechel @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae  | Spotlight, Review
Esther @ Purposeful Learning | Review, Interview, Giveaway

June 1
Kellyn @ Reveries Reviews  | Review
Victoria @ Victoria Minks Blog  | Spotlight, Review
Kelsey @ Kelsey’s Notebook | Spotlight

June 2
Hanne @ RockandMinerals4Him | Spotlight, Review, Giveaway
Erica @ Roxbury Books Blog | Spotlight
Janell @ Views from the Window Friend  | Review
Crystal @ Crystal’s Adventures for Christ  | Spotlight, Review, Interview

June 3
Alexa @ Verbosity Reviews  | Spotlight
Faith @ Chosen Vessels  | Review
Melissa @ Clothed with Scarlet | Review, Interview, Giveaway

And as a last note, thank you to all those soldiers who have given their lives so that we might have the comfort of freedom and protection. Thank you to all of the families of those who have died fighting, for their willingness to let their family members serve and give their lives for our freedom. Most of all, thank You, JESUS, for sacrificing Your life to free us from the bondage of sin and buy us into Your family to live forever with You, and thank You for reversing the normal cycle--life and then death--You died and then lived!! And now we can have the hope of living in Your presence and glory after we die (unless you take us sooner :D)! 

"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living." ~Romans 14:8-9 (emphasis added)

And now you can go. Really. 
I hope you have a glorious week! 
Jewels <3

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Works of Darkness part 2

In continuation with my last post:

Another work of darkness is same-sex marriage.   I know some disagree, but to me, it is very obvious and clear in the Bible that God disapproves of this. 
There is the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin of the inhabitants of these two cities was extremely great and offensive to God--and that sin included same-sex marriage.   In fact, gay-marriage is the only sin I found in the recorded story that is distinctly spoken of about the cities, though I am 99.9% sure that their sin included many other things. God destroyed the cities and their inhabitants and the entire plain around them, including the vegetation, by 'raining down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah--from the LORD out of the heavens', so that when Abraham looked out the next morning he saw 'dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace',  as the NIV says. 

Now here's a passage from Romans 1 that is a really tough one if you know people who live in this pattern of sin:  
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Now, I know this is a long passage, but I have posted the whole part so that you can better understand it and get the context. Isn't that a tough passage? Yet it makes it clear, to me anyway, that same-sex marriage is not a result of godliness, but rather a result of sinfulness, God giving them over to their own sinful desires, and is abominable to God, deserving of death. This is a work of darkness, yet it is becoming more and more accepted and even encouraged.  

Here is another verse in the first chapter of 1 Timothy that I came across a few days ago: "We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me." 
Again, homosexuality is spoken of in the context of 'sinful, unholy, irreligious, lawbreaking, ungodly, rebels'. 

Guys, people who fall into this sin are in a dangerous place. They are deserving of death--just like you and I were! For the wages of sin is death, says Romans 6:23.   But, you know what, they are not too far gone, either, just like you and I. ...But the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Of course you will remember Paul's testimony. Paul was an avid hater and persecutor of God's followers. He was at the stoning of Stephen, in Acts 7. When Paul was on the road to Damascus, it was with the purpose of finding Christians, taking them and throwing them in prison. But on the way, he was stopped. Here is the passage from Acts 9: Meanwhile, Saul [Paul's other name--Acts 13:9] was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

So Saul was a pretty bad guy. God makes it clear that when Saul, or Paul as he is commonly called, persecutes the followers of God, he is actually persecuting God Himself--a pretty serious offense, and Saul's persecution of the church wasn't light, either.  Yet God in His mercy, chose to shine His light into Paul's dark heart, and save and change him.
There are countless testimonies throughout the Bible of wicked, wicked people who received God's merciful and gracious gift  of forgiveness--only obtained through Him, and were changed. Rahab the harlot, for example. Nothing is too hard for God, even though it may seem at times like the wall we've hit is too tall or someone has gone too far. "Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, 'Thus you have spoken, saying, "Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?"'  "Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?' " This is what is said in Ezekiel 33:10-11 God created the world and everything in it, and the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes, says Proverbs 21:1.   

My point is, if you know someone who has chosen the sinful pattern of same-sex marriage, know that they are in a dangerous place before God, pray with me for them, and believe that they are not too far gone for God to save and change them.  

I have posted about these two topics because they are heavy and they are assuredly works of darkness as far as I can tell from what the Bible says. This is a way that I can expose works of darkness. How can you?  Do you have any thoughts about this? 

May the Lord bless you as you go about your week.
Jewels <3

Works of darkness

Howdy folks!

My mom and I have been going through a devotional called Behold Your God. It is really good. Week seven discussed worship--acceptable worship versus unacceptable worship.
One of the days, we read Ephesians 5:8-12, 15-16, and were asked to summarize what God says about how the Christian is supposed to live a Godward life in the culture around him.   Here is what the verses say: 

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret...See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil."

Here is something that hit me as I was reading this passage and thinking about the question:  The verse says that we, as Christians living in our culture, need to walk as children of the light (the Light being God--1 John 1:5),  finding out, or proving as KJV says, what is acceptable to the Lord.  The way I take this is living as children of the light and setting the example of what is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord.   But then here's the contrast: We are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 

In summary, we are to live a life that shows what is acceptable to the Lord, and also exposes what is unacceptable to Him.

I was thinking about this. It's tough to expose works of darkness. Does that mean that we are to point out everyone's faults?  No. Because we all have faults and we can't expect anyone to be perfect. Of course, if a brother or sister in Christ is walking in sin, it might be out duty to confront them, bring their pattern of sin to their attention--lovingly--and, if they are willing, help them get back on the right track.    But exposing the works of darkness. What does this mean? This verse came up awhile ago in our sunday school.    We can expose the works of darkness by showing the world the truth. In our sunday school topic, we were talking about abortion. 

As Believers, (and I hope every true Believer in Jesus Christ is convinced of this) it is clear from the Bible that life is sacred and no one has the right to take it.  Including the life of an unborn child.  An unborn child is still made in the Image of God, and it is a direct assault on God if one deems that child unworthy to live life and kills it.  Life obviously begins from the womb, if you believe in the Bible.  
God tells Jeremiah in the first chapter of Jeremiah's book: 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

It is said of John the Baptist in Luke chapter 1: He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

Later in the chapter when Mary, the mother of Jesus, came to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was 6 months pregnant with John the Baptist, it says,  "And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." "

First of all, the fact that John was able to experience emotion at 6 months in the womb, and was able to recognize who Jesus was before either of them were even born, is a telling fact. Another interesting thing to point out in this last passage is that Elizabeth already referred to Mary as the mother of Jesus--when Jesus hadn't even been born yet. 

Then of course you have the whole 139th chapter of Psalms that describes God's sovereign hand in the formation of a child.    Guys, God has a plan for each child. He creates each child special and unique from their mother's womb--and in His Image! Each child bears the image of God and if we say that God's handiwork is not worth living life, or think that their life will be difficult and would be better for child and mother if that life was just not lived at all, we are putting ourselves in the place of God! That's a dangerous place to be, folks. 

Abortion is one 'work of darkness' that we can expose as being wrong. We need to be the voice for the voiceless, and we need the mothers of the precious children to know how precious their children really are--even if life might be difficult for both. 

I have made this into a two part post because it would be too long to fit into one, so be looking for part 2!

Any thoughts of yours on abortion, or Ephesians 5:8-12, 14-16? I'd like to hear!

Jewels <3