Messages From The Word

 
                    My first love is the Word of God; I thought I would

                                       share some insights here. 

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The Morning Glory

The Morning Glory is a beautiful flower loved by many; it is also a very invasive weed that chokes out other plants in your garden and extremely hard to get rid of.  It is on the Federal Toxic Weed list in the U.S.A. and technically illegal to grow, import, possess, or sell.  The seeds of the Morning Glory plants contain ergot alkaloids and is a hallucinogenic producing a similar effect to LSD. 

Like the Morning Glory, the things of the world are beautiful, invasive, and hallucinogenic to a Christian who is not following the Lord and to the unsaved that are enamored by the beauty of the "things" that the world has to offer.  It just takes one tiny seed to grow a jungle of vines, and one tiny sin to cause a Christian to fall.  This small sin takes us away from the Lord and if not corrected, we become entangled in the illusion that all is well with our soul when it is not. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" (Galatians 5:1).

We begin to think we can cover up our sin much like the vines become a ground-cover, not realizing that we are hiding nothing from the Lord, but instead choking out our life as a Christian so we can no longer produce fruit.  The more we cover up, the more our love for God is choked out of our lives.  We become unhappy and are unable to figure out what has happened to make us that way.  "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:21-23).

Like the choking vines of the Morning Glory, our sin chokes out our desire to be in the Word, our desire to live for the Lord and produces more and more sin in our lives.  We are enamored with the lovely things the world has to offer us and get caught up in the hallucinogenic life of "self-gratification."  This happens to more Christians than we would like to admit and to each and every one of us that fall and tries to live on the fence; our testimony to the Lord is ruined until we come before the Lord in repentance.  Unfortunately, the damage has been done and to the non-Christian world, we are still seen as hypocrites even after we have gotten back where we should be.   "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them" (II Peter 2:19-21).

The world is not fooled, they know what sin is and they know what a Christian is; this is why we are not leading souls to the Lord because we appear to be no different than they are.  They already have a sinful life and they know they cannot get to heaven by being a "pretender."  Yet here we are choked with sin, telling them they need to come to church with us.  As far as they can see there is no reason they should listen to us because we have no solution to their problems since we do the same thing.  "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" (II Peter 1:8-10).

The neighborhood where I used to live had a few morning glory plants when I was younger, but after a few years the plants took over the entire neighborhood.  Even if one or two people tried to eradicate the plants from their yards, the seeds would blow over from another neighbor's and be a nuisance again.  This is like the progression of the world we live in; sin multiplies and takes over until it is so widespread that nothing will remove it from our sight.  Unfortunately, most of us do nothing about it and we become luke-warm in our Christianity.  We are no longer avoiding the appearance of evil, but are wallowing in it with the rest of the world and believing that we are still living the Christian life because we pray, read the Bible and attend church.  "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent" (Revelation 2:4,5).

If we continue living in sin (1) we may not be saved, and (2) if we are saved, we are no good to the Lord and will suffer much loss when we appear before Christ.  We have a gift from the Lord, He gave us influence over our friends and loved ones; we must live a life that will draw them to the Lord or take the risk of them being lost forever.  This is serious business; we don't get saved and live a life doing whatever we want to do, we are to bring honor and glory to the Lord by living a life that is pleasing to him and drawing our loved ones to Him by our lifestyle.  Of course we will not be free from sin, we will fall but we are to immediately confess and get back to living for the Lord.  Do not let sin choke your life of living for Him; seek Him in His Word and do what He leads you to do.  You will never regret choosing to serve Him with all your heart and soul.  Do not let the things of this world lead you away from Him.  Like the song says, "Oh what needless pain we bear."  The Lord knows what's best for you and if you follow Him faithfully, you can avoid the choking, needless pain that comes from sin.  "But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more" (Luke 12:48).

Remember while we are living with unconfessed sin, our behavior can cause someone to be bitter against the Lord and they may never come to Him in repentance; this is what awaits those that reject the Lord. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works" (Revelation 20:11-13).

We are responsible for our behavior and how it affects others; it is for sure that we will have many regrets of the times we failed our loved ones when we stand before the Lord.  The Lord will forgive us and wipe away our tears, but while we are here, we must be vigilant and live a life pleasing to Him so that others may come.  Don't let the vines of sin choke out your witness.  "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand" (Ezekiel 33:6).

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). 

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

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Can We Make God Change His Mind?

We are suppose to pray for people, for things to happen or not to happen, for someone's salvation, for healing and many other things; God tells us to do so in His Word. Does this mean that if we fail to pray (ask) that the things won't come to pass? Or if we plead and pray for something, that God will grant us the request if it is not already in His plan to do so?

Man is self-serving and vain; he thinks that God will do whatever he asks him to for one reason or another. Sometimes when we pray and God does a miracle, we tend to think that it is because we prayed. We are forgetting that He wants us to pray so we will depend on Him whether He does the miracle or not; the fact that He answered in that way was because it was a part of His plan.

Be sure that God is in full control of all things, He allows problems to come in our lives so that we will draw closer to Him with our prayers and worship. He does want us to ask for His blessings on our lives and wants to keep in communication with us. He knows ahead of time how we are going to react in situations and allows some pretty harsh things to come into our lives - but He also says He will not give us more than we can handle.

I am assuming much by saying I believe that some things in life are set in stone and some are not. By this I mean that the things set in stone are the things that align with the plan of God and He will not deviate from this plan, but make it come to pass (no matter how we try to mess it up). The things that are not set in stone are the choices we make (good or bad), that take us in one direction or another. These are the things that God allows so that we can pray for help when we are in trouble or praise Him for blessings that He has given us - both situations give Him glory. He knows ahead of time the choices we are going to make and how to bring us back to Him when we make wrong choices, how to draw us closer when we stray, how to draw us to repentance and to ask Him for help.

In these cases, we are not changing His mind about an outcome, but are relinquishing control to Him in the situation and agreeing that He knows best. When we think of the scripture, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" it does not mean that we are all-powerful and God is going to have our back; it simply means that we are under His wing and He is doing the task while giving us the strength that we need to get through it. God is constantly building our faith in Him; sometimes we take baby steps and other times giant ones, but we need to remember it is not our pleading, but His plan that takes us where we need to go.

*****

Is the Bible a Necessary Part of a Relationship with God

Of Course it is, but why?  Many people have read the bible and found it to be a vicious and bloody book and came to the conclusion that God was cruel and demanding, so why do Christians find it so necessary that they will stand and defend it as a love-letter from God and claim it be the most important part of their daily life.  It seems very contradictory indeed. 

The one thing I do know is that the Holy Spirit reveals the love of God through His Word and if you do not have the Holy Spirit living in you, it is impossible to understand what God is saying to you.  Don't get me wrong, a person can be born again and become a child of God by reading the bible, but he will not fully understand the bible until he is born again.  Some Christians have read the bible through a couple of times and decided that they know it all and don't have to read it any longer; but the bible is not that way, a Christian needs to read it every day.  The Word of God feeds your spirit the same way that food feeds your body, if you avoid food, your body starves; if you avoid the bible, your spirit starves. 

Every time we read the bible it speaks to us even though we do not always listen to what it is saying, it is instructing us to do something or to make changes in our habits.  If we spend all our time watching TV or reading magazines, or indulging ourselves into our hobbies, there will be no time left to spend in the bible.  We must put God's Word first in our life because He put us first and sent His Son to die on the cross so that we could be with Him forever.  You will find that if you put Him and His Word first, there will be plenty of time left to do the things you want.  You will also find that when hard times come (and they will), you will be able to get through them, learn and grow, and become a stronger person - the bible gives you the strength you need to overcome adversity. 

Some people do not go to a bible-believing church because there are too many restrictions on what they want to do, so they find one that lets them do what they want as long as they spend an hour at church on Sunday.  We need to understand that the bible-believing church is not demanding you tow the line and do certain things and stop doing certain things; God is demanding you to obey Him, to change the way you are doing things, and to grow close to Him.  He knows what is best for you and wants the best for you; if He did not know what was best, He would not have written the bible and just let us do our own thing.

Every word in the bible is necessary to becoming what God wants us to become.  We can't say, "Oh, I don't think this passage or chapter is necessary any longer, it is outdated; it was OK back in the day when it was first written, but things have changed, and I think we can ignore that part."  If it was important for the early church and not for today, God would have said, "you don't have to do this in the 20th or 21st centuries."  If one part of the bible speaks of a certain sin, it is still sin today and not just back in biblical days.  The same sins haunt man now that haunted them from the beginning of time. 

With God there is no such thing as time, He only made time when He created the earth and when the earth is no more, time will be no more.  God is eternal and when He said something before the foundations of the earth, that something is still in force for eternity, not just for a mere 200 years or so.  He created man with an eternal soul and when the body dies, the eternal soul will go on living; where you live is a choice you must make before your body dies.  The bible is very clear on this and  has step-by-step instructions for making the choice as to where you are going to spend eternal life and instructions of how to live your life while you are on earth to make it count for eternity. 

Many of us have very high IQ's and even if we don't, we have our own opinions of God, the bible, how kind and loving He is, how mean and demanding He is or even whether or not He exists or is a fairy tale.  The one thing we need to remember is that our opinions do not matter, only God's opinion matters and what He says is exactly right and correct.  There are no "gray" areas, what He says is what He means; He created us and has the right to make the rules that we should live by if we want to end up living with Him for eternity.  If we don't want to follow those rules that is our choice, and God will honor our choice by letting us live eternally without Him. 

Reading and studying the bible (the Word of God) builds our relationship with Him, we get to know Him and the more we get to know Him, the more we want to please Him and do what is right.  You cannot build a relationship with anyone without learning about them, and the bible is our guide book to learning about our heavenly Father so that we can draw closer and closer to Him.

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Great Forgiveness

I have been reading the book of Ezra, this takes place after the captivity when the remnant was laying the foundation for the temple; Ezra came onto the scene and restored the law and ritual.  When I got to the verses below I was reminded of our sins - our repeated sins that we are stuck in and even though we repent and confess, we weakly fall back into.  Apparently, we do not understand how serious sin is to our Lord.  

13 And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and hast given us such deliverance as this;
14 Should we again break thy commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?
15 O LORD God of Israel, thou art righteous: for we remain yet escaped, as it is this day: behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.  (Ezra 9)


I am writing this to Christians because we are the ones guilty of this since the unsaved have not accepted the Lord as their Savior.  Once we accept the Lord, He forgives and forgets our sin, He accepts us as His child and gives us a new heart; we are His for eternity.  Ok so we have a few days, weeks or months that we are flying high because we have been forgiven and are now born again; we are even shocked when we do something wrong and wonder how we could have done this thing seeing that we were saved, quickly asking forgiveness.  There comes a time when the newness wears off and we neglect the Word a day here or a week there; soon it is a month and then several.  

We are still going to church, but our spiritual nourishment is lean and our old habits come back to haunt us.  I am not saying that we all go out and do the same things that we did before our salvation, but we have let our guard down and are becoming lax in our behavior.  The Word of God and prayer are the only things that are going to keep us safe and watchful, we cannot live for the Lord without those two things.  In verse 13 Ezra is saying that even though they were put into captivity and suffered, they deserved it because their sins were great against God and all through this captivity, the Lord still protected them and did not give them what they deserved.  What if the punishment for a single white lie was instant death, would we still tell that lie?  Yes we probably would, because we are conditioned to think that it is better to lie than hurt someone's feelings.  It is still a lie and still punishable by death; Jesus took our place and died for that little white lie, so we are without excuse.

Also in the same verse Ezra is exclaiming the wonder of God that although they deserved a worse punishment than they got, God graciously delivered  and restored them.  That they were allowed back into the favor of God and unswervingly so, was beyond the comprehension of Ezra and he was both elated for God's mercy and remorseful for their sins.  In the next verse he mentions "what if we sin again?" "What if we stay in our sin?" It would be like kicking God in the teeth for His forgiveness and saying, "Thank you for that, but I can do what I want, because if I sin, you will just forgive me 70 times 7, so see you around when I get through having fun."  (I know we don't really say that, and hopefully don't think it either, but our disregard for sin shows that is how we actually feel). God should be angry and consume us for that thought; and yet, He is long-suffering and continues to chastise us until we finally realize that we are breaking His heart with our actions and even our non-actions.  Then we are back again to verse 13 and God's deliverance.  We are not saved again, but forgiven and restored to our former position with Him.  

In verse 15 Ezra is praising the Lord for His righteousness and also for His mercy.  He is thankful that they are still restored, but because he knows how sin besets us, he knows how undeserving we are to the Lord's mercy and that we are unable to stand before Him because of our continual sin.  It is totally amazing to me that the Lord forgives us continually, and usually for the same habitual sin or sins.  

In our lives when we are hurt by someone, we do not easily forgive them and if we do, we may set it aside, but we do not forget it.  If that person hurts us again, the old hurt comes back and if they do it several times, we give up on them because we are tired of being hurt, tired of believing that they are actually trying, and tired of forgiving them.  This is not the way it should be and certainly not if we are Christians; we should be forgiving and forgetting as many times as the Lord has and will continue to forgive us.  

Jesus set an example for forgiveness and although someone may sin against us, we must respond as Christ would and forgive.  We need to feed and refresh our soul daily with His Word and prayerfully go about our day to please Him.  What others think does not matter now, and will not matter at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  I want Him to say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" to each of His children as we stand before Him; however, it is only because of His sacrifice that we can go before Him and bow ourselves down to worship in thanksgiving.
                                                              *****

 

Reflections on the surprising character of God's love

I was thinking about Chronicles, Numbers, Ezra and other portions of the Scriptures where name after name and begats after begats are listed; names that we cannot pronounce and that really mean nothing to us personally.  Why are they there?  Why did God put these strange names in the Bible?  To make it boring, to confuse us, to see if we could learn to pronounce them?  No, because every word was put there to teach us, and every person named was important to God; even the unnamed ones like the woman at the well and the poor widow and her son, they were important and loved by God.  These are not just names, they are people close to God's heart.


The sinners who never repented were also loved by Him, the Jews and Romans who spit in Jesus' face and beat Him were loved by God and it breaks His heart each time He has to let an unsaved, unrepentant soul enter the gates of hell when they die.  God is merciful, but He is also a righteous judge and cannot let a sinner into heaven; it is the person's own choice to turn away from God and want to live their own way.

As a parent it tears us apart to see our child grow up and go into a life of crime; we did not raise them that way, but they decided to go that way or they were caught by addiction leading them that way.  Everything that the parent does to try to help them or get them to change, does not work and the child continually rejects the parents and their help.  To us, that wayward child is still ours and loved and important to us and although we try to help and protect them, we are rejected more and more because that child wants no part of us.  We end up with a broken heart because there is nothing we can do, they have to make the decision on their own to stay on that path or to turn from it,  and they will have to pay the penalty for any crimes which they have done, our hands are tied.

It is hard for the non-Christian to understand where a Christian is coming from when they tell them about Jesus because they believe in their heart and soul that they are "OK" and the Christian is just trying to shove their religion down their throat.  True, there are some over-zealous Christians who may come on too strong, but they truly want what is best for the lost.  Of course there are the cults  who are not Christian at all, but say they are and promise all kinds of things to get a following.

Christians may be saved by grace, but they still sin and when they do, the world (or neighbor) watches and thinks they are no better than themselves.  That is true, Christians are not better than anyone else, they just love their father, have given their heart and life to Jesus, and try to do what?s right.  Because they are not better or not stronger, or not any different than anyone else, they still will sin.  Let's face it, doing something wrong is so much easier than doing the right thing - always has been and always will be; not one of us is able to stay free from sin; however, we do need to do things God's way and we cannot do that unless we are His child.

As much as we love our children or spouse, our parents or even ourselves, we don't even come close to how much God loves each of us.  When Jesus says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  He means NEVER; we are always the one who leaves Him and sadly some end up lost forever.  That is not what God wants for you or me or any one; every single person is special to Him and loved more than we could possibly understand.  Knowing what I do about myself makes it hard to comprehend that He could love me that much; but I understand even less how someone could walk away from that love into a Christ-less eternity. 

In the end, we each have to make the choice of where we want to spend eternity; and if we go on living without God or acknowledging our need for Him, we are making the choice to stay away from Him and His love.  We will have to pay for our sins if we don't accept the gift of His Son who paid the price for us.  If you think you are OK - just remember one little white lie will send you to hell, so you are not "home free" and on your way to heaven unless you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

*****

FIRE!

Have you ever burnt your fingers on the stove or had hot grease splash on you ? that hurts. Have you actually caught on fire ? that hurts much worse; I know this from common sense as well as from experience.

I used to preserve foods and one day I had put up some raspberry jam, put some paraffin in a sauce pan to melt and being a flighty person, I went outside to play with my dogs not thinking that paraffin melts rather fast, I came back in a few minutes later to find the paraffin on fire and flames shooting up two or three feet in the air. Having no knowledge of what to do, I grabbed the pan and decided to throw it out the back door. The wind blew the flame onto me catching my clothes on fire; I dropped the pan which caused the floor and wall to catch fire. I sprayed the wall, the floor and myself with the kitchen sink sprayer and called the neighbor who took me to the hospital.

My hair was singed, my face also. My stomach (and especially my side) had second and third degree burns ? toes were burnt and my hands. Skin was hanging off the fingers of my left hand and the back of that hand was burnt very badly. The doctors thought my fingers would be webbed (like duck feet), but they ended up ok. Many skin grafts later, I healed up nicely except for the scaring on the back of my hand and my left side. After 41 years, I still remember the terror of it and am very thankful that it happened.

I know that sounds strange to be thankful that I was burned and spent 6 weeks in the burn unit ? but I am. You see, this was the ONLY way that God could get my attention; I was so rebellious of Him and His ways that I wanted no more to do with Him. I told him that very day that I was burnt, ?God, I do not want anything to do with you and I am going to raise my kids against you ? there is nothing you can do about it!? I would advise you to never, ever say that (or even think it). Immediately ? and while still on fire ? I shook my hand up at God and said, ?You did this, I hate you!?

I was raised very strict Roman Catholic and had left the church when I was married at 18 years old. I had two children, got divorced and got remarried. At that time, I was afraid to walk on the same side of the street where a church was located because I thought God would reach out and strike me dead; but as time went on, instead of being afraid, I became resentful. I remember Calvary Chapel before it was our city hall and before it was remodeled into a fancy church when it was a tiny church. I did not go there, but when I would drive by on the way to the dancehalls, I would see their Neon sign on top of the roof that said, ?JESUS SAVES? - I did not know what that meant, but thought it was rather gaudy and disrespectful to put Jesus? name in neon lights.

Imagine that; me, who did not want anything to do with God, hated Him, was going to turn my kids against Him, thought this little gospel church was being disrespectful ? takes all kinds. After being released from the hospital, it still took me a year to find a church and another year to accept the Lord as my personal Savior. And still, I am so pig-headed; at times (more times than I would like to admit) I ignore the things of the Lord and sin; each time the Lord forgives me, sometimes I wonder and ask why He even bothers with me; but I am so glad He does.

I pray for my family and friends constantly, that they will not have to go through some horrible situation or accident to bring them to the Lord and to follow Him faithfully; but at the same time, I know I have to let Him do what is necessary to bring them to Him. I am not saying that everything bad that happens to someone is from God; you have to remember that what happens in life, we generally bring on ourselves by our actions. I see many people post things on facebook that say something like, ?Your life is based on your choices, if you don?t like the results; make different choices.? While that is certainly true, even if you make the wrong choices; life in general can seem to be running pretty smoothly and sometimes the right choices can cause a great deal of pain.

In the end, unfortunately, it all catches up to you; and if you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, are not following Him and spending time in His precious Word (the Bible); things will go extremely bad the moment you die. The fire I went through is a mere tickle compared to the fires of hell ? and yes, you will go there unless you repent of your sins and accept the gift of His death on the cross for you. Do not wait until you have partied, or done all the things you wanted to do in life; do not be too busy on Sunday to go to church or to spend time in your bible every day. If you are too busy for Him, you cannot expect Him to save you a place in heaven.

Look at the obituaries, it is not just the old people who die; there are many middle-age, many in their 30?s and 40?s and many even in their teens and twenties. We do not know when our time on earth is finished; if we wait until the last minute to accept the Lord, death may call us before we are ready and we will be in hell forever. As the song says, ?forever is a long time,? it is; but forever NEVER ends. Not making a choice for Christ and putting it off is making a choice against Him and whether you like it or not, putting off your salvation is CHOOSING hell as your destination.

Years ago I listened to a preacher on the radio; when he first started preaching he had to take a job as a shoe salesman to support his young family. He would get down on one knee to put shoes on people and he was so excited about Christ, he would tell them, ?Why don?t you join me (on your knees), and pray for your salvation; you are sitting down and are half-way there!? He probably did not sell many shoes, but if even one person accepted his invitation, his forwardness would have been worth losing shoe customers over.

You wouldn?t willingly throw your child in front of a speeding car, but in a sense you are doing that when you don?t have them in church and Sunday school ? they are home playing having a great time, but they have no desire for the things of God. You send them to school to get educated so they can grow up and get a job and work to have a good life, but neglect to teach them of Jesus and they will be spending eternity in hell. Believe me, if you are one of the ones that say, ?I will let them make that decision on their own, when they grow up ? I won?t force religion on them now, they are too young.? What you have done is shown them that God is not important, that they don?t need to follow Him or His laws. They can live their life, just as it pleases them and well, when they die ? they will join you in hell. You may be a good parent, but if you are neglectful teaching them about Jesus, you are tossing their souls away like trash and they will forever spend eternity apart from God and burning in the lake of fire. Being pro-life or pro-choice is not just about abortion ? it is about choosing life or death for eternity; life with God in heaven or death in hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

*Note: You might get mad at me and think I am being judgmental on how you are raising your kids or whatever; but I am speaking from experience. Even though I became a Christian and took my kids to church, I did not raise them like I should have (putting the Lord first). I put other things first and dismissed it as ?helping? them and blaming my husband who was not a Christian because he did not want us in church except to ?let? us go on Sundays. So it is on me that my husband is still not a Christian and that some of my children are wayward and some are not Christians because I chose to tiptoe on eggshells and not teach them in the way they should go; and not live my life as a Christian should.

It does not matter what you think of me or my beliefs; but I urge you to study the Bible yourself, go to a church that teaches salvation - or at least watch reruns of Billy Graham - no truer words have been spoken than what comes out of Billy Graham's mouth. Jesus loves you, Jesus loves your family, and above all, Jesus wants you and your family in Heaven with Him forever. He will not force you, the choice is yours and you can be sure He will honor whatever choice you make.

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Can We Make God Change His Mind?

We are suppose to pray for people, for things to happen or not to happen, for someone's salvation, for healing and many other things; God tells us to do so in His Word. Does this mean that if we fail to pray (ask) that the things won't come to pass? Or if we plead and pray for something, that God will grant us the request if it is not already in His plan to do so?

Man is self-serving and vain; he thinks that God will do whatever he asks him to for one reason or another. Sometimes when we pray and God does a miracle, we tend to think that it is because we prayed. We are forgetting that He wants us to pray so we will depend on Him whether He does the miracle or not; the fact that He answered in that way was because it was a part of His plan.

Be sure that God is in full control of all things, He allows problems to come in our lives so that we will draw closer to Him with our prayers and worship. He does want us to ask for His blessings on our lives and wants to keep in communication with us. He knows ahead of time how we are going to react in situations and allows some pretty harsh things to come into our lives - but He also says He will not give us more than we can handle.

I am assuming much by saying I believe that some things in life are set in stone and some are not. By this I mean that the things set in stone are the things that align with the plan of God and He will not deviate from this plan, but make it come to pass (no matter how we try to mess it up). The things that are not set in stone are the choices we make (good or bad), that take us in one direction or another. These are the things that God allows so that we can pray for help when we are in trouble or praise Him for blessings that He has given us - both situations give Him glory. He knows ahead of time the choices we are going to make and how to bring us back to Him when we make wrong choices, how to draw us closer when we stray, how to draw us to repentance and to ask Him for help.

In these cases, we are not changing His mind about an outcome, but are relinquishing control to Him in the situation and agreeing that He knows best. When we think of the scripture, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me" it does not mean that we are all-powerful and God is going to have our back; it simply means that we are under His wing and He is doing the task while giving us the strength that we need to get through it. God is constantly building our faith in Him; sometimes we take baby steps and other times giant ones, but we need to remember it is not our pleading, but His plan that takes us where we need to go.

*****

The Power of Prayer from a Mother's View-Point

I was born and raised Roman Catholic; ever since I can remember I always believed in prayer, the sacraments, angels, devils, and the Holy Trinity. I have never had any reason to doubt that God existed, was the Creator, and loved me. I was ADHD before anything was known of it and; therefore, considered the most "devilish" child in the neighborhood. My belief was of such that God would ALWAYS forgive my sin, so I could do anything I wanted (well, as long as the old people of the neighborhood didn't find out and tell my mother).


I grew to be a wild teenager, got pregnant at 17, we got married seven months before the baby was born so my mother could "save face" in the neighborhood. We both continued school and my mother babysat. It took me another ten years, a divorce and remarriage to finally grow up and to understand what a total jerk I was. By this time I had three children (two from the first marriage and one from my second marriage). I decided to go back to church and since the Catholic Church changed from a Latin mass to an English mass, I decided that it had to be wrong because God never changes, so his church should not change either. It took awhile, but I found a little non-denominational church and I became a Christian.

A hunger for the Word of God took over my life and being ADHD contributed, in part, to my studying the Bible to find what was correct and not correct in my interpretations. Of course, the Holy Spirit was what was convicting me and teaching me - it really had nothing to do with my ADHD. I had two more children and one was ADHD, so I understood him perfectly and was able to be more patient than my mother was with me (bless her heart - she thought I was totally insane).

With that for a background, I can tell you that my mother spent time every night and every morning on her knees praying for her children. I used to walk by her room some times while she was praying and knew that when she made her loudest "sighs" that she was desperate for the Lord to do something with me. I am sure that more than half the time, she didn't care what He did as long as it was quickly. She used to warn me that I would have a child like me. I had five of them and although one was just like me, the rest were similar in many ways. I learned from her early on that prayer for your children is the number one priority for mothers (mostly, I thought her prayers were the only reason I did not die in some horrible accident).

I prayed for my children all the time, prayed many simple prayers (don't let Johnny choke when he stuffs his mouth or make them go to sleep before they kill each other). But the important prayers for their lives are still continuing to this day. My oldest son died at the age of 40 and left a wife and two children. I know he is in heaven, but I prayed that the Lord would let my mother hit him along side the head with a frying pan when he got there. I know that prayer was answered "No", but remarkably his family is doing fine without him. The Lord takes over care when you can't - it is something He just does for us.

My daughter is the one that would require wailing and gnashing of teeth in prayer if I did not trust the Lord to take care of her. I pray every day for her protection. She is 33, still on drugs and living on the street. The police have found her in alleyways almost dead from overdoses (at least a couple of times a month lately) and brought her in to the hospital detox unit. There are many times she could have died, but did not. She is not a Christian yet, so I pray that she doesn't die before she accepts the Lord. I also pray that she will get some help and kick the habit. Sometimes He says no, but I have no fear that He will let her die before she accepts him. It may be a "thief on the cross" experience where she accepts him and then dies, or maybe she will accept him, kick the habit, and become a productive member of society, whatever He decides will be perfect.  Note*  Since this writing she died of an overdose; I am still not sure that she was saved, but I have to trust the Lord that she was.

Praying for my children and trusting that God will answer and will work everything out for His Glory is something I must do. One of these days we will all be together in Heaven; it will be a joy to look back at all the prayers - even some of the selfish prayers to see what miracles the Lord accomplished in our lives and the many times He answered prayers before we asked, and especially the miracles He did that we knew nothing about. How can a mother NOT want to pray for her children when He delights in answering them so?
*****

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