Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Crawling through Broken Glass

I am deeply saddened by what is happening in our country. I know politics can't change hearts. I know boycotts can't change hearts. Only Jesus Christ through the power of His Word changes hearts.  However, I am so grateful that there are ministries and lawyers protecting my family and our rights. The same rights my grandfather almost died to give me. I am worried our generation takes this freedom for granted because it cost most of us NOTHING.
So, what do we do? How do we respond? The Church wants to speak. They have proven that by coming out to show their support for Chik-Fil-A yesterday. We are a powerful group of rescued sinners. When we all come together in unity, there is power. So, what now? What do we do?
There are hundreds of blogs being pumped out telling us how Christians should respond.
Who do we follow?
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 I believe we are the "silent" majority.  The word "silent" is what saddens me. Why are we silent? Maybe because of the hate and the attacks that follow a stand for Christ. Maybe because we don't want to hurt feelings or ruffle feathers. Maybe because we want to win people by our lives instead of our words. I get all of those reasons. Truly, I do! I would much rather be in my basement than on the front lines.  I like my bubble. I tell Tim that all the time. Life is good in our "bubble".

Our bubble is safe. No one attacks me for my faith here.
I have read where some are saying this isn't "real" persecution. I disagree. Cathy Truett just moved into the bulls eye of hate. If you are speaking out and serving the Lord, you know this is "real" persecution. I may not be in a third world country in a hut but my family has been threatened and insulted... not to mention the spiritual battles fought in an invisible dimension.  If someone says this isn't "real" persecution, they aren't in the game. Being bold for Christ WILL cost you something but Jesus is worth it.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
Eph 6:12

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life  will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
Mark 8:34-38
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Think about which is better?
A. To share, in love, the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God in order that they may come to faith in Christ so that they can be in heaven for all eternity?
or
B. To shy away from the whole uncomfortable situation because you don't want to come across the wrong way or hurt someone's feelings?

We are so worried about offending, we go into hiding. Don't get me wrong...we most definitely need to be praying in our closets!! but our closets are the locker room for the game and we ARE to speak out.
We are soldiers and we are to stand our ground. I do believe we are to FIGHT the good FIGHT of faith.  The way we do that is with our only offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit. Soldiers would never go to into hiding during a war.  If we realized that the battle was on for ETERNAL souls and for our CHILDREN, we wouldn't bury our heads in the sand.
I told my kids that God must have considered them His greatest warriors to choose THEM to be born in the final battles before His return. 

We have to be praying because this battle is NOT against flesh and blood. It will be won in the spiritual realm.
But, we MUST SPEAK!
"And you also MUST testify," John 15:27. 
Use your voice while you are still free to do so. Speak God's Word! Speak truth. It is God's Word that changes lives. I know it radically changed mine for all of eternity!


  Don't read what some pastor/blogger says and then decide that is what you believe. Dig into God's Word and develop your own convictions!  Christians are so confused because of all the mixed messages, they are just freezing. Sheep are following sheep instead of the Shepherd!  Pray and ask God how He wants YOU to fight the good fight and ask Him where He wants YOU to throw YOUR net!
When you know what God's Word says and what He wants YOU to do, you won't waver... and you won't get tossed back and forth by every blog you read. You can't speak with authority unless you KNOW you are operating out of the truth of God's Word.
Other people's convictions will not get you anywhere.
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Jesus didn't budge on His ministry of showing people their need for a Savior. His goal wasn't to be friends or make people feel comfortable. He showed them their sin and told them He was the way out.
He wasn't always "popular".
"The world... hates me because I testify that what it does is evil."
John 7:7

The Holy Spirit's JOB is to convict people of their sin.
"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment:"
John 16:8
He doesn't condemn but He does convict! Praise God for the conviction of the Holy Spirit or we would all die in our sins! Conviction is a gift from God! Repentance is a GIFT from God. 
 "hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,"
2 Tim 2:25

Do you know the verses that follow John 3:16? There is a reason our message is unpopular.
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." 
John 3:19,20
No matter how sweet we are or how we try to package the gospel, not all will receive it.
That is up to God. We are simply the messengers. But, be careful of trying to re-package the gospel to make it easier to swallow. 
 Jesus didn't candy coat it. 
"I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."
Luke 13:5
"Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
John 5:14


He spoke truth. He exposed their sin. He made them uncomfortable. Why? Because HE LOVED THEM. He wanted them to TURN from their sin. 
Yes, there is tact. But, there isn't much time so pray that God would give you boldness and then speak! This is no time to be in the comfort of your basement. People are dying separated from God. He has given us a saving message that will save their lives.
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."
We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"
2 Corinthians 5:20

Do you believe this? Do you REALLY believe that God has entrusted you with a message that can save people for all of eternity? 
If we truly did, we would be crawling through broken glass to share the gospel with the world.

"In July of 1854 a man by the name of Charlie Peace was to be hung in London. He was a well-known criminal, whose choices had finally caught up with him. On the day of his hanging, a ceremony was held by the local church. As Charlie marched through the streets of people toward the gallows, the priest was reading from a prayer book saying, "Those who die without Christ experience hell, which is the pain of forever dying without the release which death itself can bring." At that Charlie looked back at the priest with a piercing look and shouted, "Do you believe that? Do you believe that?" The priest was shocked by Charlie's verbal assault and cautiously answered, 
"Well...I...suppose I do." Then suddenly Charlie said something amazing, 
"Well, I don't, but if I did, I'd get down on my hands and knees and crawl all over Great Britain, even if it were paved with pieces of broken glass, if I could just rescue one person from what you just told me."
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Get out of the basement, soldier! That isn't where you belong. This isn't about how uncomfortable we feel. It is about obedience, eternity, and OTHERS. 
We should be crawling through broken glass if only to save just one! 
I know this is scary. I know we are sheep among wolves. He warned us of that.
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
Matt 10:16

But, then He goes on to say...
"But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

We aren't alone. We aren't fighting in our own strength. The God of the Universe is inside of us.  We are protected by the name of His one and only Son. The evil one cannot harm us.
One of my favorite verses that I quote A LOT to myself...
"We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him." 1 John 5:18

Sheep are dumb and fearful animals. God knows our makeup and tendencies. Look at who God used in the Bible. He delights in using the weak and unable to display His glory and power. Imagine what Gideon thought when He spoke these words to him...
"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."
I am sure Gideon was looking behind him to see who God could possibly be calling a warrior. That is how I feel ALL the time. "God, you have got the WRONG girl. You got your signals crossed between me and some capable girl. I am a mess. I am weak. I am scared. I am unable!!"
And, He says, 
"Great. Now that we have that established....You are one for the job! I'll lead, you follow. It is a dance. Tell others about me and don't be afraid because...
"you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you"
Acts 1:8 
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I have posted this before but I it is SO good, I am going to re-post. I got this off WIKIPEDIA!
"Characteristics of Sheep
They are of a gregarious nature...meaning they love to be with the herd, they are herbivores. Sheep must have a leader (shepherd) and must be told what to do and where to go, other wise they'll wander off and get lost. 
1. timid, fearful, easily panicked
2. dumb stupid, gullible
3. very vulnerable to fear, frustration, pests, hunger
4. easily influenced by a leader, by the shepherd
5. stampede easily, vulnerable to mob psychology
6. little or no means of self-defense; can only run
7. easily killed by enemies
8. the shepherd is most effective, calming influence
9. jealous, competitive for dominance
10. constantly need fresh water, fresh pasture
11. have very little discernment in choosing food or water
12. best water source is early morning dew
13. perverse, stubborn - will insist on their own way , even eating poisonous
plants or drinking dirty water
14. easily "cast" - flipped over on their back, unable to right themselves
will die of starvation if not turned over by shepherd; helpless
15. frequently look for easy places to rest
16. don't like to be sheared, cleaned
17. too much wool can cause sheep to be easily "cast"
18. creatures of habit; get into "ruts"
19. need the most care of all livestock
20. need to be "on the move"; need a pre-determined plan, pattern of grazing
21. totally dependent of shepherd for every need
22. need "rod and staff" guidance"
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Wow. 
Is there wisdom in that or what???
God knows we can't do this apart from Him. He knows we are fearful little sheep. Yet, He has entrusted US fearful sheep with the life-giving message of the gospel. 
Why? I have no idea. 
Why did He choose ME... 
a rebellious, hard-hearted, sinful girl who wanted nothing to do with Him? 
I HAVE NO IDEA. 
But, He did. And I have left everything to follow Him.
"Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." 
Mark 2:17


Isn't that beautiful? He calls sinners to follow Him!
There is no sin to great for the blood of Jesus to cover and TAKE AWAY.
Jesus Christ "gave himself for us to redeem us from ALL wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
Titus 2
"ALL"
"ALL" wickedness. ALL is one of the most powerful words in the Bible.
Not only did He give Himself to redeem us from ALL wickedness but His message is for ALL people!
"our Savior who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."
1 Tim 2:3,4


No one is outside of the love of God. No matter what they have done.
That is GOOD NEWS!! 

God SO LOVES the world. 
He loves the world that hates Him. 
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Time is running out. The red carpet is being prophetically rolled out for the return of Christ. Are you ready? Will you be confident and unashamed when He appears?
"And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming." 1 John 2:28

Stop reading what I am writing and get in the Word!
 Spend time with the Lord. Ask Him to show YOU how to "fulfill your ministry" (2 tim 4:5). God has called YOU into ministry. What is it? What passion, gifts, and powers has He HIMSELF placed inside you for this life? Are you on the sidelines or in the game? GET IN THE GAME! Jesus has declared YOU (sinner) to be His MVP! He has already mapped out all the plans He has for you. Isn't that awesome?


Unplug and PLUG IN to Jesus. Get your Sword and get on your face and don't get up until He tells you something....anything... ask Him for one word.  Don't let the enemy bully you into silence.
Speak!


"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
Matt 5:14

Like I wrote in a previous post... I believe this attack against marriage is ultimately an attempt to destroy the gospel message...
as God has chosen marriage to be a picture to the world of Christ and His Bride.

Above all, I believe the most powerful thing we can do as mothers is.... 
drum roll please....

Teach your kids the Word!
You CAN do it.


"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."


Be Blessed and GO in power into all the world~
Steph






(Here are the verses I just gave out at a Mother's Morning Out thingy I did at my house...)


“Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his.
And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15

“And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.  Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” Deut 6:5-9

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” John 15:1-9

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." 2 Ch 16:9

“See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7

"May our sons flourish in their youth like well-nurtured plants. May our daughters be like graceful pillars, carved to beautify a palace."
Psalm 144:12

"your sons will be like olive shoots around your table" Ps 128:3

"I write to you YOUNG MEN because you are strong and the Word of God LIVES IN YOU and you have overcome the evil one" 1 John

"But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. 
For they are transplanted into the Lord's own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green. 
They will declare, "The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is nothing but goodness in him!"
Ps 92:12-15

"do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.  For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light" Prov 6:20-23

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly AS YOU TEACH..." Col 3:16

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for TEACHING," 2 Tim 3:16

"Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ," Gal 3:24

"To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." Col 1:29


"Moses said to the Lord, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The Lord said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4


"All your children shall be taught by THE LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children." Is 54:13

"For our sons are like plantings of date-palms, nourished up in the doctrine of the law from their youth; our daughters are beautiful and fit for priests who serve within the temple." Ps 144:12

“Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,  and a man with a shriveled hand was there….Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored,”
Matt 12:9-13




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