God’s House

God’s Home We were flying to Florida for a family vacation. We were cruising at an altitude of somewhere around 39000 feet. I was thinking to myself, wow God, are you home because I’m at your front door! 

It was cool thinking that I was above the clouds and there was nothing between God and I. 

It took about $500, getting up at 4 am, navigating airport security,enduring airport food, and getting up close and to personal with the person in the next seat on the plane but I made it above the clouds and to God’s front door! 

I’m really glad that God doesn’t require that we go through that when we seek Him! 
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Doesn’t say a word about airport security! God isn’t hiding from us, He is just a whisper away. 
But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary’ And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (2 Chronicles 30:18-20).

We don’t have to spend our money, get up early, eat bad food or endure smelly people in to close proximity . We just have to say Good morning God, can I come into your home today? He will invite us in, every single time. 

Loving my God and loving my life! 

Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

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Hypocrite, Are You A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing?

Hypocrites
I saw a post on Facebook the other day that hit me to the core. It was written by a man I know well and respect a lot. In fact this guy and his ex-wife welcomed me into their home at one of the most difficult times in my life, accepted me and helped me through what was going on. Thank you Lloyd and Melissa.  

Then I saw his post on Christians and hypocrisy. It hit me right in the face, ticked me off to no end and stuck with me like a nagging fly that no matter how much I swatted, would not go away. 

I was practicing self righteous anger. However because I knew this guy and knew his heart I had to give his words a fair chance. I had to accept that maybe I was part of the rampant Christian hypocrisy problem he was talking about and not a big enough part of the solution. 
I found two definitions of hypocrite on the internet. One is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs that they do not actually possess. 

The other says that a hypocrite is someone who feigns some desirable or publicly approved atttude when their private life, opinions or statements directly oppose their public statements or actions. You know, the Sunday morning Christian.

I like the definition I found on Got Questions.Org that says the word hypocrite is derived from the Greek term for actor and literally means “one who wears a mask” That kind of hits it directly on the head doesn’t it?

This behavior is mentioned in the Bible.

Matthew 15:8-9 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”

In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

I had to take an honest look at my life. Am I guilty of putting on a mask before I go out into the world? Are I so entrenched in being seen and gaining the applause of peers that I will do whatever it takes? Am I consistently inconsistent in my Christian walk? Is my identity based on society rather than Christ? 

Do I say one thing then do another? 

If we are honest these are questions that we could all ask ourselves.
As much as we tell ourselves it is not the case, there are Christian wolves in sheeps clothing.   
While we might think that our hypocrisy is not transparent, we would be wrong. 
Will God forgive our hypocrisy? Yes He will. Will those who are watching you here on earth forgive you? Not so much. 

Let me explain that stark comment. 

If you go to God with repentance in your heart, God will forgive you. Cmpletely and unconditionally. However, when you practice hypocracy you have planted a seed for your friends, neighbors and those who are seeking God. Is that the kind of seed that is growing the Kingdom of God? 
This is a hard and heart wrenching subject. I don’t think very many of us wake up and say “I think I will put my mask and sheep suit on on and deceive my fellow man today”. But in many ways that is exactly what we do. Following Christ is not something we can be inconsistently consistent with. Will we make mistakes in our walk with Christ? Of course we will. Will we admit those mistakes, repent of those mistakes and learn from those mistakes? Well if we do that is a good sign we are shedding the mask and putting on the cloak of Christ. 

Keep pressing into Christ. 
Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

Exercise Your Right To Be Resilent

If only life were calm seas all the time. A perpetual vacation would be paradise. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world and are beset with financial loss, divorce, death, loss of jobs, a devastating medical diagnosis, betrayal and when that happens we tend to focus on what is happening around us not who lives inside. Life can knock us around in a grand fashion.Paul was not speaking out of turn when He asked the question “Do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?

2 Corinthians 13:5

So when any number of devastating circumstances fall at your door. Remember that Jesus isn’t only walking beside us, He is living in us. If He is living inside us, we can know that no matter what happens. He is going to be there with us. 

The Biblical References to our resilience are abundant. 

Joshua 1:9

2 Timothy 1:7

Romans 8:37

Ephesians 6:10

A particular favorite of mine. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Stop dwelling on the bad. Yes, it hurts, it changes your life, it feels as if nothing will ever be the same but remember where your strength comes from. Stop looking out, start looking up. 

Exercise your faith even when you don’t feel like it. 

The hope, faith and trust that you experience when you rely on Jesus Christ will temper the hurt and pain if only by the fact that we know we are preceded by Him who we have put our faith and trust in. 

Christ will keep His promise to always be with us. 

The definition of resilience is “the ability to persist in life’s pursuits in spite of difficulties and obstacles. Isn’t it comforting to know that our resilience is grounded in our faith in Christ and nothing can shake that. 

Be strong in your trials with the truth you know of Christ. 

As you wade through the pain trust in the truth you know of Christ. 

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

Dottie
My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

The Condition Of Your Christian Condition

How’s your heart?

Are you stumbling block for someone else.
I don’t think there is one Christian who, if asked, would say they were a stumbling block to another. We all think of ourselves as encouragers of Christ. 
If we were honest with ourselves however, we would have to admit that there are times that we put what we want before what God wants us to do. Ok, I can hear the “Oh not me, I would never do that” shouts. But think about it. 

A stumbling block does not necessarily have to be a huge cement block sitting conspicuously in the middle of the sidewalk. Nor does a stumbling block have to be for people seeking Christ. You can be a stumbling block for believers or non believers. Both have consequences. 
It can be as simple as differing opinions on a book, music or a movie. If you disagree about a controversial movie,book or music billed as Christian, you see it as pure evil meant to deceive people and someone else sees it completely differently and when asked about the movie you state your case but flatly refuse to hear why they see it differently, you are a stumbling block. But more than that you leave them feeling as if you are judgemental and unbending on your opinions and their opinion is not worthy of being heard. They might walk away feeling like Christianity isn’t all it is billed to be. 
Your opinion may certainly be the right opinion but if you take away another’s right to voice their opinion you lose the opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation and your lose the possibility of gaining a life for Christ. 
It can be as simple as becoming so focused on making the almighty buck, that we offend others with our zeal for selling just one more car, one more insurance policy or one more whatever it is we are selling and we don’t even give a thought to how it appears to others. 

It can make the person we are dealing with, who knows you are a Christian think that if this is what Christianity looks like, I don’t want any part of it and they come away with a bad taste in their mouth for Christianity. 
It can be as simple as offering an apology and instead of stopping at I’m sorry you follow that with reasons why it wasn’t your fault. That isn’t an apology at all. It is simply manipulation. 
The things we do consciously or unconsciously can make a difference to others rather we realize it or not. If we are seeking to make ourselves feel good rather than going about our business in a way that is pleasing to God, the chances are at least once in awhile, we are that stumbling block. We often don’t know if those we encounter in our daily lives are seeking Christ or not. If they see us engaging in behavior that although not blatantly offensive, makes them think twice about what Christianity is and what Christianity is not, maybe we should be looking a little more closely at what we are doing and how we are doing it. 
We may not even be aware how others perceive what we do. We may not have any idea that what we are doing can be coloring how others look at Christianity and ultimately Jesus. We are certainly not doing anything on purpose that we think would hurt how others see the Christian life. But, It happens nonetheless. We get complacent, we think that our opinions are the right opinions, we forget that others are watching us. You name it I have probably done it! 
As long as the Bible doesn’t forbid it, we are free to enjoy life. However, our freedom to enjoy all that God has given us must always be tempered with love and concern for those around us. 
I don’t think many of us wake up thinking “I will go out and be a stumbling block today”, take the time to make sure we don’t advertantly do just that. 
I am going to close with a quote I read on the internet and that I love. 
“Love always triumphs over liberty. Unity always triumphs over personal rights.” 
1 Corinthians 8:9

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Dottie