Revelations 2:1-7

“’The One who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands says this:  I know what you do, how you work hard and never give up. I know you do not put up with the false teachings of evil people. You have tested those who say they are apostles but really are not, and you found they are liars.  You have patience and have suffered troubles for my name and have not given up. “But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning.  So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first. If you do not change, I will come to you and will take away your lampstand from its place.  But there is something you do that is right: You hate what the Nicolaitans do, as much as I. “Every person who has ears should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches. To those who win the victory I will give the right to eat the fruit from the tree of life, which is in the garden of God.'” – Revelation 2:1-7

Mother’s Day Delights

I hope every mom, mommy, momma or mother has a wonderful Mother’s Day. I had told myself for years that it was just another day because we are moms all the time, rain or shine, sick or well, nursing or mending, teaching or playing. It would be like having an “Existence Day”. It seems silly because it is just who you are. Elder moms I have spoken with have that same feeling. “It is just who you are and what you do,” I have heard many of them often say. But every person who is persistent and consistent in their work should get their reward. And I feel a great sense of appreciation for being appreciated for being the mom that I am on this day. And for our celebration of my faithfulness to God and our family in this role He has placed me in, we walked through a wonderful art fair around a lake, went out to dinner, took a nap, played games, sat together on the porch swing and talked and watched a movie with my wonderful husband, and a great gift from my son (that he paid for with his own money). What more could anyone ever want out of life? I feel so blessed! Thank you to my family for such a wonderful day! May all moms everywhere have such a blessed and meaningful day! And for those of you who don’t or won’t or aren’t even mothers yet or have kids so small that you are in full time care mode and lacking sleep and energy to do anything, I tell you plainly, this is my first Mother’s Day that I have relaxed more than worked, and I am 41. So, there is hope, do not be discouraged. God is not finished yet. May blessings and peace and joy be yours this Mother’s Day! God bless your efforts! 🙂

Go Ego Go

Ego is such a funny narcissistic little creature. It lives in us and is parasitic in nature. We need some level of this critter or we wouldn’t comb our hair or brush our teeth or attempt to match our clothes. We have it there for us to care about doing a good job at work or motivating good parenting or working on playing a song well. However, when the focus of this critter becomes over amplified on itself, there is no end to the trouble we find ourselves in. When my ego sticks its nose out past where it belongs, I constantly have to keep the little bugger in check or I will start thinking I am more important to the world than I truly am. The funny thing is that this ego thing has to stay in check in order for we Christ followers to prepare ourselves for the Holy Spirit to do His important work in us and through us. So, it is worth the effort we put forth to discipline our buddy, the ego, and keep him humble. When we are humble, God can shine through us. I am reminded of a conversation my son and I had today. He mentioned the word “famous” and we had a deep discussion on the directly proportional relationship between the fight for fame and a highly inflated ego (aka pride). When we fight for fame, we attempt to lift ourselves up. Well, everything that goes up comes down and every attempt to elevate ourselves amounts to absolutely nothing long term. What counts is fame in God’s kingdom but not ours. The highest calling we have is to at all times lift up/elevate the name of Jesus Christ. When God is lifted up, we are obeying and humbling ourselves and that obedience is always rewarded long term in heaven. When we keep our ego low, God can be lifted up and He is the One who deserves such attention and praise! We are created ones, but He is Creator! There is no greater act of love to God than to tell your ego to take a hike for a while and emphasize in every area of your life God’s creative and sustaining role in everything your life. I would rather have God’s reward and please Him than have any reward from other created ones like myself. Wouldn’t you?

Preparedness

In Florida, we know that hurricanes happen sometimes in the summer, so we talk about hurricane preparedness. In the Midwest, people talk about tornado preparedness. All over the country we have ways to prepare for floods, fires, earthquakes, etc. And many rehearsals are carried out to know that we know these things in school, from an elementary age. Spiritually, we are told in the Bible that hard times and an end of this world are coming. So, where are the preparedness plans? Interestingly, the plans are set out, laid out very clearly in the Book that tells us what’s coming. Yes, the Bible is very informative and helpful, not just decorative. 🙂 What is the plan? How do we prepare for difficult times and an end to this world (which has to happen before the start of the new world)? We pray all the time to the One that holds all these events in His hands. We read the Bible often to keep ourselves focused, memorizing as much Scripture as we can so we have it in times our Bibles may not be as accessible as they once were. We encourage each other and meet together with other Christ followers to draw strength from each other and help each other. And lastly, we continue to live right, showing others the fruits of the Spirit and standing strong in our faith and truth and hope. When the hard times are over and done and we are still standing for Christ and have not faltered, we will be rewarded with a heavenly home and then a new earth home. We then will never have to deal with sin and sadness, crime and neglect, persecution and poverty, ugliness and pain. It will all be over. So, our preparedness will save our souls.

Birth Pains

Birth pains to the arrival of our King of kings and Lord of lords is what we are experiencing. People are seeing evil stacking upon evil all around us, crazy weather and famine. We are in the last days, weeks, years, whatever it ends up being. God in His Word told us it would be like birth pains. Let’s explore that a bit. I have naturally had two children now, and I can tell you something about birth pains. Before the beautiful culmination of your incredibly painful experience, there are warning signs that it will be happening soon. There are small pains or inconveniences followed by the same more often and eventually the water breaks which means yeah, get ready. It is something you have no control. It will happen and you are forced into a position to be more than just a watcher of the experience. You have to be an active participant. It matters not that you don’t care to go through the pain, the question is when and how severe. So you do your breathing exercises which make the pain something horrible instead of something that kills you and you labor on because why? Because you will remain in labor for the rest of your life and resolve yourself to a life of immense suffering? No. Because you enjoy intense pain? No. You finish the experience through the pain because you know what is waiting on the other side. There will be a gift from heaven who will carry on your name and bless your life richly after robbing you of all semblance of sleep for the first couple of years. There is a precious reward waiting on the other side of labor. The last whatever time period it ends up being will not be pleasant for the world and may very well be excruciating to Christ followers because the evil one knows his time is short and wants to destroy us as much as possible. However, Jude tells us to keep our faith and focus and then steps aside so John can then tell us about heaven, our prize and reward. Our prize will be great and last for eternity which is as long as the enemy will not enjoy a thing. We have to focus on the prize, the baby we will have forever after labor. Keep the faith and focus. Let no one move you from your firm faith in Christ. Let your faith not faulted. Save as many as you can. Be cautious of the rest. Love everyone. Live fully, knowing the future ahead trumps the pain behind so much that you won’t even remember or feel that pain and I can be certain that you will be glad you kept your faith at that time.