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Pleasure and Pain

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I have gone to the doctor several times with various pains. The first thing that the doctor usually asks me is, “Did you take anything for it?” Honestly, my answer is often, “No, I didn’t.” The doctors then look at me quizzically as they order me some pain medicine. I’m not sure, but it seems like they stop listening to me at that point.  After years of this occurring, I began to change my mentality. I began to take pain medicine for my aches and pains, but what I realize is that the pain medicine only masks the problem. Pain medicine just tells my brain not to hurt. This is why I have never been one to like taking medicine. I feel like I’m being tricked. The problem that has caused me the pain is still there.

I understand that some people need medicine for chronic illnesses, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about my daily aches and pains. Just yesterday, I developed a severe pain in my foot that almost prevented me from walking. My first reaction was to take pain medication. Then I stopped myself. Sounds crazy, I know, but I thought to myself that perhaps God has allowed this pain to happen to get my attention about something. That’s why He allows us to feel pain isn’t it? When we feel pain, we know that we need to pay attention to our body because something is wrong. Society tells us to trick our bodies so that we don’t feel the pain. I didn’t take any medication yesterday. I prayed and pondered the reason for the pain. I concluded that it is probably caused by something I’m eating, the fact that I’m overweight, or a combination of both of these things. Yes, I’m being honest with myself. I don’t want to trick myself. I need to change something.

Last night, the Lord showed me two scriptures that shook me. The first one was, “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1Tim 5:6). The directness of this scripture disturbed me. It is talking specifically about widows who have nothing to do, but I knew that it can relate to others. The second scripture drove the point home, “1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than overs of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2Tim 3:1-5 NKJV underline and bold mine). In the last days, people will be full of themselves and their own needs.

So how does this relate to me and my pain pills? Society teaches that we should feel good instead of being good. That was the doctor’s job. The doctor wanted me to feel good and to mask the warning system that God put in place. This is why I have not been happy taking medicine. The world teaches people to enjoy themselves and to feel good as long as possible. Advertisements tell us to enjoy ourselves because we deserve it. This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells us to be, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NKJV). The Bible also tells us that, “3 we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5: 3 &4). Suffering helps us to persevere. If I’m in pain because I eat too much sugar, should I pop an Ibuprofen and keep eating as much as I want or should I try to do something about my sugar intake? Reducing sugar at this point could be preventing me from having a serious problem in the future. Reducing my sugar intake will ultimately help build character because I am allowing myself to suffer in that I am not eating what I want to eat. The Bible says that this will make me a better person. The alternative of masking my symptoms and continuing to indulge is not the reaction that God wants me to have. It will not produce the kind of character that the Bible is talking about. Christians are supposed to go against the grain of society. Sprite tells us to obey our thirsts. McDonald’s wants to make us smile. Burger King tells us that we can have it our own way. Yet these products are responsible for a lot of health problems.Overeating 2

In light of this revelation, I have a lot of changes to make. If I’m honest, I can confess that I sometimes let my flesh run my life. Yes, I eat more than I need to eat. I see the results of that in my life. I also eat the wrong things too often because they taste good. Sometimes, I let pleasure serve as my guide rather than the fruit of the spirit of which one is self-control.

 

Dear Jesus,

I have to be honest with myself. I need some work in this area. I have let pleasure lead me at times when I should have let You lead me. I know that You designed our bodies to alert us when there are problems. I have learned to mask those problems so that I could function and sometimes just so I could continue doing what I was doing. I don’t want to live like that anymore. Show me how to live in godliness rather than in the pursuit of pleasure.

Amen

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Christian Living

 

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Identity

IndividualI am going to say something controversial. Continue reading at your own risk. Are you still reading? Maybe you are still reading because you are curious. I might be curious too, if I were you. If you keep reading, just make a deal with me that you will read the whole thing lest you get the wrong idea about what I am trying to say. Well, here it is. Have you ever heard someone say, “I do [such and such] and I’m still saved”. This statement has a lot of different meanings to it. Usually; however, a person is suggesting that God lets them get away with something without blotting their name out of the book of life. They are saying that it is possible to do [you fill in the blank] and still be a Christian. The message to the onlooker becomes, “Christians do the same things I do, so why should I become one? If they can’t do any better than me, why should I take the trouble of getting out of bed every Sunday?” I hear some people say that they toe the line because they want to identify with people who are struggling. Then want people to know that someone just like them has a relationship with God. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t impress me when someone who has the same problems as me attempts to instruct me in how to overcome. Let’s say that someone is promoting a weight-loss product, but they haven’t lost any weight? Would you buy the product because they tell you it works? How do they know? If we tell someone that they should become a Christian, our suggestion isn’t valid if we are not presenting a Christian life to them. This generation believes in evidence. They want to see that things are the way you say.

Some people argue that they need to maintain a certain element of their past identities to be able to reach people. I can’t speak for everyone. Perhaps this is true for someone, but it isn’t true for everyone. Moses was not a slave like the children of Israel, yet he was able to lead the entire nation out of bondage. God used him because he was different, not in spite of his differences. God knows what we need to be. When we come to Christ, we give up our right to ourselves, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price…” (1Corinthians 6: 19 & 20). The identity we are supposed to have is the one God gives us. A lot of people are afraid to come to God or to let God take control because they don’t want to lose who they are. The truth is, they have already lost their identity through sin. God created us to be one person, but sin takes us and makes us someone else. When we come to God, He wants to set us on the correct path and make us what He intended us to be in the first place. Sometimes that is very different than what we have become. To hold on to our old identity for dear life is to insult God and to engage in idol worship. Our identity can be an idol. If we can’t give it up, it is an idol.

When I came to God, He took me just the way I was. He didn’t change me so He could love me, He changed me because He loves me. He asked me to do some things I didn’t understand, but I did them to the best of my knowledge and ability. Sure, I failed quite a bit, but God picked me up and put me back on the path. Later on, I would often see why He’d asked me to do or not do some things. God did not; however, remove my individuality or my creativity. Actually, I am more creative now than I used to be before I knew Him. I am more free than I used to be. No one who knows me would say that I’m in a box or that I have conformed. I do not have the ability to conform. But I am more myself, my real self than I used to be. I like me much better now. By letting go, I found out what God wanted to do. It was better than I expected. The best part is, He is not through with me yet. I haven’t quite finished growing, but I am happy so far. I admonish you to let go and let God. He knows what He created you to be. It may seem scary at first, but it is really for the best and you will be happy you did. “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever Amen.” (Jude 24 & 25).

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Christian Living

 

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Backwards

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I am disturbed. By what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have witnessed. People have embraced their own destruction and denied the very thing that can save them out of it. I marvel at how society makes heroes of people who are bound by sin. These same individuals feel that it is their duty to indoctrinate the children who are tomorrow’s leaders. How did we become such backward thinkers? Truly, people often acknowledge God’s existence and even mention His greatest act of love. But it stops there. People won’t go beyond saying that Jesus was a nice guy. In fact, Jesus was so much more. He was passionate about saving people. He was so passionate that he died an agonizing death in order to save us from the condition that we now explain away, belittle, and yes, even embrace. People love to acknowledge the fact that Jesus is loving, kind, accepting. He tells us to come as we are. He is described as the Bright and Morning Star, the Lilly of the valleys. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is our Portion. He is a Banner. But one day, He will be our judge. The door of His mercy will be shut and it will be too late to partake of His ultimate gift. It was such an emergency that we receive it, that He submitted to a tortuous assassination at the hands of His own creation. The only way to set us free from our own sin was to take the punishment on our behalf. He experienced suffering that no human should in order to open wide the gates of heaven to us. Our response today is to ignore or even renounce His gift altogether.

 

People like to pat me on the back when they discover that I am Christian, but they won’t acknowledge that they are in deep need to receive the same thing. People brush it off with, “Isn’t that nice?” all while moving toward a cliff they cannot see. Once they have fallen off, they cannot pull themselves up again. At the bottom of the fall, is unquenchable fire. What excuse can we offer God when He stands to judge us at the last day with the nail prints still in His hands and feet? What explanation can one offer Him as to why we refused to acknowledge His repeated attempts to lift us up out of our own annihilation? It is best to receive His mercy while it is still being offered. It is best to come to him now when He can cover our shame and guilt with the blood of His own sacrifice. Come now while there is still time. It will be the best decision you ever made. It may be scary at first, but in the end, it will mean life instead of death.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Repentance

 

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Fall

Fall, is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I can smell Jesus in the air. There is something beautiful about transition. When I see the leaves change colors, I feel warm inside. The muted hues emanate grace for me. I am reminded that life is temporal, but it is still beautiful. As the leaves begin to fall, I realize that it is okay to let go of dead things. The trees have a promise of spring time,

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” Genesis 8:22 (KJV). Likewise, I have a promise of restoration, “”I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts” (Joel 2:25 NLT). As I watch the leaves glide on the wind one last time, I remember that it is okay to fall on Jesus and be broken because He is able to put me back together again. It’s okay to lose because Spring always comes again.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Restoration

 

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If God Exists

When people consider the evil in the world, they often wonder if there is a God. If He exists, how can He allow such things to occur without doing something about it? How can He allow murder, adultery, lying, deception, sickness, and death to occur? Why do we cry and hurt? Why do people develop depression and have to take medication. I have an answer…..

Jesus did do something. He came to earth as one of us and paid the ultimate price. Instead of punishing us for our sins and our ignorance, He took the punishment in our place so that we could reap the benefits of His sacrifice. He took the punishment for the murderer, the liar, the slanderer, and any other kind of sinner. He made it so that we do not have to die for what we have done. This is why evil continues. We have a choice to walk in our own sins and so take our own punishment in the last days, or to let Jesus’ sacrifice of His own blood grant us forgiveness. His mercy allows evil to continue in hopes that the world will repent and allow the punishment to rest solely on Him.

Many people refuse to believe in a God who would allow evil to occur, but those same people do not see that God only allows evil in order to give the world time to repent before the last day. When Jesus was on the earth in human form, He said,

46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to the world to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day

John 13: 46-48 NKJV

If we do not accept His sacrifice, we will incur judgment. People say that God is so bad because He lets bad things happen, but in truth, if He punished everyone’s sin, no one would live. The penalty for sin is death and we have all sinned. The fact that God lets evil continue is a sign of His love for us and not His abandonment.  Accept Jesus’ covering for your sins if you have not already done so. Let His punishment serve as your bridge to life eternal. Jesus loves you so much. He proved it by dying in your place so that you can spend life in Paradise in a place prepared just for you.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Repentance

 

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The Crutch

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Willie broke his leg, but decided that crutches are for sissies. He decided to just wait at home in bed until his leg healed. Charlotte was getting older and her knees didn’t work the way they used to, so Sharon decided to stay at home for the remainder of her life since leaning on a cane is for the weak. No doubt, a perceptive person will quickly see where I am going with this. Many people say that Jesus is a crutch, yet these same people have no problem leaning on a cane, a crutch, or even two crutches when they break a limb. It would be crazy to stay at home simply because one wanted to be independent, yet people suggest that I do this when life throws curve balls at me. I admit that Jesus is a crutch at times. When my heart is broken, Jesus holds me up while I heal. When I had a miscarriage in March 2011, Jesus held me together while my heart and my womb healed. Then, just because He is good, He blessed me 3 months later with another baby who was born in March 2012 and is now 4 months old. She is already growing two teeth in the front.

God has been my Rock ever since I gave my life to Him because I came to the realization that I cannot survive on my own. I can’t heal my own heart. I can’t even heal my body. I need Jesus. It was even sweeter when I realized that it is wonderful to know Him. He let me lean on Him, but then He made me stronger so that I can stand when storms hit. It is better to lean on God so that He can strengthen me and make me unbreakable than to insist that I heal myself. Leaning on Jesus could make the difference between a bad day and a hospital stay in the psychiatric ward or even death. I choose the Rock (crutch).

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Journey

 

When the floor slips out from underneath me, I feel His arms supporting me. He catches me before I realize I am falling. On dark days, He is the light. When I struggle with life, He is my hiding place. He is water when my soul is thirsty. He causes fountains to stir within me and they flow out into the lives of others. I am a bill board for Jesus Christ and His ability to save and to heal. I am a broken life now mended. I was lost on a path that no one understood. No one could find me and so no one could lead me out. But Jesus found me. He came to me and showed me who I was and who I would become. I gave Him the life that no one wanted; including me. He smiled and took my hand. Today, we are still walking. Together. He leads me through valleys and over mountains. He leads me through deserts and plains. Up and down. I have learned that if I keep my hand in His and continue to put one foot in front of the other, I will make it. I can’t look around too much because looks can be deceiving. I look at Him when I forget where we are going. Then I remember that we are going home. One day I will rest from my journey. I will know why. I will understand all things. I will lose the ability to hurt. I won’t need to cry anymore since the desert will have disappeared. There will be no night. No one will judge or mock me. No one will ask me why. They will know.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2012 in Trials

 

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