What is the End Game? (While We Were Sleeping Part 4)

Earlier this week we have discussed  Islamic beliefs.  Today, I want to take a closer look at the purpose of the Islamic religion; what is the end game?

In short, I have found that the main purpose of Islam is to know, worship, and lead others to know and worship Allah.  As a Christian, I can relate as I want to lead as many people as I can into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  After all, they are following the Quran like I follow my Bible.  I get it; I do.  However, the problem lies with how Muslims are trying to advance the religion of Islam.

Let me digress a moment…

The middle east runs a little differently than the United States (Yes, I know that surprised no one).  Here we have separation of church and state and over there, there is no such separation.  The Islamic religion is their government.  You will remember that yesterday we learned that Muslims believe anyone who doesn’t accept Allah is consider an enemy of Allah; therefore, any country that comes against a Muslim led country is considered at war with God and is fair game for attack.

According to Muslims there are two parts to the world.  There is Dar al-Islam, meaning the house of Islam, or there is Dar al-Harb, meaning a house of war or those who are at war with God.  Seeing as Muslims believe they are Allah’s chosen people, and believing Allah wins in the end, they believe it is their duty to bring all people under the control of Dal al-Islam.  To what extremes will they go to make this happen?

Do you remember the cheers from the Muslim communities outside the United States when they were shown footage of the September 11th attacks?  I know I sure do.  Why so many cheers from a “peaceful” group?  They cheered because they thought it was a sign of the advancement of Islam in the United States.  Make no mistake about it; their goal is not to simply be allowed to worship here in the United States, no their goal is to make Islam the only religion in the United States.  After all, they are only following their orders in the Quran.

You can bet your lucky stars that when they were shown footage of the Muslim led prayer service in the National Cathedral on November 14, 2014 that they saw that as a sign of victory and not unity.

islam_will_dominate

Unity my foot!  I want to know exactly how many Christians were killed that day in the Middle East because they would not denounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I want to know in what Mosques were Christian led services held!  None and there never will be.  Why?  Because it would go against everything the Muslims believe.  As much as I find great wrong with the Islamic religion, I do admire their dedication to Allah and their willingness to follow the Quran.  I wish more “Christians” would be willing to follow the Bible.

isis

Come on people, wake up!  We have all seen the news footage of what is going with ISIS and other groups over there.  The ‘politically correct” want us to believe those are just extreme terrorists, but that is simply not true.  All one has to do is read the Quran to know that not   only is violence tolerated for anyone who is opposed to Allah but it is actually ordered or demanded.

Quran 9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

 9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”

 8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”

 8:65 “O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding.”

 9:38 “Believers, what is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth and fight in Allah’s Cause you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? Unless you go forth, He will afflict and punish you with a painful doom, and put others in your place.”

What will it take for the United States to wake up.  Do we have to personally experience ISIS in this country before we take the dangers of Islam serious.

(Please hear me out.  Once again, I am not encouraging hate here.  I have love for all people and I expect all people to be treated with love and respect.  I hold nothing against peaceful Muslims practicing their religion in the United States.  I have a problem with them infringing on my church in the disguise of “tolerance” and “unity.”)

Is the United States doomed to repeat the mistakes and consequences of the early Israelites when they turned their backs on God?

Yes, interesting question.  I think this is where we will pick up next.

Have a blessed day,

Missy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus, Salvation, & Jihad (While We Were Sleeping Part 3)

Yesterday we got a general overview of the Islam religion.  Today, we will take a closer look at what roles Jesus, salvation, and jihad play in Islam.

Jesus

It is my understanding that the Islam religion considers Jesus a great prophet, but a mere man, not the son of God.  They believe he spoke as a baby, healed the sick and lame, and raised the dead with the whole purpose of helping people obey Allah.  They also don’t believe that Jesus died on the cross; rather someone (maybe even Judas) took his place at the final hour.  Surprisingly enough they believe in the second coming of Jesus and that his reappearance will usher in the Day of Judgment.

Steps to an Islamic Salvation

1.  Take the Confession Oath of Faith-state there is no god but Allah & Mohammed is the prophet of Allah.

2.  Pray 5 times a day (before sunrise, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, and after sunset).

3.  Give Alms-give about 2.5% of your wealth;

4.  Fast during Ramadah-for one lunar month from sunrise to sunset Muslims are not allowed to have anything pass down their throats.

5.  Make a pilgrimage to Mecca (the birthplace of Islam).

Islam is a very “works” oriented religion in which what you do on this earth will determine how you will spend eternity.  There is very little certainty of your place in heaven as all your works will be accounted for on Judgment day, where God weighs your good and your bad.

Doesn’t sound that bad now does it?  I agree, on the face of things Islam seems like a peaceful religion.   I agree that is what the media and today’s “politically correct” advocates want us to believe.  However, that is simply not the truth.  One only has to look at the middle east to know that there is more to this story.  Can anyone say ISIS?  Oh, that is just an extreme terrorist group and not the normal?  Okay, anyone remember Ben Ladin or Saddam Hussein?  Come on people, the middle east, prominently Muslim countries have been involved in holy war and violence forever.  How does this line up with Islam being a peaceful religion?

It doesn’t.  Why?  One word:

Jihad.

There is only one guarantee of salvation in the Muslim religion and that is through jihad, which is the very thing that makes the Islam religion dangerous to all those who don’t believe and practice said religion.

Of course, like many religious elements, “jihad” is not so easily defined.

“Jihad” literally means “striving” or “struggle” and is shorthand for Jihad fi Sabeel Allah (struggle for God’s cause).  (IslamCan.com)

In other words “jihad” is the struggle for Allah’s cause, and it can be a struggle with one’s passions, translating the Word of God into action, or fighting against oppression or those who fight you.

Dying in “jihad” refers to dying while fighting for the Islamic cause.  This is where the suicide bombers come in.  Muslims not only believe that the suicide bomber will “win” his or her salvation, but the family is highly revered and awarded.

Now, many will argue that the Islamic religion only promotes defensive warfare (which in a sense is true).  The problem with that is most Muslims believe anyone who is not a Muslim is against them; therefore justifying “defensive warfare.”

Furthermore, the widely respected Dictionary of Islam defines Jihad as

“A religious war with those who are unbelievers in the mission of Muhammad. It is an incumbent religious duty, established in the Qur’an and in the Traditions as a divine institution, and enjoined specially for the purpose of advancing Islam and of repelling evil from Muslims…

Which in turns justifies violence for the advancement of Islam.

Quran 9:5 “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war.”

9:112 “The Believers fight in Allah’s cause; they slay and are slain, kill and are killed.”

8:39 “So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world).”

8:65 “O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding.”

9:38 “Believers, what is the matter with you, that when you are asked to go forth and fight in Allah’s Cause you cling to the earth? Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? Unless you go forth, He will afflict and punish you with a painful doom, and put others in your place.”

(scriptures taken from www.americanthinker.com)

Yes, I know there are many Old Testament scriptures that promote violence, but here’s the difference  When Jesus came, no new instructions were given to promote violence. No, the advancement of Christianity was to be done in love and free choice.  So when Christians acted in violence (and I know they did) they were going against the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Mohammed promoted more violence and used violence as a means to advance the Muslim movement.  So, when Muslims use violence to defend their religion, they are honoring Mohammed and Allah.

BIG DIFFERENCE!

Tomorrow will take a look at the goal behind the Islamic religion, which should give us a better understanding of why Muslims do what they do.  I know that knowing the “why” softened my heart and helped me to see Satan at work.  Muslims aren’t just mean, hurtful people.  They are people who truly love their god and are willing to walk in obedience.  After all, Islam means voluntarily submitting to Allah and we all know I can relate to obedience and submission.

Until tomorrow,

Missy

Other resources: www.islam-guide.com,  www.christiananswers.net, http://www.Why Islam.com, http://www. Islam.about.com

What is Islam Anyway? (While We Were Sleeping-Part 2)

A few weeks back I began a new series titled While We Were Sleeping.  Yes, I have left you hanging and I’m sorry.  I spent last week frantically looking for all my lost research and writing thus far.  I thought for sure God would lead me to it.  Unfortunately, it did not work out that way and I had to start all over.  I hope it will be worth the wait.

For those of you just “tuning in,”  While You Were Sleeping is a short series in which we will take a look at the religion of Islam and what it means for us as Christians.

On November 14, 2014, the first Muslim led prayer service was held in the National Cathedral (Episcopal Church) in Washington D.C.  What may seem like a great step in unity is actually the result of a nation turning their back on God (The Father, Son, Holy Spirit).  I know, I know, Christians are supposed to be all about love; however, we cannot stand by any longer while our nation and fellow Christians are being led away by the lie of “tolerance.”  It is way past time we use or voice to stand up for God, no matter the response or hate mail it generates.

What I would really like to talk about is how the United States is repeating the same mistakes made by the early Israelites.  However, in order to prepare us for that, we must first take a look at what the religion of Islam is really all about.  After all, how can we really understand the dangers of such a religion if we don’t educate ourselves?

Islam is the world’s second largest religion (2nd to Christianity) with a following of over 1 billion people.  It is the third largest in the United States, following Christianity and Judaism.   While most people think of the Middle East when they think of Islam, but it is everywhere, including the U.S, Africa, and Asia.  I was shocked to learn that 60% of Muslims are Asians!

Islam was founded by a man named Mohammed in 610 A.D.  It is my understanding that Mohammed may have been a disillusioned Christian who was not happy with the Catholic Church.  Anyway, one night he said he had a vision/appearance from the angel Gabriel who let him know that there was only one God, Allah, and only Allah was to be worshipped.

My first point: Allah and God, as we ,Christians, know him, ARE NOT THE SAME GOD!!!!

Muslims worship a god who is one person; we Christians worship God In Three Persons: The Father, The Son, and Holy Spirit.  You cannot separate one from the other.  Make no mistake, Allah is not simply “the Father” of our trinity; he is a different god.  Furthermore, a lot of Christians still don’t understand this whole “trinity” thing and believe the term “God” refers to  the Father, when it fact God refers to  all three.  Jesus was a part of “God” in the Old Testament.  Holy Spirit was giving out the Ten Commandments as well as the Father and the Son.

When we allowed a Muslim prayer service in our church (remember, the National Cathedral is an Episcopal church), we allowed them to turn their back at our cross (which represents one part of our God) and worship their god.  WE ALLOWED THEM TO WORSHIP AN IDOL IN OUR CHURCH!!!  Anyone hearing warning bells?

Exodus 20:1-6

And God spoke all these words, saying:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anythingthat is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Continuing on….

Over time Mohammed would converse with God through the angel Gabriel and dictations of said conversations were gathered into the Muslim “bible” known as the Quran.  The Quran is the number one source for Muslims, but Islam religion also directs Muslims to read three other books: Torah (first 12 books of Old Testament; Zabur (psalms of David); and Injeel (the gospel of Christ).

My second point: Just because they read parts of our Bible does not mean our religions can be somehow united.

Yes there are some similarities, but the differences are far too great to form some kind of united religion.

What exactly do Muslims believe?

  1. They believe in one God, Allah;
  2. They believe in Angels;
  3. They believe in prophets, including but not limited to, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Noah, David, Jesus, and Mohammed;
  4. They believe in the day of Judgment;
  5. They believe in the second coming of Jesus (we will discuss this in further detail a little bit later);
  6. They believe in a salvation-heavily based on works;
  7. They believe in life after death;
  8. They believe in Satan;
  9. They believe Ishmael was God’s intended promise to Abraham and that it was Ishmael who is the father of the world. In other words, Ishmael’s descendants (Arab nation and later Islamic believers) are God’s chosen people (and not the Israelites as they are descendants of Isaac).  Interesting?  Yes, and we will discuss this a little bit later in this series as well.
  10. They believe in Jihad (which further divides Islam and Christianity). Jihad truly means that the Muslims are to practice Islam in the face of oppression and persecution, which could come from an outside source or the inner self.  However, it has taken on a new form in which Muslims are willing to die fighting for Islam in order to guarantee their place in heaven (Again, we will get into this a little bit more later in series).

That my friends, is Islam in a nutshell, a very small nutshell.  Yes there are many similarities, and of the face of it, Islam doesn’t sound half bad.  However, Islam is not as peaceful as we are lead to believe and I ask that you keep reading this series in order to get to the full picture.  We must remember who we are fighting: Satan.  And one of Satan’s most successful tactics is to take a little bit of truth and mix it with lies.

The purpose of this series is not to start or further hate and discrimination of Muslims.  I would not and do not support hate.  All people deserve the right to choose to follow any religion they want or no religion at all.  We are to love everyone and treat everyone with respect.  There is absolutely a place for Muslims in the United States and they absolutely have the right to worship without interference from me or anyone else.  However, that being said, that place is not my own church.  There are mosques all over the United States built for such things, it does not have to be done, nor should it be done in an Episcopal church.

Tomorrow we will take a look at the roles of Jesus, salvation, and Jihad in Islam and also look at Islam from the point of view of a Muslim.

I  pray that you will all join me tomorrow.

Missy

Sources: Christiananswers.net; Why Islam.com;Islam.about.com;  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_in_Islam

 

While We Were Sleeping

 

 

muslims

 

What does this picture say to you?

Do you even recognize this place of worship?

For those of you who don’t know, this is our National Cathedral, the Washington National Cathedral (Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul).  You know the Episcopal Church (both Protestant and Catholic) where presidents’ (and wives) funerals or memorial services and inauguration prayer services have been held.  The place Congress deemed as the National House of Prayer.  Oh wait, did I mention it was an Episcopal Church, a Christ-centered church.  You know the kind that believe in the Holy Trinity and Jesus Christ.

As many of you already know, on November 14, 2014, the first ever Islamic prayer service took place in this Episcopal house of prayer.  With their backs turned to the cross, Muslims bowed down before their god Allah.

The reasoning behind this?

“We want the world to see the Christian community is partnering with us and is supporting our religious freedom in the same way we are calling for religious freedom for all minorities in Muslim countries,” said Rizwan Jaka, a spokesman with the prominent ADAMS mosque in Sterling, Va., one of the co-sponsors of Friday’s service. “Let this be a lesson to the world.”-

Furthermore,

“This is a dramatic moment in the world and in Muslim-Christian relations,” Rasool said in a prepared statement. “This needs to be a world in which all are free to believe and practice and in which we avoid bigotry, Islamaphobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Christianity and to embrace our humanity and to embrace faith.”-Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/in-a-first-washington-national-cathedral-to-host-regular-friday-muslim-prayer/2014/11/10/53d3425e-6916-11e4-9fb4-a622dae742a2_story.html

Yes, to some this seems like a great idea.  Muslims and Christian finally coming together.  What a great example of Christ’s love!  After all, this is what Jesus was all about-loving thy neighbor.

To others like me, I feel like I’m watching a movie on the end of times.  Yes, I realize that statement is going to lump me in with the “crazies” or “Jesus Freaks.”  But guess what?  I don’t care.  The fact that this event went largely unnoticed by America let alone the Christian community both shocks and saddens me.

But of course, it did not go unnoticed by all.  There was one woman who stood up.

Of course, the media has turned her into a “crazy” women, and I don’t know, maybe she is not the best representative of Christianity, but I didn’t see anyone else doing it.

Billy Graham son, Rev. Franklin Graham said this:

The idea of tolerance has gone to the extreme here.  Not only are we suppose to be accepting of other religions, we have to invite them into our church?

I don’t think so.

Furthermore, is anyone (who has read the OT) getting a sense of Deja Vu?  I mean, didn’t we see this before with the Israelites?  How well did they fair?

In this next series, titled While We Were Sleeping, I would like to examine this issue in-depth.  [The “We” in the title refers to Christians as I feel that we have essentially, as a whole,  gone to sleep and refused to see the consequences of our inaction.] We will first take a close look at Islamic beliefs, customs, and history because most Americans don’t even know what Islam is all about.  Once we have a firm understanding we will get into the reasons why I believe such an event goes against the Bible .  Thirdly, we will take a look at the similarities of Israel and the United States, and take a sneak peek into revelation to see how all of this is going to play out. Fourthly, we will hit on what we as Christian should be doing to stand up for our beliefs and how to fight this “tolerance” movement.  Of course, there will be surprises along the way as I rely on Holy Spirit to guide us through this series.

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow as we take a closer look at the religion of Islam.

Blessings,

Missy

 

The Can of Worms Has Been Opened

Can of worms

 

Have you ever heard something and it “opened a can of worms”?

Well, in my Sunday evening bible study, someone mentioned that the Islam religion had something to do with Ishmael, Abraham’s son with Hagar.  As I have no real knowledge on the Islam religion, I was not sure what to think of such a claim.  However, since I spent a great deal of time late last year studying Abraham, I was very interested.  And considering everything going on with ISIS, Obama claims (not saying they are true), and the whole National Cathedral Controversy (which I am wholeheartedly against), I thought it was time I learned a little bit about the Islam religion.

I will be taking the rest of this week off to complete some in depth research, so that I can start next week off with this new series.  As of yet, I’m not sure exactly where it is going, but I can tell you it will have something to do with Abraham and Sarah, and the consequences of not waiting on God and taking matters into your own hands.  (Yes, the Islam religion doe indeed have something to do with Ishmael.)

Right now I am asking you to cover me in prayers as I expect to be spiritually attacked now that I have decided to go through with this series.  Also, I am asking you to pray for protection as I dive into the enemy’s camp.  In order to get a firm understanding of the Islam religion, I am going to come across information conflicting to my beliefs and Satan would like nothing better than for me to get tripped by doubts.  But more than that, I just feel YUKKY sifting through all this stuff.

I hope you join me next week as this is shaping to be one of my best series yet.

Happy Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to be thankful to be living in a country where we are still free to live and worship our God.  After all, we don’t know how much longer we will have this right.

Until next week,

Missy

Breaking Free from the Bondage of Betrayal

Since January 2014 I have been doing a study on Breaking Free by Beth Moore.  Yes a year is a long time to spend on one book, but I’m not just reading, I’m memorizing the scriptures, answering the questions, doing chapter outlines, and trying to apply all that I am learning.  I cannot move on to the next chapter until I feel like I have fully grasped and applied the message.

I haven’t written much about my study because, honestly, I needed to do this for me and I was afraid that since the book was older it would be old news to you all by now.  However, there have been times where I just have to share.  Today is one of those times.

Have you ever been betrayed?

Stupid question, I know.  It is not much of a stretch to say that we have all been betrayed at one time or another,  Betrayal hurts; I mean really hurts.  While our TV and books are filled with heartbreak and betrayal, the Bible is too.

The man with a heart for God, David, was both betrayed and a betrayer.  In Psalm 55 we find David in great distress , feeling surrounded by enemies:

Psalm 55:12-14 (NKJ): For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;  Then I could bear it.  Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him.   But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.  14 We took sweet counsel together, And walked to the house of God in the throng.

” Only a person with intimate access to your heart can betray you to the point David describes here.” (p. 127)

In my opinion, this is the reason betrayal hurts so much: It is done by a friend, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or relative-someone who you love and believe loves you back.

Been there, done that, too many times.  My biggest hurts, betrayals have come from within my own church.  I had a hard time understanding how this could happen in church.  In a conversation with my pastor it was said, “If they could do it with Jesus, why don’t you think they could do it to you?

It is true; there is no greater betrayal in history than the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas Iscariot.

“During the supper (Matt 26) Jesus said of Judas, ” I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me” (v. 21).  Later Jesus said to the other disciples, “This very night you will all fall away on the account of me” (v. 31).  Christ said that one would betray and all would fall away.  Why do you think Christ considered only Judas a betrayer even though the other disciples deserted him and fled?

I don’t know the correct answer, but clearly Judas’s actions were planned and deliberate while the remaining disciples reacted in fear.  Judas showed premeditation.  I usually think of betrayal as something the betrayer knew would devastate but did not care enough to act differently” ( p. 128).

Think about it.  Does the betrayal hurt more because the betrayer knew his or her actions would hurt you?  It wasn’t accidental; it was intentional.

” A second reason Christ may have considered only Judas’s actions betrayal appears in Matthew 9:4-Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, ‘Why do entertain evil thoughts in your heart?’  Christ could see evil in Judas’s heart.  I don’t believe he saw evil in the disciples’ hearts. Rather I think he saw fear.  Big difference.”

Jesus knows our hearts.  Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples.

Most of our experiences in betrayals will be as a result of selfishness.  Yes, Judas’s betrayal was out of both selfishness and evil, but we can still learn how to react to betrayals by looking to Jesus.

In Matthew 26:53, Jesus says, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal 12 legions of angels.”  Christ had the power to take out Judas and destroy all of His enemies.  But he didn’t.  Why?  Because he trusted in His Father.  He trusted His Father would use the whole mess to carry out His Father’s purpose.

We too must look to what God can do with the hurts of our betrayals.  God did not make Judas a liar, thief, or a betrayer, but He did use him to complete some important work.

If  asked if I could change my ultimate betrayal, my initial reaction would be “Yes, Yes, Yes”.  Honestly, I never want to go through something like that again.  However, that betrayal is what led me to a full surrender in Christ.  It led me to realize just how dependent on Christ I really am.  It helped me to become the person God made me to be and I wouldn’t change that for anything in this world.  So, while my gut response would be “Yes,” my ultimate answer would be a “No, thank you.”

I’m not trying to downplay your hurt.  I’m just trying to show you that God can indeed work that hurt for your good or for His purposes.  I don’t like what I went through, but I sure love the person I am now.

Where are you on your road to recovery?

Are you still holding on to the hurt?  Can’t seem to move past it?  Let me ask you this: If God can use Judas’s betrayal for good, don’t you think he can use your hurt for good?

Are you willing to let him?

Until tomorrow,

Missy

 

 

 

 

A Network-Challenged Blogger’s Plea for Help

I joined Compel, a division of Proverbs 31 Ministries (for writer’s/bloggers), a few months ago and I have yet to participate in one group chat or discussion.

I have been writing this blog for over a year and a half now, but I have made very few connections.

Why?

I’m network-challenged.  I am computer shy I guess you can say.  I know it is not typical, but I can connect a lot more easily with people in person than on-line.  I’m not sure why that is.

Am I alone?  Does anyone else have or had this problem?

Everything you read about “blogging” will tell you it is vital to make connections with other bloggers.  I realize this, I’m just not very good at it.  It takes all the energy and time I have to keep up with my writings.  Yes, I take time everyday to read blogs that show up in my reader or ones that I have grown to like over the years, but I rarely comment.

Why?

Everything I write sounds stupid or superficial.  I don’t want others to think I’m just trying to get them to my blog.  I want genuine relationships, not business connections.  Or at times I feel intimidated.  The really good bloggers don’t need my lame opinions.  They have hundreds/thousands of followers already.  Why would they want more?

In writing these excuses or thoughts sound lame, real  LAME!  But I’m not sure how to fix it.

So, I thought I’d go to the source.

What are some networking/relationship building tips you can give me.  Remember, I’m network-challenged, so give me some baby steps first.  What I am really looking to do is connect to other like minded bloggers who can support one another in the “blogasphere” but in our walks with the Lord as well.

( I really hope I’m not the only one who struggles in this department.)

Blessings,

Missy

Beyond the Book Review: Chapter 9: Come After Me

Just when you may have thought I’d forgotten about this series……..

In Chapter 9, Mr. Idleman has us take a look at Luke 9:23:

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 

Now, when I read this passage, I normally focus on the “take up his cross” part of the  scripture; however, here, Mr. Idleman would like us to take a closer look at “come after Me” portion.

“Come after” is often a text used in romantic relationships.  When you “come after” someone, you chase them; you pursue them; you seek them.  Jesus wants us to pursue Him with the same passion and enthusiasm as we pursue someone we love or want to love.

Think about it a moment.  What crazy things have you done for love?  How did you win your current love?

Now, tell me, what crazy things have you done in the pursuit of Christ?

Now, not all of us are terrible romantics and don’t have a lot of “crazy” stories, but I’m betting you put a lot of time and effort into pursuing your romantic love.  Why?  Well, because building a romantic relationship takes time and effort.  The same goes for our relationships with Christ.

“Followers should have some come after Jesus stories that make people say, ‘That’s crazy.’  “

On the contrary, most fans don’t understand this concept. Following Jesus has been about going to church whenever it is convenient and dropping a few bucks in the offering plate. Fans can’t understand the need or want to do or have anything more.

But as Mr. Ideman points out, that is not the kind of relationship Jesus wants.

In the parable of “The Pearl of Great Price” found in Matthew 13 Jesus illustrates the relationship he desires:

Matthew 13:44- The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.

“He is desperate to buy that field so the treasure will be his. That evening he liquidated his assets. He sells everything-his home, oxen, cart.  Friends and family begin to talk.  They think he’s lost his mind.  It just doesn’t make sense.  But the truth is, this is the best investment he could ever make.” (P. 133)

When we find Jesus, with great joy,we are to give up everything to pursue Him.  We are to do this because we know it will be worth it in the end. Our lives will be so much better following Jesus than following the world.

Fans, those who are walking on the fence, would rather play it safe and not get carried away.  It is kind of like cohabitation (living with a boyfriend/girlfriend), in which you try to reap the benefits without the commitment.   You want the relationship, but you don’t want to miss out.  What if something better comes along?  You want the fun, not the responsibilities that come with a commitment.

It is not that we don’t want a relationship with Jesus; we do.  We just don’t want it to cost us very much.” (P. 134)

Jesus’ words of “come after” are an invitation, not a command. The choice is ours. Actually, it is more accurate to say we have the choice each and every day to pick up our cross and follow  Him.  A onetime decision to follow Christ with out action to back it up is not enough to build the kind of relationship Christ is seeking.

Just as our romantic relationships take work, so do our relationships with God.  Our relationship with God can grow stale, boring, etc. if not tended to. Many marriage counselors advise couples who are struggling to go back and do what they first did to pursue one another in the beginning of their relationship. The same can be said if you have “lost that lovin’ feeling,” with God.  Go back and do what you did when you first fell in love with Christ.

Don’t think this is necessary?  Remember the warning given in Revelation 2:4-5:

I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do things you did at first.  If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lamps tan from its place.

While I would love to say that I’m always a follower of Jesus Christ, the truth is sometimes my life looks more like a life of a fan.  I thank God for books like this and writers who are willing to put cold, hard truths out there.  The point of this chapter, and book as a whole, is to not beat up fans, or poke fun, but rather open our eyes to our shortcomings and lead us to repentance.

Where do you find yourself today? Is your walk looking more like a follower or more like a fan?

Blessings,

Missy

 

Chicago Bound

I’m writing this on a train. This is the first time I have ever been on a train. I know I am kind of old for this first, but I have never been one to travel. I am more than content in my sleepy, small town.

We are on our way to Chicago for a college visit with my daughter Kennedy. We will be looking at Moody Bible Institute. We are all excited and ready for a new adventure. We ask for your prayers for safety as well as wisdom.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

This year has been full of life changing decisions. My husband’s  new job, my leaving my job, and having two seniors.

Grateful to know someone who has all the answers.  Grateful always for my God.

Blessings,

Missy

I Say a Little Prayer for You….Standing in the Gap

Sometimes the messages God gives me come from the most unexpected places.

Yesterday, God laid on my heart words about prayer.  I’m not even studying on prayer, so  this seemed to come out of left field.  Today, I was surprised yet again as I was preparing for my Sunday evening class in the book of Joshua.  In the midst of battles, in the midst of utter chaos, is a short but sweet message regarding prayer.  It is not hidden but can be easily overlooked (I did actually miss it the first time I read it).

In Joshua 10, we find that 5 kings have joined together to attack Gibeon because rather than stand up and fight the Israelites, the Gideons had surrendered (or rather tricked Israel into an alliance/slavery).  When Gideon realizes they are under attack, they quickly call on Israel for help.

And Israel comes to their aid…quickly.

Here’s the part I almost missed completely:

Joshua 10:12-14: Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel:

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon;
And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”
13 So the sun stood still,
And the moon stopped,
Till the people had revenge
Upon their enemies.

Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.

Not only did Joshua respond to Gibeon’s cries for help by sending out warriors, he also  offers up his prayers.

 He stands in the gap for Gibeon and the Israelite warriors.

Joshua has been assured of the victory, but he also knows the battle is going to be a long, hard one.   In praying for the sun to stand still, he is simply asking for more time for the Israelites to annihilate their opponents and for God to demonstrate His greatness.

Above is what I see in the physical realm of things.  Now, I would like to look at this situation with spiritual eyes.

Joshua and his warrior stand in the gap for Gibeon through battle and prayer.

Joshua knows Gibeon is weak and does not posses the strength, knowledge, or abilities to stand against 5 kings and their armies.  

This is symbolic of our spiritual lives.  Think about it.  Israel has just defeated Jericho and Ai and now 5 kings have attacked Gibeon to punish them for their surrender and to try to block Israel’s advances.  Compare that to what happens when we start to move and do things for Christ.

I don’t know about you, but when I start to move, so does Satan, and I’m attacked, attacked, attacked.  Similarly, a new Christian is a lot more vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, and as “seasoned” Christians it is up to us to stand in the gap for them, just as Joshua and the Israelites did with Gideon.  

We can do this through discipleship and intercessory prayer (in which we pray for and on behalf of our family in Christ).

It is not just new believers that need our prayers.  Even seasoned Christians can get overwhelmed, discouraged, and beat down.  I find that one of the greatest things about a church family, is knowing their is always someone there holding up your hands when you can’t find the strength to do it yourself.

Today, I encourage us all to lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer.  Let us ask God to stop the moon to give our fellow believers time to conquer their enemies.  Nothing is impossible with God and it all starts with prayer.

Be blessed and be a blessing,

Missy

 

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