Flesh or Spirit?

for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
1 Corinthians 3:3ESV

How do you handle inter-personal relationships? Our tendancy is to say, “Okay” or”I treat people right.” But are we looking at all our relationships, or just the good ones? What about the co-worker who drives me nits, or the family member who challenges everything you say, or the person at church who shoots down every idea someone else comes up with?

Do I greet them with a smile (s real one!) and a friendly word or do I grit my teeth and groan inwardly when I see them coming? Do I choose to always give them the benefit of the doubt when they make an overture of frinedship, or do I remember old hurts and grievances?

we, myself included most of all, need to examine ourselves very closely in the handling of our relationships. For if we truly seek to walk as disciples, as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to treat others the way He did – ever patient, ever kind, always seeking to bring out the best in them, to draw them to Himself. The excuse “Well, I’m only human” jusst doesn’t fly – not if you are a follower of Jesus. We should strive to be “CHRIST-like” not “human-like” if we want to do what Jesus did and show the world around us who He is!

Choose – flesh or spirit? Life or death? Your choice.

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WWW Wednesdays – September 12, 2018

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Current reads for me are:

  • The Daniel Key by Anne Graham Lotz. Based on Mrs Lotz study of the book of “Daniel,” this book examines Daniel’s various prayers and why they were effective. So far it is as solid and encouraging as other books of hers that I have read.
  • Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange. I just started this, but have enjoyed Ms. Grange’s other Austen-inspired “diaries” so expect this one to be as enjoyable.
  • Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life by Sophia Loren. So far a very enjoyable autobiography.

Recently finished: not much. I’ve been knitting a lot trying to prepare for a community craft fair in November.

Next read:

  • Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy by Mike Love. Hope I like this book as much as I like the Beach Boys!

The long and the short of it…

I think I have mentioned that I began helping out with our high school youth group last summer.  It has been an amazing year getting to know these boys and girls, but summer is here and it’s been planning time.  Our youth pastor had all of the youth leaders meet recently, and challenged each one of us to write down how they came to accept from the heart the gift of salvation that Jesus gives those who recognize their sin and ask him to forgive them.  That was a huge challenge for me.  You hear all these stories from Christians about how quickly they accepted the Truth as soon as they heard it.  Well that wasn’t me.  Sort of.  Well maybe.

Actually, my acceptance and faith in Jesus wasn’t a decision as much as a journey.  Maybe you can relate.  Here is my story:

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“I grew up in the Roman Catholic church. Unlike most Catholics, I grew up reading the Bible, mainly because my mother had converted from the Lutheran church when she and my father married. My Bible that I received in 1966 is underlined and written in a lot.  I was probably a junior or senior in high school when I really saw the verse in John that stated “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  (That memory is so strong that, while writing this, I could almost see it on the page.  Right hand page, second column, near the top.  I pulled out that Bible and there it was, just where I remembered it).  While I truly knew and believed that Jesus was who he said he was, and had died on the cross for the sins of the world, and rose to live forever, I didn’t know how to use that knowledge.

Part of the problem was that I knew what I was taught in the Catholic church didn’t match what I read in the bible.  Part of the problem was that I can often be very skeptical.  While I continued to attend the Catholic church through college, I visited other churches, including the local synagogue, and still wasn’t able to see how to use that knowledge about Jesus.  I stopped going to church altogether after returning from college, when I encountered the new parish priest in my Catholic church who was all about the money.  I just knew that wasn’t right.

While I never considered myself a terrible person, I knew that I wasn’t really doing the right things all the time.  So, I and a friend began “trying to find ourselves” in some of the New Age philosophies floating around –reincarnation, mysticism, so-called tribal and mystic paths.  But something always kept pulling me back, so I didn’t go in too far.

By the time I was in my mid-thirties, my mom died from cancer, and it was just me and dad in the house.  I continued my day to day existence without any real purpose.  Things began to change when I was about 45. My dad was starting to act differently – getting forgetful, and sometimes belligerent.  We started fighting a lot, which was out of character for both of us.

In December of 1998, my ‘other dad’, my best friend in England’s father, died on my birthday. In February 1999, my dad was diagnosed with dementia, and we had to get him into a nursing home for the last two years of his life.

Several months later, a friend invited me to church one Sunday with her, an Assembly of God church.  I felt immediately “home.”  It took a little while for me to become a regular attendee at church, but as I continued to go, I began to learn more and more about what God had been trying to show me all these years.  I realized just how much my poor decisions, my tendency over the years to pooh-pooh talk about God and to go my own way, my anger and lashing out hurt God, and hurt Jesus.  I remember going and crying at the altar and asking God to forgive me several times.  However, I still struggled with that early training from the Catholic church.

The way I came to finally fully accept Christ from my heart came from the struggle I had with baptism. I had been taught you only do some things, like baptism, once, or else it was a sin.  It took a lot of wrestling to finally put that aside and say to God, ‘your word says to repent and be baptized.”  I was finally able to surrender from my heart and said to God that I repent, know who Jesus is and would be baptized in obedience to what His Word said.  I was finally able to accept from the heart the gift of salvation that Jesus died to bring to me.

The old skeptic was still there in some ways.  My mind continued to ask “Did he ever really do miracles? Was he really a tangible presence and power?” Remember, I was in a church where people spoke in tongues, and had many other visible gifts that I didn’t have, so I doubted.  But God had an answer for that as well.  As a matter of fact, he had two.

The first one was at a healing service. I didn’t intend to go, but a co-worker had heard me talk about it, and asked me if I would go to pray for a relative of hers.  Now, I had been going to a chiropractor –also a member of that church – on and off for months because of a shoulder injury.  At the end of the service, the man conducting the program began to circulate through the people, praying as they asked him to.  He passed by me, but then came back and said “Your shoulder is really sore,” and held my shoulder and prayed.  I found that surprising enough but since it was still sore, didn’t think much beyond the fact that this man must have been very observant or something.  The next morning, I got up to go to work and stretched, and realized that I had raised my arm straight up without pain!  I couldn’t stop saying Thank you. Jesus!

The second answer came later at a prayer service when a woman I didn’t really know came and said she wanted to pray for me.  She prayed and asked God to release me from the spirit of rage that filled me.  I was immediately and absolutely sure that had a hold of me for a long time.  I was equally sure that God had taken it away.  I right away recognized that rage had been consuming my life for a long time, and that God wanted to free me from that emotion once and for all, and he did.

So my story has come about in stages – some very long – but I know who my Lord is.  Once I got out of his way, God began to work out his plans for me.  He has brought about changes that only God could have designed – meeting that special someone at age 45 (of all things!), a new larger family through the addition of my in-laws and church family, and mostly, getting to know Jesus more all the time.”

Maybe you are like me and searching for a way to fit the pieces together, to finally be absolutely sure that you have made the most important decision of your life.  If you are, then I urge you to write down your story and to share it with your pastor or an elder that you know and trust.  Writing it down will help you connect the dots and know in your heart that you are a Child of the King.

If you don’t know Jesus as your Redeemer and Lord and haven’t accepted his precious gift of salvation from your heart, seek out someone who does know Him.  Talk to them, find out about Jesus, find out who he is and just how much he loves you.  Then share your story with others!  I challenge you!  You won’t regret it.

 

WWW Wednesdays for August 29, 2018

It’s that time again! Here are the three questions for all you bibliophiles out there.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

My current read is The Winter Garden by Carola Dunn, a Daisy Dalyrmple mystery.

Recently finished was Death at Wentwater Court, the first in the Daisy Dalrymple series. Very entertaining, and enjoyable. I really like books set in England, where this takes place. Daisy is a daughter of a lower-echelon peer, which means she is an “Honorable” but not much more. A cousin has inherited the title and estate. The time frame is after WWI, so when Daisy gets a job as magazine writer, it still raises a few eyebrows. But when, on her assignment to write about a grand house, a much disliked guest is found floating in an icy pond, Daisy adds “investigator” to her resume!

I recommend this series, but you will probably need to source them from a library, as they were (to my surprise) written in the 1950’s! But excellent cozy mysteries.

Next read will be …?

WWW Wednesday August 22, 2018

It’s that time again! Here are the three questions for all you bibliophiles out there.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

My current read:

Murder She K\nnit by Peggy Ehrhart. This is the first in a new series, “A Knit and Nibble Mystery.” This cozy mystery is set in Arborville, New Jersey, and features a free-lance writer for a craft magazine, Pamela Patterson, and her knitting/crochet club. When a potential new member is murdered on the way to her first meeting, Pamela and friends are drawn into the mystery and…

Recently finished:

Plum Tea Crazy by Laura Childs. The newest installment in Laura Childs “Tea Shop Mysteries” featuring Indigo Tea Shoppe owner, Theodosia Browing, and is set in Charleston, North Carolina. The charming characters and historic setting add to the appeal of these cozy mysteries. Plus, who can resist any book that includes yummy recipes? In this installment, a prominen banker is shot duringwhile watching the Gaslights and Galleons Parade while on the widow walk of Timothy Neville’s mansion. With a crossbow. In front of everyone. As usual, Theodosia finds herself swept into the maelstrom of suspects, motives and drama. Highly reccomended for cozy mystery or tea lovers!

Next read:

Actually, I don’t know. I’ll have to get back to you on that! Lol!