Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Answer is NOT a Cliche'

Have you ever experienced a time when a thing that seemed to be accepted and understood by just about everyone else, you just couldn't agree with?  Somehow, the way you saw it, the way you heard it, it just wasn't as right and wonderful as everyone else seemed to think it was. 

That's how the very popular "WWJD?" movement struck me. (What Would Jesus Do?)  I tried to see it as everyone else did.  I do agree that we are supposed to be light and salt to the world.  We are supposed to strive to be like Jesus.  We certainly can't go wrong if we think about how Jesus would handle things and then try to handle them the same or in a similar manner.  

Except.....  except that we are not in the same circumstances or the same culture as Jesus when He walked the earth.  But that wasn't really the issue with this.  My biggest issue was "Yea, but Jesus is DIVINE in nature, and I am sinful in nature!"  His thoughts are so far above my ability to even think at all!  His ways are so far above my ability to grasp the enormity of them!  My issue wasn't trying to think about how Jesus would do things; my issue was about people with a sinful nature, trying to behave as if divine in nature. That they would eventually get so discouraged at failing to get it right that they would just GIVE UP ALL TOGETHER.  

My point of view is that we need all the encouragement we can get, and I'll take that encouragement every time.  But for it to be of lasting value that results in real growth that is sustainable and transforming it has to be of the Holy Spirit.  Our thinking isn't going to hit that mark on a regular basis. Taking into consideration that in spite of Paul's exhortation that the scriptures aren't of any "private" interpretation, the fact is that every one of us interprets for ourselves at some point in some way, what we "think" the stories we read in the bible mean and how we "think" they apply.  There's just no getting around that fact.  We've all got some things right, and we've all got some things wrong.  And none of us can truly say for absolute certain which is which.  It's all opinions.  This is why there are "all those denominations" by the way! One small doctrinal belief here, one divergent doctrinal belief there and a whole new religion is born! 

There is an answer.  It isn't a cliche' intended for bracelets and T-Shirts and necklaces and stickers and easy answers to tough questions.  It isn't a slogan or motto or mantra to chant.  

It's TRUTH.  Its the WAY.  Its LIFE.

It is a "HE" and His name is Jesus.  JESUS IS THE ANSWER.

No matter what the question, the dilemma, the problem or the issue.  Jesus is the answer in every form and fashion, without fail.  Every time.  All the time.  (John 1)

You need a word in due season?  JESUS IS THE WORD

You need a friend who understands?  JESUS IS YOUR CLOSEST and MOST LOYAL FRIEND

You need a whole new life or just some changes made?  JESUS IS LIFE

Whatever the need; the answer is JESUS.  He came in the form of a babe, fully divine and fully human NOT so that He could relate to us as human beings.  He already did relate. He has always related perfectly.  He created us.  He thought us up, not the other way around.  He understands us to the end that even the thoughts and intentions of our hearts are not hid from Him even though even we ourselves don't always understand ourselves! (Hebrew 4:12)

No, He didn't come as a baby so He could relate to us.  He came as a baby so WE would be able to relate to HIM!  So we would understand that He understands us, that He knows how hard it is to know what the right thing to do is and choose it each and every time.  He wanted us to be able to relate to Him so we would call on His name and trust in Him.

We are to let His Word dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16).  

His word tells us to walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7)

When we call on His Name, we are Saved (Acts 2:21)

When we submit to Him and yield to His Holy Spirit, then we will walk in agreement, yoked together with the Creator of all Heaven and Earth, and find that no matter what we face, He is the Answer we need, want and can count on every time without fail.  It requires our submission and yielding and letting and walking and calling because He never barrels past our free will to choose.  We choose Him and discover we get EVERYTHING ELSE along with it!  

And that's not a cliche'.  That is the TRUTH because He is the TRUTH!  

Here's to a New Year filled with TRUTH, LIFE and the WAY for all of us both in this life and ETERNALLY.  


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Queen Ann's Beheading

Back in the 1530's when the petulant King Henry ruled in what was then one of the three major powers in the known world, there lived a young lady named Anne Boleyn. Whatever the origin of her relationship with the King and the reasons for it's abrupt end, we will probably never know anymore than what has been conjectured already.

But there was a thought that gripped my heart the other night as we watched a historical re-enactment of that particular story.

It is supposed that Anne, while not necessarily the one who introduced "reformation" to the King of England, certainly spurred him on to embracing it and rejecting the power of the catholic church over every aspect of civilian life, as had been the tradition.

As I watched scenes of Anne praying fervently, and reading her Bible,exhorting her ladies-in-waiting to exude virtue and spurn lewd behavior I started to think.  How was Anne any different than any of us who trust in Christ?


  • She believed she had the privilege of a personal relationship with Christ Jesus that wasn't dependent on intercession of another human being such as the clergy. (In her day this made her a "reformer" which was itself punishable by death.)
  • She committed "sins of the flesh" in spite of her confession of faith.  Dare any of us raise our hands as innocent of that transgression?  I know I wouldn't!  We fully believe and expect that when we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and forgives our sins.
  • She asked God to deliver her from the unrighteous  accusations against her which were about to cost her her head!  No self respecting God-fearing woman would have failed to do so, so I'm certain she did ask for Gods favor in her unfavorable circumstances.
Having spent a great many years traveling around the United States and taking part in church services in many different regions, we have been exposed to a variety of prayer styles.  Yet one thing all have in common is the assumptive prayer of Gods favor.  Trusting we are forgiven, we also trust that forgiveness comes with deliverance from hurtful, painful circumstances.  The reality is that this is not the case.  

We ask the question often because although there have been numerous attempts made to answer it, none have ever been truly satisfactory.

WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

Why was Anne Boleyn's life cut so short?  Historical records indicate she wasn't at all guilty of the charges brought against her.  Was she worthy of death simply because her body was unable to carry additional children to term?  Was she worthy of death because the King had simply tired of her?

Or was she, like so many others, just the unhappy victim of the sinful nature and behaviors of others?

The very answers to those questions may be the glimpse we need into the answer for each one of us.  For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.  The very words we speak and the actions we take intertwine with the words and actions of others and then affect every one of our lives for ill or otherwise.
  
It isn't that we are simply the victims of circumstance, but we are subject to the fallen sinful actions of ourselves and others around us.  Our prayers certainly fall on the loving ears of our Heavenly Father and in His Eternal Wisdom His intervention will be based on the outcome most necessary to His will being accomplished for ourselves and for others.

Right now, this remains an unsatisfactory answer.  But one day, we will know even as we are known and then it will all make perfect sense.  Our viewpoint is so limited.  We cannot see past our wants, needs and desires.  We have a very hard time looking past what is best for us and seeing what is best for others, especially when it is going to cost us something.

This is why trusting in the Lord is such a big deal.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.

Our understanding is finite; His is infinite and has no selfish agenda whatsoever.  Our question shouldn't be so much "Why" as it should be "How"?  How do we trust God with all our hearts when the circumstances are so difficult?  The answer to that question will give us greater peace as we allow His grace to guide us in our times of trial and tribulation.  We all must choose for ourselves to ask that question instead of the more selfishly motivated "Why, God, Why?"

Meanwhile, as you need prayer, it would be our privilege and joy to pray for you!  Just fill out the prayer request form found at the top left of this website.  Without doubt, prayer is a powerful and life altering action that benefits every one us!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Work and Strive or Rest and Receive?

 As human beings subject to the flesh that clothes and houses our bodies and souls there are more than enough opportunities for us to “work” on ourselves. Male and female alike, though as a girl I can vouch that every girl does this, looks at themselves and about all we see are our flaws. Slight flab there, not quite the chiseled jaw line here; that kind of thing. I believe it would be the same with our souls, if we could look at them in a mirror. We would notice only the many imperfections, both slight and obvious.

Paul the Apostle, a righteous fellow who recognized how very flawed he himself was, encouraged believers to “work out” their own salvation with fear and trembling. He certainly wasn't hinting that we are responsible for saving ourselves, but only that the gift of salvation would be an intimate and personal journey, not exactly the same for each of us.

This weeks dilemma that we will consider is how we might respond to the biblical instruction that we are to "Be Holy even as God is Holy" (Leviticus 11:45 & I Peter 1:16) while realizing that we cannot ever attain that state in and of ourselves. We cannot work for it, earn it or make it happen no matter what we do, so God graciously provided an absolute solution. Through the work accomplished on the Cross where Jesus freely sacrificed Himself for us, we can be clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus.

When we rest in, recognize and accept that truth then our energies and efforts will be freed to move forward doing the activities God has instructed us to do because our focus isn't wasted on trying to do for ourselves that which God has already done. These include to:
  • feed the hungry
  • clothe the naked
  • visit those in prison
  • remember the orphans and the widows
I think of it as similar to the story in the Old Testament when God told the Israelites “I place before you Life and Death”. (Deuteronomy 30:15 – 19) I think He made it so they could see the goodness, light and joy of life. They could also see the darkness, misery and emptiness in Death. On top of all that God GAVE them the right answer. CHOOSE LIFE. Yet still some chose DEATH! (Oh why do we do that?!?)

I see so many people in the Church who read that we are freely clothed in the righteousness of Christ. They read and hear about the effortless joy of choosing to trust and believe and REST in the peace of being clothed in the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Yet even though we can see the exhaustion that results from constant activity we still tend to strive uselessly and hopelessly to clothe ourselves in righteousness thorugh our works. Even though we are taught clearly that our own righteousness will NEVER be anything but filthy rags. We see it, yet we cannot seem to help but attempt on our own to gain that which God has already freely given us.

James 2: 14-26 offers a marvelous solution with understanding, bringing out the importance of faith while acknowledging the necessity of actual actions being taken. It isn't enough to talk about the things that need to be done. And it doesn't make sense to do things without really understanding the how and why of them. Blending and balancing the two leads to making what may be the finest choice you ever make.


God does such a fine job and needs no help from us, so lean back into His loving arms and let Him clothe you in righteousness. Then you get the joy of fulfilling His plan and purpose for your life. Simple. Joyful. Peaceful. Isn't that grand?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

FRIENDS


This week, I was wondering if you would take a little journey with me?  It will be a journey of personal discovery and it may very well change some things in your life.  It could even change everything, and not just for this moment but for all the rest of your life.

Imagine with me that we are living our lives and Jesus is real and alive at this time, too.  Imagine you are going about your daily routines, living your daily life, when suddenly you are confronted by Jesus personally, and called to go along with Him.  He wants you, specifically you, to simply hang out with Him.  As far as you know He’s the most interesting character of the century, popular in every venue, voted “MOST” in every category, the celebrity of all celebrities – and He has invited you to become a close personal friend.

You accept and for the next three years you are privy to every moment of every day.  You watch and observe and are part of every circumstance.  You and Jesus have shared meals, shared laughter, shared stories, shared sadness, shared joy, shared triumphs and shared failures; your own and those of Jesus’ other comrades.  In all of it, Jesus has taught you, strengthened you, encouraged you and given you every reason to hope.  You have been witness to extraordinary miracles you would never have imagined possible!

You have been witness to the most incredible of situations and watched the everyday ordinary become the means to the marvelous bordering on unbelievable.  But you saw it with your eyes, you heard it with your own ears and you know that you know that you know it has all actually occurred.  By now, you think you know Jesus really well, and you have become good buddies, great friends who always have each others backs.

After all of that, Jesus comes to you with a question.

Matthew 16:13-15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi He asked His disciples “ Who men say that I, the Son of Man is?”  So they said “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them “BUT WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?”

The moment of truth has arrived.  It cannot be taken for granted, but must be answered.  This is the question each of us must answer for ourselves.  This is the question that leads, not to just knowing who Jesus is, but to our understanding who we are.  In my own years of learning to walk with the Lord and in working in ministry sharing about the Lord with others, I have found that how someone defines Jesus, defines who they really are. 

How you honestly define Jesus within the context of who He is TO YOU, I've discovered, says more about defining yourself than defining Him.

I say that because He is who He is no matter what you think or feel or believe about Him.  But who Jesus is to you will influence and dictate your every action, belief, your heart and ultimately define who you are!

A concern in this area is when we say with our mouths that he is Lord but live as if no opinion but our own will be considered in deciding our actions.  In this case our very actions loudly declare that we ourselves are Lord of our life and not Jesus at all! 

If we believe He is just a nice prophet who said some useful, honorable things, then we may walk with some integrity, yet still choosing for ourselves which teachings we will follow and which we will disregard.

When truly we understand, accept and live with Him as the Lord and Savior of our life, then and only then will our choices, decisions, words and actions reflect the truth of His Lordship.  There will be times of stumbling and falls in our lives, but they will not define the majority of our actions.  Each day that passes will see us growing, changing and more perfectly reflecting the light of Christ through our actions and words.  We may get this thing wrong today, but the Holy Spirit guiding us as we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus will be reflected as we get it right tomorrow.

Though we may call ourselves Christians and attend church regularly, this question confronts us, just as Jesus confronted His disciples with it those many years ago.

“WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM?” Jesus asks us today.

Have you never considered this question before?  Have you in the past given lip service only but never truly submitted your heart to the Lord of all creation?  Who do you say Jesus is, to you?


We would consider it an unequaled privilege to pray with you and help you discover answers to that question Jesus asks of all who would be His disciples. “Who do YOU say that I am?”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Snapshot of Purpose

Ephesians 4 gives an excellent snapshot of what is expected of a Christian.  The ministry of Turn the Tide is focused on giving people the tools they need to "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling".  Together, let's take a look and gain understanding of how to apply the principle's we'll find there.

Basically, this section of scripture gives us 4 area's to concentrate on.  It begins by telling us that we ALL  are called to walk worthy of the calling; we ALL are given grace for the journey and we ALL have a particular job to do within the Body of Christ.

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head,Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

1.  We are to equip the saints;  whenever and wherever we gather with other believers, we should share the knowledge and insights we've gained so they too, can be better equipped to serve.  Likewise, we should be as eager to receive their knowledge and insights that will further equip each of us.

2.  We are to edify, or grow, the Body of Christ; this involves not just adding other people to the Body, though this is most definitely a part of the growth process, but we are to example maturity in Christ to others, so they too will mature in the Spirit.

3.  We are to actively seek UNITY; in the whole Body, not just in our special denomination or group, but to ALL who call upon the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as much as it is in our power and ability we must be fostering unity.

4.  Speak the TRUTH in Love; never compromise, never lie.  Speak the truth to all and everyone, but do so in a gracious, loving way that takes the first three principles into consideration.  Speak the truth so the saints are properly equipped and ready for the Spiritual Warfare that comes with being a believer.  Speak the truth in Love to nurture to maturity.  Speak the truth in Love to both example unity and encourage unity without regard to whatever label we may have put on ourselves in the religious sense.  It doesn't matter if one calls themselves a Methodist or Baptist or Protestant or Catholic.  If they call Jesus Lord they are members with YOU of the Body of Christ and we must seek unity above all else.

Each one of us is an individual, specifically created by God with certain abilities, personality traits and heart desires that are not the same as everyone else.  All of these differences are designed by God to work together to supply the needs of the whole Body, not just a few chosen parts of it.  No one member is of any greater, or lesser importance than any other member.  The ultimate goal is always to glorify God, never ourselves.


With these ideas in mind, how might that change your walk with the Lord?  Click on the comments section and share with us! Thank you and God bless you in your growth!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All Aboard!

ALL ABOARD!


That's the "battle cry" of the missionary Turn the Tide Ministries.

ALL ABOARD!  This train is leaving the station!

Christ is coming - SOON!  No one knows the day or the hour, but we are called to be watching, praying and READY TO GO!

If you spend any time in a Bible believing church or hanging around Christians who take the word of God seriously, you are sure to hear about "The Great Commission".

The very last instruction, recorded in the Bible, that Jesus gave His disciples is found in Acts 1:8:

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The call to action from the Lord Himself to all who claim Him as Lord and Savior is BE WITNESSES TO HIM.

A fast grammar lesson for those of us who haven't been in school for awhile :-)

to:  a preposition;  
=used to indicate the place, person or thing that someone or something moves toward
=used to indicate the place where someone participates in a particular activity
=used to indicate the direction of something

Then there is the preposition “of” which is often substituted for the word “to” as if they were completely compatibly interchangeable.

Of: a preposition;
=belong to, relating to or connected with someone or something
=used to indicate that someone or something belongs to a group of people or things

=living in or occurring in a specific country, city, town etc

I realize that every translation of the Holy Scriptures is just that, a translation.  I realize that we don't have the "original" theo pneustis (sp.?) that is  the original God-breathed word, but in delving deeper into the meanings of words even as they were translated, we gain greater insight and are then in a place to be led by the Holy Spirit into deeper, more perfect meaning in our manifesting of Gods Word.

In this instance, I love that if we were called to be witnesses "of" Christ, just being a Christian would suffice, for we do belong to and are connected with the Body of Christ simply by virtue of our being "saved" or "born again" or whatever vernacular you use to indicate your Christian state.

But to be witnesses "to" Christ requires ACTION on our part!  That Holy Spirit in you (Colossians 1:27) means you must DO SOMETHING about sharing the witness of Christ and His Salvation Gift with others.  You can't be content to simply know YOU are part of....instead we ought to foster a zealous energy and hold a deep compassion for the state of others that compels us to make this Salvation Gift known to them!

ALL ABOARD!  Time is short, and no one is promised a moments breath beyond the one they are currently inhaling.  Our time on this earth is but a blink of the eye, but ETERNITY?  Those who insist on reason and/or logic to consider Faith in Christ, reason and logic this; there is NO DOUBT every person ever born and who will ever be born will live a certain amount of time and then the body will die.  That is absolute.  The spirit of man was created by God to be an eternal entity.  The question is not "will you have Eternal Life"; you will.  The question that faith and faith alone can answer is:

Will you spend eternity in darkness and torment or -
will you spend Eternity in the Light, Love and Presence of the very One Who Created You in His Own Image?

We can sit still and claim we are witnesses "of" Christ by our belief in salvation or we can get cracking about being witnesses "TO" Christ by our deliberate, motivated actions to share the salvation message with others!

ALL ABOARD! Our dream is to share His Grace, Love and Hope with others.  You can join us.  Pray for this ministry - we need prayer for strength to stay the course until He calls us home.

Send us your prayer requests! (Form is upper left corner of the site)  It is our privilege to pray for you!

Get on board, Christ is coming soon!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Apologetics, debates and atheists

Do you ever feel like you have to "defend God"?

When other people scoff at your beliefs or dismiss them as weakness or fables, it is natural to want to defend those beliefs.

In reality, we aren't so much defending God as we are trying to justify why we believe what we believe.

Right here I’ll stop and make one point very clear; the belief system I am addressing is that of taking Jesus at His word.  That He is, as He declared, the Truth and the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.   That God, in the Beginning, Created the Heavens and earth and everything in it.  That our faith must be in Him, not in our church doctrines, our own feelings or the philosophy of others.

Recently on a Facebook post, a well meaning and very polite atheist expressed the opinion that Christianity is as easily dismissed a religion as any other religion practiced on this earth.

I shared some basic Truth, which he, as expected, dismissed or ignored while pressing forward, gearing up for a “fun” debate that would waste out time and perhaps only serve to supply him with some entertainment.

I spoke the Truth in Love and made it clear I would not join him in a debate, as Truth is not open to debate, it STANDS on its own.  Jesus needs no apologies and God certainly doesn’t need me to defend Him. (I did declare I would pray for him, did pray and will continue to pray that the Holy Spirit would deliver him from blindness).

According to the revelation shared by the Apostle Paul, it is both unnecessary and an exercise in futility to spend time on what he calls “endless genealogies” or “vain jangling”. 

Take a look for yourself:

1Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
2 To Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I asked you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (unfeigned is ‘not false’)
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1Timothy 6: 20  O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.
Indeed, there are many mysteries that only God Himself knows and we are ignorant of their origins or how they affect our world and our hearts.  God, being God and Creator, is naturally superior to that which He created.  That is difficult for many to accept or comprehend.  They prefer to bring God down to their own level, debate lofty truths that we have no control over as though they did control them, and reject the very premise of a Creator that would make them not completely and absolutely autonomous in their own being.
As if, in rejecting the existence of God, they could actually diminish or dispel His existence and influence upon the earth and the creatures He created.
IT REMINDS OF THE JOKE ABOUT GOD AND THE SCIENTIST.

That’s the biggest problem with every argument I’ve ever heard from one who dismisses the existence of God.  All argument begins precisely with what God has already provided; LIFE.  They live because God made, formed and created man to begin with and gave man free will to choose to worship and trust God the Creator.
I have always had a problem with lies.  It stems from a childhood that was filled with them, and caused me fist clenching tooth grinding frustration that is with me to this day. When I was raising my children, I used to tell them that as long as we had the truth of any situation, no matter how bad or devastating it might be, we could deal with it.
That is the same way I view the Bible.  I may not understand all of it, I may not even want to agree with all of it, but since it is Truth and it reveals nothing but Truth, there is something substantial to deal with whatever the circumstances. 
Those who reject the Truth – and we should understand that Truth is not a “what” but a “Who”- Jesus Himself! – those who reject that Truth have no premise, no foundation to stand on.  So anything they come up with may or may not resemble reason or logic; BUT IT WILL NOT BE TRUTH.
To be sure, faith is a difficult thing.  Centuries of scholars have written discourse after discourse about it, refuting it, defending it and discussing it at length.  One post here can't even begin to deal with the intricacies of faith and I am not going to try.  What I will say is this; you don't have to have rock solid faith in and of yourself when your faith rests on the Rock Solid foundation of Christ.
When we consider faith only from our own perspective, then losing it, if only for a time at different times, is almost a given.  When things are going well faith is easy and strong.  
When the going is hard, the stuff of life deals us a blow or a defeat or failure, if your faith is based on how "good" you are treated, how often you get not just answer to prayer, but the answers you want - if faith is based on anything other than JESUS CHRIST THE SAVIOR, your faith will fail you.
When you recognize that faith in the Truth is based ON that Truth and not your circumstances or your feelings, you discover faith is steady, stable and continually growing stronger in every situation.
Faith is:


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ghoulish compromises

We are often asked why we find it so distasteful to participate in the "harmless" activity of Halloween.

When our children were youngsters, we dressed them up, held Halloween parties and passed out candy.  We, too, thought there was no harm, since we did teach them that there is One God and One Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We said the right words, that Halloween was "just for fun" and had no spiritual meaning,  that ghosts and goblins were made up characters and not real.

In short, we had bought into the deceit.  

It has taken many years, much research, attempting to understand and trusting in spiritual discernment to come to the conclusion in our own hearts that others have come to.

Halloween is used by the Prince of the power of the air, that scurvy dog we call satan or the devil to further a culture of death; to deceive as many hearts and minds as possible to open them up to further indoctrination to the opposite of Jesus' stated purpose.

John 10:10 I am come that they might have LIFE and they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.

Jesus begins that statement by clearly making known the bottom line purpose of the enemy, the devil.

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.

These two statements are the complete opposite of each other.  They are diametrically opposed.  They are at complete odds.

One is a culture of destruction resulting ultimately in death.

The other is a promise of the most precious gift God has ever given to His creation.


Satan could not deceive anyone if he were blatant and startlingly obvious. Read Genesis chapter 3.  It begins with the statement:  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.

First, understand that GOD MADE THE SERPENT.  The devil is NOT powerful, almighty and all knowing as the Lord God is.  He is a created being, created by God, just as you and I are.  He attempts to steal Gods throne, he makes counterfeits of things God originally created and he has set himself to be the opposite of all God is.

We see that most clearly in this deceitful culture of death he has spent millenia coaxing into greater and greater influence over human beings.

Most of it is subtle, cartoonish even.  Dead isn't really dead, you just live in a different "state of being" than regular people.  You might be a zombie, or a vampire but you aren't actually DEAD.  
Websters Dictionary defines dead as - no longer living, an absence of life.

Working through many avenues of influence, this culture of death contradicts the truth of Gods word by presenting people with friendly alternatives.  Movies like Dracula, the Werewolf, Frankenstein, moving on to friendlier versions like Beetlejuice and shows such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.  All pushing an agenda that declares

DEATH ISN'T FINAL AND IT ISN'T SUCH A BAD STATE OF BEING.

Really?  Can Christians afford to buy into that?  Because that absolutely contradicts what Gods Holy word tells us.

ICorinthians 15:26 - the last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

We are told by Gods Inspired Word that death is the enemy.  The world tries to convince us that death is our friend.  Religions of this world teach that death is honorable and is even rewarded in the supposed "happy afterlife" that is to be taken for granted when you willingly, publicly and violently cause your own death and often the deaths of others in the process.

UNDERSTAND THAT COMPROMISE TO ANY DEGREE IS UNACCEPTABLE

As we watch more of Gods truth compromised, even in our Christian churches in the mistaken hope of attracting the world to sit in our pews by acting more like the world and presenting more of what the world likes and wants, it becomes ever more crucial that we recognize the extreme need to diligently protect the integrity of the revelation and teaching that God has given to guide His people to the successful, abundant life He promised. 

God wants His children to live their lives, live them well, live them in peace with JOY and GLADNESS.  God, who created us in His image wants us to understand that HE is LIFE and He has blessed us with LIFE, and life eternal through Jesus Christ His Son.  

He has called us to be PECULIAR!

Deuteronomy 14:2 For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Titus 2:14  Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purity unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

IPeter 2:9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

We are called to show the world the DIFFERENCE in a life that following and obeying God makes when we accept the sacrifice Jesus made to free us from SIN.  Behaving like the world will not attract the world, it will only destroy the very peculiarity that God calls us to live in.

We don't pretend we know it all or we are doing things perfectly ourselves or that we have it all figured out.  Let me be clear.  WE DON'T.  As long as we are in this flesh, until Christ returns, we will sin (hopefully a lot less than without Him!), we will be subject to the flesh, we will be fallible and wrong many times in many ways in many things.

EVERYONE.  There are no perfect human beings and no one has "ARRIVED".  But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't live in the truth that we have learned, that we shouldn't even make the effort to let the light of Christ shine from us.

We've come to the conclusion that "Halloween" as we know it glorifies the false culture of death the devil is pushing.  For that reason we've decided not to participate in any way.  

As much as we understand and can, we want to exemplify PECULIARITY that just might catch someone's attention and open the lines of communication that will allow us to share the message of Salvation through Jesus.


We have no issue with candy.  We like candy and we like pumpkins, too!  But we LOVE God and deeply desire to bear fruit that glorifies Him and honors Him and exalts His Name!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

PRINCIPLES OR OBEDIENCE?

JUST  DO  WHAT  YOU'RE  TOLD  ~
OR  THINK  FOR  YOURSELF?
I've been going to "church" for as long as I can remember.  I still have the Bible they gave me for graduating from kindergarten and entering the first grade Sunday School.  

It has no cover anymore, which is sad, because that cover had my name embossed in gold. 

It has no cover anymore, which is joyful, for that is a testimony to how well read that book was by me!

Unlike many people, I don't have a history of three to five generations all faithfully attending the same church for their whole lives.  I don't even have a history of myself faithfully attending the same church for longer than about 5 years at a time.

There were moves to different towns and moves to different states.  Most significantly, there were moves of the Spirit.  As I read, as I dug in and pressed in and sought to know my Lord more intimately, the more deeply and dramatically I changed.  

With those changes, my spiritual needs also changed.  As I grew, I found myself less and less enthusiastic about mindlessly obeying the rules of and church leadership of whatever institution I was attending and more and more enthused about learning to obey God directly and personally.

I discovered that following the Lord wasn't like being one of a herd of sheep, but the true joy and exhilaration came from understanding His personal direction for my life.  Recognizing the gifts He gave me, and how to use them to bear fruit for His Glory.  Embracing who He made me to be and living every day being led by His Holy Spirit.

I've read and reread Ephesians a multitude of times, and with each reading, fresh insight and understanding has resulted.  Working out my own salvation with fear and trembling has become a joyful journey, not a dreaded one.  

Gathering with likeminded believers is a fun filled activity of sharing insights, experiences and encouraging one another to stay faithful, remain steadfast and continue to trust and obey the Lord in spite of daily hardships.

Each of us will one day stand before the Lord, naked and alone, just ourselves and Jesus.  (Romans 14:12)  There won't be any one else to speak for us. There won't be anyone else to cover us.  Just Jesus the Lord of Lords, and we alone to answer to the Father for what we did with all He gave us. (read the parable of the talents for insight: Luke 19)

It is a wonderful thing to hear the gospel preached.  It is a great thing for others to share the insight and knowledge they have gained.  There is a season when being a disciple of another is exactly the right path.

But there comes a time for each of us who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior to TAKE responsibility for ourselves and begin to DO.  To teach others, to encourage others, to become a productive member of the body of Christ ourselves.  Not just in taking care of a church building, but in caring for and increasing His Church.

So we will hear those glorious words we long for:

Well done, my good and faithful servant! WELL DONE!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Expectations

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...

Have you ever wondered what God wants of you? 

God asks us to:
walk humbly before Him;
recognizing that we are not able to be holy, perfect, clean, righteous on our own, God provided a way for us to humbly receive ability to be clothed in Christ the Redeemers Righteousness

God asks us to:
love mercy;
thinking about all the mercy that has been poured into us should make it very simple to give away as much as possible, but God didn't even say "give mercy" or "be merciful".  He just said Love Mercy, for yourself and for others.  He knows that what you love will be manifest in your life

God asks us to:
do justly;
and since we are not capable of complete objectivity and balanced justice, we are NOT to judge, but do justly - according to what is morally right or fair - and that is ONLY Gods department, so we have the added understanding that vengeance is the Lords!

In essence, God has given us a framework to work within, in order to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  He made each of us individual, unique and special.  He isn't looking for cloned Christians, all looking, speaking and acting the same.  He is looking for His particular, peculiar children to be witnesses OF Jesus His Son, each in our own unique way.



This isn't a comprehensive, all inclusive or exhaustive study.
I've read Oswald.
I've devoured Tozer.
C.S. Lewis
Jonathan Edwards
and many, many, many other authors who know a lot more than I ever will.

and I've read the Bible.  Over and over and over again for the last 49 of my 55 years.  My understanding has grown with each reading.  My life has changed dramatically over time as I've gained new understanding, insight and wisdom.

One of the main things I've discovered is that God is sovereign.  We, the created beings, cannot put Him in a neat package of our making without losing all that He is!


  • He is INFINITELY CREATIVE
  • He is BEYOND OUR COMPREHENSION
  • He is THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY
Until the day we see Him face to face, the best we can hope for is to imitate Him in some manner so others will see how great HE IS.  Everyone relates differently, so He created many different ways for His greatness to be seen, heard, experienced and understood.  He set a frame.  Boundaries if you will.  
Within those boundaries, there are no limitations except those we set up ourselves, denying ourselves the fullness of all HE IS.

Scripture to consider: (New King James Version)

Micah 6:8
Psalm 139
Ephesians 1 and 2
Philippians 2:12
Acts 1
I Corinthians 13:12



Sunday, September 14, 2014

DEMOLITION

It is incredibly easy to tear things down.  Particularly in our watered down, seeker friendly, church that looks just like the world state of being at this time in history. Finding things to dislike and disagree about is extremely simple - especially in the Body of Christ - where we've made a lifestyle out of developing our "own" doctrines and theologies and pitting them against the doctrines and theologies of others.

At this point I could just say "shame on us" (as I have in past posts) and move on.

Instead let's explore this just a little and each of us can examine our own hearts as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do and perhaps we ourselves will sense the prick of Holy Spirit conviction and move in a more positive fashion concerning the members of the Body of Christ.

To support the work of the ministry, the pastors of Turn the Tide Ministries do home improvements and renovations.

Often, in order to build a more beautiful room, we must deconstruct the room or elements of the room that currently exist.  Tearing apart a wall or ceiling or fixture is messy, dirty and not at all beautifying!  If you took a look, you would most likely comment:

"It looks more like they are making a mess rather than creating a beautiful room!"

and you would be correct, if you had no idea what we were doing or why we were doing it or what the next steps would be.  Personally, the tearing down is, in my opinion, the easy part of the job.  The hard part is the building up.

In the Body of Christ we who have declared Jesus our Savior are all members in particular of ONE BODY with Christ as the Head.  Interestingly enough, we see only a small part, our part, in the Body.  And tearing down remains much easier than building up!

In a recent Facebook post, Christian singer Carmen took up the cause of Joel Osteen and his lovely wife, Pastors of Lakewood Church in Texas.  Joel is what I term a "celebrity Christian figure" as he is well known generally more widely than local church pastors.  Some cannot stand him or his methods.  Some love him and every word he says is book selling gold.

Whether what he says, the books he writes or the sermons he preaches are good or bad is for God alone to judge.  Whether he is "truly saved" or a huckster is also Gods business alone.  According to the word of God, we are only to judge the FRUIT produced or the lack thereof.  The heart of a man only God can know.  The heart of a woman only God can know.

The same for celebrity styled persons everywhere, like Joyce Meyers or Creflo Dollar.  People will always take every word and tear it up and tear it down because of whatever it is that motivates them.  Even we have been dismissed as missionaries for the Lord by some, simply because our mission field is our home country or because we don't seek funds from others to do the work of the ministry!

It isn't up to "us" to judge words or judge hearts or judge ministries or methods of ministry.  ONLY GOD KNOWS THE BIG PICTURE AND WHAT HIS PURPOSES ARE!

There is only one question any of us are allowed to ask.

Is there FRUIT?  Fruit that glorifies God?  Fruit that increases Gods Kingdom?  Fruit that leads others to a saving knowledge of Christ?  These are the only things we have any right to judge according to the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Otherwise, we are all called to do the HARD PART.  BUILD UP THE BODY OF CHRIST IN LOVE.  Tearing down is easy.  The much harder part is to get on your knees and pray.  Pray for the light of the Holy Spirit to shine.  Pray for TRUTH to be received and given.  Pray for hearts softened toward God and yielding to His commands.  Pray for the Body to grow in Love and Peace and Joy and Goodness and Mercy.

We will all give an account of every word we speak.  NOT to each other, but to Almighty God alone who is worthy and able to judge.  I tremble at the thought.  I know I've spoken words I wish now I could take back, say differently, or speak with more LOVE infused in them!

Well did our Apostle Paul warn us!
GALATIANS 5:15 ~ BUT IF YOU BITE AND DEVOUR ONE ANOTHER BEWARE LEST YOU BE CONSUMED BY ONE ANOTHER!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, no matter what "name" you call yourself, what labels you or others have put on yourselves, if CHRIST is your Lord, we are ONE BODY.  Protect our Body, bless our Body, honor our Body, give God the Glory and let God, who knows and sees be the JUDGE.  Where there are wolves masquerading in sheep's clothing, He can and will provide safety.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!