When Life Trips You Up

When Life Trips You Up

I woke up to a few words that the Lord put on my mind. Well, they are paraphrased because quite frankly I admit that I did not write them down right away. I figured I would remember them. You know how that goes.

(Note to self: Always write down your dreams and/or words from the Lord, ASAP.)

The essence of the words were: “Let go of the things that trip you up. The days are growing evil. You have to remain alert to hear my words.”

The verse that came to my mind is Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set for us.” (NLT)

My first thought: “Seriously, the days are GROWING evil? I cannot imagine them getting worse.”

Then I thought about the things that trip me up and ensnare me, things that bring me down with heaviness.

WEIGHT THAT CAN SLOW US DOWN

Personally, I tend to want to take on all the cares and stress factors that involve my family, my future (their future) the heartaches of the world, the brokenness, the loss, the violence and the lies the world spews. Basically, I have a hard time just letting the cares disappear. I think part of that though, is the compassion of Christ. I pray or intercede often for people and circumstances. That could weigh me down, IF I do not give them to the Lord and leave the tears at the cross.

Also, my mind tends to want to relive past moments where I made an incorrect choice. IF I would let that play over and over in my mind it would drive me mad. But I have to take every thought captive and put it under the blood of Christ and remember that none of us are perfect. In fact, it is our very mistakes that create a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and grace. God somehow uses those very things to draw us closer to him.

What kind of things weigh YOU down? Is it fear, anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, frustration, hopelessness, despair? We have all gone down these roads. BUT remember these are just things that the enemy would love to put on us so that we CANNOT walk in triumph; so that we CANNOT walk in victory.

They slow us down.

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31 (GNT)

The answer to the things that slow us down is to wait quietly on the Lord and trust him. Let him renew us. How? By getting to know him through the Word of the Lord and prayer and hanging out with those that know him. We have to cast our cares on him because it is not the Lord that is giving us these thoughts of despair. We need to take authority of our thoughts and verbally put them under the blood of Christ so that we can have peace.

Basically think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil.4:8) How important it is to have our mind and heart in the right place and practice them. That is how we will discover peace. (Phil 4:9)

There are simple “good” things that slow us down, as well.

Too much entertainment can become distracting, so that our minds are filled with other things constantly. That includes sports, TV, gaming, movies, books etc…Don’t get me wrong, these things are okay, BUT if our lives are not balanced they can take up too much time. Maybe you are a workaholic, or fill your time with so much ministry or volunteering that you don’t have time with Jesus. Maybe it is gluttony. That is a big one for the people in America. It’s just easy and the church doesn’t necessarily consider it bad. But it can bring on health issues that can distract you from your calling. And the list continues…

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There are occasions that life consumes us with family issues or even emergencies. BUT take a few moments a day to seek the Lord, even in your car.

Think about it, what is weighing YOU down so that you are slowing down in the faith?

THE SIN THAT SO EASILY TRIPS US UP

We are not perfect. Each of us have weak areas that are not totally surrendered in our lives. It is these areas where the enemy will try desperately to get into our lives and wreak havoc. Do you tend to lose your temper or hold onto anger? Do you hold grudges and don’t easily forgive? Do you gossip. complain, are given to substance abuse? Are you easily tripped up by sexual immorality or are you lazy or even complacent?  Yes, even complacency will trip you up because the Lord said that he would rather that you were hot or cold. (Revelation 3:16). Perhaps it’s dabbling in dark magic or lying constantly or lusting things or stealing. Again, the list can go on and on.

We all have to deal with the things (or sins) that easily trip us up and become even MORE cautious in those areas of our lives. That sin will knock at your door, so to speak.  Ephesians 4:27 says “do not give the devil a foothold”.

“Be ALERT and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Whatever it is that may cause you to stumble, put a stop sign up to the enemy of darkness. And by all means DO NOT hang out with those that dabble in those areas. Be wise who you choose as friends.

“Do not be misled. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

The Lord reminds us to be sober and vigilant. We need to make time to listen if we want to hear the voice of the Lord. And how much more important it is as the days are growing evil and confusion is consuming the land.

These words were definitely for me. But I know that they are for someone else today, as well.

Finally, I pray that each of us can run the race with endurance so that we can be found faithful when we meet our Lord, and so that we have the energy and wisdom to encourage those around us.

God bless.

Can God Hate?

Can God Hate?

GOD IS LOVE!

Though I totally agree with that statement (God is love)–I mean completely! What does it mean? What does it look like in our day-to-day walk?

We hear so many people in today’s world believe with all their hearts that if they follow the God of Heaven, the Christian God, that all they need to do is LOVE– period.  I agree that we are called to love people. There is no doubt in that comment. Again, what does that look like? Does it mean that we are to accept everything that everyone is doing because we LOVE them?

I believe there is a gray place that people fall into. I have heard some people explain it as “sloppy grace”. It is a place where the love of people gets mixed in with acceptance of sinful practices. That area isn’t just gray, it is muddy, at best. Eventually truth and love become loose words that turn into tolerance. Is tolerance bad? Well, it probably depends on what you are tolerating. It can be a deceptive policy.

“The silence of tolerance can quickly morph into endorsement.” (Lisa Bevere)

Then you hear the statement, “love the people, hate the sin”. That is a great concept, but then again we have to ask ourselves, how do we put that into practice?

I have been reading the book, “Adamant” by Lisa Bevere. In her book she has one chapter titled, “Adamant in Love” explaining how much our Lord loves each of us. His love is eternal and doesn’t flinch or fade. The very next chapter is titled, “Adamant That We Love“. Of course it is just as the title describes. We are to love others, which is not always easy. Sometimes we have to just love others by faith.  In other words, we may not always “feel” like it but we take a hold of God’s love and ask him to help us.

But the next chapter is the one that caught my attention. It is titled, “Adamant in Hate“. She begins this chapter by quoting Charles Spurgeon,

“We cannot love God without hating what he hates.”

Interesting.

She states, “God hates ALL that undermines love, for everything that debases love, debases US.”

What does God hate?

Here she quotes Proverbs 6:16-19 and then goes into detail about each item plus uses other scripture references explaining things the Lord hates. Again it is because of his PERFECT LOVE for US that he hates what will undo that love. I will be using the Amplified Version and add the list numbers.

“These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him;
1) A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others]
2) A lying tongue
3) Hands that shed innocent blood
4) A heart that creates wicked plans
5) Feet that run swiftly to evil
6) A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths]
7) And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.

This is just one of the many verses she uses. (You might want to reference the word, hate, for yourself).These scriptures are so relevant for our time. Each reason for the hatred is because it twists and corrupts HIS LOVE. It corrupts the life he has for his children.

Let me add: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

These are my thoughts:
There is a battle for each of our hearts and the enemy of our souls only desire is to destroy the concept of God’s love for us so that we get confused. Eventually we don’t really understand his love at all. It becomes twisted with the world’s concept of love. That is why the Lord desires us to hate evil, NOT THE PEOPLE, but hate and despise the traps that ensnare each of us.

The world cannot understand this and tends to accept the lie that we, as believers, are hateful people because we stand up for righteousness. But the truth is that we are lovers of the Lord. Our desire should not be to “tolerate” what is sinful. And it isn’t that we think that we are better because we were once caught up in the same darkness.

Ephesians 5 states: “live a life filled with love.” But then the letter continues to warn us to stay away from the sinful life we once lived and to not be fooled by those who make excuses for sin.

Often people hate the light of the Lord simply because it exposes the sin that enslaves them. The darkness hides it. But the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 5 makes it very clear, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” (verse 10-11 NIV)

In my previous blog I stated that the Lord challenged me to love him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I believe that includes hating what he hates. It does not mean to hate those who are enslaved in sin. Love them enough to show them the light. The sin that holds them will not like this at all, but the person who is bound and wants to walk in freedom, will.

We are called to love the individual, not judge the individual. How do we do that? By being kind, helpful, gracious. Romans 2:4 states that it is God’s kindness that will lead to repentance. But on the other side we are to hate what God hates which is anyTHING that undoes his great love for us.

When we do not hate what is evil, our love is not genuine. ” Lisa Bevere

This may take his grace and wisdom to decipher. Just be wise: Do not confuse tolerance with love.

Finally: Jesus did warn us that if the world hated him, it will hate us also. If we belonged to the word, it would accept and love us. (Matthew 10 & John 15).

It is not always easy to live for the Lord, but always worth it. I have found no greater joy and peace, even in the midst of many heartaches, then following my Lord. I remember someone once said to me: “I have many things that I could regret in my life but one I have never regretted: giving my life to Jesus.”

To answer the title’s question,”Can God Hate?” I would say, yes. God can hate because he IS LOVE. I challenge you to research this for yourself.

God bless you as you continue to walk in His Light. Be courageous and filled with his wisdom and his love.

 

Can you hear the voice of truth?

Can you hear the voice of truth?

It amazes me that people can read identical words or hear the exact same message and yet have complete different interpretations. They may not even hear the same words that are being said.

This became a reality to me when the “Laurel or Yanny” craze hit social media. A single word was spoken and the internet exploded. Some people heard the word “Yanny” while others heard the word “Laurel”. According to a couple different web sites, the confusion involved frequency. If a person hears higher frequencies they are sure the word is “Yanny” and vice versa.

Jay Aubrey Jones, who recorded the word for Vocabulary.com stated that he was actually saying the word, Laurel.  The word, Yanny, is not even in Vocabulary.com. Before the audio scenario debate there was the color of the dress debate in 2015. Some people said they saw a black and blue dress while others saw it as white and gold. (By the way: the dress color is black and blue.)

I realized that individuals can be extremely positive that they know the truth but somehow be very mistaken. From the moment a word is spoken it can become twisted or tainted. By the time it hits the ear of the listener it can become something completely different from what was said. It is like the game “telephone” that we played as  children.  A phrase is whispered into the first child’s ear and that child whispers it into the next child’s ear. By the time the phrase reaches the last child, it usually isn’t even close to what was said in the beginning.

The words Jesus spoke were often misrepresented or misunderstood. He often spoke in parables or stories to help explain salvation, the kingdom of God or other dynamic truths.  In Mark 4:9 he says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV)  That statement is heard several times in the book of Revelation, as well.

In Matthew 13:13b Jesus states” Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (NIV)

That is a scary thought.

The truth that can lead people to salvation, to freedom and to an eternity with their creator was not being heard. It wasn’t because it wasn’t being spoken. Jesus stood among the people of his day and yet they could not hear the truth or see it. It is the same thing today.

Jesus continues speaking in verse 14a:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (NIV)

(I wondered how it could be possible that they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, yet not perceive the truth. Jesus answered that question in the following verse.)

15a: “For this people’s heart has become CALLOUSED: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (NIV)

Calloused skin is skin that has become hardened and thick. So a calloused heart is someone whose heart has become hardened and thick. They have put up a wall over and over so that truth can no longer penetrate. They have become insensitive. People with calloused hearts have refused to listen to truth so many times that one day they do not even recognize truth. Their hearts have become so hard they cannot hear it nor see it.

That is why Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)

Jesus is very clear that listening to his voice will allow us to follow in his footsteps for our lives. He will direct each of us if we choose to listen to his guidance. He states in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)

You might ask how I am sure that I am following truth and not being deceived. Deception is deceptive. I have confidence because I ask my Lord to keep me in truth and reveal any area of deception. And he is faithful.

My prayer is found in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV)

If you desire to hear His voice it is never too late to call out to God for truth. He will be sure to answer! God is full of mercy and grace and wants to fill you with his hope.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)

My hope is that you and I will hear our Lord say ” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

God bless.

Just for fun:
If you have not had the chance to listen to the Yanny vs Laurel debate open the link below and find out what you hear.  Then decide what color the dress looks like to you.

 

Yanny vs Laurel

 

 

black and blue dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Which path should I take?

Which path should I take?

My husband and I traveled many times in the 80s. One of those times we were in two different vehicles. I was traveling in the first vehicle and he was following as close as he could on the crowded highway. For some reason he thought it would be funny to get off of the highway and surprise me by getting in front of me at the next entrance.

Those were the “good ole’ days” when we had no GPS, no cell phones and no family locator apps. In those days it was just a map and perhaps some good music on a radio. So when I noticed that he wasn’t anywhere to be seen I hightailed it, thinking that somehow I missed him passing me and I was falling far behind him. Unfortunately for him, there wasn’t a simple entrance back onto the highway. It took him quite awhile to find one and once he did he drove like he was in the Indy 500 trying to catch up with me. It is funny now, not so funny then. Eventually we did reconnect as we were headed in the same direction. All was well in the end.

Today we are fortunate to have a GPS in our possession at all times. If during our trip we go slightly off course we will hear our GPS state: make a U-turn. If we don’t follow the U-turn advice our GPS will inform us that we are being rerouted. We may end up taking another route all together. Whichever way we choose to travel, we will eventually get to our planned destination.

Just think: if Moses had a GPS he would not have gone in circles for 40 years in the desert. Or if Jacob had a family locater app on his phone, he could have located Joseph who was thrown into a well and then sold as a slave. The people in Noah’s time could have known using the weather app that an unimaginable storm was approaching and perhaps hitched a ride on the ark.

Of course that is all in jest as the Lord is greater than our current technology of phones or apps.  It is the Lord who leads. It was the Lord that led the children of Israel with a pillar of a cloud by a day and fire by night.  It was the Lord who put Joseph in charge of all of Egypt (in spite of being sold as a slave) to save his people from starvation during a famine. And the people in Noah’s day had already hardened their hearts towards God’s redemption and would not have gone into the ark, even IF given a weather app warning. They were given a higher warning from a man of God and ignored all that he had to say.

The GPS is like the Holy Spirit. He always whispers the way to walk when we have fallen off the path the Lord had intended us to follow. We can make all the plans we want but it is God who will ultimately direct our steps. (Proverbs 16:9) Sometimes the plans that we make seem to fall apart. How many plans have you made that have not turned out the way you first pictured it? Often times that can cause frustration, or discouragement.

Wait,” you might think, “what happened to MY plans?”  God then intervenes, reminding us that he is directing each of our steps.

I thought that life would include a white-picket fence. I thought that the hills would be gentle and the roads would be paved. I didn’t count on winter white-outs or storms to confuse my focus. Think about the pilots who fly through storms and trust in their instruments.

On our last flight our plane was delayed because of mechanical purposes. The pilot reassured us that he would not take flight if for any reason he wasn’t completely sure that the plane was safe. This was his livelihood and he was confident that when we lifted off the ground we would get to our destination safely. And of course we did. In the meantime my daughter was allowed to go to the cockpit and see all the instruments that were used. She was amazed and wondered how the pilots could figure it all out. When they were in bad weather it was these instruments that would lead them home safely.

 

The Holy Spirit is like that, as well. Though I cannot trust the things that I see at times, I focus on his voice. I ask which way I should turn or which path I should follow. At times I make a wrong turn or make a wrong choice. Sometimes I hear him clearly — he says in his own gentle way–“make a U-turn or rerouting”.

Other times there are storms that I cannot see through. Like the pilots, I focus on the instruments that the Lord has put in front of me. It is His Word that guides me when I cannot see the right way with my own eyes. It is His Word that I lean on and trust. It is His Word that gives me strength. Some days that is all I have.

Trust the GPS that is placed inside of you. Trust the voice of the Holy Spirit when he says to jump and you do not see the ground beneath your feet. He will be sure to catch you. He will be sure to guide you in the right direction just as the pilots were able to trust their instruments. You may have gotten off the path for a moment, but be sure that the Holy Spirit will lead you back onto the right path once again.

Each of us will take a different course for our lives. Though we are all part of one body ultimately we each need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12) Some of the avenues will be rocky and others will accompany streams of water with green grass by the path we walk. Jesus reminds us that he is the only way, truth and life and that no one can get to the Father, except through HIM. (John 14:6). Whichever road you must travel, it is through Jesus that we will reach our heavenly Father.

At the end of our travels we will meet up at the same place. When we eventually make it to our final destination I hope we each can say with Paul,

” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
(2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV

God bless.

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FREEDOM!!!!

FREEDOM!!!!

Magistrate: The prisoner wishes to say a word.
William Wallace: Freeeedommm!!  – Braveheart, 1995

Though the film, “Braveheart” was considered a “historical fantasy” it was a great descriptive story about a few brave souls who sacrificed everything– even their lives–to be free.

Of course this isn’t the only account of sacrifice for freedom throughout the history of the world. There are many nations and/or people groups that have been oppressed. And many individuals who valued freedom enough to sacrifice all they had for it.

The point is: freedom is NOT free. Someone, somewhere, sometime sacrificed so that the word “freedom” could become more than a dream. Instead it would be a reality for those that came after them. I think that many in America or perhaps even abroad do not understand those sacrifices.

Even I take so much for granted. I can work and live where I desire, save money or spend it freely, marry who I want or stay single. My kids can play outside without fear and are able to get an education so they can expand their knowledge. I can worship in any way I want and even have the freedom to express the way I believe openly.

FREEDOM is a gift that I hope my descendants can enjoy, as I have.

Of course you know where I am going from here. The greatest sacrifice for freedom came the day that Jesus gave up his life for each of us. He sacrificed for people who were torturing him. He sacrificed for those who had already died and for those who were not even born. Why was this such a great sacrifice? It was because he was sinless. It was because he was and is the son of God. He wasn’t doing it for himself. He was obeying what his heavenly Father was saying.

The fact is that he could have just rained down fire on those who refused to listen. But he knew that the spilled blood of his pure sinless life was the only avenue that would wash away the sins of each of us and reunite us with the Father. We can now enjoy the same relationship that Adam and Eve had enjoyed before they opened the door to sin. And one day, after this life is over, we will walk with him on the streets of gold.

Jesus didn’t just sacrifice his life enduring great physical pain that was unimaginable. He sacrificed with mental and emotional anguish, having been abandoned by his heavenly Father and dear friends. We may never understand all that he endured that fateful moment. We won’t be able to understand what it felt like to have the sins of the world put on our shoulders nor the pain of all the physical ailments slashing through our bodies when we were already enduring our own agonizing pain.

He didn’t stop there. He entered into the belly of hell for us and stole the keys of sin and death from satan, himself. He broke every rule of a quiet and meek individual and became the warrior no one suspected. And then if that wasn’t enough, he came victoriously back from the dead to encourage those he left behind and even those who had not yet believed.

Because of that– we can be free!

We are free from the death that could have spun us into an eternity of hell damnation and fire. We are free from religion that binds us up with so many dos and don’ts. We are free to trust in a Savior that brings joy and with no condemnation. We are free from the chains of sin that try to keep us in bondage. We are free to love others and forgive when we couldn’t have before. We are free to pray and come boldly, with grace, into the throne room of our heavenly Father. We are free to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and believe in healing and hope when the world tells us otherwise.

There are so many freedoms found in Christ.

But we must be careful to not confuse our new freedom with a license to get lazy and sin. Sometimes freedom gets mucked up with the idea that we are not accountable for our actions.  Freedom does not equal no boundaries. Think. Use common sense and wisdom in each situation.

“Someone may say, “I’m allowed to do anything,” but not everything is helpful. I’m allowed to do anything, but not everything encourages growth.”
I Corinthians 10:23 (GWT)

In other words, just because you may not experience conviction about a situation, ask yourself if it brings encouragement and growth in you or those around you. If not, is it the best choice? You and I may be the only version of Christ others may see. (I am preaching to myself here.) These are the times when we use the wisdom of the Lord in each circumstance and remember that we each need to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

But let’s go a step further.

Though some choices may not be a big deal, other situations may seem a bit confusing in the hour that we live. Life tends to be more gray, than black and white, these days.  Because something is legal does not necessarily mean it is right or moral. Let’s not forget what Jesus did on that cross that dark day when he sacrificed his life. He set us free from the bondage of sin and deception.

Be careful. Do not turn around and head back down the path you came from, returning to what you left behind.

“Live like free people, and do not use your freedom as an excuse for doing evil. Instead, be God’s servants.” I Peter 2:16 (ISV)

Think of what Peter was saying. He mentioned in later verses that people can get free from the world of filth only to go back to it again. He stated that it would be better to have not known the freedom found in Christ than to have known it and return to an old lifestyle outside of God’s best. He ends by quoting a proverb from the old testament.
(2 Peter: 20-22)

“As a dog a goes back to its vomit so a fool repeats his stupidity.” Proverbs 26:11 (GWT)

Freedom is a wonderful thing. I am so grateful for it.

I pray for those that live in countries where freedom feels like a lost treasure. I pray that they can still find freedom within those boundaries as Paul often did while he wrote his letters from the confines of his prison cell.  I hope that they can feel the powerful presence of the Lord in the midst of any darkness.

For those that live in a free country, as I do, I pray that the freedom of the Lord will remain alive in our hearts and not grow dim by compromise. Instead I pray that we each use our freedom to spread the gospel of hope.

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Psalm 119:45 (NIV)

Enjoy your freedom in Christ. Amen and God Bless.

 

 

Phrases like “he isn’t acting normal” or “that isn’t the normal way to do it” are broad at best. What is normal to me may seem completely abnormal to my neighbor. The definition to the word normal according to dictionary.com is “-conforming to a standard, or what is common, usual, regular or natural.”

Still even that can be different according to cultures, religions, languages, customs, countries, cities, neighborhoods, families or even individuals. Age or the era that we were raised in can even promote different “normal” lifestyles. And when we begin to grow accustomed to the way things are done it is sometimes difficult to change. The custom begins to become part of who we are and we identify it as NORMAL.

Tradition plays a huge role in this,” normalcy”.  If you celebrate Christmas  (as I assume most believers do) the tradition in each family can be different. Perhaps you put up a Christmas tree in your house, or pretend that Santa is coming down your chimney or maybe you do not include Santa, at all.  You might celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve or when the clock strikes mid-night or in the morning hours. There are a thousands of different traditions that are promoted in different cultures and even families. Who said that we must eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, though it is a strong tradition in America.

Tradition can melt into what you might perceive as normal.  I can only relate to what is familiar to me as people from around the world live differently.  But in America the “traditional family” has begun to change. When I was little it was normal to have a mom and dad. Soon it became normal to see a lot of single-parent households, then there was mixed families. From there couples quit getting married and began to just live together. That became normal. Then we began to see homosexual lifestyles evolve into families. And now the transgender lifestyle, though a minority, is fighting to become a new normal.

Life in America and across the world is changing. The normal is changing. People have grown accustomed to the new lifestyles. What was once thought of as “normal” in my era is fading into the background. As much as people want to ignore this fact, at one time in America it was normal to be a slave or have slaves. But THANKFULLY many good men fought to abolish that. And though it is no longer our “normal” in America today there is so much anger over our past, “normal”,  that violence is erupting. And violence, instead of peace, is becoming popular and normal.

What is normal? Does acceptance equate normal?

IF you profess to be a believer –and I write this to believers as unbelievers may have a different standard to base their truth or may believe that truth is negotiable. But as a believer, we must get back to the basics. The Word of God is the basis to use as any standard of truth. Jesus said that HE is the truth.

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

He also stated that we are not of this world and that this world does not and cannot understand, “our normal”.  Read John 17:14-16, John 15:19, 1 John 5:19, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, John 18:36, 1 Peter 2:11-12 to name a few.

What should be normal for the believer is what we read in the scripture regarding the life of Jesus. It should be normal to heal the sick, raise the dead, set people free from darkness. It should be normal to love the lost and forgive quickly. It should be normal to live in freedom and to overcome the darkness that plagues our souls.

Though Jesus died for each of us, because WE ARE ALL SINNERS, it does not mean that we have to change what He stated as truth (or normal.)

I say all of this because different lifestyle choices than what I hold as truth, are all around me and will continue to be as long as I live in this world. Should I love all people?ABSOLUTELY!  Should I change my view of what I consider as “normal” because others think I should? No.

There is a gray line that confuses many. There is an unseen difference between loving people as Jesus did. (And HE LOVES PEOPLE) and living our lives by a standard that holds true to scripture.

I DESIRE to love ALL people–as Jesus did. He loved us so MUCH that he was willing to die for our brokenness and deception and sin.

I DESIRE to love our heavenly Father–as Jesus did.  He loved him so much that he REFUSED to compromise his standards and though he didn’t want to, he went to the cross so WE would be free.

“Lord grant your children wisdom. We need to learn to live a life that shows abundant love, as Jesus did. And we need to live a life without compromising with sin, as Jesus did. We cannot do it without your wisdom and strength.  Amen”

God bless.