Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas!

This year has been in some ways very intense. I know that there are many of you who feel the same way. I am afraid that my writing has suffered because of it. I can't help but question if much of it hasn't been my own fault, but that is neither here nor there now as they say.

 I do wish each one who reads and follows my writing a wonderful Christmas this year. I will be praying that whis will be our last Christmas here. That next Christmas every born again believer will be spending Christ birthday with him, in heaven.

I am sure that is the wish of every true born again believer. The Lord tells us to not just look for his appearing but to pray for it as well. The Lord doesn't stop there in his instruction tho--even though we sometimes stop there in the telling of it.He also tells us to work on doing the work that he has put us, his children, in this field called earth to do.

What work is he talking about? As God's children we are to always be aware of the opportunity to reveal Christ to someone we come in contact with. Show them not the front that so many religious organiztions today have, but to reveal the true Lord. This is the Lord who met with us when we were at our lowest point to save us from the sin that we were in. The Lord who lives within us daily to guide us in every decision that we make, and to strengthen us in every temptation that we encounter.

That is the Christ that few see from Christians today, that close personal saviour and friend. Why is that? We take credit for God's work. Yes it's that simple. We ourselves seem to forget who it is that keeps us from falling. Someone congratulates us on our achievements. What do we do? "Oh, thank you" we say, "I really had to work hard for that." We begin to think it is something that we are doing ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, but we 'forget' to acknowledge the grace that brought us there.

This Christmas season I pray that all of us  will make plans to include Christ in our lives and reveal him to those around us as never  before. This is how that co-worker will know who to turn to when they need encouragement. Or how that family member will know where our strength comes from in times of crisis.

If you truely believe that Jesus is the reason for the season, let it be known to those you meet-- in your actions and your words in a way that will be pleasing to God. It is time for God's true children to stand and be seen.

God bless you this Christmas and everyday following.

Carrie Parker

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Building of the Spiritual Temple.

In the Old Testament, God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle that they were to build. It was to go with them everywhere they went, as they traveled through the wilderness.

In the New Testament, you will fnd that there is still a tabernacle that is to go with you everywhere you go. If you have been born not just of water, but of the blood of Christ, then your body is that reborn spiritual tabernacle that is God's temporay house that goes with you. Of course you cannot leave your body and travel without it, that is the idea. God's desire has always been,and still is, to be with His people.

When a person asks Jesus to forgive them of their sin, and save their soul from Satan, that is what happens.

"If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23

The dictionary definition of the word "abode" is:  housing that someone is living in. How can that possibly be? God is spirit, the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit who is the third person of the triune God is who lives within the believer. Look at what Jesus told his disciple before he ascended:

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot recieve, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17

Jesus Christ, the second person of the triune God was preparing his disciples for this major change that was about to happen. He would no longer be with them physically, but God himself in the person of the Holy Spirit would be moving into their body, he wanted them to know what to expect. Just as he wants the believer to know what to expect today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Inside the Temple

Inside the Old Testament temple of God, there were several pieces of furniture.In Chapter 25 of Exodus God is very specific as to how the furnishings are to be made and the materials that they are to be made of. For instance the ark of the covenant. Verses 10- 22 explain how the ark is to be made and also the mercy seat. The ark was made of wood, then covered inside and out with pure gold. The mercy seat was placed over the ark.
Inside the ark were to be reminders of the testimony of God for his people, and a copy of the ten commandments.

"And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."

Now I want you to look with me in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 6:19 says:
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

A Christian's body is the temple (tabernacle), that the Holy Ghost lives in. There are items within you that were given to you at the time you willingly offered yourself to Jesus to come live within you. These items will remain forever. Just as the furnishings of the tabernacle of the Old Testament, these are meant to be permanent.

Your spirit, or what the Bible calls your heart/mind, the new man, is one of these. It is the piece that can be compared to the ark of the Old Testament. God takes the old heart/mind, made of wood (something that will decay) changes it with the washing of his Word, that is incorruptible and can never decay, and covers it with his blood for protection.

The psalmist David could only plead with God:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
Compare that to the New Testament :
"for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."Eph. 2:10
Jesus has created in you a clean heart, cleansed by his pure, perfect sinless sacrifice.
1 Corinthians 6:19 spells it out:
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
You see, after you ask God to come into your heart and bring the forgiveness that he has died to give you he places within that clean ark of your heart, the evidence of his grace and mercy, his good faith offering of his intentions to keep his part of the agreement. What is that good faith offering? Read what the scripture says:
" were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest (down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, (see Cor. 6:19) unto the praise of his glory." Eph. 1:13,14
Then he wrote his agreement on your heart.
"This is the covenant that I will make them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; Hebrews 10:16

Until next time-- think about it.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Spiritual Temple (cont.)

I promised that we would compare the tabernacle in the Old Testament with the spiritual temple of the believer ,as Jesus taught, in the New Testament. It has been a few weeks so  you may want to check the first post for a refresher(that would be 3/7/11).

"According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it." Exodus 25:9
Chapter 25 gives the instruction for the building. Here in this verse God is cautioning them to follow the pattern He has given. He is very precise in what he wants; not just what He wants, but how he wants everything done--the materials needed, the way it should be built, even to the furnishings that were to be inside.

They must be built or fashioned and placed according to the pattern he gives. No variations would be accepted. "But Lord this is the desert! Can't I just use this instead?" would not cut it with God then and it still doesn't today. He had provided everything needed for this tabernacle when they left Egypt. Whether they realized it at the time or not, what they needed to be able to serve Him --they had been carrying around with them all the time. The test was--would they be willing to give it back to Him?

This tabernacle  was not meant to be a permanent structure. It was mobile and could travel with the people until they reached the promised land. This was --if you will, God's tent. A place designed for God to live among his people, He wanted to be near them. He wanted them to  involve Him in their day to day lives. He wanted the parents to be able to point to His house and tell them "This is where God lives, let's go visit him"
God wanted the people to be able to draw assurance that He was "in their midst", meaning he was right there in the middle of everything that happened to them all the time. This was their loving, providing Heavenly Father wanting to build a relationship with his children.

The outside was a temporary structure, but the furnishings inside were meant to be permanent.
Next time we will take a look at each piece and how God wanted it made.
Till next time..... God bless you and keep you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seasons of Change

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Matthew 7:16
The month of March has lived up to its name again this year. Notorious for coming in softly and leaving in a huff of swirling chilly winds, the month seems to have acquired a less than admirable reputation. None of us like cold winds finding all those places we are trying so hard to keep covered and warm, and then exposing them to the elements.

March is the last brush with winter that most of the country will see until next year. Those chilly winds, as troublesome as they may be, come for a purpose. They play an important part in the future productivity of the fruit trees and vines from which we love to gather plums and grapes once summer is here.

God plans swirling changes in our lives much the same as He does the month of March. We don't always like the abruptness of these changes, but just as with the winds of March, God is looking forward to the time of harvest when He can gather the fruits of righteousness that He so very much wants to see in His children.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Spiritual Temple

"In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded fogether for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Eph. 2:21,22

Have you ever wondered just why it is that God compares Christians to a temple? Specifically the temple of the Jews during the time of Christ and before. Once again God was taking something that most of the people at the time (if they were Jews) would know about and using it to explain something they did not understand.
He does this over and over throughtout the Bible.

Today in America, Christians are not as familiar with the Old Testament of the Jews so it may take some explaining and some study to get the connection. This is not meant to be an exaustive study, and I may break it up into several posts to give time for you to do some study on your own. I hope this helps you in your walk and understanding of Christ.

We will start in Exodus. In Chapter 25 you can read the commands for the tabernacle that God gave to Moses (the leader of the Jews). What does the plan start with  in verse two?

"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering." Ex. 25:2

God is the Creator of all things, you know that He could have commanded the Tabernacle to spring up fully built, perfect, just like he wanted it. He didn't need Moses or the people's help but God wanted to involve the people that he had chosen. He wanted their participation in this gift. But he places a requirement on their work and their offerings, their part must be done willingly, just as His was. It wasn't a command that they had to give, it wasn't the amount they could give,matter of fact it was a command that they first be willing to give what God had asked of them.

Where have we heard that before? The way God commands his people to give didn't change in the New Testament when Christ began to build his church. Paul tells us that in the following:

"For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." 2 Cor. 8:12

Paul is telling us that it is a requirement that giving to the Lord for the building and work of the church must first be from a willing mind/heart. Again, God is looking at the attitude the gift is given in, not how much the gift is.

God had a plan for the Tabernacle in the Old Testament and he laid it out for Moses and the people in the book of Exodus. God has a plan for the New Testament church and both plans require the same thing from his people: that we participate because we want to. In this plan of God's, he knows exactly what is needed to do the work. He looks to his children to willingly supply as much of it as they can, then look to Him to provide the rest. God's work, done God's way, will prosper. He gives the increase.

I hope that this has whetted your appetite to come back and find out more of the plans God has for his church that can include you if you are willing. Until next time...God bless.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gates of Pearl

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. Rev. 21:21

"Dust thou art to dust returneth was not spoken of the soul." Such a telling statement that William Shakespeare placed in one of his more famous plays. Taken from the facts recorded in the book of Genesis, this line standing alone can be taken as a sober warning or a proclamation of hope.
As a Christian I choose to take it as a proclamation of hope. I don't have to live my life thinking that this is all there is. I can get into God's word and learn about that life beyond the grave that is so beyond my finite imagination I can't even begin to describe it. And I am not alone,those whom God revealed glimpses of heaven to were hard pressed to be able to find something on earth that they could liken it to. God inspired them to use some of the most costly and precious things that man values so that we would have an idea of what it would be like.

I don't know about you but it is hard for me to imagine the gates of a city made of pearl. Those are some really huge pearls. Even harder for my limited mind is to imagine the oyster they came from!  But I believe it. I believe it all! Why? Because God said it, and I have seen God work enough in my life and the lives of others to know that He is who he says he is and can do what he says he will do. So if he says that the gates of heaven are pearl, then it's His city, He lives there, who am I to question it? 

 Most know that the pearl comes into being as a result of a lot of pain and labor on the part of the oyster. What better material for the gates of heaven to be made of than pearl? I don't have to tell you that the journey to heaven is filled with rough edges. But God has gone before us in the person of His Son Jesus to take the brunt of the pain for us.
Our contribution as His children is to be obedient in learning how we are to behave in this city we will be calling home. Start practicing it now so that others might see and one day follow you through those gates of pearl.
Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lighting the way VS cluttering the path

At work this past week I made the statement to one of my co-workers that I didn't understand how anyone could make it day to day without knowing God. I know that I would not like to try. She was quick to give me an answer. Three words: drugs, alcohol, and bitterness. and then the conversation began. She told me that she had not tried this 'Christian stuff' long. She had an aunt who was a Christian, and she seemed to be happy all the time like I was. (talking about me) She went on to say that she and her mother thought that when her uncle died her aunt would stop being so happy. They thought she would begin to grow angry and bitter. It surprised them both when she didn't.

 I told her that it was because as a Christian, her aunt knew her husband was with God. Her response was," Yeh that's what she said". I told her that her aunt's grief was a natural thing. Of course she would be sad, it was only natural to miss her husband, but if a person is truely a child of God, as it seemed her aunt was, the grief she had for her husband would not turn to bitterness. The Lord is there to comfort his own children through these times.

 More and more each day I realize I am being watched by those around me. Others are watching to see how I will react to not just the low times in my life, but also the happy times. As the gospel is being removed from public places: ie: prayer in schools, scripture from public buildings, mention of God in public gatherings, we as children of God are fast becoming the only light that the lost will be able to see.  Are we giving them enough light that they will be able to come to Jesus?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year - same choices - new hope

Yes, I know the title sounds a little depressing. None the less, it is true. We do still have the same choices. Are we going to think before we act and make right choices that will lead to change, or will we follow the "status quo" as they say.

 It’s the beginning of a new year, the time to make resolutions for changes that we plan to put in our lives. Traditionally it is a time of hope. We know ourselves better than anyone else, and we know the things in our lives that need change.

Life is choices. These choices must be made over and over every day. Some of them over and over in a day. Even doing nothing is a choice that people make, although most of the time it is a bad choice to do nothing. But here are two of the choices people are making this year.

“This is the year I lose weight.”
It is the #1 resolution according to those who take polls of such things.
#2 in the polls is: “This is the year I will get out of debt.”

Both of these resolutions require a good deal of determination. But then that is true with any real change that we make in life; and these are real changes.
How do you follow through on a resolution to change your life?
For an undertaking like this you need a plan in place, something that you can refer back to and log your progress.

Sit down and seriously make a written plan of the actions you need to take to make these changes come about.

For instance: If you plan to lose weight, think of how you eat now, aside from the obvious that needs to be eliminated, like using food for recreation(sitting on the couch eating without tasting as you watch TV).
Think of diets that will suit your taste buds and your lifestyle. For example, my son-in-law calls me the “great carnivore” I love meat. So when I decided to go on a diet, I chose the Atkins diet because it let me eat the foods I already liked. I just had to stop eating the carbs.

I can go to a fast food restaurant, order a roast beef and cheese, ask for a fork and satisfy my hunger for meat. I just don’t eat the bread. To keep me from being tempted, I toss the bread before I sit down. When I am at home, I can eat salads covered in baked chicken, with all the vegetables that I love, and still not blow my diet if I watch my portion sizes. You get the idea?

Maybe you like chocolate- try the 3-2-1 diet plan on the Slimfast website. Just be careful of your sugar levels.
Where there’s a will there is a way.

Do you plan to get out of debt? Then sit down and look at your income, your bills, how much do you spend that isn’t necessary? How much are you willing to cut out? Can you afford to pay a little above any of your monthly bills each month? If so, in most cases the overage will be applied to the principal. When you cut down your principal on a note you are also cutting the amount of interest that you will pay in the long run. Check with your lender on this.
Most important is to stop credit card use!

As I said, where there is a will, there is a way. Gain control back of your life this new year. It can be done: one decision at a time, one hour at a time, and one day at a time. Next thing you know it will be a week of change, and a month of change. If you fall and make the wrong choice, don’t let Satan trick you into giving up. Get up and the next choice that comes along make the right one and get back on track.

May God Bless you in the choices you make this new year.