Thursday, January 31, 2013

Who Put the Lamp Under A Bowl?

How much longer are we going to listen to the white noise of the devil's scratchy voice? The voice that tempts us to doubt God's goodness and His greatness. The same voice that says we are better caretakers of our lives; that we need to be our own gods. It's a self-centered lifestyle instead of a God-centered life. It happened in the garden of Eden with the devil (serpent) and Eve. (Genesis 3) We were created to worship something, and our enemy knows this. When we worship something other than Almighty God we head toward captivity, America!
How long are we going to believe his lies?  He tucks us into our comfort zones each day because we believe his deceitful whispers that tells us to back off from serving God because we're too tired, or too sick, or too poor, or too overwhelmed, or too unqualified, or too sinful  to stand up and radiantly shine the light of Christ? What has happened to U.S.? Have we given up or just given in because it's a whole lot easier than being faithful, steadfast, persevering, self-disciplined, empowered people of God? Is that it? Or are we a troubled people overcome by fear and laziness because it's become our lifestyle now?
When Jesus walked on the earth He said, "I am the light of the world.Whoever follows me will never walk in darkess, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) When He left earth to be seated on the right hand of His Father in heaven He gave His people a mandate to carry on His work. He said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16).
How many decades have Christian Americans been allowing the devil lead our thought lives into a dark corner of despondency, fear, hopelessness and anxiety? How much longer are we going to allow ourselves to be tormented by the ongoing subtle threats that run roughshod through our minds? Our freedoms continue to slip away. Yes, Jesus promised us "In this world you will have trouble.." and yes, life is hard and suffering and troubles come to us -- and it's very painful at times! But Jesus also said,  But take heart! I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33) 
He wants us to follow Him and be overcomers, too! "This is love for God: to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:3-5)
Believe. We have to believe God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. His name is "Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."' (Matthew 1:24) He is faithful to stay with us. We have to believe the truth of His Scriptures. We have to read it daily and study and meditate on His word. There is no other way to draw close to Him. There is no other way to find enduring love, endless joy and "peace that passes all understanding!" (Philippians 4:7). The Holy Spirit inside of us teaches us how to live, love and overcome, as we faithfully read our Bibles. And we begin to grow stronger and more radiant and He is glorified! He will help us, all we have to do is ask Him. Our "help comes from the LORD." (Psalm 121:2).
He has fully equipped us! "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." (1 Peter 1:3)
Our LORD is fully aware that His people are living in a dark, rebellious world and He encourages us with His love and His word: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
We are called to be peacemakers and walk in the light and power of God..."blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God." (Matthew 5:9) God has our back!
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ."
(2 Corinthians 10:3-5) There it is: we have "divine power to demolish strongholds!" What are we going to do with it?
Maybe Christian Americans need to take the bowls off our heads and suit up in the Armor of God that's been hanging in our closets. This spiritual wardrobe is also found in Ephesians 6: 10-18.  Maybe it's time for an awakening for God's people to get out of the sleepy comfort zone where we've been held hostage and start shining the light of hope to a very dark, suffering world!
Let's do it all for HIS glory and for the good of the world!

Friday, January 4, 2013

An Anxiety Attack on the Body of Christ

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Was there a lot of joy in your Christmas holidays or was it more like every day was a Black Friday for you? Were your days filled with Christmas chatter or Christmas cheer? When you went Christmas shopping did you also buy the lie that “frenzy” is the norm when we are celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ? Phrases like “Christmas Rush” were coined decades ago but it seems the worldly influences are overtaking the body of Christ in America – as a nation. It’s almost like we’re not recognizable as “light” much anymore. We are acting like the world!  Who it is who is telling you if you don’t buy the latest, greatest technology gadget, you are a bad parent? Who told you if your eight-year old doesn’t have a personal cell phone you don’t love your child? When did all this anxiety stuff become constant companions of Christian Americans? Why is it increasing?

A few years ago in a Bible study we read a chapter that discussed worldliness and a woman said, “Why do we buy things we can’t afford to impress people we don’t even like?” The biggest problem is that anxiety does not go away on its own. It feeds on itself until the Christian prayerfully turns to Christ for repentance and deliverance.

My Bible says when Jesus came into the world as a man, one of His names was “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) As Christians, where is our peace? We gave it up. The worldly chatter around us is louder than our Lord’s voice because we won’t “be still” long enough to hear His voice “and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  The materialistic, pagan world is clamoring to win us over as faithful citizens of this self-centered society. Lord, have mercy on us.

Along with the worldliness comes anxiety and fear. Why? Because God is not of the world so there is no rock solid foundation for life: No security. No truth. No trust. No grace. No unconditional love. Only chaos.  “Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”(1 John 2:15-16)

This anxiety attack on the body of Christ has been exposed, praise God. It’s real! I recently viewed a very powerful series of DVDs of Passion City Pastor Louie Giglio sharing his tormenting battles with anxiety and spiritual warfare. God has given him an amazing gift as a communicator. His goal in life is to glorify God. He opened his heart to share a very painful, personal journey to thousands in Passion’s worship services. He shared the process of being set free.

When I finished viewing the three messages my jaw dropped because I have experienced things he described. His was a message filled with hope and honesty. I believe just as in Scripture when Mary broke a flask and washed the feet of Jesus, and a beautiful fragrance permeated the room, God is using Pastor Louie Giglio’s humble heart as a  broken flask and as these messages continue to be shared -- a beautiful, life-saving fragrance will permeate the body of Christ!

The Mt. Zion Baptist Church's Women’s Ministry wants to offer women in our community the blessing of hearing these three messages in a retreat at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. You can register online for the “RETREAT from Anxiety scheduled for January 19, 2013; from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Cost is $15 and includes a coffee bar and lunch. For more information and to register:  Registration is online only. SEATING IS LIMITED. Hope to see you there!

This column also appears in The Cherokee Vine, January 2013  issue. Check local  shops & churches in Cherokee County for your own copy of the good news from The Cherokee Vine  or visit: