Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Front of the Line Passes

I don't know about you, but I love it when you can get the opportunity to bypass long lines. People who know me well, know that I despise standing in line for any long length of time, especially if I can determine other ways to eliminate the lines. Like standing in line at a check stand at a store, while employees can see the need, but act like they can't or won't do anything and instead spend time talking about things. I hate waiting in lines at amusement parks too and try as much as I can to avoid going when I know it will be busy, even waiting for lunches and dinners and go when I know places won't be busy.

Traffic is another issue, I can maintain a patience there I didn't use to have before, but I still get upset when people would rather look at issues on the freeways on the other side of the road rather than continue to pay attention to where they are going to avoid causing one of this side.

The best option, I love now, is options to avoid standing in long lines.

For the most part, these require spending a little bit of extra money to avoid the long lines.

This has recently upset my father because I will choose to avoid long lines at the gas stations like AM/PM for cheaper gas, and instead opt for a little higher price per gallon at the gas station right across the street from them. I tried to explain to my dad, that opting to spend a $1.50 overall for the difference in the price of gas is worth it to me, to not have to wait in long lines. He argues I'm supporting the big oil companies instead, but honestly my time has value.

I love getting front of the line passes at amusement parks as well, because like I said before, my time has a value.

We only get 86,400 seconds in the day.

We have to use them all because we can't save them and use them tomorrow. So our time contains value.

It's what we choose to spend it on that determines a lot in our lives.

I find I can manage my time at places like Disneyland or Universal Studios by taking advantage of those perks like Fast Passes and Front of the Line passes. But you have to make sure you get them early because often times they run out and you can't get them any longer.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post.

Following our lives here on Earth, we will die.

One of two things will happen after that and where you put your faith at while you were here during your time on Earth determines what will happen to you at that point.

Believers, we get that all important and coveted Heavenly Front of the Line Pass. No waiting to get to Heaven. The Bible states that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord in 2 Corinthians 5:8. So now waiting line at the pearly gates to see if you get in or not. Nope, front of the line all the way.

The cost on our end?  NOTHING. Jesus paid the price for our faith in what He can here to accomplish. To restore the broken relationship when sin entered the world, thus giving us, as believers, the front of the line pass.

When we die, we get to bypass the Great White Throne judgment the rest of the world is subject to. Oh we will be judged on what we did with our lives here, but the consequences for those choices is covered by the blood of Jesus. He paid for all our sins, past, present and future. That is paid for when we confess and repent from our sins. Jesus merely walks up to God and says, "I got this one. They are forgiven and now they get to go to heaven! Paid in full!"

But for everyone else, when they die, they go to a place of waiting until the end when they will all be judged. See the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16: 19-31. This is that time, when all those who feel they led a great life doing good things for others will earn them a coveted pass into heaven. But since the wages of sin, is death, and without Jesus's payment of blood to cover that cost, they will be cast into the lake of fire forever. It will definitely not be that party place where all your other friends are hanging out, like I remember people joking about in high school.

This is the one place, you don't want to end up. Trust me, this is where you want the Front of the Line pass. Where our last breath here, is our first breath in Heaven in the presence of our Savior Jesus Christ along with our loved ones who have gone before us as believers. Never to be separated from them again.

So the choice for those of you that are still struggling with your eternal destiny is simple.

Jesus = Heaven for all eternity.

No Jesus = Hell and eternal torment for all eternity.

The choice is really up to you. What will you choose?

Choosing Jesus is a simple as saying the Sinner's prayer listed at the top of this page. Saying it like you mean it and closing it with a heart sold out for Him alone is it. It's a freewill gift. You don't have to do anything more to get your Front of the Line Pass to Heaven. I hope to see you all there!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

God Answers Our Prayers

For quite some time, I have been emailing back and forth with a self proclaimed atheist. Why he reached out to me via my personal email or how he obtained my email address has to be completely a God thing in my opinion. We first encountered one another on a friend's Facebook page with the discussion of religion and whether God truly exists or not. My poor friend had to eventually delete the post when the thread simply grew too long for the "debate" to continue.

Now for the last thirty days, I have tried in vain to remain calm and pass along the message I felt God wanted me to convey, despite the numerous name callings laced with profanity, that all Christians believe is the fairy tale book of the Bible. I attempted to find out just where his issue was with the labels of "Christians" or anything that referred to referencing the Bible as our source for the true.

The "debate" continued despite my repeated attempts to remind him that I was more than willing to carry on our "conversations" as long as they remained civil. I'm not sure now, looking back, that he was able to do just that. He repeatedly insulted me with profanity, referencing my lack of intelligence to respond to him without using the Bible as my source, and continued his assault. I continued to pray for him, that God will intervene in some way, and hopefully He has.

With each email, I could gain some small tidbits of what he issues were. He hated that at the end of life, it's going to be a choice between heaven or hell. He refuses to believe that either of these places exists and believes we will all just come to the ends of our lives and simply be buried to become a worm buffet. He believes in the science of the world and got to the point of arguing about the science behind the creation resulting from a band of light that ushered the world into that "big bang" theory most like to default to. I pointed out that from the very beginning the first part of creation according the Genesis was the reference to God creating light as the first part of God's creation of the world on the first day. "Let there be light!"

He had an issue with that one. Why? Because I referenced the Bible and the theory behind my beliefs in a creator and intelligent design. At some point he actually admitted that if he wrote the Bible, it would simply say it was created, people lived, the end. At least I got him to admit in a "Creator" which he later tried to dispute.

I explained that no one at the end of their life will wind up in heaven or hell because of God's judgment but due to our own choices when given free will. If we fail to accept the sacrifices God provided when He sent His only Son, Jesus to die for our sins, was raised on the third day, and now sits at the right hand of God waiting for the precise moment when God will simply have enough of sin running rampant on the world and unleash the final judgment on the earth after the rapture of the believers. I told him that no one winds up in hell without their own decision. He didn't like that.

Just yesterday, the final email was laced with more hate that I thought possible and I questioned why God would allow these conversations to continue. I prayed for a decisive answer before blocking any further email attempts. During a lunch with my husband I opened up to him what I was struggling with. I shared I didn't want to get to heaven and have God ask me why I simply gave up. I told him I need God to tell me what to do about this. I explained the name calling didn't bother me, because none of the things are true. I know the enemy is simply using him to get at my faith and I should be able to defend what I believe. Knowing that persecution is a sign, I'm doing something right. Any outside influence from friends of his, simply advised me to end our conversations. For some reason, it didn't sit well in my spirit that I could simply "block" or "unfriend" someone simply because our conversations weren't going anywhere and I was watching someone send themselves to hell without any further intervention.

I continued to pray for wisdom and answers.

In fact one of his emails stated I was mentally unfit because I believe I " heard" from God. No matter of explanation was enough for him. He wasn't budging on his beliefs.

During my morning devotion today, God answered me.

Want to know what He said?

And no, for those of you that want to know if I "heard" the voice of God audibly, the answer is no.

Here is what my morning devotion said,

"Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." Titus 3:10-11 (NIV).

I even love the Message's version, "Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him. It’s obvious that such a person is out of line, rebellious against God. By persisting in divisiveness he cuts himself off."

Can you believe that? Yes, God provided me with the exact words I needed to "hear" from Him.

So this one is closed on my end.

I will continue to pray for a individual known as MJ and if you want to add him to your prayers, please pray for revelation and for someone to come along in his life that will truly show him that God is as real as the Bible I hold in my hands.

For now, I will go on my "fairy-tale" beliefs according to some and I love that fact that I am sold out as crazy for Jesus in my body, mind and soul. I love the Lord with all my being and I can't wait for the day when I spend an eternity in Heaven, a very real place, for all eternity.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do You Validate?

I just wonder if any of you when you pull into a parking garage actually stop somewhere just to get your parking ticket validated? I mean sometimes they will validate the whole time you are there, but most times it's only for a specified time. I saw the cutest YouTube video that a friend sent me! You really should see it! It's called "Validation" and you can search for it on You Tube! It's about people that stop in a parking garage, and seek out the validation person to have their parking tickets validated so their parking will be FREE!

What they get when they arrive is "validation". They receive the most sincerest compliments from the person who marks their tickets, but only after he provides them with just the right compliments they need for the day.

I find this so true, especially being a stay at home mom and sometimes wife whose hubby is gone for weeks at a time. He is usually home for a couple days and then leaves for another 3-5 week stint. Let's just say I could use some validation. My kids need rides to school, sports activities, the malls, friends house, church, youth group, last minute things at the store. Can you relate?

Well it's amazing how much a sincere compliment can completely change your attitude and change your day. Too often though we put some faith in wanting those compliments from people, when the only person who will give them to you all day long without waiting is God. "I am with you always." Jesus promises in Matthew 28:20. God's compliments are not only sincere but they are filled with love, joy and hope. It's because God always sees the best in us, believes in us not matter how many times we fail and will never forsake us no matter how many times we push him aside.

Tonight we shared a dinner with hubby while he was passing through town and we were discussing just how important it is to let people know honestly what you think of them. Just the good however! At least for now. I was explaining how I took the time today to send along a quick email to my home school teacher to thank her for supporting me, always being quick to respond to my issues as a home school parent, and just glad that we have her when I hear from my friends that they don't like their kids teachers. I took the time not only to write it but to be sincere in my compliments.

A few minutes later I received the nicest email of thanks from her saying just how important that email came at a really difficult time in her day and just by reading it, it changed her day. Sincerity in it's purest form. Today at dinner, my oldest daughter was telling us how irritating our waitress was because she would ask if we needed anything, and we would tell her we were OK, she would thank us. Caitlyn said why does she say thank you so much, and I informed her that she was displaying good manners in how she was responding to us, her customers.

By the end of dinner, Caitlyn expressed that our waitress really went out of her way to make sure our drinks were always filled, if we needed more bread, took away all our empty plates when we were finished and genuinely cared about us. We discussed that perhaps someone should know about her outstanding service, since too often you don't get that kind of attention anymore. My hubby did stop on our way out and asked to speak with the manager to let her know just how good our waitress Vanessa was! She said she would be heading back to talk to her since she was going that way.

It is now our families goal to validate someone each day in a genuine and sincere manner. We are hoping it will make a difference in their day and bring a true smile to their face and a bounce in their step.

I feel we all need to feel validated every day in some small way, we know that some days we just need to feel like we count, and I pray that each of you that reads this post will be encouraged by the Holy Spirit each day that God created you and has kept you right where you are because you are serving His special purpose! Nothing happens that doesn't filter through His hands and without His knowledge. You mean everything to God! Your ticket is now validated!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How Hard Has Your Heart Become?

Last night at church was a time for both reflection and if I must say, a bit of conviction. We were asked if we have ever been hurt before, and I can honestly say, I think that everyone had raised their hand, mine included. I mean who hasn't. Even as believers when we face the pain of rejection from a friend or even a family member, we have a tendency to harden our hearts. We put up those walls to ensure that no one will hurt us like that again.

We can see evidence even in the lives of believers. We find ourselves becoming a bit hardened ourselves when our efforts to reach the lost come back void. When after all those attempts at sharing the gospel message is rejected again and again. Just what will it take to reach those people.

Compassion for one.

Compassion defined simply put is love in action.

God has called every single one of us as believers to be an active participant. Not simply to walk away when the going gets tough. In fact we are challenged not to leave when it's hard, but to leave when it's easy instead.

I mean you can see countless times where we, as believers in Jesus, can grow hard. When we pass that homeless person who is still sitting at that same corner with the same sign asking for money. You have a firm belief they are just faking it to make a quick buck and not get a real job.

Oh what about those noisy neighbors that refuse to turn the music down, clean up their yards, or simply be a part of the community. Why even reach out yet again? All of our efforts have failed this far.

Or what about the person who keeps emailing you, leaving negative comments on your Facebook page, Twitter or Blog telling you what a joke your faith in Christ is? Why even engage that person?

Because God has called us to.

I love the quote from G. Campbell Morgan which states it pretty clear,
“Organized Christianity that fails to make a disturbance is dead.”

So what does that mean for us?

It means we need to get out of our comfort zone and spread compassion to our friends and family. It means we need to help others. There are so many hurting people who have thrown up their hands in frustration simply believing that we care for possessions, our position and protection more than we do people.

And you know what, they are right!

We have do have a heart for God in order to love people. Our mission trip in our lives is to serve Christ wherever we are. We don't have to travel to another country. We can get to our neighbors, our coworkers, our family, our community and share compassion with them.

How many of your coworkers are having a difficult time in their marriages, their relationships with their children, their addictions, their finances, and we have no clue? How many young teens are struggling just to find one person who cares anymore about them? How can we help?

That is simply all they are looking for.

Someone to help.

Perhaps it's buying a coworker coffee today, or taking them to lunch. Visiting your neighbor and bringing them cookies. Helping to fill a friend or family member's gas tank when they are struggling to make ends meet. If you are able, how about helping to pay a person's bill or bills for the month? What about simply volunteering more to help out where you can?

What a difference we would make in the lives of unbelievers if we simply stepped outside ourselves and putting all we have into the hands of Jesus and allowing Him to work through us.

How about if you join what God is doing right now.

Wherever you all there.

Use what you have to help someone else.

Stop making every excuse and make every effort instead.

I challenge you today, to make a difference to someone today whomever God puts in your path. Reach out, even if its uncomfortable. See what a difference it will make. They might not even share what that impact has had, but God knows and that is good enough for us. He sees it!

Jesus said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” Matthew 20:25-28 (The Message.) 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for an amazing message in church last night. Often times we forget our true mission as believers, to take the Good News into all the world and share not only our testimony but what having You in our lives has done to change us. Help us to look around and not be so hardened by what we see. Help us to have softened hearts and to break them in ways we can see those people sitting right next to us at work, or in our neighborhoods or schools that are so broken and in need of help. I ask that you provide us with divine insight to know just how to help them. Let us be more compassionate to where people are in their lives. They may be experiencing brokenness in their marriages, their relationships with their children, facing overcoming an unexpected illness or an addiction, or simply trying to make ends meet to pay their bills this month. Let us reach out to our neighbors today, whomever that may be. Let us offer to buy them lunch, fill their gas tanks, go for coffee or simply if we are able to help pay their bills. Help us to not miss the opportunities you have placed in our laps today, Father, but to extend Your helping hand to show others the love you have for them today. In Jesus Name ~ AMEN