3 O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified?
1 Corinthians 15:33
New Living Translation
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I have always heard it isn’t what your life is, it is the attitude you face it with. It is like seeing the glass either half full or half empty. The first part of my life I was a ‘see the glass half full’ kind of person. For a time in my adult life I became a ‘see the glass the half empty’. Thank God, He got me back to the positive, faith filled way of seeing things. Even now I can still slip back to the ‘seeing the glass half empty’, but thank God He is still there to bring me back around and that attitude is almost extinct in me.
Recently, I did have a relapse in my attitude because my life has been forced into a simplification that is beyond anything I have ever known before. At first, after our house sold and we were forced to live in our travel trailer, I looked at it as an adventure. But, when that adventure began to turn into not just a month or two, but MONTHS, the adventurous aspect of it began to wane.
I felt a despondency beginning to try to overtake me. I began to think of what it would be like if this turned into years! I lost the adventurous, this is fun, a perpetual camp out attitude and I began to feel panicked and desperate to find a house with a concrete slab instead of tires!
One day recently, as I lay flat on my back…I had thrown it out…the thought came to me, “When did this become hard? I was actually loving it at first!” I realized I had crossed over from faith to fear. I had crossed over from trust to ‘Another one of your doozies, Juliana!’ Oh, how the devil loves to play that broken record over and over in my mind.
God began to show me all I had done RIGHT! Wow!! That is a new concept on this thing!! I sold my home when God said to…obedience is a major step in the right direction! I sold when I didn’t know where we were going to end up…total and blind trust…another God pleasing thing! I had learned to live with less and with true simplicity. All the clutter was gone from my life and God wanted the same of my spiritual and emotional life, not just my physical.
Living a life of simplicity is wonderful!! You can live without things you never thought you could! I had no idea how much junk we had accumulated over the years. Books, books, and more books that I didn’t even remember I had, much less did I read them! Crochet yarn piled almost to the ceiling…great gift for a knitter friend of mine since I only crochet once a year! Clothes from the 80s…literally! I could go on, but this is a blog not a book!
As I began to decide to think of what to throw away, give away, and keep my questions to myself were, “Have I used it in the last year? Is it an heirloom? Is it necessary?” If my answer was yes to any of those, it stayed…very little stayed. Those three questions brought such great simplicity and joy to my life!
By the time hubby and I moved into the trailer, we were down to a spring/summer wardrobe ( the fall/winter is in storage) that consisted of 2 weeks worth of clothes and accessories. I have a section in my closet for the casual, semi-dressy, and Sunday clothes. One closet! That alone, amazed me and it relieved me!!
No more frantic searches on Sundays for my black travelers pants and that blouse I haven’t worn in a year, but I remembered it when I burped from my last bite of pizza…yeah, that had to be what jogged my memory! I had minimized and simplified and ‘oh what a relief it is’!
Suddenly, I realized God wanted the same from me in my mental and emotional life. Now, all people are important! We love ALL people! Jesus did, but notice Jesus only kept 12 close to Him. Why did He do that while He was on the earth? I think it was because the more you ‘entertain’ the less you can focus on what is important.
There are some people who juggle fifty different things in a week. They have friends who they hang out with that fingers and toes could not count, and that is fine! But, for me, relationships have to be categorized. Have I talked to this person in the last year? Why or why not? Is this person someone who will build me or tear me down spiritually? Is this person someone who I can trust or someone who would betray me? Is this person someone who enriches my life or brings sorrow and fatigue?
I am very careful about who I bring close. All Christians should be careful of who you bring close! Paul even warned the church to not even eat with people who practiced sin. It tells us in 1 Corinthians a man/woman of good character will be brought down if they make those who are not of good character close companions.
I heard about a young man who was a wonderful person! He had been someone who was respected by friends, family and his church community. This young man began to make friends with people who were more than a little rough around the edges, so to speak. It wasn’t long until this young man began to do little things the new friends did.
He began to drink, and then drink a little more and a little more often. It wasn’t long until the ‘old friends’ began to be pushed away and more of the rough friends began to come on the scene. This young man soon found himself overwhelmed in the new lifestyle he had developed. He ended up in jail one night after a drinking binge. His lawyer entered the room where he was and said, ‘Get rid of your ‘friends’, son. If you don’t you will find yourself here for a much longer time!’
I spoke with this young man, and he told me while he was in jail someone told him, ‘You lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.’ Now the friends didn’t make him do anything, but their ways definitely rubbed off on him. ‘You are who you hang with’, is a saying I always told my children, and I could always tell when they were ‘hanging’ with the wrong people.
Now the ‘glass half full’ to this story is, the more we ‘hang’ with God, the more like Him and His character we become. The wiser we are because we learn to think as He thinks. We love like Him, because that is what He is. We take on His dignity, because we have been with the “King” and realize we are a King’s child! Children always imitate the father. Make sure you are a good parent, your influence carries much farther than you know!
Ask yourself, “Is it time to minimize some things and some relationships in my life?” Let God show you the answer to be sure you answer correctly and do the right thing! Take off the weights of busyness and things. We often fail to hear from God the way the apostles and disciples did, not because it was just for Biblical times, but because our ‘times’ have become times of ‘too much to do and too little time to do it in’.
In minimizing, you will find you actually maximize what is truly important in life and you have had the time to think and pray about what that really is!
Ephesians 3:14 NIV For this reason I kneel before the Father[c] 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
As I took my walk today, this verse just kept coming up in my spirit. I could not remember all of it at first, but the words ‘according to His power that is at work within us’ just kept coming up over and over in my mind with such an intensity and fervency I determined to look it up later.
I ended up getting busy with something but when I went to bed, yet again, I could not sleep because I could not get this phrase out of my mind. As the Lord began to break it down for me, I couldn’t sleep because I was too EXCITED!! Let us study this verse out and think about the ramifications of it.
‘…according to His power….’ I began to think about who ‘His’ was. ‘His’ is referring to God! It isn’t my power, it isn’t the power of the most influential person I know or even the most influential person! This power is the same power ‘no foe can withstand’ according to Psalm 91, which we know to be satan and any and all of his evil devices.
The definition of ‘power’ according to Webster’s dictionary is :
This is what happens when the power of God begins to manifest for your need. There is a power so strong we cannot even imagine its capacity that begins to literally do a work FOR you and inside you!
God is able to go beyond ALL we could ever ask or think to ask and His power resides within us bringing the unseen to the place where we not only see it, but we have it!! Whether it is healing, salvation from a terrible situation, or to take us, or bring us to great things, that great power is working in all of us to do ALL that is needed in our lives!
It is doing for and in you what you could NEVER do for yourself whether you lived a million years, knew the most influential people in the world, and had full favor with them…no flesh has the power to bring the blessing and fruition of the blessing of God to your life BUT God and that is what is happening on the inside of you, even now!
How do we get that power to work within us to full capacity and guarantee it continues to work within us bringing about the changes we need in our lives? According to the verses above this one, when we are rooted and grounded in the love of God it sets this power in motion.
Love is the most powerful force on the face of the earth! Love can do what strength, words, and laws cannot. You can’t stop it if you tried. It is power unleashed and unstoppable! It has a force that cannot be caught, halted, or depleted.
Have you ever seen a mother with her baby? If you know anything about mothers and children, you know there is nothing you can say or do to change the heart of a good mother toward her child! She would lay her life down for that baby, no matter how old the baby may be!
It doesn’t matter how much that child has misbehaved at school, it doesn’t matter how bad their attitude is. You better be very careful how you tell a mother their baby was less than an angel that day even if you were an eye witness to it! You could prove to the mother they threw the toys, took someone else’s cookies, and even kicked you, the teacher, in the shin! That mother will nod her head, hold that child’s hand, and love it all the more. Instead of anger, you will see a look of understanding, even compassion. She may even go on to make excuses such as, “Well, they didn’t get their nap, they were up late, we were rushed.” This mother isn’t meaning to excuse the child’s behavior, but her love has her covering the multitude of the child’s sin!
She will take them home, they will be corrected, but be sure once the correction has been administered, so will hugs and her love will be multiplied. NOTHING you can say, prove, or do will alter or change the intensity of the love a mother has for her child. The more someone tries to stop love, the stronger it will flourish! That is POWER! It knows no bounds and it never fails to produce and multiply…that is what is at work in you and me!
No matter how much we have messed up, behaved badly, screwed up chance after chance, God corrects us and then even more love than we knew before is extended and that power continues to work mightily in us to bring about the sure end to any deficit in character. It brings a sure end to any problem we could never overcome on our own. It brings the healing the doctor had no prescription for! It brings the POWER of the BLESSING straight to you in any and every form you need it to be in!!
Stay in God’s love, and His power will stay in you!
For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]. Luke 2:11-14 AMP
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).
Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
In Christian circles we hear a great deal about dying to self, living unto Christ, counting the cost (as in giving our lives up, even mortally, if God sees fit to martyr us), YET if you make a “Christian” mad you can see just how alive THEY are! Suddenly we hear words like, “I had every right to the way I felt, I had a right to be mad, I had every right to be offended”! But the truth is, no you don’t if you are truly born again.
You gave up the natural for the supernatural when you got saved. In the natural, you deserved hell, you deserved to live a life of penance for your sins, you deserved to be sentenced for every wrong you ever thought of doing, for to think it is the same as doing it! When we heard the message of grace, forgiveness, no longer being under the curse but under the blessing, we were all to eager to leave our natural lives behind and step into the supernatural things of God…until someone ruffled our feathers, so to speak! Suddenly we are all to eager to grab hold of the natural things, the very things we wanted and knew we needed to be saved from. Suddenly the words “count the cost, die to self” are words of yesterday…today is TODAY!
I am amazed at people who are all too quick to pull out the scriptures about blessings and living in health and healing, protection, victory, but are so quick to live a life that is not much different from those who have little to nothing to do with God. They have RIGHTS, and you better not violate them!! They have no concept that when they reached back into “fallen living” they placed themselves in a place where God CANNOT bless them, no matter how badly He wants to do just that!
When God says, “Keep your lips from speaking guile and long life will be yours”, we grab “long life will be yours, but forget there is a condition to that long life! Let us take a good, hard look at Psalm 34!
12 What man is he who desires life and longs for many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good; seek, inquire for, and crave peace and pursue (go after) it!
15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the [uncompromisingly] righteous and His ears are open to their cry.
Suddenly, when we have been made “rightfully” mad or “offended” we forget the Bible says to seek peace, not vengeance! We want to see them get theirs and then we don’t want to see them at all! They deserve to be “unfriended” from Facebook, they deserve to not be spoken to, they deserve the cold shoulder, they deserve for others to know what was done by them, they deserve to PAY for upsetting us! Oh, yeah we know Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” right down to an undeserved crucifixion and slow agonizing death, but He was deity! God certainly cannot expect that of a “Christ Ambassador” or a “Christian” or someone who stepped down to an altar and said, “Use me God!! I’ll count the cost! Unless, it isn’t comfortable…then the cost may be just a little too much. I mean we are only human! We live in the natural, but God don’t disappointment me by not giving me the supernatural moves and blessings You promised! We don’t want YOU to look bad!”
We are quick to forget the part where He says, “The eyes of the Lord are toward the UNCOMPROMISINGLY righteous and His ears are open to their cry.” What is ‘compromising’? It is where one gives a little and the other gives a little, but neither fully have their way. Compromising with God instead of being uncompromising will get you “little”. You will have little grace, little blessings, and little power. It is not worth it to live to ourselves! In the end, the short-term pleasure of flesh unleashed is incomprehensible to all we could and would have gained by choosing to live (as hard as the choice was, it was still a choice) unto Christ and His way of doing and being!
“Choose ye this day whom you will serve” doesn’t just mean decide if you are going to choose salvation over hell. It means are you going to choose to do things God’s way as His Word commands (not suggest!) or live as seems good to you. Leaders, you are judged at a higher standard, so choose wisely and cautiously what realm you want to live and function in! (James 3:1)
Have I fallen short of the glory of God? Yes, I have and for that I ask forgiveness of my Father and of others. Will I remember next time I am tempted to exercise the ‘rights’ I gave up when I asked Jesus to live in me and through me so that I no longer live for myself, but for Him…I certainly will, because the One Who truly lives (Jesus) in me doesn’t forget, either!