Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Walking Worthy--Even on the Internet

Usually, I don’t use the blog to vent because it’s a devotional blog, devoted to sharing God’s Word. However, I’ve been troubled lately about the comments, posts, tweets, and updates (or whatever you want to call them) on Facebook by those who profess salvation. Quite frankly, I am appalled by some of the comments. Those of us who call ourselves saints of God are expected to walk worthy of the calling that God has placed on our lives.

One of the publishers for my novel, The Taste of Good Fruit, is Walk Worthy Press. The title of the publishing company was given to Denise Stinson, the publisher. There are several references in scripture about walking worthy but a key one is from Ephesians 4:1, which says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering; forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Throughout the writing and publication process, I was always reminded to “walk worthy.” As servants of the Lord, we are not instructed to be led by our flesh, but by His Spirit and His Word. In these verses, Paul reminds us that we represent Christ. We have a responsibility to represent Him at all times, not just on Sunday morning or Bible study nights.

On the internet, people often post things about people that they wouldn’t say directly to them. People want to air their true feelings on social media forums, such as Facebook because they want people to click the “Like” button and comment back. While this may gratify them and momentarily make them feel important and funny, have they considered the impact on all the others who don’t click the “Like” button or comment? Have they considered that if they call themselves Christians, it is never okay to be mean-spirited and “throw-off” on other people, especially those of the household of faith?

The Word says, “we are to forbear one another in love.” If it’s not uplifting the body of Christ, we shouldn’t say it, type it, text it, or post it. Philippians 4:8-9 instructs believers on what our thoughts should be. After we are given a list of the things we should think on, which includes things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, Paul says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” When believers’ thoughts are resting on picking people apart and then taking it to others on internet to laugh about and expose others' weaknesses and flaws, it’s an affront to the name of Christ we profess to represent. In addition, the God of peace can’t be with those who engage in this behavior.

Paul also tells us, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:21). Our conversation and our written (and typed) words should never be ones that divide, alienate, or offend any, especially in the body of Christ. Our goal should be to lift one another up, recognizing that none of us is perfect. As a body, we should be striving to help one another become more like him, which means being more effective, bearing much fruit, and advancing the Kingdom.

The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. As believers, Jesus’ love for us covers our sins, and He is our model, not the world. Let’s all strive to walk worthy in what He has called us to do and how he has called us to do it.

Striving to Walk Worthy With You,


Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Favorite Things


 I remember being scared to death when I was a freshman in high school, and I sang my first solo at the state competition.  I sang “My Favorite Things,” from The Sound of Music.  It was a nightmare because just as I calmed the butterflies in my stomach, a blonde-haired beautiful girl sang the exact song!  She nailed it,and no, that was not a favorite feeling. 
While “Raindrops on roses" aren’t that great, and I am not a big fan of “whiskers on kittens,” “brown paper packages tied up with strings—these are a few of my favorite things.”  After all, if we’re honest, most of us have at least a few superficial favorite things on our lists.  For example, I love designer purses, shoes, and pretty dresses:)
What material things really get your heart pumping fast?  . . . A great pair of shoes, an exotic vacation, designer clothes, luxury cars, fine jewelry, or great food?  Remember Oprah’s favorite things episodes over the years?  Many women, at one point or another, have longed to be in the audience for one of those shows—even if they weren’t Oprah fans.  Free great gifts can send people into a frenzy.
As I reflect on my own favorite things during the Christmas season and push the material things to their proper place, at the bottom, things make so much more sense.  The Word crystallizes our true heart’s desire while the world tempts us with all the things that can lead us down to an insatiable path of destruction.  Material things can never satisfy us.  As much as I want my children to be happy and get some of the things they want for Christmas, I know that those things only gratify them temporarily.  They will eventually lose their luster and be forgotten, lost, or broken. 
Jesus says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).  Whether it’s the Christmas season or not, seeking Him has to be something that we put first on our list everyday of our lives.  Seeking Him and His righteousness brings us love, peace, joy, and all the other fruits of the Spirit.  We are empowered to press on, no matter what happens, when we are in right relationship with Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
One of my favorite passages in scripture reminds us that there are so many who have come before us in the faith.  We are told to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, and He loves us like no other.  There should be nothing ahead of Him on our list of favorites.  He showed us His favor by laying down His life for us. 
Our desire to please others should not be ahead of our desire to please and obey Him—no matter what.  Sometimes, as “My Favorite Things” says, “the dog bites and the bee stings.”  We all have to deal with setbacks, disappointments, and sadness at one point or another, but His Word should be the light unto our path and lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105).  He has given us His Word to help us navigate through life, regardless of what season it is. 
My favorite thing is the comfort of knowing that Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to become human, sacrificing His life on the cross to bear our sins.  I am so full of joy, knowing that because of his birth, death, and resurrection, we have access to eternal life.  His Word tells us that “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  There is no better gift than the one that Jesus has given to us, and it’s totally free.  Only what we do for Him and With Him will last eternally.
If you haven’t accepted your gift, please accept it today.  He loves you! 
Christmas Blessings,