The Illusion of Life

via Photo Challenge: Silence

We are all fellow travelers in a fallen world, where pain and suffering are the norms.  Many carry burdens struggling under a heavy load.  Each seeks encouragement, love, affirmation, and direction while striving daily for the prize he wills to be out there.  Others may live each day with back bent and head bowed low yet unrelenting in his journey.  All are  silently searching for answers, life’s purpose, for truth.

In this fast-paced, technological world, it’s easy to become trapped in daily routines.  We can become so focused on just “doing the next thing,” that people become no more than a means to an end.  Much of what we sacrifice our lives for will one day be useless ashes.  Real value cannot be seen with the eye or heard by natural means.  It’s hidden behind a wall of flesh.  Listen to the silence.

The Normal Day

The  redundancey of daily tasks in our normal every day lives tend to lull us into a sense of complacency.    Lost in the demands of the moment and giving little thought to the possibility of change.  A few years ago I lost my husband of fifty-two years  and suddenly  what is written in the quote below became a glaring reality to me.  I went about my day doing familiar things,  then overnight my life fell apart.  No time to talk or adjust.  I just went to sleep and awoke in a different world.

During those first weeks I searched franticaly for something to anchor my life.   Gradually over the months that followed, I clawed my way through the maze and found solid footing.    I don’t know how many others might experience what I did.  I guess it would depend on a lot of variables, however, for those of you who might, I have included some material that struck a cord with me.

We all choose what we will entertain in our conscious mind.  The things we attach importance to while others are discarded with little thought.  Some of you who read this post may take it to heart making it a part of your daily life.  Others will toss it aside as not relating to them.  However, the chances are very high that one day in the future it will come back to haunt you when you like others before you scream silently into your pillow wishing for a chance to return to a normal day.

Quote taken from ‘Defeat & Despair’ blog.

“Wherever you are right now, stop and listen; look around you.  Whatever you see or hear — the voices of your loved ones, the bustle of your workplace, the quiet of your home after others have left, your well-tended garden and your beloved pets and handmade decorations — all the minutiae of your present surroundings will one day belong to a vanished past.  The magazines and books lying around now, if they survive at all, will soon seem passé, then eventually become quaint collector’s items.   The photographs on your walls will fade and appear dated, the hairstyles and clothes hinting of bygone eras.” ~ Unknown author

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

— Mary Jean Irion

What does  your normal day look like?  How might you redeem the time and live it to the fullest?  Share your ideas with other bloggers.

Soles Defining Souls by Lori Dixon

Recommended Reading….a must for all women.

Soles Defining Souls: Walking In the Shoes of Different Church Ladies
. . . and Those Who Left
Copyright © 2015 by Lori E. Dixon
Published in Abbotsford, British Columbia by LKM Publishing

Defining souls offers an exceptional insight into the hearts and souls of women.  While focusing on the different personalities found in our places of worship, the analogy is easily applied to women everywhere.  We are all unique and different; God made us that way.  We are different parts of the same picture.  Our size, shape, and coloring are all designed to enhance the overall landscape as God intended. God’s plan is perfect, but we are not.   The problems arise when the pieces of the puzzle are offended by the shape and size of other pieces, and attempt to manipulate God’s design by usurping His authority in their placement.

The author’s use of different shoes easily defines the different personalities in a way that does not diminish their importance.  Offering the reader a chance to see beyond the action and understand the why.  Not only in the lives of others but also in their own.

“Your actions will always be what the world sees, but people who choose to see through God’s eyes will always have the compassion to understand why.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Who are you following?

Who are you following?  Who are you listening to? Who do you go to for answers to spiritual questions?  Who are you trying to please? If you answer truthfully you will know who you are following.

I don’t want to offend anyone but Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is no longer on earth, and if you are taking directions from man you may wind up in the swamp. Christ was perfect ,no sin was found in Him, He is our example.   Where did we get the idea that as believers we needed man to guide us?  God has provided all the instruction required to live a godly life.  His Word and His Spirit.  The Word is a lamp unto your feet, ( Psalms 119:5) and His spirit will guide you into all truth (John 16:13).

The WCE reports there are over 30,000 different Protestant Dominations today.  This number is disputed by many for various reasons. However, anything over one is too many.  The World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett,  defines “denomination” as:

An organized aggregate of worship centers or congregations of similar ecclesiastical tradition within a specific country … whose component congregations and members are called by the same denominational name in different areas, regarding themselves as one autonomous Christian church distinct from other denominations, churches, and traditions.

Scripture bears out the fact there is one body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith and one God. (Eph 4:4-6) So why are there so many different denominations?  Could it be because each denomination has been formed by and is lead by man, embracing doctrines derived from their personal interpretation of scripture? This is not to say all Christian leaders are in error.  There are faithful people in all denominations. However, do you want to base your spiritual life on the understanding of natural man? God does not accept excuses for ignorance of His word.  You are responsible for your walk with God based on the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of scripture to you personally.

I’m not saying that membership in local fellowships are wrong they can and should be very encouraging and supportive of one another.  It is when the individual believer lays aside the Bible and follows the instructions of the groups’ leaders alone that problems ensue.  You are an individual; God deals with you as an individual, only God can lead you in the path He created for you.

This article is intended for believers only – especially new believers.  The only access the unbeliever has to the Holy Spirit is when the Spirit convicts him of sin and his need of salvation.  When an unbeliever accepts the witness of the Holy Spirit and accepts the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus Christ on his behalf, the Spirit takes up residence in the body of that individual and will guide you into all truth. Who are you following?

I know I need to study scripture but it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Through a diligent study of God’s Word, under the guidance of His Spirit, you’ll drop a strong anchor that will hold in the storms of life.  You will know your God.  And when you know your God, not only will you be strong, but you will do great exploits for Him.”        Daniel 11:32           ~ Kay Arthur

Many times believers give up on studying their Bible citing an inability to comprehend the message of scripture.  This can lead to the belief that something is wrong with them spiritually.  This is not at all true.  Studding  scripture is a lifelong process. It’s not possible for the human mind to comprehend the truths of scripture all at once.  It’s a process and must take place over a period of time – precept upon precept.

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:”  Isaiah 28:10 (KJV)

While acquired knowledge of the Bible is an ongoing process, there are various study methods that have been developed to improve and enhance comprehension.  Years ago I visited the campus of Precepts International in Chattanooga, Tennessee. While there I learned the Inductive Bible Study method. Using the tools of Inductive study,  opened up the Word of God and completely changed the way I view scripture.

Inductive study doesn’t tell you what the Bible means or what you should believe.  Instead, it teaches you a method of studying that can be applied to any portion of Scripture at any time for the rest of your life.  It’s not difficult and can keep you out of the swamp.

If you long to know God and the truths of His Word, you must do more than merely read the Bible or accept what someone else has said about it.  You must interact with God’s Word personally, absorbing its message and letting God engrave His truth on your heart and mind and life.  That is the very heart of inductive study: seeing the truth for yourself, discerning what it means, and applying that truth to your life.

For more information on the Inductive study method get Kay Arthur’s Book on how to study your Bible. Available on Amazon through the link below.

How to Study Your Bible

What’s so important about studying Scripture?

The ability to skillfully use God’s Word is vital to making sound decisions. Decisions that not only affect you but those who look to you for guidance. God seeks to reveal Himself to his creation through the scriptures.  Both the Old and New Testaments were written by holy men instructed by the Holy Spirit.  It is amazing that a book thousands of years old has been and still is, relevant to all generations.  It contains  God’s plan of redemption and constant guidance to the redeemed.

Over the years, many have struggled with reconciling the teachings of the Old Testament with the new.     God never contradicts himself.  What was true in the Old Testament is still true in the New.   A good method for studying the scriptures is the “analogy of faith.” It is a Reformed Hermeneutical principle which states that, since all scriptures are harmoniously united with no essential contradictions, therefore, every proposed interpretation of any passage must be compared with what the other parts of the Bible teach.

“The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New”  St. Augustine

God has preserved his message down through thousands of years, many translations, languages, and peoples.  So why aren’t more people interested in studying this personal message from God?  For the same reason, Adam sinned in the garden.  The same reason Christ was crucified.  The same reason the Israelites rebelled against God.  Satan, the enemy of God, has been and still is fighting against God to usurp his power and authority.

It will never be easy to study God’s Word.  It will require commitment, dedication, and perseverance. However as a believer, you will never do anything in this life that is more important.  We are foreigners traveling through a hostile land.  The only reliable compass made available to us is God’s Word.  You can rest assured Satan will do any and everything in his power to keep you from this vital information.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine(teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me (God).  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   Genesis 2:16-17  

 

 

Women’s Ministry or Misery

I have been in women’s ministry for 20 plus years. During that time I have listened to numerous speakers, read many books and attended a wide variety of functions. I almost always came away with the feeling I had been cheated. The excitement would be high, well known speakers, great music and a healthy ticket price.  However, I  usually left disappointed.

I finally accepted the fact that I was the piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit.  Everyone else seemed content with the way things were so it must be me.  Then I ran across this quote on Facebook by Sarah Bessey.

“I’m here tonight because I want what the world cannot give me.  We are chocking on cutesy things and crafty bits, safe lady topics and if one more person says that modest is hottest with a straight face, I may throw up.  We are hungry for authenticity and vulnerability.  Not ‘churchified’ life hacks from lady magazines.  Some of us are drowning, suffocating, dying of thirst for want of the cold water of  real community.  We’re trying really hard, – after all we keep showing up to your lady events and we leave feeling just a bit empty.

We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travelers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus – not to the sale at the mall.” ~Sarah Bessey

Thank you, Sarah!  Perhaps I’m not crazy after all.

Visit Sarah at  Sarah Bessey

Are there others out there that feel the same?

Know What You Believe and Why You Believe it!

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