Imaginary Friends

Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were a child? I did not and in fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who did. But I have heard that many children do have imaginary friends. I guess that’s when imagination starts, in children. imaginary friendThe benefit of imaginary friends is that they are whatever you want them to be. They never have to get mad at you, they can always be by your side and agree with all you say and do. You can make them do the scary things that you are too afraid to try. They can take the blame whenever you get in trouble. You can be with them or ignore them whenever you want. It’s a one-sided relationship where you are totally in control. The trouble with that is…they are not really a friend at all. They are not real and true. You are just as alone as if you had never imagined them in the first place. In order to have a friend and be a friend, you must get to know the other person and allow them to know you. imaginary-friends - facebookThat takes effort and it takes time. Life is lonely with a friend who is only imaginary.

Do you know people who have a relationship with God like that? I guess the more important questions is…have you ever had that relationship with God? Where you imagine Him to be what you want, when you want? Pick him up when you need Him and then ignore Him when life seems to be going well? Is it a one-sided relationship where you do all the talking and no listening? Does this imaginary god love you just as you are but doesn’t want to work in you to make you better? That’s not real – that’s not God. He does love you just as you are but…He does want to work in and through you to make you better. He has a plan for you and it’s a plan for YOUR GOOD. The thing is, you can’t be in control. You can’t pick God up when you want and then drop Him when you want to go your own way. You must let God be God in your life. He’s not pushy; He gives all of us freedom of choice. We can choose to have an imaginary god or we can choose to follow the real, personal and only true God. What will you choose today? Imagination and deceit or reality and truth? Deceiving ourselves only leads to destruction.imaginary friend cartoon - God

I choose GOD! I pray that when I try to take control and make God what I want, I will quickly realize it and use my imagination for something beneficial, not making a false God. His will, not mine. He is God, I am not.

Isaiah 65:2 “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations”

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

04/01/19

False Fantom Feelings {5.11.16}

Before I begin, I’m sure some of you are thinking the same thing I did [that is NOT how you spell phantom]. Well, I looked it up in the dictionary because I just had to keep with same letter words for this title. I can’t explain it – just one of those weird things about me. Now that the spelling issue is out of the way, on with the story…

On Mother’s Day one of our sons took me to see Phantom of the Opera. I had never seen it before and did not know the story. I was immediately impressed with the singing (and the capacity of those singers to hold notes for so long). The set design and changes though were amazing. I was enthralled just watching it all. I’m sure I had my mouth open part of the time wondering how they came up with the idea and then pulled it off. Of course, I liked the dancing too. As we came to the end though, I was overwhelmed with the sadness of the story. I have thought about it afterwards and realized that many of us have had similar thoughts as that of the Phantom. He felt alone and isolated. He was disfigured, avoided, mocked and feared. He lashed out at others because of those feelings. Don’t we often do the same? How many times have you let yourself fall into a “self-pity party” and blown things out of proportion, causing you to act unkindly to others or fabricate motives for certain actions or words of others? Like all of us, the Phantom wanted to be loved for who he was. What is so sad is that all that time, God’s amazing love was waiting for him, just like it is waiting for all of us. The Phantom’s feelings were false. For truth, we must go to the ONE TRUE GOD and HIS WORD which IS TRUTH.

God created all of us, just as we are. There is nothing in our creation that surprises or disgusts Him. We were perfectly formed and are perfectly loved. In case you have forgotten, read His Word that assures us of this fact.

Psalm 139:1-18 says:  O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake I am still with you.”

If you ever begin to think you are not good enough for God to love and that He doesn’t know all the “uglies” about you, please read these verses above. There is NOTHING about us that God does not already know. His love for us is unfailing and the depth of His love is more than we can comprehend.

He loves us enough that He sent His Son to die for us. He’s waiting for us to live with Him in Heaven (John 14:1-4). Christ has gone to prepare a place for us – for all who have repented and accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus. If you have not done that already, would you accept His free gift now? God loves YOU (just as you are)!  The extra bonus of God’s love is that He doesn’t leave us as He finds us. When we allow Him to be Lord of our lives, He will change us and mold us to be more Christ-like so that our light might shine before men to bring others to this incredible lover of our souls. Here are just a few other scriptures that confirm God’s love for us.

Psalm 13:5, Psalm 25:10, Psalm 33:22, Psalm 36:5, Psalm 63:3, Psalm 100:5, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 108:4, Psalm 149:4, John 3:16, Zephaniah 3:17, Ephesians 3:14-19, 1 Corinthians 2:9, Romans 5:8, Romans 8:38-39, Matthew 10:29-31

But, we do have a responsibility to share that love. Read Mark 12:30-31 and Luke 10:27.

As you read this post, please pray to God to reveal His great love for you and then return it back to Him. I assure you that if you do that, your attitude will reflect Christ and His Light will shine through you as you go about your day. Remember, Fantom Feelings are False! STOP them in their tracks and reflect on TRUTH – God’s Truth, His Word, His Love. HE IS TRUE and can be trusted! God Bless!

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire {2.29.16}

liar pants on fireLiar, Liar, Pants on Fire. Just a silly rhyme of children? Maybe not. We all probably said that as children (and I have to admit I still say it occasionally when joking with others). But, until this week I never did make the connection between being a liar and fire. It finally hit me that this saying must have come from scripture. We know who the “father of lies” is – Satan.

John 8:42-44 “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

So, we know where lies originate. They are from Satan himself. We all fall into that trap and have said a lie before, haven’t we? A “little white lie” maybe? But, lies are serious to God, like all sin. Our sin may start small but can grow and spread like crazy. Before we know it we find that our sin identifies us. We don’t want that! Look what John saw and wrote for us in Revelation. Liars are among sinners specifically mentioned.

Revelation 21:1-8 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new”! Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

There is good news in the above scriptures but the last sentence is hard when you think about the cost of choosing unwisely. God had a perfect plan for mankind to live with Him in the Garden of Eden but through the lies of the devil/deceiver, sin entered in. God cannot co-exist with sin. He is light and sin is darkness. Thankfully, He made another way for us to live with Him now and forever – Jesus Christ, our redeemer. God does not send anyone to hell. People end up there from their own choices. Satan didn’t start out there but he and some angels turned against God. Hell was created for them and thus, all of their followers will have an eternal dwelling place there as well.

Jude 1:6 “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgmhellent on the great day.”

Luke 10:18 “He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Matthew 13:40-43 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

We had an experience recently where we tried to help someone. Even though options had run out for this person and bridges had been burned with family and friends, the lies continued. One lie piled on top of another and another and another and it kept up for several days. The lies were brought out into the open and proved but even then, the lies did not stop. This person continues to lie and we don’t understand it. No matter what the truth is, a lie is worse. One lie leads to another and another and before you know it I think you can start believing your own lies. Besides all that, it seems like way too much trouble to try to remember all the lies! Lies hold us in bondage for sure. I can’t even imagine the stress. But, THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.

John 8:31-32 “To the Jews, who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the truth. There is such freedom in being true and truthful, isn’t there? Oh, the freedom we can have in Christ – awesome freedom, freedom from sin’s control. To live for Christ is freedom. To live for sin is death. We must choose. Will we choose Jesus and Heaven or Satan and Hell?

angels in heavenIn Revelation, John tried to describe the vision he saw but when I try to imagine it, I realize I can’t. Even those of us with the best imagination can’t fully grasp the reality of heaven. We know it will be wonderful. We know it will be beautiful. We know there will be no more tears or pain. We know we will all want to worship God. But, we really can’t imagine how wonderful. At the same time, we really can’t imagine the horror of hell. We know it will be never ending torment and fire. We know there will be gnashing of teeth. We know there will be horrible pain and no relief. But beyond that, we really can’t grasp just how horrible it will be in hell. These realities should cause all of us to pause and reflect or adjust our priorities. We must share the good news and hope we have in Jesus – before it’s too late.

So the moral of this story is…

If you don’t want your pants on fire – never, never be a liar.