Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Transforming Hearts and Transforming Lives


Transforming Hearts and Transforming Lives

stock from http://www.freeimages.com/

In Max Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus, he states that “All of us learned early that the hand is suited for more than survival – it’s a tool of emotional expression. The same hand can help or hurt, extend or clench, lift someone up or shove someone down.” Max Lucado goes on to say, “But manage them and our hands become instruments of grace – not just tools in the hand of God, but God’s very hands."

How often have we, as Christians, used our hands to judge, ostracize, condemn, or inflict hurt or pain. We inflict pain not only with a harmful touch but also by choosing not to provide a hug in times of sorrow or to not provide care when in pain. We can inflict pain to the heart by purposely not saying I love you, not shaking someone’s hand to greet them, by typing out words of hate or condemnation on the internet. Our hands can and do touch people’s lives.

According to Dictionary.com, the word touch means a state or fact of being touched; a coming into or being in contact; a mental or moral perception, sensitivity, or understanding. In today’s society, we have made “touch” a dirty word. How often we hear the phrase, "Touch me and I will sue you." When did we get so cynical, self-absorbed and wicked? We let one bad incident shape and mold our beliefs and our way of thinking. One good example of this is the recent bad media on our nation's police officers. Not all police officers are bad. There are many police officers out there that are kind, compassionate, extend a helping hand and touch lives. Yet we Americans have used our hands to point and condemn all police officers.

We choose to treat each other as though we all have leprosy. Jesus did not treat people as if they had leprosy. Instead, he saw each human being as a precious gift of life. He reached out and touched people not only physically but emotionally as well. He not only healed people but he touched their souls and their hearts. Jesus transformed lives. When you see someone sad, sitting all alone, do you step up and reach out to them or do you continue to walk on by and ignore that they even exist? Would Jesus walk on by? What if Jesus chose to ignore the call of saving us all from our sins? What if he never reached out and touched the blind men and healed them as he did in Matthew 20:34. Or what if in Matthew 8:3 Jesus never reached out his hand and touched the man who had leprosy and healed him.

In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus teaches us a very good lesson about touching one’s life in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable there was a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho that was attacked by robbers stripped, beaten and left for dead. A priest saw the man and moved to the opposite side of the path and walked on by. The priest did not extend any kind of a help to the fallen man. Likewise, a Levite saw him and moved to the opposite side of the path and walked on by. The Levite did not extend any kind of a help to the fallen man. However, a Samaritan who happened to see the fallen man extended a helping hand. He had compassion for him, and he cared for his wounds. The Samaritan then set him upon his animal and took him to the inn and paid the innkeeper to take care of him. This Samaritan touched and saved this man’s life. The Samarian provided him comfort and kindness. Whereas, the priest and Levite did not extend any comfort or kindness. Why? Maybe the priest and Levite thought the robbers were still about, so they were afraid. Or maybe they were just set in their way of thinking and beliefs. Maybe they thought he was already dead and did not want to become unclean by touching his body. Or perhaps they thought this man did not deserve a kind and caring touch but deserved death. The Samaritan showed that despite who you are or where you come from that we all deserve a kind and helping hand. We all deserve to be treated equally no matter what lifestyle, race or religion we hail from. If we are to set a good example, just as Jesus did, we need to be God's hand tools not our own. As we sojourn in this world, we need to let God teach and guide us on how we can touch and transform people's lives. We need to heed His calling and not our own. 

What can you do in your everyday life to reach out and touch someone’s life? First of all, pray. Ask for God's leading and guidance. He has a special someone in mind for you to connect with. Someone that is within your everyday boundary that you venture out in. It might be someone who needs to hear and see that someone cares for them and loves them. Or maybe it is someone who needs to hear about Jesus and how he won the victory over sin at Calvary. If you are unable to venture outside your home, what can you do online or within your own household to reach out and touch someone? I am presently confined in my home due to a foot injury but that does not keep me from reaching out and touching people’s lives online. Such as, telling someone that you will pray for them or share a quote or story that has touched and transformed your life. We can touch hearts and transform lives if we keep our focus on Jesus and walk in his example and not in the ways of this world.

Heavenly Father,

We just thank you that you gave us hands to touch peoples’ lives to heal, to care, to provide, to teach, to protect, to help one another. We ask that you show us your will and guide and direct us in how we can help others to come to know You. Help us to touch and transform hearts and lives and be an example to others by extending a helping hand, showing kindness and love toward one another. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.
May you have a blessed week.
Carol 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fear Not

Fear Not

stock by ArwenArts

A Christian thought to ponder …
As we are all glued to the television watching the latest horrific events in Orlando, Florida, my heart goes out to all the victims’ families and friends of this senseless violent crime. I cannot help but ponder about this tragedy and all the other tragedies that we encounter in our lives. There will be those who blame God and will become bitter and angry and there will be those who will draw close to God and will lean on Him. 

Everyone goes through trials whether it is losing a loved one, divorce, an addiction battle, bullying, anxiety, cancer, losing a limb or mental illness there are all sorts of battles we encounter each and every day and throughout our lives. It is how we handle those battles that will determine how close of a relationship we have with God.

If you are trying to fight the battle alone, you will never succeed. You need God to lead the march and face the enemy and the trial head-on. You need to place your trust completely in him and fear not. God told Abram in Genesis 15:1 “fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your reward shall be great.” He strengthens us and provides us protection God told Israel in Isaiah 41:1 that he will strengthen, help, and uphold them. God is our fortress and protection. And whatever battles we might encounter in our lives, those battles are a time when we need to draw close to him, to lean on him, to depend on him, to seek him when the odds seem so much against us.


Debra was used by God to help lead the Israelites to victory because she had faith in the Lord where others did not. If it weren’t for God, Israel would have never been freed from the bondage of Egypt, would have never made it through the wilderness, would have never been victorious over the Canaanites. We too can be victorious if we place our hope, faith and trust in Him. Fear not, He will fight for us. He is on our side and will never leave or forsake us. And if you allow Him too, He will heal your heart and transform you.

Heavenly Father,
We just pray for comfort and healing for all of those who are suffering from this terrible tragedy. And we ask that this may be a time that Your light shines through the darkness and that the people suffering may seek you for truth, for protection, for guidance, for comfort and for hope.
Amen.

Pray you all have a blessed week!

Carol

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Staying Focused on God

photo sxc.hu

Something I have been pondering...

There are times when I will worry about if I said something wrong, or if I did something wrong or if I offended someone to the point where I will be stressed about it all week. I focus so much on what people think about what I do or say, I take my focus off of one who is most important – God. I have let the enemy distract me with myself and my insecurities and doubts and have ignored the fact that I need to surrender everything into his hands. I need to let Him be in control. And when I am so focused on myself, I set my faith and trust aside that when I step into the water I am not walking with Him but sinking into the depths of the murky water just as Peter did in Matthew 14: 25 – 31

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

So, why do we doubt Him? Why is it so hard for us to stay focused on Him instead of all those minute events that take place daily in our lives?

It is because of our human sinful nature that we focus on ourselves. Satan wants us to be distracted. He wants us to be at odds with one another. He wants us to doubt, to fear, to question, to judge, to condemn - anything that is opposite of what God wants. He wants to thwart God’s plans for humanity. The enemy wants us to focus on anything but God. He doesn’t want us to love each other, help each other, or forgive each other. The enemy wants hatred, bitterness, anger, doubts and fear to harbor in our hearts instead of faith, trust and love. If we were to simply just lay all those trivial daily events in our lives into our Lord’s hands, let him handle and take care of everything and simply leap out into the waters with blinding love, faith and trust we CAN walk in the waters with Him through the storm.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for loving us. Thank you for reaching out to us despite our waves of doubts and fears. As we go about our daily lives, help us to stay focus on You. Help us to surrender all our troubles and worries to You and rest it all in Your hands. Help us to grow closer to You and develop a stronger relationship with You. And just as You love us, help us to love, encourage, lift up and support one another despite all of our differences, offenses or acts. May Your love shine through each and every one of us.
I ask this in Jesus name.
Amen.

God Bless,

Carol

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

God's Precious Gift


As I am looking around at all the hustle and bustle this Christmas, I think to myself, I hate what Christmas has become. I hate being out amongst all of this worldly, mad-dashing chaos. Why do I hate it so much? I find no comfort in it, but I do find comfort in God’s Word and the true meaning behind Christmas. We get it driven into our heads to believe that Christmas is about the flamboyant light shows, the man dressed up in the red suit or the amount of presents we receive. When the true meaning of Christmas is really about a miraculous birth that happened over 2000 years ago.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2: 10-11


On a starlit night, a brilliant star shone brightly within the night sky leading people to a magnanimous humble birth, a babe who was wrapped in swaddling clothes laying in a manger, a babe to be named Jesus. A representation of one Most High. God born of flesh. A Savior who has come into this world to save us from our sins, to save those who are lost and who do not know Him.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Luke 19:10

God loved us so much, He gave His only begotten Son to save wretches like you and me. People who have fallen into despair, people who have abused drugs, people who have committed adultery, people who have stolen, people who have lied, people who have been unkind to others, people who have been greedy, the list goes on and on. All people, no matter what race and no matter what sins they may have committed, He came into this world to save us all because He loves us all.

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3:16

It is this precious gift, that I treasure the most above all gifts. No other gift can compare than the precious gift of salvation. And it is this precious gift that our Father in heaven gave us because He loved us so much.

This Christmas, my prayer is that those who do not know Him, may come to know Him and are born again. That those who are lost, may seek Jesus and accept Him as their Savior who died on the cross for their sins. That those who do not know the true meaning of Christmas may come to learn exactly the true meaning of a babe born over 2000 years ago, a babe named Jesus. The Son of the Most High. Emmanuel.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for Your precious gift that you gave to us all, The gift of salvation. Thank you for your unfailing neverending love, mercy and grace. By Your will Lord, I ask that you help those who are lost to seek you this Christmas; to help those who are sitting in the darkness, alone, empty, and never satisfied to seek You and to be filled with Your love and hope this Christmas.
This I ask in Jesus Name.
Amen.

God Bless,

Carol Moore

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wiping Dirty Corrupted Records Clean

A Christian thought to ponder…

What if Christians just viewed each other’s past records as wiped clean, embraced and loved one another the way Jesus’ did.

Acts 3:19  “Repent, therefore, and reform your lives, so that the record of your sins may be cancelled, and that there may come seasons of revival from the Lord…”

Each of us has a record of our own life known before God even created us. Some of us have clean records, some of us not so clean and some of us have dirty corrupted records. Where does your lie? Mine lies in the middle between not so clean and dirty side. I am not perfect and truly I don’t deserve any kind of forgiveness for I have lied, stolen, envied, worshipped idols, followed other religions, broken hearts, and ruined lives and so on and so on. I have failed God in so many ways since I knew right from wrong, and I continue to fail Him. I strayed from God, I ranned from God, and I disappointed God. God knew I needed a reboot and my system wiped cleaned before I even dropped to my knees.



Because of those dirty corrupted records, I often think how or why would God ever want me to serve Him. I am so unworthy, but I know, that He loves me and forgives me. So how can one get past that feeling of unworthiness and not let the enemy cloud our hearts and minds with fears, doubts, sadness, regret and bitterness?  Keep focusing on God, grow in your relationship with Him by praying to Him and reading His word every day. People in this world may hate and despise you, but if you demonstrate to them and the world just exactly the way Jesus wants you to live with love, kindness and forgiveness just maybe you might lead others to Christ and you might lead others closer to Christ.  For it says in Ephesians 4:32 that we are to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”  It is difficult when you don’t see those same Christ-like qualities (and I am so guilty of this as well) within  the Christian community. Instead, you are more apt to get cold deathly stares or an icy cold shoulder from other Christians that are quick to condemn you or ostracize you because of those past records.  And we who are the fallen and broken, let those past records and those non-Christ-like characteristics we encounter hinder us from achieving God’s goals or hinder us from helping God complete His work. Instead, we begin to focus on ourselves and how people dislike us, hate us and how much of a disappointment we are to God and others. We let the enemy take out the joy of realizing that those marred black-stained corrupted records have been wiped clean. We have a clean new record. We have been born again! Hallelujah!!! Begin focusing on God and His plans not the plans of the enemy who wants to prevent people from drawing closer to God. We cannot erase those dirty corrupted records on our own. Only Jesus can erase those records that mar our lives.  Jesus died on the cross to save us from those darkly blotted records. Seek Jesus, repent and ask him to forgive you of all those black corrupted marks upon your records. Focus on God’s plan to reach those who are lost and reach out in brotherly and sisterly love towards everyone.

Jesus,

I love you so much. Thank you for always being there for me, standing by my side and being my Rock. Thank you for dying on the cross for all our sins for providing us clean new records. Thank you so much for your love, grace and mercy for warmly loving us and embracing us and accepting us despite those dirty corrupted records.  Amen!
May you have a blessed week!
Carol

Monday, August 24, 2015

Accepting One Another

31 Day Challenge Part 2

Photo by: (c) huhulin www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography

A thought to ponder...
What if we didn't judge by appearances or differences but simply just accepted and loved each other for who we are, just as Christ accepted and loves each and every one of us.

In my previous post, I described a 31 Day Challenge for One Courageous Community within our churches that we were encouraged to partake in by Christian speaker Kari Patterson.

I would like to share another challenge I battle with - Romans 15:7  "Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."  How typical it is for each and every one of us to reject or to exclude each other because we have a weaker or stronger faith, dress differently, behave differently, look differently, come from a lower class, are from a different generation the list goes on and on. When Jesus approached someone, did he look at their status, their knowledge of the law, the way they dressed or the way they looked?  No, he did not. He looked at the heart and he was deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare and heart of the non-believer. As it shows in Matthew 9: 10-13 10 gNow it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with htax collectors and isinners?”
12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: jI desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, kbut sinners, 2to repentance.”

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to love one another, encourage one another and help each other grow closer to God. Churches need to be as one unifying spirit in worshiping God, not a dividing spirit segregated into groups and ostracizing each other. A person should walk through the church doors and feel loved, welcomed and a part of a family not hated, unwelcomed and treated as strangers just because of who they are. How many of you have felt this way? I know I have many times and it made me not want to go back to church. It made me want to give up on church altogether. But I wanted to be obedient to God. I wanted to learn more about God, so I endured despite my unhappiness. Many times I would feel excluded and left out of conversations in a Bible Study because my knowledge of the Word was not as strong as those surrounding me. No one invited me into their conversations and I never even tried to partake. So I would leave or just tune those around me out. So imagine how others might feel. Look around on a Sunday morning or during a Bible study. Do you see someone sitting alone?  Do see others being excluded? Are you judging someone because their faith and knowledge of the Word is not as strong as yours? Think to yourself, what would Jesus do? Let us ask God to give us courage and guidance. Let us join in unison in building each other up not down. Let us join in unison in growing closer to God and reaching those who do not know Him.

Love to you all and God Bless!
Carol





Thursday, August 13, 2015

31 Day Challenge

31 Day Challenge

Photo by: (c) huhulin www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography


A thought to ponder.... 
I wonder if there were to be a poll on how many Christians grumble against each other what the outcome would be?

At the church we are attending, I got the chance to attend their Ladies Camp in July. I had the most amazing enlightening privilege and experience of listening to the guest speaker, Kari Patterson, teach about One Courageous Community within our churches. The theme verse was John 17:11 “That they may be one as we are one.” When we are not unified and are separated into sections and groups we cannot produce the fruit that God intended us to produce. We must be unified with one spirit and one mind to reach those who don’t know our Lord and Savior and to show the world how we live in a Christ-like manner. We cannot be isolating into groups, ostracizing each other, treating each other as outsiders and causing strife, if we do, we only demonstrate that the community within our churches is fragile and fracturing. If the vine is fractured and splitting into pieces, it will not grow and produce fruit. We must love and serve one another.

At the end of the camp retreat, Kari asked us to take on the 31 day challenge of practicing with friends and family to transform ourselves into being more Christ like and strive to attain that one community - one spirit and one mind. Within the next few posts on my blog, I want to share a few of these challenges to help others grow into One Courageous Community. And if you have never heard Kari Patterson speak, I encourage women ministries at churches to attend one of her engagements.

One of the first biggest challenges and one I really struggled with is: Don’t Grumble Against Each Other. I think that this is something we all struggle with and are guilty of doing.  Many times I will grumble about someone and later feel so convicted about what I said. I had no business complaining and grumbling. I start to think, wow I just failed God in so many ways. My mouth was just spewing out poison. In James chapter 5 verse 9 it states, “Do not grumble against one another, brothers so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.” When certain people aggravate you, or rub you the wrong way, or are rude to you, or are unkind to you it so hard to not to grumble or complain about them. However, it is so important that we speak encouraging and positive words about each other. We are to love one another and speak in a positive light. Focus on the good things of one another, not the bad things. In Exodus 16 and 17, the Israelites were grumbling against Moses and Aaron. They could only think of themselves and their unhappy circumstances and blamed them for leading them into their situation. When actually, they should have been focusing on God and praising God for leading them out of slavery. We tend to do that a lot, focus on ourselves instead of focusing on God and His plans and wishes. We should be focusing on how can we serve God better, how can we demonstrate our love for him, and how can we show the world God’s love and message. By not grumbling against each other, we can take the first step in demonstrating a Christ-like character and a step towards having a one unified courageous community.

Love to you all and God Bless!

Carol