No Rose Garden Promised Here

During the late 1960’s until 1973 I sang in a local band.  We performed for weddings, graduations, in taverns (18-year-old beer and wine only bars), parties and just about anywhere a small band could.  I was the only female, and often just did backup vocals and harmony.  Our band –The Happy Medium– (called so because we played/sang every genre of music possible, right down to polkas), consisted of lead singer, lead guitar, bass guitar, drummer (all four were guys) and me… backup singer, tambourine player :).  I sang music by artists like Carly Simon, Carol King, Brenda Lee, Anne Murray, Lynn Anderson, Karen Carpenter and others.  I always liked singing Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden”!

Today’s Christianity is filled with numerous “false gospels”, many of which its leaders teach that being a Christian means you’ll have a prosperous (materially) life; or that if you have enough faith, you can have or do anything you want.  Well, I am here to tell you the two words to describe a true Christian’s life are not “Rose Garden”:

They are SURRENDER and SACRIFICE!

There is only one statement made by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that is recorded in all four Gospels.  It deals with how to live the Christian life according to God’s will and not our own.

Matthew 16:24-27   Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”

Mark 8: 34-38   When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 14:27   “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

John 12:25-26    “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

As the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:1-5  Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

It’s not enough for a person to make a decision for Christ at an altar.  A blood bought child of God cannot walk successfully without repentance.  While repentance is not a work that earns salvation, repentance unto salvation does result in works. It is impossible to truly and fully change your mind without that causing a change in action. In the Bible, repentance results in a change in behavior.  The most evident change in behavior is to surrender our will daily to do the will of the Father!  That includes body, soul, mind and spirit to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ to be used as HE sees fit; for His glory and honor.  Not for our gratification; although that is a beautiful by-product of surrender— JOY!!   We need to take regular inventory of our commitment to our Father and Lord Jesus.  Honestly, I know this to be so true.  Very often I must take an inventory of relationship with my God, as I believe every blood bought adopted child of God MUST do. Even when I take spiritual check-ups and realize something is amiss in my personal relationship with Him, I never cease to be amazed at His love, grace and mercy which fills me with hope looking to my eternal destination— and the peace of knowing that no matter how bad things get (or are), He is always with me.

Paul never glamorized the gospel.  It is not success, but sacrifice! It’s not a glamorous gospel ,but a bloody gospel, a gory gospel, and a sacrificial gospel!   Five minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more, wept more, bled more, grieved more, loved more, prayed more, given more!  (edited) Leonard Ravenhill
Praying for “all the saints”.  Be blessed ♥ Streim

As The Wind Blows

Beautiful October

Autumn is always a windy time of year here in the northern Great Lakes area.   Leaves die from lack of sunlight, fall to the ground and the wind grabs them and swirls them everywhere. Lately it seems our winds aren’t just from the north (as I remember from years past) but every possible direction; often the winds are opposing each other.  I know it’s frustrating for my neighbors and friends, as I’ve watched rake their leaves into nice, neat piles only to have the wind seemingly come from nowhere and scatter the leaves again.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Church in Ephesus about their new-found lives in Jesus Christ.  Some individuals within the church began to stir up the people with doctrines and beliefs that opposed the true gospel message of Jesus Christ.  The result was divisions and schisms.  Paul’s letter “set them straight”. In chapter 4 of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul exhorts and encourages the church as Ephesus with guidelines and Godly wisdom for the Body of Christ.

4: 1-16 ” Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ (Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together * by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. “  (NASB)

I watch or read daily of these doctrines of heresy be thrown from every direction; just as those autumn leaves.  The leaves will die, biodegrade and be used by the earth as fertilizer for the following spring.  Interestingly, the heretical doctrines will die along with all those (and there are as many as colors of fading fall leaves) deceivers, heretics, antichrists, liars, deceivers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, blasphemers and the subtle sweet teachers of extra biblical insight and prove to be “leaven” that will nourish the great falling away! For those who believe these deceivers what can be done?   There are only two possible outcomes.  One, if they continue believing in these doctrines of men and NOT of the Holy Word, they will DIE–perish; but with an imperishable body they will suffer the wrath of Almighty God for eternity.  Or, rather than listening to others, they will pick up a Bible and use it!!  Read it, study it, feed on it, use it as a proofing source for all teaching.  IF, they will ‘open the spiritual eyes of their understanding’ and see the lies and immediately repent–turn away from them and return to the Truth of the Holy Scriptures, they will DIE — perish; but the imperishable body they will enter the Kingdom of Heaven and rejoice.  May we all be praying for the Body of Christ that none be led astray… sending blessings ♥ Streim

 

Are You Willing?

follow JesusI’ve heard some Christians say that ‘taking up our cross’ means we have some heavy burden to bear daily… that’s worldly wisdom to me.  Jesus miracle of feeding the 5000 had just taken place, and now alone with His disciples, He asked them “Who do the multitudes say I am?”  They responded ‘some say John the Baptist, others Elijah and some say you’re a prophet of old risen again.’  Then Jesus said, “But who do you say that I am?”  Peter’s response “You are the Christ of God!”  He warned them and told them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day.”  This all led up to the verses in my photo.  Do you think that the disciples at this time knew what Jesus was even saying to them?  After all, they just boldly proclaimed and understood who He was.  When Jesus went to the Garden to pray before His betrayal, He praying fervently, in much agony, to the point His sweat was as blood when it fell to the ground. He prayed “Father, if Thou are willing remove this cup from Me; but not My will, but Thy will be done”. Jesus Christ knowing not only the physical pain, but the emotional and mental anguish He would suffer as well; chose to do the Father’s will.  Our daily cross to bear— surrender ourselves to our Savior and Lord, just as He said to the Father “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

 C.S. Lewis said “Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.”  Praying for all in the Body of Christ… ♥ Streim