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

Prayer NOT Politics

Recently I have spent a considerable amount of time reading, researching and studying the Word about this subject; in earnest prayer.  I am more than aware that I’m wading into deep water and some readers may be offended while others may even ridicule me, but oh well…  When my Lord Jesus and Heavenly Father urge me to write… I do so!   It matters not what any one person thinks of me.
With His grace, this is intended not to offend, but to promote a positive relationship with other members of the Body of Christ.  

I’m seeing a very startling trend across our country.  Many people believe that if we change from a liberal, Democratic president to a supposed conservative, Republican leader, our country is going to be fixed or is on the mend.  Nothing could be further from the actual truth.  I see some prominent Christian leaders  actively involved in political organizations that they believe will change this country.  I believe that is the WRONG path!   Here is why…

1 Thessalonians 5 gives us warnings, admonitions and commandments, which we need to read and heed: I pray as you read this chapter, that you do so asking the Holy Spirit’s discernment and for our Father’s leading through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.  For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.  For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night.  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.  And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Do not quench the Spirit.  Do not despise prophecies,  but test everything; hold fast what is good.  Abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.  Brothers, pray for us.  Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.  I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

Many conservative, Republican Christians daily are slamming our president, our new candidates for office and our Supreme Court.  To me it is a disgrace to the name of Jesus Christ.  They like to  use 2 Chronicles 7: 14 “ if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  The land the LORD spoke of here was the promised land and the people His chosen people, the Jews.  I know this entire passage in 2 Chronicles and the entire Old Testament was written (as breathed out by God) for learning, correcting, instructing in right living and for doctrine.  I know that God never made a covenant with America!  Praying for the government is godly wisdom, but we have a much greater task— being obedient to our Lord Jesus commands and His example.

I  urge every one who reads this entire post to stop and asks the Lord…   “Is America going to be changed by politics or by the power of the Sovereign Creator and our Lord Jesus Christ?”  Yes I believe we are to represent out Savior and God above all else. Yes I believe in being involved in our communities. But I also believe God is the one who allows things that are for His eternal plan for mankind.  Blessings to all  ♥ Streim  (This was originally posted on August 12, 2012.  I have made some edits for several reasons.)

 

God is love–but He is MORE!

The Glory of the Lord Paul spoke of in Acts 20:29-31 “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”  Peter and Jude were alarmed because of the great numbers of false teachers in the churches of their day.  Jude’s letter, to whomever it was written, tells it like it is in these the final days.  I’m sharing the one and only chapter of Jude,  because I was searching for a specific verse last  evening before falling asleep.  I found what I was looking for in Jude 24 and 25.  Reading the first 23 verses is exactly why I wanted the comfort of 24 and 25.

“Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you. Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen. ”  

These last 2 verses are my prayer for “all the saints…”  Please study the Word!  Don’t believe something just because someone who is a preacher, teacher, minister, or author.  Use the HOLY WORD of God as your plumb line to keep you on the narrow road.  Lovingly in Christ  ♥ Streim