THE CURE

Breast CancerI can’t believe its October already, can you?!?  I sometimes wish that time would slow down just a bit, however I do love the Fall season; particularly the month of October.  This time of year is full of colorful leaves, cooler weather, football, cozy meals, sweaters and boots…and of course, my favorite – all things pumpkin! October is also known as the month of Halloween, as well as breast cancer awareness month. I am sure that breast cancer is something that most of you are already aware of. It’s hard to miss with all of the (pink) symbols everywhere you go. Pink ribbons adorn stores, products, websites, and NFL players. I even saw a pink fire truck recently – yes, that’s right – a pink fire truck in honor of breast cancer awareness month. Everyone seems to be getting involved with this cause somehow.

The massive attention to breast cancer caused me to ask myself, “What’s the big deal?” So, I decided to do a little research and found out that about 1 in every 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. That means that either you, someone in your immediate family, in your close circle of friends, co-workers and/or acquaintances, will develop this disease. We are ALL affected by this in some way. I personally know women who have won their battle with this disease, and who today, are living healthy, cancer-free lives. On the other hand, I also knew women who are not alive today, because of this incurable disease. There are many treatments for breast cancer, but no official cure. Treatments can be helpful, but those same treatments can also cause the body to further deteriorate; many times leading to death.

As I reflected on breast cancer (and other forms of cancer) and the amount of people who are touched by this issue, I thought how wonderful it would be to find a total cure. Can you imagine?!?!  It would be all over the NEWS – A CURE FOR CANCER HAS BEEN FOUND!  I believe that people would be celebrating, and those with the disease, doing everything in their power to get a hold of the cure.

 
But what if there was only ONE cure that was only administered by ONE doctor, in ONE location in the country? What if the cure was something that didn’t make sense? Maybe it was so simple that it seemed unbelievable. Would you reject it? I believe that cancer patients everywhere (and their loved ones) would take drastic measures to get to this ONE doctor to get the answer that they so desperately need. I am certain that just the thought of being free from cancer, and chance at living a long, healthy life would drive many to go to the ONE who holds their answer.

 
As I thought about this, I asked the Lord, “Why don’t people have that same motivation with you?” After all, we are in need of an answer to our problem, which honestly is much bigger than any cancer.

 
The problem I am referring to is one that has been passed down from generation to generation since the beginning of time.  I am talking about the THE SIN PROBLEM. The very first human on Earth made a choice to disobey God, and the result was death. This sin problem (disease) didn’t stop with that one person, but has been transmitted to every human born after that up to this day. We are all born sick, with this sin condition, and in desperate need of a cure.

 

Moses Staff
The wonderful thing is God – The Great Physician – has provided a cure that is readily available to ALL who ask. There is however, only ONE cure, which comes from ONE God (just like the scenario above). That cure is found in JESUS CHRIST alone.  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me ~ John 14:6
I truly believe that with any terminal illness, people would rejoice at just the thought of a cure, yet this doesn’t seem to be the case with our sin disease. When it comes to being physically sick we are usually open to whatever will work, and wouldn’t argue about having only one cure. Why isn’t this the case with our spiritual condition? People are dying and need a cure! God has provided that cure, yet we reject Him.

 
I believe that many people are either in denial (afraid to face the truth), choose to reject the answer (rebellious) or prefer to try other pointless methods of remedying the problem (none of which will cure).  Just as with cancer, you may find temporal forms of treatment that hide your sin symptoms, but if the root of the problem is not dealt with, you won’t be completely cured – and it is all in vain.

 
God has given me the desire to tell people the truth about Him, and while many may disagree with me – the facts don’t change. The fact is we are ALL in need of THE CURE. The fact is there is only ONE CURE. The fact is that without this cure, we will remain sick and will die (eternally). I am not writing these things to judge or condemn anyone. As I said before, we are all born with the same problem. I too was sick at one time, BUT I was introduced to the ONLY ONE who could cure me – JESUS. I am cured, and long to share THE ANSWER with others now.

 

 

So, as we bring awareness to breast cancer and finding a cure for it this month, I’d like to also bring awareness to the SIN disease, and the fact that there is already a cure.  I’d like to bring awareness to my Lord – THE CURE!  I’d like to encourage you today, to be real with yourself, and consider your life.  Have you been cured from the sin disease?  Have you ever met  THE ONE who can cure you?  If not, I would invite you to do so today?  He is the only ONE who can heal, save, set free and completely cure you!

 

 

Romans 6:23 ~ For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord

 
Romans 10:9 ~ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved

 
Psalm 86:5 ~ For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You

 
Romans 3:23 ~ for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

 

~ Melissa

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The Diet

So recently I started a new diet.  Actually, it’s more of a permanent change in my eating habits…otherwise known as a “lifestyle change”.   For years I have had symptoms and reactions when I ate certain types of food.  I never wanted to address this issue, because I knew that it meant giving up foods that I LOVED.  My body has never reacted well to things like dairy products, fried foods, breads and sugary foods.  All the good stuff – I know!  While I love food (all types) I was tired of being tired (literally).

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to just do it.  To just stop consuming the things that were hurting me and preventing me from living AT MY BEST.  So after much research, I began a strict NO sugar, NO gluten, NO dairy diet.  Many of you are probably thinking that’s NO FUN.  Well, I thought so too for the first two days.  However I quickly began to enjoy my new eating habits.  I find myself looking forward to getting creative with the foods that I am able to eat now.  I took a trip to the local health food store and found an abundance of options.  Not only are these options healthier for me, but they actually taste good too.  I will admit some of the foods take a little getting used to.  After all, I was eating things that were processed and full of sugar for so long, and my taste buds had to adjust.  Now I am truly enjoying the taste and benefits of eating healthier.  I feel a lot better.  I sleep better.  I’ve even been told that I look better.  Most importantly I have peace of mind in knowing that I am filling my body (which houses God’s Spirit) with wonderful things instead of junk.

Not long after I began this new way of eating, I read an article about “the die off effect.”  It basically talked about the parasites and unhealthy bacteria that live in our bodies.  Over time, as we continually ingest unhealthy foods, these bacteria begin to take over and attack our organs, which can eventually lead to many diseases.  The diet that I started actually causes these bacteria to die off; because they are no longer being fed the things that make them grow.  You see, they can only feed on the unhealthy items.  So, if they don’t receive them, they eventually die.  Over time the body can be free of these bacteria and restored to a much healthier state.

This article as well, as my dieting experience over the past couple of weeks reminded of so many spiritual principles.  Today, I’d like to share some of those with you.

1.       What you feed on determines your level of health. 

 Just like our physical bodies, our spiritual bodies need good food.  Our success as Christians is determined by what we take in (eyes, ears, etc).  Are we filling our spirit man junk or are we meditating on God’s word?  Are we spending time with ‘toxic’ people or with spiritually healthy people?  We can’t feed on the same stuff that the world does and expect to be spiritually healthy.  God tells us how to have an abundant life and what we should be feeding on.

Matthew 4:4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

 

2.       It won’t grow if you don’t feed it.

The bacteria in my body can’t survive if I don’t eat the things that cause it to grow.  I do have cravings and am tempted at times to eat the things that I shouldn’t.  I must however, resist those temptations in order to be healthy and successful.  In the same way, we have to resist the temptation(s) to sin.  The Bible says that if we resist Satan – HE WILL FLEE.  Sin grows in our lives as we give in to it (or feed on it).  We can defeat our enemy and the desire to sin by just saying NO.  Eventually the urges to sin will be less and less, until one day the things that once tempted us are no longer an issue.  Just like the die off effect I described earlier.

James 4:7

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.


3.       Think on good things.

 Instead of dwelling on the things that I was unable to eat, I decided to get excited about what I could eat.  I soon learned that there were SO many healthy (and delicious) options out there for me.  In the same way, we should focus on the wonderful blessings of God and not on the things we can’t have.

God gave Adam and Eve the entire Earth and everything in it.  They lacked NOTHING, yet one small creature planted a seed of doubt in the mind of Eve, causing her to look at a tiny little tree that she couldn’t eat from.  Her focus was wrong.  She should have been looking at the abundance around her instead of the one little thing that was unhealthy for her to partake of.

Many times when we are newly saved (and sometimes after we’ve been saved for years), we tend to focus on ALL of the things we can’t do anymore instead of what we can do.  We think of what we don’t have instead of what we do have.  There is actually more freedom to live in Christ then there ever was when we were slaves to sin (unsaved).  God’s supply of good things is unlimited!  Focus on those things!

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


4.       God gives us SELF CONTROL.

When I first started my diet, I was a little doubtful.  Not about the diet itself, but about my lack of control when it comes to food.  I’ve always just ate what I wanted when I wanted.   This experience has truly exercised this gift that God has placed inside of me.  As believers, God has given us His Spirit.  He indwells us.  One of the benefits of this is the ability to control what we do. We don’t have to be led by our senses and feelings. I don’t think some of us realize just what this means.  It means that All Powerful God lives on the inside of you!  You can do ALL things!  We have access to the Creator of the world and don’t have to operate in our own strength.  We don’t have to give in (in any area of life). God gives us the power to say NO to sin and temptations, as well as the power to do the things that we couldn’t do otherwise on our own.

Galatians 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

I hope these principles were a good reminder to you, as I know they were for me.  God’s word is so full of help for us in life.  Not only did He save us, but He continually guides us and gives us the answers we need in order to be successful.  Whether you are starting a new diet or just want to be better at this thing called life, I believe these principles, when applied, are beneficial for us all!  Be encouraged.

Love,

Melissa

What’s in Your Closet?

Last week I started doing a little Spring cleaning.  Okay, okay so its Summer time and I’m a little late.  Better late than never, right?  I’ve been meaning to get around to cleaning out several closets in our home for some time now, but for one reason or another, I put it off.  With the new school year approaching, I decided to tackle it now.  I believe that organization helps everyone (especially myself) feel better prepared and able to focus on life’s priorities.

I started going through my clothes closet first.  I hesitantly picked through a few items trying to decide what I could get rid of.  It’s amazing how attached we become to things, and specifically things that we don’t even use or wear anymore.   I picked up each item and thought to myself I may need this one day and then put it right back in my closet.  After a while I realized that I was getting nowhere, so I came up with a new method – if I haven’t worn it in the past year…GET RID OF IT!  My give-away pile of clothes grew quickly.   At one point while going through my closet I realized I had ten pair of black pants.  Most of which I don’t even wear anymore.  Why on Earth did I still have these?   I ended up getting rid of half of them.  I dug a little further in my closet and found all types of clothes that either didn’t fit me or weren’t really my style anymore.  It’s amazing the things we hold on to.  There was one particular pair of pants that I had a hard time parting with.  I’m really not sure why, other than they were my “comfortable pants.”  I didn’t really like them, but often wore them when I didn’t know what else to wear.  I finally got up the courage to part with them.  By the end of the evening I had a huge garbage bag full of clothes to give away.  It was strange, but after cleaning out my closets, I actually felt like I had more clothes than before.  I was able to put new outfits together with clothes that I already had.  I didn’t recognize it before, because of the clutter.  It felt so good to purge and do away with my old stuff!

During the process of cleaning out my closets I thought about how many of us have spiritual closets full of stuff that we don’t use anymore. I wondered how many born-again believers have spiritual closets full of things that don’t fit them, yet they still hold on to them.  I think it’s time for us to do a little spiritual closet cleaning, what about you?

Before we came to know Jesus Christ most of us had closets full of all kinds of stuff…wrong thoughts, wrong attitudes, wrong behaviors, wrong language, wrong desires and so on.  Maybe these things suit us before we were born-again, but now we don’t have room for them.  Prior to giving our lives to Jesus Christ, we clothed ourselves with things like lust, pride, drunkenness, strife, envy, gossip and greed.  However, those things don’t work for us anymore.  Our old wardrobes consisted of all types of items that just aren’t conducive to our new lives.

We (believers) have been clothed with salvation and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  So many times though, I see Christians wearing their old clothes; things that are contrary.  Not only does it not look right, but it doesn’t work!

Mark 2:22 ~ No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is lost and the skins as well; but one puts new wine into fresh wineskins.

Have you taken the time to clean the old things out of your closet or have you just pushed them to the back?  Even if we don’t wear these things anymore, holding on to them can still cause problems for us.

In the same way that holding on to my old clothes caused my closet to be a bit cluttered, holding on to things in our spiritual closets can cause our lives to be cluttered.  It can cause confusion, double-mindedness, complacency and hinder our spiritual growth.  Remember the black pants that I had a hard time letting go of?  There was nothing special about these pants.  They didn’t even look that good on me, but I wanted to hold on to them just in case.  I wanted to have the option to turn to them in case nothing else fit me.  They were my comfort pants and my safety net.  What does that sound like?  FEAR maybe?  When we hold on to things because we are afraid to let go for one reason or another, we are not operating in faith.  Faith told me to get rid of those pants, because I don’t need them and God will provide ALL of my needs.  Fear on the other hand told me to hang on to the pants, because I may never get another pair like them.  I may need them one day.

Holding on to things in our spiritual closets can also tempt us to want to wear those things again.  Even though some items in my closet only sat and collected dust, they caught my attention every time I walked by.  At times, I would even think about the time when these things fit me.  I would dream about being able to fit into them again.  I would pick up the size 6 jeans and hold them up to my body, trying to see how many inches I need to lose around my waist in order for them to fit again.  The reality is I probably will never fit into a size 6 again and if I am able to, do I really want to wear the old ones?  Do I trust God to provide something new and better by keeping the old stuff?  The answer is NO.

Okay so maybe the closet analogy is a bit of a stretch, but do you get what I am saying?  It’s time to get rid of certain things in our lives once and for all.  Its time to deal with and remove the things that are keeping us from being ALL that God created us to be.  No more pushing things to the back of the closet just in case.  No more holding on to things from our past.  The Bible says that once we are born-again we become a NEW CREATION.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

These are God’s words, not mine.  He assures us that we are a new person, a new creation and have a new life once we accept Christ Jesus.  The old person, along with his or her habits, is GONE!   There is no need for us to hold on to the old, and there is no benefit to us by doing so.

You know, two days after cleaning my closet out I was blessed with some new (very cute) clothes.  I didn’t ask for them and I didn’t have to pay for them.  They were just simply given to me.  God reminded me right then that when we give, we receive.  When we empty ourselves of the old, God fills us back up with something new; something greater.  He can’t bless us with something new if we are holding on to the old stuff though.

I would like to encourage you to take inventory of your spiritual closets today.  Are there things in there that don’t fit you anymore?  If so, what is keeping you from getting rid of them?

If you are like me, the Holy Spirit constantly brings things to your attention that you need to deal with.  He reminds you of things that need to be purged out of your life.  Are you listening to Him?  Or do you shove that thought to the back of your head and say “Later Lord?”  I think it’s time that we all do a little spiritual Spring cleaning!  Let’s get rid of the junk that doesn’t belong.  Let’s do away with the old attitudes and behaviors that no longer fit the new us!

Psalm 51:10 ~ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Isaiah 43:25 ~ “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

Romans 12:2 ~ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Ephesians 4:31 ~ Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

God is so amazing in the way that He speaks to His people.  He can use anything that is going on in my life or in the world to reveal something to me about Himself.   His word is so very true  (that all things were made by Him and FOR Him ~ Colossians 1:16).

As I was watching the verdict being read at the Casey Anthony trial, I couldn’t help but think about another trial, an even bigger and much more important trial.  Before I get into that, let me share a bit about the Casey Anthony story, just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years.  This particular case has been going on for a while.  Casey was being tried for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter.  She was actually facing the death penalty, but the jury found her NOT GUILTY.  I think most of the world was SHOCKED to say the least.  I know I was.

I’ve followed this case for sometime now, and to be quite honest I believe that she did have something to do with the death of her daughter.  The fact that she didn’t report her daughter as being missing for a month was a little odd to me, and don’t get me started on all of the lies or different stories that were told during the trial.  In my opinion, this is no way that a mother who loves her child acts.  However, she was not on trial for being a bad mother, or even her poor choices in life.  She was in fact, on trial for murder.  Apparently there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her of that.  Tons of Americans have already made (public) comments about how upset they are about this verdict.  People are furious.

But wait a minute.  Isn’t the fact that we are ALL given the right to a fair trial one of the things we love about our country?  That we are innocent until proven guilty.  Right?  That if there isn’t enough evidence to convict, there is no conviction?  While I may not agree (at all) with the verdict, I am still grateful to live in a land where our case can be heard before a judge, before sentencing us to death.  Which brings me to what God was sharing with me as I was watching the verdict being read.

Did you know that ALL of us, and I do mean ALL (every single human ever born) is guilty of a crime?  Did you know that all of us are going to sit in front of a Judge one day?  Did you know that there is a heavy case against us, and we could very well be sentenced to death?

I’m talking about the case of God vs. Humanity that is held in THE REAL SUPREME COURT.  Unlike the Casey Anthony trial we are NOT innocent until proven guilty, we are actually guilty until proven innocent.  We are ALL born guilty; every single one of us. You may disagree with this, but it’s the truth.

Psalm 51:5 ~ Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me

God created humans so that He could dwell with them.  However, the very first human ever created (Adam) chose to disobey God’s instruction (which is called sin), and this separated him from God. This not only separated him from God and his daily fellowship with Him, but the ultimate result of his disobedience was DEATH.  This applied not only to Adam and his family, but every single human born after that, including US today.  Romans 6:23 ~ For the wages of sin is death…

You mean to tell me that when we are born, even as cute little babies, we have this sin curse on us?  Yes!  Almost like a virus that can be passed from a mother to a child, we are all born into sin; with a sinful nature.  So what do we do?  How do we get out of this bind?

Because we are born into sin, we are unable to stand before Holy God to even defend ourselves.  So who will defend us?

1 Samuel 2:25 ~ …..but if a man sins against the LORD, who can intercede for him?

Isaiah 59:16
~ And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede…

James 4:12 ~ There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy…

There is no way that we can get out of this mess ourselves.  We could never change or reverse the death sentence that has been put on our lives.  God’s holiness demands justice, and while it may seem harsh to some of us, it is the truth.  You may be thinking at this point about how hopeless this sounds.  But God and His great wisdom and His great love for us came up with an answer to our problem.

God, our Judge, has appointed a Great Lawyer and Advocate for us….and His name is Jesus.  That’s right, Jesus.  Jesus is the Son of God, who left His heavenly home to come to Earth so He could live the life we couldn’t live…a holy one.  He paid the penalty for us by dying in our place, or on our behalf.   Why Jesus?  Because He is the only One who is both qualified and able.  He fulfilled the requirement of holiness, because He is fully God, and had the right to pay our debt because He is fully Man.

He lived a sinless life, died, shedding His blood for us, resurrected and now sits at the Right Hand of God the Father.   Yes, He is alive today!

Once we accept the fact that Jesus took the death penalty for us, we are given the NOT GUILTY verdict, and spared from eternal death.  Jesus Himself pleads our case before the Father.  Isn’t that awesome news?!?!  It’s the best news I’ve ever heard that’s for sure!

Hebrews 4:15
~ For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

So what?  Well, it may be easy for us to look at Ms. Anthony and pass judgment, because that is something “that we would never do”.  However, ALL of us are guilty of something.  All of us have sinned some how at sometime, even if it was when we were a defiant 2-year-old, telling our parents…NO!   What may be considered sin to you may not be sin to me, and vise versa.  It really doesn’t matter what we think though, because according to the standard of a Holy God…anything less then perfect is SIN.  Romans 3:23 ~ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Do you want to stand before The Judge, having Him go over every single thing you have ever done wrong (including your thoughts and your words) and be sentenced to death (suffering for eternity)?  Or would you like to stand before Him, guilt-free, knowing your debt has been paid in full already, and hear Him say to you, “well done”?  It seems like an easy choice to me, but surprisingly enough so many people are choosing the death penalty instead of God’s grace.  What do you choose?

Hebrews 7:24-25 ~ but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.