Thursday, September 28, 2006

Speak Out for What’s Right

I don’t know if any of you have noticed how some people straddle the fence on certain issues. I think the reasons vary: Some just don’t want to take a stand for fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. Others are too busy trying to be politically correct. And, still others are afraid of what someone might think of them.

What we should be worrying about is what God thinks of us. As my pastor (Bishop Dale C. Bronner, Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral) says, the only opinion that matters is God’s opinion of you, your opinion of yourself and your opinion of God. (I’m not sure if I have the order correct, but you get my point.) So in keeping that in mind, we must continue to not only do what’s right, but speak out for what’s right.

For instance, you may have a friend who is having sex outside of marriage. (I hope you aren’t thinking, ‘Ut oh, here she goes again talking about sex outside of marriage.’ Hello? You are reading the Single & Celibate blog, remember? :-) As I was saying: Your friend is having sex and he (or she) isn’t married. Although you don’t believe it is right, you haven’t shared your beliefs or God’s desire with your friend. It’s possible that you’ve casually mentioned that you’re waiting to have sex until marriage or are a “born-again virgin.” But you haven’t spoken out.

Are you afraid of what your friend may think of you? Are you afraid of losing their friendship? Unfortunately, that really isn’t that important in God’s eyes. Oh, I’m not saying to be offensive, judgmental, condemning and hurtful with a holier than thou attitude. But you can – with love, concern and care – relay God’s desire for your friend and others regarding sex outside of marriage. And in the process share God’s love and desire to be their source and savior.

You know, the same applies for other areas. God is against stealing so would you hang out with someone who steals and not speak up? Of course you’re not guilty of doing something wrong in this instance, you just failed to do what’s right. If you know someone is physically abusing their child, or even an elderly parent, would you speak up and call the police or authorities? If not, then you’ve failed to do what’s right.

Resist the urge to do nothing when you can stand up for something.

To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17

Monday, September 11, 2006

Heart Condition

For the last few Sundays my pastor, Bishop Dale C. Bronner, has been preaching on the subject of The Year of Restoration. He says there are five areas of restoration, which he’s going to reveal to us. The first is Restoration of Borders and the second is the Restoration of the Joy of Salvation, which he taught this past Sunday.

During Sunday’s message he said inequity is a sin of the heart, and if our hearts aren’t clean then we will not hear God clearly. (This struck a cord for me so I found it particularly interesting.) God wants to speak to us, but He wants to speak to hearts that are cleansed and unless – and until – we die to self we’ll never reach that place.

Bishop Bronner based his message in Psalms 51:1-12; emphasizing verses 2, 7, 8, 10 and 12. Verse 12 says “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Our joy is based on our obedience therefore if we want our joy back we have to do what God wants us to do. Obedience, the spirit of God and His word, fellowship and being a blessing to someone else all bring joy. “The joy of the Lord is evidence of His strength,” Bishop says.

In essence, Bishop Bronner taught us that we needed to restore our joy and cleanse our hearts to restore the joy of our salvation. It is always amazing how timely his messages are and how often they’re confirmed by other sources. For instance, this writer occasionally reads Our Daily Bread, which is published by RBC Ministries, and the entry for September 10 (the same day as Bishop’s message) was titled Housekeeping of the Heart.

The writer, Joanie Yoder, shared how when she was a young homemaker she took joy in thoroughly cleaning her home. After awhile she realized her home didn’t stay clean long so she resorted to simply keeping it tidy so it appeared cleaned. She said, “… on sunny days my clean-looking house was revealed for what it was – dusty and dirty.”

That’s the same thing that happens to us… and our hearts. On the outside we have the appearance of holiness, but we are neglecting our heart holiness. Yoder’s writing was based in Matthew 23:23-31. Take note of verse 28: “You also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy.”

She ended with these three things to ponder: What is the only way to get a clean heart? (Titus 3:3-6). After we have put our faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16), how do we keep our heart clean? (I John 1:9). For me, Yoder’s Housekeeping of the Heart was a timely confirmation of, and addition to, Bishop Bronner’s message.

“The way you see everything is based on the condition of your heart.” Bishop Dale C. Bronner, pastor of Word Of Faith Family Worship Cathedral in Georgia.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Don't miss comments...

I am extremely appreciative of some of the comments that have been made and would like to bring them to your attention. Check out the comments on these previous posts:

  1. September 1 -- Don’t try to trick God
  2. August 15 -- Having sex can be like a splinter in your finger
  3. August 3 -- Share the knowledge

Review the comments and, if you like, give your input. As always, I am interested in your testimonies, input, suggestions and feedback. I find the comments to be interesting, sometimes entertaining and great conversation starters.

It’s your input and continued support that makes this blog a success. Thank you!

"Be sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear." Author Unknown

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don’t try to trick God

I was having a conversation with my husband when he said something that I found really interesting. He said, “I hope she doesn’t try to trick God.” Although I would love to tell you the specifics of the conversation and the person he was referring to, I can not for fear of accidentally revealing her identity (without her permission) to the cyber world – and possibly someone who actually knows her.

Trying to trick God – whether intentionally or not – will ultimately result in heartache and despair for the person. Say, for instance, you’re having sex on a regular basis (of course, you knew I was going to use a sex example) and you keep getting women pregnant. Over the past six years, four women are pregnant. Even though you know you shouldn’t be having sex, you do. And each time you do, you pledge to God (and those who know you) that you have learned your lesson.

Instead of committing to abiding by God’s word and not having sex outside of marriage, keeping your mind stayed on Him and truly, truly committing to the Lord as your savior, you decide to get a vasectomy. That will keep you from getting women pregnant… or so you think.

The problem is you’ve committed to the wrong thing. You’ve committed to not getting women pregnant when you should have committed to not having sex before marriage. Because you continue to defy God when you know you shouldn’t, when you keep asking for forgiveness without any intention of changing, etc., God can cause you to get a woman pregnant in spite of the vasectomy.

Gentleman, don’t be offended that I used men as an example. The same can hold true for a woman who continues to get pregnant then decides to get her tubes tied, any individual who continues to have sex and gets sexually transmitted diseases then decides to use a condom and the same holds true in other non-sexual scenarios as well.

God can allow you to get a woman pregnant even if you’ve had a vasectomy, God can allow you to get pregnant even if you’ve had your tubes tied…

I’m imaging that many of you are thinking, ‘Why in the world would you say that? That’s ridiculous! That’s impossible! God wouldn’t punish someone like that!”

We’re not talking about punishment here; it’s about God allowing something to happen that will ultimately – and hopefully – teach you a lesson. Why would anyone want to test the limits like that? Wouldn’t it be better to simply follow God’s commands? To me, the answer seems simple.

What do you think?

“You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims.” Harriet Woods