READ THIS FIRST

I am told that the truths that I share sometimes come across a bit too curt. Not that the truths shouldn’t be firmly held, but when I share them verbally my tone and expression and responses to the listener allow me to share the truth and the balance of grace at the same time (please listen to some of my audios for examples).

Whatever today’s topic, the full balance always involves the the following sweet coatings on the sometimes distasteful pill of truth of:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1. You are not alone, Dr. Verle Bell joins you as the chief of sinners and in no position to judge your worth, dignity, security, future, or God’s ability to help you.

2. There is Hope!

3. If you are a saved child of God, you have worth, strength, and hope just because. You can’t lose it or increase it, you have them just because Jesus died for you and loves you.

4. There are no have to‘s for us but there are a lot of sure-would-be-nice‘s. These blogs are to help you grab ahold of all the sure-would-be-nice’s God has for you in the present.

5. If you never change, grow, fight the good fight, etc, You are still a winner, for we are more than conquerors- we forever remain in his love!

Stop to think, how many people have passed through this world without confessing with God that they are a sinner in need of salvation, asking for that salvation based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Since we have, as a result we are now immortals. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Now read on to get your share of the icing!

If you ask Him nicely, He might even let you lick out of the icing bowl, just as my Mom did when I helped her in the kitchen as a boy.

WHAT WAS ADAM’S “APPLE”?

Sorry for not blogging for a while, I’ve been overwhelmed and need to sort out priorities and this is definitely a top priority. I even thought of setting the alarm to get up earlier and blog but I’m always telling others that God gives his beloved sleep. Psalms 127, so pray for me to figure out the balance.

This is a tough blog. I did not like what the Holy Spirit had to say to me as I wrote it, so if you are not wanting all of God and all of his blessing and a real relationship with Him, then please don’t read anyfurther.

What do I mean by Adam’s apple? We all have our “apples” things in our life that we cling to in order to establish who is the real boss of our life. We know that Eve’s apple was that she wanted to “be like god” and decide for herself what was right and wrong and not have to consult God or, horrors, her husband. But our goose wasn’t cooked until Adam also ate from the tree. If he had refused, God could have used him as a perfect man to redeem his wife and this earth. So why did he eat? Did he also resent not being the judge of what was right and wrong? Well he must have or he would have waited till evening and asked God whether it was OK or not to do what his wife asked. I think his “apple” was worrying what his wife would feel and think if he said, “No I won’t just follow your lead, I’m going to find out from God if you have done wrong or if I may join with you”.

So what’s your “apple?”

Our daughters decided that if they had to wear dresses that this was such an evil thing that it justified plotting our deaths by burning down the house, (Thank God they never figured out how) justified finding boyfriends on the side and stealing our car leaving the family abandoned far away from home so they could run off with the boyfriend, justified taking and taking and taking our help and finances and time without a scrap of gratitude, justified a life of excitement seeking etc. etc. all because we were so evil as to ask them to dress modestly.

My wife gave them a tool by which to fight the ancient curse of the “Adam’s apple”. She said, “ask the following question, is my authority asking me to do something that is wrong? If so, refer to the appeal that Daniel used. If not, then as an act of worship to the God that has placed that authority in your life, go ahead and co-operated with enthusiasm.

I struggle with the co-dependant  “apple” of being willing to do anything for God except setting limits on others that would make them mad at me.

What’s your “Lord I’ll do anything but that ,I’ll go anywhere except” apple. We all have bad genes from Adam and Eve and want to see ourselves as basically wanting to follow God,   EXCEPT IN THIS ONE LITTLE THING.

The opposite is not you running around and trying to be strong enough to let go of or face the “apple” It is saying , I can’t You can so here goes and moving my body parts, scared out of my wits, to obey.

It is good to remember that BOTH God and the devil want to bring about the “apple” in your life. God wants it because He wants to be God and if ANYTHING is bigger than He is then that is your god. The devil wants it because you have promises to mess up if he brings it about. It might not be that big a deal until you turn it into an “apple” then it becomes the only deal! I know someone who refused to go to the front of the church to ask God to forgive him of his sins and to accept the finished work of Jesus as full payment. He wanted to be saved but pointed out that one may be saved in the woods, at home, in the car etc. That was true before he said, I’ll get saved anywhere else. The God will wait for him at the altar in front of the church till he lets go of the apple. There is no use trying to do so many things for God that he will look the other way in this one little area.

With the rich young ruler, it was his possessions, with Demas it was the love of the world, with Annanias and Saphira it was wanting to look as committed as the rest without being as committed as they were. Other “apples” pain, reputation, jobs, ridicule, relationships, excitement, substances, education, family, hobbies, sports, entertainment, internet. Well you get the idea.

We call Him LORD because it sounds nice, but He isn’t lord of anything till He is lord of everything. “DEAR LORD PLEASE SHOW ME MY “APPLES” AND HELP ME TEAR DOWN ALL THE FALSE GODS OF MY LIFE AND LET YOU BE MY KING.

 

PIE IN THE SKY BY AND BY?

Thank you, thank you, thank you, dear blog reader for giving me a comment to respond to!

I love to hear what goes on in your hearts and minds when you read my thoughts. How else can I stay on track and make a reasonable stab at showing the practical wisdom of God so that we may all worship him for his love and wisdom?

COMMENT:”Right now the future is too overwhelming to consider.  I have, of course, the perfect hope of heaven, but I don’t want to focus on that because it gives me complete peace in dying and I currently need peace in living. I will pray for God to reveal something in my future life here on earth for me to be encouraged by, and to hope on.”

It is hard for distant hopes to motivate us to live well in this present moment. If you tell a child that if they give up current fun they will be glad that they did so in 20 years because they will have a better education, be more physically healthy etc. they would have a hard time finding that motivating. We are all but little children having spent so little time in existence that rewards that are for some 60 years away (for my dad perhaps 10 at most and for me 30 or so) seem so far away. Of course in a billion years, our entire 100 years of struggle will seem minuscule, and one second after we see Christ our entire 100 years of struggle will seem irrelevant. I remember an old saying in the church when I was a lad,” Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good!” I am suggesting that we be so heavenly minded that we are of great earthly good in the present. We are already immortal, these are the foreign wars that we will recount when we get to the VFW in heaven,there is much good that we may do because this is a pain filled world full of the results of sin THAT WE CAN’T DO IN HEAVEN such as comfort others and lead people to Christ and stand up against mockers for the name of Christ etc. And don’t forget having and helping to raise babies. Ask God to help you prioritize valuing NOW the awesome wonder of Jesus in me the hope of glory. As president Kennedy said,”And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” When our delight is in the Lord,He gives us the desire of our hearts-Him! Unfortunately nothing else is guaranteed and all things work together for good to those who die in war, starve to death, are sawn apart, killed with swords and counted as sheep for the slaughter all day long BECAUSE: in all these things we are more than conquerors and remain in His love.

Romans 8:17-19King James Version (KJV) 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

(Hymn by: Esther K. Rusthoi)
 Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear,
We’re tempted to complain, to murmur and despair;
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away,
All tears forever over in God’s eternal day.
Sometimes the sky looks dark with not a ray of light,
We’re tossed and driven on , no human help in sight;
But there is one in heav’n who knows our deepest care,
Let Jesus solve your problem – just go to Him in pray’r.
 Life’s day will soon be o’er, all storms forever past,
We’ll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last;
We’ll share the joys of heav’n – a harp, a home, a crown,
The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus,Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ;

One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase,So bravely run the race till we see Christ.
THEN IS ABOUT NOW! NOW IS ABOUT THEN! It is both, we are to picture the THEN in order to better live NOW and to see all the treasures that God has for me NOW.
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold,NOW NOW NOW is the accepted time; behold,NOW is the day of salvation.)

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth (IN THE PRESENT) unto those things which (GOD STILL HAS STORED UP FOR ME IN THIS PRESENT LIFE) 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded:

Re-read my blog on HOPE and you will see that we are rewarded in the present. Perhaps not with the rewards we would like but with the ones we need:

NOW bringing glory to God , NOW being able to talk to Him and be heard, NOW finding the calling and purpose He has for me, NOW magnifying his name in heaven and earth, NOW helping others.

We want the old covenenant in which God showed his presence through giving his people victory in battle, health, wealth and comfort. The New covenenant is far better but less immediate comfort. He dwells in us and gives us inner peace even if we loose the outer battle, he teaches us to be content with much or little, to accept ourselves and others and him even when we can’t change important people.Prayer
(written by an anonymous confederate soldier, US civil war)

U.S. civil war

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey….I asked for health, that I might do greater things,I was given infirmity, that I might do better things….I asked for riches, that I might be happy,I was given poverty, that I might be wise….I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God….I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,I was given life, that I might enjoy all things….I got nothing that I asked for -but everything that I had hoped for,Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.I am among all men most richly blessed.,

 

BE A PECULIAR PRIEST

Dear ones. Do you struggle with fear and anxiety? Remember Philippians 3. (Dr. Bell’s version) When you find yourself anxious, choose to praise God for who He is then beg him for help thanking him for both the problem and for what He is going to do; then take out you emergency kit and review all the positives God has placed in your life and world; then do the little that you can leaving the results to God and focusing on the needs of the others in the situation and PRAYING FOR THEIR NEEDS.
THEN the of God which makes no sense will push out the fear of man and the fear of life that makes no sense!!
We need to stand between the sinner and the God they have sinned against, and, like Moses, cry out to God to pardon them,like Jesus, Father forgive, remembering that NO sin is against us but against God. Psalms 51.
We need to intercede with God when we see others tired and to seek their rest.
We need to ponder as to who people are and how we can encourage them to grow.
When a brother is overtaken in a snare, we need to seek to restore such a one.

In short, we need to take our roles as priests and be so peculiar that the world watching us concludes that there MUST BE A GOD!

Remember to appeal to and plead with God on the basis of how his reputation will be clarified and upheld by his working in the lives of our brethren and enemies in his own marvelous way. Also, that our coming before his throne to plead for other is not because we are so great ourselves but that, since He has been merciful to me the chief of sinners we presumed to believe that He might be merciful to the runner up. If this approach to life doesn’t make you peculiar-nothing will.

TRY IT! See if focusing on asking God to bless others, especially the others involved in the situation that you happen to be worrying about, doesn’t bring you the unexplainable peace of God.

DANIEL 9 18 for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing MY sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God;

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

¶ Then Naomi, her mother-in-law, said unto her, My daughter, shall I not seek rest for thee that it may be well with thee?

Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:NUMBERS 14:11 And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?

12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they.

13 And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptians shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them;)

14 And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land: for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people, that thou Lord art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them, and that thou goest before them, by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.

15 Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying,

16 Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness.

17 And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,

18 The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.

19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.

20 And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word:

HOPE

When is the last time you heard a sermon on the need to DO hope and how to do hope. You see Faith Hope and Charity would be better understood by “verbing” them: faithing, hoping , and loving.

Hope is something we are to do not just feel.

Hoping will lead to greater obedience to the Lord and to more faithing,faithing will give solidity to our hope, which will lead to more faithing to more hoping to more faithing etc. etc.

Faith,of course, is the type of belief (there are many different types of belief) that FORCES us to act according to what we say we believe.

If you told me that you believed that the distance to the nearest star is 27 trillion miles,(it is) but did absolutely nothing differently as a result; I would still assume that you do, in fact, believe that. That type of belief does not call forth any response. But, if you said that you believe that there is a bomb in this room set to go off in 5 min. and just stood there smiling, then I would assume that you are either suicidal or hopeless or don’t actually believe what you said. You might do something foolish such as climbing under the table, but you have to DO SOMETHING to convince me that you believe it.

Hope is the reason that we act in faith.

HOPE =  picturing the results of a certain action.

This picture lends motivation and stick-to-it-iveness to our actions. An example of hoping is when an Avon salesperson puts a picture of a pink Cadillac on their dashboard and their bathroom mirror and the kitchen fridge in order to motivate them to sell lots of product so that they may earn the Cadillac and the accompanying admiration of their fellow salespeople.

So, what are we to picture and, so to speak- put on our dashboards to motivate us to faithing more?

GOD BEING MERCIFUL TO MEPsalm 33:18
Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy;

ME BRINGING PRAISES TO GOD FOR WHAT HE WILL DOPsalm 42:5
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

ME CLOTHED IN RIGHTEOUSNESSProverbs 10:28
The hope of the righteous shall be gladness

GOD LISTENING TO MY PLEASJeremiah 17:7
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou WILT hear, O Lord my God.

ME BEING SAVEDLamentations 3:26
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

ME DYING AND COMING BACK TO LIFEActs 23:6
But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

ME FINDING ALL THAT HE HAS CALLED ME FOR AND TOEphesians 1:18
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

CHRIST BEING MAGNIFIED BY MY OBEDIENCEPhilippians 1:20
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

ME IN GLORYColossians 1:27
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

OTHERS IN HEAVEN THAT WE HAD SOME HAND IN BRINGING1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

THE SECOND COMINGTitus 2:13
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

ETERNAL LIFETitus 3:7
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

EVEN MORE ACCESS TO HIS GRACE WHEN I SEE HIM1 Peter 1:13
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
So copy this list and practice picturing these things that (His name) THE GOD WHO CANNOT LIE has promised will be. See how picturing these things leads to more faithing and more faithing builds the clarity and solidness of the picture. You will never get to the end of these marvels but you can start to build your “hope muscles” by talking to others about these wonderfull things that are ours-to-be!

CHRISTIAN ATTITUDE TOWARDS OUR BODIES

My understanding of the Hindu view, is that the body is the enemy, so, in order to be godly, the holy man goes out to the forest and doesn’t eat or drink or find comfort and learns to not want anything and then is considered holy.
Yes, we Christians need to live after the Spirit not after the flesh. However we need to take care of our bodies because:
1. They are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
2. Our feet are beautiful when used to bring glad tidings to others.
3. Obedience is exemplified by yielding our body members slaves to Christ to do the opposite of our natural inclination.
4.God counts the hairs on our head.
We need to use our minds to worship and plot good for others and ponder God’s thoughts after Him.Use our eyes to see the lilies and the ripe harvest and the needs of others. Use our mouths to exhort, rebuke and teach.Use our nose and tongue to savor the richness of this world which God has given us.Use our hands to heal and lift up and build.Use our backs to bear others burdens.Use our legs to carry us to places of ministry. Use our feet to wriggle in the dirt of the garden and run to the places of battle or service.

I remember a song that I was taught in Telegu as a child. E rendu chatilu, Devundu ichaynu or something like that. It meant: These two hands of mine, God gave them both to me, gave them to me for his service. It then proceeded down the list of all the body parts.
To use them for His service, we must take care of the tools.

Exercise them daily. We used to say that three times a week was enough to keep people fit but new research suggests exercise to the point of puffing and our hearts panting is needed in order to keep the blood vessels open properly to the brain. (you gain at least two IQ points with regular exercise and slow down the natural deterioration.)

Eat a healthy diet–no sugar and high fiber.

Get enough sleep. Psalms 127

Don’t stress them with useless tension.

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;

22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

23 Which things have indeed a SHEW of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and NEGLECTING OF THE BODY: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Daniel 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

I corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:

The body is not the master but the servant but it is to be stewarded like all of God’s marvelous gifts.

ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship,(His proof of genius,His ultimate work of art) created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Do you ignore and take poor care of His body which He bought with a great price after having made it the first place: or do you indulge its every whim to its destruction: or do you care for it like a Stradivarius violin and let Him draw sweet music from its cords?

Psalms 139: 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.

 

BE WHERE YOU ARE AT

Mindfulness, as a counseling concept, is all the rage nowadays, but is it something that we followers of the Lamb should be practicing?

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Philippians 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those (great accomplishments of the Holy Spirit through me) things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 6:2 For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.

Mark 8:18  Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

Isaiah 50:4 The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.

5 The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.

To review: weekly we ask, how am I doing at caring for my physical health; schedule;relationships; and living in the reality God has placed me in?

my reality only touches God’s eternity in the now. Now matter how I may fuss about it, in the end of the fussing I am still myself,where I am and when I am.

In the present place I need to be aware of my reactions and ask “What do You want me to do right now about this thing I am focussed on, how do You want me to obey?” NEXT:

If the answer is to act then act, to act with support from God and others then act, to wait then wait patiently and put it on the later pile with some way to remember to act later, to accept that there is nothing that I should or could do then accept and rest and refocus to the here and now and grab ahold of all that God has for me now investing no worry in tomorrow or what is happening elsewhere and not wallowing in yesterday, THEN ACCEPT the fact that there in nothing to be done. (remembering to cast our cares on Him through prayer).

Next, be careful not to move from accepting the fact that there is nothing to do TO fussing about the fact that we can do nothing and about the people who won’t co-operate. Not resenting reality and so finding ourselves resenting God’s sovereignty.  It is OK to say that we have messed up and others are messed up and that reality is not fair or kind but resentment involves endless review of the details which wears us out.

Next, by God’s grace pull your focus back to the here and now seeing the problems as challenges to bless us with growth and the opportunities as things to be savored and appreciated.

The question is “How am I doing at not allowing tension to build up as I go through the day?”

100 years ago a doctor found that the only ones who left the state psychiatric hospitals were the ones who had learned a. not to sweat the small stuff b. not to sweat the big stuff they could do nothing about, c. not to handle things alone making them more stressful than necessary d.not to procrastinate. e. not to bury hurts but take them to God f. to see problems in the light of all the good and in the light of our hope in eternity. These patients did well even before the advent of medications. Loving God is great but will not prevent illness. If you love  God and eat unhealthy food-you die! If you love God and wallow in anger bitterness worry fear etc. you will still burn out. You will remain loved and eternally secure but still miserable and worn out. His ways do work!

Well this ends the four blogs on the tool of weekly questions to keep us on tract in terms of healthy living.

IT’S ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIP

Look at the world around you. You might start with the tip of your own nose. That, and everything else you see will cease to exist in a blinding flash of intense heat. Considering that, what should our priorities be?

2 peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

The scriptures suggest less materialism and a holy life. I add that the opposite of my normal focus is usually pretty close to godliness. That would be to focus on relationships,”love people-use things, not love things-use people” especially thinking about the other persons blessing and working at BEING REAL with them.

We followers of and believers in the finished work of Jesus, should, of all people be most able to relax and be real. Unfortunately, church is often the place of the most intense concentration of pretense and superficiality found anywhere. A wise observer once noted that Sunday morning for 11 till noon is the most segregated hour of the week in America. I am suggesting that it is also the hour in which we love to pretend more than at other times. We talk in strange ways when we pray, we pretend to have participation in our Sunday school classes by having the teacher go on and on reviewing the teacher’s manual and asking people to read a verse. Yet, no one is asked to share how those verses frighten them or anger them or seem impractical etc. (See my discussion on what faith actually looks like.)

It scares the liver out of us to be real, but then any acceptance that we receive is superficial and does not impact our loneliness. This is a lonely world and the United States has crafted what is probably the loneliest society ever!

Start with God. It is pretty safe to BE REAL with Him as he already knows all about you, and seems to like you anyways. Yet, in our universal insanity, we are afraid that He wouldn’t like us if He found out the real truth. In fact, we might not like ourselves if we took a full realistic look. (We are,after all much worse than we realize, maybe the worst sinner ever–like the apostle Paul.) Some of us wouldn’t accept a God who accepts us. We project our own contempt (I don’t like myself so you must not like me either.)

Just as it is impossible to love God without practicing on a person that we can see.

1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

I suggest that it is impossible to accept ourselves, warts and all, without BEING REAL with a fellow human, finding that they still accept us and have hope for us, and then realizing that God feels the same way. Ask God to bless you with someone you can BE REAL with, if they reject you then you had a fake relationship that would never have given you a picture of God’s acceptance of you. However if they are accepting but you never GET REAL with them, then you will say “yes but” to their acceptance and not benefit as God intends.

Lord help me to find in you all the acceptance I need but help me to be more open to letting others see the clay vessel that I am so that they might marvel in the treasure I contain–your love and Spirit within me.