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CHRISTIANS: Free to do what?

All throughout the Christian world Christians scream “I’m free!”  

Non-denominationalists shout about being free from sin, while Baptists yell about being free from the law.  Both are absolutely right.  Right now I want to focus on what we are to do with our freedom in Christ.

During this past week I’ve heard the same message from several different sources: 

We want to be saved with our sins, not saved from our sins.  Or, we want Christ to free us from our sin but we’re not really interested in serving him.  This is wrong.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created  in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  – Ephesians 2:8-10

Christ saved us because He has work for us to do.  We don’t work to get saved, but rather we work because we are saved.  We’re not saved and free to do whatever we want to do, even though we’re blessed with His amazingly, pure grace.  

We should have the mindset: I am free to be used by the Lord.

We truly are not free to ourselves, but rather free to be of service to God.  We don’t belong to ourselves, we belong to God:

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  I Corinthians 6:19-20

One thing I’m learning about Christ is that He never gives us anything to only fulfill our own desires, including our salvation.  In other words, we’re not free for the sake of being free.  He freed us from being a slave to sin so that we can be a slave to Him.  He saves us so we can serve Him.  He was himself a servant!  He said with his own mouth:

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  – Matthew 20:28

What am I saying?  We must be wise with how we use our freedom.  Let’s not take advantage of amazing grace, but instead let’s use our freedom to honor God.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:1-2

Margo

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Well-Meaning People

What kind of people do you have around you?

Look around.  The people around you are shaping and influencing your life more than you know.  We get 1 life to live, let’s not shortchange ourselves by spending time with the wrong people.

No one is perfect, but we should surround ourselves with well-meaning people.  Well-meaning people truly want the best for us.  Truly.  No hidden motives, no secret feelings, they really mean us well.

These people, although imperfect, are trying to do right.  They encourage you to do right, they don’t try to bring you down to their level.  Well-meaning people can even admit they may not be doing right, but they are trying.  They aren’t secretive.

Well-meaning people are open.  They can admit their shortcomings because after all, they mean well.  They may fall short, but they aren’t out to get you.  We must be wise enough to know that some people secretly want us to fail.  It may even be their own insecurities that cause them to plot against us.  Either way, we must be intentional about keeping well-meaning people around us.

We can’t be overly critical toward those that truly mean well, and we can’t be naive to think that everyone is well-meaning.

“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.”  – Proverbs 12:26

Those with wicked hearts will lead us astray by appearing as though they are for us.  Don’t be fooled.  

Be wise with who you allow around you.  Even when you do wrong, you should have friends that encourage you to do right.  Although we’re all imperfect, we should surround ourselves with well-meaning people.

Margo

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WOMEN: Build Your Home

There is so much to do at home.  The more you focus on your own, the more you discover how much there is to do.  Don’t be fooled by thinking that taking care of home means only cooking and cleaning.  That’s definitely a start, but there’s so much more.

Married?  Build your marriage.  Have kids?  Build your kids.  Everyone’s family is different, but we all have work to do.  

It’s so easy to get caught up doing so many other things to the point that you’re neglecting your own home.  Don’t lose focus, the people in your home are more important than those outside of the home.  Don’t put so much on your plate that when you are home you’re too exhausted to do anything, and don’t allow social media to get more of you than your family gets.

Don’t take what you have for granted, and don’t assume that everything is okay.  No, take the time to ask how everyone is doing, how their day went, how they feel about this or that.  Ask questions to see what’s on their mind, don’t allow any issues to stay hidden.  Create an environment in your home of sharing feelings and dealing with issues.  

Start traditions, stick to routines but allow for spontaneity.  Make a habit of saying I love you, I’m here for you, I want the best for you.  Pray together- everyday.  

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”  – Proverbs 14:1

Let’s be women that build what we have at home.

Margo

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I Love My Husband.  I Love Our Marriage.

Where do I start?  I thank God for marriage.  It’s such a beautiful thing.  I thank God for the man that He has blessed me with.  There is no other man that I adore the way I adore him.  Next to Jesus, he is it.

Why?

I know without a doubt that God blessed me with him.  I encourage women desiring a husband to diligently seek the Lord for His confirmation before saying “I do”.  I sought the Lord, I said I do, and I have felt the blessing of the Lord over our marriage from day 1.

I love my husband because he is who he is.  He doesn’t impress, he doesn’t fake, he is who he is.  He feels no pressure to be like those around him.  He is secure in who he is.  He encourages others to also be themselves.  He’s not moved by outward appearances.

I love my husband because he loves the Lord.  He loves the Lord, seeks the Lord, trusts the Lord, and is content in the Lord. He hears from the Lord, and for a wife there is no better feeling.  Before saying I do, be certain that he hears from the Lord.

I love my husband because he loves me.  He really loves me.  His love is genuine, sincere, never wavering, and not based on anything I do.  It’s not even based on how I look.  Can you believe that?  When we first met I remember him telling me that he loves the Jesus in me.  

I love my husband because he is faithful.  A faithful man who can find?  (Proverb 20:6) If you find yourself a faithful man consider yourself blessed.  There is no better feeling than walking in confidence, knowing that your husband is faithful to you.  I’m so grateful.

I love my husband because he is my best friend and my partner.  We support each other, we learn from each other, we encourage one another, we want the best for one another.  We are one.

I love my husband because he is strong.  Yes, he’s physically strong, but more importantly he’s spiritually strong.  When troubles comes our way I worry not about him being able to handle it.  I have a fighter in him, I know together that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Marriage is a beautiful thing and I thank God for the marriage that he has blessed us with.  He has used our marriage to bless us in more ways than one.  Our marriage is sound, secure, and solid because our foundation is Jesus Christ.  Our marriage is a blessing to our children because they are covered.  Our marriage is a ministry because we allow God to use us to show His love to those around us.  Our marriage is sincere, honest, and safe.  Our marriage is our safe place.

I love my husband.  I love my marriage.  Marriage is a beautiful thing.  Thank you God for our marriage.

Margo

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Just Do You

How many times have you ever felt pressure to do something that you didn’t really want to do?  Or, felt uncomfortable because you were different from those around you?

I know all of us can relate to this in one way or another.

The world tries to get us to conform, but we have been told to transform ourselves by the renewing of our mind.  People want us to be like them, and often without ill intent.  There is this common deception that says: 

If you don’t do it like me, you’re doing it wrong.

Don’t believe it.

I’m a firm believer in staying focused on yourself, your life, your business.  I try to keep my mind and mouth off of how others live their lives.  Now, there will always be things that are wrong- lying, cheating, deceiving, stealing.  But there are also so many things that are preferential.

What works for you may not work for me, but that’s okay.  How you raise your kids is different from how I raise mine, but that’s okay.  How I handle myself as a wife may be different from your conduct, but guess what?  We should all just do us.

We all have different lives to live.  

Even as Christians, God has called us to live different lives.  We just have to remember to keep our eyes on Him and our business, without comparing, so we are able to do what He has called us to do.

“…walk worthy of the vocation where with ye are called,” – Ephesians 4:1

One of the worst things we can do is compare ourselves to others.  God has called us to love others, not compete or compare ourselves to others.  Doing things different is actually so beautiful in a world full of people doing what “he says” or “she says”.  Instead of doing what “they say” try keeping your eyes on God and do what He says.

You may not be the most popular, but you will have peace that no one can disrupt.

There is a special happiness in just doing you.

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DON’T SELF-DESTRUCT

Most of the painful situations that I’ve found myself in were due to my own decisions.  We’re all dealt a hand in life that we must live with, but that doesn’t determine everything.  Our own decisions impact our lives more than anything else.

If we look at our lives now we can see the consequences of decisions that we made in the past.  So what point am I making today?

DON’T SELF-DESTRUCT.

So often without even realizing it we destroy our own lives.  [Ponder that]

No one intends to destroy themselves, but if you are not living wisely then you are living foolishly.

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”  – Proverbs 14:1

I’m certain that the foolish don’t intend to tear their house down, but if a person lacks wisdom they can’t help but do foolish things.  We only do what we know.  And we should all remain humble because truly no one is exempt from acting foolishly.  But the goal is to know better to do better.  We must grow.

My encouragement is that we all begin to do better.  In order to do better we must first accept that we do need help, and we all do because no one knows it all.  

If we lack wisdom, we should ask God and He will give it to us generously (James 1:5).  We should ask for whatever it is we need (Philippians 4:6).  We have not because we ask not (James 4:2).

We have to take ownership of our lives and do better.  We must build our homes and not destroy them.  At any given moment we are doing one or the other.

Check your thoughts, check your words, and check your deeds.  Are you building or destroying?  As my Pastor says, don’t let a thought go unchecked.  

If you’re not careful you may be self-destructing without even realizing it…

Margo

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Diplomatically Disagree

As I watch the inauguration events, I’m humbled and encouraged by the diplomatic engagement between former President Obama and current President Trump.  I’m forced to look within and ask myself: 

Am I capable of diplomatically disagreeing?

I believe that this is a question that all of us should ask ourselves.  So many marriages dissolve because of the inability to diplomatically disagree.  Friendships end, violence erupts, people hate and even kill all because they disagree.  This should not be so.

The ability to disagree diplomatically displays a high level of maturity.  It also displays a high level of emotional intelligence and self-control.  It takes intention, and I’m certain a lot of practice, in order to engage respectfully with those that we absolutely disagree with.

Lately, I’ve been focused on love.  Not the world’s definition of love, but rather the love of God that is unconditional and sacrificial.  Me learning myself, I know that in order for me to disagree diplomatically I will need to focus on love.  Walk in love, separating the person from their ideas as well as their actions.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love…” – Ephesians 5:1-2

We must first have a love for humankind and then we can disagree with someone and not hate them.  Secondly, we must figure out what we individually have to do in order to be able to diplomatically disagree.  Manage our anger, deal with our insecurities, get comfortable expressing ourselves?  We have to figure that part out on our own.

Now, I’m not oblivious to the fact that we all have our passions and our irritations.  That’s okay, that’s what makes us unique.  I’m also not suggesting that we throw all of our values to the wayside.  I’m suggesting just the opposite, that we still hold on to what we value while we also diplomatically deal with those that disagree with us.

What do you think?  Do you disagree?

Margo