To the Almost Christian — Already Not Yet

 “Almost-Christians will almost get to heaven. But almost isn’t going to be close enough.”

Great post by Peter Cockrell

Alistair Begg: Not all who profess faith in Christ actually follow Him. Not all who give lip service to Christianity necessarily know its truth. Various warning passages (e.g., Heb. 2:1–4; 3:7–4:13; 1 John 2:19), along with Jesus’ own words in the Gospels (e.g., Matt. 7:23; 25:41; Luke 13:27), alert us to the possibility that we can appear to have a relationship […]

To the Almost Christian — Already Not Yet

Commandment #3: Don’t Take The Lord’s Name in Vain

“OMG.!!” “Oh My God!”, “Good Lord!”

These are prime examples of taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Have I been guilty of using these phrases? Of course! I’m not just speaking to you all regarding this commandment, I’m speaking to myself as well.

Before I came to Christ, despite having grown up in the church and being taught the Ten Commandments and KNOWING it was wrong, I didn’t care. I used all of those.

Except one. To me, the worst one even though I wasn’t a Christian, I never used this one: “God” followed by the word “damn.” It just wasn’t one I could bring myself to use. (So I guess the lessons as a kid weren’t completely lost on me.

It’s a sin. Using God’s name in vain is breaking one of the commandments, therefore it’s a sin.

Our actions, our WORDS reflect God’s character! When we misuse His name, we are not only breaking a commandment….we are breaking his HEART as well!

Using God’s name flippantly, casually is, for lack of a better term, wrong.

Instead of using His name in vain with profanity, we are to reverence God and represent His name well.

Mike Bennett

God’s Name

Who is God? He is Yahweh, Jehovah Jireh, I AM, Alpha and Omega, Prince of Peace.

He is my Friend, my Confidant, My Healer. He is the Way, He is the Truth, He is the Life!

Who Is God To You?

  • ​El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
  • El Elyon (The Most High God)
  • Adonai (Lord, Master)
  • Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)
  • Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
  • Jehovah Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)
  • Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
  • Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)

He is Everything to me. Is He Everything to you? And if He is everything then why use His name in a way that dishonors His character and who He really is?

We should be PRAISING our Creator! We should be HONORING His name.

Psalm 29: 1-2 says to: Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength.Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Let’s not misuse God’s name. Let’s be ambassadors for him – not an embarrassment to him – because he is the Name above all names

Rick Ezel

25 Years Of Living With Mental Illness

Some quotes on mental health and the church

The very church that preaches Christ’s unconditional love and compassion, in some instances, hurts its most needy members. 

Marja Bergen

The church ought to be a safe place for caring for those with all forms of illnesses: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual

Pastor Curtis Lowe,

“It’s really rooted in superstition and a misunderstanding of what mental illness is,”

Amy Simpson

Despite all the advances in treatment, despite all the ways in which our culture has become more enlightened and compassionate, somehow mental illness remains in a category of its own, regarded as some sort of peculiar affliction that is best dealt with by toughing it out, straightening up, putting one’s will into play and hiding any evidence of possible symptoms.

Kathy Hurt

THE LACK OF ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE BOTH BY THE CHURCH AND SECULAR SOCIETY HAS LEFT THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS STIGMATIZED.

Gladys Mwiti

Things Never to Say to Someone Suffering from Mental Illness

  • Oh snap out of it already
  • Cheer up
  • Smile, you’ll feel better
  • Get over it

Or my personal “fave”

  • Your faith is weak, just pray it away

If only it were that simple.

I have suffered from bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety since I was 17.

21 years. It’s been 21 years. Actually, I started having panic attacks when I was 13 so yeah, around 25 years.

So for a quarter of a century I have been dealing with mental illness. I never looked at it like that before.

25 years.

Yes, I’m A Christian and Bipolar

Yes, it is possible to be a Christian, to have the love of the Lord in you and still struggle with a mental illness. The two CAN coexist! Because guess what? Mental illness? Yeah, it doesn’t discriminate. It can strike anyone at any given time. It’s a chemical imbalance.

Its Not a Lack of Faith Issue

I have suffered from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for many years.  I was told by someone once that my faith was not strong enough and that’s why I was suffering. I’ll never forget that.

But it’s not a faith issue. What if what I had was physical? Diabetes, or cancer? We don’t question those illnesses so why is mental illness any different? According to Ed Stetzer,

We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church—those are seen as medical conditions, but mental illness–that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.

Mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. It shouldn’t be treated any differently from a physical illness.

I will never understand why every organ in your body gets support and sympathy when it is ill, except for your brain.

Unknown

I have actually been told that mental illness is “all in your head.” Ummm….well yes…..it is! Where else would it be? My kidney?

Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden; it is easier to say, “my tooth is aching” than to say “my heart is broken.”

C.S. Lewis

25 years, y’all. 25 years!

Wrong Motives

 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

James 4:2-3

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been so obsessed with my stats on here that I seem to have forgotten the real reason for blogging.

I’ll log on, hoping to see lots of “views” and “comments” and there aren’t many. A post I’m certain would draw lots of views doesn’t and posts I think aren’t my best writing end up more popular.

When I created this blog way back in 2012, I believe, I just wrote sporadically and never anything worth much….It was in 2017 when I got right again with the Lord that I truly took off with this blog.

It’s been 4 years since I changed this blog around. My desire is to be able to reach out to people and let them know that God loves them and that He is all they need!

I’m ashamed I have become curious more about why my blog isn’t growing than I am about sowing that seed and letting God do the watering in someone’s life.

I apologize.

I published posts every single day in July and was going for another month in August and I just realized it’s not about how many posts I publish. If I’m writing for the wrong reasons, if I’m just concerned with the stats then I’m doing something wrong. I’m not honoring God with this attitude.

I am not going to stop posting but I AM going to stop publishing every single day until I am writing to truly reach other people and not concerned so much with the stats.

 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 2:22

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men

Colossians 3:23

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes
but the Lord weighs the spirit. 

Proverbs 16:2

 We can pretend that we are choosing certain actions for God or the benefit of others, when in reality we have selfish reasons. God is not fooled by our selfishness and is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-motives.html

What Does the Lord Require Of Us?

God’s will is for us to become like Him—to become His children

Mike Bennett,
https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/what-is-gods-will-for-you/

Jesus said: “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother”
Matthew 12:50

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul
Deuteronomy 10:12

 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Romans 12:1

But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”
Joshua 22:5

Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
Ezekiel 18:23

And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6

The Lord knows what’s best for us in the long run. He KNOWS us. He LOVES us. He WANTS us to come to HIM!

Love the Lord your God.
Walk in all His ways
Obey His commands
Live in a way that pleases Him

Write What You Know: Well I Know My Redeemer Lives!

What do I know? As a writer I have come across this statement many times over the years. And yet I still don’t think I know.

Write what you know. As if it were that easy, right? You might THINK you know only to sit down, pen in hand, or hands over the keyboard and you draw a blank.

So I took the time to list the things I know. Like, truly know. I will work from there.

I know Jesus and He calls me Friend

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:13-15

I also know mental illness and Jesus is my Prince of Peace

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I know forgiveness…and that I’m not worthy

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness 1 John 1:9

I know kindness and that it goes a long way

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience Colossians 3:12

I know redemption…and Christ took my place

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace Ephesians 1:7

I know who my Redeemer is and that He is able!


I
 know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25

Commandment # 2: “No Idols”

20 And God spoke all these words:

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


“No Idols”

“We must not let physical things cloud our understanding and worship of the Creator God.”

Mike Bennett, https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/10-commandments/idolatry-second-commandment/

Getting distracted is so easy. Just hand me my phone and instantly I’m on Facebook or Instagram….before I know it, a vast amount of time has flown by and I am left wondering how. Surely I wasn’t distracted THAT long, right?

Lately distraction has been keeping me from turning to Jesus. I get so caught up in technology that I forget what’s really important. I have made an idol and placed it in front of Jesus. I’ve bumped Jesus to number 2, or 3 or even 4 instead of #1 in my life.

It’s time to check in with Jesus. It’s time to push all the other things away. They don’t matter. Jesus matters. He’s all we need and yet we forget that. We allow the material things to take His place in our hearts and in our lives.

The Lord is to be #1 in our lives and anything that takes that place is an idol and should be dealt with immediately. (it sounds harsh but it’s true!) And I don’t want you to think I’m not including myself in this post because I definitely am.

What am I idolizing more than God? Is it my phone? My laptop? My blog? Is it social media? Books? (even Christian books?) Am I greedy? Do I want what others have? Do I have to have the newest phone, the hottest new gadget?

Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Colossians 3:5b

Am I focusing more on how to attract viewers to my blog rather than the Lord? Because even though this blog talks of my faith, my struggles, ect….if all I care about is how many views I get, or how many comments I get, isn’t that making it an idol?

No matter what it is….if I’m focusing more on those things rather than the Lord….it. is. an. idol!

Idolatry is often connected with coveting–the desire to have more of the things the rich and famous have.

Mike Bennett, https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/10-commandments/idolatry-second-commandment/

I encourage y’all to read “gods at war” by Kyle Idleman. He definitely hits home with his views on idols.

In gods at war, Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of not a fan, helps every believer recognize there are false gods at war within each of us, and they battle for the place of glory and control in our lives. What keeps us from truly following Jesus is that our hearts are pursuing something or someone else.  While these pursuits may not be the “graven images” of old, they are in fact modern day idols.  Behind the sin you’re struggling with, the discouragement you’re dealing with, the lack of purpose you’re living with is a false god that is winning the war for your heart.

By asking insightful questions, Idleman reveals which false gods each of us are allowing on the throne of our lives.  What do you sacrifice for?  What makes you mad?  What do you worry about? Whose applause do you long for?  We’re all wired for worship, but we often end up valuing and honoring the idols of money, sex, food, romance, success and many others that keep us from the intimate relationship with God that we desire.

According to Idleman, idolatry isn’t an issue―it is THE issue.

“God does not want to be worshipped as pagan gods were….We are to worship God in spirit and truth…..” Mike Bennett https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/10-commandments/idolatry-second-commandment/

Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them

Jonah 2:8

It’s time to check our priorities at the door and rely on the One who gave us life!

Hydration Challenge

34oz Sports Water Bottle

I have always had low self esteem. I’ve never been comfortable in my own body. I hate the way I look, I hate the way I’ve LET myself go. I hate the way I have no self control. My weight has me disgusted at myself. I blame it on my medication but lately I’ve come to realize, it’s my own fault. So I’m blaming ME now. (and my meds a little too)

I am getting ready to start a 60 day hydration challenge. I bought this water bottle from a company called “Live Infinitely” and they hold challenges where you set a goal of how many ounces you hope to drink each day.

Did you know that the amount of water you drink should be half of your current weight? Yeah, ummm…reaching that goal is going to take some time so I’m starting off slow…I’m going to shoot for 60oz for right now.

Even though the challenge doesn’t officially start until Sept 5, I started today for myself and drank roughly 48oz.

I’m hoping that by hydrating myself more and cutting out the soda and sugar that I’ll be able to lose some weight. I realize I can’t just rely on this challenge to lose weight…but that I have to find the motivation and self discipline to start exercising more and eating healthier.

I’ll keep y’all updated on my progress!

Has anyone ever tried a challenge like this?

Check out Live Infinitely.

Mental Illness Life Doesn’t Come with an Instruction Manual — Mental Health @ Home

As a sufferer of mental illness, this post hits home. Mental illness does NOT discriminate just because a person is a Christian.

Too bad it doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

When you first get a mental illness diagnosis, it’s easy enough to look up and see what the symptoms are, but no one ever tells you there’s a whole buttload of other stuff that goes along with it. The mental illness experience covers so much more than just the symptoms, and it doesn’t come with…

Mental Illness Life Doesn’t Come with an Instruction Manual — Mental Health @ Home

To the Christians in Afghanistan — The Fight of Faith

To the Christians in Afghanistan, especially those of you about to die for your faith, I doubt you will ever have the chance to read this, but my heart breaks for you. The Lord knows your anguish. He knows the trouble you face, and he is aware of your powerlessness. He also sees your poverty, […]

To the Christians in Afghanistan — The Fight of Faith