Monday, May 29, 2017

Pure hearts and pure motives and a couple of Tips

Good afternoon folks.     Here it is, Memorial Day, in the United States of America.     A day set aside to remember the fallen heroes of this country that have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in defense of this country and numerous other countries on the face of this globe.    I hope and pray that if you know someone who has served this great country, that you will take the time to thank them.   We often take the lives of military people for granted.     But we should never do that.    Just take the opportunity to thank a Veteran somewhere today and remember the ones who gave the greatest sacrifice.

In remembering those, remember the sacrifice that was made on the cross for us to have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.     Jesus is my ULTIMATE hero!     The sacrifice He made for me was one that no one else could make for me.    For that, I am truly grateful.     Yes, I love the American soldiers, men and women who have fought and died to keep our country free.     But I love more, my Savior, who died to set me free from the bondage and slavery of sin!     Only Jesus Christ could do that!!!
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My tip for this blog post is to use some weights to enhance your "house walking".     I had mentioned that I had started house walking in my last post, well, I have kicked it up a notch since then.    I now walk as fast as I can, thru the house pumping my arms and speed walking like a "cRAZy woman"!!!!   That really gets the heart rate up!!    In turn, burning more calories,  yay!!!!     I do that at least 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.     If I want to, I can just march in place with a really fast pace and watch television while I do that.    If I really want to do that and bump it up another notch, I bring up YouTube and watch Leslie Sansone doing her walking in place.   She has fantastic videos to watch.   There are many to choose from and it's like walking with friends.     You march to the beat of the music and it's great. So, just remember, it is POSSIBLE to get fit in the confines of your own home, you just have to figure out what's gonna work for you.    We just need positive reinforcements and if you will join me in this, we will do it together.     

Another tip in my quest for getting healthy is making better food choices.     Really salty and sweet snacks are my down fall, honestly.      In reality, I just love all the comfort foods!!!!!     You name it, and it's probably on my list of top 10,000 all time fav foods!!!    Hey, I'm just being real here.   hahaha     But I have found that some of the stuff I used to love, I'm not loving them so much.   Number 1 - they sure don't love me, or they wouldn't be so bad for me.     Number 2 - when you start trying to eat healthier, your body starts feeling better.     I LOVE feeling better!!!!!      So, I am trying to introduce new ways of eating some different foods and making healthier choices at the grocery store.      So, my tip is this, I love chips, yes I do.   Guess what else I found out that I love?   I found out that I love to take a green zucchini and slice circles off it as thin as I can get them, (as thin a potato chips) and then use  greek yogurt or hummus or even horseradish sauce as a dipping sauce and it is delicious!!!     With the horseradish sauce, a little goes a long way.     It has a very spicy flavor and that's why I love it so much.    I love LOTS of flavor.   Don't over do it with the horseradish sauce though, it is high in calories and fat.    (Try mixing a teaspoon of horseradish sauce with a tablespoon of plain greek yogurt and you just added more protein to your snack.)   I can slice off, with a mandolin, about two or two and a half inches of zucchini and a couple teaspoons of horseradish sauce, greek yogurt, or hummus and be totally, completely happy and thrilled about my choice and have a filling and satisfying and completely guilt free snack, or a side with a meal.     I hope you find this useful.     I also hope that you will share with me, your NEW, go to favorite, healthy foods.      Stay tuned for more tips, hints and ideas that I pick up along the way.
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Have you ever stopped and thought about how God dealt with the poor and the needy in Scriptures?   I think sometimes, in the greediness of the lives that we all live, we forget that according to God's point of view, ALL of us are poor and needy!!!!     Oh, some of us have a lot of money, and we have a death grip on it to the point of letting the needs of others around us go unmet.     Oh, I know, it's all well and good until it hits home, ain't it?     I have heard it said that church goers are the stingiest, grouchiest, hardest to please, tightfisted tippers that waiters and waitresses ever deal with on Sundays, and you know what, I certainly believe that!  Another thing that I have come to the conclusion of is this, if you need help, don't go to church looking for it, you won't find it.    This is a sad sad thing to say, but it's the truth.    Scripture tells us that we never know when we are in the presence of "angels unaware".     Oh my Lord, may I never be found mistreating one of your angels!!!

One of the things that I have found is that when we have a closed hand, we also have a closed heart.   Just think about that.    It is with our hands that we GET to be that hands of God, when we have open hands for God, we usually have an open heart.    Now, hear this, I am not telling anyone to be careless with what God has blessed them with.   But is it careless to help someone?     Who am I to judge whether someone is telling me the truth about their needs?     If I give to someone who has said they have a need and they use the money for anything other than meeting that need, it's on their conscious and head, especially if I have given it in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior and Messiah.

One of the questions that I often hear is "Why does the body of Christ, the believers , the members of this or that church, not want to spend time with one another in a socializing setting?"    The bigger question is this, "Why WOULD they want to spend time with each other, if they are gonna be cut down at every turn?"     The early churches in the book of Acts had it right, for a while anyway.   They did socialize, they did help one another, they did meet each others needs, they did as scripture had told them.   What scripture was that?    The books of the Torah and of the prophets.     Jesus summed all 613 laws written in the Torah, down to just two.    Easy and simple to remember.    Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love others as you love yourself.   This is my paraphrase, but it's the gist of what He said.     I said that to say this.    God forbid a church member have a need, more than likely they will be scourned if they are courageous enough ask for help.    

We hear sermons and Sunday School lessons about helping others, and what I see in churches these days is that there is the same old stinkin' legalism that is choking the life out of the church that was there in some of the early churches.   Let me put that in a different way.    Legalism is killing the local churches.     If you wonder where the local churches are, they are the churches in the communities of anyone reading this.   Right where you are, there are several local churches.     Makes no difference whether it's a big church or a small church, legalism is in it!   And if I have my finger on the pulse of what's happening, I would be willing to say that the churches in your communities are killing themselves from the inside with  legalism too.     It is a disease that has been in the churches from very early on.      God has always wanted a people with His heartbeat.     Jesus came to earth to be a model of how we should represent God.     Oh, we all know how to turn on the charm and smiles and pretend like we care, but.........DO WE?     When it comes to tapping into the wallet, that's where the rubber meets the road and where we see skid marks from most people getting away from anyone with a monetary need.    That is so sad.     I just have to say here, that yes, it does take some discernment from the Lord on how to meet some of the needs we may encounter.     And sometimes, the Lord may give you the inner knowledge to step away from the situation.    That has happened to my husband and me on several occasions.     I don't trust myself to do the right thing, but I always trust the Holy Spirit in me to do the right thing.   

Oh yes, I know that drug addicts and alcoholics are always hitting people up for money all the time, and that's not what I am necessarily talking about.     I have heard it said that if a person really has a need, they will not go into a "spiel", if you will, about why they need money.     I laugh at that statement.   Let me walk up to you say that I need some help.     What are you going to say?     Are you going to ask me how I need help?     Are you going to ask me what I need money for?     Sure you are.     Are you going to judge me and condemn me as a liar and a thief and cheat, just because I asked you for help?    Probably, but hopefully not.     That is such a sad thing to say, but it is the truth.

In my search for how God has tried to teach us how to treat people in need, this is just a dent in the heap of info that God has spoken, Himself, in His Word to us:

Prov. 19:17  Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.

Acts 20:35  I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Isaiah 58:10 If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. 9 Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you. 10 You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. 11 For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’

Proverbs 28:27 Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Matthew 6:1-4 1 Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Ezekiel 16:49  Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.

1 John 3:17  But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?    (pretty good, huh)

Psalm 140:12 I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.

Luke 6:38  give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.      (one of my personal favorites)

Proverbs 31:8-9  8 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Jeremiah 5:28  they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Hebrews 13:2  Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.      (I pray that I am NEVER found guilty of mistreating an angel, or anyone else)

Hebrews 13:16   Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

James 2:15-16  15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?         (wow, how's that for such a statement)

Luke 1:53  he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Well, this is just a short list of how God speaks to us about the poor and needy around us.     I know, those that are more learned than I am can say that I took every one of these scriptures out of context. Did I?   Go back and read the scriptures preceding and following each one, and then say that.     Maybe I did, maybe not.   But one thing I know for sure, there are a lot of slick tongued people that are much better at twisting God's word to suit their needs than I am.    One thing for sure, every scripture came from the mouth God.    And upon closer reading and understanding of these scriptures, we see no where that God accused the poor or needy of anything.    But if you will look at some of these scriptures, God IS judging the hearts and motives of those that could and should be helping others.   

What do YOU own?   Absolutely NOTHING according to God, the Creator and sustainer of everything.    What do you have control over?      Absolutely nothing.     We should have control over the way we treat others, but most of the time we don't exercise that control.    Are you responsible for the good things in your life?    Absolutely not.    Scripture says it rains on the just and the unjust.     The one thing that we are responsible for is being good stewards.  That used to be a word that was heard often in our churches; being good stewards of all that God had seen fit to place in our hands.   When I think of a good steward, you know who I think of?    The little widow in scripture who gave all that she had, for the cause of Christ.   You probably couldn't even buy a candy bar today with all that she gave, but that's not the point.  The point is, she GAVE.   She did not give out of her abundance, she gave sacrificially.   She could have used what she gave, but she knew Christ.   Enough said, she knew Christ.  I can't wait to see her in heaven someday, I want to thank her for setting a good example for me and others that want to serve the Lord, but feel like we don't measure up to those around us.     In the eyes of Christ, she was and is a faithful servant and a good steward of what God had blessed her with.     May we see those actions in and around our churches today.     It's common knowledge, if you don't have much, you don't have much to lose when you give all.     But Scripture makes it very plain, to whom much is given, much is expected.   

I don't know what the quick and easy answer to the problem is, but one thing I know for sure, we ain't handling it very well as a body of believers.    We can say that Scripture is inerrant, but....do we really believe it?     Do I really need to go and sit in a conference and listen to a man tell me how I should or should not help people that come to the church or to me as an individual, for help?     I don't think so.  Like I said earlier, I don't trust myself to make good decisions, but I do trust the Holy Spirit in me to help me make good decisions.     Plus, I do read the Word of God and I place that over anything a man can tell me.     The agenda of the Holy Spirit is to glorify God, the agenda of man is to glorify man.     If we believe that scripture is the inerrant Word of God, then He, Himself, has already told us and keeps telling us over and over, how to deal with the poor and needy.     He tells us to help them.    Again I say that nowhere in His Word does it tell me that I have the right to question the motive of someone that asks for help, when they come in church or ask me as a private individual.    And again, I will say that you need to be able to hear what the Holy Spirit is telling you.     He will never lie to you, and He will never have you do the wrong thing!     Sadly, the world around you will perceive what you or I are doing or have done in the name of Christ as wrong.     When they do, that's on their heads, not yours, not mine.     There have been situations where I have gotten out of there as fast as I could, but that goes back to knowing the prompting of the Holy Spirit in my life.    

Back to one of the first statements I made about all of us having been poor and needy at one time or another, and some still are.    I'm not talking about financial wealth right now either, I am talking about a spiritual need that we all have had or still do have.      I'm not talking about "spirituality" as the world talks about it either.     I am speaking of a spiritual need that only Christ can meet.    What if, when you was at the point of accepting Christ as your Savior, someone questioned your need, or your seriousness, or asked what you was gonna do with your salvation, or treated you like it wasn't for you, or said that you wasn't good enough for salvation?    Can you envision God telling you that you don't deserve anything from Him?     I can NOT!     God met me right at the point of my greatest need.    Him meeting my need was not based on me deserving anything, because to be honest with you, I didn't and I don't deserve anything.   You know what, you don't either.    So we can verily say that God doesn't meet our needs based on who we are, but upon who HE is!   

What is the criteria for salvation?     Faith in Christ is the only criteria for salvation.     Faith that He is who He said He is; God in flesh!     Faith that He was born of a virgin.   Faith that He was fully man and fully God.     Faith that He allowed Himself to die on the cross for the sins of ALL.     Faith that on the 3rd day he arose from the grave victoriously over death.     Faith that He walked among His followers for 40 days after His resurrection.   Faith that He ascended into the heavens and is sitting at the right hand of His Father, waiting for His Father to declare, "Now is the time Son, go bring my children home!"     Faith is the ONLY criteria for salvation.    Faith, that says Jesus is enough!

What is the criteria for you and I to help those that have needs?     I listed about 20 or so scriptures to help us determine what the criteria to help others looks like.     And if that isn't enough, there's several hundred more.    You can dig them out pretty easily, just open the Bible and start reading somewhere.  Not one of them mentions anything about hurting them or making them feel ashamed of the situation they find themselves in or doing any kind of harm in any way.     The number one criteria for helping those in need is a pure heart with pure motives.    That's it.     Nothing more.    Nothing less.   Nothing else.     The next time you are faced with this situation, I hope and pray that you feel empowered to listen to the Holy Spirit, even if the church or the people around doesn't want to.     Pure heart and pure motives is the only criteria for helping others.
      
As always, this is a lesson for me.    That's it, me alone.    But, feel free to use it to help you make better choices and decisions based solely on a pure heart with pure motives.    The next time you are faced with helping someone, I hope you will remember that Hebrews says that we never know when we are entertaining angels unaware.    But then again, if the Holy Spirit says get out of the situation, get gone  as quickly as you can.    Don't let anyone else make the decision for you, whether you help someone or not, other then the Holy Spirit.    He will always glorify God.
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Well, that's just about it for today.    Just wanted to share a bit about what I have been studying on and felt the need to share it with y'all.     Again, it's just a lesson for me, but sometimes I know others are dealing with the same issues.   There is nothing new under the sun, so I know if I see this happening,   others are seeing it too.     

Lord, may we be found guilty of having pure hearts with pure motives behind everything we do.    Amen and Amen!

I hope and pray that you read something here today that has touched your life.   If you have, share it someone you know who needs a word of encouragement today.    We are never alone, if we know Christ as Lord and Savior, we always have a friend who sticks closer than a brother.    That too, is scripture.    Christ makes the difference in our lives.     Hug someone today and tell them that its all about Jesus Christ.    They may not have it heard it before.     I hope and pray that you have a blessed rest of the evening and a wonderful night of sweet, energizing rest.     May your tomorrow be filled with an abundance of blessings, to share with those around you.    Always remember that God loves you and so do I.     hugs y'all, Patty

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for a well written and delightful post. I always enjoy reading it. Love the tips as well as the scripture.

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    1. Thanks so much Lois, I really appreciate you and your kind words of encouragement. love and hugs, patty

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Tina!!!! You mean so much to me! hugs and love, patty

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