CAF ARTICLE: Sharing the Gospel

A few months ago this beautiful calico cat walked into my outside garden area and captured my heart. I immediately told my family, “I want to pet that kitty!” This little kitty girl is very skittish so we named her Skittles. We began to woo Skittles with a food dish in the garden. Then my husband was afraid we were beginning to feed all the neighborhood stray cats including one nightly raccoon visitor. So my husband started putting the food out only when she arrived. He tried to coax her close for a pet after he put the food out, but she would have none of that. She would only go to the food dish after my husband walked away. Then he started putting the food dish on the back porch. She wasn’t thrilled with this new idea and it took a few days before she came onto the porch to eat. Then a friendly neighborhood cat, Whiskers, became friends with us and it turned out that Skittles was very fond of Whiskers. This was our in! Whiskers was more than willing to have us pet him and he would help himself into our house. Pretty soon Skittles was willing to accept our pets and would come inside for nightly shelter. After a short time it became apparent that Skittles was about to be a Mommy. So now we have a household full of love for Skittles and her six new babies. She has adapted to Motherhood well and staying inside to care for them.

This whole process of wooing Skittles made me think about telling others about Jesus. I as a believer am so excited about my own relationship with Jesus that I want others to experience Jesus too. I want to change everything that is out of alignment with God in my life and think others will want to as well. I can get a little over zealous in my approach and it may turn people off at times. For some, I may need to woo them to Jesus like we did Skittles. Skittles only took a couple of weeks. But some of those in my sphere of influence may take a lot more time. Everything is about relationship. It all starts with me continually pursuing Jesus and letting Jesus make some tweaks here and there in my life. Then I share food and/or fellowship with others sharing what Jesus is doing in my life. Being alert to not miss opportunities to show Jesus’ love by my words and actions. Allow enough opportunity to see that a relationship with Jesus can be authentic and become something that they may want for themselves.

I have to remind myself that Jesus is a gift. He doesn’t want to be a mandate. By his sacrifice on the cross he offered himself freely and freely to be accepted. I can’t make all my family and friends accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But, I can continue my own journey with Jesus as my Lord and Savior, be transparent in sharing how, through the scriptures, Jesus has changed my life and be available when opportunities present themselves in the form of a freshly tilled heart waiting for the seeds of God. The message of Jesus Christ is good news, I want to honor it as good news whenever I share it. Jen

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CAF Article: Believer Take Heart

We are in a time where the persecution of God, His Word and believers is intensifying. It seems the argument has gone from whether God is real or not to people calling God a monster and evil. This actually proves the Bible’s accuracy, in that, God prophesied that this would happen over 2000 years ago.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Isaiah 5:20-21.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:4-14.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

From the beginning, satan has used scripture to try to deceive believers into turning against, and rebelling against God. He has used the same tactic from the beginning. He takes God’s word out of context and twists it to misrepresent God and His Word.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God We are in a time where the persecution of God, His Word and believers is intensifying. It seems the argument has gone from whether God is real or not to people calling God a monster and evil. This actually proves the Bible’s accuracy, in that, God prophesied that this would happen over 2000 years ago.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Isaiah 5:20-21.

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:4-14.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.

From the beginning, satan has used scripture to try to deceive believers into turning against, and rebelling against God. He has used the same tactic from the beginning. He takes God’s word out of context and twists it to misrepresent God and His Word.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-4.

Satan has always tried to get us to question God and His motives and to think we can be God ourselves, using scripture. He even tried this on Jesus Himself.

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Matthew 4:5-10.

God tells us in His word that we can always put our hope and trust in Him. He calls us to trust in Him as, not only our Savior, but the Lord of our lives. He is our God, creator, giver of everything to sustain our lives, and has given us everything we need to do everything we are able to do in life.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13.

He tells us that it won’t always be easy while we are still in this life, but not to give up.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:7-9.

Jesus calls us to share the Good News that He has revealed to us and has allowed us to experience in our own lives. We cannot make someone believe or talk them into it. Not even God will make someone believe. He gives us all the chance to choose Him or reject or ignore Him. Once we have shared the message with them, then it is between them and God.

The Great Commission:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20.

It is very important to be in God’s word to be able to distinguish the truth from a deception.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11.

Our faith is not a blind faith. God created us to know Him in a personal relationship and experience His presence in our lives. No one can take away what we have seen and have experienced God doing in each of our lives unless we let them.

…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.

God Bless,

Scott

Man Wants to be God

The big question, especially when talking about God is; What is the truth?

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. John 18:37-38.

Jesus Answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

In my case, I am not trying to find out if God is real or not. I had lived half of my life apart from God, then He came into my life and changed my life in a radical way. He opened up a whole life I had no idea existed. I have seen and experienced Him doing too many things, including miracles, to not believe that He is real. I would have to be lying to myself to not believe that the existence of God was true.

With human intellect, knowledge and use of words, as in the case of a lawyer, we can make any scenario sound whatever way we want. The glass is half full / the glass is half empty etc. We can change the character of God, to fit our agenda, if we don’t take into account the whole story and if we take things out of context.

The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him. Proverbs 18:17.

In the Bible God teaches us that there is a spiritual world. God is a spiritual being that is not of the natural world. Although there is much in the way of evidence for God using the tool of science, science is the study of the natural world. Not the supernatural. God is beyond the natural world. He created the natural world.

God teaches us that there is good and evil in the spiritual world. God being good and fallen angels, which are evil. The one known as Satan, decided he wanted to be worshiped as god, instead of God. His sin was pride. God calls pride a sin because it is self centered, thinking too highly of one self and is not truth. It is believing a lie to be true.

God calls Satan a deceiver and the father of lies. Being deceived is truly believing something as truth when it is not.

The 1st thing we see Satan doing, after being cast out of Heaven, is deceiving Adam and Eve into believing that they could be like God. He was getting them to do the same thing that he did to get kicked out of Heaven. It is the same tactic he has been using throughout all history. People like the idea of being their own god, not having anyone else tell them what to do, and be able to make up their own rules. There is nothing new that we see now than from the beginning. In general, the only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn a thing from history. We continue to repeat the same mistakes. Turning away from God and His ways being the biggest mistake.

Actually, with those that worship humanistic intelligence, we are able to see the truth of God’s word more clearly. He continually warns us of becoming prideful and putting ourselves on His level and thinking of ourselves as gods. As in worshipping our own intelligence as a god.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:18-32.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. 1 Corinthians 8:1b.

God told us of these things 2000 years ago, and here we are, seeing the same things today. We see, throughout history, that man has a tendency to begin to rely on his knowledge and intelligence. This rather than the God who gave us the ability to learn.

God is calling us to believe right now. He created each and every one of us with a perfect plan and purpose for our lives. If we seek Him, He can be found. If we accept His free gift of what Jesus did on the cross for us, and believe and trust in Jesus as the Lord of our lives, we will be saved. All praise to God!

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10.

Scott

BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

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When I took this picture by my home this week, it made me think “bloom where you’re planted”. I have had times in my life when I felt exiled, set apart, in a foreign place. Rather than fear my new surroundings or wish I was somewhere else, I needed to do my best wherever God placed me. Trust that God placed me where he wanted me, for such a time as this, to bloom where he planted me. To prosper so others around me may prosper too.

Several years ago, it was moving time. My blended family of five needed to relocate from our lovely rented home of approximately 2200 square feet. We really wanted to move into another house and even considered moving into a gated golf community. But neither my husband nor I had any peace about it. After a lot of prayer, my husband felt that we needed to downsize in order to assist us in lowering our monthly expenses. My husband felt that God wanted us to move to a two bedroom apartment. This was NOT where I wanted to move our blended family of five. I kept looking and hoping for other options but I had no peace with any other choice. I was not happy about it, but decided to be obedient and we moved our family to a two bedroom apartment.

I had determined in my mind that moving to the apartment would be for a very short time. God couldn’t have possibly meant us to stay in this situation for very long. I was not interested in getting comfortable in this new setting. I convinced myself, I would not decorate or hang up any pictures because we were not going to be there long. Or so I thought. I had a bad attitude! I was obedient and went where God directed us, but I was very grumpy about it. That lasted for about six months before I realized this was where God had me for such a time as this. I could remain grumpy and miss all that God had for me or I could join God in what he was doing.

Nothing like family coming to visit from out of town to snap me out of it. My grumpy attitude had to take a hike, it was time to decorate and make my house (insert cough here) apartment my home before family arrived. After our out of town family visited it was time to get to know my new community. I began baking pumpkin pies for my neighbors and introducing ourselves. It was time to bloom where I had been planted. We’ve been here now for about five years and had many opportunities to mourn with our neighbors, share in celebrations, pray with them and experience life with them. Instead of living in an apartment complex it’s turned into our community whom we have come to care a lot about.

Lowering our monthly expenses became a huge blessing when Scott first was off work for his shoulder injuries. On workman compensation wages we would not have survived financially had we moved to another house, let alone a gated golf community.

Within a year or so after moving here, our two young adult children and are no longer living with us. Our two bedroom apartment is just the right size for the three of us.

So it turns out God knew exactly what he was doing when he called us to move here. He knew what the financial benefits would be. He knew exactly how much room we needed. Most importantly he knew the relationships we would build in our new community. New relationships that are priceless and the best part of blooming where you are planted. Jen

The Grace of God


But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10).
I am so thankful for God’s gift of grace to me in offering salvation that I did not earn and would never be good enough to earn. God offers us the gift of salvation and we have the free will to accept or deny it. As a child of the One True King he loves you and me with an everlasting love that cannot and will not be broken. As a child of God he calls me to himself and longs for me to desire to be in relationship with Him. To sit at his feet with my eyes upon his holy scriptures letting them seep into the deepest marrow of my body and soul. Not because I have to, but because I get to. Not just reading for the sake of checking off my list of to do’s, but applying the scriptures to my life and seeing the effects of change emerge. To allow God to speak to my circumstances and lead me and guide me in the path he has designed for me. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25). The scriptures always provide opportunity for me to have a daily attitude check. To get my eyes off my circumstances and on my Creator, King of Kings, provider, healer, my all in all. It reminds me of the lyrics “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” The time in the word and time listening to God speak to me helps to align myself with him and to prepare myself to be a part of his kingdom purposes. My attitude change, my heart change, my purpose change, etc. do not happen without the presence of God. God does actively pursue me, but change only happens when I agree to cooperate with him. When I let go of things in my life that are counter to his word. It’s not a life of striving and trying to be better in my own efforts, but allowing God to change me from the inside out. When I am determined, and acknowledge that I can’t do a day without God and his input in my life, I see fruits of the spirit pouring out of my life, the joy of the Lord is my strength and I am able to do greater because of him who is alive and well in me. I am living an abundant life and I no longer desire things in my life that are counter to his word and I seek to please him and I trust him in all areas of my life and under all circumstances. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6. Let us be aware to not let grace be a gift where we remain the same and continue on in our own ways, but let the power of God change us, heal us and revive us to be all he has planned for us to be. For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). That’s good news! Jen