different

We Are Called to Be Different

We are called to be different.

These days many of us would prefer to melt into the crowd than to stand out as different. We would rather not stand out or bring attention to ourselves. But in truth, as Christians, we really should be different. Our lives should attract others to us. No, rather it should attract others to Christ.

 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

I recently read these scriptures from 1 Peter. They always prick my heart and cause me to look deep to see if my life is indeed different. However, this time it seemed to have even more meaning. The reason is that it was brought to my attention to whom and when this was originally written.

Perspective Changes Things

It was written by Peter to the Christians in Rome around 60 AD. The emperor of Rome at that time was none other than Nero. You know, the guy who let Rome burn. The guy who persecuted Christians horribly by placing animals skins on them and throwing them in with wild dogs to watch the dogs attack and devour them alive. Other times he dipped the Christians in wax, tied them to trees, and burned them alive as candles for his evening parties.

When I think about the fact that Peter gave these strong instructions to persecuted Christians, I am ashamed that we are so timid to stand up for Christ because it may cost us something. We give in to the tiniest of temptations because we don’t want to be different or called out.

10 Ways to be Different

different
  1. Rid yourselves of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. (1 Peter 2:1)
  2. Crave the Word of God. (2:2-3)
  3. Abstain from sinful desires (2:11)
  4. Submit to EVERY human authority. (2:13-14) Notice it doesn’t say “If you agree with them”.
  5. Love the family of believers. (2:17)
  6. Fear God.
  7. Honor the emperor. (This was Nero remember?) Are we honoring our president?
  8. Submit to your masters. (2:18) Can we change the wording to ‘Submit to your boss?’ even when they are harsh
  9. It’s commendable to suffer for doing good. Persevere! (2:20-21)
  10. Don’t retaliate when threatened or insulted. (2:23)

This is the first of Peter’s instructions to the Christian in Rome.

He goes on to address the way we treat our husbands and wives. Peter tells us how we should treat one another, being kind and compassionate and understanding. And then there is the idea that we shouldn’t repay evil for evil. He tells us that Christ gave us the perfect example and we should follow His example giving up all of our so-called rights just as He did for us. He took on suffering and we should do the same.

That is how we stand out. We stand up for what is right paying the price no matter the cost just as Christ did. Let’s make a pact to start be different from the world. Ask God to help you live more like Him in the coming year. If we all join together to live different lives think of the difference it will make!

From one Christian to another, let’s do this!

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Savannah, GA

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not expected

When You Don’t Get What You Expect

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on 6-19-2017

This week’s Five Minute Friday   prompt is: EXPECT

I’m setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.

Have you ever tried to say something nice and it came out different than you expect?

I have lost count of the times I have done it. I call it, “Foot-in-Mouth” disease. Yep! Open mouth, insert foot.

Sometimes, I do it in my writing too,

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Day of pentecost

Pentecost ~ God’s Spirit Poured Out

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Thank God for Pentecost

Since the days when Moses was given the law on Mount Sinai, the people waited for His Spirit. They were not able to keep the law on their own. Spiritual amnesia kept drawing them back into the grasp of sin and darkness. Oh, how they needed God’s Spirit to live in their hearts and lives.

    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Joel 2:28b, NLT

And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Ezekial 36:27, NLT

Every year, the Children of Israel would bring their sacrifices to the temple. They came at Passover and offered their sacrifices to God. It would remind them about how the death angel passed over their homes and they were freed from slavery in Egypt. On the first day of the week after Passover, they celebrated the Feast of Firstfruits bringing to the Temple the first sheaves of grain from their fields.

And then they waited. 50 days for the Feast of Weeks. 7 weeks. Pentecost translates as 50 days. All these feasts were to remind them of their sinfulness and to offer praise and sacrifice to God who forgave them every time. All this time they didn’t realize that it was part of the Promise of God to put His Spirit in their hearts. It would be the only way to chase away the amnesia because then The Holy Spirit would live within them reminding them constantly of their God; Softening their hearts toward their Maker.

But not only that

With the Holy Spirit within them, they (and we) now have the POWER to live godly lives. (2 Peter 1:3) He guides us. He helps us live lives that please God. Consider Peter. Remember how he failed time and again even though he wanted to serve Jesus. He swore He would never deny the Lord, but He did… three times. Other times, he would speak out and Jesus would have to rebuke him.

Until Pentecost

What a difference it made when Peter received empowerment from above. Suddenly, He was bold and able to preach the Gospel to everyone in Jerusalem and later everywhere He went with no “foot-in-mouth” disease.

And Guess What…

We can have that same power. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit comes in to live with us. And when we die to ourselves, we are empowered to live faithful lives. Paul shared with the Galatians that when we give control to the Holy Spirit, we won’t fulfill the lust of the spirit any longer. Instead, we will produce the Fruit of His Spirit. Let’s look…

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Galatians 5:16-25, NLT

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No More Sacrifices

Jesus’ Death and Resurrection removed the need for the sacrificial system. His Great Sacrifice was perfect and suited to save all men who would accept Him. Once and for all our sins are forgiven. (Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12, 25-26)

So what does God expect of us? Are we allowed to just go about living the same lives? NO! (Romans 6:1-3) That would nullify what Jesus did for us. We are to put our carnal selves to death and allow the Spirit to live through us. Consequently, He now guides and directs every part of us. Back in the “old days”, they would say to give God the “unknown bundle”; that is, we give Him everything, even the things to come that we don’t know about. Whatever He wills, is our will.

When we sign a contract, the stipulations are all laid out and we sign on the dotted line. But with the Unknown Bundle, we sign on a blank sheet of paper and hand it to God. Then He places His plan for our lives on the paper.

And Praise His Name

He will empower us to follow the will of God. Sure, we may fail at times; but He will convict our hearts and we can ask forgiveness which He gives freely. The goal is that we will become increasingly more like Jesus.

I’m so glad that I have the Holy Spirit who goes with me every day, all day. I am empowered to live for Jesus.

How about you?

-Mandy

feast of pentecost

Feasts of Weeks – Pentecost

This weekend we celebrate Pentecost

As Christians, we are celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples found in Acts 2. But did you realize that the Israelites have been celebrating this same day since God instructed them to celebrate in Leviticus 23? Pentecost in Hebrew means 50 days. They were to celebrate on this day… 50 days after Passover and the Feast of Firstfruits. Called The Feast of Weeks.

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time of favor

Psalm of Mandy: a Pain Warrior’s Prayer

But as for me, Lord,
my prayer to you is for a time of favor. Psalm 69:13 CSB

time of favor Psalm 69
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This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69. David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. People who suffer from chronic pain can often feel they are drowning in pain and sorrow. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

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intentional boasting

Intentionally Boast in the Cross

boasting in the Cross of Jesus Christ
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But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14 csb

Who Wrote This to Whom?

Leon Morris wrote, “Galatians is a passionate letter, the outpouring of the soul of a preacher on fire for his Lord and deeply committed to bringing his hearers to an understanding of what saving faith is.” It was written to the Churches of Galatia. It is believed that this was about 15 years following Paul’s conversion on the Road to Damascus but before the council in Jerusalem. (since it was not mentioned in the letter) ‘Galatia’ covered the territory settled by the Gauls.” There is debate about whether the letter was written to northern or southern Galatia because Paul visited them both; however, it’s a moot point because this letter has much to say to all Christians.

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Messenger of God - Jeremiah

Messenger of God – Jeremiah, Me, You

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

So here we go… Introducing Deborah Rutherford.

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How to Achieve a Great Life

What does it take to achieve “the great life”?

Psalm 81:8-16

I had a great life growing up.

Wonderful Christian parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, you name it. A big dairy farm to grow upon. But I suffered from poor self-esteem. I couldn’t explain it, but although I could make a long list of all the wonderful things about myself, I was not pleased. I wanted to be something, or someone else.

Over time, I found myself .. that is, I found that what I needed was to Say YES to God. I look at teens and young people today and I see myself. They want what they can’t have, they want to be what they cannot become because God made them for His pleasure and He has a specific plan in mind.

In high school, I wanted to be what I couldn’t be

.. a cheerleader

.. a class leader

… I had to find what God wanted me to be.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was all a fight to say yes to God

…to give Him the right to lead and work in my life.

I found a few steps to take to find “the great life.”

achienve
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First, Listen to the people God has placed in your life for direction.

Psalm 81: 8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you—
if you would only listen to me, Israel!

Yes, our family was at church every time the doors opened. We served the Lord. BUT that was my parent’s “Yes to God”. They raised us to have every opportunity to live for the Lord. Yes, the Lord was important to me also, I wanted to live for Him, Sing for Him, etc. But I also wanted to be successful in the things that seemed important to every other teenager.

Looking back

I’m baffled at why I cared about being a cheerleader or a class leader. My talents did not lie in those areas, but I wanted to be recognized. Maybe there were pressures to be these things. My siblings were athletes. But God did not make me that way. I had other types of talents. I could play the piano and sing. Actually, because of those things, people said I should be a pastor’s wife.

Now we all know you can be a pastor’s wife without these talents. But I said, “No, not a pastor’s wife”. I loved animals so people said, “You should be a veterinarian” or “You should marry a farmer”. But I said “No” I don’t like farm life.

It’s interesting that as soon as I got away from the farm, that was all I talked about. (Just ask any friend from college, they’ll confirm it) God was calling me all through my life. “Get your eyes on Me and see what I’ll do!”

Secondly, Know that God is faithful.

10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of Egypt.
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.

 “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. 

 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices.

Psalm 81:10-12

When I look back on my life, I see how God was working despite my plans. As the country song says, I thank God for unanswered prayers (or unwanted answers). I would be in a mess if God had answered some of those prayers the way I wanted them answered! And in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided my needs and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me.

in spite of myself, God has protected me and provided for my needs, and even managed to get me to the places where He could use me. Click To Tweet

In college, I began to own the beliefs of my parents as my own.

An example of God giving me over to my stubborn heart… It began way back as a child. I had a childhood sweetheart. There are a lot of sweet memories, but our lives went in separate directions. Little did I know, it really upset this young boy. He had great ideas for the two of us. When we got to college age, our paths crossed again and we dated for a while.

In looking back, I believe, maybe God got a little tired of hearing us fuss and complain, “I want a wife, I want a husband.” So He threw us back together to learn the hard way that He had other plans, that we were not for each other, nor were we neither one ready for a serious relationship.

Thirdly,  Put God first in your life and He’ll bless you beyond measure!

“You shall have no foreign god among you;

you shall not worship any god other than me.

13 “If my people would only listen to me

if Israel would only follow my ways,
14 how quickly I would subdue their enemies
and turn my hand against their foes!
15 Those who hate the Lord would cringe before him,
and their punishment would last forever.
16 But you would be fed with the finest of wheat;
with honey from the rock, I would satisfy you.”

All these things that I thought I wanted to be were actually the ‘gods’ that I put before the one true God. I had to let them all go and once I did God began to bless me. All those “things” faded into the background and then He gave me the desires of my heart .. a wonderful husband and beautiful family, a 25-year ministry to children, and then a ministry to women. Read how we met here.

And it has been blessing after blessing as we have placed God in the center of everything.

A fun little note I like to share … remember I mentioned I did not want to marry a farmer and I did not want to marry a pastor.

Well… I married Pastor Farmer! …… hey! #IsaidYES!

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Savannah, GA