Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Who's Talking To You

Isaiah 26:3-4  "You will keep in perfect peace  those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord,the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal."

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

Colossians 3:15  " Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful."

John 14:27  "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

Philippians 4:19  'And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."

          Today's blog is about the voices in our head that we listen to and God's bigger plan.  "Peace is more than a mere word, idea, or feeling. It is actually an awesome gift of God that He gives to those who, through faith in Jesus Christ, belong to Him and walk obediently in His ways."   God provides peace to all believers, but when we feel like we are in a state of chaos, we haven't let his peace rule and govern our hearts and lives.

          "When we doubt His faithfulness, worry and fear will creep back in. We’ll dwell on all the uncertainties, forget God’s promises, and try to carry the burden ourselves."  This is when the devil wants to get in our heads and create lies that lead us to doubt God's goodness for us.  When we allow sin to control our lives, our peace with God is disturbed and our conscience frets.  "We must learn to trust His wisdom and be satisfied with His choices for us because only then will we have His peace."

           "When we depend on Him and l ive in His sufficiency, we not only experience His peace, but we also become a witness to others as they see how God can work in a life submitted to Him.  Courage is the quality of mind or spirit enabling one to meet danger or face opposition or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness."

           Many situations in life have the capacity to make us feel hopeless and helpless.  Whatever the cause, the most important issue is how we respond to the situation. Perhaps we’d like to give up and walk away or blame God or someone else, but instead of simply reacting to our distress, let’s consider how the Lord would have us respond.  We should 1] Remember our salvation experience and remind ourselves of the trust we have put in God, 2] Remember that God has a purpose for each of our lives and there is purpose in our pain, 3] Remind yourself of the confidence you have in God's love, promises and his faithfulness, 4] Rely on the Holy Spirit within you to help you press on thru the difficulties you face in life, 5] Remind yourself of the commitment you made to live a life for God, as long as he gives you breath, 6] Turn to your believing friends for prayer, encouragement, and truth thru God's word.

        As for myself, I've faced many scary situations in life.  It wasn't until this past year's ordeal with my fall and subsequent brain bleed that I can say I truly felt helpless and almost hopeless.  I say almost hopeless, because I did doubt God's goodness for the rest of this life but I never doubted my eternal life's destiny.  Some say the devil was talking to me and creating doubt thru my pain meds but I only think that was partially true.  I thought a lot about giving up before I said it out loud.  Death is a reality, we will all face but it's not to be spoken of lightly.  I was fearful of the upcoming days because of the pain I had never experienced before but now knew all too well.  I also knew of a place from Revelation 21:4 where"‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”   I was never more ready to be there, even tho I had so much to lose, temporarily.  THANK GOD, I had a God that wasn't done with me yet and a strong support system to remind me daily of it.  God's bigger picture and purposes are so, so much bigger than what we could dream or ask for.

         So, I urge you to expect difficulties in this life but trust in God who is greater, bigger, and more powerful than anything you will ever face.  1 John 4:4  "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."  1 John 4:9-10  "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."

Monday, December 2, 2019

God Gives and Takes Away But My Heart Blesses His Name

          Today's blog is about the things in my own life that God has both given and taken away.  "Though not every physical ailment gets put back together, bearing those crosses opens us to God’s presence. Every time we experience injury and loss, Christ invites us to live without fear, without closing our eyes. Even if things do not go back to “normal,” honest dialogue with God about our weakness brings wholeness that transcends disease." [intouch.org]  In my talks with God during my physical losses, He still encourages me to not only live well, but fully.

          As a baby during child development, I was normal in my growth and progress.  I began walking, just as others did at my age.  At age 5, my right foot began turning in and falling became a too frequent incident.  After seeing orthopedic doctors, I began wearing corrective shoes that led to AFO leg braces.  God granted me the gift of walking, although not flawless, till I was in my mid-twenties.  God didn't give me a sit-on-the-sidelines kind of spirit, but one of a do-what-you-can while you can spirit.  My childhood included bike riding, rollerskating, dodgeball, jump rope and more.  My braces weren't an excuse to do less, but a supporter to do more.

          My voice is a symptom of vocal cord paralysis.  Therefore, my voice has never been 'strong' but as my disease is progressive, so has my voice weakened.  In my early twenties, I felt my voice was a thorn in me, like Paul, and I pleaded for it to be better thru surgery.  As with Paul, God said to me too, "“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   My surgeries made me significantly weaker, but did not destroy me.  I began wearing sleep breathing aids in 1992, but only began wearing them during the day around 2005.  One might say that my voice did improve in 2011, when I began this blog, angie's that's that.  God does work in mysterious ways.

           God gave me the physical strength and ability in life to accomplish all of my dreams and goals.  One might assume by looking at my physical state now, that my life has been small or not full of my expectations.  That false assumption couldn't be further from the truth.  I have done more in and with my life than many able bodied individuals.  I've  completed college, been married and divorced, worked at my dream job for 5 years, traveled far and wide, and developed countless friendships along the way.  When my strength began to fail me, God didn't forsake me or leave me alone.  Instead, he provided me with a strong support staff to help me accomplish my daily desires.  Since my life has become less independent and more dependent on others, I see that my life is more God-focused and my abilities are used more for his glory.

           This blog is in no way meant to boast about me, but is meant to show how God both gives and takes but never forsakes his children.  What I consider earthly loss, I also consider more of an eternal gain.  "For when I am weak, then I am strong."  God has taught me how to live well, while dying with a progressive disease.  Thank God that I was not only elected and chosen by him, but also that I freely accepted his gift of salvation.

          If you are struggling with loss, illness, or pain, I pray that you seek and trust in God's bigger plan and purpose for your life.  God sent his Son so that you may be set free and live life to the fullest.  Turn your own weaknesses into a learning benefit for yourself and others.  May God get the glory in all things from our lives.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Seek and You Shall Find

           Today's blog is about why we should seek to know God.  "Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" Proverbs 1:7  "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:6  How often are we wise in our own eyes, only to be shown to be dead wrong?  Deuteronomy 32:4 says God is "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.  A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he."  Seeking God should be a daily priority in each of our lives.  Matthew  6:33  "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

           It is not our wrong conduct that condemns us, but rather the fact that our nature is corrupt. Whether good or bad, our deeds don’t determine where we will spend eternity. Apart from the Lord, no one is righteous—not a single person has done enough good to earn a place in heaven. But the Father loves us and wants us to live with Him eternally. So, before the creation of the world, He planned a solution....the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.

          "Perhaps you have been viewing God’s instruction book—the Bible—in a hesitant way. There are those 66 books to read and apply. Then there’s the obstacle of insufficient time or interruptions that distract you. Or, it may seem as if additional training is needed to understand divine truth. Any one of these could cause us to veer away from Scripture. Even mature Christians can find themselves inattentive to the Bible. But when we wander from God’s Word, we soon wander from God and His ways."  [intouch.org]

        ""Many spend years searching out the knowledge of an earthly trifle. What pains, then, should we take in finding out the knowledge of God in Christ! There must be digging and searching for it, as one would search for a vein of silver: 'If you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God' (Proverbs 2:4-5)." [Thomas Watson]

        "The Enemy works to create doubt in our minds. He wants us to question the truth of the Word, and even to feel unsure about our salvation. Once disbelief sets in, as it did for Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1-6), our minds will start to rethink the interpretation of Scripture in order to justify our conduct.   Regardless of what today may bring or the trouble you are now going through, don’t forget that your God is stronger than anything in your life. So, be confident! The shadow of His all-prevailing presence guarantees that His power can turn even the worst situation into something good."   [odb.org]

        If you don't know Jesus, I personally encourage you to seek Him and you will find Him.  "Jesus....The One who will never reject us. The One who knows what it feels like to be rejected — though He should have been the most accepted. The One who will sit with us and remind us rejection from man doesn’t equal rejection from God. The One who whispers to each of us, “The voices of shame and rejection can come at you, but they don’t have to reside in you.”

        As for myself, I was raised in the church with Sunday school, GA's, and choir.  As a young adult on my own, I didn't make God's word a top priority.  Life got in the way, but God opened doors of opportunities within my busy life.  For example, when I went to the University of Texas in Arlington, I parked my scooter in the Church of Christ student center.  I was invited to their bible study there and I accepted the invite.  Another example, most of my co-workers at my job were believers and encouraged me in my path.  Seeking God is a choice and God will provide opportunities to you to learn.

Psalm 53:2  "God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God."


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Broken, But Thankful Heart

Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
    I will sing your praises before the gods.

I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.

    I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
    by all the honor of your name.

As soon as I pray, you answer me;

    you encourage me by giving me strength.

Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,

    for all of them will hear your words.

Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,

    for the glory of the Lord is very great.

Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,

    but he keeps his distance from the proud.

Though I am surrounded by troubles,

    you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
    and the power of your right hand saves me.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—

    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

           Today's blog is a combination blog on thankfulness, brokenness, and surrender.  Now that it's November, we will soon celebrate Thanksgiving.  As Psalm 138 states, we should be thankful with all of our heart and all of the time.  Thankfulness isn't limited to the good, fun times of our journey but also, to the hard times that broke us of ourselves.  "Brokenness is a lifestyle of agreeing with God about the true condition of our heart and life, as He sees it. It is a lifestyle of unconditional, absolute surrender of our will to the will of God—a heart attitude that says, “Yes, Lord!” to whatever God says."

         "There is something about reaching a breaking point that causes us to seek the Lord more sincerely.  There are some things in our lives that need to be broken: pride, self-will, stubbornness, and sinful habits, for example.  To us, broken things are despised as worthless, but God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. Broken things and broken people are the result of sin. Yet God sent his Son, who was without sin, to be broken so that we might be healed.  Sometimes we must be broken before we realize our need. And our deepest need is to be reconciled to God. Only then can we be made whole.  The solution can never come from our own efforts or striving, but comes only from Him. Only when we recognize our need for God are we able to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on God and Jesus Christ.  Only when we confess that we are broken can God make us into what He wants us to be. Once we let go of self and place God at the center of our lives, everything else falls into place."  [gotquestions.org]

          "Too often people drowning in the world’s fast-moving current refuse to grab onto the spiritual life preserver: Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all of humanity, but individuals have a responsibility in salvation. A person must recognize his or her own helplessness and acknowledge the need for Christ. That means the new Christian accepts Jesus’ sacrifice as true and personal, believing that there is no other way to be rescued. It isn’t necessary to understand everything about faith and the Bible in order to be saved—God will ensure that His children learn whatever they need from the Holy Spirit. However, it is critical to realize that we cannot save ourselves."  [Intouch.org]

          Psalm 138 should help remind us to personally look back with thankfulness to our own experiences we have had of God's goodness in our lives.  It should comfort us with the reminders of his unfailing love, faithfulness, and promises.  It should encourage our boldness, with our praises and thankfulness, before the world.

        "God opposes the proud, who think, I can do this myself (James 4:6). He pours out His strength to the ones who know that they cannot accomplish the goal but believe that He can do so through them. The Lord wants us to trust Him. He may at times ask us to remain in an uncomfortable situation or take on a task that seems far beyond our capability. In either circumstance, relying on Him will bring us the inner fortitude to choose His way."

        As for myself, God has used my health, my desires, and the people in my life to break me.  I praise him for those life-giving moments.  They taught me that I can't do this alone and I need God every hour.  I am not enough, but He is.  May we always let the breaking times of life, make us better not bitter.

        "Lord,  Remind me today of your sacrifice; keep it close to my heart. Make me not only thankful for but a vessel of your grace. Don’t let your grace stop with me, but show it to others through me. Be with all those who do not believe in you and have hard hearts. Let them know the promise of your good news. Thank you for the depth of your love. You sent your Son to die a sinner’s death so that I could be redeemed. Thank you that you want to have a relationship with me through Jesus Christ."  [God Is With You Everyday, M. Lucado]

Daily meditation on God’s Word is the key to courageously accomplishing all that He sets before us. It includes five essential elements.  [C. Stanley]
  • Reading. We must first know what God has said in His holy Word.
  • Believing. Then we should believe His Word and His promises.
  • Absorbing. Next, we absorb Scripture into our thinking so we understand it, and it governs our thoughts.
  • Applying. God’s Word applied directs our way of living.
  • Obeying. Knowing what God has said, we respond with complete and full obedience. This is the goal of meditation.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Seasons of Life

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace."

         Today's blog is about change and the seasons of life that we go through.  As you look outside, you can see we just went through a change of season, summer to fall.  It is unstoppable, unchangeable, and so powerful because it is God-ordained.  Some of us, may not like this particular season change but our turn is coming back.  The shorter days, the cooler temps, the foliage dying, and heavier clothes are some of my own reasons I have an aversion to fall.  Others may love fall for those very same reasons. 

        Matthew Henry says "these verses show us  that we live in a world of changes, that the several events of time, and conditions of human life, are vastly different from one another, and yet occur promiscuously, and we are continually passing and re-passing between them, as in the revolutions of every day and every year .  Every change concerning us, with the time and season of it, is unalterably fixed and determined by a supreme power; and we must take things as they come, for it is not in our power to change what is appointed for us."

        There are also seasons of our life because life is not all good or all bad.  There are transition times to learn and grow from.  Did you notice that it doesn’t just say that there is a time for good and a time for bad? It also says there is a purpose!  So, what season are you in? Is it a time to prosper or a time to want? Is it a time for sickness or for healing? Knowing the answers to these types of questions can be important to knowing what you might expect from each day.  I don’t know about you but knowing that there is a reason for something means there is hope. No matter how hard something may be, knowing there is a purpose for it makes it a little easier to swallow.

        "It is easy to give into the taunts of the enemy and believe that a season of hardship will last forever. It is hard is to look deep within yourself to find what the purpose may be. Finding an ounce of joy amongst the sorrow is what will hold you together on your darkest days.
       Where do you find that joy? Look within the promises that are in God’s Word. Read the words, pray the words and seek God through them. In doing these things, God will show you how to face the obstacles that lay within your current season." [J. Cannon]
        As for myself, I have sowed the seeds of sorrow over the past year, but now I am reaping joyous rewards.  This year was like a mini-season in my life.  
        If I had to break my life down into 4 seasons, they would be:  Season 1 [age 0-5]= where my life was all that it should be, without concern, Season 2 [age 6-16]= where my life was entrusted to God and physical, health trials tested my faith, Season 3 [age 17-29]= where my life was my own and God took second place to my worldly desires, Season 4 [age 30- present 48]= where my life desires were fulfilled by putting God first and above all.
        When we look at others, we must not be too quick to judge them because we don't know their struggles or the season they are in.  Remember, the valleys are right up next to the mountains and the trek of life is always changing.  Give grace, because if you haven't been where someone is already then you may be soon.  Young or old, sick or healthy, lost or forgiven... we can all relate to each other and still obey the commandment to 'love one another' in every season of life.
4 Strongholds To Remember in Your Season
  1. I am here by God’s appointment
  2. I am in his keeping
  3. I am under his training
  4. He will show me his purposes in his time

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Enduring By The Spirit's Guidance

        Today's blog is about having endurance in this difficult and harsh world.  Paul encourages us in Acts 20:23-24 by saying "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.  However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."   We should all have the same mindset, when our lives become entangled with struggles, stress, and hardships in all areas of our lives.  God isn't surprised by what we are facing or going through, but He gives believers the Holy Spirit to guide them through it all.  Our life mission is stated in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."

        "The way that a person responds to hardship reveals his or her true character. And tough situations are the times when God’s children most need to match actions to words. It’s easy to say, “I trust the Lord” or “My God is faithful” when life is good. But unless believers recognize that He is sovereign even in adversity, they may be tempted to complain and seek pity. Christians who trust in the Lord’s faithfulness and supremacy will steadfastly focus on Him and as a result will see their anxiety and doubt subside.  Giving the Lord free rein allows Him to mature our faith, conform us to the likeness of His Son, and fulfill His unique plan for our lives."  [intouch.org]

       "If someone asked you what the Holy Spirit does, how would you answer? Some Christians may not be aware of what He is accomplishing in their life, but the Spirit’s work isn’t a total mystery—Scripture tells us what the role of our divine Helper is.
       Although the Holy Spirit indwells and seals us immediately upon salvation, His work within each believer takes a lifetime. He is our constant Helper, who transforms us into Christ’s image and equips us for our daily challenges so we don’t have to struggle through life in our own strength. In all of our difficulties, conflicts, and heartaches, He guides our way, guards our hearts, and gives us His wisdom."  [intouch.org]

He convicts us of sin (John 16:8). This is the first step in awakening us to our need for salvation. But even afterwards, the Spirit continues revealing sin in our life so we can immediately confess and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
He guides us into all truth (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit teaches about Jesus Christ and God’s Word, and He helps us discern the difference between truth and error.
He fills us (Eph. 5:18). To be filled with the Spirit means that He is directing our path, much like a ship that is driven along by the wind filling its sails. This requires that we surrender our life to Him, acknowledging that He owns us and has the right to lead.
He bears fruit through us (Gal. 5:22-23). The Spirit produces qualities we could never consistently display on our own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

         How we live comes from who we are, as we cling to the living hope found in Jesus alone, and there we will find strength to persevere.   Philippians 4:13  "I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

         As for myself, this past week has not been easy or smooth sailing, regarding my health and comfort.  I do cling to my faith and seek to run the race, set before me by God, to the best of my ability.  When able, I surround myself with those who encourage me and allow blessings to be given and received with one another.  I do not isolate myself or have a pity party, where in which the devil wants to plant doubtful and negative thoughts.  I remind myself of past experiences, where I felt small, but God showed His strength and faithfulness.
         I'll share one of those stories because I shared it this week with a friend:  The second year I lived in Chicago [94-95], I went for an interview.  Driving alone in 5-lane Chicago traffic without GPS back then was scary to say the least, for me.  I got to my interview location on-time, but I discovered it wasn't accessible.  Although I could walk back then, I couldn't manage the steps without a rail.  I called the employer and explained my dilemma.  We had the interview in my van, but obviously I didn't get the job.  It wasn't all for nothing, I gained experience and courage.

In my distress, anxiety, and fear, Lord, teach
me to rely on You and draw close to You. Then I
know I’ll be able to stand strong in Your power
and won’t be dependent on my own strength.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Control and The Lack Of It

Romans 8:28  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

           Today's blog is about control and how little we have of it over most things in life.  Control is really an illusion we have in this life.  We have influence in this world, more than 'real' control.  God is the only one in true and real control over all things, events and beings.  Who controls time, the waves and tides, the sunrises and sunsets, your next heartbeat?  God, and He alone. Job 9:8 "He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea."  We may fool ourselves during our healthiest, wealthiest, or most productive of days but God gives and takes away daily to remind us of His control over us in this world.  Just ask any stroke patient, car wreck victim or tornado survivor...how did you let this happen and they will say 'it was out of my control."  God never causes bad things to happen, but He allows them to draw our dependency to Him.  

         "Ellen Langer’s 1975 study titled The Illusion of Control examined the level of influence we exert over life’s events. She found that we overestimate our degree of control in most situations. The study also demonstrated how reality nearly always shatters our illusion.  James identified the phenomenon long before she named it. In James 4, he wrote, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (vv. 13–14).  Then James provides a cure for the delusion, pointing to the One who’s in absolute control: “Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (v. 15). In these few verses, James summarized both a key failing of the human condition and its antidote."  [odb.org]

       Jeremiah 5:22  "Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it."
      Jeremiah 31:35  "This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name"

          "From the Christian’s perspective, there is no such thing as chance. God is either directly or indirectly involved in everything that happens to us. He can therefore be trusted and obeyed in any circumstance, because even the smallest details are under His control."

Things don't just happen to those who love God,
They're planned by His own dear hand,
Then molded and shaped, and timed by His clock;
Things don't just happen
they're planned.Fields

As for myself, I have had those youthful, naive days where I thought I was steering the wheel of life and had to be reminded of how wrong I was. I've also had days where I thanked God that the situation was known to not be in my control. We influence our lives by God-given talents and opportunities, but ultimately God's will and purposes in each of us will prevail. Praise The Lord, for that.
Every day I am reminded of my lack of physical control that I have over things, but I'm not without, because God is in control and provides for all my needs. I've relinquished control over where I live, over not doing things for myself and over doing things my way always. I do have control over who I will serve and choose to be Lord of my life. I do control who I choose to spend my time with. I do control what I spend my money on, to benefit myself and others. I also control how I react to sin, other people, and adversity.
What I don't control are the number of days of my life, no matter how difficult it may be or become. I don't control the weather around me, outside of my room. I don't control others around me. but hopefully just have a positive influence and impact on their lives. I don't control other's relationship with God, but only help to share the gospel and Christ's love with them.

"If we go through life without thinking about the Lord, reading His Word, or praying, this is evidence that we are living for ourselves rather than for Christ. Before we continue going down this path, we should stop and heed God’s warnings in Scripture so we won’t have to suffer the consequences of rebelling against Him." [intouch.org]