Are you a lukewarm Christian?

You remember how it was when you started dating someone you were interested in? The butterflies in your stomach on that first, official outing or the racing heart when that number showed up on your phone…the long hours of phone conversations.

Then at some point, that excitement wanes. The mountaintop experiences might be fewer and farther between. And if you are not intentional about reassessing your WHY and pushing the reset button, you can end up just being two people who seem obligated to stay with each other. Those flames become really low and in some cases, only the embers remain of a once burning love.

The reality is, no relationship is on a high at all times. No relationship is perfect. But just as we humans might have – or maybe not – done all we could to revive and save a natural relationship, how much more should we strive to bring in alignment our spiritual relationship with our heavenly Father?

Are you lukewarm in your relationship with God? Have you lost your first love?


Recently, my mind has been on Revelation 2:4-5. It is a message to the church of Ephesus and to many of us today. God told them they had “left (their) first love” (4). What’s interesting here is that God did not leave them; they left Him. He continues to want to be in relationship with us.

This state is similar to the church of the Laodiceans in chapter 3, of whom he told in verses 15 and 16 that they were neither hot nor cold – and He would rather them be one or the other – but instead, they were lukewarm. In that case, he would spue them out of his mouth. Very strong, serious language here.

Look, I know what it feels like to be dry in my relationship with God. I recognize that this has happened at times when I am distracted. I get so busy with life. I put God on my to-do list, but He’s not first. I squeeze Him in, but don’t give Him the attention He deserves. And I can tell you that when I’m not getting in the Word in a very intentional way and spending time with God in a meaningful way, I feel empty. I could tell the difference. I become spiritually malnourished. I need food and water. Once I recognize this, I confess where I am and am intentional about getting back on track. Staying in that condition is spiritually dangerous.


Like a natural relationship, sometimes we have to regroup. Revitilization might be necessary. Here are a few tips:

1) Confess to God how you are feeling.

2) Ask God’s guidance on the way forward.

3) Study the Bible in a different way. Instead of trying to get through a whole book right now, perhaps study a particular character. Can you identify with that character? Can you learn from that character’s mistakes and/or triumphs? How about studying who God says you are in Christ Jesus? Maybe study the miracles of Jesus or study all events leading up to Christ crucifixion, comparing and contrasting the details in the gospels.

4) Begin studying with a Christian friend or a small group for new, fresh insight into the Word. Pick a day and time, and stick to it. You might be surprised at what others outside of your regular study crew might reveal through the Holy Spirit.

5) Make it a point to literally stop what you are doing and pray throughout the day. Connect with God, not only when you need Him or during morning and night devotion. For example, I LITERALLY pray audibly when driving. I sometimes have church all by myself! I sometimes intentionally stop what I’m doing at my desk and pray. You can even decide on lunch time prayer meetings with a friend, family member or colleague. It doesn’t have to be in person. Use WhatsApp to voice or video call, or hey, there’s Zoom too! Walk outside, go to your car…whatever is convenient.

5) Play worship music when you can, throughout the day – whenever possible. If not, quietly sing songs or hymns.

6) On your lunch break, listen to a short sermon by one of your favourite pastors.

7) Fast. It’s a way to draw closer to God, as you seek His face. And it’s not just about not eating; it’s more about hungering after God and doing His will. After a focused fast, we should feel revived in our spirits. After all, dry bones can live again.

So just some thoughts worth sharing as I know all too well that there could be some dry spells during this Christian journey. However, there’s an oasis right in front of you. Drink. It’s a well that NEVER runs dry.

Growing in Christ,


Hadassah

Less Me. More God!

It’s been long. Far too long. I have not posted anything in this space in nearly three months.

I am led now though to share some thoughts: God has been doing a wonderful work in my life. I am growing in Christ and it is but for the grace of God!

The growth is evident because in recent weeks, I’ve experienced a shift in my atmosphere. Notice, I didn’t say a shift in the atmosphere, but a shift in MY atmosphere.

My thinking has changed. It has evolved. I find myself more interested in doing God’s will than my own. In fact, during my evening worship today, I sang along with William McDowell as he belted out the simple, yet profound words of, ‘I Give Myself Away.’ The lyrics resonate with me:


Here I am
Here I stand
Lord, my life is in your hands
Lord, I’m longing to see
Your desires revealed in me
I give myself away

I give myself away (I want to be used by you)
So You can use me
I give myself away
I give myself away
So You can use me

Take my heart
Take my life
As a living sacrifice
All my dreams all my plans
Lord I place them in your hands



Truly, I am at the point in my spiritual walk where I am beginning to divest myself of things I have really wanted… yearned for. I am at the point of: Not my will, but THY WILL be done…whatever that will might be. There are earthly things I desire, but I have decided: Even if you don’t give them to me, Lord I will still praise you, I will still worship you…I will still serve you, for you are God – and God ALONE! I want nothing or nobody more than I want God.



My life is no longer about me. It’s less me and more God. I am more interested in being a light and the salt of the earth than attaining things, accolades etc.

I am here to serve God, sharing the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ, in person and on social media. I am reminded of wise King Solomon, who surmised that all of the things in the world and of the flesh are vanity and vexation of spirit. In the end, we can’t take a thing with us. God won’t ask us about our degrees, our followers…our awards. As Jesus commanded: “Occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13); however, we are not to become so occupied that we give Him a backseat to our lives, only telling Him to hop in front or drive when we are on rough terrain. We must allow Jesus to take His rightful place in our lives.



Anyway, just thought I’d give someone some inspiration by sharing my heart. Join me in realizing: Our lives are not our own. Let’s give ourselves to Him…fully. His way or no way.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

God’s Mercies are NEW Every Morning!

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When I look at this shredded tire, I think of the fact that the Lord’s mercies are new. Every. Single. Morning.

Two days ago, I was riding on this tire, not realizing it until I heard a flapping. Initially, I summed it up as mud under the tire, lifting up and hitting the mud guard as I drove along the highway. In the back of my mind though, I knew that I did not recently ride in mud. However, I continued on my way and it was not until it got LOUDER, while I was off the highway, that I parked on the side of the road to check it out.

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That’s when I saw this and was in shock. Fortunately, a tire shop was literally only about a minute away. I drove slowly and was able to get the tire changed. In fact, I was advised to get both front tires changed – which I did.

According to an employee, the only thing left for the tire to do was BURST!! I don’t speed, but still, the reality is on a highway you don’t drive at a snail’s pace. So imagine had that tire burst as I drove at highway speed? Who knows what could have occurred?!

I praise and bless God’s holy name for allowing me to notice this situation before something terrible happened.

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Meantime, I’ve certainly learned of the importance of inspecting my tires. In fact, I do – to an extent – but only to see whether they need air. Of course, I now realize a more thorough inspection is necessary.

From a spiritual standpoint, it makes me realize that we must continue to examine ourselves. Study the Word of God – which is a mirror – so we can see ourselves for who we are. More importantly, be obedient to what God’s Word tells us to do…the type of lives we ought to live.

If we hear any flapping…if we see any shredded tires, change those tires…change our ways. It certainly goes a long way for a smoother, safer ride.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

 

 

 

 

Clogged Feelings

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Recently, a small piece of soap slipped down the drain of the tub and as small as that was, it caused a back-up of water. The water was draining out of the tub, but slowly. I contacted my brother, who is a plumber, and he got the job done. The water is now freely flowing down the drain.

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As I thought of that simple situation, my mind went on the fact that so many people sometimes have things which are blocking their freedom. You  haven’t been able to get pass how offended you were when your colleague said something to you; you are still holding in a sibling for what he or she did when you were teens; when you hear the name of your college room mate, you want to roll your eyes; you have a problem with the mother who did not invite your child to her child’s birthday party or maybe you aren’t speaking to your neighbour based on an argument over his tree hanging over in your yard. There are a myriad of things which we not only allow to offend us, but we hold them in, allowing malice, hate, unforgiveness…to lodge in our spirits. When we do carry these negative vibes with us, it’s less about the person and more about us, and where we are in our spiritual lives.

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Back in the early 1990s when I was in college, there was a girl who I understood had something to say about me. I didn’t like it one bit! Now, I was never a fighter and had no intention of fighting her, but I surely felt a burning desire to approach her about what I heard she had to say.

I had it all planned. I went as far as going on campus earlier than normal that morning because I knew where she hung out (under a particular tree) and I needed to tell her a piece of my mind. I – with my 110-lb frame back then – was going to fly some words in her face! Well, as per usual, she came walking towards the area with a friend of hers and I confronted her. After I told her my five cents, I walked off, feeling like a champion. I felt I let her know, “I don’t play!” or in modern terms, it would be: “Stay in ya lane!”

Some four years later, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as Lord and Saviour. I began to grow and change was taking place. Interestingly, about a year into my relationship with the Lord, I was about to go on a fast (it was not my first fast) and the Holy Spirit prompted me. I don’t know why I wasn’t prompted earlier, but God is an on-time God. He brought her face and name to my attention and I instantly knew he was directing me to deal with that matter from years prior.

At that point, I was working and I also knew where she worked, having seen her at that organization a few times. I put pride aside, called her and told her I wanted to apologize for the way I approached her that early morning, under the tree. Believe it or not, she was very receptive and we had a wonderful conversation. And even had she not accepted my apology, most important was to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Pastor of In Touch Ministries, Charles Stanley, coined the phrase: “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.”

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When I hung up following that conversation, I was FREE! It was a wonderful feeling and there is nothing like a clear conscious. Honestly, before the Holy Spirit prompted me, I didn’t even think of that incident. When I would see her over the years, she was always far away in distance and we never had to interact. I didn’t feel I was holding her in, but perhaps it needed to be cleared up because she might have been the one holding ME in. I don’t know.

You see, the Bible states clearly in Matthew 5 verses 23 and 24:

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

God knew I had a situation that was not cleared up and it was time to address the matter. Why it took so long for me to be prompted – I don’t know.

Honestly, I’ve had more than one experience like this. I even just had a situation last year, but it took a much shorter time to speak to the individual. In that case, I told her I was VERY HURT. I didn’t even call her; I emailed. She was quite apologetic and I was finally able to move on because before that, just to see her, I would want to avoid her. In fact, I said that had the matter happened BEFORE my wedding, I would not have invited her. That’s how affected I was. It bothered me greatly. I felt she crossed a line. She went too far. I felt I could no longer trust her – if she could go that far.

On the other hand, I’ve had situations where my conscience beat me up and I felt the need to apologize within minutes, hours or within a day or two. God is working on me people!

My prayer is that God will CLEAN ME UP in the name of Jesus because we serve a God who is very forgiving. And of course, we shouldn’t allow people to walk all over us, but certainly, as Christians, we ought not to hold people in. God has called us to “put aside” bitterness, malice etc. (Ephesians 4:31). When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)! PRAISE YE THE LORD!!!!

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I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal to you if there are any matters you need to clear up before man and Him. Today, I am more in tune with God, thank God, so to not deal with a matter when I am feeling condemned would be disobedience. The enemy wants to keep us trapped! However: Freedom is beautiful! Unshackle those chains TODAY in the name of Jesus!

 

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah