We Aren’t Supposed To Recount The Evil People Do In Secret

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

Notice how it says we shouldn’t even speak about the things that the ungodly do in private because talking about it in itself is shameful. But then how do we expose them? By the light of Christ in us; by being different, by being like Him. And when one receives the Light of the world, they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of just how evil their previous actions were:

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭13-14‬ NKJV)

These verses convicted me this morning because I have spoken about the evil things evil people do. And sometimes I’ll pray for them, but not always. Praying for the light of Christ to penetrate their darkness should always be my prayer when I’m confronted by the evil of others.

So this is my prayer:

Father, please purify me completely. Please help me abide in You. Please help me not to waste my words, but to be wise and guard my tongue. May my speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt. May I not gossip or even speak about evil things people do in secret, but expose it with the purity and love of your light shining through me. May you, in Your mercy, reveal the truth to those in darkness and may they be drawn near by your love and repent that they may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I encourage you, the next time you see or hear about the evil someone or a group of people are doing, instead of recounting their evil to someone else, expose it by the purity of your own life, by walking like Jesus, and pray for their salvation.

May we walk as children of the light everyday and make the most of the time given to us, because the days are indeed evil.

I love you and I’m praying for you daily,

Natasha

Question: What do you guys think about the fact that he says the things they do in secret? Do you think this means if someone is doing evil in public, it’s okay to speak about it? I think of the times Paul warned the church of someone who was a false prophet and briefly touching on the evils they were doing. What are your thoughts on this?

I’m 8 Days Away From My Due Date

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I’m set to deliver me and sir Jonathan’s first child on February 21st. If I write all the ways God has provided, and all the prayers He’s answered, this post would be at least 10,000 words long. But here are some:

-Jonathan got a second job for a Christian ministry
-I didn’t have morning sickness
-We got blessed with three baby showers
-We have all the essentials; strollers, car seat, bassinet, baby clothes, diapers, baby wipes to last months, pediatrician who’s five minutes away
-All the nursery wants/needs have been gifted to us; changing table, crib (eventually), crib mattress, lamp, crib mobile, sheets, the cute forest animal-themed decorations we wanted
-We haven’t paid for anything for baby out of pocket, not even my prenatal visits
-We got blessed with a new, quality brand-name mattress (ours has been marked in several places by two different dogs and was causing me pain)
-We were working toward getting out of debt and had $500 left that we owed Jonathan’s dad and then randomly received an unexpected check for $500 in the mail. We’re now debt-free
-Jonathan was approved for not one, but six weeks off paid from his higher paying, longer-hours job to bond with baby

God truly is our provider. He has certainly blessed us incredibly and answered so many prayers. I’m blown away by His love and provision, and by His great care for His daughter and son. All the details He paid attention to, even giving unnecessary blessings. He has fiercely protected me and the baby from enemy attacks, and though I’ve become extra clumsy thanks to the increase in hormones, I haven’t fallen once in my entire pregnancy. Every time I stumbled (which was often), His angels caught me.

I just wanted to encourage you all to pray about everything that concerns you, casting your anxieties on Him because He truly does care for you—practically beyond comprehension.

It’s so vital for us to grasp the depth of His love for us and how much we do not deserve it. As we pray for that revelation, we will be compelled to truly surrender all to Him, to live for Him and obey Him because we genuinely love Him and are so grateful for all He has graciously done for us.

I pray a greater understanding of Christ’s love and worthiness to be worshipped is revealed to you that you may offer up your life—the life He’s loaned to you—for nothing but His glory.

Grace and love to you,

Natasha

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I’m A Christian, But I’m Stuck In Sin. Help!

Many Christians are struggling with a cycle of sin because they have yet to know the truth.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (‭John‬ ‭8‬:‭31-36‬ NKJV)

Notice Jesus is clearly speaking of being free from sin.

Many, however, are biting the bait cast at them from satan, whom Jesus called “the father of lies,” who speaks nothing but lies. We forget our old self has died and we have been “born again” not of flesh, but of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6-8). In other words, Christ has made us a new creation by pouring out His very own Spirit into our hearts after we trusted our lives to Him. Therefore, as the Apostle Paul said, it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭1-11‬ NKJV)

There is no denying that this incredibly freeing passage is telling us we have died to sin and therefore are no longer slaves to it. It even affirms that we have been freed from it (verse 7). It’s not an elusive promise. This is practical and is speaking of the now, of every Christian’s current state in Christ. He is not speaking of when we resurrect; he’s using past tense verbiage to show we have already died to sin. That promise has been fulfilled. But in order to live it out, we must believe it. And in order to believe it, we must first win the battle in our minds:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NKJV)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭4-5‬ NKJV)

We can only be transformed if we first renew our minds. But notice from 2 Corinthians that it’s a battle. We have to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So when the devil tells us we want to watch porn, we slice that lie in half with the truth, just like Jesus used truth to fight the devil on the mountain. We say, out loud, “Get behind me, Satan, for Christ has made me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). My old lustful self has died (Romans 6:2). I’ve crucified those passions to His cross (Galatians 5:24). It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).”

We need to know the Scriptures, for we aren’t battling flesh and blood. The bible says in Romans 6:6 that the body of sin has been done away with. Now we are waging war in the spirit. Jesus told His disciples the devil is subject to us (Luke 10:19-20). But Jesus did warn us to be careful that we aren’t deceived. Satan is crafty, the best liar there is. If we don’t know the truth, how in the world can we fight off his lies?

Too many are falling—and many to their spiritual demise—because they’re distracted by school, or work, or a relationship, and though they may pump iron at the gym, they are not training themselves spiritually.

If you are struggling with the lies of lust, don’t ignore them. Fight them! Renew your mind! Memorize Scripture that speaks against those lies. Your victory has been given to you by what Christ did 2,000 years ago, but you must receive it! Christ isn’t about raising up lazy children. He tests the heart. Do you really want to overcome sin and follow Me? Then pick up your sword and fight. That’s real faith; it’s active, it participates, it’s diligent. And only those who show such heart overcome.

So who will you be? The soldier that’s so wounded he falls to the ground and gets trampled by the enemy, or the soldier who is fighting valiantly, shredding his foes to pieces through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit?

As always, the choice is yours.

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ … Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you. (‭2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭3-8, 10-11‬ HCSB)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭8-10‬ NKJV)

New video: Why I Disagree With Our Current Church Culture

There’s a partial-gospel being promoted amongst many churches today, one that focuses on a few aspects of who Jesus is, but ignores others. This deceitful doctrine is leading many astray, and the evidence of that is very apparent.

Check out why I disagree with the hipster culture invading the church here.

Is My Calling Distracting Me From The Call?

*When I speak of our “calling” in this post, I’m speaking about our career or artistic talents.*

Could it be that we’re so concerned with our “calling” that we’re actually distracted from doing God’s will? Isn’t our “callings” just a part of God’s will, but in no way the whole? Isn’t God’s will made plain in the Scriptures? If we abide in and obey His Word, won’t He direct our paths?
Aren’t we commanded not to worry, but instead to pray? Aren’t we taught not to fret, but to simply trust God?
I think sometimes we overthink being a disciple of Christ. Instead of just loving Him and others, enjoying Him and enjoying the fellowship of our brothers in the Light, we get in control-mode and stress over what our calling is. But we shouldn’t let our calling distract us from doing God’s will.

May we be at peace with the fact that in Christ we are significant, that it isn’t our calling that makes us significant. Nor let us think that in order to accomplish God’s will and advance the kingdom we must be walking in our calling. Sometimes it takes years—decades—to begin to walk in your calling. Are you going to just wait for that season and neglect all those God has placed around you to love and disciple?

What matters to God is the fruit we produce. We can work extra hard on perfecting our gifts that tie into our calling, and saving money or studying and planning ahead for that calling, but that doesn’t produce much fruit in the meantime does it?

Me sitting alone at my computer for hours typing my book will produce fruit later, but it very well may get published five years from now, and all the hours I invested in it everyday could have been cut considerably so I can instead love, encourage, and pray for my husband and those around me, or invest in calling a sister and building up her faith. All of our work will be tested by fire in the end, and if what we’ve built turns to ashes, God’s not going to be very pleased.

I want to make sure my husband and those I disciple enter the new city’s pearly gates and receive imperishable crowns.

I’m not saying you become lazy and don’t work on cultivating the spirit of excellence, but I think time is scarce so we must be as shrewd as serpents with what little of it we have.

I don’t want God to play back the reel of my life and then I see thousands of times I was working diligently on my books, but my husband or mother or sister was enduring spiritual attacks alone and greatly needing backup. That will be humiliating and disheartening and I’m certain I’ve already done this plenty of times before.

May we be alert in prayer as the Scriptures command, rather than too busy crafting our gifts.

This I know, we’re all called to make disciples, and we don’t need to write books, lead worship, make films, or be rich to do it. We just need to love those around us.

Agreed?

I Believe In Jesus, But I Don’t Follow Him

My dear children, I write this letter to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone sins, we have Jesus Christ to help us. He always did what was right, so he is able to defend us before God the Father. Jesus is the way our sins are taken away. And he is the way all people can have their sins taken away too. If we obey what God has told us to do, then we are sure that we know him. If we say we know God but do not obey his commands, we are lying. The truth is not in us. But when we obey God’s teaching, his love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in him. If we say we live in God, we must live the way Jesus lived. (1 John 2:1-6 ERV)

Too many say they believe in Christ, but then they don’t obey His commands. Then, when a Christian lovingly points this out as being false religion, that we need to repent and follow Jesus, many times the person gets angry and uses—way out of context—the verse, “Do not judge.”

But it’s not us simply stating our opinion on their sinful lifestyle, it’s us pleading God’s Word, His commands, His opinion of their lifestyle that His light might shine on their darkness so they will see His truth and stop sinning.

I’ve had dearly loved friends who truly believe they’re all right with Jesus, but yet, they are not obeying His commands. They do not follow His teachings, but when I point out to them a Scripture that clearly condemns what they’re practicing, they tell me, “Only God can judge me.”

It’s really sad. I love them, and I know God does too, but He is holy, and cannot stand sinful behavior. He hates it so much the only way in His sight it could ever be forgiven is if someone completely perfect without a drop of sin in them dies in our place. Sin is so serious to God it requires a blood sacrifice. How can we deceive ourselves into thinking we can just believe Jesus is God’s Son, then keep on sinning and not be punished for trampling His blood sacrifice?

If we decide to continue sinning after we have learned the truth, then there is no other sacrifice that will take away sins. If we continue sinning, all that is left for us is a fearful time of waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy those who live against God. Whoever refused to obey the Law of Moses was found guilty from the testimony given by two or three witnesses. Such people were not forgiven. They were killed. So think how much more punishment people deserve who show their hate for the Son of God—people who show they have no respect for the blood sacrifice that began the new agreement and once made them holy or who insult the Spirit of God’s grace. We know that God said, “I will punish people for the wrongs they do; I will repay them.” And he also said, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a terrible thing to face punishment from the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31 ERV)

So there you have it, from the Word of God. Will you dismiss this entire blog as my opinion or with a flippant, “Don’t judge me,” or will you let God’s truth penetrate your heart because He loves you and doesn’t want you to be destroyed; He simply wants you to repent and follow Him.

Will you believe whatever sin you’re indulging in is worth going to hell for? Or will you trust God’s Word which says God’s plans for you are good, pleasing, acceptable and perfect?

Will you trust that you know what’s best for you, that this temporary pleasure is worth losing Jesus and eternal life for, or will you trust that God knows what’s best for you and follow His good plans for your life?

The choice is yours.

I’m A Christian Who Disrespects Authority & Teaches My Kids To Do The Same

Maybe our kids are acting disrespectful to us, their teachers, and elders because we teach them to do that.

Dr. Bob Barnes of Sheridan House Ministries makes a great point: If parents are disrespecting authority, whether that be the government or their boss, i.e. by talking badly about them, talking back to them, being late to work, breaking laws, etc. how can we expect our children to be respectful?

By doing this we are setting an example for our kids to follow: Don’t respect authority, as I myself do not respect authority.

Maybe it’s the way you talk about your father or mother in front of your children. They hear you griping about grandma and grandpa and see the dishonor in your words and then when they act unruly toward their grandparents or Sunday school teachers, you can’t understand why.

Even if the government, our bosses, or parents are treacherous, we are not to speak badly of them for this is dishonoring and disrespectful and it will train our kids to be dishonorable and disrespectful. This does not mean we approve of their wickedness, it means we let God judge them, and in a respectful way, warn our kids not to behave in similar patterns and explain the consequences.

If we have been disrespecting authority, we are displeasing and dishonoring God first and foremost, and we are raising up disrespectful kids who will have difficulty respecting us and others, keeping jobs, and honoring their spouses.

May we all, as Christians—myself included—repent of this sin of disrespect, that we may be blameless before our King, and leave a legacy of respectful children and generations that shine brightly in this dark world—a complete rarity amongst youth in our day and age.

This passage sums it quite effectively:

“Be willing to serve the people who have authority in this world. Do this for the Lord. Obey the king, the highest authority. And obey the leaders who are sent by the king. They are sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do good. When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. Live like free people, but don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as those who are serving God. Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. Slaves, be willing to serve your masters. Do this with all respect. You should obey the masters who are good and kind, and you should obey the masters who are bad. One of you might have to suffer even when you have done nothing wrong. If you think of God and bear the pain, this pleases God. But if you are punished for doing wrong, there is no reason to praise you for bearing that punishment. But if you suffer for doing good and you are patient, this pleases God. This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as he did: “He never sinned, and he never told a lie.” Isaiah 53:9 People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly.” (1 Peter 2:13-23 ERV)

Christians, Pick Up Your Swords!

“His head and hair were white like wool — white as snow — and His eyes like a fiery flame. His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters. He had seven stars in His right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from His mouth, and His face was shining like the sun at midday.” (Revelation 1:14-16)

“He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:13-15)

“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

“Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.” (Ephesians 6:17)

I think many of us disciples of Jesus don’t take God’s word seriously enough. We don’t realize the dire need for it. I’m preaching to myself too here. The Word is specifically regarded in Scripture as an offensive weapon. Jesus used it to defeat Satan’s cunning and lies in the wilderness before Christ began His public ministry. Who are we to think we can just pick up the sword a couple times a week for a few minutes and be set?

I think we neglect it because we’re ignorant as to just how insanely powerful it is. Proverbs 18:21 tells us the power of life and death is on the tongue. If our words have power, can you imagine God’s words?

In fact, didn’t God create the entire universe with His Word alone? It’s so powerful, the residue of the words He spoke thousands of years ago to create everything still resonate throughout our universe in the form of sound waves.

So why aren’t we spitting His incredible Word that He has so incredibly preserved for us over millenniums?

“Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God.”-Romans 10:17

Let’s choose to walk in His power every day.

But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating [speaking] on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalms 1:2, 3)

Christians Don’t Need The World’s Wisdom

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will set aside the understanding of the experts. Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. Brothers, consider your calling: Not many are wise from a human perspective, not many powerful, not many of noble birth. Instead, God has chosen what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God has chosen what is insignificant and despised in the world — what is viewed as nothing — to bring to nothing what is viewed as something, so that no one can boast in His presence. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became God-given wisdom for us — our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, in order that, as it is written: The one who boasts must boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

So next time the self-proclaimed Atheist calls ya dumb, or “uneducated,” answer with, “Thank You, Jesus!”

If you die for Christ, so what?

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:31-39)

Beloved, don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Do you see what great and awesome promises we have—better yet, what great and awesome love we have?

God lavishes all the love we need and more to be satisfied every second of the day. His love is more than enough. If you find yourself low in fuel for Christ, or looking after other things, you have forgotten His magnificent love for you.

His eyes are on you even now. He’s always thinking about you. He has exciting plans for you. Sure, there’s going to be trials on the way to heaven. The devil doesn’t want you to get there and he sure doesn’t want you bringing others along.

But every single thing Satan has planned against you, God wants to and can use for good—as long as you trust Him and endure. “He who endures till the end will be saved.” Your momentary affliction is nothing in light of the eternal joy that awaits you. What is even 50 years of tribulation in comparison to eternity with Christ our Loving Lord? The very second you cross over from this life to the next and see Jesus face to face every tear you ever shed will be worth it. I’m willing to bet you’d even wish you suffered more for the glorious King who now stands before you with holes in His hands, and eyes of blazing fire that consume you with love from a simple glance. When you see Him who was beaten and crucified for you, you’re going to wish you were likewise martyred for Him.

So whatever fiery trial you’re going through, always remember:

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart. In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”(Hebrews 12:3, 4)

And even if you have, is there anyone more worthy to die for?