BABY CHRISTIANS!

 

Imagine the tragedy of an adult, a grown man or woman, that behaves like a baby!

Verse 1: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building”.

‘Baby Christians’, a baby is a person, a little person who is utterly dependent upon another. It is a person who is amused, often times, by rubbish – you can give it the box of the toy and not the toy, and it will be more amused with the box than the toy. A baby is a creature that seems to put into its mouth anything that it finds lying on the ground. As that little baby gets older – and it doesn’t need to get too old, I can tell you, to go into little tantrums when it doesn’t get its way. When we look at the figure, or the metaphor, or the illustration, the analogy that Paul gives us of baby Christians, we see that he’s talking about people who are always dependent upon others, who never learn to have spiritual independence and growth individually. They are often amused by rubbish, by things that don’t really matter, they’ll put anything into their mouths, they’ll feed themselves on anything except the word of God, and they are often – within the church of Jesus Christ – prone to tantrums. That’s what a baby is like, and if you can imagine what an adult like that would be, you have now imagined what the Corinthians Christians were like in the days of Paul.

Imagine the tragedy of an adult, a grown man or woman, that behaves like a baby! A man who has never developed, a man who has never grown! There are several genetic and medical conditions that actually realize this awful tragedy and monstrosity of a nightmare for people, when they see children that do not age, that don’t appear to age at least – they are ageing in years, but they never grow, they never mature. It’s a tragedy to see. What is further a tragedy to see is if you went to China, and you see there parents who take their little children and they put shoes on their feet that are too small for them because they believe it’s great have small feet, something beautiful to have small feet – so they force their children not to grow by putting shoes on them that are too small so that they’ll have small feet. It’s a tragedy, isn’t it?

A Christian that has at his disposal all of the power and riches of God; yet he fails, willingly, to grow and to mature – he is still a babe in Christ…

But imagine: not something genetic, not something that is forced upon you by another, but something that is actually an intelligent reasonable choice – to choose to stay a baby! To choose to never grow! Imagine, if you will, a 40-year-old man turning up for work with a dummy in his mouth and his favourite toy underneath his arm! Someone related to me today what it would be like to see a 70-year-old man in a play pen with a rattle in his mouth and toys around him. What would it be like? It seems absolutely ridiculous, and it is ridiculous! But what is more ridiculous than that human illustration, Paul is saying, is a Christian that has at his disposal all of the power and riches of God; yet he fails, willingly, to grow and to mature – he is still a babe in Christ.

The awful fact that we have to face is that there is a reality called ‘Baby Christians’. There is such a thing as an underdeveloped, immature Christian. Paul speaks to these people in verse 1 and he says: ‘Brethren’, he looks upon them as believers, brothers. This is the staggering thing about it, that he’s not saying, as he said at the end of chapter 2, that these people are natural, they’re not even saved, they’re not living like Christians so they’re not saved, that’s not what he’s saying! He says that they are babes in Christ, positionally they are in Christ, and he calls them brothers – they are real Christians yet they have never developed. I believe that he calls them brothers because he wants, as he did in chapter 1, to show them affection, to show them grace before he comes in very hard and rebukes them. He wants them to realize that his strong words of exhortation and rebuke are coming from a heart of strong affection and love and compassion towards them – and let me say before I go on any further that I hope you understand in some of the rebukes and exhortation and encouragement that I give to you, and I have been before the Lord, this is from a heart of love, it is from a heart of compassion toward you, it is from a heart of a minister – I hope – that wants God’s best for you, and wants you to enter into the joy of the Lord that He has prepared for you, and the maturity and the growth that He wants for you.

The baby christians are choosing not to grow as believers, they are choosing not to take the meat of God’s word but to still feed on the milk!

Some Christians get saved and they think, initially, that they’re going to live just as they lived before, in the same sort of way. When Paul first ministered to these believers in Corinth he realized that the process of sanctification had only started, and that there was a long road ahead of him – they had not yet naturally developed the way that the Holy Spirit would develop them one day. So I want you to see that: that when they were first converted they didn’t know everything about salvation and sanctification, and they brought with them much of the baggage of the world before their conversion. Then when we go into verse 2 – ‘I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able’. So when he first came to them and they were converted – and he realized that they could never be, right at conversion, fully spiritually developed – he knew that they couldn’t take the meat of God’s word, he had to feed them with milk, not solids. Like a baby, a baby would right away choke on solids if it was fed with them from birth – all that he could feed them with and all that they were able to receive and digest were the simple basic truths of the word of God.

So Paul is distinguishing that there are two different types of Christians. In chapter 2 he talked about the spiritual man and the natural man. The natural man is unconverted and does not perceive or discern spiritual things, and the spiritual man is a man who is regenerated by the Spirit of God and made alive to God, and made to be able to see the truths of God and see the Gospel as the power and wisdom of God – it no longer is foolishness. But now, as he’s coming into chapter 3, he’s not talking about the saved and the unsaved, but he’s talking about spiritual Christians as opposed to carnal Christians. So he says that not only are there two camps in humanity between those who are saved and are lost – those who are carnal and those who are spiritual. It’s not that you’re spiritual and then you stay spiritual the rest of your life, and it’s not that you’re carnal and you have to remain carnal – sometimes you can be spiritual one day and carnal the next day, and vice versa. You can go into bouts of each of these conditions: spiritual and carnal. But what I want you to see is that Paul sees those who are spiritual not as the ones who are extraordinary, he sees the Christians that are carnal and fleshly as the ones who are out of the ordinary because it was abnormal, unnatural development – they should have grown!

Do you know the only conclusion I come to? It’s this: some believers never grow up! They never mature!

Carnality, to heap to ourselves some kind of a knowledge, and then we begin to believe and deceive ourselves into thinking that we’re spiritual because of what we know. We say: ‘Well, how else could I possibly know so many spiritual things unless I myself were spiritual?’. But that is not the touchstone of spirituality, rather it is: ‘How much do I know from life experience?’ – and if it’s only in the mind it is merely Corinthian, and it is the carnal product of the mind.

Some believers never grow up! They never mature! Now the Lord knows my heart, and if you are carnal I pity you – like a child gazing into a cage where there’s a stray puppy confined that can’t get out, and the child has pity on it. I pity you. I have been praying before God for a heart of grace and love, for you to realize that by remaining carnal and a babe in Christ just feeding upon milk, you limit your own spiritual capacity because you refuse to grow. You fit, you fit into this definition of a carnal Christian.  Is that you?

Now listen, this is extremely important, because those who are never ready for meat, and those who thrive on strife and quarrels – essentially those who are carnal, they are babes in Christ – they have a camouflage so that others do not see, or at least they think they do not see, that they are only babes. They know deep down, they maybe don’t admit it, but they know that they are essentially unspiritual.

Let me ask you it in this simple question: you live in number 102, and next door to you in number 104 there’s a man who is not a believer, and his whole family aren’t believers. You’ve got a nice house and he has got a nice house; you’ve got a good job and he’s got a good job; you’ve lovely children and he has lovely children, they’re all going to good schools, they’ve got prospects ahead of them. You go to church because you’re a Christian, but he goes to church yet he’s not a Christian. Can I ask you a simple question: what’s the difference? You’re not going to tell me it’s because you’re saved, are you? Is that difference enough? Paul is saying: ‘No it’s not’ – it’s not different enough. You’ve got to be seen not to just walk as mere men – what makes us distinctive as believers? What are we living for? He’s saying your life will tell what you’re living for!

People come in and out of church, and they show their face once in a blue moon, and they don’t do anything in the assembly, and they watch others breaking their back working for Jesus, needing help and they won’t give any hand – and they think that they’re fooling everybody going in and out week after week!   We can see where their priorities lie! You’re not fooling anybody!

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I heard a story about a lovely old lady who was well past her threescore and ten, and she came to her Pastor’s door and knocked on it. He opened the door, and she had a big basket of fruit and vegetables, and she just handed it to him and said: ‘Pastor, something the Lord and I raised for you’ – something the Lord and I raised for you! Imagine being called fellow-labourers with God! God does all the work, but the mighty thing about it is that all His work that He does, a lot of it is through us.

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How do you come from being a carnal Christian to a spiritual Christian? What’s the problem? The problem is the flesh. What can we do with the flesh? Maybe you’re a young Christian, and Christians struggle with the flesh, they try to beat the flesh and conquer the flesh and tame the flesh – but you can’t do it.   The only answer for the flesh is? Crucifixion.  Crucify the flesh, the lusts thereof. It’s irredeemable, you can’t make it better. Don’t pray for God to make you better, pray for God, and crucify the flesh, that the life of Jesus may be manifest in our bodies. Is it any wonder he said: ‘I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified’, because it’s the answer to everything.

Lord, let some soul  ravaged with sin and temptation, read this: ‘Sin shall no longer have dominion over you’. Let us all move from our carnality into God’s spirituality, to the glory of Jesus Christ.  Lord, mold us and make us into your image!

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:44

God bless you and your day!

Love and prayers to all of you!

Your Sister in Jesus Christ,  Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons

YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!

Mark 8:22-25  (KJV)

22 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

 

   Years ago if a person was unfortunate to have cataracts grow on their eyes they were doomed to blindness. Fortunately today cataract surgery is readily available and frequently performed to prevent blindness. Eye implants are becoming in greater number to help those vision problems to see again.  My husband has had both, cataract surgery and implants on both eyes.

It was John the Baptist who sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the “Coming One.” Matthew 11:4-5  Jesus answered and said unto them, “Go and shew John again  those things which ye do hear and see:  “The blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed,  and the deaf  hear; the dead are raised up,  and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

The New Testament records at least 7 healings of the blind, by Jesus. It is interesting to watch the actions of Jesus healing these blind men.

Image result for Christian images the touch of Jesus

Matthew 9:27-30 …. 2 blind meal are healed as Jesus touches their eyes.

Matthew 12:22 …… A blind and deaf man is healed.

Mark 10:52 ……… Blind Bartimaeus healed

John 9:6 ……….. Jesus uses saliva and mud to heal.

In this message, this man is three times touched by Jesus to bring about a gradual healing rather than instantaneous. We zoom in on the healing of sight, but also the three touches of Jesus.

Took him by the hand (vs.23) …. Touch of Encouragement.

Put His hands on him (vs.23) …. Touch of Enlightenment.

Hands on his eyes (vs.25) …. Touch of Enablement.

I.          TOUCH OF ENCOURAGEMENT …. 8:22-23

        The Scriptures tell us that “they”, perhaps this man’s friends or family, brought him to Jesus. It is the concept of being a “Stretcher Bearer.” These people had enough faith  and action to know that if they could get him to Jesus he could be healed. The Scriptures say they “begged” (strong desire) Jesus to touch this man. Do we believe as such? Do we believe Jesus can still heal and change the lives of people? After the request to touch the blind man, Jesus touches him with a touch of encouragement. “He took the man by the hand and led him outside the town.” Why …. when Jesus usually healed on the spot, … would he take this man out of the town of Bethsaida?

Matthew 11:20-21  Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:  “Woe unto thee , Corazin! Woe unto thee,  Bethsaida! For if  the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

        The city of Bethsaida had become to calloused to be touched by Jesus. Sad, but the fact remains true today. Many in and out of the church have calloused hearts toward the true touch of Jesus. That’s why our altars are empty with no prayers for healing.  God is moving and working among us to touch us.

        But this man, thanks to friends, would be the recipient of a touch of encouragement. As Jesus took this man by the hand to lead him, I believe it was ….

A.       Personal touch … tender & loving

1.      Jesus knows you personally. He knows your needs. He ministers to your individual needs

2.      Our church, town, families, friends, strangers … all need a touch from us in the most personal way we can touch them. Jesus shows us how. Jesus showed an INTEREST in the man. I’m sure this man was perhaps lonely and discouraged, having to live in darkness. And now all attention, for the moment, was being given to him.

3.      The world wants to know that we are interested in them. People really want to know that God loves them and they are looking for the love through you and I. Jesus took the  time to touch!

B.        Patient touch … no hurry up!

1.      While we live in a busy world, Jesus always has time for us.

2.      Hope was born as Jesus took the time for this man. God is so patient with us! We live in an “impatient generation.” “We stand at the  microwave and scream hurry up!” And with people we have even less patience! But Jesus was patient to bring a hopeful encouragement to this man. We must do the  same.

C.       Powerful touch

1.      He has the power to meet our needs.

2.      I believe as Jesus took the man by the hand, the man knew that this touch was one of power … that could bring healing.

3.      Jesus’ touch was powerful in that it was ….

a)      Relieving …… as Jesus seemed to say “come with me.”

b)      Sensitivity …. Jesus would touch the man in his private world.

4.      Will we let Jesus touch us to encourage us? To relieve us?

a)      Even if it calls for us to give up a very sensitive and private part of our life?

b)      Be assured Jesus’ touch is a touch of  encouragement.

II.                TOUCH OF ENLIGHTENMENT …. 8:23-24

A.       It is interesting that Jesus spit on the man’s eyes and then placed His hands on them. Now Jesus did not need the spit to heal, but the man did. The man needed to feel that something was being done to him. He was obedient.

James 2:15-16  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,  and one of you say unto them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needed to the body, what does it profit?

B.        This man needed to be touched physically to be healed from physical blindness … but also for spiritual healing. Our infirmities have the tendency to harden us. Jesus was healing inside and out.

C.       This second touch, as Jesus asked if he could see, enlightened the man to a world of vision. The man saw men as trees walking around. Literally the man could see, but not clearly.

1.      We are too much like this man. We see things but not always clearly.

2.      “It’s a terrible thing not to be able to see. But it is even more terrible to be able to see but have not vision.” (Helen Keller)

3.      Do we have an enlightenment to a vision?

a)      When we come to Jesus to be touched, we begin to see men and issues clearer than ever before. Jesus’ touch is enlightening.

III.             TOUCH OF ENABLEMENT …. 8:25

A.       Seeing men as trees is never good enough! Jesus touches the man for a third time. He was three times touched to bring about enablement. This touch enabled him to see clearly his world, friends and family!

B.        Not only was the man enabled to see, but he was enabled to walk around, live life without the constant need of help from others. (vs.26) Jesus’ touch will help free us from the constant dependence on people or things (vices).

1.      ILLUSTRATION … Little Red Riding Hood … what big eyes you have … the better to see you with my dear.

2.      Today we need those big eyes … the better to see men as men and issues as issues. The world sees nothing wrong with the evils that surround us, but we do! More than ever  we need the touch of enablement to see clearly.

3.      Ministry is disabled when we fail to see clearly. We, as individuals and a church are disabled when all we see is the opposition, rather than the work of God going on. Look for what God is doing!

4.      The touch of enablement allows us to see … clearly … consistently … continually.

2 Kings 6:15-17   (KJV)

15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

It is a risk to seek the touch from Jesus that will encourage, enlighten and enable us. Why? Because we must change. This man, whom Jesus healed was never the same  again!

The man came to Jesus with the help of others… Today seek a friend to help bring you into the presence of Jesus

They begged Jesus to touch the man… intercede for someone who needs to be touched by Jesus, pray the prayer of intercession for them.  Win them to God!

 

 

 

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:44

Love and prayers!

God bless you and your day!

Your Sister in Jesus Christ,  Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons

A COWBOY NAMED BUD!

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.  2.  And if any man think that he knoweth  any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.  3.  But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

These seemingly innocuous words may be the central issue in this whole book (or both books to the Corinthians) because this was the sin that led Satan to separate from God’s government. He became puffed up about himself. Likewise, the Corinthians were puffed up about how much they knew.Satan thought so much of himself that he became twisted in his thinking, and he attacked God. We do not attack God directly—this book shows us we attack each other! Therein lies the problem. We attack each other through gossip, rumors, accusations, and things of that nature. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 We begin to draw up lists in our minds of the faults of those who have offended us, and we begin to withdraw from them. We will not associate with them. Division begins to occur because they offend us. We say to ourselves, “Well, they were mean to me,” or “They aren’t intelligent enough,” or “They are peculiar,” or “They wear garish clothing,” or “They have strong opinions about unimportant things.”

This is not to say that these things are right and good, or that one should be able to do his own thing at anytime, anywhere, and that others should be tolerant of it. Nevertheless, Satan can, if he is given the opportunity, lead our minds to find reasons to not associate with others—reasons that have nothing to do with sin. Satan is at work.

If the feeling continues unabated, we will eventually come to the place where we will withdraw from fellowship altogether. It will not happen quickly, necessarily, but gradually. Perhaps we stop attending Bible Studies or begin to find reasons not to come to Sunday services, or we will arrive late to services and leave early. In this way, Satan is slowly but surely moving us toward self-indulgence rather than love.

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 A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous

pasture in California when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward
him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses
and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you
exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you
give me a calf?”

Bud  looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully
grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, Why not?”

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects
it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the
Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his
location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the
area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and
exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany .

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image
has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL
database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his
Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response..

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his
hi-tech,miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says,
“You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with
amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what
your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why
not?”

“You’re a Congressman for the U..S. Government”, says Bud.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing required.” answered the cowboy. “You showed up here even
though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already
knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of
equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you
don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about
cows, for that matter.  This is a herd of sheep. ….

Now give me back my dog!

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Image result for inspirational christian images about humility

Galatians 6:3  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

I Samuel 2:3  Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth:  for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

THIS IS THE SURE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIAN HOPE:

II Timothy 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal. The Lord knoweth them that are his.  And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

 

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Matthew 24:44

God bless you and your day!

Love and prayers to all of you!

Your Sister in Jesus Christ,  Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons

HOW TO HAVE VICTORY AND PEACE OVER STRESS!

this really keeps me going when im in the toughest trials in life <3 theres always a reason for everything..   With Jesus......Will be Unstoppable!

Isaiah 40:27-31   Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?  28.  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?  there is no searching of his understanding.  29.  He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  30.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  31.  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We need to understand the divine principles related to stress. It is a misunderstanding of three important principles which causes stress to hurt us rather than help us, to break us rather than bless us, and to destroy us rather than develop us. Stress can be a friend or foe in our lives. God uses stress to strengthen His children, not to shrink them.

I. MISUNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM OF STRESS

Isaiah 40:27-28

A. The Load of Stress

Stress is a weight placed upon a person or object. A building is always under constant and incredible stress. The great thing is this structure is designed to absorb the stress so that the roof and walls will not collapse. If a building is designed improperly, the structure cannot withstand the load and the entire thing crumbles. Architects and engineers carefully study the stresses on various parts of building designs to insure that the structures are safe to build.

In life we must be able to withstand stress. Be assured of this, you cannot avoid stress. The strain and tension of living produces a measure of stress which cannot be avoided. We know that the stress on a building is related to the weight of the materials from which it is constructed and the span of those materials through space. What about human beings. What produces stress on us, and are we designed to endure that stress?

Stress on our lives is related to the responsibilities we have and our abilities to complete them successfully.

There is another type of stress that can be called inherited stress. You didn’t choose it – it came upon as a part of living your life. It is real and it can be a bit overwhelming at times. It is a load, or weight, that is laid upon you in life. In what ways are we stressed in life.

1. We are stressed by Time

This is one of the greatest contributors to stress. I know all about it.  All of us deal with time as an issue. In our fast-pace world, time seems to be pushing us all the time.

You must get your kids ready for school on time. That involves clothing, hygiene, breakfast and school supplies – and sometimes, it involves just getting them out of the bed every morning.

You have to be at work on time. That involves making sure you have gas in the car, negotiating early morning traffic, and being your best when you arrive.  I have seen women driving to work eating breakfast, putting on makeup and talking on the phone at the same time. Almost everyone, women and men had a cup of coffee they were downing while driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. By the time people arrived at their destination, they needed a cool down period just to begin working.

You have to pay bills on time. Meals must be prepared on time. And, almost everything we do involves the stress of time.

You must be at the dentist or doctor on time, even if you have to wait forty-five minutes once you get there. I heard about a man who had a doctor’s appointment. He sat in the waiting room for what seemed like ages until his name was called. Then he was placed in an examination room where he sat for another twenty minutes. Finally, the doctor came in, picked up the man’s chart and said, “Now, let’s see, how old are you?” The patient replied, “Now, or when I first came into the waiting room.” Time can be a real stressor!

The clock never slows down and never backs up for you. You can even come to church all stressed out because you are running late – you rush in with a fast heartbeat and your nerves frayed.

2. We are stressed by Tasks

We all have responsibilities. Whether it is a task at work that must be done on the company’s time table, the grass that has to be cut before the neighbors call the wildlife society, children to fed, clothes to be washed, dishes to be cleaned, or other tasks to be completed, it involves the stress of time. Occasionally it is the combination of more tasks than time seems to permit. The result is that time and tasks team up to add even more stress to your life.

3. We are stressed by Temptation

When the children of God were traveling through the wilderness, they were attacked by the Amalekites. The Amalekites were ancestors of Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. In essence, the Amalekites are an Old Testament picture of Satan and his followers. The Amalekites attacked the people of God from the rear, where the weak would be walking. Satan will attack you when you are weak, adding another dimension to your stress.

Temptation adds enormous stress, but the sin being held like a carrot before us is actually seeking to convince us that the evil being offered will provide some relief from the pressures of life. Don’t you believe it! Giving in to the temptation will only make your stress impossible to bear.

4. We are stressed by Turmoil

Arguments, disagreements, and other conflicts with people create stress in our lives. It is strange, but stress can cause turmoil and then the turmoil adds even more stress! It can be turmoil between husband and wife, child and parent, employer and employee, co-workers, and even friends. These clashes can happen in your home, community, work, church or even between you and the person who pulls into the parking place you have been waiting for at the supermarket! Some people are so stressed when driving, that they curse, point a gun or go so far as to hit another car with their own. That has given rise to a term with which we are all familiar – Road Rage! Road rage is just another example of the results of stress.

5. We are stressed by our Temperament

Some people seemed to become stressed out more quickly than others. Such people have a quick temper and are said to have type-A personalities. What creates even more stress for people like this is dealing with type-B personalities whom the type-A personality thinks should, in light of whatever is going on, be more temperamental! In other words, highly stressed people like for everyone else to be highly stressed and get even more stressed with the unstressed when they don’t get more stressed? I getting a bit stressed just trying to explain this!

You see a biblical example of the type-A and type-B personalities in the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was stressed, Mary wasn’t. Martha told Jesus it wasn’t fair for Mary to be less stressed than she was! In essence, Martha told Jesus He ought to get Mary to come to the kitchen and join in the stress party going on as the meal was being prepared. People who don’t get stressed make people who do get stressed even more stressed!

B. The Loneliness of Stress

Notice another interesting facet of stress. In Isaiah 40:27-28, we note that stress produces a feeling of loneliness. A person under extreme stress feels that God doesn’t understand and God doesn’t care. He feels that God can’t see his problem from a personal perspective and even if He could, God would probably just hide His face from him!

Sometimes, stress creates loneliness. This is true because stress often creates a feeling of being alone with your problems. You feel overwhelmed and under-loved! That was the problem for Martha in the kitchen at Bethany. She felt that Mary did not care, Jesus did not care, and that caused her to feel that no one cared. She was bearing up under a load of self imposed stress. Her labor was not nearly as heavy as her feeling of dealing with the stress without help.

C. The Liabilities of Stress

All stress is not harmful, and some of it can be helpful. Proper stress is a blessing. This building is enduring proper stress and as it does it is a blessing to us. Some stress is harmful. Stress not properly handled can cause many problems.

First, it makes us sick. Stress leads to many kinds of illness, including but not limited to: heart disease, headaches, stomach spasms, ulcers, hypertension, and muscle cramps. Stress can literally kill a person.

Second, stress leads to emotional weaknesses. Stress, not properly handled leads to worry, anger, and bitterness. It causes a person to lose joy. Stress can make a person hard to deal with because of emotional tension.

Thirdly, stress also can make a person extremely negative. It keeps us from faith because it produces doubt. In essence, poor stress management breaks down our relationships, our bodies, our effectiveness, and our spiritual life. Stress is a dangerous thing to handle improperly!

II. MISUNDERSTANDING THE POWER FOR STRESS

Isaiah 40:29 – “He gives power to the faint.”

The strength we need to deal with stress is available as a “gift”.  God gives us what we need to deal with a “faint” feeling. When we feel as though we are going to faint under the stresses of life, God has power to give us and He wants us to have it. It is a gift given when we need it and not a one-time event. He gives it to us over and over again! The word “strength” means to “be firm”. He gives us the ability not to give up when we are under pressure. Just like a building stands under the pressure of weight, wind, rain and storms, God has strength to give you so you can endure whatever comes your way.

A. Strength for the Weary

Verse 30 speaks of being “weary”. Sometimes our stress is the result of being called on to complete a task or tasks which weary us. Our strength just seems gives out. We need to know that God has the strength we need in order for us to do all that He intends, and He gives us this strength as a “gift”. This is not something we earn, but something that God freely gives to those who know Him and trust Him.

If we move outside His will, and take on things He has not guided us to do when are not promised this strength. Trusting Him for strength means abiding in His will. The load limit is created to keep us in His path for our lives.

B. Strength for the Weak

There is another problem we can have. It is possible to be called upon to do a task for which we lack the skills. Moses said this of himself. Gideon said this as well. Many of us can feel that syndrome. Yet, God says that he has a gift of strength that overcomes even our weaknesses! We may not think that we have the ability to do a certain task, but we feel God leading us to do it anyway. Be assured, if God is calling you to do something, he will give you the ability to carry out His will. The extremity of our ability is the beginning of God’s gift of strength for us.  Look to the Lord, be led by the Lord, lean upon the Lord, learn from the Lord and be lifted by the Lord. He has the strength you need and will give it to you!

III. MISUNDERSTANDING THE PURPOSE OF STRESS

 Most of us do not understand that stress is not meant to harm us but to help us. A proper response to stress can and will lead to better life and a better person.

According to an old fable, a grandfather clock stood for three generations in the same corner, faithfully ticking off the minutes, hours, and days. In it was a heavy weight that had to be pulled to the top regularly in order to keep the clock running. “Too bad,” thought a new owner, “that such an old clock should have to bear so great a load.” So he took the heavy weight off the chain and removed it. At once the old timepiece stopped ticking. “Why did you take away my weight?” asked the clock. “I wanted to lighten your burden,” replied the man. “Please,” said the clock, “put it back. That’s what keeps me going!

We are like that clock. The correct stress, wound by the divine hand, can keep us ticking in time with God’s will. Stress is not all bad, unless we experience it outside God’s will.

The story is told of a woman who had little patience. She went to her minister and said, “Pastor, pray that God will give me patience!” The pastor said, “Let’s bow our heads right now and bring your need to the Lord. Heavenly Father, send trials and difficulties into the life of this, your child, that she may have much tribulation.” Before he could say another word, the woman interrupted, “But Pastor, I need patience, not tribulation?” He pastor responded, “I know, but God says this is the best way to learn it.”

That pastor was right. Read Romans 5:3. Affliction, which means tribulation or stress, creates patience. If you and I want to grow in our ability to wait on God and carry out His will, we must be willing to endure affliction and stress.

If you look at the followers of Jesus in the early church they were all placed under extreme stress – even leading to death. They were found worthy to suffer for Jesus. I believe that is what Paul is talking about when he speaks of the blessing of being worthy to suffer for Christ. Those found worthy, who pass the stress test, are used by God! If you cannot trust God under stress, you will not be used of God to be successful in the area He has placed you.

The scripture lists for us three results of a proper reaction to stress.

A. Wing Strength – The Supernatural

This is soaring strength. This is the strength to do things that are totally impossible in the flesh. Wing Strength is something God supplies to those who are facing what appears to be impossible. But we know that all things are possible with God. Someone here today is in need of Wing Strength. You are facing stress that is beyond you. You are looking in the eyes of something that is physically and humanly beyond you. But, never fear, God is with you. Lean upon the Lord and you can mount up with wings like the eagle.

B. War Strength – The Soldier

People didn’t run in the days of Isaiah, unless they were in an extremely difficult situation. Running was often associated with war and battle. The Soldier strength is what one needs when a battle is going on – not a physical battle but a spiritual one. With God’s help, you can leap the wall – Psalm 18:29 – David shared that with God’s strength he could face and entire troop of the enemy and leap over a wall. That is the kind of strength Isaiah is talking about here.

What battle are you facing? What enemy is coming against you? To get to you, put yourself in a position that the enemy will have to deal with God first! You can have the strength of God in the battle.

C. Walking Strength – The Sojourn

Walking strength is the ability to slog through the day-to-day situations you face. Just managing life is enough to cause us to faint, unless we know where to find our strength. Some of us are not facing the impossible, or the enemy, we are just have a problem coping with life itself. God has strength for you to walk daily in this world without fainting!

The question is, how do I get these three strengths into my life? The Bible says that I am to hope in the Lord. What does that mean? The word hope is not a word of chance or luck. The biblical idea of hope is one of confident assurance. To hope in the Lord means that I do not hope in my job but in the one who will always supply my need. To hope in the Lord means that I do not hope in my money, but my hope is in the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and pours out upon my life every good and perfect gift. My hope is not in my intellectual abilities, a stroke could strip that from me in two seconds and leave me unable to walk or talk. No, I am trusting in the One who has all knowledge and who can show me things that I do not know! My hope is not in my relationships with people, as much as I treasure so many of the precious friends and family God has granted me. My hope is in my fellowship of God, in whom there is no shadow of turning. Stress tries to put me in charge of all the affairs of my life, but hope puts me a position of confidence that my God shall supply all that I need, even to the point of providing above and beyond all that I could ask or think!

God supplies my need by His power which works in me. Look at Ephesians 3:20. Note also that in 1 Peter 1:3 that we are told that we possess a “living hope”. Paul states in Romans 5:5 that hope in the Lord does not disappoint”.

When you are distressed or stressed out remember three things:

He Loves You!

He Lifted You!

He will not Leave You!

So, look to the Lord! Trust Him and serve Him. Your labor is never in vain in the Lord. Do you know Him as your Savior? Have you trusted Him? You should trust Him today!

For those of us who know Him, it is time to rest at His feet again. There is a word in this text that we often miss. It is the word “renew”. This means that we can have God’s strength but then begin to lean to our own understanding. You can have great victory over the stresses of life, but then begin to slip back into trusting your own strength. That is why the word “renew” is used in this text. Is it time for someone reading this to “renew” your strength in the Lord? This means to find peace in His presence! It means to find power in His presence! It means to find partnership in His presence                                                                                                 "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not be tired." - Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh!   Matthew 24:44

God bless you and your day!

Love and prayers!

Your Sister in Jesus Christ, Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons

 

10 WAYS A CHURCH FAMILY CAN LOVE ONE ANOTHER!

THEY LOVE A FELLOW OVER THERE

One Sunday a lady was inviting children to come to Sunday school when she met a boy and asked him why he went so far, past so many Sunday schools to get to his own. “There are plenty of others,” said she, “just as good.”

He said, “They may be so good, but they are not so good for me.”

“Why not?” she asked.

“Because they love a fellow over there,” he answered.

How easy it is to reach people through love. Those who are successful in showing men love will be successful in winning them to Christ.

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THINGS I REMEMBER ABOUT MY MOTHER!

Things My Mother Taught Me

My Mother taught me LOGIC… “If you fall off that swing and break your neck, you can’t go to the store with me.”

My Mother taught me MEDICINE… “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to freeze that way.”

My Mother taught me TO THINK AHEAD… “If you don’t pass your spelling test, you’ll never get a good job!”

My Mother taught me ESP… “Put your sweater on; don’t you think that I know when you’re cold?”

My Mother taught me TO MEET A CHALLENGE… “What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you… Don’t talk back to me!”

My Mother taught me HUMOR… “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT… “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.

My mother taught me ABOUT SEX… “How do you think you got here?”

My mother taught me about GENETICS… “You are just like your father!”

My mother taught me about my ROOTS… “Do you think you were born in a barn?”

My mother taught me about the WISDOM of AGE… “When you get to be my age, you will understand.”

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION… “Just wait until your father gets home.”

My mother taught me about RECEIVING… You are going to get it when we get home.

And my all time favorite thing — JUSTICE… “One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like YOU. Then you’ll see what it’s like.”

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The most important thing my mother taught me was to go to church and pray!

Why? Why is that? It’s because the old adage is still true – the family that PRAYS together STAYS together.

Pray.

Then there’s something else that my mother taught me. And this is a REALLY big thing, whether you’re a mother, or father, or just about any role you have or any age you are after about 10 or 12, and that is:

3. Worry doesn’t change a thing.

My mom was a worrier.     “Philippians 4:6-7 says, “don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

I’ve discovered something about Moms. Most moms worry – at least a little bit. And I think that’s why prayer was so important to my mom. I think she realized that the more she prayed, the less she’d HAVE TO worry!

Worry and prayer are like the repelling sides of a magnet – you know there’s the one way that a magnet picks things up, and then the other way, it repels things. Prayer and worry are like that.

“Prayer will make a mom cease from worry, or worry will entice a mom to cease from prayer.”

And worry really is just about crossing bridges before they are there. Worry is about the “what if’s.” The best “what if” I can remember from my mom was when I was about 16 or 17 and the church we went to was an old time pentecostal church.

 

My family has been a very important element in my faith and growth in Jesus Christ. I count it a huge privilege that both my mom and dad were strong in their faith and tried to put Christ first in everything they did.  My dad made sure we all went to church even if he didn’t most of the time.  This came across to me loud and clear as I grew up in a strong family of faith. My mother was the one that led me to Jesus and took me to church as an infant child.

My mom went home to be with the Lord several years ago and I miss her every day. When you have someone you love die and go home to be with Jesus it is sad but happy at the same time. You are very sad that they are gone but you know that they are with Jesus and that is an awesome and comforting thought. There are many lessons that my mother taught me but these five are especially memorable to me.

1. Put God first in your life

This first point is the big umbrella under which everything else falls. My mom showed me this on a daily basis. She had a walk with God that was evident to me even from an early age. This was evident in everything our family did as we never scheduled anything that would conflict with things going on at church. God truly needs to be first and at the center of our lives if we are to live according to His plan and will.

2. Eat dinner together every night

This may seem like a strange lesson but let me explain. My mom made family dinner a priority every night. I am the 16th of 19 children and we live a farm life and worked very hard.  Yet, my mom made it a priority that we have one meal together each night. Now, as a 69 year old adult, I look back and see the wisdom and blessing that this priority made.   There are only 7 of us siblings left and we remain very close (even though we live far apart) and they all have dropped everything to be with one in need. Mom taught us that God was first but family was a very strong priority and by eating together regularly each day, we grew a bond that has been a model for me to take to my own family.

Mom taught us that God was first but family was a very strong priority and by eating together regularly each day.

3. Stay humble

Mom was a very humble servant and loving wife. She was a friend to many other women in the church. She was very faithful to church and sang in church, she truly was a helpmate to my dad. Even through her last days, she was a very humble person.

4.  Show love always

My mother had a true love for people. Mom always gave someone the benefit of the doubt and would help out those in need. She had a love for those around her that was inspiring to me.   Our house always was the “hub” of the neighborhood. Every  ball game (which was a stick for a bat, and a ball made from rolled up paper wrapped in black tape), tin can alley game, hide and seek, etc …happened at our house.  Mom always made lunch or snacks and she is the one that made that happen. Looking back now some 55 years later, I want my house to be that house too. I want my son’s friends to want to be at our house. I want to grow in my love for my neighbors and  be like my mom.

5. Invest in others

Our lives our empty and without life unless we invest in the lives of others. My mother taught me that over and over. I already mentioned how she invested in the other neighborhood kids and how she invested in our family but mom invested in many others as well. This was way before the current church trend towards Bible study. She often hosted this group and was a regular teacher and gave of her time and efforts to invest in these women. She also became a mentor for some other women in the church that were going through difficult times. Mom was easy to talk to and a good listener and many women gravitated towards that. We need to invest in other people to show the love of Christ to all. Mom did that.

Listen to this beautiful song, “MY MOTHER’S FAITH”,  Cynthia Clawson.

(click below)

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.     Matthew 24:44
God bless you and your day!
Love and prayers!
Your Sister in Jesus Christ,  Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons

STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS!

Image result for images stay focused on Jesus

 

THE BLACK DOT!

One day, a professor entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin.

The professor handed out the exams with the text facing down, as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers.

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions–just a black dot in the center of the paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s faces, told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there.” The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the exams, and started reading each one of them out loud in front of all the students.

All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the center of the sheet. After all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor started to explain:

“I’m not going to grade you on this, I just wanted to give you something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same thing happens in our lives. However, we insist on focusing only on the black dot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your the eyes away from the black dots in your lives. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love!”

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Keep focused On God

Are you focusing in your prayer life? Is focusing on the Lord a struggle for you? Is there something holding you back from the Lord? Do you remember the times when you used to be on fire for God?

Do you remember the days when you looked forward to worshiping the Lord? Are you easily distracted in worship?

Are you losing the fight that you once had and if so are you willing to fight for God? If you don’t fight for more of Him you’re going to lose Him.

Quotes 

  • “What consumes your mind controls your life.”
  • “Don’t focus on your adversaries. Focus on God’s possibilities.”
  • True faith is keeping your eyes on God when the world around you is falling apart.”
  • “Instead of thinking about how hard the test is, we can instead focus on asking the Lord to enlarge our understanding.”
  • “The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.”

 

STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS, DON’T TURN YOU EYES FROM HIM.  THAT WAY YOU WON’T SEE THE BAD THINGS HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE, BUT YOU WILL SEE THAT THE GOOD OUT WEIGHS THE BAD.  

Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the son of man cometh!   Matthew 24:44

God bless you and your day!

Love and prayers!

Your Sister in Jesus Christ,  Nella Rhea Dudley Sammons